Learning Today from the Leaders of Tomorrow

I recently went back to school again, and I was amazed at all I learned. Especially since I was there for barely an hour. The Georgia Writers Museum offers a number of educational programs, one of which is a Junior Board consisting of students in a Leadership class at the county high school. When the teacher of the class was recently named Teacher of the Month, and one of the students in her Leadership class—and on our Junior Board—was named Student of the Month, it [...]

By |April 20th, 2024|Achieving Dreams and Goals, Columns, Making a Difference, Values|Comments Off on Learning Today from the Leaders of Tomorrow

Easter Observations

Our church was crowded last Sunday, as it always is on Easter. Sitting in the pew in front of us was a young family. The two boys, about five and ten years old, were well-behaved and well-dressed, each in tan pants, a button-down shirt, and an adorable bow tie. This reminded me of a column I wrote more than 20 years ago, about another Easter Sunday. I think it’s still relevant today: As I waited for Mass to begin on Easter morning, I watched some [...]

By |April 8th, 2024|Columns, Faith, Family, Holidays, Respect, Values|Comments Off on Easter Observations

A Lesson from Cinderella

When I was a freshman in college, I went to Ft. Lauderdale over spring break with my roommate and a few other friends. One day, on a very crowded beach, a sour-looking older woman sitting near us asked us what school we were from. We told her, and she rolled her eyes. She was a teacher at another college, whose dates for spring break differed from ours, but overlapped by a few days. “I came here on vacation,” she told us, “to get away from [...]

By |March 25th, 2024|Columns, Family, Values|Comments Off on A Lesson from Cinderella

Be Nice!

A number of years ago—eight, to be exact—we were visiting our daughter and got into a discussion about the upcoming election. I told my daughter that she would make a good president, and suggested jokingly that she consider running. Then, just for fun, I went on to name different departments, agencies, or cabinet positions that members of our family would be suited for. I came up with one for my husband, our kids, and a few other family members—everyone but myself. That’s when I decided [...]

By |March 11th, 2024|Accountability, Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Respect, Values|Comments Off on Be Nice!

The Silent Treatment

Our pastor announced last weekend that he was going to be away for a few days, on a silent retreat. In addition to no talking, there would be no phones, internet, electronics, or communication of any kind. Just—silence. And meditation. And prayer. I know several people who have done silent retreats in the past, some as long as 30 days. The very idea of that amazes me. Even getting past the idea of taking a sabbatical from your regular life for a full month is [...]

By |February 11th, 2024|Columns, Values|Comments Off on The Silent Treatment

Small Town, Big Time

When people ask where I’m originally from, I usually say “the Chicago area.” Or sometimes “a small town near Chicago,” which is a little more accurate. And even though I’ve spent most of my life living on the outskirts of major cities, I consider myself a small-town girl at heart. That’s why last Friday felt so good. It was a gloomy, rainy morning, and I was getting ready to head out to the doctor’s office for a routine check-up when I got a text from [...]

By |December 6th, 2023|Columns, Values|Comments Off on Small Town, Big Time

The Last Two Traditions

“The last two holiday traditions I’ll ever give up,” I told my son, “are cooking a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, and baking Christmas cookies.” I made the comment as my son and I were talking on the phone, a few days before Thanksgiving, about our holiday plans. I had mentioned that we knew a lot of people who, instead of cooking a traditional turkey dinner, had “alternate plans.” Some were still going with a turkey dinner, but were purchasing either a ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat-up option [...]

By |November 27th, 2023|Columns, Family, Holidays, Values|Comments Off on The Last Two Traditions

The Speech of a Lifetime

The most poignant and powerful speech I have ever listened to was one I heard more than a decade ago, and to this day, I still remember every word of it. Of course, there were only eleven words. I’ve written about this before, but it is more relevant today than ever, and I think it warrants revisiting. It took place near the end of a weeklong “Inspirational Speakers” workshop I attended – along with about a hundred other people. At the end of the week, [...]

By |November 20th, 2023|Achieving Dreams and Goals, Columns, Professional Speaking, Values|Comments Off on The Speech of a Lifetime


At least we weren’t home when it happened. Of course, that’s both the good news and the bad news. It’s bad news because we had to cancel most of the week-long trip we had planned. We were out of town, on our way to visit our daughter and celebrate her birthday with her, when we got the phone call telling us a tree had fallen on our house, tearing a hole in the roof. We did a U-turn on the interstate, returned our rental car, [...]

By |November 13th, 2023|Columns, Family, Travel, Values|Comments Off on Timberrr!


I just woke up from two unsettling dreams, the kind that made me think, after I popped awake, “Oh, thank God that was just a dream.” One of them was a variation of the standard “last day of school and l’m not ready for the big test” dream, although it was more complicated and intense than that. The other dream was a lot scarier. A Japanese Mafia-type man was forcing me to write propaganda, and threatening to kill my family if I didn’t cooperate. He [...]

By |October 30th, 2023|Columns, Family, Health and Well-being, Values|Comments Off on Nightmares