Featured Stories

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66: Owning Your Space

Owning Your Space What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson I come from a long line of women Who suck in stomachs And wear painfully large smiles Who punish themselves at dinner For eating lunch Voices like wisps of wind Silence that echoes down generations Ever shrinking, they collect leaves and dirt In matted hair from dragging themselves low To make men feel taller on our family tree That’s why when I met you I was scared to take up too much space I tried to concave and let you grow from the hallowed ground Of my hungry core But you didn’t mind that I filled a room I was terrified to show you the hoarded opinions and dreams I had stored in my back closet (I had always meant to throw them out when I fell in love — to make room for yours) But you just asked to see them Now they occupy our walls like works of art When I shrink As is habit You offer a ladle full of courage like a reminder That the bigger I get The stronger I get The wiser Healthier The more I grow The more we flourish You say The taller I stand The more of me you can see “and baby I love this view” You chuckle in the crook of my neck I hope one day my daughters will smile and say “I come from a line of... (more)
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67: It’s Not Over Until I Say It’s Over…

It’s Not Over Until I Say It’s Over… The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character. ~Margaret Chase Smith I was the last person who ever expected to have a problem with sexual harassment. I was a forty-five-year-old widow with four teenage children. I was an average-looking woman, and on a sexually attractive scale of one to ten, I’d have rated myself a two. I was thirty pounds overweight, wore bifocals and didn’t wear make-up. I’d been a widow for ten years and had worked a variety of jobs to support my family. I didn’t have any college or special job skills, and I took whatever jobs I could get. I’d been working two jobs, cleaning houses and working as a clerk in a small gift shop. When the gift shop closed, I needed another job to keep supporting my family. I applied for twenty-three jobs and couldn’t believe my good luck when I was hired at a jewelry store at a salary that would allow me to quit my job cleaning houses. Having only one job was almost like being on vacation. That lasted six months, and then my boss started asking me odd questions about my personal life. Was I dating anyone, and why not? He was a sixty-five-year-old widower... (more)
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68: By the Dawn’s Early Light

By the Dawn’s Early Light If you have to do it, then you’re doing the right thing. ~Kathy Valentine “The colonel needs to see you,” my flight commander said as I set my olive-green backpack down on my desk. It was a few minutes shy of 7:00 a.m., and a direct request from the boss usually meant one of two things: I was being promoted, or I had seriously messed up. As far as I knew, I was definitely not due for a promotion. A bolt of panic shot down my spine, and it clearly showed on my face. “Relax, lieutenant. I think she just needs you to run an errand for the promotion ceremony happening later this week,” he said. “Oh! Phew,” I said, feeling my pulse return to normal as my shoulders inched away from my ears. And sure enough, when I reported to the colonel’s office, she confirmed the request. My orders were simple. Go down to the print shop, pick up flyers for the promotion ceremony, proofread them, and if everything looked okay, bring them back to her office. As I drove to the printer, I couldn’t shake a nagging feeling that something seemed off about this request. “I’m one of our unit’s technical writers. Of course, it makes sense that the boss needs a writer to proofread,” I tried telling... (more)
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69: Don’t Take My Wheels!

Don’t Take My Wheels! Take the power to control your own life. Take the power to make your life happy. ~Susan Polis Schutz My husband’s 62nd birthday was only months away when he made an announcement. “I think I’m going to retire at sixty-two. I’ve given it much thought, checked into Social Security differences, and financially we can do it.” Ken’s decision came as a surprise, but I liked the idea. Earlier discussions had helped us decide to move closer to where our grown children lived, back to a community where we had many longtime friends, but that plan was set for more than three years away. The “do-it-at-sixty-two” part came as something new, but after a long career in the banking business, Ken was ready for some leisure. The next day, as I did household chores, I started thinking about what life might be like with Ken home full-time. Every day would be like a Saturday or Sunday. That might be nice. As I moved clothes from the washer to the dryer, a new thought stopped me with wet laundry in mid-air. My dad had taken an early retirement, too, and he and Mom were joined at the hip from day one. The only time she had to herself was when he went to get a monthly haircut. Mom didn’t drive, so Dad accompanied her on... (more)