Featured Stories

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82: Dr. Nanny

Dr. Nanny It takes courage to examine your life and to decide that there are things you would like to change, and it takes even more courage to do something about it. ~Sue Hadfield, Change One Thing! My dream was to earn my doctorate at St. John’s University in Queens, New York, where my father was a professor. But during a visit to the United States Military Academy during my junior year in college, I was escorted around the post by a handsome “cow,” a cadet in his junior year at West Point. Soon after, my doctoral dreams took a detour. After graduating from college, my cadet and I married. For the next thirty-two years, we raised our five children. I stayed at home with the kids and wrote nonfiction books for young adults, Chicken Soup for the Soul stories, and features for my local newspaper. Those were glorious times. When my two youngest were in high school, my oldest daughter chose to pursue her doctorate in psychology. Additionally, my niece, my college roommate, and my brother-in-law were all engaged in doctoral studies. I was so proud of them, but I also felt envious. I became determined to go back to school. I searched the Internet and found the perfect Ph.D. program for me. It was a combination of classes in writing, literature, and teaching.... (more)
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83: Saying “Yes” to Myself

Saying “Yes” to Myself Sometimes, we have to say no so we have more time to say yes. ~Suzette Hinton “Will you do a favor for me?” someone would ask. “Of course, I will. What do you need?” I would always answer, agreeing to do the favor before I even asked what it was. I would never have dreamed of saying “no” to anyone. If anyone asked me to do anything, I’d do it. Saying “no” was never an option. I wanted to be a good person. I wanted to help people. I wanted people to like me. I wanted people to love me. I was a good, obedient child and grew up to be a responsible adult. I married a dependable, hard-working man whom everyone said was perfect for me. I had four children, and I was always the “room mother,” helping with class parties and taking cookies to every school event. I helped with the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, charities and fundraisers. Nothing was too much trouble. After my children grew up and left home, and my husband passed away, people thought I needed things to do to fill what they felt was my empty life. I volunteered at the hospital and a nursing home, and I taught a Sunday School class. I was free labor. I’d drive people to the airport and go back and pick them up when they... (more)
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84: Already Possessing the Answers

Already Possessing the Answers We all have within us a deep wisdom, but sometimes we don’t know we have it. ~Shakti Gawain “No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to keep up,” Julie confessed, and then she began to cry. “I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. Charlie was up most of the night last night. There are piles of laundry all over my house. I haven’t showered in days. And I can’t remember the last time I looked into my kids’ eyes — really looked.” Her voice trailed off as tears streamed down her face. I passed Julie the box of tissues. I had explained earlier that night, before the retreat’s Faith Sharing segment, that several groups had dubbed the box of tissues the “Talking Stick.” Inevitably, when it came time to share, the tears came, too. Julie had refused the box, saying she wasn’t one to cry. But she accepted the tissues now with gratitude. This was the fifteenth retreat I had run for mothers of young children. I could count on just one hand the number of moms who hadn’t cried when it was their time to share. Goodness knows, I wasn’t one of them. I don’t cry often, but I’ve cried more in motherhood than in my entire life combined. Five years... (more)
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85: Beyond the Gold Watch

Beyond the Gold Watch The best way to predict the future is to create it. ~Abraham Lincoln Well, I got the gold watch — figuratively, that is. In reality, unless someone was on the board or a department manager, they just left. There was no gold watch for retiring. I had turned sixty-five the year before, and my co-workers started asking: Where was my place in the sun? Tucson? Tampa? They said I was so lucky that I wouldn’t have to get to work with two feet of new snow on the roads. I started to wonder if they were hinting. If I left, my spot was a chance for a move-up for someone else. To quiet speculation, I said, “Fourth of July.” And I regretted it later when that date kept creeping up on the calendar. They threw a party for me, a “surprise” on July 3rd during lunch break. I got a cake and a beach umbrella — for that dreamy beach, I suppose. At the end of the day, I received a few hugs, pats on the back, keep-in-touch comments, and a couple of tears from those who had become real friends during my fifteen years there. I hoped they would still include me in the card games and dinners out we sometimes had. The kids were grown and gone. There were grandkids, but since everyone lived a state or two away, I couldn’t just drop in.... (more)