Her Words

The upside of the Upside Down

When Len and I found ourselves in the empty nest, we knew chances were good we would get odd…er than we already were. Add “self-employed writers” to our profiles and you have two grown ups living in pajamas, making a 7:30 bedtime seem more reasonable. Last year our boys suggested we stay awake and watch the Netflix original series, Stranger…

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20 reminders every parent needs

Cindi and I still marvel that the good folks at Lincoln General let us walk—not once but twice—right out their front door with eight plus pounds of squirming human being. No OB nurse administered a parenting exam. We didn’t have to put our hands on a Bible and swear anything. We were never required to appear before a review board of pediatricians, social workers,…

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Why Grover’s Corners is the best day trip for the New Year

Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take’m out and look at’m very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars…everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.…

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Working the night shift at the Bethlehem Motel

The night manager of the Bethlehem Motel tossed the cup of old, cold coffee into the trash can and gave a quick, end-of-shift report. By dusk, every last room had been snatched up. But when he flicked the switch so the sign out by the highway could announce to travelers, “NO Vacancy,” nothing happened. The repairman had obviously not come as promised. The night manager said he marched straight over to the computer and fired…

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A whole heart in a broken body

The first time Len introduced me to his mom was in January of 1987. I was nervous and awkward…she was poised and gracious. Four months later when Len and I married, mom and I began our journey as in-laws. Mom and I were very different. She had a place for everything while I had everything out of place. She was…

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The day reality got real

Last Friday as I was leaving the nursing home, the parking lot was full of residents holding American flags as they hobbled and rolled to the curb. They were waiting for the Blue Angels to fly over in honor of Veterans Day.   I drove past the group and waved. With minds held captive by dementia, many stared blankly back at me…

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What to do when you can’t fix what’s broken

  Everywhere I look I see things in need of fixing. I don’t mean the ceiling fan in my bedroom or those potholes in the parking lot at my health club. I mean friends who are sick and may not recover. I mean parents who are heart sick over wayward children. (God knows if a father’s sighing and a mother’s weeping could…

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How to enjoy the beach 35 years of cellulite later

Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a middle-aged woman like these two words: Swimsuit Season! So tell me: Would you rather have your 20 year-old body,  or the current broken down version you drag out of bed each morning? What fool wouldn’t choose the younger, more energetic model? Until my recent trip to the beach, I would have knocked…

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Watching Trump and Hillary play kickball at recess

I don’t know how it was at your grade school, but in Slidell, Louisiana, in the late 1960s, we had certain playground customs. So, for example, if you decided to choose up teams for kick ball (or play a game that required someone to be “it”), nobody—at least at Florida Ave Elementary—began with, “One potato, two potato, three potato, four…” That was, well, so fifties.…

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Why it’s okay to be an indecipherable mess

If I have the stuff inside me to make cocoons—maybe the stuff of butterflies is there too. Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers Some people enjoy a butterfly life. Colorful and carefree, they flit unpredictably about the world eliciting “oohs” and “ahhs.” What a sweet life! Flying from one beautiful place to the next, sampling exotic foods, always looking good and turning heads. When butterfly people land…

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