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Four Life Lessons from the Police Station—Volume II

I try to follow the law, but once again found myself at the police station Saturday. . .

. . . for the Kirkwood Police Department Open House!

My second appearance at this annual community showcase, I applied my insights from the 2018 event in hopes of creating a more successful display this year.

So, to build on those learnings and to keep this blog’s tradition alive, here are 2019’s four life lessons from the police station: Read more

Two Essentials for Compelling the Hurricane Within

“The Hurricane Within”

Catastrophic, devastating, monstrous—all labels we’d use for hurricanes. But couldn’t we also use the following?

Strong. Resilient. Capable.

Qualities we humans covet.

So how about compelling a hurricane within ourselves that instead of destruction, leaves goodness in its wake? One built on strength, resilience, and capability.

My instincts say it’s possible, especially when we check out these facts:

    • Hurricanes form over warm water.1
    • Humans are up to 60% warm water.2

See? The science suggests that, just like hurricanes, we’re primed to become forces of nature. But without the following two essentials, it’s not happening for the storms . . . or for us: Read more

Life’s Instruction Manual—It Does Exist!

On my family room bookshelves rest two similar paintings. At first glance, they’re nearly identical. But then you realize they’re more like fraternal twins.

    1. One boasts uniform red, yellow, and orange leaves; the other haphazard swipes of the same hues, with a little green, too.
    2. And one blends its colors, while the other sports individual brush strokes.

So would it surprise you that both artists received the same instructions?

However, one heard the assigned colors and thought adding green leaves would capture summer’s transition to fall. And the other listened to the brush technique and opted for a more uniform look.

Same instructions. Different interpretations. Equal importance.

And that leads us to my version of life’s instruction manual, which states the following: Read more

Five Steps for Handling Criticism, Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

This blog post’s star and inspiration . . .

I’ve got a soft spot for North Carolina—both my babies were born there—and for animals. So I was cheering when the wild horses on NC’s Outer Banks survived the recent hurricane.

Actually, their survival wasn’t unexpected—their group’s been riding out severe storms for hundreds of years.1 The crazy part’s how they did it and how any of this applies to handling criticism.

First, how did they do it? Read more

The Case for You—40 Reasons You Matter

“The Year of 40”

When you speak best through written words, like I do, special gifts tend to take that form too. So it makes sense that this year, “the year of 40,” I’ve begun a new tradition built on words.

Lists, in fact.

My best friend’s 40th gift? “40 Reasons Why You Rock.” And my hubby’s earned the title “Forty Reasons Why I Love You.”

So as I pondered my turn in the 40th birthday spotlight this coming Sunday, I thought about the forty things I’d include on my own list. And how that might make an interesting blog post.

But something was missing. Read more

Love Notes: When Past Becomes Present

“Love Note”

I found a slice of my past in the garage last weekend. Flash flooding had forced me to empty and clean the entire space. But before I could throw away a box of water-soaked childhood mementos, I had to take one final look.

So I sat on my driveway, surrounded by bicycles, paint cans, and old car seats, and opened this portal to my past. Two seemingly unrelated things caught my breath: Read more

The School Slide—Avoiding School-Time Parenting Pitfalls

“The School Slide”

Feeling that back-to-school vibe yet? If not, I’ve got a two-part pop quiz that’ll get you in the spirit of the season.

  1.  Complete this analogy:

The “summer slide” is to kids as the “school slide” is to ____________.”

Answer:  Parents!

2.   Define “school slide.”

This one’s a bit trickier, so grab your notebook, Parents, and join me in the classroom for three lessons that just might change the way we all approach the school year . . . Read more

Pause the Moment: Annoying . . . Or Creative?

Not even sure I should call this version “chess.”

I like to win but really hate to lose. I’ve tried to force this part of me out, but it refuses.

It’s been with me since childhood, when I cheated at board games and left the room crying after a bad round of Uno.

Though usually hidden, a chess match with my 6-year-old surfaced this pettiness. Read more

The Things We Leave Behind

What are you leaving behind?

It was her pair of black sandals that initially made me pause. I could remember her wearing them at family gatherings and now they lay on the floor, resting indefinitely.

But it was more than the shoes.

My husband’s grandparents’ home was filled with things Grandmother had left behind when she recently passed away—papers, clothes, quilting projects, and even a pie crust patiently awaiting its filling in the freezer.

But it was more than these items, too.

It was the things she’d been leaving behind for years, though you’d never see them stacked in a corner or overflowing from a box. In fact, you couldn’t see them at all.

They’re the same things each of us leaves behind after every encounter with another:

Read more