Sandburg’s words are needed now more than ever

When my mom was living, she owned a tour company called Southern Comfort Tours. She opened the business in her 60s after retiring from 30 years in education. It was a lifelong dream and she made it happen. 

Along with extensive trips, she offered small day trips around Western North Carolina and other areas of the Southeast. One of her day trips was to Hendersonville where she would take guests to places like Flat Rock Playhouse, Highland Lake Inn and the Carl Sandburg home. She loved talking about her itineraries and chattering about this location or that venue.

First the boots, then the heavy lifting

“It is a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.” 

I recently stumbled upon this quote by Martin Luther King Jr. It was from a video interview he did years ago. Dr. King, of course, was talking about African-Americans and how it was simply wrong and unfair to free them from slavery yet give them no land, no money, no food and no boots and still expect them to create a life for themselves. 

Far-reaching consequences of the shutdown

Last week my boys flew on an airplane for the first time without me. I was a nervous wreck to say the least. They went on a trip to Universal Studios with their dad and his girlfriend, so aside from already being sad about not being there to make memories with them, my stress was heightened by the fact they were in the air and I was on the ground. 

The hardest part about divorce is missing out on chunks of your children’s lives. As their mom, it feels disorienting to not be with my children all the time or for them to experience new adventures of which I’m not a part. 

My personal happiness project for 2019

What is a New Year’s resolution anyway? Just a statement we make aloud while toasting friends and family with a flute of champagne? Apparently, over 30 percent of Americans make resolutions with every intention of seeing them through, but only 8 percent actually succeed. A while back I gave up the tried and true ritual of resolutions. I rarely achieved mine, which always left me feeling guilty and defeated. 

Creating an honest path to gratitude

I haven’t always known how to feel grateful or identify the feeling of joy. There are certain lessons in life only learned through experience. No matter how many books are read or classes taken, hard-fought living is our one true teacher. In this season of gratitude, I’m reminded that my ability to feel thankful and happy is a recent revelation. I’ve also realized that through loss, a person can gain everything.

Finding anchors in seasons of change

When the winds rage the sea, we look for an anchor. 

As my life continues to unfold, I’m learning there are things over which I have little control. Like any human, I at first try to manhandle situations. Every single time, I try to come up with a solution or fix the issue before I realize God and the universe have other plans. I’m working hard to stop this and rather, approach each day with curious expectation. 

Thoughts on Thanksgiving and traditions

Funny how when you’re living in a moment, you don’t realize how truly special the moment is. Only later in life does the full onslaught of gratitude cover you like a warm nostalgic blanket. That’s how I feel when I reflect upon Thanksgiving days of the past. 

Every Thanksgiving morning, my sister and I would wake up and wander into the kitchen bleary-eyed and still wearing pajamas. As the Asheville Christmas Parade played on WLOS, my mom would be sipping coffee and have already cooked cornbread and biscuits, the beginning ingredients for my great-grandmother’s dressing recipe. 

Learning to connect with the other world

The night after my mom died, my dad stepped out on the front porch with my brother-in-law, whose father had passed away only a month earlier. As they looked up, two shooting stars, one after the other, flew through the night sky. We were convinced it was our two family members comforting us from afar.

Finding inspiration in banned books

My mom was a librarian and my dad an English teacher so books were always stacked on the dining room table or tossed on the floor beside recliners. As a young girl, I carried a novel with me all the time. 

My very favorite book was The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I remember hiding it on the shelf at my elementary school library so no one else could check it out. I think I read it at least 10 times in a three-year span. It’s funny I didn’t ask my parents to just buy it for me, but these were the days before Amazon and there was something magical about holding it in my possession for only a short period of time. 

Raising boys and respecting women

As a child, I wanted to grow up and plan a big fancy wedding with a ruffly white dress, then have two little girls and name them Veronica and Samantha. As one of two girls in a family of four, this is all I knew. My middle-class childhood wasn’t indulgent in any way, but it was happy and secure. My sister and I knew our parents loved us more than anything. Both my mom and dad worked multiple jobs to give us opportunities and experiences we couldn’t have otherwise had. I’m forever appreciative of that, and I 100 percent credit them for nurturing and encouraging my adventurous spirit. 

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