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Monday, January 16, 2017

  • Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:00 AM
    For most of my life, I have been seeking internal peace. The Christian scriptures call it “the peace that passeth understanding.” Growing up in the church, I was taught that it was something one could attain if they were diligent. But no matter how hard I prayed or worked, or how diligently I followed the rules, true inner peace was never to be found.
    Two years ago, on the streets of Berlin, an event took place that was so heinous it jarred my innermost being. In one fell swoop, everything I had ever believed about God, religion, and the life I had been leading was jerked away. A fire and strength I had never known welled up inside of me, propelling me to pack my bags and take the next flight off the continent. Thus began my journey into a world that was truly foreign to me.
    I finally realized that the only path to peace is to discover truth. Lies and falsehoods can temporarily soothe a mind that is desperate for relief from an antagonist, but when you have truth, you can settle the heart and mind on what is real.
    So, over the past 24 months, I have sought the truth about myself, about God, and about the world around me. This led me back to Berlin to face the demons I had tried to leave behind.
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  • Wednesday, January 04, 2017 4:00 AM
    This past week, my adventures included a solo trip to Berlin, Germany, where I rang in 2017 with a million other revelers at the Brandenburg Gate. It ranks as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration in Europe (third largest in the world), and was genuinely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
    Security was tight due to the recent terrorist attack in Berlin. Roads were blocked off a mile and a half from the gate in every direction. I walked for two solid hours, and went through four security checkpoints before finally making it into the celebration. But it was worth every purse check, every frisking and every blister on my tired feet. 
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  • Wednesday, December 28, 2016 4:00 AM
    I’ve never been particularly fond of New Year’s resolutions. In the past, I always felt like I was setting myself up for failure because it is highly unlikely that I will ever become thin and organized. 
     In more recent years, all of my resolve was directed at simply surviving another year with my sanity intact. But this time around, things are different. Having spent the past 12 months slaying my demons and ending toxic relationships, I am excited about moving forward into the New Year. So, here is my no-fail list of resolutions for 2017. 
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  • Wednesday, December 21, 2016 4:00 AM
    I never lie about my age or my weight. I weigh 165 pounds (give or take a few, depending on my level of emotional eating), and I was born on Dec. 20, 1969. 
    Forty-seven has loomed large in my mind for the past several years. It is the age my mother was when she died. They say that a woman sees her mother most often in her own hands. I have found this to be true. I am surprised how often I catch glimpses of her mannerisms when I’m cooking, helping my children, or talking animatedly. 
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  • Wednesday, December 14, 2016 4:00 AM
    I have recently started a new venture called, “The Great Social Media Selfie Project.” The goal is to obtain a picture of myself with every single one of my Facebook friends. Considering I have nearly 1200 connections across the world, this could take some time. 
    So far, my venture has taken me through a good portion of New England and a few southern states. I have been surprised and delighted to find that my friends are enthused about the project, and are willing to go out of their way to meet me at least long enough to take a selfie. 
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  • Wednesday, November 30, 2016 4:00 AM
    So, I have my first job interview this week. Well, the first one in 20 years anyway. For the past two decades, I have been a stay-at-home mom. But now, the time has come to carve out a new path for myself, and that involves joining the 9 to 5 grind. 
    First, I had to tackle another new endeavor…creating a résumé. I vaguely remember typing up a mock résumé back in high school. In 1987. In an actual typing class with typewriters, not keyboards. The world has changed significantly in the past 30 years, and I’m doing my best to prepare myself. 
    Fortunately, my years of running a business with wasband (the man who was my husband), coupled with my modest writing career, makes fairly impressive credentials. So, I found a résumé template, put it all down on paper, and emailed it to a couple of places.
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  • Wednesday, November 23, 2016 4:00 AM
    “I’m really excited about the Macy’s parade! It’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving!” 
    “Is that here in Thorntown,” my daughter asked. 
    I sat for a moment, trying to comprehend my obvious parenting fail. 
    “No, Thorntown’s entire population doesn’t equal half the number of people in the Macy’s parade. It takes place in New York City. Do you not remember watching it on TV every year?”
    “Remind me.”
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  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 4:00 AM
    I pictured myself venturing out in public with a red and swollen face, so I waited until I had two days with nothing planned. Finally, the time was right. I pulled the cup of wax from the box, and carefully following the instructions, popped it into the microwave. 
    Waxing facial hair is not high on any woman’s list of things she looks forward to doing, and I have studiously avoided it for years. But at last, I had to concede that my face was starting to resemble that of a teddy bear. 
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  • Wednesday, November 02, 2016 4:00 AM
    I was recently challenged to go through an entire day without apologizing. My first thought was, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”  I’m uncertain if it is my religious upbringing, my Midwestern sensibilities, or simply the fact that I am a woman, but not apologizing for stuff is hard. And I don’t mean apologizing for things you actually did wrong. I mean for little things like existing in the grocery store when other people are shopping. If I pass in front of someone who is studying canned vegetables, I immediately say, “Oh, I’m sorry!” Really, if I have to say anything, it should be, “Excuse me.” Or I could offer a helpful suggestion on brand selection, but I don’t need to regret walking in public space. I have noticed other women have the same problem. At a recent event, when the speaker finished her presentation, the next woman stepped up to the podium, adjusted the mic down, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m not as tall as she is.”

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  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:00 AM
    Recently, I decided to take the long way home and drive past my old house. This was the house I had lived in for 20 autumns. During those 20 years, I watched the trees in the front yard grow and flourish, and each fall season they exploded into vibrant color. I wanted once more to catch a glimpse of their beauty.
    I don’t go that direction often, and the house sold fairly recently, so it is still odd to see a new family living in the place I used to think would be mine until I was old and gray.
    A few years ago, I was driving through the countryside when I realized my route was taking me past three houses that had once been the homes of different couples I’ve known over the years. It was a stark realization that new families lived in those homes because each of the couples had ended their marriage with divorce.
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  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016 4:00 AM
    Typically, I wear a cotton shirt and denim shorts or jeans. For going out, I have “fancier” cotton tops, and jeans in shades other than blue. Or I have a short cotton-blend skirt that, for the past four years, I have been wearing with a denim vest or denim jacket, depending on the season. It’s kind of sad, really. I’m just a constant mish-mosh of cotton and denim. 
    About once a year, I decide to update my wardrobe. I branch out. I buy things that “speak” to me. I whirl and twirl in front of dressing room mirrors, and become giddy at the possibilities. I arrive home, laden with shopping bags full of bright colors, new textures, and hope. 
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  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016 4:00 AM
    For years, I jumped into the fray that surrounds each election. I said a lot of crap that sounded good to me, and those who believed like me, even though I never really educated myself on any of the candidates or topics. 
    Now, I've grown up. I've stopped believing in and supporting things on which I have not educated myself. This is why I don't write about politics. I can't seem to educate myself enough to articulate my opinions in a way that properly expresses my views. 
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  • Tuesday, October 04, 2016 8:47 PM
    Last weekend, I launched a new venture called, “The Great Social Media Selfie Project.” The goal is to obtain a picture with each of my 1,127 Facebook friends. That is a lot of selfies, but it also represents a lot of people that I am privileged to know. 
    I’m a fairly spontaneous traveler, so about Wednesday I decided that on Friday I would fly to New Hampshire, rent a car, then drive back to Indianapolis, meeting Facebook friends along the way. I had never been to most of the New England states, and always wanted to see it in autumn, so the trip itself was fantastic. 
    However, I did not plan very well for the selfie project. Out of nine states, I only managed to get pictures with five people. And technically, one of those was a hitchhiker I became friends with after obtaining the selfie. 
    Of those five that I met, it was wonderful to get a glimpse into their lives outside of social media. Friday night, I had dinner with Mike and Barb, a couple I met a few years ago through the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. They took me to dinner at a local restaurant called Cotton, where I had the most delicious meal of the entire trip. Over sweet potato hash and signature martinis, we caught up on each other’s lives. Afterwards, they showed me around Manchester, pointing out such significant places as the Velcro headquarters, and the building where Mike had his colonoscopy. You just don’t get that kind of real life insight on Facebook. 
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  • Saturday, October 01, 2016 7:55 AM

    This past weekend, our little Midwest town held their annual Festival of the Turning Leaves. I have attended the festival for years, and for a while even served on the planning committee, but I’ve only recently moved into town. Not just into town, but I actually moved onto the very street that gets blocked off for the food court and the performance stage.

    This means that for two days straight, I could sit on my front porch and listen to a musical line up ranging from a Journey cover band to the hilarious parody band called The Electric Amish. It also meant that from 8 a.m. on Saturday until 5 p.m. on Sunday, merely steps from my front door, a vast array of festival foods beckoned.

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  • Wednesday, September 28, 2016 7:41 PM
    Have you ever felt like you aren’t really living the life you were meant to live? Have you stopped dreaming your childhood dreams because you think it’s too late to become a ballerina or live on a ranch? Or maybe you feel that you aren’t living your own life. That your life script wasn’t authored by you. You’re simply following other people’s expectations. Living life, not by your choices, but by circumstances. Everything…your job, your relationships, just happened.
    As a writer, I get to edit, rewrite, and scrap stories altogether if I don’t like them. I write what happens in my life, but, during rewrites, I can take a bad thing, make it funny, describe the characters as being a lot more attractive, or make myself sound wittier, and even ten pounds thinner. 
    In real life, maybe I had a bad meal at a restaurant. But when I write it, I can keep rewriting until it’s not just a bad meal at a restaurant, but it’s a story of life lessons, food I should have had, and in the end, I go home with the handsome chef. Writers have that power. 
    And here is the good news. You have that power, too. We all have the power to rewrite our lives. If you don’t like the way life is going, I’m going to suggest a rewrite. After all, you can create your own happily ever after.
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