My mother's journey from mountain top to Chicago: a toast

This one’s for my mom. She died ten years ago after a several-years’ bout with Alzheimer’s Disease. I miss her a lot, but I am relieved that that disease finally lost its grip on her. It took a grim toll on all of us. This year, I’ve been celebrating her. This spring my family and... Read more »

Angry black and white women unite! Shonda Rhimes show us how

I think I can help with the Shonda Rhimes vs New York Times dustup over a story that meant to praise her but ended up marginalizing her. Sometimes, as we have all experienced, it’s both what you say and how you say it. I’ll let others debate skin color and incendiary headlines. I want at... Read more »

A chance to share: A writing contest on domestic violence

Domestic violence is suddenly on the news, and former NFLer Ray Rice is responsible for that. But DV is present every day in the lives of our communities, whether visible or not. The circles widen from one push, one punch, endless denigration, into the community. DV used to be surrounded by silence, but no more.... Read more »
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What if France wasn't there anymore? A dispatch from Normandy

I am just back from a trip to France and full of what-ifs about what might have prevented or shortened the suffering there in World War II: What if Hitler had been accepted into art school in Berlin? He turned his attention elsewhere after the second rejection. What if there had not been an unexpected... Read more »

Found wisdom: Menards’ weekly secret offer

I used to grab the Sunday paper, fish out the comics and the Sunday magazine, then gather the bundle of ads and chuck it in the recycling bin. That’s what I did until my friend told me a secret about Menards. You know Menards, the quirky home improvement store that also sneaks in food items,... Read more »

Miracle revealed: Men tackle domestic violence thanks to Ray Rice!

As someone who has been part of the effort to figure out how to eliminate domestic violence, and who has said for years that men are the ones who should do the heavy lifting on this problem considering that they are usually the perpetrators, I am happy to report some good news: Men may have... Read more »
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Melissa missing Joan: Sudden death vs. long goodbye

I’ve been thinking a lot about how Melissa Rivers lost her mother, as a lot of my friends and clients have – suddenly, with no warning and no time to say goodbye. I’ve also been thinking of the way I lost mine – to Alzheimer’s Disease, slowly, over years, with plenty of time to say... Read more »

Little League champs Jackie Robinson West, a week later: Their legacy

Here it is a week already since the parade and rally at Millennium Park honoring our surprise August heroes, the kids from Jackie Robinson West. They are back to school, we are adjusting to the shock that summer is over already. It seems like a good time to consider what we can take from the... Read more »

A counselor speaks: My job is not crummy, it’s uplifting: Pessimists need not apply

For years people told me I had a terrible job. How can you stand it, sitting there listening to people whine and cry all day? You must go home so depressed. I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut. I’d just want to slap them and tell them to shape up. Life is hard... Read more »
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Why did my husband survive the Plainfield tornado? Luck or divine intervention? If divine intervention, why him?

It’s been 24 years since a tornado roared a path from the outskirts of Plainfield through the countryside to Crest Hill, destroying homes, churches, schools and everything else in its path, and killing 28 people. It was an F 5 storm, notable for the length of time and distance that it spent on the ground.... Read more »