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When I think of the word enthusiasm, I am reminded of a scene out of the 1987 movie "The Untouchables" about gangster Al Capone. In the scene, Capone (played by Robert De Niro) is walking around a table that is surrounded by his men. As he walks, he talks.
What are Americans interested in? According to a Gallup poll released on June 14, it's the economy, in a variety of forms.
The poll found that "68 percent of Americans mention some aspect of the economy when asked about the most important problem facing the country today, with the economy in general (31 percent) and unemployment (25 percent) most often mentioned as specific concerns." (Poll of 1,004 adults, conducted June 7-10, with a sampling error of plus-or-minus 4 points.)
There is something special about looking forward to something. Knowing that there is something good that is going to happen, or even might happen, gives us a reason to get up a bit earlier and work a bit harder. Optimism is the fuel that leads us to put our noses to the grindstone and persevere in the face of the inevitable setbacks.
We declared our independence from Great Britain 236 years ago next week. It was a declaration long in coming, brought about by the overreaching rule of King George III and Britain's insistence on taxation without representation.
John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, crossed the ocean from England to New England aboard the Arabella in early 1630. While aboard, he penned a directive that he read to those traveling with him either while they were still on board the ship or shortly after they had disembarked that June in Salem. Most of them were Puritans, who were leaving England for religious freedom as well as to start afresh in a New World, as directed by God.
In January 1995, I made a list of 18 attributes that described the type of man I wanted to marry. The list included "wants children," "high family ties - loves his mother," "secure in himself" and "social."
Three years later, I married such a man. A man who more than met the list, Jimmy Cushman.
Words have power; they create images and possibilities, and provide a window into the future of what could be.
An 8-year-old boy loses his father to an execution squad. Imagine the shock, questions and hurt at losing his father at such a young age. Why did his father have to die? Could his death been avoided? Why did he have to lose his father?
If you are lucky, you have people who you love in your life. If you're really lucky, you have people who inspire you, as well. I love my sister Kathy, but she also is an incredible inspiration to me - and might be to you, once you hear her story.
As a child, I was a voracious reader, mostly of fiction. I would read during class, during lunch, during the bus ride. When I was reading, I was not part of my boring normal life, but part of a deeper, more compelling story.
Fiction has the ability to transport the reader into a different world. The same holds true for movies and television shows. Stories of all types capture our attention and imagination. Even news is told in story fashion.
For mothers with children at home and in school, May can bring madness. It's a month that tends to be filled with end-of-the-school-year projects, performances, concerts, dress rehearsals, parties and more.
Monday night, my husband came home around 8:30 p.m. and was surprised to find me painting my office. Early that morning, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep, I decided to paint my office. The deadline was driven by a Tuesday installation appointment for a TV. After all, why hang the TV on a wall with old paint, nail holes and patches of paint missing where the dry-erase squares had been removed?
Driving my children to and from various events earlier this week, we had a discussion about what makes a good story. They are both working on writing a book (as am I - we'll see who finishes first).
Stories, I explained, are interesting because they have conflict. There are most often two forces that push against each other. In classic stories, it's good versus evil. Really interesting stories have subplots, which reflect conflicts within conflicts.
Growing up in rural Georgia, Easter meant not only the resurrection of Jesus, but also a new Sunday dress, a hat, gloves and more chocolate than I could eat, at least at one time.
My sister Kathy and I would wake up before dawn, rush to our Easter baskets, eat a few bites of chocolate, get dressed in our brand new Easter dresses and head out for the sunrise service, with candy stashed in our purses.
Lent began this week on Feb. 22. It ends April 8 with the celebration of Easter. In the Christian tradition, the Lenten period is a time of fasting and prayer, preparation and reflection in anticipation of Easter, which commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus.