Our two children are into the second week of their final quarter of the school year. Warm weather, longer days and budding plants are pushing their thoughts toward summer. For them, summer equates to vacation, travel, sleeping late and the absence of homework, quizzes and tests.
As a mother, I often dwell on my role and that of my husband in influencing our children. I also think about the roles their peers and their environment play in affecting their growth.
Georgia may appear at first glance to be a red state, solidly Republican, but its history is more complex. Those unfamiliar with its political history might be surprised to learn that, for 90 years, the Democratic Party so dominated Georgia that no Republican would run for the governor's office.
Almost two decades ago, heartbroken and single, I wrote out a list that described the man of my dreams. Less than two years later, my husband and I married, proving that dreams do indeed come true. (Yes, he met and even exceeded all criteria).
As Americans, we have the unfortunate habit of thinking about others by seeing their actions and reactions from our point of view. We put ourselves in their figurative shoes, i.e., we know about their situations, constraints, advantages and options, but we don't know what is going on in their minds. This may be due to our relative lack of diversity, the geographic size of our nation or our relatively insular upbringing.
The first two months of 2014 are all but done, and there is only a little more than eight months left until the midterm elections. The House is projected to remain Republican. In the Senate, the seats up for election are currently split between 21 Democratic seats and 15 Republican seats. This difference in open Senate seats, combined with a midterm election, a sluggish economy, and the decline of President Obama's international performance creates an opportunity for the Republicans to potentially pick up the Senate.
Thursday is my mother's birthday; she would have been 78. This is the first year that she won't be with us to celebrate, but will be in heaven looking down. In my mind, she is still with us in spirit and love.
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The passage in Ruth 1:16 highlights what it means to belong: "Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God my God."
This was Ruth's response when her mother-in-law Naomi suggested she go back to her own people after the death of her husband, Naomi's son. But Ruth was determined to stay, to be with Naomi.
Thanksgiving week is a time to express gratitude and appreciation and to acknowledge what we are thankful for in our lives. Many of us have Thanksgiving routines and rituals that take us out of the everyday routine of our lives and provide a space for us to slow down, unwind, reflect and give thanks.
Any change requires pain. Whatever we are doing now is easy (we think) compared to change, whatever it may be. Changing is hard. It requires us to think anew, to change our habits, our processes, our language. It's venturing out into the unknown. Without a compelling reason, people will stay the same and not change.
People begin to change only when the pain of what they are doing becomes more painful than the pain of change.
Nobody likes to lose. But defeats can prove advantageous if used as a learning tool. Newt Gingrich lost his first two congressional campaigns, but won his third. Twenty years after his first defeat, he changed the nation with the Contract With America.
No doubt there are thousands, possibly even millions of people like me who are glad that the election season is coming to an end. In less than a week, we will know the outcome of the presidential election (barring recounts).
President Barack Obama may believe he had beaten his GOP rival in Tuesday night's town hall debate, but his 90-minute performance could not make up for his lackluster job performance over the past four years.
In order to win next month, Republican nominee Mitt Romney will have to articulate the reason why the choice for him is right. The choice has to be about more than Mitt Romney, and really about more than President Barack Obama. The compelling choice should contrast the very different futures each man would seek to create. The ability to describe and contrast two potential visions of the future -- one under Obama and the other under Romney -- will likely prove key to who wins.
Ronald Reagan had this linguistic ability, which he honed over decades of work.
The Obama administration's policies are bad. Bad in the sense that the policies are morally corrupting. They take money and control away from people and give them to government bureaucrats, who then decide what should be done. The policies encourage people to be less responsible personally and to rely more on the government.
The challenge for modern-day campaigns is that the rapid speed of the news cycle ensures that new news is created on a daily basis, even when it is not really news. Blame the hunger for something novel and fresh that can eat up time on the 24-hour cable news channels.
The question this fall is clear: Do we want a president who cares for others but is not competent or a president who might care, if he could just show it, but has proved his competence?
One of my mother's favorite sayings is to do the best you can with what you have at the time. She should know.
In politics, where there are more men than women in elected positions, it's easy to get the impression that men matter most. You see them on TV, see their pictures in the paper, hear them pontificating on the issues on TV and radio.
So it may surprise you to learn that women matter more than might be evident. Why? They outvote men.
We are less than three months out from the presidential election. Yes, I know that it seems as if it has already lasted forever, but so far, it's simply been the warm-up.
Here's my first admission: I'm a geek. In school, I was the bookish girl who kept her head down during class and barely talked with other students. A bit of a nerd, geek or whatever other slang word would fit at the time. A voracious reader, I spent most lunch hours during my eighth-grade year reading in the library. It was easier to go there than it was to endure the process of trying to find someone to sit with in the cafeteria.
Our fascination with the Olympics goes beyond the near-perfect performances of the athletes. It also includes their stories. We watch and experience the trials and triumphs of people who fail, who get up and who triumph once again. Possibly through watching how Olympians perform under pressure, we can learn how to perform under pressure, as well.
Two examples stand out in my mind from this week, in women's gymnastics and men's swimming.