A New York Times article this past Tuesday titled, "Teenage Girl Leaves for ISIS, and Others Follow," by Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, struck close to home for me. The three young women who left London to enlist in ISIS in Syria were 16, 15 and 15.
Earlier this week, my sister Kathy called me, "Am I correct in thinking that Mom used to send us little kid Valentine's like the ones school children use?"
In grammar school, Valentine's Day meant wrapping a shoe box with brown craft paper, cutting a slot in the top for cards to drop in and decorating the outside of the box with hearts and cupids. Store-bought Valentines were labeled the night before and carefully taken to school to be given away. When the big day came, it wasn't only if you received Valentines that counted, it was from whom, and if they gave you your card first that mattered.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's prime minister during World War II. Churchill took up painting as a hobby in 1915, after the Gallipoli debacle, where 46,000 allied lives were lost over nine months of the campaign. He went on to paint more than 500 paintings during his lifetime. As wartime prime minister, he took a break from painting, focusing instead on the task at hand - winning the war, no matter the cost.
Enthusiastic, entertaining, energized and eminent, President Obama's demeanor and delivery at the State of the Union belied his political reality. Unbowed, unbroken and possibly unaffected by the recent midterm Republican wave, Obama displayed his great skill by delivering an emotional teleprompter-driven speech that was a throwback to his first election. Varying tempo, pitch, passion and inflection, his speech was more a theatrical performance than a delivery of a prewritten, pre-released text.
As members of the 114th Congress were sworn into office on Tuesday, their party affiliations described what happened last November: 246 of the 435 representatives and 54 of the 100 senators are Republican.
New Year's is the almost-perfect holiday (Christmas takes the blue ribbon). It's a combination of reflecting, celebrating or possibly just being glad of getting rid of the old year - while at the same time looking forward to the potential and possibilities of the year to come. It's the bridge between the past and present, where what has been done is over - but the future still looks bright, if a bit hazy.
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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.
This year for Presidents Day, instead of buying a new appliance, I'm urging all of us to mark the holiday by reading George Washington's Farewell Address and Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural. I know. Focusing on two great presidents on Presidents Day. It's radical, but at least you won't be stuck in traffic on the way to the mall.
My first marathon was New York in 1992. I trained with a group for months but had never gone a full 26.2 miles before the start of the race. Turns out that's something you ought to do.
Transitional phases are never easy. Whether it's remodeling a kitchen, rearranging the furniture or cleaning out a closet, the transitional phase is always a bit messy. This past month, we had our children's bathroom remodeled. We put it off for as long as we could. The shower has leaked for years, so our two children have been using our master bathroom for showers. The water in the sink only ran out in a trickle, barely enough for brushing teeth, and always cold. When the toilet quit working in December, that was it. We had to press forward with ...
The sweat somehow made the moment more real. There we were, standing on the stage at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Columbia, S.C., on Saturday night with my dad, Newt Gingrich, celebrating his primary victory. It was the sweat rolling down the faces and dripping off the noses of the television cameramen, photographers, audience members and even those on stage celebrating that transformed the almost surreal scene into reality.
Part of the joy of a presidential campaign is visiting different parts of the country. This past week was New Hampshire week. I've been to New Hampshire about a half-dozen times. It's a beautiful state. Mountains, ocean, beautiful forests and normally snow this time of year. However, we were snowless.
Last night, after traveling from Atlanta, my family and I arrived - hungry and tired - in Des Moines, Iowa. We are staying in the home of a friend who is out of town and decided to order pizza. I found a restaurant on Google Maps and called to place the order, only to be informed that I had reached the wrong location. The man on the other end of the line gave me the number of a different location, which I called. The promised delivery time was 45 minutes to an hour. Not too speedy, I thought, but good enough. I ...
Christmas memories fill our Christmas tree. It stands in our living room, filled with white lights and ornaments. Our ornaments reflect the life of our family: varied and interesting, some old, some new, some precious and some common.