NAPERVILLE, Ill. — Aaron and Tonya Rhoden always have big ideas together. They eloped in Hawaii in 2016, when he proposed at sunset on a mountain in Maui, and she wanted to get married the very next day.
Preparing for a kidney transplant together is another life challenge the couple is tackling together. In a surgery later this month, Tonya, ...Read more
MINNEAPOLIS – The Bible was stained and worn, with missing pages and detached covers and an exposed spine.
Phil Handy had found it in his aunt's Florida attic, wrapped in thin brown paper. The book was unassuming, the size of a fat brick. But for years, Handy had heard rumors of a family Bible dating back to the Revolutionary War and ...Read more
CHICAGO – “I was a hurt baby.”
Sheldon Smith founded the Dovetail Project when he was 21 because he wanted things to be different. His father was in and out of his life, and his father’s father wasn’t around either. “I was a broken child,” he said. “I wanted to be able to break the curse of kids being hurt.”
On June 10, the ...Read more
CHICAGO – Nicholas Vazquez and Jesse Campbell wanted to do something big for Pride Month.
They didn’t expect to go viral.
In the days since their giant, rainbow-streaming paintbrush began to draw crowds in front of their home, the couple is channeling the attention into raising money to help LGBTQ kids and young adults.
Vazquez and ...Read more
PHILADELPHIA — Walk out your doorstep into the humid Philadelphia spring, and you can touch the closest thing to normal in more than a year. From the crowds at Phillies games and the Flower Show to the diners and shoppers on Main Streets throughout the region, joy and relief are palpable.
But instead of fully celebrating, Sheikh Siddique has ...Read more
PHILADELPHIA — Saroun Khan can't shake the sense that his freedom might be temporary.
After 13 months in ICE custody, he's back in the Philadelphia rowhouse where he grew up. He can walk the streets of his neighborhood, savoring the thick summer air and drenching evening rain.
But with every step he knows there's nothing to prevent the ...Read more
BALTIMORE – About noon on that Saturday in May, Sarah Holzman threw open the front door to her home to greet more than a dozen relatives and friends. It was the first gathering since before the pandemic began, and she had not seen some faces in more than a year. Inside her home were the fixings for a massive, all-in-one party, from Easter eggs...Read more
LOS ANGELES – Nearly every evening after dinner, Mary and Melissa Anderson walked together along the rural road stretching out from their home.
The one-mile journey amid groves of walnut trees became a safe space for mother and daughter. The walk was always the same, to the nearest stop sign and back, but the conversations ranged wide and ...Read more
So far in their young lives, the Heinrich brothers of Manchester, Connecticut, have shared two powerful moments.
The second milestone happened Saturday at Manchester High School’s graduation ceremony, which Paxton Heinrich might have missed if not for his brother, Campfield.
As a board of education member (the youngest member elected in the ...Read more
FRESNO, Calif. – On a spring day when the mustard greens were still tender, Sherril Wells stopped harvesting, raised her arms and danced to Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly" playing over her SUV's speakers.
Her friend Liza Apper had told her that joy and grief could exist together. She thought this must have been what Apper meant: a flash of being...Read more
LOS ANGELES – My younger sister and I have a lot in common.
We are both long-winded and gesture dramatically when we speak. We're patient listeners and inveterate advice-givers. We tilt toward skepticism, and cling stubbornly to our beliefs.
And that has brought us to a rare impasse, on the issue of COVID-19 vaccines.
I have been ...Read more
Q: Is it too much to expect a 2-year-old to pick up his toys? Our little fella, when we tell him to pick up his toys, just stands there and looks at us. We’ve tried making a game of it. We’ve tried punishing. We’ve tried bribing him with ice cream. Nothing has worked. At most, he will pick up one toy and put it where we tell him, but that�...Read more
To cut down on your child’s anxiety, not to mention the cries of “I’m bored,” we’ve compiled a list of things to prepare them for a hurricane and to keep them entertained.
Tell your children that a hurricane is a giant, rainy windstorm that requires a lot of preparation and precaution.
The more children know ...Read more
CHICAGO – The last time Neha Kaul Mehra was in her hometown of New Delhi was in October 2019 for Diwali.
She and her family decorated the house, cooked a feast and gave out gifts. A few months later, she and her parents, who are scientists, watched news coming out of Wuhan, China, anticipating the novel virus would impact whether they could ...Read more
Coronavirus stole my Thanksgiving. When my son tested positive, my extended family members canceled their trips. It robbed my Christmas. My husband's parents couldn't consider setting foot on a plane.
Even Easter, which held so much hope with increasing vaccinations, ended up a bust, with my nephew stranded abroad in mandatory quarantine and me...Read more
For three decades, I knew my mother-in-law as a strong woman with very sharp edges. She was highly opinionated and blunt — sometimes excessively so. Her words could bruise if you let them.
She rarely paused to edit her thoughts.
If she didn't like the service she was getting at a restaurant, she'd say so in a stage whisper that projected ...Read more
ST. LOUIS — Jenny Berla has three children, 5-year-old twins and an 8-year-old. And they are really sick of nature hikes, she said.
But, after Berla, her Type 1 diabetic husband and their elderly parents were vaccinated against COVID-19, she looked forward to doing more things with her kids this summer, such as visiting museums, taking ...Read more
The 10-year old girl was living with her mother again, but she still couldn't sleep alone.
A year had passed since their reunion, after being separated under the Trump administration, but the nightmares still jolted her awake.
It took three months of weekly therapy sessions for her to feel comfortable in her own bed and to stop blaming family ...Read more
LOS ANGELES – This is the story of a journey from ignorance to understanding. It's about questioning beliefs, and radical rethinking. It's about parenthood and childhood and the pandemic.
But ultimately, it's about video games.
My 12-year-old son has always loved video games, but during the pandemic that love intensified. After hours of ...Read more
CHICAGO — When their toddler daughter Maddie was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, Scott and Pammy Kramer felt her care was in good hands.
They had a wonderful Chicago doctor who talked them through a path forward. But Maddie’s treatment plan was based on scant data, as her rare childhood cancer could not lean on research and data more ...Read more
- 'We all bleed the same.' Couple wants kidney transplant to be message of kindness.
- Dovetail Project celebrates 21st graduating class of young Black and Latino fathers: 'You guys are mythbusters'
- Chicago couple's giant Pride paintbrush draws crowds: 'This is a time when we really need something like this'
- She brought a man's 250-year-old family Bible back to life
- Hurricane season 2021: What do you do with your kids during a hurricane?