From the Left



Are You Raising a Free-Range Kid?

How much independence is your child really ready to handle, and how willing are you to grant it?

"Mom, can I walk to Courtney's house?" My daughter asked me. She was 10 years old.

"Is there a parent home?" I asked. There was.

I considered the route. Courtney lived in the neighborhood, a cul-de-sac, just down the street and around the corner. ...Read more

Memorial Day Weekend Kicks off Summer in the Neighborhood

Memorial Day is the day set aside each year to remember those who gave all in service to this country. For many of us, it's a three-day weekend that also marks the end of the school year. We remember fallen soldiers, yes. But we also kick off the summer.

According to, 44% of Americans will barbecue this weekend and Americans will ...Read more

I'm No Martha Stewart. I Just Want to Leave My Vanity in the Past

Martha Stewart is on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 81 years old, and whether you love it or hate it, everyone is talking about it. Bathing suit shopping is easily one of the top-10 activities women loathe. In a bathing suit, there's nowhere to hide. We must confront every physical insecurity and walk into a dressing room holding a lifetime ...Read more

A Tale of Two Moms: It's OK to Love Mothers and Stepmothers

My Dad married my stepmother when I was 8 years old. My mom had died in a car accident a year prior. After my dad remarried, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to love my stepmom. I did love her, don't get me wrong, but I was riddled with guilt over it. My stepmom saw things in me others had not. She signed me up for piano lessons and bought me my ...Read more

Why Sometimes We Have to Hold Space for the Struggle

Yes, I'm struggling. No, I don't want help. Wait, what? It made no sense to my husband either. He knows that my joints hurt and that I struggle with fatigue. It's all part of my autoimmune disease, psoriatic arthritis. May is both Mental Health Awareness Month and Arthritis Awareness month. Both of these intersect within me. Let me explain.

I ...Read more

I'm Sick. You're Sick. We've All Been Sick for a Year -- Here's Why.

In the past year my family has had COVID-19, the flu, strep throat, ear infections and many colds. This was even after we had our recommended flu and COVID-19 vaccines. When I mentioned this fact, my doctor kindly reminded me that my flu vaccine was why I was sitting in her office and not at the hospital. Our vaccines helped see us through ...Read more

Garden Memories and the Love They Germinate

My son placed seeds in the dirt one at a time while encouraging each of them to "grow, grow, grow!" Then, we went to a paint-and-bake pottery place. My son chose a small cactus and a miniature Eiffel Tower to paint. "To put in the garden," he told me.

My garden is filled with memories. There are painted ceramics my adult daughters made in their...Read more

The Slippery Slope of the Second Amendment and What It Means to Bear Arms

In order to develop solutions to mass shootings in this country, we must first establish a foundation of fact that everyone can agree on. Yes, I'm talking about the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

A question I often get in response to my columns about mass shootings goes something like this:

What law, if it had been ...Read more

How to Weather Spring Storms Using Green Infrastructure at Home

Spring storm season is here, and storms are definitely wreaking havoc. Last month my son's school was canceled due to severe weather. Though I'm accustomed to snow days, it was the first time I've ever experienced a "storm day." Storms are not only worrisome because of the damage they cause, but also because many city sewer systems are not ...Read more

Americans Are So Self-Righteous We No Longer Consider the Greater Good!

"We're not going to fix it," Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., said following the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that killed six people, including three children. "Criminals will be criminals," he said.

He may as well have said, "Meh."

A student was shot at my daughter's high school when she was a freshman. It took place between ...Read more

The One Where Matthew Perry is Sober

I waited 14 weeks on the library waiting list to listen to the audiobook version of Matthew Perry's much-anticipated memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing." The first thing I loved about the book was learning that Chandler Bing and Perry have a lot of personality similarities. Chandler Bing has always been my favorite "Friend." ...Read more

My Day in Family Court: Our Lawmakers Are Focused on the Wrong Things

I spent a day in family court earlier this month to observe and learn about what families and children in crisis face in my community. I watched as an eldest sister accepted custody of her six younger siblings, a foster family moved forward with adoption proceedings and one father got custody of his infant following the tragic death of the baby'...Read more

On Parenting: These 7 Things I Know for Sure

I am by no means a perfect parent, but I have three kids ages 27, 22 and 7 years old. I swear the youngest gives me side-eye that says, "Get it right this time." I've made a lot of mistakes and I'm sure I'll make many more. But I've also learned a lot along the way, and some things I know for sure.

No. 1: Pants Will Get Wet and Shoes Will Get ...Read more



Darrin Bell RJ Matson Bob Englehart Rick McKee Steve Kelley Marshall Ramsey