From the Left



Finding Gratitude in the Little Gifts of Online Learning

The omicron variant of COVID-19 has surged to the point that many school districts are back to remote learning. When the transition was announced in my son's school, I felt a rush of relief. Though he's fully vaccinated, I knew he would be safer at home from the highly infectious omicron variant. We've seen many around us suffer breakthrough ...Read more

Let's Talk About Bruno - Lessons From Disney's 'Encanto'

My son could not wait to see the new Disney movie "Encanto." We saw it in the theatre on Thanksgiving Day and then bought the soundtrack and counted down the days until it was released on Disney+ so we could watch it again. As any parent can imagine, I have now seen the movie several times and I know all of the songs by heart (Lin-Manuel Miranda...Read more

That One Night When My Nashville Dreams Came True

The year was 2008, and after contending with a snowstorm I finally made it to the airport for my flight. Work had scheduled me for compliance training in Nashville, Tennessee, and I wanted to spend some time with my guitar while I was there.

More than 70 singer-songwriters stood in line outside the iconic Bluebird Cafe on Monday night for open ...Read more

Foster Kindness, Identify Solutions and Spread Joy in 2022

On New Year's Eve, when I was a kid, at the stroke of midnight we would run outside and bang pots and pans with a wooden spoon to ring in the new year. Those were the modest homemade noisemakers of our small Kentucky town. As a teen, I would dream of being among the crowd in New York City when the ball dropped. I declared that's where I'd be for...Read more

Why Parents Shouldn't Rely on Santa for Big Christmas Gifts

Between the breaking news from the tornadic devastation in the Midwest, I worked on Christmas crafts with my kindergartner. The juxtaposition of hardship and the holidays reminded me of Christmastime with my daughter when she was young. My son is 15 years younger than his closest sibling. When his sister was his age, I was a single mom and we ...Read more

Kids: Let Them Text

I've seen the inside of a lot of therapy rooms and never, not once, has an important disclosure included confident eye contact. I've shredded soggy tissues with eyes cast down. I have chewed an unruly cuticle. Never have I wanted to look my therapist in the eye.

Why, then, do we ask a child to stand still and look us in the eyes when confessing...Read more

Family, and Country, Divided

My brother is older than me and when I was in high school, he worked second shift. I'd stay up waiting for him to get home and we'd work on jigsaw puzzles on the floor of his bedroom late into the night.

Later, we went through divorces at the same time, and we helped each other through our hard times. That was 15 years ago. We've both since ...Read more

It's OK To Gush With Gratitude, so Let the Love Flow

It started about a year into the pandemic and before vaccines were widely available. I was looking for my next book to read and my friend Christi told me I "had to read" Tara Schuster's "Buy Yourself the F-cking Lilies," so I did. It was exactly what I needed and right on time in so many ways. One chapter was about writing thank-you notes, and ...Read more

How Cultivating Your Purpose Begins With Knowing Yourself

The first time I ever wrote something with the intent of sharing it beyond the classroom was through 4-H. I grew up in a small town in northern Kentucky, right across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio. In both fifth and sixth grades, I earned a blue ribbon in the local 4-H speech competition and even got to compete regionally. I chose and ...Read more

Volunteering Helps Both the Community and the Volunteer

As a kid, I would go to work with my stepmom, who worked at the Museum of Natural History. I volunteered wherever anyone needed me. I assisted with children's programming, answered the phone and even got to hold the resident rainbow boa constrictor for visitors to see. It was fun, I made friends and it also gave me confidence, new skills and a ...Read more

Be the Helper You Need To See in the World

The holiday season is identified as one of gratitude, joy and generosity. But all of that cheer can be hard to stomach when coping with compounding grief and stress, and this pandemic has left no stone unturned.

I think of the famous Fred Rogers quote. It's been made into a meme and gets shared far and wide every time something bad happens. He ...Read more

How Cemeteries Get Creative to Survive in Their Role of Caring for the Dead

As a teenager, I frequently walked to St. Stephen Cemetery after school to sit by my mom's headstone. She died in a car accident when I was seven and I didn't confront what that meant for me until adolescence.

A local cemetery frequently hosts events and entertainment in their space, and it didn't sit with me well at first. It seemed flip. ...Read more

Why Goldenrod Doesn't Deserve Its Bad Rap

Cooler weather has finally arrived here in the Midwest. It's time for trips to your favorite pumpkin patch, u-pick apple orchard and corn maze. Outdoor activities are glorious in a pair of jeans and a comfortable sweatshirt. It's my favorite time of year, and yet I cannot stop sneezing.

"It's the goldenrod," I hear time and again from well-...Read more



Mike Luckovich Adam Zyglis A.F. Branco David Fitzsimmons Al Goodwyn Pat Bagley