Report cards: What not to say

I should have read the room better. If I had, I would have known to keep my mouth shut. My daughter pulled out her elementary school report card. She had been working hard over the past two months after a tough start to the year and sat with me on the sofa excited to see …

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If our pets could talk

Our family dog, Nittany, a Lhasa Apso – Bichon Frise mix, looked up at me with drowsy eyes from her perch on our bed. Before I got up and got a shower and got started with my work day, I rubbed behind Nittany's ears and up and down her belly. Nittany, who is now 11, …

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Doing it all wrong

My wife walked into our kitchen and gave me a questioning look, the kind of look every husband knows all too well. I could tell I was in trouble. I had pots and pans scattered across the stove and had made a general mess of the room.  My wife put down her phone, taking in …

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Something we can all get behind

The anger and vitriol across U.S. has been high in recent weeks. The election, the state of race relations, and Covid have all been a drain. I’ve been pretty vocal about how I will vote on Tuesday, but my hope remains that, whatever the result, America will be able to stand together and support our …

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Unanswered prayers

I put the phone down and lightly banged my fist against my head. My wife and I were newly married and I was up for a new job that would mean more money and, if we pinched our pennies right, could help speed up our bid to buy our first home. Unfortunately, though, the newspaper …

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Through the eyes of a teacher

When my kids were young, they loved to listen to children’s entertainers like the Wiggles, the gang from Sesame Street, VeggieTales, Raffi, and Joe Scruggs. They loved the silly, upbeat music and crazy performances.  The music was so well loved in our house that our daughter wanted us to call 9-1-1 when we somehow inadvertently …

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Everything I needed to learn about life, I learned writing

My college professor handed back my paper with red ink up and down both edges. My heart sank looking at the mess. I walked out of the classroom heartbroken. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my body. I skipped the rest of my afternoon classes. I was in no mood for …

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Going home again: My hometown through adult eyes

When I was a kid, I hated that we lived outside of town away from most of the other kids in my school. The distance was a mere three miles, but it felt like 3,000. To my way of thinking, we may as well have lived in another country. I should probably explain, when I …

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Small-minded people

The memory is clear as day. It’s been more than thirty years ago, but I still remember how I came back from class to find that someone had ripped in half a poster and doodled on another that I had hung on the wall of my college dorm room. My roommate and I weren’t the …

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Climbing a challenging mountain one step at a time

I look in my son’s room and find him sitting one leg scrunched underneath him, the other hanging from his chair, pouring over his computer screen and a nearby tablet. He’s been working on his homework for much of the weekend. As a junior, he’s got a heavy load with Pre-Calculus and two AP classes, …

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