It Could Have Been Us

April 13, 2015, will mark one year since the murders at Village Shalom and the Jewish Community Center in suburban Kansas City....more

The Only Beauty Secret You Need

Years ago, I got a glimpse of the prettiest woman. She was playing with her daughter, a toddler, and they were both laughing out loud with pure delight. Now, I have to admit ... if I had known who this woman was, I wouldn't have thought she was pretty. And, if she had realized I was looking, I’m sure her expression would have changed – we women can be awfully self-conscious. But, just for a moment, I didn't realize who she was and she didn't see me. So, in that moment, I saw her honest face....more

Show Up. Bring Food. And Leave.

Years ago, the day after my father died, I was comforting my mother. The funeral was the next day -- Jews move fast -- and Mom was at my home as we processed dad's death and the plans for the service. Around 11:30 a.m., it occurred to me that I had nothing to feed her. With all that had gone on immediately before and after dad's death, I hadn't had a chance to go grocery shopping....more

Crosswords, Cross Words and "I Don't Care"

Since I'm a writer, you might think I would be great at crosswords You'd be wrong. I don't know what the capital of Cameroon is, and telling me it's a seven-letter word won't help.That said, when my daughter Kate recently started doing crosswords, I happily joined in. And, with some clues, my vocabulary and age have proven useful. For example, Kate wasn't familiar with Hee Haw, but I knew the characters might well be called rubes....more

Valentine's Day: The Perfect Time for Cards!

I used to make sure my holiday cards were addressed, stamped and in the mail the day after Thanksgiving. Then, one year I stopped. Cold turkey, so to speak.  Only problem? People kept sending us cards -- and the Jewish guilt kicked in. It's wrong to receive and not give. What to do? Sure, I could send cards later in the season, but by then everything was crazy busy. The next best option turned out to be the right option. Forget Christmas and Hanukkah cards. How about Valentine's Day? ...more

Five Ideas for Happier Holidays

One holiday down, one to go! Is that how you're feeling, now that Thanksgiving is over? Well, let me just remind you ... we're not in a race. This is the fun holiday season, or at least it's supposed to be. And it can be! Consider these five tips: ...more

This is NOT a Hanukkah Bush: 8 Tips for a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas

In our family, the girls and I are Jewish. Tom is agnostic. I grew up with Hanukkah gelt, latkes and eight nights of small gifts. Tom grew up with a Christmas tree, Christmas stockings and one glorious morning of gifts. Together, we have created holiday celebrations that honor our distinct childhoods and give Kate and Mary fun traditions and happy memories -- something their families can build on in the future. What works for us could work for you!...more

Why We Remember Dr. King's Speech

I was eight years old when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I have a dream" speech, and I can still remember it -- I still hear his voice in my head. Chances are, you do too. Heck, phrases probably resound with you, even if you weren't alive 50 years ago.The question is: Why? Look at this program -- there were a host of great speakers that day....more

My Prayer for the Bad Things

One of the great joys of being a writer is that you hear and see the world differently. Everything is potential material. So, as Nora Ephon's mom told her, "Take notes."I take note of a phrase we commonly use at the beginning of Friday night services. Our rabbi will encourage us to "thank G-d for the good things that happened this past week and the bad things that didn't."...more

How to Write a Father's Day CArd

I remember what it was like to go into a Hallmark store and struggle to find a card I thought was appropriate for my dad. Ugh. Not fun. So, to help you avoid that sinking feeling, here's a quick tutorial on how to write a wonderful Father's Day card. You'll find specific card concepts at the bottom of the post, but I encourage you to play. Let your creative genius shine!1. Make the cover fun:...more