The longer I have been a parent (nearly 20 years), the more I have come to realize that the parenting challenges don’t necessarily get harder, but certainly get more complicated. I would never downplay the difficulty of staying up multiple nights in a row with a toddler cutting teeth; howeve…

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, in this country, there are approximately 75 million women in the civilian labor force—around 47 percent of all U.S. workers. Furthermore, 70 percent of women with children under 18 are employed, most working full time.

The Children’s Council is excited to be celebrating the Week of the Young Child April 15-21, 2018. This annual celebration is inspired by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and there will be lots of fun activities locally this year throughout the whole week.

The birth of an infant marks the beginning of a significant change in the life of a family. Welcoming a child conjures future hopes and expectations of happy first moments: gazing at a first smile, listening to first coos and babbles, enjoying first family holidays and vacations.

One of my favorite gifts from my wedding more than 23 years ago is the wedding quilt that my Aunt Barb made for my husband Leslie and me. One of my next favorite gifts is the new quilt my mom made for us this year. My aunt's quilt is a log cabin pattern – a center with four “beams” forming c…

“Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togewah today,” I said to my colleague, Dr. Nickolas Jordan, doing my best impression of the Impressive Clergyman from cult movie classic, "The Princess Bride," as he sat down in my office to talk marriage.

As Thanksgiving rolls around, I have been thinking about recent conversations I have had and Facebook postings that seem particularly relevant to the holiday season, when family gatherings abound. Events and circumstances help shine a light on how our mental and emotional energy is spent and…

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for many. From the warm hugs of family members, to the bounty of food and gifts brought to Grandma’s house; we all have our own personal idea of what the holidays mean for us as the season quickly approaches. At a time when many children, and even a…

In complete disregard for dating myself, this year was my 25-year college reunion. At times, it feels like a very, very long time ago. But sometimes, I don’t feel that far removed from the ideals and mindset that I had in my college years. It’s easy to wax nostalgic on that time in my life, …

Founded in 1978, OASIS Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter) is dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence in Watauga and Avery counties, North Carolina. OASIS works toward this mission by providing free, comprehensive emergency services, prevention and education…

There are many ways in which to create a lasting legacy of kindness and creativity, to ensure that future generations will be equipped to provide for themselves, to cultivate a myriad of authentic relationships within a larger community.

I've lived a lot of places in my life. In fact, I've lived so many places that it is not uncommon for people to not be able to place my accent or to have the misconception that I was in a military family growing up.

With one of the mildest winters in recent years and teasing high temps as early as February, this spring has come upon us without much fanfare. Yet, despite a milder winter, it still often seems instinctual to go into hibernation mode physically and emotionally. Many people cozy up with a mo…

As we celebrate the changing of the seasons and look forward to warm weather and fresh flowers that spring has to offer, The Children’s Council invites you to join us in celebrating our children and their caregivers in the High Country.

Being a product of the seventies and eighties, I grew up with the now antiquated cassette tape. When I was in elementary school, the tape recorder enabled my best friend Heather and I to make countless recordings of ourselves. I remember our rendition of Battlestar Galactica, where I was Apo…

Spring is an especially busy time of year for OASIS, as April is nationally recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. OASIS Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) is the local nonprofit agency serving victims of domestic and sexual violence in Watauga and Avery counties.

Turning toward our life partner is one of the simplest things we can do in life. Research (e.g., by the Gottman Institute) shows that this simple habit is critical for happiness and health in long-term, committed relationships. However, one of my favorite statements is “Simple, but not easy.…

It’s the time of year that many of us are finishing (or starting!) shopping for presents. We want to see happiness, and maybe surprise, when they remove the wrapping. Seeing a reaction to a perfect gift is a joy.

In discussing the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas with my middle son, Joe, I asked him what he looked forward to the most. He pondered for a moment, and then the words trickled out: “good food, family, seeing Gramma and Poppa, and time off from school.”

There is something contemplative about Fall as a season. Spring bursts out of the earth’s Winter slumber, only to give way to the insistence of Summer’s heat that is fairly relentless and demanding.

We do not wake up one morning to find we have been transformed overnight into our grandmothers. Indeed, the aging process is one steady, continuous process, and though I still feel 25 years old inside, my graying hair, sagging skin and wrinkles testify that this well-traveled body has had qu…

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my best friend Heather and I used to play the piano duet “Heart and Soul.” I had taken lessons since I was in first grade, practiced to try to improve my technique — and was an excellent sight-reader of music. Heather, on the other hand, started later than …

Oct. 25, 2008, was a nearly perfect day spent chatting and hanging out with Mama. It also just happened to be the last day she experienced mental clarity for more than a few seconds at a time. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know it was the last day for talks with Mama, but we rarely know w…

When it comes to staying fit, moving is a prerequisite. Whether I exercise at home or outside, at a gym, a pool or a class, exercise energizes me. I used to tell my husband that exercise exorcizes my demons. He agreed that I was much kinder after a good workout.

Glamour and Vogue have never really appealed to me — sure, I might flip through one that’s laying on a coffee table, but more likely, I’ll be reaching for the Rolling Stone to see how out of touch I am with the new music scene or Southern Living to tear out a recipe that sounds spectacular, …

Recently when leaving a baseball tournament, my husband took note of the license plate as another family was exiting the parking lot. He told me about it, and my kids chimed in that I should get one. It read, “MEANMOM.”

“Hey, watch this!” Most of us know that term is often an indication that a risky behavior is about to occur. Similarly, “I will just” frequently begins a sentence that minimizes or fails to recognize potential risk. I have noticed that this phrase is intertwined with numerous behavioral and …

In his book “Life, the Universe, and Everything” Douglas Adams writes, “The Guide says there is an art to flying—or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

Couples who come to my office for help sometimes seek to build a foundation that will hold up and protect their relationship or to enhance an already strong relationship. Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but the overwhelming majority of couples …

As a parent, 10 years are like dog years. In some ways, experience seems to compound exponentially as our children grow, and yet, sometimes it feels like I’m as inexperienced as the day I brought my first son home from the hospital.

Although “What Dreams May Come” received mixed reviews when it was released in 1998, my love for Robin Williams, for allegory — and for considering spiritual ideas — launched it to the top of my favorites list, where it remains. The story between Williams’ character, Chris, and his wife, Ann…

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

The merry month of May is here. Wow. How did it arrive so quickly? Chock full of special events — Mother’s Day, proms, college graduations and so much more — May ushers in a very busy season in the High Country. In addition to the aforementioned, it’s a time to get the yard and garden in sha…

My youngest son, Ben, who is 9, breaks things down fairly simply, like, for instance, when he asked me if I was a “Skittles” person or an “M&M” person. When I replied with an ambiguous response that it might depend on the day, he shunned me and said I had to choose one or the other. “You…

Most new parents will share that navigating through those first few days and weeks after having a baby is joyful, yet challenging. Even skilled parents may struggle with the changing routines and finding time to meet all of the family’s needs. This period may be even more challenging if mom …

Lately I’ve been remembering the sociologist Emile Durkheim, who described the dichotomy between the sacred and profane in religious culture. Durkheim posited that the sacred related to those belief systems and practices that help maintain unity of a religious group, while the profane relate…

During our winter “hibernation” time of less social activity, we can easily become less attentive to simple details of social graces that make life more pleasant for those around us. Because our very casual culture does not generally require the regular use of “formal” etiquette for daily li…

“It’s not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” – Ann Landers

From its opening pages, Rebecca Warner’s novel “Moral Infidelity” pushes the envelope in regard to the political hot topic of abortion, the emotional denouement of marital infidelity, and the domino effect of one deprave choice leading to the next and then the next.

The college application process is harrowing for kids and parents alike. For young adults, such as my son, Will, it has consisted of traveling from deadline to deadline — like tracking a constellation across the sky enroute to one’s future. We toured some of the best engineering schools in t…

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Lay down the burdens you aren’t meant to carry.” When this sage advice insinuates that uncomfortable emotions are ‘bad,’ it is robbed of its wisdom. This notion often suggests that ‘bad’ emotions be avoided — and ‘good’ emotions fostered by attending to wha…

During a marriage counseling session, one of my favorite conversations starts when I say, “Tell me about your wedding vows.”

1 Christmas Day — Ideal time in the season of giving to give your partner the ultimate gift — the perfect proposal.

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

During a marriage counseling session, one of my favorite conversations starts when I say, “Tell me about your wedding vows.”

Memories are very important in my life. I enjoy sharing them with others, especially the heartwarming, happy ones.