Category Archives: parenting

Solving Conflict in Relationships

Have you ever inadvertently hurt a loved one with your words?

Me, too. Sometimes we act out of frustration, or we’re tired, or irritated by a loved one’s behavior. And when we address the situation, we only make things worse.

Nobody’s going to get it right all the time, but there’s a way to vastly improve your communications with someone and increase your chance of getting the outcome you want. That’s by deciding what you intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship before you speak. Then choose your words so they’re aligned with that intention.

Lots of times, we’re trying to get a point across to someone we love and instead, we send a message that we don’t respect them, aren’t listening to them, or don’t trust them. Why? Because we’re often focused on our side of the argument or on what the other person did wrong. What would happen if our communication started out of wanting to find a loving solution? What if, instead of being right, we focused on enhancing the relationship?

What’s Your Intention?

Pause for a moment. From a state of calmness, ask yourself: “What do I intend to accomplish in terms of the quality of the relationship?”

Nine: A Tribute to the Children I Would Have Raised




One. Would have been my parents’ first grandchild.

Two. Gabrielle. A girl.


Three. I didn’t tell anyone

about him until he was gone.

I thought it would be less painful for everyone.

It wasn’t.


Four. She would have been born in May,

my favorite month.

Five. He’d be turning 22 now,

done with college.


Six. Stephen.

Seven and eight. The twins—

two sacs,

no heartbeats.



The number of plants in my garden.

There are always



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The Golden Hour

Golden Hour

It is during this hour,

when the sun caresses the horizon,

that I am most grateful for

your gentle, reverent light.


It reminds me that though

the harsh mid-day sun may cast long shadows,

the day will end—and the next will begin—

with softness.











Flight For Our Lives

Just before they hoisted the gurney

into the helicopter

they waved us over—

my young son and me—

to say goodbye.

One arm cradling my shaken son’s shoulders,

I picked up her hand,

warm and weighty,

spread her fingers into a fan, and

kissed the middle of it.

We first did this

after reading The Kissing Hand

on her first morning of kindergarten.

“If you miss me,” I had said to her then,

“put your hand to your cheek and you’ll know

I love you.”

She had raised my hand to her face and

kissed me back.

I leaned forward now,

And, because

she couldn’t do so herself,

I placed her just-kissed hand on her cheek.

“We’ll see you soon,” I stage-whispered,

willing the uncertainty—

for her sake, 

for his sake, 

for my sake—

into submission.

Nurses secured safety belts, 

like parents strapping an infant into a car seat.

They checked IV lines, and shoved the stretcher—

laden with 

my hopes, 

my dreams, 

my fears—

onto the helicopter.

My son and I squeezed each other’s hands,

anchoring each other,

and staggered,

two shell-shocked soldiers emerging from combat,

toward the parking lot,

watching her fly above us,

away from us,

until she was a speck in the sky.

And then my man-son lifted my lifeless hand,

spread it into a fan with his small fingers, and kissed it twice.