It was 1998 and I had just moved to Louisville, Kentucky, very close to where I grew up as a child.  I was returning to my native state to care for my mother who was dying of ovarian cancer and her mother who was bedbound by a stroke.  My life had been interrupted and part of me was okay about that and part of me was not.  Caregiving can be hard.


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When a promising relationship ended recently, I knew I needed help understanding what was at the bottom of its tumultuous ups and downs. A trusted therapist-by-day and friend-by-night suggested I read up on attachment disorders, in particular the damaging patterns created by mothers who are emotionally ambivalent toward their babies.


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An editor once remarked after reviewing the third revision of an essay I was trying to perfect, “You’ve rewritten this so many times it’s turned brown.” Her analogy to children who color and recolor the pictures in a coloring book was spot on. I had tweaked the essay too much. Instead of a simple message that floated off the page, it was cluttered with unnecessary descriptors and meanderings.


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It had been nearly a year since I had seen my friend Gerry at church so the news that I had recently lost my job and been left at the altar (figuratively) came as a surprise.

“But let me guess,” he said without waiting to hear the details. “You didn’t give up.” Not knowing what else to say, I agreed.


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Maybe it’s because I’m a writer so people are prone to tell me this but it seems everyone wants to write a book.  Mostly they want to write their life story.  Maybe not all of it, but there are always a few memorable events — being high-jacked over Africa, surviving a childhood illness, catching the garage on fire — they want others to know about before too much time passes.


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Walking along the seashore in Swampscott, Massachusetts, a charming little town nestled fifteen miles up the coast from Boston, I looked out on the water and wondered, “who am I?”  That the thought only occurred to me the summer I lost my job in 1999 was itself a mystery.  Up until then, it was either defined by my place in my family, my job, my community, etc.


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According to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, starting on September 23, 2012, your health plan must provide your policy in language you can understand.  Along with that, there’s a new SBC  — Standard Benefits and Coverage – form that all health plans will be using in the U.S. to help you understand what you owe, what they owe, and what isn’t paid at all. 


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