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Reflections On A Loveless Childhood
By Mike Harvey - 87 Years Young

I found myself in a predicament. I’d volunteered to clean the washroom before accepting the lift home I’d been offered. I threw a pail of dirty water down the toilet; flushed it and proceeded into the strange building. Eventually I found my way into the parking areas. The people who’d offered me the ride home had vanished.

Perturbed at this I walked around the back to another empty parking lot. Nothing! Not a soul or a vehicle in sight. The building I returned to was empty so I turned heel and proceeded down the nearest street. The only living thing I spied was a grey cat. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | children, parenting
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Letting Go: Moving On After Loss
By Casey Lee

I grew up in a picturesque family with two parents madly in love with each other, two beautiful older sisters, and a comfortable middle-class Midwestern upbringing. Because my sisters are respectively nine and eleven years older than I, they were married and had children before I reached that point in life; I was the Maid of Honor in both of their weddings and enjoyed every moment of being there for them during these monumental moments in their lives. My parents prided themselves on being doting grandparents, and I devoted more nights to coloring “My Little Pony” pictures and watching cartoons with my nieces and nephews than I did to partying when I was an undergrad.

Despite these happy times, my sisters were gone from my life by the time I turned twenty-two. There was not a tragic car wreck, a devastating battle with cancer, or a freak accident. In fact, as far as I know, my sisters are both healthy and happy as can be, but they have no contact with my parents or myself. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | family, loss, relationships, siblings
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I Want To Breathe
By Elida Vinesett

 “Leda, do you want to drown?” Mom yelled.  “Come here, now!”

I was terrified whenever the water rose above my waist, her screams warning us to stay near the water’s edge.   It happened every time we went to Lynnhaven Beach in Virginia.

Mom, herself, had never learned to swim, although she grew up in a small town near the Atlantic Ocean in Puerto Rico.  Born in 1923, she experienced natural tragedies, like the hurricane in which the family lost all their possessions.   Decades afterwards, apprehension of the ocean passed on to her offspring. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | anxiety, empowerment, healing, parenting, self growth
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Walking The Walk
By Joseph Longo

 My bronze baby shoes had been on my desk for years, collecting dust. One day, I shoved them in a box with other tired tchotchkes. Recently, looking for something else, they jumped out at me.  Some of the bronze had turned green and had begun to flake. But the shoes looked remarkably alive, as if a child could still step into them and walk. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | alzheimer, dimentia, health, parenting, relationships
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A Mother’s Love
By Melodee Blythe

I was living in an old log house in the wilderness with my two black and white kittens named Tai and Chi.  They were sisters rescued from a family of feral cats at a farm near the city and were used to playing outside day and night.  After keeping them inside for a week in order for them to get accustomed to their new surroundings, I decided it was time to let them out.  They had been whining by the front door for several days now.  When I opened the door, they literally darted out, filled with glee.  Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | adoption, animal communication, animal wisdom, parenting
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Ailynne
By John Edward Casteele

It’s a moment like no other.

Seeing your child for the first time on an ultrasound is a major event in any expectant parent’s life; you can actually see that little living piece of you, knowing that he or she is real. Unfortunately, not every child shown on an ultrasound is actually all right.  My girlfriend and I had to learn this the hard way.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm.  Everything that you could possibly ask for in early spring.  It was the day that we were scheduled for our first ultrasound, and we were both nervous and excited.  The image of my child came up on the monitor and I was blown away… until the woman running the machine told us that something was wrong.  She wasn’t picking up a heartbeat, and the baby’s heart should have started beating a few weeks ago.  The image on the monitor that my world had briefly revolved around tore my world apart. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | children, grief, parenting, relationships, renewal
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Can I Trust You?
By Jason Marsh

A conversation between world-renowned psychologist Paul Ekman and his daughter Eve, with Jason Marsh. The TV show Lie To Me was based on his research into detecting lies through facial expressions.

Growing up in San Francisco, a city renowned for its hedonism, Eve Ekman faced more than her fair share of temptations, especially when she got involved in the local punk scene as a teenager. Like most adolescents, she felt the urge to do some things she knew her parents wouldn’t approve of—go to clubs on weeknights, dabble with alcohol and marijuana—and which would require lying about where she was going and what she planned to do once she got there.

But unlike those other kids, Eve has a father who is one of the world’s leading experts on detecting lies. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | communication, parenting, trust
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From Ukraine With Love
By Diane Schachter

It is a result of coincidence that I am writing this story about a unique family.   I met Cathy while chatting at a local dog park this past spring.  She spontaneously shared that she and her husband Martin had adopted five children from Ukraine.  “Five kids, that’s a lot of kids,” I remember saying.  But it was not until the ride home that it dawned on me that their story could possibly be a story for Thrive In Life. Too late, I had no phone number or knowledge as to where she lived. She was not present during any subsequent visits to the park.  Now, here is where the coincidence part comes in.  In autumn, I was taking the bus to the airport and just before I was about to dismount, I overheard a man saying to the person beside him that he and his wife had adopted five children from Ukraine.  My antennae went up and I quickly asked if his wife’s name was Cathy, and could I have their phone number.  He looked at me quizzically and provided the information on a small borrowed piece of paper as we exited the bus. Read more

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COMMENTS (7) | adoption, children, parenting, siblings
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Through A Dark Secret And Tragedy To Renewal
By Adam German

I was driving to a Halloween party on the 31st of October 2001, when my cell phone rang.  My stepfather said he had received a call from the police that my mother had been in an accident, and I needed to turn around and head back to the house to pick him up.  From there, we needed to go to a hospital in Pennsylvania.

I knew why she was there, but he didn’t.  According to him, she was in Buffalo visiting family.  According to me, she was in Pennsylvania visiting her lover.  She was cheating on my stepfather, the man who resurrected a sense of family from the debris left behind from my father’s abusiveness and neglect. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | depression, healing, infidelity, loss, parenting, renewal
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I Always Will
By Paige Lougheed - 16 Years Old

I was there the night my sister nearly killed herself.

Sitting down on our cushy chocolate brown couch, I clicked half-heartedly through the channels on our old, beat-up box television. The T.V. had been a gift from one of our old friends. At the time I had thought it generous of him to donate an entire TV. to us for no reason– but now as I stared at its rickety frame and poor signal, I wondered if his motivation was really genuine kindness, or him just using our house as storage space.

As the screen flicked from the family channel to the evening news in the living room, I listened through the thin walls of our basement suite to my mother’s and sister’s argument, coming from the bedroom my sister and I shared. Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | anger management, children, communication, parenting, relationships
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Expert Series: Midlife Divorce: Blame It On Your Parents?
By Deborah Moskovitch

Your parents’ divorce might be setting the stage for your own.

Shannon*, a 48 year old client of mine, recently explained her “aha” moment when discussing the issues behind her impending divorce. She married her husband because he “completed” her — masking low self-esteem and feelings of not being worthy of love.

It wasn’t until after therapy and introspection that she realized she had fallen into a relationship trap: Trying to fill a void of lost love left by her parents’ divorce, and the loss of a relationship with her mother, when she was just 5 years old. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | divorce, parenting, relationships
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Passing It On
By Delores Liesner

My dad was a quiet and gentle man – kind of a woodsy All-American hard-working man. His hands were muscled, showing his strength, but his eyes revealed a gentle soul.

He had a grocery store in our living room during and after World War II, and an appliance store in another home’s garage, later moving it to a rented store in the nearby town of Norway, Michigan, and for years he harvested cedar and pulpwood. Daddy travelled a lot so any time I got with him was special, but the times I had with Daddy in the woods influenced me the most.

No matter what other challenges were going on in my life, with other family members, at school, or any other area of life, Daddy was able to help me to feel loved and valued. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | family, heritage, inspiration, parenting
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Familiar Faces
By Dawn Lyons

I recognized the moment as one that I would always remember. I was watching a children’s movie and my dad had settled into his favorite chair to watch it with me. He didn’t judge me for being a 17-year-old girl who was still in love with a literary character who had become animated on film. Maybe Dad wanted to check the guy out in case I found a real-life version someday. I’ll never know why he chose to sit and watch with me that day. I expected he would make some sarcastic comments, but instead he was quiet. After a while, I glanced over and saw him staring at the screen, enthralled. His face held an expression of joy and contentment, and seeing him like this held me awestruck.

I had never seen Dad with such an expression before, and I was very aware that this was something I needed to focus on so I could remember the details with clarity.

Maybe somehow, I knew something, or maybe it was one of those moments you look back upon and think that “someone” was trying to tell you something. Because in the short span of a few weeks, I found myself sitting in Dad’s chair, devastated by his unexpected death.  Read more

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COMMENT (0) | loss, parenting, self growth, self realization, self worth
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Worth The Wait
By Bev Schellenberg

It’s taken a long time for my two children to meet my family: 13 years and 10 years respectively. That’s because my family’s been dead that long. My mother and brother died when I was pregnant with my eldest child, my 13-year old daughter. Years before that, my father died of cancer.

For two evenings my children spend time with my family as we sit at our dining room table. “Here’s a picture of my mother and father when they were young,” I explain as I take the old black and white photos from the envelope.

These are what remain from my life with the family who raised me: stacks and stacks of mostly untitled photos that span 50 years, many years that I wasn’t alive. For years I’ve dreaded going through the pictures, afraid I’d remember what I wanted to forget, or perhaps that I’d forgotten what I’d hoped to remember, and have no one to ask. But now it’s time to sort, to accept and to embrace the past. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | family, parenting, self growth
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Yes You Can!
By Michael W. Michelsen Jr.

If Dick Hoyt is trying to guilt me into being a better father, I have to admit that he’s accomplished his mission very well.  That’s not to say that I’m not a good father, I am, but if it came down to comparing the two of us, he leaves me in the dust.  Literally. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | empowerment, health, parenting, sports, thriving
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Hundred Pounds Of Love Healed Our Family
By Denise Morini

It seems to me that there are two kinds of people in this world, dog lovers and cat lovers. A dog lover, I was not. On my son Joey’s sixth birthday, my husbands’ parents presented Joey with a puppy, without my knowledge and permission. A Jack Russell Terrier, just what my husband had requested. My husband wanted a small dog that would not shed. No one bothered to look up the highly energetic disposition of Jack Russells or that some of them are not recommended for small children. We named him Jack (very original, I know); he sure was a cute fellow though.

Fast forward to a few months down the road: Jack was still not house trained. Everything was chewed up, including woodwork and the wall to wall carpeting. One night he peed on me as I slept. The worst, though, was when he constantly nipped at my son.  I could not leave the room for fear of him injuring my child. It was during this time that my mother, Joey’s beloved grandmother, was diagnosed with 2-60 days to live. I decided that I could not live like this any longer. Read more

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COMMENTS (8) | animal companion, animal wisdom, parenting, self improvement, spiritual
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Coming To Terms With The Ghosts Of Christmas Past
By Carol Ayer

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la…” The all-too-familiar Christmas carol resounded throughout the drugstore. I warily eyed the plastic reindeer and Santa Clauses filling every crevice of the building; the ornaments, the toys, and the candy stacked high on the shelves. I had to force myself to concentrate on finding what I’d come for–tissues, paper towels, and other provisions of everyday life.

But I soon became distracted by another carol. It was no use trying to ignore it. I had to accept the facts. Christmas was back, and I would have to cope. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, loss, parent divorce, relationships
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Wisdom Of The Innocent: A Poem
By Bessie Hiet 85 Years Young

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Bessie thriving at 84. Click here to see Bessie’s original 1943-47 love poems, including her drawings, to her husband, Harry Hiet. They are married 64 years..

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Wisdom Of The Innocent

Frail and old and all alone, Read more

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COMMENTS (7) | aging, enlightenment, parenting
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Thriving Parent, Thriving Child
By Racine Hiet: Publisher/Editor

There is a war raging. It’s fierce, hostile and tragic. It might be going on in your home at this moment.

It is a battle that has been fought for generations; the battle between Generations. Us and Them. Parents and Youth.

“You have to start early letting them know who’s boss,” one parent said to me. “Otherwise, they’ll take advantage of you and dominate. That’s the trouble with my wife–she always ends up letting the kids win all the battles. She gives in all the time and the kids know it.”

Does there have to be winners and losers? Must one generation submit to the other, scared and defeated, to lick the wounds inflicted on its pride and self-esteem?

Parent Effectiveness Training, (P.E.T.), the “no-lose” method of resolving conflicts, shouts “No!” Read more

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COMMENT (1) | empowerment, parenting, relationships
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