Sugar Bear Joy

During the first week of July in my hometown of Battle Creek, MI our city welcomes hot-air balloonists from all over the world for a hot-air balloon competition and festival.

My girls live for this week of the year. When the balloons come to town our morning and evening schedules revolve around daily 6:30 am and pm launch times.

I remember one morning in particular. My usually slow risers paraded into my room as soon as daylight broke across the sky.

“Wake up! It’s time to go chase

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The Truth About Braces and Beauty

Dear Mad,

So you’re ten years old and you just got braces. So far, your mom and dad tell me you’re handling it like a champ, and as your aunt I’m constantly proud of the spunk that fills you from head to toe.

But I also remember those days…my own adventure with braces…and I know in many ways this is only the beginning.

What no one seems to tell you when you’re growing from a girl into a young woman is that there are going to be days when the

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Look Behind You

My friend Beth, who lives in China, recently ran a race on the Great Wall. I know…cool, right?

A few days after the race Beth and I talked and she told me about her amazing experience.

According to Beth, foot races on the Great Wall are incredibly challenging because of the stairs involved. Many parts of the Great Wall have uneven footing and most of the stairways are uphill and very steep.

As Beth neared the end of her race a long and seemingly unrelenting set of stairs

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The Figure Skater

I know I’m not alone in saying that Ladies Figure Skating is above and beyond my most favorite Olympic event. It’s the one part of the Olympics I never miss. It has held me spellbound since I was a girl.

Last night I watched as the Ladies Freestyle Program unfolded before my eyes. Every performance was magnificent, but there was one in particular that stirred my heart.

Mao Asada of Japan skated first in the television line up. After a terrible performance in the short program, Asada was in

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