A woman inventor in 1715

Sybilla Masters invented a power-driven method for grinding corn in 1715. According to Catherine Thimmeah in Girls Think of Everything—Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, this was the first documented invention by an American woman. “Because America was still a British colony, Sybilla went to England to obtain a patent for her invention,” Thimmeah writes. […]

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The struggles of a lifetime

Sometimes when I need inspiration, I find it. Why do I keep fighting the same battles? Why do I have to constantly remind myself that I really do want to eat vegetables instead of chocolate, that sometimes I talk too much, that feeling depressed doesn’t solve my problems? When I flipped through a book by […]

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Live delightfully

My friend Susan usually arrives in a perky hat. Often with a joke to share. Always with a big smile. Because Susan is a splendid reminder that it’s good to smile and count my blessings, I buy her a Sunrise birthday card that lists some of the rules for “living delightfully.” * Greet each day […]

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An adult in disguise

Just when I’m thinking that I am the only one with issues, my good friend Susan sends me a quote that reminds me to lighten up a little bit. “Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” Those words are from Margaret Atwood’s book Cat’s […]

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Begin anywhere along the way

I’ve been thinking about Barbara Scheiber’s novel We’ll Go to Coney Island because, just like the characters in the book, I’ve been feeling stuck—stuck in a swamp of old feelings of depression, old feelings that make me want to eat chocolate, old feelings that make me want me to give up and stay stuck. And, […]

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Continuing to begin

Rachel, finally, realizes how her marriage has been colored by the hurt and disappointment of her parents’ marriage. She had merged her husband with the image of her father—“that image of abandonment and betrayal,” explains Barbara Scheiber in her novel We’ll Go to Coney Island. At last, however, Rachel’s insight helped her to get unstuck, […]

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Nedotepa?

Rachel studies Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” in a college class in Barbara Scheiber’s book We’ll Go to Coney Island. The characters are “all so pitiful,” she tells her professor. “As if they—as if they’re asking to be hurt. They all seem to want to be happy, but they act, well, totally without any sense.” “But […]

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Failure is impossible

On November 5, 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted. By voting, Anthony had broken the law because women didn’t get the right to vote until after she died. She was tried in court on June 17, 1873. “Her attorney called her as a witness, but the judge declared that Susan B. Anthony was incompetent as a […]

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Happy Fourth of July

I’ve been worried recently about the health of Bob, my brother-in-law, the situations in Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine and several minor issues. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t believe the headline in the June 28, 2014, issue of The Dallas Morning News. The headline, as a teaser across top of the front page, read: “Take […]

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Girls can do everything

It was 1872, and Blanche was 12 years old when she announced: “I am going to be a steamboat captain someday.” Mr. Blackstone, captain of the J.P. Whittaker, raised his big eyebrows. And then he laughed. “Girls don’t grow up to be steamboatmen,” he said. Judith Heide Gilliland tells the true story of Blanche Leathers […]

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