By Angela Noel Lawson
May 7, 2019
When Jackie Cochran called for female pilots to join the World War II effort, my grandmother, along with 25,000 other women, answered. Twenty-five-year-old Dolores Meurer began her training as a Women’s Air Service Pilot (WASP) on August 9, 1943, at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. The rigors of training ensured only the best would earn their wings; only 1,074 applicants graduated. Her experiences as a WASP spanned less than two years of her life, yet those heady days populated her thoughts for the almost seven decades to follow.
However, unlike my grandmother at 25, I lacked purpose. I’d quit my job at a startup magazine in San Francisco. The novel I’d planned to write when I graduated college was 75% complete and 90% terrible. And, I’d broken up with my first serious boyfriend. Adult life was just so much harder than I thought it’d be. Continue reading “Assembling the Pieces of Me: My Grandmother’s Legacy”
Love changes us in unexpected ways. It builds bridges, mends fences, and fortifies us against adversity like nothing else in the world. When I fell in love, I had no idea how important the gift of that love would be. Continue reading “The Moment I Fell in Love My Eyes Began to See–Now in Heart and Humanity Magazine”
By Angela Noel
April 5, 2018
Questions without easy answers abound. But we humans hate that. Our brains like certainty. Tough, complex problems without clear solutions make us very unhappy indeed. In these situations, particularly where public pressure exists to find a fast and clean answer, we’re susceptible to a type of brain elf, Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, calls substitution. He writes, “If a satisfactory answer to a hard question is not found quickly, System 1 (our fast-thinking brain) will find a related question that is easier and will answer it.”
Since being sure of something is our preferred condition, our brains tend to do a lot to help us feel that way. I wrote about our search for certainty before, and how hard we fight to preserve our version of events even when we know it’s wrong. But, this time we’re talking about certainty from another angle. This time, we’re talking about onions. Continue reading “Peel the Onion: Why We Answer the Wrong Question”
By Angela Noel
March 27, 2018
Lying close to my son as he slowly drifts into sleep is the most cost-effective therapy I know. But I know it can’t last.
Most nights, at least lately, after we snuggle and he reads a few pages from a chapter book, I say goodnight and exit his room. Then he reads a few pages of a comic book (Garfield or Calvin and Hobbs) on his own before flipping off his reading light and heading to snooze-town. But one night recently, we turned off the lights and I stayed a bit longer. He flung his arm around my neck and nuzzled a little closer. “Tonight,” he said, “you’re my stuffy.” Continue reading “Queen in the Quiet of My Child’s World”
A Love Letter by Claire Saul
February 22, 2018
In the months leading up to Cheryl’s death at thirty-seven from very aggressive breast cancer, I witnessed my friend’s short battle for life. We found ourselves in the tricky situation of being close friends with children who were best friends, but also my nurse to her patient. We talked and talked, and knew it was only a matter of time until she would need to come into the hospice. The night before she was due to go home I remember begging the night staff (also my friends) to take extra care of her. She wanted to be at home and had a day with her children before she drifted into unconsciousness. She died two days later.
Cheryl’s sister read the poem I wrote for her at the funeral. Continue reading “Love Letter: Do You Remember?”
By Angela Noel
December 21, 2017
I begin to feel the holiday spirit the first time I hear “The Little Drummer Boy” each year. This song, written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941, helps me sight the essence of what I believe is my–maybe everyone’s–purpose here on this planet.
Let me explain. Continue reading “Reflections on the Little Drummer Boy”
A Guest Post by Hayley Beasley Dye
September 28, 2017
Becoming a grandfather is fairly easy, one just needs to have a child and for that child to also have a child. Lots of men become grandfathers, but becoming one is not the achievement that a man should be recognised for. No, being a good grandfather, is what a man should be commended on.
What qualifies a man as a good grandfather? Sure, being able to turn a blind eye when your grandchild has pilfered yet another Fox’s Glacier Mint from your tin that you kept hidden away, is definitely an essential quality, but making your grandchild feel your unconditional love is, as the kids say these days, “the one.” Continue reading “Love Letter: Memories of the Grandadest of Grandads”
By Angela Noel
June 1, 2017
The man works on a car–fixes its engine, buffs the exterior–long hours of loving pains.
Maybe he smokes a cigar. Maybe he drinks a light beer. Or maybe it’s Pellegrino.
Maybe he has a family–a son, a wife. Or maybe a daughter, the apple of his eye.
Maybe he writes sonnets that touch the infinite in a journal hidden among the tools in his garage. Or maybe he listens to mixed tapes of Madonna and Beethoven on an old, grease-stained boombox.
Every day . . . every hour . . . he loves the car more. Each bead of salty sweat escaping his brow is a tear dropping. Continue reading “Mechanics of Art and Poetry of Work”
By Angela Noel
May 4, 2017
To feel love and to express it boldly without expectation of return requires tremendous courage. The word courage originates from the Latin word for heart. Not the organ itself, but what it represents–the living room for our feelings. In my original I Want Your Love Letters post I ask readers of my blog to pen a letter to anyone he or she loves or admires–friend, teacher, lover, mentor, parent, bus driver, coach, sibling–anyone. Each writer of a love letter demonstrates the essence of heart. Every one of the letters makes me smile and fills me with a kind of quiet inspiration. And I want more.
For this post, I’ve gathered these letters together to celebrate the writers and their loved ones. I also want to invite others, like you, to contribute your love letters to the collection.
Guest Post by Annie Reierson
November 10, 2016
There are a lot of different terms we use when experience significant changes in our lives: Starting over, Moving on, A new chapter, Begin again, Go back to the drawing board.
However, there is something about these terms that seems amiss. They suggest that all the experiences and interactions that I had before were insignificant. To me, “starting over” says that I just scrapped everything, as if somehow my past experiences didn’t bring me to the place where I stand today. But, that’s not what it really feels like to experience change. Continue reading “Why I Won’t Be Starting Over”