Articles Tagged with family

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Carolyn Woodruff

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, today I’m posting an excerpt from Ask Carolyn 2 that addresses one survivor’s struggle with the secrecy of childhood sexual abuse and her search for closure.

Dear Carolyn,

I am now 32, and my sister is 35. We were both molested by our stepfather. Our mother “knew,” but for whatever reason selected to ignore this. My stepfather is now deceased, and he took his ugly secret to his grave.  This stepfather has other children, all older than my sister and me. I would like closure regarding this horrific secret. I am thinking I would like to confront my mother about allowing this to happen and expose the b…….d to his other children. What do I do?

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Venn Crawford

Easter is just around the corner! Pastels, bunnies, and eggs are the order of the day this weekend, and I’ve collected some DIY Easter crafts, activities, and recipes to help you spice up your celebrations this year. And with the long weekend from Good Friday, you’ve still got plenty of time to try these out with the kids!

Origami Paper Bunnies

These origami bunnies are adorable! All you need is printer paper cut into squares, and you’re on your way to a whole family of them. Because they’re made from plain white paper, your kids can decorate the bunnies as well as their Easter eggs. Alternatively, you can let your kids decorate the paper before folding the bunnies, so that the final product is a surprise.

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Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

I am a new Father, and I think the mother of our new baby is depressed. I am concerned. She seems exhausted and stressed. I am helping and her mother is helping, but there seems to be a problem.  What should I do?

– Stressed with New Baby

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Robins are hopping around downtown Greensboro; the weather is in the 70s – maybe I’m being hopeful, but it feels like spring’s arriving. And while spring technically doesn’t start until March 31st, we can embrace these sunny, spring-like days in the meantime.

My favorite part of spring is the sense of renewal it brings. The dead leaves have fallen away, and new life dots the branches that laid bare all winter. Birdsong breaks the months of quiet cold. Color starts to come back to the world. And as soon as we step outside, that rejuvenating energy slips into us as well, inspiring us and enlivening us.

I don’t know about you, but this buzz of new life makes me want something new in my life as well. I think about bears coming out of hibernation, animals shedding their snow-colored winter coats, newly-grown buds bursting with color, and I wonder what my spring changes are. What coat am I shedding? What will bloom from my buds?

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Venn Crawford

Valentine’s day is aimed at couples, and those who are single often feel left out or disenchanted. But while the focus of Valentine’s may be romance, there’s no reason you can’t celebrate love of all types.

Platonic love is perhaps one of the most underrated kinds of love. Our friends are the people who support us every day, comforting us when we’re hurting, laughing with us when we’re not. But we don’t recognize that love nearly as much as we do romantic love.

The love we share with friends, siblings, and parents is just as worthy of celebration as the love of a significant other.  So if you’re feeling down about being single on Valentine’s day, try celebrating the other types of love in your life.

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Venn Crawford

Valentine’s day is approaching, and pink and red coat nearly every store. Shelves are overflowing with heart-holding bears, roses, and assorted chocolates with dubious fillings. Everything is marketed to say “love,” but is a prewritten card truly the best way to express that?

I’m a firm believer that the most meaningful gifts are the ones that you put effort into. The Christmas before I moved out, my parents gifted me dishware and supplies for my new home. Among these gifts was a cheese cutter from my dad. Instead of buying a cheese cutter, he instead spent hours of his time making one – and unlike spent money, spent time is gone forever. Of all the gifts I’ve received, this one stands out the most due to the work my dad put into it.

It isn’t just the time spent that makes such a gift special, though. Making a gift means you aren’t limited by a store’s selection, so you’ll always be able to choose something perfectly tailored to the recipient.

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Venn Crawford

Today marks a turning point – it is the winter solstice, the day of the year with the least light. Our days have been waning since the middle of the summer, growing shorter and shorter with each nightfall. Think of the winter solstice as the sun’s version of a new moon – we will see the least of its light today, but tomorrow, it will wax once again.

Scientifically speaking, the winter solstice is caused by the Earth’s tilt. When the northern hemisphere tilts closer to the sun, we have summer, but when it’s tilted away, we have winter. The winter solstice is the point when the northern hemisphere is tilted the furthest away from the sun, which causes us to receive the least sunlight.

The solstice (and winter itself) is one of the origins for our holiday season. Before we had greenhouses, refrigerators, and 24/7 supermarkets, our food supply was inescapably tied to the changing of the seasons. Winter was an unforgiving time of year – food, warmth, and light were all scarce. The entire year was essentially spent preparing for the winter. Cows were slaughtered so they wouldn’t use up precious food during the winter, and the wine that had been fermenting all year was finally ready to drink. The solstice festival was the last feast and celebration of life before winter.

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Venn Crawford

Peppermint is one of the most iconic tastes of the holidays, nipping at us with the same frost as the winter air. We usually see peppermint in the form of candy canes during the holidays. I remember as a child, we used to eat candy canes like lollipops. We tried so hard not to bite into them because we knew that if we did, they wouldn’t last long.

Though we see candy canes as an emblem of Christmas, they were originally just made to keep kids quiet. Back in 1670, the children at achurch in Germany kept making noise during a Christmas ceremony, frustrating their choirmaster to no end. The choirmaster, having given up on discipline at this point, asked a local candy maker to make sugar sticks for the kids. If they’re busy eating candy, they can’t talk, right? Obviously giving kids candy just to shut them up doesn’t look great, so the choirmaster had the candies made to look like shepherd’s crooks. This way the kids were quiet, and he could pass the candies off as a reminder of the shepherds that visited Jesus during Christmas.

Chocolate’s another iconic holiday taste. Nothing makes you feel quite as festive as a cup of hot chocolate heaping with whipped cream. Hot chocolate itself wasn’t originally a holiday treat, though – it has its origins in Latin America, where the Mayans made a cold chocolate drink with chili peppers in it. Hot chocolate as we think of it today wasn’t invented until the 17th century. During the chill of winter, sweet hot chocolate was bound to be a success, so it’s no surprise that it became a holiday tradition.

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Venn Crawford

I have three grandchildren, all ages four and under. I want them to always look forward to the holidays as a magical time of year, and I want to make wonderful memories with them that we’ll cherish forever. The holiday traditions they grow up with are a large part of that! For kids especially, candy and treats are one of the exciting parts of Christmas (or any holiday, really), and so I’m starting a tradition of making gingerbread houses with my grandkids. This year I bought a frame for the house, as well as lots of decorations and icing.

Gingerbread houses first started being made after the Grimm brothers’ tale “Hansel and Gretel” was published. Professional gingerbread bakers saw an opportunity and started baking fancy fairy-tale type houses. These grew popular at Christmastime, and a tradition was born!

Making gingerbread houses can get pretty intense. Some people go for size – the largest gingerbread house ever made was 2,520 square feet! Hansel and Gretel would have loved that, I bet. Other people go for size in a different way and build entire towns. The largest gingerbread village even had a commercial district with 22 buildings on top of the 135 gingerbread homes in the village.

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Venn Crawford

The holidays are here, and with them, colder weather, hot chocolate, and Christmas music in nearly every store. The Walmart near me even has the poles outside dressed up as candy canes. As soon as December hit (earlier even), the whole country began to celebrate. Some traditions are old – decorating the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, and gift giving. Others, like the Starbucks holiday cups, are newer. No matter what holiday you celebrate, the yearly traditions we cherish are part of what makes the holidays so special.

For families, traditions bring us together and create special memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. We carry many of our parents’ traditions into our own home, and we create some of our own to share with our children. Those who are new parents, newly divorced, or celebrating the holidays on their own for the first time may want to find new traditions to make the holiday their own. Below are some traditions from around the world that you can bring home this holiday season.

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Ligligan Parul – The Giant Lantern Festival (Philippines)