Bridges -- A Review of Josh Groban's Eighth Studio Album

Josh Groban's voice has always seemed to me like gold dust filling the air, but it's more than that. Yes, he's funny and dorky and charming, but he is also driven and courageous, trying new things rather than being content with the faux-opera easy-listening rut where some would like to park him.
Since he first emerged as a seventeen-year-old rehearsal fill in for Andrea Bocelli, Josh has carefully pushed boundaries, respecting the roots that made him a fan favorite while adding more of his own flavor to each album. Despite all of his talents and risk taking, Josh's award shelf remains empty, which may be why he left the studio behind in 2015 and took another risk: a stint on Broadway in "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." The musical turned out to be quite successful, earning several Tony nominations, including one for Josh for lead actor in a musical. Sadly, he didn't win (something he and Sara Bareilles made light of when they performed "…

Stand or Kneel?

When you see the Stars & Stripes, do you feel like standing or kneeling?

 For my part, I stand. In fact, I stand with by hand over my heart, the Star Spangled Banner on my lips and tears in my eyes.

But here's the thing: if you see yourself as more of a kneeler, I understand.

Even if we tally just a brief list of grievances that might convince you to kneel, we include these whoppers: slavery, native extermination, suppression of women's rights, Japanese internment camps, Jim Crow laws, child labor, exploitation of workers, forced sterilization of the mentally ill, and state-sanctioned murder of the unborn.

So, yes. I understand. Forgiveness is hard.

Yes, forgiveness. Because that's the issue, isn't it? America has committed sins, and you want her held accountable. You want her to pay for what she's done.

But here are a few things to consider while you're on your knees:

1.  America is more than 250 years old, and the people who led her -- the ones who passe…

Five Nail-Biting Reads for Summer 2018

Do you love a good suspense novel? I do! And for me, summer is a great season for reading suspense. There is something about the long, warm days that make me feel safer when the words I'm reading turn dark and sinister.

So what books do I suggest? Here is a short list of suspenseful summer reads for 2018. Some of them are romantic, some are thought-provoking and some have villains that will make you double check your locks at night, but one thing they all have in common: prose that will raise goosebumps across your sun-kissed shoulders.

1. BENEATH THE SURFACE by Jeni Grossman

Griggsberg. A Safe Place to Raise a Family. That's what the sign into town reads, and few people have any reason to think differently. From the stately church on the hill—its magnificent stained-glass windows visible anywhere in the town—to man-made Lake Shiloh dotted by beautiful homes along the shore, an air of peaceful tranquility seems to envelop all of Griggsberg. But things aren't always as they seem…

Twelve Teen Dystopian MUST Reads for Summer 2018

Summer is the perfect time for catching up on all those wonderful books your friends keep raving about. Whether you're going to the beach, traveling abroad, visiting Grandma, or stuck babysitting your little brother, this collection of young adult dystopian novels will carry you away to darker worlds of the future, where young people fight to be heard ... and sometimes to save the world!
Like any good collection, these twelve books are a mixture of new releases and classic favorites, but everyone of them is a MUST READ for true fans of the YA dystopian genre. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Stealing Liberty by Jennifer Froelich

When Reed Paine is sent to a secret detention school for teens whose parents are branded enemies of the state, he doesn’t expect to find friendship – especially after coming face to face with Riley Paca, a girl who has every reason to hate him. But when Reed, Riley and a few others start reading the old books they find in tunnels under the school, th…

Summer Reading

Do you ever feel like summer has just become...

Get up and go, 
Packed schedules,
Over expensive,
Too much work,
Sand in your eyes, not between your toes?

My son just graduated from college and got his first full-time career job. One of the first things he said was, "Now summer is just another season for me."

I don't like that! I want summer to be...
Lazy days and lemonade,
Straw hats and sandals,
Hammocks and porch swings,
Cloud watching,
Trail hiking,
Fresh air breathing,
Adventure seeking!

Nice fantasy, right? Especially if you're stuck working this summer, have no vacation money or vacation plans on the horizon and expect summer to just be the same as the rest of the year --- but hotter and with kids to deal with as well!

The answer to our need for escape and our inability to escape is obvious:

We need to spend our summer reading.

Yes! Escape with me to the future, or the past. To Greece or Mexico. To ninth grade or retirement.

Meet a boy
Fall in love

Dear Hiring Manager: Here's Why you Should Hire that Candidate with Autism

Dear Hiring Manager:

This is Autism Awareness Month, and one of the areas where "awareness" is most lacking is probably in your human resources department. If you have spent any time at all interviewing candidates for positions at your company, you have encountered some with autism. You might have seen them come and go without even knowing that AUTISM was the reason they talked a little different, struggled with their words or failed to look you in the eye.

Why am I so sure you have already interviewed someone with autism? Because roughly one percent of the population has autism.

Most of those, you probably rejected immediately. In fact, employment rates for people with autism -- even autistic college graduates -- is discouragingly low. Lower than those in any other disabled group.
And yet, research also shows that people on the autism spectrum make great employees.

They are honest, dedicated and punctual. In addition, many autistic people have skills and talents that are in…

Memory Making: Combating the Sorrow of Alzheimer's with Notes and Labels

My mom has Alzheimer's disease and we're losing her too quickly.  What began as basic forgetfulness has changed too quickly over the years since her diagnosis. We enjoy moments of clarity with Mom, but other times she doesn't know our names or our faces. She can no longer hold a pencil, cook a meal or read a book. We know that time will soon gobble up what is left of her memories. It is a heartbreaking thing to experience, as many of you know.

But long before Mom began to lose her memory, she started labeling things in her house. She wrote dates on the back of photos, saved letters and drawings from her kids and grandkids with Post-It notes on the back: "love this!" or "Drew, age 3." She kept report cards and concert programs, circling our names, commenting on what we sang or what our teachers said about us. She kept a Thanksgiving journal: how big the turkey was and how much she paid for it, what the weather was like, which recipes she served, which d…