Jul 16 2024

The estranged are rendered voiceless

There is no recourse, no self-defense for the shunned. When a sibling is cut off, he/she loses the opportunity to present his/her side of the story, ask questions, or apologize. The shunned are rendered voiceless. Cutting off a sibling wields a weighty club of control, denying a sister’s or brother’s very existence; the shunned often feel anxious, rejected, hopeless, and powerless.. As silence stretches on for months and even years, ...
Jun 15 2024

What might be driving a difficult sibling relationship…

In many cases of sibling estrangement, a troubling realization dawns on a brother or sister over time: the toxic nature of the relationship stems from one sibling’s narcissistic tendencies. It's painful to recognize that the person you share blood with, someone you were supposed to trust and rely on, may be the source of ongoing emotional turmoil and distress. Narcissistic behaviors such as manipulation, gaslighting, and a lack of empathy ...
Jun 15 2024

School service learning projects make a difference in communities!

Have you heard about service learning? It's an innovative educational approach where students take on classroom projects that make a real difference in their communities.In my book, “Middle School Sleuths,” eighth-graders at Madison Junior High School completely altered the lives of two 86-year-old Holocaust refugees. The students reunited the two best friends 72 years after their long-ago immigration journey. The two unaccompanied minors, who became inseparable on the ship from ...
Jun 11 2024

What to say to someone who is experiencing estrangement

  Family cutoffs are common, yet most people don’t know how to support the estranged. My latest blog post delves into what to say to someone experiencing estrangement and offers ideas on how to provide meaningful support to those who need it most. Family estrangement is both common and stigmatized; it has become a kind of 'Me Too' movement. Many feel misunderstood by well-meaning but unaware friends and family who ...
Jun 8 2024

Book about memorial stones for Holocaust victims

Reflecting on the past, honoring the present. Photo of Stumbling Stones in Stockstadt am Rhein, Germany, to remember those who fled or were murdered during the Holocaust. Returning to her ancestral town 76 years after she fled, my mother and I witnessed the installation of these memorial stones for her family. The event, which served as a kind of funeral for those who have no place of remembrance, is documented ...
May 26 2024

Perilous Moments in a Sibling Relationship

Sibling relationships can be some of the most complex connections in our lives. For many, there are pivotal moments—turning points—that dramatically alter the dynamic with our brothers or sisters. ✨ Which “turning points” in your relationship with your sibling(s) altered your connection? How did things change? Have you ever found yourself asking, "How did this happen?" Whether a specific event, a gradual drift, or a sudden realization, these moments can ...
May 14 2024

Agreeing to Terms of Engagement to repair a broken relationship

Sisters avoid old hurts and identify safe topics to mend their broken relationship. They ask what's necessary: Admitting wrongdoing? An apology? Forgiveness?
May 9 2024

A sunflower and my mother’s remarkable resilience

My wonderful friend, Kathryn Gilbert, sent this photo to me. She is preparing to plant the sunflower seeds we distributed at my mother’s Celebration of Life ceremony. In my favorite photo of Mom, she is encouraging the sunflower she planted in "Oma's Patch" to grow. And it did! It grew so tall that it towered over all the raised beds at her senior residence. That summer, her Jack-in-the-Beanstalk became a ...
Apr 22 2024

Students respond to Middle School Sleuths

Always thrilling to receive mail from young readers. These wonderful illustrations are from 5th grade students at Crestview Heights Elementary School in Waldport, OR. They read IS IT NIGHT OR DAY? and MIDDLE SCHOOL SLEUTHS. Thanks to Liz Ulmer for introducing my work to her students! Wish Mom could see their work; I appreciate their condolences.
Apr 10 2024

Broadening National Siblings Day to Include the Estranged

Ever wonder how National Siblings Day got started. Learn all about its founder and the controversy surrounding the day.