READING TOGETHER ON A SNOWY DAY CAN CREATE CHERISHED MEMORIES Story by Krista Threefoot November/December 2017 Across cultures and religions, winter is a time for celebrating traditions. It’s a season that creates memories with deep roots, magical memories you want to recreate for your own children. Like wearing pajamas inside... Read more →


November/December 2017 B Y HARRY B. SIEGEL   . DIVORCE   The word creates an emotional reaction. Will I have enough money? Will my children be okay? Can I keep my home or have to move? Aside from an attorney,who else do I need to help me? The SIEGELLAW immersion... Read more →


FOR STUDENTS WITH INDIVIDUAL NEEDS, THE RIGHT TEACHER MAKES A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Story by Krista Threefoot      Illustration by Paige Vickers September/October 2017 When my daughter was 3, she came close to setting a family record. She nearly became the first child ever to be kicked out of... Read more →

Sweet Second Chances

WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM A FLOWERING TREE STORY BY Christine Grillo      ILLUSTRATION BY Paige Vickers September/October 2017 In 1998 my then-husband and I bought a run-down row house in Brooklyn, New York. In the midst of renovation I became pregnant. One of the most beautiful things I did during... Read more →

Choosing Acceptance

FOR PARENTS OF TRANSGENDER CHILDREN, THE ONLY CHOICE IS HOW TO RESPOND STORY BY Anne Haddad      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella June/July 2017 Probably no parent in history ever looked back on his or her original expectations and thought, “My kid is exactly like I thoughtshe would be.”... Read more →


There’s an art to parenting, and micromanaging may not be part of it. STORY BY Rebecca Kirkman      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella June/July 2017 On a warm evening during a free Sunset Serenade concert at Centennial Park in Ellicott City, Loni Cohen chats with a group of friends... Read more →


EVEN AS SHE WELCOMES A REFUGEE FAMILY TO COLUMBIA, OUR COLUMNIST BIDS FAREWELL story by Heather Kirk-Davidoff     Illustration by Cheri Glover June/July 2017 Almost a year ago now, my church began to work to resettle a refugee family in Howard County. We raised money, recruited volunteers and signed... Read more →

Early Adapters

COLUMBIA’S FIRST RESIDENTS DISCUSS THEIR CHOICES FOR AN ORAL HISTORY PROJECT Anne Haddad March 2017/April 2017 A new city, with new homes, invited a new breed of American pioneers to build on the original idea of the Westward Expansion, right here in the East, and no need for roughing it... Read more →

A Woman Of Her Time

GRANDMA PREFERRED WORK OUTSIDE OF THE HOME TO MODEL PARENTING Christine Grillo March 2017/April 2017 Fifty years ago, in 1967, my grandmother was 50 years old. She was a married, middle- aged woman with two adult children, only two years shy of becoming a grandmother. She and my grandfather lived... Read more →


TIRES If you have a front wheel drive car, you always want the better tires up front. In an all-wheel drive, if the tread varies, it could potentially damage the all-wheel drive in the car. It’s important to make sure that not only tire treads are in good shape, but... Read more →

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Although grandparents raising grandchildren is not a new occurrence, there have however been increasing numbers of occurrences in the 21st Century. Many factors contribute to this phenomenon such as increased life expectancy, higher rates of divorce, increased unemployment, military deployment and disruptive factors affecting the family with drug use or... Read more →


WHILE SOME WOMEN EMBRACE GUNS, OTHERS THINK ARMS ARE FOR HUGGING STORY BY Amanda Loudin      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella November/December 2016 When 53-year old Courtney White’s husband, Ken Burns, presented her with an ornate wooden box containing a Lady Smith pistol as a wedding gift 16 years... Read more →


Howard County’s undercover world of human trafficking To protect identities, names have been changed, or first names only used for some sources in this story.   STORY BY Halima Aziza      PHOTOGRAPHY/PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS BY Mary C. Gardella November/December 2016 On July 26, 2016, news outlets in Maryland reported that... Read more →


HOW FEAR CAN TAKE ROOT STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff      ILLUSTRATION BY Lindsey Balbierz November/December 2016 On the Halloween when I was 9 years old, I went trick-or-treating dressed as a black cat, in a black leotard, black sweat pants and a headband with two black paper ears taped... Read more →


WHEN HISTORY BOOKS FAIL, FILL IN THE GAPS WITH FAMILY STORIES SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff      ILLUSTRATION BY Lindsey Balbierz “You come from a long line of strong women, Heather,” was one of my mother’s mantras when I was growing up. For a time, I rolled my eyes... Read more →

Lean on

WOMEN FRIENDS ARE ALWAYS THERE TO SUPPORT AND INSPIRE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 STORY BY Christine Grillo I was laid low by strep throat, a puddle of fever and fiery glands, kvetching on my couch, when I heard the elves in my kitchen. It sounded like they were unloading the dishwasher. Maybe... Read more →


ARE MILLENNIALS SELF-ABSORBED OR SEARCHING FOR AUTHENTICITY? STORY BY Elizabeth Heubeck    PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella JUNE/JULY 2016 Over the last decade, many workplaces were introduced to a new breed of colleagues that stopped us in our tracks: They were confident, often bordering on cocky; they were bright and... Read more →

Beyond the VEIL

STORIES OF MUSLIM WOMEN IN HOWARD COUNTY STORY BY Halima Aziza   PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella JUNE/JULY 2016 Tuba Subasi lives in Columbia and teaches sixth-grade math at a Prince George’s County charter school in Laurel. Originally from Turkey, she moved to the United States five years ago. During that... Read more →


WHEN THINGS AREN’T OK, HOW DO YOU TELL YOUR KIDS? STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff      ILLUSTRATION BY Melissa Carstensen JUNE/JULY 2016 “Why do we always tell our kids that everything will be all right?” a friend of mine asked me a while back. “We don’t know any such thing.... Read more →


Rec and Parks’ sports programs don’t leave anyone out BY Barbara Pash      PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella MARCH/APRIL 2016 Jena Jones plays sports practically year-round. From early fall to the end of October, she plays volleyball. January to early March is basketball season. From early March to the... Read more →


FINDING WAYS TO HAVE FUN WITH YOUR KIDS STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff      ILLUSTRATION BY Melissa Carstensen MARCH/APRIL 2016 When our twin sons left home to attend college last year, our house felt awfully quiet. My chatty daughter did her best to fill in the space left by her brothers,... Read more →

Grab & Go

FEEDING A BUSY FAMILY CAN BE LIKE HERDING HOUSEFLIES STORY BY Kerry Dunnington     PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella MARCH/APRIL 2016 Karen Pitsley, owner of Transforming Architecture and mother of two energetic boys, ages 10 and 12, doesn’t have a lot of extra time at the end of the... Read more →

BUILD Your Retirement | Start building for retirement

Resolution: Start building for retirement. Retirement planning: It’s never too early to start. Simple changes can add up to a more secure future. By Barbara Pash DECEMBER 2015/JANUARY 2016 We’ve all seen the ads, or heard the question: “What’s your number?” referring to the imposing sums required to have stashed away... Read more →

BUILD Your Retirement | Creating an Age Friendly Community

Creating an Age Friendly Community. Planning for retirement is about more than money. By Martha Thomas DECEMBER 2015/JANUARY 2016 Phyllis Madachy has been involved in the same book club for more than 20 years. She and the other women in the group, she admits, “talk about more than the book.... Read more →

What Boys Like

STORY BY Halima Aziza   PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 Oh, you’re expecting! Do you hope it’s a boy?” “You have all girls … Are you disappointed you didn’t have a boy?” “You’ll have to excuse him. After all, boys will be boys!” These oft-heard expressions would seem... Read more →

Just Friends

What happens when a guy friend makes the main man uncomfortable? STORY BY Michele Wojciechowski   PHOTOGRAPHY BY Mary C. Gardella NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015   There’s a famous line in the iconic movie “When Harry Met Sally”: “Men and women can never be friends because the sex part always gets in... Read more →


IN INTERFAITH HOUSEHOLDS, CELEBRATIONS KNOW NO BOUNDARIES STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 There are a lot of candles in our house during December. We light the first candle in our Advent wreath on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and start lighting candles in our menorah when... Read more →

Women’s Resource Guide|ESTATE PLANNING

Can You TRUST Your Children With Money? NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 We all know that we need to have a will prepared to designate guardians to take care of our children if we pass away before they turn 18. Many of us also understand that we should leave our assets in trust... Read more →

Women’s Resource Guide|FUNERAL SERVICES

Where do I start? Who do I call? What do I do next? NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 A lot of misunderstanding exists in the funeral industry. As a Certifi ed Funeral Service Professional, I have spent the last 22+ years guiding and  serving the families in our community through this diffi cult... Read more →

Women’s Resource Guide|LIFE INSURANCE

Life isn’t always easy, but a State Farm agent may make it easier… NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015 A sense of security is so much more.  If something happened to you, your State Farm Life Insurance policy would give your loved ones a guaranteed death benefit – funds to help provide them with... Read more →


INTERGENERATIONAL ALLIANCES ARE STRENGTHENED BY SEEKING STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff      ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller SEPTEMBER /OCTOBER 2015 W hen I arrived at my congregation 10 years ago, the oldest member of the community was a man in his early 90s. Over the course of his life, he had... Read more →


Story By Anne Haddad   Photography By André Chung As one segment of America debates how to have children and how to raise them – helicopter parent or free-range? – another segment is booking flights to exotic places. Taking up horseback riding. Turning an extra bedroom into a dream closet. Childfree... Read more →

Just “I do” it

INTERVIEWS BY Beverly Marriage hasn’t always been about love. The idea of marrying for love has only been around for about 250 years, a recent blip in the history of matrimony. Weddings once constituted pacts to merge land, secure peaceful kingdoms, ensure heirs. These days, for most in the U.S.,... Read more →


If you’re single, you’re in the right place. STORY BY Beth Rubin We don’t need a government study to tell us that there are just as many singles as married people in the U.S. Or that the face of America’s family has changed markedly since our parents and grandparents ruled... Read more →

Making it Work

COACHING AND COUNSELING HELPS COUPLES KEEP THINGS TOGETHER STORY BY Kim Polyniak PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung It was over. After 13 years together, six years married, Sharon and Chris split up. Their relationship had faced issues many couples have struggled with, including alcohol abuse and an a air. They had... Read more →


FEELING SAFE CAN BE AS SIMPLE AS KNOWING THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller A few years ago, at about 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, I heard a knock on my door. I assumed it was yet another person offering a free estimate on... Read more →

All In the Family

Going into business with a sibling can be challenging and gratifying. STORY BY Kim Polyniak PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung Annette and Melissa Roche grew up helping their mother do hair – initially at home and then in her African braid shop. At times, the Congolese-American sisters would start braiding hair on... Read more →


THE KAUR SISTERS LEARNED TO COOK AT THEIR FARM IN PUNJAB. NOW THEY ARE CHEFS AT TWO OF THE REGION’S FINEST INDIAN RESTAURANTS STORY BY Jennifer Waldera PHOTOGRAPHY BY Colby Ware Growing up together on a farm in the Punjab province of northern India, sisters Kinday and Boli Kaur spent... Read more →


WHEN A THIRD GRADER CORRESPONDS WITH A TRUCK DRIVER, THE WORLD BECOMES A SMALLER PLACE STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller When my daughter Rosa was in third grade, she had a Trucker Buddy.  Her third grade teacher introduced the program – each child in the classroom would... Read more →


FOUR WOMEN REFLECT ON THE INFLUENTIAL MEN IN THEIR LIVES STORY BY Karen Nitkin   PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung Remember the adage “behind every successful man there is a woman?” It’s way out of date. Successful men – and successful women – don’t always have someone standing behind them, providing... Read more →


STAY-AT-HOME DADS FIND REWARDS IN STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR CHILDREN STORY BY Elizabeth Heubeck   PHOTOGRAPHY BY Lisa Shires If Nathan Sowers had raised his kids in the 1950s, he would have turned “Father Knows Best” on its head. Sowers, an Ellicott City resident and owner of River House Pizza... Read more →


FOR SOME MEN, TRADITIONAL ROLES ARE A THING OF THE PAST STORY BY Jason Tinney   PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung On what would have been Ernest Hemingway’s 115th birthday, Dan Manning lounges on his deck overlooking a well-groomed yard large enough to support a full-scale flag football match. He appears to... Read more →


NAVIGATE THE DIFFICULT CHALLENGES OF DIVORCE As a practitioner of law in Howard County for over 30 years with 15 exclusively in Family Law, I have seen the devastation that occurs during the dissolution of a marriage. Whether you are an economically-independent spouse, or an economically-dependent spouse, when a marriage... Read more →


LETTING BOYS BE BOYS MAY BE THE BEST APPROACH STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff     ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller When my twins were 4 years old, I was seriously concerned they were psychopaths. I shouldn’t have worried. They were just boys. The cause of my alarm wasn’t just the joy... Read more →


TAKE OFF THE HEADPHONES AND DANCE TO SOMEONE ELSE’S BEAT STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller I toured a model home recently that boasted built-in speakers in every room, all connected to a CD/MP3 player in the kitchen. It was supposed to be a selling point for the... Read more →


A SLEEP DEPRIVED MOTHER IMAGINES ANOTHER WAY STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller The results of dozens of surveys and studies are conclusive: teenagers need more sleep. My personal research has led me to an additional finding: parents need more sleep too. When I watch my three teenagers... Read more →


KIDS ARE THE BEST AUTHORS OF THEIR OWN ESSAYS ON LIFE.   STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller While some families practice the high-touch, hands-on method called “Attachment Parenting,” my husband, Dan, and I have long joked that we practice “Detachment Parenting.” We give our kids plenty of... Read more →


SOMETIMES THINGS YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR CAN TRANSFORM LIFE IN REMARKABLE WAYS   STORY BY Julekha Dash PHOTOGRAPHY BY Lisa Shires Like many women, Lisa Wilde’s vision of becoming a mother involved morning sickness, going into labor and nursing her newborn. But her journey to motherhood took a different route —... Read more →


THE SHORT, HAPPY COMMUTE TO A HOME OFFICE CAN CREATE ITS OWN STRESSORS. STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff   ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller My parents like to pull out a certain photo, usually with the sole intention of embarrassing me. In it, I’m nursing my twins while writing on my laptop... Read more →


EXPERTS GIVE TIPS ON FACING THE CHALLENGE The list of things to take care of is overwhelming for a woman who finds herself suddenly single. Should you buy or rent a home? How should you organize your life? What direction can you take your career? And if you’re thinking about... Read more →


TRANSITION FROM PARENTS TOGETHER TO PARENTS APART CAN BE TOUGH. STORY BY Elizabeth Heubeck PHOTOGRAPH BY Meredith Tankersley Sue Jones (not her real name) was a new mother when she separated from her son’s father. Though she doesn’t mention the circumstances surrounding the divorce, it’s clear that it was a... Read more →


ALONE – WHETHER PLANNED OR UNEXPECTED – IS MANAGEABLE IF SUPPORT IS IN PLACE STORY BY Julekha Dash PHOTOGRAPH BY André Chung Dora Stidham had just moved to Maryland and was building her dream house at Turf Valley in Ellicott City. Her husband Paul Stidham, who had suffered two job... Read more →


HOW WE CAN ALL LEARN TO BE THERE FOR OUR FRIENDS. Story by Heather Kirk-Davidoff illustration by Kelly Miller This past summer, I helped out at Agape House, the camp my congregation runs every year for girls from both our church and from our partner church in Baltimore City. This... Read more →


 IT’S WELL KNOWN THAT DIVORCE OFTEN HAS A SEVERE FINANCIAL IMPACT ON A FAMILY By Michelle Glassburn    Photo by Meredith Tankersley Recently, I overheard a conversation between two preteens. They were discussing the “gotta have it” item of the moment … new basketball shoes. Not just any shoes – these... Read more →


ONE FAMILY SHARES ITS TRADITION OF WELLNESS WITH 100 OTHERS   STORY BY Brandie Jefferson       PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung Jade Connelly-Duggan’s 6-year-old daughter, Rianna, was throwing a temper tantrum, as 6-year-olds do sometimes. But this time, Jade didn’t have the patience to deal with it, so she just went back... Read more →


HOW DO WE TEACH OUR DAUGHTERS TO GET THE IMAGE RIGHT ON THE INSIDE? STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff        ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller Facebook has given me the chance to reconnect with a number of friends from middle school and high school – but that gift has not been without cost.... Read more →


Women’s Resource Advertising DON’T STEP INTO DIVORCE BLINDLY Divorce. The word creates an emotional reaction. Will I have enough money? Will my children be okay? Will I be able to keep my house? Will we have to move away? How do I fi nd the right attorney who will protect... Read more →


STORY BY Linda L. Esterson On a typical summer morning, 15-year-old Lauren Roche rolls out of bed at around 8, awakened by music coming from speakers nearby. It may seem an ungodly hour for a typical teenager, but Roche welcomes the wake-up call she shares with 13 other girls her... Read more →


HOW CAN WE PROTECT OUR DAUGHTERS WHILE MAKING THEM STRONG? STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller The worst sermon I ever gave was a reflection on a beautiful passage from Psalm 139: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Those words spoke to me about... Read more →


STORY BY Danita Terry & Martha Thomas    PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung Girl Scouts open up about friends, career aspirations and the changing roles of women. Each of you has displayed leadership qualities. How do you define leadership? Helen: I think leaders are people who can get things done and bring... Read more →


[ By Kristin Antonino ] If one of your goals this year is to shift your “work-life balance” – so life gets more attention, here are some suggestions for ways to spend more time with your family and friends. Treat the crew to a picnic, find respite at the Robinson Nature... Read more →


A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO LONG TERM CARE A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE STORY BY Harriet Meyers Selecting a long-term care facility for a family member can be overwhelming. You may feel emotional as you search through dozens of options. Costs are often exorbitant. And there’s a confusing array of services to choose... Read more →


LIVING ARRANGEMENTS IN HOWARD COUNTY, OLDER ADULTS AND THEIR FAMILIES HAVE A WIDE RANGE OF CHOICES STORY BY Mike Unger The inevitability of aging — unpleasant for some, unquestionably better than the alternative for most — doesn’t scare Susan Polniaszek. She knows “what’s coming down the pike,” as she cheerfully... Read more →


HOWARD COUNTY SCHOOLS AND INDIVIDUALS CONFRONT THE BULLIES STORY BY Judy Oppenheimer PHOTOGRAPH BY Meredith Tankersley Sam Rubin, a 17-year-old Howard County senior at Atholton High, used to try to ignore it when his friends used certain words and phrases in their conversation – typical teen put-downs of the kind... Read more →


SOMETIMES THE HARSHEST CRITIC IS THE ONE IN YOUR HEAD STORY BY Heather Kirk-Davidoff ILLUSTRATION BY Kelly Miller When I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas last year, I immediately got hooked on playing Scrabble online. I discovered friends from high school, members of my congregation and my sister-in-law all engaged... Read more →


SHE’S BACK! CONFESSIONS OF A BOOMERANG KID STORY BY Heather Gorsuch PHOTOGRAPHY BY André Chung CAPTIONS BY Martha Thomas “Are you going to make a career out of going to school?” My dad has been asking me this question ever since I told him it’ll take me an extra year... Read more →


WOMEN’S WELLNESS By Barbara Pash Talks on longevity, discussions on facial procedures, nutrition and financial planning, even fitness demonstrations featuring ballet, belly-dancing and Zumba – it’s Howard County’s popular health and wellness event, WomenFest. In fact, since it started four years ago, the event has the second largest turnout of... Read more →