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Life with Gracie

This Life with Gracie: Is Georgia’s foster care system really in crisis?

This Life with Gracie: Is Georgia’s foster care system really in crisis?

One of the best things about being a grandparent, I hear, is you get to spoil the grandchildren, then send them home. Eugene Vickerson didn’t have that choice. For more than a decade, he was like millions of other grandparents across the country. He was his grandchildren’s parent.
This Life: Could DeKalb police do more to find Jenna Van Gelderen?

This Life: Could DeKalb police do more to find Jenna Van Gelderen?

I don’t know how they do it. How they get through the day. How they sleep at night. Roseanne Glick and Leon Van Gelderen don’t really know either. What they know for sure is their daughter, Jenna, has been missing for more than a year, and they still don’t know why she disappeared—or if she’s dead or alive.
This Life: Take your small group to see ‘Small Group the Movie’

This Life: Take your small group to see ‘Small Group the Movie’

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, Matt Chastain takes a seat across from me at a popular Norcross coffee shop to talk about “Small Group the Movie.” Movie, I get. I’ve seen a lot of them — loved some, others not so much. But “Small Group” means nothing, especially not in a religious context, which is what Chastain is selling.
This Life with Gracie: Why are women surprised, angered by Kavanaugh confirmation?

This Life with Gracie: Why are women surprised, angered by Kavanaugh confirmation?

The reaction to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation left me flummoxed. I don’t know why people, women in particular, were surprised. The handwriting was clearly on the wall. Remember Clarence Thomas? All of it reminded me of a story I used to read to my daughters about a certain snake biting the one that cared for it because, well, that’s what snakes do.
This Life: Cobb’s accidental comic causing women to laugh out loud

This Life: Cobb’s accidental comic causing women to laugh out loud

In the summer of 2014, Heather Tolley-Bauer moved with her husband and son to Marietta. Craig Bauer, an Aetna executive, went off to work and their son Reid headed to kindergarten, and it wasn’t long before Heather was, well, peed off. Actually, she used another term, but it can’t be published here. You, dear reader, are welcome to use your imagination, though.
This Life: Clayton charter school an academic role model

This Life: Clayton charter school an academic role model

The first thing you notice these days about Utopian Academy for the Arts isn’t what’s happening within its walls. Nothing much has changed about that. The Clayton County charter school is still churning out some impressive alumni. But for the first time since Utopian was founded, its name is prominently displayed on the corner of the red brick building that it now calls home.
This Life with Gracie: ‘America’s dad’ lifted us, then betrayed us

This Life with Gracie: ‘America’s dad’ lifted us, then betrayed us

America’s dad was sentenced to prison Tuesday and all I could think of was his damning pound-cake speech. You might remember it, too. The year was 2004. Comedian Bill Cosby was at an NAACP awards ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, criticizing the African-American community.
This Life with Gracie: Forget likes, what the world needs now is love

This Life with Gracie: Forget likes, what the world needs now is love

A week ago at Compton Elementary School, something wonderful happened that we don’t get to see too often. Band students from Hillgrove High School arrived to hang out with the little guys, talk some and to make sure, if for some reason there was no food in their homes during fall break this week, they had something to eat. That was the first thing that gave me goose pimples.
This Life: Lilburn family’s dream to foster community hits roadblock

This Life: Lilburn family’s dream to foster community hits roadblock

For years, Jessica Vaughan imagined life with her husband and three children in an urban area populated with diverse people and ages and ideas. When her mother-in-law passed and the couple received a modest inheritance, that place seemed within reach. But they wanted to use the money for good, perhaps extend some goodwill to the community even.
This Life: Atlanta attorney forsakes his dream job to help immigrants

This Life: Atlanta attorney forsakes his dream job to help immigrants

After five years of practicing law at two of the country’s premier firms, Chris Richardson had finally landed his dream job as a U.S. diplomat. Not only was he able to travel the world, he could serve his country, assisting American citizens abroad in danger and interviewing visa applicants seeking to visit or reside in the United States.
This Life: If Nike can stand with Kaepernick, I can shell out extra for sneakers

This Life: If Nike can stand with Kaepernick, I can shell out extra for sneakers

I can count on one hand the number of Nike items I own, but not for the reason you might think. I like a lot of what I see of the brand, but unless it’s had two or three markdowns, I’ve never been able to bring myself to pay the asking price. For sportswear, the prices always seemed extravagant. I have a few tops but absolutely no sneakers. None.
This Life with Gracie: How faith helped deliver this woman from depression

This Life with Gracie: How faith helped deliver this woman from depression

Renée Arnold had become a shell of her former self. No longer the leader she was born to be. No longer active in her church. No longer happy. By the fall of 1998, she’d just as soon spend the day in bed than venture outside her southwest Atlanta home.
This Life: 2 strangers come together to find the good in suffering

This Life: 2 strangers come together to find the good in suffering

Just as 2016 was beginning, Robynne Boyd found herself facing the end of things. The husband she loved had left, and her mother was slowly dying of breast cancer. A thousand miles away from her home in Decatur, Kimberly Libertini, a woman she didn’t even know existed, was experiencing a similar grief in Huntington, N.Y.
This Life: Spelman betting on more black teachers to make the difference

This Life: Spelman betting on more black teachers to make the difference

It’s been a year since I met Valerie Camille Jones, the Spelman College graduate who’d made a name for herself teaching math at the Ron Clark Academy. She was 38 then, known for doing just about anything to get her students’ brains working. She had a trophy case in a corner of her classroom to prove it.
This Life: Author’s dark tales an escape from darkness in her own life

This Life: Author’s dark tales an escape from darkness in her own life

Last week in a Westin hotel room way above Atlanta, Sherrilyn Kenyon talked about her life and “Stygian,” the latest installment of her best-selling Dark-Hunter series. If you’re among its legion of fans, you know the series takes place over 300,000 years of history, back to the dawn of time. If not, you’ll want to catch up.
This Life with Gracie: Salvation, Swahili and a sold sign in one good deed

This Life with Gracie: Salvation, Swahili and a sold sign in one good deed

Just two months after Ashley Myrick got her real estate license, she sold her first home — a five-bedroom, three-bath single-family home in Lithonia. She didn’t pocket much money on the deal, but Myrick has never felt more accomplished. The real estate deal was easy enough, but Myrick’s clients, immigrants from the Republic of Congo, spoke Swahili and very little English.
This Life with Gracie: Another October, another pink month for this breast cancer survivor

This Life with Gracie: Another October, another pink month for this breast cancer survivor

On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and one woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. That moment arrived four years ago for Bonnie Ross-Parker of Atlanta, just two months shy of her 70th birthday. She’d gone in for an annual checkup and there it was. A lump just under her nipple.
This Life with Gracie: Women leaders reignite own fire while helping girls find their way

This Life with Gracie: Women leaders reignite own fire while helping girls find their way

Every Wednesday for eight weeks this summer, Ava Pittman rubbed elbows with some of the most successful and influential women Georgia has to offer. Cpl. Angela Florence at the Columbus Police Department. Kathy Bruer, owner of Belles & Beaus Etiquette & Manners and Aflac retiree. Teresa White, the first woman and African-American to hold the title of president at Aflac.
This Life with Gracie: When is ‘routine’ really just an excuse for denying dignity of others?

This Life with Gracie: When is ‘routine’ really just an excuse for denying dignity of others?

The calendar hasn’t yet declared it so, but summer is officially over. School bells are ringing and bumper-to-bumper traffic is upon us once more. Depending on how you look at it, that alone makes this a dreadful time of year. The 45 minutes it takes to make my 19-mile commute to work has nearly doubled. Again. And yet, even in the dead of traffic, I find solace in this routine.
This Life with Gracie: Living while black

This Life with Gracie: Living while black

By now, much of the world knows Oumou Kanoute, the Smith College sophomore who looked suspicious eating in a common area on the western Massachusetts campus. An employee of the school, the story goes, saw her and called police, saying Kanoute, who is black, “seems to be out of place.
This Life with Gracie: Women redefining retirement

This Life with Gracie: Women redefining retirement

Sometime in 2009, Rhoda Margolis was sitting at her desk, working on a retirement program when up popped an invitation to a webinar on the same subject. She logged on. By then Margolis, who celebrated her 73rd birthday early this week, had been contemplating what her own life might look like after retirement.
This Life with Gracie: Morehouse trauma team rewriting medical history

This Life with Gracie: Morehouse trauma team rewriting medical history

Dr. Alvin Blount was the first African-American to serve in an integrated MASH unit during the Korean War. Dr. Clinton Battle was just 29 when he delivered conjoined twins without the use of anesthesia at a rural Mississippi home. And Dr. Vance Marchbanks designed an oxygen mask that became standard equipment in aviation and aerospace.
This Life with Gracie: Getting older and loving it. How about you?

This Life with Gracie: Getting older and loving it. How about you?

Reading about Lyn Slater, the Fordham University professor and Instagram idol the other day, I couldn’t help thinking, “You go, girl.” If you missed it, Slater, 64, was featured in a New York Times piece about a certain group of women — all on Instagram — who are determined not to age.
This Life with Gracie: For this doctor, reducing prescription painkillers is personal

This Life with Gracie: For this doctor, reducing prescription painkillers is personal

Dr. Scott P. Rose was in his final year of a surgical residency at the University of Florida, on the way to the hospital to make rounds when he learned his brother suffered an overdose. He doesn’t remember exactly when Steven plunged into his addiction, but he figures it must have been around the time he had his wisdom teeth removed.
This Life with Gracie: He’s on autism spectrum but manages to write a comic book

This Life with Gracie: He’s on autism spectrum but manages to write a comic book

All too often people with autism are stymied by life’s disappointments, unable to move past the frustrations of being let down. Dr. Tyler Whitney, an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine with an active practice in Alpharetta, knows how that happens.
This Life with Gracie: FDA-approved drug holds first promise for kids with genetic disease

This Life with Gracie: FDA-approved drug holds first promise for kids with genetic disease

In the nearly five decades since Mucolipidosis Type IV, or ML4, was first identified, children with the disease have had little promise of ever having a “normal” life. ML4 generally strikes their nervous system early and hard. Most never learn to walk or talk and have a maximum mental capacity of about 18 months.
This Life with Gracie: Young mother loses battle with cancer but her memory lives on

This Life with Gracie: Young mother loses battle with cancer but her memory lives on

Sometime in the fall of 2016, during yet another hospital visit, an ultrasound revealed Emily Moore’s pancreas was inflamed, she had spots on her liver and it was as if her appendix had disappeared altogether. Doctors weren’t worried. It was common among women who’d used contraception to have spots on the liver, but Emily hadn’t taken contraception in eight years.
This Life with Gracie: Nothing could stop this Dunwoody girl

This Life with Gracie: Nothing could stop this Dunwoody girl

The past three years have been a blur, but suffice it to say Emily and Kurt Moore essentially grew up together. They met during their freshman year at the University of Alabama and except for one summer when she was back here working at camp and he was back home in New Orleans doing the same thing, the two rarely ever parted ways.
This Life with Gracie: Surprise! Daddy, you’re walking the Peachtree

This Life with Gracie: Surprise! Daddy, you’re walking the Peachtree

Rick Shimandle just about fainted when his daughter jumped from behind the parked car on Oak Valley Road, just beyond the starting point for the final wave of the 49th annual AJC Peachtree Road Race. It was exactly 8:33 a.m. Wednesday. Tears stained Rick’s face as he realized he was about to walk the 6.2-mile trek with his daughters and two sons-in-law.
This Life with Gracie: What makes you an American patriot?

This Life with Gracie: What makes you an American patriot?

If you’re among those astonished by the cheers and applause of folks elated at the suggestion that NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem be fired, if you could never quite understand why they saw that as somehow unpatriotic, let’s talk about that. With the Fourth of July this week, the time just seems right.
This Life with Gracie: Another kid falls victim to drug epidemic, but is he in danger?

This Life with Gracie: Another kid falls victim to drug epidemic, but is he in danger?

It’s been nearly two years since I last saw Chase Howard, the little boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. No one thought he’d even see his 10th birthday then. As Sept. 19 approached, his aunt, Michelle McClain issued a Facebook appeal to make his day extra special. “He won’t be able to have a normal birthday like most kids,” she wrote. “No Chuck E.
This Life with Gracie: You won’t believe how these Redan students won stock market challenge

This Life with Gracie: You won’t believe how these Redan students won stock market challenge

Back in February, William Roth walked into his British literature class at Redan High School in Stone Mountain and instead of beginning a reading of, say, “Wuthering Heights” or “The Canterbury Tales,” he announced to his students they’d be entering the annual Stock Market Game Capitol Hill Challenge. He was serious.
This Life with Gracie: Does an apology for slavery matter to you?

This Life with Gracie: Does an apology for slavery matter to you?

On the day set aside to celebrate Juneteenth last week, the Charleston City Council formally apologized for the city’s role in the slave trade, its support of slavery and for enforcing Jim Crow-era laws. For hundreds of years, the city was the entry point for at least 100,000 slaves who were captured from West Africa and shipped into the United States.
This Life with Gracie: Cultivating deeper learning through silence

This Life with Gracie: Cultivating deeper learning through silence

The education of Patricia Owen-Smith’s students begins with moments of silence at the start of every class. Instead of whipping out their cellphones and pencils, they wait until the professor retrieves her singing bowl, pings it three times and altogether they settle into the silence — one of several contemplative practices Owen-Smith believes helps facilitate deep learning.
This Life with Gracie: Of cakes, children and Christ: Moral dilemmas abound

This Life with Gracie: Of cakes, children and Christ: Moral dilemmas abound

It’s understandable, given what’s happening at our nation’s borders, if you’ve forgotten the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision. News these days seems to come in torrents with many important issues arising every day only to be forgotten because of new outrages.
This Life with Gracie: YWCA helps achieve a win for domestic violence victims in Georgia

This Life with Gracie: YWCA helps achieve a win for domestic violence victims in Georgia

In the winter of 2009, Melissa Waller was nearly five months pregnant and in a relationship that was becoming increasingly hostile. When her boyfriend’s anger finally exploded into violence, Waller knew it was time to leave. That should’ve been simple enough, but when Waller spoke to the property manager at her apartment complex, she was given two options.
This Life with Gracie: Are suicides really preventable?

This Life with Gracie: Are suicides really preventable?

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in this country, and yet we still talk about it in whispers — if we talk about it at all. Time, though, has a way of demanding us to say something, do something.
National Guardsman solicits prayers for injured daughter

National Guardsman solicits prayers for injured daughter

Longboarding was still a relatively new sport to Kali Shultz, but she loved it. Heck, she loved anything that got her outdoors. Softball. Hunting with her dad. You name it. An athlete at heart, she was good at them all, including her newest love, longboarding. If the sport is new to you, catch up.
This Life with Gracie: Grown kids back home? It could be you

This Life with Gracie: Grown kids back home? It could be you

My daughters, ages 27 and 29, flew the coop years ago. It happened long enough ago, in fact, that I’ve finally started to feel giddy when they return for visits. As happy as I am they’re gone, it’s a good guess that they are much happier than me and their dad. Well, maybe not their dad, but I doubt even he would want to see them move back in for good.
This Life with Gracie: Honoring those who give hope, direction to foster kids

This Life with Gracie: Honoring those who give hope, direction to foster kids

At any given time, there are more than 13,000 Georgia children in foster care because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned. That number spiked recently to over 15,000, the most the state has ever seen. If you have to ask why, you’ve somehow missed the fact that we’re in the midst of a deadly opioid epidemic that’s leaving children without someone to care for them.
This Life with Gracie: Women’s gains at ballot box are part of a movement

This Life with Gracie: Women’s gains at ballot box are part of a movement

At the end of Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globe acceptance speech early this year, the media mogul declared to rousing applause that “a new day” is on the horizon. That night, she acknowledged the significance of becoming the first black woman to win the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.
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