Life with Gracie

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 No longer active in her church.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.
This Life with Gracie: R&B singer Ronnie DeVoe, wife Shamari promote Married 4 Life

This Life with Gracie: R&B singer Ronnie DeVoe, wife Shamari promote Married 4 Life

Late last month, Ronnie and Shamari DeVoe took a walk, hand in hand, with some 300 other couples to Kennesaw Mountain National Park. The 2-mile Married 4 Life Walk, the brainchild of Martez and Woodrina Layton, from Grace Community Church in Marietta was both symbolic and sincere. Married couples willing to prayerfully stand together will be stronger for it.
This Life with Gracie: Villa Rica teen’s got sport stacking skills

This Life with Gracie: Villa Rica teen’s got sport stacking skills

Fans of the Whistle Sports’ “No Days Off” met P.J. Ball weeks ago when he was featured in the second episode of the short form docuseries airing on YouTube and Facebook Watch. I had the pleasure just days ago when he and his parents joined me for a chat about sport stacking.
This Life with Gracie: Morehouse valedictorian headed to Harvard Law School

This Life with Gracie: Morehouse valedictorian headed to Harvard Law School

Two years ago this summer, Derrick Parker was hunkered down studying for the LSAT in a room at the Harvard Law School. Having been invited to participate in the prestigious Harvard/NYU TRIALS program (Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools), he felt good. His dream of graduating from college and going to law school was so close he could taste it.
This Life: DACA student: ‘We just want to better ourselves’

This Life: DACA student: ‘We just want to better ourselves’

The Georgia Supreme Court decided last week not to hear a case in favor of allowing immigrants with temporary permission to stay in the U.S. to pay in-state tuition to attend college. It was yet another blow to Sergio Blanco, who’d held out hope that instead of working full time and attending Georgia Highlands College part time, he could finally make education his top priority.
This Life with Gracie: Half of women with PCOS don’t know they have it

This Life with Gracie: Half of women with PCOS don’t know they have it

In some ways, Sasha Ottey was lucky. For many women with polycystic ovary syndrome like her, it can take years and untold doctor visits before they get a correct diagnosis. All too often, doctors end up treating the vast array of symptoms caused by the hormonal disorder. Severe acne. Sleep apnea. Obesity. Or thinning hair and excess hair growth on the face or body.
This Life with Gracie: How these siblings are honoring moms everywhere

This Life with Gracie: How these siblings are honoring moms everywhere

She had hopes of surprising her mom, but knowing Carrie Salone isn’t likely to sit still long, Alleah Salone let her mom in on her secret. To celebrate her love for Carrie, she’d be arriving home from Boston sometime Saturday in time to attend church with her, enjoy pampering at a local spa and then a late dinner.
This Life with Gracie: Sometimes, even good students need push in right direction

This Life with Gracie: Sometimes, even good students need push in right direction

Come Saturday, Indigo Gill will be a college graduate, holder of a bachelor of science degree in biology from Xavier University, and in a year, on her way to medical school. Gill always knew she’d attend college. She excelled at Lithonia’s Martin Luther King Jr. High School — in academics and extracurriculars. On paper, she shined.
This Life with Gracie: What you should know before choosing a summer camp

This Life with Gracie: What you should know before choosing a summer camp

Few of us will soon forget Benjamin “Kamau” Hosch III, the 5-year-old who drowned last summer during an outing with his day camp at Cochran Mill Park in Chattahoochee Hills. Kamau, officials said, went missing sometime during a lunch break on one of the park’s nature trails.
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