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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Archive: Betsy Hart

Marriage has long been blowing in the wind

What with all the loud commentary surrounding this week’s landmark Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage, let’s be real: We’ve been changing our definition of marriage for a long time in this country. For decades, heterosexual marriage itself has been morphing into an adult-centered/pleasure-based and transitory institution, as opposed to being about children, community and […]

Moving, and moving on

The other night my three daughters and I watched the 2001 Disney/Pixar classic, “Monsters, Inc.” We enjoyed this movie for children, despite the fact that they’re teens (or almost). And the reason we were watching a show for little ones is because my basement threw up into my garage. Stay with me here. I’ll explain […]

The end of dating?

Perhaps one of the biggest changes in the dating culture over the last century was the introduction of the car. Before that, a young man would typically come into a woman’s home for courtship and that was . . . about all there was since he would likely be under the watchful eye of her […]

End-of-life decisions, cherishing life itself

I listened with fascination to the news story this week about a nurse at a retirement home in California who called 911 on behalf of a resident who’d collapsed. While waiting for the medics, the nurse refused, even at the behest of the 911 operator, to perform CPR on the dying woman. The elderly lady […]

72 as the new 30

Well, just in time. I’m learning that “72 is the new 30,” according to research published by German scientists in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. I say “just in time” because I’m facing a big birthday in April myself. The researchers found that human longevity since the beginning […]

The end of an era – more precisely, my minivan phase

Years ago – in 1999, to be exact – I wrote that I had given up on being “hip” when it came to cars. Though I had previously declared I would rather have a root canal without the benefit of anesthesia than be caught even test-driving a minivan, the birth of my third child that […]

Hart: Eight rules to follow when dating

To paraphrase Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) in “Sex and the City,” when it comes to single people of a certain age, “Everyone knows a million great single women; no one knows any great single guys!” I’m not sure how the math on that works, but there is some truth to it. I’ve known that first-hand […]

February 12, 2013 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

‘The Bachelor’ is train-wreck TV

With the new season of “The Bachelor” under way, I was roped into watching an episode with my 16-year-old daughter, Tori. For the entire two hours I kept my eyes riveted on the show. And about eight times I looked at her and said, “Never, ever do this!” Yes, I admit that Sean (“The Bachelor”) […]

There was magic in encyclopedias; now it’s in iPhones

One of my daughters received a loooong awaited iPhone for Christmas. That was around 10 Christmas morning. Before Christmas dinner, I confiscated both her and her older sister’s iPhones for a few hours to ensure some family connection time. Still, just before I went to bed Christmas night, I received an email from my cellphone […]

There was magic in encyclopedias; now it’s in iPhones

One of my daughters received a loooong awaited iPhone for Christmas. That was around 10 Christmas morning. Before Christmas dinner, I confiscated both her and her older sister’s iPhones for a few hours to ensure some family connection time. Still, just before I went to bed Christmas night, I received an email from my cellphone […]

A funeral, a delayed flight and a revelation

A Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language defines “intentionality” – the noun, not the adverb – as having the quality of being “intentional; (of) aim; (of) design.” I so appreciate that “aim” is part of the definition. I thought of that as I spoke with a friend recently. She and I met up at a […]

Gift-giving isn’t an art, it’s a science

Last Christmas my youngest daughter, 10 at the time, made a long list of the gifts she was hoping for. She then explained that Christmas morning would be a very happy one as long “as everyone got what they wanted.” As I wrote at the time, I’m pretty sure that was an extortion attempt. I […]

When ‘I get to’ replaces ‘I have to’

“It’s not that we ‘have’ to do it; it’s that we ‘get’ to do it.” So said a friend right after Thanksgiving. She said it’s a lesson she and her husband are trying to increasingly focus on with their family. It’s a lesson I could use. I think as we enter the Christmas season, it’s […]

December 04, 2012 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 3 Replies

Sexual openness versus sexual degradation

Feminist author Naomi Wolf argues in a column on that the real culprits of the Gen. David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell affair are the federal Patriot and Espionage acts. In “Sexual Privacy Under Threat in a Surveillance Society,” Wolf writes that without these, the affair would have been left private, and we would all have been […]

Do I want to be 16 again? No way!

I remember standing on the patio of my childhood home one afternoon when I was 16. My mother and her friend were exclaiming, obviously in response to some trauma I was going through but have long since forgotten, that they themselves would never want to be 16 again. As my mother put it: “You couldn’t […]

Hart: The power of prayer

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down, one phrase (or a variation) was offered over and over to those in its path: “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.” Newscasters, politicians, government officials and countless souls on Twitter and Facebook uttered such thoughts. We come across such phrases all the time during tragedies. Call me a cynic, […]

Why women need to be pursued, not be pursuers

“When a man loves a woman, he can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else; he’ll trade the world for the good things he’s found.” — Percy Sledge Just before my wedding (Oct. 13!) I wrote that I had learned Tom and I were considered “deciders” not “sliders.” That according to Scott Stanley, co-director of the […]

Sliding vs. deciding when it comes to marriage

Even after our marriage next week, my then-new husband Tom and I will not be living together, at least not full time, until next summer. It has to do with where our kids are in their lives, their schools, and so on. There will be lots of commuting and two homes about 45 minutes apart […]

Hart: The moral question behind high taxes

The White House website says this in explaining the “Buffett Rule,” an initiative that would obligate anyone making at least $1 million a year to an effective tax rate of at least 30 percent: “Anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to […]

There’s privilege in the package

“But there’s privilege in the package,” said my fiance, Tom. He’s known more for being a scientist than a poet, but that phrase was music to my ears. With just a few weeks to go until our wedding, I was asking him if he was sure he wanted this “package,” meaning my complicated life featuring […]

For crying out loud! This is news?

So a new study says parents can now let their babies “cry it out” at night instead of having to be comforted to sleep by Mom or Dad. The study, in the journal Pediatrics, found that babies who cried themselves to sleep at night without a caregiver were, well, fine. This is news? In this […]

Mother Nature’s pesticides

“Most plants employ chemical warfare to survive,” says Bruce Ames, a senior scientist for nutrition and metabolism at Children’s Hospital in Oakland and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s also a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and inventor of the widely used Ames test, which helps screen for cancer-causing […]

Idolizing Tim Tebow

So, it seems Tim Tebow’s first regular-season game with the New York Jets will be Sept. 9. You know Tim Tebow, the outspoken, openly Christian quarterback who last season ignited television debates like “Does God care who wins in football?” after several amazing late-game plays for his team then, the Denver Broncos. He’s the fellow […]

Aging parents remind us of our mortality

It’s hard to watch one’s parents age — in part, I think, for selfish reasons. So it goes as I watch my dad transform into someone who is, well, 87. In some ways I didn’t have this same reaction to my mom’s illness and, finally, death from cancer in 1995. She was so young, just […]

Getting past the complaints

How would you interact with God differently if you only had today what you had thanked him for yesterday? That’s the gist of a question my 13-year-old daughter, Madi, was asked by counselors to ponder during her month of camp this summer. As we caught up together at the end of her Kamp Kanakuk term […]

Though not a ‘fitness mom,’ she’s on the move

I marvel at the “fitness moms” in my neighborhood. I know several of them, and they are an inspiration. Some of these moms work out more than once a day, often getting in the first round early in the morning, perhaps tucking in yoga or Pilates around their children’s lunchtime, maybe training for marathons, sometimes […]

Mayors play game of chicken over Chick-fil-A

Certain people seem to be playing a game of chicken. The question is, how hard are such folks willing to press the pedal to the metal? What does “blinking” from the other players look like to them? That’s what I wondered on Wednesday as I ate lunch at a Chick-fil-A in Lombard, Ill., a western […]

When is a wedding vow not a wedding vow?

So let’s get personal. About personally worded wedding vows, that is. These are real-world examples from recent wedding ceremonies, featured on (edited for space): From a groom to his bride: You are beautiful, kind, gentle, loving, caring — and did I mention that you’re funny? So funny that sometimes only YOU laugh at your […]

July 31, 2012 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Married with children is better than children without marriage

Maybe it’s because I’m getting married again that makes me have marriage on the mind. In any event, on the day I marry I will apparently be doing more than just saying “I do.” According to a piece in this past Sunday’s New York Times, I will be taking a stand on a cultural divide. […]

July 24, 2012 | Posted in State, national lifestyle columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Lessons children need to learn

How easy it is as parents to see the negative in a child as only that. “He is so stubborn.” ”She talks too much.” ”That kid is so argumentative.” And on it goes. Instead, years ago, a wise pastor friend encouraged me in dealing with my children to always try to find the positive side […]

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