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Tabi Upton

Stories by Tabi

Lights are twinkling in my fireplace, across its mantel and atop my kitchen cabinets. Lights are blinking outside on houses, in store windows and dazzling the streets. These stunning orbs of radiance signal that the holidays are here.

I like to think of myself as brave. The day a mouse came unannounced into my house, however, almost did me in. It wasn’t the first time one had taken a liking to my abode. The first incident happened a few years ago while I was entertaining an old friend in my living room. Kristie took a bite from a tasty snack I’d set out for her and sat up suddenly, looking toward the front door. “A mouse just walked in your house,” she explained.

Imagine being left on an island all alone. Think Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway."

I was facing a snarling dog who barked ferociously at me. It was exceptionally evil-looking with black fur and red eyes.

I stumbled across a blog the other day called the Art of Manliness.

Animals are wonderful. Some can fly, others change colors, run fast or go months without eating.

Self-confidence. If it could be reduced to a potion and drunk from a bottle, many of us would buy it.

I have scars on each knee that I've sported most of my life. Here's the back story:

A few years ago I took a personal retreat for the weekend to rest and write.

Happy Love Day. I know, I know. Some people quietly endure this day of hearts.

My maternal grandmother, whom we affectionately and fearfully called "Big Mama," used to make us grandchildren turn off all the lights in the house during thunderstorms and sit quietly on the floor of her living room.

I must say, I'm a die-hard "Downton Abbey" fan.

As we enter this brand-new year, holiday cookies have grown stale, the festive party lights have faded and we are ready to write our resolutions, eager for self-improvement and forward motion.

We have come to a place where words falter. Hope stands on a precipice, uncertain. Our nation has been through so many instances of senseless violence, we hardly recover from one before another storms in, overshadowing the shock and sadness of the last.

Ever been around someone who thinks they are generally superior to you and most people they know?

My parents are at it again. They were on the lookout for a new adventure and, sure enough, they've found one. After a whirlwind interview and observation weekend at an international boarding school last month, they have accepted the position of house parents there.

As a little girl, I had a vivid imagination and a fear of the dark.

No parent wants to hear that their child is being bullied at school, but few consider the fact that their own beloved child may sometimes be the bully.

Some of us remember the 1980s commercial that depicts a person frying an egg in a hot skillet. The narrator tells us that this is "your brain on drugs." Get the picture?

Most people are familiar with the disorder called ADD (attention-deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).

I'm usually the one who brings the potato chips to potlucks. I wouldn't describe myself as the least domestic of women.

While sitting with a group of women the other day, the conversation moved toward the support that women traditionally offered one another.

Positive thoughts don't come naturally. Often, we're too busy thinking about what went wrong or what might go wrong. These thoughts stress us out and sometimes make us sad.

I once read a story about a couple who got into a passionate fight in the middle of a street in Paris. The man impulsively flew home to the United States ahead of time, while the woman, left alone on their vacation, decided to enjoy the rest of the week.

I once watched a movie in which a man trying to give another man a makeover forced him out of his shoes while they were walking and threw them over a balcony.

Most of us learned early on what was needed to grow up physically healthy: eat our vegetables, avoid sweets, play outside, take a nap.

On a fun family trip to Disney World, a friend told me she'd met two amazing little girls one night as they exited an elevator heading for dinner. They were dolled up in beautiful spring dresses and accompanied by their parents.

The other day I sat in a meeting listening to a dear friend talk about her plans of starting a nonprofit that would change the inner lives of women all around the world.

A few days ago, I created an impromptu poem with a young and bubbly girl who sat with me in my office. I wrote a phrase, and she added a line.

The other night I came home from work, curled up in bed with my laptop computer and watched brief comedy episodes for over an hour. It had been a long day at work, and I was dog tired.

One of the best ways to achieve something in life is to make it plain by writing it down.

One of the many fun customs of New Year's Eve celebrations is the singing of the ancient song "Auld Lang Syne" (Old Long Since).

Ah, peace. There have been moments this holiday season that I've experienced some of that peace on Earth. It's the peace that often comes from receiving and giving that wonderful good will to our fellow men.

No one is born with a fear of the holidays. It sort of develops.

Stress, worry and anxiety can sometimes be like the cousins you'd rather not see at your family reunion.

In light of the trend away from marriage in our country, I wonder if there is something parents could do now to help make the institution better by teaching kids about commitment.

I awoke today to a crisp, cool fall morning. Even though my neighborhood was covered in fog, it thrilled me to step outside soon after waking and see what nature was doing. Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. The fall season is colorful and quieti

I still remember a visit I took to Tijuana, Mexico, that taught me more about human behavior than a month of college work. In a market, I approached booths to look over some brightly colored items for sale.

It took the high-profile controversy involving Anita Hill and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the 1990s to give me words to explain the topsy-turvy years of high school.

It's finally here. The years have flown by, and you can't believe the child you reluctantly took to kindergarten is starting his or her senior year in high school.

Life is full of surprises. One of my greatest surprises this year is my beautiful, wild, verdant and accidental garden.

Most of us grow out of childhood fears of bullies on the playground, monsters in the closet or a parent’s arched eyebrow when we’ve done wrong. Fears of adulthood are often more complex, sometimes hidden, deeply imbedded and often relational.

Sunday found my house filled with small children and adults eating and enjoying lively discussion, play and general mischief. As the day wore on, small tasks were doled out for cleanup.

If wintertime for me is a time of bundling up and retreating inward, both physically and psychologically, summertime is the time of openness and expansion.

Last Thursday, after more than three months of enduring crutches, hopping on one leg and limping, I finally stood up and walked.

In the 1998 film “Life is Beautiful,” an Italian Jewish father is sent to a concentration camp along with his young son just before World War II ends. His desire to shield his son from the horrors all around sparked an unusual creativity in him that resulted in a continual stream of ways to keep his son from fully understanding the weight of the danger he was in. In the end, he saves not only his son’s life, but his tender mind and heart as well.

Divorce continues to rock the foundation of American marriage, and unfortunately, it’s one of the many things we lead the world in.

On a trip to California last year to celebrate a birthday, I caught up with several college friends. There was Gail, a Filipino- American; Yi Sun, a Korean-American; Cherlyn, a black American; Marcy, a white American; Fitsum, an Ethiopian, and Glenn, a Japanese- American.

As Japan reels from last week’s earthquake, tsunami and now nuclear threat, the power of the nation’s communal approach to tragedy shines brightly in the midst of the wreckage.

During a Black History Month event called Celebration of Gospel, Jazz and Poetry that I attended last month, I listened as a singer threw his head back and crooned the wistful words of “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

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