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The Whos Down in Who-ville

Every Christmas one of the most cherished activities in my adorable little hometown of Basking Ridge, NJ was the annual “Christmas Eve Carol Sing” on the town green. Yes, that’s right, you heard me…a CHRISTMAS CAROL Sing (not holiday or season’s greetings) right smack in the center of town for all to see and celebrate. Very little has changed about this town tradition since 1924. Picture it with me: you are dressed in your very best finery for Christmas Eve service either coming from your local church service, or as ... Read More »

Find Your Inner Child This Christmas

Christmas is almost here. A few years ago we bought into the hype of the “Elf on the Shelf”. Our family named ours Peanut Brittle. I cannot say that I really remember why we named him that, unless it has something to do with the fact that Susan’s grandmother makes Peanut Brittle every year. One of the most exciting things for my children to do each morning is to run down and see where Peanut Brittle is hiding. I’m sure some of you have seen really elaborate positioning of the ... Read More »

Life with Ice Cream

There is one thing that everyone knows about my grandma: she is obsessed with ice cream. And I’m not using that term loosely. Whenever Grandma comes to visit, we need to make sure that the freezer is stocked with at least two gallons. If it’s Christmas time, and we don’t have peppermint ice cream, someone is making a trip to the grocery store no matter what the weather is like outside. At my college graduation, my grandma got seconds at a self-serve frozen yogurt place. You can get as much ... Read More »

The Christmas Tree

The tree is up! The lights are strung, the garland wrapped and the ornaments placed perfectly on the tree limbs. It’s Christmas at the Lopynskis! I just love Christmas, so many great traditions, and the Christmas tree ranks at the top of my list. I love coming down the stairs each morning to plug in the lights. There is something so magical about a Christmas tree. This year my daughters went for a “minimalist look”—white lights, gold and red bulb ornaments and some ribbon rather than the the multi-colored, every ... Read More »

Life is a Masterpiece

When I was growing up I was really into figure skating. And by “into” I mean I watched it for two weeks every four years during the winter Olympics. But for those two weeks, I was really into it. My mom and I would sit on the edge of our seats watching with clenched fists and holding our breath as the skaters attempted their daring jumps. We cheered excitedly when they landed gracefully and winced when they fell down and slid across the ice. I used to admire the skaters ... Read More »

Battling Mental Illness

On the news again, another attempted murder-suicide, but this time an elected official was involved.  Too often these days, we read or hear of the mentally ill killing, or trying to kill, innocent people.  Whenever I learn of something like this I stop and say a silent prayer of thanks.  Thanks that this time it didn’t involve my son.  You see, in 2002 he was arrested for breaking and entering when he was off his medication for the serious mental illness from which he suffers.  Less than 36 hours earlier ... Read More »


I walked out of the office and remembered I had not yet selected ornaments from the Advent Giving Trees.  As I walked around the trees with their tags identifying Christmas wishes for boys and girls, and moms and dads, I carefully selected two that I thought my girls might enjoy purchasing.  It was hard to select only two with so many items to choose from, but I did.  Then I walked around the trees one last time and a third ornament caught my eye. It was shaped like an angel ... Read More »

Eating the Elephant

You ever hear the old adage that begins, “How can you eat a whole elephant?” I guess unless you are that lady who ate the fly, I doubt you can swallow an elephant. It’s a huge task after all. Dauntingly big, it creates inertia, nothing moves. I give the endeavor a thought and then move on. The elephant is still there, looming. Witness my attendance to a conference on Diversity. The days spent there were very good, and there were great speakers; the breakouts by and large were good. I ... Read More »

Getting Myself Back

In high school and early college, I was sick enough to miss school only one time. I often stayed up until 2 a.m. finishing AP homework just to wake up at 6 a.m. to go to school. After school and on the weekends, I worked a part-time job, did activities, went to the gym and hung out with friends. Nothing ever stopped me from accomplishing my goals. Then my life changed before senior year of college when I developed chronic anxiety. That summer was the hardest time of my life. ... Read More »

Touched and Thankful

Our team of eleven spent four days on the Jersey Shore working on houses nearly a year to the day that Super Storm Sandy damaged them. The material accomplishments of our trip are pretty easy to describe: as a team we hung a lot of drywall in a house built around 1900 with not a single square angle; we hung wall tile in a bathroom; and we identified problems in a house that was literally starting to sag with rot. What isn’t so easy to describe are the ways in ... Read More »

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