THE ROADMAP

Stories about anticipating, planning for and navigating life’s twists, turns, tragedies, and triumphs.

Oh, the lessons I’ve learned. And, farewell.

Oh, the lessons I’ve learned. And, farewell.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, October 4, 2019 It’s said that the right decisions are the hardest ones to make. That’s certainly been true for me. In 1993, I was a practicing attorney with a baby on the way when my two-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. Autism – one new word,…

9 Secrets to Thriving arrived at the right moment in this year of adversity

9 Secrets to Thriving arrived at the right moment in this year of adversity

  From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page,  September 20, 2020 Why do some people survive, and others thrive when faced with adversity? That question plagued Emma Bell during her childhood as she noted how she and her two siblings responded differently to the same challenging circumstances. It followed her into her career as…

Taking control while more things than usual are beyond our control

Taking control while more things than usual are beyond our control

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, Aug. 30, 2020 If you’re a person who likes to have things under control, as I do, 2020 has likely gotten on your last nerve. Last spring, we were forced to cede some control over the way we live as we learned that a new virus was…

Schoolkids and risk management: A think-inside-the-pod moment

Schoolkids and risk management: A think-inside-the-pod moment

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion Page, August 16, 2020 Last week the St. Paul School Board voted overwhelmingly to begin the 2020-21 school year through distance learning, following the same course as Minneapolis. Distance learning would be the norm until the October MEA break. In the meantime, officials would continue to study options.…

Can we agree or disagree, or agree to disagree – and listen along the way?

Can we agree or disagree, or agree to disagree – and listen along the way?

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, August 2, 2020 We’re eight months into what is hands down the most bizarre year of my lifetime. With a global health crisis and ensuing economic downturn; concerns about schooling, racism, and policing; and an upcoming election, the atmosphere is swirling with uncertainty, anxiety, distrust, anger and…

A thinning blue line

A thinning blue line

  From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, July 11, 2020 There’s a lot of fear in the air. Week after week, we’ve been hearing about death in different contexts: the coronavirus, George Floyd, and the latest shootings. In the days following Floyd’s death, I watched as police officers and National Guard members in…

Learning about leadership in the St. Paul midway

Learning about leadership in the St. Paul midway

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, June 21, 2020 “In parts of our society, there appears to be a turmoil of trust and a crisis in civility. There also appears to be a very sweeping, debilitating and destructive narrative of if you are not with me, then you are against me. Sadly, this…

Navigating our troubled times

Navigating our troubled times

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, June 7, 2020 Protestors with masks on freeways, a fuel truck bearing down, horn blaring. It’s one of many powerful images reflecting the surreal state of affairs in 2020. For months we’ve been told to quarantine, furlough employees, avoid family, friends, churches and gyms, all to protect…

Reflecting and regrouping during the pandemic

Reflecting and regrouping during the pandemic

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, May 24, 2020 Way back in January, I decided this was going to be my best year ever. Resolving to be more deliberate about how and with whom I spent my time and resources, I set goals and made a plan. Then the coronavirus arrived like a…

Lucas Houk working on his art

Special needs, extraordinary concerns

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, May 3, 2020 It took many years and many hands to assemble the scaffolding that provides the structure for Lucas Houk’s life. When coronavirus infiltrated our communities, the structure toppled. Like my son Jack, Lucas was diagnosed in the 1990s, when little was known about autism. His…

Running a marathon on a tightrope

Running a marathon on a tightrope

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion page, April 19, 2020 We blew our pop stand last Saturday and took a long drive to deliver Easter gifts to the grandkids – through the car window. The adults understood, but our little people surely did not. Why won’t Nana get out of the car and give…

Coronavirus and the circle of life

Coronavirus and the circle of life

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press Opinion Page, April 5, 2020 We may be in the midst of a global health crisis but the circle of life continues. An invisible foe, the coronavirus, is changing the way we begin life, live life, and end life. Earlier this week my family grew by one. Spring flowers…