Mary T. Johnson

On January 18, 2023, my mom, Mary T. Johnson, took her leave of this world. She died peacefully at home surrounded by family. My greatest champion in life, my mom inspired the following Five on Friday posts over the years. 1. This one’s for you, Mom! From 2016, this Five

Parenting Changes our Brains

Witnessing two of my sons become fathers has been a uniquely transformative experience. I hoped they would be good parents. I knew they would be good parents. Over these first few months of observing my sons as fathers, the reality is more inspiring than I could have imagined. Much has

A Baby is Born

I have a new grandson! It is thrilling. His chubby cheeks make us swoon. He is strong and healthy. His arrival also means significant changes in everyday routines, sleepless nights, and new identities for my son and daughter-in-law, the new parents. The joy of a new baby is indescribable, and

Graduation 2022

Most people gush with joy and pride when a loved one completes a course of study – whether high school, university, professional training, or even nursery school. But these same proud friends and family members grimace when they talk about attending the actual graduation ceremonies: too long, too hot, can’t

My Five Moms

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, we are invited to celebrate all the moms in the world, especially the ones we call our own. Five women in my life have been mothers to me. Over the years, each has taught me many lessons about mental health. 1. Mother Mary. The Original.


Dena Nisenfeld Forster died this past Sunday. We buried her on Tuesday. Beloved by family and friends, I had the good fortune to call her my mother-in-law. But she was so much more than that. Teacher. Mentor. Confidant. Friend. She was a voracious reader with a passion for learning. She

Memory Making

Exactly three weeks ago today, my oldest son got married. Brendan and his bride, Hiromi, were beaming on this sunny, breezy afternoon in the garden, surrounded by friends and family who came to bear witness and celebrate. It was a day of memory making. I know some people think we

Mortarboards Fly High

It’s that time of year! And this graduation devotee is over the moon. Two of my nieces and a nephew graduated this year: Lauren from Auburn University. War Eagle! Adam and Allison from high school. Cap and gown. Pomp and circumstance. I get choked up when the processional begins. I

Conversations on Freedom

As the sun goes down tomorrow, the Jewish holiday of Passover begins, and it begins with a story. The story of the exodus of the Israelites from the land Egypt. From slavery to freedom. Essential to Passover is the retelling of the story of the exodus as if it we,

The Madness of Framing Britney Spears

I didn’t know quite what to expect from the newly released documentary, Framing Britney Spears. It is the story of Princess of Pop, gone mad. But it is not just a story about a little girl from Mississippi whose talents launched her into the stratosphere at a young age only to

Heart Health & Mental Health

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day, and Valentine’s Day is all about love, cupid and fluttering hearts.  All year long, another story about our hearts is taking place – the story of heart health and mental health. While mental illness is the leading cause of disability worldwide, heart disease is the

Difficult Conversations

The news headlines have been unrelenting sirens about the challenges of our time. Global pandemic. Variant strains. Vaccine distribution failures. Political mayhem. Unemployment and economic upheaval. Racial injustice. Social unrest. I am finding that these huge social stressors have crossed the blood-brain barrier so to speak and are now part