The Blessing of Birding by Ear: Tips for Identifying Birds by their Song

"More than any other kind of wildlife, birds have an almost magical hold on the human imagination: "They are beautiful, vibrantly alive, and everywhere to be seen. They open our eyes to the world of nature. They enrich our spirits with their color, their music, and their wondrous gift of flight." The editors of the … Continue reading The Blessing of Birding by Ear: Tips for Identifying Birds by their Song

Why I Couldn’t Put Down Sohrab Ahmari’s From Fire by Water

I read it in two days. I'd received an email notification that Sohrab Ahmari would be the first guest on this summer discussion series. I wanted to know more about him before listening to the conversation with the author, editor and essayist. My husband and I were going camping and I relished the thought of … Continue reading Why I Couldn’t Put Down Sohrab Ahmari’s From Fire by Water

Picture Book Biographies: Childhoods of Self-Discovery Lead to Meaningful Lives

"Play the real way." I can't identify the moment I noticed that when the children I counsel in my rural school told me about a game they liked to play they no longer meant tag or UNO or imaginary pirates, but a favorite video game. I do remember suggesting a board game as a fun … Continue reading Picture Book Biographies: Childhoods of Self-Discovery Lead to Meaningful Lives

Hillbilly Elegy’s Window into Addiction and Disfunction Rings True

Back in 2017, Bill Gates included Hillbilly Elegy among his summer reading recommendations. Having come from an advantaged home in Seattle, Gates said he reads memoirs like this to understand another side of America. "Through deeply personal stories like these, 'Hillbilly Elegy' sheds light on our nation's vast cultural divide — a topic that has … Continue reading Hillbilly Elegy’s Window into Addiction and Disfunction Rings True

Bruce Cockburn’s The Whole Night Sky: A Holy Week Interpretation

Every Holy Week, when the Palm Sunday readings take us from the adulation of the crowd at Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem to their cries to crucify him only days later, the lyrics of a Bruce Cockburn song from The Charity of Night rise in my mind. They turned their backsI made it too hardEvery … Continue reading Bruce Cockburn’s The Whole Night Sky: A Holy Week Interpretation

“It Does Not Appear What We Shall Be” – Reflections on the Loss of a Brother

I lost a brother last month. I'm the oldest sibling in my family and the only sister. Andy, the middle of my three younger brothers, lost his life to COVID-19 on February 10. A grieving heart wants to review the details of what happened. It wants to relive the memories. It wants to make sense … Continue reading “It Does Not Appear What We Shall Be” – Reflections on the Loss of a Brother

Begin Your Reading Year with this Book (and Live Your Own Story Well)

One afternoon during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, I listened to a lecture on the joys of reading. I love reading and I needed joy. Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg, a veteran teacher, offered the following reasons for becoming a more intentional reader, particularly of the classics: to grow in wonder, to join more fully in the … Continue reading Begin Your Reading Year with this Book (and Live Your Own Story Well)