Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

On an ordinary day in the Denver photofinishing plant where I worked as a personnel clerk many years ago, one of the department heads came running into the manager's office across the hall from mine. "Somebody just puked in the restroom!" he exclaimed. "The custodian's at lunch and there's nobody to clean it up!" "Who? … Continue reading Unselfconcious Icons: The Hidden Power of a Good Example in an Age of Bluster and Bling

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: How Music Helps Us Rise when All We Want to Do Is Quit

There's more than enough anxiety to go around these days and plenty of places to place the blame.  Plenty of sin, plenty of harm, plenty of reasons to disengage.  Or just give up. A little thing just about tipped me this morning because it arrived after a series of sadnesses and frustrations big and small.  … Continue reading Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: How Music Helps Us Rise when All We Want to Do Is Quit

Create Peace by Dying to Red/Blue Hostility in a Martyrdom of the Heart

Our nation's discord is tainting every aspect of the culture. It seems nearly every injury has become a chance to take to the streets, announcing our umbrage to the world.  Formerly unity-creating public rituals from professional football games to entertainment awards ceremonies are now subjected to political controversy in ways ranging from the sincere statement … Continue reading Create Peace by Dying to Red/Blue Hostility in a Martyrdom of the Heart

Children Pay Price over Border Policy

After 20 years experience working with children impacted by our policies regarding the US/Mexico border, I responded to the most recent border crisis (family separation) with a reflection carried by Colorado's oldest newspaper, The Pueblo Chieftain.  (See Peggy Haslar:  Children pay price over border policy.) It's about children, red/blue division and our national inability to … Continue reading Children Pay Price over Border Policy

Becoming Rememberers: How Wendell Berry Helps Us Grieve Our Time’s Tragic Tradeoffs

The only bookstore in the mountain valley where I live closed its doors this spring. We still have some stores that sell books around here, but you know what I mean. As jobs fade, families leave. Businesses fail. And now the bookstore has closed. The Narrow Gauge Newsstand stood on the corner of the main … Continue reading Becoming Rememberers: How Wendell Berry Helps Us Grieve Our Time’s Tragic Tradeoffs

Sigrid Undset’s Real Passion Revealed

Kristin Lavransdatter is enjoying a renewed readership. Last year's Audible release of the epic Scandanavian trilogy as a low cost audio odyssey has certainly helped. It's worth the time to make this magical masterpiece a slow read, letting medieval Norway sink into your bones while you grow your own soul by following Kristin's characters. If you're … Continue reading Sigrid Undset’s Real Passion Revealed

Celebrate Strong Dads with a Song and a Slice of Enemy Pie (and Learn to Love Your Enemies Too)

It seems almost everyone is complaining about division in the culture, but our loudest hate-speech protesters often behave no better than the groups they complain about.  And if we're honest with ourselves, most of the rest of us have, at least once in a while, been edgier with opponents than we're proud of. Try as … Continue reading Celebrate Strong Dads with a Song and a Slice of Enemy Pie (and Learn to Love Your Enemies Too)

Music, Meaning and a Piece of Maria: How the Song & Story Podcast Can Fill the Music Void You Didn’t Know You Had

Something's been missing in my music-listening life since the digital age changed the way I go about accessing new songs. Sure, Spotify, iTunes and Amazon offer avenues of listeners-like-you-also-bought discovery, but there was still a certain unnamed lack. Refusing to moan about how much better things were back in the day when we all tuned in … Continue reading Music, Meaning and a Piece of Maria: How the Song & Story Podcast Can Fill the Music Void You Didn’t Know You Had

Memoir as Medicine: Recommended Recollections for Summer Reading

I love book lists.  On the other hand, I don't. I love them because I'm always looking for my next read, but lists of "must-reads" can also bring me down. There's never enough time to read everything I want to; I'm still missing out on the "essential reads" of a lifetime and I don't want … Continue reading Memoir as Medicine: Recommended Recollections for Summer Reading