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

Emily Blunt Offers a Stunning Portrait of Womanhood in Krasinski’s A Quiet Place

"Come a little bit closer, hear what I have to say." I'll never hear Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" again without recalling the scene in John Krasinski's thriller A Quiet Place when Evelyn Abbot, heavily pregnant and beautifully draped in a blue summer dress, descends basement stairs in bare feet and draws her husband away from the work … Continue reading Emily Blunt Offers a Stunning Portrait of Womanhood in Krasinski’s A Quiet Place

Conversion of a Candle in the Wind: The Woman at the Well and Me

On the surface my life seems more stable than hers. One husband, not five.  But I understand the Woman at the Well.  My heart is insatiable and wanders in all directions. I fall in love all the time, becoming passionately absorbed with pretty much anything or anyone. A new friend, a big idea, a chance for … Continue reading Conversion of a Candle in the Wind: The Woman at the Well and Me

Tolkien, Trees and a Naturalist’s Notebook: Noticing Nature Even as Mordor Looms

"In all my works I take the part of trees against all their enemies," J.R.R. Tolkien wrote late in his life.  The Master of Middle Earth even referred on one occasion to The Lord of the Rings as "my own inner tree." With springtime erupting everywhere, I've been reading Humphrey Carpenter's J.R.R. Tolkein:  A Biography.  … Continue reading Tolkien, Trees and a Naturalist’s Notebook: Noticing Nature Even as Mordor Looms

Science vs. Self-Centeredness! Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me-World

I'll never forget when, years ago in my counseling career, a young man in the community I where I worked committed a horrific, violent crime. But I also won't forget a Wednesday evening about two years after the tragedy when his name came up at church--where I was leading teenagers in a discussion about their … Continue reading Science vs. Self-Centeredness! Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me-World

Toward Authenticity in the Cultural Moment: Three Lessons from Dorothy Day

She never shied away from the contentions of political engagement.  She practiced what she preached, responding to the wretchedness of Depression-era poverty by co-founding a movement that established a newspaper, communal farms and "Houses of Hospitality" for the homeless.  She had an abortion as a young woman but would ultimately regret it and defend human … Continue reading Toward Authenticity in the Cultural Moment: Three Lessons from Dorothy Day