RIO2

Before the memories of Rio and the Olympics fade, can I take you there one more time? Two of our three daughters were born in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We lived in the North Zone, separated from our doctor’s office and hospital by a tunnel-pierced mountain range. During Denalyn’s many months of pregnancy, we made the drive often. We never begrudged the South Zone forays. But they sure did bewilder me. I kept getting lost. I’m directionally challenged anyway, prone to take a wrong turn between the bedroom and bathroom. Complicate my disorientation with randomly mapped … Read More

Young man holding lemons in his hands. (Photo by Cali Godley)

One of the toughest days of my life found me in a diner in Dalton, Georgia. I was nineteen years old and one week into my first summer of college. I was a thousand miles from home. I was sleeping at the Salvation Army shelter where, the night before, an inebriated guy on the bunk above mine rolled over and puked. If homesickness was water, I was soaked to the bone. On the promise of fast cash and new sights, I’d joined up with two friends and signed on to sell books door to door. My friends went home during … Read More

couple_arguing

I had trouble writing this message. The trouble wasn’t due to the content of the lesson, but the cut on the finger. A few days ago I was fishing around in my gym bag for a razor and guess what? I found it. But I found the wrong end. A circle of skin the size of a pencil head was cut off the middle finger of my right hand and offered as sacrifice to the god of stupidity. It’s really no big deal, (that is, unless you feel sorry for me and then it really hurt very much). The cut … Read More

crowd

I can’t decide if it is a dream or a longing. Maybe it began as the first and morphed into the second. Yesterday I told my wife, Denalyn, “Last night I had the strangest dream.” We’d fallen asleep watching the Republican National Convention. Not the most relaxing way to drift off, right? Politicians, pundits, pollsters and picketers. Tongues wagging. Finger-pointing. Accusations. Declarations. Blah-blah-blah. The convention is warp and woof of our system; I get that. But does it have to be so…hostile, volatile? The country seems on edge. Every headline a heartache. Officers shot. Motorists shot. Flags at half staff … Read More

Man_with_Hand_raised

Max wrote this prayer in the aftermath of 9/11. It seems appropriate to share it once again. Dear Lord, We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a hor­rible dream. But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad. There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom … Read More

Man_anxiety

You probably know this, but in case you don’t, I am so thrilled to give you the good news, you select your thoughts. You didn’t select your birthplace or birthdate. You didn’t select your parents or siblings. You don’t determine the weather or the amount of salt in the ocean. There are many things in life over which you have no choice. But the greatest activity of life is well within your dominion. You choose what you think. You are the air traffic controller of your mental airport. You occupy the control tower, directing the mental traffic of your world. … Read More

woman_in_thought_medium2

(Long, long ago, in the days before internet and email, running water and fire, in days when my hair was red and my waist was thin, I wrote an entry in my journal. It felt print-worthy, so I shared it with our church. People resonated with it, so we included it in a book. That was a quarter of a century ago, yet the words still seem to find their mark. It surfaces in magazines, blogs and newsletters. I even came across a version of this piece on a wall calligraphy. Maybe you’ve read it. If not, maybe you will … Read More

Rooster2

King Nebuchadnezzar had no peers. He was the uncontested ruler of the world of the 6th century B.C. Babylon, his city, rose out of the desert plains like a Manhattan skyline. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which legend says he built for his wife, were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. His royal palace was immense. Its walls were 387 feet high and 87 feet thick. Four chariots abreast could ride on them. The mighty Euphrates flowed through the city. Its population reached two million people. It boasted temples, terraces, and palaces. All of this was under the … Read More

broken_chain_white_background

My hangover was terrible, but I could survive that. The nausea was palpable, but I knew it would pass. The discipline was severe, but I deserved it. What I couldn’t bear was the guilt. Our family tree is marked by a blight of alcoholism. My dad made it clear: alcohol abuse leads to trouble and that trouble leads to misery. More than once I promised that I would never get drunk. Then why did I? Why did I, at the age of 16, get so ragingly inebriated that I could not drive? Why did I drive anyway? Why did I … Read More