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Prayer Advice That Doesn’t Work For Parents

29 Jan

Back in high school, I was debating whether I should take calculus during my senior year. I hated math, but loved my grade point average – and high-level math courses offered a good way, in theory at least, to keep it up. “What do you think?” I asked a teacher who had watched me struggle […]


A Daily 5-Minute Cure for Our Own Pride

12 Aug

Even if we don’t think of ourselves as ambitious people, even if we have no designs on higher office or covet the nicest clothes or lust for a promotion, we all have our own little plans and dreams and schemes. There’s always something we’re chasing. And that’s good — without the thrill of the hunt, we wouldn’t have much […]


How to Keep an Open Mind

16 Jan

Right around college graduation, a great realization arrived: I needed a job – and soon. Given that I was an English major and actually qualified to do very little, I should have started thinking about this years earlier. But it was too late for that – and so I embarked on my Quest to Find a […]


5 Rules for Taking Inventory of Your Life

11 Nov

Here’s what my life’s come down to lately: figuring out the best way to stuff an oversized plastic horse into a packing box. It’s more difficult than I anticipated. No matter how I position it, the head or a hoof or the tail keeps poking out. The other night I stood there glumly regarding this […]


Messy Quest Turns 1!

1 Nov

Some things never change no matter how much time you give them. I, for instance, have always been clumsy. Just this week, in fact, I started off a family vacation by reaching into my shaving kit and slicing a finger on an exposed razor blade. The next day, attempting the highly dangerous task of transferring […]


Making Room for Surprise in Your Life

16 May

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve lost my capacity for surprise. And I don’t mean my ability to surprise other people. I do that all the time. Just this week, for instance, my wife was surprised to find I hadn’t folded a basket of laundry for five straight days. My kids were shocked that I actually […]


The Lessons of My Cousin’s Fat Lip

6 May

One of the clearest memories of my childhood involves a blood-stained doorknob and a cabinet full of canned vegetables. It dates back about 30 years to a little town in the mountains of western Pennsylvania during a  summer visit to my mom’s very large family —  and it’s an incident that taught some important lessons […]