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The Schnauzer Won’t Let Me Sleep In. But It’s Ok.

13 Feb

My wife and I are approaching our 13th wedding anniversary this spring, and thus far we’ve avoided succumbing to that traditional wrecker of marriages – the thermostat. I like a cooler house. She likes a warmer one. Like Congress, it’s unlikely we’ll ever reach a compromise. So we remain content to sneak around the house […]


Wisdom Lives in the Messy Middle

5 Feb

A couple days ago I went back to my alma mater, Duke University, to guest teach a journalism class. I’ve done this a few times before and always want to say the same thing to my late teen/early 20s self as I stand before these bright, confident and, most of all, shockingly young faces: “I graduated from […]


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 […]


He’s the Vine. We’re the Tomatoes.

22 Jan

Weekday mornings are rarely pretty in the Martin household. From the moment the kids stagger into the kitchen 15 minutes behind schedule already, we careen toward our 7:30 departure like a puppy skidding on hardwood floors. There’s the constant prodding for the kids to fix their own breakfasts, the sudden discovery of homework assignments left […]


Our Most Underdeveloped Gift

15 Jan

Last April, poop fell from the sky and hit me. Twice actually. On the same day. Presumably not the same bird, though I can’t be sure of that. The first round landed square in the middle of my bald head on a bright, cloudless morning as I dropped the kids at school. The second connected with one of […]


My Sorry History of Lenten Resolutions

3 Mar

The only consistent thing about my Lenten resolutions is that I’ve been breaking them since Jimmy Carter was president, at least during those years in which I bothered to make one at all. Back in the spring of 1980, determined to win spiritual glory at age 7, I boldly proclaimed my intention to go 40 […]


My Driveway Adventures: 2014 Edition

20 Feb

About a year ago, I wrote a post here about my extreme difficulties backing down the long driveway of our new house – and the subsequent muddy tire tracks that crisscrossed our yard, driveway and street like a bad Jackson Pollack painting. Giving up wasn’t an option, unless I wanted to become a recluse, so I […]


Taming Our Insatiable Need for Praise

5 Feb

My kids brought home their school report cards this week, and the drama of opening and studying them instantly took me back to the 1980s, when these flimsy sheets of paper would largely determine my sense of self-worth every nine weeks. During my sophomore year of high school, I wound up with first quarter ‘Cs’ […]


When Your Dreams Exceed Your Reach

28 Jan

Sorting through some old files recently, I made a humbling discovery – a list of goals jotted down shortly before publishing my first book in 2012. Despite good advice from experienced authors about keeping my ambitions in check, I insisted on dreaming big. According to my list, I expected to sell 10,000 copies of the […]


Winning the War Against Inertia

20 Jan

I think of myself as a pretty action-oriented guy. While my wife was enjoying a well-deserved night out with her book club a few days ago, I herded the kids upstairs to bed, came back downstairs to start a load of laundry, learned from my son that a defective water bottle had flooded the bedding […]