Author Archives: Weeks

December 17

Refugees 101

Like many people I have felt helpless watching the mass migrations of refugees from Syria into Turkey and throughout US and Europe. While it’s gotten less attention in the media, similar streams of refugees from Congo,  Myanmar (Burma) and other countries have been quietly making their way to the US as well. When I found […]

December 05


Those who knew me as a child and teen often called me a “troublemaker.” I spoke up about things I thought were unfair at school and even challenged older family members who made bigoted comments. When you’re a child it’s a bad thing to speak up, at least that’s what I was told. I’ll be […]

October 12

I like that.

In the interest of my own mental health in the weeks leading up to the election, I’m starting a daily series of photos on my personal Instagram account (weeksringle) about things that make me happy. I won’t be reposting the images on Facebook so head on over to that account if you’re interested. The first […]

October 05

Exercise, comedy and kittens

Repeat after me: Exercise, comedy and kittens. These are the three things that will prevent you from losing your freaking mind in the next five weeks until Election Day. Let’s break it down: Exercise is a must. Not only because all of us  will inevitably be nervously eating leftover Halloween candy on Election Night but […]

September 23

staying on it

About 15 years ago I was having a series of respiratory infections that were leaving me sick 50% of every month. I went to 5 different teaching hospitals in Chicago and all told me it was within the realm of asthma. I pushed on knowing that it was something else. Finally a doctor agreed in […]

August 26

Bring on the Dreamers

I turned 55 today. One of the gifts of middle age is being able, if you’re lucky, to sort through the signals that society sends you about what’s important. Society tells me that I’m supposed to care a lot about material goods, fame, my appearance and how much is in my bank account. The older […]

August 23

Tale of Two Friends

About 12 years ago we were renovating our studio and our architect introduced us to a new contractor names Casey, the owner of Loop Construction. Casey had just moved from Wisconsin for his wife’s job and to be near family. He had no customers in the Chicago area. We soon realized that we worked better […]

August 19

Wagon Wheel vs Freebird

As one who has spent a fair amount of time listening to kids sing at summer camps and in large groups over the past few years I’ve been surprised how frequently I hear the Bob Dylan and Ketch Secor song Rock Me Mama. Among teens it’s known as Wagon Wheel, made popular by Darius Rucker […]

August 11

First Seven Jobs

#firstsevenjobs  and what I learned from each cashier at Hardee’s – customer service (I’m talking to you guy in summer of 1976 who came to my register every day in the middle of the lunch rush and requested the special-order fish sandwich with no tartar sauce and skim milk) and working quickly but accurately with […]

August 07

Pet Blessings

My friend and minister Britt asked me last week to bless pets at our church service today. She knew I was “an animal person” but I warned her that I would cry because I’m always moved by the relationship between people and their pets. She assured me that “tears are holy things” and not to […]

July 31

4 square inches of mercy

Several people have asked me to describe the work we did with Appalachian Service Project last week so here’s a summary of my experience. The Woman Card We committed to this project last fall and have gone to meetings regularly to train and prepare for the week. Men and women lead the teams and many […]

July 13

Emotional Safety

A week or so we dropped our almost-15-year-old daughter off at camp to begin a two-week hiking, camping and kayaking odyssey with 19 other kids in Alaska. She’s attended this sleepaway camp based in Michigan for several years. Every four years they make the trek to Alaska. She heard about it last year and has […]

June 06

Roman Holiday

Following teaching with France Patchwork in May, our family visited Bill’s sister’s family and farm near Rouen and then flew to Barcelona, Venice, Florence and Rome for our first long family vacation ever. Our first day here in Rome can be best described as a fiasco. I had been here last as a 12-year-old and […]

January 17

Controversial Cookies

“They don’t understand cookies.” — Sue Bailey 1995 In 1995 I met Sue Bailey, a legendary baker who lived on the street where Bill grew up. Sue baked every day and was generous with her sweets, famously donating 40 fully decorated gingerbread houses to Meals on Wheels every Christmas. She never married but lived in […]

January 11


Stop what you’re doing right now. You need to watch this. You need to watch it to remember the power of music. You need to remember that great music transcends race, class, position in life. And you need to watch this because whatever you think about who’s creative and who isn’t is going to be […]

January 04

Seeing Abundance

I had a beautiful moment this evening that hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve always thought that happiness isn’t found in winning the lottery or having great achievements as much as it is contentment with how you’ve spent your time and energies. It’s that Sheryl Crow line “It’s not getting what you want. […]

January 01

A New Perspective

I love everything about New Year’s Day. I love the idea of a clean slate. I love the promise of a new year. I love the opportunity to pivot and approach life differently. While we have lots of plans that we will share with you soon, here are a couple of themes that I’ll be […]

December 21

It’s Here

It’s here. Today is the day I meet some members of my family I didn’t know existed. I wrote a post last fall sharing that our family discovered a branch of the family tree was missing. It was missing because my grandmother’s uncle had had a long-term relationship with an African-American woman, a descendant of […]

December 13

Memo: Regarding my birthday

To: Those who celebrate my birth on December 25 From: Jesus Some of you seem kind of stressed out over the wrong things when it comes to celebrating my birthday. Sorry I didn’t give specifics on how to observe my birth in the New Testament but there was so much to cover in a short […]

December 12

Homemade Pep Rally

Our daughter Sophie has always been a science and math kid. I knew this was going to be a big part of her life when she asked me the following question while walking over the Millenium Bridge in London at age 5: “If the supports for the bridge have to be built with concrete, and […]