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

Tribute

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 […]

December 09

If everyone knew one

I had a conversation many years ago with a mixed race friend about discrimination. She had a brilliant theory that all it takes to change someone’s heart that is hardened against one group is to know and care about one person in that group. This, she suggested was how we overcome bigotry. She said that […]

#Giving Tuesday

Today has been dubbed “Giving Tuesday” in the US. It follows Black Friday when people spend lots of money to buy things in stores, and Cyber Monday when shoppers take to the internet. Giving Tuesday is a plea to send a bit of all of that holiday money to the organizations that need it the […]

November 22

To Each Her Climate

Every time I post on social media a picture of snow, it never fails to yield disparaging comments from people who don’t like cold weather. Many feel the need to tell me the temperature where they live as if there’s a contest and whoever lives in the warmer climate wins. “I just don’t know how […]

November 17

How to have a good day

Last week I had just finished my last teaching gig of the year and was sitting at the breakfast table wiped out. Bill was in Tennessee finishing his last teaching engagement and I had piles of laundry, stacks of contracts and dozens of emails that needed responses. The travel and deadlines had caught up with […]

October 27

Superhero

Last night at 12:50am, I was standing at the luggage carousel at Midway airport in Chicago having just returned from a very tiring industry trade show in Houston. I had been up since 7am, had to go 14 hrs without eating a real meal because I was by myself and people kept coming into the […]

September 26

Thank You Stephen Colbert

I saw something on TV this week that I’ve never seen before that made me very happy. I’ve been battling a respiratory infection and have been pumped up on Prednisone, which makes it very hard to sleep or read. Wide-awake at 3am I often watch recent episodes of late night comedy shows on demand on […]

September 16

In a Blink

I loved Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking about the power of gut reactions to situations that can’t always be explained but are often correct. Gladwell writes about the biology behind these instincts and how important they were to survival as we have developed as a species. He also chronicles the […]

September 13

Blessed are the Wounded

I learned today that Charlie Petersen died suddenly and unexpectedly this weekend. I met Charlie online when she was part of an online mystery quilt event we did with American Quilters Society and later in person when we were teaching on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Our first encounter was amid a number of people in a […]

August 29

The Real Family Tree

My head has been full this week of information I learned about my family tree. Both sides of my family arrived in the US prior to the Revolutionary War. Both sides of my family lived in the South. I learned that my very well-documented family tree on one side has been missing a branch. The […]

August 26

Why I’m in a Hurry

I turned 54 today. Truth be told, as a child I didn’t know how long I’d live. There were three separate times before the age of 30 when I thought I was going to die because of complications with my asthma. That leaves a pretty big impression on you when you’re, say, 7 years old. […]

August 25

The Confident Friend

It’s been about 5 weeks since we began fostering Caddy, the 7-year-old Schipapom (Schipperke x Pomeranian mix) on the left. She was very ill with Canine Influenza (CIV) and at one point had to return to the shelter for emergency care. Her prolonged battle with CIV mirrored the struggle PAWS Chicago was having containing this […]