Category: Family

Lessons from Scott Walker's visit to my father's funeral

Lessons from Scott Walker's visit to my father's funeral
One of my best friends died on Christmas morning. My dad, Sen. Walter John Chilsen, was 95 but he was so full of energy and life curiosity and joy that none of us was prepared for him to die. A few years ago, he had tasked me with writing his obituary and it took the... Read more »

We won't always live in a divisive world - All around there is proof of grace

We won't always live in a divisive world - All around there is proof of grace
I’m sitting in the airport in Paris ready to board my flight home, enjoying the last minutes surrounded by multiple voices and languages, skin tones, and customs. I love international travel. It pulls me out of my comfort zone. It puts me inside of the experience of the perfect, beautiful diversity of humanity on this... Read more »

On Gratitude for the Commonplace

On Gratitude for the Commonplace
As I consider Thanksgiving this year, I find myself aware of, and grateful for, things that happen all the time; the commonplace. So I’m writing here with gratitude for the walk in the woods yesterday morning with my faithful dog companion. Sun glinting on the stream between the trees. Coco Wheats with my mom and... Read more »
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Opening Day: Maybe This Will Be The Year I Finally Get to Wrigley Field

Opening Day: Maybe This Will Be The Year I Finally Get to Wrigley Field
I’m a Cubs fan though you wouldn’t know it. I’ve never been to a game – despite the fact that when I first moved to Chicago, I lived not far from Wrigley Field. Every spring I vow I’m going to make it to a game this year. I’ve heard about the fabled Wrigleyville rooftops, the... Read more »

Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 17

Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 17
It’s warm again on Thursday. Melting warm. The jagged edges of the ice floes are coated with dirt. Understandable I guess, being right on the edge of a large city, but it seems incongruous on Lake Michigan – this amazing natural phenomenon. I was standing there admiring the patterns in the ice when I noticed footprints... Read more »

Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 10

Pilgrimage to Lake Michigan in Photographs: Day 10
My Lake Michigan pilgrimage was more internal today. Internal as in inside. As in inside the house. The kitchen to be specific. A small plumbing disaster created our own little lake on the floor of my parents’ kitchen. Okay, it was a puddle. Together with a messy bunch of flooded under-the-kitchen-cabinet type stuff. But it... Read more »
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Always Carry An Umbrella in Singapore: Life Lessons from 2013

Always Carry An Umbrella in Singapore: Life Lessons from 2013
This year, I learned that it’s wise to always carry an umbrella in Singapore. It rains a lot; sometimes unexpectedly (unexpected at least to a North American midwesterner). Reflecting on the year past, I find a few other life lessons to carry into the year ahead. Join me. Type your email address in the box... Read more »

My Dad Survived a Plane Crash and Now He's 90: WWII Veterans and Courage

My Dad Survived a Plane Crash and Now He's 90: WWII Veterans and Courage
Walter John Chilsen, my dad, survived a plane crash in the fight for Iwo Jima during WWII. His plane took flak over Iwo Jima, and together with his crew, he navigated their ailing B-24 bomber back, where they crash-landed it in the ocean just off Saipan. Two people on the flight didn’t make it back.... Read more »

Birthing and Dying: The Hospital as A Clean Well-Lighted Place

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the Hospital ICU the past weeks – attending a loved one who went in fighting the flu, and then, according to the doctors, started moving past us all into a new phase of life called dying. In this case they tell us, the body moved there... Read more »
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"This House is Not a Home" at Southside Hub of Production

A wonderful exhibition just closed at Southside Hub of Production in Hyde Park Chicago. This Hyde Park mansion on the U of C campus is no longer a home in the regular sense. Traditional family life has been displaced by a larger sense of home and community life. The house at 5638 S. Woodlawn Avenue... Read more »