My Great Grandfather's War Horses, the Trakehners

My Great Grandfather's War Horses, the Trakehners
History matters to me. When I look at a place, I crave to know how it came to be. What it is built upon. To truly appreciate it, I need the conduit history provides. This also extends to people. And in the case of this post, a beautiful breed of horse called the Trakehner. I... Read more »

Inspiration From President Obama and a South African Writer From the Wild Coast

Inspiration From President Obama and a South African Writer From the Wild Coast
This morning, President Obama gave the 2018 Nelson Mandela lecture in Johannesburg. (President Obama’s lecture begins at the 2:28 mark). Though our former president was speaking to the people of South Africa, it felt as though he was delivering those words directly to me and the American people. They were words of strength, inspiration, and understanding. Words... Read more »

Every Girl Needs a Boat on Fathers Day

Every Girl Needs a Boat on Fathers Day
I have always shied away from writing a piece on Fathers Day. It seems a day for perfect fathers, fathers who fit the larger than life model found on the features pages of Sunday publications. My father was not that kind of father. Still, I loved him and know he did the best he could.... Read more »
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A Research Detour Leads to 12 Unexpected Insights About Quakerism

A Research Detour Leads to 12 Unexpected Insights About Quakerism
While waiting for a voice from Lithuania to respond to my blog questions, I took a detour this spring into genealogy and a new project: a novel set in a Quaker community in pioneer Iowa. No, I am not a Quaker. However, a number of my early Scotch-Irish American ancestors were. Three of them were... Read more »

Malaysia: Home to Soaring Architecture, Diverse Culture, and the Stinkiest Fruit in the World

Malaysia: Home to Soaring Architecture, Diverse Culture, and the Stinkiest Fruit in the World
Sometimes I wait months for an interview to come together. Other times, an interviewee responds in record speed. That was the case with Ken, a Malaysian businessman I met through a professional online network. Prior to talking with Ken, I spent some time acquainting myself with this fascinating country. Proud of its diversity and strong economy,... Read more »

What I Saw in the Crowd At Schaumburg's March for Our Lives: Patriots

What I Saw in the Crowd At Schaumburg's March for Our Lives: Patriots
Snow was in the forecast, the wind strong and cold, as my friend (a retired teacher and school administrator) and I waited under the Schaumburg Town Square arch on Saturday morning for the suburban March for Our Lives march to begin. It started at nine o’clock sharp, led by a team of teens with purpose... Read more »
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Madison County, Iowa: Where Fertile Soil and Family Roots Run Deep

Madison County, Iowa: Where Fertile Soil and Family Roots Run Deep
Six hours west of Chicago, the lush farmland of Madison County, Iowa flows flush against the horizon. Fertile soil and family roots run deep there. Roots like mine. Last weekend, I returned to Madison County to celebrate my Cousin Mary’s 90th birthday. She is the last of her generation on my mother’s side of the... Read more »

Capturing the Majesty of the Super Blue Blood Moon Out My Window

Capturing the Majesty of the Super Blue Blood Moon Out My Window
I couldn’t sleep last night. Maybe it was the hot chocolate I drank too late in the evening. Maybe it was my churning thoughts about last evening’s State of the Union address. Then again, perhaps it was the moon. I finally got up around 4:30 this morning. Crept into my office and looked out my ice-caked... Read more »

The Commonalities Americans Share With Seven Very Different Countries

The Commonalities Americans Share With Seven Very Different Countries
To some, it may not matter. To me, it does: What does the world think of us? Countless are the days I have thought that. Turned on my computer and cringed at the daily news feeds.  Been baffled and outraged by the events unfolding before me. Mortified by the way the country I love is... Read more »
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Life in Beautiful Guantanamo, Cuba: Yes, that Guantanamo

Life in Beautiful Guantanamo, Cuba: Yes, that Guantanamo
A Long Journey to An Interview with a Cuban guitarist We met back in September, inside the funky Batavia music store, Kiss the Sky. He didn’t know English. My high school Spanish failed me. But Jesus and I connected, through the universal language of music. Cuban music. Jesus is a 50ish man who masterfully plays the... Read more »