For My Father and All Veterans, I Will Never Forget

For My Father and All Veterans, I Will Never Forget
Armed with a camera and a 45 handgun, my father fought fascism in the most unlikely of places: Iceland. His repair ship, Vulcan, dodged Nazi U-boats on the North Atlantic as it churned through the black-green waves of an angry sea. Nestled in convoy, Vulcan housed a photo lab, carpentry, and machine shop. Possessed the... Read more »

On the 17th Anniversary of 9/11, A Plea for Peace

On the 17th Anniversary of 9/11, A Plea for Peace
It was a day just like today. I will never forget where I was; sitting in a dentist’s chair, unaware that Americans were dying in New York City. When I emerged from that appointment, the world had changed. It is still painful to rewatch the archived footage. Recall the horror. Remember what happened on that bright,... Read more »

Freedom of the Press Includes Me Too, Mr. President

Freedom of the Press Includes Me Too, Mr. President
“The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom.” — John Adams     Today, 350 newspapers across the country are publishing editorials denouncing our president’s attack on the press. Courtesy of CNN, here is the full list of those publications. I am honored to have written for a number of them, including The Chicago... Read more »
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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 »