Sunday on the couch with Charlotte

This is how I spent my Sunday afternoon: on my living room couch, snuggled under an afghan crocheted for me three decades ago by my Aunt Kushie, with a purring, sleeping cat named Charlotte draped over my feet. Today marked my second Sunday back at church since Dad’s funeral, and thankfully, there were fewer tears…

Letting Dad go

This is a slightly edited version of the email message I sent to family and friends this morning, sharing difficult news. Some of you have already heard, but I know this will be a surprise for many of you. I am sad to report that my dad passed away last evening, Friday, December 27, around…

God is with us

A little over a year ago, I was sharing a four-part series of articles about my Dad, chronicling his rise from coal miner’s ninth child to college athlete to NFL rookie to captain of industry. A week and a day ago, my dad had surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. While the surgery was…

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow…

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ―Ralph Waldo Emerson But…

From Galilee to Jerusalem

It’s a quiet Saturday morning. I’m freshly showered, sipping coffee, relaxing on my living room couch while reading comments that have been left on photos I uploaded to my Facebook page yesterday. I’m not even halfway done with that project. I was going to share a “few” representative pictures for interested friends and family members,…

Why I love memoirs

“My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours.” —Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

Random thoughts for a new year

A friend posted this to Facebook yesterday: I just learned that the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions harkens back to the ancient idol worship of a two-faced Roman god. That makes me feel better about my lack of success in making/keeping any. I certainly do not want to be accused of being an idol…

My dad’s life in four parts

My dad recently sat down with freelance reporter, Ron Paglia, for an interview about his life. The resulting story is being published in four parts by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Mon Valley section. I am archiving them here as they are published. Enjoy! Facing life’s challenges led to success (November 25, 2012) Part 1 of 4…

Writing prompts

In April, I attended my favorite writing conference ever: Calvin College’s Festival of Faith & Writing. To be fair, I haven’t attended very many writing conferences in my lifetime, but I can’t imagine I would find another event of its kind to measure up. I so appreciate the variety and thoughtfulness of the participants, the…

Remembering Mom

Five years ago today, my mom lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. For months afterward, the 17th held a weird, indefinable significance. Not so much anymore, but my favorite season, autumn, has taken on a more-than-melancholy feeling for me since 2006. I’ve been thinking about her all day, and I will be all week; a…