Ten for Tuesday

It’s Monday night. Middle child has asked to be tucked in 20 minutes from now. Can I pull all these links together in that time? Let us find out. Here is a quick and dirty list of some wacky wonderful stuff I’ve accumulated to entertain and edify:

  1. A meditation by Sharon Salzburg on the power of making a difference right where we are.

  2. Zeynep Tufecki argues in Wired that It’s the “democracy-poisoning golden age of free speech.

  3. But if it is, we have at least a partial remedy, according to Ephrat Livni of Quartz: to act like a 19th-century Parisian.

  4. The remembrances of poet Mary Oliver continue with this reflection from the Improvised Life website about failure.

  5. Speaking of poets, Matthew Rohrer talks about shaking up his creative process.

  6. The beloved cringe-com The Office saves lives.

  7. For those of you who are writers, or other creative types, here are 25 highly recommended books by writer and speaker Chad Allen.

  8. I’m low-level obsessed with the MAYA principle for design and technology… and maybe life in general: “Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable.” Sounds like World’s Okayest, no?

  9. This Baltimore Sun story puts a heartbreaking face to the migrant caravan that so many in leadership want to paint as dangerous or sinister.

  10. And finally, this gorgeous tale of real love and hard commitment, from Humans of New York:

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Click the link above for the whole lovely story.

No go be awesome yourselves. I’ve gotta say goodnight to a 13 year old who still likes being tucked in.

Ten for Tuesday

Whew! It’s been a while since I offered up a nice piping hot batch of links and stuff. Here’s the latest:


Got Mice? Time for a Working Cat (NYT)

Even feral cats can be adopted and be excellent mousers. This isn’t quite the level of “dog that can detect a seizure coming on,” but still pretty cool.


Photographer Geert Weggen Takes Pictures Of Squirrels In His Backyard For 6 Years

Precious and amazing:



Roseanne Cash on Trusting Your Process

I am so in love with the Creative Independent site. I find inspiration every time I visit.

I’m more willing to trust whatever that process is now. I had to learn that it’s OK not knowing in the beginning exactly what you are writing. In the past I would get frustrated and feel like I was beating on a door that wouldn’t open, but now I’m more like, “Well, let’s see where this goes.” It may take weeks before I understand what a piece is trying to be. For example, I’ve been writing the lyrics to a musical for the last four years, as well as writing the songs for this new record, which is why it took five years to get the record done.


The Mistake I Made with My Grieving Friend (Huffington Post)

Don’t make the same mistake. Hint: it’s not about you.


Claudia Day, Mothers as Makers of Death (Paris Review)

Ugh… gut punch.

When I became a mom, no one ever said, ‘Hey, you made a death. You made your children’s deaths.’ Meanwhile, I could think of little else.


Mary Pipher: The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70s (NYT)

I’m in no hurry to be 70—47 is pretty awesome—but I’m also excited.

By our 70s, we’ve had decades to develop resilience. Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. We don’t need to look at our horoscopes to know how our day will go. We know how to create a good day.


Conan O’Brien: Nothing Matters and We’re All Going to Die (Vice)

Is it weird that I found his comments comforting? I did.


Pooja Lakshmin, We Don’t Need Self-Care; We Need Boundaries (Op-Med)

I posted this link to my writing/speaking/coaching page, but it bears repeating:

[The] “faux self-care” that we are being offered is not actually feeding us. If feeling confident and empowered were as easy as spa days and meal delivery service, life would be much easier! Self-care is the internal hard work of making tough decisions for yourself and by yourself. It starts with recognizing that you have limits, and you really do have to choose what you prioritize because just like everyone else, you are human. It’s actually not that pleasant of a process, because it means you have to set boundaries.


Goerge Monbiot, The Fear that Lies Behind Aggressive Masculinity (Guardian)

On Gillette, and more:

The age-old mistake, which has stunted countless lives, is the assumption that because physical hardship in childhood makes you physically tough, emotional hardship must make you emotionally tough. It does the opposite. It implants a vulnerability that can require a lifetime of love and therapy to repair and that, untreated, leads to an escalating series of destructive behaviours. Emotionally damaged men all too often rip apart their own lives, and those of their partners and children.


Debra Dean Murphy, Why We Need Mary Oliver’s Poems (Christian Century)

Do we ever.


And a bonus link, in which my friend and colleague Renee Roederer does a mashup of Richard Rohr and MAMD. What an honor!

What has inspired you lately?

Ten for Tuesday

First, some housekeeping. Last spring I did a series of interviews with a bunch of interesting people about how they incorporate improvisation into their lives and work. Some of these folks have studied improv, but many more of them were new to that language. But as you’ll see, they (we) are all improvisers in different ways.

We’ll be releasing these videos in the winter, along with a leader guide so groups can use them in their study of God, Improv, and the Art of Living (or heck, these would probably work on their own without the book, but you’re gonna get much deeper with the book!). Stay tuned for the announcement about the videos, or if you want to make sure you’re notified as soon as they’re ready, sign up for my email newsletter.

With that said… it’s my last set of links until 2019. Away we go!



1. Learn how anxious teens gain confidence by performing ‘off script.’

2. Be amazed by Melissa McCarthy in this deep and wise profile about improv and more. (I think “no scrolling” may be a good resolution in 2019).



3. Get clarity on what “emotional labor” is and how the term is getting misused. Right from the source, Arlie Hochschild herself.

4. How an 18th-century priest gave us the tools to make better decisions. Bayes’s theorem. New to me!

5. How loneliness is tearing America apart. “On reading [Sasse’s] book, I asked myself where I might get that hometown feeling, where I have natural roots, where I can imagine being buried. No specific place came to mind.” 

6. Rethinking “political correctness.” It’s not about what you think it’s about. Thank you Jan Edmiston for this!

7. DNA test helps mother reunite with daughter she thought died nearly 70 years ago. This was one of the articles in this week’s NYT “Good News” email, and it is a bittersweet ending to be sure, but an infuriating injustice. They will never get those 70 years of relationship back.



8. Dad Photoshops his baby into dangerous-looking situations:


Ten for Tuesday

Hello friends! I’m writing to you from Kansas, where I’m leading a retreat for some warm and intrepid pastors, all of whom have been willing to learn and laugh and play and reflect together. Has been a great week.

Here are a few links that I’ve been collecting lately, both serious and silly.



First, a 21-year-old air traffic controller gave his life so that the last plane could take off safely before the recent earthquake in Indonesia.

Also, from the New York Times, A Year After Las Vegas Shooting, a ‘Survivor Wedding’ Takes Back the City. Lovely:




Julie Morgenstern offers some simple-but-not-always-easy tips to get a better handle on your overwhelming life. I’m a sucker for time management stuff, even though I recognize its limitations. (Many people whose minds work this way are often already doing these things; if yours doesn’t, the tips won’t help.)



A Reddit thread in which a jerk genie grants wishes, but the letter of the wish rather than the spirit. Clever:

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Dear dads: Your daughters told me about their assaults. This is why they never told you.

From columnist Monica Hesse. Ouch:

A man emailed recently in response to something I’d written about street harassment. He was so glad, he said, that his college-age daughter never experienced anything like that. Less than a day later, he wrote again. They had just talked. She told him she’d been harassed many, many times — including that week. She hadn’t ever shared this, because she wanted to protect him from her pain.

For all the stereotypes that linger about women being too fragile or emotional, these past weeks have revealed what many women already knew: A lot of effort goes into protecting men we love from bad things that happen to us. And a lot of fathers are closer to bad things than they’ll ever know.



Poet Donald Hall died earlier this year; here he beautifully considers the depth and breadth of loss, and the difference between solitude and loneliness.




I’m not always great at recognizing when my emotions are amping up—just ask the people who live with me—so this was helpful:




As a historian specializing in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and Europe in the era of the world wars, I have been repeatedly asked about the degree to which the current situation in the United States resembles the interwar period and the rise of fascism in Europe. I would note several troubling similarities and one important but equally troubling difference.

Read if you dare.



And then the antidote to the despair that the previous link might evoke: the power of the small faithful action. Thank you to friend Carol Howard Merritt for writing exactly what I needed to read.


My husband was recently in London for business, and sent along this placard from the Globe Theater:



Ten for Tuesday--Court Preachers, Obesity, New Life and More

In the spirit of #WorldsOkayest, today’s Ten for Tuesday has only nine links. Because I like alliteration more than I like accuracy.


A series of galleries are featuring art created with items of trash and junk. I love that—the ultimate improv.

John Richard Edwards (Onondaga),  Mile-marker post  / Photo by Paul Morigi/AP Images for the National Museum of the American Indian.

John Richard Edwards (Onondaga), Mile-marker post / Photo by Paul Morigi/AP Images for the National Museum of the American Indian.

Anyone want to do an art pilgrimage with me?



Long but worthwhile article.

Years from now, we will look back in horror at the counterproductive ways we addressed the obesity epidemic and the barbaric ways we treated fat people—long after we knew there was a better path.



Denise Sauriol, who’s the team trainer for Chicago Lights and other charity teams for this weekend’s Chicago Marathon, is an amazing athlete with an incredible personal story of comeback after being hit by a car on the way to the start line of a race. This weekend will be her 100th marathon.

Denise Sauriol

Denise Sauriol

By the way, you can still donate to my fundraising efforts on behalf of Chicago Lights here.



Many of us know the famous passage, “First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out…” written by Pastor Niemöller. Did you know that he was a supporter of Hitler in the early years, and had a change of heart?

Speaking of apologists…



Will Willimon, on Franklin Graham and his disgusting apologetics of Donald Trump:

It’s my conviction that the preachers who have sacrificed so much in order to gain a seat at the king’s banquet will soon discover that they have done grave damage to evangelicalism, to say nothing of the harm they have done to the profession of gospel preaching. When the time came for evangelicals to stand up and say, “No!” they had lost the theological ability even to know that there was something worth saying, “No” to.

Will Franklin Graham and his ilk have a change of heart as Niemöller did? We’ll see.



This one left me speechless. Just read it.



He is gravely ill and his entire neighborhood is helping him celebrate:




An erupting volcano, a forest in Madagascar… amazing recordings of the Earth doing the things Earth does. Amazing.



I’ve always loved Fantasia 2000, especially the Firebird Suite, a story of destruction and rebirth. Here’s a recounting of the real-life version.

This photo:


Yes. Yes. Yes.

Onward in courage, friends.

Ten for Tuesday

Hello friends!

I’m in Montreat, NC this week, leading a retreat for pastors in Western North Carolina presbytery. So here’s a verrrrry quick roundup of links that have inspired, amused, challenged and interested me:



A great profile of Back on My Feet, a great organization that uses running to support people transitioning away from homelessness and substance abuse.



Fight back with beauty:

“I found their bodies washed up on the beach, the child next to the woman,” Marzoug said, after spreading fresh flowers over the graves. “Perhaps, she was his mother. So out of consideration for her, I decided to bury them next to each other.”

Even as the European Union tightens its rules to prevent migrants from reaching its borders, thousands keep boarding rickety boats in search of a better life. And many still drown in the Mediterranean Sea, their bloated bodies ending up on the shores of North Africa with no family members to claim them.

Marzoug gives the migrants in death what they failed to receive in life: a recognition of their worth.



Love this—shared by a friend. Sorry I don’t know the source!




Thanks to my friend Jan for this!



Love this meditation on overcoming adversity.



A man and his travel companion had a motor vehicle accident in Bali—his Facebook post helped rescue workers find them, thanks to the intervention of friends half a world away.



Hilarious… and the best “I forced a bot to watch over 1,000 hours” meme I’ve seen.

“I forced a bot to watch over 1,000 hours of Trump rallies and then asked it to write a Trump rally of its own. Here is the first page.”



Careers that will be relatively immune from automation.



I love owls, and this incredible slow-motion video!



Authenticity and empathy.

Ten for Tuesday

Away we go!


Tony Basil, Still Dancing at 74

I love this video of a gorgeous, feisty, still-got-it '80s pop wonder. Hey Mickey!


The 2018 Texas State Fair Food Finalists

Wow, do I miss going to the fair... but reading these annual menus are as close as I can get these days. Favorite: 

Layers of moist chiffon orange cake, dairy-fresh whipped cream, and citrusy orange preserves are lightly blended to form a refreshing custard-like filling. The mixture is spooned into flaky puff pastry dough, folded turnover style, and sealed with a pastry crimper. The pastry is quickly fried into little crescent-shaped pillows of citrus bliss and then lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Layers of moist chiffon orange cake, dairy-fresh whipped cream, and citrusy orange preserves are lightly blended to form a refreshing custard-like filling. The mixture is spooned into flaky puff pastry dough, folded turnover style, and sealed with a pastry crimper. The pastry is quickly fried into little crescent-shaped pillows of citrus bliss and then lightly dusted with powdered sugar.


The Political Power of Aretha Franklin

The blossoming of “Respect” into one of the most important songs that an American has ever sung is a reflection of how, unintentionally, blackness and womanhood becomes fodder for public debate and examination. We don’t mean to be political, but our skin is. Our bodies are. Even our voices. Franklin, taken by pancreatic cancer Thursday morning at the age of 76, was singular in that she contained our multitudes unlike any singer before her — both in her songs and in her skill. Her music spoke to the demand for equality along gender and racial lines simultaneously, knowing that one freedom could not exist without the other. 

Bonus Link: Pop Culture Happy Hour's reflection on the Queen was wonderful.


Donald Trump Fact Check

News you can use... sigh.

The Toronto Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected. And we think the sheer frequency of Trump’s inaccuracy is a central story of his presidency.

Current tally: 2436


Stephen Colbert on the 'Extraordinary' Steps It Took to Get a Diverse Writers Room

Speaking with Sopan Deb for a TimesTalks conversation, Colbert was asked about the overall lack of diversity in the writers rooms of comedy programs — as the writing staffs have long been dominated by white men. Colbert replied that he had been “frustrated” by a seeming inability to find diverse talents for his previous show, until he realized that “the usual process” wouldn’t help him get an “unusual room.” He told the Times:

“It wasn’t until we said, no please, don’t send us anyone but women. Because we would say, you know it’s very important, we want writers of color, we want women, and you would get 150 packets and there would be eight women. And we’re like, ‘God, that’s so frustrating.’ Until I said no, only women, and then I got 87 women.”


Raising My Child in a Doomed World

An article that says what I've long fretted over... the imminent climate crisis.

When my daughter was born I felt a love and connection I’d never felt before: a surge of tenderness harrowing in its intensity. I knew that I would kill for her, die for her, sacrifice anything for her, and while those feelings have become more bearable since the first delirious days after her birth, they have not abated. And when I think of the future she’s doomed to live out, the future we’ve created, I’m filled with rage and sorrow.

...I can’t protect my daughter from the future and I can’t even promise her a better life. All I can do is teach her: teach her how to care, how to be kind and how to live within the limits of nature’s grace. I can teach her to be tough but resilient, adaptable and prudent, because she’s going to have to struggle for what she needs. But I also need to teach her to fight for what’s right, because none of us is in this alone.


Beer deliverymen talk man out of jumping off bridge — by offering him a 12-pack of Coors Light

The headline isn't quite right. The deliveryman offered to have a beer with the man. He offered him community. Communion, even.


What is Barbershop Therapy?

Barbers in the South are training as first responders to assist the men in their chairs with their mental health concerns. Love it.


Argentine Police Officer Promoted After Breast-Feeding Neglected Baby

The officer, Celeste Ayala, was among a team of officers who took six siblings into state custody in La Plata, a municipality near Buenos Aires, on Aug. 14, because they were in dismal condition at home.

The youngest, who was about seven months old, was crying furiously. Ms. Ayala, who is breast-feeding a daughter 16 months old, said she sought permission from the hospital staff to breast-feed the baby.


“I didn’t doubt it for a second,” she told the Argentine television show “Cronica.” “So I pulled out my breast and he became calm.”

Cristian Ritondo, the minister of security for the Province of Buenos Aires, met with Ms. Ayala last week to inform her that she was being promoted to sergeant.

“We wanted to thank her in person for that spontaneous gesture of love that managed to quiet the baby’s crying,” he said on Twitter. “This is the police force we are proud of, the police force we want.”

Fight back with beauty!