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The Peak Moments of a Marriage

The Peak Moments of a Marriage

Wedding season is in full swing, especially here in Virginia-Is-For-Lovers land. Which means it’s time for flowers and sparklers and awkward toasts and hopefully less awkward dancing. It’s a joyful season but, as we all know, also a pressured one. Not only are our bodies on display but our relationships (or lack thereof). Plus, this […]

He Was Number One (or, Why Not Everyone Gets A’s, According to Alfie Kohn)

He Was Number One (or, Why Not Everyone Gets A’s, According to Alfie Kohn)

Imagine a high school graduation. Family and friends proudly jostle for a view of their students turning tassels on stage. Imagine the students’ camaraderie, the collective sigh of relief: summer spans ahead, former identities fade. Outcasts, athletes, nerds all face the world, now wide with opportunity. Imagine, also, the salutatorian standing and speaking about her […]

From The Atlantic: Are McMansions Making People Any Happier?

Apple’s magazine and news service, Apple News+, served me up another parable of the little-L law from The Atlantic last week as I perused my News app. It’s a classic, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses type report about how we Americans are building bigger homes than everand yet our happiness tends to be inversely proportionate to the square footage of our new real estate. As usual, the dynamics of comparison, judgment, and self-salvation (AKA self-justification) are at play. A couple of takeaway quotes (emphasis mine):

To be clear, having more space does generally lead to people saying they’re more pleased with their home. The problem is that the satisfaction often doesn’t last if even bigger homes pop up nearby. “If I bought a house to feel like I’m ‘the king of my neighborhood,’ but a new king arises, it makes me feel very bad about my house,” Bellet wrote to me in an email. […]

Bellet sketches out an unfulfilling cycle of one-upmanship, in which the owners of the biggest homes are most satisfied if their home remains among the biggest, and those who rank right below them grow less satisfied as their dwelling looks ever more measly by comparison.

Happy Father's Day: Try Not to Kill Dad

Happy Father's Day: Try Not to Kill Dad

Here we are, the week before Father’s Day, and I decided to make a shopping trip for my husband to my favorite local gift shop. It is the kind of place that I could walk into and find five pairs of earrings I can’t live without and a tray for my work desk that says, […]

For the Love of Money: The Metronome to Human Life

For the Love of Money: The Metronome to Human Life

Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Money money money money, money Some people got to have it, yeah, some people really need it Listen to me y’all, do things, do things, do things, bad things with […]

"I Do" Is Not "I Can": From Jason Micheli's <i>Living in Sin</i>

"I Do" Is Not "I Can": From Jason Micheli's Living in Sin

Thrilled to share this excerpt from Jason Micheli’s brand-new book Living in Sin: Making Marriage Work Between I Do and Death. The following comes from Chapter Three, “That’s What She Said” (pp 52-56). Strike what I said earlier against advice-giving because here’s some. But this isn’t just marriage advice, it’s Christian advice, advice on how […]

A Little Ditty ’Bout Jack and the Desert Monks

A Little Ditty ’Bout Jack and the Desert Monks

In the gallows humor of this thing called Life, it’s usually in the afterglow of fulfilling our ultimate dreams that we wake up and ask, “What in the hell was I thinking?” Was it worth delaying marriage, foregoing children, neglecting aging parents and ignoring friendships, to find myself in my late-40s with a career fat […]

Experts and Engines: Ode to a ’99 Heep Cherokee

Experts and Engines: Ode to a ’99 Heep Cherokee

An indulgent dive into “My Documents” brought me to the following essay, which I began writing several years ago. Some time-defying adjustments—minus a metaphor, plus a William Davies reference—made for something I’m happy to dredge out of obscurity. Glad I’m past all of this… Having attended 3-4 different churches in the last five years (not […]

I’m a Vampire! I’m a Vampire! I’m a Vampire!

I’m a Vampire! I’m a Vampire! I’m a Vampire!

Another year, another Dungeons and Dragons campaign on the books. Fully enveloped within the modern resurgence of the classic fantasy roleplaying game, I’ve been running (“dungeon mastering”) a series of campaigns for my wife and our group of best friends over the past few years. We just wrapped up a six-month campaign where our party […]

When Your Friends Are the Devil

When Your Friends Are the Devil

Do you ever dread meeting with a friend? Do you involuntarily find yourself imagining the ways this is going to go all wrong? Do you feel a knot in your guts when you receive a text message asking to “connect” later (why that word?) and zero elaboration is given? You feel the foreboding circulate through […]

Needles & Nails: Finding Identity in Ink

Needles & Nails: Finding Identity in Ink

I have little interest in getting a tattoo. Maybe it’s a matter of taste—I prefer expressing myself with music rather than body markings. Or maybe it’s my upbringing. Without a single tattoo in my immediate family there’s a sense of inertia working against me. But my wariness of tattoos is likely the fruit of a […]

I Am No Jean Vanier

I Am No Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier, the Canadian naval officer turned philosopher and founder of the L’Arche Communities, died yesterday morning. News of his death hit me harder than I imagined it would. I have read plenty of his books and followed the work of L’Arche for many years. It was only after his death that the reason for […]