Category Archives: Link Love

Ten for Tuesday–Vacation Edition

Happy August!

Last week I was in Collegeville, Minnesota for a week of writing. I made some great progress in starting to shape what I hope will be book #3. This is the exciting part because it can go in so many different directions, but it’s not without its stresses–it can be hard to find a foothold with something so nebulous. My mantra at this stage is Augustine’s “It is solved by walking.” The only way out is through.

Currently I’m on a road trip with the kids and my father-in-law through the upper Midwest and a bit of Canada on our way to Maine, where Robert will join us for a week. Can’t wait to see him!

So without further ado–here’s what’s been interesting me lately:

1. Mapped: the United States and Canada at the Same Latitudes as Europe

Have you ever wondered what cities or countries sit on the same latitude as you? Wonder no more!


2. Motivation: The Scientific Guide on How to Get and Stay Motivated

A coaching client sent this to me, perhaps knowing that it’s like catnip for me:

So what is motivation, exactly? The author Steven Pressfield has a great line in his book, The War of Art, which I think gets at the core of motivation. To paraphrase Pressfield, “At some point, the pain of not doing it becomes greater than the pain of doing it.”

In other words, at some point, it is easier to change than to stay the same. It is easier to take action and feel insecure at the gym than to sit still and experience self-loathing on the couch. It is easier to feel awkward while making the sales call than to feel disappointed about your dwindling bank account.

This, I think, is the essence of motivation.

Much more at the link.


3. Why Women Aren’t CEOs, according to Women Who Almost Were

It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness,
competition and deeply rooted barriers.



4. National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year

These are breathtaking. A favorite:

Tarun Sinha. Crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles


5. To Stay Married, Embrace Change

Emotional and physical abuse are clear-cut grounds for divorce, but they aren’t the most common causes of failing marriages, at least the ones I hear about. What’s the more typical villain? Change.

Feeling oppressed by change or lack of change; it’s a tale as old as time. Yet at some point in any long-term relationship, each partner is likely to evolve from the person we fell in love with into someone new — and not always into someone cuter or smarter or more fun. Each goes from rock climber to couch potato, from rebel to middle manager, and from sex crazed to sleep obsessed.

Nostalgia, which fuels our resentment toward change, is a natural human impulse. And yet being forever content with a spouse, or a street, requires finding ways to be happy with different versions of that person or neighborhood.

I genuinely like the mid-40s version of the guy I met more than half my life ago. That’s a good thing.



6. Where Do Ideas Come From?

More catnip for MaryAnn. I’m with those who says it comes from regular work + curiosity:


7. Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

tl;dr is that teens spend way more time alone than they used to, and they report being much less happy. There’s more, but that’s a big finding.

This has inspired some conversation with my co-parent, who read this and was ready to chuck our kids’ devices out the window. I expect a more measured but decisive response from us. This article paints a serious picture. Disclaimer that I hate the sensational title, and I just now realized it’s by Jean Twenge, whose stuff about the narcissism of millenials has always felt suspiciously convenient to me. (Incidentally, we’ve already implemented the nighttime charging station for all the devices. It’s a positive change all around.)


8. Vibrant Mushroom Arrangements Photographed by Jill Bliss

These are so cool:


9. How harsh is your speeding ticket? A new study suggests it may come down to your race.

Oy. An important read:

Is racism in law enforcement the problem of a few bad apples, or is the system as a whole rotten?

A new working paper looking at police officer discretion in speeding tickets in Florida tries to answer this question — and it finds that the answer is somewhere in between. In total, the number of police officers who show racial bias in the study is around 25 percent — not all cops, but still a fairly high number.

One finding of note: the fine for a speeding ticket goes up if you’re going 10 mph or more over the speed limit. White people were much more likely to get tickets for going 9 mph over the speed limit than people of color.


10. The World as 100 People, Over the Last Two Centuries

Let me leave you with some reasons to cheer. Not everything is getting worse. In fact, many things are much much better. A reason for celebration, but also for vigilance to keep it that way.

Ten for Tuesday: Chicago Edition

I’m in Chicago this week, attending level 3 improv classes at Second City. It’s good to be back here. I’ve been saving these up for the past few weeks, so… onward!

1. Thirty Years of Steel Magnolias

Wonderful oral history about a fantastic, quotable movie.

We were shooting part of the Christmas scene, and this was in the dead of August, and we were sitting out on the porch of Truvy’s beauty shop. We were waiting, and there was a lot of stop and start. The women were dressed for Christmas, and Dolly was sitting on the swing. She had on that white cashmere sweater with the marabou around the neck, and she was just swinging, cool as a cucumber. Julia said, “Dolly, we’re dying and you never say a word. Why don’t you let loose?” Dolly very serenely smiled and said, “When I was young and had nothing, I wanted to be rich and famous, and now I am. So I’m not going to complain about anything.”


2. An Open Letter to My Parents’ Pastor

This has been shared widely among my circles, but in case you missed it:

Long story short, my parents are leaving AUMC.

Here are some things you should know: we’ve been members for 13 years, since I was ten years old. My brother and I were confirmed there; I preached for the first time there; until recently, I thought I would get married there.

Another thing you should know: I am a lesbian. I came out this year, after many years of trying to deny who I was. My parents love me unconditionally. My mom cried through your sermon last Sunday. My dad calmly collected his things and told the choir director we wouldn’t be back.


3. World’s First Waterpark for Children with Disabilities

I love waterparks, and I love this:


4. The Most Effective Individual Steps against Climate Change

I have read some good critiques of these kinds of lists. The fact is, we need to make huge system-wide changes, rather than make this an issue of individual virtue. And not everyone has the means to make these changes. Still–I’m a fan of giving everyone some skin in the game.


 5. People Who Tried to Take Panorama Shots and Ended Up Opening the Gates of Hell

Many giggles in the Dana house over these:


6. How to Talk to Your Teen about Colluding with Russia

Don’t be shy about asking your teen where she has been, who she has spent time with, or why she has receipts from Cypriot bank wire transfers hidden under a false bottom of her jewelry case. If you discover a folder marked “parental Kompromat” try to stay focused and not act emotional. Think about her point of view and why she would consider it important to have your social security number, Gmail password, and Pornhub search history in a secret folder. Take advantage of these “teachable moments” to have meaningful discussions about colluding with Russia with your teen.


7. 101-Year-Old Champion after Race: ‘I Missed My Nap for This.’

Life goals!


8. Bill Murray’s Tweet Will Take You Far

I posted this to my ZOOM Coaching Facebook page. In case you missed it:

Note: There’s some doubt as to whether this is THE Bill Murray, but it’s still a great question.


9. Jen Hatmaker on Elephants

A parable:

In the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first.


10. Being Busy Is Killing Our Ability to Think Creatively

Little good comes from being distracted yet we seem incapable of focusing our attention. Among many qualities that suffer, recent research shows creativity takes a hit when you’re constantly busy. Being able to switch between focus and daydreaming is an important skill that’s reduced by insufferable busyness.

Guilty as charged. And with that… I’m back to improvising, running along the Chicago lake trail, and making withdrawals from the Cupcake ATM.

Ten for Tuesday

Some yummy randomness this week, plus stories of ordinary heroism (many of which will preach, if that’s your thing).


1. How Wonder Woman Uses Color

I preached on Wonder Woman this past weekend, and will post that sermon soon (with audio!), but in the meantime, here’s a quick reflection on the use of color in the film:


2. Man behind new Native license plates ‘wanted the world to right the wrongs’ before he died

Apparently this man is a former parishioner of a friend of mine. Loved this story of his quiet fight to get a license plate that honored Native peoples in his home state of Nebraska. What a wonderful salt of the earth kind of man. Thank you Stephanie for passing this along.


3. Bruce Bartlett–Why I’m Not a Democrat

I love people who don’t fit into boxes, and former Reagan/Kemp operative Bartlett is one of those. Something for everyone here… something against everyone here too:

The Trump phenomenon is the culmination of everything I hated about the Bush-Gingrich era Republican Party that drove me out, especially the anti-intellectualism. The sum total of Trump’s agenda appears to begin and end with reversing whatever Obama did; I see no sign of a positive agenda even from a conservative point of view. The Republican Party appears to exist for the sole purpose of acquiring power in order to shower rewards on those who support the party, especially those who support it financially.

I’ve grown to hate my former party. You’d think this would make me a prime candidate for recruitment by the Democrats. But I’m not. First, no Democrat has ever reached out to me. I am not insulted by this, only surprised. And my efforts to suggest ideas to Democrats have been uniformly rebuffed. Like the Republicans, Democrats are wary of apostates and are only receptive to those born into their church, it seems.

Of much more importance in terms of my reluctance to join the Democratic Party is that the party doesn’t really seem to stand for anything other than opposition to the GOP.


4. Roxane Gay: My Body is a Cage of My Own Making

Simply put, I cannot wait to read her latest book Hunger: A Memoir:

I avoid walking with other people as often as possible because walking and talking at the same time is a challenge. In public toilets, I manoeuvre into cubicles. I try to hover over the toilet because I don’t want it to break beneath me. No matter how small a toilet cubicle is, I avoid the disabled toilet because people like to give me dirty looks when I use that stall merely because I am fat and need more space.

My body is a cage of my own making. I have been trying to figure a way out of it for more than 20 years.


5. Perfectionism Will Do You In

I love Parker Palmer, and poet Killian McDonnell, whom Parker quotes here. (I’ll be in Killian’s stomping grounds in a few weeks when I head back to Collegeville Minnesota for a writing fellowship!)

Perfection straineth out
the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at its


6. Flight Attendant Saves Child from Trafficking

This is an old story that came to light in February, but I just read about it today (thank you Michael). In case it’s new to you too…

In 2011, Fredrick had been passing out drinks on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco when she spotted a girl in worn, wrinkled clothes with a bruise on her leg tucked into a window seat next to a well-dressed older man. She said she knew something was wrong.

While the man was looking over the menu, Fredrick says she made eye contact with the girl and mouthed “go to the bathroom,” where she had left a note and a pen.

The girl wrote back, “I need help.” Fredrick said she immediately called the captain, and police were waiting in the terminal when the plane arrived.

The heartbreaking part of the story is the many flight attendants who saw something amiss but didn’t know what to do, so they did nothing.


7. Is Fat Killing You, Or Is It Sugar?

tl;dr — It’s complicated. And anyone who says it’s simple is selling you something.


8. Six Black Women at the Center of Gravity in Theological Education–NBC News

How much do I love that this topic, and these women, are profiled on mainstream media? They make the church better, every one. Proud to know (a little bit) Dr. Margaret Aymer, the first Black woman to be named a full tenured professor at Austin Seminary:

“#BlackWomanMagic speaks both to the wonder that “we stand where the white gleam of our bright star is cast,” and to the power and effort that it has taken collectively within the African diasporic community and individually within each of these women to reach these positions.”


9. A riptide swept away a Florida family. Then beachgoers formed a human chain.

This story of peril and rescue is absolutely riveting, and it will restore your faith in humanity.

This video includes footage from the event, as well as other times that strangers came to the rescue of others.


10. The beauty of liturgical art

I end on a personal note. You may remember reading about my experience leading the women’s conference at Mo-Ranch last month. The conference was themed “A Durable Fabric: Frayed but not Afraid,” and the post includes a photo of me standing in front of a background with red, orange and yellow strips of fabric with messages written on them.

A wonderful artist and conference participant created a stole out of these fabrics:

I am speechless. I can’t wait for Pentecost again so I can wear it!


What has you speechless today?


Ten for Tuesday: Featuring Yours Truly


1. Art, Inspiration and Justice–a conversation with… well, me.

My friend and fellow improviser Marthame Sanders was in town recently, and we recorded a conversation for his podcast, aijcast. Give it a listen! Thankful for this conversation.


2. Slo-Mo Inside a Giant Water Balloon

Gosh that’s spectacular.

It’s as if the makers of Jackass recreated that scene in Two Towers when Saruman is breeding the Uruk-hai.


3. The Spirituality of the Ordinary is Luminous

Yes it is. I’m typing this on my back porch, surrounded by the twittering of birds. Simple. Lovely.

The post quotes extensively from Abraham Joshua Heschel, one of my favorites, including:

The surest way to suppress our ability
to understand the meaning of God
and the importance of worship
is to take things for granted.


4. Is Your God Dead? — NYT

So, is your God dead? Have you buried God in the majestic, ornamental tombs of your churches, synagogues and mosques? Perhaps prosperity theology, boisterous, formalistic and mechanical prayer rituals, and skillful oratory have hastened the need for a eulogy.

Challenging. For many of us.


5. Jupiter from Juno

What we’re looking at is “enhanced photography projected along Juno’s orbit trajectory to give a Juno’s eye view of its closest approach to Jupiter. Nothing added other than color & detail passes to enhance what is there in original photography, otherwise Jupiter would look like a beige ball.”


6. Guide to Weight and Body Image, from the Girl Scouts

I can’t remember which of my friend posted this, but I’m so glad they did. Really good advice here, especially on what not to do.


7. Letters from Former Enslaved People to Their Former Owners

Wow, these are fascinating. I loved the first one in particular. It seems frivolous to characterize it as being full of sick burns, but well, read if yourself and tell me if I’m wrong.


8. These 10 People Wake Up at 5 a.m. (or Earlier) to Work Out

One of these 10 is a friend!

As a committed 5 a.m. runner (at least once or twice a week), I like these stories because they show how a seemingly bizarre decision can often be the best option. With tips on how to make it work, which can be applied to many areas of life.


9. I, Too, Am America

This image came to me recently, but it’s actually from before the election. A full-page ad in the New York Times reserved for a poem by Langston Hughes:


10. Inside the Museum of Failure

I recently posted this on my new personal and professional coaching page, ZOOM! Coaching. (More on my coaching gig in a future post, but I invite you to like my page for interesting content like this.)

What would you put in your own museum of failure?

Ten for Tuesday

Here we go!

1. Downhills at the Tour de France Test Cyclists Against Time, Danger and One Another

This story is a couple years old, but a friend posted it in a multisport FB group I’m in. Fascinating story about the harrowing downhills that cyclists face and how they handle them. And I get freaked out by a 7% grade! I can’t imagine 70 mph on a bike.


2. Free Yourself of Your Harshest Critic, and Plow Ahead

Sound advice for people who want to create:


3. Enough “Virgin in the Volcano” Theology

Our churchy link of the week. My friend Jim Somerville offers a pointed critique of the idea that God demanded payment for our sins through Jesus’ death on the cross.


4. My Body Doesn’t Belong to You

My girlfriends lean in a little closer and say: “Oh Heather, please tell the story again. Tell us how you and Lyle met.”

“Well,” I begin, taking one last sip of Bloody Mary. “I was walking down the street when Lyle drove by and yelled, ‘Hey, baby!’ and asked me to have sex with him. And I thought, ‘This one’s a keeper.’”

Such behavior is not about me. It’s not about love. It’s not even about sex. It is about fear and power. What certain men gain from feeding on such things, I do not know, and I do not want to know.

Riveting and real.


5. Philly OB/GYN Delivers Baby Gorilla

This is so wonderful, and a great example of improv: taking the tools and skills you have for one task and repurposing them for something else: “For the most part, I was in the moment, doing what I do every day.” Yes. (And.)


6. Dad Said When You’re Gone, You’re Gone. He Was Wrong.

This is a beautiful reflection about the people who leave us, but who also stay indelibly behind.


7. Man Fashions Fabulously Tiny Hats for Toad Who Visits His Porch Every Day

And why shouldn’t he???


8. Adam West Saved Batman. And Me.

NPR’s Glen Weldon is one of my favorite writers and commentators on pop culture. I wasn’t a big Batman fan, but this is a touching article.


9. Polluted Water Popsicles: Faux Frozen Treats Highlight Taiwan’s Water Pollution Problem

Art at its most subversive:

Focused on environmental change rather than flavor, art students Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti from the National Taiwan University of the Arts concocted a line of “frozen treats” titled Polluted Water Popsicles. The group collected polluted water from 100 locations in Taiwan, first freezing the collected sewage samples and then preserving their creations in polyester resin.



10. C.S. Lewis’s Greatest Fiction Was Convincing American Kids That They Would Like Turkish Delight

What would the perfect fantasy treat look like? Depending on where you’re from, probably not this.

What did you imagine Turkish Delight tasted like when you read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe? I read the book for the first time as an adult (I know, I know) and I don’t remember having any opinion or image in mind–maybe a baklava-ish thing. But when I was a child, I imagined that the biblical “manna” tasted like crumbs of Duncan Hines yellow cake.

And, “almost-solid perfume” is the perfect description of how Turkish Delight tastes to me.