The Surprising Lessons My Family Learned from Raising Chickens

The circle of life seemed a heck of a lot easier in The Lion King. Cleaner, too. A few years ago, our family decided we didn’t have enough pets. So we “adopted” some chickens. “Think of the eggs!” my wife reasoned. Well, the egg production has been spotty, at best. What’s been far more instructive … Continued


The Virtues of Learning to Sew

I find myself feeling nostalgic these days. My kids are growing up in a different world than the one I knew at their age. My childhood encompassed a time before personal computers, cell phones, and the internet. We had five channels on the television—my family lived so far out of town that we didn’t have … Continued


“This is Us” and the Dangers of Social Isolation

The first season of This is Us returns today, and like millions of other Americans, I will be tuning in. The Washington Post calls the show “the surprise breakout hit” of the fall season. “The pilot scored 10 million same-day viewers; with DVR viewing factored in, that jumped to 14.6 million. Adweek reports that the … Continued

Entertainment, Television

How to Prevent the New Year Divorce

Tipped off by Elvis Presley that not everyone is merry at Christmas, churches are increasingly tending to those who are hurting over the holidays. Their “Blue Christmas” services acknowledge that pain rarely takes a day off and, in fact, can intensify at precisely the season when the whole world seems happy. But churches should also … Continued


This Thanksgiving, Should You Just Say No to More Stuff?

We’re going to my in-laws for Thanksgiving as we do every year, and as with every trip, I’ll look forward to the food, to seeing my kids with all four of their grandparents, and to participating in a fun game I’ve dubbed, “Do you want this?” The game goes like this: At some point during … Continued


The NY Times Guide to Ruining Your Family Thanksgiving

Donald Trump’s recent election victory came as an unexpected shock to much of the country, leaving befuddled Hillary Clinton supporters without closure. Like the Civil War, this contentious election often pitted friends and family against each other, and in the aftermath many who can’t let it go want to keep debating politics, even—or perhaps especially—at … Continued


Don’t Retire at Forty

“He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest.” —Dylan Thomas Living in a transient, entrepreneurially minded city like Los Angeles—corrupt, wasteful local and state government tropes aside—one does not often meet people who are thinking about their retirement plans. For better or worse, most people are here to work. They are … Continued


How a Strong Family Kept One Child Star Grounded

Mara Wilson refused to follow the traditional trajectory of former child actors. The star of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda didn’t become tabloid fodder when the roles started drying up. She avoided those reality show confabs where ex-celebrities do dubious things. And, blessedly, she didn’t spiral out of control via substance abuse. Instead, she realized her … Continued