"Wrestling with God" book with Barbara Falconer Newhall

Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith

"Any seeker of any faith will be blessed to read the words of this fine author and observer."

Publishers Weekly, starred review

Click to learn more about "Wrestling with God"

My Ever-Changing Family

Our family shrinks and grows. People die. People get born. People get mad and won't talk to you for a while. Kids grow up and find partners of their own, and pretty soon there are brand-new in-laws.

No to Bride Barbie — Yes to a Real-Life Wedding

At age 7, Christina preferred a tug of war to playing with her Bride Barbie. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Christina left her Bride Barbie at home to join a tug of war. Photo by Barbara Newhall

MY DAUGHTER CHRISTINA will be marrying in May. She’s a grown-up woman now, making plans to spend her days with a truly good man. People who knew Christina as a little kid might be surprised to hear that there will be an actual wedding, complete with the traditional white wedding gown, champagne, music, flowers, moonlight and a multi-tiered wedding cake.

As a girl Christina wasn’t much for dressing up — neither herself nor her Barbie Doll. Girly stuff bored my daughter. She preferred playing Nintendo with her big brother and his guy friends. Nonetheless, when May rolls around Christina will be letting loose with her inner romantic: friends, family and groom will be treated to a sweet, old-fashioned wedding and a — beautiful — bride.

Some things  haven’t changed, however. Christina still likes computer games. And so does her husband-to-be.

Here’s a story I once wrote about the seven-year-old Christina and [Read more…]

Share

A Lost Child in Wartime Detroit — A Headscarf Story

the story of a lost child in the old crowley's department store. File:Partirdge & Blackwell.jpg (category Department stores in Michigan) & Blackwell Department Store in Detroit, Michigan Date 1910 Source Library of Congress-Prints & Photographs online catalog Author Detroit Publishing Company

I was a lost child in a dark and cavernous department store like this one in downtown Detroit. The store might have been Crowley’s, shown here in 1910 when it was still Blackwell’s. Photo Courtesy Library of Congress. Author Detroit Publishing Company.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

When I was a little kid, three or four years old, during World War II, my mother had a yellow babushka. That’s what we called headscarves in Michigan, back in the ’40s. Babushkas.

My mother wore that yellow scarf whenever she went out into the winter cold, but I couldn’t see the point of it. It was a triangular, crocheted thing that went over her head and tied in a half-knot under her chin. It had big gaps, holes, between its soft strands of crocheted yellow cotton.

If I wanted, I could slip two or three fingers through the holes [Read more…]

Share

Wisdom From My Father — Or, How to Sweep the Kitchen Floor

the barn on the farm where my father was born outside scottville michigan. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The Falconer barn near Scottville, Michigan, where my father, David Bishop Falconer, learned the work habits he passed on to me. The silo was built the year my father was born on the family farm, 1912. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My father’s voice came to me the other day as I was sweeping the kitchen floor. To his friends my father was Dave Falconer, to business associates, D.B. Falconer. He died in 1991, but there he was the other day, coaching me as I worked. Per his instructions, I made short, firm, methodical  sweeps, working my way around and around the room until I ended up in the middle, with all the kitchen debris corralled in a tidy mess at its center.

Years and years ago, in a little three-room cottage within breathing distance of Lake Michigan, my father assigned me the job of sweeping up the white beach sand our family had tracked in from the lake. I began the job aimlessly, pushing some sand around over here, creating a pile of sand over there. At the rate I was going, the job would never get done; that was clear to my father.

My Father Shows Me How

My dad took the broom from me and showed me how to go about a task — this task and the thousands and thousands of tasks, menial and mental, I [Read more…]

Share

Something Old — Ten Ideas, Old and New, From a Mother of the Bride

Something old -- the cream colored pumps I wore for my 1977 wedding were too long and too narrow for Christina's foot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old — the cream colored pumps I wore for my 1977 wedding were too long and too narrow for Christina’s foot. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something blue. — Old English Rhyme

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I thought my 40-year-old shoes would make a perfect “something old” for Christina’s wedding trousseau in May. So did Christina. My wedding shoes couldn’t be more vintage but, given their boxy shape, my daughter and I thought they could easily pass for stylish in 2017.

Too bad that the shoes were too narrow for Christina’s feet. And my lacy 1977 wedding dress was too small.

As the mother of the bride, with lots of years to my credit (my past [Read more…]

Share

One Broken Ankle, and Two Lives Grind to a Halt. Or, Why You Should Definitely Stop and Tie That Loose Shoelace

A 75-year-old man with his broken ankle in a cast in a hospital bed in his den with TV. Photo by Barbara Newhall

I rented a hospital bed to set up in the den, the room with the biggest TV. It’s not far from bathroom and kitchen. Jon’s non-injured leg was weakened by polio, so he needs that wheelchair and knee walker to get around. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Jon’s got a broken ankle — and a torn deltoid ligament. Life has ground to a halt for him. And for me. The orthopedic surgeon who stitched the ligament back in place says absolutely no weight is to be put on that foot for at least four [Read more…]

Share