"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

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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…]

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Little Girl Lost — My Mother’s Magical Babushka

A street corner in downtown Detroit, 1942, showing Kern's department store. Public domain via Wikipedia Commons
A downtown Detroit street corner, 1942, showing Kern’s department store — in
summer. Public domain via Wikipedia Commons

 

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

When I was three or four years old, my mother took me shopping in a big department store in downtown Detroit.  Crowley’s, Kern’s, Hudson’s? I can’t remember.

I do remember that the  ceilings were high, and that the dark, worn wooden floors [Read more…]

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Winter Solstice — My Mother’s Last Words to Me Before She Died

Tinka Falconer enjoys Nordstrom Cafe chicken and berry salad. Photo by BF Newhall.

A few months before she died, my mother celebrated my birthday with a chicken, berry and candied walnut salad at the Nordstrom Cafe. Photos by BF Newhall

My mother died three years ago this Christmas season. A friend remarked earlier this week that when her mother grew close to death, “There was nothing left but the love.” That’s how it feels to me. [Read more…]

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The Writing Room: Write About My Aging Mother? I Don’t Think So . . .

 
Tinka Falconer on the exercise bike after broken hip.

Within a few weeks of hip surgery, my mother was doing physical therapy at a skilled nursing facility. Photo 2010 BF Newhall

Barbara Falconer Newhall, June 5, 2010

Ten reasons why I’m finding it impossible to write about my 92-year-old mother, even though she’s all I can think about right now:   

  1. I love my mother, and I don’t know how to write about that. [Read more…]
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