"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"

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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Oakland’s Ghost Ship — A Vigil

A memorial banner by schoolchildren at the site of the Oakland Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 mostly young people, artists, musicians, LGBTQ folks. Photo by Barbara Newhall

A memorial banner, painted by schoolchildren, at the site of the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire that killed 36. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I keep thinking, if only. If only those young people hadn’t decided to party. If only the makeshift stairways of the Ghost Ship had been closer to the exits. If only there had been fire escapes. If only Oakland’s building department had been  [Read more…]

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My Purple Rain Garden: Is the Universe Trying to Tell Me Something?

Pansies so purple they appear black -- are they flourishing in honor of Purple Rain by pop singer Prince? Photo by Barbara Newhall

Pansies so purple they appear black — are they flourishing in honor of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain?’ Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Lots of rain this year. And lots of purple out in our front yard. Purple nemesia. Purple irises. Purple salvia. Pansies so purple they read as black. Why so much purple? What [Read more…]

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The Day Our Son Didn’t Drown — Family Stories

Two children play on the steps of a condominium pool in Miami Beach in 1985 with Atlantic in the background. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Peter and Christina at play on the steps of the condominium pool in Miami Beach. Photo by Jon and Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, August 30, 1987

Peter’s body was limp. His eyes were open — wide, dark and blank. They stared, pupils dilated, into a brilliant, cloudless Florida sky.

My husband lay our little son on his back and breathed into his mouth. I pinched his nose closed. [Read more…]

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The Best Things in Life . . . Have Been There Since High School

Cindy Weyant plays chess at the National Open in Las Vegas in 2010. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Cindy played chess at the National Open in Las Vegas in 2010. Attending a chess tournament en masse is the Newhall family’s idea of a good time. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Jon looked at me over the telephone receiver. His brother was calling. “Cindy died,” he said. “She died last night. In her sleep.” [Read more…]

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