"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"

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…]

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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…]

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Regulations: Will Trump’s Slash and Trash Deregulation Put Americans at Risk?

Our future after regulation 'reform'? More scenes like the Oakland Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 mostly young people, artists, musicians, LGBTQ folks. A few days after the fire, it was cordoned off as a "crime scene." Photo by Barbara Newhall

Our future after regulations ‘reform’? More scenes like the Oakland Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 mostly young artists, musicians and party goers? A few days after the fire, the street was cordoned off as a “crime scene.” Whose crime? Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Why bother with regulations? Why not just slash them and trash them, as Donald Trump has decided to do at the federal level?

Why bother? Because regulations, federal, state and local, keep people safe. Because without carefully conceived and implemented regulations, people die. People like the 36 artists, musicians and party goers who perished on Dec. 2, when Oakland’s Ghost Ship warehouse-turned-artists-loft burst into flames.

As Julie Prodis Sulek pointed out in a Dec. 15 article in the East Bay Times, the Ghost Ship warehouse fire “was no natural disaster, no earthquake, no [Read more…]

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Autumn in the Garden, When Sensible Plants Pack It In for the Winter . . . And a Healing Ankle

Autumn in the garden where, like it or not, the seasons impose their wills on every living thing. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Autumn in the garden where, like it or not, the seasons impose their wills on every living thing. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I took these photos of my favorite up-north garden last October. It’s a genuine four-season garden in the upper Midwest, complete with winter snow, spring promise, and unsurpassed summer glory. It’s also got autumn, with all the grim stuff that happens as winter sets in — death, rot, shrivel and retreat.

But during a late afternoon visit last October there were still some signs of stubborn life — opulent red berries and a succulent with in-your-face magenta blossoms.

A Dying Garden and a Healing Ankle

I’m just now getting around to posting these autumn in the garden photos because the project fell by the wayside last November when Jon broke his [Read more…]

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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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