"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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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…]


The Turkeys at Our House, Dead and Alive

A turkey roasted brown and ready to be carved. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Turkeys at our house: this one was delicious. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving surrounded by friends, family or both — of every political persuasion. As always there’s a lot to be thankful for, but today I’m feeling especially grateful for that most American of birds, the turkey.

Every year around this time a bunch of them show up at our house. One arrives in a shopping bag, all plucked and cleaned and frozen and ready to be stuffed. [Read more…]


Is That a Fibonacci Blooming in Our Yard?

Purple columbine blossoms in our rock garden in spring. A fibonacci number expressed. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Columbines nod their symmetrical heads in our rock garden. Actual flowers? Or just a bunch of fibonacci numbers? Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Is ours a strictly mathematical universe? Are those stems, leaves and buds pushing up out of the dirt in our front yard no more real than so much digital code, a string of fibonacci numbers? A recent NOVA segment, “The Great Math Mystery,” suggests that maybe that outrageously purple columbine blossom bobbing in a [Read more…]


God’s Sin — Or Ours? My Gino Geraci Talk Revisited

The remains of a dead bird, probably killed by a domestic cat, lie on a brick wall with a camellia blossom. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The bird. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

In our radio conversation on KRKS-FM in Denver last week, talk show host Gino Geraci — a very sensitive, congenial guy, btw — and I bumped up against the topic of sin. I have to confess that I kind of talked my way around the subject. I’m a polite Midwesterner by nature, and I didn’t want to get confrontational. I assumed that, as a traditional Christian pastor, Gino [Read more…]


Winter in the Midwest — When Trees Bare Their Souls

Deciduous trees in upper Midwest in winter, without leaves standing in snow with bright blue sky. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Photo by Barbara Newhall

Note to Readers: This post is the 400th essay I’ve posted on my website since I began blogging seven years ago. There’s lots of interesting old stuff to read. You can explore it by clicking on the Don’t Miss images in the column to your right, or by diving into the category archives at the top of the page. Have fun!

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My Midwestern gardener friend looks out on her yard and the surrounding woods these days and finds it all a bit depressing. Depressing — her word, not mine. She lives there year-round, so she’s entitled to feel bummed out by skies that darken at 4 p.m. and trees stripped of all signs of life.

Me, I swoop in from a 60-degree, greened-up winter in California [Read more…]