"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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The Oakland Tribune Tower — A 1923 Structure With a Twenty-First Century View

the view from the Oakland Tribune Tower. In the foreground, the Bank of America Building. In the background, the 1111 Broadway and the Clorox Building. In the distance, the Bay Bridge. Photos by Barbara Newhall

The view from the Oakland Tribune Tower. In the foreground, the Bank of America Building. In the background, 1111 Broadway and the Clorox Building. In the distance, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I worked at the Oakland Tribune for years, but, working stiff that I was, I was never invited to the lofty heights of the Oakland Tribune Tower. I finally got my chance on April 4, the last day of my paper’s publication, to take the elevator all the way to the top and take in the view — the bay, the East Bay hills, the sometimes sleek, sometimes fanciful architecture produced in Oakland over the past 100 years. Young, [Read more…]

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Oakland Tribune: The Trib Is Dead, Long Live the Tribbers

The Oakland Tribune Tower. On April 4, 2016, former employees of the Oakland, California, Tribune, had a wake in honor of the paper's last day of publication. Photos by Barbara Newhall

On the Oakland Tribune’s last day of publication, dozens of former employees marked the day with a trip to the top of the 1923 Tribune Tower. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Another newspaper has bit the dust. The last edition of the 150-year-old Oakland Tribune with its familiar gothic nameplate was stuffed into local news racks and tossed onto driveways around San Francisco’s East Bay on Monday morning, April 4. Twenty-four hours later, the Oakland Tribune would be no more.

It would be subsumed, along with a handful of other Bay Area newspapers, [Read more…]

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Kindergarten Looms for a 5-Year-Old and His Mom

A five year old boy lines up against a wall to be measured. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Peter at 5. Will he measure up? Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, February 16, 1986

I slipped a sheet of paper across the breakfast table toward Peter, then rolled a couple of marking pens his way.

“Hey, Peter,” I said, trying to be nonchalant. “Want to draw a picture of He-Man?”

Peter smelled a rat. He is barely 5 years old, but he can [Read more…]

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Mom With Kids — The Home Office Blues

A 1986 home office with computer, crib, toddler and cat. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Our 1986 home office complete with kids, crib, rocking chair, changing table, cat — and computers. Photo by Barbara Newhall

This old Oakland Tribune column is riddled with late-20th-century artifacts: videocassettes, an Apple desktop, an 8086 microprocessor, He-Man toys, a long-forgotten computer game called Choplifter, and a lone 60-watt light bulb.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall, The Oakland Tribune, June 8, 1987

Christina, 3, has the best room in the house, the one with the view of Mount Tamalpais.

At least, it used to be Christina’s room. Now, she has just the dim, windowless half of it. The part with the view belongs to our home office. [Read more…]

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