Magical Memoir Moments

This photo, taken at the Sir Edmund HILLARY Museum at Mt. Cook, New Zealand, last February, was the germ of the idea to write a letter to Hillary.

Waking Up to the News In Lake Wobegon and What I’m Learning About Op-Eds: the Backstory

Today is Hillary Clinton’s 69th birthday. I’ve been thinking about writing a letter to her ever since last February when I visited the Sir Edmund Hillary Museum in New Zealand. I tell the backstory of how I published an Op-Ed about her birthday in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

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I'm living in the cottage to the left of the larger building. Photo take from the bridge between the Arboretum and the campus of St. John's University.

Finding a Public Voice: At Homecoming

Seth Godin says that you can tell whether or not you have a tribe by discovering they miss you when you don’t show up. I didn’t post last Wednesday, and I didn’t send out a Magical Memoir Moment on Thursday. You probably thought I was just contemplating life beside the lake. Or watching the mist…

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The death and dying books shelf.

On Reviewing Books: We Are What We Read

Remember chewing your pencil when you had to write a book review for school? At some point in the process of writing a book review, I nearly always regret saying “yes” to the assignment. A good review requires at least two readings of the book, note-taking, special attention to themes and structure, and comparisons of…

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Sunrise.

The Rule of Life: What Saint Benedict Is Teaching Me

What makes a good day in your life? It’s a question we’ve examined on this blog more than once, starting with my mission statement: To prepare for the hour of my death. One good day at a time. And to help others do the same. Now that I’m enjoying all the benefits of living next…

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Garrison Keillor, wikipedia image

Living in Lake Wobegon

Central Minnesota is home to the Collegeville Institute and to St. John’s University and the College of Saint Benedict. But it’s also Lake Wobegon Country, a place of nostalgia and country wisdom that unites my present with my past.

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Joan Rough Takes on a Big Challenge of the Jubilación Years : Forgiveness

My current theme of Jubilación, defined as joyful vocation in the elder years, does not exclude challenges. Far from it! Most people are well aware that aging inevitably has negative consequences and that the pains of youth and middle age continue into the elder years. Fortunately, even trauma and suffering can be met with resilience,…

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This lake is literally 30 feet from the window under which I am writing these words.

Beginner’s Mind: A Writing Residency, A New Setting, A New Day

A new environment at the Collegeville Institute, designed by architect Marcel Breuer, inspires me at the beginning of my fall semester residency.

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This room held all the splendor of the Taj Mahal for me. The year was 1966.

A Golden Jubilee Move-In: How a 50-Year-Old Dorm Room Still Inspires My Future

It’s been 50 years since I set sail for college! Getting there had been a struggle. My parents helped load my earthly possessions into the trunk of our ’57 Dodge. I was breathless with excitement as we left the driveway of the family farm, stones crunching under the wheels. The trouble began as we approached…

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The sun's low rays strike the windows of Iona Abbey just before the evening worship begins.

The Pilgrim Soul in You: Traveling Toward Jubilación

I traveled to Iona, Scotland, and Lindisfarne, England, in hope of finding “thin places,” May 6-19, 2016. Three months later, I am finally ready to begin speaking about the impact of this trip. The first thing I did was organize my photos into an album in order to make a slide show. I didn’t want…

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The Shadow Side of Birthdays: The Side We Can’t See

I grew up listening to “Keep On the Sunny Side” as I helped to milk cows morning and night. It was the intro to the local radio station’s country and gospel music program. I never saw the Carter Family in person, but here is Mother Maybelle and her famous guitar and famous daughters. Look at…

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