America the Beautiful

The North Tower Fountain (9/17/2011)

Photo: Kai Brinker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

America the Beautiful is one of those patriotic songs that we Americans heard so many times growing up that we barely think about it anymore. Like the National Anthem, we only know the first verse, and when we sing those words it’s from memory and often from habit.

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

My view of this song changed forever after September 11, 2001. Due to the mix of grief and patriotism that naturally gripped us all in the weeks following that horrible day, I heard all four verses of America the Beautiful sung for the first time in I don’t know how long. It was the last verse that brought me to tears.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

May God comfort those who lost loved ones that day, shed his grace on all of us, and grant us peace.


Bloggerhood Etc. 7/28/14

No Playdate


Summer is halfway over. We’ve gone on our Oregon Coast vacation, and Anna has finished both her art camp and her first Girl Scout camp. Now we have two down weeks before her next day camp, and she wants to call all her friends from school and set up times to play with them. That’s where we begin this week’s list, with a brewing controversy over the “play date.”

Best Point.Banish the Playdate” by Chris Bernholdt at DadNCharge.

Best Counterpoint.Preserve the Playdate” by Jeff at OWTK.

Best Question.Wait … I’m a Feminist?” by Carl Wilke at Big Cheese Dad.

Most Honest.Unpacking” by Alice Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Best Dad Post.What People Think When You Have Four Kids” by Rob Stennett at The Perfect Father.

Best Mom Post.Five Minute Friday: Finish” by Ashley Larkin at Draw Near.

Best Special Needs Post.This Day” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.

Most Inspiring.Juliette: The Bravest Little Girl I Know” by Rachel Held Evans.

Best Question.Are You Raising Nice Kids?” by Amy Joyce at The Washington Post.

Best Idea.A Growing Movement to Spread Faith, Love,—and Clean Laundry” by Lisa Napoli at NPR.

Best Essay.Arctic Man” by Matt White at SB Nation.

Best Video.Job Interview Tips” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).

“Step One: Delete Facebook!”

Bloggerhood Etc. 6/9/14


Photo: Reuters

Last week marked the 70th Anniversary of D Day. This means that the Second World War is as distant an event to my daughter as the Civil War was to my parents. That’s kind of mind-blowing, isn’t it?

On to the best of the week …

Best Photoblog.D-Day Landing Sites Then and Now” by Charlotte Meridith and Elliot Wagland at Huff Post UK.

Best Dad Post.That Telling Moment” by Bill Peebles at ihopeiwinatoaster.

Best Hack.LEGO Figures Make Perfect Cable Holders” by Melanie Pinola at Lifehacker.

Most Truthful.If Strangers Talked to Everybody Like They Talked to Writers” by Lincoln Michel at Electric Lit.

Most Inspiring.Every Brave Breath” by Randi Bjornstad in The Eugene Register Guard.

Most Thought Provoking.What Both Sides Completely Miss in the Abortion Discussion” by Benjamin L. Corey at Formerly Fundie.

Best Dystopia.All is Lost: In the Season Finale of of NBA Y2K We Bear Witness to the Slow, Miserable Death of Basketball” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Best Special Needs Post.Special Needs School of Life—Just Keep Going” by Gillian Marchenko at Not Alone.

Best Parenting Post.30 Things I’ve Learned in 18 Years of Parenting Boys” by Alexandra Rosas at Scary Mommy.

Best Poem. Dolorosa” by Boze Herrington at Sketches by Boze.

Most Heartbreaking.Empty” by Alise Chaffins at Knitting Soul.

Most Informative.Your Family Tree Explained” by CGP Grey (via You Tube).

Which makes everybody my cousin? That was easy!

Bloggerhood Etc. 10/28/13

Hot Pockets: Every bite is a different temperature.A lot to choose from this week leads to an extra-long list. Think of it as a top ten (plus one) in no particular order.

Most Honest.Famous brands updated with honest taglines [21 pictures]” at 22 Words. Featuring the above logo and 21 others. How many times have I burned my mouth on one of those things?

Smelliest.Axes of Evil: What happens when a grown woman wears Axe fragrance for an entire week?” by Dalia Lithwick at Slate. I can almost smell it through the screen.

Best Sports Essay.The March Toward Midnight” by Craig Fehrman at SB Nation. We all love the “Cinderella story,” but not all Cinderella’s are created equal.

Coolest Invention.Say hello to a radically redesigned cello — with optical effects” by Tim Hornyak at CNET. I want to see—and hear—this instrument play. Anything but Pachelbel’s canon.

Best Dad Post.Tears of our Fathers” by Dad on the Run. A great review of the 2013 At-Home Dads Convention.

Best Followup.Map: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Boys, State-by-State” by Reuben Fisher-Baum at Jezebel. After last weeks map and this one, I find myself wondering how many 90s wedding invitations read …

You are cordially invited to celebrate the wedding of

Jennifer ______


Michael ______

(Please fill in the last names before printing)

Best Photoblog.This Is The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of. And Most Of It’s On You Right Now” at ViralNova. Actually quite beautiful and not really nightmarish, except for this …

Flea under electron microscope.


Biggest Rout (EVER).Breaking Madden: The Buccaneers and their 44 Greg Schianos” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.

Challenge extended …

Challenge accepted.

22? Eh, let’s double it.

Most Thought Provoking.Those People” by Jennifer Ball at Scary Mommy. Some of us have been “those people” at one time or other. And if what Jesus said is true, he is “those people.”

Most Heartbreaking.A Man Chronicles His Wife’s Battle with Cancer in Heartbreaking Photographs” by Katy Waldman in Slate. October isn’t just about fighting breast cancer or celebrating survivors. It’s also a time to remember those we’ve lost.

Best Video.How Many Countries Are There?” by C.G.P. Grey (via YouTube). A great geography lesson with no easy answer.