Passing This Along — True Grit


The following is a wonderful tale of generations and how powerfully they can shape one another. Its author is my family’s creative writing scion, Mrs. Abbott. Set in the Sandhills of Nebraska, it reminds me not just a little of what I have learned through the years about my mom’s upbringing with her brother, Dallas (my Uncle “Sonny”), on a 500 acre northwest Missouri farm during, then out of, the Depression, then through WWII, my mom’s escape post WWII to Paris Island, SC, and then to the big cities after marrying, and Uncle Sonny’s farm living — made there the hard way. I hope you’ll enjoy True Grit. Having proof read many papers written for Mrs. Abbott’s rigorous but profitable senior high composition course, in which six of eight of my offspring enrolled (and which all 6 passed), I am honored to share it with you.


La Duchesse de la Cul de Sac Trent


“She grew up in an old house on 1 acre of decommissioned, parceled-out farmland. On her family’s lot were a vegetable garden, a swingset, and a sandbox where Mira and her brothers mapped out and modeled tiny golden domains.  Playmobil figures were their pawns, plastic shovels their tools of conquest. . . . ”  

I think you’ll enjoy this story, written by my daughter, about a character I call La Duchesse de la Cul de Sac Trent.

Sharing: The Important Thing About Yelling


In tomorrow’s WheeledWords post to do with Fathering (no more hints), a list therein makes two particular points — one directly, other implicitly — about the art of yelling. Rachel Macy Stafford, author of Hands Free Mama, in “The Important Thing About Yelling” (, bests my winsome attempts, getting right to the point:

[Yelling] shuts down the communication; it severs the bond; it causes people to separate — instead of come closer.

I recommend this article to us all in our quests to be better Dads and Moms. Thanks to my friend, Val Holback, for pointing this article my way.


Sharing: The Power Of Empathy, Animated


Empathy or Sympathy? What’s the difference? Aren’t they the same? Perhaps you’re resolved to be more of one or the other in the coming New Year.

On (, Empathy is defined as understanding what others are feeling because you have experienced it yourself or can put yourself in their shoes. Sympathy, as acknowledging another person’s emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance. I touch on Empathy in our upcoming January 20 post, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Broken.” But only briefly. The link below will display a clever and helpful animated short via a Lifehacker Facebook post (

See also Fast Company’s “The Power Of Empathy, Animated,” highlighting Dr. Brene’ Brown’s treatment of this distinction in her 2010 TED address “The Power of Vulnerability.”

Enjoy and Happy New Year!