Columnist: Susan Gladin

Mar. 21, 2015 @ 05:45 PM

Pedometer the truth-teller of a sedentary life

From the front door of our modest farmhouse the daily route flows out in three directions.  Two paths lead to the care of the animals on the land:  horses, chickens, donkeys, dogs, cats and a mule. The third path leads to an office where I manage the business of the farm and family. I cover these trails at least twice each day


Mar. 07, 2015 @ 05:39 PM

A Christian nation? Be careful what you wish for

As a United Methodist minister I happily conduct weddings.  I tell those gathered that this couple’s marriage has been unfolding for some time.  At this ceremony they are making a public statement of their promises, and they are asking for our blessing and support.  There are no magic words I say as officiant.  There is, however, tremendous power in the words that the couple says as they make their declaration to each other, to their community, their state and indeed to the entire nation.


Feb. 21, 2015 @ 08:54 AM

Real ‘Pioneer Week’ not so charming, but instructive

When my children were young we planned to live out a “Pioneer Week,” turning off the electricity and running water here on the farm, and moving through our days as our county’s residents might have done during my grandmother’s childhood.  We discussed this idea in the early-to-mid 1990s, before home computers were so ubiquitous and when cell phones were still the size of bricks and nearly as heavy.


Feb. 12, 2015 @ 11:18 PM

Rituals can guide us through our most difficult days

“I think this is why they have rituals,” a friend said to me last week.  Her mother had died a just two days earlier, and already she was pushed to “take care of business” –the busyness that inevitably follows a death.  There are papers to file, drawers to empty, people to call.


Jan. 20, 2015 @ 11:19 PM

‘Passing the buck’ not a good business strategy

I was happy to read that Durham Public Schools decided to do the right thing and pay the custodians who worked 50 days without remuneration -- due to a subcontractor going bankrupt.  It would have been easy for the school board to say, "Not our problem!"  I had already started working on this column about “pass the buck” schemes, so I was happy to read of a situation in which an organization owned their responsibility.


Dec. 27, 2014 @ 07:46 PM

Vital self-care doesn’t mean piling on more ‘shoulds’

I am writing this on the longest night of the year, or the shortest day, depending on your perspective.  The composition process will span both the day and the night.  As I sit here I can feel, in some deep place, the shift in the tilt of the earth -- that cosmic return from darkness to light.


Dec. 13, 2014 @ 11:15 AM

Reflecting on the touchstones of our lives

When I wake in the morning I lift my head to peer out the bedroom window across the room.  What I look for is Peter’s red truck.  Most mornings he is up before me, has started the coffee, and made the short trip up our long driveway to get his beloved newspaper.  Some mornings he leaves early to eat breakfast out.  Though I am a person who loves solitude, I am always disappointed when the truck isn’t there.


Nov. 29, 2014 @ 09:19 PM

If everything feels heavy, oppressor may be just a tall tale

Occasionally so many things coalesce that we finally have to pay attention.  As for me, I have ignored some great teachers along the way -- people like Pema Chodron, Henri Nouwen and, closer to home, Marilyn Wolff of the Servant Leadership School of Greensboro.  That is a lot of wisdom to shun.  I’d rather think that, all this time, their teachings were slowly seeping into me such that, one day last week, they reached a saturation point at which my whole chemistry was transformed


Nov. 01, 2014 @ 09:45 PM

A story comes full circle at historic Murphey School

I was living in North Carolina when I first heard of Clyde Edgerton, but the news of his novel, “Raney,” came to me via my hometown in Arkansas.  A childhood friend had written me (pre-email days) about a book she had fallen in love with.  “I think the author lives near you,” my friend wrote.


Oct. 14, 2014 @ 06:13 PM

Helpful hints for healthy house-sitting

We just returned from a much-needed weekend away and, as always, a house-sitter took care of things here.  “Things” needing care are primarily animals, and they can be demanding -- requiring detailed instructions and a bit of finesse to keep some in and others out. 


Oct. 01, 2014 @ 01:01 AM

A pioneering female Southern Baptist minister

If you grew up in Hillsborough and spent some childhood time in the woods and down by the creeks, you might have spied an unusual child practicing preaching to any flora or fauna that would lend an ear. 


Sep. 20, 2014 @ 08:51 AM

Industrial farming stealing Earth’s health

Whenever we make a case for (or against) something we think is important, we’ll often cite a study.  By referring to “studies,” we intend to use the best of the scientific method to help us make vital decisions -- often about our health.


Sep. 04, 2014 @ 01:05 AM

Broadening, deepening intentions on a yoga mat

In yoga class an instructor often invites students to set an intention for the hour ahead.  The opportunity sometimes catches me off-guard, but after that initial, “Oh,” I quickly recognize what I need for the day ahead of me (calm, or forgiveness), and ask for it, or intend it.  I bring that intention into the poses that comprise a yoga class, and always leave better than when I arrived.


Aug. 23, 2014 @ 11:24 PM

Street harassment a grim reality for women

“When you drive up to your home or workplace, what do before you go inside?”  The workshop leader looked intently at the man he’d chosen to answer this question.


Aug. 09, 2014 @ 08:20 AM

Taking an illuminating break from Facebook

The first thing I didn’t post on Facebook was a picture of the snake we found on the front porch.  The second photo I didn’t post was a shot of my riding helmet, half-chaps, and bridle hung together on a wrought-iron rack against rough-hewn barn wood.  It looked like something staged for a magazine.