BLOG The most precious and painful thing I will ever write Jan 29, 2023 The obituary of the Rev. Dr. Canon Gordon Brent Stiller “Look at that golden light!” That is what Brent would say as he steered a boat past the woods and the rocks of the Kawartha Lakes at a certain time in the early evening. Brent delighted in sunsets, birdsong, a perfectly barbequed steak, well-thought out … The most precious and painful thing I will ever write Read More » Read More Bye bye to my dog Oct 31, 2022 Dewey was born almost 14 years ago, in an Ontario town I can’t recall. He was the only boy puppy left of his litter, and he sat timidly in the back of the pen, trembling amongst all the girls vying to come home with us. We chose him on the spot, of course. His first … Bye bye to my dog Read More » Read More Small space, big space Sep 28, 2022 The other day I walked by a young girl who lives on our street, sitting outside on the bottom step, reading a book. I felt an instant camaraderie with her, as a reader, first, but specifically as an outdoor reader. When we moved into Centretown, which is in downtown Ottawa, we downsized in a massive … Small space, big space Read More » Read More You should write your memoir. My dad did. Aug 6, 2022 My dad, who is 85, spent a few months in Spain a couple of years ago, sitting on a deck writing his memoir out by hand on legal pads. He conquered it by writing various topics one after another, and he worked on this most mornings. He wrote about his strongest childhood memories, what it … You should write your memoir. My dad did. Read More » Read More Walking is one of the best things we can do Apr 30, 2022 Today, I clipped the leash onto Dewey, my most reliable walking partner — he always says yes, he never says no — and coaxed him 4275 steps, according to my iPhone. It was a fruitful walk. I complimented a woman on her purple corduroy pants — wide wale. “Thanks!” she called out, and seemed mildly … Walking is one of the best things we can do Read More » Read More How to write your life Apr 13, 2022 I am waiting with bated breath for a memoir to arrive in my inbox, written by my father. Working title? My Story by Russell S. Durling. I’ve been a tiny bit coach and a big part cheerleader for my 85-year old dad, as he worked his way through a project he had talked about for … How to write your life Read More » Read More Here’s to the good pastors Mar 17, 2022 Discouragement over pastors and leaders who fall is weighing heavy on almost everyone I know, especially women. It is a thick, wet fog. A long and depressing bewilderment. I spoke to a good friend the other day, and part of our conversation was groaning in pain over the miserable, latest, greatest, spectacular fall from grace. … Here’s to the good pastors Read More » Read More Pass the peace, please Feb 10, 2022 Every now and then during church, Brent does something that makes me so uncomfortable that I try not to glance around nervously to see how other people are taking it. (Generally speaking, spouses try not to swivel their heads around to see how things are going…) I’m not referring to his jokes, because usually I’m … Pass the peace, please Read More » Read More Little moments that keep us going Jan 8, 2022 The other day the bottom fell out of my bag of pears. If the bag is the flimsy grocery store produce one, light green and very difficult to open once pulled from the roll (especially now that we do not lick our fingers in public), the bottom is likely to fall out if your pears … Little moments that keep us going Read More » Read More What is your daily creative ritual? Dec 4, 2021 Ta da! This is an announcement that I have finally finished Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, compiled and edited by Mason Currey. My sometimes-writing partner Patricia owned it first, and intrigued, I ordered it from a bookstore called Perfect Books, using a gift card given to me by another friend. (So, a perfect combination of … What is your daily creative ritual? Read More » Read More How to recover from creative rejection (according to me) Nov 20, 2021 “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug,” has got to be one of the best lyrics from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song to which I have ever sung along poorly. It also sums up nicely the experience of being a creative person trying to find a place in the world for your work. Sometimes … How to recover from creative rejection (according to me) Read More » Read More Married to the Minister Event is coming up on Nov.29 Nov 5, 2021 It’s been another long year for people in ministry, and yes, it’s true, for the entire planet. In my work as a podcast host and editor of a magazine — and as a member of several Facebook groups for pastor’s wives — I am hearing again and again about weary pastors, and the families who … Married to the Minister Event is coming up on Nov.29 Read More » Read More 1 2 3 … 17 Next » SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG Receive periodic updates as I post new articles. Name* First Last Email* NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.