aattaway's blog

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

I’ve been in a retrospective mood lately, looking back, from the brink of senior-citizenship on where I’ve been and trying, without much success, to decide where I want be going. So I particularly resonated with Scott Walker’s March 21 devotional about the seasons of our life.
It can be humbling, to say the least, to think back on one’s youthful ambitions and aspirations, so different for many of us, from where our path has taken us. In my case, I would never have imagined that I’d find myself at this desk.


My wife Julia’s devotional for this Friday deals with a topic we often pass over when talking about our prayer lives: the times when God seems absent. When those dry times afflict me, I often think of a scene in the movie Svengali. Svengali (John Barrymore) has hypnotized the beautiful Trilby, who has spurned his advances, and they are having a conversation. Trilby, however, can only say what Svengali has programmed her to say.


I love Lent. That may sound like a strange thing to say, but it’s true. It gives me a chance to cut back my eating (no donuts until Easter!), expand my prayer time and take my spiritual temperature. The word itself is from the Old English for spring, and though it’s hardly spring-like in New York today (as I write it’s 31 degrees), the weekend should be warmer.

The Real Thing

I love devotionals that take me to places I haven’t been or teach me new things. Carol Knapp’s March 5 devotional is one of those. Carol takes us to a maple “sugaring off” where she and some friends help a nonagenarian neighbor to make maple sugar and syrup.

Presidents Day

Last September, I was privileged to accompany a group of our readers on a tour of historic sites in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania. One of the highlights for me was making a return visit (my third or fourth) to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home on the Potomac River.

Watch Night

 Last week was a doozy—both Julia and our nine-year-old Maggie made trips to the emergency room (nothing seriously wrong with either, thank God).

Winter Thoughts

It’s been a snowy winter in New York; we set a record for snow last month. For the kids, it’s been a bonanza: days of sledding and snowball fights with friends enjoying time off from school. For those of us who work in midtown, it’s been less fun, as car and bus exhausts turn the snow gray and pools of slush and icy water at every corner and icy sidewalks to negotiate (carefully!) to and from the subway.
I used to love the winter. I found the cold temperatures exhilarating and what snow we had brought out the little boy in me.

When We Can't Find Answers

We’ve had quite a bit of snow in New York this winter, and as I write this, more is on the way. So I really resonate with Mary Ann O’Roark’s January 28 devotional about getting lost in a late-afternoon snowstorm in New York’s Central Park.


When We Can't Find Answers

I really wanted to let this week pass without mentioning the horrendous shootings in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this month. But three things about them struck me particularly.
The first was the heartrending death of a little girl only two months younger than our daughter Maggie.

Getting a Good Start

Well, we’re a whole week into the new year, and I’m still writing 2010 on letters, and, what’s worse, checks. To make matters worse, I’m working hard on Daily Guideposts 2012, which has to go to the printer in May. So there are days when I haven’t any idea what year I’m really in.