Passive Investing: Seniors Near the Edge of Change

New England 2011_001 With Text

I recently taught a course to retirees on passive investing at the University of Georgia’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Many in the class had portfolios with various brokers or financial planners, some local, some far away, and the portfolios were complicated and laden with high-cost mutual funds as well as individual stocks and bonds. They were not making much money, and they wanted to hear about a different approach. Continue reading

Death and New Life: Mary Ann and Harper Grace

One magnolia fading after a full bloom, another magnolia opening to the day

One magnolia fading after a full bloom, another magnolia opening to the day

Yesterday at 3:30 a.m. a dear friend in Alabama passed away from complications following surgery. We were neighbors for several years and our children grew up together. We shared many meals and laughs, helped each other when needed and worshipped together. We’ve lived apart for maybe 18 years now, but we have stayed in touch. Her loss is deeply felt by my wife and me. Rest in Peace, Mary Ann.

Mary Ann leaves her husband, Keith, and three sons, all of whom are grown and married. She and Keith were married for well over forty years, and he now faces a loss that will reverberate through his life for years to come.

Then at 6:30 a.m. in Vermont, one of our nieces bore her third daughter, Harper Grace, and everyone is doing well. We probably won’t see Harper Grace until late fall or early winter. She joins her two sisters who are full of curiosity, hope and love, and her parents, Marc and Amy who are in middle life, devoted to work and family, and spending their own energy as if it were boundless. Welcome to our family and the world, Harper Grace. Continue reading

Images of the High Plains: a Forgotten Part of America

Ranch in eastern Wyoming

Ranch in eastern Wyoming

The West of American myths is the High Plains. The early explorers and settlers had to cross it on their way to better-known destinations. Many tried to settle there and failed. The bison massacre occurred largely on the High Plains, and Indian wars spanned decades in the 1800s. Continue reading

Wrestling Unknown Knowns: Better Investing

Department of Defense photo

Department of Defense photo

Remember Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary from 2001 to 2006? In response to a reporter’s question about weapons of mass destruction, he offered us valuable epistemological insight into known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. Here’s a link if you have 35 seconds to enjoy a little history.

Mr. Rumsfeld never mention unknown knowns, with which investors often wrestle. Continue reading

Prayer Threatens Our Turmoil: Monasticism—Part II

Some of the Monastery staff

Some of the Monastery staff at lunch

Visitors are welcome at most monasteries. After my first day, new people arrived and the three men, who had been there a week, headed home.

We had all come to Our Lady with different stories. P. (I’ll use only first initials) recently left a ministry in upstate New York and was spending a year in discernment. She lived mostly in a retreat house in Arizona, and came to Our Lady for one week. D. lived locally, helping care for her aging parents and managing a store owned by her brother. She needed a break and wanted prayer. Continue reading

One Thing at a Time Quiets a Mind

Carlsbad Cavern

Carlsbad Cavern

Maybe incongruities in daily life give rise to neurotic tendencies. A woman must earn a living but doesn’t like her job; a man loves his children but fears responsibility. Or this one: people want time alone but don’t leave their cities or suburbs. Continue reading

Interval Training in Long-Term Marriages

Driving in Mississippi

Driving in Mississippi

It’s raining and I’m sitting in a motel in Brookhaven, Mississippi, waiting for winter storm Remus to move through. Then I’ll continue driving, across the great river and northern Louisiana, then Texas and into southern New Mexico. I’m alone; my wife stayed home. For me, being alone is good. Continue reading

Battling Age with Active Living: Photos of The Villages


This gallery contains 24 photos.

Yesterday you read about The Villages and today you can see a gallery of 24 photos taken about five days ago. I hope they give you a sense of what life may be like there. To enter the gallery, click on … Continue reading