RELIGION

If the church wants to support family life, it should look at socioeconomics (U.S. Catholic)
When well-meaning friends, family, and strangers question why I would deign to deprive my son of a sibling or two, they never ask about my own well-being or whether my family can afford another child.

My son taught me the meaning of baptism (U.S. Catholic)
I wanted a community to challenge and inspire my son in ways that his parents and immediate family could not. I wanted that community to help show him meaning in his life, to move him ever out of himself and orient his life toward the good. I wanted to “give him a story,” as the presider and preacher at the celebration so perfectly put it. But I wanted it to be the right story.

Talk racial injustice with your kids (U.S. Catholic)
“Why did they put Martin Luther King Jr. in jail?” my son queried, rounding his R’s and L’s so they sounded like long O’s and W’s, respectively. I stalled: “That’s a really good question,” and I glanced down at his three-foot frame. Big blueberry eyes stared up at me from behind a curtain of smooth brown bangs, expecting the clear answer only a parent can provide. 

Hospitality starts with a place setting (U.S. Catholic)
Lately I’ve been helping out a group of women at my church prepare the table for Holy Communion. When we meet on Saturday mornings to wash and iron linens, polish silver, and dust the chapel, I can’t help but recall weekends with my grandmother preparing for her Christmas parties. Indeed, we are truly preparing for a feast like the ones my grandmother held, but this one is the Eucharistic feast.

Now is the time to teach kids how to give money (U.S. Catholic)
Don’t wait for kids to grow up before showing them how to share the wealth.

Should we change our pronouns for God? (U.S. Catholic)
To stop the insidious abuse of power within the church, we have to stop exclusively calling God ‘him.’

Women deacons won't solve the church's problems (U.S. Catholic)
Let’s ordain women deacons—and also rethink ordained ministry in the church.

The Growing Problem of Suburban Poverty (Utne Reader)
When Ellen got the phone call from Hope House, a long-term homeless shelter in Villa Park, Illinois, confirming an available room, she was overcome with relief. “The tears just flowed,” she says. “Even the woman on the other end was crying.”

The Beginning of the End of the Death Penalty (U.S. Catholic)
Leroy Wright was forced to endure a mock execution mere hours before doctors were set to inject him with a lethal cocktail meant to end his life in January 2011. He lay on the gurney with IVs in his arms when the United States Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of execution.

I hate to admit it: Why young adults are keeping their faith to themselves (U.S. Catholic)
Being a practicing Catholic has become a covert operation.

Does consuming art equal endorsement of the artist? (U.S. Catholic)
Can you enjoy a song or movie without supporting the person who created it? Let your conscience be your guide.

Why are young adults excited about Pope Francis? (U.S. Catholic)
To the millennial generation, the new pontiff’s actions are speaking just as loud as his words.

Arresting development (U.S. Catholic)
The church should push back to halt the long reach of urban sprawl.

FOOD, TRAVEL, & CULTURE

Drinking Woman
I created a site devoted to food and drinks with my friend, food stylist and recipe editor Mollie Hayward. I write all the copy, write and test recipes, and conduct and edit interviews with women in the beverage industry. 

In Chicago, a Reclaimed Swedish Heritage for a New Bakery (New York Times)
When Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood bid farewell to its beloved Swedish Bakery in February 2018, it was as if a princess cake-shaped hole was left in the historically Scandinavian neighborhood’s collective heart.

In New Orleans, marrying Asian Influences and Gulf Ingredients (New York Times)
People in New Orleans won’t bat an eyelash if you put a pig’s tail or feet on a plate in front of them, said Marcus Jacobs, the chef for and an owner of Marjie’s Grill in Mid-City: “You can go to a gas station and buy pig’s feet pretty much anywhere in town. People are open-minded about those kind of ‘off cuts.’”

In meat heavy Chicago, a shrine to vegetables (New York Times)
Carl Sandburg may have famously labeled Chicago “Hog Butcher for the World,” but Bad Hunter, in a former meatpacking district, celebrates the city’s culinary history by highlighting plants.

The Maximum-Fun, Minimum-Drama Guide to Raising Kids in Chicago (Chicago Magazine)
This compendium of insider tips, expert-tested resources, and hard-earned wisdom reveals a
delightful truth: Our city is one huge playground.

Chicago Magazine’s Guide to Winter 2019 (Chicago Magazine)
Stop whining, people, and embrace it. Here’s our guide to the most delicious, stylish, adventurous, debauched, and all-around enriching season ever.

Hoist a glass, raise a ladle (Chicago Tribune)
Under the ultra-low lighting in The Bedford's subterranean bar sits a gleaming bowl, filled with ice and a pale, jade-colored liquid that promises a little respite from the steamy-hot, sun-bright and noisy nearby intersection at Ashland and Division.

Menus put on fat, with pride (Chicago Tribune)
When suggested to Doug Sohn, the chef and owner behind the wildly popular Hot Doug's, that it was perhaps his duck fat fries that introduced many Chicago diners and hordes of tourists to the idea that food cooked in animal fat could be worth waiting for, he chuckles before conceding, "I'll agree with that.

Carnitas you can count on (Chicago Tribune)
Carnitas, which translates to "little meats," are hardly diminutive fare.

A feast of fried chicken (Chicago Tribune)
Unlike in the low-carb frenzy of the 1990s, when grilled chicken had a starring role on the plates of health-conscious eaters, chicken that's been battered and dunked in blistering hot oil is enjoying some time in the limelight.

Tiki bars in Chicago offer a taste of the tropics (Chicago Tribune)
Bathed in an eerie blue glow, a narrow wall of tightly packed skulls looms over the staircase descending into Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago's newest tiki lounge and most recent Lettuce Entertain You venture.

A Beurrage of ambition at Pilsen bakery (Chicago Tribune)
You don't design and build a to-scale replica of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in gingerbread without a particular kind of zeal for butter, flour and sugar.

A CSA for seafood (Modern Farmer)
As Cape Ann Fresh Catch sees it sustainability, both environmental and economic, is in variety — specifically in catching and eating a diverse array of fish.

Eat this: Dry Chili Chicken (Chicago Tribune)
While signs of spring are popping up elsewhere, in Chicago another winter storm could be lurking around the corner, promising more potholes, sniffles and cold, soggy feet. The best antidote is the mighty chili pepper, found in abundance in the dry chili chicken ($13.95) at Mapo. 

TRAVEL

See art history in Gloucester, Massachusetts (New York Magazine)
Less than an hour from Boston, this picturesque New England city is home to a historic artists' community and a gorgeous coastline that has inspired the likes of Hopper and Winslow.

Discover the Arty Side of Ann Arbor, Michigan (New York Magazine)
With experimental new art spaces, a thriving gallery scene, and a burgeoning cocktail culture, this midwestern city offers much more than the typical college-town charms.

POP CULTURE

Oprah Winfrey Farewell Spectacular Review (Entertainment Weekly)
It’s called the house that Michael Jordan built, but Tuesday night, it was the Queen of TV, Daytime, or All of Media (depending on who you talk to) who held court in Chicago’s United Center — even forcing the Bulls, who are in the midst of an NBA Eastern Conference Finals series with the Miami Heat, to cede the stadium for a night to her royal highness, Oprah Winfrey.

'Smash' premieres in Chicago (Entertainment Weekly)
Although the Chicago event was missing some of the flash and red carpet pizazz of Hollywood, it did have one thing: a dedicated theater crowd.

ETCETERA

Lakeland Regional Health
In the early days of Lakeland Regional Health's rebranding initiative, I worked with Indie Atlantic Films and wrote the script for this broadcast ad.

Nerdette Podcast
Early in the life of Nerdette, the popular podcast from WBEZ 91.5, I helped produce a few segments such as this interview with author M.T. Anderson.

Concord Coffee
Independent coffee shop Concord Coffee had a good story to tell about who they are and what they offer the city of Lakeland, Florida. I helped them tell it in concise and clear copy on their website.