jolson

jeff olson

counselor. writer. outdoorsman. US.

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destructive pride

In the classic 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is the town’s strapping, egotistical hero. He’s a “manly man” admired by the locals and desired by many of the town’s younger women. Most seem to be huge fans of Gaston and overlook his obnoxious ways, except for the young and... read more »

the rules of grief

Two years ago, I held my father’s hand as he drew his last breath. Since then, as I’ve struggled to figure out what a world without Dad looks like, I’ve learned and relearned a few things about grieving. I’m learning that it’s okay to grieve. Solomon observed that there’s a time for... read more »

sleepless nights

Sleep. It’s one of the most underrated pleasures in life. There’s nothing like a good night’s rest or napping on a rainy day. My bed feels like a refuge—a small sanctuary from the cares of life. On some nights, however, sleep is hard to find. In the dark stillness, cares and concerns of all... read more »

one

Have you ever wanted to take a quick peek at someone else’s mail? Maybe it was an envelope from a doctor’s office that held the results of a family member’s recent medical tests. Or perhaps it was a letter addressed to your parents from an estranged family member. As you held the envelope in... read more »

dead coming back to life

The Dead Sea in Israel is a one-of-a-kind place to take a dip. Tourists who enter its waters immediately realize that swimming aids aren’t necessary. Yep, there’s no need to tread water in the Dead Sea. Due to its exceptionally high concentration of salt, people simply float on its surface like... read more »

the one who sees

I recently stumbled across an online thread titled “I Am So Freaking Tired of Being Hurt.” It’s part of a website that invites people to share difficult life experiences such as battling cancer or facing a marriage crisis. Hagar certainly could have added her life story to this thread (Genesis... read more »

storytellers

Every two years in Wales, hundreds of people gather for an international story festival called Beyond the Border. The festival is an effort to celebrate the world’s rich heritage of oral tradition. “Oral tradition” is the passing on of stories—specifically historical, cultural accounts—by... read more »

the words we pray

As I was growing up, my parents made sure we prayed before evening meals. Sitting around the kitchen table, my siblings and I would bow our heads as either Dad or Mom would pray. I remember liking it when Dad prayed. His prayers were generally short and to the point. But it was a different story... read more »

heartburn

Heartburn. It strikes when stomach acid leaks backward into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest. Take it from me—an untreated case of heartburn will ruin your day. A few days after Jesus’ crucifixion, two of His disillusioned followers experienced a different sort of... read more »

happy endings

The 1995 movie Apollo 13 contains two famous radio transmissions: The first: “Houston, we have a problem.” And then: “Hello, Houston . . . this is Odyssey. It’s good to see you again.” Together, these two messages form the bookends to the real-life drama of NASA’s struggle to bring three... read more »
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