Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars," "The Wednesday Letters" and "The 13th Day of Christmas." |
He can be reached at email@example.com or jasonfwright.com.
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It's not that I didn't see this coming, right? I've known for a long time that Oakli, my oldest child, would turn 18 this week. Come to think of it, I guess I've known for, well, 18 years.
I first collaborated with Glenn Beck on his 2008 novel, "The Christmas Sweater." Though categorized as fiction, the inspirational story was carefully poured in the concrete of Beck's childhood, and with every edit, he insisted we stay as true to his personal history as possible.
One of my biggest regrets celebrates a birthday this month. Ten years have passed since I ignored three of the most important words I've ever heard.
It's hard to imagine just 10 years ago we lived in a tragic world where no one knew what their friends had for breakfast.
Twenty years ago a young married woman was sexually assaulted in California. The attack resulted in a pregnancy that the woman refused to terminate, despite her husband's threats of divorce.
Picture this: I was strolling around the track at the Central campus with a handful of students discussing what subjects they like most and who were their favorite teachers. After a lap or two, a young man startled us from behind by sprinting right through the middle of our group and shouting something rude as he blurred by. "Whoa!" I asked, "Who was that?" A darling blonde swept her long hair over her shoulder and said, "Oh, that's just my ex." You would expect this interplay among high school students. But no, these kids weren't quite there. Middle school? Nope, these kids still have to hold a hand when crossing the street. They couldn't possibly be in elementary school, could they? Indeed, my walking buddies were third-graders. I quizzed the kids as we continued circling the track. "How many of you have already had a boyfriend or girlfriend?" Almost half said they had. "Have you ever been on a date?" A few brave students said "yes," and then explained that a "date" for kids their age usually means meeting at a predetermined place on the playground during recess. "Do you actually call them dates?" I asked. "Do other boys and...
There are at least three alternate headlines that could have told the story of 2-year-old Jakob Heintzelman. Each would have grabbed the reader right by the heart:
One year ago, if a friend had told me he was suffering from anxiety so debilitating it prevented him from working, studying, speaking in public or even being alone, I might have suggested it was a figment of his imagination.
Aaron Zwahlen of Modesto, Calif., is a big man with even bigger dreams. Born into a family full of superstars -- including a father who played football at Brigham Young University -- and blessed with uncommon athletic ability, Zwahlen has excelled on every field he's ever graced.
With Labor Day behind us, Shenandoah County schools are finally in full swing. The new school year means crisp shirts, squeaky sneakers and lunch boxes that are still fresh. Never mind that soon they will smell like they should only be handled by lab techs in HAZMAT suits.
It's been 30 years since one of the more memorable Sunday School lessons of my life. I was a boy sitting in the middle of a half-dozen other gawky kids learning about God.
On the morning of Aug. 1, a mediocre and marginally known columnist and novelist decided that it was time to launch his personal "soda-free month" to clear mind and body. There would be absolutely no icy-fountain drinks, ice-cold bottles at his favorite gas station or chilled glasses at the local pizza joint. "What a great idea!" he thought.
On the evening of July 19, young men and women of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Winchester region wandered the grounds of the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, N.Y. Approximately 140 youth and leaders from nine congregations had traveled nearly 400 miles by bus and car to visit the area, see religious sites of interest and enjoy the annual outdoor summertime pageant.
A seventh-grade student sat at his desk fearing the absolute worst. It was Friday, June 8, 1984. It was also the last day of school before summer vacation.
It was a hot, muggy Monday afternoon in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The humid hours and minutes felt like fat dominos, too heavy to gather momentum and topple over onto one another. It was the kind of afternoon that just gives up and waits for dusk to arrive with a fan and an extra lemonade.
The questions started a year ago. "Are you sick? Are you dying? Are you well? Are you losing weight?"
On Sunday night, tightrope walker, world-record holder and self-described "King of the High Wire" Nik Wallenda strolled 1,500 feet above the ground on a 2-inch wide wire across the Little Colorado River Gorge on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon.
Welcome to summer 2013. It's time to stock up on charcoal and ice, Popsicles and Pop Rocks, sparklers and sprinklers, bubbles, bubble gum and Kleenex. Yes, Kleenex. Because if it's summertime, it's also time for those red-hot romances that start with sparks and almost always end with tears.
My children have always enjoyed playing the toy crane machines that guard the entrances of grocery stores, malls, restaurants and arcades. Kason Wright, my 9-year-old son, has such a high success rate that the folks who service these machines coordinate their restocking schedule with his allowance day.
By now the world knows that on Monday, just before 3 p.m. local time, a massive tornado touched down near Oklahoma City. We've witnessed how it shredded the nearby suburb of Moore like a city made of wooden Tinker Toys. But with rescue workers still sifting through twisted steel and bare trees stripped of leaves and bark, there is so much more we do not know.
Dear Mr. Jeffries: If you believe the adage "all press is good press," then the last 10 days have been great to you. You and your brand have been mentioned in unflattering terms on virtually every television news network, in many newspapers, websites and from one end of the blogosphere to the other.
On Sunday, May 2, 2004, Gael and Steve Shaffer of Woodstock walked into New Hope Church ready to worship. When they walked out an hour later, they'd taken an unexpected call from God.
We had an odd winter here Virginia's quiet Shenandoah Valley. We were still shoveling snow in late March, and in a single week, we missed three school days for different reasons. One day was the victim of snow, one for freezing rain and the third was canceled for severe flooding of the Shenandoah River. In between the snow and ice, we had paradisiacal days in the 60s that could have been ripped from a glossy travel magazine.
This week my wife turns 42. This officially ends the three-month period every year when she gets to say she married a much older man and that I robbed the cradle. I turned 42 on Feb. 1.
Last Saturday, my 14-year-old daughter Jadi attended her first dance. She was, not surprisingly, more nervous about this rite of passage than a shrimp at a seafood restaurant.
A few weeks ago, my youngest son woke me up on a Saturday morning with a thousand and two questions about our plans for the day. At age 6, his curiosity runs like Niagara Falls and I'm often the one going over the edge in a barrel.
The legacy of FBI Special Agent Danny Knapp has spread like a flash flood.
In November of 2011, FBI Special Agent Danny Knapp's career was riding a wave beyond his wildest dreams. Knapp had just returned to his station in Puerto Rico after being presented with the FBI Director's Award for Outstanding Criminal Investigation and the 2011 Attorney General's Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement.
For three weeks, I've spent hours researching an inspirational man from Las Vegas whom I've never met. I've exchanged emails, read personal letters, listened to audio recordings and chatted both over the phone and over good food with his family.
About a year ago, I discovered a new Asian fusion restaurant. I'm not sure how many times I drove by and saw the signs before I ventured in. But I'm sure glad I did.
You may not know Dave McConnell of Columbus, Ohio. But odds are, you know someone just like him. You might call them friends. I call them life heroes.
I've been thinking about chocolate-covered cherries lately. The tiny treats have symbolized my childhood Christmas mornings, and my mother always had several boxes scattered out on the counter when we came downstairs. We never had to ask if we could have one.
Ethan William Ellsworth of Phoenix may have been born with a malformation of veins in his brain, but his heart couldn't have been more perfect. Ethan's condition -- arteriovenous malformation -- was undetected until his brain suddenly hemorrhaged one night, sending the otherwise healthy and happy 71⁄2-year-old boy to the hospital for diagnosis and emergency surgery.
Several years ago I appeared on Glenn Beck's television program to discuss my novel, "The Wednesday Letters." Much to Beck's astonishment, I chose to share my cellphone number on air with his audience. I invited them to call and share their memories on the importance of personal, handwritten letters in their lives.
Recently a friend and I enjoyed a rare day off and went to a matinee. We arrived early enough to indulge in one of our favorite pastimes: Drooling over the wares next door to the theater in a place called The Big Screen Store. It sells - wait for it - big screen televisions.
There are three things men cannot avoid: death, taxes and Valentine's Day.
My 9-year-old son Kason is a believer.
Last week I traveled to Columbus, Ga., for seven events over two days. I was set to speak to Mormons, Methodists, college students and to a crowd of struggling teen girls at a Christian-based residential treatment center. My last stop would be a speech at the Junior League of Columbus.
I've always been easily distracted. You know my type. I could be running the race of my life and stop 10 feet from the finish line to pick up a shiny penny.
If you watched the BCS championship game last week between Alabama and Notre Dame, you may have caught an ESPN feature on the adoption of 14-year-old Sam Grewe of Middlebury, Ind., by the Notre Dame football program. And, if you saw it, you're more likely to remember his inspiring story than the game itself.
Do you remember dissecting a frog in your high school science lab? Or maybe you sliced open and studied an earthworm? Perhaps you were adventurous, and with a buddy you operated on a bean, cheese and green chili burrito from the school cafeteria to prove it was inedible.
This week marks a 25-year milestone I never wished to celebrate. The date -- Dec. 18 -- means nothing to you. But to me, it's the annual bookmark that reminds me another year has passed without my father.
Merry Christmas! It's time for the obligatory office parties, Christmas music, Grandma's re-gifted fruitcake and another installment of Oprah's Favorite Things...As in years' past, her list is notable for the items that just barely missed the cut. Her fans call them her second-favorite things, and for the third consecutive year (2010, 2011), it's my pleasure to present the completely unauthorized list.
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