Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts.

Please help me launch this project by preordering copies on my website, using PayPal or another method (personal check, MO).  Paypal buttons will soon be up on the Writing Page.


The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

I think this will be the cover.

The data supporting the idea that more sensitive, “vulnerable” people do worse than others do in bad conditions but better in good conditions is based mainly on studies of adverse conditions—and show repeatedly that the mere lack of bad, really trying conditions is enough to let orchids fare better than others do. In other words, they tend to thrive under even “pretty good” conditions, and don’t require extraordinary care; you needn’t build the best, most carefully climate-controlled greenhouse ever made; a safe but stimulating environment will likely serve splendidly. For parenting, this means doing the right thing most of the time, not all the time, and providing a good environment, not necessarily a great one, to make the most of a child’s high responsiveness to experience.
If that’s the case, then super-parenting isn’t needed. Bettelheim’s “good enough parenting” will do just fine.

I would add, regarding how to parent sensitive children, that if you’ve guarded against the most harsh experiences that can affect a child, it probably makes more sense to focus on providing lots of small, positive things than on being hypervigilant about protecting the child from every bump, insult, or troubling challenge. And anxious hypervigilance sends a message that the world is perhaps too dangerous to handle. Small expressions of support and confidence and reassurance send the message that though the world can bring trouble, we’re almost always up for it, and will recover from all but—and sometimes even those too—the most serious setbacks or injuries or insults.


Lena A. Derhally writes (wisely)

Going to couples therapy at any stage in your relationship is your class on learning relationship skills that most people aren’t really that intuitive about. What is the shame or harm in wanting to be better at something or more knowledgeable and educated in the things that matter most?

Finally, I would like to state that not all therapy or couples therapy is effective or good therapy. I have worked with people who have had prior bad experiences in therapy. It’s important to find the right fit in a therapist and to also make sure the theoretical orientation of the therapist is in line with you and your partner agree with.


Talking about mental health is the first step to eliminating the negative stereotype around it — but for men, this can be particularly challenging.

Approximately 6 million American men have depression each year, yet research shows many are reluctant to disclose their mental illness symptoms and are averse to seeking treatment. This is a dangerous trend considering mental health issues have the potential to lead to suicide — an act that results in more than 40,000 deaths in the United States each year.

As part of our ShameOver men’s mental health initiative, we asked several men to share their stories about depression, anxiety and mental illness stigma. Their answers are an honest insight into what it’s really like to deal with mental health issues in a society where “being a man” is equated with “being tough” — and “being tough” is equated with being silent.

Take a look at their stories in the video above — because there’s nothing emasculating about sharing your feelings.


I realized that I needed to come up with new techniques to encourage sharing in the classroom that stemmed from collaboration and joint efforts and offer ways for less verbal students to articulate their knowledge. Cain’s article offered one such technique, called “Think, Pair, Share.” This technique has become one of the most important tools in my teaching toolkit as it promotes collaboration and peer-to-peer learning among all students. Susan describes it beautifully, so here’s her explanation:

The teacher poses a question to the class and asks students to first reflect on or write down their answer, and then share it with a peer. Sometimes a shy student can find confidence through the encouragement of a single peer before sharing his idea with the larger classroom.


I personally like a lively, interactive classroom. But I also realize that trying to force everyone to participate on the same level and in the same way is not good. I’d rather have a well thought out point made by a shy student now and then than have to wade through lots of shallow ideas put out by those just needing to talk, for whatever reason (sometimes because they think that’s the way to get good grades and/or be noticed).

Finding other ways to encourage interaction by the shy is wise and certainly supportive of their learning needs.

New research published last week in the journal Psychological Science finds that sadness can affect our vision, making the world appear more gray, by impairing the neural processes involved in color perception.

As it turns out, there’s a reason we use colors as a metaphor for emotion, with expressions like “feeling blue” or having a “gray day.”


From MATTHEW ROZSA’s article:

The researchers discovered that individuals who identified as “highly straight” but had latent impulses for sex with other men were far more likely to favor anti-gay policies. In addition, those men were also more likely to call for stricter punishments against gay people who commit petty crimes. “Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions,” explained Dr. Richard M. Ryan to The New York Times. “But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance.”

The explanation is pretty similar when talking about heterosexual sex scandals, such as the one involving Duggar. One study found that residents of highly religious and politically conservative states spent more money on Internet pornography than their less religious and conservative counterparts. And the states which banned gay marriage had 11 percent more porn subscribers. There is a solidly-established statistical correlation between social conservatism and higher rates of abortion, teen pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases — and nations that have more liberal views on sexuality generally have fewer sex-related health problems than countries that are more repressive.


All of this is because, as Dr. Christopher Ryan explained at Psychology Today:

If expression of sexuality is thwarted, the human psyche tends to grow twisted into grotesque, enraged perversions of desire. Unfortunately, the distorted rage resulting from sexual repression rarely takes the form of rebellion against the people and institutions behind the repression… Instead, the rage is generally directed at helpless victims who are sacrificed to the sick gods of guilt, shame, and ignorant pride.


These are the problems you’re not hearing enough about.


All of us need to become more aware of what’s going on, not only in the world at large but in our own country, our own communities–and ourselves. We’ll never become integrated and move toward wholeness till we do.

The Many Layers Of Life
August 12th, 2015

From Huffington Post:

Today’s meditation features a poem by the late American writer Stanley Kunitz. “The Layers” is a reflection on the many lives we experience in one lifetime and the struggle to maintain a true sense of self.

“I have walked through many lives,” the poem opens, “some of them my own, and I am not who I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray.”


Jame Hamblin writes:

If you think that human nature is good and powerful, then you go around frustrated because the perfect society has not yet been achieved. But if you go through life believing that our reason is not that great, our individual skills are not that impressive, and our goodness is severely mottled, then you’re sort of amazed life has managed to be as sweet as it is.

So, in sum, human nature is not good or powerful. Remember that, and you’ll be much happier. Never expect a waffle iron, because goodness is mottled. Heaven help you if you expect crepes.


Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.