Friday, September 15, 2023

Looking forward

 Exciting things are happening! 

It's always exciting when I take the time to listen to God's voice. He speaks far more than I listen, but I do try. One of the things he consistently says to me, both through others and through that still, small voice in my heart, is "Keep writing." The last few years, I can't tell you how many times I've heard that little command. 

I love writing, and all my adult life I've been working on one writing project or another. Still, it was a big step to publish the two books I have out. What a crazy journey! (If you're interested in those books, you can search for me, Jeff Krogstad, on Amazon or you can click the link to the right.) 

A couple years ago I realized I need to focus on finishing things. I want to intentionally complete projects (including books) and get them out so others can read them. So I've been dusting off a few books I had in the formative stages, and trying to get them to the point of publication. 

Here's the good news: My first published novel, Snowmelt, is going to be in print very soon! It's quite a bit different from the biblical books I've published before. I'm not giving up on that kind of writing, not at all. But I've always been a storyteller, and I'm eager to put a few longer stories out in print. Snowmelt will be the first of those. In the book, you'll find people struggling to live well, to deal with grief, and to decide what voices to listen to. It's a story I've been writing for a decade or so, on and off. Those that know me well won't be a bit surprised that lots of it happens in the Boundary Waters. I won't say a lot more about it yet, but when it comes out you'll hear about it here!

There are also several other books I've been working on. In the next few months I'll share a bit about some of those projects as well. My hope is to take projects that are in manuscript form or take stories I've been working on for years (like Snowmelt) and get those in print. 

Thanks to those of you who have encouraged me this direction! It's always a joy to hear that people are reading something I've written and that it is having an impact on them. I'm eager to get more works in print and see where the journey leads. 

If you have read either of my books that are currently in print (New Wineskins or From Slavery To Freedom) here's something you can do that would be a huge help to me. Would you go to the Amazon website where those books are listed and share a review? Doesn't have to be long or deep, but anything you have to say would be so helpful. Thanks!

Saturday, July 1, 2023


 It's been an incredibly busy few months. We are at work combining two households, constantly marveling at how we have each accumulated this much stuff. Unbelievable. Work continues to be at least full-time making fish replicas for the taxidermy industry. And of course, owning land (and the animals and plants that go with it) takes up any shred of spare time we might have.

This morning I took a few minutes to look through an old photo album of the family and home where I grew up. Precious memories. My parents have been gone twenty-nine years (Mom) and twenty-three years (Dad). So it's a joy to look at some pictures that bring them back vividly in my memory. 

It strikes me this morning that my life has in many ways come full circle. I grew up deeply attached to a specific piece of land, the farm my great-grandfather bought in 1892. Starting when I was 17, I wandered for school and career. The land and all that went with it stayed like bedrock in my heart, but I became a wanderer. Every place I went I tried to re-forge that connection with the land. That lasted up until two years ago. 

Now my life, as I said, has come in many ways full circle. I am again rooted on land. This time it's the forty acres that I bought almost three years ago. I have been tending this land much as my father tended (and wrestled with) the land where I grew up. I'm struggling with tractors that don't want to work right, fighting against weeds, praying for rain, and loving the extremes of living close to the weather in Minnesota. I strive to leave it better than I found it. I bask in the joys of growing things. Daily I tend a couple of horses, worry about fences, strive to remember whether I closed that gate. I'm thinking about whether I have enough hay to get through the coming winter. Even in July, winter casts a long shadow here. Deer and pheasants are welcome company on this place, and I think about how to make it better for them as well. 

There was a simplicity to my growing up years that I am rediscovering. It's far more than just nostalgia for childhood. It includes limiting technology, avoiding debt, making do with what we have, and appreciating the good gifts and relationships we've been given. 

It is rooted in a close relationship with land, and a deep gratitude to the God who created it and who loves it even more than I do. I find myself thinking about Romans 8 so often, where Paul writes that all creation groans in bondage waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed. This tending of creation is part of a sacred calling for those of us who know Jesus Christ. And even as this land was broken and abused and now is growing healthy again, I see daily that my own brokenness is being redeemed. 

My sin (oh, the bliss of this glorious thought)

My sin not in part but the whole

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

One of the names I have used in my own mind for this land at times is "redemption acres." I'm not ready to put it up on a sign, and there are other names as well, but this place is a place of redemption. What was discarded and valueless (it was on the market for years before I bought it and the listing finally just ran out because no one wanted this place) is now becoming more and more beautiful. 

It is a parable of sorts. 

And like so many parables, I find myself in it. 

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Dispelling the rumor of my abduction

Contrary to what you may have thought, I have not in fact been abducted by aliens. 

Life is really good here these days. If anything, it's a little too full for comfort. On the personal side, I got remarried in March. Lisa is amazing, and she has moved to the farm with me. She understands the adventure this place is, and the potential it has. We have spent a lot of energy and time in the last few months blending families, combining households, and enjoying being together. It's so good. So there are a bunch of kids and one grandkid (so far) that make us incredibly rich. 

On the professional side, we are both working at Lake Country Replicas these days, making fantastic fish replicas for the taxidermy industry. I've been there over two years now, and Lisa just started in March. We both continue to learn a lot, with all the joy and challenges that come with expanding our skills. 

I have a few writing projects in the works, though this is the worst time of year for me to write. Grass needs mowing, horses need riding, tractors need maintenance, and there is the ongoing battle against the forces of the wood-tick and cocklebur realms. But those writing projects are never far from my mind. 

Church-wise, we meet with a few different home groups. House churches, care groups, Life Groups, Bible studies, call them what you will. Each is a collection of people seeking Jesus and caring for each other. I do a little teaching here and there. We are blessed with rich relationships with many people who are trying to follow Jesus in their whole lives. 

And that leads to theological reflections. No surprise. For the last few years I've been asking, "Lord, what are you doing with your church?" I spent most of my professional career working for the good of the institutional church. I recognized all that time it was a flawed construction, but the best option we had for proclaiming Jesus Christ and working for the kingdom of God. The last two and a half years I've seriously questioned that assumption. I still think there's a place for "organized" churches. They may reach people who would otherwise not hear much about Jesus. But over the last thirty years, and intensely for the last three or four, I've seen God allow a massive dismantling of the institutions of western Christianity. 

Maybe that's because institutional churches, much though they wish this wasn't the case, tend to create dependence and complacency rather than making self-nurturing disciples. 

The pandemic simply speeded up a shift that had been happening all through my adult life. That shift included (as I've written about many times before) a movement away from church-going as a social expectation. We have moved away from politically empowered church organizations. What we've seen like crazy these last few years is disempowerment of churches and their socio-political influence. The good news of Jesus Christ is no less powerful or relevant. The Holy Spirit is no less potent. It is the institutional life of the church that has waned. 

That shift has certainly been allowed by God, and quite possibly caused by him. Whenever I attend a worship service in an institutional church (for simplicity, let's describe that as one that has paid staff and / or owns a building) I'm struck by how self-serving the institution has to be, just for the sake of its own survival. Some of them are doing an amazing job of serving their communities and lifting up Jesus. Others, not so much. 

So I ponder the fact that churches owning buildings and paying staff are not even on the radar of the New Testament. I can make the arguments for those things, and for a quarter century drew my salary from the institution. But I see God allowing it to self-destruct at this point in history. And I wonder, what are you up to, Lord??

When I sit in someone's living room and dig deep into the Bible and the lives of these friends, I catch a glimpse. We talk about the mission God is accomplishing in each other's lives, and we pray for each other's real-life ministries in our workplaces and extended families. I recall how Jesus said he would be present when two or three are gathered in his name. I think of all those last chapters of Paul's letters when he says, "Greet so-and-so and the church that meets in their home." It sounds and feels a lot more like New Testament Christianity. And we're not tying up 80-90% of our tithes paying for professional workers or maintenance and mortgage of a building. 

In the meantime, each of us is spurred on to serve God in our own lives, and recognize his presence and blessing in our homes and daily work. Speaking personally, life is full to overflowing and rich beyond measure. Though the wood-ticks may carry me off, thus far at least the aliens have not. 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Heading into winter

I started composing this post in early November and didn't finish it. So I'm picking it up in early December. Here we go:

This morning I am playing hooky in order to get a water hydrant installed down by my barn. It will save me so much work this winter now that I have horses who will need gallons and gallons of water each day. It's a project that's needed to be done all summer, but true to form (in spite of calculations, phone calls, pleadings and being THAT guy) is happening on what may well be the last summery day of the year. Front is supposed to come through tonight with colder temps and rain. We need the rain. 

It warms my heart to look at this place and think how far we've come. What was a mess of weeds and piles of garbage when I first saw it has become a place that people tell me is "peaceful." I agree.

Continued December 8:

I just came up from the barn. Got the horses in and fed them, dealt with a couple invasive mice. Used the above-mentioned hydrant and a short length of hose to fill the horses' water tank which, complete with heater, is making my life so much easier thus far this winter. The horses are weathering this early winter just fine, thank you. I love the evening routine of cleaning out stalls, feeding and tending. It's a good time to check in with them and see how they're doing. And it's a good discipline for me. 

The coyotes were howling down in the Crow River bottom east of my place as I was finishing up. Sounded like a sizable pack, but it doesn't take many coyotes to make a lot of noise. Wish they'd eat some of my mice. or that the cat who wanders through my fresh snow would take care of them. But thus far the mice are a minor annoyance, nothing more. 

My granddaughter turns a year old in a few days. Where did that time go? A lot has happened this past year. It's been good. Very good. 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Stewardship and holiday weekends

 Someone asked me yesterday what I'm doing for the holiday weekend. The question startled me a little bit. I thought, most people go to the lake or go to a parade or go see fireworks on the 4th of July weekend, especially when the holiday itself lands on a Monday. 

What am I doing this weekend? My to-do list is as long as my arm. I want to get my new (to me) sprayer out and spray a few areas in my field. I've got one strip that's going to be shelter belts, but the trees weren't available this spring so it needs to be sprayed, planted with a cover crop, and left until next spring. I also want to knock down the weeds on my food plots. In a couple weeks it will be time to get those planted so the deer can enjoy them this fall. 

Some of the heavy rains we had this spring washed out quite a bit of soil just west of my house. I used the tractor to put most of that back the other day, but it needs some shovel work and packing. I would like to get that done this weekend. 

I'm continuing to work with my horses. I'm helping them learn what's expected of them and they're helping me learn to manage them well. I'm planning to get them saddled up and do some fun riding this weekend, while still working on that growing understanding we're developing. 

I've realized that in spite of all my farm projects, I need some real cardio occasionally, so I'm hoping to get my bike out and go for a longer ride today or tomorrow. 

I spent a half hour weeding in the garden last night (Friday) and it's looking good. Sometime this weekend I should spend another half hour just to keep up. I'm loving the way the garden looks this year. Friends helped me double its size back in May, and we planted a good variety of stuff. The radishes are amazing, and I'm excited for some of the other things that are showing promise. 

I took some time this morning during the gentle rain (thank you Jesus!) to go through receipts and do some filing. Halfway through the year is a good moment to do some financial / tax assessment. 

I'll have time with a couple friends tomorrow morning for worship and joyful fellowship and time in scripture. That will probably be the social highlight of my weekend. 

Then there are all the normal weekend things. I need to run a couple loads of laundry, clean the kitchen, assess what needs to be on my grocery list and get to the store, and all the other odds and ends that go into self-management. 

Why am I sharing all this with you? Good question. I guess I'm a little surprised by the fact that I love this farm life so much that I'm not feeling any kind of loss for not getting to go to the lake, go to a fireworks display, cheer for a parade, or even throw a line in the water. I'm doing exactly what my heart has longed to do for many, many years. Caring for the land and for a couple beautiful animals feels right to me. To get all biblical about it, I'm enjoying the process of living out Romans 8, where Paul writes that all creation is waiting in eager longing for the sons (and daughters) of God to be revealed. I figure this stewardship is one way of putting that into action. 

Whatever you're doing this holiday weekend, whatever stewardship has been entrusted to you, I hope you sense a deep  gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2022


 I turned 56 yesterday. It was an amazing birthday, full of joyful community, worship, excellent conversation, and carrot cake. I couldn't ask for better. 

Still, birthdays always make me reflective. Today, even though it's been a back-to-the-routine workday, has been a much more reflective day with lots of memories. 

Seems like it's a good opportunity to trot out things like grief and heartbreak and longing and make sure I'm dealing straight up with them. Those three especially can twist your mind around in terrible ways if you're not living honestly with them. I firmly believe it's a good idea to take stock of one's heart in those departments at last a few times a year. 

Grief is cumulative, I think. We never really get over it. Every grief taps into every other, and our only hope is to learn to grieve well, to grieve in a healthy way. The losses, small and large, pile on top of one another and they need to be acknowledged. They certainly can't be controlled. Looking grief in the face, however, allows one to step into the present rather than being trapped in the past. 

Heartbreak and grief are related, but they're not the same. Heartbreak is about what could have been but was not. It's related to grief, and grief is certainly a part of it. I've always been enough of a dreamer to think things should be different, and that can trap me in a terrible corner. Dealing with heartbreak is about looking reality in the face and saying as much as things should have been different, they weren't. Take a deep breath and turn toward the way things are and the way things might be in the future. Let the past be broken, and release it. As a very wise friend once told me, "You have to let the past take its rightful place in the past."

Longing is potentially the most damaging of the three. Longing can steal the power of the present and the hope of the future. Longing is the lie that prevents anything good in the here and now. It's a fine line, because knowing your own heart can help you figure out where God is calling you. Psalm 37 says that those desires of your heart are, at least potentially, God-given. I know it's possible to long for things that are far from God, and I've fallen into that trap. But often at the core of even those longings, there is a God-given yearning for something good. 

Transitioning into my late 50's, I'm learning to sit with grief, to let it be a companion, if not a welcome one. This week a man I've known since childhood, a tender, brilliant, articulate man, was laid to rest in my hometown. I grieve for him and all those who feel his loss most deeply. And that grief taps into the grief I carry for so many others, for grandparents and parents and a sister-in-law and friends and mentors and many, many more. 

I hope I'm also learning to let heartbreak temper me rather than shatter me. It's easy to create a fantasy land in which all those old wounds go away and none of my heartbreaks ever happened. But that's not reality. I have received, and given, many deep wounds. It's important to hold them honestly before God and in my own mind. 

When I can do that, when I can live in repentance before God and receive his grace and mercy in the midst of those things, I find that my longings begin to be transformed. I find deep down in the core of my longings a thread of things I've always wanted but couldn't name. And I look around and discover that God has begun to meet those longings and satisfy them in the most amazing ways. The process of God meeting those longings, it turns out, is far more important than the desires themselves. 

So in practical terms, it's three weeks today since the doctors opened me up and installed a new right hip. I'm incredibly grateful for the family and friends that have nursed and nurtured me so well. I'm healing faster than I have any right to expect. Prayer has a lot to do with that. 

The day before I came home from the Cities after surgery, a horse came to live at my 40-acre farm. He and I have been adjusting to each other, and my heart just sings to have him living here. I'm so excited. All the preparation that's gone into revamping my barn and fixing my fences is now bearing good fruit. And just the last couple days, the grass has started greening up in the pasture and he's excited about that, as I am. 

As I write this, six deer are grazing over my septic drainfield and enjoying the new growth on the hill below my house. Their presence is such a gift, and I always take it as a reminder (a la Psalm 42, among others) of God's presence. I can breathe in this place, and God has so richly blessed me by bringing me here. It is a gift indeed, and maybe that's why it's called "the present." It's a good place to live. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Checking in

 You can feel spring trying to break through. Last night I went walking down in the pasture, squishing in several inches of melting snow. I started up my tractor and scooped a few tons of slush out of my driveway. It was melting all day yesterday in the powerful sunshine. The temperature never dropped below freezing last night, and today it's supposed to be in the upper 40's. Any day now the trees are going to start visibly budding and sap will start running. 

With a lot of help, I'm continuing to make progress on the barn and the pasture. Saturday, I think, is going to be a fencing party. It's amazing what my friends will get excited about. 

I'm continuing to get my ducks in a row (not literally, though I have been thinking about getting ducks sometime soon) for my hip surgery. I don't look forward to the process, but I'm so very excited about having a new hip. I had my other one replaced in 2014, and I remember the amazing feeling as it healed up and I was able to do things I hadn't done in a long time. Like standing up straight. 

In some metaphorical ways, it feels like spring as well. I just heard that the Philippines has opened its borders. That opens the way for a Bible translation project to move forward. I've been rooting for this project for a long time, and the restrictions on travel to & within the Philippines have made it impossible. Until now. As much as I would love to be going myself, that's not a possibility. So this time I'm cheering from the stands. 

And all along the way, God is faithful. He continues to provide community, and time in scripture, worship, and prayer with dear friends. He continues to provide for my needs and speak to me through his word. The warm sunshine, trickles of melting water, sloppy roads, and herds of deer milling around in my field in the evening are all signs of hope these days. I hope you are seeing similar signs of God's faithfulness in your own life. 

Monday, February 14, 2022


 A few nights ago I had a dream. I try to pay attention to dreams, partly because they're a way for me to know what's going on deep down inside me that my psyche is trying to process. Also I believe that God uses dreams (sometimes) to communicate with us. So I try to pay attention.

In this dream, I hatched out a tyrannosaurus egg. It was about the size of a grapefruit, and the little monster that hatched out was awkwardly cute and voraciously hungry and determined to chew. He chewed on drywall and old shoes and bits of granite. He took everyday objects and chewed them up into unrecognizable bits of shrapnel. And he grew really, really fast. 

I realized in the dream that I never thought he would hatch alive. And in the dream I had taken on this crazy project knowing that it probably wouldn't work, but it seemed cool at the time. So now that I had a growing dinosaur to manage, I didn't know quite how to deal with it. For anyone who has seen Jurassic Park, you know that there are huge ethical issues (not to mention safety issues) with hatching dinosaurs. In the dream I figured I had to find a realistic way of euthanizing my tyrannosaurus. 

But not yet. 

Meanwhile, people who came to my place as house guests were fascinated and horrified. People who brought their pet dogs over found the dogs laser focused and depending on the dog, terrorized. My friends, visiting in my home, would show me chewed bits of drywall they'd found in my place. One asked, "You ever worry about losing fingers with that thing around?" The little tyrannosaur kept getting bigger. By the end of the dream he was almost the size of a black lab, and he pretty much had the run of my house. My life had shifted to make room for a predatory dinosaur. And I still didn't quite know what to do with him. 

Like all dreams, this one ended. I woke up. The dream didn't feel fearful or icky the way they sometimes do. I found myself wondering about it. I remembered (as you can tell) a ton of detail. Usually remembering the details of dreams with any kind of clarity is a sign to pay attention. 

So I've thought about that dream a lot. 

Things are not quite this simple, but here's the bottom line of my reflections. My whole life these days feels a little like hatching a tyrannosaurus. Most of this I've chosen, like I chose to hatch the little mongrel out in the dream. Some of my current circumstances started out from unpleasant things I didn't choose, like being asked to resign from my most recent church job and not being given a good reason why. That one stumped me for a long time, but I was confident God was working in the details. Turns out that was true. (It always is, because God is good like that.) 

In the aftermath of that unpleasant transition, I did make some choices. I chose to take a job in an industry that was entirely new to me, where the learning curve would be incredibly steep. I chose to live on the 40 acres I'd bought a few months previously. I chose to move out here almost a year ago at the end of March, moving into a camper rather than doing something sensible like renting a place with flushable toilets (or any toilets) and running water. Then I chose to buy a very well used trailer house. Serious fixer-upper. I chose to do most of the fixer-upper work myself (with the help of some incredible friends) rather than hiring someone else to do it. Leveling. Wiring. Plumbing. Wall repair. Floor repair. Toilet replacement. Fixer. Upper. 

In all of that, I have felt most days like I'm bottle-feeding a tyrannosaurus. So to speak. (Yes, I know that in all probability dinosaurs didn't nurse. It's a metaphor. Roll with it. And for the literal-minded and inordinately curious out there, the dream didn't in fact include bottle feeding.)

At the same time, these crazy circumstances have become a deep, deep joy to me. It's February, and I love my evenings in my cozy living room. I love waking up in this place to the sound of my coffee pot going off on the timer. 

I'm getting tremendously excited about spring. There are going to be some challenges coming down the pike, of course. I'm planning to have a hip replaced, and there's a ton of work I want to get done this spring. This combination will require wisdom and balance and restraint. But every inch of progress in this place and this new life has required all of that. There are hugely exciting prospects of animals coming to live here, a barn that has been transformed from dark, unpleasant bondage to beautiful, usable space. That barn is another whole dinosaur. There are plans for gatherings of friends and late night campfires and worship times and work parties and so much more. It's exciting. 

When it's twenty-five below and my pipes freeze up, though, I tend to ask myself why I hatched this crazy monster in the first place. But that's just a fleeting question. In spite of chewed bits of drywall and a growing OCD obsession with counting my fingers, I've grown to love the little mongrel. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Deep satisfactions

Lately I have been experiencing some long-awaited joys. 

Tuesday my first grandchild arrived, a little girl, who bears as her middle name the name of my mother. The very existence of this tiny human being marks the passing and legacy of the generations. She is a word of my own finitude and mortality, and in that I am set free and overjoyed. I have not yet met her, but there will be time for that. 

Last night a small group of us shared a worship service in my barn. In my deepest heart and in a few quiet conversations, this has been envisioned over and over for the past year. Last night it finally came to be. We sat in the cold barn around a propane heater. We talked of Herod the Great and his architecture, and how in the face of those grandiose projects Jesus chose to be born in a place much like this. He came, as Peterson has it in The Message, for everyone. Nothing could symbolize that better than that first night's lodgings. So we shared communion with a bold red wine and homemade whole wheat bread. 

Outside the barn, one of those lovely December snows was beginning. The flakes wafted downward past the longhorn steer skull above the door on the barn, through the rarely-lit yardlight's illuminated cone, settling on the ground and obscuring the tracks of whitetails and cottontails that crisscross my yard. 

Then we adjourned up the hill to my house (remember the $350 trailer house I've been working on with the help of many of these same friends?) and shared chili and cornbread and lefsa and mulled wine and the joy and conversation that comes with shared life and deep trust. 

I find myself living out a manifesto of simplicity and contentment here. I've mentioned Wendell Berry before and his articulate advocacy for this kind of a life. Here is a piece in which he recommends some concrete steps that lead one into this kind of living. Enjoy. 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Turning the corner into winter

 It's almost December as I write this. I'm sitting in that trailer house I bought last spring. A few friends and I spent a ton of energy making it livable. So though it's twenty degrees outside, I'm sitting comfortably in my living room listening to the furnace run. My coffee pot is happily keeping me happy on the kitchen counter. Shoes and bookshelves and TV and car keys each have their places. This has become home, though (like most homes) there is still a great deal of work to be done. I am hesitant to say so out loud, but I think I'm ready to face the Minnesota winter in this place. 

I've been working lately in the barn. There's a solid prospect of a horse or two coming to live here in the spring, and it's been fun to turn from cleaning junk out of the barn. Now I'm focusing on building a couple box stalls and planning for water, fence repair, and the like. I'm very excited about all that. The pasture fence will need a little work, but a few days of labor will probably have the place ready for equine occupancy. Then there will be more complicated things that need to be accomplished next spring or summer, like getting a source of water in the barn itself. But that's manageable. And I am so enjoying the deep connection to my farming roots and those kinds of projects. I don't know what I was thinking a few years ago when I figured I could live in the Twin Cities. 

Also tremendously exciting is that in the next few weeks I am becoming a grandpa. That is a deep joy waiting to come to full flower, and I'm patient. 

I'm thinking a lot these days about the chaotic times in which we live. As I write, the new omicron variant of the corona virus has captured everyone's attention. We continue to live in the midst of this global pandemic with great fear and conflict. We continue to be polarized around everything from politics to medicine to sexuality to ... well, to everything, it seems like. 

I think often about Wendell Berry (if you don't know him, look him up) and some of his philosophy around land and spirituality. Boiled down, I think it applies like this. In times of chaos and division, the responsible thing to do is build three things. First, land. Make sure you have space. If at all possible, own it. That provides a firm economic footing. Maybe this means owning a home. Berry in one interview said that it's incredibly important to find a few square feet of scrub land, if nothing else, that you can manage. I agree. 

Second, skills. As much as possible, know how to take care of yourself. This means everything from basic first aid to cooking. Learn how to do the necessary things to make your life work. Can you plant a garden? Butcher a deer? Fix your plumbing? Change your oil? If not, learn how. 

Third and by far most important, community. Build a network of friends who can do life together. Any shortcomings under #1 and #2 are covered if you build a strong community. Eat together. Worship together. Talk about important things together. Care for each other's needs and work on projects together. We too often fail to realize that community needs to be intentionally built. This is so important. 

Obviously we could dive deep into each of these three, but not right now. Suffice it to say that when you experience fear in the daily headlines, these three are a solid place to invest the energy that grows out of that fear. 

I'm not advocating being a "prepper" or having stockpiles of weapons or non-perishable food. Too often that just feeds the fear and division. Instead I'm saying as much as possible, build a stable life. When you have made some progress in that direction, the headlines can fly over your head like birds, without making nests in your hair.