Semifinalist art--2023

Writing for the Soul


Two days ago was National Author's Day. It got me thinking about why I write. Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the Left Behind series said, "Whatever else the writing life offers, nothing compares with ...

Woods by YMCA

Adopt the Pace of Nature


For years now, I’ve been writing this newsletter, PAUSE MORE. RUSH LESS. And for good reason, I’ve been trying to slow my life down, and if I’m honest, yours too, so we don’t miss life’s most ...

Father and son fishing in Jamestown subdivision

Observing Magical Moments


Magical moments. They’re all around us. The question is, do we notice them? What is a magical moment? To me, they are those ordinary moments we live in the present—but grow sweeter with time. We ...

Camera Collection

Excerpt #1 -- The Christmas Photograph


In my last newsletter, I gave you an update on my third novel, a novella called The Christmas Photograph. I wanted to share a brief excerpt with you now.

The Christmas Photograph is a 40,000-word ...

Christmas Light Post

Project Update: The Christmas Photograph


For the past few weeks, I’ve taken a short sabbatical from writing PAUSE MORE. RUSH LESS. I’ve enjoyed some vacation time with my family and finished the second self-edit of The Christmas Photograph ...


Echoes from the Past


I thought I heard my father’s voice the other day. I wasn’t dreaming. “Jim, get on the stick,” he said. It was his voice. His tone. His cadence. He used this phrase throughout his life with his six ...

Mom and Date Engagement Photo

Finding Light in the Darkness


Photo above: My parents, James and Rosemary Magruder, the day my father proposed to her. The look on her face says it all.


Several years ago, I was reflecting on the passing of my mother when I ...

Jim at Bigelow Hall 5.10.23

Stepping Back in Time


Yesterday afternoon I was twenty years old, walking the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater (UWW) during the final exam week. The prior sentence is true—except for one fact. I’m not ...

The Christmas Photograph--30% size.

The Power of a Photograph


Lately, I’ve been thinking about the power of a photograph to evoke emotions, memories, and heal old wounds. It makes sense since I just finished writing the rough draft of my third novel, The ...

UW-Whitewater Iconic Photo--30%

Old Friends, Best Friends


I once read a quote that said “old friends are the best friends.” We could argue that either way. But I think the source was trying to say, while we all love making new friends, there is something ...

Our boys under the tree

The Men They Will Become


Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.

One of my fondest memories is the day I became a father—it was a defining moment. A moment when joy, exhilaration, a crying baby, an exhausted mother, ...

Letters from Joe Koenick

The Pen & the Palette


Last year I wrote about “The Lost Art of Letter Writing.”
Today, this newsletter has a new twist.


As I grow older, I’m finding significant value in mementos—things I’ve had for years—but ...