Special Features

The Oceans


Photo by David Sifry via Flickr

The world’s oceans can be as calm and flat as glass, or can rage with a fury that sinks even the strongest ships. Some consider the sea to be our primordial roots, while others simply find it a nice place for a vacation. Click the links below to read how these essayists discovered their beliefs in the ocean.

  1. We Are Inextricably Linked
  2. Nature As A Salvation
  3. A Feeling Of Wildness
  4. Everyone Should Visit Once
  5. Nature Calls To Us

The Coffee Shop


Photo illustration by Drab Makyo via Flickr

Whether upscale with $5-a-cup specialty brews, or down-home with a mug of Maxwell House, the coffee shop is a place where people take a break from daily life and find a bit of community. So draw a cup of your favorite blend, and enjoy these beliefs inspired by the coffee shop.

  1. A Place Of Conversation And Community
  2. A Chance To Escape The Mundane
  3. I Hear America Sipping
  4. Two Strangers In A Tiny Coffee Shop
  5. The Comfort of Coffee



Photo by Leslie Stout Spanyer

An old proverb says those who wish to sing always find a song. Whether it’s a quiet lullaby whispered to an ill child, or a rousing oratorio performed with a full chorus, there is an uplifting power to the human voice in song. Click the links below to read the beliefs singing has inspired in these essayists.

  1. The Key to a Long Life
  2. When Life Demands Singing
  3. Harmony: Two Voices Required
  4. With a Song in My Heart
  5. A Tender Lullaby
  6. The Power of Music



Photo courtesy go.goflo via flickr

In parts of the U.S., a daily thunderstorm is just another sign of summer. While some people are afraid of these storms, others enjoy the flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder. Click the links below to read what these essayists believe about the power of a thunderstorm.

  1. Behold the Power of Storms
  2. Discovery in a Thunderstorm
  3. Get Drenched in a Thunderstorm
  4. Sunshine Overpowers Thunderstorms
  5. Blue-Skied Thunderstorms

The Clothesline


Fiona MacGinty

Some people do it to reduce their carbon footprint. Others prefer to save on their electricity bills. Whatever the inspiration, the old-fashioned practice of hanging one’s laundry on a clothesline to dry is making a comeback. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s the fresh-air scent but working the clothesline is also inspiring beliefs among these essayists.

  1. Singing the Praises of Hanging the Laundry
  2. The “Fresh Air” Laundry Fragrance
  3. Uniting Body and Soul on the Clothesline
  4. In Praise of Simple, Everyday Tasks

At the Barber Shop & Beauty Shop


Photo by Gerry Dincher via flickr

In small towns especially, the barber shop or beauty parlor is often found at the center of town. Both literally and figuratively, the place we go to get a new style may just also be the place we find community and a sense of self. Click the links below to see how these essayists found belief at the beauty parlor or barber shop.

  1. Trimming
  2. Boys Don’t Play With Wigs
  3. The Barbershop
  4. Compliments
  5. Dime A Shine



Photo courtesy ky.gov

As we mark another Independence Day in the U.S., it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the nature of patriotism and the beliefs it can inspire among Americans from all walks of life. Click the links below to see what these essayists have to say.

  1. America Gives My Life Meaning
  2. Custodians of the Constitution
  3. A Universal Ideal
  4. Beautiful Country
  5. What the American Flag Means to Me

Behind Bars


Photo illustration by S Baker via Flickr

This I Believe has reached into many classrooms—including some located within county jails and state prisons.  Incarceration provides ample time to consider one’s beliefs, and a number of prisoners have shared their essays with us.  Click the links below for a sampling.

  1. Caring Makes Us Human
  2. The Fear That I Don’t Matter
  3. The Importance of Possibility, Chances, and Faith
  4. The Chaos of a Life Lived On the Edge

Books and Libraries


Courtesy of Friends of the Library–Waikoloa Region, Hawaii

It’s National Library Week, in which we celebrate the power of the printed word to change individual lives. When we collect those words into books, and amass those books into libraries, there is a force that can change communities and societies. Click the links below to explore what these essayists believe about libraries and the books within them.

  1. The Library Reading Room
  2. Books at All Costs
  3. The Courage of the Bookmobile Lady
  4. Reading Is a Life Force
  5. The Stillness of the Library

Frogs and Princesses


Photo credit: Jamie H via flickr

In today’s culture, little girls grow up watching movies about beautiful princesses, enchanted frogs, and the perfect kiss. But not everyone is waiting for a handsome prince to create the perfect fairy tale life. Click the links below to see how these essayists have created their own definitions of “happily ever after.”

  1. Find a Good Frog
  2. Not a Princess
  3. Fairy Tales
  4. I Believe in Frogs
  5. Pretty Princess