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The Blog--Anything Mentionable

On a pilgrimmage to Arizona, sunrise fellowship, honest talk about grieving, and grateful tears in the desert for the hero of my life.

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It was only then that I truly learned of and came to understand our shameful past when it came to race relations in this country. That knowledge forever changed the way I looked at people different than myself. Roland and I often talked about this

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The call comes, or the text or the email, and we find ourselves on the way to the home of a friend or loved one who has just suffered a loss, or to a visitation or a funeral. Then comes an almost universal anxiety and the haunting questions: When I approach the grieving person, what should I say? What should I do?

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But most of us live as if the opposite was true. We go through life believing in our “terminal uniqueness,” that we are the only ones feeling anger, sadness, shame, grief, fear, depression and self-doubt. Feelings are character defects, not inevitable and universal aspects of the human condition.

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You don’t get to control it all. But choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life an element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less may actually be more.”

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Fred Rogers did not come to us from a spiritual mountaintop. He was fully human instead, a person who grappled with the inner difficulties so familiar to the rest of us. There is comfort in knowing this.

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But there was something they shared, a certain inner luminosity, a quiet joy. It was acknowledged with a nod or a smile or a few kind words of encouragement for a plodding old guy like me. There was a wonderful, unspoken truth up there, something about the grandeur of nature and the expansiveness of the human soul.

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On a winter afternoon in 1989, I climbed into the cargo hold of a crowded Ryder rental truck, finding my place amid forty-nine Central American refugees. Over the next eleven hours, on a journey from the Texas border town of Harlingen to Houston, I learned that we're all refugees.

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In a journalism career spanning more than three decades, Tim has written for the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Politico, Reader's Digest, and for thirty years the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Tim's books include the critically acclaimed The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921; and a novel of the Greatest Generation and the aftermath of World War II, Every Common Sight.

It was a 1995 assignment for the Star-Telegram that led to Tim's interview with Fred Rogers, the icon of children's television, and a close friendship between the two men that lasted until Rogers' death in 2003. Tim's memoir, I'm Proud of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers, is an intimate account of Rogers' human greatness, and a testament to the healing power of friendship.

That transformative relationship and Tim's own experiences as a seeking and healing human being remain at the heart of his work. More than a decade after it was first published, I'm Proud of You continues to inspire readers around the globe, and Tim continues to speak of Mister Rogers and matters of the heart to varied audiences around the nation.



It began as another newspaper assignment, a celebrity profile of the children’s television icon. But in Fred Rogers, Texas journalist Tim Madigan found more than a fascinating subject. From their first meeting in 1995, at Rogers’ invitation, the two became unlikely friends, a deep and abiding relationship that lasted until Rogers’ death in 2003.

In that time, Madigan found Rogers to be much more than the calm and compassionate personality of television. He was a person of unique human greatness who embodied love, compassion and wisdom his every waking moment. He was the transcendent being who guided Madigan through periods of life-threatening depression and the tragic death of a sibling and helped him heal his difficult relationship with his father.I’m Proud of You reveals Fred Rogers as a person who deserves a place among history’s greatest people. It chronicles male friendship at its finest and most powerful. And it is a book that has already brought hope and inspiration to many thousands of its readers. With this second edition, including a new afterword by the author, the inspiration continues.

“Fred comes to life in I'm Proud of You, with his simple goodness etched on every page, and his complicated greatness etched in the heart of every reader who finishes the book and decides to become a better person."—Tom Junod, writer at large for Esquire

“A loving testament to the power of friendship and to a most remarkable man.” --The Boston Sunday Globe

“I’m Proud of You will connect with the same audience that loved Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie and its celebration of male mentoring and friendship.” – USA Today

“A poignant, inspiring account…” – Minneapolis Star-Tribune 

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When the New York Times ran Patrick O’Malley’s story about the loss of his infant son—and how his inability to “move on” challenged everything he was taught as a psychotherapist—it inspired an unprecedented flood of gratitude from readers.
What he shared was a truth that many have felt but rarely acknowledged by the professionals they turn to: that our grief is not a mental illness to be cured, but part of the abiding connection with the one we’ve lost.
Illuminated by O’Malley’s own story and those of many clients that he’s supported, readers learn how the familiar “stages of grief” too often mislabel our sorrow as a disorder, press us to “get over it,” and amplify our suffering with shame and guilt when we do not achieve “closure” in due course.
“Sadness, regret, confusion, yearning—all the experiences of grief—are a part of the narrative of love,” reflects O’Malley. Here, with uncommon sensitivity and support, he invites us to explore grief not as a process of recovery, but as the ongoing narrative of our relationship with the one we’ve lost—to be fully felt, told, and woven into our lives.
For those in bereavement and anyone supporting those who are, Getting Grief Right offers an uncommonly empathetic guide to opening to our sorrow as the full expression of our love.

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A story of the Greatest Generation's hidden anguish. From the killing fields of the Battle of the Bulge, Wendell Smith brought home to Texas horrible memories of the battlefield...and a secret...the one thing he could not confide to the love of his life. The beautiful young woman named Claire had a secret of her own. After a chance meeting, theirs would be an unusual friendship of haunted survivors. But would the bond heal them, or destroy them both?

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On the morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob numbering in the thousands marched across the railroad tracks dividing black from white in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and obliterated a black community then celebrated as one of America's most prosperous. 34 square blocks of Tulsa's Greenwood community, known then as the Negro Wall Street of America, were reduced to smoldering rubble.

And now, 80 years later, the death toll of what is known as the Tulsa Race Riot is more difficult to pinpoint. Conservative estimates put the number of dead at about 100 (75% of the victims are believed to have been black), but the actual number of casualties could be triple that. The Tulsa Race Riot Commission, formed two years ago to determine exactly what happened, has recommended that restitution to the historic Greenwood Community would be good public policy and do much to repair the emotional as well as physical scars of this most terrible incident in our shared past.

With chilling details, humanity, and the narrative thrust of compelling fiction, The Burning will recreate the town of Greenwood at the height of its prosperity, explore the currents of hatred, racism, and mistrust between its black residents and neighboring Tulsa's white population, narrate events leading up to and including Greenwood's annihilation, and document the subsequent silence that surrounded the tragedy.

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  • Fort Worth, Texas, United States


  Coming Appearances:

Thursday, November 15, 2018. Volunteer Appreciation Dinner for the Court Appointed Child Advocates of Tarrant County. Private event.

Saturday November 17 through Monday, September 19, 2018, at Community of Grace Lutheran Church in Peoria, Arizona. Tim will discuss his latest book, Getting Grief Right, at the Men's Bible Study on Saturday morning at 6:30. He will join Pastor Tim Wright to discuss Fred Rogers, fathers and sons at services on Saturday and Sunday, then tell the story of his friendship with Fred on Monday night at 6:30. Visit this link for more information.

December 13, 2018. Trinity Terrace Retirement Community in Fort Worth. My Friendship with Fred Rogers. Time to be determined. Open to the public.

Thursday, January 17, 2019. Rotary Club of Cleburne, Texas. Cleburne Conference Center, 1501 West Henderson Street. Discussion of the Tulsa Burning of 1921, and Tim's book on that topic.

September 22, 2019. Hershey Public Library. Hershey, Pa. My Friendship with Fred Rogers. Time to be determined.

"I have seen Tim speak to large groups in a ballroom setting and small groups in a TV studio or senior citizen’s center. In all of these, he was able to reach those present with messages that made them feel uplifted, empowered, and very much validated in their mission-driven work. I can recommend Tim for audiences of all ages.” Susan Ponder Stansel, president and CEO, Community Hospice of Northeast Florida.

Over the last thirty years, Tim has shared his experiences as a journalist and author, and the lessons of his friendship with Fred Rogers, with audiences large and small across the nation. His fees are variable, depending on the budget of his host, though for events outside North Texas, all travel expenses must be defrayed. Email Tim at to inquire about future speaking engagements.