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If you missed me on Relevant Radio this week…

So, last week I was supposed to be on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio. (I used to be a monthly contributor to this wonderful program back in the days when I worked from home.) Anyway, my interview time came and went last week without me remembering. I left the hosts hanging! Mortified is an understatement. But, they graciously offered a rematch. So this Monday I joined John Harper and Glen Lewerenz for a brief conversation about the way spiritual truth and the Holy Spirit always find a way to speak to us, no matter where we are in life. IF we’re willing to listen…

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Spiritual truth is always right on time

For the past two months, I’ve been receiving emails and private messages from folks who read Rejoice and Be Glad, my book of daily reflections for Easter to Pentecost. Although each message was different in content, most had a similar sentiment. People were reading my 2020 reflections in the midst of the pandemic, knowing I must have written them long before —more than a year before—but feeling as though they were speaking to the conditions of the present day. How, they wanted to know, could I be addressing the current situation from a place in the past?

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Falling for spring in a season of fear

For my entire life, whenever someone asked me to name my favorite season, I would say, without any hesitation, “fall!” There was something about the colors of the trees, the crispness of the air, the crunch of the apples. Then this year, as I sat by my window day after day from mid-March and all through April, watching the world outside as I worked from home or sipped my coffee or chatted with my family, I noticed something shifting. Spring had become my new favorite, and, although that may not seem like news to you, I find it groundbreaking, as though a new me has emerged from a cocoon along with the life just beyond the windowpanes.

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Pausing Fear, Choosing Joy

The past month has been a dance of gratitude and fear. Gratitude that, so far, my family is healthy and together under one roof — all five of us around the dinner table each night, favorite movies flickering on the TV in the evenings, coffee sipped on the deck on those warmer sunny mornings that feel like a gift. But then, often as the sun goes down or the skies cloud over, fear creeps in and, with it, an element of despair. All the “what if….” worries start to clamor for attention, pounding on the door to my heart and racing through my mind in an endless relay. Suddenly the fear of what could be overpowers the gratitude for what is.

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Defy definitions, trust your own story

Everyone has his or her own story. Our history, family, faith, environment—all of it combines to create a background story that runs through our entire life, for better or worse. Through the ups and downs, the surprise plot twists, the losses and accomplishments, we write a new chapter day by day.

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The gift of community, the joy of the tribe

The older I get, the more I like to tackle things I probably have no business tackling. In the course of the past 10 years, I’ve done everything from tennis lessons (I was never much of an athlete) to dance classes (hip hop and belly dancing, of all things), from pottery and mixed media (I was always known for being “bad” at art) to Italian lessons (Spanish was always my second language of choice). And for the pièce de résistance, I am nearing the completion of 200-hour yoga teacher training, where I am, by far, one of the oldest in the class.

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Finding God in the land of the ‘Nones’

I traveled to Seattle a few weeks ago to give a parish retreat at St. Monica’s Church on Mercer Island. Long before I boarded the plane for my first visit to the Pacific Northwest, friends on both coasts warned me that I was headed to the land of the “Nones,” where people are spiritual but not religious, and maybe not even all that spiritual. What could I possibly offer out there in a city where God seems to be dead, or, at the very least, in hibernation?

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Don’t wait. Say yes.

I first got to know Sister Johanne McCarthy, C.S.J., about 18 months ago when she wrote to complain that our Albany diocesan newspaper wasn’t giving religious sisters the same treatment priests and deacons received on the obituary pages. I had to agree with her. It certainly seemed that the sisters were getting short-changed. So I joined her in advocating for equality in the obits, and that was the beginning of a beautiful-but-too-brief friendship.

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The Things We Save

I returned home from work one day recently to see a For Sale sign on the lawn of our elderly neighbors, a retired Army doctor and nurse. They’ve been living on our street since the houses were first built in the 1960s and have been a fixture throughout our almost 20-year life two houses down. He would walk several times a day, always with a walking stick. She would keep tabs on the neighborhood happenings and report back at our occasional potluck picnics. So it was with no small amount of sadness that I learned they had both been moved to nursing home care and their children had listed the house on the market.

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The way to ease is not easy

September always feels like the start of a new year to me, much more so than Jan. 1 ever does. It must be the perennial student in me. I can’t even resist the piles of discounted school supplies that fill every store at the end of summer. I buy at least a few neon-colored, spiral-bound notebooks and one box of perfectly pointed Crayola crayons every fall. Something about it settles my soul and makes me feel like I’ve got a blank slate and the possibility of a rainbow within reach.

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