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You’ve always had the power, my dear, even without the ruby slippers. Time to use it.

With 2020 in our rearview mirror, most of us are hoping for a new year that looks nothing like the old year. As we struggled through past 10 months of pandemic, with one hit after another leaving us hanging on the ropes now and then, we set our eyes on the day when the clock would strike midnight, the calendar would flip, and we would have the chance to level the playing field.

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Commit to spiritual self-care this Advent

Advent in our modern world has long been behind the cultural eight ball. It’s a season of waiting in a world of instant gratification, a season of quiet anticipation in a world of noisy commercialism. But this year, in the midst of pandemic challenges and political worries the likes of which we have never experienced in our lifetime, it might just be a season of joyful opportunity in a world of stressful chaos.

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Only love can save the world

When I was leaving my gynecologist’s office recently, I exited the building with a younger couple leaving the same practice. I guessed that they likely were there for a pregnancy checkup and smiled at the memories of those days in my own life. As we all crossed the road, we arrived at the door to the parking garage simultaneous to a woman in a wheelchair who was being pushed by an aide. The woman, who had severe disabilities, was trying to communicate, or maybe she was in pain, and her cries were anguished and loud and continuous.

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Seeing every day as an opportunity

When I arrived at Pyramid Life Center in the Adirondack Mountains last month to lead a retreat, I was excited but nervous. As is always the case when I lead a group, I want to be sure I give participants what they need, the spiritual nourishment they’re craving. Most times when I wrap up, I’m a bit depleted from putting out so much spiritual energy over the course of a few days, but this time I was energized and uplifted, riding a spiritual high that was fed by the 30+ people who engaged in the retreat so fully they left me awed and humbled and inspired.

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You can change your mind, even about the big stuff

An upstate New York church recently asked me if I would do a Zoom talk for their parish book club, which had just finished reading “Walking Together,” my 2010 book on spiritual friendship. They sent me some questions in advance — challenging questions that forced me to sit in silent reflection and struggle with answers that would not be easy. I emailed the moderator and asked if the group was likely to be disappointed if my answers were very different from what they might expect. No, she said. Fire away.

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Accept. Adapt. Surrender. Trust.

Chiara, 15, walked into our family room after a socially distanced bike ride with a friend and wisely observed that just a couple of months ago wearing a mask seemed like such a burden, an unusual discomfort, but now it’s completely normal and not really a big deal at all. That was perfect timing on her part because I, too, had been pondering the ways we humans are able to adapt to challenging or different circumstances with relative ease (unless we’re just stubborn), and isn’t that a marvelous and miraculous thing.

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To understand struggle, go deeper

A little more than five years ago, I stood on land owned by distant DeTurris relatives in Massa Lubrense, Italy, the birthplace of my paternal grandfather, and looked out at the Isle of Capri in the distance. (Seen in the photo here.) To say it was breathtaking is the understatement of the century. On a boat ride across the Bay of Naples, I imagined my grandfather and his family leaving that same port on a steamer headed toward New York. All the while I kept wondering how difficult their lives must have been to make them leave behind that picture-postcard scene and head into the frightening unknown.

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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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