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Receive the Blessings of Failure

There’s an old Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away. His neighbors on hearing this came to him and said, sympathetically, “Such bad luck!” “We’ll see,” the farmer replied. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “So wonderful!” the neighbors exclaimed. “We’ll see,” the farmer said. Then …

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The Interior Hearth

Highs in the negative digits. Ice so cold it squeaks when you skate on it. Gwyn pedaling the tagalong with a scarf completely covering her face. Minnesota January: Not for the fainthearted. But it’s perfect for those (like myself) who love hearth and home, who in the glory days of summer dreamt about sorting photos …

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Coming Alive

I can’t remember the last time I finished a book, thought to myself, “I will never be the same again,” and began rereading to figure out why. Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond did this to me. What changed? Rohr reframed the story of Jesus—the Christian story—as an invitation for human transformation. Writing this makes it sound …

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Accepting Rejection, Rejecting Acceptance

(A big thanks to participants in the Book Binders’ Salon for a stimulating conversation last night about rejection. I’m indebted to you for most of this post!) “Rejections slips,” wrote Isaac Asimov, “however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil – but there is no way around them.” The …

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Penny Friend

Annie, my neighbor one block over, bends down to the curved rut running the length of the alley and scrapes a penny out of the sand. She brushes its scratched surface against her blue-jeans, then presses it into my palm. “You’re the lucky one today,” she says. I slip the rough penny into my pants’ …

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Church: The Third Parent

I regularly dream about the church where I grew up:  A soaring Protestant-plain structure built in the early 1800’s with a handful of parishioners clustered in the first few pews.  I doubt more than twenty people have attended a Sunday service in the last three decades.  The congregation was vibrant when I was eight but …

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