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Newsflash: Live a Principled Life

Current states of affairs have me thinking about values, specifically the values that are my own north stars. I recently reviewed the personal work I did in late spring of

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Kevin and the Labyrinth

Every summer I try to carve out for myself three consecutive weeks in the Bethesda Workshops calendar, and I spend part of that time in the mountains of Western North

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Consolation of the Hawks

Since I started a recovery process almost three decades ago, I’ve been suspicious of coincidences, which I experience frequently. Even in childhood I always perceived them as something far more

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A Guy Named Kevin

As cases of coronavirus skyrocket with undisciplined reopening and the country learns more about the devasting experiences of Black Americans, the immensity of both realities weighs heavily. It’s hard to

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Such a Simple Step

According to multiple media reports, Americans are experiencing “coronavirus fatigue,” which is sometimes called “caution fatigue.” People are tired of worrying about an unseen threat, especially those who haven’t personally

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Gratitude Counters Comparison

After some hard weeks coping with the pandemic in general and moving our core workshops online specifically, I was more stressed a couple of weeks ago than I want to

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In the Time of Coronavirus

As one who identifies with the label “writer” more than with any other category, I feel pressure to find words for the experience of living in a pandemic. As a

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Positive Pants

As the predictions about COVID-19 become more dire and Americans cope with another week of major life disruptions, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. The future looks bleak across the board:

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Apart But Still Connected

After you get past the crazy toilet paper hoarding, the coronavirus is perhaps making better people out of most of us. In a mustering of individual and collective unity on

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Coronavirus Interconnectivity

For the third time, I’m deleting what I’ve written about coronavirus and starting over. By now, if you don’t know the basics of how and why many of us initially

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God Deeply Loves Dust

Ash Wednesday wasn’t part of the faith tradition of my upbringing, and I was a married adult before I was introduced to the sacred ritual of having ashes imposed on

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Will You Be My Valentine?

In contrast to the messages from florists, greeting card companies, and candy manufacturers, Valentine’s Day is a landmine for most people who are connected to Bethesda Workshops. The pain of

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Fear or Courage?

Since early in my recovery journey, which started in 1991, I was certain of God’s call to tell my story, and I’ve shared about my experiences as an abandoned child,

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Be the One

The family room floor is stacked with boxes of packed Christmas decorations, which spill into the garage where they wait to be hauled into the attic. For the first time

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Life Support

The two women walking in front of me on the lake trail caught my attention. It was extremely warm for late December in Middle Tennessee, and this easy, flat path

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A Very Personal and Extravagant God

Many years of spiritual direction, which for me is like Jesus-oriented experiential therapy, has radically changed my connection with God. I’ve regularly come to see, hear, feel, and experience the

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Thanks for the Memories

Thanksgiving this year is marked by significant family milestones for my brothers and me. Our mother died 60 years ago this month, which is hard to realize. It’s harder still

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Sacred Texts

I saw a story recently on Facebook about a young woman from Arkansas, age 23, whose dad died four years ago. Every day since his passing, Chastity Patterson has texted

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Singing On

Music has always been important to me, but I’ve only recently connected with Spotify. In the garden at Bethesda or at home I stream music through a Bluetooth speaker a

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On Grief, Gratitude and Consolation

How do you measure the impact of a relationship? We have words that characterize various forms—like parent, child, spouse, colleague, or friend—but some connections defy and transcend easy descriptions. Some

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Climbing a Mountain

Many people have a “bucket list” of significant things they want to do before they die, but I’ve never made one or even given it much thought (other than a

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