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Honoring the Heart

From a plain wooden bench at the top of Ganier Ridge, a popular and challenging hiking trail, I examined a rock that I chose from the Heart Tree collection about a third of the way up the steep ascent. Several weeks ago, I first selected a rock when a friend shared about the tree, which

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All the Moms

Retailers estimate over $20 billion will be spent honoring mothers this year in the US alone, which translates into a lot of cards, flowers, jewelry, and personal services like spa trips and pedicures. On this special day, I honor my mother, Dorothy Anne Discher Craig (whom my father nicknamed “Dottie”), and two other amazing moms

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More Than a Garden

Life is full of meaningful symbols. Some are universal among a group of people like the cross for Christians or the star that shone above a Bethlehem stable. Others are unique to individuals like a piece of jewelry or some memento of an event that has meaning far beyond the object itself. Occasionally, a place

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Sorrows Too Deep for Words

Within a two-week period, three families in my circle have been devastated by an untimely death. A young couple lost an infant son who died two days after birth. A family and huge extended group lost a pillar in the recovery community who was felled by a brain bleed in middle age. A healer lost

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A Favorite Simple Thing

Life for me has always felt complicated. It’s not just my byzantine history or the complexity of various current situations. I work daily with people whose lives have been upended with the complex challenges of trauma and addiction. Their path to untangle that knot is as thorny as the road that led to the crisis.

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Welcome to the World

This year’s celebration of Valentine’s Day was uniquely spectacular as I received far more than the most lavish flower arrangement, expensive gift, or special culinary creation. Our family embraced an exceptional bundle of love: a new granddaughter! A perfect baby girl, the first child of our son and daughter-in-law, arrived safely into the world on

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Angels All Around

During a difficult stretch a few weeks ago, I found myself in an intense grieving space around losses and trauma, including painful childhood experiences. More sharply than in years, I had plummeted into a painful pit of revisiting the circumstances that ultimately led me to the false solution of sex and love addiction. Among other

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Pain and the Power of Presence

Pain is fickle, apt to lurch forward like an all-consuming wildfire that laps at your heels and chokes your throat. It can sneak up on you, despite your awareness of potential triggers or risky situations. A recent tsunami of pain for me started with a deep conversation with a friend over burgers and beer. We

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Being Well

Bethesda Workshops’ name comes from a biblical story in John 5 about a paralyzed man who had been lying at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem for 38 years. It was a gathering place for people who were infirm in a variety of ways, and Jewish custom required those who passed by to donate to

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Help for Men Caught Cheating & For Their Wives

Christian men aren’t immune from the decimating plague of infidelity. Yet underneath the hurt and betrayal, often there is still love. Without proper guidance, though, men have little chance of restoring relationship trust. In fact, they frequently make things worse. There is a path of redemption for the men who cheat and a possibility of

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Fridge and Friends

The plumber who came to our home this fall was excellent at his trade, but we discovered that’s not what was most important about him. Charles Dobbins’ love for and support of his childhood friend Calvin Bryant makes him memorable. The service call started with a personal question instead of one about the plumbing issue.

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Thanksgiving Memories 2018

The Thanksgiving image that always comes first to my mind isn’t of pumpkin or turkey or some crowded living room. It’s of my toddler self looking wide-eyed out the window of a red 1957 Ford Country Squire station wagon at my father, who was standing knee deep in blowing snow. We were trying to get

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Generosity Big and Small

We recently had a party at Bethesda Workshops that took 21 years to plan: a celebration of ownership of our own space! In early summer 2016, we located and “bought” a building near the Nashville airport, which ended our 20-year stint as a homeless ministry. Although we’ve considered the building ours, we didn’t hold the

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Personal, Not Political

I’ve hesitated for weeks to write anything about current events out of concern not for myself, but for the amazing ministry I am humbled to lead. I have no wish to be partisan or divisive. Yes, these thoughts are prompted by the accusations about a Supreme Court nominee and the testimony of the accuser and

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A Welcome Click

Recently, I was privileged to hear veteran journalist Tom Brokaw speak at Lipscomb University, my alma mater. For over 50 years Brokaw has been one of the most visible and respected newsmen in the world. Like millions of Americans, I grew up watching him on NBC, and I was familiar with his presence and accomplishments. What surprised and touched me was his humanness and humility.

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Going for the Gold

Like millions of Americans, every four years I become a total couch potato and watch dozens of hours of televised sports I know very little about (curling, anyone?) and don’t view again until the next winter Olympics. The acrobatics and physicality of the various styles of skiing, snowboarding, skating, and sliding are amazing. Even more,

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New Every Morning

When I considered what to share at the beginning of 2018, I read through some prior New Year’s greetings and found one from a few years ago that still seems fresh. Please enjoy – and happy new year from all of us at Bethesda Workshops!   ~ Marnie C. Ferree, founder & director   I’ve never

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Ready for Advent

This week I’m sharing a blog by one of my favorite thinkers and writers: my son-in-law, Chris Cox. He serves as a youth minister in Nashville and often stirs my heart and thinking. – Marnie Ferree Ready for Advent The calendar gave us an early Thanksgiving this year, and it seems like it has been

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Choose Thanksgiving

Choose Thanksgiving The idea behind the Thanksgiving holiday is so simple: Spend a day focused on gratitude, and share it with those you love. Most years I welcome my family to our home and make the traditional dishes my grandmother first made before my own mother was born. Today I’m blessed to enjoy rich relationships

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Helping Hands in Hell or High Water

The expression “come hell or high water” likely originated in the American West of the late 1800s in reference to cattle herders who crossed large prairies in the scorching summer heat (“hell”) and forged raging rivers (“high waters”) to get livestock to a railroad. It generally means a determination to accomplish something despite tough odds or difficulties.

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When the World Is Too Much With Us

Too often lately, I feel paralyzed and exhausted by all the pain in the world. Whether it's hate-mongers, an unstable political landscape, or the individual traumas that affect us all, sometimes "the world feels too much with us." Most days, I'm a hot mess. With alarming regularity, I realize I, too, am part of the problem. How do I respond in reflection of the mercy of a loving God?

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Three R’s

Sometimes life has more to teach me than the standard three R's I learned in elementary school. These lessons are both simpler and harder than "reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.."

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In Sickness and In Health

Two wives from past Bethesda Workshops’ intensives have contacted me within recent weeks. Each was swirling in a vortex of equal parts pain and gratitude, and they were reaching out for a steadying connection. One woman had just lost her husband to an unexpected heart attack, and the second said her mate was in his

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Two Sides of Tenacity

Last summer shortly after Bethesda Workshops had first contracted for our building, David and I spent most of the Fourth of July weekend pulling the green growth from the back exterior wall. The vines clung with an invisible, plant Velcro to the peeling paint on the concrete surface. It was mostly easy and satisfying work

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