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Simple Thanksgiving Joys

When I moved out of the house I had occupied for almost 30 years, it was only the second time in my life I had lived alone. (The first was for a year during my mid twenties.) I didn’t want to disrupt or dismantle the home I had shared with my family and then as

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On Sixty-five

Today, May 4th, is my 65th birthday, and I’m feeling an internal pressure to share something profound. Instead, I’ll go for something real, which likely is the most insightful truth of all. I remember believing that age 65 was so very old, and here I am, feeling emotionally and spiritually as ancient as the mountains,

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Easter Indeed!

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, New International Version) Despite the promise and the pageantry of Easter (at least in pre-COVID times), for many it is difficult to believe that LIFE will arise. The ravages of the pandemic have been too great and have

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Shame Is a Killer

The tragic murder of eight people in Atlanta-area spas last week continues to ripple across the nation as people try to make sense of such a horrific act. My heart goes out to the loved ones of the victims and to the Asian community, as well as to the family of the shooter and even

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Twenty Dollars Multiplied

In July 2020, a stalwart man from the Middle Tennessee community was killed in a tragic accident. Ty was a respected, very successful businessman and a person of deep faith and lavish love for people. He was also extremely generous and used his financial means to help many individuals and causes. At his memorial service,

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We Can Do Hard Things

On one of my long walks during the pandemic, I wound up at a high school’s athletic complex a couple of miles from my house. In addition to the football stadium and baseball field, it has a nice walking loop with various exercise stations. On a whim, I stopped at one to do a few

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Blessing for the Longest Night

During this pandemic year of devastation and loss, words have failed me to write something meaningful for Christmas. The nights have felt so long for so many, including sometimes for me, that it’s been hard to believe a blessing waits hidden. The promise of Christmas, that a light will shine into the darkness, seemed nearly

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Thanksgiving for All That Remains

To be honest a holiday dedicated to giving thanks seems mistimed this year, which has often been described as a dumpster fire. I would liken 2020 more to a global pile of burning tires that flames and stews and stinks and refuses to burn out or to be extinguished. Some days gratitude is hard to

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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 2019 based on Brené Brown’s fabulous book Dare to Lead, and I found it still shines true today. In fact, the core values I identified

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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 Carolina at a beautiful piece of heaven called Lake Junaluska. I first came here in 1981 before David and I married, and it’s always been

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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 than serendipity, some accidental happening unrelated to my life or heart. In recent weeks, months even, I am graced with so-called coincidences with such astonishing

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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 respond effectively to either situation, at least as measured by observable improvement, much less to the cumulative sorrows of both. At the risk of being

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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 been infected by it. Across the country, people are deeply divided between two viewpoints about the pandemic: that it is still circulating as dangerously as

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Ignorance and Silence Equal Complicity

Other blog ideas have been percolating in my head for this week: a child’s lost shoe, the satisfaction of pressure washing, recovery-themed tattoos. But they will have to wait for other times. How can I not write about recent tragic events and the ensuing protests across the country? I expect that question has already lost

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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 admit. Overwhelmed. Grumpy. Then I opened an email and did something that made me feel even worse. Something really dangerous for my serenity: I compared

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Celebrating the Children Who Make Us Moms

Historically, Mother’s Day was my least favorite day of the year. I was three years old when my “Mama Dottie” died of colon cancer, and for decades, the requisite happy celebration of mothers cut to my core. I was undone for weeks as the Hallmark holiday reopened the huge attachment wound I didn’t fully understand.

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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 deeply spiritual person, I expect I should be able to wrench some meaningful, theological perspective – something that comforts or inspires. As a person in

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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: isolation, stress from being cooped up at home, restless children, economic impact, fear of infection, separation from loved ones, including during huge events like grieving

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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 a scale that many alive have never seen before, Americans and others across the world are metaphorically joining our washed hands in an amazing communitarian

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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 downplayed the risk and associated hype, what we’ve come to understand about the dangers that are far beyond individual patients getting sick or even possibly

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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 my forehead on the Wednesday that marks the beginning of Lent. I had grown to love the symbolism of a liturgical church, and the ashes

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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 betrayal experienced by partners of sex and love addicts is amplified by the saccharine atmosphere that supposedly portrays “true love.” Expectations for the day are

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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, sexual trauma survivor, and sex and love addict hundreds of times in various media, including on Dateline in 2004. I’ve consistently received grace, support, and

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