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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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The Little Things

Being present in the moment is one of the most precious gifts of recovery. Before God coaxed me into a healing journey, I spent my life spaced out, fantasizing, or

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Fifty Years Toward Forever

What stands out most in my memory is the heat – oppressive, stifling, nauseating heat that took your breath when you ventured outside in suburban Chicago. Next, I remember that

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Thank a Teacher

My father was a life-long educator, and I grew up on a college campus where he served for years as academic dean in the days when one person was responsible

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Healing Connections

At Bethesda Workshops, we routinely say, “No one can recover alone.” We encourage workshop participants to develop a safe community for support and fellowship as much as for accountability. We

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Tend to Your Foundation

The summer after Bethesda Workshops moved into our building, we noticed water seeping in across the back wall of the eating area, originally a long warehouse, where the wall met

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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

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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

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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

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