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Reclaiming the Holidays

Read Time: 4 min.

During the holiday season, I often get one of two troublesome feelings. First, I think that the whole month-plus is too hectic and too busy. The season feels overscheduled with events and get-togethers that are good and joyful, to be sure, and which I would probably miss if they didn’t happen. But in my more reflective moments, a deeper sense that something is missing creeps into my experience of ...

Seeking Meaningful Holiday Celebrations

Read Time: 4 min.

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I remember the childhood magic of unpacking our Christmas decorations every year, the anticipation of eating the candy cane cookies that my dad and I twisted into perfect pink and white hooks, and the joy of finding at least one special present under the tree. For years, I told my parents that someday I would get married at Christmas; eventually I ful...

What We Hate Most in Others

Read Time: 3 min.

“You hate most in others what you hate most in yourself,” Mr. Baxter said, as he looked around my seventh-grade class. Then he focused his gaze on one of my fellow students in particular. She knew those words were meant for her. I saw her tense up. She did not take his words kindly. Why? Because instead of allowing for her to judge another pupil with impunity, Mr. Baxter turned the tables and push...

Bracing for Holiday Challenges

Read Time: 2 min.

A few days ago, I called the father of my two twenty-something children. For the past couple of years, the kids and I have been celebrating Thanksgiving at his condo in Philadelphia—Christmas is at my house. I had gotten word through the “grapevine” (a.k.a. my son) that his dad was upset about the possibility that after dinner everyone would leave for their separate dwellings, and then he’d be stu...

Compassion for the Holidays

Read Time: 4 min.

It’s been a tense year, to say the least. Political polarization is at an all-time high and people on both sides are angry. Many people don’t just disagree with the other side’s views anymore; they think the other side’s views—and the people who hold them—are abhorrent. It can be hard enough to navigate political differences with strangers and acquaintances. But what are we supposed to do when the...

Road Rage Versus the Grateful Heart

Read Time: 3 min.

For me, driving downtown is the worst. I lose all sense of patience and spend my entire commute questioning other people’s sanity and driving abilities. From start to finish, it’s a very negative experience. Then one day, it occurred to me: I could change my mind. Now there’s a thought. I like to think of myself as having a grateful heart. Most of the time, that’s true. Maybe I should say, in most...

Gratitude—The Big and Small of it

Read Time: 4 min.

Many of us, myself included, use the words “thank you” as carelessly as “excuse me” or “gesundheit.” We tend to throw around “thanks” without necessarily giving it a thought. We say it at the Starbucks drive-thru, after opening a present, or when someone holds the door open for us. But I want to talk about gratitude, and I’m not entirely sure that thanks and gratitude are as synonymous as we might...

Integrity and Freedom from Judgement

Read Time: 4 min.

As I’m writing this, the hearings on the newest Supreme Court judge have just finished. I purposely did not watch them… it was too much for me. Lately, I have been overwhelmed with the feeling that I’m waiting for a dream sequence to end; that I’ll wake up to a world where leaders don’t mock abuse victims, where honesty and integrity are still valuable, where character and courtesy mean something....

If you’re not first, you’re last.

Read Time: 4 min.

Before we jump right in, I have a confession to make. Prior to 2016, I paid just about as much attention to football as I did to politics – ahem – almost none. In my mind, both American pastimes were just fuzzy activities that existed in my periphery as I fumbled my way through life as a twentysomething (I’m sure many of you can relate). Whenever I got together with “the guys” to watch...

The Art of Becoming Politically Mature

Read Time: 4 min.

The political landscape has changed. And I’m not just talking about the results of another election. I mean that the attitude and atmosphere surrounding politics in our country has shifted dramatically. Growing up, I dreamed of pursuing a career in politics. It was the age of The West Wing, when being a part of the American government was something prestigious, a great way to serve our country and...

Lessons from a Culture that Celebrates Life

Read Time: 4 min.

Finding his way through the vibrant “Land of the Dead” in the Disney/Pixar film Coco, Miguel sadly watches an older soul fade away in front of him. Perplexed that someone can disappear, even from the land of those who no longer live, he asks his trickster companion Héctor what happened. Poignantly, Héctor informs Miguel that, “Our memories, they have to be passed down by those who knew us in life—...

Generosity and Our Tribal Hearts

Read Time: 3 min.

We often think of generosity as being willing to give our money to others. But this is a narrow definition. A wider definition of generous is, “having a kindly spirit.” Through the years, I’ve discovered many ways in which my spirit has not been so “kindly” toward others. But here I want to share three things that have made me a more generous person. And I think that’s a good thing. CONNECTION has...

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