The Essentials

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. – Mary Oliver A few evenings before Christmas I moseyed into my daughter’s bedroom where my husband had set up camp, ferociously wrapping the stocking stuffers he’d purchased from the dollar store. I’d finished most of my preparations for the holidays, and the kids were…

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Awakening

I am a sucker for lofty promises which is why, in the early days of the new year, I find myself signing up for a cleanse. A cleanse promises to rewire cravings. As you detox, your body is stripped of its addictions and your mind recalibrates. No, you don’t need that nightly glass of wine.Yes,…

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Anam Cara

“Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive.” Romans 12:11 The entrance into the new year has surprisingly been held in the embrace of anam ċara. “Anam ċara means soul friend,” John O’Donohue writes. “The anam ċara was a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life.…

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Nourish

Whistling and gusting wind in the oak trees outside my bedroom window woke me this morning. I tried to stay in bed, but something about the wind felt beckoning to my soul. I came downstairs and opened the blinds, the tree tops ferociously swaying, bending back and forth as the wind had its way with…

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Discovery Meets Desire

Splattered across a banner of borrowed paint read the words: “CHS Has No Black Cheerleaders.” Tryouts that year were hard and I was the only person with brown skin to make it. I attribute that to another African-American cheerleader who helped me and also knew what it was like to be the “only” before she…

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Faith to Walk Away

The stage was a mere platform, less than a foot above the crowd, and I had purposely invited others to share it with me. The student union ballroom was fully opened- round tables and rows of chairs and standing room only at the back. Over 650 people packed the space for the inaugural human trafficking…

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Mashed Potatoes and Trust

“Mom! You agreed to let us make the mashed potatoes, and we’re doing it. You don’t need to micro-manage the whole process!” The words my daughter spoke stung, but they were true. I had allowed her to be in charge of creating the decadent, buttery-smooth potatoes that were her favorite part of our traditional Thanksgiving…

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Expanding the Boundaries

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Growing up in a religiously conservative, white community in America’s heartland, my view of the world was rather small. My community included our family farm and my grandparents’ house, which was next door to…

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To My Elders

Four years ago, on a wintery morning, a fierce, truth-telling woman whom I cherish as my elder told me something I have never forgotten: “You can’t know where this story leads. All you can do is look at this moment and do the next right thing.” At the time, we were speaking of a romantic…

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Broken Hearts and Blind Barriers

After an incredibly embarrassing loss, I decided to shore up the courage to go comfort my friend in his dorm room. I signed in at the front desk and memorized lines of what I would say if someone caught me walking to his room, aka “the forbidden place.” The entire football team was in a…

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