Piercing the Darkness of Tragedy with the Light of Joy

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In the face of the tragic events we’ve seen lately, the question naturally arises: Is it possible to feel normal again, and if so, is it possible to feel joy again? In the midst of grief or sadness, happiness can seem elusive and it can be accompanied by feelings of guilt. Yet life without joy loses its meaning. The saying “laughter is the best medicine” actually goes thousands of years back to scripture, where Proverbs records, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” Practices like laughter Continue Reading

The Lively Lessons of Babysitting as Grandparents

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Today's blog is by guest writer, Kim Shippey, who shares his insights after a recent visit to Colorado with his wife: In an age in which one in ten children in the United States now lives with a grandparent, and, increasingly, senior grandparents are being called upon to take care of children (including babies) while both parents work (Pew Research Center study 2007), I am sure I've read Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could aloud at least fifty times. My most recent “performances” were Continue Reading

Independence, Joy, and a Spiritual Take on Pixar’s “Inside Out”

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The new Pixar movie, “Inside Out” has been described by critics as the animation studio’s best since their 1995 blockbuster success, “Toy Story.” This latest film brings to life a rare inside view of the emotional conflicts within a pre-teen’s mind. The main character, Riley, is transplanted with her family from their home in Minnesota to San Francisco. At first, “Joy” is the paramount emotion in Riley’s head, squashing out anger, frustration, fear, disgust, and sadness. But soon these other Continue Reading

Career and Purpose: The Secret Sauce of Success

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Not many people can say they’ve worked the same job for 75 years.  Add to that such a deep affection for the work that it never grows old. This describes Japanese sushi master, Jiro Ono. On two separate transcontinental flights recently my seatmates mentioned the film, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, a documentary about Jiro Ono and his tiny Michelin star sushi-only restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, unassumingly tucked away in a Tokyo subway station. My fellow air travelers were headed to Japan and Continue Reading

Are 2015 Grads Spiritually Prepared to Pass Life’s Tests?

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When a graduation speech in rural Alabama produced a spontaneous prayer to a healing God I wanted to stand up and clap, too. Senior Christian Crawford struck YouTube fame and received national media attention for his public appeal to God during a medical emergency in the audience. His prayer went viral after he delivered it to the crowd during Clay Chalkville High School’s graduation ceremony this past May. Speaking to more than 1,000 people, the graduate said the words just came to his Continue Reading

The Road to Character: A Book That Lifts You Up

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Today’s blog is by Boston-based guest writer, Kim Shippey: In much the same way that people love to “binge” on Netflix drama series, I have been bingeing (though I prefer the word feasting) on the op-ed columns of  David Brooks who writes on Tuesdays and Fridays for The New York Times. To read his new book (his fourth), The Road to Character (Random House, 2015), is a bit like tackling a couple of dozen of his op-ed columns at one sitting and getting up feeling a lot better about yourself, Continue Reading

The Spiritual Side of Perfection: Beyond Picture Perfect Posts

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Flipping through her phone over an after school snack, my teenage daughter asked with just a hint of frustration why so many of the people she follows on Instagram always look so perfect: the students she passes daily in her high school halls, the out of state friends, the ballet dancers. Her question opened up the opportunity for some front porch mother-daughter dialogue about a healthier definition of perfection. Giving my children a spiritual bedrock to stand on has been key to my Continue Reading

A Teacher’s Prayer for Peace in the Classroom (#NationalDayofPrayer)

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Today's blog is a tribute to National Day of Prayer. You can share this blog using the hashtag #NationalDayofPrayer or #NDP2015. You  can also read it on Huffington Post's Education page here. If only I lost those extra pounds, If only so-and-so wasn’t in my life, If only I got a raise, If only I was younger, If only I hadn’t said that . . . Those mental refrains can seem as solid as a concrete wall in daily life. They have a way of putting off happiness and health in the present, making Continue Reading

Days and Nights Filled With Light

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Today's blog is by Boston-based guest writer, Kim Shippey: Earlier this year, I escaped the snowiest winter in Boston's history to enjoy a few weeks in the late summer sunshine of South Africa. The transition was exhilarating. The days were filled with light. They were long and warm. Night skies were dominated by the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. The black-eyed bulbul sang contentedly for hours on end. Dolphins frolicked in the Indian Ocean nearby. The ripening cane was sugared by late Continue Reading

Do You Have an Ageless Attitude?

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On a rare trip down the snack aisle at Target, I publicly negotiated “healthy” options with my teenagers. They were scouting for chips after I’d turned down several, shall we say, unsavory options when the woman pulling up in her cart next to us proudly announced her mission: “I’m here to find Cape Cod chips for my 100 year old mother!” Unsolicited, she offered her mother’s secret to longevity as she perused the wide selection of snacks: “Daily walks, no alcohol, and a strong faith.” She Continue Reading