Last December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations – extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s “Winter Pageant.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.
So, the morning of the dress rehearsal…
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By Kenneth Justice
~ At coffee recently an evangelical acquaintance of mine went on a long tirade against atheists, “If you have a worldview that is absent of God then you have no morals; you are left with everyone doing whatever they want and mass chaos” he said
Twenty years ago I might have said the same thing. I used to believe quite vehemently that being a Christian was the only way to ensure a society of peace and tranquility. Then I actually started reading history and boy was I wrong, after all it was “Christian” America that went to war against the Native Americans, Mexico, and a whole host of other wars and battles that stain the history of our country. But it wasn’t even history that woke me up; it was merely living amongst other Christians and being on the other end of their unpleasantness that left me…
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We all lead lives that move 1,000 miles per minute. In his TED Book, The Art of Stillness, Pico Iyer posits a bold idea: that in our chaotic time, the greatest luxury is actually the ability to go nowhere and do nothing. To Iyer, it’s this time for quiet, inward, still reflection that snaps all of our experiences into focus.
This got us curious: how do members of the TED community find time for stillness and reflection? Turns out that people had very different answers.
“I hike,” said our curator Chris Anderson. “Water, pine trees, cliffs, meadows… doesn’t matter. All nature will do. Walk a little, dream a little.”
Brené Brown (watch her TED Talk on the power of vulnerability) has a similar approach. “One of the most important practices in my life is swimming. It’s exercise, meditation, and therapy in one. It’s quiet and I’m…
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Seven year old smile spread wide and missing teeth are exposed. She shakes with excitement, eyes wide open in wonder. Two little eager hands clutch a box, a wrapped box, a wrapped box with a tag, a tag with her pet name. She speaks a million words a minute, leaving the impossibility of the questions being answered:
Can I open it early?
Is it alive?
Will I like it?
Did I ask for it?
Have I seen it before?
So many many questions continue. I’m not sure she is even speaking to me, probably just her wondering mind. I know the contents inside. I know the hidden toy that is sure to bring a smile and hours of play. But I know the gift is so much more than that.
It is a memory. Innocence wrapped in a bow. Mommy – Maddie time that will be spent in play. It…
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RICHMOND, Va. — Mary Tucker raises goats at her hideaway home in suburban Chesterfield County, which is where I first interviewed her several years ago. She uses them to make boutique goat-milk soaps and other skin care products.
She’s also a performance artist.
And now, Mary Tucker wants to be a professional cuddler here in the Richmond area. She believes she was born to hug and wants to open a cuddle salon – “The Holding Company“ – in a town that in previous generations has been somewhat resistant to embracing the unusual.
The need to hold and be held is real and pressing, she told me as we prepared to cuddle Thursday evening to demonstrate the therapy for our viewers.
“We are offering people a very basic human need, which is physical touch. It is closeness and comfort, which this day and age we’re getting less and…
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This post was originally shared on Brother Jon’s Page, nearly two years ago. It’s nice to go back every so often and reflect on how our lives have changed, even in just a span of two years. Things are getting better, everyday. I believe daily reflection is important for us all. In the past we can find many, many things for us to learn from. But, it is also important for us to not get stuck in the past. Author John Green once wrote* “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia.” Nostalgia, by definition, is a longing for the past. This quote turns it around and helps show the importance of looking forward in our lives. Or, you can just ask what Dory would do. Just Keep Swimming.
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Though I never had a nightlight, when I went from my crib to a bed I had to have the bedroom door opened a crack. It did not have to be opened wide, just enough to let a sliver of light cast a pathway for me if I needed to make a quick exit. You see there were times when I had to hide under my blanket because there was a bunch of birds or bats fighting to get through the bedroom window. I could see their shadows flapping against each other up on the far wall of the bedroom, opposite the window where a huge oak tree’s branches were reaching towards my room. The limbs looked like long arthritic arms shaking their fists of leaves at me. Sometimes there was an unusual sound; something I had never heard before. It sounded like the wooden floor was groaning from an…
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