Magical Memoir Moments

“The Nancy Drew of Joy:” A Seasonal Meditation

In a dark time, a candle ignites hope, sparking the advent of joy. How are you spending these short days and long nights?  We celebrated our family Christmas during Thanksgiving week this year, which means the gifts and feasts came early. Now there is time to rest, read, go to concerts, light candles, and reflect.…

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My computer wears a new sticker.

An Election Day Meditation: Voting, Praying, Singing

It’s a grey day in the Shenandoah Valley. The scene in front of me looks upside down. The clouds are lower than the mountains. The transition between sky and land, heaven and earth, is not clear. Threshold spaces are like this. Neither one nor the other. Neither yet both. Our country, too, stands at a…

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Father Michael kneeling

How to Live: Prophets, Poets, and Mystics

After one returns from pilgrimage, the sense of living inside a movie recedes. Then certain remembered single images stand out. For me, Father Michael Rodgers,  Glendalough pilgrimage guide, quiet in demeanor, kindly in manner, yet passionate in his love for his special place stood out. How many times had he told the story of St.…

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On the grounds of the Dromantine Conference Center, Newry, Northern Ireland. Easy to imagine leprechauns cavorting here.

The Return Stage of Pilgrimage: Reflecting on Celtic Spirituality

I’m back in the red chair looking out at fog-covered mountains, feeling grateful. The dire hurricane forecasts at end of our trip to Ireland gave us pause, but all of us eighteen pilgrims on Tour I of Eklectic Pilgrimages to Ireland have returned safely. Thanks be to God. Our itinerary kept us stepping. In fact, one day…

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Jubilación attire.

Slipper’d Pantaloons: A Parody of the Seven Stages of Man

My friend Tina took me to the theatre to celebrate my birthday. As we sat in the balcony, I eagerly anticipated Jacques’ famous speech, one I first heard live on the Goshen College stage. Do you remember “The seven stages of man” speech? Here is an old movie version that uses subtitles so you can…

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Today's clouds. Never the same as yesterday's.

My Seventieth Summer, “O Lord, to look at the clouds.”

My dear daughter-in-law gave me a copy of this book as a Christmas present last year. I’ve been chewing it slowly, lectio divina-style. Right now, the summer poems are calling to me. You probably know the most famous one, “The Summer Day.” Here’s another, called “While I Am Writing a Poem to Celebrate Summer, the…

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Lydia is wearing a Hess family heirloom dress at least 100 years old.

The Celestial Openness of the Child’s Mind: Lydia’s Breakthrough, Our Goodbye

Those Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, got it right. We do arrive on this earth trailing clouds of glory! For the last eleven months, Stuart and I have had a front-row seat as Lydia exuberantly shared with us the trailing clouds of glory she brought with her from birth. Today neuroscientists are using the term “celestial…

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Magnavox-Collaro-Blonde-Mid-Century-Record-Player

Baby Songs: “You’re Gonna Thank Me Everyday”

Did you have a record player in your house long ago? This record player came from an estate sale, the first one Nik and Kate went to several years ago. The price was $150. That number seemed high. It’s probably about as much as the original cost in the late 1950s or early 60s. They…

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Tina, Mary, and Gloria traveled to Pittsburgh and made Lydia and me very happy.

Living in a Almost Tiny House: Creative Grandparenting Spaces

When we decided to move to Pittsburgh for a year, to help take care of granddaughter Lydia, we thought it would be important to have a place of our own. The more intimate the work, the greater the need for two-family-privacy, was the idea. So we moved into one apartment and later into another. But…

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Prince Charles, Pittsburgh, and People Turning Seventy

I remember how pleased I was to read, in My Weekly Reader, in 1957, that Prince Charles was born in 1948. He was my age! I would later learn that Al Gore, James Taylor, Kathy Bates, Stevie Nicks, Samuel L. Jackson, Alice Cooper, and Andrew Lloyd Weber, all share the same birth year, which means. .…

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