• The power of presence

    I read an article in Readers Digest (April 2013 issue) featuring Rachel Macy Stafford, a teacher who ran. It was not a story about a marathon runner or a track star. It featured a woman who learned a life lesson in the aftermath of a race to catch a recalcitrant student, one who had long been identified as a loser.

  • Play together to stay together

    In his work, House of Cards, the British painter Charles Hunt paints an endearing picture for the world to see. It depicts a group of children at play with a card game. Some are involved in the activity. Others are participating as onlookers. All have a heartfelt interest in the action. It would seem that the artist is conveying an important message for all of us who live in a consumer society:

  • Vanity melts in the heat of virtue’s soft heart

    With a friend like Qoheleth, who needs an enemy? Hot, dog days of August are here and are already lending themselves to a unique kind of humid desperation and inertia without hearing the not-so-pleasant message that all is vanity, even the restlessness of a sleep deprived mind! I guess there is a fine line drawn between being realistic and dwelling in negativity. At any rate, the radical optimist in me finds it difficult to be in the presence of people whose being exudes continually bad news in the name of realism.

  • The sound of music drowns out the noise that pervades our lives

    My father insisted on piano lessons for me. I was enrolled at the Julius Hartt School of Music at an early age with parental hopes I’d be an accomplished pianist.
    However, I knew in my heart I’d not be on a concert stage. I had no such desires or ambitions. My interest was only in learning a few popular pieces, and quickly to boot. Further, I was drawn more intently to the guitar. With little concern for my tender feelings, Papa declared that I had no ear for music and should stick to the piano. Our diverse expectations frustrated both of us.

  • Nothing matches seeing a million-dollar smile

    Usually Hubby Dear offers suggestions for columns — often mentioning three words and expecting me to mull over them to find surprising depths worth plumbing. This time my source was equally surprising.
    I was browsing rows of liquid refreshment in the ABC store. We were hosting friends and had only a diminished supply to offer them. Our stock needed replenishment and I wanted to surprise Hubby Dear by purchasing the supplies.

  • Do we really want to let freedom ring this Fourth of July?

    Recently, thoughts about freedom have frequently popped into my mind.

  • ‘Cutting for Stone’ is a stubborn metaphor for life

    Hubby Dear groans with dismay whenever he spots a tome in my hand. He knows and faces the inevitable: my total immersion in the book. When it is 658 pages long, he’s in for extended periods of silence! Abraham Vergese’s novel, “Cutting for Stone,” proved his perception.

  • Fatherhood is a critical role in life, and fathers deserve tribute

    Fathers everywhere deserve a tribute. They deserve to be honored every day in every way.
    Despite the obvious commercialism of the day set aside specifically to name and claim that unique role in humanity, it is a holy and wholesome thing to pray and say our gratitude to all men who have fathered wholeness, holiness, respect, honesty, mercy, and a sense of justice in all of us.

  • What does it take to move from ‘happy talk’ to happiness?

    Contrary to lyrics of “South Pacific,” it takes more than happy talk to be happy. It involves more than talking about things we like to do. It takes more than talking about the moon floating in the sky or looking at a lily on the lake or talking about a bird learning how to fly, making all the music he can make. Yet, it is all those things that help us to learn the ways and wiles of being happy.

  • L’Chaim is a call to celebrate life rather than worry about dying

    Black Elk said: “Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood and so it is in everything where power moves.”