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Anger and other negative emotions

Presidents with great leadership skills learn to control their negative emotions, Doris Kearns Goodwin told an Arts & Letters Live audience in Dallas earlier this year. Kearns is the author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times. For example, Abraham Lincoln wrote many angry letters—and then never mailed them. And, when Franklin Roosevelt was preparing for his […]

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Reunion of life with life

“Sin is separation,” says Paul Tillich in his book The Shaking of the Foundations. “Grace is reunion of life with life….Simply accept the fact that you are accepted! If that happens to us, we experience grace.”

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The center of our being

“There is grace in life,” says Paul Tillich in his book The Shaking of the Foundations. “The center of being, in which our own center is involved, is the source of the gracious beauty that we encounter again and again in the stars and mountains, in flowers and animals, in children and mature persons.”

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We need silence

We live in “an oversaturated culture,” says David Ulin in his book The Lost Art of Reading—Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time. We “skitter across the surface.” We are “awash in distraction…What we need is silence.” And books! And time for reading.

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No news—for a few days

Recently, before we left for Arkansas, I declared a ban on news. I didn’t want to hear anything about what was happening in Washington. But, news today seeps through our cell phones, and a complete ban was impossible. Still, it was refreshing to avoid the blare of news hounding me constantly from newspapers, radio and […]

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A peaceful place

Recently my husband, my daughter, my son and I headed for Arkansas with visions of colorful leaves in our head. Alas, we arrived when the leaves were still green—almost all of them, at least. However, we found our cabin on a hill offered a beautiful view of a valley with farms, cows and roosters. We […]

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Silence and hope

I have been thinking about the wisdom of Fred Rogers ever since I saw the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” On his Christmas cards, Mr. Rogers used to wish his friends “moments of silence and hope,” writes Amy Hollingsworth in her book The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers. That’s a very good wish for […]

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All the way to Africa

I paid $23.25 to mail a book—Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke—to my niece Emma, who is spending two years in Africa with the Peace Corps. It arrived 5-1/2 weeks later. Happy reading, Emma! It’s a long way to Africa. Thanks to WhatsApp, however, I’ve seen photos of Emma chopping wood for a “traditional food day” […]

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Softening my life

After our dog Ginger died, my brother James and his wife Jeany sent us a card with these words: “Dogs love us unconditionally, softening our lives with sweetness and affection.” I love those words “softening our lives.” It’s easier to feel calm when you’re sitting next to a dog. It’s lovely when your dog runs […]

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A dangerous world

At the Dallas Holocaust Museum, I found this quote: “The world is too dangerous to live in—not because of people who do evil but because of the people who sit and let it happen.” –Albert Einstein –Joy

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