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Nothing more interesting

Author Elizabeth Strout loves watching people, and she loves crowded New York. “For me—there is nothing more interesting than life,” she says. I’ve decided that Strout is one of my favorite authors, and I just read, both for the second time, her books My Name Is Lucy Barton and Anything Is Possible. –Joy

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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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Normal confusion

“A certain number of people have arrived at a standard confusion that is considered normal,” R.D. Laing, psychiatrist and author, once said. Laing also stressed, “There are an infinite variety of human experiences, but certain societies limit the number of acceptable experiences.” When I heard Laing speak in 1972, I filed away my notes. I […]

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The Hermione Effect

How did Harry Potter change the world? One way is the Hermione Effect, says Eleanor Spencer-Regan, who teaches a course about Harry Potter at Durham University in the United Kingdom. The Hermione Effect, she explains, is “the celebration of smart and bookish women.” We read “20 Ways Harry Potter Changed the World” in the October […]

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Very rigorous challenges

In 1993, President Bill Clinton talked about the challenges our country faces. We are engaged, he said, in “a new race, the race to compete in a world that is getting smaller, more diverse, but very, very rigorous in its challenges.” I found that quote in a museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico. –Joy

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Take the first step

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the full staircase,” Martin Luther King Junior once said.

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Critical thinking?

Sarah Bessey reminded me that critical thinking doesn’t always have to be critical. Bessey is the author of Jesus Feminist. –Joy

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Everyone knows something

Jim, who has managed a bookstore in Old Town in Albuquerque for 43 years, told me: “Remember everyone knows something that you don’t know.” –Joy

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The strength of our land

Near her art in an exhibit in Santa Fe, I read these words from AnaMaria Samaniego. “It is important to understand the strength of our land. To recognize its gifts, to cherish its beauty and to feel its soul.” Samaniego’s “Entre Por La Cocina” was part of a temporary exhibit of work from the New […]

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Are you changing?

I’ve been thinking about birthdays because I have several good friends who have March and April birthdays, including my friend Sandra, who is celebrating her 91st birthday. In a book I bought for Sandra—90 and Proud of It, I found this quote from Doris Lessing: “The great secret that all old people share is that […]

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