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Elizabeth Strout, one of my favorite authors, reports that she never took a literature course and she never took a psychology course. Instead, she listens to people. “I have listened and listened and listened my whole life,” Strout says. “If you listen carefully enough, people will tell you exactly the kind of person they are.” […]

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Presence is power

Pay attention! I know it’s important, but often I find my mind wandering when I’m talking to a friend or with a group of people. Michelle Huneven in her book Search has a good reminder. ”The most powerful person in any room is the one most fully present. Presence is the source of power,” Huneven […]

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A new friend

I made a new friend last week—a woman who attends a Zoom class with me, but someone I had never seen in-person. We talked in-person for more than an hour, and I know we will visit again—and be friends. It’s the pandemic again. It is so much easier to connect in-person—and so wonderful to make […]

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Autumn flowers and pumpkins

I had lunch at the Dallas Arboretum, where the autumn flowers, yellow and orange and purple, are blooming—and pumpkins are being stacked in piles. By September 17, the arboretum will display 100,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. I enjoyed my lunch and a leisurely walk with a friend, and I was reminded of a quote by […]

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So-called Christians

This is the letter to the editor that I submitted to The Dallas Morning News. It was printed on Wednesday, September 9, 2022, with only a few minor changes: The headline on an article on the front page of the September 2, 2022, issue of your newspaper declared: “Christians sue over HIV drugs.” I am […]

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Making connections?!

I am always intrigued by how I “connect” with some people immediately while I take weeks or months to connect with other people—and I never connect with some people. As Michelle Huneven says in her book Search, “I didn’t hate her. I didn’t dislike her. We simply didn’t connect.” –Joy

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No more secrets

“Secrets work on me like splinters. I like them out.” These words are from a delightful book by Michelle Huneven. It’s called Search, and it’s about a search committee looking for a new minister for a progressive California Universal Unitarian church.

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Friends help

My son Jay has COVID. I think he will be okay, but I am so tired of this pandemic—and I am a bit worried. Recently, I have complained to a couple of very good friends. Friends help! As Eeyore once said, “After all, one can’t complain. I have friends.” Friends are great—especially friends who will […]

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Give someone a hug

As Winnie the Pooh once said, “A hug is always the right size.”

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Keep singing

My friends and I joke that we are going to solve all of the world’s problems. Of course, we aren’t going to solve all of the world’s problems. We are people, however, who think and talk, and communicating with each other helps us clarify what we think. We talk because we haven’t given up on […]

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