January 19, 2022

The role of a fully realized human being is to arrive at the door of death having become oneself. ~Michael Meade In an old issue of Sun magazine, I ran across an article that featured the author Michael Meade. A natural storyteller, Meade tells us about an African proverb with the following moral: “When death finds you, may it find you alive.” At first glance, the words don’t seem to make sense. Of course, death will find you alive. You’ve got to… Read more

January 12, 2022

Have you ever tried origami? It’s the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures, usually long-necked cranes. According to mindfulness master Michael James Wong, it’s also a valuable spiritual practice, akin to meditation. In the book Senbazuru, One Thousand Steps to Happiness, Fold by Fold, Wong details the 12 steps it takes to make a crane out of paper, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. But that is only one small aspect of the book. Between each step Wong… Read more

January 3, 2022

Have you ever heard of Blaise Pascal? A true Renaissance man, he was a mathematician, an inventor and a spiritual philosopher who lived in France during the mid-1600s. Pascal was also an avid journaler and used to carry around a notebook in which he’d jot down his thoughts and ideas. After his death in 1662 at the age of 39, his notebook was turned into a book and published under the title Pensees, which translates to Thoughts. The book shows a… Read more

December 28, 2021

Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. ~Dorothy Day Ari Weinzweig is the owner and co-founding partner of a Jewish deli called Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have not yet tried one of Ari’s many gourmet delicacies, though I have been savoring a steady diet of the wisdom he purveys in a weekly email newsletter called Ari’s Top 5. (Thanks, Kerry.) The e-newsletter features tasty-sounding food items like Hungarian Walnut Beigli,… Read more

December 22, 2021

Do you love Christmas movies as much as my family? There are certain movies we watch again and again and count Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Elf, A Christmas Story, Holiday Inn and It’s a Wonderful Life among our favorites. Not only are the stories entertaining and put us in the Christmas spirit, they also include underlying messages on the importance of love, friends and family during this beautiful season. With a big assist from The Everything Family Christmas Book… Read more

December 16, 2021

You probably know the story told every Christmas about how Jesus was born to Mary in a manger in Bethlehem. What you may not know is the narrative is cobbled together from two slightly different versions of the tale that appear in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. There’s no other mention of the birth in the Bible and the gospel stories are not as detailed as you might think. That’s where the Gospel of James comes in. Also known as the Infancy Gospel… Read more

December 7, 2021

Have you ever had the feeling that God was missing in action? You feel the presence of God one moment, buoying your spirits, lightening your load. But the next day, or even a few moments later, the Divine has seemingly abandoned you, leaving you to deal with the challenges of life by yourself. This feeling of abandonment isn’t unusual. It even struck the saintly Mother Teresa. For years, Teresa claimed she did not feel the presence of God in her… Read more

December 1, 2021

The early Christian church was not the church you and I know today. It was a great deal stranger. After the death of Jesus, Christianity went underground for the first 300-plus years of its existence. Its adherents began meeting in secret gatherings in “house churches” and underground chambers. There was no church leader, few knew of St. Paul. There was no holy book, the New Testament did not yet exist. But there were sacraments, one that included the promise of… Read more

November 23, 2021

It’s customary in many homes to say a prayer before Thanksgiving dinner. Yet, if you fall into the Spiritual but not Religious (SBNR) group like me, you may want to move beyond the traditional “Bless us O Lord” prayer into something that’s, well, more meaningful to you and your spiritual inclinations. I’ve written before about “The Prayer of Gratitude” and it’s worth mentioning again. It’s a simple, participatory prayer of thanks, directed to God, the Universe, or whatever higher power you… Read more

November 17, 2021

You’ve probably heard the old dictum from Socrates that “an unexamined life is not worth living.” It always struck me as a little harsh. But there’s something to be said about occasionally taking a time-out from our busy lives to look inward and contemplate where we stand. Among the questions we might ask ourselves: Am I living my fullest possible life, making the best use of my God-given attributes and talents? Am I living a life filled with trivial pursuits… Read more

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