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I really enjoy the gift of a new word, especially when the universe conspires to present it to me in multiple places in a short timespan.  Being a voracious reader, a new word is a fun gift!

The most recent is bespoke, which I’ve bumped into in two books and twice online in the past two weeks.





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from Jamie Howison:

Seeing Lent as a desert or wilderness season is significant. To move into a bit of symbolic wilderness is to risk finding out something about yourself that maybe makes you a bit uneasy.

The other thing, though, is to be aware that some people spend an awful lot of their life in the desert. Someone whose partner has died or who struggles with depression or who is dealing with some deep family crisis might feel like it is wilderness year ‘round. If that happens to be you, then maybe Lent can give you a language and a practice that could help you believe there is a way across the desert.
If, on the other hand, your life is pretty good and your day to day concerns fairly routine, then Lent could well help you to be more mindful and prayerful of those for whom life just isn’t quite so easy to navigate.
In other words, though we might choose a personal Lenten discipline very much on our own, part of what it should do is to deepen our connections with those around us.


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I keep hearing it lately. Maybe it is because Valentine’s Day is just past and there were many call-ins to radio shows and podcasts. Folks married for 50 years, or 38 years, or twelve years. They tell the touching or romantic or exciting story of how they met their spouse, and then when asked whether their relationship is happy, the answer is invariably a variation of, “Yes, we have five children and eleven grandchildren.”

But children do not equal a good marriage!

A good marriage is about intimacy and knowing each other and choosing to love. It is about sacrifice and about being your true self.

Terrence Real writes:

Not merely a relationship you can live with, but one that is truly alive – passionately, tenderly, maddeningly filled to the brim with unexpected twists and turns, with comfort and solidity, with the sense of knowing and being known, and loving each other anyway.


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From his appearance on NPR’s Morning Edition

Rabbi KUSHNER: Ah, let me make a very important distinction here… There is all the difference in the world between saying, I was able to get something good out of this and saying, God intended it to teach me this lesson. I don’t believe God sends the tragedies so that we will grow spiritually. I believe the tragedy happens for all sorts of reasons: natural reasons, biological, genetic reasons, human cruelty reasons.

Once it happens, I think God’s role is to give us the strength and the vision to come through it – and come through it with our faith intact. God is there to send us people to hug us and hold our hands and dry our tears so we don’t feel abandoned, not by God and not by friends. And then in our response to the tragedy, then we have something good that comes out of it.

What do you think?

And are you being used by God so that someone else doesn’t feel abandoned?