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The whole human family

“The Golden Way is to be friends with the world and to regard the whole human family as one,” Gandhi once said. I found this quote in Lisa Congdon’s book You Will Leave a Trail of Stars. –Joy

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A walk in nature

I love my walks in my neighborhood in Dallas, but I love even more walks in New Mexico. And, I’m in New Mexico visiting my brother—and we are taking walks! As John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” Or, she seeks, of course! –Joy

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The heart of empathy

What is empathy? Christopher Myers, in his introduction for Home Is Not a Country, offers one answer. “It seems to me,” he says, “that this knowledge—that you could have just as easily been any one of a hundred other people—is at the heart of empathy. It’s the realization that every person you meet, or see […]

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A home is a thing to be made

What is your home? Is it the house where you live? What if you move to a different house? Is your home the people you live with—the people you love? In the acknowledgements for her book Home Is Not a Country, Safia Elhillo thanks the global Sudanese community “for teaching me that a home is […]

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Just be “nice”

I never have liked the word “nice.” Somehow, it always seems a bit trite, but the word is packed with a lot of information. That’s why I like this quote by anonymous. “Treat everyone with kindness, even those who are rude to you, not because they are nice but because you are.” –Joy

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Remember kindness

I sometimes have to remind myself that I can be kind to everyone. “Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not,” Henry James once said. –Joy

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Endless pools of unknowability

In her book Oh, William!, Elizabeth Strout writes about William and Lucy, who used to be married to each other. An NPR interviewer commented, “Lucy and William knew each other very well, but they didn’t know each other as well as they thought they did. “Has you ever experienced this?” “Yes, I have,” Strout answered, […]

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We are mysteries

In her book Oh, William!, Elizabeth Strout writes about William and Lucy—and about knowing and not knowing—other people and ourselves, too. At the end of the book, Strout concludes: But when I think Oh William!, don’t I mean Oh Lucy! too. Don’t I mean Oh Everyone, O dear Everybody in this whole wide world, we […]

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Food and families

We have been cooking—my sister-in-law Barbie’s toffee, my husband’s father’s fudge, my grandmother Margaret Jackson’s soft raisin cookies. Christmas is a time for families—those who will be with us during the holiday and those who live still in our hearts. –Joy

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Wonderful, not perfect

“I want this Christmas to be perfect,” I told my husband this morning. Last year, Jerry and I spent Christmas with just the two of us. This year, our two children with be home—and each will bring a spouse for the first time. “It won’t be perfect,” Jerry told me, laughing. “But, it will be […]

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