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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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Be thankful

I am thankful for pecan pie and mashed potatoes—and, most of all, I’m thankful that my daughter and her husband will be here for Thanksgiving—and my daughter and son and both of their spouses will be here for Christmas. As Shakespeare said, “O, Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” […]

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Pay attention

I have always liked these words from poet Mary Oliver. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. –Joy

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The dreams of a grandmother

Big Nancy—the mother of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—wanted to go to law school. In fact, when three of her children were in school and she had only two at home, she enrolled in law school. However, when several of her sons developed whooping cough—a dangerous disease at the time, her dream ended. Nancy […]

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Pay attention

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” philosopher Simone Weil once said.

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Why we speak

“We speak not only to tell other people what we think, but to tell ourselves what we think. Speech is a part of thought,” neurologist and author Oliver Sacks once said.

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A flood of kisses

Rebekah Taussig, writing in the May 24/May 31 issue of Time magazine, says that she has a tradition of giving her partner Micah and her son Otto a flood of kisses every morning when they leave the house. “I hope we are teaching Otto to be brave and also kind,” she writes, “to take good […]

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Remember all people

“Remember you are all people and all people are you,” writes poet laureate Joy Harjo, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation. “Remember you are this universe and this universe is you. “Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.”

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