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Agency and Stewardships Challenged by Dementia

By Karen Austin

My children have six living grandparents whose ages range from 79 to 87. I am glad that we have our parents and my stepparents as part of our extended family; however, it’s difficult to watch them face age-related challenges: limited income, problems with communication such as vision and hearing, multiple chronic disease such as arthritis …

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On Choosing

By Jennie LaFortune

“What I’ve taken away: if anyone asks you to spring down a gravel road in your bare feet? Kindly decline. If someone asks you to slowly walk into a lake fully clothed at sunrise? Absolutely do it.” – Annie Murphy In this, the year of Covid, an anonymous poster once said, “Beware the Ides of …

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Hearing and Seeing in Front and Behind

By Teresa Bruce

The child in front of me faced backward in the pew, fidgeting like any preschooler might in the second half of Sacrament meeting. When the closing hymn’s introductory notes played, I watched the already unhappy little face droop in dismay, which I thought cute. But then the congregation sang, and dismay turned to distress. Tiny …

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The Path of Totality

By Michelle Lehnardt

Raise your hand if you experienced eclipse regret. I certainly did. 91% totality sounded pretty good, I didn’t understand the rush and the hassle of driving a few hours to see the moon cover the sun just a teensy bit more. I mean, really, we’d experience 91% just by stepping outside the door. And it …

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Semiannual Alignment

By Teresa Bruce

General Conference resumes this weekend. I would have said starts, but this 187th worldwide conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began with last weekend’s Women’s Session. I think it’s significant that the Church officially marks the beginning of conference with messages to and from women. In the Garden, it was Eve …

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BEGINNINGS

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I love Mondays. And New Years Day. And the first day of school. I’d like to say I feel the same about mornings, but that’s more of a love/hate relationship. What I love are Beginnings. I love pregnancy and birth. I love newly opened camellias, and puppies, and boarding the plane for a welcome journey, and snow that’s still pristinely still. What I love is the possibility inherent in newness. What can I create this year, or this day? Who might this baby grow up to be? What do I hope happens? How can I help it happen?

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Do You Strive?

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I heard the word “strive” six times at church on Sunday. The idea of striving — of trying, of struggling — is a bulwark tradition of our faith. We are an industrious bunch, like bees in a beehive (except for those worthless drones.) Some of you will recognize one of the temple recommend questions in the words Do you strive . . .? I always cringe at the question. Because I know the “right” answer is Yes. But I can’t say Yes. I say, “No. I don’t really “strive”. It’s counterproductive for me. I simply nurture my divine desires and then I surrender to God the best I can.”

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The Power of No

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

finger-924109_640I learned this valuable lesson from my business mentor, Dean Graziosi. I was frustrated at my lack of progress in growing my business. When I shared this with him, he counseled me:

“You’ve gotten this far by saying Yes. Yes to new contacts, new opportunities, new ideas and strategies. Now you are at the point where saying No is more valuable than saying Yes. You need to focus your efforts. That means saying No to opportunities that do not further your goals. It means turning down invitations you don’t really want to accept. It requires you to develop the ability to stay clear about what you want and the courage to say No to people who would derail you, even unwittingly. Some people may feel slighted by your refusal to join in their projects and agendas, but in the end, they will respect your strength and clarity.”

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The Faiths Of My Family

By Kellie Purcill

Digital art by andy-pants
Digital art by andy-pants

“So, you know how we’re part Irish? So because Jesus married one of his disciples and escaped to Ireland and had a secret family there, we are probably related to Jesus!”

The two 14-year-old boys blinked hard, processing what their 8-year-old cousin just said, then burst out laughing.

“Uh, no, Abby,” I started, only to be interrupted by the two loons interrupting each other with “The secret life of Jesus – revealed!” “Wait, which disciple did Jesus marry?”

Abby was yelling back “THE GIRL DISCIPLE!… he did SO go to Ireland!” as my Mum shooed the teens away and curled my now pouting and offended niece in for a cuddle.

“But I learned it at church,” she said, confused and cranky, “and we are from Ireland in our family tree…”

Sometimes working out what to say is like trying to grab bouncing Skittles – there’s too many options and something’s going to get missed. Then when faith and the religious teachings and beliefs of others come into it? Carnage like playing Marco Polo in a minefield is one potential outcome, with “Married Irish Jesus” thankfully at the less lethal end of the scale.

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A Theology of Desire

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

Like you, I’ve spent my years here on earth trying to figure out what life is all about. You will be thrilled to know I’ve finally got it, and I’m going to share it with you. Here it is: you get what you truly want.

Now, before you protest that you are getting very little of what you want, hear me out. It’s about our heart’s true desire. Very few of us know what we really want, especially in this era of strident, competing voices telling us what we need to make us happier: more money, more things, more youth or beauty, more fun, more technology, more . . . more . . . more. I am not suggesting that a minimalist lifestyle will still all the voices, though it may help. I am inviting you to question — constantly — if the way you are living is getting you what you truly want. This requires a lot of deep inner exploration, a lot of focused quiet time, a whole lot of honesty.

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