People crave community: Narrowing the urban/rural divide

We were neighbors before we were enemies
Growing up in the rural West, I can’t tell you how many times I heard jokes about Californians, “city folks,” and “back East,” as though people who lived in Cali or east of the Mississippi River were basically clueless idiots. Then I moved east. Not all the way to the coast, but far enough to learn that people “across the river” were pretty much just like people on the othe...
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A safe place to tell your story: A candid discussion about faith

This is a safe place to tell your faith story.
No other topic that I’ve written about has resonated with readers as much as when I talk about God. Why is this? Are we all so hungry for meaning? I think perhaps yes. I’m tired of the rule that we aren’t supposed to talk about religion. Why not? Does it so offend us when someone disagrees with our foundational values that we are unable to listen? Are we truly that inse...
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Gossip is my weakness

When you stop talking to people, stop talking about them, too.
The tricky thing about gossip is that it’s hard to define. When does genuine caring and concern turn into gossip? What about venting? We all need to get things off our chest, right? Because it is so amorphous, gossip is an easy crime to commit. I know I have. In fact, it’s my biggest vice, or it used to be. I grew up in gossip central. Nobody does gossip lik...
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The death of grace

Perhaps the most detrimental fallout of an entire generation obsessed with perfection is the death of grace.
As my kids gear up for back to school, I can’t help but wonder how they will look back at their childhoods, the time and place in which they were raised, their family experience, and the impact their culture has on their growing hearts and minds. How did we get here? I can’t pretend to be perfect. I actually tried that for a really long time. It didn’t work. Her...
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Do you have a toxic relationship with your news source?

Do you have a toxic relationships with your news source?
In order to understand the big picture of Redefining Love, we must learn that institutions can be just as toxic as individual relationships. Just as family systems can be rife with dysfunction that developed over generations, so too can larger systems within our society. Entire religions, governments, political parties, corporations, education institutions, and sectors...
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Eliminating snobbery from our lives

Rather than seek to be open minded, a better goal is to dig deep to identify our own bias.
One of the personality traits that I struggle to forgive the most is snobbery, in myself as well as others. I used to live with the illusion that I was immune from this particular sin. (This kind of arrogance is the first sign that you need to get real.) Judgement is the universal sin Back when I bought into the “open-mindedness” myth, I believed that I accepted eve...
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The brain’s dashboard

Anger, pain, and fear are like the indicator lights on the dashboard of our brains, warning us that something or someone is a threat.
The check engine light on my dashboard is broken. It comes on randomly, then shuts off again whenever the mood strikes it, rendering it useless. The first time it happened, I rushed my car to the mechanic, only to be told that it’s a wiring issue that will cost $800 to fix. My car runs great otherwise, is not very old, and is paid in full. It’s just not worth the expen...
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Getting organized: What do you need?

Your life becomes a masterpiece when you learn to master peace.
I know it’s trendy right now to get organized. I know that’s a thing. But I’ve never been very good at following trends, so let me challenge that for a minute. Let me tell you how I used to be. I used to think I had all the answers. I used to have a perfectly kept house. I used to scrub my shower until I could eat from it and fold all my laundry and put it away while i...
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Surround yourself with those going in your direction

If you want to reach your goals, you've got to get around people that are going in the same direction you want to be going.
I’ve always been a thinker of big thoughts. I’m not a fan of physical risk, like sky diving. I like to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. My thoughts, on the other hand… they go a mile a minute, and they are sky high. I like fantastical ideas, big dreams, and audacious creativity. Unfortunately, I didn’t grow up in a family that encouraged that kind of thin...
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We are all the bad guy in someone’s story

Don't play victim to circumstances you created.
Accountability is a tough one. It borders that very fine line between victim blaming and owning your own stuff. But it is so, so, so important. We can’t shy away from it simply because it is uncomfortable or confusing. When I went through my divorce, it was easy to point fingers at my ex-husband. He made a lot of rather public mistakes, whereas my mistakes were more private,...
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