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Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Inspiration and Prayer Archives

Marley & Me: Dogs and Depression

posted by Beyond Blue

With Jennifer Aniston’s new movie, “Marley & Me” in cinemas, I wanted to remind my readers that dogs and pets of all kind can absolutely help you heal and recover from depression. During the worst 18 months of my severe […]

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Mother of God: No Easy Job

posted by Beyond Blue

Fellow Beliefnet blogger David Gibson has written a beautiful post today about the celebration of the Epiphany and about Mary’s difficult role as the Mother of God. David writes: I can certainly testify to the enormous struggle to keep a […]

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Henri Nouwen: Love Deeply

posted by Beyond Blue

One of my very favorite reflections from Henri Nouwen is “Love Deeply,” found in his book “The Inner Voice of Love.” This beautiful meditation reminds me to continue to love and to be vulnerable enough to receive love, even if […]

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Mindful Monday: Epiphany Sunday

posted by Beyond Blue

For the last two years, I have published on the Monday after Epiphany Sunday a summary of my own epiphany that I learned in the last 12 months. During the year of 2008, I learned one lesson over and over […]

Group Beyond Blue: What Do You Believe?

posted by Beyond Blue

I started a discussion thread on Group Beyond Blue in Beliefnet Community about what your essay would be about. Feel free to weigh in here, or on that discussion board, which you can get to by clicking here.

Holiday Survival Thought #31

posted by Beyond Blue

New Year’s resolutions are made by type-A, overachieving, perfectionistic hypocrites. You don’t want to join their circles, do you?

Thomas Merton: Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace

posted by Beyond Blue

Here is the text by Thomas Merton that I am going to read every morning to remind myself to get out of the way: All the good that you will do will come not from you but from the fact […]

Professor Randy Pausch is Beliefnet’s Most Inspiring Person of the Year!

posted by Beyond Blue

From the editors of Beliefnet … The 2008 Most Inspiring Person of the Year is Randy Pausch, the professor who, facing imminent death from pancreatic cancer, delivered a “last lecture” that inspired people to live every day to the fullest […]

Holiday Survival Thought #30

posted by Beyond Blue

Take note of the Christmas cards streaming in now. These are normal people (as long as their letters don’t exceed three pages) who you should invest time in.

Holiday Survival Thought #29

posted by Beyond Blue

Don’t even think of taking your tree down yet. We get to celebrate until the Feast of the Epiphany, the twelfth day after Christmas, when the wise men show up. On this day we will have an epiphany of how […]

Dear God: The Holy and Not-So-Holy Family

posted by Beyond Blue

I am publishing this from my archives today because I’m taking the day off! Dear God, If Eric hears just one thing all year at Mass–from over 40 hours of Christian liturgy–it would be a clip from today’s readings (Colossians […]

Holiday Survival Thought #26

posted by Beyond Blue

You are less than a week from the beginning of a new year. Therefore practice every bad habit with gusto and participate freely in every obnoxious behavior of yours for the next six days.

Madeleine L’Engle on Christmas

posted by Beyond Blue

Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with […]

Problems Are Relative

posted by Beyond Blue

Holiday Survival Thought #25

posted by Beyond Blue

Peace. Love. Joy. That’s what all this madness is really about.

Holiday Survival Thought #24

posted by Beyond Blue

Most families are like snowflakes–unique and interesting, but at times cold and flaky.

Holiday Survival Thought #23

posted by Beyond Blue

Too much wine causes whine. Plus you’re more convincing when you’re sober.

Holiday Survival Thought #22

posted by Beyond Blue

Save your words for when you’re calm or have a nice sugar buzz going.

Holiday Survival Thought #19

posted by Beyond Blue

Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and during the part where George is about to jump list the reasons why you couldn’t. Place that list in your “Self-Esteem File.” If you couldn’t think of anything, click here for Beliefnet’s “Find a […]

Holiday Survival Thought #18

posted by Beyond Blue

Do unto others what you came up with when you were sober.

A Day to Celebrate Heroes and Angels

posted by Beyond Blue

A few days after my posts on the topic of bullying, Beyond Blue reader Barbara sent me an e-mail and asked if, in response to bullying, she might share a piece about her grandmother and how much she meant to […]

My Heroes

posted by Beyond Blue

One resolution I’m making this year is to surround myself with the people I most admire and respect. So first I had to list them and what they’ve taught me. All of the following people have endured their share of […]

Holiday Survival Thought #17

posted by Beyond Blue

Every time you water the tree do something nice for yourself: Stretch your necks muscles for ten minutes, take ten deep breaths, or eat ten small Kit-Kats.

Holiday Survival Thought #16

posted by Beyond Blue

Don’t send a Christmas card to anyone you wouldn’t want to have over for dinner.

Mindful Monday: You Can’t Unlearn It

posted by Beyond Blue

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the […]

Holiday Survival Thought #15

posted by Beyond Blue

Be polite to anyone preparing your food (that includes spouses, siblings, and in-laws).

Holiday Survival Thought #12

posted by Beyond Blue

“Fun” spelled backward is NUF: No use fighting!

Holiday Survival Thought #11

posted by Beyond Blue

Feeling nervous, shaky, overwhelmed? Don’t attempt making a gingerbread house. I made 17 last year, and it nearly had me in the hospital again.

Holiday Survival Thought #10

posted by Beyond Blue

God spelled backward is dog, which might have something to do with the Son of God being born in an animal stable.

Holiday Survival Thought #9

posted by Beyond Blue

Parents of young ones: This is PRIME bribing season. Take advantage of Santa’s wrath on bad children.

Mindful Monday: Mindfulness 101

posted by Beyond Blue

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the […]

Holiday Survival Thought #8

posted by Beyond Blue

For the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, think about this: If God made a Savior without sex, think of what he can do with you!

Gretchen’s Twelve Commandments

posted by Beyond Blue

One of the things that first impressed me about Gretchen’s blog was her Twelve Commandments: 1. Be Gretchen.  2. Let it go. 3. Act as I would feel. 4. Do it now. 5. Be polite and be fair. 6. Enjoy […]

Holiday Survival Thought #5

posted by Beyond Blue

“Bah, Humbug” spelled backward is “Gub, Muhhab,” which is Hebrew for “close your mouth during the holidays.”

Luthitarian: Some Cash Would Be Nice

posted by Beyond Blue

On the same discussion thread, “Dear God: A Little Venting” at Group Beyond Blue, member Luthitarian posted his letter (below), and then … God answered him! What a cool concept. God’s response is the post after this one. From Group […]

Luthitarian: How Would God Answer You?

posted by Beyond Blue

As I mentioned in my last post, on the discussion thread, “Dear God: A Little Venting,” Group Beyond Blue member Luthitarian posted his letter to God, and then wrote a poignant reflection on what God’s response would be. Other members […]

Holiday Survival Thought #4

posted by Beyond Blue

Aim to be more like the Easter Bunny, who doesn’t keep a naughty/nice list, and less like Santa, the judgmental guy in the red suit with high cholesterol.

Holiday Survival Thought #3

posted by Beyond Blue

Make sure to stock your freezer full of dark chocolate: it’s better frozen and it makes a wonderful substitute for sex.

Dear God: A Little Venting

posted by Beyond Blue

A month or so ago, I posted my angry letter to God on a discussion thread at Group Beyond Blue called “Dear God: A Little Venting” (which you can get to by clicking here) and encouraged members to write their […]

Melzoom: Dear Easter Bunny, I Mean God

posted by Beyond Blue

From Group Beyond Blue member Mel: Dear God, This feels stupid because…well, if you’re God, you know why. I feel like I’m praying to the Easter Bunny. But, what the heck. I’ll give it a shot. And if you do […]

ML Walker: Dear God, Maybe Less Head Games?

posted by Beyond Blue

From Group Beyond Blue member, ML Walker: Dear God: I know that you don’t put more on us than we can handle, but could you maybe like me a little less this week? I am always looking to feel the […]

The Marirev: Waz sup, Lord?

posted by Beyond Blue

From Group Beyond Blue member, the Marirev: Waz sup Lord? Can you hang with me a minute or two? I know that this is more about including others in my questions to you because you know I don’t need a […]

Biglar: Why Did She Have to Die?

posted by Beyond Blue

From Group Beyond Blue member Biglar: Dear God, Why did my wife have to die? Thankyou for giving me a medical condition so that I could be on family medical leave and be paid at that time. I thank you […]

Holiday Survival Thought #2

posted by Beyond Blue

Delete from your address book all persons who have sent their Christmas cards before December 1st, write holiday letters more than three pages long, and/or have all their shopping done by Halloween. That’s just not right.

Holiday Survival Thought #1

posted by Beyond Blue

Never take advice from a person who doesn’t enjoy dessert.

10 Uplifting Quotes for a Depressed Heart

posted by Beyond Blue

Again, this title is too positive to be my own. But we must start the holiday season with a heart of joy, no? Here’s a good beginning … What is it about a short quotation that carries so much power? […]

Dear God: Do You Have a Minute?

posted by Beyond Blue

I realize this is the week we are technically supposed to be grateful. But continuing with the theme of yesterday’s vent, I thought I’d publish a letter I wrote to God awhile back. One way I pray to God is […]

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

posted by Beyond Blue

Here is how God responded to my rant: I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than […]

What Doesn’t Kill You … Well, It Still Really Sucks

posted by Beyond Blue

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the […]

Thank God For That Failure

posted by Beyond Blue

Here’s an example of when I could recognize a divine hand in my life: One day last year, on our kitchen counter, buried underneath the old apple cores, brown bananas and three days worth of mail, lay an invitation from […]

8 Ways to Increase Hope

posted by Beyond Blue

Hope, like gratitude, doesn’t always happen on its own. Sometimes it needs a little coaxing. Naomi Drew, an expert on conflict resolution and peacemaking in schools and homes, does a wonderful job in this Beliefnet gallery of teaching some ways […]

Beliefnet Announces Nominees for Most Inspiring Person of the Year, 2008!

posted by Beyond Blue

We at Beliefnet are excited to announce ten nominees for the eighth annual Most Inspiring Person of the Year award. The nomination is a yearly recognition by Beliefnet readers and editors of noteworthy humanitarian actions that inspire and encourage us […]

Your Happiness Project: Imitate a Spiritual Master

posted by Beyond Blue

I can see why Gretchen Rubin’s blog and website are so popular. She translates abstract theories and philosophies into simple language, mines the biographies of spiritual masters for happiness tools, and is basically a user-friendly happiness manual in one stop. […]

Spiritual Discipline: We Get a Helping Hand

posted by Beyond Blue

In case you’re thinking you’re not up for M. Scott Peck’s definition of discipline, here’s a consoling quote I pulled from Richard Foster’s book, “Celebration of Discipline“: When we despair of gaining inner transformation through human powers of will and […]

Which Came First? Religion or Depression

posted by Beyond Blue

There’s a cartoon with a chicken and an egg in bed together. The chicken is smoking a cigarette with a very satisfied expression on his face, and the egg is restless and disgruntled. The caption above the egg says, “Well, […]

Group Beyond Blue: Spirituality and the Mind

posted by Beyond Blue

Group Beyond Blue member Luthitarian started a fascinating discussion thread at Group Beyond Blue on “Spirituality and the Mind,” where he asks folks to share what religious tradition or practice or philosophy has helped them with their depression. He got […]

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz: They Don’t Have to Be Perfect

posted by Beyond Blue

Thanks to Beyond Blue reader Peg for directing me on the combox to my post “12 Ways to Overcome Jealousy and Envy” to Elizabeth Scott’s review of “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. As I mentioned on other posts, […]

The Second Agreement: Don’t Take Anything Personally

posted by Beyond Blue

I wrote about The Second Agreement awhile back:  It’s been one of those days where I’ve had to consult Don Miguel Ruiz’s classic book, “The Four Agreements,” and read the chapter about the second spiritual agreement: “Don’t Take Anything Personally.” […]

Franco: I Believe in You

posted by Beyond Blue

I was touched by Beyond Blue reader Franco’s comment on the combox of my post, “12 Ways to Handle Jealousy and Envy,” in which he wrote: I think that three little words, I love you, always work magic at some […]

Barbara: Good Enough is Great

posted by Beyond Blue

I also appreciated Beyond Blue Barbara’s comment on the same post, “12 Ways to Overcome Jealousy and Envy,” because it reminded the wisdom in the flick “Babe,” when the farmer says to the pig, “That’ll do, Pig. That’ll do.” If […]

The Spiritual Life and Bipolar Disorder

posted by Beyond Blue

Also on Beliefnet’s Bipolar Resource page is my article on the intersection of spiritual life and bipolar disorder. I don’t think I’m romanticizing my bipolar disorder in saying that my real faith, the engine that propels me to love better […]

For the Feast of St. Therese: These Roses Are For You

posted by Beyond Blue

Since today is the feast of my patron saint, Therese of Lisieux, and it’s video day (Wednesday), I thought I’d republish my video on the roses that came when I prayed for all of you, especially those that had been […]

Tribute to St. Therese the Little Flower

posted by Beyond Blue

I found another cool video that featured several images of St. Therese set to beautiful music. If you love this saint, like I do, you’ll like it. To view the YouTube video, click here. To read more Beyond Blue, go […]

Crunchy Con on Saints and Signs

posted by Beyond Blue

Beliefnet’s Rod Dreher wrote an interesting post on saints and signs while back. You can get to his post by clicking here. I’ve pasted it below, but you should go to his post to read the interesting stories on the […]

Dear God: Why Temptation?

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, I apologize if I don’t have the right image here, when reading about Jesus’s many temptations in the desert, where he fasted for 40 days. For my Christology class back in college we were assigned to read Nikos […]

Quotes on Perseverance

posted by Beyond Blue

I needs LOTS of coaching on perseverance because this essential virtue depends on another one called patience, which God ran out of the day He made me. Here are some beautiful quotes on perseverance: “Most of the things worth doing […]

Mindful Monday: I Said to Me Soul, Be Still

posted by Beyond Blue

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the […]

Mindful Monday: A Reminder to Pause During the Week

posted by Beyond Blue

In her book “Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Throughout the Hours of the Day,” spiritual teacher Macrina Wiederkehr writes: The mystical possibilities are revealed to us in our intentional pauses. … If we practice living mindfully, we slowly begin to […]

Mindful Monday: Get Out of the Way!

posted by Beyond Blue

On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the […]

A Place for the Singing of Angels: The Power of Silence and Solitude (or at least no e-mail)

posted by Beyond Blue

I realize that this post is a tad hypocritical since my paycheck depends on your clicks, but I need to tell you about my inner transformation during my 19-day hiatus from the computer because, as you might suspect, my mood […]

5 Reasons Why Adults (Like Kids) Need Quiet Time

posted by Beyond Blue

The following excerpts are taken from “Modern Spiritual Masters: Writing on Contemplation and Compassion” edited by Robert Ellsberg: 1. To Hear God Talk And if we really want to pray we must first learn to listen, for in the silence of […]

All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

posted by Beyond Blue

I can never read Robert Fulghum’s poem, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” too many times. Every time I read it I gain a new truth. Today I’m concentrating on the line, “Warm cookies and cold […]

Shadows in Prayer: The 7 D’s of the Spiritual Life

posted by Beyond Blue

The following piece, “Shadows in Prayer,” written for “America” magazine by my priest friend, Jim Martin, who is like the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus (superstar) of the Catholic publishing and media world, is a fascinating read because it covers absolutely everything […]

10 Scripture Quotes About Facing Fear

posted by Beyond Blue

Beliefnet has arranged a beautiful gallery of 10 scripture quotes about facing fear. To get to the gallery, click here. It begins … Everyone feels afraid at some point — whether it’s a gnawing, anxious feeling or a paralyzing phobia. […]

Dear God: Saint Peter, Humility, and the Loved Sinner

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In the Gospel of Matthew (16:13-20), we read: Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, […]

Fr. Jim on Peter, the Jesuits, and What It Means to Be a Loved Sinner

posted by Beyond Blue

My friend Jim Martin took the name of Peter as his vow name. Here’s why, as he explains in his bestseller “My Life with the Saints”: Understanding Peter’s humanity was a liberating insight for me. For if God calls each […]

Losing Yourself the Right Way

posted by Beyond Blue

Because I’m on vacation this week, I’ve decided to publish posts from the two-week test pilot of Beyond Blue back in October of 2006, two months before its initial launch in December 2006. We’ve come a long way! Ghandi once […]

A Simple But Powerful Prayer

posted by Beyond Blue

Because I’m on vacation this week, I’ve decided to publish posts from the two-week test pilot of Beyond Blue back in October of 2006, two months before its initial launch in December 2006. We’ve come a long way! I found […]

Learning from the Saints

posted by Beyond Blue

Because I’m on vacation this week, I’ve decided to publish posts from the two-week test pilot of Beyond Blue back in October of 2006, two months before its initial launch in December 2006. We’ve come a long way! Throughout my […]

Dear God: On Living Mindfully and Learning to Pause

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In the Gospel of Matthew (14:22-33), we read: After he had fed the people, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. After doing so, he […]

The Challenge of Living Mindfully

posted by Beyond Blue

Macrina Wiederhehr explains how we can impart some of the wisdom of the monastic tradition into our workday in her book “Seven Sacred Pauses.” Among my favorite passages are these: How can we learn to open our hearts to simple […]

Why Solitude Is Sacred: In Peace and Quiet, We Find Our Truth

posted by Beyond Blue

Ironically, right as I’m trying to incorporate some solitude into my life, Beyond Blue reader Frank sent me this meditation of his on solitude. As I read it, it occurred to me that the experience of motherhood is much like […]

Dear God: Don’t Sweat It! I Got Ya Covered

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In Matthew’s gospel (14:13-21) we read about the miracle of the loaves and fish: When Jesus heard what had happened [to John the Baptist’, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds […]

The Loaves and Fish in Barbara’s Life: God Is Never Fickle

posted by Beyond Blue

Interestingly enough, just as I was contemplating how God really does take care of you when you take care of yourself, I received this note from Beyond Blue Barbara: I am very happy. I’ve just been told that I have […]

Dear God: Where’s the Beef, I Mean Treasure?

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s reading (Matthew 13:44-46), Jesus says to his disciples: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that […]

Peace of Heart by Brother Roger

posted by Beyond Blue

The following is a beautiful prayer I found by Brother Roger, who founded the Taize Community as an attempt to open ways of healing the divisions between Christians. The prayer is from the book “Seeking the Heart of God: Reflections […]

Larry Parker: Dreams and Rain

posted by Beyond Blue

The other day I invited you to write your own “This I Believe” essay like the ones read over NPR. Beyond Blue reader Larry Parker/Doxieman122 (who is a candidate for the Member of the Month) blew me away with his. I […]

Dear God: Wheat, Weeds, and Surrender

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In this week’s reading, Jesus tells the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matthew 13: 24-30): The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep […]

Khalil Gibran: On Sorrow and Joy

posted by Beyond Blue

Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.” And he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.   And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can […]

On Surrender

posted by Beyond Blue

The following meditation is by Murray Bodo, O.F.M, from his book, “Song of the Sparrow.” We fight surrender to God and resist it. Then one day we wake up and realize that letting go is the only answer. And waking […]

Who Is the Most Inspiring Person of 2008?

posted by Beyond Blue

I know it’s only July, but Beliefnet is gearing up for their “Most Inspiring Person of 2008″ contest. The editors want to know who your picks are. Check out last year’s gallery by clicking here, and then tell us who […]

Dear God: The Fern and the Bamboo

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s gospel, we read about the parable of the sower (Matthew 13: 1-9), which, ironically, was the reading that Eric and I chose for our wedding (it’s not all that romantic … but read in terms of […]

The Mustard Seed of Faith Is Enough

posted by Beyond Blue

The following meditation is from “Song of the Sparrow,” poems and meditations by Murray Bodo, O.F.M. God hears me.  We want to believe it with all our hearts, and so we pray mightily and storm heaven with our cries. And […]

Turning Fear to Faith

posted by Beyond Blue

Ironically, yesterday’s Gospel reading was about the hemorrhaging woman I talked about in my post about the statue of Jesus in the Hopkins’s administrative building with the inscription: “Come, all you who are weary.” It was a perfect reading for […]

Dear God: Come, All Who Are Weary

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, I always get a little teary-eyed when I get to Matthew’s eleventh chapter, which is today’s reading (Matthew 11:25-30), that says: At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for […]

Footprints in the Sand

posted by Beyond Blue

I used to have a “Footprints” plaque in the bedroom of my childhood house. Or maybe it was in the kitchen. I love the message of “Footprints”, even if it’s not sophisticated theology. It brings me much comfort because I […]

Dear God: 5 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, Today was Peter’s big day as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew (16:13-19): When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, […]

Who Do You Say That I Am?

posted by Beyond Blue

John Dear writes a wonderful reflection on this question that Jesus asks his disciples in this week’s reading–Who do you say that I am?”–in his book “The Questions of Jesus: Challenging Ourselves to Discover Life’s Great Answers”: But who do […]

Seven Ways to Boost the Power of Your Goals

posted by Beyond Blue

The following is a summary of Dr. Beverly Potter’s book, “High Performance Goal Setting: Using Intuition to Conceive and Achieve Your Dreams,” on how to boost the power of your goals. Again, my only advice is to say that if […]

Dear God: Why E-Harmony Has Got It Wrong

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s reading, Matthew writes this in his seventh chapter (verses 1-5): Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with […]

The Third Agreement: Don’t Make Assumptions

posted by Beyond Blue

Here are my favorite excerpts from Don Miguel Ruiz’s chapter on the third agreement (in “The Four Agreements”): The whole world of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based […]

This I Believe: A World of Vibrant Colors

posted by Beyond Blue

NPR features a collection of inspiring essays in a series called “This I Believe.” On the plane ride to my college alma mater, Saint Mary’s College (across from Notre Dame), for my 15-year reunion, I read through some of the […]

This I Believe: Family Survives (By Holly Lebowitz Rossi)

posted by Beyond Blue

Interestingly enough, when I shared my essay with my editor (Beliefnet’s health editor) Holly, she said that she had written her own essay, as well. I was very moved by it. And thought you might be, too. In a way, […]

Dear God: On Becoming a Harvester

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s reading (Matthew 9:36–1:8), Jesus talks about harvesters: Jesus said to his disciples: “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” I’m […]

Liberate Yourself From Your Fear of Happiness

posted by Beyond Blue

In “Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment” by Tal Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. (and thanks to my Guardian Angel Ann for sending me an autographed copy!): When we do not feel that we are worthy of happiness, we […]

For Father’s Day: Zen Golf and Lessons for the Mental Game

posted by Beyond Blue

Since it is the Friday before Father’s Day, and I wanted to dedicate a post to all the devoted fathers out there, I thought I’d share passages of a very cool book that my mother-in-law bought for Eric awhile back, […]

From Beliefnet

posted by admin

Dear Readers– Due to a planned technical upgrade taking place on Wednesday June 11th, the Beliefnet Blogs will not display any new content, and commenting will be disabled. We aim to be back up and running by the end of […]

If You Can Dream…

posted by Beyond Blue

One reason I drag my kids to Lothian, Maryland (about 20 miles south of Annapolis) once a month to visit Fr. Joe Girzone, author of the bestselling Joshua series, is so that they believe me when I tell them that […]

Dear God: The Divine Physician

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In the Gospel of Matthew (9:9-13), we read: While [Jesus] was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, […]

8 Ways Illness Can Be a Spiritual Practice

posted by Beyond Blue

In light of the gospel readings this week, I thought I’d post this gallery by Toni Weingarten: 8 Ways Illness Can Be a Spiritual Practice. To get to it, click here. Here’s the intro: Most people think of illness as […]

Dear God: On Detachment and the 10 Commandments

posted by Beyond Blue

I want to thank Beyond Blue reader Margaret for mentioning that my “Dear God” posts are one of the reasons she keeps coming back to Beyond Blue, because, as you can imagine, these reflections are hard to write. They force […]

When Is It Okay to Lie?

posted by Beyond Blue

While we’re on the topic of breaking the ten commandments, here are a few thoughts on lying … Experiments have found that ordinary people tell about two lies every ten minutes. I don’t see how that’s possible, as I’ve been […]

Prayers for Our Soldiers

posted by Beyond Blue

The following prayers are from “A Prayer Book for Soldiers and Sailors.” FOR GOD’S HELP Grant us, O Lord, in all our duties thy help, in all our perplexities thy counsel, in all our dangers thy protection, and in all […]

Dear God: Thank You for the Pentecost

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, Thank you for the Pentecost, for the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is a good time for me to read the message of hope in the Gospel of John (20:19-23): On the evening of that first day […]

The Spirit: To Know that You are Loved

posted by Beyond Blue

I was moved by the following quote from Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M.Cap, regarding the Holy Spirit: Every time someone has a genuine, strong experience of the Spirit, the most vivid memory of the moment that the person retains is of […]

Priscilla Warner: 18 Ways to Fill the Hole in the Soul

posted by Beyond Blue

?? Over the weekend, I e-mailed my friend Priscilla Warner (who moderates the fantastic “The Faith Club” group in Beliefnet’s Community, to get to click here) to ask her what she does when she feels sad, when she experiences the […]

Dear God: The Holy Spirit and the Conscience

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, All we hear about these days in the Gospels is that Jesus is going bye-bye and that you are sending us this thing called the “Advocate.” In the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John’s, it’s more of […]

God and Suffering: The Fascinating Blogalogue

posted by Beyond Blue

Often on Beyond Blue, we’ve discussed the problem of suffering, and where God is in all of it. We’ve debated how God can be good and all-powerful when so many people live with chronic illnesses like depression and poverty and […]

Barbara on the Self-Esteem File

posted by Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue reader Barbara (formerly Babs) nailed the purpose of the self-esteem file in her letter to Margaret on the combox of my post “Margaret on Releasing Fears.” Articulated so beautiful, Barbara says this to Margaret: Dear Margaret, You mentioned […]

Dear God: Addiction and Your Advocate

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In John’s Gospel, Jesus says this to your disciples: If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit […]

Henri Nouwen on Filling the Heart

posted by Beyond Blue

When I’m in that needy place, it helps me to read what Henri Nouwen wrote in his book, “The Inner Voice of Love” about all those persons, places, and things that we think are absolutely necessary for our wholeness. When, […]

Dear God: My Peace I Give to You

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, I’ve been repeating the words of today’s readings over and over again like a mantra. In the Gospel of John, Jesus said to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). […]

Dear God: On Cherry Blossoms and Mania

posted by Beyond Blue

Here is my Dear God letter, on the enticement of mania. Dear God, Perfect timing with this week’s reading, given that I’m, at present, in a hypomanic cycle with 40/20 vision: noticing the beauty and mystery in just about every […]

Dear God: In Pardoning, We are Pardoned

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s reading, we get to hear Luke’s story about the Road to Emmaus, when Jesus appeared to two disciples and pulls the same stunt that I do on my kids when I want the real skinny: he […]

Action Transfigures the Present

posted by Beyond Blue

As I was reading Monsignor Massimo Camisasca’s reflection on last Friday’s reading, the miracle of the loaves and fish, this Italian priest seems to underscore the very premise Pope Gregory preached: that it is in active participation of love that […]

Seeing With Eyes of Faith: Recognizing Jesus Today

posted by Beyond Blue

Father Thomas Keating writes an interesting article about how we might come to be able to recognize Jesus in our lives. From his book, “The Mystery of Christ”: Like the disciples of Emmaus, we, too, have our own ideas of […]

The Feast of the Annunciation: Gabriel and Directions

posted by Beyond Blue

Since today is the Feast of the Annunciation, when Mary said “yes,” I thought I’d reprint my “yes” moment, my “Saving Grace” moment. I’m directionally impaired. Always have been. When I was four, I got lost in the hallways of […]

The Third Step Prayer

posted by Beyond Blue

God, I offer myself to Thee– to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them […]

What’s Your Exodus Story?

posted by Beyond Blue

Have you ever had an experience of personal freedom? Whether you overcame an addiction, tackled that growing pile of mail, ended a toxic relationship, or took up a hobby you’ve wanted to try—I’d love to hear how you did it […]

Stephen Colbert’s Exodus Moment

posted by Beyond Blue

Stephen Colbert was interviewed in a recent issue of “Parade” about his painful past and how he has used his sense of humor to heal. I loved hearing about his “exodus moment” because it resembled mine: One wintry day in […]

A Few of My Favorite Things …

posted by Beyond Blue

One of my very favorite movies is the 1965 classic, “The Sound of Music,” because I get goose bumps when Julie Andrews sings “My Favorite Things” to the children. What a powerful message for those of us living with depression. […]

Happy Easter, Dear Readers!

posted by Beyond Blue

I wish all my Beyond Blue readers a very happy and hope-filled Easter. May the miracle of the empty tomb fill your homes with peace and joy (at least for a day, anyway).

All I Need to Know I Learned From the Easter Bunny

posted by Beyond Blue

Thanks a million to Beyond Blue reader Stephanie for this cute find. All I need to know I learned from the Easter Bunny! Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Everyone needs a friend who is all ears. There’s […]

Fox, Friends, and Me: Saturday Morning

posted by Beyond Blue

If you are up Saturday morning getting ready for some Easter egg hunt somewhere, tune into Fox and Friends at 7:50. I’ll be discussing my piece, “9 Ways to Live the Resurrection.” Worry not, I bring no models or chocolate […]

Jim Martin: Trials of the Saints

posted by Beyond Blue

Related to Jim Martin’s “America” article is his Op-Ed piece for the “New York Times,” in which he explains the Vatican’s canonization procedures. Again, I’m impressed with how succinctly Jim is able to explain a very complicated subject. He is […]

Station Five: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross

posted by Beyond Blue

I found this little reflection at a site called “Disciples Now.” I liked the simple prayer at the end. I wonder what went through Simon’s mind when he was forced to help you? Did he resent it? Did he think […]

A Visit from an Old Friend

posted by Beyond Blue

I was reading through “The Gift of Peace: Personal Reflections” by the late Archdiocese of Chicago, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, and I was taken by his description of the visit he had with Henri Nouwen, just weeks before Nouwen’s death, and […]

Palm Sunday: Seeing the Big Picture

posted by Beyond Blue

Twelve years ago I sat next to an Indian man at the wedding reception of Eric’s best friend. He claimed that he was trained in the art of palm reading and asked if he could read my palm. “Ahh. Very […]

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

posted by Beyond Blue

Wishing you all a lucky day. Given that today is my sobriety anniversary, I’ve always liked this prayer by St. Patrick: I bind to myself God’s power to guide me,God’s might to uphold me,God’s wisdom to teach me,God’s eye to […]

Hannah Montana Featured in “America”

posted by Beyond Blue

I’ve been kidding my friend Jim Martin that he has become the Hannah Montana of the religious publishing world. He just spoke to an audience of 8,000 people at a conference in LA. Everywhere I turn around I hear him […]

Kathleen Norris on Sloth and the Weary Soul

posted by Beyond Blue

I’ve always understood sloth, one of the seven deadly sins, as laziness. But Christian author Kathleen Norris helped me understand the “sin” in a much broader context, and one that’s intertwined with depression. (Not that depression is a sin. I […]

NPR’s Coverage of the New Sins

posted by Beyond Blue

Fr. Martin also appeared on National Public Radio to explain the new social sins. Click here to get to his segment. From the interview: “I think it’s to remind people that sins are not just individual,” Fr. Martin says referring […]

Road Rage and the “Drivers’ Ten Commandments”

posted by Beyond Blue

Okay, so if I was in any doubt that I had committed a mortal sin, now I know God’s nodding his supremely good head. Because also on the NPR site is a review of the “Drivers’ Ten Commandments.” Umm. Yikes. […]

Dear God: Why Lazarus?

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, We get to the infamous “raising of Lazarus” story today, which, depending on my mood, either gives me hope or ticks me off (you know, just like everything else I read in a foul mood). In the Gospel […]

Thomas Merton on Fear

posted by Beyond Blue

I like this passage from Thomas Merton about Lent. It makes me think that Merton would approve of my Lenten resolution, to give up self-loathing. He writes: The purpose of Lent is not only expiation, to satisfy the divine justice, […]

Teresa of Avila: The Desire Is Enough

posted by Beyond Blue

I wanted to share this quote from St. Teresa of Avila because many of you loved the prayer by Thomas Merton that said the desire to love God is enough. In this passage, another of my favorite saints basically says […]

Just Listen

posted by Beyond Blue

I can’t count on my hand the number of times I’ve sobbed in front of a complete stranger because it’s happened more than a hundred times. But I can count the number of times I’ve been on the receiving end […]

Dear God: On Becoming an Ex-Suicide

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, You gave us the perfect prescription for recovery from depression in today’s reading, from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (5:8-14): Brothers and Sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children […]

Glenn Slaby: Gifts of a Stranger

posted by Beyond Blue

Thanks to Beyond Blue reader Glenn Slaby who sent me his story. I think it points to the small miracles that can happen everyday if we make ourselves “transparent under God,” or become an “ex-suicide.” Sometimes, when paths cross in […]

Dear God: Hope Doesn’t Disappoint

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s reading, Paul describes hope to the Romans (5:1-2, 5-8). He says: Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. […]

Love Note #27

posted by Beyond Blue

Falling in love is a condition, keeping in love is an art. -Mary Garden

Love Note #25

posted by Beyond Blue

Sex is part of nature. I go along with nature. -Marilyn Monroe

Send Me a Sign!

posted by Beyond Blue

When Jesus told us that we should have a child-like faith, I took him at face value. Because I am a doubting Thomas so much of the time, I rely on signs and miracles to confirm God’s presence in my […]

Love Note #14

posted by Beyond Blue

Sometimes idiosyncrasies which used to be irritating become endearing, part of the complexity of a partner who has become woven deep into our own selves. -Madeleine L’Engle

Love Note #12

posted by Beyond Blue

The more emotionally mature we are, the fewer demands we make upon others, and the more capable we are of being concerned about others and their needs. -Cecil Osborne

Mother Teresa on Surrender

posted by Beyond Blue

Total surrender to God must come in small details as it comes in big details. It’s nothing but that single word, “Yes, I accept whatever you give, and I give whatever you take.” And this is just a simple way […]

Love Note #11

posted by Beyond Blue

Communication between two human beings can be confusing, especially if one is the husband and the other is the wife. -Mack and Brenda Timberlake

The Divine Hours of Lent

posted by Beyond Blue

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting author Phyllis Tickle on a couple of occasions. She also wrote an essay for “I Like Being Married” (But Not To Each Other) co-edited by my friend, Mike Leach, and myself. So I was […]

Dear God: On the Beatitudes and Hope

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, Today feels like pizza day in the canned-green-peas-smelling cafeteria of my soul. Because I get to read the Beatitudes! Hands down, my favorite passage in your book (the Bible). For this at-times pessimistic, skeptical person, your eight promises […]

Therese’s Beatitudes

posted by Beyond Blue

Blest are you with IBS Irritable Bowel Syndrome), for you shall be able to eat nachos again. Blest are you who breastfed, for you shall inherit free implants to repair all the damage. Blest are you who shop at plus-sizes […]

Mindful Monday: Kahlil Gibran On Joy and Sorrow

posted by Beyond Blue

This is one of my guardian angel’s favorite passages, from Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” I think it reads much like the Beatitudes. Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled […]

Dawn Andrea on the Beatitudes

posted by Beyond Blue

Thanks to Beyond Blue reader Dawn Andrea who wrote this e-mail to me over the weekend regarding the Beatitudes: We think happiness is getting what we want, when we generally don’t know what we want, or what is good for […]

Holly Lebowitz Rossi: Goodbye Noodle

posted by Beyond Blue

This is a reprint of Holly’s original piece “Goodbye Noodle,” which you can get to by clicking here. It wasn’t her fault, of course, but Noodle, my family’s glorious white standard poodle, died at a very inconvenient time, just when […]

Holly Lebowitz Rossi: Lucky/Cursed

posted by Beyond Blue

Holly wrote the following piece during her husband Rob’s deployment in 2003, as well as a series of provocative pieces on NPR. To go to her original Beliefnet article, “Lucky/Cursed,” click here. To check out her NPR clips, click here. […]

Dear God: The Desire to Love Is Enough

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, I take comfort in the words of Isaiah (8:23—9:3) that I read this week: Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress. The people who walked in darkness […]

Marquos: Butterfly Fields

posted by Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue reader and group member Marquos (find his homepage here) beautifully expresses this journey of coming to love yourself in his poem, “Butterfly Fields,” which I found on his blog (http://madspirituality.blogspot.com). He’s a beautiful writer, and I think many […]

Dear God: I’m Ticked Off

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In today’s reading (Isaiah 49: 3, 5), it is written: The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Now the Lord has spoken who formed me as his servant from […]

Catherine of Sienna: God Is Our Helper

posted by Beyond Blue

If I weren’t in such a fowl mood, the following quote would inspire me: Our helper is God, and he is such that no one can withstand him. As long as we continue to look to this strong loving helper, […]

Where There is Faith, There Is Hope

posted by Beyond Blue

I never thought I’d go to reader Larry Parker for faith and hope part because he has been such an intellectual skeptic (no insult intended, Larry). But his e-mail (below) about his mother came just as I was having my […]

Another Lesson in Perfectionism

posted by Beyond Blue

Thanks to all the Beyond Blue readers who told me to go gentle on myself regarding the mistake I made in my first Heath Ledger post. A few of you mentioned perfectionism, that ever-present battle to expect error-free performances from […]

My Running Angel, Ben

posted by Beyond Blue

I’ve learned and benefitted from all kinds of angels in my life. A few days ago, my running angel died. It wasn’t until reading about all the other lives he touched that I realized how lucky I was to run […]

Group Beyond Blue: Stigma Buster

posted by Beyond Blue

Join the interesting thread of discussion called “Stigma Buster” by going to Group Beyond Blue’s page on Beliefnet Community. And we’re up to 133 members!

The Photo! Come, Holy Spirit

posted by Beyond Blue

In case there are any doubters among my readers, here is the photo of the dove sitting on Mr. Guardian Angel’s arm. Pretty cool, huh?

Saving Grace: Laycee Underwood Won the iPod

posted by Beyond Blue

I apologize for the delay in publishing the result of the “Saving Grace” essay contest. Truthfully, I put it off because it felt like choosing which was my favorite child. Finally, I begged Holly to find someone else to judge […]

Saving Grace: Read the Other Essays

posted by Beyond Blue

There are 45 comments posted in the combox of my “Saving Grace Giveaway” post: so many beautiful, moving tales of God’s presence during our darkest hours. If you get a free minute, you should read through them.

Joan Wester Anderson: Angel Stories Come to Beliefnet’s Community

posted by Beyond Blue

Joan Wester Anderson, who is a member of Group Beyond Blue at Beliefnet Community, has just started featuring her angel stories as part of her journal on her page. For example, I found the following story, “Angel in Her Dream,” […]

Hannah Montana and Integrity on Sirius

posted by Beyond Blue

Folks, I hate to mess you up again this week because Wednesday is video day. But I’m talking about Hannah Montana and the topic of integrity on Sirius Radio very early this morning–6:40 a.m EST if you’d like to drop […]

Dear God: Come, Holy Spirit

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, I guess you would say there are no such things as coincidences. Only mini-miracles. Today, the 14th anniversary of my father’s death, I read these words in the Gospel of Matthew (15-17): After Jesus was baptized, he came […]

Frank: Holy Spirit, Pray In My Place

posted by Beyond Blue

Awhile back, I chatted with Gus Lloyd on Sirius Radio, the Catholic Channel, about praying during those times that you are depressed, tired, or burned out—those times that you pray and you get nothing back. A listener, Frank, wrote the […]

Self-Esteem Forum: Exhibit A

posted by Beyond Blue

I was going to wait to publish some of the letters, but, well, unlike Holly, I did not resolve to become more patient this year. Harnessing my chocolate addiction is challenging enough. So here is Exhibit A from our Self-Esteem […]

Dear God: Be My Light

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, In Isaiah 60:1-3, it is written: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises […]

The Feast of the Epiphany

posted by Beyond Blue

This post is from last year’s Feast of the Epiphany. An epiphany can mean several things: an “Aha!” moment after relentless searching and study, the first time you see something (or someone) in its natural form, or the Christian feast […]

Bad Habits

posted by Beyond Blue

Wishes for 2008

posted by Beyond Blue

Thanks to Beyond Blue reader Susie for this prayer for 2008! May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills. May love stick […]

Group Beyond Blue: Encouragement Quotes

posted by Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue reader Cheryl has started a discussion called “Encouragement Quotes” in Group Beyond Blue in the Beliefnet Community site. To get to Group Beyond Blue, click here. Then click on “Discussions” to the left. Among her quotes are these: […]

Holiday Survival Thought #28

posted by Beyond Blue

There’s a lesson in “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: He turned a sore, red nose into a real asset. I wonder if Santa has any use for a saggy chest (courtesy of breastfeeding) and a flabby butt?

Holiday Survival Thought #27

posted by Beyond Blue

Remember H.A.L.T.: Don’t get too horny, annoying, loopy, or tacky. And for every criticism you hear, put out a Q-TIP (Quit Taking It Personally).

I Pray That Our Loved Ones Will Understand

posted by Beyond Blue

Like Beyond Blue reader Larry Parker, I appreciate reader Terri’s prayer on the message board of my “Video: O Holy Night” post. It’s simply beautiful: I have so many things to be thankful for that I can hardly even count […]

Group Beyond Blue: Wisdum’s “Christmas Time”

posted by Beyond Blue

Our Beyond Blue group on Beliefnet’s Community site is really taking off. We’re up to 67 members, with several active discussions in progress. I’m so excited that it is proving to be exactly what I had hoped: an extension of […]

Dear God: Joseph Is the Man!

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, I’ve always felt bad for Joseph, that his amazing faith in You and dedication to the Holy Family have been somewhat overlooked in the whole nativity story. I’m trying to picture myself in his shoes as I reflect […]

Joan Wester Anderson: How Do You Move Beyond Blue?

posted by Beyond Blue

In my previous post, “Beliefnet’s Interview with Joan Wester Anderson,” I mentioned that I would be interviewing Joan Wester Anderson the Friday before Christmas to get my Beyond Blue readers in the mood for the nativity story. Joan is one […]

Joan Wester Anderson: Snow Angel

posted by Beyond Blue

From her bestselling book, “Where Angels Walk.” It was just past midnight on December 24, 1983. The Midwest was shivering through a record-breaking cold spell, complete with gale-force winds and frozen water pipes. And although our suburban Chicago household was […]

Holiday Survival Thought #21

posted by Beyond Blue

Everything in moderation. ESPECIALLY moderation.

Holiday Survival Thought #20

posted by Beyond Blue

Don’t clean up the mess prematurely (literally and figuratively). That makes for more work.

Saving Grace: How We Heal

posted by Beyond Blue

This is my last blog post in my series about the series “Saving Grace.” I wish I had a transcript of last night’s show because almost all of the lines were profound. I was deeply moved, like I am after […]

Saving Grace: Two Kinds of Loneliness

posted by Beyond Blue

You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate last night’s episode of “Saving Grace,” but it was especially entertaining if you are and have ever been Godparent to a young niece or nephew or a friend’s child. Grace (Holly Hunter) […]

Dear God: On Patience and Unknowing

posted by Beyond Blue

Dear God, Advent sure is full of “waiting” and “patience” themes. Just when I think we have moved on from waiting with John the Baptist for the arrival of Jesus, we get to “patience,” one of my strongest qualities. NOT. […]

Holiday Survival Thought #14

posted by Beyond Blue

Try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup (from “Elf”). Children, especially, thrive on this diet.

Holiday Survival Thought #13

posted by Beyond Blue

Pick your battles. Or, better yet, become a pacifist codependent who ignores them. No one will mind.

Our Lady of Guadalupe: One Miracle Story

posted by Beyond Blue

From “The Healing Touch of Mary: Real Life Stories From Those Touched by Mary” by Cheri Lomonte: It was the spring of 2002 and I was doing research for my final project before graduation when I found it. I have […]

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posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate measures to control a mood disorder, that faithfulness

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How to Handle Negative People
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