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“You will never know unless you ask.”

“You will never know unless you ask.”~ Marilyn Kaden Fernquist This quote by my (Tom’s) grandmother has resonated with me all my life.  Even though she has been gone for five years, her words “You will never know unless you ask” continue to be heard in my mind every time I am questioning whether or…
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(IPOY) I’m Proud of You

One of my (Tom’s) favorite books growing up as a child is a book called Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  A few years ago the book was made into a movie.  Part of the reason I resonated with the book and movie so much is because of the main character’s story.  The main character…
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The Patient Project

For the past six months Michael’s family was involved in the “Patient Project” through the Penn State University College of Medicine.  During that period two first-year medical students spent many hours interviewing and videotaping Michael and his family about life with his son Matthew, who lives with severe intellectual disabilities and autism.   The Project’s purpose was…
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Parrallel Tracks

Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.~Adele/Daniel Dodd Wilson These words were written out of pain and brokenness.  They were written out of disappointment, rejection, heartbreak, and suffering.  Sometimes life is like that.  Sometimes it really does hurt.  Anytime there is brokenness or loss, all of us struggle to find relief and…
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Unmasking Our Facades

I’m afraid to show you who I really am, because if I show you who I really am, you  might not like it — and that’s all I got.     Sabrina Ward Harrison In the classic story, The Phantom of the Opera, the title character hides for years in the Paris Opera House.  When he is…
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Owning our Past and our Pain

In the place inside me where the hurt of abandonment had been, now only compassion lived.      Antwone Fisher Antwone Fisher was placed in a foster home weeks after he was born and through most of his childhood. He spent 12 years with a family who abused him physically, verbally and sexually. He was later…
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The Parable of Coming Home Again

Two friends accompanied another friend home from the hospital – a journey that took two plane flights and 24 hours of driving through 10 states over three-and-a-half days. The friend in the hospital was in a very dark and lonely place. Addictions and crushing mental health challenges have caused him and his family considerable anguish…
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Someday, I’ll Have a Conversation

Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology … But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves. Worse, it seems that over time we stop caring, we forget that there is a difference. A recent article in The New York Times – “The…
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Who We Are. What We Offer.

  Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.      Miles Franklin This statement by the Australian author Miles Franklin has intrigued and found resonance with us since the very first time we read it. During our years as pastors – especially through visiting people who have been confined in their…
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Just Because We Are

“You must stop being a pleaser and reclaim your identity as a free self…You must stop seeing yourself through the eyes of others and trying to make them proud of you.” ~Henri Nouwen Where do you get your identity? Who gives you your self-worth? Do you need and depend on other people-parents, spouse, child, friend,…
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