How Good Are You at Writing Haiku?

by Melannie Svoboda SND on February 18, 2019

As many of you may know, a haiku is a traditional three-line Japanese poem of 17 syllables. The first line has five syllables, the second has seven, and the third has five again. Haiku are characterized by simplicity and often focus on nature or daily life. Each poem tries to capture a brief moment in […]

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Jack Kahl: Community Volunteer and Creator of Duck Tape

by Melannie Svoboda SND on February 11, 2019

An obituary in The Cleveland Plain Dealer caught my eye. The headline said: “Jack Kahl, 78, volunteer, created Duck Tape.” I had no idea who Kahl was, but I was certainly familiar with Duck Tape, so I read on. As I did, I found myself saying, “What an extraordinary human being!” So, I thought I’d […]

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Did Jesus Dance?

by Melannie Svoboda SND on February 4, 2019

Did Jesus dance? We don’t know for sure, but chances are he did. In Jesus’ time, dancing was customary at weddings—although men danced in a group with other men, and women danced in a group with other women. So besides working his first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana, Jesus probably also danced there. […]

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Celebrating Books

by Melannie Svoboda SND on January 28, 2019

I just read The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee. The book, subtitled a memoir and a history, is a celebration of bookstores—from ancient times to the present. Today’s reflection is a mini-celebration of books, inspired by Buzbee’s book. What makes books so wonderful? First, they are durable. When you borrow a book from the library, imagine […]

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Mustard Seeds, Baking Yeast, Ravens and Lilies

by Melannie Svoboda SND on January 21, 2019

One of Jesus’ main methods of teaching was the use of parables. In his parables, Jesus uses the common elements of creation—seeds, birds, trees, flowers, water, soil. He also uses the ordinary activities of everyday life that his listeners would be familiar with: planting, making wine, baking bread, cleaning house, caring for animals, celebrating weddings. […]

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“The Place Where Lost Things Go”

by Melannie Svoboda SND on January 14, 2019

Last week I saw the new movie, Mary Poppins Returns. I loved it! Although nothing can replace the original Mary Poppins, I still loved this sequel with its beautiful music, lively dancing, and its array of memorable characters. I loved the creative scenes—swimming underwater, flying in the sky with a balloon, dancing in a topsy-turvy world […]

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A Few Fascinating Facts about the English Language

by Melannie Svoboda SND on January 7, 2019

Several months ago on this blog, I mentioned that I once taught a course in the history of the English language. One of my readers, Maggie, suggested I write something about the English language. I am following her suggestion. First, what is language? Language is a system of sounds (speech), gestures (sign language), or graphic […]

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How Much Can You Say in Six Words?

by Melannie Svoboda SND on December 31, 2018

Legend has it that the writer Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a short story in six words. (Some say the legend is probably not true.) Nevertheless, the six-word story attributed to him is this poignant one: For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn. Over the years, other writers rose to the challenge and produced these […]

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Christmas Reflection: God Works through All Kinds of People

by Melannie Svoboda SND on December 24, 2018

The story of the first Christmas sets before us an array of unique individuals. First, there is Mary, a teenage mother. Then there is Joseph, her conscientious husband, a simple carpenter. Next, we have a powerful Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who orders all the people in his vast empire to be counted. Why? Probably because […]

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“Love Poems from God”

by Melannie Svoboda SND on December 17, 2018

A good friend recently gave me the book Love Poems from God by the translator Daniel Ladinsky. I really, really love it! I think the poems in the book are fitting for this time of the year as we celebrate God’s love for us in the person of Jesus. So consider this reflection as my […]

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