A Few Thoughts on Immigration

by Melannie Svoboda SND on September 26, 2016

I confess: I cannot speak completely objectively about immigration. That’s because three of my grandparents were immigrants from Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. All three immigrated as teenagers, leaving their parents and other family members behind. Forever. I can’t imagine what courage that took. My Grandma Svoboda told about coming over in the crammed steerage […]

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Dear Younger Me

by Melannie Svoboda SND on September 19, 2016

As we journey through life, we learn a lot of things. We develop all kinds of skills. We grow in wisdom. Here’s a little exercise you might want to try. Imagine you could talk with your younger self—maybe eighteen or so. What advice would you give your younger self from your current age and perspective? […]

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The Day I Was Born

by Melannie Svoboda SND on September 12, 2016

I was born on September 16, 1944. It was a Saturday. My mother said I arrived just in time for lunch. But what was happening elsewhere in the world the day I was born? And did these events somehow influence who I became? I was born in the midst of World War II, that massive […]

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The Bristlecone Pine Tree

by Melannie Svoboda SND on September 5, 2016

In a remote and inhospitable area of the White mountains in California, there grows a remarkable tree: the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva). These trees rarely exceed 30 feet in height. Their girth isn’t that impressive either. But what is astounding is their age: Some of them are 5,000 years old!

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The Spiritual Practice of Going Barefoot

by Melannie Svoboda SND on August 29, 2016

(As I wrote last week, I’m taking a little vacation from my blog. So this week I’m running an earlier reflection from August 26, 2013. I will resume writing my regular blog on Monday September 5.) Someone has said that going barefoot can be a spiritual practice. There’s a scriptural basis for this assertion. When […]

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The Ways We Say Goodbye

by Melannie Svoboda SND on August 22, 2016

(I am taking a little vacation from writing this blog. So today and next Monday I am running two of my earlier reflections. This one is from July 22, 2013. I will resume writing new reflections on Monday September 5.) When we part from another person, we ordinarily say “goodbye” in English. The etymology of […]

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The Human Condition and Fear and Faith

by Melannie Svoboda SND on August 15, 2016

I’ve been thinking a lot about the human condition lately. The headlines in the news have stimulated my thinking. The phrase human condition is in itself interesting. Being human is a condition—maybe like heart burn or asthma. It’s a condition (though marvelous at times) that comes with built-in limitations. We’re human. That means we make mistakes. (Isn’t that […]

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Conservatives and Liberals Need Each Other

by Melannie Svoboda SND on August 8, 2016

In his speech at the Dallas Memorial Service a few weeks ago, former president George W. Bush said this: “Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” I thought his words were very insightful. While I was still pondering them, a friend gave me a short […]

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Are You a Perfectionist?

by Melannie Svoboda SND on August 1, 2016

Are you a perfectionist? It’s a good question to ask ourselves on occasion. What is a perfectionist? In psychology, perfectionists are individuals who possess an excessive drive for flawlessness. They set extremely high performance standards for themselves and are unreasonably critical of themselves when they don’t meet their standards. They also tend to measure their […]

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Gene Kelly: Actor, Singer, Dancer, Choreographer

by Melannie Svoboda SND on July 25, 2016

Recently I turned on the movie channel and chanced upon a showing of An American in Paris. After watching it for just a few minutes, I was hooked. In fact I ended up watching the entire film. This 1951 musical features the music of George Gershwin and the dancing of Gene Kelly. Was there ever a more […]

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