• spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Black Bean Brownies and Grace (Redux)

    “I can resist everything but temptation.” –-Oscar Wilde  (Note: This is an older post with a brand new recipe!) Like most people, I strive to be reasonably fit. I walk religiously, eat my vegetables, and sometimes even do yoga. But I have a serious weakness, a secret yearning for what can only be called the dark side. By dark, I am speaking literally, for I find that I can resist everything but chocolate. In more youthful, disciplined days, I would nibble only on small pieces of severely dark chocolate so bitter that I felt rather saintly; but as I mellow with age, I find myself drawn back to the sweeter confections…

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  • spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Love All Beginnings (Even the Scary Ones) ​

    I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and their uncertainty, which belong to every commencement.— Rainer Maria Rilke   When I begin a new adventure—a new project, a new job, a new year—I turn for inspiration to two Bohemian adventurers: my great-grandmother Lizzie Schwartz and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Lizzie was born in Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) at the very same time as the poet Rilke, both starting life in the grand city of Prague.  I like to think of this:  They lived in the same city, shared the same space, the same air, the same streets.   Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to Rilke.  The…

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  • spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Defiant Joy

    We must risk delight . . . We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.” —Jack Gilbert CHRISTMAS is closing in on us, but my heart is not quite there.  During my morning walk in a sunlit city park, it feels more like a “mourning “ walk as I attempt to fend off dire forebodings about the future of our country, our world, our planet. The Herods of the world seem to be taking control; a black curtain is descending and joy seems like a distant memory, a faraway feeling—possibly an inappropriate expression at such a serious time.   But then, as I look…

  • Book Design,  bookdesigntemplates.com,  books,  fonts,  InDesign,  Pages,  templates,  Uncategorized,  Word

    Book Design Templates 2.0: Upgraded Templates, Cool New Site, 25% Off This Week

    Since we introduced our interior book templates in February, 2013 over 15,000 authors all over the world have created their books more quickly and at less expense than ever before. But nothing’s perfect, right? Tracy Atkins and I have been hard at work for over a year to change the way we sell our templates, and this week we’re finally ready to unveil all these new features that will make our templates even easier to use and much more capable, too. (And we’re offering a big discount too; 25% off with coupon code LAUNCH25.) What’s new? We have reconfigured every one of our templates so that they are all “2Way,”…

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  • spirituality,  Uncategorized

    The Sky Remains: A Meditation for Anxious Times

      Through the empty branches the sky remains. It is what you have. —Rilke,  Book of Hours   It is late November in America.  Cold winds blow across the sky mixed with tears and fears and whispers of darkness to come.  And yet, the season of thanksgiving beckons us to find a shelter of gratitude where we can offer up some imperfect gesture. Underneath a giant Cottonwood tree—a tiny yellow dot under the crisp, cloudless New Mexico sky— I stand, just a little awed.  Around me, the autumn light filters through crackling leaves into pools of warm gold. In the trauma of our time, I take refuge in this safe…

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  • spirituality,  Uncategorized

    Under the Red Hats: White Rage, Outrage, and the Quest for Empathy

    The shock, disbelief, and revulsion of seeing half our country gleefully supporting, and now electing to the presidency, a man who has spent the last year and a half spewing racist, misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and jingoistic rhetoric should not completely surprise us.  Some predicted it, but we had hoped for something better.  We trusted that America’s “better angels” would prevail.  But they didn’t. Like many of you, we are mourning, we are outraged. And yes, we are afraid. We do believe that even the worst events in life can be creatively transformed, but as progressive Christians and process theologians, we do not hold that everything “happens for a reason” or…

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  • books,  Sharon Goldinger,  Uncategorized

    Welcome Sharon Goldinger, Our New “Answer Lady”

    Don’t you ever wish there was someone who could answer your questions about indie publishing? The ones that pop up when you’re new to book publishing? Blogs provide a lot of answers, and we certainly get our share of people looking for help with book construction, book design, book production, book marketing, and similar subjects. Not only that, we get a steady stream of mail from my Contact Form. All this input is very helpful because it provides us with daily insight into where readers need help. However, over the past 7 years, the traffic here has steadily increased, helped along by our wonderful Contributing Writers. At this point we’re…

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  • this-n-that,  Uncategorized

    Asters: Stars of the Fall Garden

    Summer is winding down but the asters are just getting started, adding splashes of lavender, purple, and pink to the fall garden. A native American plant, the aster got its name from the ancient Greek and Latin words for star, describing its radiant blossom. One of its common names is starwort.

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  • this-n-that,  Uncategorized

    Making New Plants From Cuttings

    One of my favorite aspects of gardening is plant propagation. Whether it is from seed or a cutting, I love seeing a new plant emerge and grow. Early fall is the time to take some cuttings of plants you want to keep over the winter. Tender container plants are at their

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  • this-n-that,  Uncategorized

    Growing Hosta Plants and Types of Hostas

    With Fall just around the corner, the sun is riding lower in the sky casting longer shadows on the garden. One plant that welcomes the extra coolness and shade is the hosta. Hostas are the unsung heroes of the shady garden. There are 70 species of hostas and over 3,000 registered

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