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Faith — In plain sight

Dean Nelson is the founder and director of the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. His most recent book is “God Hides in Plain Sight: How to See the Sacred in a Chaotic World.”

Beware your message on the run

Coming back from a run one morning this summer, I did what I usually do, and walked the last couple of blocks in order to cool down. It was a little warmer than usual that day, which meant I was ...

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Married to selflessness

August is the month of my wedding anniversary, and I was reminded recently of one of the conflicts we had within the first couple of years of our life together. We were both in jobs that we didn’t like, living ...

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When vocation chooses you


In the novel “Lying Awake” by Mark Salzman, the main character, a nun, becomes confused in her spiritual calling at the convent where she lives. The visions she used to have no longer occur, now that her epilepsy has been ...

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Feasting on fellowship


When my grandmother reached her 90s, she lived in an assisted-living center outside of Chicago. In those latter years, she lost her grip on the present. She didn’t know any of us when we visited. The last time I saw ...

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A single red balloon

red balloon

Picture this: Southern Ohio in the late summer, no air conditioning, sweltering heat, no breeze, and a 2-year-old with half of his body suffocating in a heavy plaster cast. Makes me sweat just thinking about it. It started out beautifully—my ...

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Living Bethlehem

My friend Don told me about a time during the Christmas season several years ago when he and his wife loaded their two little girls into their car to drive from their small Ohio town to spend the holiday with ...

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Grace at work — even in tragedy

Santana High School

When the National Desk of The New York Times called me several years ago and asked if I could hurry to a high school in San Diego that had experienced a shooting, my heart sank. One reason my heart sank ...

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Feasting on humble pie

Imagine if this had happened to you. It happened in a restaurant in Germany. The restaurant had high tables where patrons would stand and eat a quick lunch. A woman went into the restaurant, bought a bowl of soup and ...

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The high calling of selling dresses


A writer I know tells this story of a friend of his who was in a Nordstrom store in a wealthy Los Angeles suburb. The friend was on the top floor, where the most elegant dresses cost thousands of dollars, ...

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Tangerines as soul food?

All of us have probably had a meal that we remember for very specific reasons. It might have been for a birthday or anniversary, or to celebrate a great achievement. I saw a news item about one of the San ...

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