Directions can be confusing.

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My parents gave me a template for a good life. To be more precise, they gave me a template for a good life as they interpreted it.

And their interpretation came courtesy of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is the branch of the Catholic Church that deals with beliefs and teachings. Along with doctrine, the Congregation also watches out for heretics, lists the myriad ways to commit sin (there are a lot), and guards the purity of Catholic ceremonies and prayers, like the Rosary.

The Rosary is a set of prayers comprised of 5 cycles or…

The plan is to marinate my mind in wiseness.

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According to the Chinese zodiac, 2021 is the Year of the Ox.

Seeing as I don’t have much call for oxen in my everyday life I’ve decided to create a zodiac with an eye to my own interests. Starting with the Chinese New Year on February 12, I’m rolling out my Year of the Wise.

The game plan is to use this year to become more contemplative, more erudite, more reflective …

Honestly, there are so many great synonyms for wisdom, I don’t know where to start.

Of all the pursuits open to men, [and women] the search for wisdom…

First off, quit with the snarky put-downs.

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Our body is our best friend.

Who carries us — and our neurotic thoughts — around morning to night, week to week, month to month, year to year?

Our hands feed us, change tires, caress our beloveds, and type our thoughts into the world. Our arms carry toys, book bags, groceries, work materials, briefcases, and babies. Our legs haul us up and down stairs and carry us hundreds, if not thousands, of miles over our lifetime.

And how do we show appreciation for all the companionship, hanging-in-there, and grunt work?

With criticism and snarky comments. That’s how.

My legs are…


Turn your whines into wins.

Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

Does complaining give you a buzz?

Think about it: Does your energy level rise? Your voice get louder? Your body ooze annoyance and outrage?

Do your cheeks flush with righteous indignation as you gripe about your:
c)romantic partner
e)family member
f)anyone holding an opposing opinion

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions you might want to think about your relationship with negative energy. …

Earth Mom supports us, comforts us, and looks fabulous on Instagram, so why are we ghosting her?

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I grew up with an on-again, off-again relationship with my Earth Mom.

We met in the Irish countryside when I was young and I was immediately smitten. She was lush, green, and beguiling. Not to mention the transfixing fragrances trailing after her.

I loved how she styled herself for the different seasons. Her winter look was spare — severe even — but she made up for it with her spring chic, summer exuberance, and autumn vintage vibe. And she was a wizard with accessories: flattering flowers in every color, body-hugging mosses, seed purses, tree rings ….

Of course, she wasn’t…

It’s an ugly day in the neighborhood — but I’m still hoping you’ll be mine.

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What a kick it would have been to live next door to Mr. Rogers.

By all accounts, he was as pleasant in real life as he was on his TV show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. And, if we’d been neighbors, even though he was a lifelong Republican and I’m of a more liberal persuasion, I like to picture us occasionally hanging out at the back fence, shooting the political breeze.

I can’t imagine things turning ugly if we didn’t agree. There’d have been no name-calling or cardigan-throwing if we differed over health care or taxation or mask-wearing mandates.

I bet I…

What happens when love is tested.

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“If I got paralyzed in an accident would you still marry me?” I asked my now-husband shortly before our wedding.

“I don’t know,” he said, struggling to answer. “I never think about things like that.”

Meanwhile, I was thinking a lot about things like that. About love — and its obligations and its limits. Moonlight and roses are the easy part. Suspended in a bubble of romantic love it’s difficult to imagine anything ending the happily ever after.

Being a realist, I was suspicious.

What happens, I wondered, when the spanner hits the domestic bliss.

There is no cure for…

There’s something I like about a restless soul.

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“Where’s your husband?” my doctor asked after she checked on me.

I was in the hospital to give birth to my second child. Because of some complications, my doctor had decided to induce labor. My husband had driven me to the hospital, helped me settle into my room but had slipped away while the nurse was setting up an I.V.

“Umm… Not exactly sure where he is but if I had to guess… he’s probably running up and down the hospital stairs.”

When my husband reappeared a little while later, flushed and slightly out of breath, I knew I’d guessed…

Even if they ask, keep it short and sweet.

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Most children are sorta cute. ESPECIALLY as seen through the eyes of their parents and immediate family members.

As seen through others’ eyes?

Hmmm… Some people might go along with cute, while others might have different descriptors in mind. Like annoying, loud, and demanding.

The adjectives your children elicit are one thing. More concerning, in my opinion, is that childless friends and co-workers may see them as the subject matter of excruciatingly boring conversations.

My son is young and single. Before changing jobs last year he worked with two recently married women who are both planning to have children.


So long as you both survive.

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By mid-afternoon on the first day of our hike, I was composing a breakup speech in my head.

Not one to hold my tongue, I was itching to have it out with my boyfriend, Gordon. To vent my humiliation, my anger, and my fear.

But we were going to be stuck together in the wilderness for at least the next 5 days. On an island. Vancouver Island, to be specific, which lies off the coast of Canada’s British Columbia.

I knew we wouldn’t be encountering many, or possibly any, other people during those 5 days, so my safety — and…

Jean Shortall-Roznik

Tri-citizen: Ireland, Canada, US. Mother, physical therapist, environmentalist, contrarian. Washington Post, Globe and Mail, Charlotte Observer, NPR.

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