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Like the magi, wise people still search for God today

Roots of Faith

An early title for the movie that became“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was “Watch the Skies.” In fact, the phrase was used in the film’s ad campaign. In ancient times, Persian astrologers known as magi (they were not kings) also searched the night skies. They believed the appearance of a new star signaled the birth of a future king. […]

Slow down, reduce stress amid nature’s light

On the Trail

The flashy spectacle of outdoor Christmas displays is pretty hard to beat. Each year the manufacturers of holiday decor seem to hit on one new innovation or another. This year I must admit to being quite enchanted by plump, rough-textured LED lights that perform a stunning rainbow-chameleon show, each bulb changing from violet to gold to scarlet to chartreuse to […]

Help seniors with post-holiday letdown

Other Side of 50

The 55-plus community my mother lives in has a weekly get-together at its clubhouse. Everyone who chooses to come brings a food item to share and visiting with one another includes the goings-on in their lives—who welcomed grandchildren, who’s expecting visitors and talk of current events. Showing up at last week’s gathering were only nine people, when most of the […]

Won’t you love your neighbor?

Roots of Faith

Can a low-cost, low-key children’s TV program of the last century show how we can live in harmony? In the 1950s, Fred Rogers entered seminary, no doubt assuming that he, like most graduates, would spend his ministry in a church pulpit. But he was also watching the kids’ programming of the day. After viewing raucous shows of crazy clowns and […]

The joy of Christmas prevails over hardships

Roots of Faith

In Jerry Herman’s musical “Mame,” the title character sings to her family and household staff, “Put up the tree before my spirit falls again . . . We need a little Christmas now.” Mame Dennis has just lost her wealth in the stock market crash, yet she strives to stay happy even in the face of poverty. The calamities of […]

Survival of the fittest put to the test

On the Trail

For wildlife in the Las Virgenes and Conejo valleys, the onslaught of flames early last month brought many hardships. The typically timid mule deer of the Santa Monica Mountains— often the prey of solitary cougars and sometimes coyote packs—appears now to be more vulnerable than ever. There is little place to hide in a landscape stripped of massive oaks and […]

Many local seniors are learning to cope in the aftermath of fires

Other Side of 50

On the heels of the Borderline shooting, Allison, a Senior Concerns case manager, was knocking on doors of the occupants of the senior low-income housing complex where she works. She was concerned the residents were isolated in their apartments watching the 24/7 coverage of the massacre, feeling shocked and frightened. Allison encouraged them to come out of their apartments and […]

Household tries not to fear Christmas

Family Man

They do it every year: My family asks for my Christmas list, and then they don’t get anything from it. Are the things I want not good enough? Each holiday season, I find myself trying to arm my family with exciting gift ideas for me. I suggest things I’d love and stuff I need for the house that I otherwise […]

The tale of the Seminole sifters

On the Trail

I am standing in the middle of Navaho Drive in the devastated half of Seminole Springs Mobile Home Park in the Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura. I reel in circles, opening then shutting my eyes, then opening them again. The scene remains the same. It’s as if someone erased all I remember of this street, a road I walked along […]

Flashbacks of happier holidays

Hot Flashes

About 42 years ago, I became a cheerleader. No, not the kind with pom-poms and long, lithe legs. For when it comes to cartwheels, you’d better call 911 first. No, I wasn’t that kind of cheerleader, nor did I realize at the time what I had become. Because marriage and a young stepdaughter vaulted me into a new role that […]


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