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SUNDAY, DEC. 14, 2014

A Christian pilgrim touches a column inside the Church of the Nativity, believed by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the town of Bethlehem on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

Oh, that Jesus! 

On the this Sunday of Advent,I give you a poem, written by L. Patrick Carroll of Seattle. He shares his words each year at this time - a holy gift for this season of waiting, for light, for hope, for the kid next door. Since...

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THURSDAY, DEC. 4, 2014

Among the many family Christmas traditions: Lighting candles on an Advent wreath.  (File / The Spokesman-Review)

December Darkness

These December days feel dark with violence in the streets, angry unsettled people screaming. A starving teen of 35 pounds clings to life; a boy hidden behind a wall in his own father’s care finally reunites with his mom. If ever we needed light in...

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FRIDAY, NOV. 28, 2014

An unusual July rainbow appeared at dusk as rain showers arrived over the Spokane region on Tuesday night. (Mike Prager)

End-of-life hilarity

My mom and Mary met in seventh grade and remained best friends for decades – until Mary’s death from Leukemia. They shared secrets and opinions and their mutual outrageous humor. They even shared their funeral wishes hoping those wishes would be followed. “But our kids...

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TUESDAY, NOV. 25, 2014

Wheat churns as it is harvested by Joel Zwainz’s combine on Monday.

Thanksgiving – a day for grace

Anne Lamott writes: as a child she never said grace at her family’s table, but was drawn to her friends’ homes where people paused and recalled blessings before scarfing down the vittles. Thanksgiving is a holiday for every American, no matter their religion – or...

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FRIDAY, NOV. 21, 2014

THURSDAY, NOV. 20, 2014


Director Mike Nichols arrives at the premiere of "Closer" in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. "Closer," which opens Friday, is directed by Nichols and stars Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Mike Nichols, director, dies at 83 

Mike Nichols died suddenly Wednesday of cardiac arrest. He was 83. Nichols was an admired and award-winning director. His genius earned him Oscar, Emmy and Grammy awards. He won nine Tony awards. Stars loved him: Jack Nicholson, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Ron Silver, Anne Bancroft,...

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WEDNESDAY, NOV. 19, 2014

Paper snowflakes are each just as unique as the snowflakes falling outside.  (Maggie Bullock)

Snowflake babies

When couples long for a child and are unable to conceive, they seek various options. Liz and Kevin Krainman opted to “adopt” a snowflake baby – a frozen embryo that was implanted into Liz. The frozen embryo is considered “property” and the rights of the...

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SUNDAY, NOV. 16, 2014

Duncan Cooper, 10, will see his drawing “A Rainbow in Ireland” published in the October issue of the children’s magazine Highlights for Children. Cooper is in fifth grade at Cataldo Catholic School and the son of Noah and Terese Cooper.

Poignant grief

Some stories feel too painful to tell, yet they are extraordinary tales of human compassion and resurrection of the spirit. Chris Picco buried his wife, Ashley and their son, Lennon, on Saturday. Chris met his wife while they were both assisting firefighters after the September...

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FRIDAY, NOV. 14, 2014

Airport employees prepare aircrafts of the airliner Lufthansa at the airport during an eight-hour warning strike of Lufthansa pilots in Munich, southern Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. (Matthias Schrader / Associated Press)

Perspective

I have been away for nearly three weeks. Traveling home to my native Minnesota and then to the Caribbean with friends from high school, offered perspective. St. Augustine wrote: “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” Conversations...

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MONDAY, NOV. 10, 2014

Les Rose, left, and Jay Via, who served in Afghanistan at different times, decided to run more than 13 miles with an American flag, Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 in Troy, Ohio. "We're doing it to honor all veterans," Rose said. (Anthony Weber / Troy Daily News)

Veterans: Thank you! 

Today we honor our veterans, men and women who left their known lives to serve our country. May we honor all those soldiers who courageously walked into the unknown to serve America. No matter the act of remembrance - free drinks at a local restaurant,...

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FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 2014

Jessica Shinn, a third-year pharmacy student at WSU Spokane, puts a bandage on nursing student Addie Burkhart after giving her a flu shot during a health fair on Thursday at the Riverpoint campus in downtown Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland)

Time to get shot 

While Ebola has hit the headlines, we must pay attention to a bigger threat to our health: the flu. Each year that illness claims thousands of lives. People over age 65 and younger than 2 years are at higher risk than others. Anyone who lives...

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TUESDAY, NOV. 4, 2014

American Flag

Vote!

A previous supervisor told me her husband never votes, never has, never will. And because I wanted to remain employed, I said simply, "Oh, that is interesting." And kept my opinion quiet. He doesn't vote because he believes his vote does not count. Try telling...

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MONDAY, NOV. 3, 2014

Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. Dozens of Harvard University students are being investigated for cheating after school officials discovered evidence they may have wrongly shared answers or plagiarized on a final exam. Harvard officials on Thursday didn't release the class subject, the students' names, or specifically how many are being investigated. (Elise Amendola / Associated Press)

A child's dreams come true

Justus Uwayesu started at Harvard this fall as a freshman. He has traveled a long distance – across the globe and through a sea of sadness. As an orphaned child, he lived in a garbage dump in Rwanda. Then along came Clare Effiong, an American...

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SATURDAY, NOV. 1, 2014

A chocolate and raspberry heart cake from chef Wendy Kromer-Schell.

All Saints' Day

Art Miller, 91, hung onto life in the open sea for two days during World War II. He knew he had to get home to Norma, the love of his life. He did. They married, raised their children and traveled after his retirement. When we...

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THURSDAY, OCT. 30, 2014

Spokane River at sunset. (Craig Goodwin)

Time capsule moments

When Kelvin Peters was diagnosed with terminal cancer, his young daughters knew they would miss many special moments with him. They knew he would never dance at their weddings. Kaitlin Peters, 21, could not miss that special moment with her dad. She knew her two...

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MONDAY, OCT. 27, 2014

FILE - This June 15, 2007 file photo shows actor and comedian Robin Williams posing for a photo in Santa Monica, Calif. Williams, whose free-form comedy and adept impressions dazzled audiences for decades, died Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in an apparent suicide. Williams was 63. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Robin Williams – a Giant among us

The three children of comedian Robin Williams were on the pitcher’s mound at the World Series. Zak Williams, Robin’s son, threw out the first pitch of the game. Robin’s dear friend Billy Crystal acted as catcher. As we continue to seek answers to mental illness,...

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SATURDAY, OCT. 25, 2014

Duncan Cooper, 10, will see his drawing “A Rainbow in Ireland” published in the October issue of the children’s magazine Highlights for Children. Cooper is in fifth grade at Cataldo Catholic School and the son of Noah and Terese Cooper.

Compassionate kindness to Marysville Pilchuck 

Sometimes in the middle of horrific tragedy, like Friday’s shooting at Marysville, kindness offers hope. The Oak Harbor football team was slated to play Marysville Pilchuck Friday night in a championship game. But all school activities were cancelled. In the evening, as the Marysville football...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 24, 2014

Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain celebrates after the Royals’ Game 2 win. (Associated Press)

Ahhhhh-ctober

With the insane heat of the summer only a memory and autumn leaves cascading down, October bliss brings lovely days and the World Series. October brings relief and the grace of baseball – no chains to measure distance, just the crack of baseball bats, balls...

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TUESDAY, OCT. 21, 2014

In this Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Oscar de la Renta attends the Cinema Society premiere of "The Skin I Live In" in New York. The designer, De la Renta, a favorite of socialites and movie stars alike, has died. He was 82. (Peter Kramer / Associated Press)

The Oscar of oscars

Oscar de la Renta, fashion designer and celebrity among stars, died at his Kent, Conn. home. He was 82. The designer had battled cancer for nearly eight years, but continued to dress famous women: Sarah Jessica Parker, Amy Adams, are two of the glamourous women...

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SUNDAY, OCT. 19, 2014

Visitors take in the view during a media preview of "Discovering Columbus," by Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in New York.  The 810-square-foot living�room offers spectacular views of mid-Manhattan. A 13-foot statue of Christopher Columbus stands amid the couches, lamps and coffee table. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Columbus Day or Indigenous People's Day? 

Lots of talk last week about what to call the October 12 holiday. How did you observe, or not observe, October 12? We like to romanticize our heroes, their personal characteristics and their accomplishments. However, when we seek historical accuracy, we often make our own...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 17, 2014

In this photo taken Thursday Oct. 2, 2014, Promise Cooper, 16,  is helped filling a bottle with  chlorine solution by  Kanyean Molton Farley, a community activist who visits Promise and her two brothers, Emmanuel Junior, 11, right,  and Benson, 15, not pictured,  on a daily basis at their St. Paul Bridge home in Monrovia, Liberia. The Cooper children are now orphans, having lost their mother, Princess, in July, and their father Emmanuel in August. Their 5-month-old baby brother Success also succumbed to the virus in August. Ruth, their 13-year-old sister is being hospitalized with Ebola. The three never fell sick to the deadly disease. (Jerome Delay / Associated Press)

Ebola and compassionate care of the dying 

Volunteers continue their poignant and compassionate care of Ebola patients in West Africa. Dr. Stephen Hatch, an American volunteer with International Medical Corps, cares for Ebola-infected patients in a Liberian hospital. He is part of a four-week rotation. Hatch and nearly two dozen others trained...

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WEDNESDAY, OCT. 15, 2014

MONDAY, OCT. 13, 2014

Pope Francis, top center, celebrates a mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 to open the extraordinary Synod on the family. Pope Francis on Sunday opened a two-week meeting of bishops and cardinals from around the world aimed at making the church's teaching on family life � marriage, sex, contraception, divorce and homosexuality � relevant to today's Catholic families. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)

Gay conversation 12 

The bishops have continued their conversation on family issues; they are midway in their two-week meeting. While the doors are closed, seems some minds have opened. A document summarizing their discussions has been released. “The bishops said gays had ‘gifts and qualities’ to offer and...

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SUNDAY, OCT. 12, 2014

This November 14, 2013,  photo shows tumbleweed covering the entire roadway on County Road-V near Ordway, Colo. Parts of Colorado are being overrun with tumbleweeds because of the drought affecting much of the western U.S. Crowley County, high plains country of ranching and farming east of Pueblo, has spent $108,000 since November _ more than a third of its annual budget _ clearing roads and bridges of tumbleweed to make sure residents and emergency vehicles can move. (Hoep Hoep / Crowley County)

John Denver: At home on country roads 

Singer John Denver died on this day in 1997. He was a folk singer, song writer, humanitarian and activist –advocating for the land and against war. For many boomers, he was their voice, singing a little bit country, a little bit folk music about issues...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 10, 2014

In this photo taken Sunday Sept. 28, 2014, Emmanuel Junior Cooper sits at his St. Paul Bridge home in Monrovia, Liberia. The Cooper children are now orphans, having lost their mother Princess in July, and their father Emmanuel in August. Their 5-month-old baby brother Success also succumbed to the virus in August. In Liberia�s large, deeply religious families, there is usually an aunty somewhere willing to take in a child who has lost a parent. But Ebola, and the fear of contagion and death, is now unraveling bonds that have lasted for generations. (Jerome Delay / Associated Press)

Ebola and our responsibility

When I was a student at Gonzaga, I was privileged to spend a year in Florence. We traveled to exotic places – the Holy Land, Greece, Jordan, the USSR, and to romantic destinations, like Venice. And while we rode those click-clack trains, our brains -...

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.