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From the category archives: Columns

Lasha Morningstar

Heroes aplenty step forward in wake of McMurray blaze

Lasha Morningstar
May 30, 2016

The word "hero" is rarely used in everyday jargon. But with the dramatic events surrounding the Fort McMurray fire, the word "hero" comes easily to one's lips. Open the dictionary, and you find hero means someone who "does great and brave things." I think, however, a hero is someone who steps outside of their comfort zone to do good, to right a wrong. The element of bravery is implied.

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Gardening is my secret for turning winter into spring

Lasha Morningstar
May 16, 2016

Springtime and the living is busy. Of course, the usual dusty duties demand to be dealt with. The secret to keeping this season of rebirth joyful is to turn winter-weary eyes to the garden. That place of growth can be anything from the front flower and vegetable beds to a plot of land borrowed from a friend or a neighbour's flower pot on the window sill. Flowers and herbs are beautiful. They fragrantly nourish the soul with their beauty and, in the case of herbs and some flowers, their taste.

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Assisted suicide rejects God's gift of Life

Lasha Morningstar
May 2, 2016

When my health is in question I go to a doctor. Logical, right? Granted, I do put the appointment off until I have to go. But recently I started to try to be mindful of the gift of health, take care of my being so the medical visits have become once-a-year checkups. As well, every time I go to the grocery store, I buy a basket of berries. My Ontario childhood imbued love of these delicious sun-kissed morsels into my very being. Just writing those words makes me salivate.

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Gift-giving opens one up to new vistas

Lasha Morningstar
April 18, 2016

Gift is a glorious word. It can mean many things, be they big, be they small, be they incidental or even life-changing. A gift can be a present you give to others or something you give to yourself. At its most pristine, a gift is given from the heart with no strings attached, no expectations other than that one sees a need, and if they can fulfil it, they do.

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Retreat is a way to defend one's spirit

Lasha Morningstar
April 4, 2016

Retreat is a powerful word. Certainly it bears the connotation of failure - of backing away from the enemy, of losing the battle. But there is another meaning to this word. Catholics turn it into a time of restorative power. To go on retreat means to withdraw from the everyday world to a place of seclusion, connect not only with your own inner voice but to also listen for God's whispers. Businesses use time-away retreats for their employees as a corporate tool focusing on team building.

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Easter more than a reason to make merry

Lasha Morningstar
March 21, 2016

The art history prof clicked the remote and a new slide flooded the screen. As always, my heart gasped, but not as much as it did the first time I saw the Pietà. The professor related how a friend had told her that when she saw Michelangelo's poignant Carrara marble statue of Mary cradling her son Jesus' broken body in St. Peter's Basilica, she burst into tears. I so understand that.

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Stand up for your physician's conscience

Lasha Morningstar
March 7, 2016

We depend on them. We usually only turn to them in times of trouble. Too often, we don't say "Thank you." These are the men and women who serve as physicians. To become a doctor takes time, study, a sound working ethical philosophy, compassion and hard, slogging work. Canada is blessed with medicare (thank you Tommy Douglas). Certainly there are glitches. Mistakes are made. But the foundation is there.

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Mother Earth offers a garden to be cultivated

Lasha Morningstar
February 22, 2016

Oh, oh. My eyes could hardly believe it. This year's seeds are here. To me, like so many others, it is like showing a hungry bear a beehive laden with honey. So much promise. Images of heavy heirloom tomatoes, green acorn squash, pollen-laden buzzing bees spring to mind. There is also the eminently practical side too. The tumbling loonie, roller coaster stock market, rampaging storms and drought from climate change are sending fresh produce's prices sky high.

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Starvation of Syrians demands that the world swing into action

Lasha Morningstar
January 25, 2016

Journalists, seasoned reporters, are horrified by what they are seeing in Madaya, Syria. Children are so decimated by malnutrition they are walking skeletons. Doctors Without Borders says 23 patients have died of starvation at its Madaya health centre since December. Television reports show valiant physicians, weary and hungry themselves, pleading with the powers-that-be for food, water, medical supplies, blankets and other humanitarian needs.

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Two chances every year to take responsibility for your life

Lasha Morningstar
January 11, 2016

We have two New Years. The first of course is the New Year celebration on Jan. 1. The second is the day after our birthday. These are the days when we traditionally make resolutions - vows almost always are targeted at changing some habit or pastime that twigs our conscience. About four or five weeks later, our resolve melts like a dripping spring icicle and we break that resolution. So we add guilt to our shame. Stomp on the brakes. Why do we set ourselves up to fail?

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