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Entries in Mara Hodler (42)

The Cheerful Giver

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

It was a typical morning in our home. We were all rushing to get ready for the day—kids getting ready for school, breakfast to be made, spaces to be tidied, and me trying to get dinner in the crockpot, makeup on, yada, yada, yada. My youngest was trying to get herself a glass of milk and not quite mastering it.

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Sometimes It’s Good to Say “No”

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

As a teenager you will make decisions that could alter your life. There are always decisions to make in regard to friendships, relationships, school, and hobbies that can affect your future either positively or negatively. But there are other decisions that I’m thinking about that have to do with drugs, drinking, and

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When Anger Strikes

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

You’ve probably heard a few of these expressions:

I’m so angry I could spit nails!
He’s so angry, he’s breathing fire!
She’s so angry, she could … !
I’ve had it up to here with … !

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Don’t Worry; Be Happy

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

There are some things I’m good at: I can clean, organize, delegate, and plan like a boss. I can cook well enough to get paid to do it, and I can write pretty well. But I have one skill that I haven’t yet figured out how to market, and when I do, I’m fairly certain it will make me rich. I can worry with such skill and

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"Jesus Wept"

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I was tucking my girls into bed at the end of a long and happy weekend. My youngest started crying and said, “Mommy, I miss Seren so much.” Her two older sisters looked at her, tears welling up in their eyes. “We miss Seren, too.” My own eyes filled with tears. I missed Seren, too. Seren is our baby. She

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The Thing about Apologies

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Those three words, I am sorry, and the way that they’re said, can mend or end friendships. We all live and interact with people every day. The relationships we share with our parents, teachers, friends, siblings, coworkers, boyfriend or girlfriend, and classmates are vital to the happiness and satisfaction we

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“It’s Given to Me to Suffer for Christ”

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I am a creature of comfort. I don’t want luxury, but I do love comfort. I like—no, strike that—LOVE creature comforts, such as warm cups of tea (with cookies, yes!!), soft blankets, cuddling with my kids, a plate of pasta, an evening laughing with friends, the joy of a shirt that fits just right, kisses from my

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Staying Free from Addiction

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I’ve been thinking a lot about addiction lately. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s been triggered by some of the stories that I’ve recently heard about various addictions, or the TV shows I’ve seen, or even by some habits I’ve formed in my own life that have caused me to question whether or not I’m in control and

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Recognizing Addiction

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Maybe you have found yourself in the scary trap of addiction. Addiction is when you lose control of the ability to say “no” to something or walk away from it. If you realize that you may be addicted to something, know that you are not alone.

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Honor Your Parents

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Here’s an interesting verse: Honor thy father and mother.1

I remember well when it first dawned on me that my parents were not perfect. I was nine years old. This wasn’t a realization that my parents sometimes made a bad call, like when they couldn’t figure out whether it was me or one of my sisters who

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Another Layer of Easter

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Easter has come and gone, but I had a realization the night before Easter that I wanted to tell you about. I was going to bed when a line popped into my head, “He did not leave my soul in hell.” It sounded like a familiar Bible passage, but I wasn’t sure. Neither was I sure if the writer was referring to Jesus.

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How Can I Make a Difference?

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

There is a message that’s been on my mind for some time. It’s been composing itself in my head as I have waited to find the time to put it into words. For the past few weeks, each time I log onto my Facebook page, which is also, ashamedly, my news source, I have seen things that greatly troubled me.

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You Are Worth More

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

This is not something I talk about often. I touch on it with my kids, beginning to paint the picture, but they’re still pretty young. Talking about it with teens, like you, I haven’t done in a long time. But, if I could talk to you about one thing, light one path on your journey, it would probably be this.

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The Seasons of Life

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”1

This is a big life lesson. There is a time for everything. There are seasons. This is really good news … and not such great

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The Rock for Your Life

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I remember the day very well. I was nine years old and something happened with my parents. They made a decision I didn’t agree with, and for the first time in my life the thought that my parents may not always be right actually crossed my mind. It was just one of the many steps that a girl takes on the journey

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Cause to Thank

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Have you ever heard of a turducken? It’s a southern delicacy of sorts. You take an extra-large turkey and debone it, leaving only the leg and wing bones. The deboned turkey is laid out and a layer of stuffing is laid over it. Next you completely debone a duck, lay it over the stuffing, and then spread a layer of stuffing

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Sometimes You Don't Need a Miracle

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I was not born a citizen of the United States of America. Earning the right to be here was a process. I had to fill out piles of forms, spend hours on the phone with officials, pay a hefty sum, get fingerprinted, and have an interview to determine if I indeed met the requirements to earn residency. And, yay, I did! I met the

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The Road You’re On Trumps Intention

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

About 13 years ago, my husband, Sam, and I had to make a trip from Calgary, Alberta, to the not-so-beckoning town of Winnipeg, Manitoba. We loaded up our old truck for the move and headed off. We had planned for this move pretty well. Everything was neatly packed and sorted. We had mapped our

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Surprise!

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I’m thinking about those moments when life is moving along smoothly, it looks like you have a good view of where things are headed, you’re making progress … and then all of a sudden, surprise! A total about-face happens. Something that forces you to change and pushes you in a different direction. A complete

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The Wounds of a Friend

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

When I was 11, I spent an extended time away from my family at a youth camp. It was a great summer with lots of activities, time with friends, swimming, sports, and Bible classes. I shared a cabin with three other girls, and since we were going to be there for a while, I wanted to “decorate” the place a bit.

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The Puppies

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

It’s 3:00 AM, and I am outside under a clear starry sky bundled up and carrying a flashlight and two plastic bags. Tagging at my heels are two eight-week-old German shepherd puppies that need to go to the “bathroom”—at 3 in the morning!

I was roused from a peaceful sleep at the sound of their

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The “Being” Part

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Do you ever wonder if you are doing what God wants you to do? As in, what’s that special purpose you were created for? What is it that you are meant to do that will give your life meaning? I’ve wondered those things, and I still do sometimes. These are some of life’s big questions that we don’t always

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Whack the Gopher

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

If you have ever been to a county fair, Chuck E. Cheese, or a game arcade, you might have seen (or even played) a game called “Whack the Gopher.” You, the player, get a large sledgehammer and your job is to whack the gophers as they pop up from the “ground.” No sooner have you bashed down

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Knights and Mirrors

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

One of the movies I watched the most often when growing up was Man of La Mancha.1 It seemed that every couple of months, some parent, youth group leader, or teacher decided it was time for a rerun. I’m not a huge fan of musicals, but I do have a soft spot for this film.

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It’s My Fight

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

The movie Shenandoah is set during the American Civil War. It’s a moving story of a Southern family caught up in the conflict of the day. The patriarch of the family, Charlie Anderson, continually shuts down the urges of his sons who want to join the war. Charlie wants to remain neutral and uninvolved until

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Camp Abundance Vs. Camp Scarcity

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

A friend of mine told me that when she was young, even though her family was close and they loved one another very much, fairness was always an issue. She said that when her mom brought home a pie or ice cream for dessert, she and her brother fought over who got the bigger piece. The quibbling over

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Staying Power

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I use workout videos a lot. (Okay, it’s more truthful to say that if I work out, I use a workout video.) I am especially fond of the workouts that have a countdown bar on the side, so I know exactly how many seconds of the exercise I have left and how long I have left in the workout overall. There’s just something

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Gauges and Indicators

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Last summer I killed our van. Yup. No one saw it coming. I was driving along at the peak of summer—and also at the peak of rush hour—completely lost. In the middle of crawling traffic, my air conditioner stopped working. I thought it was just bad luck that I was stuck in traffic and my car had no AC, so I did what I

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Watch Your Windshield

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

If you’ve ever lived in a city with a considerable lower-class population, you probably have experienced something like this when stopping at a traffic light. A swarm of earnest window washers emerge and try to “clean” your car. They usually have a dirty, damp rag and will use it to smear all the dead bugs and

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Why Forgive?

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I once read a definition of forgiveness that said: forgiveness; to make it as if the wrong had never happened. That sounds about like God’s definition of forgiveness. Picture a field of pure white snow, and smack dab in the middle of that field, a pool of blood. Gruesome, I know. It’s also very noticeable. The red against the

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The Gift of Perspective

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Have you ever gone rock climbing? Okay, before you picture me as some cool, savvy rock climber, let me define a little more clearly what I mean. You know those rock-climbing walls that have little nooks and grasps? Sometimes they’re high enough that you need a harness and belay device to help you get up

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That Broken Place

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Have you ever walked along the beach and found a piece of smooth glass? When it’s smooth and polished, an ordinary piece of glass seems precious, like something to be showcased in a beautiful wind chime, necklace charm, or the like. The ocean does the same thing to wood. A smoothed and polished

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Denying Ourselves

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

There’s an old story about a Roman soldier named Caius. He was one of the footmen in the ever-advancing Roman army. Caius had a sickness that he knew was terminal. He knew that there was no medicine or doctor, at least not one he could ever afford, that could reverse the course of his illness. Despite his

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The Parable of the Talents

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I was recently talking with a friend of mine who has a 12-year-old daughter, Jenni. What makes Jenni unusual is that she is enrolled in a high-commitment gymnastics program. She practices 16 hours a week, which means that four times a week, she gets picked up from school at 3:30 PM, heads to

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Finding Christmas

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Just about everyone is excited to receive a gift. Whether you’re handed a carefully wrapped package tied with a ribbon, or something that wasn’t fussed over at all, there is just something wonderful about knowing that you were thought of. Someone cared enough to think about what you would like, shopped for it

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Something Wonderful

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Every year I look forward to Christmas. I love how pine boughs and red ribbon transform the drab corners of a home into a cozy wonderland. Christmas music carries me to happy memories of Christmases past and fills me with anticipation for the season. Each year, as I decorate and put up our tree, I am amazed at all

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The Value of Showing Up

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. Friends are really special. They are different from family in that you get to choose your friends. On your Facebook account, you can choose to accept a friend request or decline it, and it’s somewhat the same way in real life. The fact that friendship is a choice is one

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Love Never Fails to Love

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

Most of us are familiar with the phrase from 1 Corinthians 13:8: “Love never fails.”1 It’s illustrated in children’s devotionals. It’s woven into songs, stories, and poems. I can’t remember a time when this scripture wasn’t familiar to me.

In my younger years, I took it to mean that love was always

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Calling Fear Out

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I recently read an acronym for fear that I thought was well expressed and could be applied to the kind of fears we all face at times about things that we worry about, that haven’t actually happened:

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His Desire, His Plan, Our Happiness

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Maria

Authored by Mara Hodler

There are numerous verses in the Bible that use the analogy of traveling along a path in life.

The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.1

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.2

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The Candy Bar Story

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MariaD

Authored by Mara Hodler

I was 18 years old and embarking on my first solo intercontinental journey from Italy, my home of several years, to Miami, Florida. Like any good Italian (okay, I’m not really Italian, but pretty close), I had shopped for the perfect outfit for the trip—a herringbone sheath dress paired with a complementing

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Prince Jonathan’s Integrity

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Maria

Authored by Mara Hodler (a guest contribution)

One of the Bible characters that I admire the most is Prince Jonathan. I think he’s an amazing example of honor and integrity. Think about it: He had been destined to be the next king of Israel, but David essentially took his birthright when he was anointed by Samuel the prophet as the next king of Israel.

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