Roxane B. Salonen
FARGO — In the six and a half years since Eco Chic Boutique opened here, much has changed. While the store's gradual shift from a baby-mom home store to a home décor, furniture and paint boutique has been noticeable, however, the Holy Spirit whispers woven into this transformational tale have been perhaps less obvious. "There were definitely a few spots along our journey where the Lord placed people and products and things in our path," says owner Maria Bosak.
Back in December, I interviewed local poet Timothy Murphy and some of his literary comrades about his poetry book, "Devotions," for our bi-weekly "Faith Conversations" feature. Normally, that's where the story would have ended. It wasn't my place to interject, but rather, to let the story unfold through the voices of others. But occasionally the objective and subjective collide — when recorded testimonies linger, infusing with my own searching soul.
Recently, we witnessed three huge events at our nation's capital. I watched each from afar, but with great interest, looking for the spiritual takeaways. I was encouraged by the elements of faith I observed in at least two of the events. At the presidential inauguration, pastoral prayers and oaths made firm with hands on Bibles reminded that even a civic leadership cannot exist without God's hand. And at the March for Life, a wide wave of religious symbols and sentiments brought hope.
FARGO — The newly-baptized men at River of Life Church would prefer to think of themselves not as homeless but "misplaced." Though the former term relates to how they ended up at the New Life Center, where the church meets, it no longer describes their soul. Thanks to Reverend Nenkawah Gbeintor, they now have a secure anchor in the Lord. "The devil wants to isolate you and burn your bridges so no one can cross over to you," Gbeintor says, adding that in baptism, the soul becomes unchained.
Donald Trump is now the 45th president of the United States, and Inauguration Day hangovers have kicked in full force. We're either happily hopeful, or terrifically terrified. Either way, gatherings to voice what kind of nation we're to be in coming years have just begun, and opinions differ widely. We have, for example, today's Women's March on Washington, a massive, female-led protest to repudiate our new president. On Friday, another monumental event will return to D.C.; the annual March for Life opposing the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
FARGO — Initially, Lisa Hanson tried to avert her eyes, head and heart when it came to human trafficking. She didn't want to face that sex-trafficking happens right under our noses. Or that 80 percent of 'johns,' or buyers, are married with children or the fact that the interstate-surrounded Fargo-Moorhead area offers prime access for this lucrative, back-alley business.
In the movie "Hacksaw Ridge," a foxhole scene shows two men who've been at odds with one another discovering their common humanity during a pause in the battle. While not easy on the eyes, the film is good on the heart, and my viewing of it, just after the presidential election, couldn't have come at a better time. The end of 2016 tried our country in ways some of us have not quite experienced before. Emotions that had been roiling beneath the surface burst forth, threatening our ability to see one another from the inside-out.
"I love you, Roxane." The words reach deeply into my heart this quiet evening as my husband and I glance out the window from my mother's sixth-floor apartment unit in Bismarck. We're confronting the reality that we are snowed in for a few days at Christmas time — a fate that feels more like a blessing than a curse this moment. After all, we're together — literally, and beyond that, too. We have made it through 25 years of marriage, and right now, that feels like something.
MOORHEAD — In Caleb Boyer's first published book, "Island Games: Mystery of the Four Quadrants," best friends Matthew and Ryan find themselves trapped on a remote island with limited memory and resources. Overcoming obstacles becomes possible through working together as well as adding a heaping of kid-appropriate humor. Caleb, now 12 and a seventh-grader at Park Christian School in Moorhead, knows a bit about overcoming obstacles.
A couple years ago, I joined several busloads of high school students on a trip to the annual March of Life rally at our nation's capital. We journeyed hundreds of miles in cramped quarters, rested minimally, took part in a monumental walk with throngs of others along Constitution Avenue and enjoyed a fair amount of sightseeing. Our trip was nearing its close when our bus stopped for one final point of interest at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.