Because Of Our Children

Because of Our Children

by Kelly B. In light of recent events in a Florida high school, I was going to change what I had already written. I planned on something dark, biting, and acrimonious. I bristled at the thought of writing a warm and fuzzy devotional, and prayers were the furthest thing from my mind. But then, I thought of the innocent lives, the children, who were lost - and I decided to keep my devotional as is– based on my children. [...]
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Make Something

Make Something

by Michelle B. Some friends and I recently completed the January Whole30.  If you don’t know, a Whole30 is where you commit to 30 days of no grains/gluten (i.e., wheat, barley, rye, rice, and oats), no beans, no dairy, and no sugar (except whole fruits).  The key to a successful Whole30 is meal preparation / planning. Sometime during the fall, I’d gotten out of the habit of cooking dinner for our family.  [...]
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An Unexpected Snowfall

An Unexpected Snowfall

by Brandon P. Holy One, This day, this present moment, is all we really have. It’s a priceless gift – one that we have no words and not nearly enough gratitude for. Ready or not- it’s happening. Right now… and we are both happy and sad…and we have each other… this small group of misfits… but maybe we fit together in a way that we haven’t anywhere else. [...]
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Micro Stories: Connections That Lift Us Up

Micro Stories: Connections that Lift Us Up

by Mary Z. Over the past few weeks, I have found comfort in stepping back from big world catastrophes and atrocities and trying to focus more on the small, hidden joys of life. Helped by recent sermons on moments of grace, I’ve been trying to pay attention to seemingly inconsequential events--chance encounters, little discoveries, surprises and kindnesses.  I think about how often we fail to realize how important these are. They gently lift us, holding us together in so many ways. Holly’s sermon on January 21 prompted me to think about the unexpected events in my own life—not necessarily momentous ones but events bringing much needed joy and comfort. I’ve found myself more appreciative of how just how rich and mysterious daily life can be and why many of us see the hand of God reflected around us in these moments. [...]
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It’s An Art

It’s An Art

by John J. Last week I was in Orlando, Florida and decided to eat dinner around the corner from my hotel at Café Tu Tu Tango, a tapas restaurant at which I had eaten several years ago with my family.  The cool thing about this restaurant is that in addition to good food, they have the work of local artists hanging all over their walls.  There is also a studio set up right in the middle of the restaurant where artists actually work. Now I am not a huge collector of art, more just a consumer of art as I have bought a few pieces for other people or for filling just the right spot in the house.  But on Wednesday night, one painting caught my eye and it happened to be the work of an artist who was creating in the studio in that moment.  I looked at the painting, watched the artist for a minute, looked at the painting again, and returned to my seat.  Not five minutes later, I went back and looked at the painting again, had a brief conversation with the artist about it, and then bought it.  It was kind of weird how it just meant something to me immediately.  I shared a photo of the painting. [...]
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Long Time Gone…

Long Time Gone…

By Judy B. After the bustle of the holidays, it is nice to have an evening with nothing to do, except to sit in front of the fire.  There is much in the news that is gloomy and dark, but here, in the warmth of the flames, in my little microcosm of life, I have turned off the TV and WiFi connection, and there is much to be thankful for. [...]
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Be Astonished

Be Astonished

by Claire S. I don’t think I have ever actually done a new year’s resolution. I guess I have felt that I can be mindful and make changes in my life at any point during the year. But after another busy semester, these last few weeks of being home and having some time off have enabled me to take stock of myself and the past four months. As I settle and dig into my busier everyday life, I am understanding the attraction of a January 1st resolution more. We have at least a few days off to think about how we can improve ourselves and our lives. [...]
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Choosing Christmas

Choosing Christmas

by Matt R. As an adult — or at least as a recovering twenty-something — I have to be honest and admit that Christmases…

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The Greatest Gift!

The Greatest Gift!

by Nancy P. The judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift… resulted in justification.…

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Today’s Heroes

Today’s Heroes

by Sean K. Heroism is one of those traits that is held on high, a pinnacle that one might think is only reached by the likes of Achilles or Aeneas. We have our national heroes, the Founding Fathers like Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin, the other great Presidents like Lincoln and F. D. R. and some of this country’s finest athletes, artists, and social actors. When I was little sportsmen like Michael Jordan and Kerry Wood were my heroes, men who defied the boundaries of their bodies and set records that seemed impossible to many before them. Many of us probably see President Obama in this same heroic light, a man who helped lead our country out of the Recession and brought about positive change for millions of Americans. [...]
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Peace Means . . . .

Peace means . . . .

by Kelly B. I absolutely love this time of year. I love the look of a house decked out in a Clark Griswold-like fashion. I love loading the pre-sets in my car to Sirius-XM “Holly,” the Christmas station. (To which my daughter, Cadence, thought was a channel dedicated to our pastor.) But most of all, I love the weeks leading up to Christmas. There is just something magical in the waiting. I remember as a child sitting in my church watching as each candle on the Advent wreath is lit. I knew that the special pink candle meant that Christmas was very near! Although, when you are young, waiting is excruciating! [...]
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