Life

Nurture your spirit with these stories and reflections that explore the human experience.

There are gifts in the waiting and not knowing

by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick— In Dr. Suess' Oh, The Places You’ll Go! an explorer journeys through the twists and turns of life. This little book is an engaging read, often given as a graduation gift. It’s known for its inspirational message—until the page where...

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Waiting in joyful hope

by Audrey Novak Riley— There's an ancient lilttle prayer that some Christians insert into the Lord’s Prayer right before the doxology (which explains that awkward pause whenever an ecumenical group recites the Lord’s Prayer together). There are many variations and...

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The aroma of faith

by Ann Milliken Pederson— For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over animals; for all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 3:19). But thanks be to God, who in Christ...

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Soft, snuggly, fearless joy

by Sarah Carson— I am the proud parent of two rescue dogs. I adopted Amos, a hound mix, when he was 6 months old. He’d been abandoned in the former home of his original family, and despite all of the snuggles and walks and yummy treats he’s had in the past 13 years,...

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Loss takes many forms. Grieve them all.

by Sonia C. Solomonson— Several years ago I facilitated a five-session class on grief and loss in my congregation. The turnout was lower than the pastors had hoped. Why? Several members told the pastors that they didn’t want to talk about that depressing subject....

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Good poetry and good music take us where we need to go

by Liv Larson Andrews-- Grief knows us before we know grief. Our bodies usually know it first. Deep in our bodies, we long for a community to share—and sing—our grief with us. On Ash Wednesday in 2018, my younger son was ill. For about 24 hours, he hadn’t been able to...

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Sorrow comes when we least expect it

by Elizabeth Hunter— Like a speed trap for an unwary traveler, sorrow catches me when I least expect it: while driving down a familiar road, singing a favorite hymn in church or sharing a simple childhood memory with my kids. It can lurk just around the bend, in the...

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Caring for our emotional, spiritual and physical health

by Linda Post Bushkofsky— I'll be the first to admit I’ve not always made self-care a priority, so the topic of stewardship of emotions (and all that we are) in this issue really intrigues me. When I was in my 20s and 30s, self-care seemed unnecessary. I thought I...

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What would Jesus feel?

by Julie A. Kanarr— Think back to when you were a child: What were you taught about expressing your feelings? Were all your emotions respected? Or were you encouraged to keep certain feelings—especially negative ones—to yourself? Early in life, we begin to intuit the...

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Sew inspiring: Making a difference with the fabric arts

by Cindy Novak-- For generations Lutheran women have used their skills as quilters, knitters and fabric artists to serve others. Perhaps most famously, they have sewn quilts for Lutheran World Relief, providing warmth and comfort to those facing poverty, conflict and...

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The language of our hearts

by Sarah Carson— My friend, Katie, revels in the change of seasons—especially summer into fall. Years ago when we worked together in Chicago, we often walked outside for lunch, and she’d delight in the changing leaves. “Katie,” I’d complain, “Fall means summer is...

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What are the stories that shape your life?

by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick The stories of our lives are both familiar and hidden. There are family stories that have been told so often that they become legends: stories of how people met, births, Christmases and ordinary days where something unusual happened. In my...

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Listen! God is calling.

by M.E. Stortz— I was elated to find time in a busy day. A canceled meeting? I could make a grocery store run. If I walked quickly, I could get there and back in time for my next appointment. I hit the streets. A few blocks into my walk, someone called my name. I...

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Who would want a wreath of cotton?

by Venice R. Williams— All I was interested in were a few, small chalkboards for my farmers market displays. I had no idea that a brief shopping outing would evolve into a journey of healing when I entered the huge craft and home décor store. I did not grab a shopping...

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