Family

Challenge yourself with these stories and reflections about loving both our biological families and our sisters and brothers in Christ.

Real

--by Diane Norstad “Who are your ‘real’ parents?” That question was my first sense of being different in a negative way. My parents had told me about my adoption when I was little. We always thought of it as a good thing. As the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians...

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What’s wrong with keeping secrets?

–by Susie Gamelin A few years back, our family decided to play a game while recovering from a generous Christmas brunch. Each of us wrote on a slip of paper some­thing we thought the others didn’t know about us. The unsigned slips of paper were put into a bowl, drawn...

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Great Thanksgiving

—by Kathryn Haueisen But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:32). …but if you do not forgive others, neither will your...

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The work of repentance

—by Katrina Browne When I was in my late 20s, my grandmother revealed something to me about my ancestors. They were slave traders. The DeWolfs from Rhode Island sent ships to Africa. They sold people at auction. They did this throughout the Caribbean and the American...

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Sainthood of sinners

—by Elizabeth Hunter We church people are flawed, stumbling, redeemed saints. But can we handle that fact? What do we do when our church has deeply hurt people or creation? Apologize? Admit that we’re missing something? In this final issue on the topic of repentance,...

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A change of heart

—by Ryan LaHurd Every Tuesday and Thursday my wife and I care for our 2.5 year-old grandson. On those days you might find me racing friction cars down cardboard ramps, visiting the neighborhood fire station to touch a ladder truck or watching “L” trains stop at the...

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Changed hearts

—by Judith Roberts The day we purchased our house, we loaded boxes, furniture, toys and clothes onto my uncle’s truck. I was so excited. Our caravan of cars and trucks drove five miles north of the city of Hartford to our new home. Once we arrived, I played outside...

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Please hear me. I’m sorry. I love you.

–by Abby Acceturra Recently I had a conversation with my partner that turned into an argument, and not the kind of argument that’s easily solved. He said something off-hand that I took too seriously; I responded to it in a way that triggered a landmine of his own...

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It’s time to go deep

–by Elizabeth Hunter The first day of summer—the longest day of the year—felt like the longest day of my life. Years of stress had taken a toll in the form of lost sleep, lost weight and lost relationships. Yet I was gaining much-needed perspective. You might call it...

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Ancestral tables

–by Venice R. Williams In some ways, I had been preparing for these days most of my adult life. I just did not fully understand it until my 98-year-old grandmother, Ora, arrived at our home for a two-week visit. My excitement about her stay spilled over into...

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Still listening

–by Sara Zarr When I was a child, I prayed like a child. I chattered to God while walking to and from school, in the hours alone as a latchkey kid and when going to sleep at night. Often these prayers sprang from joy, or at least the kind of good mood one seems to...

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My father’s pajamas

—by Karen G. Bockelman My favorite photo of my father was taken more than 20 years ago. There he is, staring straight at the camera, his nearly bald head rising above a fringe of faintly visible hair. His round, German face beams. His eyes sparkle behind gold-rimmed...

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God knows what we need

—by Elizabeth Hunter The questions and demands for quantification from my youngest son can be so numerous they overlap and tangle. His persistence can tire me out, yet I appre­ciate it. I’m grateful for opportunities to communi­cate everything from the fact that...

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Alleluia! Hallelujah!

by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni— In the last few weeks of my grand­mother’s life, while she was still alert enough to talk with us, she started recalling old memories: her childhood in New Jersey, seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and a certain snowy night...

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Sojourner

by Sojourner White— Growing up with the name "Sojourner" is a lifelong ice-breaker. People say: “What a beautiful name! What does it mean?” Or “I love your name. Where have I heard it before?” I’ve come to embrace their questions. I’ll tell you what I tell them. My...

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Enough

by Susan K. Olson— I spend a lot of time watching my daughter skate. In summer and winter alike, I shiver in the bleachers while she glides over the ice, silver blades flashing. She twirls, she spirals and she jumps. I tend to close my eyes when she jumps. She’s been...

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When wolves come to dinner

by Liv Larson Andrews— A wolf killed my uncle’s favorite llama. She was old and weak, with dark brown hair and kind eyes that would follow his truck up the dirt driveway. For many years my uncle has kept eight or nine llamas on his plot of Montana hill­side. One...

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An “Oh yeah” Advent

by Sarah Carson— Recently I needed to clean out my medicine cabinet. On one shelf were prescriptions from ailments past—pain medications, antibiotics, several jars of cranberry cap­sules (there must have been some sale at the pharmacy when I needed those!). On another...

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