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Animals & Advent

Animals & Advent

by Elizabeth Hunter A CHILDHOOD NEIGHBOR, EVA, was known for her beautiful flower garden and care for unwanted, stray and hurt dogs—usually six or seven at a time. My siblings and I spent a lot of time at Eva’s, helping her with the garden and the dogs. She showed us...

Advent devotional: Good things come in small packages

Advent devotional: Good things come in small packages

by Becca Ehrlich We Americans often have way more stuff than we actually need. The average American home has 300,000 things in it. As a country, we are constantly adding to our possessions, and building bigger and bigger homes to fit everything. No matter how much we...

My faith and my plate

My faith and my plate

What if we felt a sense of responsibility, rather than dominion? by Maggie Olson EVERY BELIEVER HAS A DIFFERENT WAY of living out their faith. Our diverse spiritual practices are as rich and beautiful as humanity itself. Some people volunteer at their city’s food...

The assurance of things hoped for

The assurance of things hoped for

by Venice Williams I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS to “walk by faith.” Faith has carried me through a number of challenging situations on my life journey. However, one beautiful afternoon last June, it wasn’t just about walking “by” faith. That afternoon was a moment of walking...

The way of the rescue dog

The way of the rescue dog

It’s the best model I’ve seen of faith. by Abigail Accettura I BEGAN VOLUNTEERING for One Tail at a Time, a Chicago-based animal shelter, only partly out of a desire to help animals in need. The much larger reason? I was desperate. Desperate for something to do to...

Creating community

Creating community

Refugees from Ukraine find comfort, community in Romania By Emily Sollie “SAVA REMEMBERS,” SAYS KATERYNA, a mother of three. She fled her hometown of Kharkiv with her husband and children in the first days of the war. “We were hoping maybe he wouldn’t. But he told me...

Celebrating the season

Celebrating the season

by Linda Post Bushkofsky I GREW UP IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, in the mountains where the fall colors are outstanding. They do not always receive the same publicity that New England trees do, but they are beautiful, nonetheless. When I moved to the Upper Midwest, I...

Strange guests

Strange guests

God’s hospitality extends to creepy-crawlies too. by Christa Von Zychlin O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. … creeping things innumerable… living things both small and great. …and Leviathan that...

Oak sentinels

Oak sentinels

by Catherine Malotky GOD OF GRACE AND BEAUTY, for more than two decades I have begun my day with a walk in the same wooded park near my home. Situated on glacial moraine, the park has a lake at its center that was once a giant block of ice as tall as the highest...

Ground rules

Ground rules

by Elizabeth Hunter I’M CURIOUS: HOW MANY of your early memories involve nature? My earliest memory, from when I was a toddler, is of being in a boat on a lake. Another early memory involves a friend the same age as me, who waved each day, whispered hello and quite...

Sparrows and shepherds

Sparrows and shepherds

One taught me to be the other. by Helen Hollingsworth “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many...

Money memories

Money memories

by Lisa A. Smith WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF MONEY? My earliest memory of money was trying to earn it. My brother and I would collect empty aluminum cans from parks or along roadsides and take them to the redemption center. After lining up sticky, smelly cans in...

Pray for me. Pray for the earth.

Pray for me. Pray for the earth.

by Venice Williams I’LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT that I can be a bit obsessive when it comes to this. I am not in denial. I know I get on some folks’ nerves. Okay, maybe a lot of folks! I really just cannot reel myself back in. Maybe everyone reading this should just...

Sarah’s table

Sarah’s table

by Dorothy Probst I MET SARAH, MY THEOLOGY PROFESSOR’S WIFE, in a YMCA water aerobics class. Upon learning that I was her husband’s student at the seminary, Sarah befriended me. I was often invited to their home for lively barbeque parties. My family had all passed...

Building a new quilt

Building a new quilt

by Catherine Malotky GRACIOUS GOD, YOU CREATED US. We are all figments of your imagination, come to life. Sometimes we reflect well on you. Sometimes not so much. But we are your creation, and we stand humbly in your presence, grateful for the gift of life and your...

Time for pruning

Time for pruning

Jesus talked about this. by Cara Strickland I’M NOT MUCH OF A GARDENER. In my time, I’ve tended a pathetically small group of corn stalks and a modest group of green bean plants. I’ve killed every basil plant I’ve ever bought at the grocery store and every potted...

Piecing resilience

Piecing resilience

LWR quilts wrap the world in God’s love. by Anne Basye IS THERE ANY MORE POWERFUL symbol for resilience than a quilt? Patched together from scraps of worn clothing and linen, quilts blend beauty with thrift. Stitched with love by their creators, they strengthen their...