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It’s something you live: An interview with Marilyn Nelson

Since the release of her first book in 1978, Marilyn Nelson has given voice to history. A three-time finalist for the National Book Award, she is an accomplished poet and children’s author, a professor emeritus of English at the University of Connecticut and a former...

The joy that is found in God’s presence does not fade away

by Angela T. Khabeb— According to Merriam-Webster, joy is “the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune.” Happiness, the dictionary attests, means “to be favored by luck or fortune." At first glance, it might appear that happiness and joy are synonymous,...

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,...

How we grieve varies from person to person. There is no right way.

by Bev Stratton— I remember reading Grandma’s letters when I was a child. I wondered how she could go to so many funerals. Now my mother is the one who attends many funerals, and soon it will be me. ORDINARY DEATH Death and grieving are ordinary parts of life. If we...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

When you’re paying attention, it can be hard not to get angry

By Cara Strickland— For so much of my life I worried about being angry. There’s a verse in Ephesians—perhaps you know it—that reads: “Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26). First as a child, then as a young adult, I...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Esther is an unlikely hero, but one we need

by Debbie Blue— While I love the VeggieTales version of the book of Esther, this biblical woman’s story is more R-rated comedy than child-appropriate. If you’re looking for a woman role model to include in the children’s Sunday school curriculum, Esther may not be the...

Can our relationships with food feed our souls?

by Anne E. Basye--My friend Georgia is a poet. Her poems are all about food: dizzying incantations to butternut squash, Chanterelle mushrooms, ripe tomatoes and the alchemy of transforming them into something delectable.A chef, baker and school food...

How best do we stand up for what we believe?

When I was 19 I took a weekend field trip with my Christian Faith and Ethics class to visit Chicago.We toured the city to meet people doing God’s work across a multicultural landscape.We met a pastor who ministered among young gang members in a...