I Never Wanted Church

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Guest Post by Sarah Stewart HollandIn 2009, I convinced my husband to leave our fancy six-figure lives in Washington, DC, and move back to my hometown of Paducah, KY. Well, convinced is a strong word. I got pregnant and then told him me and the baby were moving to Paducah and he was welcome to join us.A decade before I had loaded up my cherry red Oldsmobile Cutlass and headed away for college convinced I was leaving the town of my birth forever. My dreams were too big to be contained … [Read more...]

The Miracle Purse

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I've said it before, I will say it again: I love church ladies.When I was a kid, a church grandma named Mrs. Little used to sit on the left-hand side (the choir side) of the sanctuary, about 4 rows back. Every Sunday of the world she brought--I kid you not--a purse full of candy. Yes you heard that right. A Purse. Full. of Candy. Needless to say, she was popular amongst the young crowd. She would sit down and unzip that purse, and it was all Jesus 'let the children come to me' up in there. … [Read more...]

The New Normal

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Guest Post by Cristen Wathen"The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well." Alfred AdlerI’m a licensed counselor who has worked with a variety of clients over the past five years on issues from career development to sexual abuse to anxiety to spiritual confusion. Before I go out to greet each new client, I like to take a moment to honor the fact that the person I’m about to meet has decided to invite me into his life, to let me see his vulnerabilities, and to share with … [Read more...]

Good Stuff

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How do we develop a taste for good things? Is it an acquired taste, cultivated by careful nurture? Or are some of us just born with a hunger for life that drives us through every transition, challenge and heartache with the promise of good news on the other side?I ask my 3-year-old, "What are your favorite things?" I see wheels turning, and finally she says, "I don't know." (Translation:"I do know, but I don't quite have the words in my 3-year-old sense of self...") So I start ins … [Read more...]

Under Pressure

God spoke to me today.I love when that happens. I hate when that happens.I love when that happens because hearing the voice of God is the simple reward for living a (reasonably) spiritual life. When you move through the world looking for something holy at every turn (translation: looking for sermon material), then eventually, you will see something holy. If you wait for a clear next step each day (ok, maybe every other day. If i'm not too busy) then yes, eventually, a next step gets carved ou … [Read more...]

Soul Seasons

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A pumpkin latte in my hand. From Not Starbuck's. A cool crisp 62 degrees out. I am on a porch swing with a background of lush foliage, bleeding slowly from green into reds and browns and yellows. I am wearing my favorite brown sweatshirt, and reading a really great library book. The day ahead is miraculously full of nothing but open time, save playing with my kids, and later having some friends over for dinner.OK, so almost none of those things is true. I do, in fact, have a pumpkin(ish) … [Read more...]

For Such a Time as This

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I was sitting on the floor of my crummy first-year-of-being-a-grownup apartment, doing grad school homework that i should have done the night before, and getting ready to go to class. Which means I probably shouldn't have been watching tv, but was. When the plane hit the first tower, i went and woke up my roommate, who was still sleeping. "What? That's crazy!" she said. I ran quickly back to the tv to find out what a breathless world was waiting to find out--what sort of mechanical error, … [Read more...]

The Sacred Struggle

I was cooking dinner and trying not to get sucked in. It is only September. Of the year BEFORE the election year. I am not ready for the emotional angst, the loaded sermon fodder, the toxic wasteland that is partisan rhetoric. It was on in the background, but I was determined not to engage.When I heard the applause, I turned around. I'm listening now,  i thought numbly. I looked to see if I'd really heard what I'd just heard. My husband and I looked at each other, appalled. "Rewind that," I … [Read more...]

Suck it Up

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Ok, she is almost 3. I've tried to be patient. I've read all the warm-fuzzy parenting stuff about letting them work it out on their own, hounding them about it will just make it worse, attachment issues and comfort zones, blah blah blah. But now, it is time.The thumb has got to go.I remember the blessed day when, around 6 weeks of age, I watched my sweet baby girl learn that she had the powers of coordination needed to get that appendage into her toothless mouth, all by herself. I … [Read more...]


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