Loneliness and Belonging

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Loneliness and Belonging

When I married, I moved away from my home state to live with my husband in his home town. I loved our trips back to the south. Going home meant family, friends from first grade, dear relationships, a place of comfort and belonging. I so enjoyed these visits because I felt loved and accepted and it was so wonderfully familiar. Leaving all this was more difficult than I had anticipated. I was no longer a part of a small community where everyone knew me and I belonged. I did eventually get to know people and make friends in my new community but the process seemed long and painful. I gained a new appreciation for deep friendships and was able to empathize a bit more with others who are experiencing hard things in life.

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How Much For Your Song?

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How Much For Your Song?

18th century, Paris, France. Times are hard and money is scarce. Within the city, though, there is a tiny basement that’s filled with warmth and light and joy. This is because the basement is inhabited by a cobbler, Alaire, and his good wife Sophie. The basement serves as a home and workshop for the couple, and, although their earthly possessions are few, the couple lives a happy life, for they love each other and have learned the art of contentment. Alaire expresses his joy through singing, and as he works the shoe leather with his skilled and experienced hands, he warbles with vigor and gusto.

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Gather: Classic No-Bake Cookies

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Gather: Classic No-Bake Cookies

Many of us are probably familiar with no-bake cookies, and for good reason. They are simply to whip up, don't require baking time, and best of all, they taste delicious! This classic recipe is perfect for school lunches or when you need a quick snack, but don't want something that requires a lot of effort.

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The Craft of Coffee

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The Craft of Coffee

I can’t hide the fact that I love coffee. Whenever someone says that I can’t give up coffee for a month because I’m addicted to it, I just look at them, grin, and agree.

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Made for More

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Made for More

LURKING IN OUR MIDST IS A GREAT THIEF. He is the enemy. Can you see him? Do you hear him calling your name? Is he tantalizing you with forbidden fruit? Eve, the mother of all creation, knew him as the serpent. Cunningly, he deceived her by offering eternal life, but in turn, she found death. Presently, you may be deceived by the unnecessary pressures of measuring up: wearing the best clothes, driving the newest car, having the most fit body, and the list goes on. If you are facing these unnecessary pressures, you are not unaccompanied. Women throughout the ages have been warring with the enemy. The modern church is not alone in the battle of true femininity. From the days of Eden until present, Satan still seeks to destroy the beautiful design of women. We find ourselves with tainted hearts and mixed desires. Within us a war is raging. Our desires are contrary to our nature, and thus, we constantly fight the battle over truth and pleasure. Find a place of solitude, and seek to unveil the freedom found in being the woman God desires and has designed you to be. May we find ourselves refreshed as we being to unlock the life-giving freedom God offers in His design for women.

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Jesus Paid Enough

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Jesus Paid Enough

This person had done so much to ruin me that I didn’t know if I had it in my heart to forgive. Over the previous months, I had gone through many messy steps to try to attain healing. 

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A Love Story Charge

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A Love Story Charge

SOMETIME BETWEEN WATCHING from a third floor balcony as he played in an open fire- hydrant with a crowd of children and saying goodbye a summer later, I realized I could love this guy. Sometime between the phone call from Indiana and the stroll through Central Park a year later, I knew I loved him. And sometime between that moment when our strolling stopped as he reached for my hand and when I walked down the aisle toward him, I knew that our love was deeper than I’d ever dreamed love could be.  

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Gather: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Gather: The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Every cook needs a chocolate chip cookie recipe. One that is delightfully full of chocolate chips and with just the right texture. If you enjoy chewy cookies with slightly crisp edges then this is the recipe for you. These gems are perfect for school lunches or a mid-day coffee break. This particular recipe is best prepared in advance to allow plenty of time for chilling. Enjoy!

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Keeping Relationships Simple

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Keeping Relationships Simple

CS Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” In other words, life without friendship is reduced to mere survival. We can function, we can make do, we can go through the motions yet we are alone without friends. This is simply not part of the design for mankind.

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Rich in Simplicity

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Rich in Simplicity

My parents gave me the gift of an authentic, homespun heritage. I treasure it, but I didn't always feel this way. As a child, I often felt we were dull and unrefined, perhaps even a bit too "backwoods."

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Uncommon Ground

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Uncommon Ground

I walked into my Hebrew class not knowing what to expect and not imagining the diversity that I would find there. It was still one of my first weeks in Jerusalem and I didn’t have a clue about what life was like in a city filled with so many extremes! Glancing around the room, I was surprised at the mix of people, cultures, religions and skin colors. Over the course of the next few weeks people came and went, but the way our lives brushed up against each other in a stuffy classroom in Jerusalem left an impact on me that will last forever. I learned so much more than language in that classroom.

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Gather: Old-Fashioned Blueberry Waffles

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Gather: Old-Fashioned Blueberry Waffles

Who can resist a golden stack of freshly made waffles? We are excited to share these fantastic old-fashioned waffles bursting with fresh berry goodness. Round off your Saturday morning breakfast with a side of bacon and eggs for the perfect way to start your weekend! 

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Blending In or Standing Out?

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Blending In or Standing Out?

We've probably all heard it at one time or another. Something new or exciting would come along and we would get swept up into it. With much enthusiasm we’d tell our parents about this new thing or new idea. Then, with the wisdom granted them through many more years of experience, they would see right to the end of this “new fad” and try to dissuade us from jumping on board too quickly. 

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Out of the World and into a Community

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Out of the World and into a Community

There are a lot of reasons why a person would want to stay in the world. Entertainment, wealth, and independence entice some people, but not me. At a young age I knew I was different from other children. Their petty games and ideas didn't interest me. I spent my time trying to convert my friends and asking my school's principal if we could wear school uniforms. I think I longed for structure. As I grew up I lost some of that nagging desire and moved on to a normal childhood of normal interests. I loved movies and would frequently memorize every word. After school a friend and I would spend hours acting the scenes out in her front yard. 

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A Starting Point: Four Tips for International Travel

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A Starting Point: Four Tips for International Travel

International travel. The very phrase holds connotations of adventure and excitement and respite from routine. Planning it can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are the obvious things to consider, like checking into visas and shots. But after that, the list of choices you have to make turns into a web and it’s hard to know where to start first. I’m no professional traveler, but I am one of those nerdy people who likes to write down the things I’ve learned. So here’s a starting point if you’re looking for one.

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Intrepid: Life is Either a Daring Adventure, or Nothing

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Intrepid: Life is Either a Daring Adventure, or Nothing

There was the possibility of a tornado dropping down out of those amazing, blue-green, billowing clouds, but it was still incredible! The storm suddenly came ripping across the local park where we were gathered for VBS, bringing sheets of rain and winds so strong that it sent everyone running for the nearest four-sided, solid structure (which was the now crowded bathrooms). There’s papers flying and everything’s in chaos, but for a fleeting moment, I spread arms wide and broad-side the gusts and pricking rain, letting the forces of nature swirl out of control around me.

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A Place of Refuge

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A Place of Refuge

March 1671 Eggiwil, Switzerland

The early morning fog hung like a wet cold blanket around the Shank’s farm. Christian hurried along the steep gravel path towards the house. His foot skidded and the milk in his pail sloshed over the edges of the bucket. “Really?” His little brother Peter muttered. “Like we didn’t need that milk.”

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The Way of Surrender

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The Way of Surrender

In the last few months, God has asked me to surrender some pretty big dreams and desires. I struggled for weeks about one dream.I did not want to surrender it. I allowed myself to be miserable for days until I realized i would not know true peace until I was willing to surrender. Just as God promised, peace flooded my soul when I finally gave in and surrendered my dream.

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The Call of a Disciple

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The Call of a Disciple

Honestly, I was pitying myself. Not throwing a big pity party, but definitely feeling bad for myself and for our family.

A brand new nephew had just been born and we were all absolutely delighted. We’d been looking forward to this day for so long! A cousin for our children, a new baby in the family; what could possibly be more exciting?!

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