Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s Legacy

God calls us to be stewards not only of our personal relationships, but also of our communities, which ultimately can affect justice on a national, even world-wide, scale. In these turbulent political days, I am grateful for people who speak up publicly in a variety of ways, because of their faith. Today is the day…

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Gratitude at Work

Thanks in large part to University of California at Davis professor Robert Emmons, the field of “Positive Psychology” has grown by leaps and bounds since the early 2000s.1 Positive Psychology is the scientific study of gratitude and its benefits, in fields ranging from anatomy to sociology, affecting both the quality and the length of a…

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Helping Children to Forgive

Forgiving someone can be one of the greatest forms of giving. Writing about it in my new book, Growing Generous Souls, I’m reminded of how difficult it can be, but also how life-changing and rewarding it is for both the receiver and the giver. Above all, forgiveness is a process, and loads of studies have…

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Holy Week Writing at Mount Hermon

It was an amazing way to enter into Holy Week, recalling Christ’s last week here on earth as Jesus of Nazareth. I joined about 300 people – writers, agents and editors – for the Christian Writers Conference in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. Mount Hermon is a glorious site filled with both young and ancient coastal…

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Lynne Twist for Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday

Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” this April 23 will include Lynne Twist, inspiring blogger and author of The Soul of Money. I was so moved by her blog, “Super Soul Sunday with Oprah” that I made the following comment: “Lynne, I was thrilled to read your response to being interviewed by Oprah for this April’s Super…

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Rainstorms and a Thin Stillness

Rank upon rank of torrential rains has pummeled Northern California this winter — this latest with wailing winds, thunder, and sheet lightning covering the entire night sky. When the Oroville Dam spillway broke up, 200,000 people were evacuated in all the towns downriver. The break in its lip was fixed, but the storms still are…

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Surprise Generosity

Twenty dollars is a lot of money to my good friend, whom I’ll call Joan. She was homeless many years ago, and for decades lived financially on the edge, working multiple jobs as she found them and creating her own businesses whenever possible. With a family gift to help with a down payment a long…

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Ultimate Security

The fire season: it’s summer once again. Fire is the only potentially terrifying aspect of living in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The photo here is of the fire now burning above us, its southern edge currently seven aerial miles north of our home. Thankfully it is moving in the opposite direction, although at the moment…

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Beauty and Gratitude

Looking up, I watch the high, bright clouds slide smoothly across e. e. cummings’ “blue, true dream of sky.” What beauty God makes with creation! Gratitude gives us solid ground to stand on, but as long-armed as it is, it can never reach as far as God’s grace extends. Like the clouds, I want to…

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The Problem with Seekers

There was a trend among church leaders years ago to call non-church-goers “seekers.” It seemed like a polite term at the time: better than “the unchurched,” anyway. The problem is that “seekers” implied that members of the opposite group are “finders,” as if people who have found a church home aren’t seekers anymore. “Finders” sounds…

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Giving is Receiving is Giving is . . .

There is no way to give without receiving in the process. No doubt you’ve thought about it. For example, you decide to visit a sick friend or shut-in neighbor. By doing that you’ll be giving your time, care and compassion, strengthening a relationship, and simply by going reminding that person of God’s presence. But when…

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Johann Sebastian Bach, gospel steward

Today, this year, March 31st is the 331st anniversary of the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest composers of all time, whose musical works expressed the very height of baroque music. Doing some research, I discovered that the term baroque refers to an irregularly-shaped or oddly-colored pearl. This word led to the…

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The Gift of Extra Time

The following was spoken by Heather Linsley, Worship Leader on February 28th, in my home church. I share her words and prayers with her permission.     – Betsy Schwarzentraub Written by Heather Linsley For those of us who have secretly (or not so secretly) wished we had just one more hour in the day in which…

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Discernment

The wild turkeys are a source of endless fascination for our two dogs, who see them almost daily on the morning version of our country walks. The younger dog is always on a leash, but the older one is voice trained, which usually holds even with wild animals. But coyotes are another matter. Both dogs…

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Over-Busy Minds

My email program went haywire recently, and I finally called our computer guru to do his wizardry. Other people’s servers had been sending emails to me but weren’t getting a message back that my server had received them. So they kept sending them over again. Likewise, the same thing was happening with my emails going…

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