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Ten Reasons to Choose a Simpler Lifestyle

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | December 16, 2020

We can choose to live a simpler lifestyle as an act of: Personal integrity and commitment to a more equitable distribution of wealth in the world. Self-defense against the mind-numbing effects of over-consumption. Sharing with others what has been given to us, or returning what we have unequally received at the expense of others around…

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Stewarding Our Story

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 9, 2019

Our regional writers group had a booth this past weekend at the Gold Country Fair in Auburn, California. It was an engaging time, as fifteen of us took shifts talking with people about reading and writing and inviting them to join us and to buy our books. What surprised me most was how involved members…

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Stewards of Our Stories

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 20, 2019

When I walked into the great hall one evening this week, about a thousand chairs were arranged in circles of six, set up for small-group conversations. For this one session, it was not the usual set-up for a United Methodist Annual Conference of local-church pastors and leaders. “Be a steward of your story,” the speaker…

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Generosity of Inclusion

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 11, 2019

I hadn’t heard of Rachel Held Evans until her shocking death last month at the age of 37. I don’t tweet, and I’m a lot older than Millennials. But in her case that was my loss – I celebrate her intentionally generous life as an “apostle to outsiders,” and am grateful for how her influence…

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Tornado Heroes

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | May 29, 2019

The news was terrifying wherever we looked last night, May 28, with mind-numbing numbers: 500 tornados touched down in the last thirty days, roaring through 22 U.S. states. Heavy rains, flash flooding, continuing storms, tornados everywhere. “It looks like a war zone,” said dazed residents, looking over the rubble of their communities. Yet in the…

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Grateful for Ordinary Days

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | January 22, 2019

            In our church service a while back, the worship leader said she had looked to see if that date was a special church day. Nope, apparently it was “just an ordinary day.” God knows there are times when things are going so badly, we wish it could be an ordinary day, she continued. But…

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Being in Advent

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | December 10, 2018

This far into the pre-Christmas period, many of us may be up to our chins in busyness, whether from shopping, community holiday events, or gatherings of family and friends. And did I mention shopping? So how can we re-focus ourselves on being instead of frenetic doing? On the birth of Christ in our hearts and…

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The Social Contagion of Generosity

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | October 22, 2018

Generosity is not just an individual trait; 1 it can have a huge effect on our communities. I was excited to see that scientific studies are actually documenting how generous behavior creates and builds our relationships with others. I’ve always thought of contagion as a bad thing: as in viruses, diseases, a plague. So an…

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Curiosity — Stewarding Our Attention

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 17, 2018

This past weekend on retreat, I was thrilled to get reacquainted with curiosity as one of the seven key attributes named by Lacy Ellman in her book, Pilgrim Principles. Last year I wrote about two studies of curiosity among Millennials, in my blog, Generous Stewards – Curious and Creative. It was exciting to think of…

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Live Courageously

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | March 16, 2018

I was thrilled to receive Live Courageously, this year’s issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center.  In addition to a center section Leader’s Guide for an annual financial commitment program based on small groups, it includes “Bright Spot” stories celebrating real people practicing faithful stewardship and generosity, book…

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