Gratitude and Grace

Gemma Evans Colorful plants in pots on fence

Helping Children Be Thankful

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 15, 2020

Almost every parent has been there: pressuring their young child to write the obligatory thank-notes to Aunt Charlotte and the next-door neighbor after Christmas or their birthday. But does sending those notes under mild duress make your kids really feel grateful? The fact is: we cannot make children be thankful. We can only make them…

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A Cycle of Grace

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 6, 2020

Written for Voices and Silences, 2003 Grace, Giftedness, Giving and Growth – these four words, from Clif Christopher and Herb Mather’s book, Holy Smoke!, prompted me to reflect on these themes in my life. For me, they flow in a cycle, a deepening spiral, which begins and ends with God’s grace. From God’s side, it’s…

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Signposts for Wisdom

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 16, 2019

We can grow in wisdom if we reflect on and learn from our experience. After writing the chapter on “Growing as Becoming” in Growing Generous Souls, I thought about wisdom as less of an achievement or endpoint, and more as a process of becoming the wise person each of us is meant to be. A…

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Attitude, Cancer and Prayer

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 12, 2019

There’s no more stark realization than hearing cancer has attacked your body and you must defeat it to live. That happened to me four years and five months ago. So it’s a very moving experience every year when I attend the Relay for Life, celebrating that I’m a survivor/thriver, and joining hundreds of people from…

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Positive Self-Talk

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 16, 2019

What we inwardly tell ourselves is important. Although it’s not the only factor in physical performance, researchers and practitioners have seen positive results for a long time. We act on our perceptions and beliefs, whether we are aware of them or not. For example, those who believe it’s a dog-eat-dog world will see only one-upmanship…

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Growing Generous Souls Is Now Out!

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | April 13, 2019

I’m pleased to announce that my new book is now out: Growing Generous Souls: Becoming Grace-Filled Stewards! It invites church leaders and individuals to stop racing from one activity to another and instead to focus on being rather than on compulsive doing and consuming. The book includes reflection questions and resources to help people move…

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Christ Is for All!

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | March 5, 2019

Jesus Christ came to show God’s love for us all, with no exceptions! Despite the devastating decision of the recent United Methodist General Conference, thousands, even millions of us United Methodists gladly welcome LGBTQ people into every aspect of the church and ministry. In addition, there are currently 973 Reconciling Congregations across the U.S., and…

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A Radiant Grace

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | February 19, 2019

I often picture God’s grace as a multifaceted jewel, reflecting God’s Light from different angles, each in a different way from the vantage point of a person’s unique life and circumstance. Just think of all the facets, all the rays of light, for all of us human beings! It may shine amethyst in a person’s…

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Fear Not

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | January 14, 2019

Have you ever noticed how often, when the angels showed up in the Bible, the first thing they said was “Fear not”? I admit I’ve had some direct encounters with the Living God over the years, but I haven’t seen an angel so far. I mean the wings-and-light kind. If I had, I might be…

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Congruence: Eugene Peterson

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | December 17, 2018

               There was so much more to Rev. Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, a version of the Bible, than I had known about him, despite years spent with that volume in daily devotions. I knew he was a Presbyterian clergyman who had pastored a church for decades, but I didn’t know he…

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