Lining Up Last

I used to spend Thursdays in Farmer City, IL. Thirty minutes west, the sun rising in my rearview mirror. Kindergartners greeted me with hugs around my legs, “Miz Trozio! Do we have you today?” At Schneider Elementary, I taught “guidance,” incorporating literature & art into K-3rd classroom lessons about conflict resolution, celebrating differences, and managing emotions of

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Our Discussions

“What are you arguing about?” An ordinary and fascinating question. Who asks? Who tells? In families, in work places, in organizations, in churches. What is the tone? How does it make you feel? I am surprised to hear Jesus asking. Twice in Mark 9: “What are you arguing about?” Jesus came down from the mountain, where he

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Who Brought the Bread?

Sometimes I am prepared. I know what is needed, and I have the clarity and energy to get it done. Other times, I feel like the disciples when they forgot to bring bread. Suddenly we are out in the middle of the sea and have only one loaf between us.  Who has the spiritual gift

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Hearing God

Stefan Mustain grew up at New Covenant; he told us this story a few years ago on a visit home, and it has stuck with me ever since. May it also encourage and inspire you. –Renée In 2010, I was under constant stress to perform what was virtually impossible, given the market conditions of my job

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A Way Out

This poem was written by Vic Fein after his bypass surgery in late 2017, following which he was having regular panic attacks. A way to find relief was when he would seek Jesus’ presence. May his words speak a truth we need to hear. –Renée A WAY OUT
 I need something, something to divert my mind.It keeps

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Reality Check

Crowds are not my thing. I get lost in the sea of people who seem cooler than I. Sometimes I remember who I am and stay centered. I see people who love their kid. Like I do. I am open to conversations with strangers. We find commonalities and connections. But it doesn’t come naturally.  We

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A Familiar Feeling?

I checked the weather again. Well, technically, I looked at the forecast on my phone. No snow had fallen yet, but people were warning me that it was gonna get bad. I downloaded a better app so I could follow hourly predictions. Would NCF’s plan to attend a predominantly black church across town for MLK Sunday

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On the Edge

Sometimes a plan comes together. But the thoughts that had crossed my mind about MLK Sunday weren’t sticking. Something wasn’t quite right. I was unsettled. Praying. Searching, seeking, thinking. Listening.  The obvious thing to do, in a predominantly white church concerned about racial (in)justice, is to invite a black man to preach the Sunday before

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Extravagance

People love their kids excessively. Christmas is a great example. The gifts, the toys, the proud photos and stories. The things we do for our kids know no bounds. Beyond rationality. Expressed in different ways, in different cultures, at different times, but always a bit mind-boggling. Even as I observe it in myself. Why? This is

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A New Day, A New Year

I had given myself “permission” not to write. It is a holiday, after all, the first day of 2019. My eyes opened a few minutes before my alarm; if not entirely rested, I am awake. With a song running through my head. the Love, that gives you strength from day to day, it will never lose

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