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Seeing Beyond the Milky Way

by Ward Shope Last Wednesday night just before we went to bed, we stepped out onto the porch at the back of the place we were staying. I was awestruck. Looking up into the night sky there were so many stars with the Milky Way haze behind it that we actually could not readily identify...

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“How Long, O Lord, How Long?”

By Nancy Unks Back to normal. Have you been talking about it? Wishing for it? Looking forward to it? Trying to remember it? I read an article about how we will know when the pandemic ends. Its conclusion: we won’t. And it won’t. Not in a Hollywood cinema sort of way where we triumphantly throw...

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More Than a Mulligan

By Ward Shope I’m not much of a golfer.  My dad played a lot over the years and once in a while he would ask me to join in an all-expenses-paid afternoon of recreation.  I loved the beauty of Lancaster Country Club, but the first 9 holes were always pure torture.  From the first tee,...

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Words from the Heart

By Ward Shope As a family that lived in the Netherlands for four years, there were certain treats that we not only liked then, but now have nostalgic value to us. The other day, Debbie and I sat down to our daily late afternoon tea time and munched on a Dutch cracker that I particularly...

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The Bond Beyond Our Differences

By Todd Hill I am not a true Phillies fan.  In fact, I probably have only watched a handful of games since 2010.  However, in the run to their World Series win in 2008, I was a die-hard fan.  I watched every game and knew every player  I will always remember that, due to the...

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Thoughts from the Potter Again

By Nancy Unks A potter friend shared some clay with me that was quite different from any I had used before. First, its color was dark red from its high iron content. Then, it was very coarse in texture because of copious amounts of sand—grog in potter’s lingo—mixed into it. That’s the feature that affected...

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Seeking to Be Humble

By Ward Shope I’m reading a book on humility.  Please don’t applaud. Over the last months, I’ve been astounded at my own levels of irritation, frustration, and anger at almost everything and everyone.  Debbie has convinced me that our dog is not bright enough to actually carry out conspiratorial attacks against me, but he has...

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The Resolution of Community

By Ward Shope New Year’s resolutions are challenging this year.  Many made new commitments to exercise when the pandemic set in.  So apart from the holiday bulk we’ve managed to swallow, we’ll just be getting back to what perhaps we were doing before.  There are always the well-meaning faith resolutions such as: more consistent Bible...

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2020 Was Not a Waste

By Jane Highley A mistake can be an opportunity. About four years ago, when I realized it was too late to make and send Christmas photo cards, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to create New Year’s Day cards instead, with plenty of time to spare and less pressure. And that has been the...

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Holiday Giving and Receiving

By Ward Shope The giving and receiving of gifts around the holidays can be a complicated affair.  There are those among us who naturally excel at gift etiquette.  They can find the perfect gift for that “special” curmudgeon and find unequalled joy in wrapping and presenting it – melting their target with a knowing twinkle...

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An Invitation to Write on Christmas Cheer

By Ward Shope Thanksgiving Day marks the end of November, But the good news is just starting as we move through December Toward the birth of our Savior, the king who redeems And restores all things beyond our wildest dreams And coaxes us his powerful promises to remember. While the pandemic rages and threatens to...

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Thanksgiving in an Unthankful Time

By Ward Shope 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:6-7) These are anxious times.  No matter where you are in the...