The sweetness of anticipation

By Shelah Miner

In about three weeks, I’m getting on a plane with my mom and daughters and heading out of town. We started planning this trip almost a year ago, about an hour after I got the phone call that I had just been chosen for the job that I applied for against all my better judgment (a …

Read More

An Advent Challenge

By Linda Hoffman Kimball


Here’s an Advent exercise I enjoy practicing to keep me tethered to tranquility during the rush of Christmastime. We’re in the thick of Advent right now, but there’s still time to jump into this, and it’s a great family activity.

There are three assignments, each of which should be accomplished before Christmas day. I never do them in any particular order, but if you prefer a little more structure, go for it.

Each assignment involves giving a gift or doing a service of some kind. Here are the challenges:

Read More

Man With Pitcher

By Elizabeth Cranford Garcia

Man With Pitcher Luke 22:10-12   I think all days have been the same— dry days of bread, of shuffling to synagogue, and back to empty rooms.   Today, a moth flitted around my ear, settled on my shoulder: Make ready.   From nowhere, from the dusty air, a purpose moves my feet to some …

Read More

Release The Geek

By Kellie Purcill

I’m in the middle of tracking down an article deep in the belly of my Facebook feed, when I see the announcement: A few have asked -so yes, The Book Thief started filming yesterday in Berlin.All best to Brian Percival & whole cast&crew. Make it yours. mz — Markus Zusak (@Markus_Zusak) February 25, 2013 All …

Read More

Wanted – Granting of One (Itty-bitty) Wish

By Kellie Purcill

A money tree would be nice to have. A dragon would be pretty fun too. I’m not sure about a genuinely magic eight ball, though, because I tend to lose those sorts of smaller things. But you know what I would REALLY like, if a wish was to be granted?

I would like a list of dates when significant things are going to happen. An advance notice sent special delivery – no angels required, though really, who wouldn’t mind meeting one? A lovely note to read that considerately includes photos, video clips, or teaser trailers of my potential, possible life. Why not? What would it hurt?

Read More


Today’s UP CLOSE piece is by Emily Falke.  Emily lives near Austin, Texas with her fantastic little family consisting of her husband, her daughter, and their really big dog.  She relishes the sweet busyness of home life, and she quilts and tutors in her spare time.  She blogs at www.memoirsofmotherhood.wordpress.com.

Two little blue lines on a little white stick. Just two little lines, and one little stick, but with far-reaching consequences.

And questions.

There was the beginning. Is it the right time for us to try? Could we handle it if I got pregnant right away? The answer came: “Can you ever handle it?”

Read More