Cover Story: Happy Hanukkah! Let’s courageously celebrate our diversity.

Click on this cover to learn more about Debra Darvick’s book.

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS BEGINS TUESDAY

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO—This year, we recommend that you mark Hanukkah—whatever your faith may be—by visiting this National Public Radio (NPR) website and enjoying the free audio recordings of this year’s Hanukkah Lights series. For the 27th year in a row, NPR celebrates the Festival of Lights with stories of the season. Join Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz as they read tales by Andrea Kamens, Debra Darvick, Elizabeth Graver, Grace Paley and Evan Guilford-Blake.

We want to especially call your attention to the story from Debra Darvick, which is the true account of of Mike Neulander, who served in the Gulf War as a helicopter pilot in the 1st Cavalry Division, received the Bronze Star for aerial combat actions and retired as a major.

The NPR Hanukkah Lights webpage also allows visitors to easily send links to friends via email or social media. Please, do! Help us celebrate the Festival of Lights by sharing these wonderful audio stories with friends!

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Click this photo to read Stephanie’s column.

WHAT IS HANUKKAH?

STEPHANIE FENTONOur Holidays & Festivals columnist explains the holiday traditions and, along the way, busts the myth that Hanukkah is just “the Jewish Christmas.” Stephanie also explores the holiday’s rich food traditions, including latkes with a delicious recipe. And, you’ll find more of Debra Darvick’s reflections on the festival in this column.

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Click the stamp to read the Advent column.

CHRISTMAS & NATIVITY 

Back in November, millions of Eastern Christians began their traditional Nativity Fast in preparation for Christmas. Stephanie Fenton reports that holiday story.

Now, Western Christians are in the season of Advent. Stephanie’s story explains the meaning of Advent and its annual customs—plus, she looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic reading of Genesis in 1968. Interested in that inspiring story? We recommend the new book about Apollo 8 that has been described by Forbes magazine as “heady stuff.”

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NEED A LAST MINUTE GIFT?

We’ve got a treat for you! You’ll find hand-picked recommendations from a master shopper: Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might help you with that tough-to-satisfy person on your list. Check it out! And, yes, in most parts of the U.S., Amazon is still delivering these books well before Christmas.

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Click the image to read Stephanie’s story.

A LATINO TRADITION

POSADAS NAVIDENAS—The Hispanic countdown to Christmas officially begins Saturday December 16 with Posadas Navidenas. Tantalizing dishes, merry carols and the story of the nativity has been bringing together communities in Mexico for more than 400 years in a beloved tradition that lasts nine nights and ends on Dec. 24. Stephanie has the story!

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INVITE SADIE INTO YOUR HOME

Click the illustration to read more about Sadie.

ACTIVE PLAY—The new picture book by noted educators (and sisters) Linda Jarkey and Julie Jarkey-Kozlowski is far more than a quick-and-colorful story to share with kids. It’s an invitation to ongoing creativity! Here’s an interview with the sisters.  We invite our readers to get involved as early allies.

Then, tell your friends about an interactive page that opens the creative doorway into this book: www.SadieSeesTrouble.com

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Click this image from the Visual Parables December issue to learn more about this fascinating journal by Ed McNulty.

FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

LOVE MOVIES & SPIRITUAL REFLECTION? Buy yourself a merry little Christmas present by subscribing to a year of the Journal, now. And, among the hundreds of complete discussion guides you’ll receive in this treasure trove of Journals—you can also enjoy Ed’s popular guide to Christmas movies, originally published four years ago and still very popular.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Celebrate transcendent stories in this holiday season!

Click this image of some of the WISDOM women to read this week’s Cover Story.

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A TRUE STORY OF REFUGEES—AND COMMUNITY

FRIENDSHIP & FAITH—If you give any books to loved ones this holiday season, please consider the 52 inspiring, real-life stories in this collection by the women of WISDOM, who came together from eight different religious traditions to celebrate community.

Yes, we’ve recommended this book before in our online magazine—but this week, we have a special December gift for you … Adey Wassink, pastor of a thriving church in Iowa, this week adds her own story about crossing religious and cultural boundaries—and discovering friendship on the other side. And, please, help us to spread this important message of inclusion, especially at this time of the year. After you’ve enjoyed Adey’s story, please share it with friends, this week.

 

WANT HELP FINDING JUST THE RIGHT BOOK FOR A LOVED ONE?

We’ve got a treat for you—hand-picked recommendations from a master shopper: Susan Stitt, head of Morgan Street Media. She is very familiar with the many authors who have published their books with us over the years—because Susan also serves as marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. She has a list of six recommendations that just might help you with that tough-to-satisfy person on your list. Check it out!

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Click this image of Wright to read Suzy’s column.

RETHINKING THE AMERICAN HOME

GodSigns—Columnist and author Suzy Farbman takes us on a cross-country trip, this week, immersed in the later designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. As she does each week, Suzy connects the dots between many Wright-related projects with people and places that span the nation. Enjoy!

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Anytime, visit www.InterfaithHolidays.org

Click this European image to read Stephanie Fenton’s column on St. Nicholas Day.

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CHRISTMAS & NATIVITY 

Click the stamp to read the Advent column.

Back in November, millions of Eastern Christians began their traditional Nativity Fast in preparation for Christmas. Stephanie Fenton reports that holiday story.

As of this week, Western Christians begin their season of Advent. Stephanie’s story explains the meaning of Advent and its annual customs—plus, she looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic reading of Genesis in 1968. Interested in that inspiring story? We recommend the new book about Apollo 8 that has been described by Forbes magazine as “heady stuff.”

St. Nicholas Arrives!

DECEMBER 6Around the world, the forerunner of “Santa Claus” arrives this week! Stephanie’s story describes the wide range of St. Nicholas characters—and she provides lots of links to St. Nicholas Day resources from the amazing St. Nicholas Center website! Then, she closes her column by describing the ongoing controversy of one of St. Nick’s companions, a guy named Pete.

 

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Click this image from the Visual Parables December issue to learn more about this fascinating journal by Ed McNulty.

FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Welcome Sadie into your family! And turn your kitchen into an art studio.

INTERACTIVE EARLY LEARNING

Click the illustration to read more about Sadie.

CHALLENGING ‘SCREEN TIME’—The new picture book by noted educators (and sisters) Linda Jarkey and Julie Jarkey-Kozlowski is far more than a quick-and-colorful story to share with kids. It’s an invitation to ongoing creativity! And, this week, in our Cover Story—an interview with the sisters—we invite our readers to get involved as early allies.

Educators nationwide are zeroing in on the challenge of excessive “screen time” among young children. Tablets and smartphones now have apps so addictive they isolate children and take precious time away from interactive early learning experiences. Sadie Sees Trouble aims to overcome that challenge with a fun-filled opportunity to meet this beloved shaggy dog, Sadie—and then to start coloring along with the little girl Penny. These artful educators show parents and teachers how they turned a kitchen into a paintbox packed with art supplies.

While the book’s formal launch is in January, we are inviting our ReadTheSpirit readers to become early adopters and allies in this unique invitation. Enjoy!

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Click the photo to read Suzy’s story.

 

CHOOSING LIFE
AFTER
THE HOLOCAUST

GOD SIGNS—Each week, columnist Suzy Farbman introduces us to remarkable people and their inspiring stories. This week, she profiles Holocaust survivor Judith Kallman. Around the world, the number of survivors who can continue to tell the first-hand story of the atrocities of the Shoah continues to dwindle with every passing year. Each story is unique and valuable. One reason Kallman’s story is particularly fascinating is that, after the war, she was helped by the courageous Rabbi Schonfeld, a courageous and daring advocate for surviving children. It’s a dark story, but there’s inspiring light in the way Kallman lived her life since that era of horror.

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Holidays & Festivals

Anytime, visit www.InterfaithHolidays.org

Click the image to read Stephanie Fenton’s story on Advent.

CHRISTMAS & NATIVITY 

Click the stamp to read the column.

On November 15, millions of Eastern Christians began their official “Christmas season,” which Orthodox Christians observe as the Nativity Fast in preparation for December 25. Stephanie Fenton reports that holiday story.

Coming on Sunday, December 3, Western Christians begin their season of Advent. Stephanie’s story explains the meaning of Advent and its annual customs—plus, she looks ahead to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8’s historic reading of Genesis in 1968. Interested in that inspiring story? We recommend the new book about Apollo 8 that has been described by Forbes magazine as “heady stuff.”

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click the image to read Ed McNulty’s 5-star review of Harry Dean Stanton’s final film.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: ‘Auden, the Psalms and Me’ A hot new book about liturgy?

TREASURE HUNTERS IN EPISCOPAL TRADITION

Click the photo to read our story.

A PILGRIMAGE—That’s what poet J. Chester Johnson invites us to discover in the pages of his new book, Auden, the Psalms and Me. Johnson unearths personal notes and records from half a century ago, when the world-renowned writer W.H. Auden briefly but passionately played a role in the revision of the Book of Common Prayer for Episcopal churches.

Yes, that description may sound like a pretty obscure chapter of history. But then, in Johnson’s artistic hands, we discover a circular narrative that takes us around and around this intriguing subject. Did you know that some of the phrases you may have texted to friends today come from the Book of Common Prayer?

It’s not a stretch to call this book a treasure hunt in the Episcopal tradition. Please, enjoy this week’s cover story about Auden, the Psalms and Me—and share it with friends. It’s entirely possible that this very unsuaul book might fit into your gift list for a tough-to-satisfy person on your holiday list.

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We Wish You All …

A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Click the photo to read the story.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALSAnytime, visit …
www.InterfaithHolidays.org

Our columnist Stephanie Fenton begins her annual Thanksgiving report this way: “Join the millions of Americans giving thanks and expressing gratitude over a savory feast, as family and friends gather for the historical and beloved holiday of Thanksgiving. This year, news sources are reporting the biggest Thanksgiving weekend travel volume in 12 years, while the actual cost of Thanksgiving dinner itself will go down!”

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CHRISTMAS/NATIVITY NEWS

Remember that millions of Eastern Christians already are in the official “Christmas season,” although it is more accurate to describe this period as the traditional Orthodox Nativity Fast in preparation for December 25. Stephanie reports that holiday story, as well.

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We hope your holiday shopping lists will include lots of books!

Already we have recommended a trio of wonderful children’s books from our friends at Candlewick.

This week, we call your attention to the beloved “Spiritual Wanderer,” aka Rodney Curtis, who offers three books infused with his quirky humor and genuine wonderment at life’s blessings. Even facing a dire diagnosis of cancer, Rodney found that laughter was … yes, you know the phrase … the best medicine. Confronting the somber news millions of us have faced in recent years—that is, losing a job—Rodney once again managed to face that situation with a confident chuckle and the love of family and friends. You may find, though, that the best choice for holiday giving is his literary pilgrimage known as The Spiritual Wanderer. Please, take a moment to look over Rodney’s body of work. You may find a gem for someone you love.

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FAITH & FILM

Click the image to read Ed’s entire review.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Discovering ‘Our Brave’

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Click the image to read Suzy’s column.

DISCOVERING OUR ‘BRAVE’

GodSigns—Each week, columnist Suzy Farbman introduces us to inspiring men and women and, this week, she brings us the true story of a woman who qualifies as an all-around hero. But, Dr. Karen Hamad credits her amazing accomplishments to discovering what it truly means to be “Brave,” and she spells that with a big B intentionally! You’ll enjoy meeting Dr. Hamad and you’ll want to share this story with friends!

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Click the image to read Stephanie’s column.

HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays?
www.InterfaithHolidays.org

EASTERN CHRISTIANS are starting their “Christmas” season this week. That’s right, even before American Thanksgiving, Orthodox Christians begin what they call the Nativity Fast in preparation for celebrating Jesus’ birth on December 25. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story about the Orthodox Nativity Fast.

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Click the image to read our story.

We hope your holiday shopping lists will include lots of books! The trio of children’s books we are recommending in mid-November includes the multi-cultural, lift-the-flap picture book Walk This World at Christmastime. We also recommend the latest volume in the beloved Bear-and-Mouse series. And, we’ve spotted a brilliant little pop-up book that engages several senses as adults and children explore the wonders of the alphabet. Please, read our trio of reviews and share this news with friends.

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FAITH & FILM

Click this image to read more about the November issue of Visual Parables Journal.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Terrific children’s books for your holiday shopping list! Consider these opportunities for discovery!

COVER STORY—Millions of Americans already are “making their lists and checking them twice.” We hope those lists will include lots of books! So, we are starting our holiday-shopping coverage today with a trio of delightful books for the children you love. Of course, the secret behind the most beloved “children’s books” is that adults love them, too. There’s pure magic in the experience of curling up with a child or grandchild and enjoying a great book.

The trio, this week, includes the multi-cultural, lift-the-flap picture book Walk This World at Christmastime. But, wait! There’s more! We preview the latest volume in the beloved Bear-and-Mouse series in which grumpy old bear decides to host his first Christmas party. And, we’ve spotted a brilliant little pop-up book that engages several senses as adults and children explore the wonders of the alphabet.

Please, read our trio of reviews, this week, and share this news with friends.

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‘DREAM IT! SEE IT! DO IT!’

GodSigns—The quote above is from Beverlye Hyman Fead, a remarkable woman and a cancer survivor as well. GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman tells her story, this week, including some inspiring videos produced by Beverlye! After you meet this woman in Suzy’s column, you’re going to want to share this with friends. Please do!

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Secrets of the Serpent Mound

RODNEY CURTIS—Our intrepid author, columnist, photographer and global explorer Rodney Curtis checks in with a fascinating look at the vast Serpent Mound in America’s Midwest. He writes, in part: “I’m drawn to places like this, the mysterious, the curious. What motivated ancient builders to spend their time hand-carrying materials bit by bit to this particular escarpment in Ohio?” Are you intrigued?

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays?
www.InterfaithHolidays.org

VETERANS DAY—Plan ahead if you’re looking for a local event honoring veterans or perhaps would like to pay a visit to a cemetery on Nov. 11. But there’s more you can do! Stephanie points out in her column that you also could consider observing the holiday by lending a hand to those in need. And, yes, she has a link to the latest list of discounts and benefits offered to veterans to mark the holiday.

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click this image of director Todd Haynes and a poster for his new movie, ‘Wonderstruck.’

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Happy Halloween! And so much more …

A tradition deeper than costumes and candy

COVER STORY—First, we bring you a personal reflection on the holiday by author Cindy LaFerle, Why I Still Love Halloween. Her column starts this way: “Halloween always stirs a delicious caldron of memories. Baby boomers are a nostalgic bunch, and most of us can recall at least one costume we wore in grade school.” More than fond memories, though, Cindy takes us to the origins: “Halloween’s deep roots weave back more than 2,000 years to the early Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Then, for an even deeper dive into these traditions, turn to Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton for her look about the three-day religious festival that includes Halloween and also All Saints and All Souls festivals. Stephanie’s column is headlined: Halloween, Allhallowtide and Samhain: A spook-tacular time of year!

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays? www.InterfaithHolidays.org

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME—Don’t forget to “fall back” this week! That’s Stephanie’s reminder in her column about this crucial observance. Then, she explains the history of this practice—and shares some news about the ongoing debate about its value.

VETERANS DAY—Plan ahead if you’re looking for a local event honoring veterans or perhaps would like to pay a visit to a cemetery on Nov. 11. But there’s more you can do! Stephanie points out in her column that you also could consider observing the holiday by lending a hand to those in need. And, yes, she has a link to the latest list of discounts and benefits offered to veterans to mark the holiday.

 

 

 

‘TINY HOMES’
HUGE INSPIRATION

WE WERE THRILLED, this week, to find good news from Detroit in the Christian Science Monitor under the headline: Rent-then-own tiny house village seeks to reinvent Detroit’s low-income housing Reported by CSM correspondent Trevor Bach, the story provides more details about how the project was put together and offers an inspiring overview of the results. Thanks to ReadTheSpirit contributing writer Duncan Newcomer in Maine, who is a regular reader of CSM and quickly spotted this new story—recommending that we share it with our readers today!

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FAITH & FILM

Click this movie still to read Ed’s review of the new Blade Runner movie.

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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