Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked.

"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.

"I don't know," Alice answered.

"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland




The wisdom of our faith keeps pointing us to take our lives down the road of gratitude and generosity, even though our human nature isn't always inclined to travel in that direction. The narratives of our culture, along with our biological hard-wiring, keep telling us over and over again that what we need is scarce, and our survival and happiness is dependent on focusing on ourselves first.


As we think about the year behind us and the year ahead, what will we do to pay more attention to the encouragement that God gives us to place our trust in God? Is it possible to trust more in our counter-cultural faith narratives where God provides and we have enough? Maybe the real challenge is to behave as if we really believe these stories to be true, and then see how our actions can lead our thoughts and attitudes and convictions to new places.


In this issue of Journey, we have some resources that focus on how having a grateful and generous outlook is tied into health, happiness, well-being, and a general sense that life and God's creation are good. We also have some links that invite us to think about and discuss "reality" as depicted by popular culture, and how that affects our perceptions about money, success, and even beauty.


May our community of faith at Holy Cross be a source of nourishment, wisdom, and blessing as you make your way through the year ahead.


Words of Thanks From Pastor Bob 

Generosity at Holy Cross Church 


"Thank you" for the many ways that you put flesh on our ministries and infuse the practices of love and grace in Holy Cross' ministries. While you may never have personal knowledge of the significant impact in people's lives, you make a difference. Read the full letter on Facebook  

Giving Thanks to God 

Happiness Through Gratitude     


Psalm 100 puts it this way: "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."


Louie Schwartzberg, an award-winning cinematographer, includes these same themes in his uplifting TED talk about the Happiness Revealed project. This link starts in the middle of the file but at the beginning of their video production. For more background, go back and include the first 3 minutes. Watch Video


From Journey to Legacy

Generosity as a Lifestyle 


Can a lifetime of working to be God's faithful stewards lead to habits, lifestyles of generosity, and ultimately the passing of these values as a legacy to our children and grandchildren? Watch how the Barnabas Foundation talks about the journey in this inspirational video. For planned giving and estate planning services that have the dual benefit of supporting the ministries of the church, please consider contacting the ELCA Foundation.  

Why Being Thankful is Good for You 

Healthy Gratitude 


There are many reasons why we should make gratitude a daily practice - research has shown that being thankful confers a whole host of health benefits, from improved immune systems, to feelings of connectedness, even higher team morale. Discover 10 reasons why being thankful is good for you in this article.


2014: The Year of the Conversation

Talking About Money   


While goal setting in the personal finance space is important, equally important is the ability to be in productive conversations about money and the role it plays in our lives with the people (family and friends) who matter most. Additionally, this can also be a key factor in improving our financial well-being.  

Read more from Nathan Dungan of Share Save Spend. 

When Stocks Drop, Heart Attacks Rise 

Worrying Ourselves Sick


It is not difficult to understand how a falling stock market can lead to anxiety and distress. Now researchers have established a statistical connection between hospital admissions and market plunges. Isn't it ironic how the blessing of financial assets can also be a source of fear? Do you think Jesus might have had this paradox in mind when he taught people about wealth and trust?

Read the Article 

The Evolution of Beauty 

How Do We Know What is Real?

More than two-thirds of women believe that the media has set an unrealistic standard of beauty that they will never be able to achieve, in fact only 2 percent of women describe themselves as beautiful. Watch this  commercial from Dove to get a sense why. In what other ways has reality been Photoshopped, morphed, and twisted into something that it is not? How do we remind ourselves of this and help our kids to understand it as well?

Helping Neighbors With the Snow  

Having "Dibs" on Being Nice      


In the wake of the polar vortex that slammed Chicago with snow and record-breaking cold, 29-year-old Humboldt Park resident Jamie Lynn Ferguson was frustrated when she heard reports about drivers calling "dibs" on parking spots they had shoveled out and subsequently getting into scuffles with neighbors over spots. Learn what she did to make a difference.  View Story

Biblical Foundations

God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.  

2 Corinthians 9:8
Quotes & Thoughts

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." 

-William James


Continue the Journey ...
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