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"The Holy Spirit is at work throughout the process of preaching, from the private hours in our study to the public proclamation from the pulpit. When a parishioner's face lights up with new insight, or relaxes into an acceptance of God's love, that's the Holy Spirit, and the hairs on my arms stand up. When a sermon works, when we can see in our hearer's eyes and faces that they are listening, when the sermon moves them to deeper faith or decisive commitment, and when, by the power at work in us, the sermon accomplishes abundantly far more than all we could ask or imagine, it is pure joy." -- Introduction, The Write Stuff


“On my ninth birthday, my parents gave me two gifts: a Bible and a bike. The bike, a re-tooled Schwinn that my father had assembled from spare parts, was blue with white racing stripes on the fenders. It had wide, strong tires that took me down bumpy or sandy paths, knees pumping, hair flying. The Bible, black-bound with red-edged pages, was inscribed in my mother’s block print, “Presented to Sondra Smith by Mama and Daddy, June 14, 1964.” I liked the feel of the thin pages as I turned them and the look of the Psalms laid out like poetry. All my life since then has been a process of appropriating both gifts: the holiness of the Word and the freedom of the journey.” --Courageous Spirit: Voices from Women in Ministry, page 114.