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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 3: Welcoming the story
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About this blog
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
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Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.\x34
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Dec. 3, 2013 9:15 a.m.



13AdventLogoSquareFor almost six years now I’ve been collecting Christmas books. Some from garage sales. Some for a pittance at Ollie’s and other discount stores. And one or two from my mother-in-law’s  house. My goal had been to have 25 so we could read one each day of Advent — and to have those 25 focus on faith and good character — because stories are powerful. They welcome us and draw us in. They introduce us to different perspectives and show us new ways to see and love. They take big theology and they paint a clear, tangible picture. 

Many of our books tell of a King coming to the small and forgotten, of a crowded place making room for one more to come in out of the cold, of love. That’s why I did a small thing: I invited a couple of friends to read with us on the first Sunday of Advent. I wanted our little family to be part of something bigger, even if just by two.

I almost canceled the night before. My husband and I were arguing over ridiculous things. The kids were being so very loud. All. The. Time. And the Christmas decorations? Well, the bins were stacked in the living room.

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Don’t cancel, said the husband. We need to be more social, and they could care less if the tree is up.

So, I did it. I opened the door, and I welcomed in my friend and her witty son into my real life.

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We took off our shoes and ate spinach dip and read books and laughed and forgot that things weren’t perfect because our time together was perfect.

And I was the one who felt welcomed.

Would you like to start your own collection of Christmas books? I’ve created a photo album of our family’s books on Facebook, and if you’ll comment on the album or in the comment section here at the Simply Faithful blog, I’ll enter you for a chance to win two books. “The Perfect Christmas Pageant” by Joyce Meyer offers a sweet lesson in keeping what’s most important, most important. A lesson that’s good for all ages! Mary Engelbreit’s “Peace on Earth” is gorgeous. It is full of quotes, songs and pictures that you’ll be tempted to tear out and frame. Leave a comment by 7 a.m. Dec. 4 and I’ll draw a name.

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