All posts by Abby Smith

About Abby Smith

Abby is a person. She works at being an emotionally intelligent person whose main focus currently is being a happy and loving mother to four kids and wife to Malcolm. Born and raised in a General church minister's family, she has been exposed to the Bible and the Writings since childhood but is enjoying reading and understanding these books as an adult more and more. The amazing knowledge about love and wisdom and all of the emotions that follow have truly made her a happier and more self-assured person. Her husband serves as the head pastor of New Church Westville near Durban, South Africa. While leaving family behind is a challenge, she quite enjoys living in Africa.


Editor’s note – today’s post was written by Lori Odhner and published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year ahead we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.

photo by Jenny Stein

There is a line in a song that I have wondered about. 

“Unrevealed until its season, only God alone can see.”

It explores cycles, and emerging fruit as evidence of how God brings life from emptiness. The splendor of birth never gets old. 

Yet there is another reason God tarries. 

Before John and I were married we were both complacent about our tempers. Or rather, the lack of them. We had no occasion to get snippy as single adults which was proof that we were unflappable. We might not have been brash enough to say as much, but we thought it. 

Enter children. 

It turned out that anger was a very present danger, and I saw an aspect of my character that had been dormant. I had no awareness that it was part of who I was. God did. But He took His sweet time allowing me to find out. 

It might be tempting to suggest that motherhood was the cause of my angst. But that is as much of an illusion as the notion of a sunrise. The orb of light didn’t arrive out of nowhere. It was me who was in the dark. 

Uncovering my personal propensity to fury, or blame, or contempt is not a feel good situation. But ignorance as an excuse has an expiration date. There comes a point when I need to own up to my dark side. 

Upheaval is more than an exercise in confusion. It is a chance to uncover ugliness so that we might choose otherwise. It was not that I had decided to be a calm person, pre babies. It was that no one had ever tested the tensile strength of my serenity. 

My prayer as I step between the land mines that have been buried into the current landscape, is to disarm the bombs within me. 


Room For One

Editor’s note – today’s post was written by Lori Odhner and published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year ahead we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.


Our first home had a kitchen with a capacity for one. I mean if we sucked in our stomachs and kept our arms at our sides I could be at the sink washing dishes while John was cooking pancakes. But forget any notion of opening the fridge.

Our current home has a kitchen that is roomy enough for conversations, with a couple of kids on stools, John at the stove, and me chopping vegetables on the butcher block.  Our master bathroom, however, is the same square footage as that kitchen. There is a sink, and a toilet, but no space for passing each other on the way to the shower. If Ben decides to use ours to brush his teeth, and I want to brush mine, I  wait until he is done rather than squeeze past him. The same is true of the bathroom on the third floor, though the girls found a way to get ready for school in a hurry. Now they live in different countries.

Continue reading Room For One

Building and Re-Building Community

This week I wanted to explore some ideas Community. I really longed to talk to people in person about it, though, so decided to try something different and use videos! I hope the technology all works and you’re easily able to enjoy this collection of videos from a few of the women whose ideas about community encourage me.

Anne W.
Taryn 2

Anne G.
Anne G. part 2

Lenten Legacy

Editor’s Note: This article was written by my Mom, Margie Echols, in March 2006. She wrote it for The Glendale New Church newsletter that year. I am one of the homeschooling kids she mentions in the later part of the article. I don’t remember what I gave up that year (I think it was either TV or chocolate), but I do remember it made a big impact on me! It’s been useful to re-read this article as I prepare to focus on Lent this year with my kids.

Growing up in a family of eight children with a New Church minister for a father, and a 3rd generation New Church minister’s daughter for a mother, I pretty much felt sure of what made up a distinctive New Church lifestyle. I was taught this by both of my parents and it was heartily reinforced by my older siblings, in their zeal to shepherd us younger ones along. Our dad trained all of the teachers to instill New Church principles along with the Bible stories they taught to us kids in Sunday School.

I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I was prideful in my certitude that I knew what comprised a New Church person’s life. And a Lent Sacrifice certainly was NOT included, in my early view. In fact, when my childhood friends in public school did give up certain foods or privileges for Lent, I felt quite sorry for them. I did not think any religion should require a little child to give up meat, or going to the movies, or anything at all. It made me feel very separated from my friends, because I knew they must be suffering from a wrong understanding of the one God over us all.

Continue reading Lenten Legacy