Cheri Mueller, a member of Family of Christ Lutheran Church, Chanhassen, Minn., and Sally Miller win the prize for enthusiastically submitting the most stories — six — to the magazine. Here's a brief excerpt:
Mueller: "As usual, Sally isn't rattled by my confessions [about how parenthood changed my sense of identity, my expectations of my husband and vision for my family]. She listens with compassion. She reads several quotes to me from one of her favorite books, The Mystery of Marriage. We talk about how commitment to marriage is both risky and safe at the same time.
"She prays that God's constant love and grace will sustain me. Feeling uplifted, I start to giggle, laugh ... I am a new creation. My mind, body and spirit have been fed for the journey. And if that isn't already enough, Sally hands me a basket of rich, red homegrown tomatoes to take to my family."
Miller: "I'm just beginning to get a glimpse of who Cheri is — a runner, a mother, an actor, a wife, a writer and a beautiful, precious friend. ... She taught me by her actions that one of the biggest pieces of loving is about breaking through walls. ... Her creative approach to living draws me in and sends me away changed, knowing God and myself better.
"The sacramental nature of our friendship calls me to see, hear, taste and touch Jesus — God who put on skin in order to be with and walk with me."
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers