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Beauty from Ashes

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This beautiful blog is written by our sweet friend Hannah Fordice. Read on be blessed dear readers. His hands are full of scratches and sawdust; they move smoothly down the planks, leaving a trail of deep, rich stain. You would never know that just a few months ago that same wood was stained in black ash and blood. When the house burned, it burned fast and hard. So fast in fact, that there was nothing they could do - how many times I heard that phrase - nothing they could do, nothing they could do, nothing they could do , until my ears rang with the sick sound of it. Nothing. No home. No dad. Nothing. As a lifetime went up in smoke, a crane had to move the largest, still burning logs to try and find his body in the coals. And those top logs - they are all that survived. And it wasn't a pre...
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A Place to Belong

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  A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.  —Brené Brown My hubby and I first noticed it as we walked from the car park toward Disney's Magic Kingdom. In this sea of humanity lining up to enter through its gates. Male. Female. Young. Old. All walks of life. All cultures. All sides of the political spectrum. There we were. All dressed in Disney tee's. Many wearing Minnie or Mickey ears. Most wearing smiles from ear-to-ear. What draws folks from around the country and the world to Disney's doors? No doubt the rides are a big draw. And all the Disney characters. Then there's Cinderella's Palace. And the fun of climbing up the Swiss Family Robinson ...
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Soul Work

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Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. —Psalm 51:10 Soul work is not a high road. It's a deep fall into an unforgiving darkness that won't let you go until you find the song that sings you home. —McCall Erickson Now that the snow pack is melting back a bit, I've been noticing on my daily walks with my dog that the street drains are clogged with the debris of leaves and pine needles from last fall. If we get a good hard rain, those obstructed drains won't be able to handle all the incoming water. That means it could back up onto the streets and make a real mess of things. Thankfully, the street sweeper will soon be making his way through our neighborhood, freeing those drains from all the rubbish that has accumulated there. I wish tha...
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An Ending...A New Beginning

An Ending...A New Beginning
We are sad to announce that our dear friend and co-writer of many Heart Matters Publishing devotionals, Jo Bender, is stepping down. We are enormously grateful for the years she has blessed our hearts with her words of challenge, encouragement and comfort. But, we are also excited for whatever God opens up to her in the future!  We'd like to bless her new beginning with a beautiful poem by John O'Donohue. In out-of-the-way places of the heart, where your thoughts never think to wander, this beginning has been quietly forming, waiting until you were ready to emerge. For a long time it has watched your desire, feeling the emptiness growing inside you, noticing how you will yourself on, still unable to leave what you had outgrown. Then the delight, when your courage kindled, and out you ...
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The Burdens We Bear - The Bentover Woman

The Burdens We Bear - The Bentover Woman
She wears it so beautifully doesn't she, her pain… Always smiling, always positive…. always happy to help… It's like a garment perfectly tailored to fit the way she carries it… with a touch of grace… and the quietness of that sad smile…. All so you'd never know how heavy it really was. —Ranata Suziki None knows the weight of another's burden. —George Herbert We all carry burdens of some sort. Something pressing on our hearts. For some it may be guilt or shame that weighs heavy. Others of us feel bent over with grief. Some of us carry pain, loneliness, resentment or anger around with us every day. And then, there are those of us who struggle with addiction. Be it alcohol, drugs, overspending, or overeating. That is your burden. And you long so to be free of it. I'd like to share one of my v...
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The View Outside My Window

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I've invited my cousin's daughter, Amber Krueger, to once again grace our pages. Her thoughts are probably what all of us are thinking this winter...

 

Despite the forecast. Live like it is spring.
—Lilly Pulitzer

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The Winds of Change

The Winds of Change

Only God could say what this new spirit forming in you will be… accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose Wisely.
—Karen Kaiser Clark 

When the winds of change blow in it can be unsettling. Scary, even.

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New Years Reservations

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We're kicking off the New Year with our sweet friend, Hannah Sorvik Fordice, who has a blog of her own called Rubble and Rescue. If you've had a tough 2017, you too may be wondering how 2018 will unfold. Praying her words will minister to your soul...

Last New Years Eve, I found myself sitting at the kitchen table next to an unopened bottle of champagne I had planned to bring to a friend's house; in my hands was a pregnancy test with two pink lines in the viewing window. 

At the time, my husband was in a work rotation that included night shifts, so even though it was 3pm he was sound asleep in our bedroom. I gently shook him awake (I'm fairly sure my hands were shaking so hard, I probably only had to touch his arm for the effect), and said, "good morning hun, guess what?" and handed him the test. 

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And I thought my 2017 was a rough year. May God bless you richly in 2018. Take good care of you!
Friday, 05 January 2018 05:10
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Faithful

Faithful

We pray that you had a blessed Christmas our dear readers. And as we ring in a New Year,

that you remember this...

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In the Deepening Silence

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As the days countdown to Christ's birth, we Heart Matters gals thought that the best gift we could give you is some time set apart with Jesus. This quiet time experience Julie Miller has written is really the gift that Ignatius of Loyola left for us as one of his many legacies. Ignatius loved God's Word and approached it uniquely. Rather than read the word to fill in blanks on a page, he stepped into it as if he were living the stories out.

 So, in the words of Frederick Buechner...

 

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Attire of the Heart

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A Christmas Quiet Time Devotional

Considering all the time we will be spending with friends and family during the holiday season, we believe it would be beneficial to spend some quiet time with Jesus preparing our hearts for the holidays.

Sitting quietly meditating on this passage of Scripture will surely set our hearts aright.

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Thanksgiving Thoughts

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Thanksgiving Thoughts to Prepare Your Heart 

...all which we behold
Is full of blessings...
William Wordsworth

What do you behold today? Whom do you behold?

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Reconciling Our Riches

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It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

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Who Do I Say That I Am?

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Our next contributor is a dear friend of Julie Miller's, Melody Martin. Mel has lived with cerebral palsy and all the struggles that a disability entails. She has endured the trauma of being hit and run over by a truck and has recently undergone two serious neck surgeries. It is through these times the Spirit has acted like an Energizer bunny and kept her going. She realizes it has been God, the Eternal Life force within her, that has gotten her through all the hard times.

 

We know what we are, but not what we may be.”

― William Shakespeare

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Being Single in Christ

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As we continue our discussion on our Identity, we've invited our precious friend, Lisa Harrell, to add her voice from a single woman's perspective... be blessed dear readers!

 

Another single friend and I were talking recently and she recounted again her frustration about having to do everything herself.  “If I were married, someone else would at least be mowing the lawn or balancing the checkbook or getting the oil changed. Sure, I can do each of those things but it’s trying to keep up with it all while working a stressful full-time job, cooking, getting groceries, cleaning, doing laundry, working out, keeping up with friends, caring for my parents, and attempting to tend to my spiritual life and relationship with God that overwhelms me. Heaven forbid I should get sick or some other unwelcome emotional upset, relational conflict, or life event disrupts my life.  There is no one to share the load. I need a partner! I want a companion.” While it may sound strange to call this full, busy, often frazzled and overwhelmed way of living lonely, it can be excruciatingly so for a single woman – be she single by choice, a lack of choice, death, or divorce.

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Consider Yourself Loved: Questions on our Identity

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We gals at Heart Matters would love to hear from you as we continue our discussion about our Identity.

If you'd please leave your comments - we will pray for you!

How do you view yourself?

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Be YOU!

Be YOU!

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You.

—Dr. Seuss

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."

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When Angels Appear

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God’s angels are watching over us.

David Jeremiah

 

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To my child...

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A beautiful letter from a daddy to his 1st child as he heads off to school...

 My hands paused for an extra moment this morning; hovering over the shoes that would carry you off to Kindergarten. For a fleeting moment I thought if I waited long enough I could turn back the clock. Perhaps time would settle into stillness long enough so I could revisit all the times I've rushed you out of childhood and forgotten you are still beautifully wrapped in innocence and wonder. 

My throat tightened the way it always does before the tears start to fall. Your feet danced back and forth with excitement, this new beginning pulsing through your body. Your sister and brother helped you with your new backpack and asked you questions you were too excited to hear. As the oldest you not only forge this path for yourself, but you also make a way for them when their time comes.

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This Labor Day weekend...

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 Have a blessed and rest-filled weekend dear readers!

 

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With Friends Like That...

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A silence fell over the group that went on…and on…and on. So, I started to talk. I chatted on like a radio.

Carole Mayhall

I’ve been reading through the book of Job from the Bible this summer. It really is a painful little book. It’s painful, not only because of the horrific catastrophes that happen to Job. That is excruciating enough to imagine. But, to have to listen in as his closest friends carelessly prattle on and on as Job suffers…well, that just breaks my heart.

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I'll Leave the Light on for You

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Give light and people will find the way.

—Ella Baker

The sun room in the condo where we’ve stayed in Big Sky, Montana the last couple of years overlooks a small lake hedged in by the small ski village. The village sits at the base of Lone Peak. And the view at sunrise is breathtaking.  

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Lake Country Booksellers - Book signing

Lake Country Booksellers - Book signing

We Heart Matters gals are really excited to share our latest devotional with you! So, please mark your calendars! We'd love to see you!! 

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A Love Letter from Jesus

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Our fourth guest is a writer of poetry. Her name is Denise Smith Collier and her beautiful words can be found on her Facebook page, Heart of Worship. May these words from both of her poems bless and encourage you today...  

Love Letter from Jesus

My beautiful bride,
I long so for you,
With sharing our love,
Communion of two.

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The Real Reason Getting Healthy is so Hard (And How to Overcome it!)

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It's our third week and we are really excited to share another lovely lady's blog with you. Her name is Heidi Zwart. She has a wonderful blog about health and wholeness that you will be so encouraged by. Follow her at www.heidizwart.com.

We pray that these words that Heidi wrote will resonate with you today as you move toward a healthier life, day by day.

 

 
Have you ever blamed yourself for not eating well, exercising consistently, or having a body you just can’t seem to love? Me too. And, there’s a reason we share this struggle.
 
Getting healthy is hard. 
 
But it’s not because we lack willpower or haven’t found the right diet plan. It’s not because we haven’t mastered good habits or broken bad ones. The truth is, we were born into this fight. Our struggle began long before we were born...  
 
Our story started with Earth’s first inhabitants, Adam & Eve, a beautiful garden, a serpent, and a piece of fruit. One small not-so-great decision has impacted everything since. Everything.
 
Including our health.
 
Even if you’ve never been a regular church-goer, you’re probably familiar with the story that unfolded in the Garden of Eden. Whether or not you believe the Genesis account to be an accurate reflection of history, I encourage you to lean in and give this story a chance. Keep the door open to the possibility that this story matters.
 
More importantly, consider that this story just may hold the key to healing not only your health but your life.

My counseling training has led me to believe that sometimes it’s important to look back before we can move forward. Each of our lives is a collection of past choices. And those decisions have created today.
Sometimes, we chose independently. The consequence, good or bad, was solely our responsibility. But sometimes we were impacted by someone else’s choice. We didn’t choose. They did. And we suffer the consequences. 
Sometimes, we inherit a mess. 
Never has this been more true than with Adam & Eve’s choice in the Garden of Eden. We didn’t eat that piece of fruit. They did. They paid the price for their decision. And so did we. 
Our struggle for healthy living is included in this fallout. 
Why?
Because Adam and Eve were given a choice. Life or death.
Life was abundantly available if they trusted their Maker and resisted the only thing in the Garden they couldn’t eat... a single piece of fruit (ironic, huh?). But death was promised with just a single bite of that forbidden fruit. It was up to them.
And they bit.
The crunch resounds today. Can you hear it?  
Death became their inheritance. And ours. 
We can’t undo their decision. We’re tempted... daily... to follow in their footsteps. It’s easy to listen to wrong advice, give in to temptations, and stay stuck in a cycle of defeat. That’s exactly what the serpent wants us to do.
If we do this, the serpent wins.
But, it’s not the only path. We can choose differently.
Though death is ultimately promised to each of us (our inheritance), we can choose abundant life in-between our start and end date. It starts with a small decision. And then another. And another. 
What kind of decisions?
Daily ones. Small ones. Ones that enhance or life rather than detract from it.
Eat an extra vegetable. Drink a glass of water. Walk for five minutes. Give thanks for the body you have today (that’s a tough one... I know). The healthier our decisions and the more we practice them, the better able we are to carry out the unique purpose God has for us while we’re here. 
I can promise you, our purpose goes far beyond a number on a scale or the size of our jeans. 
The quality of our choices around things like food and exercise impacts our ability to be fully alive and well. But it’s hard sometimes. 
So I decided to write a book to make it a bit easier. It’s the part of the story we haven’t talked about before. It’s the part that makes all the difference in finally making peace with your life... mind, body, & spirit. 
It Began In The Garden is blanketed in Biblical truths observed in the Garden of Eden. When applying this new perspective alongside new strategies, we experience release from the shame, guilt, and self-punishment we’ve inflicted on ourselves for years because of food and our body. 
More specifically, It Began In The Garden will help you:
  • Make small daily changes for big impact
  • Release the blame and shame that have kept you stuck
  • Have a “good enough” relationship with food 
  • Embrace life beyond the scale     
  • Live at peace with your body
You will find hope, encouragement, and resources for making fresh choices that will lead to a healthier future. The one you really want.
Caution... you may lose weight.
You may also develop better discipline and willpower. You may build new habits and break old ones. You may learn to eat better and exercise more consistently. 
If you really dive in and apply the principles in this book, you likely will. After all, physical, emotional and spiritual weight loss are the side effects of healthier choices. It’s about wellness... the whole body kind.
Adam and Eve made their life-altering decision. Now it’s your time to turn the same power of choice into the catalyst for your healthier future. One decision at a time. 
Welcome to your fresh beginning. 

 

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We Heart Matters Publishing gals care about women. Their joys. Their struggles. Their everyday, ordinary lives. We write from those very same places hoping to uplift, challenge and encourage your soul and deepen your faith.

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 60 next month. I can hardly believe it myself. But, I’ve decided that I no longer want to live comfortably. I want to live with a spirit of adventure like I had in the past. To be unafraid of what’s new or different. I want to remain so open to the Spirit of the living God that his love compels me to go wherever he leads me.
  • LuAnn

    LuAnn

    I am passionate about people leaning into all that Jesus is. You. Me. Us. Journeying together with God. This is my greatest blessing. And now that my kiddos are out on their own, I’m learning to navigate my new normal. And I am finding there is life after little ones and teens after all!
  • Emilie

    Emilie

    I am currently a full-time nanny and will be returning to school in the fall of 2019 to finish mydegree in relational communications and graduate in the spring of 2020. I am using this break from school to grow, heal, appreciate a slower pace of living, and to invest more time into relationships with family, friends, and God. Through this process I am learning what I want to prioritize in my life and figuring out ways to make that happen. Most of all, I am figuring out that life is all about process, taking steps closer to where I want to be and celebrating the little victories but also accepting that there will be setbacks and disappointments along the way.
  • Sally

    Sally

    Sally Cranham is a singer and writer from the UK. She uses biblical narrative and her own experience to write deeply into the heart of the human condition. She currently works as a volunteer for SourceMN as their Arts Outreach Coordinator and has lived as a Residential Volunteer at Source’s anti-trafficking transitional annex alongside women who have come out of the life of prostitution.
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