Heart Matters Blog

Journey along with the Heart Matters Gals

Delinquent Daisy

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While the dogs were running around at a nearby park thick with surrounding woods, I called to them as it was time to skedaddle. Work to do. A growling stomach to fill. As usual, one was delinquent. This time it was Daisy. I'm pretty sure that every night after I go to bed they do rock, paper, scissors —a doggie version of course —to determine whose turn it is to tune me out. So my 90-pound newfie mix and I trudged back to the car. I gave Mia her treat for listening and got her settled comfortably in the car with the windows down. I called again to Daisy and was about to get in the car to drive closer when she bounded out of the woods. She came to a baseball diamond fence, however, and was just not sure what to do. The fence was standing between her and me. She looked at me expectantly acro...
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The Desert

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The desert is lovely in its restfulness—the great brooding stillness over and through everything is so full of God. —Lilias Trotter Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert...where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days... When the devil had finished all this tempting...Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. —Luke 4:1-2, 14 It's hard to imagine going without food for forty days. Experiencing the darkest of temptations. And not only overcoming them, but, stepping out of the desert full of the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, that is exactly what the New Testament account states. I've never been to a desert. The closest I've come was out on the western range of Colorado and eastern Utah. It's considered to be semi-desert shrubland. B...
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A Blessed Labor Day to you!

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This summer flew by quickly... I'm sure you all feel the same way. And now autumn will quickly be upon us in all it's colorful beauty. It's chilly temps. The smell of fires in the fireplaces.  But, until then. We pray that you will enjoy these last fleeting moments before school begins and life shifts into high gear. God bless you dear readers - we are so very grateful for you! LuAnn, Heidi and Julie
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When Tensions Run High

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​ Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be. —Dr. Wayne W. Dryer It's always a little harrowing to drive into a city that you're unfamiliar with. As I am the navigator or the directions person in our vehicle and my hubby the driver, invariably that can lead to high tension. I hadn't been to Pittsburgh in over twenty years. Besides that, whenever we did go we always drove down with my aunt and uncle, who knew the city like the back of their hand. But, Pittsburgh was precisely where the American Cheese Society Conference was being held this year. As we approached the city and crossed over Veteran's Bridge, we desperately searched for our exit into downtown. It wasn't until we passed the exit that we realized it went by another...
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Hidden

Hidden
As I was heaving the watermelon out of the cart into my mini black SUV trunk on a sweltering summer day, tiny silver hoops on a white card caught a glint of sun's rays and flashed a hello up at me. So I finished unloading the rest of the bags from the cart, slammed my trunk door, rolled the cart to its nearest holding tank and made my way back into Walmart with my errant earrings. I scurried to the nearest self-checkout. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a Walmart worker coming my way. So much for trying to remain unseen. I figured she was probably wondering what was up. As I began to explain that my earrings had been playing Hide-and-Seek, I realized she didn't want to hear about it. Instead I was being chastised for not waiting in line. There was a line-up for self-checkouts? Who knew? W...
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What God Might Say... a poem by Nicole Duclos

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Of my past, God might say, You are my child, then and now, and I have always loved you. Even in heavy moments of shame, the darkest of nights; in the hours you thought I would never love you again. Even then. Of my faith, God might ask, What is faith? Some people think it is just following the rules, abstaining; keeping your legs expertly crossed, and your hair brushed neatly. But faith cannot be shown in outside things. Except, perhaps, the kindness from your eyes as you look into the face of another while they share their pain. Faith comes down to the words of my Son: Love one another. No version of rule following can mean more to me than this. Of my future, God might say, I can promise you, if you stop living as if I am taking accounts, and live, instead, from loving… my love for you, y...
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Nourished

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  I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. —Psalm 63:1 It was raining in Big Sky the day I had all to myself to write. From our condo in the treetops I watched the pine trees sway to the rhythm of each gusty wind that blew. Rain splattered large sloppy drops across the window pane. Lone mountain was obscured from view in heavy gray clouds. And it was chilly. Sometimes the raindrops looked more like snowflakes. And it was July. But, oh was it green. We had traveled to Big Sky from Colorado. A state that hadn't seen a drop of rain in months. And it was parched dry. The fire risk has been at high alert. Several fires are still burning acres of land, homes and possessions as I write this. Oh, what they...
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Sum...Sum...Summertime

Sum...Sum...Summertime
​ Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. Henry James   Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. John Lubbock I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.  Violette Leduc Sweetest blessings on your summer! We Heart Matters girls are taking July off to soak in the summer sun, drink in the wild air and wade our toes blissfully in the cool lakes and streams! See you in August! LuAnn, Heidi and Julie
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Your Letter to Your Younger Self

Your Letter to Your Younger Self
We’d love to hear the letters you would write to your younger self, if you could bridge the span of time. What counsel would you give yourself? What do you wish you had known when you were a child, teen or young adult?  Post your letters in the Comment section or on our Facebook page!
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Dear Younger Me

Dear Younger Me
Dear younger me: Grasp and consume God's insatiable love for you. Understanding whose you are will help you to know who you are. When you get your identity from God, you won't need your identity from others. It's the only way you can begin to see people as God does and love them without subconsciously seeking to get something in return (e.g., approval). It's the only way you will risk and not worry about failing. It's the only way you will dance like no one is watching. It's the only way you will fight Satan's lies. You know; the ones where he whispers that God is disappointed in you. That a true Christian would never think those things or stumble like that. That what you are doing isn't good enough. He has already given you everything you need for godly living. You can stop...
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Dear Me...

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We are beginning a new series for the month of June called  A  Letter to My Younger Self . We pray that it will both resonate with you and encourage you. Dear Me, If I could impart some wisdom to you from this my 60th year, I'd like to tell you something you were never told growing up. You is kind. You is smart. You is important.* You is kind. Kindness is the gift of a tender heart. A heart of which you have. It is a heart that has experienced it's share of pain and trauma and yet sees the world as good, as beauty-filled. Because you are tenderhearted and a bit of a romantic, you will not fare well with the rigidity of your upbringing. You will feel the need to be molded into an acceptable version of you. The thing is...God made you YOU. So even if y...
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Hello June!

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​As long as the earth lasts, there will always be a time to plant and a time to gather the crops. As long as the earth lasts, there will always be cold and heat. There will always be summer and winter, day and night. Genesis 8:22 June is the gateway to summer. Jean Hersey I wonder what it would be like to live in a world that was always June. L.M. Montgomery  And since all this loveliness cannot be Heaven, I know in my heart it is June. Abba Woolsen It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. Maud Hart Lovelace  Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January. Hal Borland  Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June. Al Bernst...
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Who are you listening to?

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Therefore I urge you to imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. 1st Corinthians 4:16 We have a new neighbor. Just moved into the little nest in our forsythia bush. She's a cat bird. Cat birds have the most delightful song. I recently discovered that they are related to mockingbirds. And that makes sense, since their vocal abilities allow them to copy the songs of other species. When they string all those lilts and tweets together they end up creating a song all their own. Sometimes I've even heard it mimicking crickets or croaking toads. Every now and then it throws its trademark "meow" into its song to remind us who that song really belongs to. As I've been out writing on my deck, serenaded by my new neighbor, it got me thinking. What voices have I been listening to? How have I been pa...
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A Blessed Memorial Day to you!

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May we all appreciate the freedom that this day represents.  The Heart Matters gals, Heidi, LuAnn and Julie   
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Paradise

Paradise
Like a drink of water after a marathon. Your own bed after weeks away. A hug from your son or daughter returning home. Protein after a workout. A hot shower after catapulting off your paddle board into deep muck (not that I know this personally) . That's how the sun's rays felt last Sunday after months of Minnesota chill. As I lay sprawled on the back deck of our red, black and white Malibu, the sun's rays gave valiant effort to change my white Scandinavian freckled skin to a reddish brown. As the boat gently bobbed up and down like the local loons in the middle of the lake, my son read his novel and my husband polished water stains to oblivion. The birds were singing like they were competing in an American Idol contest as the water gently lapped onto the sandy, rocky shores. "I'...
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Regret

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"Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress…" Hebrews 12:1 My preschooler was in a mood, and it was as if nothing was going his way and everything made it worse. To add fuel to the fire, we were out for a family walk, he was running ahead of us, and as my son got close to where the sidewalk ends, my husband shouted, "Oscar! Wait for us, buddy!" But he didn't wait. He kept running. My husband's voice grew louder, and I joined him in a chorus of, "Stop! Wait right now!" But it wasn't until my Olympic runner of a husband chased him down that Oscar stopped. There was a stern tone of voice and serious faces exchanged, but my son got the message loud and clear—"Cars are dangerous. You have to listen. When we say stop, you stop, and yo...
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The Fragrance of Forgiveness

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Has there ever been a time in your life when a certain scent wafts past you and it stops you in your tracks? Like catching a whiff of the perfume your aunt used to wear or the aftershave that your grandpa once wore. Fragrance's that you haven't smelled since childhood. Aroma's from bygone years. Yet, when you catch that scent it takes you back in time, bringing a smile to your face and tears to your eyes. Scent is a powerful memory-maker. Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains. —Diane Ackerman That is one of the reasons I planted Monarda, also known as Bee Balm, in my garden. Yes. It draws butterflies, which I love , but, Bee Balm also grows wild along the creeks and littl...
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Choose Him

Choose Him
This beautiful blog is written by LuAnn's daughter, McKayla. She's wise beyond her age.  Choose him. To abide, pursue, and invite Jesus into your life is a choice we have every day. Similar to exercising and eating healthy, the decision to include Jesus in your daily life does not often have immediate transformation. Over time, the daily decisions of healthy nourishment and working out will begin to manifest physically. This is true with positioning spiritually also. Positioning is dire to the transformation to your heart and mind and to everything he wants to do through you. Renewing of your mind and the outflow condition of your heart comes with the small moments and decisions to pursue him in the day-to-day mundane. What if more days than not you were eating healthy and exercising?...
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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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Let's Hold Hands

Let's Hold Hands
Have you ever heard any of the following?​ All that church cares about is numbers. That's more important to them than obeying Christ. That church is so small because it is not relevant. I connect with God more in a small traditional setting; I don't see how you can attend a big contemporary church. People that attend that small church are an uppity click. The music at that church is outdated. The music at that church sounds too much like the world. Old hymns have such rich meaning and depth; contemporary songs are so repetitive and meaningless. I don't even understand what the hymns are saying. Who would want to go somewhere where they sing those? Spiritual gifts like tongues and prophecy aren't relevant for today. Satan is just using that to take them off-track. If you don't speak in tong...
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God's Goodness Runs Like Clockwork

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"Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6 What runs like clockwork in your life? Is it your morning routine? The sun rises, you wash your face, brush your teeth, and eat scrambled eggs, and then off to work you go. Is it your kids' schedule? They need their lunch by noon, nap time naturally follows, and Daniel Tiger is the only way to get through that afternoon slump. Or maybe the only thing consistent in your life these days is trash day, and when Tuesday rolls around, you roll out your can to the end of your drive, and as you come in from work, you bring it right back up. As Christ-followers, there's more regularity to our day than we may know or even imagine. Whether it's been a bright or dark da...
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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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Loving Pursuer

Loving Pursuer
Taste and see that the Lord is good. —Psalm 34:8a He has also set eternity in the human heart. —Ecclesiastes 3:11b I'm not sure why I was so shocked by what she was telling me. I shouldn't have been. I've been a Christ follower long enough. I've heard countless stories. But for some reason, how good God is and how uniquely he works to bring about transformation in each of his children, how much he loves and pursues each one of us, always rocks me. Rewind back to this summer. I had received a phone call from a beautiful young lady who is friends with my daughter. She wanted to talk. I prayed before she arrived, as I sensed God wanted to speak to her through me. As she sat on our porch swing that balmy summer day she relayed to me how disappointed she was in the direction her life was g...
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Heavenly Lessons from My 3-Year-Old

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My son talks a LOT about heaven these days. His bedtime prayers sound like, "Dear God, can we go to heaven this weekend?" and our conversations in the van include, "Mom, heaven is so high! How will I ever get there?" I'm soaking it all up. I'm taking in the wide-eyed wonder, amazed at the scope of his persistent questions, and replying the best I know how: "We might get to go to heaven today if Jesus is ready! He's preparing a place for us, like Daddy prepares your room and gets your bed made, and He'll come get us when it's all set and done." Or "It is so high! We can't get there on our own! But Jesus will help us. He's the only way we can get there." And with all of these heavenly thoughts and kingdom-minded questions fired at me from my 3-year-old, a line from the Lord's prayer comes to...
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Heart Matters Gals

Julie has been inspiring children, youth, and women as a speaker, teacher, silent retreat leader, author and mentor for over 30 years. She was the Director of Women's Bible Studies at Eagle Brook Church, is a certified Spiritual Director and the owner of Heart Matters Publishing Company. She is an alumnus of Bethel University and Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. As an author she has written Bible Study Curriculum and Devotionals, including her latest collaboration, Whispers of God's Grace. Julie draws on her wide range of life experiences, humor and love of God's Word and His creation for her writing. When she is not writing, you will find her absorbed in a good book, puttering in her garden or dreaming of France. Julie and her husband, Rey, live in White Bear Lake, MN and are the parents of two grown sons, Erik and Kyle.

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