Heart Matters Blog

Journey along with the Heart Matters Gals

Christmas Memories

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These people we once knew are not just echoes of voices that have years since ceased to speak, but saints in the sense that through them something of the power and richness of life itself not only touched us once long ago, but continues to touch us still.—Frederick Buechner It happens every Christmas. I get nostalgic. Perhaps it is the music. Whenever those old familiar carols play, sweet memories come flooding over me...like the year that my family decided to surprise my grams and gramps in Pennsylvania with an unexpected Christmas visit. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Scurrying around the house like Christmas mice in the darkness of the early morning hours, packing the car with gifts, travel games and suitcases. It was such delicious fun! When the long stretches through I...
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Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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Sending you much love at Thanksgiving! We are so thankful for our readers, Emilie, LuAnn, Julie and Sally 
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Gratitude

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Before you get started, find a comfortable spot where you can sit quietly with your Savior. Spend a few minutes in silence. Ask God to meet you there in the quietness of this moment and to speak His heart to you as you sit with Him. Have a journal and pen/pencil ready to jot down any thoughts that come to you during this experience. Take a moment now to read through the following Scripture passage slowly. You may want to read it out loud. As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border of Galilee and Samaria. As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were healed of their leprosy. One of them, when he saw that he was healed...
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Caring Father

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I was feeling pretty blue. As I maneuvered my car on the winding road with the wind blowing leaves all around, the tears trickled out.  I knew the country I had grown up in and loved was in a very bad place. I said out loud, "God, will you fight for us? That's the question. Because maybe you're sick of us, and it's time we get what we deserve. I wouldn't blame you at all. Wickedness keeps increasing, and we the church have let it. We have not been the shining lights you called us to be." Immediately the song came through the radio, "You're the God who fights for me, Lord of every victory, Hallelujah, Hallelujah. You have torn apart the sea, You have led me through the deep, Hallelujah, Hallelujah…" (Egypt, Bethel Music & Corey Asbury) My sadness turned to peace and joy a...
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Look Up at the Heavens

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"Look up at the heavens and count the stars, If indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, so shall your offspring be…" This verse can be found in Genesis 15 v 5 and is this amazing moment in time when Abram is in the midst of a penultimate moment with The Lord. In the previous chapter Abram had just been in the throws of battles with a whole bunch of kings, and has an encounter with Melchizedek, The King of Righteousness. As a side note, it's actually the first time in scripture we see a moment of gift giving, shown in the tithe he gives this king. If you look at the language in Genesis 14 I have it on good authority that the language in itself is military and the battles were real. Abram and Sarai, his wife had been on this crazy journey of tests and choices and ultimately lear...
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Powerlessness

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Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won't have a title until much later. —Bob Goff I was at Mayo recently and the Neurologist told me that I'm in the early stages of Primary Progressive Aphasia. It's progressive and at some point, along the line, I will not be able to speak. I've struggling to find words since early April 2019. I needed a PET Scan when I was at Mayo, but I couldn't find the words. So, Rey stepped in and said the words for me. My speech pathologist said that I need a journal when I make phone calls. I write out the things I need to say, and voila, it works. I wish I had it at Mayo that day. I am powerless against this disease. I can take supplements, but I am still helpless against this disease. It's hard to be powerless.&nbs...
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Fear

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My oldest brother walked up the sidewalk to his car and drove away, leaving my friend and I home alone. Being middle-schoolers, we were excited to have the place to ourselves. But a little later we heard a thump. "What was that?" We looked wide-eyed at each other. The rest of the night, we went back and forth on whether our imaginations had grown the size of the old farmhouse itself, or whether we had every right to have palpitating hearts and frozen limbs. As the night wore on, we became convinced we were not alone. At the pinnacle of our terror, we decided we needed to take some sort of action and face the latest noise head-on. As we cautiously moved towards the noise, my brother jumped out from the shadows, terrifying us. He had indeed not left for a night on the town! After relief...
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A Grateful Fall

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Here we are again, the trees turning and dropping their leaves, the strong and living frame unveiled again having beautifully hosted so much growth, so much of itself. Trees so perfectly testify to life, their seeds, and fruit now making their way towards the earth to nurture all that's to come. It's a grateful fall. A pay-it-forward even. The cycle so inviting, to experience the tree in its most vulnerable transition. For everything to be removed and yet somehow it stands there naked and completely unashamed. That final transition full of golden leaves, as they truly are. This cycle we call life seems to roll around again, and I get this sense that we are being invited to take so much of it with us into what is next. The river is flowing in the most strangest of years and the new beginnin...
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Monday Meditation

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I’ve been inspired by Christine Sine’s Facebook columns on Christian Poets and Writers page. Her actual website is www.godspacelight.com  Tom and I have just returned from a very wet neighbourhood walk – such a contrast from a week ago when the dry smoke-filled air carried toxic chemicals and was hazardous to breathe. It is so good to breathe fresh air again and be able to enjoy our beautiful neighbourhood walks. I have found myself gasping in awe at the patterns of raindrops on flowers, leaves and even spiderwebs. The rain has invigorated me, and, not surprisingly, had me searching for my post on rain walking from last year where I talked about how good rain is for us in body, mind and spirit. This year, however, my daily rain walks have made me hyper aware of tho...
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The Fragility of Passing Beauty

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For everything there is a season... Ecclesiastes 3:1 We have left summer behind and now it is autumn. The yellow of the birch trees, the different shades of red and orange of the maples, and the green of the willows is startling. My orange maple is shedding its leaves on this late September day. Sorry to see them drop to the ground. But it is the fragility of passing beauty… from summer to autumn, from autumn to winter. Repeating itself all over again next year, and the next. It is hard to confront winter again. I love spring, summer, and autumn. But winter, it's so cold here. It feels like it’s never ending… But that's where faith comes in. Knowing that spring may be just around the corner. Faith is not an effort, a striving, a ceaseless seeking as so may earnest souls suppose. ...
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Gifts

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His weathered hands, watery blue eyes and salmon-colored lips poured out stories; then a pause came in the outpour, like a thermos pouring coffee, interrupted. His look pierced me across the table and he said, "You have the gift of encouragement." After initial surprised silence, I tumbled out messily, "Ah, yes... I believe I do... How did you know?" I had just met this precious elderly couple about 15 minutes ago and had only gotten in a few sentences. (Yes, I had injured my foot. Yes, I was familiar with and loved staying at the Wilderness Prayer Cabins where his son managed…) My question was just out of my mouth when he replied, smiling confidently. "Holy Spirit told me. Praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus. He is good." Then he went back to his story as if nothing of significance had ...
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Expectation

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I'm sitting in an English country garden writing today's blog for Heart Matters Publishing. As the summer days turn to autumn I'm glad the mornings are still warm enough to invite this morning's moment. In fact, I sat here a couple of weeks ago too, surrounded by books and Bibles, a gift tag slotted in as a marker in my latest read, Secrets of The Secret Place, a cup of coffee and shadows speckled on the weathered table. Such sweet memorable moments, and on this morning I found myself not only taking a deep rest-filled breath of fresh air, but also meditating on part of Psalm 62, specifically looking at verses one and five. "Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my Salvation" (62v1)"My soul, wait patiently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him" (62v5)"My expecta...
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Have a Blessed Labor Day!

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To our precious readers, we wish you a blessed Labor Day...  Love to you,  Emilie, LuAnn, Julie and Sally
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A Bright Field

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Our besetting sin is to hurry, and the remedy is to turn aside: I have seen the sun break through to illuminate a small fieldfor a while, and gone my wayand forgotten it. But that was the pearlof great price, the one field that hadthe treasure in it. I realize nowthat I must give all that I haveto possess it. Life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering afteran imagined past. It is the turningaside like Moses to the miracleof the lit bush, to a brightnessthat seemed as transitory as your youthonce, but is the eternity that awaits you. R. S. Thomas (1913–2000) was an Anglo-Welsh poet and Anglican priest who lived in Wales and served in small rural parishes with his wife, the artist Mildred "Elsi" Eldridge. Yet Thomas insists that life is found when we, like Moses, turn a...
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God Knows Best

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Poem by Helen Steiner Rice Our Father knows what's best for us, So why should we complain We always want the sunshine, But He knows there must be rain We love the sound of laughter And the merriment of cheer, But our hearts would lose their tenderness If we never shed a tear... Our Father tests us often With suffering and with sorrow, He tests us, not to punish us, But to help us meet tomorrow... For growing trees are strengthened When they withstand the storm, And the sharp cut of a chisel Gives the marble grace and form... God never hurts us needlessly, And He never wastes our pain For every loss He send to us Is followed by rich gain... And when we count the blessings That God has so freely sent, We will find no cause for murmuring And no time to lament... For our Father loves His child...
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Sidelined

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"No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around..." May Crandall, Before We Were Yours The new slalom ski sliced through the water spraying water all over my face. I laughed and vigorously shook my soaked head to see better. It was fast and it was fun. Little did I know that in a few minutes, my summer would be flipped upside down. My daughter continued to give me the thumbs up as I cut back and forth, seeing what this new ski would do. My hubby moved his arm up and down to warn me of big waves coming. I wasn't worried. I had hit plenty of those doing water sports through the years. The waves hit. My ski pushed right and forward but the stiff new boot ...
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He Leads Me Beside Wheat Fields

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Carrying on after Julie's rested words and response to presence last week, I too was deeply moved by an experience I had last weekend. Aren't there so many spiritual truths availableto us in our everyday lives that have the potential to nourish our souls? It seems to me that in simply observing our lives we are met with so much wisdom and learning. My prayer, even as Iwrite this blog, is that you might draw on your life and listen to the still small voice in the midst of creation and your experiences. That you might know another facet to God's heartbeat and how His presence is constant.So, back to my experience last weekend. I visited some friends for a quick one-night camping trip, and they were pitched right beside a vast wheat field. I had been hoping to capture a wh...
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He leads beside still waters...

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He leads me beside quiet waters… he restores my soul. —Psalm 23:2 I am sitting by still waters today, but there is a party on the lake. People having fun; diving in and dive-bombing into the water. Someone is tubing on the lake as well, and jets skis too. It is not exactly quiet, but it does restore my soul. Just when I was going to write that it is calmed down now, there is another whoop from the party boat. It is so peaceful here by the water, despite the party. I took my shoes off and dangled my feet in the lake. I love the sound of water lapping up on the shore. It is so soothing. It reminds me of the Allegheny river when I was young. My Grandpa Simey would take us out on the rowboat. We would pack a lunch and I remember the waves lapping on the shore of the river as we parked our boat...
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Summertime Fun

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We Heart Matters gals are taking the month of July off as a writing hiatus. We'll be back in August!!! Emilie, LuAnn, Julie and Sally
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Wise Strength

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As many of you know from my previous writing, I love discovering and digging into the meanings of names and since my brother and his wife included my grandads name in their first sons, I was intrigued by what it means. In this season and time it also feels like a real gift to be lead down this path as my grandads name is Raymond (Ray), which means, "Wise Strength." Last week my Grandad passed away just a few days after his 95th birthday, his stature, kind and strong but by the end his bones were ready not to be here anymore. Ever since the birth of my first nephew and watching the deterioration of my grandad I have been pondering my grandads name. What does it mean to be strong? What does "wise strength" mean? Just a couple of the questions that have ruminated inside me.Biblical Scripture ...
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Flowing Grace of Now

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Consider how parched wasteland can become a blossoming meadow after a good rain. The challenge, of course, is to live mindfully so that we do not miss the lessons hidden in the seasons. Hold each season up against your life. Consider the little flowers growing up through the deadwood. The deadwood is a source of life for them. It is their mulch. What can this teach you about the apparent deadwood in your own life? What is your mulch? What helps you grow? What can the seasons teach you? —Marcrina Wiederkehr I have been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia. It effects my speech. I want to LEARN from my struggles, my questions, and my unrest. The first thing that the seasons teach me is that it is always changing. Spring blossoms in crocus, daffodils, and tulips. Late spring produces the lo...
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Heavenly Children

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"You are supposed to destroy the works of the devil and stomp on hell for a living. The cross is the revealing of your value. If you get who you are because of what he did, it doesn't matter what people have done to you." Todd White Our world is in chaos. And many of us feel defenseless. So many voices are shouting to be heard. Often their messages are different, outright contradictory, depending on their experiences. How do I respond as a believer? I honestly don't have all the answers. There are a few words that keep landing in my brain though, like the cotton from the trees that keep landing on my porch, clinging: listen, pray, serve. Fight for righteousness and the innocent. In other words, be more like Christ. As these thoughts were circling in my head, I ran into a friend as I was dr...
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Injustice

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I won't stand by watching a sister fight against a brother, a friend hurl insults against another friend, a Christian slander another child of God + let Satan kick back laughing in TOTAL GLEE. Smiling from ear to ear. So happy we played right into his hand.Don't be mistaken—whatever you see with your own 2 eyes? Not it. Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood. So all the hate, injustice + division?We know the truth. Paul makes it very clear: We're fighting against the evil rulers, authorities + mighty powers of this dark world + against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12)So rise up, friends. There's a war going on + it didn't just start last week. Don't let yourself be deceived, don't turn on each other like Satan hopes + remember from where you fight: God for ...
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In Honor of George Floyd

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"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. " Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  We are lamenting with our brown and black brothers and sisters.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21: 2-4
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Who Is Our Neighbor?

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 Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. —Mark 6:30-31 Who is your neighbor? Is it the people living next to you? Is it your fellow man? Or is it the strangers you might never meet? Rey and I recently served at Second Harvest Heartland. We were at the tail end of the boxes. Rey put in Instant Potatoes and Dried Milk Powder in each package. I put a flyer in, date-stamped it and then sent it through the taper. The guy on the end loaded it onto a pallet. A week's worth of food goes into each box. Feeding the most vulnerable around us. It was such a gift to us to be able to serve. We were so blessed by the experience that we'll be back serving the first week of June. All of us, at some time ...
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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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