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African Violets

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​The Amen of nature is always a flower. —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.Well over a year ago, a friend gave me an African Violet. She was going to throw it away because it was getting crowded in the pot it was in, as it had 3 different plants, and it wasn't blooming anymore.I told her I wanted to take it home to see if I could salvage it. I separated the 3 individual stems and repotted them into 3 different pots. I used special African Violet potting soil; I bought a special African violet pot for the biggest of the 3 plants. It's a porous smaller pot that fits into the larger pot that is filled with water, so it continually gets water to its roots. I even bought African violet food to add to the water! I put the pots in a very sunny window. I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some mor...
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Second-Guessing Myself

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Don't be anxious about anything... —Philippians 4:6I don't know if you've ever experienced this or not, but I have found that sometimes after I have said yes to serving the Lord in one capacity or another, I begin to second-guess myself. I think of all the other qualified folks out there who could do a much better job than me, and I grow a little weak in the knees. But then, just about the time I have convinced myself that I really ought to bow out of my obligation, God encourages my quivering heart by reminding me of the type of people He used in the past.Take Amos, for instance. When God needed a preacher to talk some sense into His people Israel, He didn't go to the nearest synagogue or seminary to find His candidate; he chose an ordinary man who tended fig trees for a living.When he wa...
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The Interruptions of Jesus

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The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life — the life God is sending day by day.—C.S. LewisInterruptions: to be stopped or hindered by others with remarks or questions.From the start of his ministry to his death, Jesus couldn't finish a sentence, attend a dinner, a Wedding or even find time away without being interrupted. When Jesus was teaching in a house, four friends couldn't get their paralyzed friend in, so they climbed up on the roof with him in tow. They decided to let him down from the roof. So, they tore a patch big enough to lift him down and because of their precious faith, Jesus healed him. Despite...
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A New Beginning

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My friend Melody wrote this blog on her new beginning...  The beginning is always today. — Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Thus begins a new column on a new day. I have not written a column on new beginnings before. Maybe because the phrase new beginnings is redundant! Can there be an old beginning?When you encounter a beginning a range of feelings can be felt: openness, excitement, fear, sadness, freedom, happiness…We get to choose what feeling we are going to hold on to. With each column I write I never know what the finished product is going to look like. It is an exciting adventure each time I sit down to write.I have a theme and goals for each column as well as an openness. Then I engage with the ideas and the column has begun. There are twists and turns in the process.Eventuall...
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Count Your Blessings

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Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe. —VoltaireThroughout the years, it has been my habit to keep a Faith Journal. I call it a Faith Journal because what I have written on those pages... when my faith is firm and the eyes my heart are open to see the various blessings that God has touched my life with... have been the greatest source of encouragement to me when my faith is especially thin and my eyes so clouded with tears that I have a hard time seeing God's presence anywhere.As I flip through that journal, I am reminded that yes! God has walked with me through every twist and turn along life's way. He has whispered my name on the wind and touched my innermost being with beauty. He has embraced me through the hugs of friends and spoken deep into my h...
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Be a Pine Tree

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 At least there is hope for a tree…if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its root may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.—Job 14:7-9Pine TreesBefore straight-line winds tore through our neighborhood one summer, we used to have stately pine trees gracing the fence line of our backyard. Despite the trees determined effort to withstand the storm's fury that fateful day, several of them, looking more like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, had to be cut down. Three rather defiant pine trees managed to remain rooted in place, although they were snapped in two in the process. After all the debris was cleared away, those three broken pines stood as the only evidence of the ...
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The Journey

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I tramp a perpetual journey. Walt WhitmanAs a five-year-old girl, we moved to Minnesota from Pennsylvania. And it was to Pennsylvania we'd travel for summer vacations, and if we were lucky, for Christmas too.We had many relatives in both states and precious friendships as well. There was always excitement in the journey home to PA. It was, after all where my mom, sis and I were born. We married the summer before Rey's senior year of college. As soon as he graduated, we packed up and left for France. A journey nothing like home. So foreign to us. Different language. Different food. Different everything. Yet, somehow it grew to be home to us. The basketball team became like brothers to my hubby, the Bonnet's (the President of the team) became like our parents, and Bonnet's daughter, Maryse, ...
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Burdensome Baggage

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Carrying any baggage with you into the New Year? Oh… I'm not talking about those extra pounds we all put on over the holidays. Or even the balance pending on your credit cards. What I'm talking about is the emotional stuff we lug around with us—old junk that we just can't seem to shake off—excess luggage like old grudges, hurt feelings, discouragement, nagging worries and cares.I sure feel like I am carrying a big old suitcase or two with me this year. The problem with carrying that burdensome stuff around with us is that it doesn't just weigh on your mind, it weighs down your heart and impacts your life. It leaves you wide-eyed at night. It shadows you during the day. You try to release it. You beg God to take it. But somehow it still haunts you. Over the last few weeks I've been reading ...
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Christmas Blessings

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Wishing you and yours a precious holiday season filled with love, joy and gift of the Savior’s presence into the New Year! 
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Star of Wonder

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​Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.Matthew 7:7-8While the rest of the world took little or no notice of the bright star that had suddenly appeared in the night sky, it did catch the eye of a few foreign fellows living in a country east of Jerusalem. Observing the spectacular stars return night-after-night sparked earnest curiosity in them.They gathered together in serious study; excitedly probing, researching, and investigating anything they could get their hands on concerning the meaning behind its arrival. When they discovered that it signaled the birth of Israel's king, they packed up gifts to present him and set off in high ...
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A Blessed Thanksgiving

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My husband lost his brother on Tuesday. Yet, we have hope that we will see him again, because of the hope of heaven! If you are experiencing rough times, know this... we are never alone! Not only is Jesus near and in us... but we have each other gals!Have a Happy Thanksgiving girls! Emilie, Julie, LuAnn and Sally 
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Across the Pond

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Encourage each other while it is still today. —Hebrews 3:13Have you ever had a pen pal? I was in elementary school when I learned that some of the girls had them. And I was always a bit envious of them. I wanted one too.But as the years slipped by, I never did form a pen pal relationship. Then about six or seven years ago I wrote to several cheese operations in England to inquire for my cheese-making husband if they were interested in his help.Only one of the operations responded. She had noticed the bible verse at the bottom of my email and asked if I was a Christian. From across the pond a new friendship was born. That was the beginning of our pen pal relationship.I had been writing to my precious friend, Maryse, in France for over 38 years. When we had become like sisters while Rey was ...
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Apple Harvest Season

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 "Those who trust in the Lord will be blessed... They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit."Jeremiah 17:7-8Here in my neck of the woods, it is apple harvest season. The local apple orchards are buzzing with business, packed with folks whose mouths have been watering to sink their teeth into one of those fresh-picked beauties. I know...because my hubby and I were one of the hundreds who milled through the orchard, waited for hayrides, got lost in the corn maze, or stood in line for warm apple donuts this weekend!! Yum!!!As we meandered our way through the orchards, there were several tim...
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A Sanctuary

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​I love old churches and cathedrals.It started years back when we lived in France. The churches there are so ancient and so beautiful. I found it difficult to pass through a town or village without stopping to take a peek around and sit for a spell inside, if time allowed. The hallowed silence within their walls breathed such peace to my soul. Being a foreigner in a new land, it felt the nearest thing to home. Since then, I have made it a habit of visiting old churches wherever I go. We've been to old churches in the French Alps when we visited, and when we were in Scotland and the UK, we visited beautiful cathedrals, even ruins of old churches and abbeys in Robin Hood's Bay. There seems to be a reverence about them. A hallowedness. As much as I love the church in Big Sky with its beautifu...
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When Breathing is Hard

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We love to share Hannah Fordice’s writings with you... she writes so beautifully, sharing her heart with her readers... I'd never seen someone die, so I guess I didn't know what to expect.In movies the family is told there isn't much time, they gather around the hospital bed and whisper their goodbyes. The passing itself a flutter of eyelids, a chest that stops moving and the soul is gone.Perhaps that is what death looks like in some cases, I can't really say. But it's not what it looked like for her.She went into an unresponsive state on a Monday morning in October. The leaves outside were turning flares of red and orange, like the trees had caught fire."There isn't much time"So we gathered around her bed and whispered our love, our goodbyes. They said we should tell her that it...
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Habakkuk: An Attitude Shift

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I have always loved the book of Habakkuk. Ever since I was introduced to it by Hannah Hurnard when I read her allegory, Hinds Feet on High Places, long years back. Habakkuk was a prophet to Judah, the last remaining vestige in the land of Israel. And he was struggling. He had watched as his people turned to corruption and idolatry. And he couldn't take it any longer. He had a meltdown. So, he cried out "How long must I call to you for help and yet you do not listen, God? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore, the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails." He doesn't just shout his consternation to the heavens. He does something most us of don't do. We're not pat...
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A Blessed Labor Day!

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​Praying that as you relax this Labor Day, you will remember that others are struggling across the globe... especially when the hurricane blasts the Bahama's, the East Coast of FL, GA and SC, NC. There will be horrific flooding, damaging winds and destruction. Keep them in your prayers and consider donating to the Red Cross or Samaritan's Purse!
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Swept by the Spirit

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Christ's love has moved me…—2nd Corinthians 5:14 Swept by the SpiritIt had been an exceptionally still afternoon. The quiet hush that hung in the air lured me out onto my porch.I stood motionless; fearing that I might break the spell that held the earth speechless. Then it happened. The slightest of breezes wisped around me and up into the treetops, delicately fluttering the leaves before disappearing as quickly as it had come. Once more everything became deathly still. Many moments passed in silence before I noticed the leaves move again ever so slightly; as if by a mere breathe. It was a marvel to watch how responsive the leaves were to even the gentlest of winds whispering under and around them.They never moved of their own accord, they only rustled when the wind compelled them.In our b...
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Tea Time

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​Mary…sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said.Luke 10:39In the Victorian days of Britain, when my favorite author, Jane Austen, lived, friends routinely gathered to share their lives over an unhurried cup of tea. According to Julie Loree Peterson's book, Treasuring the Gift of Teatime, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, is credited with instituting the "ritual" of afternoon tea. She frequently experienced a "sinking feeling" in the late afternoon, so to "buoy" her hunger and state of mind, she began taking tea and cakes every day at five o'clock, inviting friends to join her.Back in the 1950's and 60's my mom's generation also gathered with friends at least a couple of times a week, calling their little daytime soirees "coffee clutches". Life was slower than; folks' schedules weren't s...
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There’s No Place Like Home

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They were longing for a better country… a heavenly one.—Hebrews 11:16Think for a moment about the word paradise, what comes to your mind? Do thoughts of a tropical retreat with white sandy beaches and swaying palm trees hit the mark? Or does a cabin up in snow-capped mountains with stunning views better fit your notion of the word? My idea of paradise would be a cottage with flower-filled gardens set in the Lake District of England.The mere thought of getting away to places such as these stirs our hearts with longing. There is something almost magical in the plotting and planning of a trip, whether it is to Boston or Barbados, Portland or Paris. Once we've settled on where we are going, the anticipation begins to build as the longed-for day of departure approaches, which to me is half the ...
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A Forest Fable

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 Two are better than one. If one falls, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help him up! A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 and 12There once were three young trees that grew up together in the forest. Two of the trees grew straight and tall. The other developed a crook in his back. But, all three of them had one goal. To stretch their branches heavenward as best they could until their leafy top touched the sky.As trees do, they loved when gentle breezes blew. Feeling the wind whisper through their leaves sent shivers up their trunks. Birdsong frequently set the woods alive with praises and, if they were lucky, one might even perch in their limbs and sing a secret song just for them. Squirrels gave chase, leaping and ...
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Caterpillars

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 …and He answered by setting me free. —Psalm 118:5bMy youngest son was a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of kid. He always had a pocket full of rocks to show me at the end of the day, along with an explanation of why each one was such a treasure to him. On more than one occasion, he brought home a special little "friend," from a tiny toad to a fuzzy, black and orange caterpillar he discovered who knows where?Caterpillars were his favorite though. So, on one occasion we let Kyle keep his furry friend, making a little habitat for him so we could watch his activities up close and personal.Over time, the big glass jar we had filled with branches, morphed into the home of a brownish cocoon. Month after month we watched and waited. We even went to the library to check out books on caterpillar...
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Dear Jesus, Do Something

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​"Dear Jesus, do something." ― Vladimir NabokovOne of my hubby's favorite movies is Bruce Almighty. Bruce is a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who complains to God that he is not doing his job correctly. But, then God offers him the chance to try being God himself for one week. His first response was to answer all the prayers of the people with a simple yes. However, he soon learned it was not that simple after all. He thought if he answered yes to everyone's prayers it would all go smoothly. But instead it made a huge mess of things…fast. Sometimes we believe God isn't doing his job correctly either. Especially when he doesn't answer our cries for help in the way that we think he should. Or when it drags on for weeks, months or even years.Have you ever felt as if your prayers were bouncing o...
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Two Four-Letter Words

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​Don't give up before the miracle happens.  ― Fannie FlaggThere are two four-letter words that tripped up folks in Jesus' day and they continue to trip up a good many of us today. Oh, I'm not talking about swear words, I'm talking about two little words that can literally change the course of one's life. The first word is can't and just saying this word suggests to us limitations, defeat and resignation. The second word is ​won't​, and it can render us unapproachable and unbendable.When Jesus stepped into the lame man's world, he found not only a broken body lying there by the pool, he found a broken soul. Although the man lies by that pool in Bethesda looking for a miracle, he believed in his heart that it would never happen to him.Because he felt that no one cared about him, he assu...
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Wonder Woman?

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We all have a Wonder Woman inside us. —Diane Von FurstenburgI used to be a Wonder Woman. I used to juggle leadership roles, writing, working, being a mom and wife well. Somewhere along the way, I seemed to have lost her. And I've been struggling to find her ever since. I don't know if it's hitting the 60's that's doing it. Or if it's the medication I'm on. But I can hardly juggle a single ball well.I know women who have gone back to school at my age. Maybe I just need to stimulate my mind a bit more.I know that winter has a chilling effect on me. I kind of do what the bears do… hibernate. Now that it is spring perhaps, I can find that rhythm again. I've come to the prayer cabin to rediscover that person that's down deep inside of me. A time to be alone with God and hear his heart for me.I'...
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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 62 this year. 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 finishing my degree in relational communications and plan to graduate in the spring of 2020!! I am thankful I have had time 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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