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Heart Matters Blog

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We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen. It is a difficult lesson to learn–to leave one’s friends and family and deliberately practice the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week. And yet, once it is done, I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a solitary place where he could be alone in prayer.

Mark 1:35


I spent the afternoon gardening at my friend Mariann’s house. When we parted ways she blessed me with gardening goodies. As soon as I got home, I planted those green gifts, along with a packet milkweed seeds I’d purchased, to add to my growing gardening collection of butterfly-charmers. I love everything about butterflies–from the fuzzy caterpillar stage to chrysalis to the final metamorphosis. That’s why flowers like allium, asters, bee balm, coneflowers, daylilies, hollyhocks, lavender, Russian sage and Shasta daisies fill every space possible in my garden to attract my beautiful winged friends. 


I now notice almost every single butterfly. I pay attention to most plain old butterflies, not just the ones in tiaras or argyle socks. Butterflies…are like one perfect teaspoon of creation.

Anne Lamott


For all the enjoyment fuzzy caterpillars and flittering butterfly antics bring, it’s the cocoon stage that absolutely intrigues me. I find it nothing short of supernatural! How God takes a hairy little creature with myriad legs and transforms it in the quiet darkness of a chrysalis into a winged thing of beauty–in just a week or two–flabbergasts me.


And yet, astonishingly enough, that very miracle of transformation that God shapes in a cocoon, he also longs do in us.


But, that kind of work requires something of us.


It requires our time. Just as the weaving of a caterpillar into a butterfly takes time.


In order for God to do that kind of supernatural metamorphosis in our lives, we must carve out time hidden away from all eyes but His. Time alone. Time in solitude. Time enough to free us from distractions. Time enough to abandon ourselves to the Spirit in order to stretch, mold and shape God’s heart in us.  


Solitude is not simply a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in his image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world. In solitude our heart of stone can be turned into a heart of flesh, a rebellious heart into a contrite heart, and a closed heart into a heart that opens itself up once more.

Henri J. Nouwen

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Our Best Laid Plans

It’s plain and simple, life or the plans we make in life are not plain or simple.

Austin Kleon


I had spent countless hours on the internet pouring over airline, hotel and B&B sites for our trip to France last summer. I started the process in February, booked our flights the end of April, and our hotels the end of May.


But, even best-laid plans can change at a moment’s notice.


Our flight was delayed two hours in Minneapolis. The connecting flight in Frankfurt--missed. Confusion and mayhem ensued. Long lines endured, barely. When we finally arrived in Geneva hours later, Rey’s bag had gone AWOL, literally—even the airline had no idea where it was.


And to top it all off, Rey was scheduled to start work at a cheese factory in the Alps the next day. Only, his uniforms and boots were packed in that lost suitcase--floating somewhere out there in the airport stratosphere.


Here’s the thing I’m learning through experiences like this one… God doesn’t always get you where you are going to smoothly.




But, I like things to go smoothly. In fact, I kind of expect it to. How about you? If you're like me, interruptions, schedule changes, waiting in long lines, or behind slow cars in the fast lane when you're in a hurry can be a real mood changer.


Why is that, I wonder? It’s not as if everything in life falls into place or goes according to our plans and dreams every single time. But, somehow we still expect it to and are so disappointed, frustrated, or agitated, even with God, when it doesn’t.


What does this say about me? About us? What does this say about our faith in a God who works all things together for our good? (Romans 8:28)


Our arrival in France put us behind schedule in every way. With no way of connecting with le fromager (the cheese-maker) in Bogeve, we headed to our B&B on Lake Geneva. The following day we nervously made our way to our hotel in La Chappelle d’Abondance and prayed for the best.

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The Lost Art of Civility

“Civility awareness and a common foundation of considerate conduct are crucial to our future. Let us work towards not only bringing civility back in style, but ultimately making it a lifestyle.”

Cindy Ann Peterson

The Power of Civility: Top Experts Reveal the Secrets to Social Capital


Put a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.

Psalm 141:3


I found myself in a long line at Walmart the other day. It’s one of the reasons why I find it so difficult to shop there…those lines try my patience! Yet, there I was. Stuck, like everyone else ahead of and behind me.


long line in supermarkeet


Let me just say that there was plenty of foot-tapping, head-shaking and sighs going on all around me. That is until one woman could no longer hold her tongue and unleased her frustration on the poor cashier.


Nothing unusual these days. But, what was unusual was that rather than turn away wrath with a gentle answer as Solomon so wisely advised, the cashier instead goaded the irritated customer with snide remarks and sarcasm.


This only flustered the older woman further. She searched desperately for support from one of us in line, who now had their eyes diverted in order to avoid being drawn into the situation.


After she was gone, the cashier continued to belittle the rude woman to the remaining customers in line.


I was saddened.


When it finally came my turn at the register, the cashier tried to lure me into her tirade as well. Instead, I shared a little story with her. I told her that several years back when my sister was hospitalized with brain cancer, I spent days at time away from my own family in order to care of my sister’s three children. I often brought them back home with me, as well, so that my sister's hubby could be by her side. Before long I felt emotionally, spiritually and physically spent and, as such, I have no doubt that I said and did things under duress I would surely regret today.


I continued, We never know what the back story in another person’s life is. Yes! That customer may have just been downright crabby, but, since we don’t know, it’s always best to counter rudeness with a civil, polite, courteous, grace-filled response. Because the only words we can control are our own.


She started for a second, then began offering excuses for her behavior. I simply listened and walked away disheartened.


Sadly, this scenario plays out every single day. At Walmart. At the grocer’s. At restaurants. Sometimes even at church.


It happens in our vehicles, too–only we use hand and head gestures and, these days, sometimes bullets to get our point across.


What has happened to civility? To patience? To respect? To common courtesy and being polite?

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God's Divine Paint Brush

A canvas: linen, muslin, sometimes a panel; then the gesso—a primary coat, always white. A layer of underpaint, usually a pastel color, then, the miracle, where the secrets are: the paint itself, swished around, roughly, gently, layer on layer, thick or thin, not more than a quarter of an inch ever—God can happen in that quarter of an inch.

Steve Martin


I first caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye.


As I panned across the Conservatory’s colorfully riotous display of flowers, I spied a bent-over elderly figure, seated on a bench, tucked between the lilies and cyclamen.


There he was quietly working. His paints, brushes, water jars and a completed canvas lay spread out beside him.


I was drawn to him like a moth to flame.


I tucked myself into a little nook, just behind him, where I could watch as he delicately worked his craft. His first strokes were a watercolor wash of teal blue-green. When his backdrop was dry, he took out a pencil and lightly drew the outline of the flower he intended to paint. He dipped his fine brush into the water jar, then into red paint, then added white and worked them together to get just the right shade of pink.


Painting Friend2 


Each sweep of his brush had intention. Each swirl. Each stroke. He knew what he wanted to accomplish. One-flower-at-a-time.


To my untrained eye, however, there were times when he’d add a color that looked muddied or seemed to ruin the work altogether. But, a line of paint would be added, giving definition. And before I knew it, what I thought to be a mistake, transformed into a thing of beauty.   


Isn’t that the way God works his brush strokes across the canvas of our lives?


He, too, like my elderly friend, goes about his work quietly. Despite the fact that we wish he’d speak up more and explain himself.  


And he is never in a hurry. Though we often wish he’d move a little faster. But, he has a process. His first strokes lay the foundation from which our lives take shape. He knows what he wants to accomplish in us. One-stroke-at-a-time.

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In the Garden

 In the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden containing a new tomb in which nobody had yet been laid. Because it was the preparation day and because the garden tomb was conveniently near, they laid Jesus in this tomb.

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb, very early in the morning, while it was still dark, and noticed that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been lain.

They said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him!” she said.

Then she turned and noticed Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.

Jesus spoke to her, “Why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”

She, supposing that he was the gardener, said, “Oh, sir, if you have carried him away, please tell me where you have put him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

At this she turned to face him and said to him, in Hebrew, “Master!”

John 19: 41 and 20:1, 11-16


This is one of my very favorite passages in all of Scriptures.


And I love it for so many reasons…on so many levels.


For one thing, I love that of all the places that God could have arranged for his Son’s body to be lain after the Crucifixion, he had him placed in a tomb in a garden.


the tomb


And that makes sense. It was, after all, in a garden that God’s story with humanity first began.


The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—and placed the man (and woman) whom He had sculpted…whom He had formed…there to care for it.


And where it all went terribly wrong…


The woman approached the tree, eyed its fruit, and coveted its mouth-watering, wisdom-granting beauty. She plucked a fruit from the tree and ate. She then offered the fruit to her husband who was close by, and he ate as well. Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths.

Genesis 2:8 and 3:6-7


Then, in this garden where Jesus is lain, God redeemed that story.


The circle once broken in Eden’s Garden, by flawed, sin-stained humans like you and me, finds its completion at the foot of a cross in Golgotha where Jesus died, then climaxes in this garden when he rose again.


God brought His story…our story…full circle in a garden.


Another part of this story that I love is God’s timing! Of all the times of the year that Jesus’ death and resurrection could have taken place, he chose springtime! A time when life here on earth is awakening from the deep death of winter. Both landscape and human hearts alike are experiencing the renewal of hope that this Easter time of year brings.


Easter is the soul’s first taste of spring.

Richelle Goodrich

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A Sacred Romance: You Have Captured My Heart...

Mary’s heart began to thump and her hands to shake a little in her delight and excitement. What was this under her hands which was square and made of iron and which her finger found a hole in?

It was the lock of the door which had been closed ten years and she put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key and found it fitted the keyhole. She put the key in and turned it. It took two hands to do it, but it did turn.

And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if anyone was coming. No one was. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly — slowly.

Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.

She was standing inside the secret garden.

It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place anyone could imagine.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden


There’s something quite delicious about discovering a secret place.


My uncle once discovered a hidden little cove on one of his many Huckleberry Finn adventures along the riverbanks of the Allegheny. This sweet secluded pocket of still, clear water was where he would bring my sis’ and I to swim—while the river itself raced past just feet away. It was our secret place and we, like Mary in her secret garden, felt such incredible awe, wonder and delight when there.


When visiting my hubby’s sister and brother-in-law in Morelia, Mexico last February, I discovered another wonderful little secret. Hidden behind the barred gates and stucco exteriors of the houses built one-right-next-to-the-other were…


   Mexico 2005 0758 0219 Morelia Sportsmobile Parking on Narrow Street  1559071 34 b w


Private gardens. Walled-in spaces for the homeowners alone to enjoy. Some were decorated with pavers and fountains, others with grassy areas to lounge in. Each one hidden away from the stares of the people on the street.


  Debi Mazars Home Photo by Michael McNamara  4443059077 3fe7812d11 o


Perhaps that’s what Solomon envisioned when he wrote the following love letter to his new bride…  


You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride.

You are my private garden…scented with the very choicest perfumes! An orchard of pomegranates with all kinds of luscious fruit… A secluded spring, a hidden fountain, a well of fresh water…

Song of Songs 4:9, 12

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Guard Your Heart

And every day, the world will drag you by the hand,

yelling, “This is important! And this. And this…”

And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back,

put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”

Iain Thomas


Above all else, guard your heart, for from it flows the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:23


When my hubby and I lived in France long years ago, there was an ancient city that I so wanted to visit. A city we’d driven past on several occasions. But, we were always on our way to or from a basketball game. And, much to my regret, we never found the time to stop.


Last summer I finally got to check that visit off my bucket list.


Carcassonne is an old fortified city that stands like a beacon on a hilltop. A fairy tale, Cinderella city with turrets and barbicans and stone-laid streets that, if you closed your eyes and imagined it, you would feel quite certain that a horse-mounted knight-in-shining-armor would clip clop past you at any moment.




As romantic as it was to imagine life in those days, God had a few thoughts of his own to speak into my soul that day. Starting with a whispered, “Guard your heart…”


I had loved those words from Proverbs ever since I first heard them many years ago. But, being reminded of them again in such an imposing city like Carcassonne, made the words spring to life for me.

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Burdensome Baggage



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 through the book of Proverbs. When I came to chapter nine, the following verse jumped right out at me. It stopped me in my tracks.


Leave your old ways behind and live!

Proverbs 9:6


Why is it so hard to leave those old ways behind? Why do we struggle so with carrying these burdens from one year to the next?


I think one reason is that after a spell, we grow accustomed to them. Oh, we don’t like insomnia any more than the next person, but, there is also something oddly comforting in bearing old grudges, in feeling justified in hanging on to hurts others have inflicted. And, how can one not feel a bit discouraged these days when we look around at the chaos in our world? Or if you’re one for whom the floor fell out of your life or out of the life of a loved one, how can you not carry that around with you everywhere you go?

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New Years Thoughts

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

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Christmas Thoughts and Prayers


The Christmas Star in the night sky, the shining of the Christmas light in the night – all this is the sign that light breaks into the darkness. Though we see about us the darkness of unrest, of family discord, of class struggle, of competitive jealousy and of national hatred, the light shall shine and drive it out.…Wherever the Christmas Child is born in a heart, wherever Jesus begins his earthly life anew – that is where the life of God’s love and of God’s peace dawns again.

 Emmy Arnold

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Christmas Memories...

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’s 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 Indiana and Ohio began to curb even a child's enthusiasm, we broke the monotony by singing. Dad taught us how to harmonize so we could sing in four parts; my sis sang the melody, I sang alto, mom baritone and dad sang bass. It was amazing how fast time flew by singing every Christmas carol and jingle you can think of!


By the time we reached the Pennsylvania border it was snowing. Heavily. Snowflakes as big as quarters fell from the sky. The tree branches were laden with snow, creating white arches over the road for us to pass under. I was sure we had enteredWinter Wonderland.




When we finally reached my grandparents house, we tiptoed as quietly as we could up to the front door and began singing the Christmas songs we had practiced over the many miles. As soon as my gramps heard us, he made a beeline for the kitchen to load up a plate of Christmas goodies and opened the door fully expecting to see the neighbors out caroling.


I can still see the look on his face. Tears shimmered in his eyes...and our eyes too.


Whenever I hear those old familiar carols play, my mind wanders back toWinter Wonderland...to Pennsylvania...to the look on my sweet grandpa’s face...and tears shimmer in my eyes still.


Perhaps it is the music...


But, then again, it might be the scent of Christmas cookies wafting in the air.

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Flirting With Temptation: Esau

    Before you make a decision, ask yourself this question: will you regret the results or rejoice in them?

Rob Liano 

If only I would! If only I would stop and give thought to my decisions. Not all decisions, mind you. In many decisions I am quite strategic.

But, when it comes to the little decisions, you know, the spontaneous ones like “I’m hungry, and that ooey gooey brownie would help tide me over till supper” decision or “That shirt is as cute as a button, and if I don’t get it now, it may not be here the next time I come” decision? Those are the types of decisions that trip me up time-and-again.





When I’m hungry or flirting with temptation in my favorite clothing shop, I fare rather poorly.


It’s hard to admit, but, I can be rather impulsive at times. Without careful thought or planning ahead, I can easily succumb to that irresistible urge.


It seems to me that Esau, a biblical character I have been spending a lot of time with lately, struggled with impulsivity too. Listen in to the following conversation he had with his twin brother, Jacob…


29-30 One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew—I’m starved!”

31 Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.”

32 Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?”

33-34 Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn.

Genesis 25:29-32

The Message

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Where Is God When Life Doesn't Make Sense? - John the Baptist

  "I talk to God but the sky is empty.”

Sylvia Plath

Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense.


Like when you finally reach a stage in life when you and your spouse can fly the coop and enjoy time just the two of you...then divorce papers are filed, or an illness strikes or you are left alone at a graveside without a chance to say goodbye.


Or when the child you have loved and nurtured turns against you, or turns to alcohol or drugs, or disappears without a trace.


Recently I’ve been talking to God about my second-born son. He has been struggling, too, but, not with anger or alcohol issues. He is my high achiever. He graduated from his college and master’s degree programs with a 4.0. He is incredibly diligent, meticulous, and detail-oriented, and if given a chance, would make a phenomenal employee. But, for two years he has struggled to land a job in his field. He has worked as a janitor, in an amp shop and with a professor to make ends meet.


After two years of beseeching the heavens, I told my hubby the other day that I feel as if my prayers have been bouncing off the ceiling.



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Running Restless

What do people really have after all their work and struggling here on earth? Throughout their life they have frustrations...even at night their hearts are restless.

Ecclesiastes 2:22-23


The mountains were hemmed in by fog. The light morning drizzle altered quickly to downpour. It was damp and dank. The sweet little red bistro table and chairs and the red geranium sitting on the deck alongside looked lonely as I gazed out at them longingly. If it had been just a bit warmer I would’ve ventured out to them, but there I stayed. In where it was warm and cozy.




The fog and rain usually settled in at night in the Alps, with the sun making its reappearance in the morning. But not that day. That day it had its way with us...forcing us inside.


The paramount question one faces on a day like that is...will I yield myself truly to this involuntary confinement, or will my heart stir restless...agitated all the day long...seeking a way of escape?

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Rooftop Refuge: Seeking Solace

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord. How I long to be there, my soul faints to enter...

Psalm 84:1-2

On the roof, it's peaceful as can be and there the world below don’t bother me...

Carole King


It was hotter than blazes the five days we made Aix-en-Provence our home. I was sure I would melt into a puddle and be remembered no more. Especially after a day of exploring ancient Aix’s compact, often confusing and extremely congested streets, packed with visitors, like ourselves, converging there for a piece of its beauty and mystique. 


At day’s end we would slowly mount four flights of stairs to our little apartment up on the roof. Each step we took felt heavier than the last; doubts crept in that I would reach the top. But, fortunately, our sweet little abode had air conditioning, a rarity in France. And nothing felt quite so wonderful as stepping through that door.




But, being cooped up in air conditioning all evening didn’t suit a romantic soul like mine, either. Gratefully, just outside our French doors was a little rooftop refuge, a perch at trees top, my very own balcony sanctuary.


So, after a nice cool shower, I’d slip out onto the porch in my jammies − with my journal and cup of tea in hand − just as the sun was slipping further west and the heat of the day lessened. What a gift it was sitting peacefully above the hubbub, listening contentedly to conversations, and watching all the comings and goings of folks as they dined in cafés and ambled their way through the narrow streets below.




Those were sacred hours for me. Gifts of all sorts were bestowed there by God. From Holy Spirit whisperings on the wind, to rest for my aching, weary feet, to sweet birdsong, to the setting sun painting the sky in pale shades of pink, orange, yellow and purples just above tiled rooftops each evening − that no doubt inspired many an artist’s paintbrush down through the millennia.

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Holy Mystery: The Unexpected Voice of God

Who knows what God will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it? Not knowing is what makes today a Holy Mystery...

Fredrick Buechner


Our twisting and turning journey through the French countryside, leading to what seemed like nowhere, on little roads that one car could barely maneuver on, had my hubby on edge. But, I had so longed to visit Hautecombe Abbaye...that we pressed on.


It was an hour-and-a-half drive from our hotel in Annecy, a drive that at one point had us clinging precariously to cliffs-edge high above Lac du Bourget. I could hardly draw breath I was so enraptured by the amazing panoramic views...my hubby, on the other hand, was holding his breath and clutching the wheel for dear life. His nerves frayed, I began praying that somehow, someway, this crazy little adventure of ours (mine!) would be worth the effort.




Unfortunately, the road into the Abbaye narrowed significantly. When we met a few tour buses head on, it nearly put the kibosh on our expedition once and for all. But, with both vehicles riding the grassy edge and an inch or two to spare, we passed one another, then turned into the first parking area we could find so that Rey could loosen his tight-fisted clench on the steering wheel and finally breathe.


It wasn’t until we started for the Abbaye that we realized that we were in for a bit of walk. We had parked in the lot farthest out on the property. But, the walk did us good. Besides, when in France, walking is a way of life...part of the journey.


As we made our way closer to the old Basilica we were startled to hear voices singing “10,000 Reasons,” by Matt Redman...in English. It literally stopped us in our tracks. Tears still well up in my eyes just thinking about it. 

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Stumbling, Bumbling, Fumbling: Fundamentals of Growth

We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life.

John W. Gardner

President of Carnegie Corp and Secretary of Health Education and Welfare under Lyndon B. Johnson


We started months in advance of our trip to France checking out French CD’s from the library. It had been 34 years since we had lived there and sadly, without constant use, much of our French had been forgotten. So, we listened to CD’s at home and in our cars, repeating the words and sentences like a couple of mina birds. My hubby practiced every chance he had with a French grad student at the U. And I pulled my old book “French for Le Snob: Adding Panache to Your Everyday Conversations” off the shelf and studied it like I was preparing for an exam.




But, for all of my preparation, I still ended up stumbling, bumbling and fumbling my way through conversations.  


It wasn’t that I couldn’t understand what most folks were saying. My struggle occurred when I tried to enter into a discussion. The perfectionist in me would get so preoccupied trying to remember the past, present and future tenses of words and sentence structures that by the time I had my thoughts formulated, the topic had long passed and was onto another. That left me no other recourse but to smile and nod a lot, and rely on my hubby Rey, who has such adeptness to languages, to carry the conversation for me. 


But, it was frustrating. We women have at least 10,000 words a day we have to get off our chests. I knew I couldn’t keep this up forever.


So, I began praying, “O God, remember in Acts 2:4, 6-8 where the disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages? And the people who heard them were mystified, surprised and amazed, saying, ‘Look, aren’t all these folks Galileans? How is it then that they can speak in our native tongues?’  Well, I'm just wondering if you would be willing to do that for me too?!” 


What I sensed God whispering to my heart instead was this, “I know that you think that a supernatural dose of French language skills is what you need most right now, but, what I long to do will stretch and grow you. So, instead of supernatural French skills, I would like to fill you with a fresh dose of supernatural love for these, my precious ones, here in France! My love can overcome any language barrier.”

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Roots - Wings


It's that time of year again! Time for buying school supplies, filling backpacks and waving goodbye as the bus pulls away. But, for some, like our guest writer, Heidi Zwart, the school year also means leaving her firstborn son 1,000's of miles away at college.

May all you mama's and grand-mama's be blessed by her words and by God Himself as this another school year commences.  

Don’t blink. Time flies. It’ll be over before you know it. So many clichés. But now I’m living them. Why?

My first-born just left the nest.

I swear it was yesterday I embraced Drew while we sobbed together in our kitchen after announcing our move to the East Coast. It was 5 years ago.

The day before that, I smiled as he smiled back at me for the first time… with braces. It was 7 years ago.

And just before that, I walked him to the end of the street before he stepped onto that big yellow bus for Lincoln Elementary. It was 13 years ago.

And JUST the day before,  I labored for 27 hours for a long-awaited 10 pound, 1 ounce baby boy named Andrew, who forever changed my name to mom. It was 18 years ago.

Can anyone relate?

Looking back I feel incredible joy living right alongside sadness at the moments that we’ve left behind. Some will get hazy with the passing of time while others will remain firmly locked with crystal clarity.

A few years ago, during a moment of panic about the future, a friend shared wise words with me about preparing for, enjoying, and letting go of each moment in time. Her words have carried me through the past five years and will forever guide me into the future.

Simply put, letting go is a process and we are equipped for each step. If we look too far ahead, we get overwhelmed. The truth is, we never live life as fast as we do in our own mind. Our kids don’t go from kindergarten to marriage overnight.

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Can You Hear Me Now? Supplication


A nun I know once told me she kept begging God to take her character defects away from her. After years of this prayer, God finally got back to her: I'm not going to take anything away from you, you have to give it to me.

Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

I first crossed paths with them in the housewares department; a young dad pushing his two-year-old son in a cart with his four-year-old daughter skipping along close beside. He was obviously passing through this department on the way to his desired destination, judging by the hurried pace with which he was moving. 

As they whirred past, I overheard the little boy ask his dad if he would buy something for him, to which his father replied, “If you’re patient, I’ll stop and get some ice cream treats on our way home.”  

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I Have a Confession to Make: Confession


Therefore, make it your habit to confess your sins to one another and to pray for one another, so you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective!

James 5:16 

As we walked through the large wooden doors into the Cathedral of the Divine Savior in Morelia, Mexico, a hushed awe fell over me. Light flooded the lofty hallways and sanctuary. A service was in progress as tardy parishioners trickled in, finding a seat in the back. I smiled thinking, “They are not unlike American parishioners, I see.”  

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Women of the Bible: A Responsive Heart - Lydia


 Nothing is so infectious as example.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld 

Do you have role models in your life? People you look up to? People whose lives, work, attitude or actions encourage and challenge you to believe more fully and to live and love God and others more freely?

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Women of the Bible: God's Cheerleader - Elizabeth

Women of the Bible: God's Cheerleader - Elizabeth

After praying and pining for a child of her own, Elizabeth had long settled it in her heart, now that her childbearing years were far behind her, that she would never experience being a mother.

But, that didn’t stop others from speculation and gossip as to the why’s and wherefores. In that day childlessness was often attributed to sin of some sort on the part of the woman.

The pain-filled stares and the whispers were not lost on Elizabeth all those years. 

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A Lenten Meditation

 A little Easter heart preparation - by Macrina Wiederkehr from her book Seasons Of Your Heart

Wherever we may be, we carry with us in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus, too, may always be seen in our body.

2nd Corinthians 4:10 

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For the Sake of Our Children


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the Kings horses and all the Kings men

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What is love?


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.”

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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.

The Heart Matters Gals

  • 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


    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


    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 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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