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When Angels Appear

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God’s angels are watching over us.

David Jeremiah

 

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To my child...

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

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

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

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This Labor Day weekend...

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 Have a blessed and rest-filled weekend dear readers!

 

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With Friends Like That...

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

Carole Mayhall

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

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I'll Leave the Light on for You

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Give light and people will find the way.

—Ella Baker

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

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Lake Country Booksellers - Book signing

Lake Country Booksellers - Book signing

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

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A Love Letter from Jesus

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

Love Letter from Jesus

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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On Baking Bread and Remembrance

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This week we Heart Matters gals are highlighting Amber Krueger's beautiful blog. She uses her gifts of creativity and artistry to bless and encourage others to do the same.

Check out her blog: https://byambershands.com/. It's a wonderful collection of yummy recipes, creative crafts and ideas to inspire you to tap into your own God-given gifts and abilities.

The last few days have been incredibly difficult ones for me.

On days like today, when my heart is heavily burdened, when my thoughts are clouded and my spirit is grieved, I find myself drawn to performing simple tasks with my hands.

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A Cat with No Name

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During the month of July, we gals at Heart Matters want to lift the voices of other women who write beautiful blogs.

I'm delighted to re-post a beautifully written blog by Hannah Sorvik Fordice.

“I don’t know who I am! I’m like cat here, a couple of no-name slobs. We belong to nobody and nobody belongs to us. We don’t even belong to each other.”
— Breakfast at Tiffany's
 

"Did you hear a cat too? Or am I crazy?"

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Hello, Goodbye

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The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, it is hello, goodbye…until we meet again.

—Jimi Hendrix 

One of the advantages of advancing years are all the memories that are stowed away in the heart. Like treasures that have been carefully tucked away up in the attic, we brush the cobwebs aside, lift the trunk lid and memories come spilling out.

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Guest — Tina
This is beautiful! You transported me right back to good ol' Warren, PA! Good-byes are bittersweet, but I know everyone cherishes... Read More
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 12:01
Guest — Julie Miller
Love you too, cuz'!!
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 21:44
Sally Page
Awww, Jule, precious words, and such precious memories. This got me teary-eyed. I'm so glad you were able to make the trip back Ea... Read More
Tuesday, 20 June 2017 18:57
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Aging Isn't for the Faint of Heart

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I’ve reached the age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me.

—Maxine 

I’m aging. And it’s getting more and more apparent: from the crow’s feet around my eyes to my ever-growing wattle neck. Yep. Inherited that lovely item from my grandma o. There were so many wonderful traits I would have loved to have inherited from grams, but, this is the one I got. 

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Bend Low to Bless

Bend Low to Bless

“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.”

Mandy Hale

“I tell you the truth, anything you do for the least of my people here, you also do for me.”

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Loved... from Ordinary to Extraordinary

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We gals grew up hearing and reading love stories and fairy tales from the time we were little. One of my very favorites was, and still is, Cinderella. 

Perhaps I am drawn to her story because, like myself, she was just an ordinary gal. 

And, she, like many of us, found herself stuck in what felt like the inescapable drudgery of daily life.  

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In Unguarded Moments: Jehoshaphat

In Unguarded Moments: Jehoshaphat

No book is a chapter

No chapter tells the whole story

No mistake defines who we are…

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Control Issues

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I heard an old man speak once… He said that he’d finally figured out a few years ago that his profound sense of control, in the world and over his life, is an addiction and a total illusion. He said that when he sees little kids sitting in the back seat of cars, in those car seats that have steering wheels, with grim expressions of concentration on their faces, clearly convinced that their efforts are causing the car to do whatever it is doing, he thinks of himself and his relationship with God: God who drives along silently, gently amused, in the real driver’s seat.

Anne Lamott  

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a firstborn. A child of divorce. A burden-bearer by nature that desperately wants everything to be alright. Or a combination of all three. 

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Patty favet
Wow, this speaks volume so to me! Thanks Julie!
Sunday, 29 January 2017 17:49
Trish Oliveira
Thank you.. Just what I needed to read today!
Friday, 03 February 2017 08:20
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'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season

“I’m feeling very thin and vulnerable, in a good way.”

Amy Layne Litzelman 

It hit out of nowhere. The flu.  

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The Frenzy Begins

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They ate till they were gorged— he had given them what they craved.

Psalm 78:29

There is a difference between eating and drinking for strength and from mere gluttony.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
 

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Lake Superior

Lake Superior

…the Father…does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

 

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The Gift of Summer

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“Spring flew swiftly by, and summer came; and if the village had been beautiful at first, it was now in the full glow and luxuriance of its richness. The great trees, which had looked shrunken and bare in the earlier months, had now burst into strong life and health; and stretching forth their green arms over the thirsty ground, converted open and naked spots into choice nooks, where was a deep and pleasant shade from which to look upon the wide prospect, steeped in sunshine, which lay stretched out beyond. The earth had donned her mantle of brightest green; and shed her richest perfumes abroad. It was the prime and vigour of the year; all things were glad and flourishing.”

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

You made summer… and gave it to the earth.

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Roots - Wings

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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

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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

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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

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 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: Wave Battered Naomi...Faith-filled Ruth

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 Death, like ocean waves, surrounded me,
and I was almost swallowed by its flooding waters.

2nd Samuel 22:6  

I have heard it said that trouble comes in threes. I know it's just an old wives tale, but, oddly enough it happens from time-to-time. It's happened to me. How about you? 

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

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The Heart Matters Gals

  • Julie

    Julie

    I’m turning 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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