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Journey along with the Heart Matters Gals

Lovely Ragtag Church

When strangers walked through my front door along with a diverse mixture of people I knew, I wasn't sure how this would go. My daughter had organized this gathering, feeling strongly that those of us who are Christ-followers and also passionate about digging below the surface of what is really going on in our world, should meet. We gathered our tea and snacks and then I ushered them into a small sitting room with glass doors overlooking the lake. As we talked, the sky turned black as quickly as water going through my Keurig. At one point the man across from me got a funny look on his face as he looked past me. "It can't be that time." His wife's mouth shot open and her eyes became large buttons. I craned my neck around to look at the huge metal wall clock hanging behind me. No way it ...

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Voice

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The loud shrill of a toddler makes me scrunch my face as I resist the reflex to shoot my hands up to my ears. While my ears are being pierced, I can't help but smile, my heart melting. This is the sound of a voice being found, practicing and playing with different tones and volumes, and it is a beautiful thing. Language and vocals are one part in developing a voice, but it's not the whole. It is just the beginning. It seems to me that some are born with their voice fully formed and developed, able to express their needs and wants without any problem. While for others that expression is harder and takes much more work and time to develop. I'm among those who have had to work hard to find my voice. Often being a quiet observer rather than a vocal contributor in life. Part of that is the pers...

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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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A Little Change

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Do you have a container somewhere in your home where you collect all the loose change from your pockets and the bottom of your purses? Somehow over the span of weeks, months and years the change accumulates and you wonder how much might be in the jar. Well, we have had a jar in our kitchen, a jar that is so big that it would take at least 10 years to completely fill, and this past weekend we went to a local store and had it counted and returned to us in dollar bills. The amount was fun and surprising. The jar had not only accumulated US dollars but other currency as well, including Pesos, Canadian dollars, Israeli shekels, Euros and British Pounds. As we filtered our coins through the machine the unrecognizable coins made for a handful of foreign change, and so my winter tale begins. Amids...

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Mrs. Made-New

by Jani Lippert Promnitz Joyous Living FB When we feel like we can't hold it all together, we begin to start thinking on the right track. Because we can't and never will. But, we can rest in the promise that he can and always will. I recently had a birthday. Did I hear a happy birthday? Awe, thanks guys! Don't worry if you wondered if I celebrated; believe me, I did and still am. Anyway, my mom wrote me a sweet birthday card as moms do. In the card was a list of all the past year's highlights: coaching volleyball, teaching a year of 5th grade, delivering Joy to the world, resigning from teaching and coaching, becoming a full-time wife and mom, celebrating Jon and my one-year anniversary, and finally moving to a new town, church, and home. These were all good things, but that...

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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 3:13 Have 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 ...

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Grateful for the Margins

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I'm sure you have had this experience; you open a book that you have bought secondhand, or in "good condition" from a third-party amazon seller, and you open it up and it's full of underlined paragraphs, little notes in the margins (no matter how narrow), stars by key words or N.B at the top of a whole page. Well, this past week I opened a book and there they were, the notes and scribbles of another human.  As I started reading this book the strangest feeling started to come over me, like a presence, kind of warm, and I realized that I delighted in the small handwritten note in the margin of the first few pages. The funny thing is that the handwriting wasn't that legible, but the scribble was delightfully endearing and it captured my imagination. It had me gazing off beyond the p...

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Faithful Friend

I want to be a fall girl. Like my friends. I really do. They wrap fall around themselves as beautifully as the burnt-orange and brown-colored scarves they pull out of their closets and drape loosely around their necks. "Isn't flannel shirt season the very best?" They ask me in delight. "No. It isn't." I shake my head emphatically to punctuate my dissent. They sip on their pumpkin- and maple-spiced lattes in frothy bliss. (In their flannels of course.) This only deepens my consternation. My daughter and her friend have their Christmas music blaring. "Are you kidding me?!" I exclaim. "On the second day of November?" "Well, I feel it's technically acceptable once we have our first snowfall, and we have already had that," my daughter explains. This reminder that this did indeed take place...

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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 17:7-8 Here 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 ...

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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 t...

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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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Josiah: A Boy King

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​We are not our family history. We are not our genetics. We are not our age. We always have a choice. King Josiah wrapped this truth around his life like the royal robes that adorned his body. God's Holy Word shows us that Josiah became king at the tender age of eight. This happened after his father, Amon, was murdered by the officials who worked for him. (2 Chronicles 33:24)  What emotions and thoughts were swirling through young Josiah as they placed the crown of authority and responsibility on his small head? Was the weight of what it represented heavier to his soul than the weight of the crown to his head? Was his mind and heart still reeling with trauma from having his father murdered? Although having his father alive was maybe just&nb...

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Jonah: On Running

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If you grew up going to church, chances are that you are familiar with the story of Jonah being eaten by a big fish after trying to run away from God. As a kid, the story seemed straight forward: don't run away from God and everything will be fine. Now, studying it and digging deeper into the story I'm seeing how much more complicated it is and how many different elements are at play. Side note: am I the only one who wishes that life could be as simple and straight forward as it seemed as a kid? Everything is so much more complex as an adult. Most things are not black and white like they seemed as a child, there are more than two dimensions to every action and decision someone makes. In Chapter 1, Jonah is called by God to go to the city of Nineveh to preach against the wickedness of the p...

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David: A Man after God's Heart

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As I have been pondering the life of David over the last few days I have been profoundly struck by the meaning of his name. It's actually where I always like to begin, finding out the meaning and etymology of a name that in turn becomes more of a verb that we get to learn and see from. It occurs to me that once we have these puzzle pieces in play, we can enter the sacred story being told which makes it bigger than the man or woman who walked the planet at a certain time, and offers us layers in which to find wonder, points of wrestle, and usually an opportunity to smile at God's fun play with words. David, in its most common form, in the English language, means "Beloved" but after some further investigations into the Hebrew roots, it is also interesting to discover that the verb, dawa, fro...

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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 Spirit It 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 ou...

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Tea Time

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​Mary…sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. Luke 10:39 In 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'...

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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 11:16 Think 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 t...

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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 12 There 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 a...

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Caterpillars

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 …and He answered by setting me free. —Psalm 118:5b My 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 caterpil...

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Come Alive

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"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" (Brené Brown). I love this. Brene Brown has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and her words continue to inspire and challenge me. What if we had a whole world full of people who felt alive and full of life? That would be a stark contrast to the stress and fatigue that is so often felt in the world today. How do we work toward a world that is alive? God created each of us as individuals. We each have a unique set of gifts, experiences, and interests. It is our privilege to be able to discover those gifts. To explore the heart that God gave us and how our experiences have played a role in shaping the personality that we were born with. It is t...

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Unfailing Love

Isn't that what each of us is ultimately seeking? To be loved unconditionally and unfailingly? Our heart's cry at gut-level? To have our inner heart's yearnings and dreams understood. To have our ugliness exposed and received in love's care, with no worries of being shunned or discarded. We have sought this love in other people. And it fell short. Well below the mark of what books and movies promulgated, the fabrications spun. I want to know this unfailing love that the prophets and kings so often regale in the Bible. God's unfailing love. Our Creator. Our Father. David especially grasps this (NLT): I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7 Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,...

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You love me this way

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It felt important to pick up the dead butterfly. I was out on my regular walk and much of my time on the path I am listening to a podcast or audio book, on this day I was listening to Falling Upward, a book by Father Richard Rohr. The other part of its title and the heart of the subject is "A Spirituality for the two halves of Life". Those words, this book, has come at such the season. A release, stopping, review and turning. A real life example to the phrase I was privy to a number of years ago, "It's a wise person who knows what time it is". I guess that's why it felt important to pick up the dead butterfly. My experience has been this. Fashioned upon the path that we all walk are the environments, stories, communities and sometimes painfully metaphorical and physical pictures that ...

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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

    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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