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Grapevine's

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I am the Vine; My Father is the Gardener…you are the branches.If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit... John 15:1a and 5a The picturesque town where my husband Rey and I lived in southern France was surrounded by vineyards.Growing up in the Midwest where soy, corn and wheat fields spread across the land, acres of vineyards were an anomaly to us.So every now and then, as we traveled the winding roads of our wine-producing region, our curiosity would get the best of us, and we'd just have to pull our little Fiat over to the side of the road and sneak a peek down one of those neatly manicured rows. Joseph, one of the financiers of the basketball team that my husband played for, happened to be a vinedresser.When he extended an invitation to us, to dine with him at hi...
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DON’T TURN AWAY WHEN THE BLOSSOMS FADE

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Some of you may remember that last year at this time my daily awe and wonder walks were the delight of my life. They kept me anchored in the beauty of creation and the wonder of all I see around me. This year I have been restricted to the house. My severe allergies have had me coughing through the night and I have been banned, at least temporarily from my walks. So now I sit in my office or our living room looking out longingly at our cherry tree or neighbor's flowering tree across the street. Occasionally I don my mask and dash out with my camera for a quick photo shoot, and in the process I realize that my focus on the flashy beauty of flowers can mean I lose so much of what God wants to reveal to me. Dying Cherry blossoms Our cherry tree is now adorned with dead and dying blooms, brown ...
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Shutters

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I pray...that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope to which He has called you! Ephesians 1:18 Shutters When my hubby Rey and I were newly married, we found ourselves living in the south of France. Rey had been recruited to play semi-pro basketball in the quaint little town of "Valence sŭr Bäise", just 90 kilometers from the Pyrenees Mountains and the border of Spain. As one might expect, there were innumerable adjustments to be made in a culture quite different from our own. The first and most prominent was getting used to the seven-hour time-zone change. But it was not just our internal clocks that needed tweaking; our taste buds had to learn to acclimate as well. Being typical American's, we were accustomed to eating hamburger, but not to eat...
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Woman, Why Are You Weeping?

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The last time I went home was in early spring. It had become increasingly obvious that it wasn't feasible for us to keep the property any longer. After all, there was nothing on it anymore. My husband and I drove down the familiar dirt road in silence until we came to the mailbox I had passed a million times throughout my life. But that's where the familiarity ended. When we turned in the driveway, I was met with… nothing. That place where the log house my dad built stood nestled in pines like a postcard was now empty. It looked like a hockey player's mouth where the front teeth had been knocked out. I slowly got out of the car and walked over to where the front door had been. I stood there, in that gaping black hole surrounded by emptiness and burnt trees. I remember falling to the ground...
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In the Garden

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"Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song." —Pope John Paul II 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 t...
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On the Cross

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By Joy Lenton brought down to dust his body pierced and soul crushed never more alone trapped in the deepest darkness no wriggle room on the cross his weakened voice cries out nevertheless to the Father desolation reigns supreme in this hour becoming sin his heart broken as his father turns away cannot look at him at his glorious Son ingloriously undone the skies weep the darkness closes in like a curse as heaven watches, waits with tears and bated breath it is finished groans and silent sighs escape they rent the air as dividing curtain tears heaven's rejoicing occurs © joylenton *This is posted on GODSPACELIGHT.com it's a beautiful site... 
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Meet Sarai with an "H."

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Sarah said, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." —Genesis 21:6 Meet Sarai. She is ninety years of age. Abram was nearly 100. Well past childbirth. But God had a special surprise up his sleeve, and Sarah would bear a son in one year. I forgot the story… "No longer will be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father to many nations of you, kings will come from you. As for Sarai you wife; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will give you a son. Abraham fell facedown; and laughed and said to himself, will be a son be born to man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a son at the age of ninety." —Genesis 17:15-17 The Hebrew letter "h" is the letter symbolizes breath. The Hebrew people felt that writ...
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Nameless Sinner

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(Based on Luke 7:36-50) The butterflies in her stomach wouldn't stop. The son of God, Jesus, would be walking through the door soon. She straightened her skirt dyed blue from indigo flowers and held a little-too-tightly her alabaster jar of perfume as she silently waited in the corner. She was still in awe at her good fortune to end up in the home of Simon the Pharisee, a religious man of God! She didn't want to draw any attention or ire. Every now and again a guest would look her way with disgust or haughtiness, and her eyes would shoot quickly to the floor. Most, thankfully, ignored her. Thoughts swirled around her mind like bats on a midnight rampage. If only she could send them away! "Would Jesus accept her? Would he indeed be a friend to sinners? Were those just rumors? Woul...
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Learning to BeliEVE.

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Women of the Bible! What a huge topic. I mean who do you pick? I'm not going to lie it has been an interesting one to think about. There are stories upon stories of women throughout the scriptures who walk by faith and bring so many different characteristics, aspects and factors to being women of valor, as Proverbs 31 so eloquently puts it. There are stories that seem to have elements of repetition, like that of Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel, Hannah and even Samson's mother who are all highlighted as being barren but then all go on to have babies who have a huge impact on the Biblical narrative. There are other women such as Miriam, Ruth, Naomi and D'vorah who seem to do some pretty outrageously courageous things, and there are other women who play a role in the life of Jesus on earth that giv...
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Wave Battered But Faith Filled - Naomi

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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 wife's tale, but oddly enough it happens from time-to-time. It's happened to me. How about you? The first time it happened I was a freshman in college. The troubles started when my parents divorced and sold our home. A couple months later I was involved in a rollover car accident that completely totaled my car. Then three months later, after a constant struggle with neurological issues, I discovered that I had broken my neck in the accident. Surgery, a month-long hospital stay and six months in a metal body/neck brace followed. Fragile and unable to care for myself, I was released into the care of my precious G...
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At Every Moment

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 At every moment and every situation, God is the intimate, attentive and encouraging friend. — John O'Donohue/ Anam Cara I love my precious Savior… You are acquainted with all my ways… —Psalm 139:3. He walks so intimately with me, on this journey I am on. A journey with dementia and primary progressive aphasia. I love this quote by Frederick Buechner, "If we keep our hearts and minds open, if we listen with patience and hope…then I think we come to recognize, beyond all doubt, that however faintly we may hear him, he is indeed speaking to us...his word comes to each of us is precious beyond telling." "Like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship." ― ...
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The Forgotten Evangelist

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"There are many wells today, but they are dry. There are many hungry souls today that are empty. But let us come to Jesus and take Him at His Word, and we will find wells of salvation, and be able to draw waters out of the well of salvation, for Jesus is that well." William Seymour I was listening to one of my favorite spiritual leaders Dutch Sheets give his daily, "Give Him 15" devotion on YouTube when I first heard his name. William Seymour. Have you heard of him? Dutch was highlighting three American pioneers in honor of black history month. Although the stories of the first two African American politicians were fascinating, the story of William Seymour peaked my curiosity most and inspired me to do a little more digging. I believe you will see many treasures in his story, as all o...
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More Than a Feeling - Abraham, Isaac and My Nan!

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It's valentines day weekend and the world seems to be fixated on the big glorious celebration of love, although as a single woman I find it hard to presently connect with the romantic notions of man and woman delighting in each other and the personal desire I have for this, I can connect with a love that echo's more "place," than feeling. Love is a strange word when it comes down to it and as always I am particularly drawn to finding the first time that the word is mentioned in the Biblical text. This way of reading scripture can be very helpful when it comes to understanding a God-shaped notion of a word or concept. It's fruit usage. Seeing its first use in context gives the reader the opportunity to understand a characteristic of the word that can help us build well from it's founda...
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Happy Valentine's Day!

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We love our readers... thank you so much! Emilie, LuAnn, Julie and Sally
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Count Your Blessings

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Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. - Helen Keller Throughout 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 dee...
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Christ the Solid Rock

Christ the Solid Rock
Many are devastated right now. You are fighting depression. You are fighting feelings of hopelessness. You are fighting fear. I've been listening to you. I get it. I have walked through all those same emotions. I have shed about a year's worth of tears recently. We see any strides to protect the unborn being undone. We know the great strides into child trafficking that occurred at the border are being undone. We see the agenda for youth gender confusion and modification amplified.  Independent journalists are having their jobs rewritten. Some have lost jobs. I've had several conversations with my friends living here from China and Kenya confirming what I see happening here, and it isn't good news. Said one friend, "I was in prison 10 years for speaking against...
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Taste Your Words

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More often than not I have started to catch myself using words for situations, feelings, sadness and anger that aren't all together butterflies and rainbows. Then I was gifted with a bible study by Kisha Gallagher who has her own website, Grace in Torah and has done a study called "Taste Your Words." So I want to start by saying that I have been inspired by her teachings and wanted to bring the conversation here to the lovely Heart Matters Publishing readers.  "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" Psalm 19 v 14 The whole of Psalm 19 gives us the most stunning exploration of God's creational essence and how the heavens declare that which was spoken into being in the first place, by God, back in Genesis...
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A Recipe for 2021

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Our Pastor at Genesis East Covenant Church has challenged us to write a Recipe for the New Year. To leave the past behind, one needs to remove something in order to move forward. It as if we crossed the river… never to return to the other side. This is what our Pastor said was the beginning of recipe: The first thing he told us is to remember. In Joshua 4:1-9 they set up a memorial of twelve stones, so they could remember where they been, what they overcame and where they are headed next. The next thing he told is to be still. From Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still." The following thing he told us… to be filled with courage. Joshua 1:9, "because God is with you." Let go of your burden. "Come to me when you are weary and I wi...
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The truth will set you free

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Writing has been such a huge part in helping me process through some of the darkest parts of my life. Writing has had incredible healing power in my life. It has also been an outlet to express my happiest and most joy filled moments. Today, I am thankful for a whole lot more joy in my life lately. I wrote the following because life might not always look like we want it to. It can feel impossible and hopeless at times. But for me, the darkest times have now made me appreciate the joy filled times 100x more. Freedom is possible. The messy work of healing is worth it, no matter how long it takes or how messy it gets. "…the truth will set you free…" But first it might destroy you, first it might shatter you, first it might break you into so many pieces that you can't ever imagine being put bac...
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Happy New Year's Blessings

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We wish you a blessed Happiest of New Year's!! We truly hope that God gives his guidance this year... and embracing spiritually will create beautiful changes and may the Lord find his way to your heart. Emilie, LuAnn, Julie and Sally 
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Merriest Christmas Blessings

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We want to thank you, dear readers, for following us this year...  We love you!   Emilie, LuAnn, Julie and Sally 
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Christmas and Children

Christmas and Children
Christmas and children go together like marshmallows and hot chocolate. So when child stories started flying my way, it was well-timed fun and a blessing. Hope you enjoy them as well. My sister-in-law shared a picture of her grandson, completely enraptured with the nativity scene. Another relative sent a video of their four-year-old grandchild praising God at the top of her lungs, her brown curls bouncing as she pounded her fingers across her tiny piano: "We worship God! We worship God! We worship God! The Lord is among us! I love him soooo much! He turns the bad guys into good guys. He protects me, and that's the way it's supposed to be!" And then there was our nephew who was sharing with his nine-year-old daughter about election cheating. She got quiet and somber...
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The Path to Pondering

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We have the opportunity to welcome the story of Christmas every year with curiosity and intentionality, and today I was drawn to the moments after the birth of Jesus. I know, I know, it feels like I am getting a little ahead of myself here, but something about reading Mary's heart condition resonated in me today. I sense that as we move forward in this season of remembering the birth of Jesus on earth, there is an invitation to learn from her path to pondering. In Luke 2 Mary and Joseph had just had their baby and were receiving their first visitors. Some shepherds who had been grazing their sheep in a local field got the news via heavenly hosts and had hurried to visit the couple and the new baby laying in a feeding trough. They were excited to share all that "…The Lord had made known to ...
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Christmas Memories

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

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