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Be a Pine Tree

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

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I was asked to write on new beginnings for this weeks blog post and although I had a few ideas of the directions I could go I ended up wrestling with these two simple words. This left me wondering how I might best express these thoughts and a poem emerged. I hope the questions in this short poem and the overall prose will help you see the art of taking time within new beginning seasons, for what goes around comes around and Gods cycle is one of grace. New Beginning I wonder how I will read the past from this moment? Is it place or time or both? Something never lost but never again to be walked. Mine and yours and ours. I only have the past to look back on this day, this moment, new beginning. And now. And now. And now. But I do get to write it anew, from a new beginning point of view. We w...
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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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The Journey

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

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New Years. A time of year we observe that God did indeed make each of us one-of-a kind. One friend says, "I never make resolutions," and laughs carefree. Another will pull out her latest New Year's Resolutions typed in serious Arial or Calibri on 90 lb. bright white paper from her nicely-labeled folder. This year I observed some cementing their 2020 intentions on Facebook. Others reflected on the woes of the past year. Still others looked forward to the new year with the same excitement they did when pumpkin spice lattes came out in the fall. I love this diversity. But some of you may be feeling New Year's stress or ambivalence; I hope some of the following thoughts are helpful.​ When is not important. Self-reflection and goal setting are beneficial, but when can be what makes sense for yo...
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Burdensome Baggage

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

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

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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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Star of Wonder

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

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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 beautif...
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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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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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