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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sending You Christmas Love

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My dear Heartspoken readers: The editorial calendar says today’s post should be about connecting with one’s self, and when I reflected on that, I discovered something important: I need a break. I’m getting ready to go pack so my husband and I can get on a plane tomorrow and fly to New Mexico to visit our daughter […]

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Little Things Matter Way More Than You Realize

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I went to a Christmas party for our amateur radio club this past weekend. As I was getting dressed, I remembered to put on a necklace one of the other club members and his wife had given me a couple of years ago. Their daughter had made it and embossed it with my ham radio call sign. […]

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Jerks In The Family Need Love Too

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This thought-provoking piece, written by my friend Rick Wilcox, appeared originally on his Literary Life blog. I am reprinting it with his permission, and I hope you’ll head over there and read other posts he has written. I find them both intellectually and spiritually nourishing. Rick is a greatly appreciated Heartspoken Connection Messenger.* Let all guests […]

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Get Outside In The Winter!

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He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. ~John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866 Get outside […]

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7 Ways I’m Going To Be Kind To Myself This Holiday Season

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The calendar is crazy! Looking at the amount of writing on my kitchen calendar for December is enough to make me tense up inside and want to go crawl back in bed until 2015. It was bad enough before I went to the physical therapist for a bum knee this morning, and he wants to see me […]

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3 Letters That Changed History: Letter Writing Day Dec. 7

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December 7 is National Letter Writing Day That gives me a wonderful excuse to write about my favorite tool for connecting with others: the personal, handwritten letter or note. I’ve collected so many stories about people who were touched, encouraged, comforted or inspired by a personal letter at just the right time in their life. Today, though, I want to […]

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Don’t Expect Exotic When Common Is Most Likely

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European Starling looking for breadcrumbs from tourists near the Eiffel Tower in Paris ______________________________ I’m an avid, but relatively inexperienced, birder, so when I had a chance to travel to Europe recently, I was constantly on the lookout for some new and exotic species I’d never seen before. In Paris, there was so much traffic, hustle, […]

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Is The Chatter Of Your Monkey Brain Drowning Out The Voice Of Your Intuition?

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The chatter is deafening! The first time I ever heard the term “monkey brain” used to refer to the incessant chatter of self-talk most of us have going on in our head all the time, I burst out laughing in instant recognition. That’s exactly what it feels like sometimes, isn’t it? Especially when you’re trying to […]

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Reading Feeds Your Spirit: Spiritual Books I’ve Found Valuable

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Beyond the Bible Some Christians feel the only reading necessary to their spiritual well being is the Bible. I certainly incorporate daily Bible reading into my spiritual practices, but I have been helped enormously by writers and teachers who offer a fresh viewpoint, insight, “aha” moments. I always love knowing what my fellow seekers are reading, […]

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Book Review: Strange As This Weather Has Been

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Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel by Ann Pancake Reviewed by Elizabeth H. Cottrell Strange as This Weather Has Been: A Novel packs a wallop on several levels, and I commend it highly to any serious reader interested in a unique, powerful, and fresh voice in contemporary literature. Amazingly, it is Ann Pancake’s first […]

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5 Questions That Lead to Self Knowledge

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We’re not born knowing ourselves Let’s just get that out of the way right now, even though it’s a bit counterintuitive. No one else is in a position to know you better than you are, but we seem to be masters of avoidance when it comes to facing the truths about ourselves. We actually exert a […]

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I Carry Your Heart With Me: A Special Kind Of Connection

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Having just celebrated All Saints Day and been moved by our rector’s beautiful sermon and prayers for the departed, I feel keenly aware of the “cloud of witnesses” surrounding me and praying for me too. That cloud is comprised of all those saints—known and unknown—who have gone before. I don’t believe death separates us from the love […]

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Lessons Learned From Traveling

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New experiences…new perspectives My husband and I have just returned from a wonderful 12-day trip to London to visit our son and his wife, who moved there this past summer for three years. It was only the second time in our lives we’d been “across the pond,” and the last one was 14 years ago. In other […]

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Hidden Miracles Of The Natural World From Louie Schwartzberg

http://youtu.be/FiZqn6fV-4Y

Be alert! Pay attention! The world around you is teeming with miracles, large and small. What miracles of the natural world have you noticed lately?

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Chosen vs. Invited: A Potentially Life-changing Difference

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Today I want to share the sermon preached recently by our inimitable rector, the Very Rev. Alexander D. MacPhail entitled, “Many are called, but few consider themselves chosen.” I was caught up in the story and fascinated by the lessons he related from the gospel readings—especially the parable of the wedding banquet that speaks of those who were invited […]

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How To Start A Conversation

Social events: fun or pressure? It’s almost time for the annual holiday parties, and I know some of you are dreading the awkwardness of mixing with people you don’t know very well. Where does this anxiety come from? I’m not a psychologist, but I’m sure it’s all tangled up in our unhealthy tendency to compare […]

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Self Is Not a Dirty Word

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It’s time to rescue the word self For too long, it has been maligned by being used in ways that have a negative connotation: selfish self-indulgent self-centered self-absorbed self-serving But self is important. It’s who we are, and we are the only true steward our self has. If we don’t care for and honor ourselves, who will? […]

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View From The Bench: Mid-October

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Heartspoken’s View from the Bench series I began this series of posts in late June, 2014, with a goal of teaching myself how to be more observant by exploring a small piece of the world right outside my door at different times of the year. You can do this yourself, whether you live in a country home or a city high rise. I’m […]

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Use Holy Silence To Nourish Your Soul

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I’m trying to learn how to learn to cultivate holy silence. It doesn’t come naturally to those of us who are social creatures. My monkey brain kicks into high chatter when I even think about trying to meditate and pray, but I’ve come to cherish what I call my “quiet time” each morning and find […]

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7 Ways To Expand Your Social Network

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Comfort levels vary, but there’s always room to grow Some of us are more comfortable in social situations than others, but researchers have shown that regardless of where you fall on the extrovert/introvert continuum, you can expand your social network and improve your connection skills. This is very good news. Why should you care? Researchers in psychology and brain science—such […]

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