Stack of envelopes tied with string You know that stash of special letters you've tucked away?

I'm collecting examples of letters or notes that have impacted people's lives to include in a book I'm writing. If you have one you're willing to share,  please scan and email it to me: elizabethc (at) heartspoken (dot) com, along with any explanation and your name, city, and state -- or it can be anonymous if you prefer. If you'd rather send it by mail (and I'd love to get a handwritten note from you!), send to Heartspoken, P.O. Box 81, Maurertown, VA 22644.

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

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

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 […]

Read the full article →

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

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

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, […]

Read the full article →

Book Review: Strange As This Weather Has Been

Thumbnail image for Book Review: <i>Strange As This Weather Has Been</i>

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 […]

Read the full article →

5 Questions That Lead to Self Knowledge

Thumbnail image for 5 Questions That Lead to Self Knowledge

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 […]

Read the full article →

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

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

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 […]

Read the full article →

Lessons Learned From Traveling

Thumbnail image for Lessons Learned From Traveling

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 […]

Read the full article →

Hidden Miracles Of The Natural World From Louie Schwartzberg


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?

Read the full article →

Chosen vs. Invited: A Potentially Life-changing Difference

Thumbnail image for Chosen vs. Invited: A Potentially Life-changing Difference

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 […]

Read the full article →

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 […]

Read the full article →

Self Is Not a Dirty Word

Thumbnail image for Self Is Not a Dirty Word

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? […]

Read the full article →

View From The Bench: Mid-October

Thumbnail image for View From The Bench: Mid-October

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 […]

Read the full article →

Use Holy Silence To Nourish Your Soul

Thumbnail image for Use Holy Silence To Nourish Your Soul

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 […]

Read the full article →

7 Ways To Expand Your Social Network

Thumbnail image for 7 Ways To Expand Your Social Network

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 […]

Read the full article →

In Praise of Courtesy

Thumbnail image for In Praise of Courtesy

“It takes very little these days to stand out from the crowd. Sincere courtesy and simple kindness are like a bright light in a dark room.”     ~  Lydia Ramsey, International business etiquette expert Today is a fifth Monday, which means you get pot luck when it comes to a topic. I often use these […]

Read the full article →

Finding Encouragement Through Fellowship

Thumbnail image for Finding Encouragement Through Fellowship

Welcome to Cari Bousefield, my guest blogger today at Heartspoken. She reached out to me about guest posting, and after reading some of her writing and sensing the sincerity of her faith, I am honored to have her share some thoughts about the joys and benefits of fellowship in our Christian journey. You can read […]

Read the full article →

How To Make The Birds Love You This Fall

Thumbnail image for How To Make The Birds Love You This Fall

I love my Bird Watchers Digest and its companion publication Watching Backyard Birds Newsletter. Editor Bill Thompson III can always be counted on for informative, entertaining articles. Last year about this time, he shared several things that bird enthusiasts (and I am definitely one of those!) can do to attract and protect the birds in their area. […]

Read the full article →

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others! A Six Step Plan

Thumbnail image for Stop Comparing Yourself To Others! A Six Step Plan

It’s a bad habit In the ongoing journey to understand and connect with ourselves, there’s a habit I’ve certainly wallowed in from time to time, often unconsciously, that seems to be a real bugaboo for most people: the tendency to compare ourselves to others. So what? Isn’t learning from others part of growing and improving? Well, it certainly […]

Read the full article →

8 Ways To Get Past Feeling Misunderstood

Thumbnail image for 8 Ways To Get Past Feeling Misunderstood

“What we have here is failure to communicate!” The famous movie line from Cool Hand Luke was spoken facetiously by the Captain, a prison warden, to Luke, the young prisoner played by Paul Newman. Perhaps one of the reasons it has stayed so deeply ingrained in our cultural lore is because the failure to communicate is […]

Read the full article →

Prayers For Peace

Thumbnail image for Prayers For Peace

My friend Jean Allen Davis recently shared these two beautiful prayers from an out-of-print pamphlet written by The Rev. Alan Houghton. On this 13th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attack in the United States, the threats to world peace are ever-present and frightening. I call on everyone, whatever your religious affiliation, to lift up the […]

Read the full article →

The Effect of Overpopulation On Public Health

This infographic below illustrating the effects of overpopulation on public health is courtesy of MPH Online, the authority for Masters of Public Health degrees.  It was brought to my attention by April Moore of The Earth Connection blog in a post last month. I know this is not my usual fare here at Heartspoken, but […]

Read the full article →