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.

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 →

Let’s Talk About Sleep

Thumbnail image for Let’s Talk About Sleep

Sleep is more than just sweet dreams If you follow me on Facebook,* you know I often post articles and quotes about the importance of sleep. I know getting enough sleep is essential to good health, but it is one of the things I have struggled with for years. I have a hard time letting go of […]

Read the full article →

Heartspoken’s Principles Of Connection

Thumbnail image for Heartspoken’s Principles Of Connection

John C. Maxwell, author of the classic book about connection called Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently, began his book with a simple but vivid story. He spoke of being on an overseas phone call during which he was disconnected several times right in the midst of some substantive discussions. The result […]

Read the full article →

Lessons From An Annoying Canaanite Woman

Thumbnail image for Lessons From An Annoying Canaanite Woman

Christ and the Canaanite Woman ~ c. 1784 by Jean-Germain Drouais (The Louvre) Matthew 15: 21-28  Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus […]

Read the full article →

Over The Moon: Our Amazing Night Light

Thumbnail image for Over The Moon: Our Amazing Night Light

Above photo courtesy of Beth Grosvenor Boland What is it about the Moon? From the beginning of time, the Moon has inspired fear, superstition, mystery, inspiration, and love. Cavemen and witch doctors, medicine men and dreamers, bards and poets, writers and spiritualists, astronomers and space engineers…all have been enchanted and drawn into the Moon’s embrace. I still […]

Read the full article →

Two More Stops On The Writing About Writing Blog Tour

Earlier this month, I joined the Writing About Writing blog tour after being invited by Sor’a Garrett, creator of The Shine Connection blog. Part of the process is getting to invite three other bloggers to join the tour and introduce them to my readers. On Monday, I introduced you to Karen R. Sanderson, “The Word Shark.” Today I’m happy to […]

Read the full article →

Book Review and Give-Away: Notes From A Blue Bike

Thumbnail image for Book Review and Give-Away: <i>Notes From A Blue Bike</i>

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World Written by Tsh Oxenreider, Founder of TheArtofSimple.net I was pitched this book by its publicist and was sufficiently intrigued with the premise to give it a try. I was not disappointed, but its allure was different and stronger than I thought […]

Read the full article →

Next Stop On the Blog Tour: Karen R. Sanderson, “The Word Shark”

Thumbnail image for Next Stop On the Blog Tour: Karen R. Sanderson, “The Word Shark”

Last week, I joined the “Writing About Writing” blog tour after being invited by Sor’a Garrett, creator of The Shine Connection blog. This week, I will introduce you to three bloggers whom I’ve invited to participate, starting today with Karen R. Sanderson, “The Word Shark.” If you’re new here, be sure to add your name to our email […]

Read the full article →