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Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither. C.S. Lewis

Money Issues? How to Look for Evidence of God’s Abundance

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It is always an honor to introduce a new Connection Messenger* to Heartspoken.com. Today’s guest writer is Jane Pollak, a remarkably talented, genuine, and deeply spiritual woman, whose book Soul Proprietor: 101 Lessons from a Lifestyle Entrepreneur first confirmed my belief in a holistic approach to business. We bring our whole selves to our business […]

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Faith Is Like Swaddling Cloths

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Welcome to Connection Messenger* and today’s guest blogger, Lisa Mikitarian, who writes beautiful and compelling articles about living out her faith in real life. This delightful and thought-provoking post appeared originally in December 2014 on Lisa’s blog. It is reprinted here with her permission. The subheadings are added by this editor. The comfort of swaddling My […]

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Gratitude: The Secret Sauce In The Recipe For Happiness

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“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton Many have tried to define happiness, but the definition would vary with each of us. The older I get, however, the more I believe gratitude is at the heart of anyone’s definition of happiness. It’s […]

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If God Values Us, Why Can’t We Value Ourselves?

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How is God calling you? I’ve just returned from a 3-1/2 day business retreat at the beautiful Inn at Serenbe about 25 miles southwest of Atlanta with fellow participants in The Pink Coattails Mastermind group led by Laura West and Dr. Ellen Britt. It was a time of reflection, introspection, prayer, and rest. The theme […]

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Life Is Short: A Benediction

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The following is a benediction, or blessing, given at the closing Eucharist of the 2010 convention of the Diocese of Maine, and based on the words of Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881). It was introduced to our congregation by The Very Rev. Alexander D. MacPhail. I encourage you to memorize it so you can pull it out whenever […]

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Courage To Face Winter

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Reflections on an early fall walk It was 59° that September morning, and there had been a nip of fall in the air for three days. The spiky balls were swelling on the chestnut tree. Squirrels were scampering hither and yon—their activity seemed to be increasing, and I had to wonder if they weren’t responding to some internal urge to begin storing things […]

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Are We Thinking Too Small For God?

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“We are half-hearted creatures” “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot […]

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Labor Day Gratitude For Those Whose Work Enriches Our Lives

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What is Labor Day? “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country” [from the U.S. Department of […]

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Love, Fear, Wisdom, And The Exquisite Beauty Of The World Around You

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This week has been crazy, and I’m determined to be kinder to myself when I don’t get everything done I want to do. I haven’t written a post this week, but I have come across some absolutely stunning insights on the power of connection from other sources. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to let their […]

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Compassion: So Much More Than Pity

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The word won’t go away The word compassion has been coming often to my mind lately…the kind of niggling, repetitive showing up of a thought I’ve come to recognize as Spirit trying to teach me something. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, compassion‘s etymology can be traced back to French which came originally from Latin: com– “together” or […]

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7 Spiritual Growth Lessons Learned From My Grapevines

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Grapes at Cave Ridge Vineyard photographed by Rod Shepherd and used with permission For years, we had lush and lovely grapevines growing along a wood-and-wire fence behind our country home. We pruned, watered, and fertilized them, enjoying the sweet, luscious grapes and turning them into juice, jam, jelly, conserve, and even pie. Having lived with grapes and grapevines […]

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Heaven Is Closer Than You Think: A Book Review

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Miracles from Heaven: A Little girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and Her Amazing Story of Healing Written by Christy Wilson Beam Reviewed by Elizabeth H. Cottrell I was approached by this book’s publicist to read and review it (with absolutely no compensation or pressure for a good review), and while I was somewhat skeptical of […]

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Belonging: The Ultimate Connection

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I welcome The Very Rev. Alexander D. MacPhail, Connection Messenger* and today’s guest blogger. This piece appeared in a recent parish newsletter, and I share it with his permission. It speaks beautifully about three of the essential types of connections that we focus on here at Heartspoken: connection with self, connection with others, and connection with […]

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God Uses Us Wherever We Are

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Inspired by a song of praise I heard a rich, melodious contralto voice the moment I got out of the car at my aunt’s nursing home about 8:30 yesterday morning. From her wheelchair, a black woman’s song of praise to God filled the morning air from where she sat, just outside the facility’s doors, and lifted the […]

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Learning To Hear Our Shepherd’s Voice: Jesus, The Good Shepherd – John 10:11-18

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I preached this sermon at two services at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Woodstock, Virginia, on April 26, 2015. I hope it will bless you and expand your thinking on this familiar and much beloved passage of Scripture. A most comforting image Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, and there is probably no other scripture more comforting or more beloved than the […]

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A Prayer In Brokenness

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One of my favorite books of prayers is Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community. The prayers and meditations are based on ancient Christian traditions, and they reflect powerfully and beautifully the ebb and flow of life and all its challenges. It includes two sets of daily readings as well as many wonderful prayers for […]

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Widen The Circle Of Love

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OUTWITTED He drew a circle that shut me out— Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout, But love and I had the wit to win; We drew a circle that took him in.   ~Edwin Markham The need to be right is so intoxicating and so poisonous. How easily we can be hurt—especially by those we […]

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Decluttering isn’t just for closets and inboxes

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This post was originally published in 2012 on Cyndi Briggs’s blog, Letters from Your Wayward Sister. I was honored to have been a guest on her blog.  * * * * * “What I know for sure: Our internal space has to be given the same level of respect and diligent attention as the external.” Oprah […]

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We Are Connected By God’s Amazing Grace

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Negro spiritual music: only the black notes Gospel singer Wintley Phipps, speaking to an audience at Carnegie Hall, told his listeners that just about every Negro spiritual was written using only the black notes of the piano—the pentatonic scale or the “slave scale.” Songs written with this scale by white songwriters were called white spirituals, […]

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Overwhelmed? Beware This Spiritual Warning Sign

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We all feel overwhelmed sometimes. It can be caused by the circumstances of our lives that seem to converge in a perfect storm of pressure to which we feel vulnerable. At other times, we bring it on ourselves by overcommitting, failing to calculate how long something will take, refusing to admit our own limitations. One of life’s ironies […]

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