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A Cheerful Heart-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: January 10, 2021

After 11 months of having our lives bulldozed with pandemic restrictions, watching the hatred and anger in the world, it seems like there is little room for cheer.  Along with the dreariness of the dark and bleak January months, cheer feels like something we used to have. Back in the day. After spending extended time in the Bible in the book of Proverbs I realize once again how important it is to have a cheerful heart: “A happy heart makes a face cheerful” (Proverbs 15:13). “ But the cheerful heart has a continued feast” (Proverbs 15:15). “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart” (Proverbs 15:30). “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). I want that cheer! There are two words in each of those Proverbs that jump at me and give me hope. “Cheerful” and  “heart.” Then in Proverbs 4:23 it says: “Above all else (Italics mine) guard…

Posted in: all alone, beauty and pain coexist, cheerful heart, Covid-19, decisions, feeling good, fresh joy, happy heart, joy, Laughter, Making Wise Choices, pray, recapture your joy, sleep, thankful

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Home Alone at Christmas-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: December 13, 2020

The movie “Home Alone” is a hilarious Christmas classic. But with the unwelcome guest of Covid, being alone at Christmas is not funny; it’s a harsh and ugly reality.   Some of you might be rolling your eyes right now. You’re stuck in a house filled with people finding ways to pass the days, and would welcome a dose of being alone. And it’s true, aloneness can be a gift when we seek it and find contentment.  But loneliness is different. This topic is no longer idle conversation; it’s become an emerging epidemic. People everywhere, especially singles and people in care homes, are suffering with loneliness. Loneliness is a reality. Many people are so busy at Christmas that they forget those who are grieving, depressed or simply don’t have any community or a loving tribe. I know…the world assaults us with too much information and we want to protect ourselves from…

Posted in: all alone, alone, alone at Christmas, Christmas joy, Covid Christmas, Covid-19, disappointments, God's love, Hope, hugs, joy, loneliness epidemic, single, singleness, singleness at Christmas

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Hugs Do More Than BringJoy-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: November 22, 2020

I had not had a hug or human touch for almost two months. It was now the middle of May 2020 in the thrust of Covid when I agreed to meet up with a friend to do some volunteer work. As I got out of my car, my friend walked toward me, looked around to make sure no one was watching and gave me a big hug. Not realizing how deprived I was for human touch-I hung on and cried. We are made for human connection.  Covid is disconnecting us in ways that are emotionally and spiritually harmful. Physical distancing is also causing relationship break-ups, family neglect and pain and for those who live alone-loneliness and horror. I know we need to be wise and follow the rules of our country, but somehow, we have to find ways to reach out and hug. A month ago I met another friend…

Posted in: all alone, anxiety, cortisol, Covid-19, Families, Friendship, hugs, loneliness, one-another, oxytocin, physical distancing, social distancing, we need each other

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Walking Toward Holiness-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 25, 2020

Every morning is a battle for many people. Between the times the alarm goes off and feet hit the floor, life is consumed with things that need to happen that day. With left over fatigue from the previous day, combined with the present looming “to-do” list, life conspires to be overwhelming and wants to beat us down. Where in the day is there time, energy or focus to walk toward holiness?  But the Bible is clear and tells us: “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God–who chose you to be his children-is holy. For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NLT). You must be holy because I am holy. Wow, that’s earth shattering isn’t it? With all our secret longings, striving to be known through our human striving, endeavours and sinful flesh that wants what…

Posted in: Uncategorized

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What Do I Really Want?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: September 25, 2020

My three-year-old grandson Austin was bored and hungry.  He opened the pantry door and with a perplexed look stared at all the tempting food.  “Sweetie,” I said, “what do you want?” He kept staring and responded: “I want what I want.” “What is it you want?” I repeated.  He kept repeating: “I want what I want.” I recognized his craving; he wanted something to make him feel better, happier but he wasn’t sure what that would be. Isn’t that like most of us?  We wake up in the morning and we want something to make us happier. We want Covid to be over. Even if life wasn’t perfect, we want it to be back to normal. We want what we want but not exactly sure what that would look like. Just something to make us feel better. More sleep, a better job, more money, happier children, a more attentive husband, a…

Posted in: ask God, Cravings, empty soul, Expectations, feeling good, gift of peace, happy, needs, normal, Overcoming Fear, recapture your joy, troubled hearts, want or need, what is normal

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So You Want to Receive a Blessing?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 30, 2020

It was time for me to grab my gardening gloves, water bottle and hat and give back to my church and community.  My beloved home church, Trinity Church Kelowna, was gifted 23 acres of land that has been transformed into magnificent vegetable gardens to supply food for our Food Bank and many other organizations. Volunteers do most of the immense work and I knew it was time for me giddy-up and get out there to help. Giddy-up and get out there. Yes I was on my knees for almost two hours, and it’s tedious work, but when I was done I felt satisfied and fulfilled.  I wanted to be a blessing but a double portion of blessing came back to me.  Here’s what happened: I “got to” spend almost two hours with a friend, across from each other picking tomatoes and having the most delightful conversations. As we finished, we…

Posted in: alone, anger, blessings, community gardens, Expectations, Forgiveness, Freedom, fresh joy, friends, happy, joy, marriage, Overcoming Struggles, sowing and reaping, thankful, what goes around comes around

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The Ugliness and Beauty of Pruning-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 10, 2020

Last year I told myself, “I’m not doing this again…ever!” But there I was again with clippers in hand, on the hottest day of the day, ready to prune all the dead branches from my five-foot tall, decorative rose bushes. For two hours, with sweat running down my face and back, those thorny branches attacked me. Long sleeved shirts and pants don’t protect me from those nasty, long thorns, which manage to grab and rip my skin until the blood spurts out. Then when my wheelbarrow is full, I have to push it up the rocky incline on the left side of my house toward my green container.  With the sun beating on me I sit down and collapse. I’ve been doing this for 24 years. Same story every year. This year my daughter Michelle and I were sitting on the lower patio encircled by the rose bushes and she…

Posted in: beauty and joy, beauty and pain coexist, celebrate instead of compare, decisions, disgard ugliness, do the hard work, fresh joy, happiness, new growth, Overcoming Struggles, pruning

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What Are You Waiting For?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: July 12, 2020

How many times have you heard: “We were going to ….and then Covid .” For months we’ve had constant disappointments and spent a lot of time waiting for something new and wonderful to happen. Waiting for our hair appointment, our favourite store to open its doors, waiting for our first hug and news of when borders will open again. Waiting can be difficult especially when we’re constantly disappointed.   I’m tired of waiting for something to happen, I want to enjoy the sweetness of these long-awaited summer days.  If the familiar and comfortably predictable pathways are blocked, we have to find new ways to venture forward.  What are you waiting for? While golfing with a friend this morning we talked about our present tumultuous world. I shared a verse that I’ve found extremely comforting and allows me to enjoy each day.  “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take…

Posted in: a nxious, anxious, Covid-19, Expectations, happiness, hugs, live one day at a time, Overcoming Struggles, serenity prayer, waiting, waiting is hard

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I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: June 14, 2020

I knew there was trouble the moment I woke up and set my feet on the floor. The room was spinning and the earth moved under my feet. I’ve had dreams where I’m stuck in a wobbly elevator or trying to walk over an unsteady foot bridge, and I intensely dislike the feeling of my body being out of control. If you’ve ever had vertigo you know the feeling.  Hanging onto walls while walking from room to room and fighting the nausea. When you turn the wrong way you spiral into a dark, black hole. I know many people feel like they are in “vertigo” mode right now. With Covid-19 nothing feels solid and trustworthy. We’re trying to hang onto what normal we had, but find ourselves venturing into bottomless unknown territory. How do we stop the spinning? To find what is solid, good and true we have to be…

Posted in: ask for help, ask God, companionship, Covid-19, decisions, disappointments, Faith, Fear, Finding Truth, focus, Friendship, God's promises, Making Wise Choices, new normal, Overcoming Struggles, thankful, trouble, trust, vertigo

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Think You’ll Go Back To Normal?-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: May 10, 2020

Once we’ve experienced trauma or crisis, there is no going back to “normal.” When a brick wall falls down or a vase breaks, even though we repair it to make it look like new, it will never be the same. Hopefully in the near future we’ll be back in our stores, restaurants and churches and even though everything might look the same, we will perceive life differently. If we have a propensity to being fearful, we will become even more fearful. Because …”you never know what might happen next.” If we’ve hunkered down and trusted God for His daily emotional, physical and spiritual provisions, going forward we will learn to trust even more. We will perceive life differently. Hopefully we’ve become more resilient going through Covid-19. You see resilience is being able to go through difficulty such as misfortune or change, and become even stronger. We’ve all been thrust into an…

Posted in: Covid-19, crisis, decisions, Families, Fear, focus, happiness, hugs, Jesus, joy, new normal, resilience, resilient, thankful, trauma, trust Good, Uncategorized, unfortunate disaster

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