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Accumulate Experiences-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: November 7, 2021

Pumpkins are put away, and in Canada, the Christmas wreaths will soon be adorning the front doors. Quite frankly November is one of those in between, dreary months.  And with the oncoming time change it will soon be dark when we get up in the morning and dark while eating supper. One of my least favourite times of the year. The trees are almost bare, the vineyards have lost their colour and I can smell the oncoming snowflakes.  Not enticing for a fun loving, outdoor energetic person. f I’ve learned anything in the past 21 months it’s that life can evaporate without meaning if I don’t intentionally embrace it.  And with Covid still lurking and hovering in the sidelines, let’s spur each other on to ignore fear and NOT become “lazy-boy Christians.” I’ve decided I’d rather accumulate memories than accumulate more possessions. I’ve needed so little in the last 20…

Posted in: accumulate experiences, ask God, beauty and joy, don't be fools, Encouragement, fresh joy, Friendship, God's creation, hiking, joy, pray, we need each other

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Locking Horns-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 7, 2021

There are vineyards all around me, plus the bonus of a ready-made family of 15 deer. Male, female and many adorable bambis and they’ve taught me a lot.  They love most flowers including rose bushes, cedars, and almost anything with green leaves. They’ve made me want to pull my hair out when I’ve had to replant my front flower bed for the third time and stare at me through the window while I’m watching TV. But last week they gave me a two-hour teachable moment. Two of the males locked horns. It was heartbreaking to watch. The clicking-clacking of the interlocked horns. The pushing, shoving and writhing backwards and sideways. Their grunting expressed their agony and I was unable to help them. Both were in pain but could not get away from each other.  They were stuck! They were stuck! It became a “God moment “ where the Holy Spirit…

Posted in: accept and allow, betrayal, break free, Conflict, Control, deer head locks, Differences, fighting, forgive one another, Forgiveness, Freedom, Friendship, head lock, Heavenly Father, Intimacy, Kindness, relationships, set free, unlock

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When Life Squeezes You-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 29, 2021

I squeezed a lot of lemons this summer. Trying to stay fresh during heat waves, smoke from forest fires and lemon water for keeping my summer company hydrated. I squeezed lemons for lemon water, canning peaches, and grilling salmon. The results were always the same; lemon juice came out. But of course, when something is squeezed whatever is on the inside will come out. The Bible puts it this way: “…for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). We’ve been squeezed the last 19 months and it’s a daily struggle. You’re all glued to the news these days so I don’t have to list all the lemons. So how are you dealing with the restrictions, disappointments, polarized opinions and those “other” people that annoy you? Are your true lemon colours showing up? Have you become angry, defensive, blaming, gone into depression or withdrawn? Or do…

Posted in: adversity, anger, anxious, ask for help, Beauty from the Inside Out, Christ in us, Conflict, disappointments, Faith, feeling bad, Finding Truth, Forgiveness, from glory to glory, God's promises, lemonade, lemons, Overcoming Struggles, Prayer, squeezed, transformation, trust, trust Good, worry

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Breaking Out-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: July 11, 2021

People are breaking out of their confined Covid spaces and it’s sheer, delicious craziness. My first international flight after a year and a half was a mixture of absolute delight and madness. When I flew to visit my daughter Michelle’s family at Easter, I was the only person going through security. This time, in the Kelowna airport the line-up for security went all the way back to Baggage Claim. Physical distancing at the Seattle airport was out of the window, and Starbucks line-ups made it impossible to grab a cup before the boarding gate closed. In the normal quiet, laid back mentally of Montana, the hidden jewel of the Northwest, we couldn’t get a dinner or National Park reservation. Coffee shop line-ups are out the door and kayak rentals are almost non-existent. All this to say that people are bursting out of their homes to once again experience all the…

Posted in: anxiety, boundaries, break free, Christ, Covid-19, Fear, Freedom, fresh joy, Friendship, isolation, live one day at a time, loneliness epidemic, momentary trouble, nature, Overcoming Fear, physical distancing, recapture your joy, trouble

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Sweat a Little, Laugh a Lot-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: June 13, 2021

It’s time to laugh again. We’ve toughed it out, physical distanced and stayed indoors too long. It’s time to get the limbic brain dancing. The limbic system in our brain is the seat of emotions, memories and is responsible for our well-being. In fact, if you place the limbic brain under an MRI when you’ re happy and energized, it displays beautiful colours and dances. It’s time for some colourful dancing and fresh joy. Yes, a chocolate bar or bowl of ice cream will help. But, therapists tell us that one of the best ways to help our brain do the limbic dance is to get out into God’s creation. We’ve been so caught up in the latest Covid reports, politics, vaccines, and homeschooling that many have forgotten the power of creation. God is the master creator. God is the master creator. He created thousands of orchid species and butterflies,…

Posted in: be creative, beauty, beauty and joy, Covid-19, disappointments, fresh joy, friends, girlfriends, God's creation, happiness needs to be shared, hiking, Laughter, limbic dance, limbic sytem, lower than the angels, mountain top, nature, physical distancing, rainbows, sweat a little, troubles, waterfalls, worry

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A Sweet Fragrance-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: May 9, 2021

Beauty pulls me into its orbit like a magnet. Whether it’s clothes, art, shoes, dishes, candles and especially book covers, I’m helpless and hopeless. And when I’m God’s creation and see the glistening water, traverse the hills and hear the birds, my heart is in awe and overflows joy. Springtime in British Columbia, Canada is a mosaic of colours, sounds and fragrances. The last month I’ve been hitting the trails and hiking in hills and groves covered in yellow balsamroot flowers, and white Saskatoon berry bushes. Often I stopped to lean in and smell the sweetness of the blossoms. What joy! We need to lean in to smell the fragrance. Which makes we wonder. In our present tumultuous and painful world where do we find beauty? These days certainly not in the news, social media or conversations. Most of us can’t go to church and get infected with spiritual uplifting…

Posted in: be a blessing, beauty, beauty and joy, Christ in us, Covid-19, fragrance, fragrance of Christ, hurting world, Prayer, relationships

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Love Lives Here-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: April 11, 2021

In my daughterMichelle’s guest room there is a sign that says: “LOVE LIVES HERE.” Whenever I spend time with the family I am the recipient of that love when I sleep in that pink, grey and cream beautifully decorated bedroom.  As I walk into the next room I am greeted with another sign that says: “HELLO BEAUTIFUL.” It’s uplifting being surrounded by reminders of beauty, love and encouragement.   During this past year we’ve been spending a lot of time in our homes and we need jolts of beauty and comfort that bring us joy. I’ve needed to make my home my haven and have also surrounded myself with signs, colours and images that lift my spirits. Joy doesn’t just happen.   Let’s tap into the portals of Heaven to unleash joy through the reality of goodness.  I’ve just finished reading the historical fiction book called: THE FOUR WINDS by…

Posted in: beauty and joy, Encouragement, fresh joy, God's promises, happy, happy meals, homes, love lives here, negativity, our havens, positive conversations, Uncategorized

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Growing Joy and Freedom in the Fiery Furnace-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: March 8, 2021

Let’s face it; we don’t like being thrust out of our comfort zone. But if we knew that adversity revealed our destiny and freedom, how would we handle life differently? Even when we can’t see it, it’s when we’re in the fire of adversity where we become more beautiful from the inside out. It’s in the firestorms of life where we find our freedom. How is that possible? In the book of Daniel there were three young men named Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who disobeyed King Nebuchadnezzar’s orders and were thrown into the fiery furnace. The King ordered the strongest men of his army to securely tie up the three disobedient protestors and throw them into the blazing furnace. Did you notice there were tied up? Because when they came out of the furnace they were unscathed, and the only item that burned were the ropes binding them together. And,…

Posted in: adversity, ask God, beauty and joy, Beauty from the Inside Out, fiery furnace, fiery furnae, Freedom, fresh joy, grace, joy, Offenses, pain, people pleasing, perfectionism, refined like silver, suffering

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The Beauty and Power of Tribes-by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: February 7, 2021

When we’re caught in rip-tide of discouragement, aloneness and even medical issues, we need friends to pull us out. Yes Covid has restrictions but they cannot be used an excuse for not tenderly caring for one-another. There are ways. If you’ve been part of my Fresh Joy Book study you notice that I often refer to friendship circles as “tribes.” Tribes are vital to our soul and our health. Tribes are vital to our soul and health. A tribe is, “a distinctive or close-knit group.” We need people in our life who will engage with us, help us when we’re stuck, make us laugh and call us out on bad behaviour. Before Covid, this was done in face-to-face in groups (2 or more) celebrating victories, grieving together or just connecting heart-to-heart. The richness of this cannot be duplicated and must be pursued. During Covid we are limited but there are…

Posted in: alone, beauty and joy, Christ, companionship, Covid-19, disappointments, Encouragement, fresh joy, Friendship, girlfriends, good conversation, Hope, isolation, Jesus, joy, laughter, Lifter-uppers, loneliness, loneliness epidemic, relationships, tribes

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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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