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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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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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