Mason Jar Blessings Plus Bonus 30-Minute Winter Warm-Up Recipe for Portobello Mushroom Soup

By Robin Luftig in Leading Hearts magazine

Years ago, a seasoned writer and speaker mentored me on how to build the ministry God had given me.

We’d meet for coffee and discussed everything from adapting to different cultures to dealing with the zingers I’d get from posting God’s promises on social media. I took notes, asked questions and basked in her wisdom. One December day she paused from talking, reached across the table, took ahold of my hands and looked me into my eyes. Then waited.

“What?” I asked.

She smiled. “You’re doing wonderfully bracing for the unknown. But don’t forget to ponder what you already know.”

“Right,” I said, eager to please my mentor. “I make it a point to read Scripture and do my devotionals every day. And I read what other women are doing in their ministries to further God’s message. I’m seeking out ways to be a better servant.” I thought I had given the perfect answer.

She took a deep breath and sighed, still holding my hands and looking intently into my face.

“What are we doing now — right now?”

“You’re mentoring me. I’m learning from you how to be better at what I do.” How could this answer be wrong?

[Read more…]

Teaming Up for Wellness

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel in Leading Hearts Magazine

MINISTRY CAN BE DEMANDING ON OUR BODIES: THE CONSTANT PUSH TO MEET DEADLINES, THE RUSHING AROUND TO HELP PEOPLE, THE CONSTANT MEETINGS OVER.

HIS CRISIS

My husband had been the picture of health; then suddenly his blood pressure went through the roof. This got our attention because his grandfather died of a stroke at age 47 and his father had a stroke that left him paralyzed and disabled at age 48. Bill was 45. The super productive husband I had known was going to bed at 6 p.m. and still seemed exhausted the next day. The doctors were baffled by his erratic BP.

At the time, Bill and I had achieved some measure of success as writers. Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti had hit the best sellers list. Bill was also the senior pastor of the largest church in our city, and we were completing a new building project. In addition, all our sons were teens with full schedules that impacted Bill. too.

[Read more…]

Why Your Leadership Team Deserves a REFRESH plus BONUS RECIPE for 30-Minutes til Dinner White Chili

by Karen Porter @BoldVisionBooks in Leading Hearts Magazine

IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, I TOOK ALL THE ART CLASSES OFFERED. I am not good at art or at drawing but I loved the feel of a new sheet of art paper or a blank canvas. I was in love with the idea of creating something on that bare space. In my mind and in my dreams, I could create a masterpiece with flow, movement and brilliant use of color. Unfortunately, my hands never got the messages from my brain and heart, and I usually produced a twisted mess. My shapes were malformed; my perspective was skewed; and my tints turned into a strange shade of mud.

That immediate failure was hard for me to accept and overcome until the teacher reached into her cabinet and handed me a new page of art paper — a new canvas.

Starting over offers optimism, hope, and joy — and beginning again promises another chance to get it right.

Perhaps you have experienced some failures during the past year. You wish you could erase the memory of some meetings or encounters. Participation in your organization has dwindled, and now you are feeling like my school-girl paintings — disorganized, overwhelmed, and bored.

I have good news! God has given you a new page, a fresh, blank canvas to begin again — 2019!

[Read more…]

Caught Between the Love of Jesus and a Struggle with Addiction—RUSS & TORI TAFF: I Still Believe

by Lisa Burns in Leading Hearts magazine

Multiple Grammy award-winning vocalist and songwriter, Russ Taff, has created some of the most memorable songs in gospel music.

Having been an integral part of the Imperials, as well as having launched an amazing solo career, Russ’ iconic voice of grit and soul is etched upon many of our hearts and minds. What some may not realize is that his wife, Tori, is an equally accomplished and gifted artist in her own right, having co-written and arranged multiple award-winning songs.

Leading Hearts Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down to speak with this dynamic duo. They have a story to tell, and their desire is that by doing so, they will make a difference.

Russ grew up in a Pentecostal pastor’s home. Upon arriving in a town to take over a new pastorate, life was filled with fresh beginnings. That all would quickly change over a short period of time. Russ recalls, “My dad struggled with alcoholism, and our home was not a happy place. We were told often that we weren’t going to amount to anything.”

[Read more…]

Do the One Thing that Changes Everything: Have You Given up the Words that Hurt You?

by Janell Rardon @janellrardon in Leading Hearts Magazine

OPEN THE PAGES OF ANY GREAT NOVEL AND ESCAPE INTO A WORLD FILLED WITH ENDLESS HEARTBREAK AND WORDS THAT HURT US.

Whether traveling up the Congo River with Charles Marlow (Heart of Darkness), imprisoned in the redroom with Jane Eyre, meeting Victor Frankenstein in the icy Arctic (Frankenstein), or fleeing from a royal ball before the clock strikes midnight (Cinderella), novelists give words to our deepest fears, our deepest longings, and our deepest desires.

Somehow, the power of story transcends time, culture and history and wields an immense, uncanny power and ability, unlike any other medium, to grab our hearts; giving voice to the voiceless, life to the lifeless, and hope to the hopeless.

But no story offers entrance into the world of relationships like the greatest story ever told, the Bible — full of romance, conflict, betrayal and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. For centuries, these true stories reveal the power of real love working out in the lives of real people.

People just like me and you.

[Read more…]

5 Tips to Avoid the Resolution Trap plus Bonus Recipe for Ranch House Chicken Bake

by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith @DrDaltonSmith in Leading Hearts magazine

Did you fulfill your New Year’s resolutions last year? Since only one in ten people keep their resolutions, I’m guessing your answer is no. Resolutions, like losing weight or getting more exercise, are easy to make but difficult to maintain. Our good intentions are met with real-life situations that edge out our desires with daily challenges to overcome. You can only face defeat so many times before you start feeling like a failure.

The reason most of us don’t keep our New Year’s resolutions is that there is no joy in the process. When all you can see surrounding your new year is work and striving, it’s easy to understand the push to give up.

Typical resolutions are fear-based, shame-based, or doubt-based. They feed on our insecurities and tell us we are not OK in our present state. These types of resolutions extract the joy from the journey and focus heavily on the mechanics of the process.

[Read more…]

“When God Calls the Heart at Christmas”—Christmas Lights

by Heartie Michelle S. Cox in Leading Hearts magazine

The snow began falling on December 17. It was beautiful as it covered everything in a blanket of pristine white. The trees in the woods around our house looked as if God had sprinkled powdered sugar on them.

Yes, it was gorgeous, but the flakes continued to fall … and fall … and fall. The wet snow began to weigh down the branches of the trees, and soon loud cracks were heard as limbs started snapping.

We’d been through this before, so we knew there was a good chance that we’d be without power before too long. We quickly began our snowstorm prep, gathering lanterns and candles, and carrying firewood in so it would be dry. Sure enough, just as we finished our preparations, the power clicked off, and the cheery lights on our Christmas tree went dark.

[Read more…]

Jennifer Tracy: The Courage That God Provides and Bonus Recipe for Stuffed Peppers

by Emily Walton in Leading Hearts Magazine

NOT VERY MANY PEOPLE CAN SUM UP THEIR WHOLE LIFE IN ONE WORD, BUT JENNIFER TRACY CAN. THAT WORD IS COURAGE.

From surviving an abusive childhood to losing her husband and daughter in a car crash, Jennifer has carried the courage God gave her throughout her entire life.

“From a young age, I tapped into courage. I think that God just gave that gift to me,” Jennifer says. “The more you use that muscle the stronger it gets. I just wanted to feel like a warrior, I wanted to hear Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
[Read more…]

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner plus Easy Recipe for Chicken Spaghetti

by Penelope Carlevato @teatimepen in Leading Hearts magazine

Everything was ready for our family Christmas dinner. The dining room table was set, the roast in the oven and the Christmas tree lights twinkling in the living room. Everyone was to arrive in a few minutes. Then my cell phone chimed — a new text. The message was from my crazy uncle who was on his way. He wasn’t invited, because he always caused problems. What should I do? Set another place?

[Read more…]

Our Christmas Gift to you—A brand new issue of Leading Hearts!

Our Christmas Gift to you—A brand new issue of Leading Hearts magazine to inspire you to embrace the new year with a new mindset. You’ve done a lot of growing in 2018, but what are those things you need to leave behind to thrive in the year to come? Get insight from Jennifer Tracy, Kim Walker-Smith and Robin Luftig. Overcome Hurtful words with Janell Rardon and hear the real-life story of Russ and Tori Taff—behind the scenes through his struggle with alcoholism. The season is tied up with extra tinsel with stories of Christ’s peace and miracles from Jennifer Kennedy Dean and Michelle S. Cox (from Hallmark’s series “When Calls the Heart”). Text LEADINGHEARTS to 64600 to get this issue delivered free to your mobile device.
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CHRISTMAS 2018 Contents