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!

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Get Released from the Holiday Blues—Pray this Prayer Now!

If you are filled with holiday stress instead of the holiday spirit, it’s time to pray for sweet release.

Lord,

I have bought into stress, re-gifted my worries and added credit card debt to my shopping list.

Forgive me!

Help me to exchange my holiday blues for a glad heart, my loneliness for Your presence, my stress for You perfect peace.

I stop and think about Your Christmas gift to me, the dear babe in a manger, so innocent, so holy, such a sacrifice of love.  He is the reason for this season.

My gift to You, Lord, is to hush my grumbling and praise Your name.

I list my blessings, one by one, before You with humble gratitude.

Fill me full of Your joy as I release to You my holiday blues.

May my heart be merry in Your love.

In Jesus’s name, Amen

Linda Evans Shepherd for Leading Hearts Magazine

Chanukah Dreidels and Christmas Dirt Plus Recipe for Traditional Chanukah Donuts

By Amber Weigand-Buckley  @barefacedgirl in Leading Hearts Magazine

I NEVER GREW UP GIVING MUCH REVERENCE TO PLACES AND ICONS, BUT FOR SOME REASON I FOUND MY KNEES WEAK.

It was the third day of Chanukah and I was in Israel for the very first time standing in the city of Nazareth. We had made our way past the shopkeepers and traffic lined streets to the Church of the Annunciation, which sits in the side of the hill of the city. The church was supposedly built on the spot where Mary was visited by the angel announcing her as the highly favored woman to give birth to Jesus Christ.

“Emmanuel: God with us.” In that spot, I understood the power in that statement—the power in that name.

Under the church, you can see the excavated remains of the old city…

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Relative Insanity by Torry Martin Plus Recipe for Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

by Torry Martin @torry_martin in Leading Hearts Magazine

CHRISTMAS, A TIME WHEN MOST PEOPLE EAGERLY SHOP EARLY AND JOYOUSLY WRAP THEIR PRESENTS WITH CARE.

I, however, am not most people. I prefer to do my shopping on Christmas Eve. I know that sounds very last minute of me, but why shop early when I know there’s a convenient truck stop on the way to my parents’ house where I can purchase all my gifts at once and for under $20?

It’s the only place I know where I can buy bobble-heads in bulk. The helpful truck stop store clerk will even have them bagged, I mean, “wrapped” separately while I’m waiting for my car to refuel.

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10 Things to Pray You through the Holidays plus BONUS Recipe for Southwest Breakfast Burritos

IS YOUR WORST HOLIDAY FEAR THE IDEA OF YOUR DINING TABLE FILLED WITH RELATIVES WHO ACT AS OPPOSING POLITICAL COMMENTATORS? Family get-togethers can be stressful enough, but with our culture fueled by hate, misunderstanding and inflammatory rhetoric, it can be downright nerve-wracking.
What will happen when your opinionated relatives sit down together? Instead of fretting over the worst-case scenarios, here are ten prayer strategies to help heal holiday hostilities.

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7 No-Fail Holiday Stress Hacks plus BONUS British Flapjack Recipe

By Michelle S. Cox @just18summers in Leading Hearts Magazine

The glossy magazine images, the Pinterest ideas and Facebook posts from friends sharing their gorgeous Christmas decor inspire me. 

My planning began. Why, before I was done, my house would look like North Pole Central! My family would have the perfect Christmas, and I would sail through those days with joy and delight.

I tried. Oh, how I tried. But I basically plodded my way through the Christmas season with unrealistic expectations in a fog of exhaustion.

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