What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days

What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days Book by Holley GerthIt looks like a book. It feels like a book. Open it up and What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days becomes a companion. Each entry, based on the psalms, is like a conversation with a trusted friend over coffee. I found myself leaning in closely as Holley Gerth ties real-life situations with the truth we need to hear. With compassion and insight her words pour encouragement and wisdom into tender hearts. Words that comfort and inspire. Words that challenge. More than that, this devotional is a useful tool that will drive a tunnel through the hard rock of adversity as well as lay the unshakable foundation that will forever hold you up. By the time you’ve turned the last page, you will look up and notice your heavenly Father seated at your table together where he’s been speaking to you all along.

What I love about this book is its versatility. It is organized in such a way that it can be used in different ways, at different times, with different people. It can actually be read quickly in a single sitting if you like to get an overview before digging deeper. You can start at the beginning, dive in randomly, or pick and choose a spot that best fills the need in your heart. Conveniently divided into 52 concise entries, it easily fits into daily or weekly devotions.

Each message opens with a scripture quote followed by a heart to heart with Holley. It wraps up with “What my Heart is Saying To You” prayer prompt leaving room to add your own words. Then closes with a blank space to record “What My Heart is Hearing from You” as you reflect and listen for what God is saying to you. What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days also offers a refreshing way to get to know the psalms. In addition to the lead verse, Holley sets up a reading plan at the end of every entry that will guide you through the entire book of Psalms.

Sure enough, her words will lift the veil off the truths that get masked during those hard times that have us stumbling in the dark through dangerous landmines of lies planted by the enemy to trip us up. Behind the curtain of pain and doubts, she reveals unmistakably vivid reminders that include:

You are forgiven.
You are not alone.
God is the good shepherd taking care of your needs.
He will never reject you.
He gives you the power to trample the enemy.
He is bigger than the mountain you’re facing.
He will make things right and turn everything into enough.

Beyond these assurances,  you may catch a few surprises. Unexpected topics like the hidden gift of trouble and value of  laughter and tears. Insights you may never have imagined such as how having a burden gets confused with being a burden; that it makes a difference to know the difference between getting hurt and being harmed. Would you believe God is interested in updating our wardrobe?  Were you aware of the paradox that joy and anxiety are related in our brain and that we can take both our gratitude and aching emptiness to God  in prayer?  Can you guess what happens when you stop trying so hard, trust more, and hand over a chance to meet your needs to others? No worries, Holley’s got it covered.

The best thing about What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days is the truths Holley shares are not confined to tough times. They are powerful, valid, and uplifting every day of the year. It’s like a daily dose of vitamin alpha-omega that heals and repairs as well as strengthen, vitalize, and calm. It’s the stuff that pumps our hearts with peace, love, joy and hope as we continue this journey we call life. As Holley put it so well, “No matter what page your story is on right now, this is not the end. With God there is only one ending – and it’s actually the beginning.”

I’m delighted to be included in the Revell Blog Tour for What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days. They graciously sent me a copy of the devotional in exchange for this unbiased review. You are invited to read an excerpt at (in)courage, and  join in on the book club discussion at Holley’s Facebook page. As always you can hook up with Holley and the Coffee for Your Heart Community for a warm cup of encouragement and inspiration in this week’s link-up today.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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Sunrise. Sunset. All day long, I thank you Lord!

Dear Lord,

As the sun rises and awakens the dawn, I thank you for the light that breaks the darkness and the gift of another day. A precious, never to be had again 24 hours to love and to serve.

When the sun sets over the horizon, I thank you for softening the covering darkness with glorious colours and brightening the nightsky with the twinkle of sparkling stars. For the quiet stillness that invites sweet, peaceful sleep. And the joy splashed across memories of this day that will soon be gone.

For each moment and every blessing in between, I thank you. Because you are with me every minute and in everything. Always by my side and on my side.

Thank you that from beginning to end you walk with me always.

Amen

Sunrise Sunset 01

Sometimes all we can do is stand in awe of God’s majesty and praise Him with thanksgiving!

 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised. ~ Psalm 113:3

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This post is inspired by God Will Be With You Through the Whole Process entry in Holley Gerth’s uplifting devotional What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days released this week. Pick up a copy and I promise you’ll be blessed. You can also link-up with Holley and the Coffee for Your Heart community for an heartwarming cup of encouragement and inspiration today.

Special thanks to the talented Mary Morganelli and a friend who prefers not to be credited for these spectacular pictures that take your breath away.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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Whenever We Get Together Greeting Card

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Could be because of the extra long winter. Or how much my sister loved gardens. For some reason I’ve been completely mesmerized by the beautiful flowers that have caught my eyes this year. I’m surprised none of my neighbours have called the cops to investigate that lunatic who stops in her tracks gawking at every pretty blossom as if she’s never seen anything bloom before!

What amazes me even more that the sheer beauty of each individual plant is how much more breathtakingly gorgeous they become when arranged together. All kinds of colours and shapes dancing together in jaw-dropping splendor! Like you see in the front of the greeting card.

People are like that too don’t you think? As individuals we are a marvel of intricate beauty and unique characteristics. But oh, what a beautiful sight when we get together!

Two people are better off than one,  for they can help each other succeed.       ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9

Together we make the world more beautiful. Together we have more fun. Together we are better, stronger, and accomplish more. Together we hold each other up and catch each other when we fall. Together our collective joy multiplies faster than bunnies.

Whenever we get together beautiful things happen. Even when it’s on-line with people we’ve never met. That’s what I love about linking-up with Holley Gerth each week. So let’s head on over and share a sweet cup of encouragement together with Holley and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

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I’m Running With the Oreo Truffles Friendship Relay!

I wanted to celebrate friendship in this weeks’s Coffee for Your Heart by designing this dessert plate image and sharing a friendship cake starter recipe to seal the sweet deal.

Friendship blooms in our heats plate

Then it occurred me the recipe that has surely circled the globe may be copyrighted. And oh my, I couldn’t break the law or violate someone’s originality! Too bad.

Later that day I remembered Holley Gerth’s “Ugly Truffles” post (which originally appeared in (in)courage) included a simple Oreo cookie truffle recipe. And I got to thinking…wouldn’t it be cool if  we all sent a copy of the recipe to at least 3 friends with a note about how much their sweet friendship means to us?  Maybe sprinkle a few sweet words about who they are.  Thank them for making our lives sweeter. Or sweeten their day with an intentional “I love you!“. Then invite each one to do the same for at least 3 more friends. Before you know it we would have a whole world of sweetness floating about.  Just think of the impact – especially when we consider that some of those friends are part of our family!

Okay, maybe it won’t go as far as the whole world. But it can start with you and me. As Holley asks in that post “But what if someone would be blessed by what I have to share and they miss out because I hide it?”  You may not think you have what it takes to create a beautiful recipe card or craft the “perfect” words to do a great job of it. But I can tell you this. To be sure, it will be a sweet treasure perfectly cherished because it comes from you. That makes it more than good enough, and no doubt, someone’s precious keepsake.

What do you say? Are you in?

Truffle recipe:  (shared by Holley’s friend Jennifer)

SIMPLE OREO TRUFFLES

16 oz package of Oreos

8 oz package cream cheese, softened

16 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

Directions

Completely crush Oreos and place in a bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix until blended. Roll cookie mixture into 1-inch balls. Dip in chocolate and place on wax paper to cool. Decorate truffles as desired.

Refrigerate until firm, about one hour. Eat them all. Or refrigerate again.

Sample Recipe Card  for You to Share

Oreo Truffle Recipe Card

 

There’s another treat set out for you today. Head on over to this week’s link- up where  Holley Gerth and the Coffee for Your Heart Community have a sweet cup of encouragement waiting for you .

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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Music to God’s Ears

Sometimes I think the good Lord must get amused to bits by the silliness of His children. Like the time I headed out to the park all decked out in heels, singing through invisible rain, accompanied by my Shower Songbook!

I got quite the chuckle out of these pictures when I came across them a while back. Tickled me right down to my toes remembering all the fun that day with photographer-friend Ann Stigter! Then I put the photos away and forgot all about them. Till the other day when the one with the clown nose popped into my head along with the  “Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord!” verse.

If you’ve ever heard me sing, you will totally get how funny this connection is. There ain’t nothing pretty about what comes out of my mouth when I attempt to carry a tune. I’m what people call “certifiably musically declined”.  But oh, how I love to sing! Anything and anywhere. Fast or slow. Loud or soft. Alone or with company. In good times. In tough times. I love to sing.

Funny thing is, the sound of my voice lifted in praise is music to God’s ears.  He hears gratitude, love, and joy in every word and note in harmony with the rhythm of His heart. Imagine that! The excruciating strain that wilts flowers and makes dogs howl reaches the ears of The Almighty as a beautiful, symphonic melody. And it pleases Him.

No wonder the bible is full of passages about singing.  The perfect expression of that love, joy and gratitude to our awesome God who denies us no good thing.  Words like these spoken long ago and still resonate today.

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.    ~ Psalm 100:2

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” ~ Psalm 126:2 

Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing. ~ Psalm 107:22 

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth; burst into songs and make music. ~ Psalm 98:4 

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. ~ Psalm 104:33 

Sing for joy to God, our strength; shout out loud to the God of Jacob. ~Psalms 81:1 

I hope this silly post put a smile on your face and got you all riled up about all the things that make you sing for joy with love and gratitude. Things like the scandalous secret Holley Gerth reveals in this week’s link-up.  So why not hop over to her blog today for cupfuls of encouragement and inspiration poured by her and the Coffee for Your Heart  Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

 

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Sharing The Riches of His Love

The Riches of His Love Button

Some things take you by storm. Like discovering the treasure chest filled with the riches of God’s love captured by my friend Kristin Smith. Her blog post When You are Attacked by Stormy Seas  hoisted me on board with a woman who has known hard times, rocked to the core, tossed mercilessly through the darkest raging storms. Crashing waves of financial crisis, broken dreams, miscarriage, depression, feeling deserted by God threatening to capsize the vessel that held her faith together.

Yet, there’s a thread of joy that runs through the words she crafts. Because of the riches of God’s love.  Extravagant riches from the God who held her afloat. The faithful God of redemption. The God who transforms. The God who steers in the right direction even when you’re lost and it’s dark out there.

God provided immeasurably more than I could have ever imaginedI couldn’t see it then, in the thick of what seemed like hopelessness. But today my eyes have been opened to the many ways that God was at work all along.  I can only fall on my knees in thankfulness and praise Him for all He has done. – Kristin Smith

What always stands out about Kristin is her authentic transparency clothed in humility. She has the courage to admit her imperfection and the gift of mining gems and biblical truths from everyday life. The Lord has given her words to paint life lessons and reflections of Him at work that have come from clogged toilets, airplane views, birch trees and a herd of buffaloes.

Words filled with hope and light.

Words that reveal the heart of God through hers.

Words that made me cry deep down and laugh out loud.

I picked up my fair share of encouragement and wisdom from Kristin’s writing and learned a thing or two. Like Voxer, Boxer, and bibles that talk. That God-sized dreams do come true even when they appear from the flipside of failure. Even when it means saying “yes” to icky things with a grateful heart. But mostly I gathered an armload of what it means to be a friend and appreciate progress in baby steps and giant leaps; to grasp the hand of hope, choose joy, and trust God in everything. Even in the darkest, wildest, stormy nights.

Kristin is a wife and mama to four children and a brand new puppy. She is in business with her husband, sings with the worship team and writes for people like you and me.

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Why am I telling you all this? Just couldn’t keep it to myself! I love sharing and bringing people together so am absolutely delighted to hook y’all up. Now that you’ve met Kristin, you can be blessed too!

Kristin writes at The Riches of His Love, God-sized Dreams, Five Minute Friday & (in)incourage . You can also catch her on Twitter, FacebookPinterest, Instagram & bloglovin’.

The gift of getting to know Kristin all started as a link-up with Holley Gerth. That’s one of the reasons it gives me such joy to invite you every week to do the same. So hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

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Treasures that Make Us Shout and Sing for Joy!

I could not contain my delight when my beautiful friend Amanda Wood said “yes!” to sharing this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime rainbow photo she took in Jasper. Wanted so badly to show the whole world the most breath-taking vision of God’s creation I have have ever laid eyes on.

Genesis 9:12-13

The beautiful rainbow.  Glorious mountains. Tranquil water. Trees and plants dancing with the breeze. Skies outstretched from end to end. All too marvelous for words. Every inch speaks of God’s love and handiwork and echoes His presence in every corner of my heart and soul.  I was totally awestruck with an overwhelming desire to fall on my knees and praise the maker of the universe for this, His extravagant gift! I couldn’t stop gazing at the picture and thanking Him. For what my eyes are beholding and for the wonderful woman who captured the moment and shared it.  Treasures God created. Treasures I cherish. Treasures that make us shout and sing for joy… like this:

Psalm 65:5-13 – By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might. You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

Another one of God’s awesome creations is precious, beautiful, wonderful YOU! “Because,” as Holley Gerth reminds us in her You’re Celebrated Today – Just Because message “you were created by a God who is a master of design!”  For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

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