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Bestselling author Holley Gerth has a heartfelt message of hope—

you really are going to be okay Sometimes it feels like life’s falling apart at the seams. Sometimes you’re completely worn out by stresses that never seem to end. For every woman who has been disappointed, who has watched a dream die, whose life isn’t what she imagined it would be, bestselling author Holley Gerth has a heartfelt message of hope—you really are going to be okay. And it is possible to live with joy, resilience, and strength in both the good times and the bad. In fact, she says, that’s what God desires for us.

“Holley Gerth is a fresh voice for every woman—she echoes the voice of our Father.” —Ann Voskamp, New York Times bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts

www.HolleyGerth.com


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Dear Reader, Welcome to our very first issue of Leading Hearts

magazine; a publication for Christian women who are making a difference. This magazine is designed with you in mind, to encourage you as you continue to follow your God-given call; whether it’s to be an influencer for Christ at home, your church, community, work, or all of the above. Please know that the contributors of Leading Hearts have walked a mile or two in your high-heels, hiking boots or tennis shoes, so we know all about your need for direction, encouragement and an occasional, “You go girl!” We are here to cheer you on and to let you know that you’ve taken the right path, the path that matters. Do dive in to this issue so we can all become new best friends in our journey to influence our world for Christ as we learn how to best live a significant life. Thank you for joining us. Blessings, LINDA EVANS SHEPHERD, PUBLISHER -------------------------------------------------------------LEADING HEARTS MAGAZINE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


MARCH/APRIL 2014 Vol. 1, Issue 1

Editorial Staff PUBLISHER...................Linda Evans Shepherd EDITOR....................... Amber Weigand-Buckley ART DIRECTOR.............. Katie Mattizuo ADVERTISING................Linda Evans Shepherd, Angelina Locricchio COPY EDITOR................Tom Young EDITORIAL SECRETARY.... Angelina Locricchio CONTRIBUTING WRITERS... Sue Badeau, Shelly Ballestero, Angela Breidenbach, Rebekah Binkley Montgomery, Penny Carlevato, Kathy Collard Miller, Michelle Cox, Saundra Dalton-Smith, Sharon Norris Elliott, Dr. Edna Ellison, Pam Farrel, Marilyn Luce Robertson, Karen Porter, Rhonda Rhea, Lisa Troyer, Karen H. Whiting, Heather Van Allen and Betty Voshage

Right to the Heart Board Members Linda Evans Shepherd (President), Dianne Butts, Sharon Norris Elliot, Dr. Edna Ellison, Karen Porter, Kathy Collard Miller, Rhonda Rhea and Carole Whang Schutter

Information Leading Hearts magazine is published bimonthly by Right to the Heart Ministries 2014. ADVERTISING | Display rates are available at leadinghearts.com. By accepting an advertisement, Leading Hearts does not endorse any advertiser or product. We reserve the right to reject advertisements not consistent with the magazines objectives. MANUSCRIPTS | Writers guidelines are available at leadinghearts.com. Leading Hearts | PO Box 6421, Longmont, CO 80501 phone: (303) 835-8473 | fax: (303)678-0260 email: amber@leadinghearts.com Member: Evangelical Press Association All rights reserved. Copyrighted material reprinted with permission. Photos courtesy of: Centricity Records, Equip and Empower Ministries, iStock, Deanna Sammons Photography, Gotee Records, Kerry Kara Photography /KLS Photos & Imaging Reunion Records.

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Table of

CONTENTS 07 Christine Caine:

Living Undaunted

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11 The Balancing Act

13 Behind the Scenes with Jamie Grace

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20 Women’s Ministry from the Ground Up: Building Your Team

27 Lead Like Never Before

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06 Faithprints 10 Check Mate 16 Just 18 Summers 17 In the Lead 22 LifeBytes 26 Belly Laughs 30 Prayer Circle 31 Reviews 36 Truth

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Six Ways to Reconnect With the Spirit Muse Even the most creative people experience the dry

spells—periods of time when they are completely devoid of true inspiration and passion. I often speak to people across the country to help them combat the drought and reconnect with the ultimate source of renewal and creativity—the Holy Spirit Muse—Who moved the quills of men to pen some of the most important words put to paper.

Retain Boundaries

Turn down the noise. We are tragically losing our sacred spaces—those places of quiet and solitude without e-pollution. How many people have you seen or heard carrying on business with their cell phones even in the bathrooms? You have to establish boundaries in your routine and make them known or they will never be observed.

Regroup

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As a leader, how do you refocus when you feel as though someone has squeezed out your last drop of imagination? Here are 6 ways to reconnect with the Heart of the Original Artist:

Truly understand how you are wired. What moves you? What are you passionate about? It may be that you’re stuck taking school photos to pay the bills; but you really love nature photography or writing. You have to make time to stretch creativity; which will keep you fired up for the long haul.

Reexamine

Evaluate what should be in your hands and what is for someone else. Be more intentional about the activities you fill your day with. Remember, life is about putting priority on relationships —but that bonding only happens in the space beyond the busywork.

Renew

Grow in excellence in your craft, even when you feel you’ve made it or hit your ceiling. I like the term “the constant learner.” It’s a life-long process. Retirement from life isn’t an option. Don’t be too proud to admit you have room to grow in your skills. Even the most trained and tested artists can improve in one way or another.

Relay the Passion

Don’t let the legacy end with you. Find a way to pass on the torch. Some people are so concerned that someone is going to get more skilled or get ahead of them that they hold back just a bit to be secure. Teaching and mentoring opportunities will not only rekindle a love for the craft as you are helping someone on a journey of discover; they will help you see things that maybe you haven’t considered.

Rest

Be a good steward of your body and realize it needs a break from over commitment. Remember, what you do isn’t as important as whose you are. Don’t let doing, even doing church, become an idol in your life. Check out Ecclesiates 12:12: “But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There’s no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you’re no good for anything else. The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you” (The Message). I hope you enjoy this first issue of Leading Hearts and get some tools to make good choices about the relationships, resources and talents God has placed in your hands! Peace! AMBER WEIGAND-BUCKLEY, EDITOR LEADING HEARTS MAGAZINE

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On the List BY REBEKAH BINKLEY MONTGOMERY

I make lists: daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly to-do

lists, grocery lists, Christmas lists, things-to-do-before-Icroak lists, lists of my lists—you get the idea. Lists keep me on task because time and opportunity are irreplaceable. Money can be replaced. Not so lost time and opportunity. When we waste those, a portion of our lives disappears, too. We simply cannot get it back.

I became keenly aware of my own ticking when, after a high fever and rash, I was referred to a neurologist. He did some inconclusive tests, then diagnosed me with a brain disorder that without warning could leave me paralyzed or incapacitated. Or dead. I walked around in a daze, processing the news that any moment could be my last. I kicked life into overdrive and started finishing projects on my lists whose former due date had been “whenever.” In the midst of this, I stumbled across a truth that’s not particularly profound but freeing: When you’re staring close range at death’s grinning skull, you have no time or energy for pretense. I re-examined decisions I had made and their consequences. The Holy Spirit was only too happy to help. “Dig here,” he would say. To my chagrin, I dug up bones of wasted time and opportunities. Piece by piece, bone by bone, I inventoried the skeletons in my closet. I made lists— long, long ones—of failures and opportunities lost largely out of fear and timidity. The lost opportunities weren’t the ones you might suspect. It was the times I squelched the Holy Spirit’s voice when he wanted me to make a real, lasting Faithprint on someone’s life while I wanted to—and did—fade into the background.

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Slow Dancing with the Grim Reaper

The upshot was this: I have the knack for petting mean dogs. I hate to offend, and I’m pretty good at avoiding it. Once upon a time, a friend described me as a person who could tell someone to go to hell and make him think he’d enjoy the trip. That not-so-flattering portrait clearly came into focus as I admitted that I really hate to stir up a hornet’s nest of controversy or change even when it needs to be stirred up and the hornets killed or relocated. In short, I’m an ingratiating coward. I’d rather not get involved. I knew that if I let people into my life, they would lug their problems into my tidy world. I wouldn’t mind them cluttering up my life so much if I could merely add them to my to-do list, permanently fix them and their problems, and check them off. Done! But people and their problems have a nasty way of becoming “unfixed.” Their problems mutate: same old problem, new ugly presentation.

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We are all ticking time bombs. The clock will strike the zero hour and our family will phone the undertaker. Then we will stand before the Almighty and give an accounting of what we have done with our time and opportunities. Yes, an accounting. God makes lists, too (See Revelation 20:12).

“I admitted that I really hate to stir up a hornet’s nest of controversy or change...”

But of course, it is where sin is rendering people the sickest that Faithprints are most needed. Jesus wants to get involved with the people in our community and address their needs. He wants to use our hands to do it.

Another Crack at Life, a Different Set of Lists, and a Clearer, Bolder Faithprint In time, we realized the neurologist was wrong. While death wasn’t imminent, a new set of specialists said I would now have to live with permanent disability and painful nerve damage. - continued p. 7 -

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Despite his misdiagnosis, the neurologist was also right: I could die at any time. So could you. In order to be effective for God, to make clear, bold Faithprints, we must be aware we will give an account of how we have lived day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minuteto-minute. We will also account for what we have done with our assets. Were we willing to get our hands dirty for Jesus right where we are, right where he has put us? Did we? For these reasons, the Bible encourages us to be strategic with the use of our time, talent, energy, opportunity, and goals. REBEKAH BINKLEY MONTGOMERY is author of “Faithprints.”Excerpted with permission. Find her online at www.rebekahmontgomery.com

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Faithprints

in the Word

BIBLICAL STRATEGIES FOR THE WISE Use of time — Psalms 90:12

Use of talent — Matthew 25:14–30

Use of opportunities — Psalms 34: 12–14 Way to set goals — Proverbs 11:19

He has given each of us only a certain amount of time and opportunity to make Faithprints. When the time passes, the opportunity evaporates with it. Yet we will still be held responsible for both.

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Au s tra lia n m i n i s t e r C h r i s t i n e Cain e o f Hillso n g Ch u rch in Syd n ey has a heart for re a c h i n g t h e l o s t , s e r vin g t h e lo cal ch u rch , an d ch am p ioni ng

the c a us e of j u s t i c e . L e d b y J e su s’ last co m m an d t o , “ Go t h eref o re and mak e dis c iple s o f a l l n a t i o n s ” (Mat t h ew 2 8 :1 9 , NR SV ), Ch r ist in e travel s the w orld te a c h i n g t h e g o s p e l an d in sp ir in g h er au d ien ces t o co nnect w i t h the ir Go d - g i v e n p u r p o s e an d p o t en t ial. Ch r ist in e an d h er h usband, Ni ck , a re the f o u n d e r s o f T h e A2 1 Cam p aig n , an an t i- h u m an - t r affi cki ng orga niz a tion w i t h t h e a m b i t i o n o f ab o lish in g slaver y in t h e 2 1 st century. Chris tine s po k e w i t h e d i t o r A m b er Weig an d - B u ckley. {8.}-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


You h ave tal ked a l ot a bout l i fe ’s interru p t i o n s a nd how the y tra ns la t e into seaso n s o f tra ns forma ti on. Te ll me ho w th at h a s i mpa c te d y ou n o t only as a f o ll owe r of C hri s t, but a s a mother.

CHRISTINE CAINE: Being a mother is my greatest joy! And I am constantly in awe of how God uses my children to remind me of the simplest, yet most impacting truth.

I will never forget when my daughter Sophia and I were shopping at a Walmart. We love America for your Walmarts! It’s the only place I know of where I can get a casserole and a flat-screen TV at 3 a.m. on any day. Sophie wanted a flashlight and had the perfect one picked out. Unfortunately, Walmart’s florescent lighting doesn’t make for the best conditions to test out a flashlight. At the register, she was so excited to go home and try out her new little gadget. She said, “Come on, Mum! Let’s go find some darkness.” I was astounded by the words that just came out of her mouth as I realized the impact they would have if Christians truly lived by them. Instead of hiding from the darkness in places of light, we are called to go into the darkness and be the light. It’s pure joy as a mother to learn from my children!

You h ave m ade i t y our pri ori ty to resp o n d t o h u ma n tra ffi c k i ng i n t h is gener at i o n . H ow a re y ou try i ng t o make a d i ffere nc e a s one pe rs on ? Is it ev en p o ssi b le?

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It really does all start with one. And if we can make a difference in the life of one person, it is all worth it.

A s t h e m o t h e r o f t w o g ir ls , wh at n u g g e t o f m o m - t o - d a u g h t e r ad vi ce w o u ld y o u w a n t t h e m t o in c o r p o r at e in t o t h e ir liv e s ?

CHRISTINE: As a mother, one of my greatest

desires is that my daughters will grow up passionately in love with Jesus, His Word, and the Church, and desire to fulfill the purpose for which He has placed them on the planet: to be world changers! Find Christine online at www.equipandempower.org.

CHRISTINE: God has equipped each person

with unique gifts, talents and abilities in order to reach our generation. Everyone has a part to play and every person can make a difference. It is important not to devalue what God has placed in your hand, but rather to seek Him about how to step out and take action. We began The A21 Campaign, and I believe we will continue to see more girls rescued, and their lives will be a testimony to the truth that God is a redeemer, restorer and rebuilder of destinies, hopes and dreams. It is my prayer these girls will not only fulfill all God has for them for their futures, but that they will actually reach out to others who are enslaved and help them to find freedom and hope in Christ as well.

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Are We There Yet? is the powerful story - you will laugh, cry, celebrate, and contemplate while reading this poignant book. Most of all, you will be inspired to open your heart to greater love, compassion, and to a decision to say “yes” when God invites you to engage in the adventure of a lifetime.” —Carol Kent, Speaker and Author When I Lay My Isaac Down

Hector and Sue Badeau love big and love well! Are We There Yet? will inspire you and leave you asking, ‘How might I, too, love bigger and love better?’” —Mary Beth Chapman, Co-Founder and President of Show Hope, Author of New York Times bestseller Choosing to SEE

Come along with Hector and Sue Badeau on their ultimate road trip – adopting and

raising 22 children, from diverse backgrounds with many special needs. Like any road trip, their story has twists and turns, detours and surprises. You’ll be inspired, laugh out loud and shed tears as you share their experiences in foster care and adoption, coping with teenage pregnancies, addictions, unimaginable accomplishments and raw moments of grief after the untimely deaths of three beloved children. Are We There Yet? is an entertaining story which also imparts nuggets of parenting wisdom for any parent or grandparent. It is packed with spiritual truths and life lessons for teachers, social workers, pastors and others. Sue is a nationally known speaker on child and family topics, Hector works with homeless adults. They live in Philadelphia and are active in Summit Presbyterian Church. They have served as foster parents and as a refugee host family. Learn more about the Badeau family at www.badeaufamily.com, and about Sue’s speaking and writing ministry at www.suebadeau.com

SUE & HECTOR BADEAU, Carpenter’s Son Publishing Available wherever books are sold and at Deeper Shopping http://www.deepershopping.com/item/ badeau-sue/are-we-there-yet/4904335.html and at www.suebadeau.com


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Give Him a K.I.S.S. BY PAM FARREL

There is no real downside to becoming a more desir-

In my new book, “Red Hot Romance Tips for Women,” I explore 26 traits (A to Z) that will help make an enhanced version of you. KISS It! To make your man a top priority, use the acrostic below to write a few goals. A solid aim for love must include a K.I.S.S:

Knowledgeable

Do you know the answer to questions like: • As a boy, what did he want to be when he “grew up”. (A fun date could be arranging to let him be a race car driver, a cowboy, a pilot, etc.) • What are his favorite snacks? (Hide them along his path with note with a play on words like, “You are my ‘Big Hunk’ of love.”)

Inspired

How would you like to feel about your husband or marriage by the end of the “Red Hot Romance” journey? Often it is the small gestures of love that add up in a big way: • One woman placed this note on items in their home,

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able wife. As a leader, you gain back the time you invest in romancing your man because a happy husband is a supportive husband. You become a kinder, nicer, more loving person and everyone in your life, not just your husband, will benefit!

like the light switch or coffee maker, “Come turn me on instead of this.”

Specific

Nail down the details of the changes you are aiming at, like: Begin a new romantic habit: • Wake him with a kiss, hug, coffee or simply a “good morning.”. (Did you know that men who kiss their wives each day live 5 years longer than men who don’t?)

Scheduled

Be intentional. Make time for this project: time to read, time to pray for your man and your marriage, and time for the Red Hot Romance dates (and the subsequent romantic sparks in the bedroom). Plan action steps and red pen them and the time to accomplish them right into your calendar or Outlook. Use the code RHM (Red Hot Monogamy) to set aside time for intimacy with your very happy husband. PAM FARREL is an international speaker, Co-Director of Love-Wise , author of over 38 books including bestselling “Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti,” “Red Hot Monogamy,” “52 Ways to Wow Your Husband,” and “Red Hot Romance Tips for Women.” Find her online at www.Love-Wise.com.

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BY SUE BADEAU

“I’ m n o t r eady. I c a n’t do thi s ,” I t e ll m y f r ie n d C a r o le m o m e n t s a f t e r an-

nounci n g I am pre gna nt wi th my t h ir d c h ild . “ I ju s t k n o w t h e r e ’s n o w ay I can hand le th ree c hi l dre n. G od’s de s ig n f o r e v e r y t h in g is in t w o s , ” I b a b b l e, “Ad am and Eve. No ah ’s A rk . N a omi a nd R u t h . E v e r y t h in g is t w o - b y - t w o f o r a r easo n . We each h ave two ha nds , two e ye s , t w o e a r s . S e r io u s ly C a r o le , e v e r y t hi n g i s in two s. Ho w on e a rth doe s G od e x p e c t m e t o m a n a g e t h r e e c h ild r e n ? I d o n ’t w ant th ree chi l dre n. I don’t wa n t f o u r c h ild r e n . I’ m h a p p y w it h t w o c h i l d r en . L ife i s g o o d . I don’t wa nt a nothe r b a b y. N o t n o w. N o t e v e r. I ju s t c a n ’t d o i t . I c an’t. I’ll lo se my mi nd! ” C aro le, a sin g l e , c hi l dl e s s c ol l e ge s t u d e n t , h a s n o id e a w h a t t o s a y o r d o . Sh e roots aro u n d i n he r purs e a nd pu lls o u t a H e r s h e y b a r, h a n d in g it t o m e. “I t ’l l w ork o u t,” sh e s a y s , “ G od ha s a p u r p o s e in t h is . ” {12.} - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


our book, “Are We There Yet? The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids,” occurred 33 years ago, I remember every detail vividly. I was overwhelmed, convinced God was giving me more than I could handle. A third child? Impossible! How did I get from that moment of hysteria in 1981 to my current status as a mom of 22 and grandmother of 35? There are so many facets to my answer -it filled a 500+ page book! But to sum it up in one word, the word is “balance.” God has worked with me continuously on this. In particular, He has shown me that I need to maintain balance in these three areas:

1. Plans versus “go with the flow”

I’m a planner and list maker. As a young bride, I had a plan to have two children (biologically) and adopt two. My husband agreed which only confirmed that this came from God. Claiming Proverbs 16:3—“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established” (ESV)—we started on our journey. We soon learned that God had other plans!

And yet, He gave me this personality and it has served me well. I’ve stayed (mostly) sane and our family has flourished in large part because we’ve set goals, made plans and worked hard to achieve them. We had plans for daily routines, educational goals, holiday celebrations and more. Plans are good. But don’t go overboard. Some of the best times in our family life occurred when we accepted detours with a sense of adventure. From an unplanned feast of fresh corn with a farmer in Idaho, to the unplanned addition to our family of a precious terminally ill child named Wayne, we learned that when God takes us off the path we have planned, it’s always because He has better plans ahead. Sometimes the terrain between one road and the next can be rocky. Hang on to the Lord, not to your plans!

2. Order versus Chaos

I grew up in an orderly home with a time and a place for everything. Our God is a God of order. “There is an appointed time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NASB). “All things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40, NASB): But while raising 22 children, most with special needs, I’ve learned not to be a slave to “order.” Rather, I have learned to accept chaos at times.

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“...I’ve learned not to be a slave to “order.” Rather, I have learned to accept chaos at times.”

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While the scene captured in this brief excerpt from

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Attending a school event, snuggling to read stories, keeping watch with a sick child, taking extra time to make brownies so that small children could take turns cracking eggs, or sitting up until two in the morning with a teen who needed to talk are among the most important things I ever did, even though doing them often meant going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink or unfinished paperwork piled on my desk.

3. Time Together versus Time Apart

I crave time alone and have learned that I need it as much as I need oxygen. My husband and I need couple time and each child needs one-on-one time. In a large family we need family time where we strengthen the bonds of unity that make us a true family and not just a collection of people who happen to live together. Mark 6: 31 (NASB) reminds us to “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while,” while Psalm 133:1 extols unity: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (NASB). Balancing these competing demands has been one of our biggest challenges. We’ve found it takes intentionality and—yes—planning! Time alone, individually, and “date nights” are essential. As flight attendants remind us, we are no good to others if we don’t put our own “oxygen masks” on first. “One-on-one time” for each child was written in ink in our calendars. Hector also took a different child to breakfast each Saturday; we continue this tradition with our grandchildren. And then, family time. From dinner-table sing-alongs, to full-blown plays with costumes and props, to camping, volunteer service or cleaning the garage—we were deliberate about spending time together and ensuring that everyone, regardless of age or ability, could participate. Working toward balance in each of these areas is a continual, but worthwhile, juggling act. And when all else fails, Carole’s two strategies always work: eat chocolate and remember that God has a purpose in all of this! SUE BADEAU is the author of “Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids!”Find her online at www.badeaufamily.com.

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The glitz of G r a m m y a n d B i l l b o ar d n o d s an d t it les o f Do ve New Arti st of the Ye a r ha v e y e t t o f a z e 2 2 - year- o ld r eco r d in g ar t ist J am ie Gr ace. Jami e s at dow n w it h e d i t o r A m b e r Weig an d - B u ckley d u r in g a R o ad sh o w tour s top in S pring f i e l d , M i s s o u r i , to t alk ab o u t h er n ew alb u m an d t he foundat ion of fa it h a n d f a m i l y t h a t keep s h er g r o u n d ed in t h e d ay- t o -day. {14.} - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


You’ve j u st h a d a s e c ond a l bum co m e out, R ead y t o F l y.

JAMIE GRACE: I feel like I’ve been working

on it since I was like 12. But it’s only been the last two or three years. I’m really excited about it. The first record was really fun to release, and this new record is just kind of more of an expansion of that one, just more of my diary pages and more of my heart. I’m ready for people to hear it.

O ne so n g th at I re a l l y l i k e d on th e new al b u m i s “F i ghte r.” W hy don ’t y ou tal k to m e a l i ttl e bi t a bout t h e meanin g b eh i nd tha t s ong.

JAMIE: “Fighter” is one that means a lot to me.

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------has a plan and a purpose for my life. And I really started to trust in Him and trust in that. Then I just wanted to tell other people about it. I started to write songs about it, and movie scripts about it, and TV plots about it, and all this stuff. I was like, I have to tell the whole world. I guess that’s how this dream kind of started.

Yo u h a v e a p re t t y c lo s e - k n it f am i l y. H o w in t e g r a l a re t h e y in h e lp i n g yo u k e e p g ro u n d e d in y o u r d a y - t o - d ay?

JAMIE: My mom is my manager. She and my dad

are both my pastors. Right now, my sister is on the road with me, and her husband is on the road with me as well. I also live next door to my parents, and my sister

When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, and about three years after that I started a foundation called Teens With TS (Teens With Tourette Syndrome) to connect with other teens like myself, to encourage them, to be a light. Over the years, Teens With TS became imafighter.org, and it’s where people post daily stories of their fight, of how they had to learn how to be resilient and strong even in the midst of hardship. We all have obstacles in our lives that we have to face, and that we can’t always control. Sometimes it’s medical, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s school… finances, whatever. I took some of the stories that meant a lot to me—and I couldn’t fit them all in the song, which is a bummer, so I’ll have to do a part two or something.

Strugg l i n g wi th a n i l l ne s s , how d o y o u go fro m th at t o s a y i ng, “H e y, I ’m g oing to b e a Ch ri s ti a n mus i c a rti s t ” ?

JAMIE: Something my parents always shared with

me is Psalm 30:5, and it says: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Understanding that for the first time, at about 13 or 14 years old, was this understanding of, Wow, God still loves me, God still cares about me. I might cry, I might weep, I might hurt, I might ache, but His joy is still there. His joy is still real, and it’s going to come in the morning. And it’s never failing. There’s this domino effect of realization that God still

and her husband live across the street from me right now. A lot of times when I tell people that, it’s like, Isn’t that kind of weird? But we’re not really ever home anyway. We’re always on the road. But, I love being so - continued p. 16 -

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close to my family. We’ve always done things together. It’s so amazing when the Lord blesses you with an incredible family, because He will either give you that family by blood, or I believe that if you were not blessed with that by blood, that there is a local church, a local community of faith where you can have that

family. The Lord will surround us all with great people. We all need people that are going to keep us grounded, and keep our heads on a level place so that we don’t think that we’re too awesome at the end of the day.

A s a wo m an le a de r, y ou’v e ha d a lo t of goo d m en t ors i n y our l i fe . Te l l m e abou t yo u r rel a ti ons hi p wi th Tob y Ma c .

JAMIE: It’s been awesome to have him as some-

one I can bounce songs off of and ideas off of, and tour ideas, and band ideas, and this kind of stuff. It’s really cool. I’ve also really looked up to Natalie Grant since I was a kid. The last few years, she’s just really taken a likin’—that’s really country—to our family, and it’s really cool to have another female in the industry doing what I do--or, I guess I do what she does--for me to go to for advice and stuff like that.

H ow d o yo u sta y grounde d whi l e o n the ro ad ?

JAMIE: One of my favorite things on tour is tour

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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------church. It’s not an official term or anything, but on Sunday…we have church. And it’s awesome to be able to get together and worship together. I try to make sure that whomever I’m touring with knows who I am and who I’m called to be, so they can hold me accountable for both of those things. That’s one thing I like about having my sister and her husband out, because they’re going to be the most honest with me, besides my parents. They’re going to call me out if I’m doing something wrong, or if I’m not doing something in a way that I promised I would. It’s like back in college, I was always studying and doing homework and going to class. I went to Bible college, so I read a lot of Bible studies for school, but at some point I had to learn, I’m reading a Bible study, but I still need to be doing a Bible study.

W h a t B ib le s t u d y o r b o o k a re yo u re a d in g t h a t ’s c h a lle n g in g y o u?

JAMIE:I just finished one that was going through

the book of Ephesians, and that was really cool. And my friend Jennifer Beckham has a book called Get Over Yourself. I need to read that about four times. I met Jennifer like three years ago at a show, and she gave me her book, and I’m just going to be honest, when I was in college I just didn’t have time to read anything. And in the last year, I’m like, I’m going to read, I’m going to read, and I just started it. I’m like, Oh, thank you for this, that’s good.

W h a t a d v ic e w o u ld y o u g iv e s o m eo n e w h o w a n t s t o p u r s u e h is o r h er d re a m s ?

JAMIE: I met a little girl, about 10 years old, and

her dad says, “She’s a songwriter.” And she said, “Do you have any advice for me?” And I said, “You need to find someone in the worship band at your church that can sit with you once a month, and maybe go out for-well she’s 10, probably doesn’t drink coffee--but go out for cupcakes, and pull out your songs and just look at them and pray about them. It’s so important that we surround ourselves with people that can encourage us and inspire us. Find Jamie online at www.jamiegrace.com.

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With No Regrets BY MICHELLE COX

“Stop the merry-go-round!” I often want to scream

I’ve realized something important: I really can’t do it all and do it all well. None of us can. Something has to give when our schedules are overloaded, and usually it’s family that’s put on the back burner when we have too many responsibilities. Often those projects we do things for the Lord are wonderful, but because our schedules are out of balance, we end up cheating our spouses and our children. So let’s think about what’s really important to us. What don’t we want to have regrets about when we reach the end of our lives? How do we get our priorities in order?

• Let’s pray about it, asking God to be the keeper

of our schedules and to close the doors He doesn’t want us to walk through.

• Let’s learn to say no. That’s a hard lesson to learn but it’s vital.

• Let’s keep in mind that we have just 18 summers before our children leave home.

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that as life spins busily out of control—but it usually seems like the merry-go-round just goes faster. Can any of you relate?

® • Let’s go through our ministry calendars at the be-

ginning of the year and mark out weeks to keep clear for our families.

• Let’s be sensitive to His still small voice. Yes, God wants our efforts for Him, but He also values family. After all, of all the ways He could have sent His Son to earth, God sent Jesus by way of a mother. So as we minister to others, let’s keep in mind that God has also given us a mission field at home with our children. Who knows what plans God might have for those little ones sitting at our breakfast tables! MICHELLE COX is an author and speaker and the creator of the Just 18 Summers® brand of parenting resources and products. To visit her parenting blog, learn more about Michelle, or to order the Just 18 Summers novel, go to www.just18summers.com and www. Facebook.com/just18summers.

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In the Lead- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --------------------------------------

Interrupted! BY EDNA ELLISON

A young woman in a navy-blue power suit walked

briskly into my office in Fresno. “I want you to mentor me!” I took a step backwards. She reminded me of a post office sign with the stern red-white-and-blue man: “Uncle Sam Wants You!”

“Okay. I know you’re busy. May I take you to lunch?” she asked. “I have to eat downtown every Tuesday. You do eat lunch, don’t you? Uh. . . my treat.” Right answer! I believe in free lunch, so I joined her. Six Tuesdays later I realized I was mentoring her—and it was the most rewarding adventure I’ve ever taken. As a Christian woman who leads, how do you balance your most important responsibilities as well as make time for divine interruptions? Here are a few things I’ve done that work.

Pray

Don’t go on a journey without your underwear. Don’t go on a God-journey without your prayerware. Make sure this project is His idea, not just a wild goose you’re chasing because you are a capable leader. Sometimes I decide on wonderful projects, and then ask God to bless them. Wrong order! You and I may like our ideas, but they usually fall flat if God’s not the leader.

List

Jot down a list of tasks found in your today’s To-Do list, an Old-But-Urgent list, and a “Holy Coincidence” (like Tricia) that just popped up recently.

Set Priorities

People always have time to do what they really want to do. The problem arises when God suggests an idea you don’t like. After praying to make sure it’s God’s

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After a brief talk with Tricia Scribner, I said, “Sorry I can’t mentor you; I’m too busy. I’m training ministering women from San Diego to Sacramento. No way I have time to mentor you.”

idea, strike other things that won’t make a difference in God’s kingdom 50 years from now. On a Must-Do list write the things you sense will make a difference in the world, even if you don’t know how to accomplish them. Scan your calendar. Do you have an empty space (maybe where a less important item used to be?) to slide in items from your Must-Do list? Select a few tasks to do if you find unexpected times open.

Look Around

Decide which of the following you need as tools for the task (list a few things under each heading):

Natural Gifts

Learned Gifts

Spiritual Gifts

Tricia had a high IQ. Her natural ability to remember served us well as we cited Scriptures for our two mentoring leadership books. She also played the piano. This learned talent saved our women’s conference when the pianist didn’t show up! Her spiritual gift of administration helped us organize events in California churches. I don’t have that spiritual gift, so I keep an office full of stacks of papers with scribbled notes everywhere. Her interruption of my ministry was a holy coincidence of God in my life.

Network

If you’re a mentor-leader, don’t show all your gifts to the world for every project. You can mentor other potential leaders by enabling others to share their natural talents, learned skills and spiritual gifts with others. You can multiply yourself through networking by offering this small-group Bible study on page 19 for potential leaders.

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Preparing Yourself to Mentor

HERE IS A DISCUSSION STARTER FOR YOUR SMALL GROUP:

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Share the three kinds of gifts (on page 18) with the small group attendees. Two by two, share gifts you think you have in each category. Introduce the study by reading John 13:8-9. Discuss/ answer the following:

{1.} Once Peter understood the necessity of Christ serving him, how did he respond?

{2.} How do you know he was humbled by Jesus’ act of service?

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{3.} Leaders of other women cannot serve others until they receive gifts of service from Jesus. Pray now for your own heart to be refreshed. Make worship a priority as you accept His gifts now.

{4.} Read 1 Samuel 30:6. How or when do you sometimes respond as David did?

{5.} Read verses 17-19. Do you think David’s earlier

Caring for Your Vocal Instrument BY KATHY COLLARD MILLER

Someone hands you the microphone and asks, “May I bring you some water?” Great idea. But when she brings you the glass you realize it’s full of ice. You realize you should have been more specific. That’s the worst possible thing to drink because cold constricts your vocal cords. And let’s face it, nerves do that enough. No worries, make a note next time to ask for water at room-temperature.

encouragement from God determined the outcome of the battle? How?

Here are a few other do’s and don’ts of vocal care when you are getting prepped for speaking, whatever setting you find yourself in:

{6.} Have you ever had a battle in women’s ministry?

{1.} Drink plenty of water. Hydration is important.

How can you keep your leadership filled with God’s priorities instead of friction over minor issues?

{7.} Read Psalm 25:4-13. How can you celebrate in-

terruptions like Tricia Scribner’s and praise God for such holy coincidences? Celebrate today by sharing words of encouragement and/or wise counsel with each other in the group as they leave (or give a compliment to someone on her use of gifts). After the group meeting is over, text encouraging messages to one another. For more about mentoring women in ministry or your natural, learned, and spiritual gifts, read “Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor” by Edna Ellison and Tricia Scribner @ www.ednaellison.com.

Limit caffeine and avoid milk completely.

{2.} Herbal tea or water with lemon is helpful. As you drink, breathe in the steam to hydrate your larynx.

{3.} Don’t slouch. Good posture helps with breathing from your diaphragm.

{4.} Relax your body by rolling shoulders, gently

stretching neck, and opening mouth into a yawn.

{5.} Don’t yell—it can hurt your larynx.

{6.} It’s good to suck hard candy or mints, but avoid menthol.

{7.} Don’t gargle with mouthwash containing alcohol. KATHY COLLARD MILLER is author of “Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries”. Visit her online at www.kathycollardmiller.blogspot.com.

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BY BETTY VOSHAGE

Ask yourself which of the women at your church: • Has God brought to your mind and attention? • Seem to have a heart for women? • Are interested in activities for women?

As you make your list, ask yourself: • What can these individual women do to help? • Have they volunteered their services? (An offer to help is a huge indication of their calling.) • Do they show a caring quality for and about women?

The women who fit these qualifications are THE women who are potential candidates to serve on your women’s ministry team. Spend some time talking with them and getting to know them. They may be friends you know or “friends you’ve never met before.” During this team building process, not only should the team members have a heart for women, they should also demonstrate other qualities and talents.

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As you assume the women’s ministry leadership role, you should be looking around you and observing the women in your church. It is time to build a team of women with the same heart that you have for women and women’s ministry.

• A mixture of ages, single/married/divorced, children/no children. • From different segments of the population who have firsthand knowledge of needs of women in their peer group. • Talented with particular areas of interest.

Are there volunteers with technical/computer backgrounds? Your team will need someone who might be able to build Web pages, create flyers and brochures, and complete mailings. Is there someone who is very creative, maybe with a decorator’s touch? As different events are planned, there is always a need for such a talent. Is there someone who is good with numbers — with a financial background perhaps? All of the financial dealings of women’s ministry will have to be recorded and tracked for each event, whether for a retreat or purchasing Bible study materials. Do your candidates have leadership qualities? They will need that as they coordinate individual projects through to completion.

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Requirements

Establish certain requirements for your team members. As requirements are established, keep in mind that the director and sister team members are role models for the women of the congregation — and probably most importantly, to the young women of your church. They will be your future leaders. As the director, this is your opportunity to set the example!

At very minimum, team members should: • Be regular in church attendance • Be in Bible study • Be prepared to attend team meetings.

Additionally, you should give some thought to the question of term limits for your team members. Will there be a term limit for you as the leader?

Team size

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The Lord has gifted each of use with talents that we are to use to His glory. Sometimes we are aware of those gifts; sometimes we can see in others what they don’t see. This is a time to not only use our own known gifts, but also allow those gifts unknown to us to be revealed and use them in service to our Lord.

The size of the women’s ministry team usually depends on the size of the church. A smaller church may have a team of four to six women. A larger church may have up to 12 members. It will take some experimentation to come up with a workable number for your team. No matter the size of the team, you are all partners in ministry. Whether you are sent out “two by two” (Mark 6:7) to work on a project or all of you are working together on a project, you are there for one reason — ministry. Paul clearly reminds of these truths: “As for Titus, he is my partner and co-worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ” (2 Corinthians 8:23, NIV). That we are all different parts of one body. Each is needed in order for the body to function properly. (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-30). BETTY VOSHAGE is author of “How to Build A Women’s Ministry From the Ground Up.” Article excerpt reprinted with permission.

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Resolving Your Inner Conflict BY SAUNDRA DALTON-SMITH

wives disagree. Parents and kids disagree. Employers and employees disagree. With all this disagreeing going on, your physical, emotional and spiritual health can take a real beating. Knowing how inner conflict can manifest physically in your body is the first step in eliminating the effect of toxic emotions.

Angry Muscles

Tight, sore muscles in the back and neck are a common complaint of women who deal with increase stress and conflict. These angry muscles can lead to headaches, muscle spasms, and chronic pain in the affected areas. Many medications are available to improve these tight achy muscles, but are with only temporary relief. Once the conflict resumes the muscles will once again react. The best way to counteract the muscle response to conflict is to practice active relaxation. Those dealing with high amount of conflict, stress, and anger should stretch the groups of muscles in the neck and back regularly. Getting a massage is also a good way to eliminate the toxin that can build up inside of the muscles. Drinking adequate amounts of water also improve the elimination of lactic acid in the muscles and will help decrease pain and discomfort.

Angry Tummy

Conflict causes activity in the stomach to come to a screeching halt. The more stress you are under, the worse your gastrointestinal tract handles the foods you eat. Gastric acid levels increase as the activity inside of the stomach decreases leading to an increase risk in stomach ulcers, constipations, and acid reflux. When you feel your stress levels arise, avoid typical comfort foods. These fatand calorie-laden items are more likely to further increase acid levels causing gas, bloating, and indigestion. Rather, stick to a more bland diet of yogurts, whole grain breads and crackers, fruits, vegetables and small amounts of lean protein. Since protein takes the longest to digest it should be limited and healthy carbohydrates should be increased because they are easier to digest.

Angry Hips

Conflict causes an increase in the stress-hormone cor-

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Every life will have its share of conflict. Husbands and

tisol. Cortisol causes the body to increase fat storage and leads to weight gain. In addition to this biochemical response, many have an emotional response to stress which leads to high consumption of sweets and treats. Monitor calorie intake to control the weight gain associated with stress and utilize the calorie-burning stressreducing benefits of low-impact exercises like walking.

Angry Heart

As emotions rage so does its effect on the heart including palpitations, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Control the effect of conflict on your heart by listening to your body and paying attention to changes you note. See your physician if you develop chest pain or uncontrolled blood pressure.

Angry Head

If conflicts are left to fester they can build up and escalate until they leave you ready to explode. Headaches, dizziness, anxiety and panic attacks are all possible side effects of uncontrolled anger and conflict-induced stress. It’s important to address conflicts as they arise. Trying to avoid the issue will not make it go away. Practice good conflict resolution skills and, when necessary, enlist the assistance of a mediator. Leave work at work; resist bringing career related conflict into your personal space with your family. Spend time daily defusing through the use of prayer and meditation to refocus you thoughts from the problem to the Problem-solver. SAUNDRA DALTON-SMITH is an internal medicine physician, author, speaker and hope activist. She shares with audiences nationwide on the topics of eliminating limiting emotions and helps them see their options in life. She is the founder of I Choose My Best Life, a movement to renew hope in a generation where depression, stress and fear are peaking. Her books include “Set Free to Live Free: Breaking Through the 7 Lies Women Tell Themselves” (Revell 2011) and “Come Empty: Healing for Every Place Life’s Hurt You” (LPC Fall 2014).

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fitness

Get Moving

BY ANGELA BREIDENBACH

The hardest thing about exercise isn’t usually lack of

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle has to start in the mind. All action starts first as a thought. The difference between people who exercise and those who don’t is mental perception. The difference is how they think about exercise. Is it work and drudgery, or is it a joyful expression of thanks and stewardship for the body God gave us? If actions are a result of how we think, then how we think leads to a positive or negative attitude. That attitude determines whether we will participate in healthy, fun physical movement—or not. Willingness to participate in exercise and the excuses to avoid it both start in the same place. Let’s consider our bodies as gifts that need batteries. Negative attitudes come when our battery is in upside down. An attitude shift is like flipping the battery over. Voilá! Suddenly the gift has a power source and comes to life.

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time; it’s a misunderstanding about stewardship. We tightly pack stewardship into the pocket of money and talents. But stewardship is an all-encompassing concept that reaches every corner of our lives.

Confidence, capability and courage come through honing and protecting the only body God gave us to follow His will. Treat movement as a valuable relationship builder by doing fun things with friends and family and as a joyful experience to help reach peak stewardship. Think positively about physical movement and it’ll be a continuously recharging battery.

A Stewardship Moment:

• What negative thoughts have kept you from the joy of physical movement and stewardship of your body? • What new thoughts do you have toward moving your body? • What does the Parable of the Talents mean to you?

ANGELA BREIDENBACH is a captivating speaker, coach and author. Find her online at www.angelabreidenbach.com.

a winter offering at meal time. I thought so, too, until I attended a summer party in a friend’s backyard. Instead of dining on the usual burgers and hot dogs, Vicky served up a couple of big crock pots full of this delicious Creamy White Chili. It was such a big hit, everyone who attended walked out with this recipe.

With the simple addition of a crusty loaf of French bread and a nice tossed green salad it makes the perfect meal that is easy on the pocketbook. The total cooking time is just 30 minutes and cleanup is a breeze.

use leftovers from a whole chicken.

Ingredients

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BY PENELOPE CARLEVATO Creamy White Chili To save time, buy grilled chicken or ¼ cup crumbled bacon You probably think of chili as 1 Tbsp olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1lb cooked chicken, cubed 3 (15 oz) cans white kidney beans, drained 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained 1 (4 oz) can green chili, diced 2 cups chicken broth 1½ tsp sea salt ½ tsp black pepper 1½ tsp cumin ½ cup whipping cream or Half & Half 1 can cream of chicken soup

chopped cilantro to taste for garnish

Directions

In a large pan, add olive oil and sauté onion. Add the chicken, beans, corn, chicken broth, chilies, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in the whipping cream, soup and bacon. Let sit for a few minutes, then ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cilantro. Serves 6 PENELOPE CARLEVATO is author of “Tea on the Titanic.” Find her online at www.penelopesteatime.com.

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beauty

D.I.Y Cucumber/Aloe Toner BY SHELLY BALLESTERO

I like to call this toner “the rescuer.” With calming

What You’ll Need:

1/2 cucumber with peel, chopped 3 tablespoons witch hazel 2 tablespoons distilled water 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel

What You’re Gonna do:

Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove all of the solids. Pour the toner into a clean bottle with a tightfitting lid. Store this toner in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life—it should last for a few weeks. To use, apply the toner to clean face using a clean cotton ball. SHELLY BALLESTERO is author of “Beauty by God: Inside-Out Secrets for Every Woman.” Find her beauty products at www.mybeautifultruth.com.

Wherever books are sold! Bold Vision Books | www.boldvisionbooks.com

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ingredients such as cucumber and healing agent aloe vera gel you can’t go wrong and your skin will be at peace. It works well for all skin types. Cucumber is great for soothing and softening skin because it has the same pH as healthy skin. If you’ve had a long night out—eating and drinking [soda’s or alcohol] plus lack of shut-eye—this recipe will be your beauty hero.

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Get Out of Time Debt BY KAREN H WHITING

If your calendar is filled weeks or months ahead, you’re

Figure out current commitments and time you desire to spend with family. Keeping a time dairy for one month may help you recall where you spend your time now. Then see if there’s any time left for new commitments. If there’s no available time, either say no to all new commitments or graciously step away from some current obligations. This may mean handing over jobs to others or delegating tasks. Decide how to allocate available time. Write a mission statement and set goals to meet dreams. Those provide a framework to view future direction and life purpose. Check each new opportunity to see if the activity fits your mission or not. Decide if it is important for your relationships. If neither, then decline. If either, ask how much time will be needed and how it can fit into your life. It may need to wait until you give up a different commitment. Make changes to your busy life to make it more manageable. Review the list below and take action as needed.

• Limit your time spending. Stop filling the calendar

too soon. Live more in the present time. For example, allow only two major functions to be booked a few months ahead. Keep one weekend (Monday-Tuesday or Friday-Saturday) free every month.

• Use a simple calendar, not a detailed planner. We

don’t live in 15-minute increments. Those time slots are for businesses. Consider three main blocks of time: morning, afternoon, and evening. Fill in no more than one major activity in each block.

• Keep family time sacred. This includes mealtime and outings as well as time with your spouse.

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in time debt. If you race from one commitment to another without time to exercise, eat, or even sleep enough, you’re in time debt. You’ve charged the hours before they have arrived and filled your days with too many commitments. That causes stress that makes it hard relax, spend time with loved ones or minister to others.

• Time yourself to see how long it actually takes to

complete regular tasks (even getting up and dressed).

• Budget time needed for sleep, eating, getting ready for the day, and exercise. Group and delegate what you can, but allow time for your own responsibilities.

• Schedule time cushions between appointments and

activities. This leaves room to relax or to react to a crisis.

• Give yourself a day of rest weekly and take it. • Let others help you. Delegate according to people’s gifts. Spend more time using your strengths and find helpers who are strong where you are weak.

Freeing up time and making choices that fit your life’s goals will relieve stress. You’ll also be happier doing what fits your life’s goals. KAREN H. WHITING is author of “Secrets of Success for Women: Time.” Find her online at www.karenwhiting.com.

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- - - - - Belly Laughs - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --------------------------------------------

The Yokes on Me BY RHONDA RHEA

You know how I usually know I’ve been too busy?

It happened again the other day. I was standing with the fridge door open and my son told me he heard something groaning. I assured him it was only me.

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I open the refrigerator door and find fur. And then I stand there for several seconds wondering what it used to be. Then I stand there another several seconds wondering if I should have it spayed or neutered.

They heard my groaning, yet there is no one to comfort me. --For I must clean the refrigerator myself. That’s from Lamentations 1:21 (ESV). Except I added the entire last sentence. At the point I start rewriting Lamentations, I usually figure out that I’m too busy and it’s time to formulate another plan. Here’s the part where I have to confess that my Plan B is almost always exactly like my Plan A— only with more coffee. The better Plan B? It rests in the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30. And actually it’s much more appropriate as a Plan A. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (ESV). As vital as it is for our bodies to spend time at rest, it’s even more vital for us to embrace some soul-rest. Anytime we’re feeling spiritually troubled, heavy-laden or burned out, Jesus reminds us, “Come to Me.” When your mind is cluttered with a worried jumble of to-do lists and your heart is weighted down with distresses and difficulties, your Savior comes along with this reminder that He waits for you. He waits for you to come. It’s His desire to be your comfort, your encouragement, your hope, your victory. And all you have to do is … come. How do we come to Him? We come as we sort out our priorities and line up our plans for every day with His. We come to Him as we make prayer and worship a priority and give His word an uninterruptible place on the schedule. In those precious places of prayer and

worship and in reading His word, we find indescribable comfort. And guess what else we find. We find the items on an overwhelming to-do list coming into perspective and sorting themselves out. Often those things sort themselves out as we discover His calling to lay down a heavy yoke we’ve placed on ourselves— our own plans and some kind of big, fat, misdirected agenda. As we exchange those plans for His, we find a yoke that’s a much more comfy fit. Exchanging the yoke we’ve made for the one He has for us is always a trade of victory. We find grace. We find inspiration to keep going. We find joy. We find … Him. Isn’t it fascinating that any yoke I place on myself is utterly and entirely exhausting? And isn’t it even more fascinating that the yoke of Christ is invigorating to the max in every little corner of my soul? Every day, for every list, I need to remember to rest in Him. To give my soul a break, and to “come.” As far as the fridge is concerned, I would love a break there, too, but I don’t see it happening. Looks like I’m going to have to knuckle down and clean it. Or maybe shave it. RHONDA RHEA is an author, humor columnist and radio personality. She lives in the St. Louis area with her pastor-hubs and has five grown children. Find her online at www.rhondarhea.com.

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BY LISA TROYER

God’s loy a l l o v e c o u l d n ’ t h a v e r u n o u t , h is m er cif u l lo ve co u ld n ’ t have

dried up. They’re created new ever y morning. How great your faithfulness! I ’m s tic k ing w i t h G o d ( I s a y i t o ver an d o ver ). He’s all I’ve g o t lef t. ( Lam e n t a t i o n s 3:2 2 -24 , Th e Message)

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At our son’s request, tonight was going to be

a movie and pancake night. Christian and Clay, the babies of our tribes both launching into their teen years, had their agenda set: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and a tall stack of chocolate-chocolate chip pancakes. We adults were relatively willing to accommodate their request, as all our other children—all girls—were at various events with their peer groups. Seeing that these moments will most likely lessen with driver’s licenses, more independence and broader social circles, we were game for the evening—and quite honestly, I thought to myself, “If the movie’s boring, I can always doze off.” Tired moms, can I get a witness? Without being a spoiler, if you’ve not viewed the new theatrical version of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” it’s a reminder that we all have dreams. It’s also a reminder that many people fail to pursue their dreams because leaders are sometimes so project-driven that they miss the forest for the trees. Unfortunately, leaders can be so self-absorbed and goal-orientated that they don’t listen to or understand their team. They don’t validate the dreams that God’s placed within their hearts—at home, at work, or at church—or anywhere. Real leaders not only see the forest, they can also lead their tribe through the wilderness at times, and with God’s help and favor, into a Promised Land experience. And guess what? Leaders have the privilege of experiencing that with those they lead. It’s the ultimate win/win.

{

{

“Real leaders not only see the forest, they can also lead their tribe through the wilderness at times, and with God’s help and favor, into a Promised Land experience.”

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Those who lead with the values of our friend in Proverbs 31 lay hold of the reality that one of our greatest opportunities for influence comes from understanding people. That means listening first and understanding what God, the Author of leadership, is speaking. It means listening to verbal and nonverbal communication. You might ask, “Where does it say that?” Do you think that our Proverbs 31 woman would be able to organize

her “employees” if she didn’t understand the needs of her household? Do you believe she would be a successful real estate investor if she didn’t understand how to approach the landowner? Can you imagine that her husband and children would “rise up and call her blessed” if she weren’t able to connect with them emotionally . . . if she weren’t able to understand the importance of the dreams that God planted deep within their hearts? Spending that evening with my son Christian was an incredible blessing in more ways than one. As much as I would have preferred a quiet evening at home, Bob and I both had that “check” that it was appropriate to ask Christian if he wanted to spend an evening out with Clay. Christian isn’t by nature one who seeks out a lot of extra social interaction, and we both felt that if he was interested in going out for the evening, we’d need to avail that opportunity. Christian had a wonderful evening. Christian and Clay laughed together, ate together and had a stellar evening, popcorn and all. For me personally, God spoke to me through the story line of the film. I listened with my ears, my eyes, and my heart to the biblical application of an incredible watershed of what would be faith becoming sight. I really don’t know who enjoyed the evening more— Christian, as he spent a great evening with a lifelong friend, or me—as God was speaking His heart to me, and priming my ears by leading me to listen to my child. Giving me permission to dream and tell Him about it. My epiphany, the manifestation of God, during this season came on December 31, 2013, in a movie theater in Ohio. I kept listening, and God shared even more of His heart throughout the entire evening. It was amazing. By His Spirit, I was able to understand my child and understand myself better than before. Lead well wherever God has placed you in 2014. LISA TROYER is an author and speaker who enjoys spending time with her husband Bob, and their children Jillian and Christian. Find her online at www.lisatroyer.com.

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A Must-Have Resource for Christian Women Today! Endorsed by John C. Maxwell, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author, Real Women Leading helps leaders cultivate biblical truth, credible relationship development, and practical application into everyday life through ten key principles based on Proverbs 31. Women are encouraged to develop talents, invite others to share their values, and inspire the next generation of women leaders along the way. Read a free excerpt, listen to live podcasts with the authors, read author Q & A’s and more at NewHopeDigital.com.

N144105 $14.99

Available wherever books are sold.


Prayer Circle - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

Praying Through Your To-Dos BY LINDA EVANS SHEPHERD

A few weeks ago I was feeling the wrath of an unex-

Late one night as I lay my head upon my pillow, my mind began to spin as I thought through all I had to accomplish in the next few months. My parents were still in crisis, one of my children had hit a difficult snag, and my heart literally ached with concern for my loved ones—and my to-do list was growing faster than I could possibly respond. “Help me, Lord! Help me!” I cried from my bed as sheer panic drummed my heart. With tears, I told the Lord, “I am only one little gal and how is it You’ve called me to accomplish so much in these next few weeks? Behold me. I heard Him whisper.

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pected storm. With both of my parents in the middle of health crises, I found myself hopping in and out of airplanes so I could rush to help. But by dropping everything, my to-do list threatened to drown me. Besides caring for my parents, there were conferences, book deadlines, and projects requiring my immediate attention.

So I tried to imagine what Peter must have seen when he saw the Lord walking across the top of the water on the Sea of Galilee. But instead of “seeing” the Lord, all I could “see” was a blizzard of paperwork falling around me, each page scrawled with yet another “todo” written in black marker.

As I watched this paper blizzard fall around me, I saw the pages of my to-do list landing, then floating on the turbulent Sea of Galilee. That’s when I saw Him. Jesus was walking toward me, over the tops of the floating papers. Behold me, he whispered. As His face came into focus, I took a step toward Him, my foot secure as it stepped on one of the many floating papers around me. Miraculously, both the paper and wave held my weight.

I took another step; then another as my eyes locked on Jesus’s face. When I reached Him, He said, “Linda, you can only walk through this storm if you behold Me.” My heart quit racing and my tears stopped falling. The Lord himself had shown me how to set my priorities by putting “behold Him,” at the top of my to-do list. It’s as Isaiah 26:3-4 states, “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength” (TLB). Let’s pray: Dear Lord, If I can be truthful, I am a woman with a to-do list bigger than I can manage. I now see that when I behold you, my to-do’s will fall into place. Lead me and guide me every step of my every day—as I continue to behold you. In Jesus’ name, Amen Based on story told in “Experiencing God’s Presence; Learning to Listen While You Pray”

Behold me, he encouraged as I continued to look at him.

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- - - - - Reviews - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MusicReviews BY HEATHER VAN ALLEN

Casting Crowns - - - - -Thrive- - - - -

Casting crowns continues to encourage listeners with their seventh studio album “Thrive,” released January 28, 2014. In true Casting Crowns form, the 12 tracks draw from frontman—also youth pastor--Mark Hall’s church student ministry teachings, which also inspired Mark’s new book, Thrive – Digging Deep, Reaching Out, that accompanies the album. “This record and book is an effort to draw a picture of what a believer would look like if they dug into their roots and understood God and themselves more,” Mark says. The title track plays like a challenge, saying, “It’s time for us to more than just survive / We were made to thrive.” Then, in that catchy, pull-you-in way Casting Crowns is known for, the other 11 songs, including “All You’ve Ever Wanted,” “This Is Now,” “Love You With The Truth,” “Follow Me,” “Heroes”--and the other six--present a gamut of truths of what God wants from us, how we can go deeper with Him so He can work through us to reach out to others. One of the more beautifully honest tracks is “Broken Together,” which says, “Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete… / If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine / Could healing still be spoken and save us…” Casting Crowns is skilled at musically and lyrically offering solid truth. “Thrive” is no exception and an album not to be missed.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars {32.} - -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --


- - - - - Reviews - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Carrollton

- - - - -Breathe in Deep- - - - New Centricity Music artists Carrollton released their debut EP, “Breathe In Deep,” on February 11, 2014. The nine tracks on the album have a worshipful sound with a rock edge. Though certain musical elements are ones listeners may be used to with other bands, lead vocalist and guitarist Justin Mosteller, along with Jeremy Menard (lead guitar), Michael Loy (drums) and Jordan Bailey (bass) take worship music to another level by infusing real-life perspectives into it. It’s familiar and different at the same time. The energy is powerful, as most of the songs reach a climax with strong voices soaring toward the heavens. The EP closes with two tracks labeled “Front Porch Sessions,” “Rest” and “Found,” leaving listeners on a mellower, yet still powerful, note. “Breathe In Deep” is worth a listen.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Jason Gray

Love Will Have the Final Word “Don’t tell me when I’m grieving that this happened for a reason,” Jason Gray sings on the track “Not Right Now,” included on his newest Centricity Music release, “Love Will have the Final Word” (March 4, 2014). This raw honesty that acknowledges the range of stuff that life throws at people, that admits sometimes things are far from sweet and rosy—and that’s OK--refreshingly weaves through each of the 11 tracks. Whether we’re celebrating life, as in “Laugh Out Loud” or “The Best Days,” or our hearts are crumbling as life breaks up beneath our feet, Jason reminds listeners of the redeeming power of love. But he’s not just throwing an “all you need is love” kind of concept out there as a pat answer. Rather, he emphasizes how we can allow God’s love to flow through and out of us onto others, to comfort and to heal—an idea that shows up beautifully and heart-wrenchingly in a song that says, “If you want to love someone / Search their soul for where it’s broken / Find the cracks and pour your heart in / If you want to love someone.”

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars HEATHER VAN ALLEN finds some tunes in her earbuds to be a great way to get into the writing zone. She writes from her home in Springfield, Missouri.

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“Linda teaches us to fearlessly hold tight to the lifeline of powerful, practical interaction with our God.” —BONNIE KEEN, author, speaker, recording artist

CONNECT WITH LINDA AT

sheppro.com

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BookReview BY MARILYN LUCE ROBERTSON

Experiencing God’s Presence - - - - Linda Evans Shepherd- - - -

In Experiencing God’s Presence, Learning to Listen While You Pray, award-winning author Linda Evans Shepherd lead readers into a vibrant, two-way relationship with God. Overflowing with warmth and a genuine voice, Linda’s words of biblical wisdom and practical application illustrate God’s desire to not only listen to his children, but to have them practice the art of presence, resting in Him as he speaks life into their spirits. Replete with sample prayers, scriptures, biblical stories, inspiring real-life testimonies and study questions, Experiencing God’s Presence invites us to experience God in a fresh way. This is not just another book on prayer. It’s a step-by-step guide to developing an ongoing, deep and abiding relationship with the almighty, majestic Creator of the universe who longs to commune with us on a personal level. [Published by Revell, 214 pages]

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars MARILYN LUCE ROBERTSON is a full time copywriter and freelancer who has a new-found love for vanilla chai lattes. She lives in Springfield, Missouri with her husband and young son


Be the Early Warning System BY SHARON NORRIS ELLIOTT

Smart people are creating warning systems for on-

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coming hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. However, our lives won’t necessarily have a chance to be spared if we ignore the warnings when we hear them. God instructed the prophet Ezekiel about being a spiritual early system. Ezekiel 33:3-7 says that if the watchman sees and warns the people, he’s done his job. If the people ignore the warning and get hurt, it’s their fault; but if the people are hurt because the watchman gave no warning, it’s the watchman’s fault. God wraps up by saying, “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me,” (NKJ). Like Ezekiel, we too are called to be watchmen—early warning systems—to alert others to the impending

catastrophe of refusing to get themselves right with God. It’s the wrong attitude for us to take if we see someone sliding into the abyss of sin and say, “Oh well, they’re grown, and people are just going to do what they’re going to do. I’ll pray for them.” No. We must warn them “as though God were pleading,” and “implore [them] on Christ’s behalf.” God’s message is, “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?’” (Ezekiel 33:11, NKJ) Indeed, why should they die in their sins when they have us as early warning systems to keep blaring in their ears until they respond by turning to the Lord? It’s at least partially our fault that they perish if we refuse to sound the alarm. SHARON NORRIS ELLIOTT has been writing and speaking professionally since 1991 and makes her home in South Gate, California with her husband James and Mark, their last son at home.

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Profile for Leading Hearts Magazine

Leading Hearts Magazine  

Leading Hearts is not just another Christian woman’s magazine. It is specifically designed with the woman leader in mind, Our mission at L...

Leading Hearts Magazine  

Leading Hearts is not just another Christian woman’s magazine. It is specifically designed with the woman leader in mind, Our mission at L...

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