Heart of the Matter

It’s the time of year when it’s hard to walk into any store: grocery or department and not notice a host of hearts. From t-shirts to boxes, hearts adorn most every surface reminding us that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. One favorite confection certainly speaks to the heart of Valentine’s: conversation hearts. Every year eight billion, yep, that’s billion with a B, hearts tucked neatly away in heart-covered boxes line the shelves of our favorite stores. That is 100,000 pounds of sugar, and most stores sell out within six weeks of stocking the shelves. The original hearts, from over 100 years ago, heralded pleasant platitudes like “Married in Satin, Love will be Lasting” or “Married in White, Love will be Right.” The sayings got shorter as the years progressed and “Be Mine” and “Love’s Kiss” became more popular. A recent update currently leaves us with modern versions of “Tweet Me,” “Text Me,” and “Soul Mate.” It is a fun way to communicate our affection with a favorite confection.

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Fasting As a Spiritual Discipline

My journey into fasting began nine years ago with a simple prayer after a study of Nehemiah: “Lord break my heart for what breaks yours.”  What followed this simple, sincere prayer was a whirlwind of soul searching, seeking, and studying.  Not a Fan, Follow Me, Interrupted, Radical, and 7 are just a few of the books I devoured.  One book, 7, which was an invitation to practice 7 types of spiritual fasts forever changed my view on fasting, which forever changed my life.  

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