2017 Collection, Volume IV : The Heart


From the Editor's Note:

The theme The Heart is such an interesting and complicated one.  When we initially set out to create this theme, we assumed we'd get mostly submissions about love and romance.  Instead what followed was true stories of romantic love, heartbreak, self-love, familial love, and so much more.  Within these pages you'll see a wide range of stories on this one particular topic.  All related in their common theme, but yet so very different and inspiring in their own way.


Table of Contents

Heart & Soul Book Awards
Wonder Preserved
Mending My Broken Heart
Traveling with Heavy Baggage
Living with a Broken Heart
Follow Your Heart in Love and Life
A Grandparents Love
Miracles Waiting
Surviving My Worst Year
Unexpected Reassurance
Trick or Treat
Lessons from the Heart
Running Towards Restoration
The Prince and the King
My Angel
Reinventing Home
Modern Day Marriage
How to Run a Marathon


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Mending My Broken Heart

A mid-January evening, my (ex) boyfriend of two years, whom I loved unconditionally and lived with in Colorado, blindsided me after he came home from a solo trip to the mountains and informed me that he “wasn’t happy”. While I initially suspected another woman, he blatantly denied it and lied to my face on multiple occasions. I later found out that I was ultimately deceived. This deception rocked me to my core; my emotions and actions that immediately followed were desperate, pathetic even. This was by far the hardest thing I had been through in my 29 years. The one person I needed to be there for me the most was the one person who put me in this horrific situation. This wasn’t JUST a breakup, this was much more than that.

I had started to plan my life with him; I shifted my wants and needs, my career aspirations, my hobbies and even some of my beliefs to the point where I was a shell of a person. I no longer knew or recognized the woman I saw in the mirror. My family and lifelong friends were 1,500 miles away and while I had so much support from them, from my coworkers, and even from his family, I never felt more alone in my life. My heart hurt every second, every minute, and every hour of every day. I felt like I was dying from the inside out. I cried daily, I barely slept, and when I did eat or drink, I didn’t choose healthy options. An emotional hangover kicked in, and while I continued to “work out”, which is something that has always been a passion of mine, it also became a chore. I gained weight, compared myself to other women, and I questioned God. I needed answers to questions that were certainly not answered during the breakup: “Why did this happen to me? What did I do wrong?” I couldn’t see the forest through the trees and I didn’t understand why or how the man that allegedly loved me and moved me into his place only four months prior to this implosion could rip my heart out, step on it, and set it out on the curb with yesterday’s trash.

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Living With a Broken Heart

I was working at my computer on a cold and beautiful Saturday morning waiting for my husband and our 2 sons to get home from their geocaching adventure. I was just beginning to wonder what was taking them so long, when the phone rang.

All it took was that one phone call to change my life forever.

There was a car accident. My husband was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital. I asked about the boys. My brother-in-law’s voice was calm as he dodged my question and simply said, “We’re coming to get you, be ready”. I went numb.

I burst through the doors of our small town ER and was met with an announcement over the public address system that life flight would be landing in the parking lot.
“Oh good, one of the boys made it”, I thought as I rushed up to the receptionist desk. I asked both the receptionist and the nurse about my boys. I knew when I had to tell the ER staff my boys were in the car with their dad that the hospital had not been informed of their arrival. But still I hoped.

Reality hit when I was sitting in a cold ER room and a train of medical professionals walked in.

My boys were gone forever.

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The Prince and the King

My handsome, patient husband, is so different from me. He quiets me, doesn’t compete with me, and balances me. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a problem that we don’t often
have deep, passionate conversations, but my husband isn’t much of a talker. Our love is quieter, steadier. There are no cresting waves, but a slow, invisible, strong current, in
contrast to the tempest I felt before.

I’ve found that for me, a soulmate is not a mirror but a missing puzzle piece – where I am weak, he is strong. He
fills my empty spaces.

Despite all this, I haven’t quite let go of that fairytale. The memories still leave me feeling a little wistful. I don’t want my prince over my husband – if he came to me today, heart on his sleeve, I would say no. I am grateful he told me all those years ago that I couldn’t have him, that despite the fact that our souls felt the same, our futures would never align.

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Reinventing Home

The day I moved out of our 1900s farmhouse had been a twilight zone blur. I was leaving my kids, not by choice, to remain in the home they knew. Against the clock, I tossed my
possessions into boxes. Design books. Paint tubes with caps screwed crookedly on. Half the dishes. The mini-Cuisinart we never used. Tearfully, I packed the kids’ baby books and watched the movers carry out my favorite French blue armoire and other allotted furniture. All the while, my shoes were being thrown out on the lawn.

At six on the dot, pulling the trunk door closed one last time, I climbed into the driver's seat and cried. My new life began just three miles away, in a cozy brick ranch house atop a hairpin road called Snake Hill. I had a rusty green mailbox, a small deck off the kitchen, and grass that needed cutting. I didn't own a lawnmower, not that I would know what to do with one.

My first step was ripping up the beige wall-to-wall carpeting, plucking staples with pliers, gashing my knuckles as I moved along the edges. Underneath, the hardwood floors were scarred but beautiful. I couldn't imagine why anyone would have wanted to cover them up.