About the Book

The Uncluttered Heart is your companion through the busy weeks of Advent and Christmas. Published by Upper Room Books. Learn more.

About the Author
Beth A. Richardson

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Daily text messages are not available this year from The Uncluttered Heart. So sorry!! I'll miss texting you!!

 
Wednesday
Dec172014

Replace My Fear with Gratitude

Prayer

Loving God, help me be the face of joy to someone who might be struggling today. If I am facing struggles of my own, gently guide my thoughts toward gratitude, that I may rejoice always in you. Amen.

Carry These Words in Your Heart Today

Replace my fear with gratitude.

Today's Picture

Every time I see this sculpture in the worship center of a local retreat center it speaks to me. The figure kneeling in prayer represents whatever emotion I am feeling at that time -- fear, sadness, anger, gratitude. I can bring all of these emotions to God in prayer.

This is a photograph of a sculpture by Joyce Beisswenger, one of the founders of Penuel Ridge Retreat Center. She created the piece in the 80's and has since passed away. This is a one-of-a-kind piece that lives at the Center.

Question

What are your fears? What helps you cope with your fears? Share your thoughts.

Book of the Day

Quiet Spaces
Patricia F. Wilson

I'm a big fan of Patricia Wilson's. 1. She's a great writer in the area of practical spirituality; 2. She's from Nova Scotia. (I just think that's cool.); and 3. She's really funny. You'll have to check out her other books, including, Why Pray when You Can Take Pills and Worry? This book is one of her "tamer" offerings -- a daily meditation book for women. More about the book.

Sing Your Prayer

Open My Heart - Joy. Listen or sing along.

Tuesday
Dec162014

God Delights in Me

Shooting Star

Prayer

God of delight, let me see the world today through your joyful eyes. Let me feel your love for me and neighbor; may I join with you in delighting in all that you have created. Amen.

Carry These Words in Your Heart Today

God delights in me; I delight in God.

Today's Picture

I delight in this particular wildflower -- the shooting star. It blooms for such a short time and if I happen to find it blooming, I am grateful, excited. The Tennessee shooting star is white and blooms in the early spring -- March or April. This shooting star blooms in the Rockies in the springtime of the mountains -- June. I love the tiny, delicate beauty of this creation of God.

Question

Tell us -- how do you delight in God? How does God delight in you? Share your thoughts.

Book of the Day

Encounter with God's Love
Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich is a hero of mine. She lived in England during the Dark Ages. And she wrote a book -- Showings -- one of the few books by a woman from that period that has been preserved to this day. She was a mystic who dedicated her life to God. Even in the midst of the plague and all the hardships of living, she spread the word of God's love. God said to her, "All shall be well." This booklet is a modern translation of some of her writings. This book has recently gone out of print. But you can find copies on Amazon.

Sing Your Prayer

Open My Heart - Joy. Listen.

Monday
Dec152014

Look for God's Joy

Water drops

Prayer

God, when I am joyless, help me stop, turn to you, and take actions of joy. Let me join with you in selfless joy. Amen.

Carry These Words in Your Heart Today

I will open my eyes to see God's joy.

Today's Picture

The readings in the book today talk about how joy is an action as well as an emotion. I took this picture a couple of years ago when I was on vacation. I spent two thirds of the day bemoaning the fact that it was raining. Then I took a walk and discovered that the day was beautiful, despite -- or maybe because of -- the rain and fog.

Question

These days, is joy more of an emotion or an action for you? Share your reflections.

Book of the Day

The Soul’s Delight
Evelyn Underhill

Evelyn Underhill was a twentieth-century British spiritual writer and retreat leader. Her writings are lovely, powerful. Here's one of my favorite quotes by her: "Faithfulness is consecration in overalls. It is the steady acceptance and performance of the common duty and immediate task without any reference to personal preferences -- because it is there to be done and so is a manifestation of the Will of God." The Soul's Delight is from one of The Upper Room's Spiritual Classics collections. More about the book.

Sing Your Prayer

Sing a prayer of joy. Listen or sing along.

Sunday
Dec142014

My Spirit Rejoices in God

Grandpa's peony

Prayer

God of joy, may I dream dreams and share tales of hope as I enter into this third week of Advent. I praise your mighty name. Amen.

Carry These Words in Your Heart Today

My spirit rejoices in God.

Today's Picture

Nothing makes my spirit rejoice more than spring in Tennessee. This is a peony that I transplanted from Grandpa's yard in Oklahoma to my home in Nashville. Every spring it puts on a show, reflecting God's beauty.

Question

What are the joys you have as we enter this third week of Advent? Share your joys.

Book of the Day

The Upper Room Disciplines 2014

The Upper Room Disciplines is full of treasures. Fifty-two writers (leaders from today's Christian world) each write a week of meditations based on the lectionary scriptures for that week. Previous years have included such great writers as David Buttrick, Grace Imathiu, Don Saliers, Roberta Bondi, Martin Marty, Marjorie Suchocki, Mark Yaconelli, and Will Willimon (and, of course, Beth A. Richardson). It's a great way to really sink into scripture in a daily way. More about the book.

Sing Your Prayer

Sing a prayer of joy. Listen or sing along.

Saturday
Dec132014

Help Me Be a Shalom Bringer

Strength for the Journey

Prayer

God of wholeness, thank you for the shalom bringers who showed me your glory through the smiles on their faces and the touch of their hands. Help me to be a shalom bringer to one who might need your peace, wholeness, or healing today. Amen.

Carry These Words in Your Heart Today

Help me be a shalom bringer today.

Today's Picture

I was honored to lead worship for several years at a retreat for adults living with HIV & AIDS. They were shalom bringers to me through their stories, their smiles, and their tears. I took this picture of the worship center at the retreat.

Question

Who are the shalom bringers in your life? Share your thoughts.

Book of the Day

Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey
Flora Slosson Wuellner

Flora Wuellner is a wonderful writer and pastor, a healer by nature and vocation. This book on forgiveness is a precious gift to the world. Flora describes forgiveness in this way, "Forgiveness is not a goal to be reached or a summit to be attained. The road itself is the goal!" She is a gentle companion on the way of healing. Learn more about this book.

 

Sing Your Prayer

Sing your prayer of Peace. Listen or sing along.