Connie Lakey Martin, Editor


HEART Issue #13

       Number 13. I’ve always considered this number Unlucky!
Until I watched the movie Apollo 13.
Everyone watched and cheered the first landing on the moon by Apollo 11 on July 20, 1969. Again, on November 14, 1969, Apollo 12 had a successful moon mission. But by the time Apollo 13 launched on April 11, 1970 at 13:00 hours, travel into space was taken for granted. Even live broadcasts to earth from inside the spacecraft were replaced with other TV programs. No one seemed interested any longer– until Mission Control asked Pilot Jack Swigert to stir the oxygen and the astronauts heard a large bang! Then began the collective efforts of forced, untested acts under extreme pressure by the crew, flight controllers and support personnel to turn the spaceship around and come back to earth. The world held its breath when reentry lasted much longer than expected. Thankfully, Apollo 13 became known as NASA’s finest hour. And most successful failure!
        If you’ve never watched the movie, you should. You will learn how real heroes are made in life. And the significance of unsung heroes.
        For 13 days in October 1962, the world came close to the brink of nuclear war when President John Kennedy discovered the Soviets were building nuclear weapon sites on the island of Cuba. If you haven’t seen the movie Thirteen Days, you should. It will make you appreciate how fragile life is and cause you to pray earnestly for our leaders and homeland.
        The Golden Age a child longs for is 13.
        The number 13 has some honorable company. We know Jesus selected 12 disciples, but actually there were 13. After Judas betrayed Jesus and hung himself, the apostles voted in one more disciple, Matthias.
One of the most beautiful chapters in The Bible is I Corinthians, Chapter 13. Ironically, it has 13 verses. And in the 13th verse, Paul tells us what– out of three things– is the greatest thing to have in life. I’m not going tell you. You’ll have to read it. Read it often. Then pass it on.
        After I’ve driven north on I-95 for about six hours, turned east on Highway 58 and traveled another two hours, I take Highway 13 for the last highway home to where I grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Why am I so obsessed with the number 13? Because that's the current number issue of HEART. If you haven’t read it, I hope you will.
        Then pass it on.                            Connie Lakey Martin, Editor



Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor              
HEART Issue #12

Room 114.
        That’s what someone marked with black indelible ink on the sides of her white tennis shoes.
        For over six years Mother lived in the Sentara Nursing home on Greenwood Drive in Portsmouth, Virginia, only a few miles from where our family lived since 1959. Probably drove past that spot hundreds of times growing up. Who knew.
        I married in 1970 and moved to South Carolina. For over 35 years, going back to Virginia was a joyful reunion of family and friends. Until Mother began slipping away from us. Then, everything changed. Everything.
        We traveled back often as we could. Dad would say, The clock is ticking. I discovered why they call Alzheimer The Long Goodbye. Why can’t they bury this disease? They can send us to the moon and back, but can’t cure The Big Bad “A.”
        Mother left us May 24, 2016. And again, everything changed. Everything.
        I brought home some of her things. Among them, her white tennis shoes. We wore the same size shoes. I slipped them on and stared at the writing on the side of each shoe, Room 114. I remembered them on her feet while she sat in her chair at the nursing home and how she’d reach down and toy with the shoelaces. She wore them when we walked down the halls together or out into the small courtyard. I remember kneeling down in front of her, tying the shoelaces. Once when we were leaving, she followed us down the hall as if she were going with us, walking in those shoes. Now I was standing in them.
        How could she have disappeared? Where did she go? Where was she this moment and where in the world is heaven? So much doubt. Me, a Christian.
        I tucked away the shoes and foolish questions, and got on with life.
        One day preparing to work in the yard, I thought, why not wear her shoes. She would have loved getting them dirty, dragging the garden hose, watering, planting and pulling weeds. I imagine Mother walking in them with me.
        For over a year now I’ve gardened in her shoes and they’re beginning to show proof. I don’t think she would have minded at all. You can barely make out Room 114. But I know it’s there and I know she is gone. Who knows what the future holds. Diseases haunt our genes, accidents claim our lives, trouble shows up when we least expect it. But every time I slip on her shoes, I have a secret reunion with the sweetest woman who ever lived.
She bought my first pair of shoes. Now I’m wearing her last.
        I believe, in my heart, we will walk together again.  Some things must never change.

Connie Lakey Martin, Editor




Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor                                         

HEART Issue #11

“When life touches us, poems appear like bruises.” -Roger White, writer

       So I’m cleaning off my desk, paying bills, removing clutter, moving things around again (I like change), when I stumble on a bookmarker a poet sent me a long time ago with one of his poems on it. I stop what I’m doing and slowly read his poem. His verses tell how something reminded him of someone in his past who had hurt him. How he learned to move beyond the pain and into the future.
        For a few quiet moments reading his lines, I reflected on a similar hurt in my life, how I had struggled and strained to move finally onward.
Funny, I have never met this poet and will probably never meet him. I don’t know where he lives, or if he is still living. He is unaware I have just read his poem written long ago. He doesn’t know I am emotionally moved and encouraged by his words. I wonder what he might be doing right now. Is he watching a movie, at the dentist, shopping at Wal-Mart, or just staring into space? But this stranger, this writer, has held my earnest and complete attention for a brief and tender time.
        And then, I put the bookmark back in the drawer and get on with life. But for a few reflective moments, I was drawn into this poet’s world where we mysteriously connected.
        That’s poetry. Giving away some of yourself.
        It is scary bearing your soul.
        There are closet writers who hide their words and are discovered after they die. Remember, just because someone doesn’t have a lot to say, doesn’t mean they are absent feeling or depth. You never know how deep a pond is unless you take the time to wade out in it.
        Don’t hold that thought...write it down. You may not travel far in life, but your words might.
        Throw caution to the wind!
        Someone may need the breeze you stir.

~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor




Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor                                         

HEART Issue #10

Spring 2015                                                                                                                          

If you don’t want to live a lonely life, you must build bridges, not walls.
Walls separate. Walls shut others out, or keep something in. Bridges connect. Bridges take you there and bring you back. Never knew how much how I could appreciate a bridge, until I had to live without one.
In the fall of 2011, my husband and I moved to a quiet spot within half mile of a bridge stretching a serene pond, another half mile the Santee State Park and a few more miles to the Town of Santee. Seven months after we settled in, the South Carolina Department of Highways & Transportation suddenly blocked the bridge with blinking barriers and mounds of dirt. Officials deemed the bridge unsafe, closed it indefinitely, no funding available for repair. We were living at a dead end. If we wanted to go to Santee State Park or Town of Santee, we had to drive many miles backwards, then back around our elbow to get to our thumb!
First we got mad. Then we got together. Funny how something that now disconnected us, connected us. Neighbors came out of their houses to have a look at the blinking barriers and high heaps of dirt impeding our travel. Strangers became partners in petitioning the Highway Department. In a crisis, you find others who share your pain. I knew there were larger, more serious problems in the world, but I still wanted someone to come fix our bridge!
While we stewed for a solution, we learned to deal with a dead end. We began to appreciate quiet walks to the bridge undisturbed by traffic. We stole bravely behind the barriers, climbed like children over towering dirt, eventually making a pathway to walk leisurely on a deserted bridge where cars once zoomed. We stopped to watch and hear the spillway and gaze at lazy turtles sunning on logs. We met new folks on the bridge, fishing, there for a stroll, or just to complain. When you reach a dead end, you have two choices: Turn around, go back, stay stuck on one side, or find another way. We emailed, called, wrote letters, attended meetings and reached out to officials.
Then one day some really big equipment showed up and started moving earth around. After a year and seven months, finally, we drove across a brand new bridge! Now, it’s like it never happened. Like the bridge has always been there. Sometimes when I’m driving across the new bridge, I recall our walks, challenging climbs, dreamy looks out over the quiet pond, and the strangers who became partners for progress. We’ve all gone back inside now.
I miss that bittersweet time. But I missed the bridge more. Bridges are beautiful. I wouldn’t want to travel life without them.

                                          ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor


Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor                                           

HEART Issue #9


Elroy! That’s what Dad slips and calls the Town of Elloree.
In his defense, he lives in Virginia, and there are lots of towns in South Carolina with unfamiliar and unusual names.
        Elloree, a small southern town with a big heart for heritage and its large farming community. My husband and I have moved our empty nest here from Orangeburg where we raised our children and lived 41 years. We sold our two-storied home for a small cottage one mile from the Santee State Park and Lake Marion, where we camped once with my parents many years ago.

       It was during this camping trip Dad made his infamous trip to the IGA General Grocery in Elloree to pick up a few things and walked out leaving one of his bags. Upon returning to the campsite, he said, I’ve got to go back to Elroy!
        It’s been Elroy ever since. Never guessed we’d live here.
We moved during the fall season of earth, and fall of our lives. Like autumn leaves, we were changing, losing our grip, floating, and piling up!
        We joined the First Baptist Church of Elloree. Although we have relocated, I’m thankful God hasn’t, and never will.
        I’ve been staring out the windows of our new home. Thinking. Remembering all that was. Wondering what all now is.
        Waiting for words to come, words to write, descriptive words, passionate words, any words at all actually. Sometimes there are just no words. Only feelings. Random thoughts. Thoughts you cannot harness, corral, or pen.
        But the words will come.  Words that will show up unexpected, like a good friend when you need them most.  They always do.
        Elloree, Daddy, Elloree. I love you Daddy!

                                              ~Connie Lakey Martin





Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor                                                 HEART Issue #8

Quiet. Silence. A period of calm. An untroubled state, free from disturbance. An absence of sound. Inactivity. Tranquility. How long can you be still and quiet in a crisis? How long can you be still and sit idly by when wrongly accused? Not rushing to move others, scheming to make matters right, figuring to fix or tweak something, or someone? How long?
       Sitting still? Self-indulgent? Of course it is. But God encourages that sometimes, to “Be still and know...” (Psalm 46:10). Not jump up and save the day. Although we are His hands in a world of chaos and need, God is God and He doesn’t always require us to take matters into our hands.
So how do you know when to move and when to be still?
My first thought in a crisis is to instantly get up, Do Something to try and right what is wrong. But time has taught me to first pause, remain quiet, turn to God and trust, confident He already has a solution and resolution. This helps even if– and especially before– I decide to jump up and try to save the day!  My friends know me as mostly not quiet.
       A good friend to have is like a star. They appear when it is dark, shining and surrounding you with silent wordless comfort.
       The quiet gives you permission to feel peace, come to unhurried conclusions, to rationalize in serenity, to stew over, think out and think through, to wonder at alternatives.
       To imagine. Suppose. Hope. Quiet solitude invites inner strength. Sanctuary. Time to turn longings into prayer, to search for the face of a quiet God and test your ideas before Him . . . Please God: This, that . . . or show me something better.
       The quiet takes away pressure to be busy for perfection. The quiet Is perfecting. Be still and think of God. “He will quiet you with his love.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
       The quiet giveth. The quiet taketh away.
       Blessed are the quiet, for they shall hear God.

                                                                                          Quietly yours,


                                                                                                                                          HEART Issue #8

Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor                                      HEART Issue #7


T hey say you are old when you spend more time thinking about your memories, rather than your dreams.
How about memories of old dreams? Do you think that counts? Old dreams die a slow agonizing death. Hanging on is hard work.
So you bury those old unmaterialized dreams you literally talked to death, stack stones on them, name them, properly assign birth and death dream years. Say goodbye, move on.
Well Ok, that sounded good. Truth is, no matter how deeply I bury my dreams, doesn't take much for me to forsake a new clean cut path, run back to the Dream Graveyard, remove all stacked stones, tear away ground and call them back...all the pretty pieces of my cast away, passed away dreams.
But even if I didn't dig them up, dreams have a way of resurrecting themselves. Dreams can die a thousand deaths, then live to die again.
Dreams deceive you, leave you, grieve you. But losing a dream also frees you to dream something newer, something truer.
So what if my dreams are a crumbled jumbled mess. So what if I hear others whisper or shout, Told you so! Told you not to dream. So what? I own them. They are mine. All the old and aging-faster dreams.
Perhaps I don't plan my dreams well enough. But life is what happens when you make your plans. So I live to dream, and dream to live out my dreams. Dreams can outlive us. Others may live to enjoy our dreams long after we're gone. You may be remembered for your dreams. Dreams give and take, sometimes taking more than giving. They give us hope, and help us look forward. Dreams soften reality.
I believe God speaks to us through dreams. So handle carefully your dreams. They tell you things about yourself no one would guess about yourself. What are my dreams? Sorry, like birthday wishes, if I tell you, they may not come true.
But like the late great King of Soul singer Otis Redding's song- "I've got dreams to remember...."
Listen to your dreams. Then follow your heart.
It's the dream thing to do.
~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor  

HEART Issue #7

                                                                                                   HEART Issue #6

Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor 

For many years this snapshot has stuck to the bulletin board on the wall near my desk. I posted it to remind me– whenever I thought about quitting– how truly happy I was editing and publishing these little booklets. To have a project in progress, looking forward to next season’s issue, wondering what life would hold in between. One of the kids must have snapped it when they were tired of me showering attention on poetry and stuff.
      The photo proved I was in the thick of things, heat of the battle, desk cluttered, stiff neck, finding the right poem for just the right page, wondering if I could pull it all together. Communicating with writers hungry for print. Proofreading. Pondering. Procrastinating. Low toner flashing. Computer crashing. Feeling very low. Feeling very high. Finishing touches. Printing, folding, stapling. Stuffing envelopes, licking, sticking, stamping. Stomping up and down the stairs ! Hurrying to the postoffice, rushing off the new edition. Getting it out. Getting it done.
      Twenty-Three Years! Well over 30,000 copies. Somewhere sitting on someone’s shelf, by a chair, tucked away in a box. A library, or a landfill. That’s ok, I did my part. I sold some, gave more away. That’s ok too. I cast my bread on the waters. The tide goes out, but washes back countless treasures.
      I had seriously planned hanging it all up with the Fall 2009 edition. Seriously? I don’t really know what I’m doing. I just know I am not done. I want to devote more time to Nostalgia’s website and the curious world of E-publishing. But I somehow can’t abandon the books. Perhaps, at least one issue a year. And the next time I decide to quit, I will not tell anyone. I’ll just quietly fade away.
But there will always be the poems and stories launched into print, over $10,000 paid to writers, thousands of contacts on my mail list...and that crazy cluttered picture.
Please visit www.nostalgiapress.com. Be patient, I’m still learning how to manage the site
Maybe order a book sometimes.


~Connie Lakey Martin Editor                                                                                                                 HEART Issue #6                          

                                                                                                      HEART Issue #5

Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor

D o you wonder what your mission is in life? Your special mark of achievement?
I saw a story recently on NBC nightly news “Making a Difference,” about a young woman in Philadelphia whose daily jogging path ran past a homeless shelter, where sad, jobless men, some recovering addicts, would look up and wave as they watched her run by. Day after day as she jogged past them, she looked behind and observed their troubled faces. She kept asking herself the same question: How can I help these folks get moving and back on their feet again?
She found the answer in her question. She formed an organization called “Back on My Feet Again,” a runner’s club, and recruited those sad, homeless, jobless men to begin jogging together, hoping their runner’s high would help them get moving, back into life again and job training. They eventually became teams and entered races. When interviewed they said jogging made them feel good, healthier, gave them a feeling of some control in their life, and restored their self-confidence to apply for jobs.
A simple thing. Running. The young jogger turned running into a mission of encouragement.
And so I ponder the paths where I run today. Am I running past anyone? Should I slow down for a second look? Is there something someone needs? What could I do that would make a difference in anyone’s life?
Some make it their mission to find their mission. Sometimes you do not know your mission until you have completed it.
In the Bible, often God’s message was simply “Go.” When God says “Go!” He’s either got a better place for you, or needs you to help others find their better place.
The Great Commission to Christians from Jesus begins with “Go.” “Go ye therefore into all the world . . . .”
Go is what we earthlings do best.
Go to work, earn. Go to the grocery store, feed. Go to school, prepare. Go to church, believe. Go on a mission trip, restore. Go on vacation, be restored. Go visit your neighbor who is sick or discouraged, encourage.
Mission accomplished?

Connie Lakey Martin
Editor                                                                                                                                                                  HEART Issue #5


                                                                                                                                                                                                           HEART Issue #4

Heartfully ~Connie Lakey Martin, Editor

     What makes your heart throb?
      You know your heart is throbbing when something deep within your chest snaps to attention, your heart swells, races, beats wildly. What makes that happen? What makes it throb? Excitement? Fear? Exertion? Words? Music?
      For me, all of the above.
When someone says “I have something to tell you, now don’t get excited.” I always get excited. If it involves my children, fear grips my throbbing heart. Finishing a power walk, my heart throbs. A Sunday sermon ends, invitation music begins, my heart throbs to respond.
Can you remember the last time your heart throbbed?
Like a race car or speed boat, a healthy heart has absolute capacity to go full throttle. I’m glad my heart can throb!
      A physician measures a heart’s condition by heart rate, the number of times a heart beats per minute: resting rate, maximum rate, rate reserve, and recovery rate. Recovery rate immediately after exercise can be a truthful tattletale of your physical health.
      The most important organ in our circulatory system, the heart transports blood and moves our tiny existence. Two chambers collect blood, two chambers pump it out. One side takes. The other gives. Deep within our being, bringing in, letting go. In, out. In, out.
So like our life. Things and people come to us. Things and people go from us. Bring them in, let them go. Finding, keeping. Losing, weeping. We keep moving, breathing. In, out. In, out.
When your heart hurts emotionally, nothing in life feels right. But not even a broken heart stops the mighty miracle muscle from flexing, collecting, pumping, transporting, beating steadily, naturally.
Recovery rate following disappointment and sadness may be a truthful tattletale of your faith. Believers who trust God for restoration know comfort and joy arrive in life miraculously, and mysteriously, as the constant beating of a faithful heart.   

If we are lucky, we will Throb!
Connie Lakey Martin, Editor                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                            HEART Issue #4