From the Heart

photo 1 (1)From the Heart: Colleen O’Neill |

Just Doing What I Love | Whenever people ask me what I do for a living, they always look a little surprised at my answer: I am a custom cabinet maker. I guess they just don’t expect a young woman to be making a living in a career that is dominated by men. Although you would think my usual work attire consisting of steel-toed work boots, sawdust coated workpants, and woodchips in my hair might give it away. I am 33 years old, and I have been working at a cabinet shop in Sewell, New Jersey, for over 10 years, but I have been building things longer than I can remember. My grandma told me that when I was very little I would follow my dad down into his workshop. My dad was always working on something, either furniture like a chest or bench or adding an addition to the house.  He would give … [Read more]


Chris Zweifel Head Shot 2

From the Heart: Chris Zweifel|

Overcoming my Spiritual Enemies|

Anticipation.  It’s makin’ me wait.  I’m anticipating good things to come, namely from the church that my husband and I are planting.  Never would I have thought I would help to plant a church, but God foreknew before He even created me.  As I am in this stage of preparation and waiting, I am taking a look back on my life and praising God for His saving me, His keeping me and His using me.  My life to this point is story a of redemption: from depressed suicidal teenager, to insecure stay-at-home mom, to entrepreneurial church leader.  This self-examination has brought to light areas of personal growth that I pray will be an encouragement and an inspiration to discover your life’s purpose and to go at it with gusto! Read more about Chris Zweifel


Wendy Badman

From the Heart: Wendy Badman

My Extraordinary Journey Back to Normal |

by Wendy Badman|

The seatbelt I was wearing that ordinary day saved my life, I was told, as the EMT’s cut the pants I was wearing off my legs and took my vital signs en route to the trauma center of the local hospital. Unimaginable pain pulsed through my body. From what I was able to piece together, the company car that I was a passenger in was rear ended by a box truck and pushed down the road while the driver of the vehicle I was in kept his foot on the brake. The crushing impact sent me flying into the dashboard, knocking me unconscious, the seatbelt then pulled me back with such force it broke the seat. When I regained consciousness, the first sounds I heard were of Larry in the drivers seat screaming, blood dripped down his face from a laceration. My seat was in the horizontal position, on top of Frank, the passenger in the back. I blacked out for a short period of time. When I regained consciousness again, Frank and Larry were no longer in the car with me. I tried to sit up, but the pain was excruciating in my head, hip, thigh and ankle. Read more


Jillian StoneFrom the Heart: Jillian Stone |

by Jillian Stone |

Watching God at Work.

How God Showed Me His Faithfulness in the Past 5 Years.

Everyone has a story; some stories are horrific and some are unique.  And some stories are more interesting than others.  My story is not horrific nor adventurous, and probably not very unique, but it’s the story that’s been given to me to share with others about the faithfulness of God.

To tell my story, I have to share some details of my life that are not easy to share.  In fact, some details are excruciatingly painful to share,but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to share how God stays very “close to the brokenhearted and those that are crushed in spirit.” [Read more about Jillian’s story]


Arielle Bair

From the Heart of Arielle L. Bair,

by Arielle Lee Bair, MSW|

We hear a lot about eating disorders. Sometimes they are glamorized. Other times they are sensationalized, characterized by upsetting images and horror stories. But eating disorders aren’t glamorous and they’re not about shock value. They are real. They hurt. They kill.

When it comes to eating disorder recovery, there are many different kinds of people. There are those who believe in full recovery, those who believe in full recovery – but not necessarily for themselves, and those who do not believe in it at all. I think full recovery is possible for everyone. Will it happen for everyone? No. But is it possible? Yes. [Read more about how recovering from eating disorders is possible…]


Connie Challingsworth


When I was given an early retirement from my full time career in 2009, I was delighted. I had a wonderful, long-term career that had provided very well for me, and earlier for my son when I was a single parent. But things had changed in that industry to the point that the only thing I loved about it anymore was the money. My son was raised and I had remarried. My life was at a place where I wanted to do something that I really loved. In the years prior to my “retirement,” I had been reading about life coaching. I loved the concept of meeting people where they currently were in their lives … [Read more about Connie’s life.]



Andrea HartleyFrom the Publisher’s Heart

by Andrea Hartley

Is the world a better place because you are here?   If you ask yourself that question, even once, you are to be counted among those who care.  You care about others, you want them to be safe, happy and well.  You care about yourself, and want to make the most of your life by helping others in some way.  It makes you feel good to be able to say, “I’ve made the world a little better because….” I see this wonderful mindset repeatedly with many of the women I connect with in the Lehigh Valley and it touches me deeply.   This month, in our, “From the Heart” … [Read More…]


Julie Ann EdgarFrom the Heart: Julie Edgar

The Accidental Activist Follows Her Heart

Around 2005, I was a single mother in my mid-thirties raising two girls of elementary school age with zero child support by working as a semi-professional singer and a fine dining server at a country club. I chose to home school my children because I wished to teach them to question authority and to free them from the pressure to conform. I preferred to spare them from the peer-pressure cooker of public school, where children often assimilate to the lowest common denominator of their age.  Read more


Liz Jordon

Liz Jordon

From the Heart: Liz Jordon


What is the first thing you do when you get in your car to travel to a place you have never been before?  If you’re still using a paper map, you locate where you are.  If you have a GPS, you acknowledge your current location and plug in your destination.

When you arrive at a mall the size of a city, you locate a map of the stores.  Usually it is well lit and too big to miss, situated right smack in the middle of every midway.  Finding it, you look for the big red star that denotes ‘YOU ARE HERE’.  Read more


ChristineFrom the Heart:  Christine S. Stazo

While reflecting on the last six years and comparing the original goals of Christine’s Secret Garden to the actual direction the business has followed, I smiled to myself.  As an idea and later, a business plan that developed and would come to fruition, it was clear those original thoughts behind the business would be building blocks, only to continually change and evolve over time.  What started out as a retail business that was to eventually grow into a tea room has gone into a completely different direction with many opportunities offered. Read more


Margelit HoffmanFrom the Heart: Margelit Hoffman

When I left Allentown after graduating high school in 1998, my friends and I who were leaving for college swore, “We’ll never be back!”  Twelve years later, after college, a career, moving to New York City and Israel, getting married, and having three kids, I was desperate for my mom’s help.  We moved into her basement on the south side near Mack Boulevard. Two years later, the video production company my husband and I started in Israel is still thriving (he drives a few times a week to New York City to shoot commercials), and we’re actually even liking it here. Read more



Kristen GardinerFrom the Heart: Kristen H. Gardiner

When I graduated high school in 1992, I hadn’t given much thought to the future. By the urgings of my teachers and parents, took the SATs, applied to colleges (the majority of which were Ivy League schools in which I never imagined I’d be grated acceptance), and I put on the façade of an eager young woman ready to enter the real world. Yet inside, I was clueless and afraid – I had never considered myself good at anything, although I performed well in academics, I never felt any particular attachment to one subject area. Read more