The Road to the HEART by Anne Stewart Helton

What makes LOVE flow into the Heart?? Pondering this on Valentines Day…We all know that Love is an emotion that is couched in our minds, from brain chemicals, people, memories, touches, visions and stories. We know it effects our actions and we link it to our behaviors, even when we may or may not feel it. We are told Love doesn’t emanate from the Heart but we feel our hearts flutter with a romance and drop when our heart is broken. We know Love doesn’t “live” in the Heart but we still keep it close to our hearts. And we know stories of people who died from a broken heart. We know the Heart is the symbol of Love and we use it readily, especially in February.

But what is the Heart basically? If you examine the diagram you can see it’s a marvelously designed organ regulated by electrical impulses that are critical for survival. The Heart has four compartments with ingress (enter) and egress (exit) and valves that control blood volume to thump, thump, thump through our body. The Heart is greatly influenced by emotions and, Yes, through exercise and emotional ups and downs, more blood runs on the roads to the Heart. The blood from our body travels into the upper chamber of the heart from the vena cava, to the right atrium, then to the right ventricle and up to the lungs via the pulmonary artery, which then sends back oxygen rich blood from the pulmonary vein to the left atrium to fill up the left ventricle, allowing the pumping of Oxygen rich blood back to the body via the Aorta….Whew!!  And it does this on average, about sixty to 80 times a minute!! But is it Love?

What about emotions? What about Love in the Heart? Isn’t that where it all resides?? How do we increase that??

We are told in poems and great literature how Love is the key to everything. It’s forgiveness; it’s marriage; it’s partnering; it’s parenting; it’s brotherly, sisterly, friendly and, the greatest of all commandments is to Love one another. And we keep saying that to each other over and over, especially on social media. We post beautiful pictures, memes and messages reminding each other to Love unconditionally and wholeheartedly. But deep down we realize that usually we are actually, really talking to ourselves because, sometimes, sadly, we don’t always feel it, give it or receive it.

Why? Well perhaps it’s because of that ingress (entering) and egress (exiting) thing in the Heart. Are we letting in enough love-blood? Or, sometimes is too much blood poured into the Heart and it becomes overloaded, like someone with congestive heart failure? Some folks may actually feel entitled to always receive. And some people only “take” Love and don’t give any away and thus they can’t remain healthy. Also, the reverse is true, sometimes the blood only pumps out to others, thus the person who is only a “giver”, bleeds out. The giver becomes a martyr, is depleted, exhausted, non-nourished in their own Heart and can’t remain healthy. We see this often in relationships and families and the imbalance can destroy both the Heart or the Love…

This Valentines Day, which is the calendar day promoted to tell others how much you Love them, show some balance. Don’t go overboard to others and don’t slight yourselves either. If alone, do something fun you like…walk in the park, go to a happy movie or an ice cream parlor! Try showing some Love to someone who may be forgotten or neglected in this crazy world, even if its’ you!  Buy some flowers and put them on your own table or hand them out at the grocery store, nursing home, to parking attendants, mail carriers or Ushers at your Church. Put a bag of groceries or magazines on a lone neighbors’ porch. Make some Valentine cards like you did as a kid and put them on car windows. Spread some joy from your own Heart but not so much that you are depleted. Go slow on the egress…and stay balanced with your Heart Love…then take a bubble bath, eat some chocolates, say some prayers, read a book and snuggle or sleep. You deserve it…God loves You!


If you’re feeling lonely or in Grief with Family Love or Family Estrangement, read about the issues in : “Recovery room: Surviving Family Estrangement” on



“The Hidden Star” by Anne Stewart Helton

Stars are often used to represent a turning point or change in literature or in someone’s life. Depending on how one’s heart feels at the time, contemplating on a heavenly Star can provide feelings of sorrow, change, promise, connection, direction and hope…even if looking for a Lost Star. Even if looking for someone you love who is gone from your earthly sight. We only see thousands of the billions of stars in the sky and it is overwhelming to think of how many more are ‘out there’ when looking up on a starry night.

In Literature, Stars represent the Eternal and in the Spiritual world, they are seen as the Light in Darkness, often as a point of direction and honor. A Falling or Shooting Star is usually seen as destiny, movement and an exciting event for the viewer!  In the Christmas Story we are reminded how the Three Wise Men followed a Heavenly Star to pinpoint Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. No GPS, No cell-phone, No Twitter, Instagram or Facebook Posts…just a bright Heavenly Star. They had been directed to find Jesus by King Herod when he heard they saw the Star. And in Matthew 7, in the Bible, Herod was perturbed and tried to trick them into following the Star and coming back to tell him what they had found, so he could go pay homage. Of course, he had no intention of that as he saw King Jesus as a potential major problem for him. And when the Wise Men indeed found the Star, they found Jesus, and they knelt and honored Him.  They were also given a warning not to go back to King Herod and, being wise men, they adhered to the warning!

Another thought about Stars and direction has been described in Luke 2, when the Shepherds in the field saw the Star. How did the Shepherds know to look up and even more importantly, how did they know it was significant? Luke 2 tells us that an Angel stood over them in all glory and told them Jesus had been born in the Town of David…Bethlehem. Significantly, it also says the Shepherds were terrified but heard, “Do Not Be Afraid, I bring you good news…” I wonder how many of us, working out in a field, at night, and being young would even stay around long enough to hear that prophecy if we saw a radiant Angel!? Despite their fears, the Shepherds congregated after the message, strategized and decided to travel to Bethlehem and they discovered the decreed message…the Baby Jesus lying in a Manger. They even delighted Mother Mary by telling her all about their Angelic message and the Star.

What kinds of messages are we receiving from Stars even today? Do we see Eternity? Light from Darkness? Hope? A comforting point of constancy, or connection, realizing the same Star we may be viewing is being viewed by someone we love?  Having been doing much research and listening on family estrangement issues recently, especially estranged adult children, it is a comforting thought, especially at this time of the year. Specifically, remembering that not all Stars are seen and may not be Lost Stars at all but Hidden ones. Thus, perhaps even a Lost Child, living or dead, is really a Hidden Star emanating light and hope to someone, somewhere. We may not see it with our own eyes but God created that Hidden Star and it is eternal.

The Holidays can be difficult emotionally for families. If you or someone you know is dealing with issues of Estrangement and Grief, consider my new book: “Recovery Room: Surviving Family Estrangement”. In Paperback or on Kindle at




Recovery Room: Surviving Family Estrangement by Anne Stewart Helton

Parents you can survive! Take back your life! You are not alone! On

If you have been estranged by an Adult Child, it can feel like an earthquake that is denied or ignored in the beginning but it never stops shaking and the walls, doors, sidewalks and trees crack, break and fall down. It is then that the consequences emerge in heartbreaking pain. Read this new book, “Recovery Room: Surviving Family Estrangement” by Anne Stewart Helton, it will help you understand the issues, the Grief and find survival steps for your life.