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These are the words that came to mind the first time I held a small handcrafted wooden heart in my hand.

 About a year ago, my Dad encouraged his friend Gary to take up woodworking. I had just started my podcast, Imperfection Wins, and my Dad thought I would like one of Gary’s hearts. He handed me one and said, “Gary apologizes that they aren’t great, but he’s just learning and will get better”

As I held the heart in my hand, it came to me. They were beautiful because they were imperfect. Sometimes you get a nudge in life, and this was mine. I asked if I could order hearts and if Gary could make sure they stayed precisely how they were. When my Dad told Gary, he was surprised and very tearful about the fact that someone valued something he had created. Gary admitted that what he loved most about the hearts was that they were imperfect and unique, but wasn’t sure others would.

The work Gary goes through for each heart is remarkable. He begins with scraps of wood that most people would just throw away. Gary sees the beauty in the raw material and begins by drawing hearts on each little piece and then carving them. He carefully refines each one, sanding them until they reveal a beautiful depth, including the natural cracks, lines, circles, and imperfections.

When we started, I didn’t know how much this project would mean to him. In fact, I didn’t know what it would mean to me and to others! Gary also gives them out and we both agree – we never leave home without them. These hearts represent love, grace, imperfection, and meaning. I love the way Gary sands away the edges by hand until they are smooth. It’s sort of like how life naturally sands us down over time as we work to let the good stuff in.

Through this journey, I’ve been fortunate to get to know Gary better. He is a special human being that has had a rough go. His career ended in an injury that led to being on permanent disability. His financial struggles and the void of family are challenging in ways that I can only imagine. To most, our friendship seems unlikely. In fact, we are very different in almost every way. But, to us – we’ve been brought together to spread love, kindness, and healing to a world that desperately needs it.


Purchase a hand-crafted heart below for $3 each, plus shipping and handling. If you are unable to afford a heart but would like one, please contact me.

Give a heart
Now there is a way to donate towards providing hearts to those in need! Thank you for your generosity.