Music provided the backdrop as people gathered in a parking lot to bring light where there once was horror and dark. Songs of hope and encouragement filled the air where gun shots had rung out earlier this month. Words of prayer and comfort brought hope and healing to this still grieving community.
Holy words straight from God’s only book were spoken in this public place for all ears to hear. The air was electrified with the presence of the Lord. And a hush in each one’s heart brought reverent silence to this hallowed ground.
Where evil and dark once walked, now God and Light shined forth. The darkness was expelled. The Light rushed in filling the void. And heaven kissed earth. Kissed each broken soul and held each head bowed low.
To be part of this gathering was sacred. A foretaste of the gentle Shepherd wiping away every tear. My heart was full to bursting while I walked the crowd capturing this moment of change.
My heart is grateful to the Lord this week: 417) for the gathering of community in hope and healing for Tucson 418) for a free country where we can still worship God, pray to Him, and read His word in a public
419) for the friend who challenged me to help capture this event pictorially 420) for the privilege of being part of a church congregation that helped sponsor this 421) for a time of restoration with a face I knew among the crowd 422) for seeing people whose lives had intertwined with mine in different areas during the last 17 years, and for the warmth and kindness still abiding 423) for life taking on order in our home, sons, father, mother building as one 424) for the opportunity to keep working with my visually impaired second grader through the rest of the school year 425) for sweet, home-squeezed orange juice 426) for homemade split pea and ham soup 427) for Christian brothers and sisters who pray for me when I’m sick 428) for the chance to help 9 students at our school get new shoes and socks through the generosity of a local business 429) for friends to pray with, some who like to play, some who have serious endeavors to share, and some to just sip tea with
430) for journaling more of my heart with the Lord and waiting for answers
“If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked was, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 & 15 NIV
What is causing your heart to burst with Thanksgiving this day?
Giving thanks with the Gratitude Community on Multitude Mondays at Ann Voskamp’s. Be sure to check out her new book that is already a treasure: One Thousand Gifts
Also stopping by with friends at L.L.’s “On, In, and Around Mondays”
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The sweet flavor of fresh-squeezed orange juice is still flowing at our home. Youngest harvests the fruit while oldest presses the orange pulp against the white-coned juicer yielding the life juice we crave. The flavor far exceeds anything in a carton or can from a market shelf. However, it will last only for this season. So we treasure it like rare wine matured for years in oak barrels. We sip, rather than gulp, this orange gold, savoring every drop. I can only imagine how a farmer feels when his time arrives to harvest the crop he has planted, nurtured, and cared for.
We are the prized fruit that the Lord has planted, nurtured, and cared for. We, too, will yield an abundant crop if we remain attached to Him. And His word is more precious than gold.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.” John 15:5 & 16a NIV
Does your fruit taste like a fresh-squeezed or like an imitation from the market shelf?
Joining other reflections at Spiritual Sundays
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Life tossed us a curve ball when more than an earthquake uprooted hundreds of us women from our carefree family lives in California. We were driven across the mighty Colorado, actually just a meandering river at the Interstate 10 state border, and transplanted into the blazing desert sun of Arizona. But have no fear, we were told, “It’s a dry heat.” No kidding! We only saw water in washes swollen from the summer monsoon deluges. Those were few and far between that first summer. We were wives without the nests we once feathered wandering in our husbands’ world which overflowed with work and happy carpools. Their work. The reason we were here. So many emotions to handle, so many friendships left behind, so many memories that seemed to be missing their happy endings.
We wandered freshly tarred streets drenched in the sun’s rays hoping to discover the refreshment of new friendship. Pastel painted two-story stuccos rose one after another along the streets boasting their blended grandeur of size and similarity. Block parties invited relationships and some did bloom from here.
But for me, there were a group of ladies who gathered in a nearby section of our development who met once a week for prayer. The woman who formed this group was a more than just a friendly acquaintance from California so she invited me to stop by one Monday morning. Life began to flow again as we met for casual weekly times of prayer, encouragement, and sharing. Friendships grew. Bonds were formed, and a new set of memories began developing. This group of ladies became my friends, my support, my prayer warriors, my harbor in the storms, and the cup that held my overflowing joys. We’ve spent nearly 17 years together–but our way of fellowshiping and prayer has changed. Ours lives have changed. Change is inevitable. Some of us returned to work. Some of us moved just a few miles away and one even back to California. But the once-young friendships are now solidly forged. Our lives are melded. Support is available at the ring of a phone. Sharing is unending. And prayers are eternally breathed up for each other.
We now gather for no particular reason other than to bask in our friendships, strengthening the Christ-centered bond that unites us. We meet at one another’s houses, enjoy a light meal, and share deeply the life lived in our hearts. The joy, the sorrow, the pain, the blessing.
It was at a recent gathering of these special friends that one of them made the “to-die-for-dessert.” A light, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth “Tres Leches” cake.
I would like to share this Friendship Cake with you. As I did not make the cake, I cannot offer you pictures of the process, just the end product. Heavenly. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!
2 C flour, sifted 4 times Separate eggs, beat the whites until stiff peaks form Add yoks and continue to mix Add sugar, milk and vanilla to egg mixture Sift flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl Fold flour into egg mixture with large spoon and mix Pour into a 9″ x 13″ greased baking dish Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes When cake is done, poke holes all over and pour milk mixture over the cake. Chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours Spread straberry glzae over cake Top with sliced strawberries May substitute glaze and fruit for what is in season, but the strawberries are the best. Warm, lasting friendships; laughter and tears; and scrumptious food to fill the soul. Contentment. Let me know about your success with this dessert and your abiding friendships. Would love to hear from you. Linking with Food on Fridays Share: Share what you have enjoyed.
His face wags from side to side with delight as his fluffy, feathered-like tail swishes heart-stirring greetings to you at the door. Could there be any doubt that he adores you? He is Chip. Lovingly referred to as the “Wonder Dog” and the third bear cub in this almost-all-male household.
Enthusiastically, he leaps and bounds across the family room to bring you his treasured toy. Just waiting for you to throw it again as he dances air-bound to grab the prize and lay it at your feet. All to do it once again.
He seems to have an internal clock which we humans seem to lack. Come Friday night, even before you crouch on the bottom stair to tie your shoes, he prances round the kitchen. Somewhere deep within, he is aware that this is “Pizza Night.” And he gets to ride with you in the car. His anticipating footsteps send him to the door only to turn around and find you are still tying your shoes on that bottom stair. So he waits, patiently.
Are you upstairs on the computer? Is there a family gathering in the loft area bedecked with electronic gadgets? He noses a narrow pathway through the colliding office chairs.
He just wants to be where you are.
I’ve observed our faithful companions’ loyal behavior and it has spoken to my heart about my affections for our Lord. Do I dance with glee and delight myself in the Lord’s presence when I hear Him knocking at my heart’s door? Do I enthusiastically leap from my distractions to bring my treasures to Him in prayer? Family concerns, friends’ needs, hopes, dreams, a longing to laugh and play along life’s adventures with Him? Is my internal clock ticking down the time until I get to slip away in quiet solitude with Him? Am I looking for the signs that He is tying His shoelaces (that He is preparing a time for me)?
Am I content just to be with Him? Just for the ride? Not for a reward at the end?
Is your heart tingling like mine? What am I waiting for? It’s time to dance and play, to rejoice and rest with my King and God.
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”
Psalm 63:1-5 NIV
Linking with Word-Filled-Wednesday at the Internet Cafe
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I have the privilege of working with a visually-impaired student. This second grader is full of life and joy. He wears an ear-to-ear smile every day, and hardly anything gets him down.
Together we’re learning Braille–although he has a couple of years on me. And we read books through a monitor that enlarges the print on the page to the point where it becomes clear to him. We drill through math facts and tackle the second grade spelling list. Most of the time, his eyes dance with a positive, can-do attitude.
He spreads crayon colors across an art project and carefully wields a scissor with the best of them. Only once have I heard him question his disability~although he may moan or groan about the extra effort it takes to produce regular classroom. Working with him has given me a new perception. A new vision for how I see things. I’m learning to see life through his eyes.
As the eyes of my attitude take on a new perception, I pray that the eyes of my spirit may be renewed as well. That I may see the ways of the Lord with clearer vision.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22 & 23 NIV
The Lord has given this little one great eyesight. (Proverbs 20:12)
How is your vision? Where is your focus?
Linking with Word Filled Wednesday at the Internet Cafe. Click on the button below to see some other inspiring words. Also linking with High Calling Focus Photoplay, part of The High Calling organization.
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