Out of the blue, friends I haven’t seen in a while called just two hours ago. “We’re driving through Prescott and wondered if we could stop by?” I do a quick check of my mental calendar and tell them to come for dinner. Then I rummage through the refrigerator and pantry wondering what I can offer my unexpected guests.
I slice and chop, pour iced tea into a glass pitcher, set two more places at the table. When the doorbell rings, I answer with a smile. We hug and take a quick tour of the house. Then we exchange retirement stories. Julie worked for the same school district as me. In fact, when she had her daughter, I was her long-term substitute teacher. We taught together at the same school for many years and each moved from elementary to middle school at the same time.
Before we sit down in the family room, I ask, “What can I offer you to drink?” But even as the words leave my mouth, I remember the verse Van and I wrote in the center of the family room: Continue reading “Day 18: Offer Love, 1 Corinthians 13:13”
This is the first season since 1966 I won’t go to one single UCLA football game. My dad, a UCLA alum, first started taking my brother, Keith, and I to UCLA games in 1966, when I was eleven. We sat in the student section at the Los Angeles Coliseum and learned all of the songs and cheers, did card stunts and yelled and clapped. “Engineer Geoff,” the lead cheerleader kept students engaged and focused on encouraging our team.
Ten years later, while I attended UCLA myself, Geoff Strand returned as the UCLA alumni cheerleader. When I started going to games as an alum, Geoff continued encouraging the alumni section, full of people who loved their team but were content to sit and watch while they ate hot dogs and drank soda. It didn’t take long for Geoff and the alumni band to rouse people from their seats to do 8 claps that echoed through the stadium. Often, the opposing team called a time-out because they couldn’t hear the quarterback over the enthusiastic cheering, all led by one man.
There are many days when I could use my own private cheerleader. Continue reading “Day 17: Encouraging One Another, Hebrews 10:24-26”
Forgiven. I am forgiven. By God Himself. Absolutely nothing compares with this gift. Given freely out of unconditional love flowing from His tender heart.
So now, I am a citizen of heaven. My Father is God Himself. Because I belong to Him, am His daughter, I learn from Him and take on His character traits. Just like I did from my earthly parents. It’s easy for me to see the ways I’m like my mom and dad. I love to read and study, just like my dad did. My tendency to neatness and order came from my mom. But the character qualities I most want to emulate are God’s.
I want His tender heart. When I take time to consider what that really means, I realize the depth of love God gives. God’s heart shows He is:
I want to be just like Him. Continue reading “Day Sixteen: Give Me Your Tender Heart, Ephesians 4:32”
Words are powerful. I don’t know who came up with the old adage, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” but they were wrong. Words linger. Fill our hearts and minds long after we hear them. They leave wounds and scars that ache and bleed. But they also serve as a healing ointment, soothing the ache and giving hope. Continue reading “Day Fifteen: Words that Encourage, Ephesians 4:29”
Carrying the meatloaf Van made while I worked, we step across the street and ring the doorbell at Tom and Sheila Mitchell’s home. Already we hear friends talking, their hearts glad to be together again this week. A variety of salads, casseroles, and desserts line the kitchen counters. At 6:45, we join hands, bow our heads, and say grace. The men head to the table in the kitchen while the women sit together in the dining room. As we eat, we talk about our children and grandchildren, challenges and triumphs from the week. Laughter punctuates the conversations. A few people sit together in the family room, balancing plates on their knees.
Once we finish dinner, we grab cups of coffee and head for the family room, where Bibles and notebooks already wait. We pray again, this time asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts to God’s Word. That our discussion and conversation will glorify God. We ask questions and give answers, listen and share about how God works in our lives. Then we share praises and prayer requests and lift one another up in prayer. Continue reading “Day Fourteen: Glad, Sincere Hearts, Acts 2:42”