McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 2: Having hope — and offering kindness — on Valentine’s Day
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
Feb. 14, 2013 5:10 a.m.

Today’s post comes to us from a dear friend and seeker of God, Diane Sturmer. We’ve all had hopes that were delayed, dreams that were changed. That’s why her story is so perfect — for all of us. May we learn from her example of living a joyful, hopeful life.
Diane Sturmer visiting Ireland

Diane Sturmer visiting Ireland

As a single person, Valentine’s Day was one of those holidays that was tough for me.   I felt a little extra lonely.  So, I decided to write a letter each Valentine’s Day and in it describe the kind of person I would like to be with in the future. Here are some of my thoughts…
I hope you like the sound of the rain as much as I do.  I hope that you will be someone who loves to laugh, loves to sing and play music.  I would love to be with someone who loves to play with children and puppies. You must be kind.  I envision a man with strengths and weaknesses who knows His grace abounds.  I hope you know how very precious life is.
In 2002, I wrote “my love for you has turned into prayer for you to our Father though you may not know where those prayers are coming from.” It was neat to think that even though I had no idea what God had in mind for my future, I could pray for that person.
I would write this letter early in the morning, then seal it in an envelope and place it in a drawer.   It was my way of handing over this area of my life.  The next step was to go out and make the day special.  Sometimes, I would buy flowers and just give them out to people who I knew needed a lift, or make a romantic basket for a couple.   In the process of going through the day, my heart became lighter and full of hope.
I wrote several of these throughout the years.  On November 12th, 2005 I put them in a gift bag with teddy bears on it.  I presented them to my husband on our honeymoon.  They were still sealed and as we opened them one by one…..I saw that God had held each of my letters in the palm of His hand and considered them precious.
I remember one of those Valentine’s evenings when I was single that I looked at the pillow next to mine on the bed and said, “The pillow next to me is empty….but I am not alone!”  Valentine’s Day will always be a day to share a surprise with someone who needs a lift.   This continues to make my heart lighter and full of hope!

“Those who refresh others will be refreshed.” — Proverbs 11:25


Pat and Diane

More about Diane: Diane Sturmer loves her family, writing, hiking and dance. She has been in the past involved leading single parent groups during her 18 years of being a single parent and has worked at Heritage Christian Services for more than 25 years supporting people with developmental disabilities. At HCS, she leads mission groups over to Ireland and hiking groups into the Adirondacks. She is also  the director of Heart of Dance, involving people of all abilities, ages, and styles into a tapestery of beautiful dance. The next Heart of Dance show is at Nazareth College on May 1.  She has also published a devotional book called “Two are better than One” about friendship. This book is available for purchase at Authorhouse.com or Amazon.com.
Today’s journal page was designed by Lynda Pleckan, a talented and generous artist. Here’s what she has to say about herself:  
Lynda Pleckan

Lynda Pleckan

I live in upstate New York with my hubby of oh-so-many years.  Our family includes our daughter and son-in-law, and two of the sweetest granddaughters ever!
I am the administrative assistant at my church, and absolutely adore my job.  When I’m not working, you will usually find me blogging, scrapbooking, rubber stamping, reading, knitting, and spending time with my family.   Recently I’ve been dabbling in gardening.
My paper crafts blog www.PaperArtsCafe.blogspot.com  includes stamping and scrap booking techniques, and cardmaking and paper crafts. I write at  http://doodlelyn.hubpages.com/ about life and inspirational pieces.  I also started a new blog  http://www.journeythroughautumn.blogspot.com/.
To download today’s journal page and write your own thoughts, please click here.
Here’s a glimpse…
Thank you, all of you, for joining us for the 40 Days of Hope project. Each day during Lent, we’ll share something about hope here — something that we pray inspires you or encourages you. We’re also planning to share free journal pages for you to download, We don’t quite have 40 yet, so if you’d like more information on submitting one, please click here.

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