Archives for posts with tag: 40 Days of Hope


And the winners of our hope necklaces are…

Benjamin and my favorite Blue Whale mug o' names...

Benjamin and my favorite Blue Whale mug o’ names…

Benjamin and the first winner... Lida Merrill!

Benjamin and the first winner… Lida Merrill!

... and all four winners!

… and all four winners!

Congratulations everyone and thank you so much Knot Far From the Tree!

I know — technically — the 40 Days of Hope project is complete, but I saved this one journal page for today. It’s from the gracious Lynda Pleckan. Enjoy!

And thank you all for helping prepare my heart for Easter.

Be blessed, my friends!

To download today’s journal page, just click here.

Here’s a peek:

Day 41

Last year, members of Christ Church in Rochester, NY, wrote Lenten meditations and posted them on their Website, and this one — from Lucy Alonzo, an Episcopal deacon — is so very fitting for this final day before Easter.

And the journal page at the bottom? Well, it couldn’t be more beautiful or more perfect for today…

Christ Church

The Holy Saturday readings: Job 14:1-14 or Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24, 1 Peter 4:1-8, John 19:38-42

What do you do when your world falls apart?   On Holy Saturday, the disciples must have been in a state of shock.  Their beloved teacher who had healed so many, their Messiah, who had been greeted with palms as the Son of David on his entry into Jerusalem less than a week earlier, had been executed as a criminal!  What should they do now?  And what should we do when coping with disasters like the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or any other time we feel that our world has crumbled? The readings for today show us some possible responses.

Job was a pious and upright man, but sudden calamities had killed all his children, stripped him completely of his considerable wealth, and ruined his health. In today’s reading he complains to God  –  an understandable response, though not particularly helpful except as a vent for his emotions.

In the Gospel reading, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus care for the body of Jesus, wrapping it with costly spices and placing it Joseph’s own new tomb.  Their choice was to do what they could to help, in the midst of their own sorrow  –  an appropriate choice for followers of the One who had commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Peter’s letter agrees with this approach, reminding us, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

For all of us who wish to follow Jesus, I think that an extremely important example is the choice He made in the Garden of Gethsemane:  “Not my will but yours be done.”   This is difficult to say in the midst of a disaster, but in my experience it is a very helpful way to pray.  Luke’s Gospel says that after Jesus prayed this way in the garden, “an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength” (Luke 22:43).  An example I like is a little child crying about a broken toy while holding onto it with all his might; his father can fix it for him only when he is willing to hand it over to him.  It takes faith to entrust our problems to our Heavenly Father, but it does make it much more possible for Him to help us. 

I learned something about this as a freshman in college.  I had a huge crush on a very nice boy, a friend of my cousin, and had been hoping he would write to me. But instead he sent me an invitation to his engagement party, and all my castles in the air came crashing down.  (Years later, he became a state governor, and I realized that I could never have been the political hostess he needed!)  Anyhow I went to the chapel and part of my prayer was approximately, “Lord, obviously you did not want what I wanted, but I’m sure you have a better plan for me, so please take charge of my life and help me to do what you want.”  Well, God answered my prayer by touching me with his love;  I cannot really describe it, but for weeks afterwards I was riding my bike around campus singing the Gloria. Of course surrendering our will to God is an ongoing process, but I believe each step along that path brings help when we need it most.

The reading from Lamentations is the one that I find most helpful for desperate situations.  Jeremiah had been persecuted for prophesying to Jerusalem about the approaching disaster; when the city was destroyed it would be understandable if he had felt it served them right. Instead he wrote in Lamentations, “My eyes flow with rivers of tears because of the destruction of my people.” However he also wrote, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

So when our world seems to have fallen apart, let us do what we can to be helpful and loving, ask our Lord to take charge of the whole situation and say with Jeremiah, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases.”

The resurrection is coming!

Thanks be to God.

Oct 7 2009 All 015

Lucy Alonzo

I grew up in New Jersey and moved to Rochester to teach chemistry and general science in the City School District, after graduating from Vassar in 1959. After raising 3 children, I worked for the New York State Department of Health in TB Control until retiring. I volunteered with Penfield Emergency Ambulance for many years, and was ordained a vocational (permanent) deacon in the Episcopal Church in 1992.  I belong to Christ Church (141 East Avenue) and volunteer with the Refugee Program at Catholic Family Center. 

Lynda Pleckan

Lynda Pleckan

Today, we are blessed to have another journal page from Lynda Pleckan. Here’s what she has to say about herself:  

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  includes stamping and scrap booking techniques, and cardmaking and paper crafts. I write at about life and inspirational pieces.  I also started a new blog

To download today’s journal page, click here.

Here’s a glimpse…

Day 40


She slipped it into an envelope and through the mail, just on the chance that I’d include poetry in our Lenten project. She wrote how in 2012 a sudden, puzzling illness put her on life support. How her husband was told to prepare for her death. How this poem tells her story, the story of Rosanne Stiehler.

Like Lazarus,

I was breath-less,

bound up for the grave.


Like Lazarus,

my family wept,

four long days.


“Lord, if You would come,

she could still be saved!”


Like Lazarus,

the Lord showed up,

“Come forth!” is what He prayed.


Like Lazarus,

that vital shout

gave me life again.


Today, when all feels dark, He can give us all life again. When the past-due notices come on bills and relationships and old harmful habits, know that it’s not too late to start over. Know that Jesus, He paid it all.

May this holy weekend help make you whole.


HopeYou know how Kerry Hill so generously shared her story of hope? Well, the artist is generous in other ways, too. She has given me five beautiful necklaces to give away to you, you wonderful readers!

One of the necklaces will go directly to a woman who recently found out she has cancer. A mutual friend told me the woman was really looking forward to focusing on hope with us, and, well… I believe she needs one of these necklaces.

The rest of you, however, have a shot at the other four. So, are you ready to win?

Here are the details:

  • First, show Kerry some love. Go “like” her page on Facebook or comment on her blog. Let her know we appreciate her thoughtful gift.
  • Then, let me know by noon on Easter that you’d like your name added to the drawing. Either comment on the Simply Faithful page on Facebook or here at this blog post.
  • After dinner on Easter, when my 5-year-old comes down from his sugar high, I’ll have him draw a name from my favorite Blue Whale mug. I’ll announce winners the following Monday.

That’s it. Now, get started so you can win!

Here’s more about Kerry:

Kerry Hill

Kerry Hill is a mother of four gorgeous children, proud military spouse and speech therapist working for over a decade with children with special needs.  She and her husband are currently stationed in Texas.  She is the proprieter of Knot Far From the Tree, a socially committed company dedicated to honoring the special seasons in life by offering hand stamped jewelry and gifts at an affordable cost.  Portions of the proceeds raised are given to such organizations as The Wounded Warrior Project, Relay for Life, Little Elves for Little Angels, and many others.  Her works can be found at


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