Day 2: Having hope — and offering kindness — on Valentine’s Day

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 or

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  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 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.

When your friend loses everything — except hope

Today I hear the pain in Tina’s voice as she tells me all that’s left of her house is a twisted piece of metal. Their 80 acres of trees used to be beautiful, she says, and full of wildlife. Now, you can see right through to the charred trunks and the ashes that fell like snow after the wildfire licked up the leaves and the underbrush.

This month was supposed to be one of celebration. She and Lee had planned to sneak away and elope in Eureka Springs, Ark., and then come back and start their new lives. In a year, they had hoped to move out of their trailer and build a new home right there on their land in Olive, Okla. — a little slice of secluded paradise for a country girl like Tina.

Now, she needs shoes for her wedding, and she doesn’t have a place to come home to.

She has flip-flops that she wore out the door, some favorite pictures and her grandma’s ring. But the other things, like a treasured Bible and a yearbook with scribbles and jokes from her high school friends, are all gone. Nothing is left and there’s no insurance to replace them.

She’s grateful to be alive, grateful for the hard-working firefighters and for friends who have already started dropping off donations at her parents’ house. Grateful because this is a blessing in disguise, she says. She’s sure of it, even now.

If you’d like to help, please pray for strength and wisdom for Tina. If you’d like to help by donating, her family’s most urgent need is clothing, especially for Lee and his son. Lee and Eric both wear a size 13 in shoes. Lee wears a 2X in shirts and has a 36-38 waist. Eric wears a large or 1X in shirts and has a 34-inch waist. Donations have already started to come in for clothing for Tina, but I’m sure she could use something other than flip-flops, especially for her wedding. She wears a 9 or a 9.5 in shoes.

They are staying with family members now but would love to borrow a travel trailer to use as a temporary home.

I’d also welcome suggestions for getting Tina another copy of our senior yearbook — and maybe even pictures from lower grades. Does Sapulpa High School keep old copies of yearbooks? Could we organize a yearbook signing of sorts? 

You can call Tina’s niece Krystal at (404) 771-3515 for more info as well.