Cornerstones

As I gaze out the kitchen window and fix my eyes on a beautiful Japanese blueberry tree in the distance, I feel summer’s end nearby.  I don’t know about you, but my heart is eagerly anticipating the change of season, bringing with it cooler temps and lively conversations around a circular fire pit out back.   Over the course of 8 weeks this summer, I had the unique opportunity to witness the incredible transformation of our back yard by a team of hard-working landscapers and talented masons.   Not only did they endure sweltering hours of oppressive desert heat removing overgrown Mesquite and African Sumac trees,  they skillfully and artfully arranged combinations of decorative flagstone into functional architectural features to be enjoyed by friends and family this fall.

The unanticipated gift from this experience was contemplating the importance of cornerstones and how their selection and level placement during the construction process affects the overall design and stability.

What is a Cornerstone?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a cornerstone as: (noun) a basic element : foundation. Digging a little further, ( yes, I admit freely I have a bit of an uncanny obsession with language and vocabulary)  I found this definition and enjoyed the depth of explanation:

cornerstonethe fundamental assumptions from which something is begun or developed or calculated or explained; “the whole argument rested on a basis of conjecture” . Synonyms:  fundament, groundwork, basis, foundation, base. 

It’s as though I had discovered this word, cornerstone, for the very first time.  It is likely I have uttered it without fully understanding or assimilating its meaning.   Sometimes it takes an experience to bring a word to light in our lives, and I just love the illuminating feeling that rises up within when that happens.

Who or What is Your Cornerstone?

Cornerstones are used ceremoniously to commemorate people or moments in time we would rather not forget.    They represent firm foundations and solid ground.   The level, the steady, the shaping element, the framework, and the fundamental, whose underlying base of support is perhaps taken inadvertently for granted.

What comes up for you when you think about the word cornerstone?  Is it a particular person or value?  Faith or spirituality?  In what are you placing your hope, your joy, and your trust?  Who is your cornerstone?  Who is your rock,  keeping you on solid ground, providing for you a firm foundation on which to build your hopes and dreams?

Take a moment to think about these cornerstones and appreciate them.   Allow your heart to swell with gladness and overflow into all you do, think, and say.

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”

                                                                                                            – Wayne Dyer

What do you truly LOVE in this life?  What are you certain brings you joy, happiness, and a reason to get up and begin a fresh, new day?   What is that ONE thing that you just can’t bear to live without?  Are you feeling it? Living it? Doing it? If the answer is not a resounding YES, ask yourself why?

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer, speaker, and marketing consultant.  She works as a  Community Partner volunteer for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million women globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To host your own BeadforLife marketplace or essential oil party this fall, email deboughjl@gmail.com

 

 

 

 Using Talents for Great Purpose: Reflections from the Heart of Cajun Country.

What a great way to start a new week here in Lafayette, Louisiana: learning what it means to be a “bringer“.

Inspired by his love for golden retrievers, natural bringers, local Crossroads Church lead pastor Pastor Jeff Ables delivered the final part of a compelling series on “Bringers” to his congregation yesterday.

What is a bringer?

Someone who uses their God-given gifts and talents in service to others.   In a nutshell: being a Bringer is being useful.

In a crowded church auditorium, the air heavy with silent prayers and unanswered questions, the local Lafayette congregation shared seats and smiles with Samaritan’s Purse volunteers joining in joyful singing and praise.

Singing the chorus , “God is on the move, on the move, hallelujah!  God is on the move is many mighty ways..” folks raised their hands in joint surrender with grateful hearts, remembering that their mighty maker has not forgotten their needs.

We are asked to bring not only  our offerings to God, but also our praises.  We are created to praise.  In good times and bad.  And our praise, reminded Pastor Jeff,  is to “be sincere, sacrificial, and sanctioned”. 

It’s day 8 on the ground and I have seen people “bringing it” to southern Louisiana.

Welcome Alert Academy Volunteers

To date, over 200 dedicated volunteers from all over the US have passed through Crossroads Church to serve with Samaritan’s Purse, accumulating over 3,000 volunteer hours in the Lafayette community. Yesterday, I spoke with a young man part of  a 14-member team from Alert Academy– an organization started by a home school father in 1994.  A cross between a military boot camp and Christian diaster response training,  ALERT (Air, Land, Emergency Response Team) young men arrived ready to bring it.  He shared his passion for serving and wants to model behaviors he hopes others will want to emulate.

7 members of the 14 person A.L.E.R.T team serving in Lafayette, La.

 

Redemption Bringers

Krystal McKee, a 31 year old daughter of Lafayette residents Kathy and Greg McKee, decided to bring it after she discovered her parents home flooded the weekend of August 13th.  Greg, an active lineman for the electric company, traveled to Missouri to work on downed power lines from severe storms in the area.  Wanting to surprise him on his birthday, the family piled into a car and drove north the morning the rains began to fall.

Krystal and her husband were the first responders to the single story home inundated Saturday by the rising flood waters.  Now program directors for Teen Challenge, an 18 month program ministering to teens with life interrupting  addictions, they bear witness to the power of redemption and recovery.

In 2013, the young couple had hit their lowest point. Rampant drug and alcohol abuse ripped their marriage apart and resulted in the custody loss of their two children. Mom Kathy, after Krystal’s 6th arrest and incarceration for prescription drug use and possession, heard about Teen Challenge on the local SOS radio station and pleaded with her daughter to enroll.

Fast forward to December 2015, the couple reunites as graduates of the program and regain custody of their two children in addition to restoring their broken marriage.  Most impressively, Krystal and her husband featured below now head programs for troubled teens at the local Lafayette branch of Teen Challenge.

In efforts to quickly respond to her parent’s devastated home, Krystal rounded up a team of  Teen Challenge volunteers to help salvage belongings from the home,  paying forward the kindness and unconditional parental love she received for so many years during her years of addiction .

As Mom Kathy proudly shared this powerful testimony, her two boxers remained by her side .  Trixie, 6, and Zeke, 4.  A week before the flood hit Zeke was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It has taken over his lymph nodes- giving him 6 months to live.

Trixie on the left, and Zeke on the right watch as Samaritan’s Purse volunteers join for prayer in the garage after work completed.

Family members Kari, Kyler, and Kaleb joined mom Kathy and the volunteers in a customary prayer circle that concludes each and every  clean up mission with Samaritan’s Purse.


Hope was brought to the McKee family, and Kathy hopes her story will bring hope to those suffering with family members with addictions.

What do you have to bring?

Have you identified your spiritual Gifts? How may these gifts be used in conjunction with your talents to bring hope into your community and personal spheres of influence?

Join us in today’s prayer circle:

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Stand in Love,

Ephesians 6:10-20

Jennifer ❤️❤️❤️