Tag Archives: friendship

Introducing a New Ministry


Today, I want to introduce you to something close to my heart, something you’ve been reading in bite-sized pieces since 2008, a story simultaneously just beginning and one that’s been decades in the making. A story only God could be writing. Today, I introduce you to my friend, Pamela Piquette, and the brand new ministry we’ve co-founded.

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“But you look fine.”

It’s something we hear often. We do look fine. But we’re not.

We are two of a staggering statistic – two of approximately 162.5 million people in the United States alone who live with one or more chronic illnesses.

Two of half the world’s population living with chronic illness. We are not alone.

Yet, often we are an invisible population striving to live well in the brokenness.

Many of us are desperately hurting, lonely, exhausted, and in pain. We struggle with anxiety and depression, and sometimes with significant limitations.

Illness affects our marriages, our families, finances, friendships, education, hobbies, and work. In short, illness affects every thread and fiber of our lives.

Chronic Joy Ministry is our voice, raising awareness of this hurting population, offering resources, and helping churches and organizations begin the conversation about what a chronic illness ministry in their organizations might look like.

If you have 9 minutes, we have an incredible story for you. Watch video.

Then join the conversation at Chronic Joy Ministry and let us know what you think. We’d love to open the conversation with What if?

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Love Bravely


LoveBravelyLove Bravely” quote above by Kevin Adams

For almost seven years, I’ve been writing down the moments of my life — the good, the hard, the funny, the profound — moments when the veil thins and I glimpse the holy, breathe in the eternal, humbled and awed and incredibly blessed.

I’ve been writing for most of my life. It’s how I think, process, begin to understand what I feel and why.

But it was Dottie Schimpf, pastor’s wife and parish nurse, who invited me to write an article every month for the church newsletter, North Shore Church News, in November, 2007, who unknowingly opened the first door of this journey.

Months later this blog was born through the mad, angst-quenching, technical skills of Ross Mongin, after a late night brainstorming session with my cousin Susan, who’d quietly registered the domain name before I could change my mind.

And the second door opened.

Along the way, I’ve been encouraged by organizations such as Christian Writers, The High Calling, and Tweetspeak Poetry. I’ve written for We Used to Be You and Servant Sisters, and had an article published in The Congregationalist Magazine.

I’ve shared my photography with The High Calling and a number of beautiful online communities. And recently, I’ve joined Outside the City Gate to provide photography for their new e-book, and with Beth at Simply Beth to provide images every few weeks for her Sunday community.

God began unlocking the last door at For the Love, where I’d unintentionally hijacked a conversation, realized, and apologized, and Kelly tenderly said, “No. Don’t apologize. Your story’s inspiring. Thank you!

Inspiring? I thought. I’d have used almost any word but inspiring.

Later that day, Erin had looked across the table during a breakout session and said, “You love words.”

Yes! I thought. Yes! Yes, I do love words.

Oh…

For almost two years, the words had clogged in my throat, the emotion a little too close, a little too raw. So I’d spilled into image what I’d been unable to pour into words.

I’d come to For the Love in part because I’d longed for validation as an artist. Longed to know if my photography was just a “great hobby” or might one day be good enough to sell. Uncharacteristically, and with all the courage I could muster, I’d asked Jeremy, owner of Jeremy Hess Photographers if he would take a look at my work, just a few pieces, and give me his honest opinion. He did. I wish I remembered his words. They spoke life and surprised me. In a good way.

Yet while I don’t remember Jeremy’s exact words, I do remember that moment, the encouragement, his challenge to grow in intentionality, to “ask God what He wants you to see in this image,” to become as proficient with each of my lenses as I am with my macro.

There at a photography workshop in the rolling hills of Oregon, I remembered how much I love words. And something broke loose. Maybe the words weren’t gone. Maybe the photography was more than a hobby. Maybe they were two pieces of the very same puzzle.

Light began to glint from all edges of the door.

Then last night, my friend Pamela, who’s been encouraging me to write a book for years, suggesting options, possibilities, and opportunities said, “You need to write your story. It’s powerful. You have so much peace. Your life is hard. I can’t even imagine. And yet you are so filled with peace. Why do you think we all want to spend time with you? The harder your life is, the harder you lean into Jesus, and it’s beautiful.”

I sat across the well-worn, wooden table from my friend in tears.

And the door swung wide.

For nearly seven years, I’ve been writing moments. Stringing them together. Word by word by word.

The story of our lives.

A book.

A journey. Led by God. With light enough for each new step.

Moment by moment by moment. Word by word by word.

Life through a macro lens.

This morning, my husband, who believes in me far more than I have ever believed in myself wrote, “I wanted to ask for your prayers and encouragement for Cindee as she sets out on a new adventure. Because of the encouragement from a few [at For the Love] like Kelly and Erin about her gift with “words,” and the encouragement of a friend back here at home, Cindee has decided to finally — I’ve been trying for quite some time, but unsuccessfully, to get her to — write a book…AMEN! Thank you to each one of you who shared your hearts, encouraged my beautiful wife, and gave her that extra bit of hope and love that she needed, and God so perfectly set in place.”

So…I’m writing a book.

Opening my heart and sharing the story of our lives. Weaving together the moments already written. Fleshing them out. Inviting you in. Living these next months intentionally, through all the lenses in my bag, and loving bravely!

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Filed under 28 Days of Love, Photos and Quotes

The Love of a Friend


FriendLovesAtAllTimes

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. ~ Henri Nouwen

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares. ~ Henri Nouwen

For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God. ~ Saint Teresa of Avila

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Filed under 28 Days of Love, Photos and Quotes

Friendship is Holy Ground


The language of friendship is not words but meanings. ~ Henry David Thoreau

FriendWhoCares

Friendship, of itself a holy tie, is made more sacred by adversity. ~ Charles Caleb Colton

A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes. ~ Proverbs 17:17

The sincere friends of this world are as ship lights in the stormiest of nights. ~ Giotto di Bondone

Here is my command. Love each other, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends. ~ John 15:12

There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. ~ Thomas Aquinas

Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend. ~ Plautus

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Filed under 31 Days on Holy Ground