The Color of RED

A recent baby shower turned into an amazing connection of beauty and hope.  I met a wonderful woman, Susan. As soon as I came into the home in which the shower was taking place, my eye caught a richness in the art displayed in the kitchen area. You knew right away that they were originals, and that someone took the time to paint the unique paintings.  I asked the hostess “who”, and she introduced me to her friend, Susan.  We began to talk about dreams that take flight later in life.  She enjoyed art and painting as a teenager and through the years, but it was not until she was about 50-60 years old that she took a class and took a hold of her dream. She is now involved in her community art center, and she paints on a regular basis–her joy! I shared with her some of my “late in life dreams”, and how the risk of exploring them has been invigorating.

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Previously, the night before, I had a vivid dream. In my dream, my pastor and his wife were talking to me.  They had huge smiles on their faces and kept saying things like, “Anna, you are ready.” “You can do this!”  They had samples of my work, and they kept encouraging me to move forward.  The dream was so real, and that morning I took a huge step towards my goal.

Meeting her after that huge step was confirming for so many reasons. We talked in-depth about our life, dreams, and feelings surrounding this area of risk-taking, and we had a kindred spirit.

Sunday, our pastor spoke a powerful message on the color red.  It’s bold and represents the love of Jesus and passion. He took a blank canvas, which to me represented new beginnings, and he painted a red heart with a cross.  He is not an artist, but took the risk to paint in the moment –publicly.

Passion and purpose are developed and lived out when we take a risk. Was it perfect? No!  The beauty of the imperfection made the painting priceless. I admire the works of great artists such as Monet, but something about my pastor’s painting brought greatness down to earth. It made it possible for all of us to paint on a blank canvas. In the midst of the crazy, unpredictable, and confusion, we have clarity.  We really do.


God took this connection and work and gave me a word:


Yes, it’s part of the fruit of the Spirit.  It’s one that gets looked over because more of us struggle with patience and self-control. Goodness abounds in you.  I can’t explain the healing in detail–it’s supernatural. I usually feel good about something or bad.  God is showing me how to live within the hard, or the bad, and still see His goodness.  He is showing me that I can speak and react in goodness despite the unfair or injustice.  It feels good.  Praise God!  It’s the color red–LOVE: (by the way, my daughter Victoria just sent this to me via text while writing this post)


It’s simple and hard but freeing.  It’s the bittersweet.  It’s my Jesus in the eye of the storm.

Please check out this website for Susan’s gallery in Colonial Heights.  They have an open gallery night every third Saturday of the month for the community from 4 to 7.  Susan encouraged me and you to

“In your spare time between work, grand-daughter, life, etc. pick up a pencil and sketch or some cheap acrylics and slap them on canvas; it is really relaxing.”


Worship with me:

In The Eye Of the Storm (this ones for you Jodi!)





A Dentist Appointment and Their First Date!

How they met! by Tom Lloyd


 I had to post my dad’s comment:

Wow ! How did Louise and I Meet?I went to the dentist, and I saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I didn’t have the courage to call her, so I called the dentist and asked him to talk to her about going out with me. I then called her and we had our first date.I remember going to the door to meet her, and then I jumped into my car and saw her standing in front of the car.I wanted to change the fact that I did not open the door for her, but she graciously open the door and got in.
We had a good evening, and I knew I had fallen in love with her the first time I saw her in the dentist office. She placed a bib around my neck and I looked into…

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Happy 59th Anniversary!

Today is the 59th Year Anniversary of Tom and Louise Lloyd, my parents. My Bible verse this morning was from

Deuteronomy 6: 6-7
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

Thank you mom and dad for living out these verses! I wanted reblog a previous post from their 55th Anniversary. Looking forward to our celebration tonight!


55 Years ago today Tom and LouiseLloyd (my parents) were married at First Baptist Church in Richmond, VA on Monument Avenue. 

Top 10 Things Their Marriage has Taught Me:

1.  No matter what you work it out.

2.  Learn to love each other despite differences, struggles, disagreements.

3.  It takes work and forgiveness to build a strong marriage, don’t give up on each other.

4.  Opposites attract and God uses those differences to support and encourage the relationship, and grow you individually.

5.  Put Jesus first and raise your children to love Jesus.

6.  Pray together.  Know that storms will come, and through prayer and faith you will make it through.  Don’t give up in the middle of the storm – push through, press on.

7.  Enjoy the journey and don’t sweat the small stuff.  Forgive daily and don’t keep a record of wrongs.

8.  You’ll always worry about money, raising…

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Keep. Moving. Forward.

A dear friend sent me an encouraging text on the “seek” and “knock” verse. The Greek of seeking and knocking is a verb form called present imperative. This means that Jesus was telling us to keep on knocking and keep on seeking. The wealth of friendships in my life is overwhelming.  When I study God’s Word, God reminds me of words spoken into my life by others.  He connects it all and deeply touches me.

Since May, 2016 a message was spoken to me–

Keep Moving Forward.

Forward movement keeps us hopeful and, according to Jesus, a practice we should hold true. Keep on seeking!  Keep on knocking!  This perseverance builds our faith, and God can work in our living forward more than he can in our shiftless indolence.

It’s August 12, 2016. God is still using this message in my readings and prayer time. Closing out Colossians, Paul reminds us to pray diligently, stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude.  Paul, from prison, is reminding us to “make the most of every opportunity”. Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, wrote Colossians from prison. He was in prison for telling others about Jesus. Stop and think about this. God’s power and strength were so evident in Paul’s life that God could use him to write the book of Colossians from prison.  Prisons in that day were much different–shackles, cold, no lighting, no rules about how to treat a prisoner. Yet…….somehow…..

Keep Moving Forward.

One of his last requests? “And, oh, yes…Do your best in the job you received from the Master. Do your best.”

As I close out Colossians, the next books are 1 & 2 Thessalonians. The Message introduction:

The way we conceive the future sculpts the present, gives contour and tone to nearly every action and thought through the day. If our sense of future is weak, we live listlessly. Much emotional and mental illness and most suicides occur among men and women who feel that they “have no future.”  The Christian faith has always been characterized by a strong and focused sense of future, with belief in the Second Coming of Jesus as the most distinctive detail. (The Message, p. 1631)

Sometimes when we read God’s Word we place the stories and happenings in a category of “long, long ago and far away….” We believe in the presence of the Holy Spirit, that His Word is living and active, and that He lives within those who invite Him to abide.

Do you believe that Jesus is still working beyond the stories we read in the Bible to accomplish His Kingdom? Or, Do you live in a sense of a lull before the Coming?

There is no lull or stagnation in the work of Jesus.

We are to “continue living forward in taut and joyful expectancy for what God will do next in Jesus!”


You and I are no different from Paul, John the Baptist, or the disciples. They had a different work in a different time.

Jesus is STILL working.

What will God do next in the name of Jesus in your life?

Keep. Moving. Forward.

I love watching Michael Phelps swim. His story from depression, thoughts of suicide, and the enemy trying to convince him that he had no future to being rescued by Jesus is compelling.

In the immediate aftermath of that DUI arrest, he cut himself off from family and other loved ones and “thought the world would just be better off without me . . . I figured that was the best thing to do — just end my life.”

That’s when a friend came to his rescue: former All Pro linebacker Ray Lewis, whom Phelps considers a kind of “older brother.” Seeing the hopelessness and despair in his young friend, Lewis, an outspoken Christian, told him, “This is when we fight . . . This is when real character shows up. Don’t shut down. If you shut down we all lose.”

Lewis convinced Phelps to enter rehab and gave him a book to read while he was there: “The Purpose-Driven Life” by my friend Rick Warren.

The book changed Phelps’ life. Within a few days, Phelps called Lewis and told him “‘Man this book is crazy . . .  The thing that’s going on . . . oh my gosh . . . my brain, I can’t thank you . . . enough, man. You saved my life.’”

As Phelps told ESPN, Rick Warren’s book “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”

A rock bottom experience

A friend who reached out

A book written that has changed the world

A life rescued

That’s God doing, creating, and working through Jesus. Jesus is right here in this moment.  He is loving on you.  He adores you. There is no pause button, or rewind. Your mind can do these things, sort of. Jesus? Always there. Always working. Always loving.

What is even more mind-blowing…….

God’s word says that He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is timeless. You can hit rewind and lament, but God’s love is perfect and always working.  You are pursued ONLY by his unfailing love and goodness.

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Take action today! Are you struggling with addiction of any kind? Consider reading The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren. Call today for counseling or rehab. Michael did not do this alone.  He was vulnerable enough to confess, seek help, and do the work.

Do you struggle with low self-worth or depression? Get in God’s Word and keep moving forward in great joy that He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

Praying for you…..

Worship Song:

Pipeline Rapids

I’ve lived in the surrounding Richmond area for most of my life.  I went to school at VCU in Richmond, VA.  Yesterday, my husband and I needed some fresh air and mind clearing. He found this best kept secret!  I’ve never been here!  It’s called the Pipeline Rapids.  You’ll be dazzled by the James River scenery, art work, history, and a pleasant, adventurous walk that is not strenuous, but a good work out. They have  a paying, public parking area. You can walk, or ride your bike on the river walk trail.

The area, which runs along the river at the Riverside on the James condominiums, is easy to assess from the Canal Walk at South 12th and Byrd streets or from Brown’s Island and has many great views of the river. 

The walkway is so named because there is a large city water pipeline running the length of the path.

Christopher Newport Cross

The Beautiful Old and New Architecture

The Pipeline Walk

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A great place to eat is Casa Del Barco  at 320 S 12th St, Richmond, VA 23219


If you park in the deck near the restaurant, the waitress shared that they will validate your parking ticket! Call the restaurant for deck directions.  804-775-2628

They take reservations, but not necessary.

This restaurant is on your walking tour! GREAT, authentic Mexican food!  I had the traditional guacamole and pork tamales served in a banana leaf, which was pure heaven!  I asked for sour cream. It was homemade cream with lime juice!  WOW! Total yummmmmmmmmmm. If you are walking your dog, you can eat on the patio with your pet, and they have a bike rack with a bike fixing station.

Feeling more fancy and romantic? Go inside! We chose the nature scene and sat outside. We’ve always dreamed of living in one of the condos on the river.  Did you know you can lease a condo for a month? We wondered what a summer would be like vacationing in the condo.  Fun to dream.

He Is Your Life

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.

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Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Colossians chapter 3 is a great chapter on how to live your life through His perspective. You’ll be guided in the practical, everyday behaviors, parenting, and marriage. I read this chapter and prayed –repented of a lot of thoughts and actions–only to get up from my prayer time to be challenged.

The usual pattern of prayed up, got this, a challenge occurs in your day, and then you respond. Sometimes I respond with God confidence and, other times, I wonder if I was really paying attention or absorbing the scripture. It’s one thing to study it, and it’s another to live it, which was our post yesterday.

 I mentioned yesterday that God and I had a throw down.  This throw down spilled into my life after a series of events and email. My husband and I took a walk, sat on our bench in the front yard, and he listened. Valentina asked later that day what was wrong.  I was a liitle “off”.  I shared your typical life issues in her 12 year old language.  I assured her that I was okay, and it was nothing that God can’t handle. I just need prayer and time.  What she said next was beautiful and a reminder of why it’s okay to be honest with those we love so much

“Mom, sometimes it helps to just cry.”

That was better than any Hallmark card. We smiled at each other. If Jesus wept, I guess it’s okay if we do, too.

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

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We’ve been watching the Olympics as a family. As you know, swimming is the sport of prominence at the moment. There is a refugee swimmer named Yusra Mardini. Here is her story:

Last August, four years into the Syrian civil war, the 18-year-old fled her home. Like many other refugees, she and her sister ended up on small boat bound for the island of Lesbos off the coast of Greece.

The boat began to sink, and Yusra jumped in the water.

“It was quite hard to think that you are a swimmer, and you are gonna end up dying in the water,” she said.

For three hours she and her sister pushed the boat to shore, saving nearly 20 lives. Yusra traveled 1,500 miles through Turkey and central Europe before settling in Berlin, Germany, where she’s been training for the Olympics.

She’s now part of the first refugee team to ever compete in the Games.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc.

Yusra competed and took sixth place. She may not have won a gold medal, but she won at life. Have you ever felt like second place?  Do you toil and labor in a direction, only to discover a door closed?

“When you have [a] problem in your life that doesn’t mean you need to sit down and cry like babies. The problem was the reason why I am here, and why I am stronger and I want to reach my goals.” Yusra

She is living out this passage:

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

It’s no coincidence that I read her story after my tears of frustration. In order for her to say “I am stronger, and I want to reach my goals”, I suspect she spent some tearful moments. Those moments gave her the strength and determination to move forward. I spoke with my husband. “I believe that the insanity of irony propelled her to do something courageous!”

“It was quite hard to think that you are a swimmer, and you are gonna end up dying in the water,” she said.

Ironic situations find us looking up asking God–“What IS your perspective on this?” Her willingness to overcome fear, jump out of the boat, and take on God’s perspective overwhelms. I have a strong visual in my brain. The next time I’m faced with a “sinking boat” situation, and it feels slightly ironic, I’m jumping out and pushing the boat to shore. I refuse to sink in the failed attempt, or irony. Let me qualify that any situation I face pales in comparison, which is also my point. Certainly we can overcome if she did! She sets the bar high!

With God ALL things are possible!  Get out of the boat and start swimming!

God’s word says that no weapon formed against you will ever prosper (propel you forward). Decide to believe that God, no matter what your circumstances, conceived you in His mind before you were even born, and has set you apart!


I have my window open. A little sparrow came and sat on my window sill. The sun is shinning bright through the front window. Today is beautiful.

Don’t worry about a thing….

Play this and smile with me….

Refrigerator Pickles

Linda and John have always been a couple to embrace life and its simple pleasures. They mentor us. Much to my joy and surprise–like a person in a crowd who runs up to you with a big bear hug– they requested our pickle recipe.  We have created our own recipe and have pickles for sale!  Touch base with me.

Hey! It was great to see you Saturday! John and I love those pickles you made! I thought I saw the recipe on your blog, but I could not find it! Could you send it to me? John asked for a cucumber on Monday so he could dip it in the leftover juices.  LOL! They were so good!!!  Love you!  Linda

Hebb Family Refrigerator Pickles ©

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This recipe is for a single, quart, wide-mouth mason jar.  You can adapt the recipe for larger or smaller jars, or to make multiple jars.


About 5 – 6 pickling cucumbers washed, stemmed, and halved lengthwise, like Kirby. They are typically 4 -5 inches, but feel free to use regular cucumbers if that’s what you have in the fridge. You will want to cut off the stem and the blossom end (other end).  Apparently the blossom end has enzymes that can keep your pickles from being crisp!  Who knew?! It’s about a 16th of an inch.  Just a sliver.

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Sorting Pickling Cucumbers. Larger ones for quart jars, smaller ones for pint jars.


Sliced Cucumbers


1/2 cup of white vinegar (plus a little bit more)

1 1/2 tablespoons of salt

1 tablespoon of black peppercorns

2 teaspoons of coriander seed

3 or so cilantro stems with leaves

1/4 cup of fresh dill weed, stems and all, but you may need to pinch off part of the stem for aesthetics.  It does not need to be packed into the cup.  It is about 3 stems or so.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon of dill seed

3 cloves of garlic, minced



Put the salt, peppercorn, coriander, cilantro, dill, dill seed, and garlic in a sterilized jar.


Pack cucumber slices into the jar, leaving a 1/2 inch of space at the top. You may need to adjust the size of the cucumbers as you go, or add a few smaller chunks to fill in space. Be creative! Have fun!

Pour in the vinegar. The vinegar should fill the jar between 1/3 to 1/2 full.

Fill the jar the rest of the way with water.

Secure the top. Remember you are using canning jars which includes the lid and the band.

Gently shake the jar to mix the ingredients.

Place in fridge for a week or so.  We opened up after five days, because we could not wait! They were good!


Daily,  gently shake the jar to mix ingredients.  A great chore for the kids!

Refrigerator pickles have a lesser shelf life than pickles that you process in a canner. Your refrigerator pickles will last for a few weeks? We are unsure of their shelf life, because once we open the jar, they are consumed in a few days. Sometimes we can eat a jar in one sitting.  You, too, will find this to be true.


Great sliced up for a picnic!

They are THAT delicious! A canning book recipe proclaims that the pickles will stay good up to three months in the fridge.

For our first batch of refrigerator pickles, we used a jar left over from store bought pickles. It is over a half-gallon!  You can use what you have and be creative to make your cucumber the pickle of your dreams.



How do you sterilize a jar for refrigerator pickles

  • You can put in the dishwasher.
  • You can place in a pot and boil for 10-15 minutes.