Fire creates and fire destroys. During hurricane Ian, it destroyed my friend’s seaside home—along with her neighbors when a golf cart powered by a lithium battery exploded in a ball of flames. The fire department was unable to respond, and both beautiful homes burned to the ground.
My heart broke as she recounted the loss of most of her worldly possessions. “We sifted through the ashes hoping to find some of my mother’s jewelry, but everything was gone. All I can say is thank God no one was hurt, and another neighbor saved our dog.”
At a loss for adequate words of comfort, I looked for help from Hallmark—and found none. Then I remembered a poem I’d once heard, changed it a bit, and sent it to her with an anchor on a slender silver chain.
The Anchor That Holds
When the storms of life catch you off guard
There’s an anchor that holds to make them less hard.
When the hazards of living come straight at you
There’s an anchor that holds till you see your way through.
The anchor that holds–strong, sturdy, and sure
Is Jesus, His love, and His words that endure.
When she called to thank me, she said, “I know this may sound strange, but this whole thing has taught me to pay more attention to what’s really important and how unimportant so much of what I value is.”
Better—not bitter, is what I heard in those words, and proof once again of the great promise given us in Romans 8:28. God never wastes our pain and works all things together for good in the lives of His children.
My friend’s tragedy and her response have inspired me to choose PRIORITIES for my word of 2023. I’m asking God to help me focus on what He values most when I’m tempted to choose what I want right now instead.
What’s going to be your focus in 2023? Can you boil it down to one word? I hope you’ll share it in the comment box below because your word might be just the encouragement or inspiration someone else needs.
When Covid and a blizzard canceled all our Christmas plans, I served this as a side dish at our family’s Second Christmas Celebration over the Martin Luther King weekend. It’s a super easy, make ahead dish and everyone loved it. I know you will too.
Cheesy Bread Casserole
This is an overnight in the refrigerator first dish!
10 Slices of bread – Captain John Durst if available.
1/3 cup soft butter
3 cups of milk
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon spicy mustard
2 Cups grated cheddar cheese – or blended cheeses.
Grease a medium size casserole dish with butter.
Cut the crust off the bread (I always save these and make French toast strips out of them).
Butter the crustless slices with the soft butter.
Then cut the slices of bread in half.
Mix together the egg, milk, salt, and mustard and beat with a wire whisk.
Begin to layer bread and cheese, beginning and ending with cheese on top.
Pour the egg, milk, salt and mustard mixture over the bread and cheese.
Put the casserole in the refrigerator overnight.
When ready, bake in a preheated 325° oven about 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and
golden brown on top. Serve warm and enjoy.