Spread a Little Love–After Valentine’s Day

There’s something special about the friendships that have developed here on the blog. Most of us have never met each other.

Over the past few days, I got valentines from four of you! I felt like a little girl hurrying home after school to dump out my valentine box.

So much LOVE spilled out of each one.

This kind of LOVE is contagious.

When someone spreads a little love our way, we’re stirred to do the same thing–

And love others. 

Thinking about friendship, I wondered, what is the secret of the bond we share?

Later that day, I started making brownies for small group and put the ingredients on the counter. 

Is there a secret ingredient to friendship? Something to be blended together with love? 

Spreading chocolate frosting over the pan of warm brownies, I remembered a relationship tip my husband and I discovered. 

We were training to be small group leaders, and the pastor said something that went straight to my heart.

It’s just one sentence and one word, but I think it applies to all our relationships. 

“If you have a few extra minutes before small group,” the pastor said, “don’t waste time studying your notes. Pray.”




That struck me as so profound.

You’d think he might have said, “Prepare your notes carefully. Study them diligently. Present your teaching plans well. Memorize your points.”

But he didn’t.

He instructed us to do what matters most in building strong relationships.

And that is to pray–

PRAYER is the secret ingredient to our friendships here on the blog. 

We pray for each other. 

When we pray for people, something miraculous happens inside our hearts. Love grows. Click to tweet. 

P.S. If I ever host a small group for my blog-friends, I’ll make tons of brownies! You can taste the love! I’m serious. Keep reading. The recipe is below. 🙂

Let’s talk about prayer. Have you discovered how prayer is necessary in your relationships

The brownie recipe is from my dear friend DiAnn Mills.

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 sq bitter chocolate *or use 1/3 cup dry cocoa and 1 Tbsp. more butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup self-rising flour (I use Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. It’s gluten-free.)

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

Beat eggs very light; set aside. Melt butter and chocolate. Add sugar and beat well. Add to beaten eggs. Fold in flour, salt vanilla, and nuts. Place mixture in 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan. Bake slowly, 40 minutes at 325.


1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tbsp cocoa

Mix well. Add enough boiling water to mix (2 1/2 Tbsp). Pour over warm cake.




  1. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie. I am honored to be a part of your blog today!
    Back in 2009, before we were engaged, Don came to my house on Valentine’s Day night bearing pizza, a movie, and a gift. The best gift he gave, though, was when he said we were so fortunate because even though we had romantic love, we had enjoyed the love that comes with friendship first, and best of all, we shared the love of Christ, who showed us the perfect example. I burst into tears at that and even made reference to his remark in my lay reader offertory prayer that Sunday.
    Praying for someone is, at least to me, a blessing to them and to the one who is praying. When someone asks me for prayer, he;/she is in the front of my thoughts the entire day—not just those lingering moments. I feel honored when someone asks me to pray.
    1 Corinthians 13 is so right.
    Love you

    • Anna, what a man, what a man! He knew Who mattered most.

      You’re so right. When we have the honor of praying for someone, the thoughts (the love, really) lingers.

      Thank you, my friend. I love you too. And, as you can see, I love being your Valentine Friend!

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    Thank you, Julie! This means the world to me that you like my Valentine! My friend Shirley has been in and out of the hospital for the past three months so I sent her my prayers as a Valentine. You are such a blessing and wonderful friend. (((((((: Reading your blog every two weeks is like Valetine’s Day.(): how is katie and little Rilynn? Was your holiday really sweet and romantic? Love to you from AZ
    Patricia xxxxooo

    • Patricia,
      Even before I start reading your comment, I always smile. I’m just so grateful God brought us together! And, yes, yes, yes, your card was incredibly special to me.

      I’ve always loved “real” cards. I always will.

      Katie is fine. Rilynn has some kind of bug, but she’s feeling better.

      Well, Rick sent me a dozen red roses the day BEFORE Valentine’s day, which was soooo romantic. Then that night (on the 13th) we took a ride in an old car he’s restoring…one from 1976. So yes, that was romantic too. Felt like we were ourselves many, many years ago. We married in 1978. 🙂

      Saying a prayer right now for sweet Shirley~~~~~

      Your Valentine in GA.

  3. Casey says:

    Julie, once again (as always) your blog posts touch me deeply. I love to pray for others and love knowing I have others praying for me. It IS one of the BEST gifts GOD has given us to share with one another. I pray so much now, and as I reflect back on my years as a young mom, I realize I did “prayer basic” and was so busy trying to control life myself that I didn’t accept the gift of “deep, give-it-to-God” prayer and let all those worries go. Now my first reaction to everything is PRAY. At 57, I feel like I’m finally awakening to living the life God wants. I have always known God, and how HE loves me, but in my personal struggles I didn’t feel worthy to ask God to give me the peace that only comes from Him. Each day, I feel like I make another step in following what God really wants for me. Thank you, sweet friend, for all the inspiration you give. You are such a blessing!

    • Ohhhh, Casey. What you said resonates so deeply with me. I feel the same way! And I’ll be 57 in May. 🙂

      Honestly, my prayer life, for years, has been exactly what you’re describing. And some days, I still have to remind myself to LET GO. And to TRUST.

      Thank you. Your thoughts are so precious to me.


  4. sandy coffey says:

    No matter how many notes you have prayer works best. Prayers are sent everyday for others in need. No notes needed it comes naturally. Thanks for your inspiring stories. You are a blessing.

    • Absolutely. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

      Sometimes it seems too simple, you know? You are such a blessings to me. Hugging you from here right now.

      Thank you so much. You’re such an encourager.

  5. Carm Russell says:

    Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!
    ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:2‬‬ I love the translation of this verse. And I have become a prayer volunteer.


    • Feeling His Spirit all over what you just said, Carm.

      I love it. I’m working on devotionals for Daily Guideposts 2019 right now…doing a series on Praying the Psalms. This verse is just beautiful.

      So is you becoming a prayer volunteer.


  6. marci says:

    I was so touched by this. And Pray! One thing I am trying to do this year, by intention, is pray in all things, right away. By nature, it is easy for me to fret first, and then pray later, so I am trying to pray first about all things. So nice that you got several Valentine’s. It is nice to have cards to hold in our hands. I am blessed to have a dear friend who is always sending me cards, and I have enjoyed that so much I try to send out cards also, I love that we meet here and share, and pray for each other. I have found, as you said, that our hearts grow when we pray, and also I have found that praying for others also often melts away some of my own sorrows.
    I thank God for your Blog.

    God Bless, and Much Love,

    • Marci’a,

      I do believe, you have one of the kindest heart God ever made.

      I’m right there with you too–about reminding myself to pray before I fret.

      I think it’s so important that we’re acknowledging this weakness and are asking Him to help us change!

      So much love,

  7. Love your beautiful Valentine’s Day cards!

    The secret ingredient to friendship is prayer. I wholeheartedly agree because that’s what you do for me and that’s what I do for you. Of course there’s crying on the side, laughter and giggles, anger sometimes at things that happen in life, and lots and lots of listening. And then there’s prayer that covers it all with your word for the year: LOVE.

    • Yes, yes, yes, yes!! Amen to everything you said, B.J.

      And usually we laugh and cry in the same conversation–even at the SAME TIME!

      Oh, how I love you.

  8. So honored to have met you at our writing meetings and to become a part of the sharing of your soul. Your insights and heart-to-hearts are such a blessing and I do consider you a friend and a valuable part of my life.

    • Sweet tears, Barbara.

      It’s Him, isn’t it. It’s God’s goodness.

      Thank you. This runs heart-deep with me.

  9. You are so genuine, Julie. I love that about you. xoxo

    • Ditto, Shelli.

      I love you~~~~Feels like I know your precious daughters too.

      Thank you for being my friend.

  10. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Julie, thank you for praying for us…for me. It delights me to see new benefits to this strange new world we share from the advent of the World Wide Web!

    From the first day I joined Facebook, prayer became a focus, my reason for turning it on. So many needs, so many praises! I thrill to pray for someone and actually get to see the fruit! I know I was not the only one responsible, but I was able to use my Facebook private messenger to give some needed advice and prayer to two couples in our extended family who almost got divorced. I’m blessed to give God the glory for their stronger marriages today, including one with a brand new baby soon!

    Just yesterday, God nudged me to share a “PMP” – a Private Messenger Prayer! It was for a friend who has so much on her plate right now, good things, but enough to cause much stress. I simply messaged a prayer to her for help on her way, a 5 or 6 line prayer before I started my daily chores. She and I were both blessed by that simple PMP! Try it!

    One last thought on prayer, one which Facebook has also aided, but isn’t necessary. I have an awful time remembering names, as I’m sure many of you do. I found a unique way to burn a new friend’s name into my mind and heart – prayer! When I met a new friend at church, I asked how I could pray for her. She seemed surprised, but she shared a burden for a ministry she has in her home. I began praying for her and the women she was ministering to, and voila! Vicki’s name will always be there, even though I rarely see her. I’ve done the same with many people now. We can’t pray for someone without our hearts getting involved, and where hearts are involved, recognition seems easier. Try it! It really works!!

    Prayer – the power line connecting all God’s people to Him and to each other! <3

    • Cathy, your ideas are brilliant!!!

      1. PMP. Private Message Prayer.
      2. Ask new friends how we can pray for them…great way to remember names and call us to pray.
      3. Prayer–the power line connecting all God’s people to Him and to each other. (I get a great visual of this one–telephone poles and the lines between them. :))

  11. Patricia Martin says:

    Thank you, sweet Julie, for all the time and love you put into each of your posts for us! I wanted to ask if you knew of any 14-16 old girls at your church who might like to have a pen pal from AZ? My sister is very shy and has had a hard time making friends here. I think a pen pal might be a nice idea for her. Nothing in stone yet, but she may soon be open to the idea of making friends. Do you know of any potential pen pals? Rick is so sweet– roses are the essence of every good Valentine’s Day.
    Hugs to you from me and my family,

    • Hmmmmmm, Patricia….let me think. For 20 years, Rick and I taught high school kids in Sunday school. We’re at a new church now and aren’t working in that department. I’ll see if anyone in my small group knows anyone.

      What a kind sister you are!

  12. Julie, I hate to admit how many times I’ve been busy preparing fir a study and the Lord has stopped me with this word, pray. Wish I could always just start with it. I am for sure a work n progress. Thank you.

    • I know. Me too, Bev. I think the pastor’s tip applies to every area of my life.

      Pray first. Pray during. Pray after.

      And don’t waste time stressin’ and obsessin’!


  13. For. In. Glasses.

  14. Got it. I understood. 🙂

  15. Julie Gilleand says:

    That’s so cool that you received those Valentine’s Day cards in the mail! It used to be so fun in school when we did those V-card exchanges. They must still do that in school as I see them in the stores — those themed sets you can buy. My kids are long past school age and my grandkids are home-schooled so I’m out of touch with what goes on today. I received a few too, and they were such sweet surprises! Rod and I combine celebrating Valentine’s Day with our anniversary which is the 11th. But I received some gifts at work this week from a couple of co-workers which touched my heart. Everyone knows how I like owls. My co-worker Kathy brought me two Audubon Society shopping bags with a picture of owls on each! Wanda gave me an owl pin, saying she just saw it and thought of me! Leah gave me a set of notecards with owls pictured on them and shared a story about having heard two owls calling to each other just that morning. I love hearing about that and considered that a real gift too, that she shared that with me. Lucia saw my owl pin and shared with me about why owls are meaningful to her too. It was such a heartwarming story and I felt so blessed that she shared it with me. That said, I haven’t had any special gifts to give any of them, except for Leah for who is a fellow bird-lover and with whom I used to share an office. I’ve given her bird books, pictures, figurines, and a calendar. I wish I knew of something to give to the other ladies that would be meaningful to them. But one thing I have done is pray for them. I listened to Kathy and Wanda talking one day — we all sit right next to each other. Kathy spoke of having had only one child — a son — and he died some years ago. Wanda told of having had two sons, but they both had died. I sat there feeling so grieved for their losses. Here I had 3 healthy grown sons and had never had to suffer such a loss as these dear ladies and couldn’t imagine getting to their age — in their 60’s — (though I’m not far behind) and not having any children in my life. They have some grandchildren, so that’s nice, but still. So all I have been able to offer these ladies is prayer. Maybe also making them laugh. I seem to have a knack for that. They make me laugh too. I’m thankful for these ladies. Maybe God will show me some special thing I could also give them and love them through.

    By the way — I think my word for the year is “Heal”. I’ve been thinking that for awhile but yesterday I felt more sure of it.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Julie G. ♥

    — Leafy

    • Leafy,

      First of all, I’ve never heard of anyone chose the word “heal” and I’m in love with it!!! How’d you think of this word? Must be God prompted you. Love, Love, Love it (my word, 🙂 Love)

      And the gift of praying for someone. Really, I can’t think of anything more valuable. You’re connecting your heart with theirs and then going to God.

      When I read about your friendships, I could see it opening up in my mind. You all share a real bond. What a gift. Owls–when did your love affair with them begin? 🙂 What triggered it? It’s so fascinating to me.

      Thank you for being my friend, Julie. Give your friends a hug from the Other Julie for me!!

      And thanks for your comment.


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