Saturday, September 20, 2014

Daily Graces

 
 
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.

Great is His faithfulness;
    His mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in Him!”
 
The Lord is good to those who depend on Him,
to those who search for Him.

So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
-   Lamentations 3:22-26 {NLT}   -  
 
 
 
Oh so grateful ...
 
 




*   sharing graces with Barbie & Sandra

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Are You Overrated? ~ The Giveaway


 
This is a tender subject.  Very. 
 
But Eugene Cho goes there.
 
Of course, we're all about doing good.  Just the sound of that power-laden word justice makes something deep in us rise up and want to do battle. 
 
That tenderhearted compassion for those who barely exist in the yawning abyss of extreme poverty. Our passionate longing for all wrongs to be made right for survivors who've been tragically, brutally victimized.  Marginalized.  Ostracized.  We stretch out willing hands to those who cry out for mercy and relief. 
 
We may jet to far off steamy, humid locales with a like-minded team, or tirelessly serve at local homeless shelters and soup kitchens where every pair of willing hands is needed on deck.  And then we plug in and share our mind-numbing experiences and heart-tugging photos on every bit of social media that we can get our hands on. 
 
We care.  Big time.  
 
But in the midst of our fervent championing, how do we ourselves live out humility and soul-deep change in the core of our beings?
 
Eugene is figuring out this journey.  And he's found out that it's messy and painful and not at all easy to authentically live what we say we believe.
 
I've got one copy of his new book OVERRATED to give to one reader who leaves a comment on this post  by Wednesday, September 24th at 10 am {eastern, US & Canada only, please.}
 

Are you ready to go there?  Am I?
 
 
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.
Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


>     Joining with Mel & Lisha     <

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In Which I Return to My Writing Roots


Dear Friend ~

I'm more than thrilled to be back doing life with you again! 

Wow ... have I missed YOU!

I did some heavy duty journaling while I've been gone, a number of conversations with God scrawled across lined pages in a blue leather book, a long ago gift from a friend.  Together, the Lover of my soul and I simply sat with life as it is in this season.  The sheer joy that strangely co-exists with deep sadness.  The avalanche of intriguing challenges that keeps me on my oft' weary toes as we wend our way, hand in hand, along this pathway He has carefully traced out ... together navigating the crazy twists and unexpected turns and faith-stretching jumps I never quite expected.

He knows exactly what I need to keep me totally dependent on His merciful grace.  

These conversations were interlaced with strong threads of sincere gratitude, a handful of way-too-deep questions, and the occasional hot teardrops that had no choice but to brim over and run down, their bittersweet release freeing me up to breathe in, yet once again, that strong and sacred peace. 

And strewn here and there over the days were some musings about blogging ...




day 1  //  invitation
I finished up blogging today and I'm missing it already.  I'm feeling quite unsettled tonight, and that is probably one of the reasons why.

Which is a good enough reason to take a break for a few weeks.  Missing anything that much is surely a cause for pause.  I know that writing is a non-negotiable in my life, and it all started with journaling a decade ago or so.  It's only fit that I return to these printed words on these lined pages ...

So thank You for the rather clear invitation to step away from the writing online and the open door to this writing with real-life pen and ink, aimed at conversing with You.  I know I have needed it.  And I sense that there is some unpacking to do, some re-evaluation that needs to occur, a bit of re-prioritizing to be considered ...

As the little boy Samuel spoke, 'Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening.'  I am Your captive audience. 

Redeem these weeks, claim them as Your own. 

I await Your lead, Your call, Your promises, Your ministry to my weary soul.
 
 
day 3  //  obedience
So thankful I am today, feeling a bit lighter as I release more of my online world and embrace this unplugged experience.  I think here and there about future posts and wonder about 31 Days a bit.  But mostly I'm content to let it all go slowly.  And be more fully present in what's happening right here, right now.

In obedience, I am finding a larger peace, a greater sense of myself, wider margins, a spaciousness that is laced with freedom.  I want to find a renewed identification of who I am in You, Lord.  Not based on performance or acceptance or kudos or stats of any kind.

Just based on Your love for me. 


day 7  //  realization
I see a slow fade in people coming by as I check in on the stats from time to time.  There's a part of me that is missing this connection.  And yet another piece is grateful for the time apart.  I guess these two seemingly opposite pulls have no problem dwelling together.

Some ideas for future posts are brewing, but they do so quietly, percolating somewhere deep.  Themes and brainstorms whisper and bring a smile.  But there's a distinct unwillingness, a rather surprising inability to make a 31 Day commitment to daily writing.  Since I've been a huge 31 Day fan, I am paying attention to how the invitation to join that great big online gathering is making me feel this year. 

And, dare I say it, the word is {gasp} exhausted.

I'm listening to what that speaks to me, God, and I acknowledge that there's only so much energy to go around right about now.  The idea of publishing something of value for 31 days straight is just too much.  And I hear You whispering, 'that's ok.  It really is ok.'

Yes, I feel a yearning to publish words that are deep, full, and substantial.  But for 31 straight days?

Sorry, not this time around.  I just can't do it.

 
day 8  //  clarity
I'm finding a lovely relief as I work through some blogging logistics.  Knowing what I'm not going to do simply opens up doors for fresh considerations.  I love that for every 'no, thanks!' you speak, you get to say, 'yes, please!' to another invitation, option, opportunity, or focus.
 
And that's looking really appealing to me, even though I'm not sure exactly how that plays out.
 
And that's all good.  'Cause I don't need to know the future's minute details of writing ... or anything else for that matter.  My heart's desire is to key into Your heart, discover Your intentions for me.  And use the energy and live out the calling that You've tucked deep inside.
 
Going there gives me joy.  I feel Your smile on my labors of love whether they are deeply personal or aimed toward ministry.
 
And there's where it gets all golden and glorious. 
 
Because this whole blogging thing encompasses the best of both worlds.  It comes from somewhere deep within the core of who I am.  And each word, every relationship built in that sacred space is all about honoring You.  And making You known in those mysterious wonders, the freeing winds of emotional healing.  Spiritual formation.  And vibrant living.
 
Just like it says on the website's header. 
 
As Creekside starts its 8th year, I realize once again, that the things that we value most, that we prize deeply, that we are called to live out in this ministry just never change.
 
Praise be ...
 
 
day 13  // replenished
When all is said and done, Sarah said it exquisitely.  She took my breath away with this.  Right here ...
 
'Find a bit of water to look at it, it doesn’t have to be much.  Maybe a pond, a lake?  If you’re really lucky, find the ocean.  But go there alone at sunset. I  know it seems indulgent and impossible – that’s because it is.  But every once in a while, the best way to keep moving through your life is do something that seems impossibly kind for your own soul.
 
So go.  Alone.  Late in the day.
 
Leave behind the book.  Leave behind your prayer journal.  Leave behind the notebooks and schedule planning.  Leave behind ... '
 
 
 



Would you celebrate this homecoming by letting a friend or two know I'm back?  The welcome mat at this little online community is always out, front and center. 
The links are below!

&

I'd love to continue to share life with you in the months ahead.  I've got some special treats in store.  And if you subscribe, you won't miss a single morsel!
Here's where to do it.

//

Catching up with Kristen  & Holley  &  Mel

Sunday, August 31, 2014

When Unplugged = Re-Charging

 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.'
~   Isaiah 30:15   ~
 
 
Kind of odd, isn't it.  We've got to plug in our screens to give them more juice, recharge the batteries before they fade, and keep those omnipresent electronic lifelines in tip-top running condition.

And yet the exact opposite is true for us as human beings.

We've got to unplug from those very same screens to breathe deep in solitude.  To recharge our waning energy, to revive the depths of who we are at the soul level, and invite the creative juices to flow with more oomph.

Especially us introverts.  {Don't miss what Holley Gerth says about loving us well!}

And that's pretty much what I'm going to be doing the next few weeks as we nest at our little Cape Cod haven.  My Mom hasn't been well so I plan on spending as much time with my parents as they can take {oh, no, is she here AGAIN?!}.  I'm hoping for endless walks, searching for those ever elusive hidden sea glass gems along deserted shorelines.  I plan to fill those yet unclaimed journal pages with deeply seated words that are yearning to be spilled out.   Assorted family members will be coming and going and I can't wait to spend some needed downtime with them as we turn the corner into autumn's soft glow. 

I'll be dropping in online very occasionally.  'Cause responding to your comments has become a non-negotiable joy around here!  But then I'll be stepping back again to rest and read, putter and walk, re-imagine and re-create.  And maybe lean straight into an serendipitous adventure or two.  Without all that endlessly enticing online stimulation. 

Unplugged.

I'll miss you.  I bet I'll even have some withdrawal symptoms.

Because sometimes the gift we need the most can be the hardest one to receive.

Hugs ~
 
 
 


 
~> If you've never subscribed to this online community, would you do so today?  And I'd love to know that you'll be here when I roll back on in ...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kate's Breakfast ~ The Giveaway Winner

dunkindonuts.com
 
 
The random winner of the

 WHAT'S FOR BREAKFAST GIVEAWAY

is . . .

KATE N.

'My favorite breakfast?  It depends, but in general I'd say oatmeal with cranberries and honey. :-)
Yeah, that or a delicious donut from our local donut shop.

Just happened across your blog from wearethatfamily.com. Nice place you have here. ;-)'


Enjoy your $10 gift card, Kate!  And welcome to Creekside! 
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summertime's 5 Best Lingering Joys



I don't want summer to end. 
 
Period.

This has been the best summertime ever. 
 
And here's why : :

 the pleasure
Parking lot bench, sidewalk cafe, backyard picnic table, water's edge?  Doesn't matter.  Even the simplest food tastes extraordinary when the breezes are blowing and the sun warms you somewhere deep within.  And watching an owl swoop in close at dusk while we nibbled dessert with friends?  It just doesn't get better than that. 

the victory
This summer's greatest shock?  Rolling out of bed more mornings than not, donning my sneakers, and heading out the door to walk a couple of miles.  This is a 1st.  Ever.  Wish I could say that I've lost 10 5 pounds ... but the reward has been simply knowing that I'm taking decent care of my body.  It makes me smile.

the serendipity
Launching into a rousing rendition of 'Home on the Range' with grandgirl #5 as she rides her Radio Flyer horse like a crazy woman, dressed in a flowing cape and a battered white-brimmed Easter hat perched on top of a Red Sox cap.  Crooning a '80's Top 40 song in perfect off-key harmony, at a moments notice, with my sister.  Singing an ancient hymn with my Dad as we clear the table ... and an unexpected gentle duet of 'Everyone needs compassion, the kindness of a Savior' with Mom near the close of another day.  These are memories that will stay close to my heart.  Forever. 

the relaxation
I'm on my 10th 11th book this summer.  If you want me, I'll be on the back porch with my feet up, quietly savoring yet another unfolding saga.

the fun
Life can be a never-ending frustration as we try to fit square pegs into round holes and find that, once again, things usually don't work like we want them to.  So am I the first grown woman to sit on the floor hunched over hundreds of minuscule plastic pieces ... only to discover that within 5 minutes she's become hopelessly hooked on a Lego Friends barn-building project?  That satisfying silent pop as the teensy parts fit together {and the sweet shared moments with grandgirl #2} were just sublime.

Go figure ...

What are your lingering summertime joys, my friend?

 
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*   sharing joy with KristenHolley & Leigh & Emily & Lisha  *
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