Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On Embracing the Hope of Spring

It doesn't matter that it was 7 below zero this morning and the icy snow is piled high and frozen solid like a stone.  I'm officially done with winter on this online space.

There will be no more snow-laden scenes painted here.

I'm embracing the hopeful promise of spring's glorious warmth with arms wide open!  Even if the calendar insists that its arrival is weeks away.


Thank you for all your sweet words and powerful prayers for our new grandson Tyler in the last few weeks.  Honestly, some of your lovely comments and emails brought tears to my eyes and made me so deeply thankful once again to be sharing life with you.  We're headed out soon to cuddle with the little guy and hang out with his forever family. {Be sure to read his story and watch his big sister's welcome home video here.} 

And then my man and I are off to celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary.  To say that Tim is God's richest blessing in my life is no exaggeration.  {Here's the hard won lessons I've learned about marriage along the way.} 


I'm hearing from readers here and there that you're realizing that you've got a bit of a love / hate relationship going on with this online world we inhabit.  If you've even got a whiff of desire to unplug yourself for a bit, please push aside your fears and listen to that voice that whispers deep, inviting your soul to some needed recalibration and refreshment. 

And if you need some encouragement to go there, please read my post Our Obsession is Growing.  It's packed with important observations about this ongoing struggle that we're just a bit reluctant to speak about. 

All that said, I'm begging off from just about all things digital /online in the next few weeks.  I'm leaving a sampling of springtime posts for you to savor if you drop by.  Click on the titles below to take you there.   And don't forget to check out From Hither & Yon : : Shareworthy Reads on the sidebar.

Please be sure to subscribe so you'll know when I'm back onboard, ok?  Thanks!


The Imperfect Table ~ 2014
It's circa 1960s, this photo is, with loved ones gathered around the mahogany table, layered in white linen starched and pressed within an inch of its life.  All have donned their Sunday go-to-meeting attire and another homemade feast has been savored.  The main course {savory chicken and dumplings laced with fresh rosemary ... or perhaps a herbed roast leg of lamb with mint jelly} has been polished off.  Dessert is about to be served on the beautiful blue-rimmed china.  Fresh flowers create ...

A Clean Slate ~ 2013
It's just about springtime.  FINALLY!  {Even if it is snowing in the Hudson Valley today!}

And it's all about a clean slate and the choices you can make to take you there.  Kind of like a much needed pruning that clears away the dead wood, releasing new life and healthy growth and fragrant blooms ...

Choose the Ladder ~ 2012
I've always loved playing Chutes & Ladders!  As a little girl, blossoming young mama, or hanging-in-there grandma, my competitive edge has emerged more than once.  I've really gotten into zipping up those big tall ladders, flying right past my opponents, and getting nearer to my goal of stepping onto that final golden square marked '100.'  

But along the way, my heart has dropped like a stone.  More than once.  My attitude has taken a sudden, negative lurch for the worse ...

Figuring Out Your Responsibilities ~ 2011
I carry their feelings, don't listen, fix, protect, rescue, control, beg, plead, whine, bribe, tantrum, manipulate, prevent natural consequences from taking place

I am concerned with the solution, answers, circumstances, being right, details, performance

I feel exhausted, anxious ...

Jan Johnson hit the nail on the head when she penned, 'I wish God would tell me ...' is usually followed by a desire to know about something that will affect the next 20 (at least) years of our life.

My experience is that God doesn't do things that way, but shows us only our next step: make a telephone call, study up on something, look within at our motives.  If we knew more steps than that, we would probably be ...

Clutter 201 ~ 2009
Clutter.  Stuff.  Junk.  Things.  Mess.  Piles.  Trash.

Call it what you want, chances are if your home is filled with it, it probably reflects what's happening on the inside.  In your mind.  Your heart.  Too much going on inside paralyzes us.  It renders us ...

Grieving.  It's not just about mourning the dead.  We also encounter great loss when we experience divorce.  A catastrophic illness.  Job termination.  The end of a friendship.  The long distance move of someone we love.  Leaving a church family.  How do we do this well so that we can move on and not be held in grief's grip and allow a root of bitterness to set in?  How do we move ahead after being overwhelmed, paralyzed, consumed ...

See you later, my friend ~

Friday, February 20, 2015

Where Feet May Fail

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them,
walking on the lake.

When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified.
  'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them:
 'Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid.'

'Lord, if it's You,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to You on  the water.'

'Come,' He said.

The Peter got down out of the boat walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink,
 cried out, 'Lord, save me!'

Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.
  'You of little faith,' He said, 'why did you doubt?'

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

Then those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying,
 'Truly You are the Son of God.'
Matthew 14:25-33

Lord, sometimes you beckon us to take courageous steps forward that are just plain scary.

We freeze in our fear-filled tracks, seemingly unwilling and unable to move ahead.

Build our faith so that our waning confidence rests completely on Your character,

and not on the unknown, sometimes terrifying path that lies beneath our feet.

Calm us gently and focus us clearly, 

so that our steps will take us to where You want us.

Straight to Your waiting heart.


. . .  joyfully following Christ into our community's 8th year  . . .
stopping by to see Barbie & Mary

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Little Black Bag * Party Giveaway #3

Hey gang ... what's a party without a whole bunch of gift bags?

Over the years we've given away scads of books and a bunch of gift cards.  Free blog coaching sessions, too.   But hands down, I do believe that this is our best giveaway ever!

During the celebration of our anniversary month, we've been giving these little bags to our house church community, our clients ... and now to YOU, dear faithful readers.

To get your little black Creekside tote bag {scarves not included}, simply do two things ~ 

1.  Leave a comment on this post and let us know:  

the state you live in


what you're gonna stash in your bag

2.  Send your name and address to {If you live in the Mid-Hudson Valley and would like to pick up your gift at Creekside, you'll save me postage.}

If you read the blog via email, click here and come on over to the website to join in the fun.

You win.  It's that simple.

Sorry, US only.  This offer is good until Wednesday, February 25th at 11:59 pm {eastern} or while supplies last.

I just wanted to say a great big thanks to YOU for doing community with us here!  Whether this is your first visit or you've been hanging around since 2008, well, to say I'm grateful is simply an understatement.

The apostle Paul penned it best when he wrote, 'Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God'
{Philippians 1:3 NLT}.

celebrating the kick-off of year #8

-  Giveaway Disclosure  - 
Please note that Creekside Ministries has underwritten the purchase of these bags,
but the cost of shipping is from my own personal funds.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

In Which I Finally Introduce You to Our New Grandson

For the longest time, I've been longing to tell you about our precious little 7th grandchild, Tyler Willhite.

We've known that he was destined to be a part of our family since last fall.  But the logistics and red tape of the adoption system and his medical challenges have kept me from sharing his story. 

Our family's story.

December 23, 2014

Tyler was born back in July with skeletal dysplasia along with respiratory and feeding issues.  Along the way, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic condition.  And tragically, most babies with this condition die before the age of one due to either respiratory failure or a high fever, both of which he has struggled with.

December 23, 2014

After hours of tears, prayers and counsel, Jenn and Barry decided to move forward with the adoption.  And this video here?  Well ... it says it all from big sister Kathryn's point of view.

February 13, 2015

Tyler finally came home last Friday after more than five months in the hospital and a month with his foster family. 

Melanie, Lydia, Andrew, Tyler, Kathryn

the 3 Giants fans hanging out

Jenn writes, 'Please pray for our family, especially for Tyler.  We don't know what the future will look like for him, but we know God loves him even more than we do and that He will provide what Tyler needs.'

So welcome to the family, sweet baby boy.  And always remember that Grandma loves ya'.  With many tears and endless prayers ... somehow mingled with a peace-filled joy.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Quick Lit : : The Blizzard Edition

We're hunkered down in the Cape Cod blizzard, my man and I ... snow swirling endlessly in the frigid air out these windows that are rattling just a bit too loudly.  Kinda like those little snowglobes you shook violently as a little kid. The winds are gusting up to 64 mph right about now.  And I'm just grateful to be inside.  Warm.  Safe.

What a perfect day to be joining Anne's Quick Lit link-up, chatting briefly about the books I've been paging through this month.

If you crave a good book in your hands, you're going to love hanging out at her place.  Especially if you're going just a bit stircrazy, stuck indoors at home.


The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in  Noisy World - Sophie Dembling
If you're an introvert, you'll love this book ... it's like looking in the mirror and saying 'yes, yes, that's so ME!'

If you've got an introvert in your life and you can't quite figure her / him out,  this smart, fun, easy-to-read book will help you put those crazy puzzle pieces together.

Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After - Sophie Dembling
I liked her first book better.  Maybe because I'm happily married and not looking for love.  And maybe because I couldn't relate to some of the relationship scenarios the author painted.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time -  Mark Haddon
This hugely acclaimed novel has been a big hit.  But after about 28 pages I put it down.  I found the narration by the fictional 15 year old autistic Christopher Boone to be strangely unsettling.  Looking at life through his eyes brought a sadness to me that I just wasn't ready to face.  My apologies to my sister book club members.

The Last Juror - John Grisham
I'm making my way through all of Grisham's novels for at least the second time.  I love his wry sense of humor, crisp writing, and oft' quirky characters.  He's created yet another fascinating 1970s Mississippi saga with his legendary trademark storytelling gift.  Always, always a good read.

Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough - Kay Warren
I had to sit with these words, soak them in, make them my own ... 'Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.'

Kay is a deep well brimming over with wisdom, the kind borne through sorrow and storm.  These pages are touching my heart.  Thanks to my sister for the birthday gift I'm finally reading half a year later.  Sorry it took me so long to pick it up.

One Thousand Gift Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces - Ann Voskamp
It's been a few years since I read Ann's 1000 Gifts.  This daily devotional is a lovely look back at the most essential truths that she shared in her bestseller.  I'm reaching for this book eagerly every day ... sometimes early in the morning as I open my eyes.  And sometimes after a really long day when I need to experience those huge hugs of our Savior's warmest grace.

There's plenty of room to jot down your own everyday gratitudes.  What an encouraging gift for a sister who needs to gently experience God's care.

we've jumped right into our 8th year around here with giveaways right and left
and this little tote is making its debut this week!

subscribe here so you don't miss the party!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Valentine's Post

'So this is my prayer:

that your love will flourish 
and that you will not only love much but well.

Learn to love appropriately.

You need to use your head and test your feelings
so that your love is sincere and intelligent, 
not sentimental gush.

Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary,
 a life Jesus will be proud of:

bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all,
getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.'
~ Philippians 1 {The Message}

O God, You have taught us to keep all Your commandments
 by loving You and our neighbor:

Grant us the grace of Your Holy Spirit,
 that we may be devoted to You with our whole heart,

and united to one another with pure affection;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,
 who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.
~ The Book of Common Prayer

Love well.

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