Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Remembering Pastor Bob (1940 - 2019)

It is with great sadness that I share the news of the heavenly homegoing of our dear friend and former pastor, my mentor and ministry partner, Bob Eckler on November 19th.  This faithful servant of God, beloved by so many, is now with Jesus, the One he passionately adored and served.

I'm confident that his deep bass voice is joyfully lifted strong as he praises God face to face ... and I can only imagine that he's having the time of his life meeting and greeting the many saints, family, and friends that went on before him.

From 2002 - 2015, I had the joy of serving with Bob on the pastoral staff at the church where he was senior pastor and then at Creekside Ministries, the pastoral counseling center / house church we co-founded at the home he shared with his lovely, gracious wife, Dottie.

Along the way, Bob and I partnered together in developing a Celebrate Recovery program, facilitated week long seminars for single parents, and provided marriage counseling as a team so that both husbands and wives could feel comfortable as they sought help and support.

Bob's deep love for Jesus and his passion for caring for his flock are well known.  His hearty laugh and propensity to burst into a verse or two of a favorite hymn as he went through his day are fondly remembered by all who interacted with him.  This mighty prayer warrior deeply cared for those who were broken in spirit and was an incredibly powerful preacher of God's Word, a kind and tender-hearted pastor who loved his people well.

In our 13 years of serving God together, Bob generously opened numerous ministry doors for me, championing my work in ways that I most likely never would have otherwise experienced as a woman in conservative evangelical circles.

To say I am grateful would be a vast understatement.

Bob, if you're somehow reading this, please know that your Christ-centered life and faithful ministry impacted countless souls for the Kingdom.  Tim and our family join me in grieving your immense loss.  We thank God upon every remembrance of you {Philippians 1:3}.



this tribute was originally posted at

Monday, September 21, 2015

Where'd She Go?

Hey Old Friend ~

I hear that some of you have been wondering where I disappeared to!

Well ... I moved lock, stock, and barrel over to my brand new online home,, four weeks ago today.  It was a huge upheaval in many ways, but every day it feels more and more like home sweet home.  

I've created a very personal space for us to do life together and would love for you to join me there so I can give you the grand tour, show you around, and give you a great big welcome!  

Today I'm filling you in on what I finally decided to do about that annual 31 Days writing extravaganza.  And in recent weeks I've had to share some heartbreaking family news, as well.

So grab my hand and click here to follow me there ... and please be sure to subscribe to the new site when you arrive!  I don't want us to lose track of each other.  What I know for sure is that rich, ongoing relationships that stand the test of time are a rare, treasured gift indeed!

Can't wait to re-connect with you again ...

Monday, August 24, 2015

In Which There is No Bling . . . But There IS a $60 Giveaway

I'm not a bling kind of girl.  You'll usually find me wearing a bit of jewelry ... three rings on one finger, a bracelet, tiny studs in my ears, and maybe an ankle bracelet in the summer.

But it's all rather understated, nothing flashy, nothing that jumps out at you. No one's turning their heads to look at my bling.  That's not who I am.

And then these fabulous new flips, in all their rhinestone glory, surprisingly called my name as I was looking for something to slip on / off my feet for a few summertime weddings.  {TJ Maxx is 3 minutes from my new home.  How cool is that!}

I step out of my nondescript comfort zone whenever I slip them on.

All this to say that I am beyond excited that my new website is up and running.

{I think!  I hope!  Oh please let there be no glitches!}  

And while my feet may be sporting some bling these days, there's absolutely nothing flashy, trendy, or eye-catching about my new online home's design.  No bells and whistles, no widgets and gizmos.

My desire is to offer you, dear reader, a soft place to land.  A gentle pause in the busyness of your online travels.  A calm haven where you might catch your breath and be re-filled.  An opportunity for you to join in community with other like-minded souls to savor whatever is on the table at the moment.

And the warm invitation to safely join in on the conversation at hand.  Or silently soak it all in on the sidelines.

This online home is what my soul's been craving.  

As a writer, this kind of quiet atmosphere is a compelling gift that frees me up to do my best work.  For you, dear reader, I am pleased to create a space that invites you to focus on meaningful words and beautiful photos with nothing to distract.

So come along with me to and I'll give you the grand tour!  Please be patient with any glitches you might find in doing so ... would you be so kind as to come back later and try again if there's a problem linking in?

And to entice you just a bit, I've got a $60 TJ Maxx gift card giveaway going on there.  

Just in case you need some new rhinestone gear ...

And with this post, I bid a fond farewell to my seven year writing stint on the Creekside blog.

Special thanks to my longtime partner-in-ministry, Bob Eckler, for his graciousness in allowing me to linger here a few months longer after my departure from New York.  And since 2000, opening every door along the way so that I could minister with complete freedom, confidence, and joy.  God used you to give me wings, Bob.  I wouldn't be where I am, who I am, without your godly, enthusiastic investment in my life.

And gratitude to another longtime partner-in-ministry, Brent Carl, for setting up the blog in the first place, calmly smoothing out my anxiously frantic technical woes along the way, and quietly sharing gentle wisdom and keen insight in our many three-way conversations together.

I will always look back at these years of ministry at Creekside as one of the highlights of my life.  Blessings to you, guys, as we each move ahead to what God has for us in this new season, united in spirit though distance separates ...

I think I need some tissues right about now.

Monday, August 17, 2015

4 Quick Fixes For When You're Feeling a Bit Tightly Wound

"When working on The Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci regularly took off from painting
for several hours at a time and seemed to be daydreaming aimlessly.  
Urged by his patron, the prior of Santa Maria delle Grazie, to work more continuously,
da Vinci is reported to have replied, immodestly but accurately, 
'The greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less.'"
 =  Schwartz  =

If it was good enough for Leonardo, it just might be good for us.  Rest.  Daydreaming.  Re-creation.  Playtime.  Especially if the creative flow is slowly but surely waning.  And we realize that boredom, restlessness, or something strangely off-kilter is descending, bringing with it unfulfilling, yawn-inspiring work.  Same old same old activities.  Fading relationships.  Or ministry involvement that seems to be going nowhere.

And we're feeling a bit dried up, kind of crispy around the edges.  

Maybe we're striving too hard to make life happen.  To reach success ... or even make it through the day.  Goal-driven, our to-do lists have become unwieldy and we're unable to simply be in the moment.  Someone always wants a piece of us.  Calendars are jam-packed.  And every hour is laced with incessant texting, Facebook / email checking, and other mindless craziness.  

Is it any wonder we're so tightly wound?  

Less, not more, is sounding more and more appealing, isn't it.  Social media's incessant noise, the endless demanding clutter of possessions, and a sedentary lifestyle that's slowly evolved over time are keeping us from blooming healthy and strong.  Daydreaming, playing, and creating?  Those pastimes have become a distant faded memory.


1.  Unplug  
Without thought, we've invited screens to invade our every waking moment.  They now accompany us everywhere we go.  In all sizes, they demand our involvement, define who we are, and call the shots of our lives.  Obsessed we are.  Literally.  

The good news?  We get to choose what to do with our addiction to social media and technology.  If we dare.  

2.  Unpack
Simplicity and minimalism walk hand in hand, softly, urgently calling our names.  We're too encumbered with our stuff ... and we know it.  Buying it, cleaning it, sorting it, moving it, decorating it, adjusting it, throwing it in the corner, storing it, paying for it.  

The good news?  We get to choose what we want to do with the avalanche of possessions that steal our energy, our joy, our wallets, our focus.

3.  Head outdoors
Fresh breezes, new vistas, the smells and sights and sounds of creation beckon.  Our heads begin to clear and hearts open wide as our feet hit the grass, sand, or pavement.  These moments are the best venues for conversations with the Lord or with those who walk alongside.  The spaciousness of creation opens up our abilities to sort through situations that are complex, weird, or confusing.  Brilliant little snippets of ideas come and settle in for us to savor and act on. We breathe deep.  And smile.   

The good news?  This doesn't cost us a dime.

4.  Doodle    
Long ago, most of us were natural creators.  Fingerpainting, drawing, coloring, designing, sculpting, digging in the sand.  It's time to ferret out the old arts and crafts stuff ... or invest in some new goodies.  And simply start to doodle around a bit.  We shouldn't judge our fledgling masterpieces too harshly.  But instead, laugh out loud as we revel in this simplest of childhood joys.  And see where it takes us.

The good news?  Most of us have been yearning to play again.  We just didn't know it.

What are you doing to loosen up, chill out, unwind?

chilling out with Kelly  .  Holley  .  Lyli

the links are below


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

In Which I'm Indulging in 2 Massive Pageturners

There's something about summertime's soothing rhythm that just begs you to dive into one or two great big reads, isn't there?

Our schedules are looser, lighter, and free-er than the rest of the year.  Feet propped up {or buried in the sand}, a cold drink at hand, a couple of hours here and there?

Yes, please!

I'm partial to huge tomes, those gigantic sagas and complex stories that span the generations.  Maybe it's the counselor in me.  For I am used to sitting by the hour, listening intently to women's hearts ... their fears, their hurts, their tears.  Their courage, their questions, their victories.

More often than not, we are able to track their painful challenges back a generation or two and see how the dynamics of their family of origin have, in some way, shaped and impacted their own personal here and now.

And then the aha moments begin to hit home, startling insight comes to call, the healing streams start to flow, cleansing the pain and bringing wisdom and growth.

But I digress!

Anyway ... recent weeks have found me paging through Rosamund Pilcher's THE SHELL SEEKERS, looking back with Penelope at her turbulent life and heartbreaking loves.  By the end of the first page, I was hooked.

Set in the English countryside and by the sea, spanning three generations, the oft' times subtly stormy relationships that she has with her children make for some fascinating reading. Throw some priceless artwork into the mix, add in a variety of interesting characters along the way, and this 530 page book was a wonderful escape, a splendid piece of fiction.

And now I'm wading through the real life story of the Kennedy family since the 1960s.  Weighing in at 820 large print pages, AFTER CAMELOT: A PERSONAL HISTORY OF THE KENNEDY FAMILY - 1968 TO THE PRESENT, is a sad and complex saga of unhealthy family dynamics, life shattering tragedies, decisions both foolish and wise, and impressive accomplishments.  And even though dozens of family members' painful stories are interwoven together, this is surprisingly easy reading.

And that's just what I'm looking for right about now.

What books are in your beach bag this summer?

Connecting with Anne
Modern Mrs. Darcy

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Month Not Soon Forgotten . . .

If you're a faithful friend around here, you'll know that I've been doing alot of musing recently about our long anticipated move to Cape Cod and my Dad's sudden death the following day.  This is grief therapy in action.

And you guys have been so overwhelmingly supportive and kind.  This is true community in action.  Your faithful prayers matter, your words of solace are like great big hugs.  I feel heard.  I feel cared for.

Thank you seems so very insufficient.

Today I'm turning a bit of a corner as I head off to my favorite month-in-review celebrations over at Emily's and Leigh's where we share the odds and ends of what we're into and what we're learning.

Come along with me, will ya'?

*       *       *

i'm referring ...
my counseling clients to other counselors.  A prayer-fueled, difficult decision for me and not all that easy for them, these wonderful women deserve the absolute best I can give, and right now that means an introduction to other people helpers who will walk with them on the next leg of their journey.

i'm celebrating ...
little Tyler's 1st birthday even from afar.  God has been sending some wonderful nurses so that his mommy and daddy can get out to church and get a bit of respite from time to time.  If you haven't met our 7th grandchild, his welcome-to-the-family video is here ... and you'll understand why this is one fabulous milestone.  Heads up - get the Kleenex.

i'm unpacking ...
far too many boxes and trying to figure out what to do with way too much furniture.  Enough already.

i'm appreciating ...
the greeting card industry and those thoughtful friends who take the time to choose the perfect message and send it my way.  The Friday night small group showered us with envelopes stuffed with memories and photographs and the most beautiful sentiments as we took our leave from New York.  And these days, the rusty green mailbox opens to reveal cards that speak a tender peace to my soul.

i'm learning ...
how to make collages with PicMonkey.  I had a really cool one just about designed for this post, but it vanished into thin air.  Really.  Please tell me I'm not the last person on earth to figure this out.

i'm watching ...
lots of my former possessions go to auction this weekend.  I've discovered the startling truth that just 'cause you once collected and cherished an object, doesn't mean you have to keep it forever.

i'm lending ...
grace to myself, giving myself some space to do absolutely nothing at all.  And when that fails, to go lay down and take a mid-afternoon nap.  And not feel a tinge of guilt about it.

i'm chatting ...
with the everyday people in my new neighborhood ... the cashiers, baggers, librarians, the woman sitting next to me at an outdoor concert, the re-sale shop owner, fellow walkers, a few people at church.  Whoever said New Englanders are standoffish hasn't been to this neck of the woods.

i'm stalling ...
on getting my new blog site up and running.  Right about now I need to write more than I need to make myself crazy.  The thought of wading into any kind of technical detail makes my eyes glaze over.

i'm rejoicing ...
because we finally sold our house this week.  No glitches.  An appreciative buyer.  Thank You, Lord!

i'm savoring ...
Psalm 29:11 - 'The Lord gives strength to His people; The Lord blesses His people with peace.'

i'm heading ...
off to the Adirondacks with Tim, the girls, their guys, and the kiddos for a long-ago-planned week at camp.  It's been two years since we took a vacation together.  Restful?  Hardly.  But I just can't wait.

*       *       *

and saying hi to Kelly  .   Holley  .  Lyli 
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