Monday, January 20, 2020

6 Prompts to Clarify Your 2020 Word, Goals, and Dreams

We humans keep brainstorming 
options and plans,
but God's purpose prevails.
Proverbs 19:21
{The Message}

Hey Friends!

We're up and running, more than half way through January!  And when it comes to making grand resolutions, setting big goals, or choosing the perfect One Word, our collective enthusiasm is soaring higher than a kite.

{By the way, click here to find out why One Word doesn't work for me, but loosely held plans usually pan out well.}

Yet, all our good intentions can easily wane and soon get lost in the shuffle of daily schedules and unexpected challenges, our once golden dreams lying in a pile gathering dust in some corner somewhere.

Did we miss the boat on what we thought God wanted?  Did we even consult Him to begin with?  Or did fear of missing out push us into some kind of half-hearted action without our own enthusiastic personal buy-in?

I'm happy to present this little fill-in-the-blank worksheet with 6 prompts to help you clarify your hopes and dreams for 2020:

My resolution / goal / One Word is ...

I'm aiming for this because ...

My biggest challenge in follow-through will be ...

The motivation that will propel me is ...

Here's what I'm putting in place so I'll succeed ...

God is whispering these words to my willing heart ...


More Worksheets: 
morning invitations * screen-work

Looking forward ~

please feel free to share this post
with your goal-setting social media friends




Saturday, January 11, 2020

When Bloggers Hurt Each Other

I hurt a dear blogging friend this week.

The details aren't important.  But the fact is that I acted without considering how my decision would impact her and our longstanding valued relationship.

We emailed back and forth.  With eyes welling up, I apologized and asked for her forgiveness and asked what I could do to make up for the hurtful misunderstanding.  Quickly, all became well.

Because, as ever, she was warm and gracious and kind.

Like Jesus.

But the unfortunate incident made me consider how we inadvertently wound each other in these Christ-centered blogging circles we run around in which are typically defined by encouragement, inspiration, and grace.

Yes, we've worked hard at building our online presence, one post, one comment, one interaction at a time.  Kindred spirit relationships have blossomed that are based on common faith and world views, trust and respect.

But what we share over our screens is not like our real life relationships where we can sit with one another, look in each other's eyes, talk uncertainties through face to face, and share a hug.


Like many of you, I'm guessing, I've been hurt here and there over the years.  There've been steady commenters who've vanished from this little community even as I continued seeing them out and about on the sites of others.  My efforts to keep connected were ignored.

I've felt invisible.  Excluded.  Abandoned.  Kinda like 8th grade, all over again.

With reluctance, I've moved on, wishing these former connections well in my heart, sometimes praying that God would prosper the work of their hands even though we'd, for some reason, parted ways.


So ... how have you worked through misunderstandings, conflict, or the waning of a blogging relationship?  I don't remember reading about this before and I'm so very interested in the wisdom of your experiences.


if this is worth sharing, 
buttons are quietly located 
in the gray box below
you can 




Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

In Which I Find Comfort in a Book Series * The Bookbag

Welcome to our first 2020 Bookbag, friends!

The Bookbag is the place where I pull together my latest shareworthy reads ... from real life shelves and online venues.  I usually throw in other bookish bits and pieces I've come across that I think you might relish.

A special welcome to all of you from Modern Mrs. Darcy ... and new readers that have subscribed in the last month.   I'm so glad you're here.


Last year was filled with heavy duty non-fiction volumes, the kind of reading that's deeply impactful, thought-provoking, life challenging ... and not always comfortable to wade through.

But right now?

I'm all about comfort reading. 

Amidst grieving 3 deaths in 5 months, encountering unsettling family medical issues, and miscellaneous holiday busyness, I've purposely abandoned the books on theology, politics, American history, and burnout that were waiting for my attention.

I'm just not up for all that, ya' know?

And here's what I've reached for ... Jan Karon's classic Mitford Series.  I'm headed into book 7 even as we speak.  The author has created characters with character, offers up charm with humor, pens entertaining storylines you can easily share with your mother or your granddaughter.

When your proverbial plate is filled to overflowing, the last thing you need are more weighty issues to contend with.  Time spent with Father Tim and Cynthia, Dooley and Barnabas, Esther and Mule and all the gang and their small town adventures just might be your cup of tea.

The author says she writes "to give readers an extended family, and to applaud the extraordinary beauty of ordinary lives."

I'm all in.

Karon's books are ones I've gathered over the years, mostly at library bag sales.  They're like old friends keeping watch on the book shelves in the loft where we nap in the afternoon and hang out at night in front of the TV.  They've been ready and waiting from time to time when I craved some quiet literary companionship that made me smile and didn't make my brain hurt.

Simply delightful.



Earlier this year I started reading the Psalms.  

For comfort.  Consolation.  For hope.

Their familiar cadence spoke peace to my soul.  Reminded me of the majesty and faithfulness of God.  I underlined.  I copied portions in my journal, I meditated on a verse at a time.  Familiar chapters eased into my heart during the night watches when my brain refused to slow down.

I've just finished the book.

I think I'm off to the book of James.  Such a wonderfully practical, hands-on book.  It's been awhile since I read the brother's wise words.  I can't wait for a leisurely re-visit.



Posted just a week before Christmas, my favorite books probably slipped right under your reading radar.  If you missed it, click right here.  These are substantial gems that might be worthy of your attention ...



Anne Bogel

'We've all been there: stuck in a cycle of what-ifs, plagued by indecision, paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong. Nobody wants to live a life of constant overthinking, but it doesn't feel like something we can choose to stop doing. It feels like something we're wired to do, something we just can't escape. But is it?

Anne Bogel's answer is no. Not only can you overcome negative thought patterns that are repetitive, unhealthy, and unhelpful, you can replace them with positive thought patterns that will bring more peace, joy, and love into your life ... Y
ou'll find actionable strategies that can make an immediate and lasting difference in how you deal with questions both small--Should I buy these flowers?--and large--What am I doing with my life? 

More than a book about making good decisions, Don't Overthink It offers you a framework for making choices you'll be comfortable with, using an appropriate amount of energy, freeing you to focus on all the other stuff that matters in life.'

Anne is offering generous pre-order bonuses that will make you want to grab this book on pre-order even though it won't be published 'til March.  For $11.89 this is a huge deal!  I'm putting a copy in my cart even as we speak.  And as always, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from your qualifying purchases when you use the links on my blog.

Click here to find out how to get these fabulous bonuses with your purchase:
 The free digital Don't Overthink It course

 The free audiobook edition of Don't Overthink It

 The free ebook of I'd Rather Be Reading



How I Read and 2020 Reading Challenges
Lisa Burgess
fascinating, comprehensive tips 
for smart, organized bibliophiles

Blogging About Blogging
Laurie @ Meditations in Motion
mighty fine etiquette on 
commenting & linking up

Barbara @ One Hopeful Year
sometimes we just need to show up,
notebook & pen in hand

107: 8 Books for Soulful Decisions
Emily Freeman
a lovely bounty from my favorite podcaster

The 100-Person Rule: Why You Shouldn't
Try to Help Everyone
Jeff Goins
an 'aha moment' for those
exhausted by the social media treadmill

Best Christian Book Picks for Avid Readers
Sarah Geringer
a wide array of genres, for sure

Christianity Today's
2020 Book Awards
CT's picks for books most likely
to shape evangelical life, thought, & culture

How to make a book page wreath,
and more book art ideas
Modern Mrs. Darcy
oh these are so very pretty
& quite doable

How to Make Time to Read
Laura Vanderkam
hints for re-directing your
precious reading time

Let's talk about your comfort books, the book of the Bible you're reading these days, your favorite bookish links {yes, including your own!}
Read away ~

Please do subscribe before you leave!

Please do spread the word!  Share buttons are quietly located in the gray box below.


visiting Mary & Sam

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

YOUR Favorite 2019 Posts

Your blog is one of the best examples of community. 
You tend to collect people!
Every blogger worth her salt loves to put up posts that facilitate energetic, spirited conversation.  When all is said and done, it's not about the number of hits, likes, or shares.  It's about the depth of the relationship that springs from her readers knowing they belong, that they are valued, esteemed, loved, and accepted. 

And out of those relationships, good discussions follow.

Most bloggers work hard not only coming up with posts that matter, but in building community that's safe, warm, and welcoming.  One post, one comment, one discussion at a time.

Here's the 2019 posts that most resonated with you, based on the numbers of you that took the time to join the dialogue.  For some reason, you hung out long enough to leave your mark, your wisdom, your humor, your imprint here.

And I am grateful.

Click on the title to take you there ...


There's something challenging about sharing a post at someone else's place.  Even though you might know a number of her readers, you want to put your best foot forward because you're a guest in her home and you want to honor her gracious welcome with an offering that's in some way meaningful or provocative or eye-catching.  And, truth be told, you hope that maybe you'll gain a few new readers of your own in the process ...


Who doesn't enjoy reading their friends' end-of-the-month posts?  Perhaps taking a peek at what's saving their lives in the current season?  Or skimming through what a kindred spirit is loving, hearing, learning, and paging through ...


February was created for leisurely reads, stories that capture your heart, and thought-provoking conversations between friends.  And that's why I've chosen Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis as our first 2019 Book Club selection ...


... To be honest, I'm not quite sure where I'm going with today's post.  I'm flipping through my journal even as we speak, hoping to find some tidbits that might grab your attention, touch your heart, or give you cause for pause.  In the last month, I've spent hours with my journal {which is 'code' for talking with God}, sorting through my life, my priorities, my stuff ...


... Year #13 of blogging has snuck up quietly this week, tapped me on the shoulder, pulled at my heartstrings.  In some ways I'm surprised to still be pecking away at the keyboard after more than a decade, dreaming up something of value every week or so to offer you.  But when I think about it for just a bit, it's not at all a surprise ...


I have no words.  I don't even know how to tell you.  Except to say that my beloved niece Jessica was taken up to heaven unexpectedly early Monday morning ...


I took a great big breath and ventured deep into the bowels of Blogger which is not my favorite thing to do since the day I set this blog up ... and in the process almost deleted it and my dear Creekside Ministries website from whence I came.  Talk about anxiety ...


I love doing life in community with you, friends.  In fact, I thank God upon every remembrance of you {Philippians 1:3}.  Yes, I do!

If you've never subscribed to our little online community, I can't think of a better time than now ... you can click right here.

And let's see what God does with our calling, our communities, our creative work, our ministries, our families in 2020 ~