Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Have You Run Into Karen Lately?

'At least SOME of us are walking in the right direction!'

Clearly avoiding any hint of eye contact, the sarcastic fellow shopper addressed me coldly in the frozen food aisle as she glanced my way while eyeing the ice cream on sale.

Behind my mask, I chuckled as I continued pushing my cart forward, refusing to give her the satisfaction she was craving. 

My heavy mask hid my quiet laughter as I wheeled around the corner, relieved that I was out of her sight.

I didn't even think of checking the arrow's direction.

I completely forgot about buying the ice cream on my list.

I was taken by utter surprise.  I felt a bit violated.  Weirdly unsettled.  It was the first time during the pandemic that I had met 'Karen' face-to-face.

With apologies to those who legitimately bear her name, Karen has become slang for a woman with an attitude, an endless sense of entitlement, an ax to grind.

She has no qualms in calling out anybody who's not doing what she thinks is the right thing.  She is rude, self-absorbed, obnoxious, and complaining is the name of her game.  She's a self-appointed know-it-all ... and she's determined to make herself heard.

The pandemic has unwound her unsettled mind and heart, unleashing her to do damage to those unfortunate to cross her path.


Truth be told, I feel kind of bad for the Karens these days.  I'm guessing that many of them are mouthy because deep inside they're hurting.  Wounded.  Frustrated.  Scared to death.

Or are feeling disrespected.  Vulnerable.  Lost.

There are often very valid emotions rattling around inside those who respond to life with offensive words or passive-aggressive behavior.  Sadly, these souls have not learned how to handle their power-laden emotions in ways that are healthy, wise, or socially appropriate.


A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
- Proverbs 15:1


Kindness matters.  Compassion softens.  Grace counts.  Love wins.

Met any Karens lately?

And are we honest enough to admit that apart from God's calming presence, we {gasp} are prone to be her deep inside our rattled hearts?

Here's More ➜
Let's Talk About Emotional Health * A Little Series



visiting with 
Lisa & Mary

Friday, July 3, 2020

This Yearning Washed Over Me . . .

Happy 4th, Dear Friends ~

This has been one of those jam-packed weeks for me and mine ... a precious little house sold for more than asked or imagined {no, not ours}.  Streams of family texts back and forth.  A simple birthday luncheon for a special friend.  Hours of conversation with my sister as we sat overlooking Cape Cod Bay's still waters.  Quiet moments with mom as she rested in the big blue chair in her bedroom corner.

Lengthy phone calls, some deadly serious and others gleefully joyful.  The somber spreading of ashes.  A kiddie sized bowl of decadent chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  Endless discussions with my husband.  Sweet times of meditation on God's Word.

And the long-dreaded, astoundingly stress-free installation of Invisilign in this almost 65 year old's out-of-kilter mouth.

Yet, with all that's been swirling around here, this yearning washed over me as I loaded the washer early this morning.  To simply drop in and say 'hi' to you.  

In person. 

Meeting you face to face.  Seeing your hearth and home and very personalized writing space.  I picture us sharing glasses of frosty iced tea as we spill our stories from years past or of these last few days.  Comparing notes, exclaiming 'oh, you, too?!,' laughing and crying, grabbing each other's hand as we exchange tales of victories and heartbreaks, miracles and sorrows, hopes and prayers.

'Til then, just know that I love and appreciate you.  I thank God 'upon every remembrance of you.'  I'm beyond grateful that we're doing life together even from afar.

This holiday will look vastly different than the norm without fanfare and parades, fireworks and crowded gatherings.  And my prayer for us all as this summer continues to tumble forward with all its very real and valid concerns, is that each day will be bathed with peace and anticipation of good things to come.

Even and especially in the hard times.

Sending my best your way ~



visiting with Lisa & Mary

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Loose Ends * Joyful June Edition

I can hear your voice in every word.  You’re real, honest, and open. Reading what you write is as refreshing as that 20 minute walk or a morning meditation.

I never, ever leave your site without being spiritually refreshed and prompted to move closer to Jesus. I wish I could give you a huge hug. How grateful I am for you and your presence, not only here in the blogosphere, but in my life. 

Hey My Dear Summertime Lovers ~

You keep telling me that you look enjoy reading these monthly Loose Ends wrap ups and, simply put, that makes me happy.

After all, my love language is words of affirmation.

And I know I'm not the only one.

You don't have to do anything to get this electronic magazine in your inbox except subscribe to the blog.  And then like magic, each brand new edition of the e-zine arrives toward the end of every month.

You'll also receive The Bookbag, the well-received mid-month post where we talk back and forth about our most recent favorite page turners, our toppling must-read lists, and the potpourri of bookish / writing / creative / blogging links I've scoped out just for you.

Sorry, I offer no exclusive bonuses, cool gifts, or secret passwords when you subscribe.

But you will receive every post I pen whenever the Spirit moves.  No set dates or times.  No well-planned series or calendar driven posts.  You'll never know what will pop up next in your inbox.  I like it that way.  I continue to pay attention to what God is whispering and then allow that direction to guide me in my writing.

That's how we roll around here.  I always strive to give you my absolute best every time I hit the orange Publish button.  I aim for excellence, but never perfection.  That way I don't make myself crazy.

Being perfect is highly overrated and exhausting, ya' know?

This month was filled with unexpected surprises, huge decisions, and finally after a very long year, more peaks than valleys.  Praise God!  To say I'm grateful would be an understatement.

I'm continuing to learn  ➜

God's mercies are new every morning and we have to permit ourselves to grab hold of them and celebrate each and every grace given.

*  God doesn't abandon us when we find ourselves in the deepest, scariest pits ... and those seemingly endless dark nights of the soul do not last forever.

*  God specializes in mingling our grief, physical pain, and anxiety with a quiet peace and joy that could come only from Him.

*  God honors our sacrifice of praise and propels us forward as we purposely cultivate gratitude in our minds and hearts ... and speak it out loud and often.

*  God uses our life experiences to minister to others who find themselves in the same boat.  As He brings hope and healing to His beloved children, He delights in connecting us to each other, to listen well, to love deeply, to lead each other forward.

And this right here  

What we continually focus on ends up defining who we are.

If we constantly look back at what was, we miss the sweet gifts that God is trying to deliver to our yearning hearts right in this moment.  I encourage you to honor your traumas, to name them clearly, to recognize their impact on your lives, and make moment by moment choices to process and release them to the Sacred Healer.  Don't become weary as you take those faithful baby steps forward toward what God has for your future.

For your health's sake.  For His glory.

For some reason, I'm singing more.  Eight verses of old hymns that haven't passed through my mind in decades.  Snippets of choruses that suddenly make an off-key appearance.  Enthusiastic worship songs that stay with me long after Sunday morning has passed.  In the shower, in the kitchen, as I wander through my day.

This has been a favorite in recent months.  Even this non-dancer is captivated and on her feet!  Because as I look back at the first half of 2020, I can sincerely sing,  'Jesus, You're the only reason that I'm even breathing.'

7 online reads that caught my eye, captured my heart, or both ➜

Justice Too Long Delayed
Timothy Dalrymple

No One Is Immune
Pam Ecrement

10 Ways to Fight Back Against Stress and Burnout
Carey Nieuwhof

Identifying Your Core Values
Kenna Griffin

Harvard researcher says the most emotionally intelligent people have these 12 traits.  Which do you have?
Daniel Goleman

When Pandemic Grief Hits You All Over Again
Melissa Schlies

(the) Best Summer Yet Worksheet
Joanna Gaines

A half century later, those delicious, well-loved family recipes are the ones I reach for first.  You too?

After it seemed like all our long-awaited summertime family plans had vanished into thin air, these final snapshots capture the sheer joy of a completely unexpected, last minute family reunion.  Thank you, Jenn, for pulling it all together.  The best family gathering ever, relaxed and unscheduled, lots of active outdoor time mixed with quiet moments on the porch for those most precious 1 - 1 conversations.  What a way to launch into the second half of 2020!

Melanie     Brooke
Kate     Lydz     Andrew

Bless your home, bless your family, bless your summer ~


doing summertime with

Sunday, June 21, 2020

In Praise of the Good Good Father

Father's Day.

This can be a most difficult Sunday, can't it.

The father / child relationship is often fraught with complexities and unresolved misunderstandings.  Unprocessed emotions and severe losses from decades ago cast shadows that hover in the background of our minds.  Regrets linger long and too easily take up permanent residence in our wounded, scarred identities.

For those who were left feeling like they were either too much ... or never enough, it's a holiday that unearths a harsh sadness or a dull kind of pain or twinges of unexpected anger, a grieving that never seems to completely diminish.

That's why I want us to consider our Heavenly Father today.  For unlike any earthly relationship, His fathering has always been kind and steady and tenderly powerful.  He has never changed like shifting shadows.  Even in our darkest moments, He has never abandoned His children.

Oh God, it's in the fragile seasons that You meet us strong.  It's when we feel misunderstood or broken or abandoned that we run and hide in the warm shelter of Your arms.

You're a good good Father.

You show us mercy and grace, that unmerited favor.  You don't hold our sins to our faces, You forgive and remove them from us forever.  You see our inmost intentions, whether messy or holy ... and You remind us that we're not defined by our sins, but by who we are in Jesus Christ.

You're a good good Father.  That's who You are.

You whisper that every last thing we yearn for is found in Jesus Christ alone.  You gently remind us to stop endlessly looking to others for comfort, for they are often wounded themselves and unable or unwilling to go there.  Your compassions are new and fresh every morning, our frailties are gently laid to the side.  You make us strong.

You're a good good Father.  And I'm loved by You.

Our critics are daunted, powerless to control who we are as You, the Lover of our souls, protect the very essence of our beings.  Even through sadness, disappointment, frustration, or fear, our inmost places are protected from the harmful words or callous insensitivity of others.

You're a good good Father.  And I'm loved by You.  That's who I am.

You welcome us with open arms.  You don't walk out the door and leave us alone and defenseless with all our broken messiness.  We lean hard into You, we rededicate our life's intentions to Your sacred pleasure.  We purposefully seek You for we know full well that we are weary and needy.

You're a good good Father.  You're perfect in all of Your ways to us.

It's in You that we find perfect rest for our restless souls.