Thursday, May 12, 2022

Porch #42 * Co-Mingling Life & Books

 Welcome back to PORCH,
your go-to weekend companion.
Embrace community.
Discover a fresh perspective.
Grow your faith in Christ.
Get unstuck.
Share your story.

Dear Friends ~

It's been almost a month since we got 'the call.'  And since then, we've been totally immersed in being with Mom, giving ourselves a break for a few hours mid-afternoon to grab some kind of meal and a nap before heading back to sit with her.  Hoping our presence will be a steady calming solace for her as she continues to move Heavenward.  Allowing grief to do its steady work in our own weary hearts.

Tim and I talk often and pray much about how to fully sustain this daily rhythm well.  Life as we knew it has been shelved because there's no place we'd rather be than sitting quietly with her.  Caring for her.  Mourning her decline.  Advocating for her.  Praying her Home.  And supporting each other in the process.  

We've become joined at the hip as well as the heart.

Each day we mull over the endless questions that keep us focused and moving forward with no regrets ... the what ifs and how 'bouts and should we's and can you believe's.

God knows.  And as ever, that is enough.  He whispers peace.

'Just after her fortieth birthday, author Shauna Niequist found herself in a season of chaos, change, and loss unlike anything she'd ever faced. She discovered that many of the beliefs and practices that she usually turned to were no longer serving her.

After trying--and failing--to pull herself back up using the same old strategies and systems, she realized she required new ones: courage, curiosity, and compassion. She discovered the way through was more about questions than answers, more about forgiveness than force, more about tenderness than trying hard.'

Shauna's brand new I Guess I Haven't Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working has been such excellent bibliotherapy this week.  Short essays on making her way through a season of awful losses and drastic upheaval have been truly cathartic for me.  Her writing has never been more deeply reflective and richly nuanced than this.  It will make my 2022's Top Books List.  Maybe yours, too.
Kindle - $13.99
Hardcover - $17.92


'In a world that’s both more connected and more isolating than ever before, we’re often tempted to do life alone, whether because we’re so busy or because relationships feel risky and hard. But science confirms that consistent, meaningful connection with others has a powerful impact on our well-being. We are meant to live known and loved. But so many are hiding behind emotional walls that we’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness.

You were created to play, engage, adventure, and explore—with others ... discover exactly how to dive into the deep end and experience the full wonder of community. Because while the ache of loneliness is real, it doesn’t have to be your reality.'

Here's another one for 2022's Top Books List.  Jennie Allen's Find Your People: Building Deep Community in a Lonely World was our long-awaited Spring Book Club pick around here ... until I postponed it.  All I can tell you is that we will be exploring this outstanding book together when the time is right.  I never dreamed that her story would be the catalyst for me to get real and send this note to my people last week.  Your response of lovingkindness was like a frosty cold glass of water on the hottest summer day.
Kindle - $12.99
Hardcover - $15.53
Kindle - $2.99 SALE!


'Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach relationships differently and how introverts can practice Christian spirituality in ways that fit who they are. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship, and even evangelize effectively ... essential reading for any introvert who has ever felt out of place, as well as for church leaders who want to make their churches more welcoming to introverts.'
One of my all-time favorite reads is Adam McHugh's Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture.  It was like the lights went on and I finally began to understand and embrace myself as an introvert ... as well as a leader.  This is one of those spread-your-wings kind of volumes if you need permission to live and serve with freedom and joy simply by being who God shaped you to be.
Kindle - $2.99 SALE!
Paperback - $20.00 


The book of Psalms has always been my go-to refuge during those neediest and desperate of times.  Like now.  I'm immersing myself in God's Word, listening and reading along on the Her.BIBLE app.  It's a nurturing, comforting experience listening to women reading the Bible out loud.  Love this.


Finally, please take 30 seconds to scroll down my E-book Deals Page ... all kinds of titles specially selected for this community.  Feel free to bookmark, share with your people, and check in often 'cause these bargains sometimes come and go in the blink of an eye!  As an Amazon Associate, I receive a financial benefit when you make an Amazon purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you!  Thank you for supporting my work.

What books have grounded or comforted you during those upended times of life?

to stay in the loop for our
Find Your People Book Club




plant photo by 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

I Sent This Note To My People This Week

If you're going through a season of grief or loss, please don't assume that people will know what you need.  Most of us don't have a crystal ball and we err on the side of doing nothing because we're not sure what to say ... or assume that you probably need space.  

Be clear as to what will work for you.  And you'll find that most people will be eager to come alongside and help you carry your load.

We were created to do life in the company of others.  Even if we have nothing to offer in return except a tearful 'thanks.' 

A few days ago, I sent the note below to several ministry groups I'm a part of.  The variety of warm and lovely responses I've received have re-filled my rapidly emptying cup and reminded me again of Christ's steady, strengthening presence in the midst of weakness and sorrow.  To say I'm grateful would be a huge understatement.

God speaks through the lovingkindness of His people.  And we all get blessed in the process.

Dear Friends ~

Mom continues on her long trip Homeward.  The ups and downs of her decline have really thrown me ... this month after month process has been like a rollercoaster ride in slow motion.  I am emotionally shot even while spiritually at peace.  
I would so appreciate your prayers for our family.  And to hear from you would mean so much to me as we sit with her day in and out.  It is isolating and stressful ... and honestly, I have nothing to offer in return. 
Thanks for letting me be honest with you about what I need in this fragile, unsettling time.  I am grateful for that kind of community we have built together.
Bless you ~

* photo by dear friend Debby Hudson on Unsplash

* I'm keeping the E-Book Deals page up and running even though no one's dropping in.  For some reason I'm getting the green light to keep it going.  There's some good stuff in there, specially selected with you in mind.  Thanks for taking 30 seconds to scroll through the titles ... enjoy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

In Which I Bow Out Gracefully

My dear friends ~

Just a few lines to let you know that I will be pretty much unplugged for the foreseeable future.  You guys know how much I love blogging and doing life in community with you.  But right now, my truest desire is to be as fully present with my mom as I can possibly be in this final chapter of her life ... and be completely available to the family who so deeply adore her.

I know you understand.

I've been navigating this anticipatory grief one day at a time for years now.  It's like a rollercoaster ride that just won't quit.

Yet more than ever, I believe that our God is incredibly faithful, His heart is kind, and His timing is trustworthy.  In the midst of the uncertainty, heartbreak, and weariness that have been our constant companions for far too long, He's generously given overflowing portions of joy, hope, and peace.  

Thank you for your compassionate words in recent weeks.  If you'd pray for Mom, our extended family, and the healthcare team who tenderly watch over her, we'd be so grateful.  

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.
Thou art my God,
My times are in Thy hand.
Psalm 31:14-15

 so you'll be the first to know
 when we're up and running again.

The e-book deal page continues to 
await your quick 30 second visits.  
I've found keeping it updated
 to be very good therapy!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Porch #41 * Easter Week Edition

Welcome back to PORCH,
your go-to weekend companion.
Embrace community.
Discover a fresh perspective.
Grow your faith in Christ.
Get unstuck.
Share your story.

My Dear Friends ~

May I be the first to say He is Risen to you this year!  Where would we be without our precious Savior's presence in our lives.  I am so grateful to call Him the Lover of my soul.

I feel like this week's been the prelude to a long-anticipated Sabbath.  I've been digging out the porch from its accumulation of winter piles and readying this springtime space for family coming in a couple days.

'I can't wait for them to get here' would be an incredible understatement!

Today, I wrapped up an 18 month on again off again project, sorting, tossing, organizing boxes of family pictures, files, letters, tchotchkes, and keepsakes ... some stuff dating back well over 100 years.  I'm more than happy to finally re-claim my cozy Nest over the garage from its catch-all storeroom status.  

Oh ... Tim and I have been working on creating a wildflower garden the past few weeks.  Tilling, weeding, sowing, watering, all the things.  Our hopes are high, our fingers are crossed.  Rabbits, don't you dare even think about itπŸ‡.


My Mom has been my life's priority for quite some time.  Maybe about four years now?  On and off and on Hospice again for almost two years, she continues her achingly slow journey heavenward, three steps forward, two steps back.  My heart is heavy even as 'the peace that passes understanding' guards me from more grief than I can possibly process and allows me to live life in the healthiest ways I can.
These days, there's nothing I'd rather do than sit quietly with her, holding her hand and singing softly while she sleeps.  I can only pray that Jesus would come and take her Home where she'll finally be free from decades of pain and increasing disability.

'Thou art my God, my times are in Thy hands' 
{Psalm 31:14-15}.  

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

The possibility of indulging in an Easter picnic never dawned on me until I glimpsed Pam's whimsically charming photoshoot.

I've experienced some disturbing Holy Week considerations.  Maybe you have, too?

This Graves to Gardens Easter Project is compelling in the midst of all of life's chaos.  Check out this free unplugged Friday evening - Sunday morning experience.

'Blessed are you who need a gentle reminder that even now, even today, God is here, walking with us, meeting us in our places of sorrow and despair, desperation and grief.  Slowing lifting our chin toward hope.  Not promising to erase the pain.  But to carry it with us.  Blessed are we who realize we are never—were never—alone.  And somehow, that is good enough.'

He is Risen Indeed!



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