Celebrating Another Milestone!

I'm all about celebrating weird and random events.  'Cause there's always something to spark gratefulness, many occasions to breathe fragrant prayers of thanksgiving, and multiple reasons to count those blessings that are heaped up right and left, just begging to be embraced.

We only need eyes to see.  Gratitude waits patiently, expectantly, hopefully, just waiting to be scooped up, claimed with joy, and celebrated!

It's been almost six months since I launched out on my own after blogging for seven years under the Creekside Ministries banner.  For we had moved from New York to Massachusetts and after 39 years in the Hudson Valley, we'd said endless tearful farewells to that familiar sense of place and belonging that marks a life well-spent in a longtime comfortable hometown.  And oh, the friends, the ministry, the clients, the house, the memories, the routines embraced along the way.  

Off we went with confidence and relief tinged with a touch of trepidation and more than a bit of exhaustion, venturing to our unknown future in a smaller home in a familiar seasonal seaside town tucked between the ever changing Cape Cod bay and the ocean deep.

We had absolutely no inkling of what lay ahead.  

The moving transition has been eternally marked by a heartbreaking journey of grief over the sudden deaths of my dad and our youngest grandson, tentative steps into a new church community, much unpacking and purging, too many dental visits to count, family concerns, much solitude and a bit too much togetherness, unexpected adjustments, and all the unsettledness and confusion that a great big transition entails.

Yet, in the midst of all the craziness, I held my breath, counted to 3, and designed this new bare bones website.  And in my vast technological ignorance, I discovered to my horror that after publishing my first post, my brand new namesake site had somehow completely vanished from the world wide web ... and in the process, I almost knocked the Creekside site completely out of existence, as well.

Like real-life childbirth, there was an hour or two of sheer terror, alot of frantic praying outloud, some expert assistance ... and then lindastoll.net came into the world, alive and kicking.

{And yes, thankfully, Creekside survived the near massacre.}

Six months later?  I'm happy to say that mother and child are doing just fine.  I'm loving this little online community!  Our conversations have taken off in recent months with your insightful comments becoming the most delicious icing on the sometimes rather plain cake.  You guys are the best, and I just wanted to say thanks again for following me here ... or joining up in recent days.  Whatever, however, I'm glad you're doing community with us.


>  1, maybe 2 posts a week
You writers KNOW how much labor goes into crafting a post, how much marinating and massaging, re-writing and editing it takes before you triumphantly hit that PUBLISH button.  It's a true labor of love to birth every set of words that ends up on that screen, isn't it.  And no matter what the 'experts' say about blogging multiple times a week, I've found a rhythm that works for me ... and gives space to spawn a meaningful conversation around this virtual table.

I figure it's like inviting company over for a meal you've taken days to prepare.  You don't want your guests to chow down and run out the door.  You want to provide an atmosphere where they relax and linger awhile.  Your goal is inviting a warm sense of connection, developing kindred spirit camaraderie, with resulting conversations that have alot of those 'oh, you, too?!' moments.

I like what unfolds after a post has gone live.  In the days that follow, the sense of community builds as each one joins in on the conversation.  Every insight matters and is acknowledged as such. You are smart and savvy, and occasionally downright hysterical!  You've got spiritual insight and huge life experience that informs your observations.  Your wisdom springs forward and we all end up sharing the blessing of each other's connection with Christ.

This is golden to me.

So instead of churning out the next post, I've learned to just sit and let the conversation linger, like cradling a cup of hot coffee at the end of a memorable meal ... so even those who come to the table later still feel very much a part of what's going on.

>  a bit of a marriage mini-series
Since my husband and I are celebrating 40 years of marriage in April, I'll be sharing the love here, serving up some super-practical observations, life lessons that have hit home for me and for the hundreds of people I've worked with along the way in my role as pastoral counselor.

I'm starting to {subtly} work on getting my husband to make an appearance at the party!  I'll be sharing the best marriage resources I know of ... books and blogs and stuff like that.  And I'm open to a Q & A segment or two if you'd like.  Just let me know what would be helpful to you, ok?

>  giveaways
Yep, the giveaways will continue ... I've got a beautifully illustrated Easter book for little ones on the way ... and I'm planning on a gift card thrown in during the marriage series.  I just love sharing the goodies with ya'!

>  connecting at your place
Commenting back and forth on each other's blogs can easily morph into a shallow effort to build our own stats. You know how it rolls ... if I leave a comment on your blog, hopefully you'll show up at mine.  It's kind of an unspoken expectation here in blogland, kind of I'll scratch your back, but you better scratch mine.

That's kinda ugly, isn't it.

But I've found that building healthy community is a huge deal to most of us, and it goes far beyond seeing our numbers rise.  As we connect, I'll continue popping in over at your place to see what's happening and scooping up the wisdom and beauty that you offer.  I'm a big believer in 'iron sharpens iron.'  We all have something valuable and unique to share.  And we're always in need of mentoring ... or being a mentor to another.

>  link parties
Truly, I'm up in the air on this one friends.  I've been linking up to various sites for years and I love the concept, but I'm not sure that it's worth the effort it takes early in the morning when I do most of my online thing.  I'm finding that more participants are doing more link-and-running and less interactive visiting.  What's your experience in throwing a party or in linking up?  I'm curious ...

Here's to the next six months ... and beyond!