Friday, February 26, 2016

Resuscitating February

If there's one month of the year that really drains us dry, that leaves us feeling kind of gray or strangely weary or longing for the next season's arrival, February would be it.  

In this shortest of the twelve months, it's easy for us to become homebound, hermit-like, gradually turning inward and more self-absorbed ... and not in a good way.  Too much alone time, too much introspection easily leaves us experiencing a yawning emptiness tinged with wisps of hopelessness. 

Sigh.

Will winter ever say good-bye?

I love when God steps in to redeem a season that others would be quick to write off, don't you?  As we begin to honestly chat with Him about where we're at, He is more than pleased to redeem our downtime, to breath fresh breath into body and soul, giving us a clearer vision of Himself and a sparkling appreciation of all the blessings He's poured into our lives.  

He gently peels away the layers of gloom and steadily prompts us to grab hold of a renewed vision of His faithfulness.  We crawl out of our endless self-absorption and begin to glimpse new rays of hope, sweet whispers of life, opportunities to reach out, and answered prayers that await our grateful attention.

Around this neck of the woods, by His grace, February's been repeatedly resuscitated ... Chris Tomlin takes us there below.

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Meanwhile?

the boots . . .


I've never experienced -44 degrees with the wind chill factor until recently spending a few days in the Adirondacks.  Brrrr!  Frigid would be an understatement!  Thank heavens for my constant winter companions, these clunky $14.99 fleece-lined gray suede boots.


the phone . . .

We've become absolutely obsessed with our smartphones ... Americans are collectively using them upwards of 8 billion times a day.  Individually?  We're checking in an average of 46 times a day.  Most of us grab ours within 5 minutes of waking up, most often to text.  And 81% of us use our phones while dining out at restaurants, sending a subtly unpleasant message to our dining companions. {source}.  

My dependence on my phone has become a bit unnerving, so I'm trying to purposefully power off more often.  The key word for me?  Purposefully.


the finale . . .
SPOILER ALERT!  I already watched Downton Abbey's fabulous grand finale episode on DVD.  Bring your hankies.  Even Mr. was getting a bit teary-eyed.  Yes, he finally caved and started watching this season!  Sunday nights are gonna be awful quiet around here after March 6th ...


the writer . . .

If you wrestle with challenges in your body, mind, or spirit {or love someone who does}, you are not alone.  Alia Joy's your woman.  She's there too, and she writes with an authentically raw and tender expression that few have mastered.  There's never a pat answer, no 1-2-3 happy-ever-afters from her pen.  Her most recent post is Dead to Center: Living with Bipolar.  

What can I say.  When I see she's offered us yet another heartfelt outpouring, I'm there ASAP.  For this is one very special lady.


the news . . .

If you're as horrified with the news as I seem prone to be these days ... if you feel like you're watching a train wreck in grizzly slow motion yet can't turn your eyes away, then you must head on over to Kristi Atkinson's Five Prompts for Praying the News.  

Instead of wringing our hands, pontificating endlessly, or fearing the end of the world, let's DO something sacred and powerful with the political mess we find ourselves in.


the house . . .

After living here for 7 months, we're ready to roll into sprucing up our 30 year old abode.  After looking at the estimates, we bade a fond farewell to any kind of great big over-the-top renovations.  Meanwhile, we're finalizing colors for shingles to re-side and re-roof.  We think we know what we're doing about countertops, and we're pretty sure about paint color.  Our to-do list is growing and my eyes are totally glazed over from scrolling through hundreds of lighting options over at Wayfair.    

We're getting energized as we finally start putting our own personal imprint on this house and making it our very own home sweet home.  And yes, I'll be sharing our re-do journey with you in the months ahead. 


the mini-series . . . 

I'm pulling together my Marriage Mini-Series, thanks to 40 years of marriage and thousands of hours talking with clients.  There'll be a few tender stories, a husband & wife conversation {fingers crossed, please!}, a bunch of pitfalls to avoid like the plague, scads of resources, and a giveaway you'll love.  I hope and pray that what's offered will encourage you in your own particular situation.  


the music . . .

So ... how has God redeemed your February?


I'd love for YOU to continue on the journey with me for
 the Marriage Mini-Series and the upcoming house redo saga.
  If you haven't subscribed, now's the time ... just click right here!

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*
visiting

66 comments:

  1. Hello friend. I'm astonished by the numbers you posted on cell phone usage. Kudos to you for putting your phone down.

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    1. Yep, astonished is an apt word ... we're obsessed and addicted by our screens. I wonder how the next generation will handle all the technological offerings that just beg to be indulged in ...

      Til then? Have a lovely weekend, friend. It's so good to see you again!

      ;-}

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  2. Love, love, love the house ... can't wait to read about the re-do journey!

    How has God redeemed my February? Probably by teaching me how to operate on a just-in-time basis with a class I'm teaching at church. Instead of having it all done ahead of time (which is my usual MO), I'm down to the the last day nearly every week and still putting together bits and pieces of the lessons. Definitely a change for me, but a good one.

    Here's to a happy March, my friend!

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    1. Good for you, Lois! I'm admiring your courage! Some of us work best by the seat of our pants, others of us need plenty of time and space to accomplish anything of value. Sounds like a big step out of your comfort zone.

      I'm applauding from the sidelines!

      ;-}

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  3. February will always be bittersweet for me. It will forever be the anniversary of my dad's death, and the anniversary of my Dreamer's birth. It's a time, at least in south TX, when the earth begins to awaken. God is the Master at redeeming our lives, and redeeming our time. I enJOYed your February recap, Linda! Especially looking forward to the personal touches you'll be adding to your quaint abode! Blessings on your weekend!

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    1. Thinking of you in these last days of this bittersweet month, dear June. Yes, births and deaths forever change how we look at the calendar ... we are never the same again, are we ...

      Sabbath blessings to you as you grieve, as you watch the earth awaken to yet another spring.

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  4. I've noticed that although February is always the shortest month it lasts longer than the others. There's a perfectly logical explanation for this relating to the earth's leaning angle as it spins around the sun at a more lethargic pace due to the ever changing night temperatures. I read this in a scientific book which I am writing.

    God bless.

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    1. You are a prolific author indeed, Victor!

      ;-}

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  5. I knew I was growing older when I was more concerned with warmth than what I looked like wearing what was required for that warmth. I've never been a hat person, but I am now. I wear the clunkiest Sorel boots and often look like an "old character" as Katharine Hepburn would say. So love your boots, your pretty Cape-style home, and your heart.

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    1. Comfort's become the key word, yes? And while I haven't started to think of myself as an 'old character' just yet, I'm pretty comfortable in my skin even at this ripe old age!

      I love that you're here, friend ...

      ;-}

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  6. Hi Linda! How exciting to redo your house a bit! (We need to do that too.) I think uplifting our homes also serves to uplift our own 'houses', and brings our moods up too.
    -44??? Yikes girl. I'd be inside with coffee and a fireplace. Good for you for braving it all!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Yep, Ceil, a great big stone fireplace and many cups of hot cocoa kept me company up at Camp ... along with a few really good friends.

      Relationships ... that's where our best warm glow comes from!! Hope you're keeping cozy on this final day of the longest / shortest month of the year!

      ;-}

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  7. I'm so sad that Downton is about to end. :( I didn't read your whole paragraph on it because I didn't want to see the spoiler. ha. But I am ready for winter to end! Soon. We can count on that.

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    1. I hear ya, Lisa ... I saw yellow crocuses yesterday. And now I KNOW spring is on its slow-pokey way ...

      ;-}

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  8. Congratulations on 40 years of marriage!!! That's wonderful. I'll be sad too that Downton is about to end. I don't really watch TV, but that's the exception. Looking on the bright side, I can always go back and watch seasons 4 and 5, which I missed because I was so bummed by Matthew's death at the end of season 3! :-)

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    1. Oh Matthew!! Sybil!! And the intricate plots were never the same after O'Brien left in the middle of the night ...

      Sigh.

      ;-}

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  9. Ooooh . . . looking forward to the marriage mini-series! This was a great pot pourri all kinds of details. Fun to get a peek into your days!

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy the marriage mini-series, Michele! I think it will be fun ...

      ;-}

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  10. I feel like we had a catch up chat with this post!
    Bless You, Friend!

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    1. A catch up chat. I love that, Lulu! Wouldn't it have been neat to spend time in person instead of facing a keyboard?

      Maybe someday ...

      ;-}

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  11. Thanks Linda for sharing your February with us. I took the plunge and wrote what I learned in February too. It felt right and was healing. February is a hard month. My February was redeemed and I love that yours was too.

    Alia is a beautiful writer and I will need to check out her latest. Love the boots because they actually keep you warm. I'm thrilled about your marriage book. Can't wait to see pics of your before and after in your house. And you can never go wrong with Chris Tomlin. Happy Monday and leap day!

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    1. You said it well, Mary-->'it felt right and was healing.'

      That's writing at its best, isn't it? It's like free therapy! And everyone wins, including your readers.

      Leaping on leap day. YES!

      ;-}

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  12. Your house is lovely! I love the colours, and love the landscaping as I am a nature girl (living in a crowded suburb). Thank you for sharing the links, and I feel so connected here especially with the descriptions of how isolating February can be. It is not only me! A pastor recently taught me that it is proven that loneliness is combated by helping another. It's prompted me into action to look for ways to serve others to stay out of isolation these winter months.

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    1. Yes and amen to choose to redeem those isolating times to reach out to someone who's in a more difficult spot than we find ourselves. Wise counsel, Lynn, for those of us who tend to pull into ourselves more often than we should ...

      Grateful you're in on this conversation!

      ;-}

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  13. Congratulations on 40 years, Linda! Your house looks like it's nestled right in the midst of nature. Awesome! I wish you success in personalizing it. My February was resuscitated yesterday when we saw our first robin! I was so excited I clapped my hands. :) Robins always bring hope that spring is coming. We had a couple of warmer days, but today is cold again, and we could still get snow in March, but just knowing they're here gives my spirit a breath of fresh air.

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    1. Don't you love when those robins come swooping in ... or just 1 or 2 come to call?! You just KNOW that springtime can't be far off!

      You made me smile today, Trudy ...

      {tweet tweet}

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  14. Love the way you've made February come alive!

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    1. It wasn't as gray and gloomy as we thought it might be! Thanks for dropping in to chat with us, Alice!

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  15. February was a long month! But it was made easier by good books and a great boyfriend! :) Good luck with your renovations and you marriage project! :)

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    1. Good books ... yes!

      Great companionship ... double yes!

      ;-}

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  16. Linda,
    Brrr...wow, I can't even imagine being out in such cold weather...God redeemed February in a several ways, one was by reminding me that I am His Beloved and it has nothing to do what I do or don't do...and Alia Joy, I admire her in so many ways...blessings to you and stay warm, my friend :-)

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    1. Don't you just love how He loves us unconditionally, nothing to do with performance or accomplishment? I'm so grateful that we don't have to earn our salvation, that He's offered it to us with open arms.

      What a wonderful Savior!

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  17. Hi Linda,

    Congratulations on 40 years! And I enjoyed peeking into your thoughts. What a lovely home too!

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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    1. It's so good to start the day with you, Jennifer!

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  18. I hope March is much less dreary for you! Looking forward to finally watching Downton's finale this Sunday.

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    1. It's a good one, Leigh! That's all I'll say!

      ;-}

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  19. March is my birthday Linda... and this 29 february is kabisat years. Thank you for your article. Sorry for my english..

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    1. Well you're in good company, Mingkem, because today my mom turns 86! Thanks for saying 'hi' ... and your English is just GREAT!

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  20. This was such a beautiful blessing to me. And it was so fun to get to know you a little more too. When you said -44 degrees and wind chill, a part of my sun loving soul died. I can't even. I haven't watched any of the Downton Abby finale episodes yet but I've save them all in my DVR and will have to plan an epic binge watch one of these weekends. I'm hoping to do something similar to this in my newsletter which I've been working on but haven't quite gotten done. Because life and y'know, bad days. I've had a string of good ones lately and things are looking brighter. Anyhow, it's late here and I had a long weekend and an even longer Monday so I'm gonna crash but this was such a joy to see tonight. You're a blessing to me for walking this journey even when I babble. ;)

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    1. I feel just plain blessed that you'd take the time to chat with us here, Alia. I respect you so and it's been my pleasure to introduce you to this little community!

      And I'm celebrating as I hear that you're enjoying a string of good days ...

      ;-}

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  21. Good stuff here! 1. I've been wearing my little fur-lined boots almost everyday this winter. 2. I loved this season of Downton Abbey - I thought they gave it a nice send-off. 3. Thanks for reminding me about Alia Joy, I haven't been over to read her for awhile. 4. I love your cottage - can't wait to follow along on all the renovations. I'm sure it will be the best of times (for the most part).
    Enjoyed reading your thoughts. Coming here always makes me feel like I've had a nice visit with a friend.

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    1. The best of times. I love that you've said that Teresa. Sending those wishes right back to you ... thanks for chatting a bit about what's on the table ...

      Wouldn't in person be delightful?

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    2. I would so love to chat with you in person. Maybe someday we'll be able to make that happen.

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  22. So much to talk about here, my friend. First, the boots, love them but -44 degree weather, No. I can't even allow myself to think about that :). Those phone stats, scary but sadly so true for me as well. That's something I really want to work on. The news, we just had a shooting in a middle school only about 30 minutes north of us. I'm leaving the news completely off at my house until I'm ready to tell my son, who is also in middle school and suffers from terrible anxiety. Your house, absolutely adorable and the setting among all of those trees is breathtaking. Always a pleasure, Linda! XO

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    1. Dear Candace ... I'm so sorry to hear about this yet another school shooting. God, have mercy. I hear your concern about your son and your desire to be the one to talk with him first.

      Here's some stuff on helping our children in crisis. I hope it will help you, dear friend ...

      http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2013/04/helping-children-in-crisis-after-boston.html

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  23. I can't wait to see what you do with the house! It's already charming so I can imagine what new colors will do to give her a fresh look! And some spring colors will do the same for us, don't you think?! :)

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    1. I just saw some beautiful tulips at the store ... and I'm getting excited about the house. Finally! They're ripping off the siding this week. Yay! The sound of workmen doing their thing is welcome music to our ears.

      ;-}

      Spring is on the verge! I just know it!

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  24. So many exciting things happening out your way, dear Linda! I can't wait for that marriage mini-series! You know you already have a number one fan of that! I'll keep praying that Tim loses his "video fright" just as I pray for Gary on that one too. ;-) Also, I love Downton so you've given me a bit more anticipation for the final episode. I can't believe their going to wrap everything up in just one night, so it must be a real doozie! I'll be sure to have the Kleenex handy! Hugs to you and Tim!

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    1. Well, there'll be no videos that's for sure {of anyone around here!}, but we're trying to figure out the most comfortable way for Tim to throw his 2 cents into the marriage conversation.

      ;-}

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  25. I wrote a long comment and Wordpress ate it up. LOVED THIS POST.

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    1. Oh I'm sorry, Susan! I hate when that happens ... but that you tried again? Well a great big thanks for that grace!

      ;-}

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  26. I don't know if I'm twisted, but it was oddly comforting to read your list of projects, etc - because I've been so overwhelmed lately. But I'm not alone - lots of people have too much going on!

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    1. After months of feeling overwhelmed, it's a great feeling to be comfortably occupied and focused!

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  27. Linda! I just found your new site & subscribed :)
    I also have a new blog space but have not frequented it as much as I did in the old space.
    So glad to re-connect in blog land. Hugs to you!

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    1. Hey Meredith! Seeing you here made me so very happy ... I hope you and your beautiful family are thriving!

      It's just plain wonderful to connect again ...

      ;-}

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  28. February is definitely a month where being "redeemed" is so true for me! At the beginning of the month I nearly lost my husband, but God in His grace and mercy let me keep him awhile longer. This experience has opened my eyes to so much more and February hasn't been nearly so dreary to me this month!

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    1. Oh Judy ... I'm so sorry for what you have gone through this month. Joining with you in gratefulness for grace and mercy ... and renewed hope.

      Thanks for being here with us today. Blessings to you both!

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  29. So much goodness here I do not even know where to begin! LOVE your new home, so charming. I can't imagine living someplace where it is -44!! What?! That is crazy to me. Forget going into a Feb depression I would flat out freeze to death!

    And, oh the cell phone. I try to be intentional, but most days it gets the better of me! I feel another fast coming on. How can something so small have such a hold on me and others?

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    1. You're so right, Alecia. We are hooked on that gadget more than we'd like to admit. I'm trying to keep it powered off more and more. Hard stuff, yes?

      ;-{

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  30. That was a lot of good (and not so good) info! I can't wait for the marriage series. You have so much wisdom!

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    1. Believe me, friend ... any wisdom has been hard won! God is gracious to keep teaching us, that's for sure. I look forward to you participating in the discussions ... you bring much to the table!

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  31. hello Linda! i loved reading this! -44 sounds horrendous! brrrr! your house looks lovely! and isn't making changes SO exciting! love the sketch for your 4oth anniversary! and cant look forward to read your words of wisdom! wishing you a beautiful weekend!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the marriage series, Jandi!

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  32. Hi, dear friend! I am getting to you late after being at a basketball tourney in Indy last week for a grandson. I so enjoyed this post and can quickly identify with a number of the points you made. I confess to having my iPhone near me nearly all the time....with children and grandchildren scattered about, it is hard to really put it aside as often as I know I should. As for Downton Abbey, I have seen it as well! We bought the series and my heart is sad to think this is the end! My hubby and I both loved it!!

    So much fun to see your house! Lovely! It looks so inviting and fun! Can't wait to hear what all you do with it!

    Will look forward to our continuing journey together, Linda!

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    1. I'm with 4 of my grandkiddos, too, Pam, so my online footprint is pretty light right now! There's lots of energetic fun to be had here in Annapolis ...

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda