Loose Ends * September 2018

Dear Friends ~

Just a few weeks ago, I rather adamantly proclaimed that I wasn't done with summer, no how, no way.  I pushed back as hard as I could on any and all whiffs of autumn ... the pumpkins, the soups, the flannel, the woolens.

But the truth is that summer is done with us.  And no matter how long I persevere in wearing my flip flops, the fact of the matter is that she's said goodbye.  And slowly but surely drifted away.

The air conditioners that ran non-stop for weeks are boxed up.  Hot cups of tea laden with honey have just about replaced the iced variety.  The windows on the porch are closed more than open these days and layers of covers are making their way onto the bed.  I'm guessing the flannel sheets will be joining them before long.

The shorts are packed away, my favorite fuzzy slipper socks are making their toasty reappearance, and long sleeves are gradually replacing t-shirts.

After a humid summer season, I'm loving puttering around outside again.  We finally built a fence for a compost pile and we've fertilized all the evergreens, transplanted a tiny maple tree we spotted in the woods, and cut back the vines that threatened to overtake the property.  Hardy purple mums are holding court in wooden planters at each doorway, and the basil that survived summer's heat has been clipped, tied together, and now hangs drying on the porch.  

And maybe best of all, the fire pit is all set by the kitchen door to be lit up as our morning destination for coffee and evening landing place for hot chocolate.  With whipped cream, of course.

And oh ... have you seen the blue pumpkins this year?


*  Brand new seasons beg for long-awaited new opportunities, don't they. 

 I found my people.

Last Saturday, to be exact.

In a recent aha moment, I realized that the key to finally feeling like we had gone full circle in our move from New York to Massachusetts would be to discover a little niche of group ministry in our new church home.  For too long I was wandering in and out the doors of God's house each week, not fully feeling a part of things, not having found my place, even though we had met some very fine people.

It left me feeling frustrated.  Disappointed.  Sad.

For we were created to serve in community.  And it's in ministering God's grace to others that we serve Him best ... and find meaning in our days.

After tentatively venturing to an Our Journey of Hope Cancer Care Ministry informational meeting, I knew I had finally come full circle.  The warm welcome, the 'oh you, too?' camaraderie, the like-mindedness of open hearts yearning to serve, and the top-notch curriculum won me over.  We start training in a few weeks.

No stranger to cancer or to ministry to people with cancer, I'm all in.  I found my people.  And I'm so grateful.  I knew God had something.  He simply wanted me to trust Him at a deeper level in the waiting.

Ruth Haley Barton said it best:
'If He has given me spiritual gifts to use in service to others, He will give me opportunities to use them.  Too often I have looked to people to recognize my gifts and give me the opportunity to use them, as if they had ultimate control.  But God does not waste His gifts or His calling.  As I am engaged in the process of becoming the kind of person God can use, He will place me where I can be of greatest use to Him.'

* The Amish girls found the ocean.

My old phone couldn't begin to capture the serendipitous celebration as three young Amish women splashed in the ocean's edge this past week.  I could hear their laughter as the icy water washed over their feet, their caps fluttering in the wind as the hems of their long dresses were overtaken by the advancing waves.  I smiled as I watched them happily capture their magical encounter with the mighty ocean with their own phones.

It was a sweet moment for them.  And for me, standing afar off in the parking lot, enjoying their joy.

*  Let's hear it for Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake

Oh Cheesecake Factory, let me sing your praises.  

My daughter sent me home with a huge slice of this decadent delight swirled with caramel, peanut butter, Butterfingers, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups after a weekend of spending time with the kiddos.  I don't know what I enjoyed more, those days of hanging out together ... or settling in with this over-the-top treat when the laughter and the pumpkin hunting and everything in between came to a close.

* And these links are worthy of your valuable time.  

Lauren Trittin

Annie Wright

Candice Jalili

Emma Green

Tsh Oxenreider

NBC News

Zack Hunt

* YAY!  Coming right here in a few weeks ... The Chris Tomlin HOLY ROAR CD Giveaway

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What are you creating, eating, wearing, and dreaming of this fall?  And if you're serving others in some way, please do tell ...  


celebrating fall with