Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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

Subscribe here so you won't miss out!

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


  1. SIGH--it is Fall by the calendar--but not by the temperature here in the deep South. BUT when you are freezing, we will be slightly chilly a little later in the year. God is opening doors for me too to get connected in serving. Thankful!
    Blessings, My Friend!

    1. You're so right, Lulu. After I hit the PUBLISH button, I realized how incredibly humid it is today. All that stuff about long sleeves and slipper socks flew right out the window!

      I'd love to hear about the doors God is opening for you, friend ... do tell.

  2. Hi, Linda! I do love reading your loose ends! And those blue pumpkins! I guess I'll be looking for a new kind of seed come spring! Ours are the orange variety, and I guess it's time to go and cut the vines, but I always put it off. The tomato patch got ransacked and emptied yesterday, and I've dug up two big bags of carrots that I've got to make a plan for today!
    Blessings to you!

    1. Michele, thanks for letting me know you like the Loose Ends! And the blue pumpkins, too! They are truly gorgeous ... especially mixed in with orange and white ones.

      So ... what will you do with all those carrots? Pickle, freeze, or ...?

  3. It's funny, I had been commenting that it didn't look or feel at all like fall for days leading up to the first day of autumn, and then all of a sudden our trees stared turning color and dropping leaves just after the calendar date for fall. I guess they got the memo! :-) We still have AC going, though - still hot and humid. I am looking forward to fall breezes, hopefully soon.

    I am glad you found your niche, your people to minister with and to!

    Fun about the Amish girls paying in the water. Once we were on a spring break and took the kids to a beach that was nearly deserted. I hadn't planned to get into the water, but it looked so inviting, I plunged in, denim jumper and all. :-)

    I loved that "No Need to Reply" article. I have a handful of acquaintances and friends for whom any email turns into several. Even "Thank you for X," "You're welcome, glad you enjoyed it," goes a few more rounds. So that closing line will be handy.

    1. I'm all about jumping right into the water and laughing all the way! Would have loved to see you in that denim jumper jumping waves, Barbara!

      And yes, please to giving each other a break on endless email and texting that seems to go on and on ...


  4. Linda, this is a wonderful list of links. I especially thank you for the one on brain-grief. I am in the early stages of grieving the loss of my precious husband. Hearing the scientific brain relation is really interesting. I so appreciate you.

    1. Oh Linda, I am so very sorry for this deep loss. There are no words ...

  5. I am confused ... easily done don't you know ... what ... by Jove! What was I saying? Oh yes ... confused, that's the word for it.

    Why does the letter box say LETTERE? Is that the comune in the Metropolitan City of Naples. Jolly good place Naples. Have you been. Not far from Vesuvius I reckon. Very nice restaurant I should say, Vesuvius. Pretty waitress too.

    About those Amish girls. How come they had phones? I thought Amish don't have phones and that sort of thing. Anyway ... must dash. Cheerio for now.

    God bless

    1. 'Lettere is a comune (municipality) in the Metropolitan City of Naples in the southern central Italian region Campania, located about 30 km southeast of Naples.'

      So says Wikipedia! So says Victor!

      Cheerio, ol' chap.

      P.S. Yes, I did wonder about the phone. Maybe one of our readers can educate us?

  6. Each season has its joys. So often I'm ready to jump into the next one before saying goodbye to the last one. With that being said ... Come on fall! This is my fave time of year - and I'm not even a pumpkin spice lover - but the thoughts of soups, chilis, stews, hot chocolates, sweaters, boots, afghans and candlelight just thrill me. And those blue pumpkins? Must. Have. Some.

    Loved reading your Loose Ends. I need to come back and read the links. They all look so interesting!

    Thanks, Linda!

    1. I'm with you, Jerralea ... not all that wild about pumpkin spice. But yes to anything cozy, fleecy, chocolatey.

      Enjoy the links. It's always fun picking out the cream of the crop!

      Have fun with 31 Days!

  7. It's definitely feeling like autumn here too! I enjoyed reading your updates, and I love that you have found an opportunity to be involved in your church community and to use your gifts- I'm sure you will be a blessing to people!

    1. We were never meant to serve alone, were we! Let's hear it for healthy, vibrant community, no matter where we find ourselves!

      Autumn in Great Britain ... magical, I'm guessing, friend.

  8. Fall is slowly making its way here to stay but the shorts are not completely packed away yet. I do love when the temperatures change into some that are more manageable.

    The cheesecake looked yummy! I wouldn't mind sharing a piece with you. And the girls on the beach - pure joy! I saw the article about Beth Moore and found it interesting and loved the explanation of grief and how it affects the brain and ultimately us. Sounds like life is moving on. I am so happy to hear that you have found your people. Praying that God continues to bless that.

    1. Mary, I would have loved to share that cheesecake with you ... or better yet, found yet another decadent slice.

      So yummy.

      Yes, life is moving ahead. Sometimes quite imperceptively, other times oh so obviously.

  9. Hi Linda! I really enjoyed this post. I love hearing about people and what they are doing. Fortunately, here in Indiana we are still wearing shorts and t-shirts but I rode yesterday and the wind chilled my sweaty body. That means it won't be long until layers will take place. Arm and leg warmers will be worn to give an extra measure of warmth. A jigsaw puzzle with constantly be on my table at home. We don't have a fireplace or wood stove but I know Jo wishes we did. Extra covers will soon find their way as well even though Jo like the flannel sheets all year 'round. As for dessert: give me ice cream!

    1. Yes, please to jigsaw puzzles. Our town library has shelves of good ones that you can borrow for as long as you like ... it's time to head over there and bring a couple back home.

      Keep safe on those roads, friend. For sure, they can't miss you coming!

      Enjoy ... and 'hi' to Jo.

  10. Here in Georgia, Linda, we are waiting, waiting, waiting for fall temperatures to arrive. Coincidentally, the blog I'll be posting tomorrow is all about that - the change of the seasons and the changing seasons of our lives.
    So glad to hear you found a niche in which you don't feel like a square peg in a round hole. And that cheesecake? I can feel a sugar rush just looking at it!

    1. I like how you put that, Martha. 'A square peg in a round hole.'

      I've found myself in that place far too often, trying to fit in and not quite making it. Particularly in the church of all places.

      Go figure.

      To discover community that speaks to the core of who we are and gives us wings to fly is sheer grace indeed. Sadly, few of us find it ...

  11. Here in Liberia we are waiting for rainy season to end. To get in fall -ish mood, I found some fun adult coloring pages of pumpkins that I have been doodling on as my students work away each day. But the rain does make it fun to have a hot cup of tea in the evening as I read or work on my computer. Thanks for sharing your loose ends.

    1. Greetings, my Liberian friend! I love to hear about what the seasons look like in other parts of this great big world!

      But no matter where we are, there are pages to color, aren't they. My gel pens have gotten a good workout in recent days ... and I think they'll be put to good use today as a friend and I sit together and reconnect after too many months apart.

      There's something about coloring with another soul that somehow knits us together ...

  12. Linda,
    So glad to hear that, after the move, you have finally found "your people"!! Feeling plugged into a church group is key to feeling plugged into God's family. I'm drooling over your cheesecake picture....LOVE Cheesecake Factory! ARen't those blue pumpkins something. As a gardener, I'm always amazed at new varieties they come up with. Enjoyed your peak at the Amish girls in the ocean (I used to live in Amish country). Always good to be here at your place.
    Blessings friend,
    Bev xx

    1. I'm glad you're back after a bit of a blogging break, Bev. I hope you're doing well, feeling strong, ready to roll into fall.

      And oh yes, those blue pumpkins. Where have they been all of our lives?


  13. Ruth's quote sure spoke to me today! Paying attention to where God plants us to use our gifts reminds me of the old saying to "bloom where you are planted." Practicing listening to my life! And those blue pumpkins are something else! I wonder how they taste?!

    1. Oh I never thought about the taste, Lynn! I was too busy enjoying the color and the shape ...


  14. I'm so glad you've made that fellowship connection, sweet friend! God's timing is perfect! I think I need some blue pumpkins!

    1. Your second sentence is well worth remembering when we're not quite sure what He has in mind!

      Yes, His timing is perfect, He's never too late.

      June, thanks for that bit of wisdom, friend ...