Saturday, June 27, 2020

Loose Ends * Joyful June Edition

I can hear your voice in every word.  You’re real, honest, and open. Reading what you write is as refreshing as that 20 minute walk or a morning meditation.

I never, ever leave your site without being spiritually refreshed and prompted to move closer to Jesus. I wish I could give you a huge hug. How grateful I am for you and your presence, not only here in the blogosphere, but in my life. 

Hey My Dear Summertime Lovers ~

You keep telling me that you look enjoy reading these monthly Loose Ends wrap ups and, simply put, that makes me happy.

After all, my love language is words of affirmation.

And I know I'm not the only one.

You don't have to do anything to get this electronic magazine in your inbox except subscribe to the blog.  And then like magic, each brand new edition of the e-zine arrives toward the end of every month.

You'll also receive The Bookbag, the well-received mid-month post where we talk back and forth about our most recent favorite page turners, our toppling must-read lists, and the potpourri of bookish / writing / creative / blogging links I've scoped out just for you.

Sorry, I offer no exclusive bonuses, cool gifts, or secret passwords when you subscribe.

But you will receive every post I pen whenever the Spirit moves.  No set dates or times.  No well-planned series or calendar driven posts.  You'll never know what will pop up next in your inbox.  I like it that way.  I continue to pay attention to what God is whispering and then allow that direction to guide me in my writing.

That's how we roll around here.  I always strive to give you my absolute best every time I hit the orange Publish button.  I aim for excellence, but never perfection.  That way I don't make myself crazy.

Being perfect is highly overrated and exhausting, ya' know?

This month was filled with unexpected surprises, huge decisions, and finally after a very long year, more peaks than valleys.  Praise God!  To say I'm grateful would be an understatement.

I'm continuing to learn  ➜

God's mercies are new every morning and we have to permit ourselves to grab hold of them and celebrate each and every grace given.

*  God doesn't abandon us when we find ourselves in the deepest, scariest pits ... and those seemingly endless dark nights of the soul do not last forever.

*  God specializes in mingling our grief, physical pain, and anxiety with a quiet peace and joy that could come only from Him.

*  God honors our sacrifice of praise and propels us forward as we purposely cultivate gratitude in our minds and hearts ... and speak it out loud and often.

*  God uses our life experiences to minister to others who find themselves in the same boat.  As He brings hope and healing to His beloved children, He delights in connecting us to each other, to listen well, to love deeply, to lead each other forward.

And this right here  

What we continually focus on ends up defining who we are.

If we constantly look back at what was, we miss the sweet gifts that God is trying to deliver to our yearning hearts right in this moment.  I encourage you to honor your traumas, to name them clearly, to recognize their impact on your lives, and make moment by moment choices to process and release them to the Sacred Healer.  Don't become weary as you take those faithful baby steps forward toward what God has for your future.

For your health's sake.  For His glory.

For some reason, I'm singing more.  Eight verses of old hymns that haven't passed through my mind in decades.  Snippets of choruses that suddenly make an off-key appearance.  Enthusiastic worship songs that stay with me long after Sunday morning has passed.  In the shower, in the kitchen, as I wander through my day.

This has been a favorite in recent months.  Even this non-dancer is captivated and on her feet!  Because as I look back at the first half of 2020, I can sincerely sing,  'Jesus, You're the only reason that I'm even breathing.'

7 online reads that caught my eye, captured my heart, or both ➜

Justice Too Long Delayed
Timothy Dalrymple

No One Is Immune
Pam Ecrement

10 Ways to Fight Back Against Stress and Burnout
Carey Nieuwhof

Identifying Your Core Values
Kenna Griffin

Harvard researcher says the most emotionally intelligent people have these 12 traits.  Which do you have?
Daniel Goleman

When Pandemic Grief Hits You All Over Again
Melissa Schlies

(the) Best Summer Yet Worksheet
Joanna Gaines

A half century later, those delicious, well-loved family recipes are the ones I reach for first.  You too?

After it seemed like all our long-awaited summertime family plans had vanished into thin air, these final snapshots capture the sheer joy of a completely unexpected, last minute family reunion.  Thank you, Jenn, for pulling it all together.  The best family gathering ever, relaxed and unscheduled, lots of active outdoor time mixed with quiet moments on the porch for those most precious 1 - 1 conversations.  What a way to launch into the second half of 2020!

Melanie     Brooke
Kate     Lydz     Andrew

Bless your home, bless your family, bless your summer ~


doing summertime with


  1. I'm so glad June has been a good month for you after all the challenges you've had this year, and I love your family reunion photos! I'm enjoying listening to the song as I type. I've never heard it before but I'll definitely be taking a note of it to listen again.
    I agree with the comments about visits here being refreshing and encouraging, and I love your comments about not feeling pressure to post but posting when you have something to say. It helps me feel better about being so silent lately!

    1. It's such a grace to take the pressure off ourselves to endlessly perform, to create, to be running around online.

      You are so wise to take this time to be still and gentle with yourself, friend. May you experience a lovely replenishment in the process.

  2. Linda, I love that you don’t feel pressured to post, that is so freeing! I am so glad that June was a great month to have a family reunion! Wishing you a lovely week!

    1. Pam, hi! Don't you just love the freedom that comes with designing your own personal blogging life?

      We play to an audience of One ...

  3. Thank you, Linda, for encouraging us to lean into today, knowing God has so much to show us, and not dwelling on the past. The separation this pandemic has placed on us, not being able to gather with family or friends, has stretched me almost to the breaking point. If it weren't for Jesus' love, I don't know where I'd be. I am so, so happy that you've been able to reunite with yours - such joyful faces in those photos! May your July be as blessed, my friend!

    1. Oh Martha, I hear the cry of your heart, the yearning to reconnect face to face with those you love.

      You penned it so well --> 'If it weren't for Jesus' love, I don't know where I'd be.'

      I couldn't agree with you more.

      May you find your faith in Christ growing by leaps and bounds in this season of wondering and waiting.

      I'm praying for you right now ...

  4. Oh, it did my heart good to see your precious post in our inbox today! Thank you for including my comment and for the encouragement and comfort you are to all of us! I am so thankful you were able to get together with the ones you love and enjoy those special moments. Your year has been SO difficult, and no one deserves it more. I love and appreciate you so much, sweet friend!

    1. You are always filled with a gentle kindness, Cheryl.

      I'm blessed to have you as part of this little community. You radiate the joy of Jesus.

  5. I am smiling with each word you wrote with your typical care. Thank you, always.

  6. Summetime has finally hit Indiana with full force. There are more days to ride than to go to the Y. Hot, muggy, and perfect riding weather. (For me anyway). I have just finished a a 4 book trilogy I bought a number of years ago, read them and had forgotten much of what I read except for the first one which I read a couple of times to bring myself up to date on the new releases. But this time I read all 4. It was a series by Jim & Terri Kraus of 4 Cambridge college students. I'm watching the news less and enjoying life even more. I love the summer. Glad your part of the country finally found it. :)

    1. 'I'm watching the news less and enjoying life even more.'

      I couldn't agree more, Bill. I'm staying aware of what's unfolding but I'm not obsessed or controlled by it. This all breeds a deeper faith and trust that when all is said and done, God is in charge.

      But, boy are there serious things to pray over ...

  7. Linda,

    So happy you were able to gather with family. And yes: "I continue to pay attention to what God is whispering and then allow that direction to guide me in my writing." Thank you for writing what God places on your heart to write. Grateful :-)

    1. Grateful with you, friend, for what God is doing in the midst of all that's swirling around us ...

  8. I love recipes that show signs of such use! I have several like that in my mother's handwriting; I treasure them.

    I'm glad you were able to get a family reunion. I've been seeing my immediate family but not my siblings or nieces and nephews. I miss them all! :( Alabama is currently getting hard-hit with covid this month so it'll probably be a bit longer before we plan a get-together.

    1. Oh yeah, the old family recipe cards are a treasure indeed. I have some of my grandma's and they are priceless. Boy, could that generation cook! Sadly, I'm content to watch Chopped on the Food Network!


      God has brought you to mind often the last few weeks as I heard the news of the pandemic down south. I am praying ...

  9. So much here to love, my friend. (Not the least of which is the refreshing lack of exclusive bonuses and cool gifts.) I'm so glad this month held more peaks than valleys for you ... including that wonderful family reunion! I love old recipe cards too; I have my mom's collection and it is a treasure. :-)

    1. Your words are all so encouraging, Lois! Thanks, friend! I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family ...

  10. What a wonderful post. Happy Fourth!! I know that they celebrate the Fourth all over the country but somehow it seems more “fourth-ish” here in New England so close to where it all started.

    1. Happy 4th to you, my New England blogging companion! I hope this weekend brings you and your family wonderful new memories ...

  11. Let's Praise God for what we have.

    I love families. If it was not for my family I would be arguing with perfect strangers.

    God bless.

  12. Love keeping in touch this way. Even in fhe little minutes, there is always something going on.

    1. I love those little minutes, filled with smiles and hope ...

  13. Constantly looking back (to days of more days before any number of days) does begin to define my days. I find myself making choices and even "enjoying" today all through of the lens of yesterday's joy. It is as insidious as the non-stop comparison game! Grr. But hooray for family reunions - definitely a great jumpstart to this year's second half!

    1. Insidious, yes.

      Life as we knew it will never be what it was. I'm guessing most all of us have changed in some way.

      And that, in some weird way, may turn out to be an unexpected blessing ...

  14. Stopping by to check in on what you have been up to. I enjoyed the links. I am trying to figure out my two core values. Did you figure out yours? Have a blessed day.

    1. Yep, I did mine quite awhile ago and loved seeing what I prize most in black and white. I think I narrowed it down to 3 values.

      I'll have to dig it out and see if they still apply. I'm thinking they do ...

  15. No One is Immune is a stinger.....pride-driven busyness is the American way. I used to live for doing now I focus on being.

    Glad you had such a peaceful visit with the family. What a great bunch of joyful kiddies you are blessed with.

    1. You're right, friend. Doing was always so exhausting, an endless treadmill. What took us so long to learn to be still, purposeful, at peace ...

      * sigh *

      You said it. Pride.