Friday, December 3, 2021

Porch #26 * Grace & Space Edition

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light 
and the darkness, 
send your Holy Spirit upon 
our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do
seek quiet spaces to 
hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious
 over many things
 look forward to 
your coming among us.

We who are blessed
 in so many ways
 long for the complete joy
 of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy
 seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people,
 walking in darkness,
 yet seeking the light.

To you we say,
 “Come, Lord Jesus!” 

- Henri Nouwen -

Yearning for grace and space right about now, friends?

Starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by lists swirling around your head, a jam-packed calendar, the uncertainty of the weeks ahead?  Undone shopping, endless menu planning, your rapidly emptying wallet?

All the Christmas things our family/church/community/culture deem important?

The demands on our time and energy stack up, layer after layer.  Much of what we throw ourselves into are self-imposed-shoulds.  Burdensome traditions that have long since lost their meaning.  Or assorted people-pleasing activities, reluctantly carried out with a heavy dose of sighing and grumbling.  

A frustration-fueled resentment simmers and builds as we say 'yes' even as our heart cries 'no, no, no.'

And it shows.

Maybe this will help:

1.  Grab a pencil and a pile of index cards or scrap paper. 

2.  Quickly write one task on each card.  10 or 100, whatever.

3.  Spread those cards out in front of you.

4.  Pick 3 to do today.  Just 3.  That's all.

5.  When you've completed your task, simply toss that card.

6.  Repeat tomorrow.  And the day after and so on.

You might be surprised at all you accomplish over the next few weeks.  And discover how much wasn't all that important to begin with.

Your sigh of relief is almost palpable, isn't it.


We make it our goal
to please Him.
 - 2 Corinthians 5:9 -

Each of you should give what you have 
decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
 for God loves a cheerful giver.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 -


The unsettling, riveting memoir by this acclaimed Christian writer is my hands-down 2021 Book of the Year.

My absolute favorite Christmas candle is 50% off.

Here's one scrumptious looking cranberry pecan baked brie {excuse the website's name}.

Mom loves this Thomas Kinkade perpetual Scripture calendar.  A perfect gift for fans of this Painter of Light.

A powerfully moving prayer for the broken-hearted.  Print it out.  Say amen.

This carol.  Because more than ever, we need hope.  And soul-soothing videos that calm our angst.

May you accept the grace and space He invites you to ... even as you extend His love to others ~

P.S. #1
Thanks to you new subscribers and those who've shared positive words about Porch, this fledgling weekend newsletter {yep, I've shortened the name!}  

If you like what's happening around here, please spread the word to your people by forwarding or using the share buttons and encourage them to subscribe and join the party.

P.S. #2
As an Amazon Associate, I may receive a financial benefit when you make an Amazon purchase using the links on this site at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for supporting my work and keeping my online home ad free.

P.S. #3
I share Porch with Richella, Lisa, and Jeanne / Lisa J.


  1. Loved these links! I just started watching Downton Abbey for the first time. Looking forward to the movie!

  2. Love your idea of index the cards, Linda. Often, we do place a lot of unnecessary expectations on ourselves.

    1. I guess there's nothing like writing things down in black and white to help clear our heads and give us a bit of focus ...

  3. wow so much here. Love that Sarah Bessey prayer and yes I did print it out!

    1. Yes, isn't it an incredible petition to God?! Sometimes someone else's words free our hearts to simply focus on the Lord.

  4. How I needed this encouragement to just be calm and enjoy the Christmas season as it unfolds, Linda. We had such a wonderful trip to visit the grands over Thanksgiving, but in coming home, we were hit with lots of things having to do with settling my mother's estate. Dealing with closure, missing the kids, and wondering just how much I want to actually decorate this Christmas. Think I'll just take it one step at a time.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Martha, I hear you. And one step at a time sounds like the perfect solution! All that estate stuff is exhausting and overwhelming and much of it can't be put off.

      When it comes to decorating, just a little bit goes a very long way. Maybe just a wonderful wreath on the front door. Or a candle on the mantle. Or just lights on a little tree.

      Praying for peace as you wend your way through this month. Grace, friend.

    2. Thanks so much, Linda! I really needed your affirmation at this time. I'll keep it simple, and keep it focused on the reason for the season.

    3. I look forward to hearing how you navigate this season, friend. May God delight you with His calming presence and renewed joy ...

  5. Right now I need less space and calm (I have a lot of space all the time) and more human contact. But I don't want anymore human contact than necessary so it's a bit of a dilemma! Everyone is different. I do love your pastel trees.

    1. Your words made me smile, Jeanie. I think you've spoken what so many people are feeling when it comes to being with others. And appreciating where you find yourself and actually articulating it is pretty powerful stuff.

      Praying that God sends you the right people at the right time.

  6. I could have used this index-card idea years ago when my list of responsibilities was much longer than today. No doubt many who read your blog, Linda, will be greatly helped by the common sense of accomplishing just 3 things each day--and letting go of a few things along the way toward Christmas.

    1. Even one thing on rough days is a big accomplishment, isn't it! And you're so right, Nancy, common sense matters.

      Too often there's something about Christmas that keeps us from going there!


  7. I love the pick three tasks a day!

    I've heard a lot of good things about Yancey's book. I hope I can get to it soon!

    1. It is such an incredible memoir on so many levels, Jerralea. A true redemption story ... and a bit of a wake up call and a caution for the church in the generation we're living through now.

  8. There is so much encouragement here, Linda, that I've been reading and coming back. :) Thank you! As I woke this morning, I thought of and prayed for "grace and space." Yes, we so need that every day, don't we? And this part of Sarah's prayer really touches me - "I pray for hope to rise, unbidden and unforced and surprising, like a flower breaking through the cement in a parking lot. I pray for you to tend that tendril of hope like a gardener, protect it, let it grow wild and unexpected into the places you least anticipated." Amen! And the carol... Yes! "O come, o come, Emmanuel..." Love and blessings to you, Linda!

    1. Your enthusiasm is a reminder to me to print out Sarah's prayer. We are in such desperate need for hope to rise and many of us don't even realize it. I see it every day, I hear it in the voices of those around me.

      Come, Lord Jesus, come.

  9. To keep me from concussion,
    something I should fear,
    I wear a helmet, Russian,
    genuine cop riot gear.
    My leg is so metastasized,
    it often lets me down,
    and I will forego my pride
    if I hit the ground.
    The helmet's warm and cozy,
    and quite the stylish hat.
    It makes the neighbours nosy,
    and they will tell me that
    although it is protecting grace
    I look like I'm from outer space.

    See? Grace and space!

    1. 'Quite the stylish hat,' huh?

      Maybe it's time to update your avatar, friend!


  10. Glad I clicked over - balsam and cedar is one of my favorites, too! Your porch-talk always inspires, Linda - thank you and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    1. Merry Christmas to you, June. It's been so good to re-connect with you recently. Blessings as we continue into this next season.

  11. "Grace and space" is such a soothing phrase, Linda. And I love your shortened newsletter title. :-) I find myself in an interesting spot this year ... happy to be surrounded by the beauty of Christmas in my home, and also a bit weary from life and the ways that current loss intersects with older grief. (Maybe you can understand why "grace and space" strikes such a chord?)

    1. Lois, oh yes to this --> 'the ways that current loss intersects with older grief.'

      Truth be told, most of don't want to go there and so we keep our 'happy face' glued on tight, usually without realizing what we're doing and the cost that comes with living in denial. But if we shy away from grief, it only lingers longer and travels deeper. May God enable us to mingle our pain with joy. And may our memories, bittersweet as they may be, fuel healing.

      I love that you're enjoying the Christmas beauty around you. Me, too, friend ...

  12. Would you believe Linda that I have never watched an entire episode of Downtown Abby. I know....I am the minority! LOL! I don't like being overwhelmed NO time but especially during the holidays. So, that is why I plan early and do things along and along. Gifts, wrapping, baking and freezing and well, lots of little things. But it's because I want to enjoy the holidays and as a dear friend reminded me recently...REMEMBER CINDY TO BE GOOD TO YOURSELF as well as to others! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

    1. Cindy, yes, yes, yes to planning early! I'm with you when it comes to the shopping, although I wish my freezer was well stocked with freshly baked goods instead of random odds and ends of leftovers!


  13. So many things to do and so little time to do it in. I have learnt to delegate, hand over the job to someone else, pass the buck, procrastinate ... it works I tell you!

    Happy Advent and God bless.

  14. I have yet to read an actual book by Nouwen...
    TBR 2022?

    1. Oh yes, I think you'd appreciate some of his works, Michele.

  15. So true! "Much of what we throw ourselves into are self-imposed-shoulds." II keep hearing about the Yancy memoir. Going to look it up. Thanks for the reminder.

  16. A little game I play with my to-do list is to spend only 5 minutes on each task. What gets done, gets done. There's always tomorrow to finish it. I can't do this with everything, but some things it's okay to just move the ball forward a bit and not worry about it. Thanks for nudging us toward some sighs of relief, Linda!

    1. I think I can do 5 minutes, yes! Every little bit counts.

      Brilliant, Lisa!


  17. It's wisdom to pace ourselves, Linda.