Porch #76 * 15 Mid-Winter Life Savers

a soft place to land
a calm weekend haven
a gentle pause from life's busyness
so we may experience
the tender lovingkindness of Jesus
as we do life together
in community

Winter seems to drag on forever here on Cape Cod.  More often than not, it's damp, chilly, and windy.  It seldom snows and a gray haze wraps itself around us like a big ol' quilt ... the heavy cloud-shrouded skies, the mighty churn of the ocean, the darkened shingled houses, the dormant trees, the roadways. 

It gets dark early and spring takes her own sweet time in making a brief but glorious arrival before summer saunters in like she owns the place.  Year round residents are few and prone to hunker down somewhere cozy rather than be out and about.  Not that there's a whole lot of anything open to go to anyway.  

It's easy to become a hermit 'round these parts, to have your lovely solitude erode into gloomy isolation. Yet there's no place else I'd rather be.  When the blue sky makes an appearance, we stream outdoors and celebrate every bit of it.  We breathe in the fresh, salty air and thank God for the simple blessing of real live golden sunshine and any warm breeze He sends our way.

All that to say here's my mid-winter life savers.  Get cozy and hunker on down with me, friends, and browse and explore to your heart's content.


1.  candle
Most mornings, I light a candle after coming downstairs.  The warm scent of Woodwick Vanilla Bean smells luscious but not overpowering as it crackles away.  And in this peaceful morning ritual, I often quietly sing the chorus of this song.

2.  calendar
I didn't set up my wall calendar 'til last week.  Bad idea.  Every time I wanted to know what was going on I had to sift through a whole bunch of bits and pieces of scrap paper looking for what I should have already known.  My favorite calendar saved the day when she finally arrived.  If you look at your calendar 10x a day like I do, Lang's gorgeous works of art are worth every cent.  

3.  white board
If it wasn't bad enough that I had no calendar, my white board bit the dust last month as well.  Ours holds a place of honor on the fridge and it's always been a steady lifeline, simply because if something's not written down, I'll forget it.  Daily to-dos, our weekly schedule, things I don't want to nag about that need attention.  Few things are more satisfying than swiping away a task after finishing it off.  I was so relieved when my new one arrived.  Life could return to normal again.

4.  ministry
I've found my sweet spot as a co-leader of a Stephen Ministry at church.  The team of care givers that God continues to pull together is awesome.  If your church is looking for a more organized, effective way to reach out to people who need care, this just might fit the bill.  The training is awesome, the hearts of people who both give and receive care are beautiful.  I can't say enough.

5.  movies
One of the many things we missed during covid was the simple joy of going to the movies.  It looks like we're finally back in business again ... and one of the local theaters is only $6.50 on Tuesdays.

The Fablemans

Avatar: The Way of Water

A Man Called Otto

6.  wreaths
I recently scooped up two faux forsythia wreaths at T.J. Maxx, one for each door.  I was more than glad to take down the dried up pine wreaths and put these beauties up yesterday.  Springtime wreaths in January?  I couldn't imagine waiting another day.  These make me smile.

7.  seasoning
I'm a huge fan of Everything Bagel seasoning.  I sprinkle it generously on all kinds of food - hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, tuna salad, avocados, mashed potatoes, tossed salad, whatever.  You, too?

8.  starfish
No, I'm not talking about the spiny ocean dweller.  Lands' End Starfish pants/leggings/jeans/shorts are my wardrobe staples.  Think comfy, stretchy, excellent quality ... and there's always a sale going on.  I'm the biggest fan ever as my body continues to change.  (Emily Freeman's gracious game-changing Wear Better Pants podcast episode comes to mind.)  

9.  freezer
There might only be two of us these days, but you'll still find me whipping up big batches of spaghetti sauce, chicken soup, chili, pot roast, sausage tortellini soup, biscuits, shortbread.  It's a good nudge to invite a few people over for a meal ... or to keep the freezer stocked for (most) days when I don't feel like cooking.  The secret is to freeze your culinary goodies flat in bags, not use bulky containers that take over limited freezer space.

10.  devotions
This year I'm using a Bible reading plan.  It's designed to take the reader through the Old Testament and the New Testament in two years, and the Psalms and Proverbs four times.  I'm staying focused but when I miss a day, no worries.  God is not a harsh taskmaster, but a loving Father full of grace, gently inviting us into a deeper, more vibrant relationship.  

11.  organizing
It's like winter was made for sorting and re-organizing our stuff.  I feel free-er and lighter when I know what I actually have and decide on the perfect place for it to be stored.  And there's something satisfying in shedding excess stuff that we simply don't use or care about anymore.  

12.  caring bridge
Two dear longtime friends are each walking through cancer's dark valley.  My heart breaks for their pain and their families' grief.  But I'm grateful for the loving online communities that let them know they're not alone.  Please pray for Heather and for Brent.  

13.  books
I'm moving slowly through my TBR list.  I did a detour to dive into Prince Harry's memoir.  And Bonnie Gray's Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest is waiting patiently in the wings (thank you, Carole).

14.  the blues scrapbook
I pulled together these mid-winter snapshots a year ago.  Best therapy ever.

15.  blogging
I've been blogging since way back in February of 2008.  I can't begin to tell you how my faith in Christ has deepened because of the conversations we've shared.  I'm grateful for the meaningful ways you've nudged me out of my worn-out comfort zone, enlarged my borders, and clarified my worldview.  Iron truly sharpens iron, doesn't it (Proverbs 27:17).  

What's saving your life this winter?


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Thanks to bloggers Anne & Paula & Jeanne & Donna & Richella & Lisa

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