On Purpose

beyond a weather report

As I was leaving Walmart in the snow, blow and 26° below, or so it felt, I said these words out loud, “Love where you are.”

It is the middle of January before we hit our first shove-able snow. My kitchen curtains have been waiting. Mr. Innkeeper has not.


I read this quote just this week on Facebook:

“If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life but still the same amount of snow.” ~Mindfulfitness

Innkeeper smiles. Love where you are.

And it goes deeper than measurable snowfall. Contentment.

The 1828 Webster Dictionary defines contentment as: a resting of mind without disquiet.

Since disquiet is not a word oft spoke, I looked it up too: uneasy, anxious, restless.

Innkeeper creates her own dictionary. Contentment: my mind rests and I’m at peace.

Does it come naturally? Notta, considering that the storms of life linger much longer than the most recent snowfall.

I spied this quote from Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.: “I want to be famous in my home.”

I like that.  Imagine if we were known for our contentment, contentment that reaches beyond the weather. 

A mind at rest does more gratitude, less grumbling. More trusting, less fretting. More cookie baking, less criticizing.

A lofty goal? We can work on it together. This proverb found in the ancient words. “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” (Proverbs 14:30)

This kind of heart is made so by the grace of God, walking alongside of  principles of truth.

A resting heart can walk through snowdrifts. If you need to pretend it is a sandy beach, Innkeeper makes allowance.

Come, just as you are. 
margi monkjo@live.com

PS: A love for snow days is a carry over from being married to a teacher. Sweetest message in bygone days on old answering machine, “Mr. Deeks, school is canceled for tomorrow.” Light the candle and turn up the music😊

How thankful I am for Mr. Innkeeper💗
On Purpose

beyond clutter

Over the weekend, there is a word that popped up uninvited. I’m trying to view this word in a more positive light. It is a word that begs for a solution.


I’ll give you the definition and see if you can guess the word.

Adjective – untidy or dirty; a confusing and difficult situation to deal with.

The word is messy. Although the Inn could always use a bit more cleaning, it is the latter of that definition that sits with me.

I daresay we all have those situations that knock us for a loop, where we are blindsided by a particular circumstance. Right?

Innkeeper had one this weekend. I won’t go into the details for privacy sake, but what are we supposed to do when we are “hit” with messy? How do we respond when a situation seemingly has little solution?

A – throw a pity party
B – breathe deeply and count to ten
C – stop at the store and buy Mint Ice Cream
D – let your feelings dictate the rest of your day

I will be wide open here…  far too often C and D are my go-to’s.

Of course, neither provide a solution. In fact, both lead to more problems.

It is one of the areas of life I have been working on. I have dubbed it Feelings-Management, which carries as much importance as weight management (hello ice cream).

I’m working on both. Seems they are equally challenging.

So, what did a Jesus-loving Innkeeper do this last messy occurrence? You’ll be happy to know her steps did not take her to the ice cream store. Nor did she let it ruin the rest of her day.

She did breathe deeply, let her tears fall, and anchored her heart on this verse.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)

How does it work?

1- God is already ahead of this situation.
2 – He is already working on it for good purposes.
3 – I can’t see beyond the bend, but He does. He leans low and lovingly whispers, “Will you trust me with this?”
4 – And I say a wobbly “Yes.”
5 – And then, this on repeat until faith grows taller.
6 – And you find soul rest.

If you’ve got something “messy” in your life that seems impossible, I’m walking it out with you. Trust makes the best walking stick. Lean in, small steps.

I’m not sure I want to say, “We’ve got this!” How about, “We’re getting this.”

Now I’m off to bake a Cream Puff Cake. Finding a bit of freedom on that hike, too.

Come, just as you are. margi

PS:  Innkeeper did end up choosing a “word” for the year ahead. Rather, the word chose her. I ordered something as a reminder. When Amazon delivers, I will share. Meanwhile, at the Inn, I got a surprise visitor. Bluebird, your short stay smiled into my day!

Forgive the angles.

On Purpose

oh bother

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.”
~ Winnie the Pooh

If you are scratching your head wondering if there is a moral to this story, Innkeeper assures you, there isn’t (insert smile emoji).

Unless you count pondering on old view (2021) and trying to figure improved view (2022).

The truth is, I like imagining the fresh unwritten days ahead. In the rearview, I easily see God’s blessings and find His faithfulness marked all over my personal failings. I think it is enough. 

My social feed has all sorts of shoulds and tips to make the year ahead more meaningful, more successful. Just today, in my email is a course offered for $99/month about creating the life you want. Another offers 31 free daily core workouts.

Innkeeper shrinks a little. So many wonderful ideas out there. But Innkeeper is just trying to tie up her tennies.

And the view ahead? As much as I dream of Innkeeper waking up this New Year becoming grand and glorious in a whole list of habit-keeping and adventure-seeking, I’m really just banking on God’s faithfulness. I think it is enough.

How about you, Chatter-ers? Do you make resolutions?  Choose a word for the year? Make a list of places to go or things to do?

If so, I’ll be your best cheerleader. But if you’re like me, just lacing up, I hope I’m good company for the road ahead. 

And as my grandchildren are famous for saying, “Guess WHAT, Gigi?”

God’s promises are even better company for 2022. Hear these well-worn and beloved phrases.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.”
~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Mercies afresh for a-fresh year.

My new planner unknowingly chose me. Hope is peeking around the corner. The tennies are on the move.

Come, just as you are.
margi

PS – Innkeeper doings. The kitchen rating in the New Year can only go up! Both rated 4 out of 10. Lemon Cake for mom and Tortellini Soup.

On Purpose

a hush has fallen

If you’re not careful, you might feel as though you’ve wandered into the wrong Inn.

With all the weeks of decorating, baking, shopping, tradition-aling and gathering behind us… the house is strangely quiet.

And strangely enough, I find my heart is as well. After all the hustle and bustle of the month, I crave some quiet.

There are no big events on my planner. The fridge is emptied of holiday splurges. The to-do list is far shorter. There is room for some short winter walks. And for fun, on my work table is the new Bible study I will lead in January.  

But Innkeeper knows, before she can make the most of these last days on the calendar, she must first quiet her space.

Un-decorate.
Pack three tubs.
Dust. Vacuum. Mop.
Re-decorate.

And in a blink, the Inn is simply dressed.

With throws to snuggle under, we are ready for snow days. I still have some winter candles to burn.

“Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog washerwoman with kind and twinkly eyes. She launders the clothes of all the animals and generously delivers them clean and pressed.” ~The World of Peter Rabbit

The year isn’t over yet. End on a high note. It could mean laying aside that pile of ironing (smiling, as if) and finding a wee bit of silence.

It’s not a new promise, but it is as fresh as the new day itself:
“He satisfies the longing soul…” ~Psalm 107:9

Only You, Jesus, can free our hearts and satisfy our longings. Something I’m holding on to these last days of 2021.

And one last note, written in her finest handwriting: Thank you these past couple of months for spending a piece of your day with Innkeeper in her little bitty corner of the internet. Truly, she is most grateful for you.

The Inn will reopen in 2022.

Come, just as you are.
margi

PS: Hush at the Inn will be interrupted on New Year’s Eve. As is our tradition, we “supper” together with good friends. Menu is Barbecue Chicken, Potato Salad, Lettuce Salad and Artichoke Spinach Dip. Innkeeper hopes to welcome the New Year with kind and twinkly eyes, therefore she will miss counting down the ball dropping.

On Purpose

all in 7.5 hours

You may have picked up my word for the month of December.

Wonder. By definition: a sense of awe, amazement, marvel, ponder.  

On Thursday late morning, I prepared my Nook for a special time, to Wonder.

Fresh cup of coffee.
I lit my cedar and balsam candle.
My Bible and journal at hand.
Mini-flocked tree and fire keeping company.

Phone rings.
Skip the coffee.
Candle goes out.
Shoes go on.
Innkeeper to Caretaker.

No time to Wonder.

Hours later, back home from mom-care, head to shower and pj’s.

Curled up under my throw.
TV on.
Doorbell rings.
Pajama-clad Innkeeper opens the door (wet hair up in gray towel).
No, not Amazon but a lovely neighbor from around the bend.
Bearing banana bread loaf and conversation.
A few unplanned moments under the dark sky with a new friend.

And wonder fills the Innkeeper’s heart.

Sara Hagerty, in her book Adore, says this: “An eye for wonder needs cultivating. A sense of wonder is the ability to see God who is always declaring Himself to me.”

Wonder arrived. In a mundane minute. In wet hair and pajamas.

God declaring my Jesus-sharing matters. Thursday night I found it mattered to a lady around the bend.

And so on this soon-upon-us Christmas, we wonder. A baby arrives to rescue us. Is it real?

If you’re uncertain about the answer to that question, we give you an open invitation to Wander Inn. An invite to a conversation around the Wonder of Jesus, God’s grand plan. The event that changed history. And my eternity.

Strains of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is playing over my Alexa.

A sense of Wonder & Awe fills the Inn. Do you not hear the angels sing?

Hark! The Herald is making an announcement – listen to the report, found in God’s inspired words, the Bible:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son (Jesus) so that anyone (that’s you and me) who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

The best report ever heralded.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas! Thank you for being a Chatter friend. Humor me while Innkeeper pretends she is hand-delivering a sweet gift to each one of you. And for those who are carrying so much, for you I pray.

Come, just as you are.
margi

PS: Our big family celebration will be on Christmas Eve. This is the first year (minus covid) that I’m not tablescaping a sit down dinner complete with name cards. 26 of us are going to wander around the Inn eating hors d’oeuvres and sweets, sing to candlelight, read from Luke 2, find the pickle & Christmas Spider, and end with a Fierce Family Competition. Traditions are alive and well at the Inn. Thankfully, so are we with our nine noisy bonus blessings.

Mailbox at the Inn is always open: monkjo@live.com
FB:  Margi Deeks

On Purpose

overstuffed

At the Inn I am simplifying Christmas decorating. I was reminded of the three wise men (well technically we do not know if that is an accurate number) but my challenge as the keeper of the Inn: my Christmas decor has to fit into three tubs.

I choose only a few places to craft my decor, to capture the imaginations of all who enter (think nine little grands.) The Winter Zebra presiding over the little white house with 43 windows and a bright red roof on our fireside mantel. The island that magically transports you to snowy winter as a chubby sweet bird pulls a little red wagon filled with ice.. The peek to our wooded land through our merry windowscape.

And then there is our tree.

Our previous tree was weary and chose to retire before our move. So last year we shopped around until we found the perfect tree. Rather, the tree with twinkly hundreds of tiny lights found us. The sweet meet-up moment happened at Walmart aisle T-138.

We put Tree up and the hundreds of tiny lights twinkled. Tree felt at home in the Inn.

I pulled out several old bins and began decorating. Red and white ornaments. I stood afar. The hundreds of tiny lights dimmed.

I switched Tree to another color theme. I stood afar. The hundreds of tiny lights dimmed. A third try was made. “Oi,” said the Innkeeper. The tiny lights had dimmed once again. Hmmm…

Tree got un-decorated and the hundreds of tiny lights once again twinkled.

“Aahhh,” said the Innkeeper, with her own twinkle in her eye. The tiny twinkle lights ARE the decoration.

It is one of the glories of the Innkeeper to create a home that offers a warm welcome, a place that says, “Come, take a break from the storms of life.” Candlelight, books to browse, laughter in the cozy, and shared notes of blessings.

And the Tree, standing tall and erect, doing its main job – to shine bright. Reminding the Innkeeper of her main job – to shine bright.

How easily my light can be dimmed. By too much, just like Tree. 

Distractions, fear, loss-of-focus, forgetting, willful neglect. And my light dims. So what’s an Innkeeper to do?

As it happens, a long and far away ago these words were written, just for the Innkeeper’s heart.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world.” (John 8:12)  Forgive my casual speech, but hangin’ with Jesus is exactly what keeps a light bright.

The Innkeeper’s habit. Stay close to the Light by opening God’s Love Letter, the Bible, each morning. What we invest in becomes most precious to us.

It is a simple prayer often whispered at the Inn. “May I reflect the beauty of Jesus.”

I think all my simplified decor will fit into my three new red bins. What won’t fit because it can’t be binned: This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

Come, just as you are.
margi

PS – What was baking at the Inn this week? Brother Dave came in out-of-state to help us in mom-care. His Christmas favorite of mom’s hopped onto my island – Nut Horns, oven-ready.

On Purpose

white and puffy

It sounds a bit like a description of yours truly. Yes, I’m still struggling with too many extra lbs. (Another way of saying the Innkeeper does not “have it all together.”) But, let’s get on to a cheerier topic.

Think marshmallows, not margi.

When my kids were young I remember watching Martha Stewart make marshmallows. She made it look so easy. She also said if you hadn’t tasted homemade marshmallows, versus store bought bag, you hadn’t lived.

To remedy my 25 years un-lived, I bring you marshmallows from the Inn.

Cast of characters: inexpensive ✔

Fun factor: yes indeed ✔ The small pool of gelatin changes as the syrup mixture is added. Billowy white mounds! And they grow. And grow some more.  Kitchen Aid runs 12 minutes whipping the white. I felt transported back to science lab.

Quickly, finish the process. Time is of the essence. Do not even think about scraping the bowl. (FYI – there is no scraping in marshmallow fluff.)

Patience. Must wait ’til morning.

7 am. Excitement mounts, after all, it’s been 25 years the Innkeeper has waited for this moment. Will it or won’t it? Resemble anything like my 25 year-old Martha-memory?

The science experiment, a success!

Drumrollll, yes, YES! The Innkeeper takes a bow.

Mom also did a taste test. “Very good.”

According to the pleas of my grands for “just one more,” I’m sure they would agree with Martha. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a white and puffy.

May your December be filled with sweetness, not necessarily the kind that adds another pound.

Come, just as you are.
margi

PostScript: Does the Innkeeper have a reduction plan? She does. She hopes.

Arrives at my island. Yours?
On Purpose

dad would love it

Every Thanksgiving I pause to remember and give thanks for my dad. Many of you too have had dads that led the way, that helped chart the course of your life. (Dad is pictured with our daughter, Danae.)

It has been 18 years this November that Dad is missing from our table. In those 18 years, there are 11 people in my family he never met.

Dad would have loved them.

Many have heard Chuck talk about my Dad being his mentor. I couldn’t help but think of Dad’s influence as Chuck led our Thanksgiving gathering. He carries on Dad’s tradition and legacy.

Dad would have loved it.

Flannel story of “Only One.” Ten men were healed. Nine went on their merry way, distracted by their gift. Only one returned to pour out his heart and give Jesus thanks. Our grands recreate the story.

Dad would have loved it.

As we close out our November, I take another pause to look at my December calendar ahead. I have made room on it to share Jesus.

Hello December! Snow falls, fire crackles, friends meet, ovens bake and I see a nap coming.

Dad, you would love it all.

Come just as you are,
margi

PostScript: The Inn is decorated and all the shopping is done. In the midst of all the hustle, the Innkeeper managed to steal some moments of Wonder. Do you have one to share?

On Purpose

love it or leave it

Getting out ahead of Thanksgiving, I had a new recipe touted as “healthy” that I wanted to try. I liked all the ingredients.

Cast of characters: spinach, mushrooms, Gruyère cheese, eggs, milk, thyme, Dijon mustard. Toss in sautéed onions, garlic and S&P.

From my kitchen I bring you: Spinach Mushroom Quiche.

It was fun to put together. It looked rustic-ally delicious. The nutrition label chimed in with angelic voices.

I wanted so to love it.

But, I didn’t. In fact, it might be awhile before I face another mushroom.

I plan to set our Thanksgiving tables tonight and while prepping, I will count our many blessings. This quiche, however, will not make the list.

Here’s what does:

Traditional dishes. Turkey served at noon.

Around the Table Family Question: I’m most thankful for…

Flannelgraph story. Jesus heals 10 lepers. Guess how many out of 10 came back and thanked Jesus? Grands find the Bible, look up the account and act it out. (Shhh – the story is found in Luke 17:11-19. So much going on in this account. Google it to find the lessons!)

Pumpkin Pie & Chuck’s Apricot and Raspberry Foldover Cookies.

Bundle Up – walk around the Village. Thanksgiving Day Parade of 16.

Naps. Innkeeper smiles.

“Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2

At the Inn we’ve got the joyful noise down. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Come just as you are,
margi

PostScript: Further agenda at the Inn… we plan to go to mom’s later in the day. And then recoup for Next Day Christmas Decorating🎄

On Purpose

happy, a hack and a habit

So I did a thing. With my Bible, my book, my planner and coffee I switched seats.

I moved from my Nook out to our Great Room. (Is that what they still call it? Great things do happen in our open living room/kitchen but I need a better name. Great Room seems a bit stuffy for cottage life.) I digress.

Interesting what a change of scenery does for perspective, right? I think it is why vacations were invented.

So I’m writing from my Whatever Room, trying not to notice the meal halfway prepped for next hour. What I do notice is the empty loveseats and chair. And they are not sad.

Friday I had three gals over to talk about the Bible.  It was a delightful time, welcoming them into our Whatever Room. Over our discussion about Jesus, with coffee, tea and Cream Puff Cake, I made a new friend. Nothing warms my heart faster💗

A simple layout to say welcome. A lit candle and long-used glass dishes (many! years ago from our Marc’s store) to hold a sweet. Takes only a second to pull together.

My one touch I like to add is changing up paper napkins, according to seasons or whimsy. (Cloth napkins have not yet married with cottage casual life. Don’t hold your breath waiting!)

I like to pick the napkins up when I see them. My favorite spot is on the end caps of Target. They are a wee bit pricier but not to fear! As I pulled out this beautiful quiet thick plaid, an idea popped.

Scissors. Cut on seam. In seconds I doubled my Guest Plaid Napkins from 16 to 32.  Not one lady noticed they were using only half a napkin. Whatever Room smiles.  

I know this is very small hack, (seems one could have invented a lovelier name for good ideas!) and it won’t change the world’s ills. But it did charm a certain Innkeeper’s heart.

And before we leave Target. Here is one more. I was reminded of it Friday by my new friend. If you have a lovely view from your kitchen window that you don’t wish to curtain over, here you go.

Walmart for tension rod and hanging clips. I found the best towels to hang come from Target. Great seasonal options. No ironing necessary. Easy on the budget. Cut off tags and hang. Instant decor that is charming, Inn or no Inn.

Reminder from the Inn

My candle-lit hour is up. My pineapple glaze is calling. But I have enjoyed my switched-seat so much I may make it a once daily habit.

It is always good to shift scenery. Even if only in a 1600 sq ft Inn.

Come just as you are,
margi

PostScript: On Monday, I walked to the podium and proudly received my trophy. The last 6 were the hardest, not for difficulty, but losing momentum. Nevertheless, my shiny trophy declares, “You can do hard things.” And so I did. Back to #63 -fridge needs cleaning.