Greetings From The Front Porch!

Thank you all for your prayers, they were felt as I traveled up the cost and into Humboldt County. Boy is it good to be home and back in my own bed.

OK, so the question I have is this. How could something that looks good from the outside be so toxic on the inside? Looks sure can be deceiving can’t they? My goal for the trip was to take care of some of my cousin’s personal property and bring back some of her belongings such as old family photos and some of her family jewelry.

Very long story short, her home was untouchable, at least to me. Mold has taken over her floors, walls and items in her dresser drawers and bathroom. I have week lungs and I just could not afford to comprise my own health to bring back some of the items she requested. Knowing that she will never be back in her home again made it a hard decision not to go back but also knowing that I can end up sick myself and of no use to anyone.

I ended up spending a few days reconnecting with her neighbors and friends and taking care of some of her request in regards to the end of her life. At first, I felt as if I wasted my time but realized once again that people are more important then even property and I focused on the relational side of the trip until I had to go.

When I arrived back in Sacramento I contemplated telling her the truth in regards to her house but realizing that living in the moment and trusting God with the future meant I needed to be honest with my cousin if I really did trust God. I shared and she listened well, she was a little disappointed but agreed like so many others that my health was more important. We will be looking into her insurance company to see what they cover and go from there.

I am so grateful for the support of my family and friends who as well live with the Front Porch philosophy, helping me stay in the moment. I am blessed with a great circle of people who remind me what is most important in life. The examples set before me help me stay the course as I find myself so easily being sidetracked wanting to leave The Front Porch and look for more when all I have been called to do is be there in the moment.


Humboldt Fog!

Greetings from the Front Porch!

The fog has just lifted over the riverbed here in Humboldt County and I can see the cattle roaming the hillside, eating their morning breakfast of grass and hay while leaving a distinct odor that only a country girl could appreciate.

As much as I love nature, I do wish I were my front porch kissing my kids goodbye as they headed off to school rather then watching the cows grazing in the field. I missed starting the day with my husband and watching the sun peak its way through the trees across my street.

Many of you might remember that I was in Humboldt County back in September and October to help my ageing cousin out of a very abusive situation in a nursing home. She is now settled into the Sacramento area in care of some of the best nurses and doctors in the valley. However, because of the suddenness of her move she left behind her life, her home and friendships without even getting to say goodbye.

Living in the moment has allowed me to walk by faith in the care of my great cousin. Saying yes when I do not see past my two front feet takes faith in something bigger and stronger then me. This faith has grown stronger over the years, not based on anything great I have done but rather on what I have found in the moments I have chosen to be still before Him trusting that when He said “seek me and you will find me”, and I have.

As I drove through the Redwood forest yesterday, I was praying about the next four days and what they would look like. Again, only enough light was shed on the moment as I was driving towards my yes. What would I find? In addition, whom would I meet along the way? I had a brief outline of what needed to be done but nothing was set in stone in, a few notes I had jotted down before I left of what my cousin wanted me to bring back and some contacts she wanted me to make but that was about all I had on my agenda.

What I did know was this that it is always about the people, so, I was confident as I approached the property of my cousin that God was going to ask me to reach out to her neighbors and friends who had been such a huge part of her life for over many years. She had become a grandma to many of the now grown kids in the neighborhood as well as a sister and mother figure to the friends in her court.

She was ripped from that role suddenly because of her fall and lack of care in the home and was suddenly out of their lives. Many of them never getting the chance to say goodbye, one day she was there the next day she was gone. I come bringing a message from my cousin to her friends and neighbors, one that says, “In miss all of you and think about you daily.”

Therefore, this morning as I sit and reflect on my own front porch, I realize that I am called to go and be the front porch to those who were left behind that were such a big part of my cousin’s life. I have been called to connect well to her community of friends who never had the opportunity to get a last word, hug or even shed a tear of goodbye. I sit here watching the sunbeam boldly come down on the coast and wonder how many lives she touched from her Front Porch over the last 80 plus years.

It has been an honor and a privilege to be part of this season in her life. As much as I miss my own front porch, I will live in this moment, honoring her past and preparing her for her future for however short or long it might be.

Thank you all for your continued prayers, I will keep you updated as I take the front porch with me wherever I go!


From The Surf to The Slopes!

Greetings from the Front Porch!

Well, I went from the surf to the slope within twenty-four hours, now that is living in the moment. My husband and I took off to Santa Cruz on Friday morning and spent three days enjoying one another and ourselves as well as connecting with some old friends who have a place on the cliffs over looking the ocean. There is nothing like starting of the morning in the moment watching the sea roar against the sand and the sun rising over the mountains, with a nice piping hot cup of coffee in my hand.

We returned home from the beach and within hours I had my suitcase switched out for winter clothes and the kids and I decided to take a last minute trip up to the slopes of Tahoe. It was hard to believe just hours prior, I had been on the beach and now I was headed for the snow.

Road trips with my teens are always an adventure, we searched high and low for a place to sleep the night we left, forgetting that it was a holiday weekend. We had to do a little backtracking but finally found a great place on the road that never ended, or at least it felt like that while driving in the dark on a road we had never been on before.

When we finally arrived we were ready for a nice warm meal and a comfortable cozy bed, both were available. We enjoyed our mini vacation, curled up on the bed and watched man verses moose as we giggled and planned what the next day would look like.

It was about 8AM when we packed the car and headed back up the hill, we arrived at the slopes around 9AM and spent the next four hours snowboarding, sledding and ice-skating. Of course, I enjoyed from a distance, a nice warm lodge kept a smile on my face and head in my body.

Around 2PM is when we left the mountain and headed back home, we were a tried bunch but it was worth it. As I drove out of the village and on to the road, I had a smile on my face as I thought about what an amazing weekend I had just living in the moment with my husband and kids.

Happy Wednesday my friends, enjoy your moments, love your life and trust God with your future!


The Future From The Front Porch!

Greetings from the Front Porch!

Are you ready to find your future while sitting on the front porch! Are you ready to understand how being still and trusting God can give you the opportunity to actually walk out your God given passion and purpose for this life?

Today is the future, does that sound right? The future sounds like tomorrow but in fact, this very moment is the creation of what tomorrow will bring. While I have learned to embrace this philosophy of the front porch, it has been a learning process for me to trust God with my future.

It has been a journey of learning and letting go, of falling down and getting up, of running fast and slowing down. I had to finally let go of my rabbit’s foot and traded it in for a turtles shell. I had to come to the realization that I was not to create my future but that my future was created out of the moments I chose to completely embrace.

It was in those moments that I found what I was most passionate about, where my purpose unfolded. I learned the value of the voice, through listening well, asking good and pausing on purpose all while intentionally being present in the moment. I learned as I pressed into those moments that people were more important then activities and in those moments of learning, I became conscious of the fact that I loved to her peoples stories.

Living in the moment was not something that came naturally to me and was not even in my vocabulary while I was dangling the rabbit’s foot and running my race like a sprint. In my enthusiasm to find my purpose I was missing out in the moments that created them, running ahead of myself, passing up the very people that God had placed in my circle who would confirm, encourage and challenge me to walk out in my gifts.

I am grateful today for the encouragement from a friend many years ago who challenged me to slow down. It seemed like back in the day, I was always running to one place or another, full speed ahead, I was never present in the moment because I was thinking about the next activity I had to get to.

Today as I understand that my future is dependent on my philosophy if I want to life out my God given purpose, I have to be intentional about my moments and how I choose to spend them. Sometimes being in the moment can look and feel lazy when there is no purpose behind it.

Being in the moment can feel like the familiar from my past but in all actuality it is choosing to be in the moment where my past and present come together to create my future.

Thank you Rene for your words of wisdom so many years ago. Thank you for speaking truth into my life and helping me trade in my rabbit’s foot for my turtle shell so that I could embrace my future.


Birthday Broccoli

Greetings From The Front Porch!

It was the deepest brightest green I had ever seen, the handle of the gift was thick and cold and the texture was bumpy and soft. “Would she really love her present?” Most people want chocolate cake, possibly even vanilla ice cream to celebrate the day of their birth but as I listened well and lived in the moment, I realized that if I brought her cake or ice cream it would have been for my own pallet not hers. The greatest gift I could give my friend was the knowledge that I was listening well and knew her heart.

I arrived at her doorstep with anticipation in my spirit as I held tightly to the gift bag, the red curly ribbon tided to the handles had been twisted around my fingers and I had to gently un-wrap my hands from the bag as not to drop the gift and ruin the surprise. I was a little nervous about her reaction, I could feel the butterflies starting to flap their wings in my belly as I thought to myself, “what if she didn’t like it?”

However, giggles started to form in my soul as I pictured myself handing her the bag and watching her slowly take the tissue paper off the top where she would find the gift hiding in another bag inside the bag. I remember as a small child how much fun I use to have opening a gift inside a gift and thought she would get a kick out of doing the same, the memory came to a close just as the door opened and my friend greeted me with a smile.

I could barely contain myself, I wanted to shove the gift in her face and have her open it right there in the entryway. However, I stayed cool and calm as if I was holding an everyday, average birthday surprise.

I handed her the bag and encouraged her to stop what she was doing for one moment so she could open up her gift. Her present went so well with her preparation of the lunch we were going to have with our visit, and I could barely contain myself as she took the bag and started to venture into the gift.

She peered into the bag, her eyes squinting as if she was having a hard time making out the shape of the gift through the second layer of wrapping, she looked up at me, grinned and then delved back into the package, pulling out the wrapped gift and pulling apart the paper.

She was seconds away from revealing the gift and once again, I thought to myself, “I hope she likes it.” I had been paying attention, listening well and asking good in hopes of hitting the mark in the area of presenting her a gift that she would forever remember and start a tradition that she would never forget.

The wrapping paper floated to the ground as she squealed and laughed, I knew at that moment I had hit the mark. There she stood holding in her hand the most beautiful stock of birthday broccoli I had ever scene and was hoping she had ever scene as well.

Yes, I said birthday broccoli, not chocolate cake or vanilla ice cream but a fresh serving of veggies straight from the store, something I knew only she would appreciate. I wanted to honor her goal and celebrate her choices as she started off a new year celebrating whose she was by taking care of who she is.

I love living in the moment and trusting God with the future, birthday broccoli and all.

Happy Wednesday my friends, do not forget, listen well, ask good and pause on purpose!


Band-Aids, Kisses and Daddy!

Greetings From The Front Porch!

I got up to turn off the lights, she got up to get me and we met somewhere in the middle. As we made eye contact, I could see that she had been crying, her eyes were swollen and her cheeks were red, something had been bothering my fifteen-year-old daughter.

As she got up and was on her way to my room to wake me up at the very same moment, I had stepped outside my bedroom door to turn off the hall light.

There had been an internal struggle she had been walking through as she almost talked herself into just staying in bed. However, she remembered all the times I had told her over the years that she could wake me up if she ever needed to talk and this particular night she needed me to just sit on “the front porch” with her.

We plopped down on the stairs, leaned against the banister and she had a good cry. Being in the moment when raising teen’s means that I must be prepared to sit on “the front porch” even in the middle of the night. OK, it was not the middle of the night, it was only 9PM but it felt like it was midnight. My mind was mush and my body was tired but my daughter needed me and trusted me in that moment. I chose to honor her pain while being present living out my own philosophy and putting actions to my words.

As I sat on the top of the staircase with my fifteen-year-old daughter, I held her with my arms wrapped around body, thinking about how many times we had sat on those stairs giggling, laughing and letting go slowly of her childhood. Here she was faced with real life issues and yet still so very young.

I had to remember my own motto of the front porch philosophy, living in the moment, trusting God with my future. Everything in me at that moment wanted to fix, rescue and mend her pain so that I could go back to my pillow and warm blanket.

However, everything in her needed me to listen well, ask good and pause on purpose, as she poured out her heartache. It was so much easier when she was a little girl, a band aide here, a kiss there or a call to daddy would make things all better.

I stayed in the moment and I trusted that God would give rest to the weary, as she shared, I asked and tears where shed. I prayed in the moment to stay in the moment and once again found that “the front porch” was an amazing place to be, right in the middle of His will while raising my children.

When all was said and done, we said our goodnights, she thanked me for listening well then we both headed back to our beds, it was good!

Happy Tuesday my friends, take time to fold into your moment, trusting God with your future.


Manic Monday!

Greeting From the Front Porch!

Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Have you ever struggled with your faith at the beginning of something? Have you ever thought on Sunday about Monday, “this is it, I will not be shaken?” Only to find yourself worn out, beat up and drained from trusting your check marks, to-do-lists and calendar more then your creator?

Living in the moment and trusting God with my future is an easy philosophy in the middle of the week but “Monday’s Lord?”

The beginning of the week seems to be one of those beginnings I struggle with. My faith grows stronger as the week unfolds but at the beginning I seem to open my calendar, look at my schedule and think to myself “can it all really be done?” As a wife, mother, sister, friend, caregiver and community leader, “can I really get all that I need to do done and remain sane?”

Sometimes I have to remind myself, the sound of the front door shutting after my children have headed off to school, is not the same as a gun going off at a track meet.

Starting the day off as if I were just released from sprinting blocks caused me to quickly crash and burn early on as a homemaker. Though it felt good at first to get many things done at the beginning of the week, by the time I hit the hump I had little to give to my family and friends and the new relationships that would come my way.

A life lesson learned the hard way is that it is at the beginning of the week; it is how I treat Monday that dictates how Tuesday through Sunday will treat me. It is the philosophy of the front porch, “living in the moment, trusting God with my future” that has helped me get through the beginning of my week where my faith seems to be tested the most.

I want to have the kind of faith that is confident in what I hope for and assurance about what I do not see.

It is the economy of my creator that has taught me that to truly own something I must be willing to let it go. Monday is all about letting go and letting God, it is about growing in faith and trusting Him with my future.

That being said, I still find myself asking, “How have I learned to walk by faith in the middle of my struggle at the beginning of my week and how have I learned to release what I had been holding tightly to for so many years?”

I have had to intentionally schedule deliberate down time the moment my children leave the house. Every Monday I start off my morning sitting still for one hour, no list, no agenda and no schedule. I pray and fast for my faith to grow stronger as I enter into the beginning of my week not running fast but resting well.

I trust that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and because I spend time pressing into the moment I am able to know what it is and trust that living in the moment will not take away from that plan and purpose but rather add to it.

Happy Monday my friends, I pray that your faith grows stronger as you learn to live in the moment and trust God with your future.


          Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

                                                        Hebrews 11:1

Finances and The Front Porch!

Greetings from the Front Porch!

Part 4

Faith, family, friends and today is finances. You may ask what do finances have to do with the front porch? At first glance, I would have to say, nothing. However, as I sat and pondered about the porch and my pocket book I am moved by the thought of how rich I really am, not necessarily financially but relationally.

There was a time not so very long ago that the term finances made me think of how much change I had in my wallet, how much cash I needed to pay my bills and how much money I wanted so that I could feel safe and secure.

The term finances was a word that had once painted an immediate picture in my head of money, assets and worth or lack of, since I never felt like I had enough.

When I sat down today to write about finances and the front porch, I thought I was going to share how the philosophy of the front porch helped us get out of debt as a family and how we learned to make the most of what we had by living in the moment and trusting God with our future.

However, the more I sat in front of my computer and thought about finances and the front porch my mind did not paint the same picture that it had some time ago. I paused in the writing process and started to reflect on what my mind was now painting as I thought of the word finance.

My mind went back in time, a beautiful picture of friendship formed on the front porch was painted, and a colorful image started to form of the bushes being removed and the cement being poured not so long ago. A portrait of the front porch was created as a meeting place instead of a mask and the term finances took on a completely new meaning.

I decided to look up some definitions of finances and was surprised to see how some of the definitions I had found matched the picture in my head, creating an imaginary paint by numbers canvas, ready to fill in with new meanings to the same word.

Finances can mean one of several things such as money, funds, assets, capital, investments and resources, just to name a few. My favorite of all these definitions would be resources; it is the brightest of the color pallet that filled my imagination as it popped off the pages and into my mind. Resources gave the word finances a completely new outfit as I continued to ponder over how the front porch and finances have connected.

Resource defined at its best means somebody or something that is a source of help or information. That word somebody formed images of people sitting on my front porch after the bushes had been removed, when the porch became a meeting place instead of a mask. Resources was a result of intentional relationships, not something I set out to obtain but rather a positive natural consequence of choosing to be in open authentic friendships.

Today when people gather around the front porch, sharing their needs, desires and dreams inevitably we are able to connect with one another to help resource those needs, desires and dreams, even if it means just listening well. The front porch has become a place where a community of people come together to help one another, for a reason a season or a lifetime as we learn to make the most of our finances, using the resources we have to dream big dreams.

The front porch is a place where faith, family, friends and finances can collide together and create community, as we live in the moment and trust God with our future. Thank you God for redefining my finances and resourcing me through real relationships!


Friendship is the foundation of the front porch!

Greetings from the Front Porch!

Make new friends but keep the old; some are silver and the other gold! I will never forget the first time I heard that song, being young and foolish I thought it was rather corny, but as I sat down to share today about how the front porch fits into friendships, I could hear this little tune being hummed in my head.

My front porch for years use to be an invisible wall that kept people far enough at a distance from me to prevent any kind of deep friendships from ever being built. God forbid anyone from seeing the real me, funny how a front porch could be considered a mask, but it was. The front porch helped me hide behind bushes and chairs, sending a do not enter message to those even remotely thinking of coming close to my physical home as well as emotional place of residence.

However, thank God for those people in my circle who had pressed on with me, who had seen beyond the barriers and helped me step out of my comfort zone and into my community. Those old friends who believed in me when I did not believe in myself and those new friends who saw a diamond in the rough. I thank you all for your continued love and encouragement, your friendship is the foundation of the front porch.

Over the last several years, the front porch has transitioned into a place of sharing instead of hiding. The bushes were removed, the cement was extended and chairs were added, all to create, connect and be in community with those who had helped us become health, happy and free to be ourselves as a family.

As we enter into 2011, we as a family who walk by faith are committed to being intentional about our time with friends on the front porch. We celebrate you all, remembering that The Front Porch is not just a place but a philosophy of being in the moment, through listening well, asking good and pausing on purpose.


Greetings from the Front Porch!

Once again, I am speaking figuratively because today there was warning of ice forming on the sidewalk. Being outdoors was not an option for someone who lives for three digit days.

Therefore, today from the warmth of my sanctuary inside my home and from a philosophy of the front porch, I will share with you how this family uses the front porch to draw closer together, learning to use the simple moments in life to listen well, ask good and pause on purpose.

What does the Front Porch look like behind closed doors, when we cannot be outside, in our favorite chairs, drinking our favorite beverages, sharing story, greeting neighbors and listening well. It looks very much like it does on the outside but this season allows us more of an opportunity to intentionally connect as a family while we create greater community within our own home as well.

Since The Front Porch is not just a place but also a philosophy, we are able to take what we believe and apply inside our home as well. As a family we value the voice, we are passionate about the story and we believe in pausing on purpose while we intentionally listen all in order to create community.

We have learned to carve out times through out the day to practice sitting on the front porch or other wise know as being still with one another, pressing into the moment, slowing down long enough to listen well and ask good and connect with one another as husband, wife, father, mother, daughter, son, sister and brother.


Greetings from the Front Porch!

OK, I am not actually out on the front porch but I have come to realize that The Front Porch is not just a place but also an attitude, a philosophy of community. The Front Porch has become a place where people can join in creating community, for a reason a season or a lifetime.

I have spent the last several months just pressing into prayer and asking God to reveal to me my greatest passion in life. Those of you who know me well will not be surprised when I say that I love community. I love to connect people with one another for the greater purpose of serving together, growing together and living together.

I am passionate about being intentional in relationships about building safe community where people can listen well, ask good and pause on purpose all so we can connect.

The Front Porch also represents faith, the kind of faith that says, “There are no ifs among believers and anything can happen.” Mark 9:23 Jesus taught it to those searching for healing but I also believe that we can apply it to our dreams that are hidden deep with in our souls that are birthed out of being present with one another.

The Front Porch philosophy is about being in the moment and trusting God with the future. So, as I enter into this New Year, I am challenged once again to slow down, be the turtle and remember that we were created to be in community.

Cris Nole

“Living In the Moment”