Category Archives: home

Because sometimes…

things don’t go the way you expect.

Which seems to be more normal lately.

The main problem with my schedule is me.

I’m having a difficult time not wanting to stick to my plans.

But God has better ones, and it only takes a moment for me to realize such when I’m willing to stop and look at it through prayer.

The Lord has been stretching me.

Ever since our Bell moved her dresser out of the spare bedroom, I’ve had a pile of homeschooling papers sitting on the closet floor.

Obviously not a good plan.

With moving I’ve had to change many of my past ways of organizing including the homeschooling papers.

I currently have a place for recent work or needed documents, but the past years’ work no longer has a home.

So, I’ve been praying about what to do.

Coupled with this prayer, I’ve been praying for Anne’s bedroom furniture.

Her dresser was old and very used when I bought it over seven years ago.

It’s now missing more handles and the drawers are less than easy to open.

So, I figured God would want me to set aside some time to refurbish her dresser.

These two things have been a topic of conversation with me and the Lord often of late.

As the days grow closer to autumn, my window of opportunity to work on anything outdoors is coming to a close.

Thus, I have had to put my own opinions and ideas into God’s hands multiple times about this.

So, when I felt like God was talking to me about looking for used furniture on Craigslist I was a bit apprehensive.

“Lord, is this me or You? Am I just trying to force something to solve this instead of waiting?”

Instead of hearing an answer, I just felt like I should punch dresser into the Craigslist search engine.

I did so, and then stopped to pray again.

Something the Lord had spoken to my heart at first came back to mind.

It will be in the city nearest you.

So, with that I began to scroll.

I found something which would work for the spare room.

It was hideous and obviously “well loved”.

The price didn’t sit well with me, but it was in the city nearest me.

I figured I could email and see if they’d come down on the price.

I asked the Lord to make it clear if He wanted me to buy this.

Their response was my answer, “no”.

So, back to the search engine on Craigslist.

“Lord, I really don’t want to do this today, I’m so worried I’ll make a mistake and buy the wrong thing.”

I’m teaching you faith.

Two more dressers.

Two more emails.

Two more closed doors.

Of course, I was working on other things so all of this was poked in between math lesson, history, reading assignment, and cooking.

By the early afternoon, I was ready to give up.

But I still felt like I was supposed to try another search.

This time I found not one dresser,but two and a bedside table.

The posting said, “$50”.

Well, that wasn’t super clear.

And at first I thought this couldn’t work at all, but I stopped to pray.

Through this moment of quiet I realized we could use one dresser in Anne’s room and the other in the spare room as well as the bed side table.

They need painting, but Anne’s been asking me if we could do another project ever since we painted the living room furniture.

I emailed the seller.

I was surprised at the answer: $50 was for everything.

Of course now I had to get some help picking up all this.

I prayed again, that if this wasn’t God’s will it would be obvious.

I knew our son-in-law’s day was busy with taking Bubba and family to the doctor.

I dropped a quick text and after a conversation over the phone we worked out a plan.

Then it occurred to me, if they were heading down after the doctor’s appointment, they’d be hungry, so I invited them for supper.

I was about halfway through cooking supper when I realized this was definitely God’s plan.

My husband’s work has him on call 24/7 and he had come home late the night before only to eat and return to work, arriving home some time after 11.

When things are like that, I know better than to expect him home at any particular time.

But halfway through supper preparations he called me.

He was off work and on his way home.

And he was thrilled to hear our family was coming over for supper.

When he arrived, I told him about the furniture.

He smiled and said, “Sounds great!”.

Not long afterwards he and our son-in-law drove together out the cul-de-sac to pick up the furniture.

Anne was so excited when it got here.

She can hardly wait till we can begin sanding it down and painting it.

I praise God for His guidance in it all.

I’ve already told Anne all this furniture belongs to her.

I’ve tried to make sure each of our kids have some furniture of their own to take with them when the time comes.

As we were all sitting around the dinner table eating, God had one more surprise in store.

My phone started buzzing with several texts all coming in at once.

It was the same family we got the furniture from.

They had forgotten another piece of furniture that was part of the set, a window seat with drawers.

They were texting to let me know we could have it too, no extra charge.

Of course I let them know we would have to get it today, but they were fine with that.

I’m still amazed at how God took a small desire I had and turned my day into a blessed lesson.

Because buying furniture wasn’t in my schedule.

Sending emails and searching Craigslist wasn’t in my plans.

But God reminded me that my ways are not His ways.

His plans are perfect.

His ways are best.

And all of this was more about teaching me to listen and trust and obey than it was furniture.

Because I could have gone out and bought Anne a new dresser anytime.

I could have ordered something to store the homeschooling papers in online and had it delivered to the door.

But instead of either of those things, God has taken me through days of prayer and heart checking.

He has shown me my tendency to want to solve every item I see as a need in my own strength.

He has used this to teach me to listen and be willing to be wrong, to be willing to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, I’m still praying about it.”

And hopefully He is using my life as an example to my children that waiting upon the Lord is the best way, no matter how insignificant the “thing” is.

Because furniture is not a forever thing, but the lessons I learn through dealing with the temporary are.

Praise God!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for providing this lesson. Thank You for stretching me in an area I thought I’d already completely surrendered to You. Lord, thank You that things and items are all temporary and yet can be used by You. Lord, I want to honor You with all that I call my possessions. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is actually mine, it all belongs to You. Please help me to be wise and generous with anything and everything. Lord, You alone are worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. Thank You. Amen.

The gift of times past

Sis, Bell, and Anne were the reason it began.

Years ago, I wanted to give my husband something he’d have at work to look at, reminding him of his little girls.

I made sure to glue in some of their artwork along with their pictures.

Often, I would add a comic cut from the newspaper.

As we pulled one after another out of a box, Anne asked me when I started making calendars.

“Honestly, I can’t remember.”

I’m so very glad I did.

It has been so fun to look back through them now and again.

At first I always used blank calendars and had to do everything, including write in the date for every day of the year.

I’ll be honest, I messed up more than once!

When I learned how to download my pictures into premade templates and order them, the hours crafting a calendar dropped significantly.

Funny thing though.

My husband liked the homemade ones better.

He’s sweet and knows it’s easier for me to do the online thing, so he’s never complained.

I think the only time he might complain is if he didn’t receive a calendar at Christmas.

Each year the whole family enjoys flipping through the newest calendar on Christmas Day.

No matter the template I use, I’m sure to include two things: pictures of our children and verses from the Bible.

Because our family wouldn’t be if it weren’t for Jesus.

He’s the reason we have memories to look back on.

His love and provision has sustained us through thick and thin, health and illness, times apart and togetherness, little and much.

The Lord is the reason we are the family that we are.

And it seems especially important to praise Him for holding our family.

Today is my husband’s birthday.

He doesn’t like parties or fuss of that sort.

But I feel secure that he won’t mind me thanking God for him.

Thanking the Lord for the memories of past years, months, weeks…days.

Thanking the Lord for giving me to my husband as wife: his beloved, his friend, the mother of his children, and a fellow follower of Christ.

I’m thanking God for the love we share.

Our relationship has deepen and grown and we are both deeply in love with one another.

I praise God for His blessings upon our family.

I praise God for His continual provision.

I praise God for my husband.

“Happy Birthday, Handsome!”

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the birth of my husband. Thank You that he loves and serves You. Thank You that he loves and provides for us. Lord, please continue to guide, direct, and speak to him. Give him discernment with our family, our finances, his occupation, and our family dynamics. Lord Jesus, guard him from the enemy. Place a watch over his eyes, his heart, and his mind. Keep his feet planted firmly upon Your paths. Please let his words be full of wisdom, understanding, and Your Word. Thank You so much for all Your blessings and love. Thank You for our family. Amen.

Just a few little words

The day wasn’t too warm.

For the better part of the afternoon a refreshing breeze blew.

Sis had come over for lunch.

After we ate, Jase and Anne went back to school work, I took our granddaughter out to pet the plants.

Sis joined us in a short time.

Bringing shoes for tiny pink toe-protection and to allow them the joy of walking the patio unassisted.

When she came out she commented.

“Grammy has so many beautiful flowers all over. This way you can go look at them.”

It was a small thing, just a few little words.

Sis wasn’t talking to me, but to her baby girl and I just grinned.

It was later, I was outside sitting on the patio, when I began to realize.

“Lord, thank You so much! The yard is such a joy.”

When we first moved here nothing was blooming.

The red rose in the front yard had wrinkled-brown, dried-dead rosehips.

But the back was mostly over grown weeds, in the beds and under the apple trees.

As I thought about the words of our daughter I was humbled by God’s grace.

He has caused so much to change in the yard.

There are flowers all over.

And I love it!

Flowers bring me so much joy.

Did I mention the vegetable garden?

The purple tinted kale, the lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes all hold a certain anticipation and gratitude at God’s creation.

Although, Sis’s words were small, their impact was large.

I don’t think I’ve truly thanked the Lord enough for all the beauty He has grown in this season.

But thanks to our daughter’s well phrased words, I’m making it a priority.

As I water plants, I’ll be praising the Lord.

I know God didn’t have to give me flowers, but He chose to.

Flowers are His creation and they have been used for generations as gifts, things to show affection from one to another.

Which is how I feel about mine.

The flowers are a symbol of God’s love.

And it was a few little words which brought that to my attention.

My prayer is for others to look at God’s creation and praise Him too.

Isaiah 61:11 KJV — For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the garden. Thank You for growing delicately designed things which point to You. Lord, I long to be grateful for Your many amazing works, but I don’t always recognize them. Please open my mind and heart to all Your works. Please continue to grow me in Your love and understanding. Lord, fulfill Your Word, let righteousness and praise spring forth! I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Iris

The last time I was at our property I was too sick to really do much.

I can’t even remember much about it.

However, the last time my husband was there he noticed something.

He told me when he saw it he knew it would bless me.

And he was right.

This beautiful Iris is one of several in a rectanglar shaped container.

Years ago, he made it and suggested I use it for flowers.

It’s held Iris bulbs ever since.

Some how in our move it had gotten over looked.

I was very glad when he and our son-in-law brought it here.

This morning, I was extra blessed to see the blossom.

Especially since our property sold, last Friday.

We’d been waiting for some information about the progress of the sale.

We’ve learned not to expect to sign papers until we hear from the title company, but everything had been silent.

Until Friday.

The call came in, we needed to sign papers.

It felt odd, sitting with masks across from the notary, who was wearing gloves and a mask as well.

To put ink on paper which meant a chapter of our lives, seven years, was closed.

It’s opening into something new, and we are glad for the couple who are so excited about living there.

We are very thankful to be able to move forward into the next chapter God has for us.

Although we shall always carry the love and memories of that dear valley with us.

I can truly look upon that purple Iris and praise God for His hand of direction in our lives.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to bring those flowers and the memories with us.

As these days, in a new chapter unfold, I’m thankful.

His plans and path for us is so much better than anything I could possibly have imagined.

Truly, His ways are perfect!

Deuteronomy 32:4 KJV — He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Amen.

The yarn box

It was a few days ago.

I was putting a small ball of yarn in the plastic box I keep it.

Most of it is the leftovers from the giant bag Tim and Sis got me at a yard sale over a year ago.

I have made many teddy bears from that yarn, plus blankets, hats, and baby sweaters.

The remnants have been sitting quietly in the tote.

“Lord, what am I supposed to do with all this leftover yarn?”

Make small animals.

“Oh! Well…what am I starting with?”

A turtle, get out the green.

So, I obeyed.

It wasn’t easy.

Infact, crocheting a turtle turned out to be a lot more complicated than I expected.

However, God patiently walked me through it.

My girls loved it and said they each wanted one.

Frankly, I wasn’t thrilled.

“That was a pain to make, not sure I want to make more,” came my ungracious response.

On top of that, part of me was wondering why God had me doing this.

What use are they?

However, whether I understood what the plan was or not, I knew obedience is better than sacrifice.

I got my attitude back in order and asked the Lord for His forgiveness and patience with me.

The next day I made a fox.

Yesterday, it was another turtle and the octopus.

In prayer this morning, I was asking the Lord again.

“What do You want me to do with these? Why am I making them?”

To bring joy.

I had to smile.

Sometimes, I make things way too complicated.

With all the uncertainty surrounding us, I had not thought about the need to simply be joyful.

Crafting things has always been something which brings me joy.

And if you could see the smiles on the faces of my family as they look over each new toy, it’s obviously bringing them joy.

I’ve been texting pictures of these creative outlets to my oldest daughter, who seems to be enjoying them.

I even sent a few pictures to my mom for a smile.

Yet, it took God’s gentle voice to help me see why crocheting scrap yarn into funny animals is actually a blessing.

God isn’t interested in just the big and important.

He’s also in the smallest details.

And He wants us to find joy even amidst the uncertainty.

So, today, I’ll grab out some more leftover yarn and my crochet hook while going through our homeschool day.

I’ll also be looking for other opportunities to praise the Lord and spread joy to those around me.

Because, I can choose to be joyful, and it’s a privilege to share it.

Psalm 32:11 KJV — Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

An Easter meal to remember

Anne worked hard on Saturday.

She wanted the house to reflect the festivities of our Risen Savior.

I had gotten up for a bit and she showed me all she had done.

It was beautiful.

I was blessed by her creativity.

She had gotten into the storage boxes and looked for anything she might use.

I commented on how nicely she had done.

“Mom, what are we going to have tomorrow?”

I shrugged.

“Maybe Daddy can smoke us some chicken.”

With me being in bed for so long, I didn’t know what we had for groceries.

Anne decided to make some deviled eggs, and she informed me we still had some potato salad Bell had made.

My husband had to spend the day at our property working. Bell had gone down also to get a few things.

Anne and I both knew they wouldn’t have time to go buy anything.

I could tell Anne was a little concerned about our meal, but I reminded her to trust God.

When we went to bed, my husband still hadn’t arrived home.

So when I got back up later that evening to welcome them, I had a big surprise waiting.

My husband and our daughter were bringing in groceries.

A ham, potato casserole, rolls, salad, and an apple pie.

All of it had been a gift to our family.

The next day I made sure to text our thanks and appreciation.

Her response was simple:

“As I was buying our ham at Costco yesterday the Lord brought you to my mind and knowing the situation your family has been in with you being so limited with your health I figured everyone might need a little break. I only wish some of it was homemade!! At least it won’t be too much work for anyone.
Hope your family has a wonderful Easter celebration together!”

Even now, I can not properly express my gratitude and appreciation.

We had a wonderful Easter celebration.

We watched service online.

Then we had our own worship and my husband taught from Isaiah 53.

Our meal was one of the nicest Easter meals we’ve ever had.

Truly, God is incredible.

His ways are so much higher than ours.

He is so faithful.

This really was an Easter to remember.

Praise God!

Two Mason Jars

It was a dream.

My husband was standing next to our dining room table and explaining to the family, “a thankfulness jar”.

Basically it was an ordinary Mason jar which we were to each write one thing we are thankful for and place the papers in the jar.

I remember him talking about our need to give thanks to God regularly for all our blessings.

Then I woke.

I pondered.

“Lord, I like this. I think it would be good for all of us.”

“The girls could even decorate a jar, so it would be pretty. It could be sitting on the piano.”

–pause–

“Lord, what am I missing? It feels like I only have half the plan.”

Bible verses

“Of course. Love it! We will have two jars, one for our thankfulness notes and the other for scripture.”

It’s perfect.

I texted the information to both our girls.

Easter Sunday seems a beautiful time to begin.

I have been praying about which verse to begin with.

I think this is the one:

Matthew 28:6 KJV — He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (Emphasis mine.)

No matter your circumstances, I pray you are able to find creative ways to praise and thank our Lord Jesus this Easter.

Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your sacrifice. Lord, as we look to Easter Sunday please help our hearts be completely focused upon praising You for all You have done. Let us never grow weary of the greatest story, Your story. Help us find renewed vigor from the trials You walked through. Lord Jesus, please bring our hearts and minds back to You on this, the best of holidays, for without Your Resurrection we have no hope of heaven. Thank You Jesus for dieing for me. Thank You for rising again! Praise be to God on high!!

Daily reminders

I purchased this when I thought we were building a new house.

One of the things I wanted to do was fill our new home with scripture.

To have something in every room which would be a daily reminder of Jesus and His neverending love.

We didn’t build.

Instead God moved us out of the area.

But as I was tidying up this morning, I was washing this and reading the words again.

The memory of when and why I purchased it came back.

I so wanted our new house to be full of reminders.

Then I began to look around.

These were separate gifts. One is mine and the other was given to Anne.

My husband bought this about ten years ago and it has always been a blessing and a reminder.

While living with Tim and Sis I bought this at a Good Will Store.

This was a gift from a former student.

This was a Christmas gift from our dear friends.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Each room has something special which brings my heart a tender reminder of the love of Jesus.

I wasn’t able to specifically purchase and plan for this house.

Jesus did.

And I wouldn’t change anything.

Home

Many months ago, I was walking the aisles of Hobby Lobby with our daughter and saw this picture.

I bought it.

These words are part of a song I used to own. (On cassette tape!)

My husband and I would sing it together.

As I was walking around the house this morning it caught my eye.

“What makes a home?”

For me, it’s my family.

I’m so blessed to have my husband and we are so thankful for our children.

As they are growing up and moving on to their own families I’ve found a new joy.

My family is multiplying!

I can’t thank God enough for each and every one of them.

It is such a privilege and pleasure to learn each one and to love them.

Although I’m deeply saddened by the pain and loss occuring world wide, I’m still able to be thankful for the blessing of family.

And I’ve been praying:

That these days of seclusion will be rich with family time.

Even if the members are separated, I’ve been praying they would be able to connect with deeper meaning.

But it’s costly.

Families often hurt one another and cause all kinds of scars upon the heart.

To truly love and connect with one another it takes forgiveness, patience, and humility.

Gifts from God.

Which He gives freely.

What better time to revisit those things than now?

No one is guaranteed tomorrow, today is all we have.

While I’m here, with my family, in this home, I’m seeking to plant as much love, teaching, understanding, forgiveness, and joy as I can.

Because that’s another thing which makes home, the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Galatians 5:22‭-‬23a NKJV

“God’s creation is beautiful!”

Earlier this week, I couldn’t keep from heading outside to weed the flower bed.

Of course I’m not really supposed to be taxing myself with yard work so I told Jase he was coming along.

I expressed my joy at how well the tulips he planted were doing.

Busily pulling weeds, I began explaining the difference between them and the plants coming up.

As my energy began to wane, I stopped talking.

My eyes were on the weeds, all around me.

My mind was warning me not to overdo it.

The task started to feel over bearing.

Silence settled around us as I kept working and wondering how much more I should do.

Then his voice broke the air.

“God’s creation really is beautiful!”

“Isn’t it, Mom!”

I was startled.

I looked up.

His face was aglow with wonder and appreciation.

His eyes were looking above me, focused on the two blooming trees in the neighbor’s yard.

They’re bountifully blossomed in pink.

Showing the glory and creativity of our Master in their tiny bright flowers.

He wasn’t hindered by the weeds.

He was able to lift his eyes to the beauty above us.

What a wonderful reminder!

Our son, one of God’s creations, rejoicing in another of God’s creations.

Jesus said it best:

Matthew 21:16b NKJV …And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”

Our son was an example to me.

It’s important to look for God’s beauty and not get bogged down by the weeds.