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Friday, February 17, 2017

Sweetness in Hope

You've often heard the term, "Hope springs eternal." I was thinking about that saying today and how true it really is.

Lately when I've been feeling discouraged, I will stop what I'm doing and just wait for a moment. If I can get in a quiet spot, I will wait and search deep within myself. Then I will think, "It is still there!"

The "it" is hope. I can literally feel it moving around inside my chest. It is almost like a translucent bubble that I can sense bouncing around inside of me.

From the outside, my problems are still there just as big as they ever were. My outward trials haven't went away. But inside my heart, I can feel hope floating and soaring- reassuring me that even though I haven't received an answer, my hope remains.

One version of Romans 15:13 reads:

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.

I am like anyone else. I often ask the Lord, "Oh, Lord, how long? How long?" to whatever trial I am facing. There isn't always an answer the way I would like to see an answer.

But there is a sweet hope that is like a bubbling stream deep on the inside of me.  And I know that hope remains. Where there is hope, there is life.

Sometimes when I read about someone who has taken their life, my heart grieves. That hope within them must have been lost. It is crucial to keep that hope alive.

Sometimes people will say, "Get your hopes up." I would rather say, "Keep your hope alive. Keep feeding that hope with reassuring words."

 I speak things over myself. I speak things that I believe God says about me. That causes that little bubble of hope to float happily within me day after day.

Are you feeling unhappy or filled with despair? Activate that hope once again. Tell yourself that you will hope in God, no matter what the circumstances look like. Circumstances can look gloomy and quickly fill us with despair, but our hope can remain intact. Practice speaking words of life to yourself.

"Spring up, O well!"

Linking Up to: momfessionals.com savvysouthernstyle.net

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fashion Friday Favorites






I've been wracking my brain this week for deep, spiritual truths, and I'm coming up with nothing.  I'm not sure what that says about me. I really do enjoy writing about what God has been showing me. But it's been a slow week, I guess.

When in doubt, we can talk about fashion, right?

I recently ordered three of these jackets from Nordstrom. If you are wondering why, it is because of their awesome free return policy. I couldn't decide which color I liked the best, so my husband said to order all three and then decide.  Here are the three I ordered.

Burgundy



Red

Coffee Bean



This isn't a life altering decision, of course. But it was a really hard choice. I sort of liked them all! The red was so cute, but I couldn't be sure it would be versatile. The burgundy was so pretty, too. But in the end, I went with the last one above. They are all from Nordstrom. (nordstrom.com)






This jacket has been one of my favorite finds! Have a wonderful week!

Linking up to:  tabanderika.blogspot.com  momfessionals.com graceandloveblog.com

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Five Favorite Bloggers Right Now

I am up early most mornings. I usually have coffee and a quiet time before the sun even rises. Next, I usually read several posts from various bloggers while Joyce Meyer is on in the background. I love the early morning hours when the whole house is sleeping.

Many of the following bloggers I have been reading for several years now. Some of them are young moms with small children and some are in their forties. I enjoy each season of life and reading about what's going on in their lives. Some write about their faith and some combine faith with fashion. I love each one for their uniqueness.

The first one has been my favorite for a long time.


   Kelly Stamps is well known in the blogging world. She has a beautiful, authentic faith that she shares with her readers. We've all come to know her three children: Harper, Hollis, and Will Holden. She had her last baby in her forties as I did, so I feel a connection to her. She is from Arkansas.




    Sheaffer is probably a tie for 1st place. She has a fresh, fun way of writing. Her emphasis is primarily fashion, but she also has a heart for moms of special needs kids. She has a big Nordstrom giveaway each year for those moms. 




3. hisugarplum.com   



    Cassie is just a beautiful lady. Her blog is primarily fashion oriented also, but she and her husband also have a love for travel. They went to Portofino, Italy, last year.
    The name for her blog came from something her grandfather had always said to her:)










    Shay Shull is a cookbook author and blogger. She writes about family, food, fashion, and adoption. They recently adopted their second daughter from China. She also runs a travel agency and she and her family do a lot of traveling all over the world.







    Andrea is a middle school math teacher in Texas with three beautiful children. She writes mostly about her family life and loves to decorate for the holidays just like I do. I love her sweet outlook on being a mother. I don't think I've ever seen anyone make every moment count the way she seems to be able to do. 

There are many other bloggers out there that I love. Would you believe that most of them, including numbers 2-5 on this post are from Texas? There must just be something about Texas!

A few more that I read are:

If you are looking for a new blog to read, I highly recommend each one of these ladies. They always have good, fresh content and are very consistent bloggers. It's funny that I can mention the first five ladies above by name to my husband and he is familiar with who they are:)

Happy reading and I pray that the month of January is especially blessed for you and your family!



I Dream of Closets

Our home is almost ten years old now and I still pinch myself that I get to live here. There isn't a whole lot I would change if we were building again.  But now that I've become a little more interested in things like clothes and shoes, I sometimes dream of closets!




freshamerican.com




Our closet is off our bathroom in the master bedroom. It is nice, roomy space. But if I were going to design a closet, here are a few things that I would incorporate.

1. Bring on the GLAM! If I am going to dream big, then I might as well go all out, right?

    A chandelier and an island would be key for my dream closet.



curbed.com





                                                             forum.purseblog.com



pinterest.com






lovika.com






decorpad.com




decorpad.com








deringhall.com





babble.com


decorpad.com




instyle.com
Lauren Conrad closet



Lighting is such a key element in designing a closet/dressing area. The link below can help in selecting the type of light you could use for your dream closet.

https://www.arhaus.com/furniture/lighting/pendant-lighting/

2. Another thing that would be key for me is hidden storage space. Somewhere in my closet I would       love a hidden storage area for all holiday related stuff - boxes, wrapping paper, luggage, etc.

charlesandhudson.com



Isn't this a neat storage idea? I love it!

3. A marble counter in the closet for my perfume (okay, I only have one bottle of perfume at the moment, but in my dream closet, there are lots of perfume bottles!) makeup, lighted makeup mirror, jewelry, and any other little pretties.


thebookofsecrets.tumblr.com


4. A valet pole in my closet. It would be nice to have this feature so that I could put together what I was wearing the next day.

hgtv.com


5. A chair where I could sit and take boots on and off.



fullbloomcottage.com





6. A leopard print rug/carpet in my closet would make it feel like a special space.



pinkpeonies.com
                                                                         
   


7. Finally, in my GLAM closet, it would not be his and hers. I am sorry, Dave, but my dream closet only has room for one. I'll make sure your closet is just as nice:)


What would you have in your dream closet?

*This post was inspired by Arhaus furniture.
 arhausfurniture.com


Linking to: savvysouthernstyle.net  astrollthrulife.net stonegableblog.com impartinggrace.com

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The God of All Comfort






Photo courtesy of Pinterest




I hope you all had a wonderful and joyous Christmas.

It seems I had a little trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. I baked, watched Christmas movies, and spent time with family. But some years are just like that, I guess.

We received sad news a week ago today. One of the young moms in our church suffered the unexpected loss of her brother and nephew. We attended their funerals today. It broke my heart to see her grief and the grief of her family.

I wish I could wave a magic wand when people are crushed and are suffering such brokenness. How I wish I could call their loved ones back for just a few moments so that they could know and see that they are okay and with the Lord.

There is something so unsettling about death. It hardly ever comes with warning. It is when it comes so unexpectedly that it causes our grief to almost break us.

When our son died, it was unexpected in some ways, but also not a total surprise. Alex had come close to death before, but had always somehow pulled through. I thought that night in the emergency room would be like the other times. But it wasn't.

There isn't a lot we can do except pray for those who are hurting. Sometimes, I could sense the prayers of people praying for us after Alex died.  At other times, God seemed very far away. I wondered if He were indifferent to what I was feeling. I know now that He was very near, but at the time, I couldn't always feel Him there. The Bible says that He is touched by the feelings of our infirmities and that He is close to the brokenhearted. All during those days (and even now) when I felt so broken and wondered where God was, He was actually very near. We can't go by our feelings during these times - we can only go by faith that He will never lie to us. He is with us. He sees the beginning and the end. He sees our loved ones. They are not lost from His sight or His care. We that remain are not lost from His sight. He cares and sees every tear, every sigh, every groan, every thought.

Still, how I wish I could make everything right for those who are hurting today.

But one day, we will see our loved ones again. I will rejoice with them and I will rejoice for all of those who are finally reunited again forever.

So I begin this New Year with hope for myself and for others who are hurting today. Only God can restore and give hope once again. It isn't something we can work up. We can rest in knowing that He will bring healing and peace once again.

If you are hurting today, can I pray with you? Lord Jesus, I declare peace and hope over anyone reading these words today. I ask that You do the impossible and give hope where there isn't any right now. I ask that you reveal Yourself in their dreams at night and during the long hours of the day. I speak peace, peace, peace. Let their eyes be opened to your majesty and your glory. Let the supernatural become natural. In Jesus' name. Amen.

I send love and blessings to each one of you. Remember that God is the God of comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions.

Linking to:  savvysouthernstyle.net stonegableblog.com impartinggrace.com astrollthrulife.net

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Gifts I Would Definitely Buy For Myself

If you are still looking for gifts for the females in your life, and you aren't tired of reading one more blog post about gift ideas, then look no further. I'm here for you.

If I were buying a gift for myself, then these would be a few that I would choose.


1. It's really too, too bad that I discovered this place a little late in life. But now that I have...

A Sephora Gift Card







Your mom, sister, girlfriend, or wife can get perfume, makeup, and lots of other things that women love - and your purchases come in a little black and white striped bag. It just makes me happy.


2. TJ Maxx Gift Card (can also be used at Marshalls or Home Goods - so,win win)



I love buying things for the home at Home Goods. Their inventory changes all the time and I love that I'm not paying full price.



3. Her favorite restaurant/coffee gift card. I love my Starbucks!






4. Hair salon gift card. I always have a mini heart attack at how the prices keep rising. A gift card would help immensely.



5. A new car with a bow on top is the thing that dreams are made of as well as plane tickets to a distant city....but really, an experience can make for a nice gift. It's as cold as the North Pole where I live, but I've always thought a sleigh ride in a horse drawn carriage would be so much fun followed by apple cider or hot chocolate.


weebly.com


*My son and daughter are going to Chicago this weekend to see a sing along version of White Christmas with Bing Crosby. For someone who loves Christmas, this would be a great gift surprise.


musicboxtheater.com (Chicago, IL)






*I don't have any interest in a sky diving experience, but maybe your wife or girlfriend does:)

*You could also purchase tickets to an event that you know she would enjoy. The Sound of Music will be playing at the Civic Center in DM next year and that is something I would love to attend.


One last experience idea. A few years back we worked at a non profit ministry. I wanted to give my husband a gift that he would remember. I wrote one of his favorite authors to see if he could possibly call my husband on Christmas. I never heard back from him, so I just assumed that he either hadn't received it, or it was just an impossible request. So, on Christmas Eve, I told my husband what I had tried to give him for a Christmas gift. He was very touched. Guess what? The author actually did call my husband on Christmas Day!

So you can basically bug your spouse's favorite author and hope that they will call them, too. lol

6. A gift card for her favorite shop.



I love going to Pottery Barn for inspiration, but I don't usually buy unless I run across a great sale, especially after Christmas. I have a lot of beautiful holiday things that I have purchased from Pottery Barn, but they were purchased ON SALE:)


7. Either a movie night at home with takeout food, or going to a special movie would be a gift I would love. I saw Hacksaw Ridge recently and really liked it. I'd like to see the movie Lion, also. Just purchase the tickets in advance and wrap it up!









These are a few of the things that come to mind. I hope it may help someone out.

I pray each one of you reading has a very Merry Christmas!! God bless you!


Linking up to:  astrollthrulife.net  savvysouthernstyle.net homestoriesatoz.com stonegableblog.com

Thursday, November 17, 2016

My Beautiful Aunt Loretta

I must say that I've been blessed with some very beautiful aunts in my family. On my mom's side I have Linda, Loretta, Lena Mae, Frances, Brenda, and Pam. On my dad's side I have Sandy, Charlotte, and Mary Frances. They are all lovely.

Sadly, two of my aunts have passed away. My aunt Frances died just a few years ago. I will always think of her as she was when I was about ten years old. She was stunningly beautiful. I will always remember her with her long black hair wearing a crushed velvet pantsuit (it was back in the day of crushed velvet hot pants and couches, wood paneling and shag carpeting). I distinctly remember one afternoon when she picked me up at school when I was in the third grade. I hoped with all my heart that all my friends would see me walking down the sidewalk with my pretty aunt. I was so proud of her.

My aunt Loretta passed away when my kids were small. She was something extra special. She didn't live near us, but several states away in Florida. It was a wonderful time when we would learn that she was coming down for the holidays. If you think of a Hollywood premiere with spotlights on movie stars, then you have some inkling of what it was like when Loretta would arrive. It helped that she looked a lot like the movie star, Ann Margaret. She would walk into the room and the atmosphere would change. Her laugh would ring out as she embraced everyone. You just had to be happy around Loretta. She would enjoy everything that came out of your mouth no matter who you were. I look back now and realize what a gift that is. To make the person in front of you feel like they are valuable and important is a rarity. She truly seemed to enjoy hearing all about my ten year old, thirteen year old, or sixteen year old self. She made everyone feel that way. No wonder we all looked forward to seeing her.

My very first plane ride was with my aunt Pam to go and visit Loretta in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. She took us to see Jaws and then we were too scared to swim in the Gulf of Mexico (at least for a day).  It was a special visit because after years of wanting a child, she and her husband were finally expecting a baby. She radiated joy and happiness. Her little girl, Adria, was an answer to their prayers.







Years later, she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease and died a short time later. A beautiful light went out when she passed away.

But every holiday season, when I am preparing for Thanksgiving, I think of Loretta. Over the years, I've tried to make the holidays special for my nieces and nephews. I've tried to keep alive that joy that she always brought to the holiday season and even the ordinary days (which she made extraordinary) when she was able to come and see us.

So to all my nieces and nephews, and especially to my own children, I hope I've been able in some small way, to make Thanksgiving and Christmas as special for you as she did for me.

Thank you, Loretta:)

Linking to:  impartinggrace.com savvysouthernstyle.net stonegableblog.com astrollthrulife.org homestoriesatoz.com

Sunday, October 23, 2016

PAIN

It's time to move past pain.



I was praying one day and told the Lord, "Well, I've pretty much written about all I know to write about. Do You have any ideas of what I should write about?" I really wasn't expecting an answer, to be honest. I say a lot of things to God and He doesn't always clearly answer me. But on this day, He did. He said, "Write about pain." That wouldn't be my Number One choice, but after a few weeks, I started writing about pain and a few experiences that came to my mind.

When I say the word pain, what immediately comes to your mind?
Is there an event in your life that coincides with the word pain?

 Pain can feel like it is cutting us to ribbons, even years after an event. On the outside, perhaps we look normal. But in the invisible realm, we are gushing out blood from our wounds.

No one can avoid pain.

Everyone experiences pain.

The experiences I'm sharing are really small potatoes compared to other people's memories of growing up with an alcoholic parent, or because of abuse, or divorce. I realize that. Those are much deeper hurts. I would never minimize those experiences by comparing them to mine. These are just meant as examples of painful situations many of us have experienced.

In the fourth grade, I can remember a girl coming up to me as I had my hand on the door to go outside for recess. We had spent many afternoons playing at each other's houses. I clearly remember her words, "My mom said I don't have to play with you at school." as she headed out the door. I remember stopping and thinking, "But why? We've played together all our lives. Why can't we play together at school?" Even now, I can remember and feel that pain. I didn't understand. My heart didn't know what to do with the hurt. I must have opened the door and went on outside. But I can still recall the pain I felt at hearing those words. A little seed was planted that said I was found wanting in some area and I didn't even know what area it was.

In the fifth grade, I was the new girl at a tiny school. I was painfully shy, but smiled and tried to be friendly.
A girl was passing out birthday invitations. She passed them out one by one as we all stood in line. When she got to me, she looked at me and said, "I'm not inviting you."
While I understood on some level as a fifth grader that it was because I was new and she didn't know me,  it still hurt deeply. All the other girls were standing there admiring their invitations and I wasn't included.


When I hit the 7th grade, it was the year of Farrah Fawcett and her famous hairstyle. I had read that this style only worked if your hair was thick and wavy. Mine was, so I was convinced that I could be beautiful if only my hair was cut like Farrah's.  But it wasn't to be.   In your mind's eye, place a bad haircut on one of the tallest girls in the 7th grade (me), one of the skinniest girls in the 7th grade (again, me), and the one whose front teeth stuck out a little, and you can kind of get the picture. I hated what I saw in the mirror.


Fast forward a few years later when our 9th grade class was voting for class officers. I attended a small school and had been a class officer each year. But that year was different. My name was called along with several others who were nominated. We were asked to stand out in the hallway while the class voted. When I came back in, I found out that I hadn't won that year. But I was even more surprised and hurt when a girl I considered to be a friend, leaned over to me and said, "I didn't vote for you." I was at a loss as to why she wanted me to know that. The remainder of that last year at that school was very hard. I  felt like I didn't fit in anywhere.

Probably none of us escaped our school years unscathed.

I often felt like I was a disappointment as a kid. If I made the honor roll, I felt like I was okay and good.  But I wasn't the prettiest, the smartest, the most popular, the most anything.  When I looked in a mirror, I was always disappointed.


The hardest time of all for me during those years were the yearbook photo days. Maybe I could somehow persuade myself that I looked okay when I saw my reflection in the mirror each morning. But photos just don't lie.

I dreaded the day when the teacher passed out that envelope with our photos inside. Do you remember those big envelopes where your picture showed through the window of the envelope?  I always had hope in my heart. Maybe this year, I would look better. Maybe I would have taken a good picture. Maybe I even looked a little pretty. But every year, my hopes were crushed. It seemed I looked worse every single year!  My teeth stuck out, my eyebrows were  bushy, and my hair was big, but not in an 80's good sort of way.  If I tried to work on one area of myself, it literally seemed another unmanageable area made itself known....pimples, sciolosis...all I needed were glasses and braces, which somehow I managed to avoid.

I began to believe what I saw in those photos. I believed I was ugly.

 Sometimes pain can lead to shame. For many years, I've had a sense of shame always being there, covering me, and speaking lies to me.

"They don't like you."
"You aren't pretty enough,"
"You never do anything right."

It can go on and on.

My husband often says this, "Guilt is feeling bad about something you've done, shame is feeling bad about what you are. It's an identity issue."                             

Pain and shame can define us and convince us of things that are not even true about ourselves. If you hear something long enough, you start to believe what you are hearing, even if it is coming from your own head.


My husband remembers a time when he was the new kid at school. He and his brother were wearing jeans and cowboy boots, while the other guys were wearing bell bottoms. He had been well liked and popular at his previous school, but now at the new school, he felt he had been dropped in the middle of a mine field.

One day, during lunch,  his classmates were reaching over and helping themselves to tator tots off their friend's plate. When my husband casually decided to do the same, that student went into a rage, picked up his lunch tray loaded with food, and slammed it all over him. He was covered in lunch room food and left the room while all the students laughed. He felt totally humiliated. But that experience, along with some others during those awful years, left an imprint on him - that he wasn't acceptable as he was.  He made a decision to do whatever it took to fit in. That decision would affect his life negatively for many years.

All of our painful experiences, if not healed, can define us as who we think we are.

When I look in the mirror, I have to fight to see who I am now. I have to strain to not see the unattractive 7th grader staring back at me in the mirror.

Over the years,  I've often thought I missed an important class in school. The class that teaches you how to walk, how to talk, how to do your hair and makeup, and what clothes to wear. It feels like a memo was sent out that I somehow missed!

I was helping with a GED class a few years ago with Teen Challenge students.  While assisting a really sweet young man in his twenties, he suddenly became very emotional.  Being back in a school environment suddenly caused him to recall how a teacher's words to him had made him feel stupid. Even though that had occurred years ago, working on his GED brought back all those memories of feeling that he wasn't bright enough or as smart as the other kids in his class. He was a grown man now, but that pain and those words were still a part of him. He was actually very bright, but the words of that teacher had convinced him otherwise.

This reminds me of something I read the other day about Thomas Edison.




Amazing, isn't it? He would grow up to be one of the most famous inventors of the century, but because of his different learning style (this article said that he was probably dyslexic), he was labeled "addled"(dumb) by a teacher.

Maybe there are words that were spoken to you that you have had a hard time getting past.

Has someone such as a teacher, told you that you were dumb or slow or stupid?

You're not. Maybe you have a different learning style, but you aren't stupid.

Has someone called you worthless? Maybe a parent said that in anger or a spouse or someone else close to your heart has said that to you.

That label isn't true either. You are extremely valuable. So much so, that Someone saw you, loved you, and was willing to lay down His life for you. You have great value to God. Jesus' love for you isn't just a fairy tale story. It is real. He sees you, knows you, and loves you right where you are today.

Did your family struggle financially when you were growing up? Sometimes that feeling of lack can create a great insecurity even when those times are years behind you. Do you still struggle with feeling that you or your family aren't as good as other families? God wants to heal that area of your heart.

Were you hiding a secret that caused you shame and pain?

God longs to bring us into a place of peace where we no longer struggle with hearing the voice inside our head telling us we can never be good enough, never achieve anything, never do anything great. None of that is true, although if it is something you've heard in your head for a long time - it can seem true. You've just gotten used to it.

But that doesn't mean that we can't start over by replacing those lies with what is really true.

The older I become, the more I realize that Jesus isn't just our Savior or a Healer. He is that prince on a white horse that wants to rescue us.

Our four year old son passed away twenty years ago. That is hard for me to believe sometimes. I still remember details very clearly from the night he died. There is still pain there. You aren't supposed to see your little boy on a hospital gurney when there is no longer any life in his body. I still struggle in a very, very big way with fear concerning our other children. I will wake up sometimes and think, "Will I have to go through that again? Please God, don't let that happen again." I recognize that I need healing in that area. There is still a lot of pain there that needs to be healed.

A couple of days ago, I was in line at Walmart to return an item. There were two young men in front of me. Something about one of them caught my eye. For some reason, the moment I looked at him, I understood that he felt bad about himself, as if he felt he wasn't as good as other people. I don't know how I knew that, but it just seems I did. Inside my head, I prayed for him. I prayed that God would show him how valuable and loved he really was.

It hurts my heart to know there are people we pass every day who feel this way. They live and function in pain because it is all they know. I truly want to see that kind of thing healed up in their hearts by the One who loves them the most. I just don't always know how to move from Point A to Point B in how to go about that. I've been thinking about that verse lately that says, "Do the work of an evangelist." I'm perfectly willing if God will lead me in how to do that.

My husband often teaches on our identity. A couple of things he says are:

1. We can actually argue against the word of God when we continue to believe the wrong things.

2. Assuming we already have the truth is one of the biggest barriers to receiving the truth we need.

Part of the process of overcoming pain is in our court. We have to choose to do things in a new way.

Pain hurts. Pain is painful. But God can use even your most painful experiences.Sometimes pain causes us to forge ahead with God in ways that perhaps we would not have done otherwise. He can bring beauty from your ashes.

If I could pray with you, it would be this prayer: "Lord Jesus, open their minds, hearts, and spirits to the truth of who You are and who they are to you. Even when they are sleeping, begin to awaken your love in them. In everyday ways that the can comprehend and know, begin to show them how valuable they are to you."


Much love to each one of you!

















Link up:  astrollthrulife.net impartinggrace.com

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dreams Do Come True


www.centralpark.com




www.usatoday.com
Rockefeller Center, NYC


www.fodors.com


I'm not sure when I became interested in visiting New York City.  I never really thought I would get to see it, though. There were a couple of reasons:

1.  The expense of a trip. Sometimes you can get a good deal on flights, but then there is the question of hotels in Manhattan - they aren't cheap. Plus, in my dreams, I attended a Broadway show. Another cost. Then there are taxis, subways, museum, food, etc. So, it didn't seem like a likely event in my little corner of the world.

2. Our daughter and our son both have some medical issues. Our oldest daughter has CP and in a wheelchair. She is unable to bathe, eat, or get in or out of bed on her own.
Our youngest son has a g-tube and requires a special formula and meds 2x a day.
Those two things in themselves seemed an insurmountable obstacle to me. It makes it very difficult to just pick up and go somewhere. If you have children, you can arrange child care, but special needs kids really have special needs.


For our 25th anniversary, my husband really wanted to take me to NYC. Our church, with so much kindness, gifted us with money to help with all the expenses. I was so touched by their generosity.

 Even after plane tickets were purchased and hotel reservations made, I was very skeptical that I was really going. Our two kids in particular weighed on my mind. My husband said to me, "You really aren't sure we are going, are you?" I really wasn't. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night with a panicked feeling. Or I would think things like, "Maybe I just have this built up in my mind. Maybe I won't even like it there. Maybe it will be awful. Is it even safe?" My kids laughed at that last one. It's a typical thing only I would ask.

There was so much uncertainty. Would my mother-in-law really be able to come and stay with the kids? Would there really be someone that could come and put our daughter to bed each night? Would the bath aide cancel in the morning and Elisa wouldn't even get a bath? Would the home nurse come when she was supposed to? (At that time, we had some home health care workers that weren't reliable).

But you know what? All the details fell into place and one morning, we arrived at the airport for our early flight to Chicago (only 45 minutes by air from where we live) and then on to New York!

I'll never forget flying into LaGuardia airport. As we walked through, I kept telling myself, "You are here. You are actually here!"

I wanted to throw my arms around our taxi driver and tell him how glad I was to see him. I wanted to grab perfect strangers and tell them how happy I was to meet them. I didn't do either, but it was in my heart. I could feel happiness radiating off of myself as we put our suitcases in the trunk and climbed into the back seat.

We drove into the city and I was the typical tourist, craning my neck to see all of the skyscrapers. We pulled up to our hotel in midtown Manhattan and checked in. We literally plopped  down our suitcases, changed into comfortable shoes, left the room to explore, and didn't come back into the room until dark.

I had been a little concerned that my husband would only want to do a little sight seeing. But I didn't need to worry. He was game for wherever I wanted to go.

We were within walking distance of Rockefeller Center and went there first. I watched the people ice skating beneath the statue of Promotheus, and felt like I was having an out of body experience. We walked on to Grand Central Station after that. I've lost track of everywhere we walked to on that first day. I don't think I had ever walked that much in one day in my life! But it seemed there was something spectacular to see on every street corner.

A couple of days later, on a bright, sunshine filled October afternoon, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge towards the One World Trade Center. It was such a beautiful day. The Brooklyn Bridge is simply majestic. It has been standing there over the East River for 146 years! As I walked, I prayed that God would be with the people of this great city. As I did, I could feel God's heart for New York, too, and for every person that called that city home.

It's strange, I know, to have such a love for a place that isn't my home. Of course, I'm only a guest there when I visit. It is a romanticized time for me. I don't live there, work there, or have to pay rent there. I'm just on vacation. I get to enjoy all the wonderful things the city has to offer in a very compact time.

But I wanted to share this for you. Whatever dream you have in your heart, no matter how far fetched it may seem, God can work out all the details. He is very kind and wants to give you the desires of your heart. I always think of that verse, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33). I think as we try and live our lives for God, He will add those things that mean a lot to us.

Last year, we took our daughter to NYC for her first visit. It was so amazing and wonderful to see all the sights through her eyes. That entire trip still has a dreamlike quality.

My husband just recently said, "It feels like we should be taking a trip to New York." We both said he probably felt that way because of the time of year. We visited New York in the fall these last two times. But hopefully, we will get to return again next year. At least, I am hopeful that we can.

What dreams do you have right now? What places do you imagine going to? God is interested in making those dreams come true!


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
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I'm a mom of six living in the Midwest. I know that I may never get to meet you in person, but somehow, through this blog, I want to somehow convey to you that you aren't just a face in the crowd. God sees you and knows you. He loves you. If you've never been sure that He is real or cares about you, He does. If I could sit with you over coffee, that is what I would want you to know. (And if you are from NYC, please say hello. I'd love to hear from you:)
Much love to you!
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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Everyone Needs a Father


Image result for the intern movie
www.wikipedia.com

I've often heard the term "Spiritual Father" ( meaning a mentoring type, older godly man who will be a father figure to you ) and have been quite frankly, turned off. I would hear this term and think, "Why would you need that?"  But recently, I began thinking more about it.

I had a father, of course, but my dad passed away in 2011. 

Maybe you had a father, but not a dad. Maybe your father left your family and he was never a central figure in your life. Maybe your father was present in the home,  yet you never really knew him. If this is your experience at all, then a spiritual father (or if that term rubs you the wrong way like it did to me, then substitute with father-like figure) could be an immense support to you.

At times, I've felt faced with insurmountable problems and have really wished I had a dad to bounce things off of. A husband is great, but there is something about a father.

My husband talks with his dad daily. I often wish I could pick up the phone and just ask a dad a question on what I should do about any given circumstance.

I recently watched the movie, The Intern, starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. I really loved it. The main reason was that I loved the father figure played by Robert De Niro. After seeing it about five different times, I told the Lord, "Okay, I wasn't interested in a father in my life, but now, just possibly, I could see myself with one. Could I order one exactly like Robert De Niro or, if he isn't too busy, could I just have Robert De Niro?" Yeah,I know that he was simply playing a part. But seriously, if there was such a thing as designing and placing an order for a man to be like a father to me ...he'd be it.

If you haven't seen the movie, here is a brief synopsis.

Ben Whitaker (Robert De Niro's character) is a 70 year old, retired widower. He seizes the opportunity to become a senior intern at an online fashion site. At first, his presence is considered humorous at best by his coworkers, but Ben soon becomes popular with his younger co-workers, except for Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the boss and founder of the company. But in spite of her habit of keeping people out of her personal life, Ben's charm, wisdom, and sense of humor gradually helps him develop a special bond of friendship with Jules.





Image result for the intern movie
www.nytimes.com




At first, Jules didn't want an intern at all. But in the midst of personal crisis and the stress of running a company, she and Ben develop a deep bond, becoming best friends. The internship progressed into a father/daughter relationship.

There are a couple of scenes from the movie that illustrate that father/daughter bond. In one part, Ben looks out the window and sees Jules' driver drinking from a paper bag. He goes directly down to the driver and strongly "suggests" he tell Jules that he would not be able to drive her anywhere today. The driver briefly resists, but Ben's face tells him that he means business. He was being her protector.

Another scene I like is where Jules is sharing a deep fear of her heart. I don't want to give anything away, but Ben's response is absolutely priceless.


I've prayed about a father figure, but honestly, I don't know if I've met this man yet. Sometimes, I feel like it's a case of, "There's no room at the inn." Any man that I may already know, could have a daughter already. Having another "daughter" could be an uncomfortable thing for them. I get that (and to be honest, that may be why I haven't asked someone yet).

 And there is always the true statement of, "God is your Father." Yes, that is true. But I don't think God feels threatened in His job description. I think He gets it.

Why would I like a father figure in my life? There are a few reasons.

1. Someone to talk to.
Having a husband to talk to is wonderful, but as I said before, there is something about     having a father to talk things over with. Right now, I feel like I am juggling so many responsibilities. There is home schooling, my son's appointments and health needs, my daughter's health needs...it's been a struggle trying to keep it all afloat and at times I wonder if I'm doing a good job at any of it. To hear a dad say to me, "You are doing an awesome job" - that would mean a lot.

2. Someone to listen.
I would love to have someone hear me out and redirect any areas in my thoughts that I might be getting a little off track about. When your thoughts are in your head alone, they can get kind of skewed. I would love to be able to bounce things off someone who was older and wiser than me. Their objectivity would be a God send.

3. Someone to be proud of me. 
Everyone needs a cheerleader. 
That is a little uncomfortable to type, but there it is. No matter how old you are - that approval can help you to keep going.

A few years ago, I was facing a hard time. It felt like I had nowhere to turn. Many times during that period, I wished I had a dad who would be at my door and just be there. No questions asked. He would just be there to listen, to advise, to help, to stand alongside me and walk through that time with me.

A protector, an ally, a friend. That would be an awesome thing.

Maybe in reading these last few lines, you can relate. Maybe there has been a void in your heart for many years in this area.

I have a hunch that many of you reading might be feeling the same way. My heart goes out to you if your dad was distant, unkind, or uncaring. That isn't the way God feels about you. You matter to Him. You aren't a mistake or a bother or a nuisance.

Many of you reading may have a hard time viewing God as a Father because of your earthly father. Maybe you felt you could never please your dad. Perhaps you had a father who was abusive. It can be hard to relate to God as a father when you are faced with memories of a dad who wasn't the man he should have been to you. But God can and is willing to be the dad you have been searching for. I believe that with you.

I like the verse that says God will be a "Father to the fatherless" (Psalm 68:5). Maybe God does send fathers to some, but to others, He wants to be that special Dad. That could be, I guess. Either way, I'm open to what God has in store.

I'll keep you posted!

Much love to you!

*FYI...As much as I loved the movie, there are a couple of scenes that wouldn't be appropriate for children.