Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jesus Looks Forward to Your Arrival

Some time back, I was looking out the window, when I suddenly sensed the Lord speaking to me. It wasn't an audible voice. But unexpectedly, in my heart, I heard Him say, "I can't wait until you get here and I can show you around heaven." At first my response was, "I hope You aren't trying to tell me something, because I have to raise all these kids!" I also was surprised because I hadn't been thinking of heaven and it was such a personal statement.  I always feel I am the least in the kingdom of God. Of course, that isn't an accurate statement for any of us. The Lord has been teaching me that. But I was taken by surprise nonetheless.

I also had a quick, vivid picture in my mind. It was not a vision, not a dream, just a quick mental picture. I saw myself in a beautiful, sparkling gown (not a robe) and Jesus bounding down the steps to greet me. (I could use the word "running" down the steps, but it was definitely "bounding")  I was so happy and He was so happy. In an instant, the picture was gone, but I was left with such a feeling of joy that He felt that way towards me.

You know how it is. We often tend to fall into the trap of, "He loves me if..." If I do this, say this, perform this correctly. That is never the way it is. He loves us with such a yearning love and one that can't be earned.  A love that we will not fully experience in our natural human relationships, though I believe they are an example of what God feels towards us.

I've often read books or stories of people who have been to heaven and returned. It has been hard for them to come back here. I understand a little bit of that now. I think that once we have seen Him and really know how He has loved us, we would never want to return either. Even though we have the earthly ties of husbands, children, and loved ones, it will never compare to the love He has for us. There is also no way to compare the way Jesus knows us. He knows our personalities and our hearts the way no one else possibly can. He's seen us cry when no one else has known. He remembers our prayers - even if we have forgotten what we prayed with such earnest hearts many years ago. He sees the unique way that we look at life and I think, laughs at our sense of humor. You are someone He wants to be with.

When our son passed away unexpectedly, a friend at Teen Challenge gave us a card with a verse she had read that very morning. I've always kept that card because it simply amazed me. It said, "and when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face to face." (Psalm 17:15)  That is such a beautiful way the scripture states this truth...I will be fully satisfied for I will see you face to face. I know the Lord wanted us to see that and be at peace.

Even though life has its hardships, its ups and downs, and all its uncertainties, one thing is sure. I think God counts down the days until we walk into heaven and says, "Finally! You are here at last!" That is the way He feels about you.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Visit to Nell Hill's

A couple of years back, Dave, Nathaniel and I took a trip through Atchison, KS for Nell Hill's Holiday Open House. ( I think Dave must really love me to make that 3 hour plus drive.) Much to my delight, the photos we had taken were still on his phone. I wish some of the photos were a little crisper, but I think you can still see how lovely her home was.

Stairway in the entryway

I had first run across Nell Hill in a magazine (of course, if you know my love of magazines) and had instantly loved her style of decorating.

Entryway (Facebook photo courtesy Nell Hills)

Outside patio- Nell Hills

Nathaniel in her living room

Outside table

Nathaniel and I outside

If you are ever in  Atchison, Kansas,  be sure and check out her store. She also has an open house in November at her home. To me, her open house alone was worth the drive. She also has a store in Kansas City in the Briarwood area. I can easily look around there for a couple of hours. It's full of beautiful furniture, bedding, plants, pillows, lamps,plates...all the things we love to buy for our homes.

That trip was one of the most fun things we've ever done! I will always remember our littlest boy tagging along with us and being so good that whole day. What a sweetheart.

Be sure and check out her website -

Here are a few clearer photos from her facebook page:

Courtesy Nell Hills

Be sure and let me know if you get a chance to visit!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I love houses. I used to take walks in our old neighborhood and would smile each time I passed by one particular house. The house had a red door with their last name painted in beautiful script across the bottom.  It looked so cozy and comfortable and seemed to beckon to everyone that passed by.  I used to wish that the owner would come outside and say, "Why don't you come in and I'll show you around?"

This wasn't the house I used to walk by, but it has the same quality. (courtesy Pinterest)

 It fascinates me how people can create such a welcoming atmosphere with their exteriors and interiors. I'm one of those ladies that really does love to hear what paint color you used and why you happened to choose it. I love seeing pieces of furniture you have redone and the names of all your landscaping plants - which is probably why I enjoy reading home decorating blogs so much!

Doesn't this say, "Welcome!" (courtesy Pinterest via BHG)

I have a sort of strange side, too. At times when we've been driving down a less than desirable part of downtown Des Moines, I've spotted homes in disrepair. Or I've seen dingy looking apartment buildings with no yard at all for the kids there to play in and thought the same thing each time...what if we had to live somewhere like that? I've thought about that many times over the years along with, "What could I do to make it a home?"

I've even had conversations with the kids that happened to be with me on days like that ... "See that house? A person could make a home there if they were willing to clean it, paint it, and plant some flowers." They look at me a little strangely, but I think they are used to me talking about homes enough to know that this is part of their mom's creative (and maybe a little odd) imagination.

A home is really where we are all together whether it be a beautiful home or a place where things are lacking a bit in the beautiful department.

Wherever we are living, there can be joy.

courtesy Pinterest

Our kids have wonderful memories of living at Teen Challenge. We didn't have an expensive home, but it was home. I think people were usually surprised when they stepped inside. It didn't look like a lot on the outside, but on the inside, it was lovely (at least we thought so:) Even after we moved to a new house in a nearby town, our older kids still missed our old place there. I think they would have moved back given the chance.

I don't know if you've ever looked at a place and thought about how you could make it a home, or if you're living in a place now where you are working to create a place of beauty for your family. But isn't it good to know that wherever we are, we can create a haven for our family that isn't dependent on outward appearances? Within our four walls, wherever we are living, we can make memories with our children that will last a lifetime.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Not To Talk To Your Kids

I am still so learning as a mom. One thing I am learning is how to talk to my kids and how not to talk to my kids. When my children read this, they will probably think, "Mom, you have a ways to go." But I am learning and trying to put into practice what I'm learning. I haven't reached perfection, that's for sure.

It was only last night that I was getting on Evan's case about the future. Instead of saying and doing what I meant to say and do, I tended to blurt out discouraging statements. I felt so bad afterwards. My whole body felt heavy. After times like that, I wake up in the middle of the night and stare at the ceiling in discouragement. I know what I want to say and I know what they need to hear, so why is it so hard to follow through?

You know how you feel about your kids. They are the dearest thing to our hearts. I would lay down my life in an instant for any of them and yet, I hear the stupidest things come out of my mouth sometimes.

No matter what may or may not have been spoken over us as children, we do have a say in what comes out of our mouths over our children today.

I need to speak over my children what God says and thinks about them. I am a worrier from way back. Worry and fretting comes so naturally to me. I tend to be almost fatalistic in my outlook on life at times. Trying to speaking positively all the time does run a bit against the grain for me.

I want my kids dreams to come true. I know that there is the day to day of making money, saving money, and preparing for the future. But I think God is very interested in making our personal dreams come true. It's sad to believe that dreams are something we have to give up in adulthood.

It is hard, too, when I see Elisa in her wheelchair day in and day out. In the natural, there is no way her circumstances will ever change. I can't tell you how I've battled discouragement in this area. I've made statements to her over the years, such as, "Elisa, someday we will look at this wheelchair together. But this time you won't be sitting in it;  you will be standing beside it." Then I've walked back upstairs and burst into tears. I want to put faith in her (and in me), but there is always the wrestling with what I see. What we see is so powerful. But faith truly is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things NOT SEEN. That is what makes it faith. I also don't want to give her false hope, but in my heart, I don't believe it is false.

This blog posting is for me more than anything else. But if you struggle in this area too, then begin along with me to proclaim and state great things over their lives out loud. Let them get used to hearing these words come out of your mouth. I sometimes even go into their rooms when they are not there and state things into the atmosphere such as, "God, you have given them a hope and a future and nothing can stand in Your way." People's mouths are used so much for cursing and discouragement, but my mouth needs to be a blessing over my children.

As I've mentioned before in a previous blog, I learn so much from Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen in this area. I happened to be watching Joyce last week. She was using two men, one as Jesus and one as Satan, as an illustration. Satan was waving his arms to distract her from Jesus and she ended up turning to him and fighting with him. But her point was, we can turn from his distractions and say to Jesus, "No matter what he is saying or trying to get me to believe, I am saying to You, that I look to you, and I put my trust in You." It sounds so simple, but somehow, the way it was presented, really got into my heart. I've been reminding the Lord all week, "I am looking at You. I am listening to You. I already know what the enemy says. I want to know what You are saying."

No matter what the enemy is whispering to you and no matter what he is trying so hard to get you to believe about your kids or your situation, we can put our complete trust in Jesus and know that no one can pluck us (or our children) out of His hand (John 10:29). He is interested in your concerns over your children and He cares about their futures.

This made me laugh and made me think of how we try to encourage our kids.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pops of Pinterest

Here's just a few things I've liked and pinned on Pinterest in the past few months. What are some of your favorite pins?

I love glass doorknobs!

A Cozy Bedroom

Beautiful florals

I love the chimneys


Setting for an Outdoor Party - I love those wicker chairs!

What pins have you especially liked lately? I'd love to hear!

photos courtesy of Pinterest

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Having a Baby in Your Forties is the Sweetest Thing

I'm one of those ladies who has had a bit of a hard time in pregnancy. I experienced each time what is called hyperemesis gravidarum which is severe, persistent nausea 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first four full months of pregnancy. I could not even keep a glass of water down if I tried.  I have had pic lines, ivs, and multiple hospital stays due to dehydration. It was no fun, but ultimately always worth it in the end.

In 2005, at the age of 42, we discovered that I was pregnant with our seventh child. I hoped that maybe at this stage of the game, I wouldn't be as sick. But actually, I think I may have been even more sick if that's even possible! Thankfully, Dave and his mom were able to take over the running of the house and the care of the children. Our church also helped by supplying meals to us during the worst of those weeks. But slowly, as the days ticked by and the end of the 4th month finally arrived, I began to feel the symptoms start to fade.

On September 11th, our beautiful Nathaniel was born. I loved him with all my heart the first time I looked at him. Our other children were ages 14, 13, 12, 8, and 5 at that time and so excited to bring their baby brother home.

Fast forward to 2012...Nathaniel is now 6 years old and the joy of all our hearts. It has definitely been different having a baby in my forties versus in my twenties. But I'm so glad that I still have these things in my home.

Things like SpongeBob underwear.

Watching a new batch of kids shows with him like The Fresh Beat Band and Team Umizoomi (I love those Fresh Beats:)

Listening to play by plays of football on NFL Network (even at the age of six) and watching him reenact them on the livingroom floor.

Eli Manning is Nathaniel's favorite football player

Playing Star Wars with light sabers and being told what my lines line, "I loved you like a brother, Anakin!"

Even though at this age, I have to stop and lie on the couch for a few minutes in between light sabers, football, ect., there is such joy in my heart.

I'm so thankful that he is here. I'm so grateful that with our oldest now being 21 years old, I still have one more little guy in the house. One more little person that still likes to snuggle with me on the couch and tells me throughout the day, " I love you with all my heart."

 Don't be discouraged if you find yourself expecting when you didn't expect to be. The greatest treasure and joy lies just ahead of you. Don't be's going to be wonderful! And someday, you will look at that little boy or girl and think, "How did I ever live without them?"

P.S. I am new to this and trying to link back to , but haven't figured that part out yet!!


Monday, May 7, 2012

My Buddies - Joyce and Joel

I wanted to share with you a couple of people that I've never met, but have had a significant impact on my life.

If you've never watched Joyce Meyer, please do! She is probably close to 70 years old, but her speaking is very relevant to any age. If you've never heard her testimony, I've included it down below via youtube. It is a powerful, heart wrenching story of God's overcoming grace in her life.

When I'm watching her, I am often saying on the inside. "Ow...or ouch", because she speaks truth so boldly.  But then she follows it with a smile or laugh and says, "You know I'm telling you this because I love you, don't you?" She uses examples from her life as well that make me laugh, because we can all relate with what she is sharing. She has kind of a deep, gravely voice and she jokes that when she is on the phone, people think they are talking with "Mr. Meyer". lol

Then on Sunday, I always watch my old buddy, Joel Osteen, before church. (He isn't really my old buddy, but that's what I tell my husband). Anyway, I love to listen to him because I always come away so encouraged. I think it's impossible to listen to him without being encouraged. Here's a portion of a service from his church in Houston, Texas.

If ever you are at home and surfing the channels, please look for these two. You won't be disappointed.

Also, I felt led to add this. Please remember this if you aren't sure how God feels about you today.

"The Lord your God is with YOU. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in YOU. He will quiet YOU with his love. He will rejoice over YOU with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 Whoever may be reading this, He cares deeply about you. No matter what.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Secret Life Between the Postman and Me

Now didn't that grab your attention? Yes, I thought it would.

I have an addiction that I want to get out in the open. It is my little secret.

I have an addiction to....magazines. Home decorating magazines. It is very hard for me to walk past the magazine rack at Walmart or Target and not buy one. But I don't, because I receive my own collection from my wonderful postman on a regular basis. He and I don't have a secret handshake, but he gives me "the nod" and I smile and give him a thumbs up. No, not really, but doesn't that make for more interesting reading?

Let me show you around to my secret stash if you have a few minutes.

Room number one - master closet. I have stacks of magazines in here. I have tried to skim it down to just the holiday issues. I really do go back and look at some of these around September when I'm planning for the holidays.

Room number two - living room - secretary desk. I keep meaning to throw a few out, but so far I haven't gotten around to it, and besides, I could probably cram a few more in there.

Room number three - the pantry. 

Oops, that's my other stash. Potato chips. I only eat them when I'm looking at my magazines just in case you're wondering.

And lastly, the end table. Sometimes I stack so many under there that they slide out and hit the floor and scare me half to death.

I spent many years clipping photos from my magazines and imagining my future dream home. Now, I live in a lovely home with many of the features I had clipped and stored in a notebook from so long ago. Ideas such as hardwood floors, french doors and white crown moulding...these mostly came from Traditional Home, Renovation Style, Country Home, Better Homes and Gardens, and Southern Living, just to name a few. There are others, but I don't want you to think that I have a problem.

Magazines are kind of like dear old friends, and you can never just throw or give away an old friendship.

I wonder what the mailman will bring me today? (Happy sigh)