You can always come home

Home.

the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.

Your dwelling place is uniquely different. The decor, the smell, the pictures on the wall, as well as the food in your refrigerator all support your idea of a safe, happy haven. At the end of the day, you come home to let your guard down, throw on your pajamas, and recharge. The people who greet you may or may not be encouraging, but most of us would say that our family is our refuge. We acknowledge challenging times with those we love can make it hard to come home sometimes but in a lifetime of walking through the front door and settling in, we can agree home is where the heart is.

My father wrote me a letter recently. He felt led to encourage me to move forward. How can we move forward with confidence? So many quotes and scriptures could provide the stepping stones for us to embrace change, but the bedrock of embracing change is the constant–home.

I have this long rope in my home with duck tape covering one inch of the end of the rope.

When my vision is short or my circumstances are dictating my moods and actions, I’m reminded of my focus.

Home.

My eternal resting place becomes my reality and all the nonsense and struggle seems doable, a part of the journey versus a setback. When I look back through the years, my home has been a place of refuge, chaos, joy, confusion, peace, new beginnings, traditions, loss, celebration, and a constant…

My life may change but the constant is home–day in and day out– I can come home. One day we will have a perfect constant –heaven. Thank you, daddy, for creating a home on earth for me, and for pointing me to my Daddy and my eternal home.

My daddy’s letter:

Thinking about you this morning, and praying for you as well. I felt I should pause and write you some thoughts I have regarding your transition to your new job.

First of all, the sermon I heard yesterday by Gabriel Swaggert had some very inspiring points. He talked about the time Israel was suffering a famine because of their wicked ways, but he spoke of how God through Elisha said I am going to pour out a blessing on you. Gabriel also spoke of the time God’s people were facing the Red Sea, and the Egyptians were about to catch them. God said, “Move forward!”  They did and God opened up the Red Sea for them to cross to the other side.

This morning in Louise and my devotion time, the story was about God calling Abram to leave home, country, family and friends to go where He would lead them.

I know you are apprehensive about your change in jobs, but God is telling you to move forward and He will make the way for you. Moving forward you will be leaving a job of security, friends, and a place where you are comfortable. A new land of opportunity where you will be a blessing, and you will be bathed in prayer asking God to bless you as well.

You are loved by your Saviour, your husband, your children, your grandchild, and by your Mom and Dad. It will be a great experience because of God’s Spirit watching over you, and remember you can always come home!

I love you Anna, and I pray you will see God’s love in the morning because you have put your trust in Him. I pray that He will show you the way because you have lifted your soul to Him. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord cause His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Love you, Anna,

Dad

Don’t Quit

In most areas of our lives we can decide to move on or quit. If a job, friendship, or hairstylist is not working out, you can look elsewhere without serious consequences. Marriage is different. We face so many challenges and unexpected seasons in which we live out our vows of “for better or for worse”.  When the worse happens we stick it out knowing on the other side we will see God’s glory, provision, and faithfulness.

Gary Thomas’ book Cherish calls our attention to the word cherish versus infatuation. Cherishing your spouse means that even when things get ugly, I’m not giving up on us.  Infatuation is the kind of love with conditions and expectations so high that you are living in a fantasy world. Cherish means that I truly believe that you are the only one who can walk this journey with me, and I will treat you as such.

It’s easy to quit on someone who is not living up to your expectations. The question becomes are your expectations realistic, and are you in constant pursuit to call out the negative in your spouse? Every day I could pick a fight with my imperfect mate. They are, after all, human–imperfect and sinful beings.

“Without struggle, marriage is like melodrama.  If God allowed infatuation to remain, how many of us would do the day-to-day work to achieve intimacy?” Gary Thomas

You’ve seen them. Newlyweds or dating couples. It’s only a matter of time when disappointment and possible contempt sets in and the work begins.  Just on the other side of infatuation is cherish, and so many couples are unwilling to climb the mountain and experience cherish. They quit. It’s hard work.  It’s sacrifice.  It’s a battlefield.

Your marriage legacy goes beyond the toothpaste cap or toilet seat. It’s your God story for a generation not yet born.  As Parish and I read the chapter “Don’t Quit”, we looked around our living room. Parish smiled and said, “Anna, look around this room.  Our legacy and memories are many…..” He began to talk about Patty our cactus, the family tree that Valentina and Grandma Louise drew, the rocking chair from my great-grandfather that he refinished for Victoria’s birth over 27 years ago, the coffee table that belonged to my grandmother, the lanterns we use on snowy nights as we walk and marvel, the cast iron dog I grew up with and sits on our hearth…

Of course these are just material examples of our love, but they are reminders to us of a love that God has been working on for years. His hand in our love story.

There is no other love story like yours. Your God, love story is a shining example to the world of mercy, cherish, and the power of sticking it out even when by all accounts you could have thrown in the towel.

I encourage you to stop and look around your home. If the objects in your home could talk, what memories would they share? I encourage you to be crazy hopeful (my friend’s expression) about your future, and to celebrate the good things in your spouse. I encourage you to purchase the book Cherish by Gary Thomas and read it together as a couple. Take your time with it.  Parish and I have been reading the book for two months, and we are on chapter 7.

If you feel like quitting, remember cherish and seek the help your marriage deserves.

I dedicate this post to my parents who will celebrate their 60th, diamond anniversary in August 2017. They are not quitters; they cherish.

My husband and I sang this song as a duet at weddings in the 80s. I hope you will listen to this song for the meaning and be spurred on in your love story. Try not to be critical of the 80’s music, but be motivated by the words. 🙂

Reboot Your Conversations

Celeste Headlee’s TED talk provides an excellent resource on how to engage in conversations in a world that is more polarized than ever. Everyone wants to be heard, and rarely is anyone listening. My mother shared with me in a conversation recently that everyone is a hero. Everyone in this world has a voice, a gift, a purpose, and all of us deserve to be treated like heroes. The famous are honored with awards and glory, but it’s in the day-to-day of ordinary people doing extraordinary things that we can choose to be amazed.

To love, cherish, honor, respect, care, give, provide, listen, smile…..

Our world and workplace need to pause and regroup.

Don’t multi-task:  Be present and in that moment. Don’t be half-in.  If you don’t want to have the conversation excuse yourself.

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Don’t pontificate: Setting aside of oneself and your personal opinion. Be willing to learn and assume YOU have something to learn. Everybody is an expert in something.

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Use open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, how): How did that feel? What was that like?

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Go with the flow: Thoughts will come into your mind, let them go. Don’t insert your thoughts into a conversation and disrupt the flow.

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If you don’t know, say that you don’t know: Folks will appreciate your confidence in stating your lack of knowledge.

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Don’t equate your experience with theirs: It’s never the same. It’s not about you. All experiences are individual.  Don’t take the time to talk about yourself. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity. Great video by Brene Brown:

Try not to repeat yourself

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Stay out of the weeds: They care about you and what you have in common. Years, dates, and details are not as important as connecting with you.

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LISTEN: When we talk, we feel in control. Let that control go and listen.

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Be brief

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Always be prepared to be amazed:  Everyone has some hidden amazing thing about them.  Go out and talk to people. Be prepared to be amazed!

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A moment can change us

The moment happened in a blink of an eye, but all events leading up to the moment were calculated by God himself. The God moments. You and I could argue that these moments frequent our day, but there is something about a moment in which you experience time standing still, and you step out of your surroundings.

The list was long and the time was short. Why is it that we save cleaning day for just before an event occurs in our home. Prepare, study, create, wipe down, pick it up, vacuum, and now it’s time to engage. It was a sweet group of girls who came to Bible study that night. Considering it was Superbowl Sunday, I knew attendance would be low. My soul was in a different place.  A good place.  A place of receiving and noticing. Flowers were fragrant and red, Valentine’s Day hearts were promises to be written and mailed to loved ones.  Sweet, young ladies gathered around the table as we wrote our Valentine’s day cards.  We were listening to Natalie Grant’s new album when “How Great Thou Art” came on. I asked if they knew this old hymn–they all are growing up with contemporary worship, which I love, too.  I started singing, and truly just felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. Singing, giggling, talking about who to write our Valentine’s Day cards to, and eating yummy snacks. These young ladies are truly so special to me.

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I looked up while singing along with the song, and she caught my eye.

Like those romantic moments in movies or the time someone is overwhelmed in a crowd and all becomes silent and slow-motion, she looked at me with an expression I had never witnessed from her and time stood still. In a moment, her endearing, baby eyes seemed to say, “I’m so glad you are my grandmother.” It was as if she had finally realized just how blessed she was to know this love, and her smile turned up ever so slightly to confirm this realization. In a moment, we connected in such a way that showed living evidence of God’s eternal love and grace. God’s presence filled her and shined from her eyes and soul.

She loved me without knowing me. Pure love and acceptance.  I walked over to her and took her from her mother’s lap. She seemed to leap into my arms, and then the kiss. One, big, sloppy kiss on the cheek confirmed what she was trying to say.

What a post. If you’ve made it this far, I can only say, “You had to be there.” It’s as if my 51 years of life led to this moment. There will be more hugs and kisses, but the first realization of love between a grandchild and her grandmother will happen in a moment, and everything builds from that interaction.


When heaven opens up and rains down love through the life of a child, all the things that worry us and make us fret seem ridiculous and insane.

Thank you, Holy Spirit for preparing my heart and helping me to be mindful and aware of this shower of love.

Adelaide, Gigi loves you, too.

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Isn’t it so fitting that Jesus came to us as a baby? In the innocence of a baby, He looked into the eyes of humanity, and said, I love you with an everlasting love.

He knew you since the beginning of time, and He loves you perfectly.

I pray He will reveal His love to you in such a way that you draw near to Him. He has Holy “kisses” to share and delights in you.

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Friendship

Last night in Woman of Worth, we discussed friendship. As an activity, we made friendship soup!wowgamepicture

We discussed the importance of choosing friends wisely, forgiveness, and the number one friendship killer–gossip. Someone asked Jesus how many times do we forgive a friend?

Jesus says to him, “I say to you not up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven! Matthew 18:22

Meaning…..we know up front we will hurt others, and they will hurt us, so get your forgiveness game on. Recognizing that consistent, harmful relationships should end. We challenged ourselves to remember this guideline:

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The best way to handle conflict in a relationship is to go to the person and talk it out.  If you need guidance on the matter go to a trusted adult, not another friend and gossip about that person.

As we went through the lesson, we wrote characteristics and qualities of a good friend and made friendship soup:

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Our Ingredients:

  • Affectionate
    Able to be trusted
    Loving
    Love
    Trustworthy
    Good Listener
    Would never harm you
  • Has your back
  • Sense of humor
  • Cheerful
  • Encourages you
  • Caring
  • Influences you in the right way
  • Kind
  • Similar values and grow together
  • Sympathy
  • Not ashamed to be with you
  • Compassion
  • To be loyal, faithful
  • Selflessness
  • Happy
  • Common goals
  • Good listener; Someone who won’t judge
  • Take the time to help you
  • Forgiving
  • Keeps your secrets
  • Someone who thinks of others
  • Godly influence
  • Companionship
  • Attentiveness
  • Thoughtful
  • Someone who will hold you accountable to the Lord
  • Can act like “the bigger man”
  • Competitive to challenge me
  • Unstoppable
  • Consistent
  • Doesn’t gossip a lot
  • Comforter
  • Doesn’t tear you down
  • Not afraid to say it if they think you did something wrong
  • Helps in your time of despair; talks to you
  • undramatic: who brings happiness and no guilt

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

WOW!  What a great reminder of friendship.  We began and closed the lesson reminding each other that God is our first and perfect friend who can help us be a true friend to those He puts in our lives.

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DIY Bath Bombs

Thanks to brightnest.com for their wonderful recipe and instructions.

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http://styletips101.com/beauty-tips/diy-bath-bombs.html
Valentina and Laura would like for you to watch their video on how to make bath bombs! You will be amazed. The aroma filled our house with lavender and essential oils.

Video clip below. Please click on link or watch video  

https://flipagram.com/f/128yPqiaboT


 

 

Pecan Sticky Rolls

A huge thank you to Southern Cast Iron Magazine, January 2015 issue for this wonderful recipe. (link embedded in title of magazine)

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Before we start the journey, we wanted to share our wooden, bread board story.  My grandmother Emma Lloyd made biscuits and her famous pound cake on this board.  We were given the board as a memory, and we continue to cook on Emma’s board.  We have a legacy of good food that started its beginnings on this board.

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Ingredients
  1. 3 1⁄2 to 3 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 (1⁄4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  3. 1⁄2 cup whole milk
  4. 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  5. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  6. 1⁄3 cup sugar
  7. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  8. 1 large egg, lightly beaten

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pecanrolls

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The next day, Parish made the Orange Sweet Rolls.  If you click on the link at the beginning of the post, you will see the recipe.  I could not decide which one I like better–they are both DELICIOUS!

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This was a definite snow day hit!

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Adelaide Louise tried her hand at softened apples.  I look forward to the day she can help her Ace (or grand noodle) cook.  🙂