Monday, November 16, 2015

Celebrate Someone Else

This will be a short posting, but it is about something I've been thinking of lately.

Sometimes it is tough to put into practice, but the rewards are immeasurable.

Perhaps you see a friend or acquaintance who seems to be in such favor in all areas of their life. When you are waiting for a dream to come true in your own life and it doesn't seem to be materializing, you have a couple of choices to make.

Will I sink down into despair, depression, or just, "Why can't that happen in my life?" blues.  All of which I've done, by the way.

Or you can take the high road, even if you don't feel like it. You won't always feel like it, believe me. But you can do it anyway.

As you make the move to celebrate someone else's good fortune, it becomes second nature. You don't even think much about it anymore. Before you know it, you really FEEL like you are happy for them are!!

Practice makes perfect.

I love celebrations. I love special times. In this way, I can have special celebrations every day of my life!

Do I ever still struggle?  Oh yes, I do. But those times don't occur as often. For example, our daughter has cerebral palsy. I've mentioned before that when I've seen other girls her age reaching milestones such as driving, proms, college, hurts. It deeply hurts my heart. I need God's grace during those rough times. I feel like I lose ground a bit, but then make peace with these things again and move forward. It doesn't happen in an afternoon. It may take me a day or two or three to grieve again and go on. But it is possible to do.

In regards to blogging, I blog when I can and when I feel the Lord lay something on my heart. Other bloggers I follow each day, have so much fresh and good material. But it just doesn't bother me. I love those girls and celebrate them. I am genuinely happy for them. I just know that I am doing what I can as I am led and that is okay.

Hopefully, this will all encourage someone today. I think we all can struggle in this area. It's okay to admit that and ask the Lord to help you turn this around. Wouldn't you rather be happy for someone else?

It's a much better way to live our life:) If you fail as you take those first tentative steps to try this out, start over. Before you know it, it will become second nature.

It is really fun to celebrate someone else.

Romans 12:10  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Linking up to:

Saturday, October 31, 2015

#Thanksgiving Ideas

 I'm in a celebratory mood as tomorrow is November 1st! I love this time of year and all the happiness it brings. The leaves have turned and are now fluttering to the ground. The air is a little more brisk in the mornings. My mums are still alive and hanging on for another few days before a freeze surely comes. This is a time of cozy evenings and planning for the holidays.

Pottery Barn Kids always has a beautiful display set up in their stores. I had an email to save 25% off an order recently and so ordered these plates for the kids' table.

$6.50 each @ Pottery Barn Kid

I loved this banner, too.

Pottery Barn Kids

Their Thanksgiving kids' table gives me a lot of inspiration.

Do you like to dress your little ones in something special for Thanksgiving? I always did, too.


Wouldn't you love to walk down this sidewalk? (Pinterest)

If you are looking for a side dish for this year's meal, this was a big hit at our house last year. It is Ina Garten's Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta. My daughter, Caitlin, prepared it. It was delicious!

Her recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
4 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar
Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they're roasted. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, toss with your hands, and spread out in a single layer. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they're tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.

2012, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

Read more at:

Happy November to each one of you! May you have the most blessed holiday season this year.

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Miss Grace Filled Life: Pottery Barn Knock Off - The Mayflower

Miss Grace Filled Life: Pottery Barn Knock Off - The Mayflower: Last year, I was admiring this Thanksgiving item at Pottery Barn Kids. But it had a big price tag. If I remember correctly, it was about $50...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday: Who's Coming to Dinner?

Good September afternoon to you!

I finished up our home schooling day and began reading a few of my favorite blogs. A couple of them were doing a Show and Tell Tuesday link up and today's topic was, "Who's Coming to Dinner?" If you could choose 5 people to come and be your dinner guest, who would they be? I had to give this a little thought, but here are my 5:)

1.  Kate Middleton

courtesy Pinterest

I think she is beautiful, of course, but every time I see her on the news, or she comes to mind, I pray for her, her husband, and her two little ones.

2.  Martha Stewart and/or  Oprah Winfrey

Photos courtesy Pinterest

I owe a lot to Martha. Years ago, I used to watch her decorate tables for different holidays and it was like water to a parched soul. To see someone create beauty, with so much thought and detail, really left an imprint on me. My favorite episodes from her old show, though, were the episodes where she and her mom would cook together. I think I would just want to sit with her and talk about her mom and her childhood memories.

A lot of people had Oprah on their list and I can see why. You could bring up any subject with her from cooking to her favorite book, and she would be delightful to talk with. When I think of Oprah, I always have the same thought. I think she is very open to a discussion about Jesus and who He is.

3.  Tom Cruise or Jimmy Fallon

Photos courtesy Pinterest

I know, that is funny isn't it? But I just love Tom. I would totally love to have him as a dinner guest. I wonder if he likes pot roast?

Jimmy Fallon makes me laugh and he doesn't have a mean spirit. He seems genuinely sweet.

4. Steve Martin

photo courtesy Pinterest

I have a deep affection for Steve Martin. Father of the Bride 1 and 2 are two of my favorite movies. I've watched them a couple of times a year for years! He seems like he would be so easy to talk to.

5. Tom Hanks

photo courtesy Pinterest

I hope he would be as nice in person as he seems to be onscreen. I think he would be, don't you? Who wouldn't want to sit next to Tom Hanks at dinner? I would ask him why he and Meg Ryan haven't made a movie together in years. That is just a shame!

6. One more...Dev Patel. 

photo courtesy Pinterest

He is the same age as my oldest son, but his movie, Slumdog Millionaire, affected me in the deepest part of my heart. God truly spoke to me during that movie and it is something I will never forget. Of course, he probably wouldn't get all that...he would probably be thinking, "Lady, it was just a movie!" as he was looking for a quick exit,  but I would love to have him to my house as a guest anyway:)

A few more that came to mind were Walt Disney (his life story fascinates me), the director M. Night Shyamalan (mostly for my sons who love to talk filmmaking), Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe (my heart always goes out to her. Did anyone ever tell her that she was valuable to God?),  Julie Andrews, Margaret Mitchell or Harper Lee (both authors), and George W. and Laura Bush.

Also, I thought of Corrie Ten Boom and David Wilkerson. I loved their life stories so much. I've read and reread their books many times.

What about you? Are any of these names on your list? It's fun to dream!

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Day We Brought Home Wheelchairs

courtesy Pinterest
Do you ever feel like then when you are facing the storms of life?

Not long after our twins were diagnosed with CP, our physical therapist began to talk with us about getting wheelchairs for them. At that time, we used a double stroller, which didn't really work well at all, but it was better than nothing. We had to use blankets to help prop them up in a sitting position and even then, they had a tendency to slide down and become extremely uncomfortable.

We made an appointment at the University Hospital in Iowa City and began the process. I struggled with the whole idea of wheelchairs. The permanence of the situation became more clear when the idea of wheelchairs were introduced.

At our appointment, they shared that I would need to come with the kids and stay at the hospital for two weeks while they were being evaluated and measured for their chairs. I hadn't counted on that scenario. Our littlest boy, Tyler, was just a toddler and I wondered if he would forget me.

The day arrived and we loaded up the kids and my things and headed back to Iowa City. During the afternoon, they were measured and fitted for their wheelchairs.In the mornings, they were evaluated by doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and cognitve therapists. They were extremely fussy kids during this age and to even step out of the room to go and grab a bite to eat next door required feats of imagination. They loved Barney and Donut Man videos, so I would talk to them about mom having to get something to eat, turn on the video, rush out the door, walk/run over to the cafeteria, eat quickly and walk back just as the video was ending. If I could manage that, all was well. I think I pretty much inhaled the food and wasn't even aware what I was eating. (For some reason that I can't recall right now, the patients were served meals on that floor, but the parents that were staying had to eat next door at the hospital.)

Since I stayed so busy during the day, it wasn't too bad. But the nights were terrible. I can remember the kids finally falling asleep in a strange room.  Then I would sit by the window looking out over the University of Iowa campus. There was a clock out in the center of the yard that I would look at. I cried a lot of those nights missing my other two kids. It was just a very lonely time.

One evening the staff said I had a visitor. I walked out of the room and was met by Rick and Jodie Miller. Rick had been a student at Teen Challenge where my husband worked. He and Jodie lived in a town about an hour away. They had heard we were there and had brought a whole KFC meal for us. I will never forget how their kindness felt to my heavy and lonely heart. A meal and a kind word can mean so much!

I think I was doing pretty well overall during those two weeks until they brought me a catalog with photos of various wheelchairs. Maybe they thought it was an exciting process to choose one.  It wasn't. Every dream I had had up to that point now shattered into a million jagged pieces. I sat down at the little kiddie table in the room and cried.

When Dave arrived to take us home, we put the kids in their car seats and then he loaded those chairs into the back of the van. My whole body and mind felt bruised and broken.

When we arrived back at Colfax, Dave's mom was there watching our other two children. I'm sure I must have said something to her, but all I remember is going back and lying down on the bed. I couldn't even cry anymore.  We sat the kids in their little red seats to watch television and I asked Dave to please put the wheelchairs somewhere that I didn't have to look at them right then. After an hour or so, I heard Dave and his mom talking in the kitchen. Faye was making supper for us. For some reason, the sound of normal activity soothed my spirit. I got up and walked in and watched her making meatballs. I am convinced that her presence helped me heal just a little that day.  Everything within me felt broken.  I needed something to be normal and routine and just ordinary.

The wheelchairs did help the kids. They seemed to feel so much secure in them than they had in their stroller. It wasn't the easiest thing to load two wheelchairs and go anywhere, but Dave was always so good about it. He seemed to know that on certain days, I just had to get out for awhile. Many times he would get home from work (and I'm sure he was tired) and say, "Let's load up!" I would have the kids in the van in minutes while he loaded up their chairs and we would be off for Des Moines:)

Sometimes we have to adjust.

My heart goes out to you if you are in a tough situation right now.

It wasn't supposed to be this way, you may be thinking.

I know.

Give yourself some time. Things will start to look better. It won't be this sad forever. Twenty-two years have passed since that day and there has been a lot of joy since then. There will be for you, too.

Psalm 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit." ( Psalm 34:18)

I love the verse that says, "God will give you a crown of  beauty for ashes." (Isaiah 61:3)  If you feel like the dream you had for your life, your children, or your marriage has died, give it to the One who can resurrect and restore all the brokenness that you feel right now.

Things will get better. It won't stay this way forever.

Love and blessings,

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Hope Rests in God

To trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

I used to live in beautiful southern Mississippi in a home built around 1910. It sat on 50 acres and I used to love to walk across those pastures and pour my heart out to God. I was 21 years old.

I didn't call that time a devotional. I still don't like the word devotional. Although I am sure there are hundreds of great devotional books out there, I don't own any.

It was just that time I looked forward to.

I felt like when I opened the gate and stepped into the pasture, Jesus was there waiting for me. I believe He was.

There is still something about being outside that makes me feel close to God.

We visited Colorado a couple of years ago and when I walked around Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, I caught my breath. There was that same feeling of God being close by. The beauty of His creation lends itself to feeling His nearness. (I think staying indoors too long can be detrimental to our well being.)

Anyway, back to Mississippi. I was attending college at that time and looking forward to finishing and going off to Bible school. That was where my heart was. I had some very sure promises from God that I was waiting to see fulfilled.

But I had to set those things aside for the time being while I finished my degree. I still had hope in my heart for the dreams that I had, but it was time to get down to the business of finishing what was before me.

I would often walk and talk with the Lord. Sometimes I would cry as I tried to convey all that was on my heart.  I can't always say that I heard God speak to me. But I felt His nearness and I felt His interest in my life.

Soon I finished my degree and did get to go to Bible school. The promises God gave me did come true. But it wasn't instantaneous. It was a process.

I met my husband there and after we were to be married, we would be moving to Iowa. On the last time that I walked that pasture behind my parent's home, I did hear the Lord speak to me. He said, "I'll miss these times with you." I have never forgotten those words.

Now all these years later, I am waiting for promises to come to pass. I am staying busy with the business at hand, but my heart yearns to see what I only see by faith right now.

I still feel Him beside me. He has been a faithful friend. There are a lot of things that I don't understand. Sometimes the waiting seems like it will go on forever. Maybe I won't see the end that I am hoping for.Will I see my daughter healed? I don't know. Will I see our son healed? I just have no way of knowing. But I continue to hope. He is very kind. He has seen all my tears and my fears.  He understands as He reaches out to take my hand and walk with me through the unknown.

I always tell Him that on the day I see Him face to face, I want to know Him and I want Him to know me. It is through these hard experiences that we truly come to know God.

Romans 5:5 says this:
And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

I don't know how to end except to say that I want to continue to choose to trust God.

Linking up to:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Graduation Celebration!

Our youngest daughter recently completed her 12th grade year. She was home schooled her whole life from kindergarten through her Senior year. She told me recently that she has no regrets about being home schooled. It was a great fit for her. I can honestly say that she was a joy and delight from beginning to end.

I looked through Pinterest for ideas a few months in advance of her party. I knew I didn't want a cookie cutter graduation party. I also knew a couple of things going into the planning. It would be relatively small and it would be held indoors.

I know two very talented ladies who helped me with the cake end. Emily is a whiz at making cake pops. I asked her back in February if she could make them for a June party. She has two little ones and so I knew her time was valuable. I was so grateful when she said she could.  Another friend, Kerie, makes wedding cakes as a side business. While I didn't need a wedding cake, we found a couple of photos on Pinterest that we thought would make a beautiful graduation cake.

Here are 2 inspiration pics from Pinterest that we gave her as an idea.

Here are the cake pops and Kerie's beautiful cake. Aren't they beautiful?

The top tier of the cake was almond flavored and so good!

I wanted our dining room to look like an art gallery of photos of our daughter.

I had several photos blown up in poster sizes.

This photo was made into a large canvas. You may or may not like Walmart, but they did a great job on all the enlargements.

Here are a few other of the decorations that night.

Inspiration pic from Pinterest.

A friend loaned me an old typewriter.

This Bible verse was placed inside.

Trader Joes had the most beautiful flowers!

This was a serving idea I found on a blog ( I showed it to my husband, and even though the party was only 3 or 4 days away he said, "I think I could make something like that." And he did!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo when it actually had the food on it! This serving platter had grapes, cheeses, salami, peperoncino peppers, and olives on it. A second platter had fruit.

I am so grateful to talented friends who made the night so special and to my husband who always helps the ideas in my head come out so beautifully! We so appreciated all that came and made the night so memorable. (We are saving $$ now to take her on a trip to NYC this fall.)

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Dealing with Deep, Crushing Disappointment Part 1

I remember back when I received the news that we were going to have twins. I had one little baby and now was pregnant with two! I was very stunned and excited. No one on either side of our families had twins.  I just knew how it was all going to be.

I would often sit and dream of a little boy and girl toddling down the sidewalk. She would be wearing a little sailor dress and he would be wearing a matching sailor suit. I can't even tell you why I had them wearing those outfits in my mind's eye except that I must have thought that is what twins would wear:) But I could see them clearly. Even now, I can recall that scene with such clarity. I can see them walking with a background of a beautiful sunny blue sky. Their backs are facing me. They are hand in hand.

But it wasn't to be.

And that is why I wanted to speak to any of you who are dealing with deep, heart wrenching, disappointment.

When our twins ( a boy and a girl) were born 10 weeks prematurely, they stayed in the hospital for several weeks in the neonatal unit. There were a lot of setbacks as they struggled to breathe on their own. But the day finally came when they were both at home. Now, I thought, our lives with three healthy children could begin.

As time went on, I began to notice things. They were not meeting their developmental milestones. When I went to pick up my daughter to snuggle her, she would become very stiff in my arms. Both babies cried almost non-stop throughout the day. They didn't sit up. Crawling was delayed. Walking did not come. Fear began to crawl up my spine. Alex had an episode where he stopped breathing. What was happening?

At a neurologist's office, I heard the news that both children had cerebral palsy. In some sense, there was relief in knowing what was wrong.

There was also hope in my heart. Maybe God would heal them. Maybe their outcome wouldn't be as bleak as what the specialist was preparing us for. There was brain damage and the doctor couldn't guarantee that they would ever walk or talk or reach any of the normal milestones.

Had I done something wrong? Had I done anything to cause this?

So many thoughts began to torment me.

I tried to adjust. Our home began to be filled with occupational and physical therapists helping the kids. While I appreciated their help, I resented it, too. I just wanted to take my kids outside and watch them play. I wanted this to be over.

I prayed. I cried. I begged. I watched as things went from bad to worse. Alex began to have more episodes where he suddenly stopped breathing. It felt like time stood still as I would see Alex turn a dusky blue color. Dave would start rescue breathing as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. We stood in emergency rooms countless times as doctors worked over his body. On another occasion, he almost died as they rushed him from his room to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He had suddenly taken a turn for the worse during a stay at the hospital.

Hope began to drain out of me.

One day, I was home and a young couple stopped by and told us that they were expecting twins. After they left, I stood looking at the closed door and said to God, "Really? Are you kidding me? I have to watch another couple have perfectly healthy twins? Is that what You are asking of me now?" (This is me being honest. I don't see the point in pretending I had an admirable reaction.)

It isn't that I wanted them to have special needs children. I wanted them to have healthy kids. But the disappointment over a broken and crushed dream seemed more than I could bear.

I was also disappointed in God. I felt He had let me down. The trouble is, where do you go if you can't go to God?

Have you ever felt that way?

Sometimes I feel that people are uncomfortable talking about God like this. But I don't think God is uncomfortable. I think He wants us to come to Him with our deep disappointments and our despair.

It is during these times that our relationship with Him is forged.

Things did not get better. In fact, they became worse.

But God somehow took my hand and my family's hand. In fact, I think He picked us up and carried us through what lay ahead.

End of Part 1

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Maxi Styles

I don't own even one maxi dress. I am only about 5'4"  and don't feel quite tall enough to pull it off. After looking at these though, I think I may change my mind.

This collage of dresses I could see my daughter wearing.

Left -

The next three are ones I would feel comfortable wearing.

Black dress-

There are always so many cute summer wedges.

Peach shoes-  Black and white striped -
Lace Wedge- Lucky Brand, Macys

I love these two pair for myself.

Left -   Right- Lauren Conrad- Kohls

Lastly, a pretty summer necklace is always fun to wear.

I love monogrammed necklaces. This one is from Bauble Bar.

 The next two are so colorful!

Left- Kendra Scott     Right- Stella and Dot

What fashions are you wanting to try?

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