Thursday, March 31, 2011


Some days I feel a little crazy. I hear these voices in my head telling me that my beliefs are so over the top that I had better keep them under wraps. If people knew what I really believed, they would not accept me, say the voices. You mean, you really homeschool your children? You really think Jesus is coming back someday (and you actually feel an urgency to tell others?) I mean, what sort of fanatic are you? How about your views on church? You really think its not OK to omit some parts of the Bible to draw a following? Really? Oh, and what if people knew what your politics were? That would be enough right there to make you certifiably crazy. Fanatical. Over The Top.
These are the voices I have been hearing in my head lately. And they were starting to wear on me. Am I wrong, Lord? Maybe I should tone it down a bit? Maybe everyone else is right, and I am misguided. What is wrong with me? Why am I living on the fringes of what most people think is an "acceptable," "normal" life?

And then, I have been thinking about my grandma lately, and how her faith paved the way for me in so many ways. When I was going through a difficult experience with the church (and trying to figure out if I was crazy for thinking what I was thinking), it was her faith that helped make some things very, very clear for me. I wasn't crazy. And, I wasn't alone.

God's Word is living and powerful, and this was something that was demonstrated so clearly for me just this morning.
For the past few days, in the midst of these loud and disruptive voices telling me I am crazy, has been this verse, whispering gently into my soul: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." This is not a verse I have ever made any effort to memorize in any way. In fact, I have probably only even heard it a handful of times. But, there it was...right when I needed it.

As Isaac and I prepared to do his Bible lesson this morning, I decided to read the entire chapter in which this verse is embedded. I opened up my Bible, found the book and chapter, and this is the verse my eyes instantly fell to:

"I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois"

Do you know what my grandma's name is? It's the same name that is my middle name. It is Lois.
Isn't God Good? Isn't He Faithful? Isn't His Word Living and Powerful? I am awestruck that the God who created the universe cares to speak down into my situation, using ancient words that are as precise as a laser. I am not crazy. And even if you think I am, it's worth it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I put "Bambi" in for Graham for the first time the other day. I gave a fleeting thought to how Bambi's mother's death might be received by him, but I thought it probably would go over his head. I underestimated him. Here was our conversation:

Graham: Mom, what happened to Bambi's mama?

Me: She's gone, the hunters got her.

Graham: What?

Me: The hunters got her.

Graham: What?

Me: The hunters went hunting for deer and they shot her. She's dead.

Graham: Why?

Me: (trying not to laugh at his seriousness). I don't know, they just were hunting I guess.

Graham: I want to watch a different show.

The Williamsburg Novels: My critique

Growing up, my mom always told me about the Williamsburg Novels by Elswyth Thane. Her and I are both readers, and these remain her favorite books of all time. So, when she passed the series on to me to read for myself, it was a rite of passage of sorts. I felt lots of pressure to like the books, almost as much as she felt to have me like the books. But, that pressure diminished in the first chapter of the first book. It had me in a tight grasp from page one.
There are seven books, and they span several generations of two families (The Days and the Spragues). Each book takes place during a war (the first book begins during the Revolutionary war). The stories of the families take place within several different countries (The United States, England, France and Germany).
I have always secretly thought I could have been a fiction editor. I am always critical about a book (even if I loved reading it), and can tell you where a plot was weak, or where a story line could have been developed a bit more. This is something I always have automatically done in my own head as I read a book. These books are probably the only books that I have ever read that I feel are almost perfectly developed and written. The story lines are almost flawlessly executed, and they hold your attention from start to finish. As you become enveloped in the books, you are transported to another time and another place. Events of history that you formerly would have had little or no knowledge of, you begin to feel you are living and experiencing. My words really don't do these books justice. The families have become so real to me that I am mourning the day I will be done with the series (I am currently on the second to last book).
One excerpt of the book "Kissing Kin" has stuck with me more than fiction usually does. I keep re-reading this excerpt over and over again, and it strikes a chord with me.
The setting of this excerpt is the final days of life of a character named Aunt Sally. She has lived a long life, and has lived through the Civil War and World War 1. She has lived a notorious life, having buried three wealthy husbands during her life in France. She still possess great beauty and zest for life, even in her dying days. She is giving her young niece, Camilla advice for the future as she tells her that her home in Cannes, France will be hers after she is gone.

"It's easy to be happy here, you will find--easier than you think now, perhaps." Sally went on. "Always remember, my darling, that happiness and love need not die till you do--that life renews itself if you allow it to, as surely as the year comes back round to spring after winter. Some years are not so good as others--sometimes you love less, sometimes more--and you can never be sure that the best is not still to come. So many times I have thought This is all--now I have come to the end--now there will be nothing to live for." Her fingers moved on Camilla's caressingly. "So many times I have been wrong. And for me, the best came last. Always remember that...You will not always be happy, my dear, however wise you are--I wasn't--but always take what comes to you--don't fight life, Camilla, accept it with grace. Don't strike attitudes about how brave you are, or how tragic you are, or how hard done by--nobody is looking, unless you are in front of a mirror. Don't lunge at life and try to bully it into doing things your way--it's bigger than you are, it will do as it likes with you. Don't sulk, either, and turn your back on it--it will go on without you. Sit still, camilla, not facing the light, and always looking your best, and let life come to you--think before you speak--smile when you want to cry--don't score at someone else's expense, even if you feel justified, you will lose more sympathy than you will gain satisfaction--never refuse love lightly, and never try to revive it when it fades--and never, never tell Everything to any living soul. Some people there are who would say that is bad advice I give you, but it is the way I have lived, and I have had in my time everything a woman could ask for. Perhaps it would not do for everybody. But for those of us, like you and me, who set out alone, it works very well, on the whole. Take what comes to you, Camilla--and when you give, use both hands. No man can love a stingy woman, not forever. It is no disgrace to be humble when you love a man--nor to be grateful to him that he loves you. It is no one's birthright to be loved--no never take it for granted. Sometimes it comes by surprise, but to be kept it must be earned again each day, by kindness and thought and always with tenderness, my dear, little words, little laughters, little glances--do not be afraid to show him. Do not be afraid that some one else will see--let them see--they will only envy you." "Thank you--for everything." Camilla whispered, and kissed Sally's cheek, and left the room with a backward glance and a smile at the door. And she never saw Sally again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

beautiful perfection

Something about this clip from "Lady and the Tramp" always resonates deep in my heart when I watch it. It pulls me in, from wherever I am and whatever I am doing when Graham is watching it, and I sit captivated by it. And something about it makes me want to weep. I think its because this one short movie clip illustrates so perfectly what I wish my mothering looked like.
I am dressed in a beautiful robe, my hair is done in a beautiful up-do. It is morning. The day stretches out with hope before me. The sunlight streams through the beautiful window in my beautiful house and my beautifully made bed. I rock and sing to my little star sweeper, and I am thinking of nothing else other than how perfect he is.
There is no crying, no fighting between siblings.
There is no yelling at my children, and feeling guilty afterwards.
There is no issued apology for the aforementioned grievance.
There is no dreary winter.
There are no wars, and rumors of wars.
There is no fear about the future.
There is no fear about my children's future.
God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.
There is no messy hair, no un-made bed.
There is no we're-out-of-toilet-paper...again.
There are no problems that seem too entrenched to be anything but problems.

I don't know why there has always been this longing in me for beautiful perfection. There is hardly anything in my life to prove me successful toward this endeavor, except for my love toward my children. That is as close to beautiful perfection that I may ever come. But this longing to have that which I can never attain on this Earth...where does it come from?
I think my Heavenly Father put it there. I was designed for perfection. And all my life will be spent reaching for it, and grasping at the air. Until, finally, I will see it.

"1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." 5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Revelation 21:1-5

Friday, March 4, 2011

Plate wall/Gallery wall

(double click photos and then back arrow to return to posting)I have wanted to do an all-white plate wall for a long time. I finally got all of my white plates together from various places throughout my house, and did it. I love how it turned out!! It makes me happy to look at! Do you have places in your home you like to look at when you pass by? This would be one of mine:

The middle two plates I just got at Tuesday morning on clearance for $3.99. The rest are garage sale finds from the past ten years.

I made a couple of changes to my gallery wall too. Thanks to Mirabella Photography for the great family picture I had turned into a gallery wrap (and also a few of my boys on this wall too). Shannon and I are friends, and last fall we swapped sessions for each other. Hoping to make this a yearly event!!! :) Both of my gallery wraps are from The Canvas People. They seem to be a bit more affordable than a lot of places and do a pretty good job. The only thing I don't like is the brownish cast to their black and white gallery wraps. They are true black and white prints and end up looking like a sepia-toned print. Oh well. I guess you have to take what you can get when trying to save money...:)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

my new acquisition

I had seen this little kitchen cupboard at a thrift store many, many times, and always loved it. I love the style of it--the curves at the bottom and the drawer and cupboard placement. I loved the large farmhouse-style knobs (not on the before picture because I was getting ready to paint when I snapped this). A couple of weeks ago, I went in and they had marked it down, and it became my early birthday gift!
Here's the before...

And the after. I will eventually paint the top plate rack part too, but left it off for now because I like my stars.
(Double click to enlarge)

I am totally in the mood for spring here, even though there is NOTHING to indicate that it is anywhere in the near future.
I re-did my shelf in the entry way and added a little spring to it.

I sure hope NOONE who browses these photos of my home ever thinks I have it totally "together." Allow me to dispell this myth (any of my friends or family who drop into my house from time to time with verify this to be truth). My house is an absolute, blazing mess about 90 percent of the time. I detest this to be true, because I would LOVE for it to look picture perfect all the time (or even 50% of the time!). But, that is not my reality. My reality is that we are home all day, every day, and there isn't an inch of our house that doesn't get used and by used, I mean abused. It is the home of two very busy little boys, and a mom who is always in the middle of some sort of project. This does not make for a perfectly organized space. But, I like to look at these photos and dream that it's like this most of the time...

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