Friday, August 28, 2009

The Messy House: The Training House

Yesterday, these words rang in my heart and mind, "The messy house is a good training house." I asked myself, "I wonder how this really could be?" It seems that in most cases orderliness would be the best environment for training children." However, I seem to be noticing a flip side in this season for our family. Perfection and a militant way of running things is not always the best scenario in certain situations. And many times running a tight ship which is too tight can be more harmful than helpful.

You see, even if I tried I could not have a perfect and neat house at this time. I am off my feet most of the time. So in the midst of the mess, I am learning to rest in it and see God at work. It is not about my effort, but it is about His ability. And sometimes His ability is demonstrated in ways that we would not imagine for ourselves.

I have come to understand that God loves messes. If there were no mess,we would need no God. And if Jesus in the flesh happened to knock on my door today, I believe I would be at peace about inviting Him into my disheveled home. Why? Because there seems to be something special taking place here in my own heart as well as the hearts of my family members. Has there been resistance? Yes! Have they all had a happy heart about everything they have been told to do? Not always! And have I not squirmed and grumbled at times because things are not done to my standards? Well...I confess!

You see, the messy house is causing the muck within our hearts to surface. So if God loves the mess, then He is at work in the middle of it. What more could we ask? Don't we want to be changed and transformed into Christ likeness? If so,then many times we sit in our mess while He enters in and does a clean sweep!

As I watched my 8 and 9 year old working in the kitchen yesterday morning,I was sensing the pleasure of the Lord. They were functioning as a team to accomplish a task. One would unload the dishwasher while the other cleaned the table. Then they switched places as one loaded the dishwasher and the other swept the floor. Surprisingly, they were not fighting or complaining. Then my 8 year old lovingly came over and offered to help my 5 year old set up a computer game. Moments later he saw me up and bending over to find something in the cabinet. He said, "Mom, you should sit down, you should not be bending way over like that!"

The funny thing is, the kitchen was not perfect when they finished, but I knew they tried and that their hearts were happy about helping. This reminded me that God does not want our perfection, He wants our hearts. In being so thrilled to watch the children helping out with happy dispositions, it compelled me to reward them. So we had pizza delivered for lunch. They were so excited and grateful. And all of this simple living helped to me realize once again, that God is not impressed with our accomplishments, but that He rewards a happy heart.

My heart really is at home. And I am totally engaged here. God teaches us the greatest lessons in the seemingly least glamorous situations. And I am thankful because I know He is here helping us in our mess without judgement.

I cannot leave my little blogging nook without also sharing this question and thought. Why would God be so concerned and take so much care in what goes on within the hidden walls of our homes? Because He is interested in our hearts. We are the church. Church is not the building we attend, it thrives in the hidden heart and the walls of our own homes. If mercy and kindness cannot flow in the secret places, then how can we be the true church as we go out into the murky world?

We are not changed by the church we ensue. We are changed by the Holy Spirit who works in the underground soil of our hearts that is not on public display. And as we are trained in the midst of mess, the roots of Christ grow deeper in the places unseen by man and the world. The beautiful result is a towering tree that grows as tall as the roots grow deep. And the fruit that hangs from its branches brings life and sustenance to all who come near its shade and abundance.

So if you are in a messy situation no matter what the setting or state of the heart, take courage in knowing that there is a Person who is waiting to show up in the middle of it. He is not bothered by our messes. He is drawn to it. Yes He is holy, but in Him so are we. And we work together, live together, and take every opportunity to grow in His grace!


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Introducing Maggie and Lizzie

Today I had a check up with the perinatologist just to make sure all is going well. Looks like I may be in the doctor's office just about every week from now own. But that is okay with me. I am enjoying watching the girls grow. In these 3-D sonogram photos you can get a bit of a glimpse of them. They are now 23 weeks gestation.

It is no surprise this little girl is named Margaret. Margaret means pearl. As I think of something so beautiful and rare forming within the hidden folds of an oyster , I think of little Maggie as she seems to hide her face every time I go in for an ultrasound! See how she has her little arm up and her face hidden? The technician could not get a photo of her face. Pretty little modest Maggie!

Now this little girl seems really feisty. She is strong. She hogs up all the room in my belly. But Maggie is holding her own. In one of the sonograms we saw Maggie kicking Lizzie in the head. Lizzie has a couple of strange things going on. The doctors found a little extra pouch attached to her kidney. And today, I was told that she had an increase in volume the amniotic fluid. This could be the indication of several things. However, I have tremendous peace and know that strength will be the mark of this special little girl. Elizabeth represents promise of God! She is promised. I truly believe that.

So today was quite an adventure. The pregnancy is tiring and I have a good ways to go. But I am taking it a day at a time. The family continues to be very supportive and helpful. Precious new friends here in AZ have blessed us already with clothing and other baby stuff. I received an email from a new friend...Pam. She is coming to pick me up Sunday and we are going to pick out pink yarn as she is going to make matching afghans for the girls. Wow, I am excited! And another sweet friend, Donna has graciously passed along lots of pretty pink girl outfits. God's provision continues to come. We are hoping for a new crib and a good rocking chair for rocking the babies.

Well, thanks for checking in friends. We will keep you posted. And I appreciate your interest in our lives.

Bless you all,


Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Morning Random Musings

It is a sunny morning here in Arizona. Every morning here is sunny. However, the rays penetrate the windows and curtains as though there holds a message in its golden brilliance. Seems as though light is scattering more broadly in my heart bringing greater understanding and abundant peace as to why we are way out West living in this unique and mysterious state. My husband is getting ready to reach his one year mark in his place of employment. It has been a puzzling and somewhat lonely year. Yet God in His providence has a great purpose in this season of our lives. I am seeing glimpses of the blessings unfolding as a rose bud adorned in fresh dew.

The other day, I heard a quote that continues to stick with me. It states, "God does not want our best. He wants our humility so He can give us HIS best." This was a huge moment for me as I pondered this powerful statement. How many times have I prayed to God that I just want to be pleasing to Him? And in my limited logic, I think of all the "do's" I can perform to make me more endearing to my Father.

As we have been adjusting to life in the desert, it has been a wilderness year so to speak. God has provided so much for us in the physical realm. However, there have been many days when my own heart and spirit have felt as dry and cracked as the desert we live in. And I have thirsted and searched for the meaning of it all.

Like an onion, I am being peeled, layer by layer of all the things God has not desired to cloak me. He has been setting me free. And I joyfully look back over this past year with satisfaction that He has done a great work within. Of course He is not finished, but I have come a long way. In a sense, He has brought me into a wilderness to test me and to show me what is in my heart. God does not really give us a test to see if we will fail, but to show us where we have been off and what needs to be corrected. Had He not brought us here, there are so many things about Him I may have never realized. And His greatest desire is that all people would see Him clearly for who He really is.

I am finally in a place where I really do not worry so much if others think I am off in my walk with the Lord. Who am I to answer and explain that to anyone? My companionship with Him is between me and Him. And as each layer of the onion is peeled the aroma has stung my eyes and I have cried plenty of tears as each layer is discarded.

So many times I have felt like God was scrutinizing my every move tallying my actions into two columns. Column one is where He would grant me a mark for doing something pleasing to Him. In column two He would mark all the things unpleasing to Him. And at the end of the day I would wonder if I did enough to be on His good side.

Honestly, I wonder how many others are out there who would be willing to admit that they too have had this warped understanding of the Father's love based on our personal performance rather than His grace and goodness.

I have resolved in my heart that I have always lived in the favor of God. Even when I was not living for Him and seeking Him, I was favored by Him because He was working in my life to draw me step by step into His eternal embrace. However, as I seemingly grew in my relationship with Him, I began to live as though there was some favor line in which I measured my life.

For example, if something went wrong, I would begin to question what I did wrong to bring displeasure to the Lord. And when things were great, I would pat myself on the back thinking I must be living obediently. Dear ones, how wrong I was in my thinking. Now I can say to anyone. "If you are going through hardship, you are favored by God. If you are in a time of abundance and things are going well, you are in the favor of God."

There is no favor line or score keeping with God. His love and blessings are based on "Who" He is, not on the "whats" of my performance. You are in the favor of God, and I am in the favor of God. Why must we walk through each day as though we are on a tight rope or on a bed of pins and needles?

As I am infiltrated more and more by the revelation of His love for me, I shed this binding deceit,and I grow to love Him more. The result is transformation based on a love story unfolding each moment, not a set of regulations that God never created.

Well, you can tell I am seriously expressing my random thoughts this morning. It is like a drink of pure spring water to my parched soul to paint these pictures with my words. The words are like a glue that helps me to paste my thoughts together. My heart is an ocean and many things have laid dormant at its unseemigly unreachable floor. And I know that the random musings will continue and time travels on. So I am off to diapers, dishes, and teaching! This is going to be a great day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thank you!

I just want to thank those of you who responded to my preview. It really means a lot to me. Fortunately I have already sold my ornaments and I will be making more. If you would like to order something early, feel free to let me know. In the mean time, I look forward to sharing more with you in a couple of weeks! Above are some close up photos of the ornaments that were sold today. This set went for only 8 dollars. I would love to serve you in your holiday shopping and planning. Feel free to email me at any time at



Sunday, August 16, 2009


As many of you know I have been spending much time off of my feet due to my pregnancy with twins. We have two little girls due right around Christmas. I have tried to picture what the holidays are going to be like around here for us. First of all I have to figure out how to do shopping as well as getting baby items together. It seems like Christmas and the arrival of Lizzie and Maggie are going to happen all around the same time. WHEW! However, we are VERY excited!

Anyway, I am not accustomed to not being busy. And the doctor has told me to stay off my swollen little "doggies". So I have put my creative juices to work in my sedentary hours in hopes of opening a small gift shop on line. My daughter and I have taken a couple of classes from published artist Meri Wiley who also lives here in Gilbert.Her classes were a delight and she is an excellent teacher. She encouraged me and helped me to get "unstuck" as an artist and crafter and to go to a new level in my creativity. Check out her blog at You can also click on her link, IMAGI MERI on the side bar of my blog page.

On September 1st, I plan to open my first little art shop called "Home and Heart Art Shop". The emphasis of my products is vintage/eclectic type of items you can purchase for your home or for gifts for the upcoming holidays. I wanted to offer beautiful handmade items with an olden flair which are very affordable. Most of my items will be listed for 10 dollars or less. However, I will have a couple of art pieces I also created by hand which I will sell for more. My time and heart went into every piece and the items are treasures that will last for years to come.

I am excited to share with you my first collection of handcrafted gifts. Be on the lookout for my new website September 1st. And remember it is never too early to begin planning your holiday list. Hopefully my services will help to make your holidays a little more stress free. Enjoy the preview!

These are handcrafted keepsake vintage gift tags. These would make a lovely addition to your wrapped holiday gift. Also, they are keepsakes which can be kept for a special remembrance as well as make a beautiful ornament to hang on your tree each year.

This beautiful vintage/eclectic style frame would add a splash of color to any room. It is made from special papers,jewels and ribbons. The frame holds a 5x7 photo.

These ornaments would add a touch of the eclectic to any tree. And what is great about these is that they can be used in your home year around. They are made of a combination of a variety of things, therefore making them "very" eclectic.

This is a mixed collage photo frame with a vintage touch. Do you know someone who has a black and white color scheme in their home? This would add a lovely touch.

This is my first large art piece called "Glimpses". It is made from one of my sketches in which I colored with pencils and painted with acrylics. There is also a combination of various fabrics, special papers, and found items. I finished off the piece with distress inks to give it that vintage appearance.

Here are a couple of close ups of the detailed work of "Glimpses".

In addition to what you see above, I will be offering more unique photo frames, sketch prints, gift tags, ornaments, and hand-made vintage thank you post cards for after the holidays.
I look forward to sharing more with you very soon. Thank you all for being a part of my life and for all of the encouragement you have given in this new venture. I appreciate you all!


If you would like to receive notification of when the Website is up, please email me at and leave me your email address. Thanks!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bittersweet and Bitter....

The title of this post pretty much explains my day yesterday. The events of the day were a mixture of joyful and sorrowful tears all at the same time. I do not think I have ever actually experienced these types of feelings all at once. Here is what happened.

I had an appointment with a perinatologist because one of my blood tests had come back with a low positive reading for the possibility of Downs Syndrome in one or both of the babies. I have had a tremendous peace about the whole thing as this particular test is not always accurate. However, when I actually found myself in the sonogram room, I began to feel a lot of fear.

I knew I would be there for a long time as the technician would be doing a very detailed examination of both babies via ultrasound. This is called a Level 2 sonogram where the babies are checked and measured all over for signs of birth defects. John was going to meet me at the appointment. But he had trouble with the van and could not make the appointment. So I lay in that dark room alone while my babies were being checked from head to toe.

Every time a wave of fear hit me I just started praying for all of my friends who are either expecting a baby or are trying to become pregnant. This distracted me somewhat. And for some reason, whenever the technician was checking the babies' hearts, I just wanted to look away from the screen.

Needless to say, the specialist came in with an astounding report that both babies look great. No signs of any Downs and they are both growing really well. However, the doctor did find something with Lizzie that is very minor. She actually has an extra little pouch which formed on one of her kidneys. The specialist said on a scale of one to ten with ten being the most severe, it rates about a one or two. However, they are going to keep a check on it. And after she is born the pediatrician will need to watch her to make sure she is not having a lot of urinary tract infections.

I was overjoyed at the overall good news from the doctor. And I know that I have been blessed to receive such great care under well respected doctors. The perinatal office I am going to has some of the top rated physicians in the country!

Now, when I arrived home I was so happy and elated. A sweet friend had sent us some beautiful pink baby clothes and I was having a great time sorting through and admiring them. At the same time I was praising God for being so good and faithful.

Then the tables turned. I had only been home a short while when I received news that a dear friend had been in the Emergency Room. She is about 11 weeks pregnant and had been having some bleeding. The doctor performed an ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. So now my precious friend who lives on the other side of the country is at home going through this terrible pain. I too have felt the pain of miscarriage. It is one of the most excruciating things a woman can go through. The tears I cried for her and am still crying for her today come from somewhere deep within me. It is not until one has experienced a certain pain that one can truly partake in another's sorrow with genuine understanding.

So here I am. Aching and hurting for my dear friend. She has already endured multiple miscarriages. And I feel so deeply for her that I laid in my bed last night and wept! Wept because I know what she is feeling. Wept because I still ache for the babies I lost. Wept because I do not understand why a woman with such a tender and open heart to have children becomes pregnant only to have that sweet life ripped from her very being. Wept because I had a good day with good news and my friend did not. It is not fair!! And I wept because she lives so far away and I cannot go and sit with her, hug her and weep beside her.

Last night as I was thinking about my mixed feelings of sweetness and bitterness, I felt like I was given a glimpse of the Father's heart. Yet I questioned Him, "How is it Lord, that your heart is so huge that you can cry with the wounded and yet rejoice with the joyful all at the same time?" And that was me. I was joyful yet sorrowful at the same time.Such a strange feeling. Such an unusual day....of bitter sweetness and bitterness. Yet I slept in sweetness in His arms of Grace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thank you

Thank you everyone for your kind wishes for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had a simple evening out since I am supposed to be resting. It was a nice evening out for dinner at Macaroni Grill. And they gave us a free piece of cheesecake to share with yummy chocolate and caramel drizzled on and around it! Yummy.

Here you can see how much my belly has grown since my last photo. I am now 21 weeks pregnant with two sweet little girls.

God is good.
Good night!


Household of Faith: Happy Silver Anniversary John

Happy 25th Anniversary John. The last 25 years have felt more like 25 months. I want to thank you for being such a strong pillar for me over the years. And I want the world to know that we are building a household of faith. Even though many seasons have been really tough and our house has been shaken many times, the strong winds have not blown us down. Today I honor you for the wonderful husband and father you are. And I just want to say thank you. May the Lord bless you in incredible ways this coming year. And I hope that we will have at lease 25 more years together. I love you!
That beautiful day came and went like an ocean breeze. How simple yet special the entire celebration was. I will remember forever. Here I am with my lovely mother before the wedding. I wore her gorgeous wedding gown.

And here you are with you Dad and the pastor right before the wedding.

Daddy and me at the doors of the church. He was getting ready to release me to you. I remember how much he was shaking and I know I saw some tears in his eyes.

Here we are at the alter exchanging our vows. I remember it like it was yesterday!

It is official and we are filled with joy!!

I was only 19 and you were 21. The future seemed bright. Our journey had just begun.

Below is the lovely song you wrote and sang to me on our 10th anniversary. That was three years after we went through a season where we almost did not make it. But with God's grace, we made it to the other side. I will treasure the song forever. Do you remember you sang it to me again on our 11th anniversary?


And I will never forget our 13th anniversary when we sang this song together after dedicating our little Sara to the Lord. I weep every time I listen to the words.

Here we are at the start committing to each other
By His word and from our hearts
We will be a family in a house that will be a home
And with faith we'll build it strong

We'll build a household of faith
That together we can make
And when the strong winds blow it won't fall down
As one in Him we'll grow and the whole world will know
We are a household of faith

Now to be a family we've got to love each other
At any cost unselfishly
And our home must be a place that fully abounds with grace
A reflection of His face






Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Never Stop Learning

I love to write about things that are going on in my family because recording things reminds me every time that I am not in control. Once again I recall that God has his hand on all of His children. And remembering that we never stop learning about His sufficiency and grace is an indescribable strength to my soul.

I am a woman of God. I am a wife and mother. And I love to do many other things in addition to caring for others. In having a lot of responsibilities, I sometimes tend to lean toward my own strength instead of letting go and allowing greater measures of God's grace to flow in my life.

My hope is that in some way not only will I continue to be reminded of the importance of God's grace but that encouragement will find its way to the heart of another. Not because my life is perfect and all is in order. But because a dependent heart that many times feels weak and vulnerable is a heart where God shows His might and ability. That is the place I want to always be. And if weeping a lot in the midst of my weakness and feelings of inadequacy causes Him to show more of Himself to me, then let the tears keep rolling.

Many people do not understand why my dear husband and I have opened our hearts to having so many children. To be honest, I do not understand it myself at times. But with each child God has brought our way, it has been like a stretch of stress that has enlarged our hearts and arms for more children. It is something that the logical mind cannot contain.Most of the time my brain cells cannot even wrap around it.

The other night I watch a program on the Discovery Channel about a little girl who was born with no face. She had already been through 26 surgeries and was only 5 years old. In constructing her little face, the doctors had to do a separate surgery on her back inserting some type of device to stretch the skin. This extra skin would be used to build up her cheeks helping to give her face a shape.My heart was moved by the courage and strength of this tiny girl and her family.

However, as I thought about the procedure I thought about what a great picture that is of how stress,stretching and pain can enlarge our hearts for more. I feel like God has been stretching the invisible muscles of my heart, grafting me with more of His heart, and placing greater measures of love in me that could never be my own love.

Another lesson I have learned is that loss many times causes your heart to grow larger. In 2007 we lost two babies to miscarriage. The journey of grief is a disguised gift which gives one a greater appreciation of the things that matter in this short time we have on earth. And in our case, our hearts somehow grew bigger to the point where we were willing to open our home to any children that needed one. We had been praying about becoming foster parents when we found out we were expecting the twins.

As we await the birth of two more babies around the holidays, my heart is as swollen as my belly. Yet I have doctors orders to stay off my feet. So as I rest, He shows me more of Him. And I am the student ever more. This has been my lesson in the school of life. God does not give us more based on how great we can handle it alone. He gives us more when we graduate to a higher level of leaning, depending, and running to Him. That is where He is glorified and we are empowered.This is a truth that goes ever deeper with each step we make. It is a truth we have heard.Yet it is never of substance until we live it. May I never stop being teachable and reachable from the grasp of His grace!! Maybe this all sounds "syrupy". But lets face it, the deep things of the heart are the things that beat within the chambers of the Divine Heart. The most lovely heart of all.