On Becoming a Grandmother and Priorities

I’ve come to my office so many times to write this post, then stopped myself.

My heart feels like pictures I made in kindergarten–the ones with crayons melted by a hot iron inside wax paper–so many colors swirled together.

Becoming a grandmother has changed me.

It took a while to gather the courage to share my thoughts. I’ve missed you. I’ve prayed for you. You’ve become some of my dearest friends. And what kind of friend am I if I’m not honest with you?

I had the honor of being in the labor room with my daughter, Katie, and her husband for two days while they waited to meet their baby boy.

There’s something sacred about birth. Especially when it’s a grandchild.

I‘ll never forget my desperate prayer at the 3/4 mark of her labor.

3:30 p.m. on July the 11th.

She’s so tiny, Lord, and it looks like nothing’s happening. Would You help her? Surely Mary was small when she gave birth, and You were there in the manger…

Caleb James was born at 5:10 p.m. the same day. No c-section necessary!

He weighed 6.3. 19 1/2 inches long.

I’ll never stop thanking You, Lord. Ten years of prayer. 

When I held my grandson for the first time, Awe and Gratitude came together.

Evidence of God’s faithfulness in my arms.

I wanted to slow dance around the room with him. I may have. I’m not sure. 🙂

Oh, the Power and Wisdom of Your timing. You don’t always say yes. And rarely do You answer according to our plans. But look at this beautiful boy…

Peering into Caleb’s blue-gray eyes, I thought about life.

I’m 58. Pushing 60.

Maybe the 3/4 mark.

The final lap.

Like the turning point in Katie’s labor. 

Caleb’s four weeks old today, and I’m in a new, quiet place.

My priorities are softening and shifting. I’ve never felt this way before.

It’s a Holy Hush.

Social media and platform building (as we writers are encouraged to do) doesn’t seem nearly as urgent. Sharing my opinions doesn’t seem nearly as important. More than anything (even publishing), I want to become someone who loves well.

To love well, I must love God first. 

I wrote Him a long apology letter this morning. 

For years, I put becoming “successful” at the tip-top of my list. 

I chased becoming Somebody instead of chasing Him. 

I’m reading Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot for the second time. I skimmed it years ago. 

As I keep a quiet heart, God’s teaching me how to love others, one person at a time, the same way He loves me.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength…Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these. Mark 12:30-31 NIV

P.S. Katie and her family are doing just fine. Rilynn (Katie’s stepdaughter–who holds a huge chunk of my heart) is on Cloud Ten. 🙂 So is Grandpa Rick. If you want to find out more about Katie’s journey with infertility, read this and this.


Thoughts? Comments? Have you ever had the Lord rearrange your priorities?

Love and gratitude,

Grandma Jewels

 

 

 

It Ain’t Over Yet!

If the woman at Home Depot hadn’t been wearing Birkenstock sandals, I probably wouldn’t have bought  strawberry plants.

In March of 2017, my daughter Katie, who’d been struggling with infertility for ten years, was awaiting pregnancy test results (again). I wanted to do something brave–something I’d never done before.

I wanted to plant something new.

In the gardening section of Home Depot, I decided herbs might be easy to grow, so I picked out rosemary and basil.

Then I noticed a woman in the strawberry section wearing Birkenstocks. She had a long, braided ponytail, and looked like she knew what she was doing.

I asked if strawberries were hard to grow. She assured me I could do it. 

I wanted to you say, if I can grow strawberries, do you think can Katie have a baby? 

Back at home, I put the herbs and three strawberry plants on my grandmother’s old ironing board outside. I knew the herbs would be okay there.

But if the strawberries were going to survive, they needed to be planted.

And I was afraid to plant them.

I didn’t want to be disappointed again.

A couple of days later, I moved the strawberry plants to the railing, so they’d be a little closer to the sun.

As long as I don’t plant them, they can’t die.

Then Katie found out she wasn’t pregnant.

Again.

She didn’t talk much about it this time.

She just got quiet.

I did too.

On an unusually hot Thursday afternoon in April of 2017, I planted the strawberries in the rock-hard Georgia clay, where we normally had a garden. We didn’t plant a garden last year.

I felt empty on the inside. Frustrated and faithless. 

You know my heart, Lord. I’m going to plant these stupid strawberries, but I don’t even have faith to water them. I’m not wasting my time. 

One Saturday this spring, my husband came in the house. “Come here,” he said. “You gotta see this.”

We live in the middle of the woods. Maybe he’d found a snake. A possum. Couldn’t be veggies. We didn’t plant anything this year either.

He led me through the yard, past the weeds in our abandoned garden–

And opened the garden gate.

“Come, look,” he said.

Along the edge of the fence–right where I planted the strawberries–I saw lush, green leaves.

The strawberries.

I’d forgotten all about them.

“I can’t believe it. They didn’t die.”

“Keep looking,” Rick said.

I got closer.

Then I spotted the fat, red berries.

“It’s a miracle! We have real strawberries in our yard!” Just like the woman at Home Depot. “Did you take care of them?”

“I haven’t touched them.”

My dear readers, I haven’t had the freedom to tell you this until now.

Not only do we have strawberries,

KATIE’S PREGNANT!

She’s due July 20! 

She waited until I few weeks ago to announce her news.

There’s a phrase in this song that says it all:

“It ain’t over yet!” 

Lord, it ain’t over yet! You can do anything. Even create faith in a faithless heart. You inspired me through a woman wearing Birkenstock sandals and three strawberry plants. 

If you’re close to giving up, listen to this song. 

If you can’t see the image above, click this link –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou-p_RDUbB4  

 


How can we pray for you?

Love,

Julie

She’s That Kind of Friend

Our ladies’ small group meets in Karen’s home on Wednesday nights for food, faith, and friendship. All twenty-five of us are welcomed the same way~~

With a big hug and a smile.

One night in early December, I noticed sprigs of greenery around her home~~

Above the chandelier~

In the bathroom by the sink~

Nestled in her centerpiece on the coffee table.

Karen’s creativity intrigued me.

She’d decorated her house by cutting branches from her Christmas tree–something I’d never done–or even thought about doing.

But her gifts run much deeper than her decorating skills.

Her relationship with God and others her is alive and real. 

Sipping my coffee, I sat down in my usual spot in her den and remembered specific prayers from this group~~

The Wednesday night in May when they prayed over me and my writing~

In November, I spoke at a women’s Christmas tea~~

Covering in fear, I called Karen that afternoon. “I’m scared. Will you pray for me?”

She started praying, and I dropped to my knees in my bedroom. By the time she finished, I felt calm and fearless. I knew God was with me. 

Then I remembered this summer~~

How a bunch of us from small group met on Wednesday nights to walk and pray.

Karen led the way.

We covered miles of territory, circling schools, neighborhoods, police stations–even the streets of downtown Atlanta. We prayed in the parking deck before passing out goodies to the homeless.

Karen stopped to smell a blossoming tree. 🙂

Karen’s living, breathing faith had spread across our group the same way she’d spread clippings from her live Christmas tree. 

I came home from group that December night and cut pieces of our tree.

I put a sprig in the candy bowl.

And on the coffee table~

On the front porch beside the door~

And draped some on a wall hanging.

Lighting candles, I inhaled the scent of pine and thought,

Karen doesn’t just spread greenery from her Christmas tree~~she spreads life from a Living God!

She’s THAT kind of friend.

When I told her I wanted to write about her, she got choked up and said, “I don’t do anything for y’all that you don’t do for me.”

The best kind of friends draw us closer to Jesus. Click to tweet.

P.S. I’m going to leave my fresh sprigs out for as long as they’ll last!

Do you have a friend like Karen who’ll pray for you on the spot? 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Willing Heart

Confession.

For years, I hid in my loft office upstairs and wrote the days away, trying to make my life count. Trying to be somebody.

But God’s been messing with my heart lately. Big time.

On Saturday, November 4th, I went with some friends to downtown Atlanta. We took goodie bags to the homeless.

This pastor happened by.

He said he’d just walked his 6,000 steps for the day and ended up at same park where we were.

“There’s a reason God brought me here,” he said. “Now I know why.” He smiled. “To pray for you ladies.”

He didn’t say a quick prayer and hurry on his busy way.

He spent some time with us. He thanked us for what we were doing, and then he began to pray–the kind of prayer that stirs your soul. He asked God to protect us and to shine His Light through us. 

There was something special about him.

Something unforgettable. 

The man depended on God for every step he took. Every word he spoke. 

We said goodbye and headed to our next stop.

I want to live that way, I thought. Like that man. Totally free to be myself. Free to share God’s love anywhere and everywhere.

Two days ago, I met Missy for lunch.

She attended a women’s retreat in October where my mother and I spoke.

Missy and I chatted and laughed while we ate. Then we got gut-level honest.

“Missy,” I said. “I’ve been speaking to ladies’ groups for years. Usually it takes me a few minutes to feel comfortable in front of a crowd. But something happened when I spoke to your group. I’m not sure what it was, but I had so much fun. No fear whatsoever. Wonder what made the difference?”

She leaned forward and looked right in my eyes. “You were real with us, Julie. Every woman in the room could relate to you.”

Holy goosebumps covered me.

That’s how I make a difference in the world?

I take off my skin and be myself?

It sounded too good to be true.

Then I remembered the pastor. His compassion. His easy manner. The way God drew near when he prayed for us.

I want to live that way, every day.

And for a few precious minutes at the women’s retreat, I did.

When you surrender everything to God–even for a few minutes, He never wastes a willing heart. (click to tweet)

Can you relate? Have you had moments when you completely surrendered your heart to God? What happened? Please share with the group! It’s an exciting way to live, isn’t it?!

P.S. I’ll be speaking Thursday and Friday nights, November 16th and 17th. Say a prayer. 🙂

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courage–and Redoing My Kitchen Cabinets

Over the years, I’ve spilled gallons of paint, so I’ve stayed away from painting, but a few weeks ago, I got an idea.

A very brave idea. 

My talented daughter-in-love Brittany rescues old furniture and animals. Chase was a rescue puppy.

She rescued her grandmother’s end table–

The “after” picture comes first. 🙂

Brittany found this piece of furniture on the side of the road.

It was a mess, but she knew it had potential.

My grandmother’s antique dresser–

We gave it to Brittany and Thomas.

Before–

After!

About a month ago, Brittany and I were in their bedroom near the newly restored dresser when an itty-bitty idea tiptoed up my spine.

“Do you think you and I could possibly redo my kitchen cabinets?” I said then started backpedaling. “Never mind. It’s probably not even possible. Painting’s way out of my comfort zone, and my cabinets are red and shiny. It would be too much work, and I have a ton of them. Plus, you’re really busy.”

Her brown eyes twinkled.

No fear whatsoever.

“Of course!”

A few days later, she came over to assess my kitchen. “Tell me how you want this room to feel when we’re finished.”

“Warm and welcoming.”

“What feels warm and welcoming to you?”

“I love anything rustic. Old farmhouses. A beaten-up, rugged look.”

She glanced at my rooster clock. “The colors in this clock will be our palette.”

I took a step closer. “Great idea. A color palette! There’s a tiny bit of blue in his tail.”

“Yep. And green-grass.”

“It’s not that I don’t like red, but the cabinets sort of clash with the color around the windows. I want something brighter. Lighter. Honestly, I want to be brave enough to make a change.”

“We can do this, Julie. I promise. You’ll see.”

We made a trip to Home Depot for supplies.

Back home in my kitchen, Brittany handed me a paint roller. My hands shook.

Like I was stretched out on the operating table awaiting surgery.

“You can do this. Just trust me.”

TRUST is a big word when it involves me and painting.

First, we painted the cabinets white.

I gotta be honest. At this point, I was close to hyperventilating. I did NOT want perfect, white, pristine cabinets.

After Brittany went home that night, I wanted to call her and say, “Come back! Don’t leave! What if this doesn’t work?”

The next day, she turned on music while we painted–which helped me relax and stop asking so many questions. 🙂

She thought it would take three coats of white paint, but we only needed two.

Then came the real fun.

We started our first coat of glaze/stain.

Watching her spread brown on the cabinet door, I thought I might pass out.

Thomas helped with the first coat.

I stood behind them and held my breath.

Brittany handed me a paintbrush and shoved me off the high-dive. “Come on, you can do this.”

I listened very carefully and did exactly what she said.

I brushed on the glaze then wiped it off softly.

Even if you’re terrified, you can still do your job. 

Each coat had to dry for several hours. Then we had to add three coats of protective polyurethane.

At night, I’d get out of bed to take sneak-peeks. 🙂

One day when we were close to finishing, my BFF from All Things Heart and Home called. I told her what we were doing.

“Great idea! You might want new knobs for your cabinets.”

“What kind?”

“Think about what you love.”

Same thing Brittany said when we started.

I remembered a wall-hanging I found at Kirklands–with glass knobs that remind me of my grandmother’s house.

I found glass cabinet knobs on Amazon at Knobs and More Home Décor! ($5.50/each)

And a rug that blended with my color palette at T.J. Maxx. ($59)

My cream and sugar roosters matched the color palette too.

On the final day of the project, I felt so at home in my home. 

“This went much deeper than redoing my kitchen cabinets,” I said. “We redid my heart. You helped me demolish walls of fear and try something new.”

“I knew you could do it. You just needed a little encouragement.”

Brittany looked beyond my fear to my potential and shared her courage with me.

When I redid my kitchen cabinets, my heart got a makeover too! (click to tweet)

Has anyone encouraged you to try something scary and new? Having a cheerleader is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

Can you think of someone who could use a little bit of your courage? 

Share the story in the comments!

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cookies and Compassion

A few days ago my husband said, “You haven’t made any of those white chocolate cranberry cookies lately.”

“That’s because it’s the wrong season,” I said. “I add pumpkin pie spice to them. They taste like fall.”

He nodded and dropped the subject.

Later that day, I felt a gentle nudge in my heart to make the fall-weather cookies. Feeling a little foolish, I ran to the grocery store–in 95 degree heat–for dried cranberries, walnuts, and white chocolate chips. 

When Rick came home that night the house smelled like October–as if the trees should be full of red and yellow leaves. He was happy, but there’s more to the story.

The next day my mother and I had appointments with our rheumatologist. She’d been having knee pain and had started wearing a knee brace. Before I left to pick her up, I sensed that same soft Voice talking to me.

Take your mother some cookies. 

She won’t eat them. She’ll say she doesn’t need the calories. And they’re not chocolate. She loves chocolate. 

Take them anyway. 

Convinced I was wasting my time, I tossed three cookies in a baggie and headed out the door. Mother and I arrived a few minutes early at the doctor’s office.

“I brought you a surprise.” I handed her the bag expecting her to politely decline them. “It’s July and they’re fall cookies.”

“Oh, good! I’m hungry. I didn’t eat breakfast.”

She took a bite. “Oh, Julie. They’re incredible. Best cookies I’ve ever had.”

She picked up a second cookie–one for each hand–and ate two at a time. Even though her leg hurt, she shoveled food in her mouth and got tickled.

The doctor spent a lot of time with her so she gave him her last cookie. I don’t know how many of his patients give him treats, but I think the cookie made his day.

On the way home, I told Mother I’d make her a whole batch. 🙂

That night, it seemed God had a message for me about the cookies. 

There were rational reasons why I didn’t want to make (or share!) them. 

1. It was the wrong season.

2. It was too hot for fall cookies.

3. I’d have to go the store for the ingredients. 

4. I’d made chocolate chip cookies a few days earlier.

5. I didn’t think my mother would want any.

But His Sweet Spirit kept pressing on me, tenderizing my heart–

Make white chocolate cranberry cookies.

Such a small thing.

And I almost said no.

When God touches our hearts to give, we can trust Him with the results. Click to tweet.

…show mercy and compassion to one another Zachariah 7:9 NIV

Here’s the recipe link All Things Heart and Home.

Has God touched your heart to do something small with great love? Please share!

P.S. Thank you for praying for me as I rewrite the novel. I’ll be sending it to my agent this week. 🙂 🙂 I’m working on some new writing ideas and praying about my blogging schedule. I’m posting almost daily on Instagram.  I love it!

So much love,

Julie

 

Decorating with Love

When I found out Robin, my BFF of 40 years, was spending the night, I was blown away with excitement. But I was also a tiny bit scared.

Robin is ROBIN from All Things Heart and HomeEvery inch of her home blooms with beauty and creativity. 

She’d be staying in our spare bedroom–the room I’d been ignoring it for years. It was full of wrapping paper and boxes, with my ironing board sitting in the middle of the floor.

No color theme. No inspiration. Total blah.

I wanted Robin to feel loved and welcomed, but decorating isn’t easy for me. 

The bedroom makeover began with a prayer and a pillow.

Lord, will You please help me? Will You show me what to do–step-by-step?

Later that day, I searched through the decorative pillows at Walmart. Nothing thrilled me~~

Until I spotted this one with a bicycle on it.

Something sweet stirred in my heart as if the Lord whispered,

Get the pillow, Julie. It belongs in Robin’s room. 

Okay. I have a pillow. What next? A bedspread? I want her to feel covered with Your Love. 

One aisle over, I found a white duvet–fluffy and carefree like clouds.

At Target, I fell in love with a five-dollar pink pillow.

Five dollars? 

Decorating isn’t about price tags. 

Back at home, I put the pillow in my grandmother’s rocking chair.

I noticed the long, dark area in front of the dormer window.

How can we bring love into this spot, Lord?

(This is the “after” picture below.)

I brought a table inside from the front porch and added a few of my favorite things.

This corner next to the bookshelf needs something. 

I added my cross lamp.

Light and Love~~

Maybe a rug would feel cozy. 

I found a pink, shag rug at Target and texted my sister a picture. She gave it a thumbs’ up and suggested I try it under the bottom of the bed.

Who knew?!

Then I texted Robin’s husband to see if he had any ideas.

“Peonies are her favorite flowers,” he said, “but they’re really hard to find.”

Lord, will You help me find peonies? 

I called my friend Laurel from Everett’s Florist in Monroe, GA. Peonies had just arrived! She arranged them in my grandmother’s antique vase.

I put the flowers on the bedside table and had a tiny spot for one more thing, but what? 

I thought about our 40 years of friendship~~

All the memories~~

Phone calls about raising toddlers, potty training, and then teenage drama~~

So much love~~

I found a picture of us at her fall party and had it printed in black and white. 

Guess what?

Robin fell in love with her room!

The morning after she spent the night, she brought her peonies to the breakfast table. 🙂 The flowers I’d prayed for (and even doubted I’d find) became our centerpiece. 

And then the sweetest thing happened~~

After our time together, Robin texted me this picture from her heart and home.

No words. Just the picture. 

Tears blurred my vision.

Everything was so beautiful. God helped me do the impossible. 

Together, we turned a junk room into a room full of love.

I didn’t even know where to start and He showed me how.

He led me every step of the way.

 I went upstairs to take another peek. 

Robin had made up the bed and raised the blinds.  With golden Light streaming in the window, a new truth settled in my soul. 

Live this way, Julie, God seemed to say–in My Love–always, with everything you do. 

Wow. Just wow.

When you don’t know what to do next, ask God to lead you with His Love. (click to tweet)

Do everything in Love, even decorating! (click to tweet) 

Do everything in love. 1st Corinthians 16:14 NIV (click t0 tweet)

Do you know the secret of decorating with love?

Is God helping you do something step-by-step? Please share! 

P.S. I have a prayer request.  My goal is to finish my novel rewrite during the month of June. It’s sort of like decorating the bedroom-I can’t do it without His help. Will you pray for me? 

I’m going to be putting my heart and soul into the novel, so I’m not going to blog again until Wednesday, July the 5th. 

I’m going to miss you, big time!

Thank you for praying. 

One more tidbit of info–I’m spending more time on Instagram than Facebook. I’m posting a pic every day in June about Love, my word for 2017. 🙂 Please join me~~

So much love,

Julie

 

 

One Tiny Moment at a Time

Sometimes a conversation has the power to change your life. That’s what happened Saturday, the day after my son’s wedding. Robin, my BFF of 40 years, came to the wedding, and then spent the night with me.

The two of us are deep-thinkers. 

If we’re not careful, we can get stuck in the melancholy parts of life–the things that weigh your heart down.

We’re prone to worry, but we’re working on changing, one tiny moment at a time. 

We were talking and she made a profound statement. When she did, I remembered so many magical moments about the wedding~~

The first rays of sunlight Friday morning–how they landed softly on the stairs of our cabin. 

Walking into the rehearsal dinner and seeing my sister Jennifer’s smile~~ 

The same expression as when we were little girls~~

Like she had a secret to tell me.

Weeks ago when I chose the restaurant, Jennifer offered to decorate for me. She has an eye for color and style and fashion, and she knows all about flowers and candles and creating ambiance.

I remembered the moment I glanced at Jamie, my daughter, and watched her laughing with Jennifer.

~~Pure joy~~

And Chris, Katie’s husband~~

I remembered the way Katie’s eyes lit up three years ago when she told me about him right after they met.

And my mother at the rehearsal dinner~~

I remembered how she’d taught me everything I needed to know~~

To love Jesus,

To love people,

And to love words. 

Oh, and Rilynn~~

I remembered Chris bringing Rilynn into our lives, our only grandchild, an answer to prayer.

There were two magical wedding moments with Rilynn~~

The way she gazed into the mirror after Brittany’s aunt curled her hair like the big girls.

And how she quietly slipped into the chair beside me at the wedding.

There were magical moments at the reception too~~

I forgot to bring my reading glasses and took pictures wearing my prescription sunglasses. Katie said, “Mom, please take off your sunglasses. You look silly.” 

But I didn’t care how silly I looked. 

I wanted to remember the moments. 

And then seeing Thomas and Brittany leaving for their honeymoon~~

That tiny moment when time stood still and love exploded inside my heart.

But my life-changing conversation with Robin happened after all of this–after all the excitement died down.

Saturday morning, we had a porch party. Just the two of us.

We rocked and drank coffee and laughed about getting older.

Then we went to the square in my little town, Monroe, Georgia, and visited my favorite shop, a children’s bookstore called The Story Shop.

This place is all the best moments of childhood made over~~

 

Surrounded by so much creativity, I knew exactly what Robin was  feeling because I felt it too~~

The magic of the moment. 

Later that day, we dove deep into conversation and talked about the things you share with your closest friends~~

But we didn’t dwell there, in Worry Land. Not this time.

Maybe because we didn’t want to spoil the magic of the moment. 

“Wow, I said, “We let go of our concerns in a hurry, didn’t we?”

“Yep. Record time, for us.” She paused. “Maybe the secret to life is celebrating each tiny moment with all your heart–which doesn’t leave room for worry.”

“And all we have is one tiny moment at a time,” I said.

Then Robin handed me the secret~~

“Maybe this is how God intends for us to live. One tiny moment at a time.” Click to tweet

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.” Matthew 6:34 MSG

What tiny moments are you celebrating today? 

P.S. Robin has an amazing blog, All Things Heart and Home. You’ll love it! I promise!

Love,

Julie

 

My Grandmother’s Secret

For the past few weeks, my heart’s been all over the place.

Thomas, our youngest child, is getting married on May 19th. He’s 25. I love Brittany, his bride-to-be. He’s ready to get married. They both are.

But I was afraid of how I’d feel at their wedding.

Afraid of all the love bumping around in my heart. 

Love and letting go were tightly intertwined. 

How could I handle both emotions at the same time?

How do you love and let go?  

A few days ago, I picked up my dress for the wedding and stopped by Mother’s house to show it to her. She ran her hands lightly over the pastel chiffon.

Stepping into the dress, I slipped it over my shoulders. The dress magnified what I was feeling.

The flurry of time.

Seasons changing.

“This brings back the memories, doesn’t it?” Mother said. “Your prom dresses. Your wedding dress.”

I wasn’t a teenager. Or a bride. I was a mother-of-the groom. And I had to prepare my heart for the wedding. But how? 

Mother zipped my dress. “This reminds me of my mother tying the sash of my nurse uniform,” she said.

“It was just an apron, but we called it a nurse’s uniform. When I was six, I got pneumonia and had to go to the hospital to take shots of penicillin. Goge (my grandmother) worked and couldn’t stay with me. I wasn’t really a patient, but the nurses watched me all day long until my mother returned.”

(Mother and Goge, my grandmother, 1940.)

So sad. Goge had to leave my mother for nurses to watch while she worked.

Mother’s daddy died when she was two.

Love can be a scary thing. Like life. You can’t control it.

“Didn’t you hate spending the day at the hospital?”

“Oh, no. I loved it. It was a tiny hospital. It had been someone’s home, and the doctor was our good friend. I got to sit on a white, metal stool in the lab and talk to the nurses. Actually, it felt like going to a birthday party.”

This was a good memory for Mother. God was with her at the hospital.

More than that.

Years before Goge went to heaven, she discovered the secret of letting go. 

She let go through the power of love.

Maybe that’s the only way we can do it. 

A tingly feeling came over me–as if my grandmother had a message for me. 

That’s when the miracle happens, Julie. Don’t be afraid of your love for Thomas. Use it to help you let go. God will give him everything he needs. And He’ll take care of your mama-heart too. 

At last, the Thomas-shaped place in my mama-heart stood up and cheered.

I didn’t have to separate my feelings.

The two worked together as a team, love and letting go.

I’d let go just like Goge did–through the power of love. 

When we let go with love, something miraculous happens. God shows up. (click to tweet)

Are you letting go of someone or something right now? If so, I pray this post helps.

P.S. Remember what my word for the year is? 🙂 LOVE.

With so much love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

When Dreams Come True

The air in the greenhouse was damp and sweet, heavy with the promise of springtime.

I’d stopped by Everett’s Florist in Monroe, GA to buy ferns for the front porch.

I picked out eight of my favorites.

Carrying them two at a time, I walked through the the floral shop and sensed a deep awareness in my soul as if God said,

Listen with your heart, Julie. There’s a message here. 

I’d been coming to Everett’s every April for years. There was a new woman behind the counter, and the shop looked different.

There was something tender in the atmosphere~

Like finding newborn kittens in a barn~

The promise of sweet things to come~

Something that went beyond trinkets~

As if the place had been transformed from a house to a home.

“You’ve rearranged things. I love the wide, open space.”

“Thank you,” she said. “My name’s Laurel. I just bought the business from my parents.”

There was beauty all around me.

I loved the restored door.

The wooden ladder.

The hydrangeas.

“I have a pie safe just like this,” I said.

Oh, and the chalkboard.

I had one when I was a little girl–at my grandmother’s house.

“There’s so much love in this room. It feels like a sanctuary.”

“Thank you. My parents started the business thirty-something years ago and were ready to retire.”

“Wow, and it’s yours now.”

“Yes. My father still brings plants for the greenhouse, but ever since I was a little girl, it’s been my dream to turn the floral shop into a gift shop. My eight-year-old daughter is making custom floral arrangements.”

“Three generations of creativity. That’s amazing.”

Laurel waited a long time for her dream to come true. 

“I’m just wondering…is faith a part of this?” I said. “I sense God’s Presence here.”

Because I have a dream. 

My friends do too. 

Some of us have spent years praying and waiting and wondering

“Oh, yes,” she said. “Absolutely. Faith is a huge part. So much prayer went into this. And if my dream didn’t honor God, I wouldn’t want it to come true.”

Laurel gave me what I was searching for~

Something to share with you~

A precious seed of faith. 

When God-inspired dreams come true, we know Who gets the glory. (click to tweet)

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus… Colossians 3:17  

Lord, help us trust You with our dreams. Your will. Your way. Your timing. (click to tweet). 

P.S. You can follow Everett’s Florist on Facebook: Facebook.com/everett’s florist and on Instagram: Everett’s_Florist

Love,

Julie

 

 

Love,

Julie