Love Is…

When I write about my husband, I ask him to read it before I hit publish. This time I didn’t.

I’m surprising him with a public love letter.

Dear Ricky, (I call him Ricky, but most people call him Rick)

Sunday night, after we picked out our Christmas tree and brought it home, I headed to my loft office to write while you wrested that prickly, sap-filled Frazier fir into place.

With my fingers on my laptop, I sensed a tapping on my heart and glanced through the banisters to watch you work. You were doing the same thing you’ve done for 39 years.

It sounds like a small thing, but this sight moved me.

So much love came over me, I wanted to get closer.

I tiptoed downstairs and sat in the red chair behind you.

I didn’t say anything. I sat there, watching and thinking. Praying a little bit.

I’d never thought much about Christmas tree lights until that flickering moment.

I remembered our first Christmas, 1978.

We came home with a tree that wouldn’t fit in out den–remember?

Then we drove back to the tree lot and exchanged it for a smaller one. I was afraid we’d lost our money, but you knew they’d do the right thing.

What about all those years when Jamie, Katie, and Thomas helped us decorate?

It never occurred to me that Christmases would change, and one day it would just be you and me.

Every year, you untangle the lights from last Christmas because I’m always in such a hurry to take down the decorations.

And every year you fix my mess.

I don’t know why this touched me so deeply…

Maybe because my word for 2017 is Love.

I didn’t know this as young wife and mother.

And I didn’t put the definition together until three days ago.

This is what Love means:

Love means doing whatever it takes to get the job done. 

Love is content to go unnoticed.

Love is kind–even when the Christmas lights are knotted up. (click to tweet)

Thank you, Ricky.

Happy 39th on December 9th.

I love you.

Julie

To my readers–

What does love mean to you?

Has your definition of love changed over the years? Share it with us!

 

 

Love and a Spotted Donkey

Saturday night, my husband and I were on our way to eat out when he pulled over on the side of the road.

“What are you doing?”

“Looking at the horses,” he said.

I’d passed these horses a thousand times, and I was hungry, but he didn’t put the car in drive, so I glanced at the scene unfolding in the pasture.

It was twilight~~

That magical time right before sunset when God peels back the curtain and reveals a touch of wonder.

The horses were stunning, the edge of the sun slipping over their strong shoulders.

I rolled down the window and became a part of their world.

The sweet scent of October grass filled the car.

In the far left corner of the field, a chocolate-brown donkey stood on the other side of the fence, grazing.

Two more tan donkeys joined her. A smaller animal stood between them.

It looked like a small horse with big, pointy ears.  Or maybe a goat.

“What’s the spotted thing?”

“It’s a donkey,” Rick said.

“A spotted donkey?”

“Yep.”

I had no idea there were spotted donkeys.

Captured by her beauty, I watched her for a few seconds before asking my next question. “Have we always had donkeys on our street?”

“Yep.”

“Even the spotted one?”

“Um-hmm.”

How have I missed this little donkey all these years?

I felt a warm sensation in my heart.

What is it, Lord? I’m listening…

I thought about how He’s the Good Shepherd–how He knows the condition of His flock. (from John 10:14-15 and Proverbs 27:23)

Lord, You don’t zip down the road of life, too busy to care about us.

You don’t glance at us from time to time when You have nothing better to do.

You’re in the field with us. 

And for sure, You’d never forget You have a spotted donkey.

Lord, You’re the Good Shepherd. You can’t possibly forget me! (click to tweet

Did you know about spotted donkeys?

How’s the Good Shepherd helping you today?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing from Kneeling

For months I pretended not to notice, but last week there was no denying it.

As I vacuumed the den, the late afternoon sun poured through the windows, highlighting the scratches in our pine floors.

Our floors had been through hard times.

Life had beaten them up.

The next day at Home Depot, I found special markers called Rejuvenate. They came in different shades of brown, and the package said they repaired wood furniture and floors.

Why not give it a try?

Rejuvenate did a fine job covering the scratches, but something even more remarkable happened.

My soul was rejuvenated. 

I knelt down and began covering marks in the floor and thought about the scratches in my heart.

My life.

My journey.

My choices.

My history.

My mistakes.

The times I’d allowed fear to consume me.

Times I’d tried to please people rather than please God.

Times I’d run from Him.

All the time I’d wasting by comparing myself to others.

I wondered if there was a parallel between restoring my floors and restoring my heart.

Kneeling over my bedroom floor, I thought~

Lord, You’re only a breath away.

Nothing is hidden from You.

Everything is laid bare.

You know me.

You know my heart.

My story.

My past.

My future.

My weaknesses.

My strengths.

As I covered each mark in the floor, I considered the marks in my life and imagined Jesus kneeling with me. Side by side. 

He didn’t say, “Julie, pay attention! You missed a spot. Why didn’t you take care of your floors to start with? Are you ever going to learn? When are you going to get it right?” 

I felt no condemnation.

None.

Only Love.

He loves us. Oh, how He loves us. 

As I restored my worn floors, God restored the worn places in my heart. (click to tweet)

Lord, You are intimately acquainted with all my ways, and still, You love me. From Ps. 139:3 (click to tweet)

There’s something powerful about kneeling when we pray.

Have you experienced healing when kneeling?

What scratches has God restored in your life?

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