Monday, January 31, 2011

my just plain beautiful Mama…


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When I was a little girl I remember thinking that Mama was the most beautiful woman in the world.

Then somewhere along the way to puberty the bloom came off the rose.  I noticed that Mama didn’t have beautiful, beauty shop hair, pearl earrings, and full cotton skirts that looked perfect for twirling like my best friend’s mama.  She wasn’t like the perky, young homemaker next door in the brand new ranch house with the beautifully manicured lawn and the weedless flowerbeds filled with petunias either.  She was just plain Mama in her homemade cotton dress there in our big old house with the weed filled lawn on Dartmouth Street doing her best to feed and clothe us seven kids. Mama was my just plain beautiful Mama.  Mama was my roots.

I used to daydream that Mama was different, more expressive of her feelings, and more open to hearing about mine. I’m glad I realized before it was too late that sometimes we miss the blessing of what we do have while we are wishing for what we don’t.  When I suffered my first broken heart in high school, Mama didn’t ask me about my tears.  But when I got a last minute date to the prom, Mama worked night and day to sew me a dress to wear.  That’s the way Mama loved us kids…by doing.  In her last hours here on earth us kids took turns holding her thin, little, arthritis twisted hands…those hands that had said “I love you” through every delicious meal she cooked, every loaf of bread she baked, every cookie made, every stitch of home sewn clothes she so carefully made, every floor mopped, every shirt ironed.

I saw through Mama that you’re never too old to change.  As we grew older she became more verbally and physically demonstrative to us of her love.  When the grandkids came along she became even more so.  By the time she had great grandbabies there was no holds barred in her quest for hugs and kisses and in her many declarations that “Grandma loves you!”

Mama also loved us kids by putting our needs before her own.  After Daddy left, she got a job that was a 45 minute drive away from home.  She chose to commute, rather than to move us kids from the house we had grown up in and the school we went to through our high school graduation.  Her focus was caring for us, not a social life for herself.  Our life was simple and drama free.  Mama got up well before dawn and was home in time for us to sit down together at the kitchen table for dinner.  On her vacations she loaded up the car and took us camping.

Mama served Jesus in the same simple, common sense way she raised us kids. She would never have claimed to be a great woman of faith, but faith is demonstrated by what we do.  In Mama’s simple obedience I see great faith.  When her life’s journey took her through the deep valley of despair, though she may have wanted to give up, she woke up in the morning, got out of bed, put one foot in front of the other and kept walking…right on THROUGH that valley and right on INTO the land of blessing.  That’s where Mama spent her last days, in the land of blessing, filled to overflowing with kids, grandkids, great grandkids and great great grandkids all around her.  Her simple, uncomplicated faith and obedience in raising us in a church that loved us, changed our lives, the lives of our children and grandchildren, and the lives of all those we have influenced for His kingdom, including people in other nations of the world.  Her simple obedience in giving caused all of us to see the truth that God blesses obedience.  His provision in her life was undeniable. 

A few weeks before Mama died, my youngest brother, oldest living sister, and I were in her room discussing her decision to get hospice services.  When we were done talking, we had prayer together, and Mama, who often told me she didn’t know how to pray very well,  prayed one of the most eloquent, beautiful prayers I’ve ever heard.

She thanked God for her blessings.  She didn’t recount the many valleys life had led her through, she counted her blessings.

Then she asked God that not one, not a single one, of her descendants would be lost... not one would face death without knowing the One Who Is Eternal Life.

Then she spoke a blessing over all of us.

It was an unforgettable moment. 

I thank God for the just plain beautiful Mama He gave me.  I miss her already.


My dear blog friends,

Your prayers and kind comments since Mama’s death have meant more to me than words can say.  Today was Mama’s memorial service.  It was a blessing to me to be able to write and to read the words posted above.  I struggled for two days trying to write what was in my heart to share at her service.  My daughter said, “Just write a blog post, Mom.”, and when I did, it all came together.  So here, my friends, is the tribute to my Mama, that you, in essence, helped me to get out of my heart and onto paper.

With love and gratitude,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My Mama passed away this afternoon.

Somehow I just couldn’t sleep with out telling you.

Maybe for some reason I needed to tell the world…

My. Mama. died. today.

…just to see if it stopped spinning.

I am a little girl without her mama.

A little girl in a 53 year old body.

Jesus held us all tight as we let her go.

Now He holds her tight.

It will probably be quiet here for a few days

as family gathers near.

I just couldn’t sleep without letting you know.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thank you!

Tara at Undeserving Grace

Janet at Nana’s Sweeties

Laurie at Heaven’s Walk

all three of these sweet ladies gave me a Stylish Blogger Award

Stylish-Blogger award

Thank you so much!

The award stipulates that I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself…

1) Somehow as a little one my nickname went from Beth to Bethie to Becky.  I never cared for the name Becky and always loved my real name Elizabeth, because my Daddy had told me they had named me that because it meant “consecrated to God”.  Though everyone knew me as Becky, in my early 40s I felt as though God spoke to my heart to go back to my real name, and so I did.  In spite of being called Becky for 4/5ths of my life,  it sounds “foreign” to me when someone calls me that now. 

2) I would rather have chocolate covered peanuts, peanut M&Ms, or a Snickers than the finest chocolates.

3) I really, really wanted to be Shirley Temple when I was little, so I practiced “tap dancing” on the linoleum floor in my Sunday School shoes.

4) I was bedridden with rheumatic fever for over 3 months in 3rd grade.

5)I have no patience for any craft or project that is too detailed or “fussy” or takes very long.

6)I would rather wear my workout/walking clothes than dress up, though I have to dress up quite often.

However, in the summer I love to wear cool cotton dresses and skirts.

7)I have too many purses, boots, mixing bowls, and pots and pans…all of which I have an odd weakness for.


Thank you to all who commented on yesterdays post and are praying for my Mama and our family.  It is a blessing to have my daughter and grandbabies here visiting and brings joy in the midst of the stress of seeing Mama declining. 

Don’t forget to click here to enter my giveaway for a Scentsy wall pliug-in and three scent bars!

I will announce the winner on Friday.


Still following,


Monday, January 24, 2011

Wild ride…



The hospice nurse tells me that she doesn’t think Mama is going to “pull out of this”.  We’re on another downhill plunge on the roller coaster that is Mama’s fragile health. We are chugging along up the hill, she seems a bit better, then woosh comes the downhill, and my stomach does flip flops, and I wonder, I wait, for the ride to be over.  I call my siblings, and they call their children.  The parade of Mama’s children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and even some great-greats, come to her wee little apartment in assisted living.  We talk openly with her and ask if she’s afraid, but she knows in Whom she has believed, and she wonders aloud about what is taking Him so long to take her home.  We reassure her that He knows best, He does best, and our whole wonderful, broken but made whole in Him family, waits with her, waits for this wild ride to end. 

I give thanks that the final destination is a Real Place, a Wonderful Place, that He has prepared for her.

My continuing gratitude list #870-880

-baby granddaughter’s laugh


-the Word

-good books


-baby granddaughter sitting on my Mama’s lap and giving her great grandma a hug

-middle daughter and my oldest granddaughter and only grandson home for two weeks from South Carolina to see my Mama! (I’m a happy, happy Nana!)



-my grandbabies huge smiles and big hugs when we picked them up at the airport

-my Mama’s face when she saw them


-eternal life

Gratefully yours,



To enter giveaway for a free Scentsy wall plug in and three scent bars click here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday’s Favs…I’m lovin’ Scentsy! (and having a giveaway!)

Have you heard of Scentsy?  Do you have one?  I love my Scentsy!

I have a regular Scentsy in my living room, (this exact one!),


and a Scentsy warmer in each bathroom.


They are FABULOUS!

The little lightbulb warms the special scented wax that you place in the top, melting it and releasing the most wonderful fragrance! 

The selection of the burners to match your rooms and décor is great, and the selection of scents is amazing!  There are so many! 


The best part is, the wax is never hot enough to burn curious little fingers.  It also cleans up amazingly easy if you ever spill it. (Trust me on this one…I knocked mine over onto my brand new wood floor and it splattered up on my newly painted walls. It cooled off right away and came off clean in big chunks with a plastic scraper…no wax or color stayed behind.)  Also, there’s no fear or danger if you leave it on, like there is of leaving a scented candle burning.

My dear friend Susan is a Scentsy rep and has sweetly offered to have a giveaway here on my blog.

The lucky winner will receive a wall plug-in warmer of their choice with three scent bars of their choice…a $30 value for free!

Here’s all you need to do to enter the giveaway.

Look at Susan’s scentsy website here:

If you are already a follower, just leave a comment saying which Scentsy wall plug-in warmer you would choose.

If you aren’t a follower, I’d love to have you become one but it isn’t mandatory to enter.  Just leave a comment as stated above.

If you post about the giveaway on your blog, leave me a comment and let me know and I will give you a second chance to win.

I’ll announce the winner on Friday, January 28th.



Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

The simple pleasure of reading…


My mama and daddy were avid readers.  So were the Hub’s mama and daddy.  The Hubs and I both love to read.  All of our siblings love to read.  Our daughters love to read, and now we are seeing our grandchildren learning to love books.  In the photo you can see the books I am currently reading, Jan Karon’s newest fiction book, (I love her Mitford series), Entirety by Dana Candler, and Ann Voskamp’s book, which just arrived from Amazon yesterday.

On my book wish list are

Organized Simplicity by  Tsh Osenreider of Simple Mom

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond aka the Pioneer Woman

Spirit of Food

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily of Chatting at the Sky

Save My Children by Emily of in the hush of the moon

Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

The Believer’s Secret of Waiting on God by Andrew Murray

Do you love to read?

What books are on your wish list?

I’d love for you to comment and let me know.


Project Simple Pleasures2

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fiery love…


Is there any other god among the gods of this world

Who unashamedly, unabashedly, declares and demonstrates that He loves

Contrary, willful, sinful, you and I

This God Who Is Love Transcendent

Surpassing, Incomparable,

This God Who Loves With All That He Is

Who Gave All That He Had

And yet keeps giving

Is there any other god among the gods of this world

Who Loves With His Great Heart Wide Open and Exposed

Right there in black and white for all to see

In the pages of the Bible as He pleads with and mourns over His wayward people

Like a husband grieving for his bride

Right there in red for all to see

As He bled for contrary, willful, sinful, you and I

Oh how I want a heart that burns with love and passion

And pours it all out on Him

To be an equally yoked lover for such a Love

To blaze so hot with fiery love

That the cold in heart are drawn to come and warm themselves and are melted

By the fire of His love in me



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

His Word have I hid in my heart…

I have feasted on His Word since I was young, carrying about my big, bulky, green padded covered Living Bible.

It’s still on my shelf, with the markings and immature handwriting of a much younger me.

His Word is part of me, in my mind and heart, from years and years of reading it over and over.

I can picture the verses on the page, and turn to them, knowing which book of the Bible the verse is in, and which side of the page I will find it on in my Amplified Bible.

But memorizing it perfectly, word for word exact with the reference, has not been my strength.  Last year I decided to memorize a verse a day for a month.  I failed before I began…too much, too fast.  This year I am memorizing one verse every two weeks…much more do-able.  This way I can meditate on the verse, savor it, pray over it, digest it, let it become a part of the sinew and bone that is me.

First, I pray and ask, “Which verse Lord?”  After all, there are so overwhelmingly many great ones!  Since my theme word for this year is HOPE, I felt to memorize Jeremiah 29:11 in the New Living Translation for my first verse. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  I already was very familiar with this verse, as I am sure many people are.  I wondered if it was “cheating” or “too easy” or “too obvious” of a choice, but it was such a blessing to me to imprint it on my mind and heart word for word.  For two weeks, I chewed on this promise, and as I go back and review it, I will continue to receive spiritual nourishment from it.

I am now working on my second verse, another one with the theme of HOPE.  It is Romans 15:13 in the Amplified Bible. “ May the God of your hope so fill you will all joy and peace in believing, (through the experience of your faith), that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope.”


Once I have the verse chosen, I write it on my little spiral bound note cards.(You can buy them for under $2 in the office supply section at most stores.  I decorated the cover of mine.  You can also purchase them on Beth Moore’s blog.) Writing the verse out really helps me, a visual learner.  The notecards are kept open to the verse I am currently working on and are kept near my Bible, journal, and devotional materials.


One of the biggest helps to me has been the purchase of this chalkboard.  I bought it and painted the frame a color that went well with my décor.  Then I hung it in an obvious, well seen place, in my dining room.  With a chalkboard marker, I write out the verse I am currently working on.  Now, whenever I am cooking, or cleaning, or puttering around the house, the verse is there in front of me.  That way I can easily take a moment, read it, review it, close my eyes and try to say it.  An added bonus is that the verse is visible to encourage my husband or anyone else who may come to my house.


None of these tips are all that profound, but I find that they are working for me, and thought they might be helpful to you too!

Still following,


All Things Heart and Home

Sunday, January 16, 2011

His bride has prepared herself…


I knew that God had spoken to my heart that 2011 was to be a Year of Preparation.

I knew the theme word He had placed on my heart for 2011 was HOPE.

Both of these things have been confirmed to me repeatedly in various ways.

The one question that remained unanswered was, Year of Preparation….for what?

Until I read Revelation 19:7 in the Amplified Bible

“Let us rejoice and shout for joy…

for the marriage of the Lamb at last has come, and His bride has prepared herself.”

Like an arrow hitting the bulls-eye, I knew this was the preparation God was talking to me about.

He was telling me to prepare my heart for Him.

You see, I have a wandering eye.

I don’t mean to, but SELF collects idols and other gods like metal to a magnet.

You won’t find me bowing down to physical idols, or dabbling in false religion,

but my heart has a tendency to house some pretty big shrines to SELF.

I knew I was treading on thin ice when I asked myself,

“what if God asked you to stop blogging?”

and I knew I would struggle to obey



So, I unplugged for a week, and sought God.

Day One was housecleaning…

let’s just say there was a whole lot of repenting and renouncing going on that day

and a whole, whole lot of forgiveness and grace given.

The conclusion at week’s end was

God loves me wholeheartedly, nothing withheld.

He deserves a bride who loves Him back the same way.

If He said to stop blogging, I could, I would, say yes.

That, my friends, feels like freedom.

But the cherry on top?

He created me to create, to write, to capture beauty with camera,

to teach His Word, to mother, to mentor, to feather my nest…

but for His glory

not mine.

All for Him…

all my love

all my heart.


His alone.




my continuing gratitude list #843-#860

-white carnations

-a beautiful, cold, clear day for a late afternoon walk

-the light of Jesus that overcomes darkness

-time with Jesus with real connection


-medical bills only half of what we thought they were

-a $20 bill found in the gutter while on my walk

-an evening with friends

-talking to my grandbabies and son-in-law on the phone, and him not making fun of me for crying because I miss them so

-God’s immeasurable, limitless, surpassing grace

-the kindness and goodness of God’s heart

-our church volunteer appreciation Sunday

-safe trip to K.C. and back home

-God revealing areas that need correcting in my heart, life, priorities


-getting to see Julie Meyer lead in worship and intercession in the prayer room

-a great Sunday at Truelife and Hope City’s first service

-God’s wholehearted love


Gratefully yours,


Saturday, January 15, 2011

I’m back!

I’m back from a wonderful trip to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri.  My husband and I and 8 worship team members from our church spent five days in the prayer room, where 24/7 worship and intercession have been taking place for over ten years.  My heart is full and tender with what God began in me.  He is so loving, so patient, so merciful.  Sitting in His presence with Bible and journal, His Word corrected me, taught me, instructed me, comforted me. 


Thank you kind friends for your sweet encouragement and prayers for me this week.  I even got some blog awards and new followers while I was gone!  So thankful for all of you fellow Jesus followers that I have met here.  I look forward to sharing more about my week with you.

Still following,


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Seeking Him…

  I’m taking a week of undistracted time with Jesus.

That means I won’t be online this week.

That means I won’t be blogging.

That means I won’t be reading all the wonderful blogs I follow.

Next week my Google Reader will be packed full to overflowing.

And hopefully my heart will be full to overflowing as well, with things to share with you.

Until next week…

Still following,


Friday, January 7, 2011

Hope in God…


Since my theme word for 2011 is HOPE I couldn’t resist taking this picture when baby granddaughter and I were playing together the other day.

This scripture from the Psalms seemed to be a perfect fit.

Still following,


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Presto-change-0….from Christmas to beachy…

For Christmas I made this little hanger out of driftwood for my Target bird ornaments.


After Christmas, some sand dollars, some starfish, some twine and a glue gun…

I’m lovin’ it!


For Christmas, this was the perfect little holiday touch in our bedroom.


After Christmas, all I had to do was trade the N for a V and rearrange the O-E-L

and now I have the perfect décor for our room heading into Valentine’s Day or even longer.


Happy Friday Everyone!


Tidy Mom I'm Lovin It Fridays

Wednesday, January 5, 2011



This $4 bunch of white carnations has gotten an awful lot of attention by me on my blog this week!

Every day they’ve brought a smile to my face and even the Hubs said, “I like having fresh flowers in the house.”  

To me this translates into permission granted to buy them more often!

In the summer I have daisies and hydrangeas and other “free” flowers to bring inside,

but having fresh flowers in the house in the winter is most definitely a simple pleasure!




Still following,


Project Simple Pleasures2

Falling in love again…



I know it’s supposed to be a relationship

a Divine Romance

culminating in a great wedding feast.

So sometimes the words

“spiritual discipline”

seem the antithesis

to romance.

On January 1, 2010

I bought a new One Year Bible

and decided to try again.

I’ve read the Bible through many times

but never made it within the one year goal…

I’d get behind, and never catch up.

This year I did it

Finishing on December 31st, 2010.

Sometimes it wasn’t very romantic…

more like performing my wifely duty…

checking it off my to-do list.

I kept my journal close at hand

recording the verses that broke through to mind and heart

and became personal.

But all too often,

it seemed rushed,

not relaxing,

not romance,

rather disappointing.

December came and all around were celebrations for the birth of the babe

focusing in Matthew and Luke

but I was reading the book that begins with the words

“This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ”.

Instead of getting caught up in who is the beast

and what does this or that mean

I looked for Him

the One Whom my soul loves.

I wanted,

I needed,

my own personal Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And I saw Him…

full of fiery passion,

the Alpha the Omega,

the Beginning and the End,

the One Who Was, Who Is, Who Is To Come,

The One spoken of

that the kingdoms of this world

will become the kingdoms of

our God

and of His Christ

and He shall reign forever and ever,

The Mighty Warrior Who will in that great day

make wrong things right

and deal with the enemy

once and for all.

At year’s end

a year of “spiritual discipline”

that some days seemed dry, dusty, duty

I fell in love with Him

all over again.


Still following,


Monday, January 3, 2011

just some $4 flowers and a walk…

God created beauty to minister to the spirit of man.

I read this somewhere long ago and I wholeheartedly believe it.


I wake up with my spirit feeling a little frayed at the edges.

I have good intentions.  I know how to fight it.

Journal, read my Bible, pray.

I journal a bit and barely start reading scriptures that I have printed out on the topic of HOPE…my theme word for 2011, when the phone rings, and then more calls, emails, interruptions, concerns, prayer needs, appointments to calendar in.  I feel as though the enemy has a hold of those loose, frayed, threads and is pulling with all his might.

I go to Mama’s to check on her and meet with the hospice nurse.

On the way home I run into Safeway for a gallon of fat free milk

and come out with a $4 bunch of carnations too.

When I get home I plunk them in some shapely pitchers and jars,

here and there around the house.




I put on my runners, my coat and my knit cap and gloves

and catch the last hour of frosty, clear, cold daylight before sunset.

  I discover that the IPOD is not charged, so I softly sing my praise acappella as I walk.


I walk two loops around the neighborhood,

my fingers tingling with the cold in spite of the gloves.

The sun flirts with me through the trees before saying goodnight.


The beauty He created knits me back together.


Still following,



All Things Heart and Home