Abiding In Peace

Mike and I are preparing to sell our house and move to something smaller.  I THINK we are on the same page of what we are looking for, but this will unfold as the process of downsizing, selling our house and moving to another house continues.  

For now, we are not moving to another area or state. We will simply be shifting our focus toward having just enough space for the grand children one day and for holiday gatherings.  We plan to spend time together and cultivate a new home together where friends and family can gather and know they are loved.

Life has been an adventure together! There have been many seasons of growing, learning, and caring for each other and our family.  One thing has remained constant and that is God's steadfast love.  He never changes and will not lead us where His Peace does not abide.  With that in mind, I am learning, day by day, to Trust Him a little more.  

{ A Wedding Story} Kyle and Olivia

A woman who has prepared herself for her Groom,
and a man who is deeply in love with his Bride... 

Kyle and Olivia Morris August 1, 2015

Photography via Tonya Johnson.  Please ask for permission to use these photos.  Thank you.

{Funny Stories} A Link Up with The LOFT

Today I am joining friends on a Blog Link UP called THE LOFT...  

I have shared this story before, but it is still funny to me how words can just come out of my mouth and sound so ridiculous!!!  My boys still tease me about this one!! 


Going Postal

It happened. 
Right there in the basement one early spring day. 
It was everywhere. 

I have yet to see anything so horrific in my entire life and I am getting more life on me than I could see coming when I married Mike.

There I was in the middle of all of this splattering of trash-vomit, piles of refuse and debris.

The day had started so well.  It was a Saturday, I think, and while the weather was not warm, there were certain signs and scents of spring in the air.  I left my spot on the couch and drained the rest of my coffee to begin the weekend routine of cleaning house. 

The main living area of the house was in pretty good shape.  I have a husband who knows how to help out. Mike faithfully ran the vacuum, cleaned the bathrooms and cleaned the kitchen for me every Friday before I got home from the office in the late afternoon. 

My goal for this particular day was to clean the “Man Cave”.

“The Man Cave" (a.k.a. the Basement) was in need of some mom-cleaning. You know, the kind where things actually get moved and the showers get really good and scrubbed? That kind of clean.  The boys have been responsible for their own laundry and space for quite some time, but it was just time for Mom to and help out.

Please don’t get the wrong idea.  This is not a space where high definition monitors project high-quality technology over surround sound theater seating with a kitchenette and/or bar nearby.  There were no sports posters or trophies or other Pintrest Worthy ideas displayed this space.  

What I mean by Man Cave is that The Boys LIVED in the space.  Drums, sticks, guitars, amps, keyboards, sheet music, strings. Our boys are musicians and we have the BEST music in the neighborhood!

We have raised the most handsome, most intelligent, most considerate well-behaved young men on the planet.  They are absolutely perfect and have never done anything wrong. NEVER. Except for the day in question.

To help you, the reader, understand my perspective, our basement was once home to Mike’s parents.  When we moved to our neighborhood, we had a full basement put in so they could live with us and not be so far away. The basement includes a full kitchen and den, single car garage, two full baths, laundry room, master bedroom and an extra room for storage. When Mike’s brother Tim came over he stayed in the space.  Or Camille, our good friend from Cameroon Africa. And other guest that have stayed in our home over the years.

I know what you are thinking… It sounds like we put extra people in a storage area in our basement, but that’s not what I meant.  We use the space as a spare bedroom, not a storage room for extra people… please! I am not that bad!

I began to clean the kitchen. Sticky, overflowing, un-namable and crushed walked over items, left-over food and wrappers crumpled on the floor.  Forgotten cups, mugs, dishes lying around.  Ick was everywhere.  Then I began to clean the bathrooms. 

The more I cleaned the madder I got. I was so upset with how messy and dirty they had allowed the space to become... so I quit. 

I had already invested more of my precious day on this chore and I was furious! Madder by the minute- I did what any good mother of grown up sons would do... 

I posted a sign on the basement door that went something like this:

(no joke: I had to rewrite my sign three times to get the words just right and
to not use some words that preachers wives are not supposed to use…)

My oldest son, Cameron, was the first to come in and see the note. He promptly took the sign down and laughed and asked what was I thinking??? I told him I was very serious and he had better put the note back up and/or tell his brothers because I was serious!!

Matthew and Kyle came in right after and asked why I was 'freaking out'?? 

Oh, no they didn’t just ask me that!

"Because I am about to Go Postal on you!"

I had been thinking of that phrase the whole time I was cleaning and allowing my anger to flare... I had no idea what that really means.  So I said to them...

I am seriously about to Go POSTAL!!!
I am not sure what that even means…
but if it means getting
then I am going there!!

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I couldn't help but to laugh. I laughed at myself and how funny my angry words sounded... after all, I am the Queen of Mom Jokes in this house!! And I have never been able to be really mad at these perfect sons of mine!!

I was suddenly no longer mad, but was laughing at myself as they LAUGED hysterically-AT ME!!

Mike and The Boyes_Photo by Tonya Johnson

Because I know you are wondering…

The Boys did, in fact, get the space very good and cleaned and Mike made an inspection before I got home that Wednesday and I didn’t have to get up in anybody’s zip code!

But they often tease me when I seem frustrated or aggravated for any reason... "Mom, are you about to go postal??” then they smile at me, hug my shoulders and I can't help but smile at how much they make my heart weep with joy.  

I love them so!

You can read more funny stories from other authors by visiting 
The Loft.  You will be blessed!

{Wedding Week} Friday

Tonight really happened.  Mike walked with me from the parking lot into the newly renovated sanctuary of Washington Baptist Church where we would rehearse for Kyle an Olivia's wedding on Saturday.

This moment was strange to me on multiple levels.  Short glimpses of memories from our ministry time at this church flashed into my mind, but I had to put those away for the present season of our journey.  

I turned around to see Cameron and Matthew coming in, looking around at the space, smiling and talking about how long it had been since we had been in that very room.  It's true that you should never say "never".  God is so good. He laughs when we say silly things like that as if we know what our future holds.

Then Olivia's family arrived, friends too.  Chattering, talking and laughing... sounds of excitement and nerves in the air of this space that will be transformed into a place of worship and covenant on Saturday.  A room is just a room, but marriage is sacred and holy, a divine embrace of soul and spirit that cannot be broken or undone.  

Sacred. Holy. Divine. Marriage. Covenant.  
Father, teach Olivia and Kyle to embrace 
the gift of YOU in their marriage.  
Even when life is hard, and it will be sometimes, 
but you are really good at hard and hurt 
and you are 
Healing and Peace.

The Rehearsal Dinner went off well.  Everyone enjoyed the time of casual, family-style gathering in our home.  In fact we enjoyed it so much, we forgot to take pictures!!! 

Once upon a time, people did things like that though... enjoyed fellowship and community without a phone in their hand, believe it or not!

Matthew, Cameron and Kyle lingered with Mike and me for a while after everyone left.  Nothing special.  Help with clean up, dishes, clearing away and putting the house aright. 

Things they learned to do when they were little... helping Mama.  

It truly is the little things that mean the most in life.  Simple everyday ordinary life that make up moments to treasure.  And The Boys, well, they are my most favorite treasures of all!  

Mothers Day 2015
Kyle (20) Cameron (23) Matthew (22) AbbiRose (1) Me....??

{Wedding Week} Thursday

I could have said NO, I don't have time, but I couldn't. I really needed some girl time this week and I needed to be distracted a little from all this "mama memories" coming at me this week.  

Since I live with all men, and they don't always "get" when I just need to talk about "feelings" and stuff.  Sometimes, they do... but then their eyes glaze over and I know they can not keep up with my random  emotional heap of words and need-y-ness.  (is that a word?) So they will just give me a hug and and "I love you, Mom."  and that melts my heart and then I move on so they can too.  

So, my friends McKinley and Coty came over to help me with a project and to spend some time together with me.  They were the perfect distraction and help for me!!!

I have had this Turquoise Table Project on my "list" for quite some time, but it has just not worked out.  Then, we began planning to host the Rehearsal Dinner for Kyle and Olivia here at our house, so I wanted to have the table ready for that event, but it was not going to happen without help.

Coty and McKinley to the rescue!!! 

Mentoring is fun and such a blessing.  This, too, is a new adventure and journey for me.  Im not sure I know how to mentor young women in the Lord.  Together we are going to "do life together" and see what happens.  Ladies, you make my heart smile! Thanks for your help, your encouragement, your laughter and your time.  You don't know how much you helped me!  I am so thankful for you!

I should up date you on other wedding details... 

Kyle has been working all week, checking on honeymoon plans/reservations/details.  Olivia has been working and getting their house all ready for their return.  Matthew has been hard at work all week at his new job.  Cameron, who lives downtown, has been busy with work as well.  Mike has had hospital visits, a funeral, general weekly items a pastor does, study time and has been helping me with whatever needs to be done here at home.  We're still planning to sell the house, but this week has been Wedding Week and the focus has been on family.  

Tomorrow is the rehearsal.  It will begin to really sink in that my boys have grown into men and that Kyle is taking a wife.  I will be sitting on the pew watching all three of my men up there on the platform.  I will be one proud and blessed woman, for sure!!! But today... it still feels a little like a dream, surreal.  

{Wedding Week} Wednesday

Yesterday was spent in a hurry of errands, stops, checklists and then home.  We are hosting the rehearsal dinner at our house and of course, my plan should have been more organized. I vaguely remember telling myself that I work pretty good under pressure.  And I did fine... yesterday. 

Not so this morning. Stress will release it's pressure somewhere and mine came with an unexpected flood of tears that needed to flow out and up to my Savior.

I woke up early, before light, already thankful for what God has done in our lives.  For the privilege of the moment of still and quiet grace to begin the day.  Mike was still sleeping, the fan still keeping the room nice and cool, I snuggled in for just a moment or two more.  

I had tried to get as much accomplished the previous day and I was wondering what had I forgotten?

On the deck this morning, my quiet time and Bible reading took me to John 15 and the truth of abiding in the love and grace that God has provided.

Our group discussion this week at Bible Study from this same passage reminded me that to abide, to dwell in His love, is to remain inside the boundaries that He has given, a place of safety and comfort and provision.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;

    surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Psalm 16:6

I want to remain in His love for me.  I want to live in a place of spiritual, emotional and mental safety knowing that He is God and He is Sovereign, Ruler over all!

And then I thought of how our boys are moving forward in life and I don't know how to live beyond the borders and boundaries of being a full time mother.

I have tried to anticipate the changes these seasons bring, to plan ahead for how I want to navigate the twists and turns, the uphill and coasting of parenting on the journey faith, family, and home.  I have counseled young mothers to cherish moments spent with their babies, toddlers, children and yes- even teens!  

Looking back and longing for What Was  keeps us from being fully Present in the Now and unprepared for what is Ahead.  

When our little church was planted and I went to work full time to help our family's income, I didn't make the adjustment of being away from home very well.  My heart had been pulsing and beating and living for the moments of taking care of those I love.  The struggle was real and I wanted to be brave and strong and confident and professional, but I was a real wreck.  I had a new normal and I couldn't seem to adjust for quite a while. 

Now what? I've been back home full time for the last two years, but I cannot seem to find my way back to who and what I was before... when the boys were younger and needed me more.  Now that they are men, what do I do? Will Mike and I be ok? Will we grow in our love and grace or simply fall into some routine of co-existence and familiarity? 

Another new normal is approaching. Will I be brave and strong and confident and godly? 

All it took was one little comment this morning. One little mis-read tone of voice to set me off.  I have been crying for an hour or so.  All of the above on my mind and more.  Bitter-sweet and precious tears of love and acceptance and a little bit of fear of the unknown.  

What is ahead for our boys? What is ahead for Mike and me? If God told me, would I want to really know since it would mean a choice for obedience that I may or may not want to make?

I'm just being real and honest, here.  

Truth to tell, 
you feel the same way about trusting God too...

We say we trust God, but if He told us ahead of time what is coming at us in life, would we make the choice to step into it like Peter did and by faith walk above the wind and waves and into His arms of grace or would we anticipate the sinking and falling into the depths and determine that there is no way we want to experience that, turning away instead from Jesus who is our sure foundation in all of life's storms?

Seriously.  I'm ok.  OK!! Really.

I just needed to hash out the turmoil inside in order to find where I want to stand.  I choose to stand firmly planted in the TRUTH and His unfailing love for me... and because God's love for me is perfect, I can accept the future without fear and walk in grace, bravely strong and confident because He is with me.  And all my hope is in Him. 

Olivia and Kyle are adorable together and precious!  
I cannot wait to see where God leads them.  

One thing I am certain of...God will lead them faithfully.  And our family tree will see new branches of love and grace and truth and hope.  God is good.  I am random.  He is a sure foundation.