Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Tag: Nickle Home Tour (page 1 of 2)

My Family Quilt Story: God’s Story

I started my family quilt 12 years ago when a friend of mine lost her husband to colon cancer.  He was 36 years old, in the military and had a 1 and 3 year old son. 

I had prayed, “God how should I pray for healing here on earth or that he’d quickly go to Heaven?”  I’d heard very clearly, “Pray for healing.”  One night while interceding on the floor beside my bed, I had a vision of Jesus interceding beside me.  The sicker he became the closer we believed he was to healing.. when he died we prayed for resurrection. 

Days passed and I prayed, “What happened?”  And God answered that it was my job to pray; His to answer; sometimes the answer would be no.  And I learned that He was God and I was not. 

In the trauma of it all, I decided to make a quilt of my family so they would live “forever” in a quilt.  As I worked on the quilt, I prayed for help as I do for everything.  I was shocked when I felt His presence helping and guiding me especially with the drawings of my family, which are far above my abilities, because in my heart, I knew I was rebelling against God’s omnipotence and wisdom.

As I made the quilt, I understood what some of it meant.  I knew the tree trunk was Abba God’s hand at work in the midst of everything.. holding everything together with strength and majesty; the dove was Holy Spirit moving across the earth in power.  I knew, of course, that Jesus had James in his arms.  James has aspergers and being both mom and teacher to him I often worried about him not fitting into the mold, not learning how to read until he was 13 etc., but the Lord continually gave me dreams showing me that He was taking care of James and not to push him. 

Most of the time I was too fearful to ask the Lord what the rest of the quilt meant.  I was afraid that James being in Jesus’ arms might mean that he was going to die, but one day while working on the border, I felt prompted to ask what all the blues meant.  He answered me that they were days; some light and happy and others dark, but that He would be with me through them all.

I started this quilt in the summer of 2000, but I didn’t finish it until the spring before Joel went home.  Homeschooling 4 kids didn’t leave a lot of time for quilting.  I think I finished the middle part the first year, but then moves came, algebra, team sports etc.; months and sometimes years passed without a stitch. 

Josh, Judi and Joel on piano in front of crazy quilt.

Then we were moving again, and I decided that I was going to finish the quilt.  It had been so long since I’d started that I decided to stretch Judi out to make her taller, then I finished the quilt with a crazy quilt border and hung it in our house in Montgomery.. but I didn’t like it.

We moved again to Huntsville this time and when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of 2011, I decided to take the border apart and start over with a different design.  One of the ways I deal with grief is by being creative.  The Creator creating through me helps bring healing.

Then finally, I was finishing the quit a second time and I wanted to add our new puppy to my quilt, but Joel said, “No, it should be like a frozen piece of time.”  So I finished the quilt without adding her in and hung it in our music room… which was in a way Joel’s room.  He almost never slept in his bed and only used the room he shared with Josh as a closet.

One day, while I was visiting Joel in his room with the quilt and admiring it, Joel said, “It looks like a stain glass window.”  He liked the idea, but I had a problem with the thought that it might be memorializing my family.  I didn’t want anyone to think that I put my family above God.. because I so didn’t.  I actually agonized over leaving it up and thought about taking it down many times.

Joel and Josh in “Joel’s” room.  Now named the music room in Joel’s honor.

So knowing full well that the quilt pattern I’d used for the new border was called “cathedral window,” I argued weakly that we weren’t apart of the stain glass window .. it was a clear window bordered in stained glass, and we were outside enjoying God’s creation.. picnicking or something.  He looked at me like, “Yeah, right.”

On the Wednesday after Joel had been murdered, a friend from Birmingham brought us dinner, and my mother showed her the quilt, and I saw.. for the first time more meaning in it.  I saw that Joel was the one up above all of us in God’s hand, that God knew all along that the number of Joel’s days would be short and that we would be left here on earth with Jesus in our midst.

The meaning of Joel’s names: Joel “God is Sovereign,” and Manuel “God is with us” were demonstrated in my quilt.  We don’t live in a crazy quilt world.. a world bordered in chaos.  We live in a cathedral window world.  A world designed by God with beauty and purpose.  A world were God works everything together for our good.

James is still in Jesus’ arms looking up at Joel.. seeing clearly that he is in God’s hands.  Josh is leaning on Jesus fishing.. for men.. for answers.. for cures for the earth’s woes.. for wisdom and direction.  Judi looks like she’s in a dream world chasing bunny trails.. but the angels (our rabbit, Angel, died of breast cancer at 10 years old shortly after we moved here) are close beside her.  Mike is finding refuge in worshiping while leaning on our ROCK, as am I.. as I search, study and meditate on His word and as I record what He is teaching me.

In these dark days, the one thing that gives me the light of hope is remembering the instructions God gave me early in this grief journey .. to think of Joel as having pushed a head of us in the race.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says
“Seeing that we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It’s fun to think of running a race with Joel, and of course, he would push ahead of me and win, but maybe one day, in Heaven, I’ll get a re-match.  It encourages me to think of Joel up in that great cloud of witnesses cheering all of us on and I look forward to meeting him again one day at the finish line as I keep persevering in this race while keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus.

I struggle daily with either wanting to re-write Joel back into the story God is writing so skillfully.. or begging God to bring me to the end of my story where my suffering ends, every tear will be wiped away and I will hold Joel in my arms again.

I am working intentionally on my grief; asking God for right thoughts to replace my deep longings.  I work purposely and methodically at turning my thoughts to asking for strength and wisdom to live each day for His glory.

Psalm 139:16 says “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

This weekend the Lord showed me through this verse that not only was the December 7th marked out for Joel to lay down his life for his friends at the birthday party .. but today and however many days there are left until I see Him were laid out for me to continue living with His help for His glory.  Joel’s story was written on mine before I was formed in my mother’s womb.

The following verse (verse 17) is embroidered on my quilt:

“How precious it is, Lord, to recognize that You are thinking about me constantly.”

Glory to God, Who’s ways and wisdom are far above ours and Who thinks about us constantly!

I Peter 4:12-13
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

Love,

Jenny



New Patio Furniture

How do you like our new patio furniture?
We got it off Amazon.  🙂

This is my new favorite place to spend the mornings and evenings.
The ceiling fans, wind chimes, ducks and the lake make idealistic.

Last night I was weary of hurting and so glad
for the little break from consciousness that sleep brings.

This morning this verse from Luke stood out to me:

By your steadfastness and patient endurance
you shall win the true life of your souls.  Luke 21:19

I am happiest when I am busy accomplishing things.
Sitting all day feels like a bunch of nothing.

I would use the word “boring” here, but I am purposed to keep
it out of my vocabulary and keep a thankful, Pollyanna attitude.

I am so glad now for past experiences that forced me
to learn to draw patience from the Lord.

And so glad to know that I can do something as important as
wining the “true life of my soul” while waiting for healing.

I really am so blessed.

Love,

Jenny

 

 

Judi’s Room Make Over

When we moved to Montgomery, we bought Judi a bed in a bag set of the internet. 
Had I seen it in person, we would have never gotten it.  It started falling a part almost immediately.
This time we tried something different.  
I didn’t want to re-paint her brand new room and I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money so..
We were inspired by my sister, Wendy, to shop the clearance isles for a black and white bedroom set.
It’s much easier to mix and match when everything is black and white.
Much easier than matching shades of red for example.
We were able to find everything we needed in 3 different stores for about $40 total on clearance.
The demask “curtains” pulled everything together and made it work with the paint color.
We used some black fabric from my closet to make accent pillows and a valance.
 The ribbon cost more than anything else, but we put it to good use.
We “made” the curtains out of a duvet cover; we just hung it up with ring clips.
Judi and I are both happy with how it turned out.. a feat in itself.
🙂

Climbing Walls

With a new addition to the family, comes a lot of new stuff.  First thing we got was 
a Litter Kwitter.  I told the Judi if she’d toilet train the cat I’d pay her $50.  
It’ll save us probably $1000 in cat litter and I know I’d be the one cleaning it 
for years to come if I weren’t paying her.. 
so I am actually feeling guilty about the steal I am making.  
The cat in the add photo is a Russian Blue like George.  I am even more hopeful.  
Then we got her some flushable litter, food, food bowls and a collar.  
We looked around at food bowls.  The ugly ones designed for pets cost around $5 each.
I decided to look at bowls designed for humans in Target.  They are so much cheeper!  
I knew I had this fir at home, and had planned on making her a bed.  
I remember when Mamalene used it to make Ruthie a cat costume one year.
I made it so that it opens at the ends and can be used as a tunnel, too.
She loves it; knew it was hers right away.

I knew I needed to do something about a scratching post.  
I don’t want my furniture torn to shreds and I’d prefer not to have to declaw her.  
Have I shown you the lamp I got a few months ago?  We needed some light 
on this side of the living room.  George thinks it’s great.  She even climbed up from 
the inside of it one night when it was turned on and made a cool shadow.  
Sorry no picture. 
She’s also been climbing the curtains next too it.
See the threads she’s puled?  I trimmed her nails.. it’s helped a little.  
I knew I didn’t want one of those monster climbing trees.
They are ugly, take too much space, cost a fortune and 
I am sure that the moment George climbed up it 
Sally would chase her and it’d come tumbling down.   
So I discovered these cat walk climbing shelves and thought to myself,
“I could make those.”  I tried to make it a Father’s Day surprise for Mike,
but he noticed right away all the money I was spending at Lowes. 
I think I spent around $60 total for all the supplies.  It would have cost less
had I not been low on sand paper and left 
my wood stain and mineral spirits at our old house.
I found a rug for $12 at TJ Max for the scratching/climbing boards.  
I used velcro to keep the mats on the shelves so she won’t slide right off.   
George loves it!  She was climbing it before I had it finished. 
The first day she climbed up and took a nap on this shelf.
I made her a ball with some left over fur and she like’s it, too.
Here she goes.
I purposely put the shelf at a height where 
she can bat at the kids heads as they walk by.
So if you’re tall, Beware! 

See Joel in the picture below? He’s working on Trig/Calculus.  
Anytime he asks for help, I just laugh.

I took the opportunity to use Georgia’s play place as graphic/prayer art. 
It’s centrally located where if we catch her clawing 
one of our couches (or lamp or curtains) or jumping up on a counter 
we can easily take her over to her scratching post.
I told the kids that it’s her time out spot. 

James put her other ball on the top shelf.
Georgie not quite big enough to climb up there by herself, 
but she’s already twice as big as when we got her so it won’t be long,
and she can jump from shelf to shelf to get down.

Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Love,

J

Introducing the Laundry Room

My laundry room is usually the last room unpacked and the one I am most excited 
to have done; there’s something about weeks and weeks of 
trying to get the wash done admits chaos.. then wa-la.. order!
The lack of storage and the fact that the mirror/coatrack (a garage sale find) 
that’s hung near our backdoor for the last seven years broke in the move 
inspired me to buy some paint and shelf paper and go a little over the top coordinating.    
Our laundry room is right off the kitchen.. here is a view from there.
The door straight back leads to the garage.
Here’s a close up of the back wall.  I made the clock for our kitchen in FL.
All my left over decor ended up in here so it’s mix matched.
See the tall plastic thing with the polka dots?
I bought it at the Container Store for our last house.  It opens up.. (see below) 
A family of six can never have too much space for hanging clothes.
Here’s a view from the garage.  The door on the left is a pantry.  
I use it to store our vacuum, light bulbs.. etc.
If I re-mat the “Train up your child” verse over the
 window in blue, it might go a little better.
This is what the shelves looked like before I recovered them 
with the new polka dot shelf paper I found at Target.  
The shelves held Josh’s rock collection and dinosaurs among other things for years.  
For the last two houses, Josh hasn’t unpacked the stuff 
that goes on the shelves, so I repurposed them.
My friend, Suzanne, gave me this cute breadbox 
that she found at a garage sale in Germany (I think).
My dusting supplies are in it now.  I hung the selves so it’d just fit.
The little covered can next to it is a little trash can for my dryer lent.
I found the canisters years ago at Goodwill.  
They are too fussy for my new kitchen, 
so I am using them to hide my dry cleaning supplies etc.
I labeled them so I can remember what’s in which.
I found the plastic carafes at Target and made labels for them on the computer;
 there’s one for bleach, softener, vinegar.. and several for detergent.  
 Two or three times a year I buy this huge bottle of Ecos laundry detergent 
at Costco that washes a whopping 150 loads.  
My new front loading washer (love my new washer & dryer) uses half as much 
detergent and washes almost twice as many clothes in a load than my 
old washer and dryer (that broke in our last move).
There are so many small detergent bottles because I divide up 
the large, heavy bottle of Ecos into smaller bottles to make it easier to manage.
I moved my gift rapping supplies from my closet into this basket in the laundry room.. 
I am not real happy with the way the two baskets look together.. 
I moved two Raggedy Ann ornaments from my bathroom vanity 
to the window sill to make a collection.  I like them all together.  
I made the message board from a frame I found in the trash.
It’s hung over my kitchen sink in our last two houses.
I need to find coordinating fabric to re-cover it and dress the window.
I use the trash cans between the washer and dryer for sorting whites etc.
I got the wash rags in a white sale at Kolhs.  They cover the washer drain hose nicely.
The rags I’ve had for 20 years all but bit the dust.
I bought the mail box years ago as a place to put videos in 
that need to be returned to the store.
We have Net Flicks now and I am not sure what to do with it.
I bought the laundry baskets years ago to sort the kids’ laundry into.  
I color coded them with ribbons.  The idea was that they were to take their basket
and put their things away once a week, but instead they just use them like drawers.
They hardly even use their dressers for clothes anymore.
The posters are from DoorPost.. I don’t use them any more.. 
I need someone to give me a rule about what to keep and not keep for grandkids.
I am keeping plastic shopping bags in the container with the blue lid.. 
found it in the neighbor’s trash a couple weeks ago.
I made the shelf from left over parts from a porta-crib I slept in as a child.  
I used most of it when I made Joel and Josh’s beds a couple of years ago.
Here is my inspiring mirror.  I had a new piece of glass cut for it.  
It was a darkly stained, oak mirror with brass hooks before I painted it to match.
I used dots from the shelf paper to dress it up.  
The raincoats are handy for we have to walk Sally in the rain.
The door on the left houses our AC and the one on the right is to our half bath.
Judi’s claimed it as her bathroom and keeps it locked so no boys can use it.
If it were up to her, it’d have a shower, too.
One last piece of the porta-crib is currently holding family photos.. 
One day when my photos are more organized I’d like to change them up.
Last photo.. I love this broom/mop holder.. 
so nice to have the stuff up off the floor where it won’t fall over.
I miss it when it’s packed away.
That’s a lot of photos for one of the smallest rooms in my house.  
Don’t know if you’ll ever really be able to get a sense 
of the lay out without coming to visit in person.
We are sure looking forward to Mom and Dad coming next week.
Miss you all,
J

Van Moved In

I’ve been working really hard towards having all my boxes unpacked; 
everything either in use or thrown out.
Exceptions are in the garage.
I don’t like putting stuff in the attic.. it gets too hot up there.
This is what Mike’s side of the garage has looked like for months.
Scraping ice of your car every morning before work isn’t much fun,
so we made getting his car in the garage a priority.
The shelves hold tools, camping supplies and holiday decorations.
The totes that didn’t make it on the shelves are what’s left of the kids’ toy collection:
legos, Lincoln logs, cars, and stuffed animals.
We donated two more big bags full just a couple of weeks ago.
Ta-da!! My side of the garage today.  
We had to catabolize two of our bikes to end up with two bikes in good condition.  
Montgomery + no garage = rusty bikes.
The desk armoire won’t fit into the house until a couple of kids move out.
It has school books in it that the kids have out grown.  Grand kids??
The paper boxes are full of packing peanuts.  
One day Josh is going to sell some stuff on e-bay…
if not, I don’ think they will last long.
The chair on the armoire is broken.  I have the pieces.. but not the talent to fix it.
I really need new chairs… but it’s more fun taking weekend trips.
I hung the large list on the walls for the movers.  
Hoping they’d organize my boxes for me as they unloaded them off the truck.  
They kinda did.  One day soon I’ll climb up and take the lists down.
🙂 J

Playing With Rocks and Things

I decided this dresser needed a little something. 
Wana come play with my rock sculpture?
I shopped around the house and garage 
to find some more rocks and things to add to my fireplace.
The kids got the drift wood as a gift from one of their friends years ago.  
I don’t think they want it anymore.

These candle holders were half off at Hobby Lobby this week.
I used them to display my sand and shell collection from FL.  

I love the way my Texas photos look in the bathroom.
It’s the one room that I can’t look out the window to the lake.
They are like little windows into TX.  

Another window ledge for rocks and shells.

This is the window we used to sneak into the house when it was being built.

I think Mike gets to look at this one more than I do.
I have one last window scape to share with a new scripture photo 
and photos from our trip to DC in mason jars over my kitchen sink.
Love,
J

More living room pictures..

To the right of my piano is this wall.  The dresser is full of photos.  
I re-did Mike’s family pictures a few weeks ago.
My book shelves are on the other side of the entry way (same wall).  
I ran out of wall space so I put a few photos up there, too.

This is our living room fire place.. 
the fire place with the trees is in the “hearth room” connected to the kitchen.
I still like my painting from WalMart but I think this fireplace looks a little boring.
I’ve never gotten around to buying candles for my pillars.
If I ever get to paint, I’d like to paint the wall the fire place is on an accent color.
It’s a little corner wall.  See the ceiling lines?

I need to take some wide angle views for you guys.
J

Our Game Room/Den

Here are more picts of our house.
You can see the foyer and Prayer room through these doors.
Just outside and to the right is our front door.
This is our game room/den.
It’s basically the kids’ TV room.  They enjoy watching shows like
“Everybody Loves Raymond” while doing their math homework in here.
The French doors keep their TV noise separate from the rest of the house,
 while allowing us to check in on what they are watching.
Each flower pict has part of the Love Chapter printed on it.
Did you know that love is so many things?  I love the garden effect.
I am still trying to get the hang of gardening, so I enjoy my love picture garden year round.

The blank wall is reserved for my family quilt.  I need to get to work on finishing it.

I got the lamp in Gatlinburg last year.  I love the colors.
The cord wasn’t long enough to reach the ceiling and back,
so I created the arm from a piece of molding and a dowel from HD.
Here is my collage of C&W’s families.  Do you like it?
Minus the frame it only cost $6 to print at Costco.
I was very happy with how it turned out.
I’d like to update it from time to time so I can remember how big the kids are getting.

Like my scripture/photo art?  I cut the mat to fit and printed the words on sticker paper.

Moving around the room to the game amore.

I have a small collage of Mike’s nephews and nieces on the TV shelf.
I am hoping one day to find the perfect fabric for curtains and the pillows.
I hate the brown pillows that came with the couch.
It’s my bright, red, white, blue, orange and green room.
J

Sowing Seeds in the Kid’s Bath

I was able to finish the photos in time to order and pick them up
on our weekly shopping trip after gymnastics.
I decided to put the parable on the photos and the explanations in brackets
on little cards like at a museum.
I thought that printing them that way would draw more attention to them than
if I put both on the photo and that it was actually easier to read that way.
It’s kinda a long story so I thought it was my best chance of getting it read.
I edited my first post about the parable and put in the words I used if you’d like to read it.
I’d like to put “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” above it.  
But that will be a while later.  
Anyone have one of those vinyl letter making machines I can borrow?
I will be taking all the kids into the bathroom for a tour of the story
and make sure that we have a family devotion where we discuss
the things I learned from Joseph Prince.  🙂
I made the numbered birds Sunday.  What for??
When we were selling our house in FL, I bought the new
silvery sage towels and rainbow shower curtain to help stage the house.
For years I had a different color towel for each kid,
so that if there was a towel on the floor there was no question who left it,
although they’d like to argue that there was.
Since I replaced the old ratty towels, no one can remember which towel is theirs
and they almost always choose a new one from under the sink and,
of course, throw it on the floor when they are done.
It took me forever to try to think of a way to identify their towels.  I thought about sewing on colored ribbons.. but then they’d have to look through the towels to find the right one.
So I am trying the numbered birds.  The odd numbers are a little lower than
the even for the towels on the lower rack.
So far I think it’s working.  🙂
Here’s the rest of the bathroom.
I know their getting a little too old for Murdock the talking duck, but he’s so cute.
Thanks for looking at my hall bath parable.  More house photos to come.
J
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