Prepare a Place

Have you ever been in the market for a new home? Our eldest is preparing to move into her very own apartment next month, and will be needing to start “adulting” soon… setting up bills, arranging for furniture and necessary appliances… like a coffee machine! Not to mention the budget balancing in order to pay for all those things! Things are about to get real!

I remember when we bought our first house. (It’s still the one we live in, so I guess it’s our only house!) My two requirements were: a big bay window and an “eat-in” kitchen. The house we bought had neither. Technically, there was a small table in our kitchen, and our original, large, living room aluminum window was eventually replaced with a bay window… but not the romantic window seat with throw pillows that I had imagined. But it’s our home. We’ve raised our kids here, and now the dog lives here, too, and eats the cushions that are left.

Photo by Harmen Jelle van Mourik on Unsplash

The hubby and I often swing into open houses, just for fun. One day, in the dead of winter, we toured a 5-car-garaged mansion with heated drive ways and a child’s walk in closet the size of our master bedroom. I’m sure the realtor guessed that we were well out of her league with our mis-matched winter woolies on and rosy-cheeked expressions, but she graciously showed us around the chef worthy kitchen with its fancy Italian granite counter tops and copper faucets in gold trim. We ooo’d and aww’d appropriately and told her we “would think about it”.

It’s fun to dream about your ideal dwelling place, isn’t it? I can spend hours on Pinterest designing a room, or scrolling through “” and seeing what is available in our price range (especially since Covid restrictions have limited drive by open houses). I love a good reno show where they take an old home and make it “new”. I particularly love century homes and the restoration of old wood beams and fine, spiral staircases with polished banisters….oooh, goosebumps! Homes with character — and a yard with a chicken coop! Gets my juices flowing, I tell ya!

Honestly, I am a terrible decorator. Mostly because I’m cheap and lazy, and although I love to spend the time looking… rarely does it filter down into our actual living space. These days, I’m lucky if the dishes get put away, let alone displayed in open shelving with antique brass fixtures. Occasionally, I am inspired, and do a few Insta-worthy tasks. Here are a few I posted about in the past: Hosting a Fall Brunch, Home Made Lovely, Christmas Oranges (Yes, I did finally make the garland!!) and How much is Too Much? If you follow along with my blogging journeys, I’m sure you will see more, as I tend to write about such things.

My latest collection of books for review included a devotional called A Place Called Heaven. And although I may not write a formal review for it, the first devotion had me musing about this very topic: preparing a place. God is currently preparing a place for me in Heaven. Can you imagine what it might look like? Spiral wood banisters with grand cathedral stained glass windows? Chicken coops in the backyard? Real adult coffee makers on standby for when St. Peter comes for a chat? But even more than that, what am I doing now to prepare for that place? For my eternal destination with the Creator of the Universe? Am I living day-to-day with hopes for the future in my heavenly dwelling? Who am I asking to share the journey with me? Serious questions to make me think.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.”

John 14:2 (American Standard Version)

That Sounds Fun

It’s now been over a year since we were introduced to the infamous Corona virus, the dreaded Covid-19. The global menace of 2020. We’ve had time to reflect, contest, converse and contemplate all that we hold dear and special. Toilet paper notwithstanding. Annie F. Downs is no exception to those things, either. In her latest book, That Sounds Fun, she, too, reflects on her past experiences in light of the mix of her new experiences. What then, does it all mean in God’s plan? It’s a delightful compilation of thoughts and experiences from Downs’ life. Although this thirty-some-thing-single-Tennessee-gal is “embarrassingly easy to find” on the internet, she’s new to me. She currently hosts a podcast called “That Sounds Fun” and her book is an extention of that work. Now that I have read this book, I am eager to get a hold of her “100 Days to Brave”…especially in light of my #wordoftheyear. Downs also has her first children’s book due out in fall 2021. But let’s get back to the current. Here’s her little promotional to wet your appetite:


Much like, Annie’s book is a collection of thoughts, gathered under three general premises: The Joys of Being an Amateur, The Power of Falling in Love, and Why you Need a Hobby. Her writing is witty, and well, “fun”, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Dotted throughout the book are lists of what her fans also think is “fun” and truly reflect what the world began to hold dear in this global pandemic: visits with friends, teaching and mentoring the younger generation, learning from the older, travel and family. These are the things that Downs calls our “return to Eden” moments. The pieces of our heart that are shaped by God’s perfect plan and what He originally intended for us as humans… connection and meaningful relationships, including bringing Glory to God through our actions and experiences.

Annie is openly personal in her conversations, and shares both her joys and sorrows. I was particularly touched by her story about Helen. If you know me, and read the book, you’ll see why. She shares her struggles about being single, her allergies, and I love how she has named the places she has lived. What would you name the place you are currently living in? Mine might just have to be the Castle of Chaos. She reminises about times spent on her grandma’s porch snapping beans… her little moment of childhood Eden. Country girl, indeed.

Originally, I picked this book for my bookshelf based on my thoughts about “fun”. My ideas of fun are vastly different from the thoughts my husband has, different from what my children find fun, and different from what many of my friends deem “fun”. I was looking to validate my own activities, and to trust that God made me special. In some ways, she does. God’s plans for Annie F. Downs are not the same for me. They are not the same for you, either. Does God want us to have some “fun” along the way? Of course. Maybe we could sum it up in this quote near the end of the book:

“So chase the fun, friend. Go after it. Find what sounds fun to you, and you will find what you are really looking for. Maybe you will find it in the places where you are an amateur (aren’t you glad to be an amateur!) maybe you will find it in love (I hope you are in love); or maybe you’ll find it that hobby you just found or returned to.”

Annie F. Downs in “That Sounds Fun” p.223-224

Have fun today, my friends.

Hidden in Your Heart (or Dessert)

I am terrible at memorizing. Always have been. When I had to study notes and diagrams for school, I would make up jingles and word acronyms and the like to keep all the parts I needed to know in my head. I’m a visual learner and “see” what I need to remember… mostly. How about you, my friend? Are you good at keeping things in your brain and remembering them “by heart”? I’m a visual learner, but by no means do I have a “photographic memory”. Somedays I wish I did… but, I guess my brain is too full of other stuff to keep all that information up there. So, I write it down. Lists are my friend. Sticky notes are even more special.

The hubby is good at remembering. He makes sure I remember anniversaries. He remembers where we went and what we wore. I sometimes remember what we ate 🙂 Speaking of eating… (I know, you are thinking where am I going with this… no worries, it’ll come). Speaking of eating… anyone out there have tips on how to get your family to eat more veggies? My kids are pretty good… but nothing “out of the norm”. No kale, squash, spinach…or zucchini. Which is going to be a problem if we grow lots this summer. What shall I do with all that summer squash???

I’ll tell you what I’ve started doing… I’ve started to “sneak” veggies in. “Hiding” them in some un-recognizable form. Raw spinich in mixed green salades. Squash in the form of soup (which they know is squash soup, but they seem to tolerate). I even fool myself by throwing beets in pretty pink smoothies. Because beets are gross. Consequently, this week I made two lovely desserts which included zucchini!! Yes, they knew the green stuff was in there… but it somehow became more delectible mixed in cocoa… or in the form of cake.

One of my favourite verses is Luke 2:19:

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

In the middle of all the goings on of the Christmas story, post partum, and visits from stinky shepherd strangers, Mary manages to hide away some special thoughts and memories deep in her new mother’s heart. God’s promises to her and all His re-assurances that, yes, she is a part of the plan, and that the plan is good. We, too, are to hide His word in our hearts. Memorizing is one way, but meditating on the verses and seeking guidance and studying are others. Like the veggies, we receive all the benefits of the Bible’s wise words and comforts, when God’s word is taken in and ingested. Perhaps, like me, you don’t like the discipline of strict memorization, and you need to mix it with something…like songs or colouring pages or, dare I say, blogging every week about your latest muse?

Well, there you have it, I have somehow managed to connect scripture memorization with vegetables hidden in sweet dishes. Who knows where my brain will go next, or what “hidden” thoughts will creep out now and then. Why don’t you follow along with the adventure and find out?! Get my weekly muses in your inbox each week! You can Join Here.

Interested in those zucchini desserts? I’ll post them to my Pinterest “Things we Love” board, so you can enjoy them too!