Preparing a Place for Our Lord

Seven years ago, I was asked to write this post. I never published it and I honestly don’t know why. I don’t remember why Preparing a Place was discarded and forgotten. But I do know why I want to publish it now.

Preparing a Place

I don’t remember a time when I have felt more honored or more sheepish. My friend, Debbie Hughett, has asked me to be a guest writer on her blog, Musings on Prayer. Her request was to contrast CoziNest (simple, beautiful, cozy, home) with Our Lord “preparing a place for us.” (John 14:2)  I am honored to guest-post, Debbie, and in so many ways…. I love you for asking.

Debbie had no idea what she was asking, but HE knew. You see, my heart has not been a very welcoming place for Him for a few years. I can blame it on moves, not finding a church home in a new community, preachers teaching from Hollywood headlines, etc. etc., (not my current church 🙂 )  but I know the real problem. As a child, I was known to stomp my feet, march down the hallway and slam the door to my room when I didn’t get my way; and I’m pretty sure that I’ve done just that as an adult with my FATHER. I’ve taken up the welcome mat and kept that door shut indefinitely. And… just like as a child, it was over something juvenile. I didn’t get my way.

How Cozy is My Nest?

Now, as Debbie has obediently followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, I’m forced to ask the question, “How cozy is my spiritual nest? How simple is my faith? And as He prepares a beautiful place for me someday, have I, in turn, made my earthly nest a cozy place for Him to dwell?” Do I feel at home with Him? No, not in a long time. But, in His everlasting love and mercy, He has ever so gently nudged me through Debbie, 7 years ago, and a Covenant Bible Study today, to “Come Unto Him,” again. This is where I feel sheepish. We all, like sheep, have gone astray. (Isaiah 53:6):

We All Like Sheep.jpg

Here is the scripture Debbie originally referenced:

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also… (John 14:3)

Isn’t that the ultimate form of welcome? I want you where I am. Let me repeat that… I want you where I am. He wants me where He is? Who am I? I’m a foot-stomping, hall-marching, door-slamming, mat-taker-upper… brat! I’m reminded of Jesus writing in the sand while those around Him asked to stone a woman to death. (John 8: 6-11)

Writer on the Sand.jpg

Jesus doesn’t stomp His foot…no He simply writes in the sand. You may recall, as the adulteress was thrown in front of Him while self-appointed judges asked to stone her, He first addressed them, not her. He knew they were testing Him on the Law, so He faced their accusers. It’s amazing that as I read this, I noticed for the first time that they were both facing accusers. Jesus and an adulteress, facing the same crowd of finger-pointers. And His response…”You, without sin, cast the first stone.” One by one, they left, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. She was alone with The Son of God. He straightened up from His drawing in the sand, looked into her face and offered these words of comfort….”Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more.”  Oh my!  Alone AND forgiven.

I’m reminded…He wants us where He is, in a warm, forgiving, cozy space without a single accuser. On earth, we can have that in our prayer closet, but someday, we will have it in the place He has prepared for us.

Today, I am forced to see myself as a woman thrown in the sand. I am forced to see myself as He does. I’m the one who doesn’t stay in the sand, but gets up and stomps my foot in it. I have tested my Lord just as surely as those men did thousands of years ago. But where are my accusers? Who stands to cast a stone? Not a single person. Why?  Because they do not matter as much as one grain of sand in my salvation. I am face to face with THE ONE who wants me where HE is. And home, my friends, is where there is no condemnation. Simple. Cozy. Beautiful. Home. with HIM. Because of HIM, I am not condemned.

I originally drafted this post 7 years ago. So much has happened in those 7 years, but suffice it to say, I am now face to face with this same question. During the study, Covenant, by Kay Arthur with Precept Ministries God has once again reminded me of the importance of giving my WHOLE heart and life to HIM. I am faced with the question again, “Have I prepared a place in my heart and in my life, where HE is KING?”

In all honesty, my home is filled with all sorts of things I love, but not enough of WHOM I love. Are the things wrong? I’m not sure yet, but I’m open to the possibility. As I think about preparing a place here on earth for HIM to dwell, I know it is in my heart, not my home per se that HE lives. But has my heart become so crowded that there’s no room for HIM? Is HE forced to once again, be turned away for lack of space? Has HE found a more suitable place in a cave with animals than with one HE created in HIS image? I’m 61 and as I get older these questions weigh heavier on my heart than they did when I was 31.

The future of this website and in particular this blog is under the prayerful watch of my LORD. I’m not sure as I write this where it’s going. I know that when I drafted this post 7 years ago I was convicted that my house needed remodeling. It was time to redecorate with my DESIGNER. As Covid forced us to stay home, like many others, we noticed things that needed physical updating in several rooms. We began planning what to do in each room and then each week in our study, the LORD began to show me areas in the chambers of my heart that needed sweeping, updating, and sprucing. I am seeking a freshness. Cleanliness. I want a clear vision in each room, without clutter and needless stuff that could fill barns to overflowing, but leave me empty and wanting.

Matthew 6:20

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heavenwhere neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;

Luke 12:20

Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Barns

“Now who will own what you have prepared?”

This sentence spoke to me. In my business, I go to a lot of estate sales. When we do finally arrive at the place HE has prepared for us, there’s a lot of stuff left over that our family doesn’t want or need. Have you noticed how the next generation doesn’t want or seem to need the heirlooms we want to pass down to them? They also desire a simple, more minimalistic lifestyle. Oh, that I might be a student of this generation!

What if we passed more love, joy and kindness or goodness down to the next generation? What if our kids remember us for our faithfulness? What if our neighbors tell others how patient and gentle we were them? What if we prepared a place here that others want to mimic in their own homes? A place where rust or moth can’t destroy, and a place where if a thief tried to break in and steal, they would find things we would want them to have?

Galatians 5:22

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22)

There are nine characteristics of the fruit. Only 9. I pray that our homes will be filled with love which is likely the only real path to joy. I ask that the LORD help us to be at peace with our families and neighbors. I beg HIM to help us be longsuffering with our fellowman, since HE is our ultimate example of this. May our hearts be filled with kindness and goodness toward each other. Like Thomas, I pray that we can see and feel HIS scars so that we are faithful in return. I ask that our judgment and callousness be replaced with gentleness. And so that all this might be real and obvious in our lives, I ask for self-control and discipline.

The Spirit of Loveliness

I am prayerfully preparing a place. I hope it’s a place where people feel loved, experience joy and know HIM deeply. HE has a long way to go as my DESIGNER, but HE is faithful. I pray my heart is open and receptive to HIS plans.

Thank you, Lord for wanting me where YOU are. Thank you for preparing a place for me. I want YOU where I am. In my heart. And I pray that my home is where YOU want to be, so that others will want to be here, too. Fill my home with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

What’s in a Name – CoziNest Antiques & Decor

What’s in a Name?

Choosing your business name when opening an antique booth business is an important step. It’s a name you’ll see, hear and type a lot for the rest of your business’s life. This post is part of a series on “How to Plan for and Open an Antique Booth”. Here are a few tips on how to name your booth business for success.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Where will the booth be located? In a mall, a flea market or only at craft fairs?
  2. Is it important to include the city, state, county or region of the business?
  3. If you had to name a room in your house that best describes your booth, would it be a nursery, pantry, closet, bath, bedroom?
  4. What will be the style of your booth? Farmhouse, Cottage, French, Traditional?
  5. Are you partners with someone and want to include your names in the business?
  6. How will you stock your booth? Is there an inventory theme?
  7. Is there a nickname or literary character that has been a lifelong favorite?

cozinest sign

CoziNest Antiques & Decor

My blog started as a way to help other moms who’s nests were emptying. My love of decorating soon followed with the adventures of travel adding another layer to the niche. I have learned a lot since 2013 and have named a second blog by asking these questions. CoziNest answers would be as follows:

  • The booth is in a mall.
  • I did not choose to add a location or region in the name.
  • I chose a living room. It is a small room that feels cozy, comfortable and is decorated with family treasures.
  • My favorite styles are French, traditional, cottage and transitional.
  • I have no partners.
  • I want to stock items that fit the name of my business.

Inventory to Cozy Up Your Nest

When customers walk into my booth, I want it to feel like a cozy space where they’d like to get comfortable. With so many shoppers preferring a simple, minimalist home, I’ve added functional pieces that every home needs.

home pillow

The blog quickly turned into a place to write about comfort food, our nest, decor and inspiration for calm living. The beach close by gives plenty of opportunity to experience coastal living. Topics on the blog helped me decide what kind of inventory I wanted to fill my shelves. I wanted all things:

    • soft

cotton cone trees

    • warm
    • greenery, florals

floral arrangement in copper pot

    • ambiance

hobnail lamp

  • French, traditional or cottage

pink floral art

 

Pink Flowers

  • scents – oils, potpourri, soaps, candles

fragrant soaps

  • natural woods

natural wood

  • organizational – unusual storage

tea towels

My current inventory includes soft, warm afghans, lots of greenery and florals and wonderful scented soaps. The ambiance includes candles, natural woods and unusual storage to organize a cozy room. I search for French design, traditional accessories and cottage style linens. While this may change a little with every season, having this as part of my business name helps keep me focused in my business plan as well.

cozinest sign with nest

Raffle

If you have an antique booth, I would love to hear what you named it and why. Please leave a comment below and get your booth name entered into a raffle. The winner will be featured here on CoziNest and pinned to my Pinterest board, “Blogging Tips I Use,” where I have over 55,000 monthly views.

Thumbs Up!

Simple things thrill me these days. A small little emoticon from a dear friend on Facebook is the inspiration for today’s post. Thanks, Twiggy! Last week I missed one of my 52 “generosity” posts due to nothing short of writer’s block and a severe case of boredom with my own blog. I know that you are all sitting by your computers just waiting to read what I have to say, (smirky face, wink-wink), so let me encourage you that there are more words in the well, today. You can let your breath out now. The drumming of fingers on the desk has ceased and typing resumed.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and quoted one of the books on Facebook:

In the words of Twyla Tharp, “Destiny is, quite often, formed by a determined parent.”

Adding my own prayer:

May God bless each and every child with appreciation that reflects the hard work and sacrifice their parents made for those dreams.

My friend Linda, whom I affectionately call Twiggy commented with a simple thumbs up on that post.

Thumbs Up

Such a simple little gesture. But, like a child, it was as rewarding as a little red star stamped on a kindergarten paper. How often in your life have you “high-fived” someone for a job well done? Or given them the double thumbs up proclaiming how proud you are or that you simply agree with what was said? When was the last time you were patted on the back for your success? Smile.

We can speak words of affirmation that so many of us need, but just about every other gift we offer, we offer with a helping hand. We clap in adoration of a great performance. We snap our fingers to a happy tune, lace our fingers through those of our loved ones. We all have little hearts wrapped around our pinkies and present knuckle sandwiches to those who threaten the happiness of those hearts. We leave our fingerprints on whatever gift we offer.

We wave hello to our neighbors. On other days we wipe the sweat from our palms when the news from a loved one could be bad and later massage the stress away from those waiting, weary shoulders. Generosity can be shrouded in the mundane routines of the day. But, as I found with a simple thumbs up, it can also wave goodbye to writer’s block and remind me of a childhood nursery rhyme that brings a smile to a previously bored face. Just like when I was a child….

Do you remember…?

Here is the church and here is the steeple.

Open the doors and here are all the people.

As you, once again, turn those fingers up and wiggle them toward the sky… Smile, count your blessings and I hope you run out of fingers. Generosity in an emoticon. Who would have thought?

Here's the Church by Kathryn Fincher

Here’s the Church by Kathryn Fincher

The Big Reveal

Today is the big reveal. If you’ve been following my Fashion Friday posts, you know that I’m beginning a new series with a dress form. Yes, I will be the crazy lady escorting a mannequin all over the world to have her picture taken in fashions for those of us in the Silver Linings stage of life. Definition: We’re approaching or in the empty nest and not quite to the “golden years” stage. In other words we are right smack dab in the middle of FUN! And that is just what my adopted model is all about.

Her first outing was very well-planned and thought out. I checked the Event Calendar in my area and chose one. The event seemed very fitting, AND, I learned something new. She is a dress “form” and we attended a hypertufa class. You may ask, “what the heck?” Well, hypertufa is the latest craze in gardening. It originated with farmers using a combination of peat moss, sand, cement and water to make feeding troughs to replace the heavier ones made of pure cement. But now gardeners are using the mix to “form” or mold new planters for container gardening. She (my form) felt right at home.

Hypertufa

All sorts of molds can be used to make your container.

Hypertufa

Ellen Huckabay was the presenter who taught a “Lunch & Learn” class how to make the molds. My form (to be named in a few more paragraphs) was fascinated.

Hypertufa

The mix is made up of 1 1/2 parts peat moss, 1 part sand, and 1 part Portland cement. Water is added until you get the consistency of cottage cheese.

Hypertufa

Then you apply the mix to your form.

Hyperfufa

“My girl Friday” was so relieved that she wasn’t the form to be used for this project. Although, she came prepared to work. She is wearing her gardening gloves.

Hypertufa Mold

A small bowl was used instead.

The “Lunch and Learn” class is held on the third Monday of each month at the Jon Archer Agricultural Center in Mobile, AL. Attendees bring their lunch and learn something new each class. We thoroughly enjoyed the class and I can foresee a hypertufa planter in my own garden. These make great additions to roof top gardens, as they are light weight and long lasting. Just be sure to add a drainage hole as you are making them. You can also find more information with Martha Stewart.

I’d like to personally thank Ellen Huckabay and Mary Ann Days for welcoming me and …

Cozi Rosie

A very special thank you to Judy Pimperl for writing in this lovely name, and to all of you who voted for it! I love it and an added plus… so does Mr. Cozi.

She has A Name

A rose by any other name…

I think my first hypertufa should hold a gorgeous Knock-Out Rose, don’t you?

What are My True Motives?

Our empty nests will be much more cozy if the spirits who live in them are of a generous nature. In the post, Out of Balance, I shared how I stumbled upon the book, Women of a Generous Spirit by Lois Mowday Rabey. A series has been born and this is chapter 2. The first chapter was about life giving women.  We will search out our true motives in becoming generous women in this one. As in the previous chapter, there are questions to answer, and I will be brutally honest with my answers. It is my hope that this series of exercises will lead me and whoever needs it, to become a more generous woman. What better time to discuss generosity with my friends than during Christmas?

Front Porch Christmas Decor

Lois points us in the right direction to become women of a generous spirit with this:

“As I have talked with women, I’ve identified some common counterfeit motivations. If we want to become women of a generous spirit, we need to evaluate our motivations and exchange the counterfeit ones with life-giving ones.”

The counterfeit motivations are listed as follows:

  1. Giving to be blessed. “Giving in order to be filled. Our giving is self-focused, not God-focused.”
  2. Giving to please others. When we give to please others, their response to our giving is at the center of our motivation.
  3. Giving to accomplish our own agendas. “Manipulating circumstances to control the outcome of our giving is the motivation behind this. Often we give little in this situation and lose the desire to be generous women.”

Christmas Porch Decor

The author gives us 3 examples to demonstrate each of the misguided motivations above.

  • Liz was living by a formula. She believed that “living the perfect Christian life” would bring her God’s acceptance, resulting in “the abundant life.” She gave to be blessed.
  • Nan volunteered to teach Sunday School in order to receive accolades and recognition from her peers. Disappointment was her reward. She gave to please others, but realized that unmet expectations resulted in emptiness.
  • Scarlett O’Hara from the movie, Gone with the Wind, was her third example. We see her throughout the movie manipulating circumstances “to control the outcome of personal encounters.”

Outdoor Christmas Decor

The questions that followed this chapter:

1. Which of the women in the chapter resemble you? Explain. (There may be more than one.)

I most relate to Liz. For most of my young adult life, I believed that if I “lived” the Christian life, then I would please God. I can honestly say now, that it was really more of the Christian ideals that I worshipped, instead of Christ who made the word “Christian” possible. I was more of a “religionian”. Once Doris Slappy introduced me to the Life-Giver, my focus turned and I became a new creation. I found it to be true that there is a difference between religion and relationship.

2. Write a paragraph that describes your primary motivation for giving. Your motivation may be one that isn’t listed here.

While I relate most to Liz, I can also say that some of my giving is to please others. I don’t think that is all bad, though. Yes, Lois says that when we give to please others that our motivation is their praise; but there are also times of pure joy just because I’ve made someone happy. Seeing the smile on another’s face because they are pleased with something I’ve done or a gift I’ve given, gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I don’t believe that God frowns on that, especially if He is the One who motivated me to give in the first place.

3. How do you feel when you give and are unappreciated? How do you respond to the person who has been unappreciative?

I gave extravagantly for many years to a friendship that I believed was one that blessed both of us. In one disappointing encounter, I discovered that our friendship was conditional. An incorrect perception ended a long relationship. I have never felt more under appreciated in my life. All the years of friendship, giving, forgiving, laughing, and crying came to a screeching halt. After years of distance, we are talking again, but I remain cautious and protective of my heart. So, I guess the best answer is that I withhold my giving.

4. Think about a time in your life when you felt real gratitude. Write about how that sense of gratitude motivated you. Did you feel energized, eager to give, and eager to express your feelings?

My mother in love, has given me opportunities to feel real gratitude on so many occasions that I can’t name them all. She is a totally selfless woman. On numerous occasions she has taken vacation days from work to sit with my children or has spent the wee hours of the morning holding my children’s heads while they were sick and we were out of town. She would call and ask for them to spend the weekend with her so her son and I could have time to ourselves. We never had to ask, but every time we did, the answer was yes. Right after my son was born, she called one day to find me in tears with post-partum depression. She came that night, took off work the next two-three days and allowed me to sleep the next couple of nights because she knew I needed the rest. I’ve never forgotten it. I even wrote about it in the post, Starting Over with a Newborn.

I know without a doubt what her motivation was. It was to be helpful, pure and simple. And, it didn’t hurt that she got to spend some time with her favorite grandson. Hehehe.

Which of these women do you relate to most? Do you have a special memory of gratitude?

Christmas Mailbox

I want to celebrate the season with a generous heart. It is the season of giving.

Sharing with:

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Thank You

On this gorgeous Saturday morning, I am checking my stats from the beach. I want to say a great big THANK YOU!

My little blog is continuing to grow on a daily basis and that is because of you. Thank you so much for reading my stories, sharing your thoughts and sharing CoziNest with your friends.

If I could physically hug each and every one of you, I would.

Have a beautifully creative Saturday and know you are SO appreciated.