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.

Bread of the Presence

The Bread of Life

Happy holy days everyone! This Holy Celebration begins and ends with the breaking of bread. We gather together to eat, drink and have a Merry Christmas.

Jesus calls Himself, “The Bread of Life” in John 6:35 –

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.

Christmas Tablesetting for Four

Hungry in the Wilderness

In the Old Testament we learn how the Israelites wandered in the wilderness and became hungry. A wise man named Moses prayed and Manna rained from Heaven. We were hungry for fellowship with our God. Wise men prayed. Wise men searched and found the “Manna from Heaven” lying in a feeding trough. A shivering child born to Mary in what else, but a manger!

Mixing silver and gold china

Shewbread

Also in the Old Testament, the shewbread was placed in the tabernacle according to the Law. 12 loaves for a week. The bread was to be before our LORD 24/7 to represent HIS presence being with us at all times. The bread was replaced on the Sabbath. Only the priests were allowed to eat the bread and it was to be eaten in a holy place.

Why twelve loaves?  They represented the 12 tribes of Israel and I would submit the 12 disciples after the coming of Christ. Israel was the pathway for the Son of Man to be born into the world. The 12 disciples were the pathway for the Son of Man to be shared with the world.

I am the bread of life
You who come to Me shall not hunger
And those who believe in Me shall not thirst

Manna

Manna sustained the Israelites for awhile. They were searching for a land flowing with milk and honey. (Ex. 33:3) Green pastures. After 40 years, they entered and the land provided. It produced milk and honey. There were times of peace and times of war. There were Sabbath days and Sabbath years. God provided. They wanted a king. God provided. David, from the tribe of Judah was the bloodline.

The colors of Christmas

Why a Manger?

Our KING of all KINGS was born in a manger. The shewbread that anyone can partake of. Was this bread holy? The MOST. Was it for priests only? No, it was offered to the whole world. It is still offered to all who believe. We can come to HIM and fellowship with HIM just as if we are sharing a meal with a brother. We respect and adore our KING, and we have access to HIM 24/7.  Jesus said,

The bread that I will give
Is My flesh for the life of the world
And if you eat of this bread
You shall live forever

Dessert cordials

Our KING, did something no other King has ever done. HE laid down HIS life. No one took it. No one murdered HIM. HE gave it as a gift. The wise men brought gifts. Myrrh was to embalm HIS body, gold as a symbol of kingship and the frankincense symbolized priesthood. Our sacrifice, the LAMB of GOD, raised HIMSELF, THE HIGH PRIEST, on the HOLIEST of SABBATH DAYS to sit forever at the right hand of the FATHER, making another pathway.

I am the resurrection
I am the life
If you believe in Me
Even though you die
You shall live forever

cranberry wreath

Spread the good news! Sing unto the LORD! Deck the halls and prepare the feast! The Bread of the Presence was born in a manger! HE is among us.

wall art as table runner

Let not the vision of HIS birth be blurred.

Jesus in the Manger

O Come Let Us Adore Him…

The Bread of the Presence

Please be sure to visit all of these fabulous Christmas Table-settings this week.

holiday tablescape blog hop

Monday

Twelve on Main | Everyday Living | Home is Where the Boat Is | Rustic – Refined

Tuesday

Life and Linda |  Rattlebridge Farm | Rosemary & Thyme | Living With Thanksgiving  | Cozinest

Wednesday

Belle Bleu Interiors | My Kentucky Living | A Toile Tale |Bluesky Kitchen | Starfish Cottage

Dining Delight

Thursday

Citrine Living | B. Lovely Events | Ramblings of a Southern Girl | Panoply

Friday

Celebrate & Decorate Farmhouse 40 | The Painted Apron | Sweet Sensations

 

As Happy as Can Be!

I have a confession to make. I know you all may be a bit shocked by this, especially if you are my age or older. I’ve done some things in life I’m not so proud of. I have said things that make me wish I could truly eat my own words.  But all in all, I’m happy to be at this stage of life. There I admitted it. The empty nest is just not that bad!

One of the great things about being an empty-nester is that we no longer stress over what others think or say about us. What a sense of peace that is! We are just as happy as can be! No more worry about what Suzy Q might say to Debbie Downer. If Gossip Gladys tells the Garden Club that she thinks you squandered your retirement in Vegas, you are now mature enough to look the other way. At your next Garden Club meeting, you gently place an over-sized floppy hat on Gladys’ head, look the other way and whisper (in a real gossipy voice) “Don’t you agree that small-minded people make the best gossips!?”

The Best Gossips

If people are going to talk anyway, why not give them something to talk about!? You are the fun one, who has finally realized one major life lesson.

People who are bold enough to say things they shouldn’t, should be big enough to take it when you respond in kind.

 

 

Most of our enemies are mellowed out by now.

 

Readers.com

Envy is no longer a problem.

Why? Because the stuff we envied at one time is just crap that has been donated, trashed or handed down to children by now. The things the younger ones are envious of today, we no longer want to invest the time to learn how to use. Instead, we are envious of their time, their eye contact and the sound of their voices.

Donations

At this point in our life, we have history. We have lots of beautiful memories and some not so beautiful. We realize that only a handful of people really understand the ups and downs that have made us the people we are today. We have pride in the good choices, remorse for the not-so-good and discretion to know which ones to talk about and which ones Gladys may exaggerate at Garden Club. We are satisfied with our achievements and somewhat at rest with our failures.

hands

Our minds are open to new possibilities, new hobbies and new friendships. We no longer care if our likes are nerdy or our dislikes are old-fashioned. We are wise beyond our years and that my friend … is saying something!

Birdwatching

This is true contentment. Being as happy as can be regardless of what others think of us. And as confessions go, I’m not too embarrassed by this one.

 

Linking with these utterly fabulous parties:

Celebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and Refined,  Coastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays

Inspire Me Monday,  Tickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday, Christian Bloggers Community

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayCreative Spark,  Home Matters, Idea Box,

Poofing the Pillows,  Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY On,

Share it One More Time,

 

 

Never Worry Alone

Let me know how you’re doing, Mama!

I have you on my mind this week…

It’s funny that as our kids go off to college, their whole life is in front of them and honestly, ours is mostly behind us. It may be depressing to think about, but it’s true. They may have a few ideas of what they want to do with their life, or they may have no idea at all. As empty nesters, we are experiencing the same thing. What do we want to do with the rest of our life? Will we have too much time on our hands? Will our life suddenly feel more empty than full?

As you kiss that cheek, and buckle your seatbelt for the long ride home from College Town, USA, you just might empty a box of tissue. But, chin up! The next few years can be the time of your life! Here is a plan that I’ve gleaned from Dr. Ned Hallowell, on a MarieTV episode. He addresses smart people who underperform and why. His strategy works just as beautifully for empty nesters facing uncertain paths ahead.

Have Clear and Defined Goals

By attempting to put first things first, we’re able to see what is important and work toward worthwhile goals. Hallowell suggest 3 goals within 4 time periods. For me personally, every goal includes the 3 P’s.

  • 3 Daily Goals 

  1. People – First things first: My LORD is my people, too! Prayer is a must. After HIM, then husband, children, friends and family, and new acquaintances are top of the list each morning. A text, phone call, email, or cup of coffee keeps us in touch. We can’t talk to everyone every day, but we can try to reach out as often as possible. (Pets are people, too, so tender loving care of animals goes within this category! If you don’t have a pet, consider getting one!)
  2. Priorities – Education, business, helpfulness, encouragement, time
  3. Projects/Ideas – writing, photography, household, decorating, thrifting, flipping (Somewhere along the way I read that it’s an excellent practice to write down 10 ideas every day that you want to try, implement or research) I’ve been writing mine for 2 years and have so many, I know I’ll never do them all. It’s the act of listing them that is so powerful. And as I complete the ones I try, it is a great sense of accomplishment. We can NEVER have too many ideas.

By keeping people at the top of our list, we stay connected after retirement. Setting our priorities with things that enhance our life is a great recipe for happiness. Projects keep life interesting and hopefully organized.

  • 3 Monthly Goals

  1. People: Organize greeting cards, care packages and gifts for the month.  Care packages with special notes for our college kids are appreciated more than we know; even if they don’t say thank-you right away.
  2. Priorities: Encourage others, learn something, create/improve something
  3. Projects: Errands, chores, improvements
  • 3 Yearly Goals

  1. People: personal visits if our people live out of town
  2. Priorities: Try at least one new hobby, see a new place, volunteer
  3. Projects: Make distinct improvements to business/home/health/education (Write out your personal project goals.)

Welcome Friends

  • 3 Lifetime Goals

  1. People: All my people know that both God and I love them
  2. Priorities: Share my faith, appreciate God’s creation
  3. Projects: Accomplish things worth talking about, but not in a braggard way

Sorrento, Italy

Even with all of these goals written down, as nurturing women, we still tend to worry if we’re getting it right. Here is where Dr. Hallowell struck a chord with me.

“Never Worry Alone”

  • Pray daily.
  • Make a list of people who can encourage and educate you.
  • Stay in contact with your immediate friends and family; especially those in the empty nest. Stephen Covey said that “iron sharpens iron”, so learn from those who challenge you. However….
  • Distance yourself from those who cause you to worry more. (According to a former pastor, it is good to separate from people who are stumbling blocks! Don’t hang out with them and try not to be one 😉 )

Be Still and Know that I am God.

“Get The Facts”

  • Apply truth to all worries. Seek the truth. As a friend once said to me, “frisk every worry as it enters your mind.” If it’s a legitimate concern, allow it to enter. If not, no admittance!
  • Research and pray.
  • Write down your concerns and address them one by one.

“Make a Plan”

  • Discuss your worries with wise people.
  • Research and inform yourself.
  • Address what is in your power and turn the rest over to HIM.

So, Mama. Never worry alone! Let me know how it’s going.

How to Have an Eye-Opening Naptime

An Eye-Opening Naptime

Is there one person in history that you are positive you would never want to be? There are several on my list. I know I would not want to be Hitler, Pontius Pilate and believe it or not, I would not want to be the character, Rip Van Winkle. I have been taking a Sunday nap since my kids were old enough to take care of themselves and now my body automatically begins to slow down about 2 pm. But, who wants to fall asleep for twenty years? Twenty minutes to an hour in my bedroom and I feel like I’ve had a mini-vacation. So I thought I would share with you how to have an eye-opening naptime.

Fluffing the Pillows

I close the door, turn on the ceiling fan and fluff my pillows. The shutters are closed and the room is cool and dark. It’s funny that my pets know when it’s naptime, too and will meet me at the side of the bed to be placed on their respective pillows. The house is quiet and I can hear the low hum of a neighbor’s lawn mower. It is time to forget the worries of the day. I can abandon thoughts of who the heck to vote for in November, any family issues or personal concerns.

my nap buddy

It’s like a weekly intermission complete with a cup of Chamomile Tea, a fruit plate and my favorite magazines. For the first few minutes I work on my planner for the upcoming week, making a list of tasks, errands, menus and blog posts. It’s amazing how quickly I can doze off after my week is planned. Then I flip through a magazine or begin a movie. Usually a chick flick!

preparing for nap

The Little Known Benefits of an Adult Naptime

Lounging with Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping or Bogey and Bacall’s The Big Sleep, helps me drift off easily because I’ve seen them so many times. A quick 40 winks and I feel better than new.

  • Naps help to restore sharpness of mind
  • I make less mistakes
  • I’ve learned that my little catnaps help me not to be too drowsy while driving
  • My mood is improved
  • I have more energy

So when I wake up and open my eyes, I concentrate on the tranquility and peace of the moment. I’m refreshed and ready to face the upcoming week. Do you have a perfect naptime?

Small Fruit Tray

 

Linking with theses utterly fabulous parties:

Creative SparkCelebrate Your Story,  Mommy MomentsRustic and RefinedCoastal Charm,

Cooking and Crafting with J&JThe Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday Inspire Me Monday,

Talented TuesdayTickle My TastebudsWow Us Wednesday,

Full Plate ThursdayWork it WednesdayHome Matters, Idea BoxPoofing the Pillows,

Sweet Inspiration,  DIY Sunday ShowcaseGet Your DIY OnShare it One More Time,

 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Sandy June 29, 2016Your menu looks delicious, and I love any occasion that you get to set the table pretty.

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Jenna June 28, 2016Love your play list Kim! We always sing Born in the USA as loud as we can all throughout the day! Your tomato bread sounds so simply divine- Enjoy your special visit!

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Laurie at Pride in Photos June 28, 2016This looks delicious! Happy Fourth…have a great time.

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Debbie Hughett June 28, 2016Love my daughter-in-love. Congratulations!

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She Starts Chemo Today

If you read the post, I Am the Rock, you may have read the precious comment from my new friend, Elizabeth.

Hi Kim! I’m Elizabeth, and I just love this post. I’ve been leaning heavily on The Word as I deal with terminal bile duct cancer. The pictures on your blog are stunning and truly exemplify our Rock. If you are in Fairhope, I’d love for you to stop in my shop, Abigail’s Closet, one day. I start treatment tomorrow, but I hope to be in the shop on a more regular basis very soon.

REPLY

Kim @ CoziNest November 4, 2015 at 3:03 pm [edit]

Elizabeth, my heart goes out to you. I will definitely add you to my prayer list. I pray now for His healing hands to hold you throughout your treatment. I also pray that you will experience His love and compassion in ways you never have before. I’ll stop by soon. I can’t wait to meet you.

Elizabeth Ketchem November 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm [edit]

Oh Kim, that’s the thing-we already have! I want everyone to know the amazing things God does for those who love Him. I’m a sinner-no doubt, and I have doubts too, but our God is HUGE and He’s big enough for that. When I woke from the diagnostic procedure, after the doc told me, the first thing I asked was “ok-do I have enough time to tell everyone what God has done for us-the sorriest of sinners?” I want everyone to know how REAL He is, even when we don’t feel Him.

Have a blessed evening! And pray for me-I start chemo tomorrow!

I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth yet. I hope to see her this week. I want to meet the lady behind such courage. I want to meet the lady with a heart so full of love for her Savior that she leans not on her own understanding, but on THE WORD. I want to talk with my sister who shares in the experience of how REAL He is. I am anxious to hug the neck of a woman who admits her doubts in the same breath that she acknowledges how HUGE He is.

After reading Elizabeth’s comments, I also learned that the man who led my sweet daddy to Christ passed away yesterday. A man who knew how HUGE God is. A man who knew exactly what Jesus has done for us-the sorriest of sinners, and explained it beautifully to my daddy 37 years ago.

As I thought about Elizabeth’s courage to face terminal bile duct cancer, I imagined her putting on the full armor of Christ to prepare for battle. I then realized that Robert now sits in the presence of TRUTH, He is held in the bosom of RIGHTEOUSNESS and and that he likely left his GOSPEL shoes at the pearly gates. Robert has lain down his shield since his faith is now personified and he is no longer dodging those fiery darts. Robert speaks with his SALVATION who is THE WORD OF GOD. I even imagine that the armor he has laid down is the same that Elizabeth now picks up. For everything there is a season.

I’ve reached out to Elizabeth in a private email and learned that there will be a shop-a-thon hosted by friends and family this weekend to benefit her family. She owns a consignment store here in Fairhope and it is her desire to have Abigail’s Closet thrive now and in her absense. Here is more about Abigail’s from her website:

Abigail’s Closet was born out of Elizabeth Ketchem’s desire to bring families the brands and items they love at a price they love too!  Elizabeth, a long time Fairhope resident, and her family, David, Abigail, and David Jr., have been committed to serving their community and making the most of what they have for their entire lives. Elizabeth got married in a gorgeous couture gown, found where else?  A consignment store!!

Throughout the children’s lives, the family consigned clothing online and Elizabeth operated Abigail’s Closet online for years.  fourth of july 2012 (2)

Seeing an opportunity in the trendy upscale market, Elizabeth opened Abigail’s Closet in December of 2012, and the rest is history!

We are located right in the heart of scenic Fairhope, Alabama on Church St. Our store hours are 10-5, Monday through Saturday.

Check out all the newest on the website and on Facebook!  Whether you find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram @abigails_closet you’ll be up to date on all the new merchandise arriving daily.

Abigail's Closet

Somewhere on the Gulf Coast today, Elizabeth is beginning her chemotherapy. Somewhere on the Gulf Coast today someone is hearing how HUGE her God is. Please lift her in your prayers. Please support this family and stop in this weekend for the shop-a-thon.

 

 

 


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