Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tonight, I Thought I Was Going to Meet God

Before you allow your eyes to travel farther down this page, plug in. Please, focus on what you're reading. I'm keeping it concise, so for just a couple minutes, try to put yourself in my place and feel what I was feeling.

It's the middle of the night as I type this. Just a few minutes ago, I was snuggled up warm and safe in bed with my husband, with our two-month old daughter asleep in her little place next to me. I had been dreaming, the kind of vivid dream that seems like real life, where I was walking around the house making sure the doors were locked and the windows were closed so the girls would be safely contained while I took a shower.

My dream eventually took me to a busy road, where I was driving with my precious family in the car - Jonathan and our three daughters (ages 3, 2, and newborn). We were passing across a single-lane bridge over a deep lake, but since another car was farther across coming toward me, I had to back up and out of the way. I did that successfully, but when I stepped on the gas to pull us away from the edge of the lake and back onto the road, I realized with shock that I had not taken the car out of reverse. Into the water our car immediately plunged and sank quickly, the light dimming around us. 

My first thought was for our children. Those sweet baby girls were all strapped securely in their car seats, and I knew there was absolutely no way my husband and I could get them out. My second thought was that we were about to meet God. This was it. All five of us were going to die. I couldn't breathe anymore and after a moment, everything faded into unconsciousness. Into death.

I suddenly woke up, to my extreme relief. The love of my life was still sleeping beside me, my beautiful newborn was still breathing softly in her slumber, and I knew my two toddlers were deep in dreamland in their bedroom nearby. What a beautiful life we have together! And to think how quickly it could end!

Snuggling under Jonathan's arm for a comforting hug (yes, he'll hug me in his sleep), I relived the dream, thinking about how real it felt. Thinking about how it felt to know that it was the moment of death, that meeting God was imminent. It was scary, of course, but at the same time, it wasn't. Heaven. That was what I knew I was going to see. Thinking about the reality of being there someday puts knots in my stomach because it is unknown to this mortal mind of mine, but the Bible assures us it will be good. :) No more death there, no more pain, no more sin.

With my skin still tingling, I knew I needed to get up and write a blog post. Because YOU are going to read it. And someday, YOU will be at that point of realizing you're about to meet God. For real. I know, it's hard to really imagine, even for me - but everyone dies, and God is real. Heaven is real. Hell is real. And the Bible tells us how we can go to heaven.

 ("For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23)
The holy and just penalty for sin is death. We die physically, and we die spiritually, too, to spend eternity in hell. ("For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23)
GOD LOVES US! Because He is holy, He requires the penalty for sin to be paid. But He provided a way that we don't have to pay it.
God, in His sinless state, was born as a man, Jesus Christ, to die in our place. He was crucified on a cross and shed His blood to pay the penalty for sin for us. He conquered death by rising from the grave three days later. He is now in Heaven, and if we accept His payment for sin, we can spend eternity in Heaven with Him and be spared the eternal torture of hell. ("But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8)
It sounds so blunt, but it's the Truth. I'm glad someone told me...and one day you'll be glad someone told you (unless you choose not to believe, and then you'll wish you could turn back the clock and choose differently!).
If you believe what the Bible says, repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be your Savior! He will forgive your sin and save you from hell, and you can have a home in heaven when you die. No other person or thing can save you, according to God's Word. Only Jesus. We cannot earn salvation. But once we accept the gift of salvation through Jesus, it is everlasting. ("For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Living Downstairs - A Guest Post on Smallish

Today marks an exciting blogging milestone for me - my first guest post! The lovely Evelyn of Smallish (a blog about living large in small spaces) gave me the opportunity to share our story of living in a small space.

The living area of our daylight basement apartment - home sweet home! 

Please pop over and read on!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Our Home Birth Story

Two weeks ago at this time, our nine-month wait was over and we were finally holding our newest daughter.

The night before, we had felt as if we couldn't wait any longer. Both Jonathan's mom and my mom were visiting, and the baby was overdue. So...Jonathan and I went out and bought a bottle of castor oil!

I went to bed at ten and slept through the initial mild contractions for five hours. Jonathan stayed up all night so as to be alert whenever I'd need him.

In the early morning hours, he set up the birthing tub in our living room. I called the midwife when I knew we were getting close to active labor, but she was finishing up another birth and couldn't come. Things got intense around five-thirty in the morning, when the contractions became painful. Jonathan held me and helped me relax, until I knew it was time to get in the tub.

Almost immediately, I was ready to start pushing! The midwife arrived after a couple pushes, and eight minutes later, our sweet baby girl was born!

Our two other little girls had just woken up, so they were able to come out and see their new sister just moments after I lifted her from the water. Both our mothers were there, and our dear photographer friend was there just in time to capture some priceless photos.

We are so grateful the Lord protected us through the labor and delivery, and worked out the timing and everything so well. It was an AWESOME experience having our baby at HOME! We are thankful for all the love and support that has been shown to us in the last couple weeks as we've been getting to know our precious new blessing. :)

Photo Credit: Ful'tography by Jamie Fuller

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Three Little Girls

In my "Soap Brochure" post, I mentioned pregnancy, but I haven't actually announced on Danson for Joy yet that we are expecting our third baby girl next month!

Back in February, we shared this photo with our friends as a gender reveal ~ 

And my most recent pregnancy photo was taken on Resurrection Sunday (Easter) ~ 

While this pregnancy has flown by (I've been busy with two toddlers), it has also felt like the longest pregnancy. I've felt HUGE for months and months, and I've been so ready to just HAVE this little girl in my arms (not my belly!). I really have nothing to complain about, as my pregnancies are easy, but I can hardly wait for her to arrive. I'll be full-term in a couple weeks (due date is less than a month away), so I am super-excited to meet my sweet new babe. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Love Missives

Guess what?

I love you!

You already knew that, didn't you?


Ardently Yours,

I just sent the above in an email to my husband at work.
 It may seem quite odd to share the intimate details of a love missive...except that I'm sharing it to show you just how simple it can be to brighten the day of your hardworking man! Can't you just imagine him involuntarily smiling at his desk as he reads a sweet line or two from you? 
I encourage you to do something, even as small as sending an email, to let your husband or another loved one know you are thinking of them today. :)

Why a Soap Brochure Made Me Cry

A soap brochure. I started crying while reading a SOAP brochure!

Pregnancy hormones, yes.

But it was also the culmination of feelings of gratitude all day, all week, all month. The Lord has been incredibly good to us lately. I'm hesitant to share specifics because several of the blessings seem too good to be true.
One tiny part of me wants to wonder what painful trial is right around the corner, but the rest of me is just contentedly enjoying God's goodness and remembering precious Bible verses like Malachi 3:10. It truly seems as if the Lord is opening the windows of heaven and pouring out a blessing, that there is barely even room to receive it!
I know other dear friends are going through hard times and trials right now, and our hearts and prayers are with you. God is so good, and I hope that we can be an encouragement to others by praising Him publicly, that He does take care of His children when they place their complete trust in Him and seek Him with all they have. May the Lord bless you today!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Garden Love

We've tried to garden before. 

With only a couple handfuls of produce to show for our labor, I was hesitant to try again this year. I fantasized about gardening alongside my neighbor, whose endeavors seemed to thrive every year. 

And then I had a literal dream-come-true moment. My neighbor, after hearing about our inexperience, invited me to garden with her this year! I'd go over to her house a couple times a week to work with her, and when harvest time came, we'd share the bounty. 

It has been working out wonderfully for both of us. She enjoys the company, and I get a hands-on gardening education. Now that some of our crops are ready to harvest, I'm pretty sure it would be worth the work of trying again next year in my own yard. I LOVE getting to bring home a basket of freshly-picked produce that tastes so good my toddlers devour it. 

And every now and then, there are pretty flowers, too! 

What's growing in your garden?