THE ONE YOU PRAY FOR
When you get pregnant with your first child, you have dreams for them. It just goes with the territory. Perhaps you dream of them accomplishing what you could not. That one really isn’t fair, by the way, because it will, in the end be their life, not yours, to complete as they will. But dream you do.
And you have dreams for their Prince or Princess—you know—the one whom they will marry. Although our daughter waited a very long time to get married to her Prince (that is she, by the way in the last photo, in the middle, with the beautiful smile), the Prince that chose her, the one she married, is more than we could have asked for or imagined. We had prayed for him since before she was born. And our prayers were answered in such a huge way.
When you have that second child, in this case our son, the dreams are no less. We prayed just as hard before he was born that this child would fulfill whatever dreams HE had and the small ones we had FOR him. That he would be a child of God and that he would find the mate that we had been praying for since before he was born. You see, I KNEW he was going to be a boy, just the way I KNEW his sister was going to be a girl.
This son of ours had a rough road romantically. His heart got ripped out of his chest more than once. I feared for it, actually. But I shouldn’t have. He finally said, “Enough! God is going to have to dump her in my lap. I’m through with dating!” And he didn’t date for around six years.
Then, to make a long story relatively short, he found, on-line, the sister-in-law of an internet friend he had known for several years and agreed to be her date for a wedding she was going to be in. He had never met her in person.
After that weekend, he called me on the phone to say, “Mom, I’ve got a girlfriend!” My heart knew then that his heart had been healed at last. Right then I started gathering photos for a small album that I intended to give her when we met—baby pictures right up to the present. I wanted her to see how our son had ‘come to be,’ so to speak.
When we got to meet her for the first time, I opened the door of our vehicle, looked at her eyes and knew. I said to her, “You’re the one we have been praying for for all these years!” I gave her the album as we all sat around having lunch. She later told our son that she felt she had been ‘prepared for.’ It was God doing the preparing.
Our Mandy and our Joshua were meant to be together. Their likes enhance each other. Where one is weak, the other gives strength and encouragement. They teach each other and revel in the learning. It is a glorious thing to be a small part such a God-given match.
And now, after seven years of marriage, God has given them the answer to their long uttered prayers. They are beginning a new family to nurture and extend his grace. In March, we expect our second grandchild, the first since we and our daughter Jessica welcomed her husband Rodney’s daughter Jessica into our family almost 11 years ago when they married. She is now 22; so we are ready for the wonder that this new child will bring to all of us: Mandy’s parents (whom we consider best friends), her sister, brother in law, niece, nephew and my 92 and 93 year old parents included!
We are blessed mother, father and in-laws. We could not have had on a written list any daughter in law that could have made our son any happier than Mandy has made Joshua. She loved Jesus before she loved him and does still. She makes Joshua laugh, loves him unconditionally and knows how to tell him the truth without demeaning him. She holds him up in public the same way she does in private and makes a home for him where he can rest and be safe. And she loves us. What more could we desire?
Thank you Jesus for loving and saving us. For giving us our children and guiding us in trying to bring them up to love you. And for doing the best we could with what we knew at the time to raise them to be responsible, loving and compassionate human beings. We think we did a pretty good job on the whole.
But most of all, thank you for bringing to them responsible, loving and compassionate spouses who have made them joyful. It is much more than we could ask or imagine.
Happy Birthday Mandy! We love you thickly, Mama Dalton and Daddy Norman
OH, REALTORS AND BUYERS! PLEASE LISTEN!
Note: If anyone has read this recently and happens to scroll over it—please stop! I have edited and added a couple of things at the bottom because of the last two days of looking!! UGH!!
I haven’t posted any rants in a while. And this isn’t one really. I am truly trying to help Realtors and sellers do what they want to do—which is presumably sell houses. So, I thought I would post a few hints that may be helpful to both of you—and certainly to me—the prospective buyer.
I have been looking at thousands of houses on line for the past three years or so and that is NOT an exaggeration. We think we want to move to a smaller home in a larger city nearby. All of our activities and one of our children are in that city. But our home needs work in order to be sold. This hampers our ability to sell. I KNOW this. Therefore, I am VERY sensitive to what looks good on a ‘please buy my home’ site and what does not.
So, here are some ideas that Realtors and buyers might want to consider when you post pictures and give descriptions of the home you are trying to sell.
I do NOT need to see 8 pictures of the front of your home. (This is also not an exaggeration. It is actually what prompted this post. I just looked at such a posting. Eight out of sixteen pictures were of a slightly different angle of the front of the house! Really?) People, I can DRIVE BY the house and pretty much SEE what it looks like from the outside! I really can. It’s the INSIDE I want to see.
I would like to see the sides and back of the home, however. I might NOT be able to see this on a drive by.
I’d like to see at least ONE shot of each room in the home. Really. You have 24-25 shots. Give me at least one of each major room. Is that too much to ask? Again, I don’t need 5 shots of the living room. But I might need 2 if it’s big and has features you want to highlight like a fireplace.
If there are two bathrooms, show me two bathrooms. And let me see if there is a tub or shower, please. This is important to most buyers. Especially if there are children. You can’t bathe a child in a shower! You can do this with one shot if you use a mirror creatively. If you only show me one bathroom, it makes me wonder what you’re trying to hide!
Regarding bathrooms: before you take pictures of them, take a box and hide your tampons, your shampoo and all the other stuff on your vanity and/or sink!This will take five minutes and allow me to actually SEE the sink, toilet and maybe even the tub. Gosh, I don’t want to KNOW how many products it takes you to do your thing in the morning!
If you mention a laundry room, show it to me. Is is stuck on some back porch, only room for a stackable, nice enough for a craft space? And guys, if there is laundry in there, could you at least hide the underwear? I do NOT need to see that!
Please, for the love of all that’s holy, DO NOT SHOW ME THE CORNER OF A ROOM! What the heck am I supposed to gather about that? I can’t see if the room has a closet, windows, room for a bed or even a chair! At least stand at the entrance of the room and take your shot from there. OR, what a concept, YOU stand in the corner of the room and take it from there. This WILL usually show me the entrance to the room, the windows and the closet. Use some sense here and act like a buyer. What would YOU want to see? Where the spiders live or where YOU want to?
Please, please show me the kitchen and ALL FOUR WALLS OF IT!I want to know if it is eat in, if I can put an island in there, if there is room for me to hang art, how much cabinet space it contains. I want to know what kind of appliances are there and if they stay or go and if the stove is gas or electric please! I want to see if the sink is undermount or surface mount and what kind of fixtures it has. These things are critical to most buyers. (For ME, they can be deal breakers. I have gutted and redone my LAST kitchen!! Paint, maybe. But a kitchen redo? I DON’T THINK SO!)
i want to know if there is hardwood under the carpet if the current home is carpeted. And a word of advice: if the current carpet needs to be replaced, DON’T REPLACE IT!! Offer an incentive in the sale price FOR replacement and/or offer to remove/clean current carpet if buyers want to keep it. Replacing carpet is a wasted investment prior to the sale. Most people prefer hardwood flooring now due to allergies. Delay doing anything until you have a buyer; but make it clear you are willing to negotiate anything regarding current carpeting and whether there is hardwood beneath it.
If you can add sizes of major rooms to your description, I will give you four stars! And a floor plan will get you five! This enables me to know if my home will fit into yours. And what the flow is, which is a true gift. Is that deck off the kitchen, dining room, or family room? If there is not a great deal to describe and therby entice in your home, this will go a long way to endear you to buyers.
Having a fireplace in your description is NOT an advantage if I find out later that it doesn’t work or needs a complete overhaul before I can use it. Please have this work done before placing your home on the market or at least have the courtesy to know what needs to be done and how much it will cost.
I won’t hate you if you know your roof needs to be replaced and you TELL me. I will even have respect for you if you have secured bids and know how much it will cost and have given some allowance in the sale price.However, if you try to hide ANY damages that need fixing (roof leaks, foundation/structural damage, electrical work that needs doing) you risk a much lower sale price than you might have and the Realtor risks reputation and possibly legal action. Honesty may be difficult, but it pays dividends. Either get the work done before sale time or be prepared to disclose all of what needs doing. (Cosmetics is not the issue here. Those things will be obvious. Although they do help sell.)
General clutter is a killer when trying to see what a room looks like.It is so difficult to SEE a room when every wall is covered, there are more pieces of furniture in it than it was designed to hold and even they are covered with blankets and pets (generally NOT a great thing to show me as I may not be a pet owner and I’ll begin to worry about smells) and toys and dust catchers. Just move out a thing or twelve from each room until you take the pictures. You can put them back. I want to see what the room looked like AFTER the ‘maid’ came, not before.
Please show me your homes rooms IN ORDER! Why should I have to try and figure out what room I’m looking at by trying to match a picture on the wall, a tiny piece of carpet or heaven forbid some nasty thing that I can’t quite identify that is lying on the floor? It’s really not hard to order your pictures by room and by inside/outside.
And please show me all the pictures of ONE room before you move to the NEXT ROOM! Am I looking at the bedroom or the dining room? I really can’t tell, you know—especially if the room is empty and you are showing me the corner and you are moving back and forth between rooms. You may know—but I DON’T! And it is very frustrating to see one view of a room followed by three consecutive shots of three different rooms and then have room number one show up again. Give me a break and I will love your home much more readily. If I have to work to hard to figure out what i’m looking at, I am much more likely to move on…
So, generally, if you think you are ready to sell your house, ask a good friend to come over and look at it with a critical eye. Would they want to see a picture of your bathroom on line? Your kitchen? Maybe they can help you declutter one afternoon before pictures are taken. Or better still, take your camera or phone, take a photo and look at it. Would you want to buy your home based on the picture you just saw? Make the picture better. You’re the only one who can. It WILL make a difference. TRUST ME.
You LOVE your home. You LIVE there. I don’t. And I’m not going to want to if I can’t SEE it, or imagine myself IN it.
Right now, there is NO WAY I would post pictures of my home on line. It’s a WRECK! (Well, the living room is OK…) But I know what NEEDS to be done. And it WILL be when we get ready to sell. OH YES! It will be.
We were reading Oswald Chambers this morning as part of our devotional time together and it was entitled “The Mystery of Believing.” During the past four years especially, I have written a good bit in the margins of this particular edition of Chambers and I have enjoyed re-reading these passages to see how far I have come in my walk (and in some cases, how far I have yet to go!).
Chambers said this in his devotional:
"Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion but Jesus Christ…It is a matter of indifference to God’s grace how abominable I am if I come to the light; but woe to me if I refuse…”
This morning, this is a part of what I read that I had written in response to Chambers:
Religion has harmed more souls from coming to a saving knowledge of Christ than sin may have. Too many so-called Christians have a super knowledge base about Christ but have absolutely no relationship with him. I think it is so much harder for a “life-time” religious person to come to a salvation experience than it is for those who have lived a lifetime without Christ and hear the redemption story for the first time.
This Sunday we’re to have a guest speaker from Lifepoint in Williamston, NC. “Damaged Goods” is his sermon topic—Dents don’t defind your identity & The Damage doesn’t discount the price paid for you—are the main points. As Care Team volunteers, we get sermon notes in advance.
We’re on a mini-vacation weekend due to attendance at the Brain Injury Conference in Columbia, SC and were in our hotel room on Friday morning doing devotions. I was reading aloud Psalm 71 and was stumbling over words, which is a very frustrating part of my brain injury. Then I came to this:
"14 I will always have hope…15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness…18 When I am old and gray do not forsake me O God, til I declare your power to the next generation…(I dissoved into tears at this point ) 20… though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again…from the depths of the earth you will bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again."
There is nothing religious about that! That is pure redemption. I cannot explain it. I cannot explain what it is like to know that my Saviour spoke to me words of pure love through scripture. But he did and it washed over me & caused Norman to kneel in front of me and pray for me and for us—to thank God for His love and to praise Him for all he is and has given us in His blessings and in each other. THAT is mystery!
As I pondered what I had written four years ago, I know these things: He has remained with me during these four years, as he promised he would and we have grown so much closer. He has healed my ability to speak as he promised he would. I have used my ability to write and speak to share His love and His promises with others and He has comforted me beyond anything I could have imagined.
And he has given us the promise of a new grandchild—a next generation of our own—who will enable us to be a part of sharing what has transpired in our lives and those before us as generations have done before.
The Mystery of Believing is saying “YES!” when we see God, know who He is and establish a relationship with Him as a result. God is who He says He is and His promises are true. He loves us! There is no mystery in THAT! But OH the JOY!
NO OTHER GODS
"In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord." Isaiah 6:1
"Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally; In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died,—I gave up everything? I became ill: I got disheartened: or—I saw the Lord…" Oswald Chambers”
It is a very sobering thought to understand on a gut level that God is quite serious when he says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” And that means no thing and no one—no one—not even family. God must come first. If God does come first, then all our family obligations fit exactly where they are supposed to.
The man is Godly and the spiritual head of his household. The woman is Godly, putting her husband’s needs ahead of her children in the sense of knowing theirs do not come to the exclusion of the spiritual, emotional and physical needs he is due. And the children honor and respect the wishes and spiritual guidance of their parents, work hard as family members and are obedient to God themselves.
But submission and obedience to God—this comes first—otherwise, the rest falls apart.
Why was this not more firmly taught and supported as biblically, lovingly sound doctrine? Yes, it is hard! Yes, it is costly! But the price of NOT putting God first is deadly.
Over the past four years, we have lost six dear friends to death and just now, my best friend from high school and a new friend I have come to know are in the end stages of brain cancer—waiting now, with loving husbands, simply to be with Jesus.
I don’t want to lose more friends, Lord. But I know that death is a part of the journey we begin with our first breath. And I am more grateful to have and have had these friends in my life than I would have been to have never known them. The pain I have suffered as a friend is nothing compared to that suffered by the spouses and families of the persons who have died. It is still pain.
But I also know that with each one of these friends I have come to know and with each loss, and those sure to come, I have drawn closer to you. I have indeed ‘seen the Lord.’ I saw lives well lived, your face shining through the lives of each one and from those whose lives they touched.
I am certainly sad for the place that is empty that these friends no longer occupy. But I am encouraged because I know where they are and who they are with. In the not too distant future, I will lose both my parents, as they are now in their 90’s. It will be a profound loss. But I know where they will go and who they will be with. And though they will no longer occupy the place here—it will be empty—I will see the Lord where they once were—and that place will be full again.