Daily Walking with God

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 “I thank my God every time I remember you.”  Philippians 1:3

Since my son’s eighteenth birthday last week, my mother-in-law has been on my mind more than ever. 

As the family sat around the dinner table I couldn’t help but think that Jany would have the perfect story to tell about Hunter.  I’m sure there would have been lots of exaggeration and laughter to go along with it.  Boy, could she tell the stories!

My heart is filled with missing her, but I know that she would be the first to tell me to keep my chin up, live life to its fullest, love big, and laugh a lot.  She would tell me to dance like no one is watching.

My parents and siblings gave us a hedge of pink “knockout roses” after Jany’s face-to-face meeting with Jesus.  I look at them and do have happy and thankful thoughts.  Thoughts of the adventures we did together, words and actions I wish I would have said and done, and yes, sad “I sure wish you were here” thoughts.

No matter where my thoughts take me, I can imagine Jany weeding her ever so gorgeously manicured yard, and telling me, “Don’t be sad for me.  I’ll see you again one day.  I’m busy up here with Jesus preparing for y’all.”

Thanks to my family for the beautiful roses. 

Thanks to Jany for so many wonderful memories to recall. 

Thanks to God for the hope and assurance He gives to me for knowing that one day I’ll see Jany and ALL my precious loved ones one day.

Just thinking…

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

I can’t even begin to put anything down right now accept the verse I just read when I opened my daily scriptures.

  • “The God of Israel is the one who gives strength and power to his people.”  Psalm 68:35

Strength and power is exactly what is needed right now.

This morning we received a phone call that my precious mother-in-law had passed away.  She had been battling a disease for the past five months. (One day maybe I’ll be able to share more, but not tonight.)

Rebecca Jane (Dunbar) Shuff lived, and I mean truly lived, a wonderful life for 62 years.  She will be remembered as a godly mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, and loving wife.  Jany loved God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength just as she always taught others to do.

I remember the first time I met Jany.  She was my 11th grade Sunday school teacher.  The stories she told and the wisdom she gave had us girls laughing and wanting to know more about Christ too.

Oh the stories Jany could tell.  Tim and I would have to get on to her because she would enjoy telling our children stories about us that we weren’t quite ready for them to hear yet.  But the kids and she always got a good laugh out of it all. I pray that the kids will always hold on to the wonderful stories of love and life that she would share.

Jany later informed me that when I walked into her Sunday school classroom, she just knew that something was special about me.  Little did I know at that time that I was going to be her daughter six years later.

A daughter is what I was to Jany.  She and Wayne only had two boys, so when I came into their lives, she treated me as her own.  She nurtured me through deaths of loved ones and the divorce of my parents.  She has been there to cradle me and even get onto me, like one of her own, when I needed it.

There have been times throughout the years when I would just be silent and very expressive with my face, and she knew how to read me like a book.  There were even times when she would drive me insane.  But those are the moments that I could envision myself in her.

We did have a lot of commonalities, and I pray that I will be half the grandmother and mother-in-law as she was.

God, you’ve gained a precious lady who is decorating her mansion with pink roses and making sure that it is all decorated to a tee.

Jany had a gift with looking beyond and seeing the beauty.  She knew how to make things beautiful and make you feel beautiful.

Jany, I love you!!!!!!  And will miss you dearly!

Thank You, God, for being our strength and power.

Blessings to all.

 

Jany and her husband and grandbabies this past Christmas.

 

June 3

I love to decorate with items that either tell a story, remind me of places I’ve traveled to, looks interesting, or I simply just like. When you walk into my home, you may look and say as my precious friend said, “I’m not sure how to describe your style. Eclectic? Whatever it is, I like it and it’s YOU!”

The photos, that I’m including in this entry, are strictly items Tim and I purchased from Tampa Bay Salvage (located in Tarpon Springs, Florida).

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Originally, I was going to use an antique screen door for my pantry door, but when I saw these security doors from India (I think), my creative juices thought, “There are our new pantry doors.” Tim agreed, and now they are guarding our goodies. I often joke about how they are keeping me from the Oreos or other unhealthy snacks that adorn the shelves.

 

These colorful swinging doors once hung in a business in Indonesia. Now they are used as privacy doors for our outdoor shower. A little pop of color is exactly what this grey and rustic outdoor area needed. Yes, they came this way. There was no need for adding any paint to these little jewels.

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Ahhh, our outdoor living space is fun, inviting, and definitely outdoorsy. There will always be hunting and nautical décor being added to this space. I’d show you the entire living space, but I’ll save that for another post. The barn wood that graces these walls have a special meaning to them for us. When we asked Barry, at Tampa Bay Salvage, where this specific wood came from (the majority of it anyhow), he replied, “Kentucky”. Tim and I just looked at one another with a smile and said, “That’s it. We’ll take it.” You see, Tim’s late mom, Mrs. Jany, was born and raised in western Kentucky. Even if the barn may not be from the same town she was from, the meaning is still rich to us.

 

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Tampa Bay Salvage has a plethora of miscellaneous wood pieces to use for diverse designs. Tim wanted a shelf to be used while they practice their bow target practice. This piece of wood not only is used for its original purpose, but is mainly used for eating on during entertaining.IMG_0788

 

 

 

Also, for the outdoor living area, we purchased this wooden table which has a Large Tooth Sawfish Bill inset in the middle, that was caught in Key West. The Shuffs are a family of avid saltwater fishermen. We’ve also spent a lot of time lobstering and fishing down in the Keys. So, this furniture piece fits perfectly into our outdoor “family” area.

 

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I love this mirror we are using in our master bathroom. When I first pondered the idea of getting it, I was like, “Hmmm, dusting won’t be fun.” Then I changed my mind and decided to vacuum when needed. That’s exactly what I do. This mirror screams character to the bathroom, and it reminds us of the beach too.IMG_0791

Our last three TBS items were bought just yesterday.

 

  • Mine and Tim’s bedroom walls are blank. I didn’t want to just decorate for the sake of looking complete. I wanted to truly love what’s on the walls and let them speak to me. (crazy?) Well, today my handyman, Jackson, and I created the wall feature using barn wood. I love it!IMG_0802

 

  • I’m not afraid of funky. When I sat in this Adirondack rocker chair, I knew it was coming home and resting on my front porch. The colors match perfectly with the palate I have on my baker’s rack displaying plants. (Plants that I hope I can keep alive. LOL)

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  • Finally, I’m not completely sold as to where this last piece will end up, but Tim has a habit of collecting driftwood from boat outings, and I often bring small pieces of driftwood home from vacations. Our youngest, Cole, said it reminds him of the art that was in the movie Beetlejuice.

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Whew, I do believe we have enjoyed our shopping excursions to Tampa Bay Salvage.

So, how am I going to quickly intertwine this journal entry to scripture? When I think about how each piece has its own story can comes from various places all over the world…it reminds me how it doesn’t matter what nationality we all are, God loves us all and desires a relationship with each of us. To Him, we are His masterpieces…colorful works of art…and loves how we all have our own characteristics, but are unified by Him.

He accepts anyone who worships Him and does what is right. It is not important what nation they come from. Acts 10:35

God wants each of us to embrace a relationship with Him, and do what is right in His sight…no matter where we come from.

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Friend, it does not matter where you are from, how bad you think you are or things you’ve done, the socio or economic status you have, to Him you are worth everything! We are His eclectic masterpieces!

I hope you enjoy decorating with what speaks to you, and also allow God to speak to and through you.

Blessings to you and yours.

Love, Stephanie

#decoratingwithlove  #wearealleclectic  #eclecticdesign  #notahousebutahome

 

Holly captured this when we were in Kentucky for our last time.  Grandmama would had loved the pond that she had strategically placed in the right spot.  (Insuch a Jany fashion.)

Holly captured this when we were in Kentucky for our last time. Grandmama would had loved the pond that she had strategically placed in the right spot. (Insuch a Jany fashion.)

When I hear or see the date, June 3rd, my stature feels heaviness upon it. Yet, with that heaviness comes a feather-like sensation of God’s peace, strength, and comfort encompassing me.

Today I attended a beautiful and uplifting funeral for a lady from my church. Throughout the service I was reminded of thoughts of my mother-in-law, Rebecca Jane Shuff.  The precious lady, whom I was attending her Celebration of Life service, adored my mom-in-love. When the song “Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone” was played, I clearly remember that song being played at Jany’s funeral. It wasn’t just that the commonly sang/played song “Amazing Grace” was echoing throughout the church, but it was the recollection of me raising my hands, giving God all the glory, on that somber day. God had given our family so much peace, strength, and comfort through it all…to God be the glory.

You see, Jany came into this world as a surprise to her parents. Her twin brother, Johnny, was born, but her mom and dad didn’t know there was another baby ready to enter this world also. Surprise! Here comes Jany. She came into this world as a surprise, and her leaving this world came as a shocker as well.

On June 3, 2013, Rebecca Jane Shuff entered Heaven’s Gates. I know God welcomed her with a smile and a “Well done, my faithful servant.”

I’m sitting on my back porch revisiting journal entries that I’ve published, and not published, about Jany. While tears are streaming down my face, I could sense her pulling my shoulders back (which she often had to remind me to do), lifting my head up, and saying “It is well with my soul.” When I looked up the most vibrant red bird flew in and perched itself on a pile of driftwood that we have collected. (Please click here to visit the special meaning behind this Comfort and Peace through the Birds). For it to land on the driftwood…that took it to another level. Again…peace, strength, and comfort…to God be the glory.

Tim and I had never seen this photo before until Jany's sister posted it today.  Thanks, aunt Peggy.

Tim and I had never seen this photo before until Jany’s sister posted it today. Thanks, aunt Peggy.

Journaling has become a very therapeutic outlet for me. If you are struggling with something/anything in life, I’d like to encourage you to jot a little diddy down and give it all to God.

Here are many entries regarding lessons I’ve learned through my mom-in-love: Click here. Enjoy and I hope you will find peace, strength, and comfort as well through whatever season you are going through.

Out of all the entries I’ve read today, this one, Sadness into Joy, was a true testament of peace, strength, and comfort. Amen.

Jany, you’d love and definitely approve of the home and land we live on now. Your memory is ever-present in our new surroundings. Through the Kentucky reclaimed wood adorning our outdoor area to the rocks that you transported back from many Kentucky trips which create our fire pit area, and from a greeting from a red bird each and every day, and so much more…your memory lives on. We love and miss you! And you’re right…It is well with my soul. Until we see you again….

 

 

Johnny and Jany when they were around 3 years old.

Johnny and Jany when they were around 3 years old.

 

 

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Last night I was praying about an upcoming event. I was trying to walk through every aspect of the situation and give it all to God. A couple of sentences later, I was like , “Oh, I forgot about this detail, Lord, but I know You’ve already thought of every detail.” And He has!

My mother-in-love-now-busily-preparing-for-us-in-Heaven, was definitely into details. It didn’t matter if it was decorating her home or for Christmas, preparing a meal, or picking out the right gift for someone, Jany was a stickler for every dotted “i” and every crossed “t”. (Boy do I miss that fun lady.)

Well, the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. My husband is into details as well. Especially before we leave for a trip; Tim’s mind is racing with every travel technicality.

I mentioned how God is into details. For example, just read Genesis 6 regarding the Noah’s ark, oh, and Exodus 37 for the “blow-by-blow” account of how the Lord wanted The Ark of the Covenant built. Wow!

The Arks, and soooo much more, aren’t all that God plans and knows every detail. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Luke 12:7.

I can’t leave out this chapter:

God Knows Everything

Psalm 139
Lord, you have examined me
    and know all about me.
2
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
    You know my thoughts before I think them.
3
You know where I go and where I lie down.
    You know everything I do.
4
Lord, even before I say a word,
    you already know it.
5
You are all around me—in front and in back—
    and have put your hand on me. (As my friend, Tommy, says…”that’s a God hug right there.”)
6
Your knowledge is amazing to me;
    it is more than I can understand.
7
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
    Where can I run from you?
8
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
    If I lie down in the grave, you are there.
9
If I rise with the sun in the east
    and settle in the west beyond the sea,
10
even there you would guide me.
    With your right hand you would hold me.
11
I could say, “The darkness will hide me.
    Let the light around me turn into night.”
12
But even the darkness is not dark to you.
    The night is as light as the day;
    darkness and light are the same to you.
13
You made my whole being;
    you formed me in my mother’s body.
14
I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
    What you have done is wonderful.
    I know this very well.
15
You saw my bones being formed
    as I took shape in my mother’s body.
When I was put together there,
16
you saw my body as it was formed.
All the days planned for me
    were written in your book
    before I was one day old.
17
God, your thoughts are precious to me.
    They are so many!
18
If I could count them,
    they would be more than all the grains of sand.
When I wake up,
    I am still with you.
19
God, I wish you would kill the wicked!
    Get away from me, you murderers!
20
They say evil things about you.
    Your enemies use your name thoughtlessly.
21
Lord, I hate those who hate you;
    I hate those who rise up against you.
22
I feel only hate for them;
    they are my enemies.
23
God, examine me and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24
See if there is any bad thing in me.
    Lead me on the road to everlasting life. (Biblegateway.com)

I pray that you will find comfort in knowing that God is into YOU!

Don’t be afraid, come to Him, and embrace His faithful and everlasting love.

Love, Stephanie

houses-dont-make-memoriesWell, today is the day.

This journey began back in November 2014 when we first signed the contract what was possibly going to be our future homeland. Then, this peaceful acreage and home actually became ours on the last day of August 2015. Almost TWO YEARS later…today is moving day.

The other night, while we were solving the problems of the world under the stars in our quaint backyard, Tim and I calculated that the home we are leaving has been my husband’s home for forty years. When he wasn’t living here, his parents were. When our third child was born, the opportunity arose for my in-laws to purchase a phenomenal historic home (which Jany restored so magnificently), and we purchased the home that Tim grew up in to raise the next generation of Shuffs. That was nearly 15 years ago. Our children (except for Hunter) have very little memory of our first home, so THIS home has memories embedded in all our minds that we will treasure for a lifetime.

People often so sincerely asked, “How is Tim feeling about moving from his childhood home?” Or “Is this going to be difficult for y’all?” Or “How can y’all leave the beautiful home you’re in now?”

We often respond, “If we were having to move away, it might be a different set of emotions, but since we are moving to a place where we are desiring and have prayed about for years, we are excited about the next phase in our lives.”

There’s been a feeling of HOPE throughout this process. A HOPE of what is to come. A HOPE for healing. A HOPE for more memories to be made.

Just like we know that our earthly home and body is ONLY TEMPORARY, we have our HOPE on what is to come.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing.  You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” Hebrews 1:10-12

While I was just reading this out loud to Tim, I got choked up. (Whew, I wasn’t expecting that.) Tim said to me, “Houses don’t have memories, people do.” Precious. So true. And we have MANY wonderful memories that we are taking with us, and there are many more fabulous family memories to be made in our new home.

I pray that you will place your HOPE in the things to come…Heaven.

Have a beautiful day.

Thank you for Soaking Up The Son with me. -Stephanie

 

 

Gdad with his grands:  Holly, Cole, Hunter, Lindsay, Gdad, and Kayla.

Gdad with his grands: Holly, Cole, Hunter, Lindsay, Gdad, and Kayla.

 

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

I am so grateful that thirty-one years ago God placed a man in my life. A man whom:

  • I have had numerous laughs with (and many more to come).
  • Have had tearful talks with to support each other and just listen to our hearts.
  • Has supported me as a parent and wife to his grandchildren and son.
  • I’ve heard practically EVERY Jimmy Buffett song from, AND, most likely, the meaning behind the songs.
  • Was patient with me as he taught me the proper way to cast and catch saltwater fish.
  • If there is going to be a zombie apocalypse, or maybe a REAL attack of some sort, he’d be at the top of my list to call for protection.
  • Has scared my children by watching all kinds of daunting movies, especially having them believe in “Mole People” for a while…until they saw how hokey the movie really was. LOL!
  • I have seen at his weakest and his strongest, and appreciate how he ended up leaning on God and praising Him through it all.
  • Is gentle, funny, and firm with my children.

So why rejoice today? Today is Wayne Shuff’s birthday!

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Wayne, you know all too well that we need to appreciate and live each moment of every day that God has given us here on earth. Thank you for the wisdom that our Heavenly Father has bestowed upon you to share with us. We love you!

I’m so grateful that you have Becky in your life to take care of you, make you laugh, and  to continue and challenge you in your walk with God.  Hold on to her.

Thank you for being a wonderful godly father-in-love. You and Jany raised a top-notch/I couldn’t live without/godly son whom God graced me with as a husband.

Happy Birthday!!!

Wayne and Becky.

Wayne and Becky.

 

jany and teaToday I woke up singing “Happy Birthday to you…” That’s what my mother-in-love would do on all our birthdays. No matter where we were, you were sure to get a phone call with her singing “Happy Birthday”. Well, today is Jany’s birthday. I wasn’t able to call her on the phone, but I still sang the HB song to her.

She’s celebrating BIG TIME in heaven.

When Jany passed away there were so many sincere and genuine comments posted by many. I tried to copy and save them all, but I’m sure I missed a few. Here are just a couple of handfuls of comments some folks left. I found them therapeutic at the time, and still do today.

  • Loved her family and her flowers!
  • Was always beautiful. She reminded me if an angel the first time I met her.
  • I loved her smile and her laughter….it was contagious!
  • Bought me socks at my lingerie shower!! (along with other items). She said, you will need these honey! It can get cold some nights and your husband is not going to want you to wear anything…you should at least keep your feet warm! Those socks came in very handy!!! Loved her sense of humor and passion for life!
  • always willing to help others
  • never snobby, flashy, or fake
  • real- without being rude
  • sweet
  • knew how to make a home beautiful
  • dainty
  • true model of ladylike behavior-she left big shoes to fill on this one
  • Was a dear friend, a great home and yard decorator, proud of her family, loved my daughter, elegant, loved doing for others, and gave me a wonderful son-in- law.
  • Was a great friend, never wavered in her stance on life, and always lifting people up.

True. All true.

Jany wasn’t alone on the day she was born. She was born a twin. Her twin brother Johnny is a hoot. I love you, uncle Johnny. I hope you had a wonderful birthday. You are always one to make others laugh. I sure hope you had a good laugh today.

Johnny and Jany when they were around 3 years old.

Johnny and Jany when they were around 3 years old.

Happy Birthday, Jany and Johnny.

Note to all:

  • Capture the moments.  They’ll make for wonderful memories to look back on.
  • Love your loved ones.
  • Celebrate life.
  • Know where you are going when your time comes.
  • Ask Jesus into your heart.  Grow closer to Him.  Desire Christ.  Share His love with others.  This will be the best gift you’ll ever receive.  It’s free.  Everlasting.

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

Please click here to subscribe so you won’t miss a journal entry. THANK YOU!!!

Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

 

God gave me the right verse for the right time.  He’s so like that!  Just what I needed this morning.

My late mother-in-law's bicycle. Dawned with pink roses. Soooo Jany.

My late mother-in-law’s bicycle. Dawned with pink roses. Soooo Jany.

 

Thank you, Lord, for bringing peace during ALL seasons, in every way, at just the right time. I love you!

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up The Son every moment of each day. –Stephanie

Please click here to subscribe so you won’t miss a journal entry. THANK YOU!!!

Don’t forget to share your photos of sunrises and sunsets on social media and use the hashtag #soakinguptheson.

 

 

 

 

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With all the mom photos popping up on social media, I wanted to find the last photograph I could find on my late mom-in-love, Rebecca Jane Shuff. For two people who loved taking photos to capture the moments (me and her) I could only find Jany in her last Christmas night picture with her grandbabies.

While searching, I was hoping to find this one picture of us two acting like deer caught on the game camera in Kentucky. No luck there, but I did come across this one of her and her two boys. I’m sure that when Tim and Todd see this photo, they’ll get a lump in their throat and maybe even shed a few tears like I did.

jany and her boys

There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I even had another sweet dream about her this past week.

June 3rd will be the date of her “going home to walk with Jesus” day. Three years ago!

I can still hear her telling her elaborative stories, seeing her shake her hips to some Jimmy Buffett music that would be playing in the background while she is preparing a delicious meal for her family, and imagine her snuggling into the covers on her bed with me and Holly to watch old movies.

In the process of searching for some precious photos in our safe, I stumbled upon the letters that my three children wrote to their grandmama, and read aloud to her on the day of her funeral. In this last two sentences of Holly’s letter she wrote, “Life without you is just temporary. Soon I’ll have eternity with God and you right by His side.” (sniff*sniff)

Until we see each other again….

Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven, Jany. I love you