Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dream House

The neighborhood was a typical Florida neighborhood – streets winding through hundreds of houses that all looked a lot alike, at least when they were built. After thirty or forty years, a parade of owners had come and gone, leaving their imprints on each house. Most of the streets looked like the current occupants didn’t have time, money, or sympathy for their aging residences.

We followed the faded curb-numbers until we pulled into the driveway of one of the most dilapidated homes of all. My heart sank. If my son and his kiddo were going to move into their first house, I had hoped for better…even just a little better. My boy had a more open mind (and tighter checkbook) that I had obviously, because he jumped out of the car with enthusiasm, eager to snoop. I waited with Biscuit.

After making the rounds, trudging through the weedy, grassless yard, peeking in the dirty windows, he reported: “Well, it’s kind of eclectic, but I think it’ll work!”

I bit my tongue for the entire ten seconds it took to back out of the driveway.

“You are such a man.”


“Men are buyers. They want to buy the first thing they see. I am a woman, a professional shopper, and I think we should keep looking. Drive down that street.”

He mumbled a protest, but mom won. We had made only a couple of lefts and rights when suddenly – the whole world changed…(well, maybe not the whole world – but at least that neighborhood)…white picket fences, trees and flowers, bright paint, cars resting on tires not blocks – it was a dream!

“There! There!” I shouted. “Look at that one!”

It may have been a one-story, flat-roofed, cinder-block house, but to me it looked like a million bucks. Biscuit’s dad made the same assessment.

“I can’t afford it Mom.”

“You don’t know that! Let’s just stop. Stop! Stop!”

We stopped.

Moving tentatively around the house perimeter, like a Kmart regular at Macy’s, my son came back with that look Professional Shoppers know too well: the “there-is-no-way---but-I want-there-to-be-a-way-so- bad” look.

He let me call the number on the sign in the window.

Imagine his surprise…the thrill us professional shoppers know too well…the electricity that fills the universe when you turn over the price tag and see numbers YOU CAN COMPREHEND! It was exactly in his price range with extras and pluses out the ying-yang. We were home.

That was just last week, but the memories of drooling over home ownership are as fresh as the paint in Biscuit’s new bedroom. The way it turned out, our family had three babies before we had a nest, and they were all flying away before we moved into our “dream” house. It’s okay. The home I really want is still being built on the ultimate “Street of Dreams”.

Has anyone else ever thought about this? I like to imagine what my celestial mansion will be like. Will it be on a mountain top? Or come with an ocean view? Will there be a waterfall or a lagoon beside a tropical rain forest??? I have come to the conclusion that it will be whatever I want it to be. And right now, that’s WAY beyond my experience, let alone my price range. Musing on it makes me happy though and keeps me motivated. Eternal rewards do that. (1 Cor. 2:9)

In the same breath however, I must admit that divine promises have occasionally lost their punch, but only when I forget the reality of infinity, when the here-and-now usurps my imagination. And when that happens, I -- like my boy on his house hunt -- am more willing to accept the unacceptable. I come way too close to “settling” for much less than is actually available to me.

Elder George Q. Cannon: “I think it is of great importance to us as a people to know what we shall do. Are we content to aim for telestial glory? I never heard a prayer offered, especially in the family circle in which the family does not beseech God to give them celestial glory…celestial glory is our aim…All that I am on this earth for is to get celestial glory.”

When I think of my children and grandchildren gathered on a celestial Sabbath; when I visualize Ashley at a truly GRAND piano of celestial make, finally able to play the magnificent concertos she’s composed all her silent life; when I close my eyes to feel the arms of my beloved mother-in-law around me again, or picture the scene when Dale and I face each other on Resurrection Morning then bow together to kiss the feet of the Savior; I am more valiant, more committed, more courageous, more brilliant, more capable, more loving, more glorious than I EVER am as my fallen, natural, mortal-thinking self.

For me, it is vital to have hope, to point and align and rivet myself on the goal of eternal life, this in spite of my imperfections. Though building a celestial mansion is a process; a lengthy process that extends beyond death, the Savior is with me every mile. I sense Him directing me down one path and then the next, asking only that I go with him all the way to the end. He knows that my Celestial Mansion waits there - sitting on a hill, surrounded by crystal clear, forested lakes, overlooking endless fields of wild flowers.

Related Musings: "Wish List"
and"The Flying Dream"

Muse with me: Which of the images comes closest to your idea of the Celestial Kingdom? What are your dreams for your Dream House?


DeNae said...

I used 1 Corinthians 2:9 this morning in my gospel doctrine class. Love that rendering of those words (even a little better than the Isaiah original?)

Years ago, Elder Dalin H. Oaks came to a stake conference in Seattle, and said something along the lines of, "There is no reason to expect that only a portion of this congregation will be in the Celestial Kingdom. It is perfectly reasonable to expect every single one of us there, together."

I loved the way he made it feel almost as a "given"; something so achievable and attainable that even I, and the lady on the bench next to me, and the family across the aisle, and so on and so forth, could without doubt or fear, expect to finish the course a winner.

And my house will be filled with music, chocolate, and not a stick of exercise equipment.

Elisabeth said...

I am having a hard time imagining my dream home. I find myself attracted to many kinds of homes and surrounding. I think most importantly I just want a place that feels like “home.” A place I can imagine myself snuggling up and taking a nap in. I think at this point in my life when sleep is a rarity I imagine heaven being a place where I can take as many naps as I would like. I know once I arrive to heaven sleep will probably be the last thing on my mind, but right now that is what I day-dream of. I like log cabin homes, country homes, English garden homes, and seaside homes. With that in mind I did a search on you tube for log cabin homes and this is the one that appealed to me most (minus the dear heads on the walls). It is not exactly what I have in mind but close to it. I also would love to have lots of fresh-flowers and plenty of space for friends and family to come visit.

Danio said...

I don't know what my heavenly mansion will look like but I know that if my family isn't there with me it won't feel like home at all.

We recently visited the northwest and I thought that I would feel like I was going back home. I enjoyed time with family and friends that I have missed seeing and felt the ache of missing them as we left to come back home.

Then the strangest thing happened as we neared our home, it is far from where I ever expected it to be, but I felt a sense of belonging. I realized that wherever my sweet husband and children are that is my home. It may have something to do with where all of my personal belongings are, my earthly treasures, but I know that if I lost everything and yet had my family I would have everything that I really need.

I think this will be the same way I feel about my heavenly home, it will be beyond my wildest dreams but empty without my family. I am so grateful for the restored gospel, for families that are forever and reminders like these musings that keep me on track and pursuing what is really important.

The Happy Holladays said...

My favorite image is the mountains and the lake on the right. I think about a dream house in the country with lots of trees often. I haven't thought about my celestial mansion a whole lot though, I have to admit. But now that I have a baby there, I think I'll be pondering on it a bit more. Hopefully I'll follow your example and be more committed, more loving, and more brilliant so that I may one day attain a place in that Heavenly Mansion. I agree that the Savior is with me every mile and I take comfort in that. Thanks for your wonderful, inspiring blogs.

Larsen's said...

Wow! What a wonderful post.
My celestial mansion...That is a hard one. I love all those pictures! ALL of them are so beautiful. I asked my husband and he said that he had never thought of how it would look like or the view. He said that the beauty in it is being with all your loved ones. I agree with him.
My daughter said on Easter day. Mom,"Satan's followers go to darkness right?" "And the people that follow Jesus go to the light, Right?" ", when would WE sleep?" I thought that that was a great question. I then thought about it more and she already knows that we will all be together, with our Heavenly Father and Our Beloved Savior. We might just never sleep! :-) Thank you for your thoughts and I will keep thinking this week about this subject.

Sarah said...

In regards to Easter Sunday, I am excited to announce (if I may) a new "Mormon Message" YouTube Video, "An Apostle's Easter Thoughts On Christ," from Elder Holland's conference talk. Excellent!

Thank you for being such an example of hope and faithfulness. I agree, it IS vital to hold on to that ultimate destination. It is a beautiful, beautiful place!

Carribbean waters! There's something Celestial about that:)

McAuliffe Bunch said...

I love the comparison of the Dream house in heaven to buying a house here. My dream mansion in heaven includes people to fill it, my family! I have been struggling with a sibling that is determined to settle for less than is possible for her mansion in heaven. Sometimes I wonder if she really cares. But I still hope and pray that my mansion in heaven will include her too.
I do think a lot about my dream house in heaven, mostly in terms of what I need to do to get there. I am so far from perfect, but one day I will be in a home full of heavenly light and it will be so joyous! I need to keep looking, or doing all that I know I need to do! My dream house won't just happen, it only comes with effort. I can't just stop living my life because I woke up not having any new mistakes in a day!
Thank you so much for your thought provoking posts. I'm not even sure this comment is truly on topic, but I just wanted to share. Thank you for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

I'm a sucker for green myself. I miss the trees in Florida. I miss being surrounded by them.
And of course, flowers. They make me happy.
I would have to say my dream house would have huge windows to let in the sunlight and so I could see all my trees and flowers.
Oh ya,gotta have a porch, can't have a dream house without a porch!
I love the pictures you found. If more people would take the time to look at pictures like those and less at "other things", I'm sure people would be more Christlike for their hearts would feel uplifted.

And I'm glad Chris found a nice house.

Sara Lyn said...

Very green. Lots of trees. A waterfall would be nice. And a mountain for Morgan. Lots of wildflowers. Mmmm... For our home here on Earth, it would be super nice to have room for a music studio for Morgan. We'll see how it goes. :)

Mona said...

Okay all you dreamers! I LOVE your musings!!!! Wonderful! Wonderful!

Now, here's the funny thing - I only JUST NOW discovered them!

We drove to Provo to be with our BYU'ers for relevant causes and arrived Easter morning. I wasn't able to post until Sunday evening (I prefer A.M., but it was the best I could do...)

The next morning two minor adversities arose: 1) I was puzzled and sad that I hadn't heard from my follower friends about "Dream House" and 2) I went to the hospital. A strange malady had overtaken me which turned out to be SHINGLES! Ugh. So I spent most of the day in the emergency room of the hospital I was born in. And the rest of the week has been an adjustment...

I could handle the shingles, but where were my follower friends? Then, just this afternoon (Wed), Dale and Hannah discovered that I had accidentally reconfigured my blog settings last week to require comment approval. Dumb me. Its gone and we're back in the business of musing together.


Sarah said...

I'm sorry to hear about your shingles Aunt Mona and hope you recover as quickly and comfortably as possible!

Love You

Mother Smith said...

One time while I was serving my mission, I was taken into an area of the Cumberland the FALL...I felt "this is what HEAVEN must be like"...I couldn't begin to imagine how the "celestial" world could be any more breath-taking!!! I imagined my home...under all these BEAUTIFUL trees...My home would have LARGE I would feel I was living IN NATURE...A stream would be gently flowing along side somewhere very nearby...FLOWERS IN EVERY COLOR would clothe and snuggle ALL AROUND our home...Maple trees, dogwood trees...cherry and orange blossoms dotting everywhere...Not to forget at least ONE "willow tree"....Glass I could literally SLEEP UNDER THE STARS....QUILTS and vases of flowers would be in EVERY ROOM... A Garden filled with fruits of every kind...vegetables...that would feed the, nut trees...walnuts, almonds...Yes, Ramona...I dream all the time...both for here...and our "forever" home on high...I would be so content in a log cabin..or a cute "cottage"...Oh...yes...I would be VERY CONTENT....especially when all my grandchildren and children...were our neighbors...and dear friends would come over to, we are describing "heaven"...

Heidi said...

Heaven--anything that brings a smile to my soul. Green--lots of it. Changing fall colors. Ocean sunrises and sunsets. Mountain sunrises and sunsets. Prairie sunrises and sunsets. Breezes. Clouds. Waterfalls. Lakes. Streams. Rivers. Mountains. Rain--with thunder and lightning. Rainbows. Flowers and blossoms. I could go on forever. The Lord has blessed me--in the many moves and visits I've made in my life--to find beauty where ever I am. It's a blessing I'm very grateful for.

Thank you for your post. I hope you get well soon!

Larsen's said...

I am so sorry that you got shingles. I heard that it is really painful. I will keep you in my prayers! Get better soon!

Elisabeth said...

I think I would like to be in Mother Smith's heaven. I am not very imaginative, so I wonder if I will need to hire a designer for my heaven. The one place I remember visiting that felt like home was Palmyra, NY. Such a strange feeling to be in a place you have never been yet feel more at home then you ever have felt before. I agree with everyone there must be lots of green and lots of flowers!

Mona said...

Mother Smith: I cannot WAIT to visit your celestial mansion! (I assume I have a standing invitation!) Your detailed description is GLORIOUS.

Heidi: What a profound point that we can find joy NOW in Father's creations - even in this telestial world.

Larson's et all: Thank you for your well wishes!

Kristy Lynne said...


I think my mansion in heaven will have lots of loving people. Most importantly my mansion will be brimming with sweet, pure, beautiful love.

Thanks for lifting my spirits each week.

Marzee said...

You know what's most frustrating to me about this life - well - at this moment at least? That I can only live it one way, experience it one way in a single moment at a time.

My eternal mansion? I really hope that it evolves and changes - from day to day, moment to moment. That the outward images and scenery - the coziness and pleasantness reflects the goodness that I am feeling, have given, or am experiencing. I want it to reflect the needs of my heart, spirit, and mind. I want my surroundings to buoy me up. So if I "wake up" in the morning - and need a waterfall - it will be there, or I will be taken there. If I have an "ah-ha" moment, I want the sunshine to break through the clouds, for the breeze to sweetly blow the perfuming scents around me, and my hair to be lifted off my shoulders as I smile towards the radiant sky.

Actually - I want to be evolved and quick enough to comprehend a world of all good things, feelings, sights, deeds in a moment. My mansion, my home, will reflect a compounded beauty that my feeble mortal mind can only begin to imagine and wish for.

I could go on - but won't. I guess I'll just have to write a book about it.

Mona said...

Marzee: Write your book! Your righteous imagination exceeds anything I've dared to dream!

Cougarg said...

I went to Colorado one summer a few years ago for a friend's wedding reception. His in-laws lived in this amazing place up in the mountains outside of Denver. It was in the middle of the evergreen forest with boulders all around, and a stream flowing just 30 yards from the front door. It was absolutely amazing. But I am a suburb kid, and I like being close to the city as well. We had forgotten to get our friend a wedding gift before we set out on our journey, so we dropped down out of the mountains hoping to find a store with the items we wanted to purchase. Within 15 minutes of leaving that mountain home, we had found the store we had hoped to find. And Downtown Denver was probably only another 30 minutes away. That would be my dream location here on earth.

Olivia said...

...on a dock with the sweet smells of summer and the sun setting. Birds and bugs singing with a light Celtic song filling the air. Ya...that's it.




Heidi said...

Mona! I was preparing for my FHE lesson tonight on Gratitude, and was re-reading Pres. Monson's talk "Finding Joy in the Journey" from last October Conference. I forgot about this quote that he quoted, but I thought of you and this posting and had to add it.

"Said one well-known author: 'Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.'"

Shady Creek Lane said...

Hi Mona,
I know I am a week late commenting on this post but I have been very busy and wanted to find the author of a book I wanted to tell you about that goes perfectly with your post. The book is called THE MANSION, by Henry Van Dyke. It is an older book and a very short read but it has a very profound message. I would recommend this to everyone who wonders about the afterlife.
Just thought I would share.

Hugs, Connie

Mona said...

Olivia: Ahhhh yes.

Heidi: THANK YOU for the quote! I love that talk.

Shady Creek: I've heard of it -- now I'm going to read it. Thank you!