Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Spirit of Loveliness

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It's bedtime.  More often than not, the only time of day - I get to pull out a book to read.  Too many times, the pile of books that I want to read is higher than my arm is long.  I typically never can stay awake long enough to read, let alone retain - anything - that I may have read, in the first place.  Sure, I want to.  It's just that either life is way busier than I think or other conversations take over and take place... but... that really is no excuse.  Personally.  I just don't like reading - not like I'd like to.  I was talking to a dear friend of mine - on Sunday - at church and we were talking about this very thing... and she said ALMOST the exact same thing is true for her... and ya'll... she's an author.  A homeschooling mama... she HAS to read... and yet, she struggles, too!!  I have never felt so supported as to hear my friend admit to this very thing - herself.
Don't get me wrong.  I love books!  I sure do.  In fact, I try to encourage my kiddos' to read, read, read. That books are their "friends".. they need to treat them well, etc.  Honestly, I really do like feeling the pages in between my fingers.  The way they smell,  the way they open, the clever illustrations.... even the font matters a lot!!! I would much, much rather hold a book in my hand than an electronic device - such as a kindle, etc.   And, yet... the "art" of reading; it's novelty, the time it takes itself to read the words and comprehend... is a real struggle.

Why do I share all of this?  And, why the photos of this book - that I share with you today?


Great question.  So, first off, this book was recommended to me by a cousin of mine, some time ago.  My cousin, Carmen, has truly become a dear, dear friend of mine - someone whom I respect quite highly and has become almost, more like a sister to me than some of own immediate sisters.  I clearly remember the day when Carmen truly encouraged me to open this book and take to heart the "teachings" of Emilie Barnes.  A dear saint of the Lord - who has recently gone home to be with her Saviour.  I would say (in my heart and mind) - Emilie has become a pillar post in the foundation of my "home-making"... and home keeping.  I have really admired the things she wrote and shared.  In fact, I have several of her books.  BUT... this one.  The Spirit of Loveliness... has carried me.  I'm forever indebted to my sweet cousin for her persistence that I get myself a copy of this book.

So.  I got to thinking.  There is no better way to get back to who I am than to dust off the cover of this "dear friend" and because it's format is like that of a coffee table book (its easy to read, in bite-sized chucks) ... I can slowly get back into reading (what I would say) has been and always will be one of my first loves.

For me.  The topic of home- keeping, hospitality, and growing in character (to be that godly influence as a wife and mom; a woman of Christ) ... is my deepest passion and desire.

***
In earlier years of blogging - I have alluded to this book before, although I'm not so sure that I actually referenced it.  There is a post about "glowing windows" whose idea came from this book, I'm pretty sure. You've got to go read that one!!!  I even linked it for you - so you can find it easy and go read...
It is simply another but continual prayer of mine.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

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This recipe deserves - I mean, DESERVES - some serious raves!!!
 My kids couldn't stop eating it, but... I had to make them stop!!  lol.

So, over on Facebook, this week, I've been part of a 7-day black and white photo challenge.  
And, loving it!!!  It's been fun to dust off the camera skills...and shoot some frames.
This photo though - didn't turn out to be a favorite - but let me tell you, as I have already said it.....  This is one yummy coffee cake!!

Here is the recipe, again!!

:: Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake ::
 1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. instant espresso
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour (I used reg. whole wheat!)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

STREUSEL
1/2 cup all -purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup quick oats
4 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375*.   In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, sugar, espresso and vanilla together.  Stir in the flours, baking powder and salt.  Fold in the white chocolate chips.  Pour batter into an 8x8"  baking pan.
For the streusel: In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugars, oats and melted butter together.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

***
I think it deserves a more delicious looking photo, don't you?   
So, here you go!!!  :)


I hope you get to make this and that you and yours enjoy it much as our family did - over here!!

Friday, November 3, 2017

house becoming home

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast. a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  
~ Melody Beattie

***
These are all photos from the past (our old home) - but warm me every time I see them.  I hope you don't mind me sharing them again, as a repeat.
 Our house, now, here, is slowly become home.  It's true.
 It starts with gratitude...
I'm truly grateful.
This is what November calls to mind.  Gratitude.
Not settling.
But truly satisfied.
May my heart-house become at home!!!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home


Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Friday, October 20, 2017

October Blessings

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***
That time of year... when the weather is funky.  Cooler in the morning (or, should I say - down right cold-ish?) and warmer in the afternoons.  The sun sets and rises differently.  There are different smells to the air.  Even the heart of the home (the kitchen) finds itself busier than usual.
Dishing out comfort foods, yummy breads and other fall festive fare.  Reasons to get together with family and friends.
And...so!  The warmth of the season is here.  Full of changes.  Full of Blessings.

I love October!!! 

((Shhhh!!   I know.  We're half way through the month and I'm just saying this all now? You know...I'm just trying to slow it all down.  If only I could.))

Friday, September 29, 2017

How NOT to Be!!

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Earlier this week, as my kiddos were sitting round the breakfast table - I began to hear an rumbling echo of something I had heard the day before while at an eye doctor appointment, with my husband.  My kids words were not happy words, to each other.
  And, I mean it.  They were eerily similar to what I had heard the day prior.   
 ***
As been our new school year, daily habit - we've been pouring over scripture, while the kiddos eat their breakfast.  I try to find one or two verses that we can talk about and find some sort of application...time permitting.

Upon hearing their "ugly" words to each other, over cereal and milk... the verses from Ephesians came to mind.   Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

But, as I opened my Bible, to began reading, my eyes fell on verse 29 and immediately - the prior morning scenario became a story.   I read the verses, aloud...and started in.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen....

The Doctor Office was a busy place; the waiting room, quite crowded.  Because, my nose was in a magazine I hadn't really noticed who all was coming and going...but, all of a sudden I hear from across the room - this startling angst, of someone muttering LOUDLY under their breath...
"Whaaa.... just shut up and sit down."
I look up and see an elderly couple across the room from me.  If I could only truly paint the picture.
Here sat this weathered, old man...with a cane across his knee.  I'm assuming it was his wife sitting beside him but as body language would clearly put it... she was sitting as far away from him as possible, with her back turned towards him and her head in her hand.   I thought for a moment they were talking to each other and I went back to my reading.  But several minutes in... I hear it again...
"Come on...! What the h***.  Shut up!... and...sheez!...(shaking head)."  
This time, coming from the woman.  And then, I realized who they were talking about.

Over at the desk, stood another elderly woman of a different ethnicity... her strong dialect giving it away... and she too, was on the louder side; growing impatient... only because perhaps she couldn't understand. ?? I'm not sure.  However, I was impressed as the office staff were patiently working with her and so on... and she eventually, did find a seat...which quieted down the "disturbed" couple.

Obviously, though.  This on-going dialogue, at the counter, was too much for them, since, they repeated their annoyances several times...

I sat there, stunned.... "listening"... saddened by what was going on.  Trying to look past and through the thick skin, to see what might possibly be going on inside.  I wondered if anyone ever made these two smile...?  Did they ever know JOY?  Did they ever have a good day??

As, I shared this story with my kids... I relayed.  Sure.  I don't know what made this elderly couple "react" like that to a situation that wasn't theirs to contend with.  I don't know fully what was going on inside in their hearts and minds.  What their story is or was.  I can imagine, though, based on what I heard and saw that... they don't normally live "happy lives".  With each other or with others.  You know the phrase, "Hurting people, hurt people"?
Here they were, an elderly couple with who knows how much life ahead of them... (none of us, knows or has guarantee for another day.) ... but to be this far in life and to have allowed "bitterness" to take such deep root and have it take over spilling out into life at a moments notice.

Because, then I said, "Kids... what happens if you knock this glass over??  Whatever is in it will spill out, right?  When life comes our way and our "glass" gets knocked around... what's on the inside will come out, right?"

I reread the verses.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  ~ Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

What an opportunity to see this a lesson to be learned. A lesson, on HOW NOT to BE!!
 ***
I don't share all of this to point out the "flaws" of this elderly couple.  Rather,  I see it as a lesson for myself.  For my family.  To be mindful of what things are taking root in our lives.  I'm just as guilty - in my responses.  I'm just as prone to have my "glass get knocked"... and whatever is inside gets spilled out.  I'm guilty!!   I, too, have my days of muttering, and angst, and impatience and down right ugliness.   That's probably why my kiddos' find it easy to display all of that with each other...
they see MOM.  And, DAD! No one has it all together!

We NEED Jesus, every single day.  I NEED HIM every hour.  
 I'm so grateful for these verses in Ephesians to remind me of how God wants me to live out my days.
As a wife, a mom, a friend, a sister, a neighbor...

I will probably, forever, have the picture of this couple etched in my memory... as a way of reminder in how NOT to be!!

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