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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Front Porch Special : : Iced Coffee

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It's one of these sorts of days...


~ Iced Coffee ~

12 cups strong, brewed coffee


1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

Brew coffee and chill. Add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and stir really well. Serve over ice.

Top with whipped cream and your favorite syrup (I used Carmel). Store any leftovers in the refrigerator (if there are any).

***
 
As you can tell, I didn't get the whipped cream and Carmel drizzle on today's version...
 
And.  I can't drink too much of this Front Porch Special... because it really does make me pretty giddy.
 
Try a glass.  You'll love it, too.
 
(Edited re post of HERE.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorable Moments of Thanks!

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What a wonderful day.  What a wonderful weekend.  Busy as all get out... but worth every minute of family togetherness.

How was yours?


Sharing memorable moments of thanks.

- another candle on the cake for my now four year old
- a Daddy who goes the extra mile to see that his kids are blessed
- gifts that come by way of two wheels, a helmet and a handlebar (plus training wheels)
- water to splash and play in
- gifts of garden tea leaves
- hot showers, followed by cool ones
- daughter almost potty-trained
- cold, sweet slices of juicy watermelon
- a yard to clean up
- fireworks - to watch all around us
- hubby's help with the flowerbed
- bed's to make
- dishes to wash and put away
- Caregroup Fellowship
- breakfast out, Saturday, for both Scott and I.  He with guys from CG.  Me with ladies from MOPS.
- a holiday off of work - for my man (although a day of work, at work, may have been easier and not as hot :))
- for those who sacrificially gave their lives, for our Country's freedom
- freedom to worship our Lord and Saviour - freely
- for courage
- for creativity
- for inspiration


(listing #150 - #170 memorable moments of thanks - where the giving of One Thousand Gifts continues to be a blessing. )

Pray for me, this week, as I gather thoughts.  Thoughts meant to encourage and inspire a couple of other ladies... as we begin meeting once a month to discuss this very book.  I was asked to lead out, at least at our first gathering. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Old Time Sunday Hymn Sing | I Thank The Lord My Maker

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~I Thank The Lord, My Maker~
Thos. MacKellar / G.J. Webb

I thank the Lord my Maker
For all his gifts to me;
For making me partaker
Of bounties rich and free;
For father and for mother,
Who give me clothes and food,
For sister and for brother,
And all the kind and good.

I thank the Lord my Saviour
Who came for me to do die,
And bless me with his favor,
And fit me for the sky, --
That all my sins out-blotted,
By Jesus wash'd away,
I may be found unspotted
When comes the final day.

I thank Lord for giving
The Spirit of his grace,
That I may serve him living,
And dying reach the place
Where Jesus in his glory
I shall forever see,
And tell the wondrous story
Of all his love for me.

***

This hymn was often sung, as a mealtime prayer, in our home - while growing up - as we sat around the table.  Sometimes it was in addition to my dad saying Grace, and sometimes it was the prayer.

Today is our son's (Caleb) fourth birthday. 
This most likely will be just another hymn he'll learn, too.  One that is simple enough and one that he can relate to, as he grows in gratitude.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

It feels like...

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WATERMELON

... at least around here it does. 

And. 

I think there will be some of this -  in the picture - this Memorial  Weekend!

- were getting ready for Caleb's fourth birthday, tomorrow
- were all gunho to clean out our "garage"/storage area, on Monday
- were gearing up to be busy, both, in the kitchen and in the sewing room and start nesting...a bit more, while we're at it.
- we aim to relax.... if you think that possible?

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Front Porch Chat

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Good Morning!  I thought I would sit and chat with you again... how about out here on the front porch?  My coffee is freshly brewed... how about yours?

Pardon my quietness yesterday.  I had a pretty busy day and just didn't get around to blogging anything.  I was doing stuff like; MOPS Bible Study, a new haircut, and playing outside with the littles later in the afternoon...even some sewing, just a little...making dinner... visiting with neighbors.

So, I've been taking quite a few *new* photos, around here, but have no way to show them to you... we're still working out a few "bugs" - on our "rebuilt" computer, here.  Sorry about that.

With this... (in all honesty) I've felt so uninspired to blog without recent photos to accompany it.  I just may have to take photos from the archives of the blog- which is what I have been doing here of late - and I know it isn't the same.

But, this front porch thing.  I love ours.  Especially first thing in the morning.  There are many, many front porch moments for us around here.


photo taken at dusk - sometime last year
 Right now ours looks like a bunch of kids live here.  You know, the big wheels and bikes and bats and balls everywhere...  charming in it's own right, but I do like the clean-look-of- front-porch-rocker charming even better.

Speaking of...

Did I tell you our neighbor ladies are moving?  It's the neighbors we've shared the front porch with.  Well, they are moving.  Officially as of today - they will have completely moved.  They've been moving stuff - slowly over the past month - and with them go their two front porch rockers. 

There go my photo props for my Bags by Bevy!  Yes, I've used them from time to time... for that reason. ;)

Anyway.  Sitting here on the porch... right now, the breeze is so beautiful.  I'm enjoying it now - before it gets too hot.  Come afternoon the little ones still want to be outdoors and it's just too hot for me... as we don't have a lot of shade out front.

Being out here does invite conversation with the neighbors and Mr. A., the farmer whom we rent from, as he's here all of the time - doing yardwork and farmwork - and with that... the little ones will often get rides on the gator or lawn mower.

Often a friend will be driving by, honk their horn and wave - and before I know they'll be pulling back into our driveway for a friendly visit - out here on the front porch.

Speaking of...

I need to go and get me and the little ones ready - we're heading out to friends of ours for a play date at their house, today.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Our kids enjoy playing with theirs... and I know we'll get into some pretty "interesting" conversation ourselves.


I hope I didn't bore you with my ramblings...
and, I hope your coffee outlasted the conversation.  Did it??

Listen, I really do need to go.  Thanks for chatting today... will you come back again?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sharing Encouragment

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I told you that, recently, my Quiet Times with the Lord have been getting sweeter.  I'm glad.  God's Word is FULL of encouragement... and this book study that I'm doing called "Encouraging One Another" (from Women of Faith) is chock full of Scriptures that remind me again and again that encouragement is meant to be shared.

I appreciate that.

I want to grow in that.

I thrive on it (we all do) and yet, if I'm honest, I don't always believe it or take it to heart like I should.

One thought this study brought to my attention is how our relationships (mostly, as women) can stay really surfacey.  We talk about everything but... our faithwalk, our heart's deepest needs and soul desires.

The challenge I read this morning was to imagine - holding a trowel, as if a gardener, and really dig deeper into your relationships.  Don't be so "on the surface" all of the time.  Encourage Growth and a depth, in others, that maybe was never shown (or uprooted) before.  With delicacy and respect.

I know it feels safer... to stay on the surface.

It's much more fun... and relaxed.

It's not so murky... nor intense.

I often think back to the one day I got home from work to find a little heart-shaped piece of paper slipped under my apartment door.  It was a handwritten note, from my dear friend Bev (since, gone Home to be with the Lord - much too young), saying this:

Bev,
I'm praying for you.  Love ya! 
Bev (smiley face)

Yes, her name was Bev, too!  Beautiful, beautiful woman of God.

I've kept that little note, for years, tucked into my Bible in the pages of Romans, Chapter 1, verses 11-12 - verses that clearly defined our friendship.  Here is the verse...

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong  -- that is, that you and I might be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.  ~ Romans 1:11-12


This was so true of Bev - her sharing encouragement, everywhere she went and with whomever was in her life.

I really, really miss her.

Do you enjoy encouragment?  Are you as quick to share it with others as you are to receive it?  Do you struggle like me, at times, to believe the truth of other's encouragment when it's handed out?
Do you get offended if someone's gotten a little too deep and personal?

***
Do you know of anyone who could use your encouragement today?

These Mini Flower Baskets are really sweet, all things charming, and well.... really, really cool!!!
Tutorial HERE.


Wouldn't these flower baskets be a real sweet thing to share, with a friend, along with a note of encouragement? 

I love this idea...

And, I love this blog - Blissfully Content!  I'm so glad I've recently discovered it.  Julia consistently brings beauty and creativity and encouragement - as she reflects on motherhood and her home, alike.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Question of Thanks

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Do you ever wonder why it is that we struggle to intentionally express our thanks - like we should? 

I've been thinking about this. 

last summer's flowers


The other morning I was reading in Mark chapter 3 - which is the parable of the Sower who sows his seeds, and how the different scenarios are played out regarding the soil (of the heart) and the seeds that are planted, and what happened with all of that.   Do you know the story?

I got to thinking (deeper) about the nature of my heart and it "giving thanks".  If I were to pick the one scenario that I can be like, it would be: my heart can be awfully thick with thorns.  Some seed, when planted, still will take root and grow there - but quite often there are many other things that choke out the seed (ie; the thanks) long before I know it.  Things like: Worries, Cares, Trials, Hidden Expectations, etc. all of which can represent the thorns among the soil of my heart.

Knowing this.  The question about the validity of my thanks is present.  At least from my perspective...

Am I, by nature, a thankful person or is the condition of my soil  - just thorny? 

I'm (very) grateful that God is a patient and gracious gardener.

***

123.  six years of marriage
124.  two beautiful children and one on the way...
125. strikingly different personalities
126. Tums and Extra-strength Tylenol
127. Thunderstorms
128. the sound of rain on the tin roof
129. local Christian Radio
130. the Lord's Faithfulness
131. a hubby who loves and who can fix computers
132. when I realized my daughter was MISSING - from her bed, in the middle of the night - that my toes felt "something" under her bed.  It was her... fast asleep.
133. a great season of MOPS -- that chapter is now ending for me (we had our last meeting, last Wednesday)
134. my brother - one of the best uncles our kids will ever know.  Like Dad, only cooler!
135. growing deeper in Quiet Time each morning; God's Word is sharp, powerful and alive!
136. Independence -in a two and three year old
137. Dependence (still) on Mommy and Daddy
138. book studies
139. answered prayers ( I know this sounds very vague and broad. Trust me - there are specific answers to prayers)

140. tucking our kids in at night
141. reading together
142. praying together
143. singing songs together
144. hugs and kisses good night

145. that my hubby will eat leftovers - willingly
146. cookbooks and exchanged recipes
147. coming downstairs to clean counters in the morning - ahh!!  (When it doesn't happen, meaning I left them go from the day/evening before - I feel grumpy and overwhelmed...)
148. scheduled play dates with friends and their kids
149. Encouragement!




Sunday, May 22, 2011

Old Time Sunday Hymn Sing | More Like Thee

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~More Like Thee~
Frank M. Davis / J. Henry Showalter

More like thee, O Saviour, let me be,
More like thee from day to day;
Never let me from thy footsteps stray,
Keep me in the narrow way.

Chorus
More like thee, yes, more like thee,
More like thee, yes, more like thee,
More like thee, O Christ like thee;
By the grace, O let me day by day
Grow more and more like thee.

More like thee, O Saviour, let me be,
Pure without and pure within;
Keep me ever from the ways of sin,
I the crown of life would win.

More like thee, O Saviour, let me be,
All my pilgrims journey thro';
Meek and lowly, ever kind and true,
Like thyself in all I do.

Chorus


More like thee, yes, more like thee,
More like thee, yes, more like thee,
More like thee, O Christ like thee;
By the grace, O let me day by day
Grow more and more like thee.

***



Why this hymn?

Over this past week I've been quietly enjoying my quiet times - getting richer, more consistant - with the Lord.  I've been hanging out with this devotional/journal book (one that my Mom gave me) on the subject of Encouragement.

Giving Encouragement - is an area where I want to grow...

I got to thinking how - and this also goes along very well with the book, One Thousand Gifts, that I'm also currently reading - I got to thinking how that if I'm empty, in other words, if I'm not feeling a lot of encouragement myself, how do I give (much needed) encouragement to others?  It's really, really hard.

Less of me and More of HIM - keeps coming to mind as I think about living an emptier, fuller life.

It starts with more of Jesus.  I want to be more like HIM... and as that happens, extending encouragement will just come naturally towards others.
This hymn is basically a prayer for me, right now.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

What a day...

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I don't know what kinds of thoughts were going through your head today as it was announced - repeatedly - that the world was coming to an end - today.

Maybe you got caught up in it.  Maybe you didn't.

I'll be honest.  I didn't hear much - just bits and pieces here and there.  But the thoughts did go through my mind - the what ifs - of, what if; what if, this time, this is true? 

I kept looking up at the skies...

Songs came to mind, with the lyrics....

"What a beautiful day, for the Lord to come again", or "this may be the cloud he's coming back on..." etc.

But - the TRUTH rang even clearer in my heart and mind where Scripture is clear when it says that no man knows the day nor the hour of when our Lord will return.  But.  HE WILL RETURN.  One day.

I was out to the hospital this morning - having some LAB work done for my pregnancy.  There, I found it interesting the comments being made by the employees and fellow out-patients... regarding this subject.

They would say, "Today is the day when the world is to come to an end, right?", all said in jest...and mockery. 
It wasn't - "Isn't this the day that the Lord is to return?  I sort of smiled, as I thought of the irony.  These folks probably really don't know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.  For them, the world was ending.... and nothing was going to phase them - spiritually - if it did.  Jesus was not in their picture.

I, in turn, felt true peace all day long.  And, you know what's really sad?  I feel like I was "mocking" right along side of those other folks, in a way.  I agreed with them - it's not going to happen - today.

Yet, I just couldn't sit there and not say something.

I assured the ladies behind the desk that the day will come and that we need to be ready and that no one knows the hour... ((silence))...
well, the one, she knew where she was going - said with a sneering laugh.

I felt sorry for them.
I feel sorry for the guy who started this whole "false teaching"entourage ...
I feel sorry for the many, many people who've missed the mark - by believing this guy - and now whose hearts have (probably) hardened to the REAL truth of the Gospel.

I hate that this paints a real ugly picture for those who are sincere, born-again believers.  This is the kind of stuff that makes it harder to share the simple news of Jesus, of Salvation, of the Gospel with others, doesn't it?

I don't know the exact time and day when the Lord will appear - no one does.  He just wants us to be watching and ready when he does come.   We have hope that he will come again.  God's word does tell us that.
 Mark 13:34-35
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come."

Kind of got me thinking today...

***
How about you?  What kinds of encounters did you have today?  Are you ready?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Finds | Kentucky Hot Brown Tart

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{Welcome to Friday's Finds! For those of you who are new to this blog and/or just poppin' in - Hello! and welcome.

On Friday's I like to try and feature "a find" of no particular value or sentiment, no reason or rhyme and yet, exactly for all of those reasons I just mentioned. You'll never guess what I'm going to find, next.}


Kentucky Hot Brown Tart Recipe

I love the Southern Living magazines that come into our home via my Mother-in-law, after she is finished with them.  They come in like a cool southern breeze on a hot, muggy northern day... ;)  all that to say, I mean - they're very refreshing. 

This recipe is my Friday's Find.

I came across this photo in the recent May issue and I immediately began... drooling.  I needed wanted something different for dinner that night and actually had all of the needed ingredients on hand.

Well, almost.

I made my own crust, instead of using a refrigerated one, like they suggested. 

Here is the recipe for your enjoyement.

~Kentucky Hot Brown Tart~

Ingredients:

1 (14.1-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts **

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey (oh, I used chicken, instead)

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded white Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives  (I didn't have fresh)

6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

1 1/2 cups half-and-half

4 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Unroll piecrusts; stack on a lightly greased surface. Roll stacked piecrusts into a 12-inch circle. Fit piecrust into a 10-inch deep-dish tart pan with removable bottom; press into fluted edges. Trim off excess piecrust along edges. Line piecrust with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Remove weights and foil from piecrust, and bake 8 more minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack (about 15 minutes). Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

2. Layer turkey and next 3 ingredients in tart shell on baking sheet.

3. Whisk together half-and-half and next 3 ingredients; pour over turkey.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes or until set.

5. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; press tomatoes lightly with paper towels. Arrange over top of tart, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cool on baking sheet on wire rack 15 minutes.

Southern Living
MAY 2011


By the way.  This was a delicious meal, served up with a side salad - one night for dinner.  And, the leftovers were just as good for breakfast/brunch the following morning. 

** You can find the ingredients for my own Quiche/Pie Crust recipe - HERE.

~~~~~~~~~~~

As excited as I am to be back online... I'm (still) having trouble loading my own pics.  My hubby explained it (once, maybe twice or more) and I am obviously not techy enough to figure it out.  I'm not sure what my blog will look like over the next couple of days.  So bear with me... as things are being relearned both for me and the computer.  Basically, I'm working with a brand-new (rebuilt) computer... and well, it's  just different.

Thanks.  I am not complaining... I'm just saying.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Big Mud Puddles and Sunny Yellow Dandelions

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I thought that I would share this "little read" with you... to get me back into the groove of clicking the keyboard.  It's good to be back.  It's been a long week. HUGE Thanks to my awesome hubby for being so techy and getting me back online. So, did you miss me as much as I've missed you??  I have so much to catch up on with ya'll. ;)

***
Big Mud Puddles and Sunny Yellow Dandelions
Author Unknown - Taken from the latest MOPS Newsletter


When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. 
My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing the white fluff that you can wish on.


When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me, I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants my money and I look away.
My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.

When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen.
My kids feel the beat and move to it.  They sing out the words.  If they don't know them, they make up their own.

When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it.  I feel it messing up my hair and pulling be back when I walk. 
My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it until they fall to the ground laughing.

When I pray, I say thee and thou and grant me this or give me that.
My kids say, "Hi God!" Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight".


When I see a mud puddle I step around it.  I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.
My kids sit in it.  They see dams to build, rivers to cross, and worms to play with.

***
Just something to think about.

I wonder if we are given kids to teach or to learn from?
No wonder God loves the little children!
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

***

I'm glad I found this little read.  I found it to be so encouraging... especially in just thinking about the different perspective that our kids bring our way.



Monday, May 16, 2011

HOWDY!!!

Howdy all, This is Scott writing. Just wanted to drop a line and let ya'll know that Bev has not fallin' off the face of the earth, nor forgot en 'bout ya. There are currently technical difficulties at the homestead. This will be an indefinite time away. as of this morning I was about 1/2 way through repairs.

In the intrim, please feel free to enjoy some of the "YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE" below ;)




Thursday, May 12, 2011

Can we talk?

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That's what my son always says to us when he is serious and wants our full attention.  Kinda funny.  I suppose he's heard this, himself, a few times - from us - one more then one occasion.

Anyway.  I thought that, that would make a fun title for this post.  I have really nothing to say, much today - so I thought I would pull up a comfy chair, with my hot cup of coffee and just ramble on a bit between sips.

Is that okay with you?

Ahh.   Another beautiful day, isn't it?  I love opening up the house windows and seeing and smelling the beautiful day - outdoors.
I know I need to get out there soon - as the little ones have already been pushing me to get out there.  But, I wanted to make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats first.

My  Mother-in-law brought over a new box of Rice Krispie cereal yesterday - and I immediately had a hankering.

Do you ever get a spur of the moment hankering like that?

Anyway, I found a bag of marshmallows up in the cupboard that needed to get used up.  I had to laugh.  These things tasted fine - but were definitly "old" and lost their marshmallowyness... if you know what I mean.

I haven't tried the treats yet - but these things are going to be on the dry side of  different.  You can be sure...

Speaking of my MIL... you can pray for her today.  She is going to have at least one (maybe a few others) tooth pulled today and she always has to be put out to do the procedure.  She's not to thrilled, to say the least.

The farm where we live is "coming alive".  The farmer (whom we rent from) is out on his JD Tractor - plowing.  Ahh.... again.  Another love of mine on the farm.  Freshly plowed soil, the smell, the look of it - the sounds of the tractor making its way around and around.  Which reminds me, my flower beds need a little rototiller-ing themselves.  I was out there the other day with my shovel and right -hand man, Caleb, on the hoe trying to break up the large clumps of soil.

I've got to wait, I guess, till my hubby can lend a hand.  It was tough!


My peonies are in full bloom.  That always makes me smile.  But one thing that doesn't... is the little ants that are creeping indoors - constantly.  I've talked about them before (recently) so I won't bore you with the r"ant".

How's your coffee?  Mine is nearing the bottom of the cup.  I guess I should go and get these munchkins outside.  Maybe I can get a chance to work on my grocery list for our Monthly shop to Lancaster.

Oh, and I sure do hope that the "little gal" comes over sometime today - so that I can get a chance to get behind my sewing machine.  Little Gal is what my MIL calls our teen-age friend, Liana, who comes over about once a week, or so - to give me a couple of hours to either sew, run errands or clean - whatever is needed.  The kids love it when she's here... and miss her when she can't come over.
She's great and such a blessing.
Ahhh... good to the last drop!  My coffee cup is dry.

I enjoyed chit-chatting with you, over coffee... and,  I hope you have wonderful rest of the day. 

May the Joy of the LORD be your strength.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

unwinding downtime : : keeping it light

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After yesterday's heavy(ish) post and with all the events of all that has happened in our local area, over the past couple of days...

It's time for some 'unwinding downtime'. 

***
Just trying to enjoy the light, the simple and carefree moments - as life should be - for a couple of energetic kiddo's.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Calm this Storm

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My heart is incredibly hurting right now.

When news comes, and it hits close to home.  Way too close to home.  When there is nothing you can do anymore -because of it's horrible and tragic ending - and we dissolve to tears and resolve to "fight" even harder.  Where we beg the Lord for mercy; for understanding; for answers; for justice...

but the WHY? is still there.

When things just don't make sense and yet ...

Jesus commanded the storm, "be still", and the wind and the waves - obeyed.


Can He?

Could He?

Will He? 

((Calm this Storm))  Will he- do the same for my heart, this morning?

Will he do the same for this hurting family - who tragically lost their nine year old daughter, last night, to the hands of cold-blooded neighbor killer, literally right in their own backyard.


I don't know this family.  I can't even imagine... their scared and bleeding hearts.

But, I can pray...

Heavenly Father... will you please wrap your arms of comfort around this family and sustain them and love on this family.  I don't know if they personally know YOU as their Sovereign God and Creator.  But, will you remind them of your specific care in these deep, dark and tense moments that try the soul.  May they turn to you and look to you as their source of strength.
This is so hard to understand...
Even I am feeling the angst in my heart...increasing.  I need you, too, Lord - in this moment.  Bring peace.  Your peace, to this raging storm of question and sorrow.

We ask this in your name...

~ Amen

Monday, May 9, 2011

Unlikely Thanks

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One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan.  ~ Luke 17:15-16 (emphasis added, mine)


What happens when the Unlikely - stop and give thanks?

This man, unlike the other nine, choose 'beyond the suspected' in which he came back, and expressed gratitude.  He was a (former) leper; unloved, unaccepted, an outcast.  A Samaritan - at that. 

Unlikely.

When the unexpected (or unlikely) happens for me.  Am I quickly found to be giving thanks, despite what other's are expressing or doing around me - perhaps for the very same thing?

How quickly we forget, going on about our way as though we deserve this or that. 

You know, we're trying to teach our children to say "thank you" (to us and to others) when they receive something from someone.  No matter how big or how small.  I worry sometimes that it might turn into a formality.  I know I want to live my life "full of gratefulness" - and that it not simply come out of good manners. 

Do you know what I mean?

I got to thinking about this Leper Man.  He was definitely sincere. He stopped.  He turned - around. He immediately gave thanks- LOUDLY.  The other's more then likely simply forgot  (and rather quickly, I might add) - where they had been, just moments before, yet were overcome with joy.

Which is our tendency?  Grateful - but forgetting to express that fact - truly and sincerely?  Or, no matter how unlikely (or insignificant) it may seem - do other's KNOW were truly grateful?

Continuing to name the thanks... even the unlikely.

102. Sightings of a Rainbow
103. Wedding Vows - made and remembered
104. Opportunity to visit the Preschool, this morning - where my son will attend in the Fall.
105. another calf born - makes two, now
106. neighbor kids who just "come on over"
107. great date night with my hubby, last night - Go Phillies!  (except that the Braves won - and so, I'm (sincerely) grateful that my hubby got a chance to cheer - alone - amidst the Phillie Phans.)  He's a brave soul.
108. for my mother - willing to babysit - last evening
109. for Mother's Day! Cards and other expressions of love and appreciation
110. WD-40 ;), Duct Tape, lengths of string and a "redneck" hubby who isn't afraid to use them
111. sweet smelling bouquets of Lily-of-the-Valley
112. Ladies Breakfast - get together
113. another chance... to pass an exam.  (Scott's trying again tonight!)  : : UPDATE as of 8:10pm...he didn't pass (again) but we still say "thank you" for the opportunity.  The next attempt is dollar-sign FREE!  And, so we continue on...
114. growing imaginations - in little girls and in little boys...makes me smile!
115. beautiful breezes for sun-drying clothes
116. tall glass of my not-so-sweet Iced Tea
117. photos of days gone by
118. unexpected fits of laughter
119. living debt-free - and sharing our story with others.  If only it remains a blessing to those who hear.
120. hand me downs - at just the right time
121. cows happily grazing - great entertainment for the littles...
122. turning of the soil, in the flowerbeds




Sunday, May 8, 2011

Old Time Sunday Hymn Sing | Jesus Loves Even Me

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Happy Mother's Day!


I was trying to think of a way I could honor my Mom today.  No hymns (about Mother's) really came to mind - until I started paging through the old hymn book - that I have here - and I got to thinking about how much my mom loved to sing and still does.  How much she influenced me and my siblings.  I tell her she needs to get her self into a choir or ladies chorus or something.

She has a beautiful, melodious voice, which harmonizes so beautifully with other voices.  She can sing several ranges which include soprano, alto, high tenor.  She taught us (kids) very well.  My dad sang too, and he often would lead the congregation in singing at the Mennonite Church we grew up going to.
Our family would sing all of the time - at home, in the car, in church(es) for special singing, at family functions... all Accapella.

But, more importantly.

My mother would sing songs that taught us about Jesus.  Simple children's songs, Biblical based songs, great hymns of the faith.  Songs that still resonate within me.  When I start to sing some of those songs to my own kiddo's - and I can't remember all of the words - I'll give my mom a phone call... and she'll sing them to me over the phone (or wherever), to help me recall the words.

Here is one she would often sing to us and with us children...

~ Jesus loves even me~
P.P. Bliss

I am so glad that my Father in heav'n
Tells of his love in the book he has giv'n.
Wonderful things in the Bible I see;
When I remember that Jesus loves me.

Chorus:
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves me,
I am so glad that Jesus loves me,
Jesus loves even me.

Tho' I forget him and wander away,
Still he doth love me wherever I stray;
Back to his dear loving arms would I flee,
When I remember that Jesus loves me.

Oh, if there's on-ly one song I can sing,
When in his beauty I see the Great King,
This shall my song in eternity be;
"Oh, what a wonder that Jesus loves me."

****

She's coming over this evening to watch our little ones - while Scott and I go to the Phillies Game.  No doubt - she'll be singing (all kinds of) songs to help them settle for the night, just like I do.

I love you, Mom!!!  Thank you...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Simply Saturday | Busy Weekend

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Good Morning, rather, I should say Good Afternoon!

I was off to a Caregroup Ladies Breakfast this morning...


and took this Blueberry Coffee Cake, as part of my contribution.

And immediately, after that, I was off to a Wedding!  I never saw a more beaming and beautiful bride.
It was simply beautiful.  Gorgeous day, too.

I wasn't invited to the reception, just the wedding service.  So, I didn't get any photos of the real bride or of the wedding or of my handsome brother who happened to be one of the groomsmen.  He's so cute...



But it did send me down memory lane... as I thought of our own wedding celebration - in the month of May.  Actually, next Saturday will be our (Scott and I) 6th year Wedding Anniversary.  Hard to believe...

Happy Mother's Day - tomorrow!!  And, like I said, a busy weekend.  Tomorrow (late Sunday afternoon) Scott and I are going to a Philadelphia Phillies Game.  A great date night - highly anticipated.  A wonderful Mother's Day gift - for sure. ;)

***
Joining up, today, with Lisa who is currently hosting Simply Saturday, over at the Army Chaplains Wife.






Have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday's Finds | button love

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{Welcome to Friday's Finds! For those of you who are new to this blog and/or just poppin' in - Hello! and welcome.
On Friday's I like to try and feature "a find" of no particular value or sentiment, no reason or rhyme and yet, exactly for all of those reasons I just mentioned.  You'll never guess what I'm going to find, next.}


I feel like I'm the luckiest gal in the world...

All of these buttons were all given to me by a dear friend.  I had no words.  I could not believe my friend let me hand pick through several jars of buttons from her Mother-in-law's own "passed- down" collection - which had been given to my friend, some time ago.

I'm sure.  I almost can't use them.  They're such a find. Do you realize how old some of these buttons must be?  Button makers DO NOT make buttons like this anymore; the colors, the styles, etc.  I'm serious.   Such a "fun" gift.



Thank you, Kristy.

By the way, the last time I talked about BUTTONS - well, I just wanted you to know... nothing has really changed.   My button bin looks pretty much the same, as it's been. 

They're all still in Ziploc bags, but for the most part, the buttons are sorted by colors.  And.  It's comfortable! It might not look so charming - but it's working.

But.  I have been cleaning out my button collection, here of late...believe it or not. I've been doing various other gifts with them.  I can't show yet - due to "highly secretive" reasons.  However, I'll show you soon, enough.  Hang in there...

In the meantime... here is this awesome idea.

What do you think of this??

Button Flowers. {tutorial}

IMG_0882-1


I'm kinda likin' it.

Hope you have a Happy Friday!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Early Morning Calling

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This is all sort of tongue-in-cheek when I say I hear the Early Morning Calling.   You know we've had lots of geese in our pasture out back, recently - but none never as noisy as these two were the other morning

If your looking for quiet... it just wasn't.  It was early morning and those two were LOUD!!!

But, let me get serious.

I've been hearing the Early Morning Calling in the depths of my heart, loud and clear, here of late, but it's amazing the "noise" that is in battle for that position.  You know what I mean?

There seems to have been, perhaps a few sermons, a few blog posts- read, a few conversations with friends, a few "knowings/longings" in and of my own... that makes me want to just begin again.  Start anew.  Be refreshed on a (more) regular, consistent way.

I'm talking about my desire for communion with God - Early Morning Style.  The Calling is "loud and clear" - but the "noise" of my heart is (amazingly) louder.  It's really a struggle...

Why?  Why is that?

This noise comes in many different ways...

*I've tried the front porch - but the neighbors were up and getting their day started (we sort of share front porches).
*The birds were singing beautifully - but that mockingbird was non-stop in his mocking.
*The Little's ones woke up and needed me...immediately.
*The alarm goes off and I feel hubby pull me in closer - for another snuggle (I'm not complaining - I rather love it...)
*The alarm simply going off - so soon.  Already?
*We have somewhere to be, at a certain time in the morning and it's all we can do to get out that front door...
*The mental list of "to-do"; the Rolodex... flipping it's pages in my mind.

how about this one...

* The handwritten notes in the sideline-margin of my (very own) Bible can even be distracting.

It's these sorts of things - that are noisy (for me).

And, then sometimes I wonder if it just isn't plain and simple - fear.

Fear for the fact that my inconsistencies, over time- in the past, in reading God's Word, on a regular basis, will overshadow my desire to 'be more faithful' for the future.

I have good moments... just not enough.

****
What does your Early Morning Calling sound like?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Love : : Could it get any prettier?

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If I live in a house of spotless beauty
with everything in it's place
but have not love
I am a housekeeper; not a homemaker.


If I have time for waxing, polishing
and decorative achievements
but have not love
My children learn of cleanliness not godliness.



Love leaves the dust
in search of a child's laugh.

Love smiles at tiny fingerprints
on a newly cleaned window.

Love wipes away the tears
before it wipes up the spilled milk.

Love picks up the child
before it picks up the toys.



Love is present through trials.

Love reprimands, reproves and is responsive.


As a mother, there is much I must teach my child
but the greatest of these is love.  
                                                         ~ Selected

*******

Lord!  Help me to truly love (today).

When love is in its truest form - could it get any prettier?




Photos:  Enjoying the Bridal Wreath? - before the rain takes all the blooms away.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter Memories Made

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This post may sound a bit late in the game, I suppose.  But here are a few photos/memories of our Easter - as celebrated with my family.  We only got together this past Sunday. 

This photo was taken on (actual) Easter Morning.  Our littles all dressed for the beautiful day of remembering our Risen Saviour.  Aubrey's dress was given to us from dear friends of ours.  Aubrey L*O*V*E*D this dress -especially the little bunny's carrot that was attached by ribbon and got tucked in (and out) of the bunny's little basket!!!!!!

Then, like I said, we had our Easter Dinner at my mom's - just this past Sunday.  Still.  Not everyone (of my eight siblings and spouses) could be there, but it was a nice time of getting together, for the rest of us.  Scott's mom (Grandma Susie) joined us, as well as my Aunt Mary - who recently lost her husband to cancer.  My sister, Juline, loves putting together an egg hunt and so that kept the littles occupied  - later in the afternoon.



Grace, Maddy and Sarah, Aubrey and Caleb - two other cousins were not able to be with us.






The meal that my mother served was delicious - as usual. We had (our own) smoked ham, gourmet potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli salad, pumpkin bread, garden tea, fresh fruit, desserts of Lemon Cream and an Ice Cream Sandwich torte and Coffee.

And, we all were asked to bring something to contribute - as we should.  :)

I was asked to bring my Lemon Cream Dessert
This is so delish!! 


In going back through my blog I realized I only had a recipe link to the Taste of Home, and a photo of my personal recipe card - up before (that I could find).  So, I thought I would actually share the full recipe here with you today.

~ Lemon Cream Dessert ~
1 1/2 cup. sugar
1/3 cup + 1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 cup cold water
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 T. butter, cubed
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 cup lemon juice

Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans (opt. but well worth it)
1/2 cup. cold butter

Topping:
2 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cup. confectioner's sugar
***
2 cups cold milk
2 (3.4oz.) pkgs instant vanilla pudding
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large (12oz. or 16. oz) Cool Whip, divided

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in water until smooth.  Bring to a boil. Cool and stir 1 minute or until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to pan, stirring constantly.  Bring to a gentle boil; cool and stir for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in butter cubes and grated lemon peel till butter has melted.  Gently stir in lemon juice.  Refrigerate until cool.
While that is cooling... make your crust.  In a bowl combine flour and nuts.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs.  Press into bottom of a greased 9x13" pan.  Bake at 350* for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown.  Cool well before adding toppings...

Topping:
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until smooth; CAREFULLY spread over cooled crust.  (I like to use an icing spreader and touch the mixture to the sides of the pan first - filling in gently towards the center.) Next layer.  Spread the cooled lemon mixture.
In another mixing bowl (or, the same bowl as the cream cheese and sugar) beat milk and pudding mixes on low for 2 minutes; add vanilla.  Fold in half of the Cool Whip.  Spread the pudding over the lemon mixture...finishing it off with the remaining Cool Whip.  Chill for 4 hours before cuttings.  Yeilds: 18-24 servings.

****

Enjoy!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Emptying to Fill

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Several days ago, the phrase, Pay it Forward, kept coming to mind.  Then as I wrote for Friday's post - I began mulling over the phrase Poured Out.  Of course, that led to the thoughts of Ann's writings in her book - One Thousand Gifts - that thought of ...

emptying to fill.

These phrases are really all one in the same.  Aren't they?

Which brings us to today.  When I first read that phrase, "empty to fill", it struck me as something I've never given much thought to before. 

I will bless you... and you will be a blessing.  ~ Genesis 12:2, NIV - emphasis added. 
Here of late - I feel as though I've given SOOOOO much out.  And, yet...

How much I've been given.

When things are daily.  Mundane.  Ordinary.  Quite routine and not-so-rewarding in and of themselves, I often fail to measure them against the amazing grace of my Lord.  I often like to say - I am Blessed, but in the nitty, gritty of it all - I so often forget how to be a blessing, both in the coming and in the going.

Washing dishes should be more then just washing dishes.
Folding socks more then just the folding of socks.
Answering another Why? followed by a How come?, etc.

I appreciate that verse from Genesis... or at least it being brought to my attention... that as the LORD blesses us/me - we are in turn blessing others with our doing.  Or we, at least, should be.  With Joy!

I want to share directly from the chapeter, empty to fill, in Ann's book. Here are two paragraphs that say it much better than I.

Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God.  I can bless, pour out, be broken, and given in our home and the larger world never fear that there won't be enough to give.  Eucharisteo (to give thanks)has taught me to trust that there is always enough God.

The servant-hearted never serve alone. Spend the whole of your one wild and beautiful life investing in many lives, and God will simply not be outdone.  God extravagantly pays back everything we give away and exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: Joy in Him.  -- One Thousand Gifts


So.

Even when I need to give my hubby another week, or so, to study deeper still; to retake his exam - due to not passing it on Saturday... I can.  I will.  With Joy!

87. - 89. Thank you Lord, for my man's response to the outcome of this failed exam.  A humble heart - knowing that there is something that you would like to teach him, from this.  That his confidence is in you, Lord, and not in and of himself.

 That speaks to me...

90. Your Holy (inspired) Word!
91. New Life... breathed.  A healthy baby girl born, next door to us.
92. The Lord's Poured Out abundance...
93. a CD given to me - quite unexpectedly - from a friend at church (How Emptiness Sings - Christa Wells)
94. a shared meal with family and friends
95. gifts of Courage. Wisdom.  Insight.
96. early morning - birds singing
97. a full front porch
98. Quiet, still and calm days... so few and far between.
99. when daddy's home!
100. bag orders and Homespun Baby Shoes finished on time.
101. news of protection granted in the midst of tornado driven chaos and heartache.




Sunday, May 1, 2011

Old Time Sunday Hymn Sing | We're Marching to Zion

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~ We're Marching to Zion~Isaac Watts

Come, we that love the Lord,
And let our joys be known,
Join in a song with sweet accord,
Join in a song with sweet accord
And thus surround the throne,
And thus surround the throne.

Let those refuse to sing
Who never knew our God,
But children of the heav'nly King,
But children of the heav'nly King,
May speak their joys abroad,
May speak their joys abroad.

The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heav'nly fields,
Before we reach the heav'nly fields,
Or walk the golden streets,
Or walk the golden streets.

Then let our songs abound
And every tear be dry;
We're marching through Immanuel's ground,
We're marching through Immanuel's ground,
To fairer worlds on high,
To fairer worlds on high.

Chorus:
We're marching to Zion,
Beautiful, beautiful Zion;
We're marching upward to Zion,
The beautiful city of God.

***

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