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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Fireside Chat. Happy New Year! {and a Bags by Bevy! Giveaway - now CLOSED!}

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Happy New Year!  Year 2013.

It's hard to believe, but we've come to this year ~ rested and ready.

(Let's pretend were cozied up by the proverbial fireside... the one that I don't have. But hey, I have my coffee - and you?
Lets chat... shall we?)

I just wanted to tell you...

I wasn't so sure how taking a break for the month of December would go, for me... but I think I can give you a fair estimate.

It went pretty well.

As much as I missed hearing from all of you... I really did enjoy the peace and quiet that the blogging break gave me.

As busy as I was...

I was really at peace.  For the first time in a long time, I wasn't feeling stressed.

You saw the list - which completely engulfed all of December.  And would you believe it if I told you that I was kind of sad to see it go?  To be over already with the Christmas Season?  Well.  It's true.

I mean...I asked myself, Do I really have to take down decorations already?  I thought to myself that I might not, at least for a little while.  One thing I do do is to decorate as wintery as possible. And winter can last as long as it needs to around here.

I don't mind... too much.


For many reasons I feel as though I want to sit and tell you all that happened over the month of December.  I'm sure bits and pieces will come out here and there.  
Like, about the Christmas Concert I was part of.
New recipes created.  Both original and non.
Health Issues.
Family matters...

***
The other day (Saturday) I so enjoyed the snow falling - all while I was upstairs "sewing up a storm".  This is one of the photos takes out of the upstairs window.
 I  have been so blessed to get a couple of orders taken care of that had been placed awhile back.
Like this one...


:: Winter Road Home ::
(medium tote) 
Sold to Robin W.

All of that to say, is that I've had such a fun season of sewing and selling and it wasn't stressful at all.  Which reminds me.  I have a special giveaway at the end of this post for all you loyal readers who have been so kind to let me take a break.  It's kind of a special treat - besides, wasn't it just Christmas?  I wanted to do something extra special in my return...

But before we do that, I wanted to share something with you that I read in an old, old book, just yesterday.  Something that I think and hope will give you cause to ponder and hold onto (treasure, if you will)... especially for the NEW upcoming year.
It may seem a bit "outdated" as far as the word usage goes... but it is/was meant to grip young people in their heart of hearts, in regards to building ones character.  I know it (still) tugged at mine...

Habits of Thought
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is."  A man is not better than the thoughts he habitually thinks.  "Thoughts are things."  It is hard to realize this, and as a consequence thoughts are often lightly considered.  Evil thoughts are sometimes allowed to lodge in the mind unreproved  till the whole man is polluted.  Thoughts can be controlled.  They can be made subject to one's will and to the will of God.  Evil thoughts, neither light and chaffy ones, need be entertained.

Every thought makes, as it were, a tiny furrow in the brain.  Each time a certain thought is repeated, that furrow is deepened, until it becomes easier for thought to follow that path than any other.  If one continually dwells upon his troubles, he will see trouble in much that he looks at; but if one thinks of his blessings, he will be able to see blessings in that at which he looks.  If one gives way to evil, bitter thoughts, it will become almost impossible for him to think any other kind.  He will become as bitter as his thoughts.  If one allows himself to think unclean and impure thoughts, he will soon come to see and hear only those things that tend to make him more impure in his thoughts.

If one entertains a good thought, it will make him able to think a stronger and better thought, and again that better thought will make him able to think and act with more strength and courage than he could possibly have done before.  But if one gives way to an evil thought, a worse thought will be at its end, and a still worse one at the end of that one, till finally the evil thought will completely overcome him.

Thoughts show on the face like lines on a map.  Sad thoughts make the face melancholy; bitter, envious thoughts make the face sour and peevish; low, unclean thoughts make the face ashamed and unable to look pure people in the face; pure, happy thoughts make the face bright and attractive.

To have good thought-habits, one must continually fill the mind with good things.  This can be done by pure conversation, good reading, useful work and study.  Every one is tempted to evil thoughts by those things that must be met in the world.  Evil literature, impure companions, gossip, slander – all these are about us and must be avoided; the thoughts they arouse must be thrown off.  If evil thoughts persist in coming into your consciousness, turn to something worthwhile to think aboutIf they come at night, by willpower think of other things.  If you cannot overcome that way, get up and walk about.  Fight hard, and you will win the battle.  Ask God to help you keep pure.  Form good thought-habits while you are children and young people, and evil thoughts will not bother you when you are old. ~ Mabel Hale.

(excerpt taken from the book, Ideals and Moral Lessons)


I'm not so sure as to why I was so inclined to share that with you today... other than the fact that it encouraged me - a lot.  I like the thought of by looking at our blessings that will in turn allow us to see more (and more) blessings.

Such a good and timely reminder...



***
Are you excited to have me back?  Are you ready for this here giveaway?

 :: Evergreen for Me::  is the name of this bag.  Don't ask me how the name came about.  Some times there truly is a story...but for this one?  Not so sure.

I made up this bag... the other evening.  This is a bag that I really fell in love with and might have a hard time giving up... but I will.  It's on the small to medium size, but the handles fit nicely over the shoulder.  Which that is a bit unusual for a "small bag", coming from me.

There is one pocket on the inside.  The lining is a great vintage print... love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The bottom of the bag is a beautiful faux leather.  And of course it features the usual hand embroidered french knots around the girth of the bag.  The "B" logo on the side of the bag is also hand embroidered.
The three buttons on the front side of the bag is my trademark signature.

I like how these vintage buttons really make the bag "pop".


***
Everyone gets ONE chance.
I don't care if you want to talk about it - to spread the word.  Pin it! Facebook about it. or whatever...
To keep it truly fair...you only get one shot!

Wait.

Is that being a Scrooge?
Yes.
That is being a Scrooge.

Toss that last idea into the fireside flames...
Okay.  Here is the deal.
Leave me a comment for each thing you do and that will earn you a chance to win this great bag, by Bevy.
And who knows.   There honestly might be some other goodies tucked in there with it. In your comment...

Tell me something about this past year that you're grateful to leave behind.  And something for sure you're looking forward to in this new and coming year.

Just so you know, and pass this on as well.  I will close this giveaway out on Friday at 10:00 pm, EST.
Be sure to leave your name if you are entering anonymously.

I can't wait to hear from you.

~ Bevy

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Daybook in December

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FOR TODAY ~ it's late afternoon.  The day after Christmas.  The weather outside is frightful.  I wish we had a warm cackling fire inside.  And since we all have no place to go, this evening... I thought I'd share my day with you.

Outside my window... the evening hour is settling in pretty quickly.  I can't see much outside at this point.  But earlier today it was snowing, along with a mixed precipitation of sleet and rain.  And, oh how the wind continues to whistle and howl.

I am thinking... it's rather nice to be inside.  Seriously.  I'm also thinking how much I love "stormy days/nights"... weird, eh?

I am thankful...for warm, comfortable shelter "in the time of storm", and for a family to share it with. Truly, I am.

In the kitchen...tonight is a covered dish of baked potatoes and smoked sausage, along with green beans and a leftover Christmas combo of homemade rolls & cheesy garlic biscuits.

I am wearing... a long jean skirt and brown and blue paisley blouse - soon it will be comfy PJ's.  Yes!!!!

I am creating... ((ideas are always in motion... and of course, this involves sewing.))

I am going... just a little crazy with all the sickness going on around here in our home.  Between ear aches/infections (needing rounds of antibiotics) and of course fevers that go along with that, to the coughing and other aches and pains associated.  This is just with the children...  ((Not fun!))

I am wondering...what must have it been like to have been Mary, the mother of Jesus?  To have one - the One - perfectly sinless child, alongside of her other children.  Seriously - at the end of the day, where were her thoughts. her feelings, her emotions...as a mother?   Maybe I'll share more thoughts on this another time...

I am reading... (and rereading) Christmas Cards and letters that have come over the past couple of weeks.  It's always good to hear from friends and family.

I am hoping... for a good dump of snow.  One where we're all snowed in and no one is truly going anywhere and we can invite all of our next-door neighbors over for a Soup and Game night!  All they have to do is walk on over.

 ((By the way, the writing of this post has now extended on into the 27th...))

I am looking forward to... to what the New Year - 2013 - will bring!

I am learning... that I have a long way to go in the aspect of being sweet, gentle and gracious when it comes to being a mother, a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister, and a friend.

Around the house... it's quiet as of now.  The kids aren't feeling their best, still...one is asleep, and the other two are visiting with a little friend, Jessica, who is here for a couple of hours.  She is the little gal we watched all summer long.  She is also on Christmas Break and I suggested that she come by, one day, to play. :)

I am pondering...why things go the way they do, sometimes.  Why do we, at times, have to wrestle and question and argue with one another, ourselves, and with our Maker?

A favorite quote for today... (this one made me smile, this week!)
"The best way to double your money is to fold it over and stick it back in your pocket." ~ Abe Martin

One of my favorite things... is currently waking up to quiet inspirational music on our local Christian Radio Station, rather than the usual blaring and loud alarm clock.  You should try it some morning.  It makes a (HUGE) difference...

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Doctor Appointments
Cleaning up around the house, since 20+ people were here for Christmas Day, and Grandma Susie was here for almost two weeks!
Scott is planing on taking an exam, Saturday AM, for school.  Praying for a passing grade...

A peek into my day...

This photo was from Christmas Morning, but Jayne is still sporting these lovely little beauts today.  Love them!!

Joining up with Peggy and other Daybook-ers, HERE..  Take a look...

***

See you all in the New Year, Lord Willing.  Twenty - thirteen, here we come.  ;)

I'm looking forward to getting back into blogging (I've missed you much!) and in bringing in the New Year with a grand ole giveaway - Bags by Bevy style! - here, at Treasured Up and Pondered.  

I hope to hear from you, then.

Let me know how your month was...?  Was it as enjoyed and as stress-free as mine was?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

{Quote} Take Time

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“Take time.  Give God time to reveal Himself to you.  Give yourself time to be silent and quiet before Him, waiting to receive, through the Spirit, the assurance of His presence with you, his power working in you.  Take time to read His Word as in His presence, that from it you may know what He asks of you and what he promises you.  Let the Word create around you, create within you a holy atmosphere, a holy heavenly light, in which you soul will be refreshed and strengthened for the work of daily life.” ~ Andrew Murray

***
Just feeling the need to pop in here today.

For one, I miss you all so much and this quiet thing is hard, when I think of much to say.  But I'll be honest, it's been deeply refreshing, as well, (in some aspects...) to just live out the whispers... of hush.

This quote I shared with you here today is one that has helped me much in the past couple of days.  I just want it to be a true part of my heart... I pray it will for yours as well.

So.  I've been thinking of you.  Working one day at a time through my list.  {Silent Night!}  It is still that...

Blessings on you, each one, my friends... 
As we live out this NOEL season.  

A season of Peace and Good Will to all men.

Monday, November 26, 2012

There's just going to have to be a... {Silent Night}!

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Oh, I hope you understand. {me, biting nails}

Seriously.  This is not a good-by, good-bye.  Okay?  But - I've been thinking about this - what I'm about to write - for a couple of days now and I wanted you to know in an informed way so as not to leave you all in the dark.

I'm going to give myself a little gift for the month of December.  The gift of Hush!  Silence.  I'm going to take a bit of a blogging break, for the rest of the year.   

Oh goodness and I hate to say this now, due to the fact that I've had several new friends and followers hop on board here at Treasured Up and Pondered in the very recent. Thank you!  And, I hope you'll hang around.  Still.

But. Here's why.

Starting this week... this is my life for the next month.  Are. you. ready?

Wait. 

You know, this past weekend and still today: to start the week off with sickness in the wings?  What could be nicer than that?  (I'm being sarcastic.)  Hopefully it's all behind us - for one.  And that for those of us who didn't get it - the bug - the first round,that it will gracefully pass us again on the swing around.  One of us has to be the "hero". Right?

So.  This meant.  The baby, in a timely fashion, had a 15-month well-check appointment to the doctors this morning.  Except that she wasn't well.  Jayne is now on antibiotics for a double-ear infection.

Jumping  to dates...let me explain myself.

Nov. 26th.  Buck Monday - my hubby is off deer hunting!  He was actually gone overnight.  While he was gone and after the kids were asleep.  I decorated the house for Christmas. I was in bed by 1 AM.  Today was Jayne's Doctor appointment.  I have a pocket pouch/bag to sew up tonight for a friend who ordered one.  I promised it would be ready tomorrow evening.  It will!!
Nov. 27th.   Tuesday. Blessings Unlimited party, here, at 7pm.  You're welcome to place an online order. ;)
Nov. 28th.  Wednesday.  I see a surgeon for a consultation.  I'm actually praying that this means surgery.  So this is a pending added future "plan" and something to work around.  Any questions?
Nov. 29th.  Thursday.  Christmas Concert Practice.
Nov. 30th. Friday. (preparing a fruit salad and Bags by Bevy stock items for an event Saturday!)

December 1st. Saturday.  Ladies Equip Mtg & Brunch (with Church).  I'm setting up a table (my display) for my etsy shop items...there.  Bags by Bevy  makes a second appearance.
Dec. 2nd.  Sunday.  After service. 1st Dress Rehearsal for Christmas Concert.
Dec. 3rd. Monday.  - Dec. 4th. Tuesday
Dec.5th. Wednesday.  Care Group.
Dec. 6th. Thursday.  Chiropractor
the 7th. Friday. Christmas Concert Practice
the 8th. Saturday.  Scott: CG Men's breakfast/Mtg. Me: monthly Grocery Shop to Lancaster.
Sunday the 9th. Church  (maybe, guests for lunch!)
Monday the 10th. Follow-up Dr. appointment for Jayne.
the 11th
the 12th. Wednesday - another Dr. appointment for me.
the 13th  Thursday - Christmas Concert practice  (Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm in charge - I guess - of making top hats and other props - or at best, I've started on it.)
the 14th. Friday - possible overnight guests (at least it's written in my calendar?)
the 15th. Saturday.  CG Ladies Mtg/breakfast.  and 2nd Dress Rehearsal
(I almost forgot that I signed up to bake four dozen cookies for after the concert on Sunday!)
Sunday the 16th.(serve in the Nursery at church) 6pm. - Church Christmas Concert.
Monday the 17th.  Caleb's school - Holiday Concert at 7pm.

???  Is surgery going to be in here???

Never mind that Scott is still studying all this while for his Bachelor's.  And, I know he has a schedule of his own, somewhat, in this line up. ;)

I also have a sewing list beyond words...

I've been meaning to sew together a quilt top for my son for Christmas.  Using Homespun Fabric squares.  They are cut - I just need to sew them and I think I'll just knot the quilt.

I have a couple of ideas for the girls...

I've been meaning to sew up a few skirts for myself...

I KNOW I'm going to be getting a few more bag orders - after the showing on the 1st of December.  I've had ladies contact me about this already.

We drew names for Christmas - I have one of my five sister's names.  hahaha!  and what to do for her for Christmas? Something unique and totally her!?!?!?!?

OF COURSE, as well - there are cookies to bake.  A menu to make, as we're hosting my family again here for Christmas Day.  Normal family meals to create...and I'm sure a few Blessing Meals thrown in there.  All of this besides the fact that along with the normal flow of homemaking; laundry, meals, dishes and cleaning (ahem!)....there is this need to sleep.  All within reason. ;)

Don't forget.  There are gifts to buy and wrap.

So.  I think I know that I need to cut down on something. Blogging has to slow.  This is not to say that I won't pop in from time to time.  Okay? I need you.  I need encouragement.  I want to hang on to this quiet place and come away refreshed.  So - I'll most likely be reading (in my spare moments) ha!! Maybe, just maybe, a post here and there.  But.  NO promises!

And.  Please!  Please... check in with me.  See how I'm doing.  What, I'm doing.  Find out - if I'm doing.  Doing Anything.  Anything at all?

 Please?

I will miss you greatly.

But, I trust you know that I will be doing my best to be doing what I'm called mostly to do. First.  That is this... to Keep my Heart at Home!  As a wife and a mom!

What I'm asking for is your thoughts and prayers this season.  Because.  My hearts prayer is this:

I want to SLOW.  Really SLOW and SEE my Saviour more - in this already busy season that it is.  I can hardly believe we're here at this time of the year already.  The things I listed are what is already on the plate.  That, most likely, isn't even the half of it.  We all know how MORE and MORE will creep in to the already jam-packed schedule before we know it.  In fact.  I know I already forgot to write down a few Christmas Parties that are already being put in place with Church... I just can't remember the dates.  But see?  This is what I'm talking about.

Slowing down... in a sense... is like trying to budget time like you budget money.  Writing it down and to not be caught off guard - if possible.

All of that to say this...

Friends.  Have a wonderful month of December.  May the snow fall gently.  May the "cozy" of heart and hearth be the fire of Jesus' love burning brightly.

Go - in peace - and sing and live the Good News!!!

Silent Night!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

And the Tea & Trouble Brewing Winner is...

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Becky... Seasoned with Salt!

"Loved the post today! Thanks for the encouragement, Bev and Dorcas! We've had ants in the house and marriage in our 17years as well just as described here. Terro bait works for the home just like good conversation over hot tea and a game works for the marriage. Our "ants" include nit-picking, thoughtless words, unresolved anger... creeping into the nooks and crannies when you're busy with family life. Thanks, Bev, I follow your blog and I am heading to Dorcas' blog right now!

PS: Dorcas, did you know you can get Terro ready to go in traps, so you don't have to pour sticky stuff around? Just cut open and set it wherever, move it to a new spot when the ants are gone. 

PSS: And I forgot to say... we like hot tea in the evenings, but prefer coffee during the day. I confess though, that I have an addiction to McD's sweet tea, light on the ice, please."

***
Congratulations, Becky!  I'll be getting this book out to you - Lord Willing - tomorrow at church, if not later this week!
(We're dealing with a couple of sick little ones here today.  Not so fun.)

Blessings to you, all!, on the remainder of your weekend.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Here's one way to look at it...

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When life seems "the pits" - remember the Cherry-Blessing that surrounds each one.  Surprisingly... they're might be more - much more- then you can take in to count.

As the old hymn reminds...

Count your Many Blessings!  

Not just today, but every day.

:: Happy Thanksgiving Day ::
***

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to join in the Giveaway that is hanging around until Saturday! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Mugs & Muffins} :: Tea and Trouble Brewing, by Dorcas Smucker ~ Giveaway! and recipe { CLOSED!}

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Welcome back to Mugs and Muffins!  It seems like it's been such a long time... hasn't it?  At least for me it has.  Anyway...

For any new friends visiting here today... Hello! You might be coming here as part of the Tea and Trouble Brewing blog hop/giveaway tour and I'll just fill you in quickly. Mugs and Muffins is a once-a-month "event" that I try to regularly host here at Treasured Up and Pondered.  It's where I'll feature a guest post writer/speaker/giveaway and a recipe.   Glad to have you come by.

For most of you, my readers, you've been waiting for this and are wondering... and well, as I've alluded to on Monday - something is/was abrewin'.  Thank you to you too, for coming by.  I hope I won't disappoint.

So, here it is!  The time has come for me to introduce to you my guest speaker, all the way from the state of Oregon.  Harrisburg, Oregon, that is; living in a 100-year-old farmhouse nestled in the lovely Willamette Valley. 

Pull up a chair.
Pour yourself some hot tea! Your favorite, please.
And, of course, you'll need a Cranberry-Orange Scone to go along with that. (smile!) Something I'm anxiously awaiting to try myself.

(I know we usually do muffins here but this recipe/idea was found in the back of this book, I am talking about today - and I felt it appropriate to go this route!)

Without further adieu...  let's welcome our guest and friend... Dorcas Smucker!

Dorcas is the wife of a Mennonite Minister, the mother of six children and author of several books/memoirs.  She is a once-a-month columnist for the Eugene Register-Guard, on Facebook and is blog host for Life in the Shoe.  Dorcas has recently written a new book called Tea and Trouble Brewing...and let me tell you, I laugh and I cry as I read.

I feel as though I've found a kindred spirit...

I've been reading along- only recently - as a friend of mine (Tricia E.) introduced me to Dorcas' books, and got me "hooked up" in this giveaway.  I'm so glad she did.  It's kind of funny...how such a small world it is we live in... and all of the many connections we can "find we have" with people.

Not knowing anything prior of Dorcas, I have found out that she and I know a couple of the same people, (I know.  Her and I are going to have to talk about this) we share similar interests and my most favorite find while reading her book ...similar to my own, is her dry & witty sense of humor.  The fact that I still consider myself a Mennonite, by some standard, (maybe not outwardly, but in my heart) obviously explains that scenario - right there. {smile!}

I get it!!

I've been thoroughly enjoying getting to know her and her family through these Memoirs...Ordinary Days- Family Life in Farmhouse, Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting and Downstairs the Queen is Knitting.

I know you will, too.

I asked for Dorcas' permission to share a chapter, from her newest release, in it's entirety, in order for you to get a glimpse of how she writes.  This was one of the hardest things to choose.  Which one?   I finally choose this particular chapter because it really, really resonated me.  If you've read Treasured Up and Pondered for any length of time, you know of my love-hate relationship with ants - and old, old Farmhouses!  It's the farmhouses - I love!  Ants not so much. Even though they are one of God's most amazing of Creation; the ones we're told to learn from. (Proverbs 6:6-8) But, oh how they rattle me!

I'm always up for a good and strong analogy with which to identify with and to be strengthened by.  This chapter has given me pause... and something "new" to consider.  I hope it will for you, as well.

The Ants of Marriage  

~ Dorcas Smucker, Tea and Trouble Brewing
I had coffee with my brother Phil and his wife, Geneva, last week, and after Phil went back outside, Geneva and I talked about marriage. “You need to write a book about marriage after twenty-some years,” she said. “How to keep it alive and meaningful. How to keep the connection. There are no books out there like that; I’ve checked — Barnes and Noble, Borders, everywhere. Everything is for newlyweds, not for people our age. So that needs to be your next book.”

Geneva can be very persuasive, especially when she looks at me like that over her coffee cup. However, considering how I bumble through marriage and parenting without ever quite knowing what I’m doing, I told her I would be the wrong person to write a how-to book.

Nevertheless, it was an intriguing thought as I drove south on Interstate 5 — what exactly does it take to make a silver-anniversary marriage work? I consider Paul’s and my marriage healthy, usually, but we spend far too much time meeting all the demands on our time and consequently going too long without really communicating. So do we have a good marriage or are we just too busy for conflict?

When I came home, my thoughts were quickly diverted to more tangible things, such as putting groceries away, making supper, is Jenny coming down with something, and who was the culprit who didn’t push down the last corner of this Tupperware lid and  let the ants crawl all over the chocolate chip cookies again?
Our house has been invaded by ants for months now, little black creatures that by themselves look innocent and even cute, but in massed crawling swarms are downright terrifying. They arrived in stealth, located all the vulnerable entrances, then fanned out and conquered the kitchen. Soon they took over new territories in other rooms as well.

Nothing was safe. We found them on the stove, the toaster, the counters; in the flour, the precious European chocolates, the dishwasher, the new cereal. They were fond of water, molasses, homemade cookies and electrical components.

Our son Steven started playing a CD in his room and soon saw a disturbing river of ants flowing out of his CD player. He investigated and found a city of them inside among the wires, complete with a nursery of larvae. A few days later, I cleaned behind the computer in the office and found hundreds of ants milling inside and around the power strip along the wall.

Desperate, I bought little plastic igloos that were supposed to lure and kill them. They did nothing. My homemade window-cleaning spray with rubbing alcohol and vinegar stunned them only temporarily. Tilex, we discovered, killed them instantly and cleaned the counters thoroughly as well, but soon they were back for more.

The best solution we found was liquid Terro, a clear syrup that we dropped in dime-size dollops on little papers in the cupboards. The ants swarmed in black rings around the droplets, like cattle around a tank, then they would all march away, touching antennae with incoming ants.  Then they evidently died, because that particular area would be ant-free for a few days. But the next day a new colony would take over a new drawer, swarming over the brown sugar.

I went online for help. “Exterminators don’t work,” said most pages. “At least not for long. Try to find and destroy the nests, and especially, try to locate and kill the queen, the source of the problem.” Impossible, in a house this size and age.

My daughter’s friend Felicia said we should pour a bag of sugar around a tree in the yard. “It’ll lure the ants outside,” she insisted. Yes, outside, where I was sure they would reproduce in vast numbers with that food supply, and then come swarming back inside tenfold when the sugar was gone.

Meanwhile, life kept galloping on, and Paul and I passed each other coming and going. Valentine’s Day came and Paul got me pink roses. In spite of that gesture, I got irritated at him for going around school all day with his thick jacket on with only the bottom snap fastened, which makes it ride up in the back, which lacks the dignity he needs as a teacher. He was annoyed at me for leaving the lamp on to read at night when he wanted to sleep. I reminded him again about that everlasting remodeling project upstairs that he’d never finished.
Our poor old marriage. We needed a date, maybe going out to eat, just the two of us. I had in my purse four gift cards, for three different restaurants, that we were given for Christmas up to two years ago and never used. Paul told me to line them up on the dresser right by his pens and keys, so he would see them and remember.
I used to think it wasn’t Truly Romantic unless he read my mind, or surprised me, but now we both know that’s a destructive deception, and after 20-odd years I can be forthright and tell him what I need.

So we sat in a booth at Olive Garden, both on one bench seat, not for cozy romance but so he could hear me better, and we ate and talked and were happy to know we still enjoyed each other’s company. Then he drove us slowly home in the thickly falling snow and asked me if I was scared. No, I said, he knows what he’s doing and I can trust him.

We talked about marriage things that are hard to bring up, about how that makes me feel when you say that, and what we should do or say instead. We did not have to reassure each other that we are in this marriage to stay, because we both know that.

We watched the falling snow seemingly curve and rush toward the windshield, and we remembered the night we drove in snow just like that and hit a moose and lost our van and nearly our lives, and then we were quiet, thinking of what we’ve survived together.

After we came home, I thought about Geneva’s idea for a book as I sprayed the ants in the sink and washed them down the drain.

Inspiration struck. “I got it!” I crowed to the family. “Keeping your marriage healthy is like fighting ants!”
Emily, the dramatic ant-hating daughter, was horrified. “Goodness gracious, is it really that awful? Why would you ever want to get married?”
Oops, maybe not such a good analogy after all. And yet...
“Think about it,” I said, “all the comparisons.”

Nature and life and Newton’s laws are not conducive toward either a clean, ant-free kitchen or a happy marriage. Both are won by fighting against natural regression. Everyone you ask will offer you their own wonderful solution, but it’s less about easy magic than about persistence, vigilance and hard work, pouncing on the destructive little beasts that come crawling out of the corners. And you have to identify the root problems.
Clever, I thought. Emily still looked skeptical, but then, she is very young.

School was called off the next day because of the snow. Paul cut sheet-rock and hauled it upstairs to finish the everlasting project — and to make me happy. I turned off the lamp so he could sleep, because I love him. He didn’t kiss me goodnight because he had a bad cold and didn’t want me to catch it. And all that will never make much of a how-to book for a long-term happy marriage, but it works.

See what I mean?? Dorcas makes you think.  She is funny.  She is real.  In all of her essay's or stories - you can see her faith is strong, authentic and in complete trust to her Creator's orchestration.  She is a woman who is not afraid to share her life and life her life to the fullest.  Her cup runneth over...and yes! even the saucer.

All I can say is Dorcas had me at "hello!"  And yes! to her daughter's quandary?  Marriages are that much worth fighting for and more...

Per the Author's request - the following information is made available to you:

To order a copy, for yourself, go to Amazon , to pay by credit card.
If you would prefer to pay by check, please send $15 (postage is included in this price) to Dorcas Smucker, 31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446.

**Dorcas also has a special right now. All 4 of her books for $40.00. Again, postage is included.

***
Of course, this book, a signed copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing is on for the GIVEAWAY today, and the giveaway will run to the end of the week.  I will draw an entry through random generator on Saturday, at 12 noon, EST.  Winner will be notified, on Saturday. {now... CLOSED!}

To enter the giveaway:
* For one entry. Leave a comment here on my blog. Tell me: Are you a Tea Drinker?  If so, What is your favorite kind of Tea?  Or, if you care to share, What's your current trouble?
* For a second entry. Follow Dorcas' blog - Life in a Shoe .  Let me know!
* For a third entry. Sign up to follow my blog - Treasured Up and Pondered. Let me know!

Pass the word!  REMEMBER you have until Saturday, at noon, to get in on this. (Facebook comments must be redirected here to the blog in order to enter.)  If you have trouble commenting, email me and I'll add you in. (aitsbevy@yahoo.com)

***
Now, for that Scone Recipe.  

I hope you don't mind but I found a recipe for these scones in the back of Dorcas' book...and a photo of scones via Pinterest.  The recipes are extremely close...


Cranberry-Orange Scones Recipe



With Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow - and plans to be away from home all day - I knew you would understand if I didn't make the plate of scones up myself.  These, however, are a must try...in my book.  Don't they look Delish?  I can almost smell them... they look so fabulous.

Hope you enjoy!

***
Thank you for stickin' around today.  I hope you'll be back.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  May you enjoy it most with your family and friends. 
Remember.  We truly do have much to be grateful for.  We are blessed with more then we deserve.  God is Good!  Amen?

Blessings!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mugs and Muffins :: On pause, until Wednesday...something's a brewin'.

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I'm trying to get back into the swing of things here; back into the groove of the monthly segment of Mugs and Muffins.  Thank you so much for your patience.  
We missed last month due to my 31days series on Hospitality.

But.  I can't go on any further... today.  You must wait until Wednesday.  Okay?
 I've got tea and trouble brewing.... that's what.
No need to worry.  Just come back on Wednesday.  Please?!?!?!?!
Okay.  I'll give you one hint.  It's a Giveaway!
***
 So, did you have a wonderful weekend?  Like me?
Sweet Country Time - Medium Bag{Here is a BIG cause for celebration!} Over the weekend, I've had my first official sale outside of friends and family on a bag of mine out of my etsy shop to someone I don't know (I've sold a few brooches, but no bags).

That made me feel so super excited. 
You have no idea how exciting that was for me.

Somewhere to a gal in Mississippi!

 Fun.  Fun.
:: Sweet Country Time ::
 
***
A thought to leave you with today...

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.  ~ Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The ALL {read: awe} in Fall

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If you recall, back in the summer I did this post entitled - the "S" in Summer!

I got to thinking I would love to do one for Fall.  And - of course - I thought of several things that began with an "F" {which I'll include here} to make this post come to life.

 But, the more I thought about it, these things are really what brings me to awe - and ironically have a lot to do with Fall.  Fall really is my most favorite time of year!


So, come along as I gather up what it is I love about this season .

:: Foliage ::

This is true love for a lot of people.  The colors of fall are so vibrant and ever changing.  I love the surprise of everywhere I turn.  Some days I truly am in awe of all that I see... scattered across the countryside.


:: at a local park ::

Gather leaves when they turn and fall, dip them in wax to hold their colors, and suspend in front of a window. I love fall!
{via Pinterest}

This fun of playing in leaves is such a memory for me.  I know with so few trees (in turn, less leaves) on our property, the children get to enjoy this somewhat - but not like I would like to see...

:: Food ::

This is a "no-brainer",food is a must.
But. As it seems that there are too many *new*  fall-festive foods to try for this time of year.
There isn't enough season to make and bake all this goodness. At least for me, there isn't, and these are just a taste of what is out there.
 
From the Gooseberry Patch Blog - Great Pumpkin Cheese Ball recipe.
{via Pinterest}
Pies in mason jars - really cute idea
{via, Pinterest}

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies Recipe, found HERE.


That is, unless you share it with...

::Friends::

It's like you can't have food without friends or family nearby.  You know what I mean?  I'm always fond of friends and without them there would be no frolics, no fun, no...fire???

Roasting Marshmallows by the Fire
{via Pinterest}

Here is why I say Fire.  This quote is helpful to explain...

"There is always a place for you by my fire,
And though it may burn to embers,
If warmth and good cheer are your desire,
The friend of your heart remembers!"
 ~ unknown author

As friends, we stoke each others' fire.  True?

This is a wall plaque that I have hanging in our dining room.  I think it's fitting - in what it says - for our home.

:: Frost ::

The sight of icy, glittering frost on fields and on every leaf or blade of grass is such a beautiful form of artwork in my mind.  God intricately designs this beauty.  By just a mere {whisper?}command... his breath produces ice. (Job 37)

There is nothing I love more than upon waking, to look outdoors and see the early morning sunrise.  The fields, this time of year,  are FULL of white frosty wonder.  I love feeling the steam upon my face wafting up from my coffee mug while warming my hands as I once more get a chance to stand in awe, of my Father God - the Creator and Sustainer of ALL.

:: Flannel ::  

 How could I forget this fun stuff?
Flannel.
Shirts, that is.  Not Sheets.
(The one thing I can't do is flannel sheets)

 FLANNEL    

{via Pinterest)

***
 The coziness of Fall!!!
There is nothing like it in ALL the world.

This could also mean and include not just (plaid) Flannel, but Homespun, Quilts, Sweaters, Slippers.... layers!!!  Throw in Candles...with scents and smells.  The pulling out of board games or the turn of another page...

Even the sun sets differently in the West!

***

What would you add?  What makes up your ALL in Fall?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bags by Bevy - make an appearance!

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Today, I thought I would show what I did this past Saturday.  I was invited to a Holiday Open House at the home of a dear friend of mine, with about nine other vendors.  It was absolutely FUN for me to get out, set up a little display and talk to people.
 

This was something I've never done before... in this regard.  And, yes! I was a little nervous.  But it helped to be at a place (someones home!) that I was familiar with.  I decided to "be comfortable" by sitting and sewing on a Pocket Pouch that I planned to add to the "thank you" gift that we gave to our friends who's home we used. 
This photo shows the pouch without the hand sewing...You can see the pile of thread underneath the scissors.  I'm getting ready to add the blanket stitch around the perimeter of the pouch.


I hosted a ::Giveaway:: on Saturday.  And that was to give away this bag... which actually, I only finished up on Friday night.  This photo was taken in the beautiful early morning light - before the Open House.


Winter Wonderland - went to a lady by the name of Lorene D.

Congratulations, Lorene!  She seemed so thrilled to have been the chosen one.  Which made me happy, too!  I personally know this lady a little bit... and it fits her perfectly.



The only "sale" I made, Saturday, was with the two other Pocket Pouches that are here on the front of the table.  Except that those were made "after hours".  Totally fine with me.  Oh, and another friend said that if She didn't win the drawing that she would like a something similar in color and style - so I guess in theory, that is another sale.

All in all.  I am so glad that I did this.  It was a lot of fun.  And.  Yes! I made Cinnamon Rolls to add to the food/refreshment table, which reminds me I promised the recipe, to the other vendors. Christmas music was playing... it felt and smelled like Christmas!  Oh... and I found some fun things to buy from the other gals... of course.

By the way!  One of my friends, Kristin, is a *new* consultant for Blessings Unlimited.  YES!  I signed up for a Gathering to be hosted in my home...I'm very, very excited about this.  I can not wait to have this happen the end of this month.  Local friends... keep this in mind.  You'll be hearing from me. ;)

I also want to say that my most favorite part of the day was seeing my husband walk through the door (totally surprised me!) - just to come by and show me his support.  That REALLY made my day... and I told him so! ;)

Until next time...
Come by here - Bags by Bevy - and make me have to change my display.  {smile!}  You know?  Add some new stuff...

Christmas is coming...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Story Lines

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Good Morning, dear friends... it's actually afternoon now, isn't it?  Wow.  I'm getting good at this.  Starting out early - finishing off late.  Better late than never... eh?

What a beautiful Monday!!
And. 

I should say, today has been just perfect for tackling and pinning these laundry piles to the line.

There is no better way to get some fresh air in the lungs and start a new week.  Don't you think?  I make that sound like Monday is always wash day around here, but it isn't.  Not really...it's more like every day could be, should be and is!!!

I have a question for you.

Do you ever see lines of laundry strung out and you wonder the stories behind the articles of clothing/items hanging?

For instance. 

Looking on at my line of wash, I'll tell you what I see... 

I see a hardworking man who lovingly provides for his family as well as serving others in those semi- ripped up, worn out jeans, perhaps helping them move or working on a house-project. 
I also see a busy kitchen was underway... and just perhaps? by all the tea towels and tablecloths, that they (as in we) had guests over for dinner? Again?

Oh, the stories... the story lines that could be filled.

Good times.  Good times.

***

What was your weekend like?  How has your Monday gone, so far?  At least come by and say, "hello!"... I've been missing you.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bloggy Updates ~ Checking In!

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A "in-real-life" friend emailed me this morning, just checking in, wondering if I was alright since it had been Thursday since I posted anything.

Yes!  
I am just fine and I thanked her.

But, I've just been a bit busy.  All good.

 I've been blessed with the opportunity to continue the practicing of hospitality since our friends from last week (long story) came back to stay with us - again - for a few days.  They arrived Sunday evening and have FINALLY (good news for them and on their behalf) gotten word last evening that they get to go actually sign the papers this afternoon on the rental property that they "found" last week.

Yes!  It's been a long, drawn out process for them.  Fine for us, though.

We've thoroughly enjoyed having this family of five stay with us. I think we're really going to miss them.
Here. ;)

I'm glad we get to be neighbors - ish!  They won't be living too, too far away.  So, that will be fun.

In the meantime... 
I've been finding time to make some additional items to add to my Etsy Shop. 

I'll be working on adding these (and more!) into my shop over the remainder of the week.  Hence no more blogging will take place this week.  Thanks for understanding.

I was invited to be a part of a Holiday Open House this coming Saturday morning.  
Represented will be:
Pampered Chef
Tupperware
Thirty-One bags
Norwex
Bags by Bevy (that would be me!)
Necessity Pantry
Lil Pink Blanket Bowtique
Arbonne

Refreshments and Giveaways will be included.  Any questions or you need directions email me.

**

Thank you for being a faithful reader and friend.  I guess you could say I'm checking in with you all as well.  Hopefully, you're doing well.
Lord Willing I'll get back into the swing of blogging again soon.

Don't forget. Make a difference, today and Go Vote!!!!!!!!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Daybook in November :: the Autumn Edition

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Outside my window...
This morning was beautiful.  It seemed like every time I glanced out the kitchen window - while prepping coffee and packing my husband's lunch, for the day - that the skies were ever changing.  The vibrancy of the morning stirred me. First a golden white glow, then pink streaks followed by a deep grey blue.  And now just a beautiful sunshiny morning.

I am thinking...
I cannot believe it is NOVEMBER already... but here it is!

I am thankful...
That through the rage of this hurricane/storm that the East Coast just experienced that essentially we walked away untouched and with electricity. And - that through it all we were able to comfortably house guests; a family of five.
For the chance to "practice hospitality".  For gracious guests.

In the kitchen...
Nothing going in there right now - except coffee!
(because...)

I am wearing...
yes! I'm still in my PJ's this morning...

I am creating...
Last night I got a chance to sew.  Which was wonderful.  Right now, I am working on a Pocket Pouch to add to my Etsy. 

I am going...
To the Chiropractor today!  I go once a month and today is the day.

I am wondering...
If our first Christmas Concert Practice will be held tonight?  After all... a lot of our neighboring area is still without power. That might affect who's house it was going to be at tonight.  I know Caleb doesn't have school again today - due to the power outage.

I am reading...
Ordinary Days, by Dorcas Smucker
Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money

I am hoping...
For a nice quiet day today.  Maybe a chance to finish sewing on that little project I started last night. And that Caleb really, really isn't coming down with another fever.  Please, not this again...

I am looking forward to...
Helping these friends of ours who stayed in our home for the past several days - actually move into the home they found to rent, yesterday. A home of their own.  Not because of anything that happened while they were here at our home, but because this is and was such an answer to prayer for them.

I am learning...
That it is always less of me and more of HIM!

Around the house...
I have some laundry to put away.  Some floors to sweep.  And some food ideas to think about awhile... for this upcoming weekend.

I am pondering...
Exactly, just how to answer this prompt? (smile!)

A favorite quote for today...
This one by Thomas Jefferson keeps coming back to me.
"If you want something you've never had, you must be willing to do something you've never done."

One of my favorite things...
Watching my hubby wave to me from his car as he pulls away each morning.  And how that if the kids are awake before he leaves how they have to BE SURE to send him off with a hug and a kiss.  Me too!  but it is their near-tantrum-like behavior that happens if this gets missed.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Our small group is putting on a Fall Social on Saturday night, complete with a bonfire and singing.

A peek into my day...


Following along with the Simple Woman today... go HERE to read more of the Autumn Edition in Daybooks.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31 days :: Moving on!

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 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 (NIV)

Wow!!  Here we are at the end.  The time has come to face the end; the 31st day of our 31 days of Hearts at Home :: Extending Hospitality.

I so enjoyed the Nester's Challenge.  Thank you for hanging in here and reading along this whole time.  I really appreciate it.  I'll be honest... I had no idea if I'd be able to pull it off.  Wasn't so sure I would have that much to say all on the basic same topic.  Apparently so, because I'm a little sad my "prompt" is over.  

I also know, from time to time, it was sporadic and I told you that would happen.  I just wanted to be faithful to whatever it was the Lord laid on my heart for the day... so some of it (I admit!) was things you had read before here at Treasured Up and Pondered and, at the same time, I hope you were blessed the second time through.

Again, thank you for grace.

I wasn't really sure how this last post would come to a close and I wasn't so sure I was going to end with talking about our opportunity at hand... but.

I've been busy putting hospitality to practice since Sunday in a very real way.  This family of five that has been "living" with us have been a wonderful addition to our home and yet, if I'm honest, it's been stretching.  Many evenings, after the kids were asleep, the four of us adults would sit and fellowship.  Really some true - getting-to-know-one-another was happening... and all in a good way.  Lots of encouragement and comradity (?) going on.

 Lots of coffee...

Lots of laundry...

Did I mention, they have a little dog?  Oh yes - another HUGE stretch for me, but it's been much, much better than I've ever expected.

Our kids taking to each other so well ... with so reality mixed in of not-so-well.  Again... we've been practicing.  Both in the giving and in the receiving.

For one.  My kitchen being taken over every afternoon by their twelve-year old daughter - who LOVES to bake and so, why not?  Here is her chance to shine and it gives her something to do - making her feel important.  Today it was Banana Crumb Muffins. 


Yesterday, it was brownies.  The day before that, the yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies...

I say all of this to say...

It's all about having a servant heart.  You can...  We can all say we have one, until it's proven.  And that's where I want to leave this series.

You'll never know how much of a Heart at Home you have until you begin the task of Extending Hospitality.  It will NEVER be perfect.  That is why the call is there - to just practice.  Practice by letting go of yourself and putting others before yourself.

I want to end by asking you for some feedback.  How did you honestly enjoy this series?  What was your favorite post or which one struck the most cord with you?  Which one wasn't so hot?

Any stories you would like to share?  Any thoughts or questions?

There is also this link that I want to leave you with that hopefully you'll find time to read.  It blessed me - so long ago - that I printed it off the website and kept it in my Bible for a constant reminder and reference.
I just wanted to share it with you as well.  It's written by MaryBeth Whalen, entitled... HOME : More Than Just a Word.  Hopefully you'll find a time to read this when you get a chance.

Well.  That's it!!  The end of this 31 day series.  My first ever.  Again, thank you for listening.  Thank you for reading.  As you leave - would you mind just continuing to lift this family of five to the Lord.  They are so wanting to be in the Lord's Will and in their :: MOVING ON! :: be at peace, fully, with what He has for them.  Their faith continues to amaze me.  And I'm so glad we got to do this with them and for them.  And we will continue to be here for what they need in the interim.
***
Click on the button below for the previous posts in this series.

31daysofHeartsatHome

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 days :: The best thing ever seen or heard...

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 Picture this.  
It's late evening around the dinner hour.  This time of year it's already dark outdoors, by the time the dinner hour rolls around - or at least getting there.

You're driving along with your own family in tow...and you pass by house after house, some with every light on and others not so much.

This has happened for me (recently) on more than one occasion, where I would see the drapes in windows wide open and a family, sitting, gathered around their dinner table eating together.

As. a. Family.

There is nothing more heart-warming than to see that picture flash before you, caught in your peripheral as you drive by.
At least, for me anyway.

This family is...
at. home.

***
In light of Sandy, the recent storm that our HUGE surrounding area has just gone through.  I know this morning, many, many folks are still "coming out" from under it's aftermath.  

Home.

It's a place where many may take for granted and when it's gone or "different" or "rearranged" - our heart-value placed on our homes changes drastically.
We're usually a lot more grateful and appreciative of our homes when close calls come knocking.

I know, last night, I got to thinking of how grateful I was that we were able to house guests (a family of five!) in our home since Sunday.  They're still here... looking for a place to call (their own) HOME.
We were safe.  We had electric the whole time.  We were/are comfortable.
Caleb said this the other day to me.
"Mom, I love our home".

You know what?  So do I.

I think that was one of the best things I've ever heard...

Reading in Hebrews chapter 3 this morning... these verses caught my attention.
"...just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.  For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything."

Which in turn led me back to a couple of my favorite verses in Proverbs.
Proverbs 14:1 ~  A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
Proverbs 24:2 ~ By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

How much more, than in walking through raging storms and battling any sort of crisis in the physical sense is this needed necessity to keep family a strong and sure thing.
Building our homes on the solid rock - Christ Jesus.  He, our sure foundation.

Praying together and reading together and playing together - dining together, surely...
keeps (or helps to keep) a family together.
And when seen - it is heart-warming.
Longed for.
And...inviting.

What a Treasure!

***
Click on the button below for the previous posts in this series.  Updated Daily.


 31daysofHeartsatHome


Monday, October 29, 2012

31 days :: Hospitality in Halloween. Really?

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It's a coming...that long, long walk. ;)

You might remember I recently posted a post, in this series, entitled: Field of Dreams.  I want to pick that "thought" back up today and tell you about a time when Scott and I and our two children, at the time, did actually walk "across the way" to our neighbors and well, don't let me get a head of myself.

First.  I want to clear the air about something.  You've seen the word Halloween in my post title and you've raised your eyebrows at me.  Listen...
 I am not condoning Halloween.  I don't like it.  I never have and I never will.  As my children get older - it's getting even harder to make it clear that we don't do Halloween - at least the way their friends might think.

So.  Now, on to my post.
 Halloween and Hospitality have a lot in common, okay?  Say - Yes!!!
And you ask - are you for real?
Yes.  Yes, I am.

A couple of years ago - I heard a radio conversation going on that gave me pause.
The morning show dude was saying something along these lines, regarding Halloween...

"Our neighbors may or may not be neighborly or (very) friendly.  At times, we wonder how to "break the ice" and really connect with them.  Well, Halloween is a time where people expect people to come to their doors.  THEY ACTUALLY LEAVE THE LIGHT ON, for you to "feel welcome".  They "plan" to treat you... if you show up."

Further more...

"What if we (as Christians) did the opposite, in a sense, and used these "open doors" as a way to meet our neighbors?  Use this as a tool to introduce yourself; be friendly/neighborly; treat them with fresh, home-baked cookies (or whatever), invite them to church, or find out if there is a way to do something practical for them.  Set up a time to come back and follow up...
Your kids are a great way to help "break the ice".  Get your church group involved.  Think hospitality... on the go!  Go out there... say hello... and bless them instead."

Well.  That resonated with me.  So Scott and I decided we were going to give this a try.  (Let me tell you, it's very nerve-racking!)  But we did it and I have a really cool follow-up story (the results) that you can read about, HERE

We're looking forward to doing it again this year, as well.  Will you join us?

:: These are Peanut Butter Bars with Chocolate Chips.  One problem...resulting out of our story... we found out later that the neighbors son is "highly" - not sure about deathly? - allergic to Peanut Butter.  That was not comforting to hear... but how we were to know?  I mean obviously nothing happened - she realized it before he got to them.

Oh, I felt so terrible.  So - no P.B. At least coming from us.

***
Click on the button below for the previous posts in this series.  Updated Daily.

 31daysofHeartsatHome
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