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

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mugs & Muffins :: {guest post!, by Kelli S.} and giveaway!

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Cheery Good Morning, to you! 
Welcome back to our time of Mugs & Muffins.  We had such a great time, last month, didn't we?  Talking about our laundry...pinning our stories, our methods, our tips... to the line of conversation. I laughed a lot while hosting that one.  And learned a lot as well.  It was great!

I'm so glad you came back to visit here again.  Today, however, we will embrace a VERY different sort of topic.  So stay close.  Please!  I don't want you to miss this one and the seriousness of it all.

If you're new here.  Welcome!  It's always good to have "new" faces sitting here around "the table".  I know nervous jitters can find their way into your heart and mind and I just want to put that at ease.  Hopefully they'll go away and not come back.  I want you to just sit back relax and enjoy that cup of coffee you're holding in your hand.  Grab a (mini) Pecan Pie Muffin while you're at it.  The recipe will follow at the end of the post. 

I thought I would just quickly take the time to tell you what Mugs and Muffins is about, in case you're curious and let you know how it has come to take place here at Treasured Up and Pondered.
I'm not sure if you've ever read the book - A Life that Says Welcome, or not.  It's written by a lovely lady named Karen Ehman.  She writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries as well as has her own blog.
She honestly is one of my most favorite Christian authors.  Anyway.  Back in the late nineties, this Karen and a friend of hers sent out an invitation, around Christmas time, for a special evening: a "Mom's Night Out" - planned for maybe twice a year.  Each attendee was to bring their own mug (for coffee or tea) and muffins were the only other thing there for refreshment.  As it turned out - there were over nineteen ladies in attendance the first time.  It quickly grew to a monthly event with now over ninety moms on their mailing list, representing ten different churches and of many ladies who don't even attend church.

Karen encourages woman to start their own chapters... and so this is mine.

Each Month - usually on the Second Monday - I will feature a theme of sorts.  I will always try to include a guest post "speaker" keeping to topic at hand, extending a related giveaway and since we can't eat the muffins online... I at least will share the recipe with you all.

So far it's been a ton of fun.  I've met many new "faces" through their thoughts and interaction by way of comments.  I want it to be, for you, an environment of calm, laughter and a feeling "free to participate" by sharing your thoughts and comments.

Pass the word along.  We'd love to have more of you participate.  Stay. Savor and/or enjoy the time together, as we gather.

***
Well.  Today is special.  Special for me in that I can really relate to the topic that will be shared today. I've been here (a few times) and maybe you have too.   If it's lengthy to read - I do apologize.  I just wanted it to be as real as real could be.  I just hope you'll stay close and really hear from my In Real Life (IRL) friend Kelli.  Kelli kindly agreed to share her "testimony" today... about a path she has been called to walk.  Certainly, not an easy task. I think you'll understand why I say - stay close.

Stand by.

And please share your thoughts and encouragement at the end of the post with your comments following the read.  Each comment will nominate you for a chance to win a two-fold giveaway today.

This is VERY, VERY exciting.

Here is my friend to share with you now.

Hi, I’m Kelli and I have a little blog called Learning As We Go.  I’ve been married for 15 years to my husband Andy.  God has blessed us with 2 boys.  Collin is turning 12 this month and Britt is 7. I’m a real-life friend of Bevy’s and feel very honored to be asked to guest post on her blog today.

My life has been a pretty normal one.  Might even be classified as boring, although I’ve had my share of ups and downs.  One of the biggest struggles in my life happened one morning in church. I was completely normal one minute and the next began a year-long debilitating battle that I now know as anxiety/depression.  Up until my diagnosis I thought anxiety was something made up.  Something the doctor told you you had when they didn’t know what else was wrong with you.  Anxiety was for people who were crazy.  And that wasn’t me.  And anxiety was definitely not for Christians.

But, as it turns out I knew nothing about anxiety.  Even now, almost 3 years later I still feel as though I don’t know anything about anxiety.  What I have learned is this.  Anxiety is very real and many, many people battle with it.  I soon found out that I was not alone.  People whom I never expected had dealt with anxiety or depression at some point in their life, or were always dealing with it.  I also soon found with whom I could trust my “disease” with.  There are some who just don’t understand and sadly they likely never will.  That also means that dealing with anxiety and depression can be a very lonely road.

For me it seems likely that my anxiety will never go away.  There are days I feel as though I am strapping on my “back pack of anxiety.”  On those particular days, quite frankly, I get so tired of it.  I don’t want to be dealing with it.  I want to feel normal again, and like I don’t have to worry through life anymore.

At times I find myself questioning why God has allowed this to be a part of my life.  I may never know the answer to that question and it’s not mine to know, but what I do find is God has given me peace through this battle.  I’ve learned so much about His love for me because of my anxiety.  He never once left me and I always felt His presence with me.  Still do.

He has opened my eyes to see others and their lives with a new perspective.  I’ve learned that you just don’t know what each person is dealing with in their lives.  Therefore, we must show compassion to them.  And this was huge, but we must not be silent.  We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about our struggles, or to offer a kind word or prayer when a friend is struggling.  I am so very glad God brought people into my life to help me through this battle.  I received cards and countless kind words from people in my life who truly cared and were praying for me.

During the debilitating days of my battle I really wanted to know that God was with me and hadn’t abandoned me.  So, where else to find God but in His word.  I started a journal of verses that God used to speak to my heart.  There were so many verses.  So many.  This post would be too long if I wrote out each, so I’ll share pieces of my favorites.  I hope you will take time to read the whole verse.  His words are amazing.

Psalm 56:8-9  You keep track of all my sorrows...collected my tears...When I call to you for help this I know:  God is on my side!

Psalm 103:13-14  The Lord is like a father to his children...For he knows how weak we are.

Lamentations 3:22-23  It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion's fail not.  They are new every morning:  Great is thy faithfulness.

I Peter 5:7  Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

II Cor. 12:9  My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Heb. 6:18-19  We have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us...we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Phil. 4:6-7  Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything...then you will experience God’s peace...

John 14:27  I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give you...the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Isaiah 43:2  When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.  When you go through deep rivers...you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire...you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

II Tim. 1:7  For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-discipline.

I could go on.  I have more written out.  What I’ve learned in seeing these verses and so many of them is that God knows we worry.  He knows we live in fear.  We are human.  He just wants us to give it to Him and lean heavily on Him for each day no matter what.

Unfortunately I had to learn that the hard way.  Truth be told, it is a daily struggle for me.  I like to have things in order, be in control of things, but the reality is we have absolutely no control of our lives.  What I do know and find so much relief and comfort in is knowing He has the control.  Who better than the One who loves us the most.

So, here I am nearly 3 years later.  Still taking pills to help my anxiety.  Still learning about God and His love.  Still learning about anxiety.  And still realizing I have so much to learn.  Still taking it day by day and sometimes minute by minute.  Still hoping and trusting that someday I can find relief from this debilitating disease.  But knowing with all my heart that God is with me each step of the way.


Kelli.  BIG HUGS! to you and thank you (sincerely!) for sharing this raw testimony with all of us.  Hard.  But in it's entirety you've given the Lord glory due to Him.  I think more then we know, there are other moms at home, moms in the work place, single women, married... old or young...who, we all can relate at times to the ups and downs.  Some "seasons" more prolonged then others.  I know I certainly can relate to this.

Recalling the time I heard a knock on the door of my home. It was probably around two years ago or so, by now.  It was a knock, I did not want to answer.  But I could see who it was on the other side.  It happened to be this same gal - my dear friend Kelli.  I had been in the midst of a really dark season and what I now know to be a state of depression.  But at the time, I had no idea what was happening to me.  I needed to try and get out of the house more.  I was encouraged to go and had just decided to start attending MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers), which was probably one of the most encouraging things I could have ever done. There I met Kelli and many other beautiful faces (of friends) I either already knew or at least recognized. Actually, I already knew Kelli - way before MOPS, because we had worked together at our local Christian Bookstore for years.  But on this day, in particular ....

As I welcomed in her in ... she knew something had to be wrong.  We talked, I cried... and well, that was the first time I ever knew she was going through something very similar.  Because she could completely relate and she understood.  Thanks be to God - mine lasted only a short time.  At least at that point.  I still have my days ... but it isn't anything prolonged... and (too) life changing.  But, it has made me walk with more of an open eye to the many others who might be going through a similar time in their life.

This is why I'm really excited about the giveaway for today.  Kelli talked about receiving cards from folks, thinking of her, who were loving enough to care and express their thoughts and who were willing enough to let her know.
She also talked a bit about using a journal to write out her thoughts and write down verses of God's Word that would continue to hold her and carry her onward.  Blessing her soul.

Today's Giveaway is Two-Fold.

I have two other real life friends who have agreed to share of their time and talent to accompany this post today.  My IRL friend Lindsay, (newly online) from paisleyjanedesigns.blogspot.com and paisleyjanedesigns.etsy.com has agreed to donate four beautiful hand made cards. They come as a set. Beautifully embossed and designed.  They are blank on the inside.  Perfect for sending someone you know a note to say - "you're thinking of them", etc.


My other IRL friend, Becky, from Seasoned with Salt - Etsy Shop, has graciously agreed to donate a (removable) fabric covered composition notebook/ journal.  Again, a beautiful gift as this is a handmade item as well.

**On a side note.  Becky, willingly is up for making and taking special/custom orders.  She does more then make journal covers.... check it all out via her blog and esty.  Her contact information is made available there.


The giveaway will extend until Wednesday evening, closing out around 10:00 pm, EST.  The winner will be posted on Thursday of this week.  Each comment will grant you an entry.

***
And, now for that delightful recipe.

Pecan Pie Mini Muffins



1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 - 1 cup chopped pecans. 
2/3 cup butter, melted (no substitutes)
2 eggs, beaten

In a bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and pecans, set aside.  Combine melted butter and beaten eggs.  Stir into flour mixture just until moistened.  Fill greased or paper-lined miniature muffin cups 3/4 full.
Bake at 340* for 15-20 minutes or until muffins test done.  Remove immediately to cool on wire racks.  Yield: 2-3 dozen.  (The yield depends on how many pecans you use, I suppose.)

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So, what did you think of today's topic?

Be honest.

Are there seasons in your life when you walk this road and nobody knows or seems to care?

I know that this wasn't an easy or much desired topic to share, but the Lord was really impressing it upon me that there are more out there then we'll ever know...who walk this path... alone.
Every.  Single.  Day.

If you can identify here today, or have any thoughts or words of encouragement, or you just want to say a (write out) prayer here in the comment section, that would be wonderful.

Please join in, "around the table"... as sisters and friends... loving and serving one another.

  I love you all, my dear friends and readers. Thank you again for stopping by.

16 comments:

  1. Bevy and Kelli~~you're both dear friends of mine. Thank you for sharing your testimonies. It's hard to be a mom sometimes, even though it's also the most wonderful season of your lives. Sending both of you a big hug. I love you! God bless you both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Nancy! You're one of my biggest cheerleaders and I love you for it. ;)

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  2. Those muffins sound delicious! Too bad we can't get brown sugar here, *sniff*. I'm down to the last two spoonfuls of the bags I stowed away in my suitcases. We made chocolate chips (more like chunks) the other day by banging the heck out of a huge bar of dark chocolate with a hammer. :) Hugs, Bevy, Happy Muffin Monday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you know... Chris... you can make your own Brown Sugar. I don't know (exactly) your resources available... but if you really must have b.s., it can be made.

      Brown Sugar Substitute.
      for 1 cup use: 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 Tbsp. dark corn syrup or molasses.

      ***
      Thanks for commenting here today. I got to thinking. Chocolate Chip Chunk cookies (made by using a hammer) would take anybody's anxiety away. Relieved tension by swinging a hammer and warm cookies, to boot, on the other end. How can it get any better then that?

      ***
      Maybe if you win this giveaway, Chris, we can sneak some brown sugar inside the package. ;) BY the way. These muffin's are really good - and almost even better the longer they sit. I know. They're mini!!! How do they last? It was tough to stretch them out and not eat them all at once.
      (hugs) right back at ya' - Bevy

      Delete
  3. I too walked the anxiety road. MIne was not long lived either. The worst of it was 3 weeks or so. It just seemed to blindside me. I went the medical, naturopathic and counseling route all at once. I had great friends who cared for me and walked alongside of me, as well as a really supportive husband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Melissa. I have a question and I hope it's not too personal. But, do you think any of this "short-lived" anxiety was due/is due to simply being overwhelmed as a Mom? Or, did you figure it out possibly stemming from something different?

      My struggle for me was, is this just hormonal changes? something spiritual? lack of contentment?
      (truth is, I still don't know...)

      Delete
  4. In the past I was on a similar path. I was literally in bondage due to fear. The only way out was for me to give God total control, dive into his word and TRUST Him fully.

    Great post today!

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  5. Bevy, Thank you again so much for the opportunity. I've enjoyed reading the comments and again I see that I am not alone. Whether the battle lasts 10 minutes or 10 years it's still so real and each persons battle is different. And what doesn't make sense to one may be something real and legitimate for someone else. It's a tough road.
    If you and I have touched one person through our post today, then we'll know that God is still working through this trial. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. i too experienced a season of anxiety from which the Lord cured me quickly in a weeks time. i was about to take meds and prayed to him in desperation and he healed me by the weeks end. fear still creeps into the back of my mind but it drives me to His word and to my knees. sometimes i think we can use busy motherhood as an excuse to take a break from spending the neccessary time with our Lord. we leave ourselves and our homes vulnerable to attack from the evil one. for me i believe it was brought on by the post partum hormones but it was primarily spriritual.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Janelle, for these thoughts. Convicting and true. I know too often the busyness of motherhood has been an excuse, for sure.

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  7. Don't know what to call it, but I have often passed in and out of feeling really down, since I had my first child almost 13 years ago. I never saw anyone for it, and honestly would probably define it more of post partum/hormones/away from God combination. At times couldn't do anything but sit and stare out the window, cry for no reason, or cry for far too many reasons than I could name. The worst time period I remember was when my 3rd was born, and I had a not quite 4 and not quite 2 year old, suddenly fighting with each other... all I wanted to do was "kidnap" my newborn and run away to a hotel, or somewhere more permanent. As a mom, the feeling of helplessness and uselessness is sometimes unbearable - when it seems as if this should be such an enjoyable time!
    What it usually takes for me is getting to my last straw, and finally digging back into Jesus - his Word, prayer, deep & meaningful conversation with a friend - almost like taking a deep, refreshing breath of Christ to remind me of who I am loved by- pulls me back together.
    Somewhat less spiritual, but also helpful has been exercise (somehow it DOES give you more energy!), and just plain hard work. Accomplishing things on my to-do list, like finally weeding that way-overgrown flowerbed!, will often enthuse me out of a bad mood and ready for more tasks. In the same way, getting back into reading God's Word, inspires me to read more of God's Word.

    And, as Kelli said in her post, I love to use journals for writing out verses that speak to me as well...

    Anyone struggling with feeling down during the nitty gritty of Momhood - I recomment the song "Changing the World" by Steven Curtis Chapman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my goodness! Becky, this was me - too. I can so relate to what you've shared here.

      I used to do journals more so then I do now. This is one area/thing I want to pick back up on.

      And thanks for sharing that song. I'm going to have go and listen to it.

      Delete
  8. I am a nurse at a psychiatric hospital in part because I wrestled with anxiety in my early teenage years and experienced a major depressive/suicidal episode during high school and wanted to help others who face similar struggles. I was never diagnosed or treated medically. It was God's love alone that sustained me and saved me from taking my own life. Even when I thought that NO ONE loved me, I was unable to escape the reality of God's love. I somehow knew HE loved me. I know it was HE who made me believe that. And his love has been pursing me all my life. There are countless ways he has manifested his love to me and because I KNOW his love I choose to trust him and not worry. I have no doubt that he will forever remain faithful to his promises and that I can stake my life on Him! I am grateful for the opportunities he gives to share these truths with others who are struggling.

    Thanks Bev for having the courage to tackle this often taboo subject and thanks Kelli for being so vulnerable. I know so many who wrestle with shame because of the stigma that mental illness carries. But the reality is there are SO MANY who struggle silently. Were we to open up and share, as you have so beautifully done, we would realize so many of us share the same struggles in varying degrees. We need not be ashamed but rather allow God to be glorified through our weaknesses. Thank you both for doing just that!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome Lindsay. And see, I would've never thought or known that about you, as far your reason for going into nursing. Thank you for sharing here as well.

      You are obviously a beautifully piercing light then, in that dark place where you work. I will continue to pray for you, even more then I already do.

      Continue to share His Love.

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  9. Thanks for sharing your heart's story, Kelli. It is a privelege to walk with one another on this life's long journey. Blessings to you for sharing your story.

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  10. Wasn't sure what to write on this. I am not sure that I have ever struggled with anxiety as much as depression. Definitely hit hard after the twins were born - that was the end of any self reliance I ever had (if it was even real to begin with! : ) ). It continues to be a strange feeling realizing I can not control things - and even as the kids get older and start to do more things on their own I realize the stretching will continue. And I definitely struggle month to month. For me, worship music, reading, and looking for ways to encourage others has helped during those times. And one of the most amazing things is to watch other fight through it. I know my times are more short lived than what others have had to face - and watching them in their struggle and seeing them cling and cling to Him - that definitely is an encouragement to do the same. Thank you Kelli for being honest in your struggle, and also for pointing to God as your hope!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for coming by, today! You're visits always mean so much...

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