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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I think I've earned my keep...today, thank you very much!

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What a fabulous weekend!

Both my husband and I felt this way and even made mention of it to each other.  It was just a really "fun" weekend.

What made it that way?  I don't know for sure - but I have my speculation.

For one.

I had a laundry list of things to do/make on Saturday - that pretty much kept me in the kitchen all day.

Aubrey's busy-work, in the kitchen, a couple of years ago!

That was fine...except that meant the kiddo's had daddy, most of the day.  Which was great, too, but then that meant that he didn't get to as much studying as he should have.  Particularly on Saturday.

The weekend plans were full.  It started Friday evening.
We had our van off to a friend, Friday night, to do some repair work on it before inspection is due.
That went {surprisingly}well.
Which meant dinner out with the family...due to time of the hour and whatnot.  That went {surprisingly} well, too.  Or. maybe I should admit to the recent practice of going out to dinner, here of late.  We're getting "good" at it...and, I fear I might be getting spoiled.  Wow!!  I really hate admitting that.  It just isn't right. I mean we were also out, Thursday evening, with family - from outta town. 
And the week before, on Thursday, as well.   See what I mean?

Saturday, I was at home preparing for the upcoming next couple of commitments we had made.
*A Blessing Meal for one of the families - in their recent loss.
*A Winternic/Picnic at Church - on Sunday.  Providing food for that.

But back to Saturday.
Here is what I want to focus on for my post today.  This question.

Why is it that it is easier to list (projects} and get wrapped up in the lengthy to-do list we've got goin' on then it is to list the things that are already done? 
Here is what I mean by that second part.

The things that are already done, by Him, for us.  The list of gifts already given.  I find it hard to list them.

You see. I'm a doer.  I feel like if I haven't done something (ie; checked it off the list) that I haven't done well.
I felt like, by the end of the day, on Saturday ... and my list was long...that I had earned my keep.  Thank you, very much!  Of course, I'm figuratively speaking here.

Laundry-wash and fold/ including all bed sheets
Apple Cake
(gallon of) Not-so-Sweet Southern Iced Tea
Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells (freezer meal)
Meatloaf (x2) - one for us and another, for a blessing meal
Quiche (for lunch) - which meant making  pie crust (it made two)
another pie... I decided on pecan bars
Macaroni Salad
Marinated Ham and Swiss Sandwiches
Make all our beds ... with the clean sheets.
Swept and washed the kitchen floor
baby care interspersed in the middle of it all
make a few phone calls
Bissle-swept the carpets - dining room and living room
washing dishes a couple of times, throughout, just to keep ahead of the mess

Most of this took place while Scott was at an early morning men's breakfast/meeting.  Thankfully he came home and took the kiddo's under his wing.  Until the children left in the evening for a birthday party via Grandma and Uncle Justin. 
A chance to clear the head and wrap it up.

I don't say all of this to brag it up... in fact I wanted to write this post yesterday - but yesterday didn't look much different.  I was really, really busy.  Another long list - half of which didn't get finished from Saturday.  It's just the season I'm in.  And yet, because of all of this busy-ness, I feel like the gratitude list - I wanted to write - didn't get much added to it because I wasn't thinking about it.  Perhaps, taking time?
 You know.  You know, what I mean.  The busywork I was doing was all for noble cause. Yes!
 And yet the list of gifts that God has given to me - already done - is to be counted with even more nobility.
and, I wish it were.

708. He is gracious.

709. He knows my frame, He remembers I am but dust.

710. Fabulous weekend? 
But.  Honestly. 
711. Not because of what I've done.  What we've done.

712. It's about what He's done.  Already given.

713. I don't have to earn my keep, with HIM

And neither do you.

Pardon me, in my remissness.  I did have a few things to list...didn't I?
::: :: :::

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday's Finds | Toy Bin

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Well, I guess I haven't done a Friday's Finds post in a while... so here I am to show you one of my latest finds. 

Friday's Finds. you ask?

{For those of you who are new to this blog and/or just poppin' in - Hello and Welcome! On Fridays 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.}

A couple of weeks ago now, we were scouring through my aunt and uncles property (My uncle Roy, recently deceased.) - giving my aunt a hand in trying to rid of some excess "treasureable junk" and whatnot. 

There is a lot of history on that piece of property and one of the many treasures that I found that day was this old galvanized metal, two handled bucket/can.  Can you tell I don't know what to call it?

If someone could tell me the "exact" name and purpose of this thing, I would appreciate it.
I would venture to say that the condition of it is... eh...not too bad.  But rusty enough to make me want to do something about it. Safe?  My idea for this thing to become a *new* toy bin prompted me to think outside of the box, just a little.  If I wanted it to be a toy bin - it needed something to cover the majorly bits of rust.

I just so happened to have an empty cardboard diaper box sitting around.  So, I traced around the bottom of the metal bucket and cut it out...laying it in the bottom.

It's the perfect fit for a few toys to keep downstairs, under our TV/buffet cabinet, that sits in our living room.  And the kiddo's do pretty good at keeping the cardboard in place.  They know...now...it's part of the bucket.  Leave it alone.

I'm a sucker for anything galvanized and I love the look that it brings to our living room.  Both vintage and organized.  Well.  For the most part...

Have yourself a wonderful weekend, my friend.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homespun Baby! Shoes ~ Pocket Pouch {for me}

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Homespun Baby! Shoes
2 pair - special order for Jen F.

It was time to make myself a pocket pouch to use for my own personal belongings.  Those things that are loose and floundering around in the bottom of my purse.  Yeah! those.

As in example:
small lotion
container for pain med

I can't believe it's takin' me so long to make one for me.  Currently I have one for sale in my etsy shop, as well. 

Go check it out! 

You'll love it.
Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

...little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves...

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I'm comforting myself today with the lyrics of this simple children's hymn.  Jesus loves me.

Please remember my dear friends, Ian and Ashley, today.  And, the rest of the family - my friends, (grandparents) Gwen and Dean (their 3 small children) and Josh and Bri (their daughter) and families...

"Jesus, really loved you Cole! Yes, He does..."

Ian and Ashley's 7 month old son, Cole, went Home to be with Jesus, and to his big brother Owen, yesterday.  Owen also died at 7 months of age... just a mere 20 months ago.  You can follow their story, on their blog, HERE

Just please be praying for them...

This little guy was dearly loved and will be sorely missed...by so, so many.

In loving memory...

Monday, January 23, 2012

the gift of this day

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This photo has nothing to do with my post for today but I wanted to let you know that perhaps at 18 lbs and 9 oz., my daughter, Jayne, who is five months old, is actually a shrimp after all!
I love this photo, taken via a cell phone, sent to me the other day from when my friend was over. Her little guy is a week younger then Jayne and weighs at least 21lbs. and you can see how much longer he is then my big little girl.

Can you say, too cute?!?!?!

Anyway.  On with today's post.

681. This book.   Prayers and Peanut Butter.  (By Barbara Classen)

I've just started reading this book, given to me, as a gift, by my next-door neighbor...sweet Amanda!...and I only got through the first few paragraphs, of chapter one, when I was already able to relate.  I decided to add its title into my gratitude list... because I am grateful for this gift, the thought that I might benefit from this book and that I desperately need prayer as well as peanut butter.  The combination is totally all about mothering.

I just want to share these few thoughts... borrowing from Barbara, the author, as my "own" thoughts for today and for this gratitude post.

"This is the day the Lord hath made".

God brought a gift this morning at dawn.  He wrapped it in tangerine and gold clouds, and tied it with birdsong and breezes.  It was a new day, fresh and unspoiled.  It was fragile, with dewy flowers and golden light spilling low on the floor of the woods just before sunrise.  The only sounds came from the leaves whispering overhead and a bird pouring out a song from Eden.

He means for us to take special care of this gift.  He wants it unspoiled by loud words or ugly actions.  We must take care not to smudge it with black thoughts and attitudes.  Especially, we must be careful not to break it with anger or shatter it with derogatory remarks.

By evening, though, how pitiful the gift looks.  How marred, how battered, how beyond salvaging.  We cry hot tears...

But we never need to ruin tomorrow just because today was bad.  He loves us so much that He forgives again, and the next morning at dawn a new gift is waiting.  This one is wrapped in pink clouds with silver rain and enveloped with fragrance of wild roses.
"Please, God, help me get through this day.  Please help me cope.  Help me know how to handle the children.  And tell me what to do first!"  Surely this was the prayer of mothers all across the country this morning.
I know it was mine...

Continuing to count the One Thousand Gifts...that He so graciously gives.  Because, I'm trying to learn to give thanks in everything...and because this is the day He has made.  A gift!

682. long white sleeves and red jello smear? on the table

683. repeatedly, the changing of clothes, often several times in one day - just because, she's three!

684. our first accumulative snow, of the winter, one day  and rain the next

685. runny noses - smeared on sleeve mere seconds before I come with the tissue

686. explosions through the diaper

687. hard times + relationship = a bent ear

688. listening ears

689. a declined dinner invitation.  Great!  because my meal didn't turn out as expected.  Thank you, to our would-be guests, for saying "No"!

690. lower back pain - again.  causes me to S.L.O.W.

691. boppy-pillows - they really come in handy for a semi-comfy seat

692. (will it be) a wet bed, again?  or, a dry one? - she's learning... 

693. this quote:  "Don't mistake slow progress for failure".

694. when the washer doesn't spin out...at least I have a semi-working washer.

695. sore and bleeding weather-cracks in every single finger and thumb...reminds me of my dad wrapping his carpenter-hands in white surgical tape, preparing for the next day of working outdoors.

696. cold coffee in the cup - I just didn't get to drink it soon enough.  But, my hubby poured it for me!!  That was really nice.

697. the stick propped to keep my dryer door shut - so the dryer works properly

698. red-neck injamanuity (perhaps better known as ingenuity)...seriously, gotta love it!

699. my teething 5 month old - poor thing, trying so hard not to complain

700. markers, without the caps put back on.  They had fun!

701. the quick getaway

702. lace curtains (a.k.a. spider webs)  most likely found in kings palaces as well

703. too many toys?

704. song lyrics:  You are good. You are good. - when there's nothing good in me.

705. the learning curve of poor penmanship

706. the ants have invaded - the picnik is "over".  I'm sad...but excited for new opportunities.

707.  mercies *new*, of {this}day

Friday, January 20, 2012

{friday} Favorite Things

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I'm having this random issue with my camera.
In order to see what MOST of my photos on there, I have to plug it into the computer and view them online.  I'm also running out of lots of memory on the camera card and so today...

I decided I would just throw a bunch of my favorite photos up on here, ones that didn't make their own blog post, as under my {friday}favorite things... just to get them off my camera and online... then I can delete everything off the camera and start over.  Whatta ya say?

In the meantime, I did find a few on my camera that will get their own post.  Can't wait to share those...

but here are a few the remaining, best of the best! 

My little daredevil, Aubrey, looks like she's levitating.

My cutie pie, Caleb.

I just love this photo of Aubrey.

Jayne with her Aunt Martha.  Having a great conversation, apparently. ;)

Oops!!  I dropped it...another piece of silverware?

Too funny! of Jayne here.

and, these are her huge smiles.

An attempt of a Christmas photo - it wasn't workin'.

Caleb on "kitchen duty", learning the ropes,  from his Aunt Gladys.

The other morning hearing their playful imagination at it's best...
What's going on up there?

Linking up with Rachel, today, over at Finding Joy!
friday favorite things </P>
<P>finding joy

Thursday, January 19, 2012

only one, far away

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The nearness of God, is my good.  ~ Psalm 73:28 (NAS)

"Dad, is your work far, far, far away?" 

"No son, it's only far away".  (If only you could have heard Caleb asking this...and hearing him trying to wrap his little mind around what we know and call -- distance.)

Trying again.
"Dad, you mean far, far away"?  "No Caleb, it's just one far away". 

I thought it was cute how my hubby brought it down to our four year old sons level of understanding.  That seemed to satisfy him...for awhile, at least.

What we were doing, this morning, was taking my husband to work. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Scott's place of work and then the kids and I, we turn right around to come home again.  And yeah, 45 minutes is kinda far for a drive in to work.  But, I don't mind it so much.  It's not like we get to do this all of the time but, once in awhile, it's nice to get out of the house, early in the morning like that.  The kids will doze back off to sleep sometimes and me...well,  I'll get lost in my thoughts.  Sometimes on purpose, sometimes not.

Just like this morning.

Do you ever feel like your mind is a very, busy street?  Each thought going several million miles away - each in a different direction?  Kinda like far, far, far away?  I felt like that this morning.  I was struggling to keep my thoughts from colliding as they were confined inside my brain and yet... travelling afar off.  One trailing the other at a high rate of speed...never coming to rest.  Every now and then I'd be jarred back to reality by one of the kiddo's saying something or what have you.  And I was left to wrestle with the collision.

No matter if it's ONE far away or three far aways... it is still a distance that is felt.  If your like me... distance in someone, with someone, because of someone... can really be a burden.  I was thinking about that.  Can you imagine?  The helplessness of the round and round?

But here is where I ended up.  The nearness of God, is my good. (Ps.73:28)  No matter how far we may think we are from reality... it's never far enough (away) to be out of God's care. 

His specific good for us is that HE is always near. 


:: photo from a couple of summer's ago.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Around the Homestead :: A ~Z | The Letters N & O

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I bet you all thought I had forgotten about my own little personal photo challenge, didn't you?

Well, guess what.

No, I haven't.

In case you've been wondering... I've kept up with the photo takin' all along and so as I finish this photo project out, you'll note photos that I've taken back in the fall and whatnot.  Just so you know...

Are you feeling rather confused?  Another photo project?

Well, to the newbies.  Welcome! to what I call
Around the Homestead :: A~Z

This is a self-imposed photo project where I've taken my camera and have hunted down letters of the alphabet characteristic of things in nature and reminiscent of the farm that we live on.  My hope is to, one day, make a photo collage and give it as a gift to our landlord and his wife.

If you want to go back to the beginning, to see what I've come up with, just click the link in the label cloud: Around the Homestead (over on the left, in my sidebar, under Treasured Up and Pondered: the Collection) and that will bring up all the posts I've done so far.

Let me tell you what.  The letters N and O were very hard for me to find.
Here is what I came up with.

The letter "n" found, from the silo, might be a stretch, but I think you see it.

And, of course, this "N" is obvious but I have to tell you that I did flip the photo to make it look correct.

The letter "O" - came from a piece of rolled up fencing that I found out in the barn...

A knot in the tree out back...

 Or, from a pair of barn boots - found out in the barn. 

Oh!  I can't decide which I like the best.

There you have it for N & O... Around the Homestead. 

Enjoy your week!  I am, so far.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Quilt

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"A quilt is far more than three layers of materials held together by meticulous stitches.  For many quilters it is the thread that connects them to others, whether in day to day quilting activities or to stitchers of past generations."  ~ Nancy J. Martin
Today is just one of those days...where I wish, oh how I wish...I would have place and space enough to set up a quilt frame.  Where I would invite a few ladies over, to sit around the beauty - connecting more then just three layers of materials with meticulous stitches - but to sit, side by side and chat it up.  Enjoying the commorodity of one another, creating an art form with mere needle and thread, ultimately bonding heart and soul with the colorful woven thread of fellowship.
If it could happen... I'd serve up Black Bean Chili and Cornbread, for lunch, with
Apple Cake with Hot Carmel Sauce, on the side.
Of course, there would always be hot coffee and tea at the beckon call.
With a Chocolate Truffle or two to pop in your mouth, when you pass by.
The kiddo's they would simply play quietly off in another room... (wink*wink*) and...
Anyway.  My imagination is running wild and getting the best of me.
But.  Seriously.  If you have an old quilt.  Pull it out today and really take a look at it.  Quilting is by far a lost piece of art and I hate how true that is.  Just take time to observe the intricate stitches, the feel of the fabric, the color combination(s), the overall design...is there one?
Imagine the laughter and stories that flowed around the frame as the quilt was being quilted ... back in it's time.
You're holding a gift in your hand.

Monday, January 16, 2012

the cherished plain & ordinary

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The other day, I was reading a (fairly new) blog written by a real-life friend of mine.  She was sharing some rather personal feelings regarding a couple of recent happenings in her current day-to-day.  Some "events" that were seemingly out of her control.  I could really identify.  Relate to her words...

And she left me thinking about one line that she wrote, in her post.  I just had to comment...and while I was doing that, I literally got right up off of my chair and went over to write out the provoking little thought  on my little kitchen chalkboard. 

Thank you, Kelli...for the day I will remember.

I pass by this board all the time, in and out of my kitchen, and knowing it's there... it's really made me stop and think.... about how often I do not do this.... enough.

Continuing to count the cherished plain and ordinary of today - onward to the One Thousand Gifts.

652. packing a lunch for my husband every workday morning  ((Makes me think of my mother.  It was a rare day if she didn't need to pack a school lunch every morning for her nine children.  She too, packed a daily lunch for my dad - every single day.  And, she never complained.))

653. dirty dishes piled high on one side of the sink - and clean ones piled high on the other

654, shoes, in pairs by the front door - an overspill from the shoe basket

655.  it's time to sweep the carpet - again?

656. smudgy finger-printed windows

657. learning to share

658. the feel of the toothbrush against my gums

659. the growing stack of school papers and projects

660. the invention of eyeglasses - I know I take them for granted and would be absolutely blind as a bat without mine.  Last thing off, first thing on - in the morning.

661. pen and paper

662. wall & pocket calenders

663. heartfelt hugs between siblings

664. refrigerator magnets

665. Jayne's new-found giggle and peek-a-boo

666. baby spit-up, over the shoulder: some call it a curse - I call it a mother's badge of honor

667. knowing there are extra rolls of toilet paper in the linen closet ;)
668. Caleb's Countdown - till we take our road trip South - Lord Willing!

669. what would we ever do without dictionaries?

670. markers and coloring pages

671. a knock on the door

672. a car mechanics open schedule

673. bowls of home cooked hot, steamy chicken noodle soup and nobodies saying anything because it's going down good.

674. handwritten card, sent by snail mail and addressed, to me!  It always makes my day...

675. living debt-free and on a cash-only budget

676. Aubrey's vivaciousness and vivid imagination

677. a *new* breakfast combination of cooked oatmeal, cottage cheese and frozen blueberries ~ thank you, Coop-Keeper!

678. being in a real-life snow globe...so pretty!

679. frizzy haired bed-heads and turkey tails
680. a new found magazine entitled Life:Beautiful

Because...it's true!  When you stop; slow down and take time to cherish.  Really cherish...the plain and ordinary of today...life is beautiful.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My friend, Ginny.

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Christmas is over.

I began the task of putting it all away, today.  It's a bit overwhelming.  And I debated.  Because I really don't decorate for Christmas in the traditional red and green, rather it's all about Wintry Whites and all things snowmen and the more natural, neutral and vintage the better.  And, since it is still winter... it would be appropriate to keep it all out.

But, I was ready.

I sent the two older children off to visit Grandma Rhoda for the day.  They loved it and that allowed me to keep at the daunting project without a lot of interruptions.  Of course, I had Jayne with me and she gets so dern bored without her siblings; their laughter and rivalry for her sheer entertainment.  Anyway, I got a lot done.  Cleaning included.  It always feels so good.

As I was boxing things up I was reminded of something that I wanted to share with you earlier - around Christmastime- but I guess when I was so caught up in the December Photo Project I forgot all about sharing it.

What triggered this thought, though, was a peculiar smell coming from one of the boxes.  It reminded me, as it had many times before, of my friend, Ginny.  Now, don't laugh.  It's a great smell.  Strong, but good and sweet.

It all started a couple of years ago when our small group, with Church, were all at the home of Ginny and her family for a Christmas Party.  I decided, in advance, to leave an anonymous thank you gift on her kitchen counter - just because.  I did that and well, she must have figured out it was me because it was a couple of nights later that I noticed, past my window, a lone figure creeping slowly across my front porch. Another Blessing Bandit?  They left something behind at the front door.  And quickly walked back to their car. I pretended I didn't see anything... but I did.  I knew it, I could see it was Ginny - playing back.

This gift, left behind, was a candle. I unique silver ball shaped candle with a lid.  I've never burned it.  And it's been tucked away in one of my Christmas bins and every year when I go to decorate - this strong smell reminds me again of Ginny.

You see!  Ginny is just like this candle...in so many ways.  I don't get to talk to her as much anymore - even though we go to the same church - we're in different small groups now...so it's harder to keep in touch.  But, if you happen to know Ginny you know that what I'm about to say next is true.  Ginny is a beautiful person.  She is a strong woman.  Good.  And very sweet. She's brilliant, extremely knowledgeable and a wonderful pianist.  A wife, mother and friend.  With discretion, Ginny would give her right arm to help someone else, in need.  She's just that kinda lady.

Ginny's heart and life burn brightly for the Lord.  The life of generosity that she lives is surely a sweet & fragrant smell of continued blessing...to so many.

Thank you, my friend.  My friend, Ginny

Ginny...Thank you for agreeing to let me share a story about you, even though you had no idea what I was going to share. :)  Blessings- just the same - right back at ya.

How about you?  Is there someone in your life like this?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cashew Crunch

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Recently I was asked about the Cashew Crunch I made over the Holidays.  It's a very delicious homemade candy.  The photo is not the greatest but the recipe is oh so simple and oh, so easy to make.  Oh so yummy and oh, not-so-good for the waistline.  But, you know...

Here is the recipe anyway.  Just because.

~ Cashew Crunch

1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup cashews

Melt butter, add sugar and cashews.  Cook until golden brown and pour onto cookie sheet (with sides).  Let cool and cut into squares or break into smaller pieces.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Because every day, I am.

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Crash.  Bang.

I wonder what I just heard fall and then I hear my hubby calling from the other room.  "Sorry babe, I just knocked your favorite magnet off the fridge and it broke." 

It was a gift from my Grammy.  I've had it forever.  And it wasn't until this moment that the truth of this magnet's message broke in and settled me.

I thought about the irony of the moment.  The words on the magnet couldn't be more true, for me.  And, in particular, that morning, the day was unraveling pretty quickly.  I wasn't upset that my hubby broke my magnet -rather it just seemed to paint a picture in my mind of the imperfection that each day holds.  There are bound to be lots of broken pieces in one single day.  When I read through that verse quickly, my eyes so often skim over the word seldom. I guess it is my tendency to believe that prayer, or even our relationship with God is meant to be "untouchable"...perfect!... and when it isn't, then I can simply be "a mess". Unraveling is inevitable.  When we pray, though, God listens and hems us into the gracious hand of care, comfort and He sustains us.  No matter the day.

God doesn't promise...perfect.  In fact, He promises He will hold the day in all its imperfections.  He holds us in our brokenness.  In fact, the more broken we are, the more beautiful we are and all the more perfect.  And, that is perfect enough.  He would rather us be broken and in His Hands... rather than sittin' all pretty, stuck up (on our fridge) and acting all high and mighty -in one perfect piece.

 I have yet to glue this magnet back together.  I need to buy me some glue.  But, when I do glue it... I'm going to glue it just "off" a bit.  As a reminder that I need Jesus every hour of every day.  I need to pray more often throughout my day.  And yes, there still be some unravelling going on.  But one thing is sure.  I'll be in HIS HAND all day long.  

Because every day, I am.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gifts; they come in all shapes and sizes

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I don't have much to say today, but I wanted to share with you the last pair of Homespun Baby! Shoes that I made.  I thought they turned out so cute.

These are/were a gift to dear friends of ours.  Their sweet little girl ~ Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth is a month older then our Jayne and finally reached, I think - if I remember correctly, a whole whoppin' 11lbs.  She is truly a miracle baby and a true blessing to have in our lives.  We talk about our little girls as being "sweet friends"...even though they have yet to really "play together". 

That day will come, sooner then we realize.

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago...
We love this family so much.  They are dear, dear friends of ours and truly one of God's greatest gifts...to not just us, but to so many others as well.

Gifts!  They truly do come in all shapes and sizes.

Hmmm, and maybe I just said a bunch afterall...

Monday, January 9, 2012

built with planks of thanks

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This past Saturday morning was the second to last time of meeting, with several girlfriends, to discuss the last couple chapters of Ann's book - One Thousand Gifts.  We'll close it out next month.

I felt like it was one of the best meetings that we have had together.  By the way, breakfast was great, too!  It's always fun when there are a bunch of ladies together, grateful to "get-away" for a couple of hours - to just relax, drink some hot tea or coffee and soak up some good ole fashioned fellowship. 

As we circled around the book, in our cozy, comfy couch seats - sitting elbow to elbow...our hearts were full of the same.  A circle of connection.  A closeness.  A bond of belonging.  Not only to the fact that we're sisters in Christ, but because we could identify: relate with one another...to each others stories and with the one, Ann, who shared from her heart, in the picturesque words that fill the pages of her book.

We got stuck on the couple of paragraphs in chapter 8, referring to our trusting the Bridge Builder.  God!

 thanks is what builds trust

Who trusts the Bridge Builder?  (Especially when this or that happens...and it feels so wrong.)

Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on

Quoting Ann...But if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.

I fearlessly cross the next bridge...

Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks.  Remembering frames up gratitude.  Gratitude lays out the planks of trust.  I can walk the planks - from known to unknown - and know: He holds.

I could walk unafraid.

I paused to think through this picture that was forming in my mind.  The idea of a wooden bridge over *troubled* waters came into view... and with that, I thought, how it is certainly comforting when crossing that bridge, when you can have faith for that bridge...and especially when knowing that there are guardrails/barriers along the sides of that bridge.  We trust in the builder of that bridge.  Albeit (sometimes) with fear and trembling...because when the bridge itself feels rickety and begins to sway...we can really struggle to wrap our minds around the idea that this bridge was constructed with just a few pieces of wood and three nails.

I know what it's like to have crossed over some troubled waters lately. And, I'm sure many of you, my readers, have too.  If not recently...you probably will soon.  I also know what is like to look back in the rear-view mirror, after having crossed and seen God's hand, faithful to have lead me over and through some really difficult times.  I'm grateful.  However, along the sides of that said bridge were the outstretched arms of fellow believers and friends and family who humbly embraced our trial as part of their own.  They were in a sense the arm-in-arm guardrails to keep us in check, from veering off to the left or to the right.  Keeping us from floundering in the unknown. They've hugged, loved, embraced the unknown with us.  Prayed, challenged, encouraged, and fleshed out the body of Christ by being the hands and feet of Jesus. 

We received prayer, meals, (overnight) childcare, phone calls, emails, gifts, warm embraces that let us know we were loved ...and on and on.  I honestly don't know how folks walk through life...one step at a time... without the Lord, to go before and behind.

***  With no rhyme or reason, to their number - here are the laying down...the planks of thanks...one step at a time...to cross the bridge of here, to there.

#622. seeing wisps of white woodsmoke lying low, scattered all throughout the countryside 

#623. for Albuterol Nebs and no hospitalization needed for my baby girl (the same for my son)

#624. apple crisp for breakfast

#625. the arm-in-arm moments... hugs from friends

#626. strong sense of community...the body of Christ...the barricade against the evil one

#627. an email from my cousin - saying hello!

#628. fun afternoon walk(s) as a family

#629. emergency french fries

#630. an elderly man, coming out of the post office, pausing in the parking lot, slowing to thumb through his stack of mail while headed to his car- in absolute no hurry...at all.  Ahh! just like the good ole days...

#631. my brother headed off to do some mission work

#632. more etsy orders - placed

#633. a cleaned off windshield and that my car was started and warmed up awhile - thanks hunny!

#634. the time when K and R came over for lunch and before they left to go home, we circled up, hand in hand, to pray

#635. the phone call from Mrs. B - Caleb's schoolteacher - just to check in, to see how Caleb was doing since he missed the first couple of days *back to school*

#636. Mr and Mrs H.  offering overnight childcare the evening before Scott's Cath was to take place.  The kids were in their glory, no qualm(s) at all, and we were totally and utterly at peace they were in good hands.

#637. Baked Ziti - just because.  Who knew the next day would be so chaotic running between Doctor's and Pharmacies -right before the dinner hour?  God knew.  I wasn't having to concern myself with making dinner, it was done.

#638. Clean Catherization- for Scott's Heart

#639. Grandma's delicious homemade lasagna - as only she can make!

#640. great Christmas Memories made, this past Christmas

#641. gifts exchanged from one to the other

#642. kids crafting with Aunt Jules

#643. woolen slippers

#644. "them peaches" made the best peach jam!  Caleb's favorite....

#645. singing Christmas Carols in the cold, night-time hours - going door to door

#646.  room spray/air freshener

#647.  the *new* neighbor lady who never fails to say hello!, adding a warm & friendly, but toothless smile and will pull you right into a chatty conversation... ((be ready/willing to take the time!))

#648. new supply of beef - for the freezer

#649. hiener-biener's to wipe and grossy-nosies to blow

#650. guardrails on bridges

#651. the chance to "Pay it Forward"

Friday, January 6, 2012

{ this moment }

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~ Amanda Soule

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I wish you could hear what I hear...

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Voices filtering down.  Playfully spilling out of the upstairs bedroom.  The kids are playing.  Tumbling, echoing, drifting aimlessly - imaginations at their best.  Oh, the drama...

It's so real.  And surreal at the same time.  It makes me smile.  I think back to my own days as a young gal.  The imagination that I had on me - still amazes me, at times.  When my cousins and I were together - look out!

I putz around the kitchen, mindlessly putting dishes away yet I continue to hear and take it all in.

Sometimes I can't believe it.  I still pinch myself that I've grown up and that I {now} have children.  Children of my own who take after me...

With this loud intensity, I hear - MOM!!!

I shake out of my thoughts to call up the stairs, to answer...Yes?!?!

"No, not you!" I hear Aubrey say.  "We're just pretending...". 

Apparently, the dolls were fighting and one yelled out for Mom to their rescue.

I go back to my work with a smile on my heart.  But a staircase leads me upward to the room of endless delight.

Can I enter in?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Deluxe Cinnamon Rolls

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These cold(er) winter mornings often beg to be paired up with a hot cup of coffee and a nice warm Cinnamon Roll.  At least for me, that statement is true.

And, as it was on Christmas Morning...

we thoroughly enjoyed, all three.  Wonderfully wintry Christmas Morning, a hot cup of coffee and a warm as warm can be cinnamon roll - made with much love by my dear sister, Gladys.

We had our choice of Carmel Icing or Cream Cheese.  Or both?

I'll share the recipe with you...even though I did not happen to make these, this time.

Deluxe Cinnamon Rolls
3 T. yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 T. salt
1 1/2 cup warm milk
3 eggs
10 cups flour
Soft butter
Brown sugar
Finely chopped pecans (opt.)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water; set aside.   Mix the sugar, oil, and salt in a large bowl; stir in warm milk until dissolved.  When the mixture is cool enough; add the yeast mixture and beaten eggs; mix well.  Add flour to make a dough that is neither too stiff nor too sticky.  Let rise for 2 hours.  Roll out and spread with soft butter and cover with brown sugar and cinnamon (opt. pecans).  Roll up jelly-roll style and slice into 1-inch pieces.  Place in greased baking pans.  Flatten each slice with your hand.  Cover and let rise about 2 hours or until double.  Bake at 350* for approximately 15 minutes.  When cool, ice with Carmel Icing.

Carmel Icing
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk, cream or half-and-half
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter and then add brown sugar.  Cook over low heat for 2 minutes.  Stir frequently.  Add milk and continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool partially.  Add powdered sugar until it is the desired consistency for spreading.  Make sure it is not too thick if using for cinnamon rolls.  (Recipe note: If you use this recipe to icen' Chocolate Cake - you would want the icing to be thicker).

So, since Scott has filled you in our plan , for this coming year.  I'll just have to look at the above photo, drool and remember their wonderful, wonderful ooey-gooey smell - instead.  And just hope that someone else decides to make these instead - for themselves to enjoy.  You really, really will.  I promise!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On the line of Christmas Past

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The wind pushed it's way past me...taking the red and green of Christmas Past along with it.  It was a beautifully crisp sort of morning.  The thoughts I had of the awaiting days of this New Year were swirling around in my head, flapping, fluttering like the cloths on the line.  They have stuck with me...as though pinned to my heart with no where to go but up. 

What is to come of this New Year?  For a brief second I gave in to the whirlwind of quandry and concern.

I grabbed the line to add another piece of laundry... the gusty wind gave another yank and I yanked back.   Hold on a minute, I muttered, as though it had ears to hear.  The memories of last year were pining for reflection.  It seemed as though the whole year had flown by in a mere matter of minutes.  Where had it gone?   And, yet so much had happened.  Perhaps that is why it went by so quickly...yet, I will not say - effortlessly.  It certainly was an interesting 'ride'.  And we hung on for dear life some days.  Some days, more then others.  I wanted to go back and relive, perhaps redo...the load of care...to sort through the piles of untended black, white and grey.  But, nope!  It was already wrung out and ready to roll.

A gust of wind came again...

This time.  It was different.

The thoughts again, of this New Year, were coming on strong and head-long.  I was being ushered into this one.  I vowed to brace for the winds of change...to allow the unknowns to kick up and swirl around my ankles.  Kick up some dust.   Really?  Dust?

As I hung up the last of the load I smiled for a minute.  I thought of the new and unwrinkled. The fresh, crisp air fueling my senses.  A twinge of old-man winter settling in.
I know me... I'm apt to wipe my hands on the purty white towel of succuss but by far I'd rather it be of humility and servanthood.  Lord willing, neither feigned.
Can the wing and a prayer for good cheer, health, prospertiy and blessing be?

Sure! and you can rest assured that the dust of the days ahead will (still) come.... and sprinkle themselves like tiny white snowflakes - swirling and twirling - only to melt off and away like another mere memory of yesterday.

The New Year lies before you, like a field of fresh fall'n snow.  Be careful how you tread on it for every step will show. {unknown}

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