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

Monday, April 30, 2012

a HUGE breath of fresh air

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Beautiful Good Morning to You! 

Geesh.  It's almost late afternoon and well it is still quite beautiful, to say the least.
As you've read last, I was planning to attend a weekend ladies retreat, this past weekend.  I did.  And wow!  What a breath of fresh air!  Seriously.  I really, really needed a retreat/getaway and I'm so grateful I was able to go.


The weather was beautiful (just a tad chilly on occasion).  The location was not too far from home - though it felt like we were "way out there" - somewhere.  And...back at home.  It was, by the sounds of it... just as I had prayed.  Scott seemed to be completely at peace and the kids, he said, "did phenomenal".  All three of them.  I'm so glad.  I knew it would go well.  But a wife & mother can still wonder...

I was doing my best to soak up every detail.  Not just about our specific ladies retreat meeting in and of itself.  But in the actual facility.  I found great delight in sneaking a photo every now and again. And I should have taken way more.  I wanted to, but time nor opportunity would allow.  Of all the simple touches there, there were so many that "warmed" my heart.


 I said I found great delight and yet, I (honestly) felt really silly - if and when I got caught taking a photo. 

WHY?

Who knows.  I'm a blogger.  I should be expected to do that.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

Here is what I collected.  Moments here and there.  Granted, some of these photo and they're quality are not the best, due to the low lighting and what have you, but whateveh. 

I am glad to have them.

Great Inspiration...and this was only a small taste of it.  I appreciated all the attention to detail.
The vignettes and decor all around.
All of  the happenings of this weekend... makes up more of the counting of the One Thousand Gifts!  Actually,  I think it will take me there... but I'll still keep counting. ;)



965. the gift of fresh air - both physically and spiritually



966. good teaching, personal testimonies and worship time

967. fellowship of women -- we love to get together, don't we?

968. song lyrics that ministered to my soul and continue to do so.  I find myself humming them constantly... since I've been home.

969. "I live in the good of this..."

970. "your grace colors all I see..."

971.  when our mess turns into our message  (referring again, to those personal testimonies)

972.  having a sense of humor

973. head, neck and shoulder massage (w/pain med to help) - the care of another - to alleviate a HUGE tension headache

974. chocolate chip cookies


975. white porch rockers -all in a row  (it's a small wonder that two of them didn't find themselves a ride home on my roof rack)

976. sound of wind chimes - playing across the way

977. rolling hills and rustling trees

978. the sound of brown and white bleating sheep, while grazing out in the lush green grass - so sweet.

979. chalkboard paint - a fabulous thing

980. an illustration used :: the Hoover Dam - Christ absorbed it ALL!  God's wrath... taken upon himself, for us.  We stand FREE.

981. potted pansies

982. floating petals from flowering trees

983. those budding buddy friendships :: for deepening those friend-friend relationships

984. laughter!  (I had had a dream before this conference...that I was rolling in laughter.  I don't know who in the dream I was with or where. - but this weekend brought that to pass.  Not that I was rolling in it... but it was there. Praise God!)

985. picking back up where we left off - sharing stories, our memories and our hearts

986. winning a book giveaway - for having the youngest baby closest to the conference. Entitled: "Give them Grace" by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson.  (Shh! I think I was predestined to win this book.)

987. painted toenails - walking in sunshine, yeah, yeah!

988. knowing.  Knowing I was not the only one who feels like they wear the same clothes all of the time.  That they also went out the night before to shop for "new" PJ's... an absolute must for a woman's retreat.

989. at least one Bags by Bevy order placed - surprise for me!

990. for Cheryl...who came late (later in the evening) to the conference and recognized the car who's parking lights were on.  Yikes!  I didn't know that they were on...not familiar with the In's and Outs of my hubby's car.  We had jumper cables... she knew how to do it... and thankfully we didn't need to go that route.  By morning it had recouped it's juices enough...

991. missing those gals who couldn't be with us... whether for previous obligations or what have you.  I really, really missed seeing their faces.  Gail. Rachelle. Ginny. Staci. Gwen. ~ just to name a few...

992. knowing this.  Before I was ever a sister, friend, wife, mother...I was a daughter.  A daughter of the King!

993.  reminded of this.  When sometimes in the waiting...the Lord...he gives us a window - so we can watch him work.  And for some of us, it could mean waiting a long time...

994. reminded of this.  Don't go to the phone.  Go to the throne!

995. this song, from the Valley of Vision CD

996. just being able to go...

997. coming home to...

998.  HUGE hugs and smiles...

999. my hubby and kids

(you're gonna die...)

1000. coming home to my porcelain kitchen sink scrubbed WHITE clean.  My hubby must have more elbow grease then I do and  my one broken kitchen drawer was fully repaired... along with several other Mr. Fix-it odd-type jobs taken care of.  I'll have you know...

Scott's a carpenter in more ways then one. And good right to be proud of that fact. (and that is our own family joke. We'll  just leave it at that.)

***
I so have enjoyed this journey of naming the gifts.  Not of what I want, but of things I already have.  As I've already alluded to... I will most likely continue to count, maybe not here, but in my heart and personal journal(s).   It's been a wonderful, wonderful journey.  I challenge you to consider the same.
All is grace.  And it is God's Grace that colors all that I see.  I breathe. I live in the good of this.  This gift. Amen.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

See you later...alligator!

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But I'll be back. 
I'm pulling the trusty Yellow Rose of Summer ~ Overnight Bag outta the closet...and fillin' er up!
Getting ready to leave for a Weekend Ladies Retreat. 
I'm super excited... and the truth is... it isn't going to be long enough. Both the retreat time and the time away. (Oops! did I just say that?)

I can only imagine the good time this is going to be.  I hope I'm right.

I'm praying to be fully blessed... and to come away:
 Refreshed.   Encouraged.   Inspired.
Hoping to work on a few of those buddy :: friend relationships along the way, as well.

Psst.

::PLEASE PRAY::

Pray for my husband as he handles all three of our children, alone, with great ease, tranquility and capability.
Overnight. Without me.
Meals and all.
That it would be that
He will do just fine.  I know he will.  He definitly has it in him.
I'm not joshin' ...
and I am fully at peace.
I'm just hoping the littles will be gracious...and do well for him.

I am just grateful to be able to go. 

And I'm leaving my pillow behind.
(All for you, babe!  All for you.)

Happy Weekend to the rest of you!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Home :: Sweet :: Home

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Home.  One of the sweetest places on earth.  It can be and it should be.

I told you recently I've been thinking about this a lot.  How our homes are to be this haven on earth?  Sweet, and all things charming?.  Well, I don't know that I've said all of that... yet.  But.  It's definitely been on my mind, with questions like...

How does ones home be sweet?  If it isn't...how can it become sweet?

My thought is this.  The saying Home :: Sweet :: Home is a result of something both felt and known.  It almost has that nostalgic feel to it.  It's something you talk about.  For instance.  If you've been away from home for awhile, you come back, stepping inside the front door... the feelings, the smells, the sights of it all flood you at once and you immediately feel peace.

The lights are on - so to speak.  You know you're "at home".

I know that there is often this humdrum, ordinary feeling when we consider our own homes.  We know "each and every quirk" there is in that old place.  We wish we could change this or that about it.  And sometimes we do, in effort to make it more homey.  It gets messy and cluttered.  We haven't clean-cleaned in weeks.  But if we only knew how many long for the feeling of home (life) that no matter how ordinary it may seem to us... it would be outstandingly rich to them.  Full of sweet reward.

There is something practical (hopefully applicable) that I want to talk about.  Something I am learning.  (a great emphasis on learning.)

As Mothers. As Keepers ~ of the home ~ we have great opportunity to make a long and lasting difference in the lives of our children and on to the next generation.  To all who enter our homes.  Not just our immediate family.

We are the temperature of the home.  The heart of it.  Our common tendencies expressed in our example of our godly walk and talk is sure to make an impression one way or the other.  Lord help me if I'm only remembered as the "crank who turned the wheel"... and not the loving and patient mother, who with oil of gladness, made the flow of the home go round. 

It is so easy to lose sight of this. Isn't it?

Our guard is down and we react rather then respond.  The children are extra whiny and irritable to each other.  There are toys and "trash" strewn everywhere...we feel up to our eyeballs of "where to begin?".  And we simply want to throw in the towel and call it quits.  Only that would just create more laundry - right?   We've forgotten to cry out to the Lord for "the joy of the Lord is our strength."  And... now what to make for dinner?  It's all a tailspin.

Here are a few things I'm learning...in the how-to's of children and homemaking.

  • smile (more often) at them and with them
  • pray for them - with specificity!
  • speak with the "law of kindness on your tongue" towards them or as another version states it ...speak "faithful instruction" over them (quoted phrases, out of Proverbs 31).  Taking the time to truly teach them...what you expect, the proper way of doing a task, the responsibility of being part of the family.  Using phrases like: "Here let me show you..." or, "Here this might work better if you did it this way instead".  Always be quick to compliment them instead of criticizing them. This next thought is a big one for me.  I need to slow down and catch myself with my tone of voice... before it turns into "that monster mom" effect.  I don't want my children to feel shame, like every single thing they do is wrong.  Or that what they do is not worth anything to me or that I can't, rather, won't appreciate it. (they feel that greatly.)
  • be willing to be silly; spending time making memories
  • hold them, snuggle and really, really hug them - particularly when they're scared, sad or hurting
  • using frequent terms of endearment towards them -using the most important phrase of "I love you!" and meaning it.
  • planning ahead to make tempting, tasty meals that they will enjoy and learn to enjoy if they're not so sure
  • live by example using our manners to all we come in contact with
  • one of the most if not the most important thing is to sincerely apologize when having wronged our children - whether it's through our rough and careless speech, not keeping our word, our own sour attitude or simply being unfair.   They need to know we're not perfect and that we (desperately) need Jesus, too!  Every. Single. Day.
These are just a few ways that over time will greatly aide in the makings of a Home :: Sweet :: Home.  Because if MOM is "present and accounted for" in all of these areas then what a blessing we will be for generations to come.  Our husbands will want to come home every night.  And twenty years from now - our sons and daughters will want soak up and relive the memories of good heart to hearts (with mom & dad) and fantasize the tantalizing aromas of hot, hearty meals that made home ~ home.

Notice.  I mentioned nothing of cleaning and or in keeping the house in tip-top shape in the how-to section of what I'm learning.  Maybe more on this subject in Home :: Comfortable :: Home, if you care to come back and hang out.

***
Food for thought.

Growing up.  Was your home the neighborhood hang-out place?  If so, why do you think that was?



Monday, April 23, 2012

the blessing of family

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We spent some time - nearly the whole day - with my sister Rachel and her family, on Saturday.  Scott was helping to assemble a rather simple but large play-yard for their three girls.  This has been an ongoing project for quite some time for my BIL, and the fam, and to be sure, quite a bit of "redneckin'" goes along to show.  It's all good.  I'm so grateful for their safety.  And that the pending rain storm held off.

Scott got up to their place fairly early in the AM - and I followed later, with our three little ones.  What a fun day.  I helped my sister with some household chores around their home.  Sweeping floors, laundry, dishes, preparing and cooking some of the evening meal, etc.

 Our children were having a grand ole time.  Both indoor and out.

The guys worked so hard.  Exhausting work as it is, but then also in dealing with very uneven ground, rocks buried deeply in soil (I'm talking to remove by backhoe only) and the impending weather threatening.

I would say they got pretty far considering.

All this to say.  Family is such a gift.  One to the other.  If it wasn't for the blessing of family...close family... a lot of us would be really on the out and out.

This sister and brother-in-law would both give their shirt off their back to help someone else in a time of need.  It is only right to do our part to "give back", even if it's just a little.
Are you blessed to have family in your life?  Family is such a gift.  Can you attest?
***
Continuing to count the gifts.  Onward to One Thousand Gifts.

938.  the gift of family...close family

939.  we matter - one to the other

940.  opportunities; to help...

941.  wide open spaces

942.  fields of wildflowers

943.  picking those beauties

944.  impending storm clouds - holding off

945.  just in time!

946.  raindrop music - tin roof style

947.  flowering bushes of snowballs and lilac

948.  home safely!

949.  finding the teeny-weeny baby (deer?) tick on Aubrey's underarm

950.  the patience (with her) as she struggled to be brave  (it was in there.)

951.  getting {it} ALL out - finally - after 45 minutes

952.   handfuls of violets tucked into jars

953.  *crown of beauty * oil of gladness * garments of praise* ~ Isaiah 61

954.   being part of the family of God!!!

955.   road maps - travel plans in the works

956.  wisdom in dealing with a sick little one today!

957.  all she wants to do is cuddle (running a fever!)

958.  Caleb and Aubrey (playing):  having family devotions.  Sitting around our dining room table with their pink and blue little Bibles, (pretending to read) quoting from memory... John 8:12.  So sweet to overhear.

959.  an open door

960.  the swival-spigot-head-thingy on my sink faucet...it's the best thing in the world!  (I only think about it when I'm washing dishes at other peoples houses and they don't have one.)

961.  sun-kissed noses

962.  dirty fingernails and toes

963.  seed packets...emptied into the earth...just in time... before the three days of rainfall.  beautiful rain!!

964.  buddy friends & friend friends



Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday's Finds | Seeds

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God does not send us strange flowers every year.

When the spring winds blow o'er the pleasant places

The same dear things lift up the same fair faces;

The Violet is here.

Adeline D. T. Whitney  ~  1861




For today's Friday Finds:  You'll never guess what I found... tucked away deep inside my freezer.  Yes! you read that right.  My freezer!


Seed Packets.  From, like over two years ago.  Beautiful (favorite flowers)!

I have great faith.

The other day found Caleb and I hard at work, in our front flower bed.  I decided this year that with all of these new found seeds I wouldn't be buying anything (to plant) this year.  And just see what happens.  With the one of exception of any flower plants given to me (a.k.a. the pansies, you see) that whatever grows from these seed packets will just have to do.


I just had to include both of these photos of Caleb...
I absolutely LOVE his intensity.

I hope his desire for gardening only deepens.  Getting down and dirty.  By the way.  We had so many cute/good conversations over that patch of soil.

by listening...i hope i planted seeds of confidence
by answering questions...i hope i planted seeds of interest
by example...i hope i planted seeds of faithfulness in getting a job done


 I really do want her to enjoy getting dirty, as well. 

Any good gardener NEEDS to.
.
  She's a good helper, just the same.

* green bean seeds * tomato seeds * sunflower seeds *

Just to name a few more of the seeds I found...tucked away in the freezer.

In the meantime, we continue to enjoy our sweet violets!

***

Happy Weekend to all!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

another layer to the surface... {part 2}

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"There's nothing better then a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate." ~ Linda Grayson


Oh my goodness.  I never expected yesterday's post to chain react into a Part Two.  But here it is.

First off.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you for being willing to be vulnerable yourself and share your thoughts.  I knew I wasn't alone.  I so appreciate your wisdom... many of you shared things I'm still chewing on.  Treasuring up and pondering.  So good.

I replied to most of you via email.  My "reply link" is broken within the threaded comments (on my blog) or else I would've responded to you all through that... as to have a conversation back and forth.  For those that didn't hear back from me (yet)... I thought I would "talk" my thoughts out to you through this post.   There is so much to expound on and to clear the air about. (smile!)

***

First things first.  I do have friends. Lots of friends. Good friends.  Maybe not as buddy-ish as one would expect or what I would wish us to be.  One or two buddy friends is good.  I agree.  I love that wording.  Buddy friends, and then there are "Friend" friends.  (thanks to LeAnna - a commentor from yesterday's post.)  That completely explained what I was trying to say.  Or the lack thereof.

One thing that I explained to one of my good friends is this... (as she was asking me to "explain yourself  a bit better"). (She's "nerdy" -inside joke-  like that and needed to completely understand.)  (In other words ... she was confused with me.  And, who wasn't?)

I'm good at "good friend" scenarios because they're out there at arm's length.  The questions I ask myself, are these...Is it me that keeps them there?  Or do they (on their own) stay there because that is what is "safe" for them?

Friendship is risky.  WE WILL GET HURT.

I know.  I've been there.  Fairly Recent.

Kathy commented... how she currently finds herself in a very iffy friendship.  She's not sure how to handle it or what the outcome will be.

I shared with her that I too got hurt really bad from a close friend/family member.  I literally had to choose to forgive that person.  Love them from a distance.  Wait.  Pray.  Pray some more.  Forgive - over and over.  Not jump to conclusion - due to the fact that this "hurt" all stemmed from here sayThat fine grey line of gossip is a horrible thing.
 And you know what...?
It's over.  Meaning the angst of that friendship is over.  It's not perfect, not even close to what it once was...but it's getting there.  Closer.  To being better.  It's all because of the Lord and his kindness.

It was hard.

From the comments yesterday... Carissa hit the nail on the head when she said about it having a lot to do with our personalities. We all need friends differently.  You see.  I am a 100% born and bred introvert.  I would love for me to grow in my "extrovertiness" side (not a word, word.  But I'm using it).  I think this is another part of my brewed up, with a side o' vulnerability post yesterday.  I see "other" friends - buddy friends - ones attached at the hip.  It looks charming.  Easy.  Comfortable.  They're laughing.  Giddy.  Up close in each other's face...in a good way.  It's obvious they're more then good gal friends.  They're chums.  I love that word, too. (One we never use anymore.) 

But this is where that link came in.  The one from the Proverbs 31 Ministries- devotional.
(I hope you got a chance to read it). 

It's not every one's package deal.  It really does have a lot to do with a person's make up and personality.  What they are is their package deal... and we have to deal with it.  Learn to appreciate it for what it is and nothing more or less.

I'm not naturally - all of the time - an extrovert. I want to be.  HOWEVER I know I need to be comfortable in my better-dressed introvert skin...still be me... be real... be a good close friend (chummy) with one or two...and a "friend" friend (with my dry, quick-witty sense of humor, my warm friendly smile, my reservedness, staying on the surface and goodwill- come across as an "extrovert"...) to the 50,000 others that I know.
***
I want you all to know that I truly do value any and all friends that I have.  And if you only knew the struggle that came my way -after I hit publish, yesterday.  Wowzers!  I really honestly thought I would have to sing this song for the rest of the day.  My entire life, maybe?

"Nobody likes me.  Everybody hates me.  Guess I'll go eat worms..." 
(Remember that can of worms - I felt I'd opened?)
I'd be singing this, loud and clear, especially if no one shared anything.  You did though.  You shared your thoughts.  I overwhelmingly felt your moral support to my quandary. You didn't leave me hanging out to dry.

***
In closing, I just want to share a (timely?) quick FUNnie with you.  I thought it was, at least.

My 3 year old daughter, just now, took a spill out on the front porch off her lil pink scooter.
She was crying and of course I went out to see what was the matter.
I scooped her up and without missing a beat (she must have smelled it on my breath) says in her teary, hurting voice.  "I want some chocolate".As though chocolate makes it all better.  Apparently so.
She made me laugh so hard.  Even to say it with a tear in my eye, as I gave her a big hug squeeze..."Mommy needs some chocolate too."  I helped myself to another...
I couldn't possibly let her know that I had ALREADY hit up the stash of leftover Easter Candy, hidden in a different cabinet...and I mean stash!  Even though she smelled the evidence.

This is what friends do. Right?

We pass around the chocolate, the tissues and our hugs... as we know as women, we can't live without either of the three.
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

going deep on the surface

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I wanted to delve into this idea a little further, today.  This idea of friends and friendships... when nothing is fake about them. or, when everything is.

Do you know what it's like to be a real, true friend? 

I honestly struggle with this. Being one is a real challenge for me.  So, this isn't that post about how to be the "all-in-all" good friend....simply because I'm still finding it hard to figure out.  I'm sure I'll not be the only one, out there, who deals with this.

The only way to have friends is to be one. (Proverbs 18:24)

Basically, I'm saying I feel "fake". On the surface.  I feel like most of my friendships (not all!) are fake.   I hate that.  I don't want it to be that way at all.

We all know what it's like to have that one friendship that seems right and "all together"...upfront.  But when things go awry, or indifferent - which they do and will from time to time - we feel like we've literally lost our best friend.  Bam! It's over.  I knowI've had a couple of these.  And, I hope I'm not (always) the one to blame...but it is probably more about me then I realize. 

Anyway, when this happens...

It completely throws one for a loop and you vow to yourself you'll never trust again.  You'll never let those walls of vulnerability down again...in fact, you vow to only build those thick walls up higher and higher, more deeper and stronger.

Our relationships...with others, though...is sort of like this picture of the bird's nest tucked inside the cage.  It's a meant to be comfortable.  Clearly visible and or transparent.  Available. To be reachable.  Touchable.  Approachable.  Safe.  Strong.  Protected.

Again. Open and vulnerable.  They are fragile and  {relationships} take time.  Hard work.  Commitment.  

Do you agree?

Ugh!  That can be so scary.  It is scary.

For me, even if and when I actually do click with someone...it's still hard for me (personally) to maintain that friendship.  Many times I feel as though I'll end up doing all the grunt work.  And, so why bother?  ((But maybe that's where it all begins...))  I find myself "checkin' out".  Dodging the connection but longing for it, at the same time, as I walk away.

Sometimes it is simply easier to smile, be "fake" and "pretend" that all is well, even when it isn't.  Other times - relationships will stay on the surface because we're simply afraid.  Afraid to go deeper. 

NOT GOOD!

Trust me, it's very hard to maintain that facade.  It's always better to be real and humbly admit the struggle to the relationship.  Working at it rather then letting it get pushed under the rug.  (Can you tell I'm trying...to get it out, to voice it and to work on this for myself?)

So... I've been thinking about this and praying about these so called friendships and relationships in my life...the ones that I'm currently rubbing elbows with (in real life)... I've been thinking about this, a lot!!! 

And if you're currently one I "rub elbows with" on a regular basis. in real life. There is NO one thing that I'm specifically referring to.  True is that.  I'm just saying... on my end...it's me who wants a deeper friendship and I'm not sure how to have that happen.  I hope I'm making sense here.  I also hope, due to this admission, that I haven't lost every last friend I thought I ever had... just for my being so honest.

Is it me?  Is it them?  Is it a season? Insecurity?  That time of month?  What can I do to counteract this?  Should I be so concerned?  Why do I care?  What would Jesus do?  What does he say to do? 

How can I be a better friend?  Regardless...of how I think a relationship is going I still need to love- with my sleeves rolled up.  Be real.  And not be ... so fake on-the-surface, all of the time.

***
Can anyone else relate to this?  Or, have I just opened up a can of worms?

Edited to Update:  Since having this post in the Que (as a draft) for the longest time... (I've been so nervous to hit Publish.) I recently came across this devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries that I wanted to share with you.  It says it far better then I ever could, and I thought it was so fitting to link to this post for your reading benefit.  Read HERE , if you care too.  It will be so worth your time.  Please!  It's a better said - echo! 

It's what gave me the courage to hit - publish!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pin this one on the line!

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Hanging up laundry, throughout the day, yesterday, it sure was a hot one. (At least for me anyway). (I burn way too easily and whenever someone comments that it looks like I "got some sun" - I always say, "Blame it on the laundry.")

I think the temps were in the mid to high 80's, here in southeastern PA, and let me tell you what... I am not ready for weather like this.  At least here in mid April. 

So random. So weird.

But clothespins?  I love them.  What a sweet and simple invention.  Yes!?!?
I was reminded of this above photo that I took, some time ago, of my sister's (Rachel) clothespin bucket.

Isn't it charming?

I don't believe I've ever shared this photo before.  And, I wanted to play around on the *new* Picmonkey and was just having a little bit of fun with it.

When...
All of a sudden.

I realized I should and can honestly thank God for these handy, dandy little inventions as my three year old daughter comes indoors looking she just rolled around in the dirt all day.  ((sigh))

She is so stinkin' cute when she knows she's in trouble.  I told her NOT to do what did... because we were gettin' ready to go somewhere, that evening.

Another sigh.

Here is the reality.  This yellow dress was already in the wash for today.  The clothes she had on earlier - well they looked just like this or worse - actually this dress doesn't look that dirty here on the photo, but trust me.  It was.  And she was "covered - head to toe" in dirt.
I found her (outside) running around in the next-to-near buck.  I made her find her original clothes from the day, bring them indoors (to me) and we put on this yellow dress (again).  Like I said, it was already in the dirty laundry for the day. 

We sat down and talked about it... plus...
and thus the day went on.

She knew she wasn't supposed to be playing where she was.  Hence the look.

We hit the tub running. Isn't it good to know you never have to get cleaned up to take a bath?  Another thought for another time.

As for my daughter and her clothes.  I know.  I know.  It all comes out in the wash.  I say it all of the time. That's why I love clothespins all the more.

**I did a Yahoo search for decorated clothespins - just for fun.  Look what I FOUND!  I absolutely love the creativity that is out there.  I just may have to pin a couple of these ideas. (I did on Pinterest)  Some are so charming.

Makes me want to know...

Would you find hanging clothes, on the line, more fun if your clothespins were decorated?  Or are you simply indifferent?  A clothespin is a clothespin is a clothespin....get the job done.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mugs & Muffins :: Guest Post by Abby Alleman (and much, much more)

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Hello!  Welcome to my first Mugs & Muffins online meet-up.

I can't wait to share this day with you.

So?

What's in your mug?  Mine is coffee, of course.  Almost NEVER will you find me without my hot cup of coffee.

Today's muffin of choice is
Espresso Muffins.
(The recipe will be at the very bottom of this post.)

Espresso! - what a great way to get this day in high-flyin' gear!  Dont'cha think?

Pull up your chair... my friends.  Gather round.
Do you remember me asking you, in the introduction post, if the quote - the thought I left you with - held true for you?

Let me share it with you again.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same. ~ Unknown


How do these words resonate with you?  Has anyone ever left a footprint on your heart?  And, you know what I mean.  And.  Are you glad that person decided to stay, for a while?

How has this been true for me?  I've thought about this saying repeatedly over the past several weeks.  I've been left to wonder if the influence that one leaves on another is much more then we realize.  More then we'll ever know, understand or intend. 
A simple, true-blue footprint.  A deep and lasting impression.  I'm taking it as a good thing...
I think of my mom.  She's one.

I think of my Aunt Eunice.  She's another.  The same is (very) true of my Aunt Mary.

I think of my Grammy (Aquilla).  Now. She's left a footprint!

I think of former co-workers: Andrea, Barb, Mitzi and Phil.  Donna, Anna, Connie and Val. (to name only a random few.)

I think of friends and neighbors... both old & new.

My Uncle Vernon. 

My dad - who passed on from this life, to the next.

My siblings.

My spouse (the love of my life) and my dear, sweet children.  Every day!

And. Then. There's me!  What sort of footprint, impression, imprint, mark...legacy... have I been leaving behind? 

I.

Me. 

This is who I really need to think about.

Some of these people I've mentioned have truly come and gone - in my circle.  And, I have left (some of) theirs.  We've left memories for the other.  Impressions.  Influence. Some things good.  Some things not so good.  But they're there.

We take the good with the ugly.  And the mud-ugly becomes beautiful.  Eventually it turns to dust that over time can be swept away, remembered only as a mere layer of the what was and has been and the what will be no more.

I smile as I type this.  Some {people} are meant to STAY.

I go back to thinking of my mom.  The vital role she is and has been in my life.  I am so glad she stayed.  Not everyone has had that privilege, of the one who stays, as part of their story.  I know that to be a true fact of life.  Sometimes that is very sad.

There is a twist, though, to the way we stay.  It's not only in the physical aspect that we do this, but it's more in the heart-of-hearts way that we stay and we make a difference.  A lasting one.  Oh, and I confess.  There have been many-a-day, over the past while, in my mothering... that I've struggled to hang in there.  Some days the STAYing was all I could do, but by barely hanging on.

Please welcome my friend Abby, as she shares with us, her heart.   She is one who truly, whole-heartily embraces...the way of mothers.  And I am so encouraged by her insightful words and her encouragement to "joy" in it all, no matter the come and go.
***
The Way of Mothers

[BabyJJ 002[16].jpg]I carried the blanket all tucked up with the hair just cut OFF of my beautiful, blonde three year-old’s head. I dumped it in the trash can. (the big one that sits out for the garbage truck) I told myself I needed to. As it lay in that light-colored clump near the bottom, I reached down and grabbed a handful. I put it in a bag with this date, November 13, 2010 and stuck it in his baby book. I had to. I am a mother and this is the way of mothers.



[Alleman Family Photo Shoot 008[8].jpg]I NEEDED to cut his hair…it was curling into his little boy eyes that guide running feet all over for this or that ball or to race or to be a super hero. I kept having to brush it away so he could be a little boy. But somewhere inside of me I’d been fighting this. It was like I’d be cutting away a piece of what was chubby baby turned still-chubby toddler but now is undeniably just-a-little chub Boy who becomes full-fledged Boy who becomes Teenager who becomes Adult who flies the coop. Oh where has the time gone?! But, then, this is the way of mothers.


I don’t know if the hair will be as blonde the next time I cut it. Perhaps. It still bleaches in the sun. But it’s showing the signs of growing darker, growing up. And I DO NOT LIKE IT ONE BIT! Can you please agree? This is also the way of mothers.
Alleman Family Photo Shoot 013
I would, if I could, capture these moments in some magical way so as to return to infant’s cuddles and toddler’s snuggles. I would hold back the hands of Time so that my ‘baby’ could remain just that with kissable hurts and tears dried in my lap. But this is not the way of mothers.
I join generations even back unto the first. Cain and Abel childhood companions gone terribly wrong. Oh, how Eve must have grieved. Sarah who gave long-awaited Isaac over to Abraham to walk an unknown road of sacrifice. Hannah who surrendered her newly weaned Samuel as promised to her Lord. Elizabeth with one prized son in her old age. He prepared the way through a wilderness-living life and died for the Truth he proclaimed. And then there is Mary. Ah Mary. She pondered the prophesies and held them in her heart as she walked a road no mother ever walked nor ever will. They stand strong and tall in our hallowed hall of remembrance. For they most definitely walked the way of mothers.

The truth I know is the truth I must embrace even at the tender age of three. This son is not mine. If he is to become the man I pray he will, I cannot hold onto the past and grieve the present and dread the future. I must walk this way of mothers.

Nature Walk, Open House, etc 146
Listen to that great cloud of witnesses gone before including my own mother. Draw from the beloved wisdom of so many women who walk ahead many years on this path. Their courage and faith to embrace the growth of their ‘babies’ has not come without great pain. And yet I know they would not choose another than the way of mothers.

Still I wonder if in Heaven there won’t be an infinite line of mothers holding precious Babes..never, ever wanting nor having to let go. I see my own mama holding the three she never held in this life. And so many beautiful mama’s redeemed who made choices that have marked their lives with pain that won’t fully heal until that baby is resting in their arms. Precious others who have lost and who long for This Day when babes taken will be forever in their arms. And Nature Walk, Open House, etc 217those who have never had but always desired…here, where deepest joy is known their arms won’t be empty.



And so, my heart finds some eternal peace in the bittersweet now of my own growing babe. For this is the way of mothers.


Abby writes (almost) daily at Fan the Flame.  She and her husband, Jared, are currently expecting their third child, and are about to embark on a long-awaited (passionate) dream of theirs to move their resident home (back) to Hungary where they will be in full time, long-term ministry, serving the Lord.  I believe, Lord Willing, early May.  It's coming up!

Abby, my friend.  You too are one who is just as this saying says.  One who has left a foot print and we are never, ever the same.
I thank God for this amazing blog-circle... where we can still feel the deep and lasting impression of friendship...and our kindred hearts can go on.  Even though you have to go!
Blessings on you and your sweet family. Thank you for sharing today.  ~ Bevy

Wrapping up a few more thoughts of this...on The Way of Mothers.  The reason we stay.  The influence we are.  Not just to our little families.  This is for everyone.  Family...close or not.  We matter.  And we're to really value that calling the Lord has placed upon our life.  Whether we're an aunt, a sister, a friend, a co-worker, a spouse, a mother, a grandmother or what have you...we're all called to first walk in HIS footsteps in order to leave a good impression behind. 

***
Giveaway TimeGiveaway CLOSED! I'm so excited to share with you another dear mama friend, of mine, who volunteered something she has made with her own dear hands.  She has graciously given of her time and talent to be a part of this giveaway today.  I think it is quite fitting...especially if you have a growing little one or simply know of one.  Maybe there is a little love on the way, or one about to come into your life.  One that you can help to hang around and enjoy!  Leave a footprint - so to speak - on their life...

Make Welcome - Amanda!  from Homegrown and Beeyoutiful. {applause! applause!}  {Thank you, very much Amanda!}

Amanda offers up today just one of these unique jar gifts to one of our dear reader's - which may be You.

 Today Only!


Here is how to enter for this sweet giveaway, today!

  • Leave a comment here on my blog, including the "name" of one person you can think of who has left, for certain, a sure footprint on your heart.  For one chance at winning.
  • Sign up to follow either Abby's, Amanda's or my own blog.  And leave a separate comment here letting me know what you did.  This provides you with a second chance.
  • For a third entry.**  Tell me (in your comment) if you would be interested in writing up a short story(kept anonymous?), for a future chance to get published here on Treasured Up and Pondered, about the person who left that footprint on your heart.
** this last way is really the heart of my giveaway.  I want to hear from you.  And, I'm hoping to have your interaction.

Amanda wants you to know that you should pick the color of your choice for the beautiful hand crocheted washcloth: *lime * aqua * yellow * creme * lavender *

And pick the scent of soap you would like, as well: 
* lavender * rosemary mint * honey oatmeal * unscented *

Click HERE to check out her etsy shop.  I'm sure she would love it if you took the time to browse her shop and read more about her wonderful handmade talent(s).


One winner will be picked later this afternoon and notified.  If you do not have a blog... make sure to include your email address in with your comment.
***
And now, for that delicious recipe you've all been waiting for, so patiently.

Espresso Muffins:
2 cups flour
2/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 T. instant coffee
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Espresso Spread:
4 oz. cream cheese
1 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. instant coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all dry ingredients.  Heat milk a little.  Mix in coffee until dissolved.  Add everything else.  Mix only until moistened.  Fill paper lined muffin tins.  Bake at 375* for 15-20 minutes.  Cool.  Put Espresso Spread on top of muffins.
Yield: 12 muffins
 ***
Yay!  That's all for today.  Our first Mugs and Muffins!  I hope you enjoyed your stay.  Until next month... with more?   I hope you return.  I hope you tell your friends to come along and join in.

And again.  If you would feel so inclined as to share a short form story line of someone who really blessed your life.  I would love to hear it.  Send me an email...and I'll keep it in the Que for future use or reference.

Thank you, so much for your time today.
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