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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Part Two of our Vacation where we're still in VA.

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Welcome back for this next part of our stay in VA.

When we followed our *new* homegrown and beeyoutiful friends over to the home where we agreed to stay for the night, this feeling of - well, it was a mixture of - overwhelming peace and nerves that came over me.
But you know what?  Hospitality isn't just meant to be given.  It's also meant to be received.  That's part of practicing it. Right?

Down the dusty, gravel farm lane...


This photo doesn't do the landscape justice.... but this part of VA is simply breathtaking.  I could live here.  And, I really do mean that.  :)

The bend in the driveway held promise for a wonderful evening ahead.  Amanda's blog post {HERE}showed a lot more beautiful photos of this special evening - as I'm about to share.  You just might want to head over there to take it all back in. ;)  By the way, any photos here, of hers, are used by permission.


If there is one thing I learned about Southerners (at least from all the ones, in particular, we went to go see)...while on this vacation, it was this: they would come out to greet and meet you, almost before you even got out of the vehicle.  I loved it!  It made me feel so welcome and the nervousness - if there really was any? - was washed completely away, in an instant.  That act alone was what spoke highly of their hospitality.  It was like instead of just saying the word "welcome" to you, they were saying "well come... on in". "We'll actually walk you into our home".  It was a surrounding sort of feeling.  A sense of being ushered in.

So inviting.

Chairs were scattered around the yard.  Soon other guests arrived.  I have to say.  It was so fun to meet another one of my sweet readers, for the first time.  Julie.  Here is a gal who doesn't blog or ever leaves a comment, but she reads faithfully.  I was thrilled.  Julie is the lovely gal sitting there in the center of the circle.

Julie, I wish I would've chatted it up with you a bit more... you're so sweet.  You're boys are halarious. ;)


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Here we were relaxing so much.  Remember though, Scott and I pulled out of our place at 4 AM that Saturday morning and so needless to say we were pretty mellowed out.  We couldn't wait to lay our heads to rest.
Soon dinner was called.  What a treat to have steak on the grill along with some of the best side fixin's you could possibly imagine.

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I still want need the recipes for the tea sweetened with honey and the homemade dressing meant to pour over that delicious lettuce salad.  OH YUM!!

The evening continued with so much FUN for the little ones.  Strangers quickly turned friends.  There was "races" up and down the driveway. 

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 Quilts spread out to play on.


Bubbles.

The hammock. 

Which the hammock soon turned into Aubrey's Arch Nemesis.  At one point, while out here playing on this thing.  She took a mean spill and busted her lower lip, good.  I really wasn't so sure... but I thought it would be fine.  Cuts and sores in the mouth usually heal up pretty fast.  This one was big and deep.  Would we need to go get it stitched?
We decided to wait till morning, just to see what it would look like... and already come the morning... it was looking somewhat better.  All is well now...as I type.  Completely healed.  A couple of the gals at the get together (including Amanda) were nurses and assured us it would be alright.   They were right.

It didn't take long for Aubrey to get back into the swing of things and have fun with the rest of them... long into the evening.

Evening quickly settled in....

So peaceful.

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The kiddos' enjoyed the campfire and ate up the marshmallows lickty-split.  We would've sat around and talked on into the night, I think, if only we weren't so tired.  Oh my... and then to say good-bye?  To Mat and Amanda?  Their children? We were just getting started...this just couldn't be. 

I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it.  It was like we had only scratched the surface.


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 ***
The next morning was lovely.  Scott and I prepared to load up the van for the next leg of our journey on down to our dear friends in TN.  We all had "passed out" from exhaustion the night before.  Our kids just did so well...settling down.  Our sleeping quarters were more then adequate, and again... it felt like home.

As I walked upstairs into the kitchen.  The smell of coffee, a breakfast casserole in the oven and the yummiest rolls with the best apple butter I have ever had.  But what I noticed first was the sunlight just streaming in through the open kitchen door, the birds singing and the quiet beautiful melodious strains of instrumental hymns coming from a corner of the living room.

By the way.  Amanda...provided the breakfast casserole for us as well.  That was SO GOOD!!  I loved the fresh herbs sprinkled through out.  Rosemary?

Here, what the best part was, was the sitting around the kitchen table - yes! while enjoying that delicious breakfast - but more importantly was the actual fellowship time of visiting (finally!) with our host and hostess.  Connecting the dots, as it were, with like-minded folks.  Fellow believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sweet time!!  Sweet. sweet time.
***
Thank you! Rick and Sarah for opening your home to us.  You certainly were a blessing - more than you'll ever know.  We're looking forward to another time in the near future, if you don't mind? ;)
***

Join us next time as we arrive at our dear friends in Tennessee.  What a wonderful week we had.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The post you've all been waiting for. Our vacation. :)




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I (still) honestly have no idea where to begin.  Like I've mentioned, when we first got home, so much wonderful took place on our vacation it's hard for me to fully articulate what actually went on. 

As you know, we headed south, to Virginia to meet this homegrown and beeyoutiful gal, and her family, face-to-face and then on down to Tennessee for the duration of the week, visiting there with dear friends of ours and then back through VA, stopping there, overnight, to visit Scott's stepmother - at least meeting her for dinner.

Just to let you know right now.  This post of our week long vacation will have to be done in separate postings.  It will get way too long, I'm sure.  Let's start with our first stop in Rocky Mount, VA. Follow along, in postings, as we've travelled our route.
***

When I first bailed out of the car and into the warm embrace of my blogging friend Amanda... it was like "coming home". 

I'm serious.  This was a moment to remember.  Her warm, friendly southern soul just exuded hospitality to the inth degree.  It was a joy to walk into their home, be fed a delicious hot, home cooked meal and the best sweet tea - evah!, and oh my... the front porch.  So charmingly sweet.

If only porch swings could talk.  It would share many a story, I'm sure.  But as I sat there on her porch, I couldn't help but notice...

The windchimes a playin'...
The soft breezes blowin'...
The corn crates, the milkcan, the flowers a bloomin'...
The pillows that she so creatively sewed...
the scent of Lavender long filled the nose...
the creak of the porch swing...
a sip of some tea...
the laughter out back from the children, you see
were the memories in makin'...
A gift, just for me.


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If only we could have spent more time, together. (And we tried...) It truly felt as though we only scratched the surface.  We really only got to spend one wonderful afternoon and evening together.  We stayed overnight with friends of theirs... more on that later.

Our children played so well together, as though we've done it a thousand times before.  Our husbands even willingly enjoyed this moment - knowing it was meant for their wives and their budding friendship.  Their conversation(s) soon took a turn from what do you do for work? and all the small talk to the deeper stuff of hunting, fishing and cars....oh, and family life too. :)

I failed to mention that the best homegrown strawberries and fabulous dessert that you could possibly imagine was waiting to be shared. 

Oh my goodness!!

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Like I mentioned.  Our children played together so nice.  When I first saw these photos (looking back through what I had captured), I got the goosebumps.  Our children, together, on the same photos!  So surreal.
I just love how Sadie has her hand in the crook of Aubrey's arm.  And, it looks like the boys sure did get to gigglin' about something.  Too cute.



All around their home, inside and out, was charm.  I loved Amanda's kitchen.  (sorry, no photo's).  I loved the way Amanda was busily working with her hands while visiting at the same time.  You should've seen her scurrying around, washing up dishes, drying them and putting them away all while chatting up a storm.  Next thing I know she was packing up a "food basket" to go off to where we (our family) were staying for the night.  The folks we were about to meet had prepared a potluck dinner that evening and a get together with a couple of other friends.  More on that in a minute.


I'm telling you... there was natural beauty everywhere. All around their lovely one acre homestead.  
 
Even here with...

Amanda and her girls.  Just beeyoutiful.

***
Our families exchanged some gifts.

Scott and I wanted to say "thank you" for their hospitality in a way that would be unique and special and truly remembered.  So, I thought ahead a bit...

I made skirts for each of the girls, which thankfully fit them perfectly, and a hand painted (on feed sack cloth) checker board for Levi.  I wanted to find acorn caps (and paint them accordingly) for him to use for the game pieces and although we looked for some, here at home, we couldn't find any.  I felt bad giving him only half the game.  I'm sure Amanda's blog will fill in more details of this... head on over there, if you'd like. :)  However, she told me that the game has been played every night since we left. ;)  That warms my soul.

I also baked a home made Funny Cake, to leave with their family.  Something unique to our area of PA!!   I'll be sure to post a recipe sometime in the near future.

In the meantime I had asked if Levi could come up with a hand carved fishing pole for Caleb... so we could give it to him as part of an early Birthday Gift.  This is what he came up.  Well, he and his daddy did.  I knew doing a little project like this would be right down this homegrown country boy's alley. :)  It was.  A fine job was done, indeed.

Here is Levi explaining to Caleb a bit about the bobber... and how it works.

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Learnin' Caleb the In's and outs of the tackle box.   I think these boys, if given enough time, would have fished the creek wide over - had they had the chance.  By the way.  The southern drawl this little guy had on him made a big impression on Caleb.  You should've heard Caleb... doin' his best to speak like his buddy Levi was.
***
So.  We agreed to be hosted by friends of Amanda and her husband... for overnight, Saturday night.  It was a bit nerve-racking at first if we thought about it enough.  We had never met Amanda & Matt - face to face, up to this point in making our plans - and now we were agreeing to be hosted by their friends?  How crazy is that?

But let me tell you what...

Doing this was one of the best experiences we have ever had. This wasn't crazy at all. Hospitality isn't just meant to be given.  It is also meant to be received.

It was so wonderful. 

Meeting Rick and Sarah and their beautiful (grown)girls... they were just a joy to be around. I could share many stories.  In fact I will.  Just of our stay - while at their lovely home.

Hopefully tomorrow (or at least the next time I post) with more photos. 

Here is one to leave you with, in anticipation...


***
Wait.  I forgot one thing.

The parting gift that Amanda put together for us.  This girl is amazing.  So sweet.  Too sweet.  This basket was stocked full of ...

* Homemade Sourdough Bread * Virginia's Best Self-Rising Flour * yummy 7-layer Bars (for the road) * two kinds of her homemade bars of soap (check out her etsy shop) * Coffee cups (because we didn't have time for the coffee while there) * flower seeds (lavender) for the children to plant*
(I feel like I'm missing something)

And last of all, and what brought the whole thing together, was the most charming of baskets that I think will possibly get used to go pick our own strawberries somewhere locally around home.   It just seems like the perfect kind of basket to do so.

 Amanda and family!  Thank You!  You certainly are a kindred spirit(s).  Your hospitality was completely felt and thoroughly enjoyed by our family.  I love that as sister's in Christ (and via blogging) we will always be close in heart...even though our homes are far apart.

Thanks for the many memories made, my friend.



I miss you so much, already. We all do. So, so much!!  How do you like this photo? I just had to share it here at the end as sort of a parting shot- it was one we asked Caleb to take of us. 

Oh! To see your face again...

***
For the rest of you...stay tuned for the rest of the trip - as I said.

EDITED to UPDATE:  Photos that didn't show up.  Homegrown and Beeyoutiful photos used by permission.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Caleb

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Dear Caleb.
Do you realize how long you've been waiting for this day to roll around? 
Months ago...

You wondered when you would be five.
How many days until May twenty-ninnnthhhh? 
(that's what it would sound like when you would ask)

You would ask us over and over.
"Am I going to be five on my next birthday?" 
 "On May 29th, I'm going to be five?"


 
Sweet boy.  The day is here.

 

We're looking forward to spending the day with you and for you.


We have some fun surprises planned for you throughout the day!
Lots of family arriving, later this evening... to share in the joy.

And we can't wait to have some "Lightening MaQueen" cake and ice cream, as you've repeatedly asked for, for your birthday celebration, later this evening.

***
Son.  You've been a delight to our souls these past five years.  It's been a joy to be your parents, seeing your heart soft towards the Lord.  You're always singing a song.  You love to recite scripture verses you've learned.

In fact.

Philippians 4:13 has been your most recent memorized verse.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I hope that verse continues to bless your life as you grow both physically and spiritually.


It's hard to believe that school for you is soon over and we're about to embark on the summer days looking forward to a new school year - Kindergarten - in the fall. 


You're growing up so quickly, my son.

We love you, bud!!!!  Happy 5th Birthday!


***
Mommy, Daddy, Aubrey and Jayne

Sunday, May 27, 2012

We're Home!!

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This is just a "letting you know we're home" post.

We made it in, last evening about 6:30pm or so.  Had to run to the grocery store and put in an AC unit or two (well, the second one gave up the ghost - so it is no more - and we're off to shopping for another later today.) and unload/unpack/unwind.  We threw the kiddo's into the tub and I think it was a "pass out" for all of us as soon as we hit the pillow.

It's good to be home.

I PROMISE more vacation photos and trip stories - ahead.  I'll be honest, though.  So much wonderful happened that I just about have the slightest idea of where to begin without overwhelming you all.  Please be patient as I get my thoughts (and photos) together. {smile!}

Wow!  It is truly good to be back home.  But hey, I already said that, didn't I?

Thank you! so much for your thoughts and prayers. For travelling mercies; for my shoulder/neck/back pain;  Which by the way.  When we started out at 4AM last Saturday... I was really worried.  I was in so much pain.  But as we "bumped along" in our family-mobile... it seemed to dissipate.  And the rest of the travel time was honestly "not too bad".  And...now it's gone.  I think it was the wonderful bed we slept on, all week that really made a difference.

It also helps that we have the best little travellers in the world.  I'm serious.  All three of the children did phenomenal.  (Psst.  we're planning our next long road trip... based on their behavior.  We can do it!! - but the truth is that won't be for awhile.  All for other reasons.)  I wasn't having to turn around to entertain or to settle anything or to hold a bottle.  We all worked together.  It went really well.

I must sign off here as we're about to head out the door for Sunday Morning Service. 

Good to check in with you all.  Come back - in the near, near future - for more of our adventures.

For tomorrow...
Happy Memorial Day!!

So, how do you plan to celebrate it?  Any plans?



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bloggy Randomness : Giveaway Winner : Prayer Request

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I just can't help myself.  I love these flowers and have had several more photos lingering around as sure as the scent of lily of the valley is strong.  I just had to share.


I knew you'd appreciate...
***
It started on Saturday.  This past Saturday.  A beautiful Mother's Day gift.  The detailing of the family mobile - both inside and out.

Folks.  This is/was a big deal.



They did a fabulous job. My hubby, Scott and the kiddo's. 
 The van looks great... even STILL.  Thank you, hun!

All the while, I was on kitchen duty...busily preparing
several pies
cheesecake (New York Style)
6 doz. cookies
and of course the
clean-up

...all for various reasons. 

Some of it was for vacation - this upcoming week.  Some for Mother's Day lunch with friends, on Sunday.
Our Anniversary, Monday.  Caleb's (1st) school program refreshments, Tuesday.

The clean up was of course my duty an for my sanity.
((Lunch was in there somewhere... oh, and dinner! Pizza delivery, anyone?))

I  had a wonderful Mother's Day!  We spent the day with friends.  Enjoying a delicious Tex-Mex meal together.  And having our little gals play together, (essentially their first play-date) was so fun to watch.

I got the sweetest card from Caleb.  One that he "made" himself...with school.  Too cute!

***

 I also just want to say that I'm super excited regarding the response I got with the Mugs & Muffins giveaway and the "discussion" about our Mothers.  I was tickled.  I love my mom and whether you have a fluid relationship with your mom or not... we all have a mother.  We have a story.  They have a story.

I was glad my mother was willing to share a bit of hers with you.  Thank you for listening and joining in.
Also.  Welcome to all of the *newbies* who stopped by, from over at Julia's... and who joined up to follow along here at Treasured Up and Pondered.  I want to welcome you with a warm heart.
Thanks for wanting to hang around. 

And now... drum roll...please. 
I chose to use an online random generator... all my other "name-drawers" went to bed already.
I want to announce the winner of our fun giveaway.

:Christy
I love lily of the valley. I think because it is an old fashioned flower. What a beautiful big bouquet! And such a lovely tribute to your mom. What a great idea to interview her. I enjoyed reading!

 You are the Mugs & Muffins winner.  Congratulations!! 
 I might actually get to hand deliver this one. ;) Since you live close by.

***

So, were headed off for vacation.  Early, early Saturday AM.  We're heading to VA and TN.

Please pray for us as you think of us.

First off.  We're all sick-ish, here, with seasonal allergies.  Not fun.  It's been hard for me to think straight.
I still have a ton of the packing to finish up and all of life in the middle that takes place.  Pray that Scott and I will have fun - together as a couple.  We're looking so forward to getting away... enjoying our friends and making new ones - at least face-to-face.  More on this later.

We ask you to pray for our safety, while travelling.  That the kids will be a joy to travel with.  This could prove interesting. ;)

Also.  I have been dealing with a pinched nerve/neck and shoulder pain for too long.  My sister came over today to do a quick massage.  She is a certified massage therapist.  It helped... but it isn't *right* - yet.  I know that turning my head to look over at Scott or back towards the kids for the duration of the travel time is certainly going to be a challenge.  Please pray for relief... and ultimately healing.  I'd appreciate it.

Pray for good weather, fun time and lots of memories to be made.

I'll see you all when we get back.

Blessings!



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Balance

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She gingerly stands holding on with her hand wrapped tightly onto my one finger.  She wobbles.  She teeters.  But oh she smiles.

This thing called balance has caught her off guard.  And me too.  It's so second nature.  Yes?

She looks up to me with big, round eyes...as if I'm the expert here.  Mom.


The look on her face says; What if?

What if I would let go? 
She isn't ready to take that step.  But one day she will. (soon enough)
The look on her face is of , "Oh, this new thing! This new world out there..."

If only.

She leans her body weight into mine, simultaneously clinging and daring her will to let go. 

Maintaining Balance.

If only it wasn't so tricky.

I hold on tight...{yet}encouraging her to let go.

She doesn't.

Not yet.

I know this challenge, too.


****
Just to let you know, the Mugs and Muffins - Giveaway! is still open. It's open till Wednesday night at 10:00 PM, EST. Please check it out. All due to the fact that I'm waiting for part of it to arrive in the mail... all the way from central WA.  :)

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