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

Monday, December 30, 2013

{yuletide carols} Mugs & Muffins :: Christmas Post and Giveaway! Now - CLOSED!

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Welcome to the last 
Mugs & Muffins 
- for the year of 2013!  

It's hard to believe another year is behind us, but here we are.  For our family- it was a year of growth and change and blessing...
We have much to be thankful for.  And, we are!

What's in store for 2014?  We'll all have to wait and see..hopefully, more of the same. 

Isaiah 33:2 is a wonderful prayer to hold fast to and one that I want to be praying for the New Year!  It reads..
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
    Be our arm every morning,
    our salvation in the time of trouble. (Isaiah 33:2, ESV)

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you a "re post" of a heart-felt post (if you don't mind...) - one I have done some time ago and have alluded to several times since.  I feel like I'm kind of being my own "Guest Post-er". :)  But, hey - that's quite alright.

The title of this encouragement today is:  Glowing Windows.

I felt it would be appropriate to share this one with you - since we're nearing the end of our {yuletide carols} series.  I will (sadly!) be ending the series tomorrow..the last day of both the month and of the year.  I really hope you enjoyed it, as much as I did.

When we would go caroling, physically from door-to-door, in years past, we certainly didn't hang around at the cold, dark houses - where obviously, no one was home.  But, by all means, we would be sure to head to the homes that looked like someone was "at home"; ones with windows that were aglow.  Where warmth exuded...and we knew we'd be welcome!

But first, before we get into all of that, you know what I'm going to say you should do, right?  You guessed it!  Go ahead and grab that mug of hot Christmas Tea!  Yup... you heard me right.  Change it up a bit from the usual cup of coffee. Why not?  Or, do whatever you want.  Who am I to stop you?
Besides, the recipe of Almond Torte, that I am sharing with you today, is to die for.  You won't care what is in your cup.

Help yourself.  Please!

I was introduced to this recipe (shared at the end of the post) earlier in the season and have had it several of times.  I also decided to make it for my extended family to enjoy this Christmas.  It was lovely.
Let's get started, shall we?

:: Glowing Windows:: (a re post)

Brrr, it's kind of cold outside...
Yeah, I know not as cold as some of our recent days.  In fact - we're in a warm spell, right now where we live. What I want to know today; most importantly, is... What really is the temperature inside your home? Hopefully, there is a stark temperature difference.  A difference between what is on the inside verses what is on the outside...

I'm not exactly sure where this long-time idea has come from, perhaps it was this - from these words of Bonnie Green, who said:

"It is the glow from within that creates beauty.  People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle like crystal in the sun.  At night they continue to sparkle only if there is light from within."
It's the idea of me being as a house with glowing windows!

If you drive around at night, this time of year, everywhere you look, you will see these cozy looking little houses with little lights in every window.  (I would have them too, most likely, except for Mr. Frugal - Honey- with the Electric Bill. That's okay Babe!  I still have memories of when I was single or at best I have a pretty good imagination.  I can imagine lights at every window, in our home.)  

I can remember as a young teenage daughter (growing up conservative Mennonite) when I had two windows in my bedroom.  Of course, I just had to have a little window light in each one.  This pretty near was a source of contention for our home, because at the time it seemed as though lights in windows were the start of a neighborhood fad, or "worldly" - without saying that.  In a more practical sense - it seemed as though it were a waste of electricity (ahmmm).  And, well our household, growing up, just wouldn't be having any of those things.

That is, until one night...

I can remember well, my dad, outside, one COLD winter's evening, chopping/splitting wood.  And as he came back inside, later that night, he mentioned how "welcoming" the house looked - if and when he looked up towards the lighted windows - upstairs.  When he said "that", I knew right then and there the conversation was over and that things were okay.  To this day my Mother puts little lights in her house windows... and all is cozy well.

So, what makes for glowing windows?  There is obviously something REAL to be had - on the inside. There is a warmth, a peace, and a cozy-feeling, per say, that has to go someplace.  There is a light - the Light of Life- that has to permeate the darkness.

It calls.

It comforts.

It's lovely.

It's beautiful.

It's a reflection.

It's warmth.

It's peace.

It's hospitable.  Not meaning entertaining or serving a meal, necessarily.  But letting people in your life. Period.

You can add more thoughts to this.  But here is where this dials down in my life...in my current standing as a wife and as a mother.  Particularly, as it pertains to being a stay-at-home Mom...

I am the temperature of my/our home.  How I am on the inside will show on the outside.  How I feel, react, respond, etc.... matters.  If I am happy or moody; smiling or grumpy; singing or snappy; friendly or COLD... whatever the condition of my heart, my being, my face, my persona...it's spreads infectiously, either good or bad, to my spouse and particularly to our children.  Including those outside our home, whether it's over the phone, or in the grocery line.

I want to be as a house with glowing windows!  Even if the windows are stain-glass windows and everything, looking on, appears all ornate and put together... it means very little, unless there is light from within.  That being the light of Jesus Christ shining through.  This is the only way there is true beauty, anyway.
Likewise, if my windows appear dirty or dingy looking on from the outside... certainly not perfect...there is still a lot to be said about the temperature of the home on the inside.  When Jesus lives and reigns within, his light can't help but exude outward.  Regardless.

"...her lamp does not go out at night". ~ Proverbs 31:18 b

: : What do people see, looking on?  Is there a drawing to the Light of Christ?  Is it a warm, cozy, comfortable place -inside- as Mommy's temperature gauge reads "herein dwells a spirit of loveliness".?  Are you a house with "glowing windows"?

I have to be quite honest.  Sometimes this - what I'm saying to you - is VERY hard to implement for myself personally.  So, I truly covet your prayers, as a wife, a mom, a friend... that I would be as a house with glowing windows.  It certainly is a prayer of mine and will continue to be a prayer of mine - throughout this coming year!
:: Giveaway::

Our giveaway today includes a little something special from me!  A newbie! If you want to call it that.  I recently started making these Tea Wallets and have given some out as Christmas presents..  I'm working on a few more to stock in my etsy shop.. there aren't any in stock - at this point - but keep checking in.

Here is the one I plan to give away today.  The tea bags are included - I thought it would be nice to receive some tea with this gift...
The wallet holds two tea bags or it can be used to hold business cards, or whatever...

This book - Christmas Uncut, by Carl Laferton is also part of the giveaway.  What a great little read to have around.  I encourage you - read this yourself and then give it away to a non-believer friend, next Christmas.  It might spark some conversation... perhaps a conversion.  You never know.

The GIVEAWAY ends on Friday evening, January 3, 2014, at 10pm, EST.

Please share your thoughts on the glowing windows...idea.  Can anyone else out there relate - to the fact that it isn't always easy to maintain a warm and lovely attitude in the home, etc.?
Feel free to share your thoughts on your how special your Christmas was for you.  Or, share some of your hopes and dreams for the coming year.  This is the time to "fellowship" as ladies, as readers and encourage one another... I look forward to reading all you have to say.

Remember.  Each comment - including Facebook - will be an entry for the giveaway.
::Recipe::  Almond Torte

1 1/2 Cups sugar
3/4 Cup melted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cup sliced almonds, chopped
2 tsp. sugar

Blend sugar, eggs and butter. Stir in salt and extracts. Add flour and most of the almonds. Pour into greased spring-form pan. Mix remaining almonds with sugar and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350* 30-40 minutes. Cake hardens as it cools.


One more thing - before we go:

I wanted to ask your thought on what you (honestly) think about Mugs & Muffins.
Do you enjoy them?
Are they hosted too often?
Not enough?

My thought would be to host them once every season (quarterly!) for this coming year.  Personally - I enjoy doing this.  I just wanted to get some feedback from you regarding it.  And you can email me - if you would rather let me know your thoughts that way.  I would simply love to hear from you!

Thanks again for coming to our last Mugs & Muffins - for this year.  Have a wonderful day celebrating the New Year and God bless..

Come back tomorrow for the last of the {yuletide carols}...


  1. I love the glowing windows thought. I remember coming home as an older teen from a job in the city and seeing those lights of home when I rounded the big curve on the highway. Comforting. There is a verse...Luke 11:34 I think, "The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness." I want people to see that glowing light in me. Praying the same for you, Bevy. Have a wonderful new year.

    1. Thank you,. Anita.

      I will be praying the same for you and each of my readers... as we grow in this "thought" together.
      Are you getting snow up there tonight?

  2. Well Bevy, I have tried 3 times to comment on this... maybe this time it will work... My computer is slowing dying... its only 7 years old...
    So Good Morning... cold and rainy here in KY with a chance of snow...
    Loved the carols...
    About the Glow in the Windows... a funny but wonderful story
    Ron and I came home in Feb of 1993 to Kentucky for a vacation... Its snowed and was beautiful... we decided to take a early evening walk in the snow, we climbed this hill and the view was amazing... we were looking down into the valley... all you could see was a beautiful white scene with windows glowing in a distance... I will never forget that feeling I had, and I wanted to never forget it which I havent... anyway, on the way home to Florida, I was on a mission to find those little candle lights for my windows... I think Ron thought I was nuts, but he went along with it... we found those lights in Richmond Ky at this wonderful country shop... dont even know if they are still open today, but is so vividly implanted in my mind... I was so thrilled... Got home put the lights in my windows thinking it would give me that feeling, but honestly they got on my nerves... so after a while I took them down, and never used them again... Its been 20 years since that time, and I have often thought of why it bothered me so, and that it didnt create that feeling I had, but it finally hit me... the LIGHT I was needing wasnt a little electric candle in the window, it was God in my heart... and to reflect back over those years, of how many people and things that God placed in my path and I didnt see... my mindset at the time was to reach for the American Dream, house, money, cars were what I thought would be the happiness of my life... but NOT.... we bought a new home this year and not once was I excited... Its nice and beautiful but its just shelter... what is amazing to me, is without GOD happiness cannot be found... and my goal for my New Year is about Awareness... Aware that I am spending more time with HIM... Aware of my Attitude, Words and Actions... So the LIGHT in me can be seen.... to let him SHiNE thru ME... and honestly this has been hard but I know if I ALLOW him this HONOR then things will be fine... not easy but better....
    So thank you for posting this... I love all your posts and if you choose one a season or everyday, or every monday... I will be here with you...
    Love the TEA Wallet... using mine for important cards in my purse... loved the fabric... so thank you...
    by the way, watch the mail....
    Anyway, I have rambled enough.... Have a wonderful Monday, and thanks for allowing me to share with you as well.... HUGS dear girl....

    1. when I said funny but wonderful it was meant for my comment not your post.... ;)

    2. Oh, thanks for sharing, this story, Connie... I always love when you get rambly, as you say, in your comments. They're sooo good! :) You're such an honest soul.. I love it.

      You're right on about the Light of Jesus shining through the windows of your soul...

  3. I love, love the analogy of a home with glowing lights being compared to us as being glowing lights to those around us...II too, want to be a glowing light to those around me....I want to use this for the women in the prison for a Bible study.. is that okay? this was a great read...I so enjoyed it.. It seems some of the simplicity of your Mennonite roots still holds a place in your heart.. I have enjoyed visiitng with you...really great post! Have a great New Year! Blessings!

    1. Oh absolutely! Feel free to use the "gist" of this - however you would like. Thanks for asking.

      (I used to help out in a woman's prison/ministry/Bible Study - and at a different time in my life, I was a nanny for family who was in full-time Gospel Prison Ministry..so I fully support you!! in this.)

  4. Hmm...a lot to take in on those thoughts of yours! :) I like the analogy and think this is going to require some pondering! ;) (like your bed making post from a few years ago - I have it book marked...did I ever tell you that? I make my bed almost daily because of you, ever since reading that! :) ♥ ) And I like how you brought in that verse from Proverbs 31 - because I always took that to mean that she never slept! HAha!! But I like your take on it better!!! (plus then it means I can get some rest! hahah!)

    As for your mugs and muffins - I like them, a lot - but you have to do what works for you!!! Plus, if I make all the delicious things you keep posting...well quarterly might be better!!! ;) lol!

    1. Oh my goodness... yes! you have told me that; about the bed-making post/hospitality, etc.

      Yes! you can rest in the mere fact that it is because of Jesus and not anything that you do...that your lamp will continue to shine!!

      Hey - share with me a great gluten free muffin recipe sometime and perhaps I can post it - then, you'll not feel so guilty. ;) (wink!)

  5. Happy New Year Bevy! I love when I see a home with lights glowing from the inside. I always think and wonder what they are doing...spending time together as a family, etc. I have also thought and questioned myself if the light of Jesus shines through me like those lights in the window so I found it interesting that it was then in your post so I believe this is God speaking to me again confirming this. See how God uses you! I can't wait to try your recipe but I will wait for a little while... I need a little break from all the baked goods. HA! I adore your tea wallets, please let me know when they will be available. Your mugs and muffins...I love them!!! I fix my tea, have my baked goods ready and I actually sit down and enjoy them while reading your post that day as if I'm visiting with a friend. I will be there as often as you feel up to doing them. But honestly, I feel like I'm visiting with a friend whenever I read your posts! It sure is snowing here right now...are you getting it too? Stay safe and warm. Melanie P.

    1. Oh Melanie - this comment warms me to the very tips of my toes. Thank you! and Praise God!

      Yes - to answer your question - we are getting quite the snow here tonight. No school tomorrow... the kids are already asking to play outdoors tomorrow and I'm afraid not. Not, with the wind chill they're calling for, for tomorrow.

      Keep watching for the Tea Wallets... I'm getting them posted on Etsy soon! and one of these days, we'll have to meet. Since you live so (fairly) close to me... I think. If you're up for that. I do love how you always come by for the Mugs and Muffins. I would miss you - if I didn't keep them coming regularly...eh?

      You have a good night, now.

  6. Bev,
    Oh - I remember that evening very well... and yes! it's true. I still do put candles in the windows to this day.

    Thank you for sharing the Almond Torte with us - at Christmas. Very delicious..
    Love, Mom (Rhoda)


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

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