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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Exciting Achievements and Activities ahead...

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Well... if this don't make a Mamma family excited and proud... I don't know what does? 

Our 6 yr old came home from school, just yesterday, with this (surprise!) Invitation and congratulatory message regarding artwork that she, Aubrey, had done recently in school.

Dear Aubrey,
Congratulations!  Your artwork has been selected to be displayed in this year's Youth Art Month Exhibit.  This exhibit showcases outstanding work by SASD artists in Kindergarten through 12th Grade and honors creativity and artistic achievement.

((Please attend the Artist Reception on March 5th!))...

Congratulations on the artistic excellence you have demonstrated to attain this honor! 

Ms. Sxxxxxxxx

Work on display: Butterfly

So, we're extending the Invitation to you, as well... to all our local friends!

Come on out to Indian Valley Public Library to view this fine exhibit anytime during regular library hours from March 1st through March 30th.

I'll update this post as soon as I am able - with photos of the actual artwork and the budding artist, herself.   Aubrey's been talking about this Butterfly piece she's been working on, in school, but we as a family have yet to see it.

I'm super excited to view this exhibit, myself...
It feels like we're having our own Anne (of Green Gables) moment!

I'm so proud of my little girl!
She was learning symmetry in her art class... and this is how or why her entry was selected.
The Butterfly!

In other news...
All of us, but the youngest, are looking forward to going on a weekend (one-night, one day) overnight excursion with our son's Scout Pack, on this coming Friday night!  My husband is Cubmaster.  We'll be touring and sleeping on the Battleship New Jersey.  A little nervous excitement going on around here - to say the least.  Pictures will be sure to follow - although, I'm not making any promises...not sure if I'll be taking my camera as of yet.
Caleb says (in jest) he'll be sure I, as mom, will either walk the plank or swab the poop deck.  All I answer is, Arrggg Matey!

I'm praying that my ear issue will calm down - before this!

Jayne (3yrs) is super-duper excited to be going to Grandma's overnight... her first time for this, that she remembers!!  She's been talking about this 24/7 since she's first heard about this and her bags are packed with every teddy bear and stuffed animal she can think of... :)
She is not one bit concerned that she isn't going where the rest of us are.

May you have a wonderful weekend, and God's richest blessings be yours!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When Mama aint' happy, ain't nobody happy!

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Any guesses what's going on around here?

It's ear-rritating!

Thank you, kindly, for your thoughts and prayers!

Monday, February 23, 2015

{Quotes to Ponder} Never Cease to Praise

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 God is as great in minuteness as He is in magnitude. ~ Unknown

I don't know about you - but I never tire of paying attention to the small details of nature... nor do I tire of pointing them out to my children.
 Simple shadows.  Some are blue, most are grey...
 Look at those glistening icy branches!

A little bit of heaven, here on earth... wouldn't you say?
 His glories are displayed for all to see...

Our God is so big! So intricate, so detailed...
It's amazing... and yet with what He forms and master plans and paints - why, who needs an art gallery?

I found another quote that pretty much says this same thing.

Art gallery?  Who needs it?
Look up at the swirling silver-lined clouds in the magnificent blue sky or at the silently blazing starts at midnight.  How could indoor art be anymore masterfully created than God's museum of nature? ~ Grey Livingston
As we grow in our capacities to discover the joys that God has placed in our lives, life becomes a glorious experience of discovering His endless wonders.  ~ Unknown

I know I share a lot of quotes... and I feel I repeat myself sometimes in my thoughts, but I never want to cease to bring Him praise.
How about you?  Are you slowing and savoring the gentle quiet reminders of His beauty?  Sometimes, in all honesty, we're ready for the next thing, and the next.  (ahem! Spring is coming...) but,,, in the meantime - this where we are.  This season - where we've been called to walk through.
Let's enjoy it while it lasts... and praise Him for the way He works His wonders into our world.

I think it's beautiful!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: Open

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It is both fun and challenging to take part in this community of writers, who willingly take on the challenge of taking just five minutes to write out their thoughts, their hearts, on a one-word prompt.

To understand what this is all about - click on Kate's button, posted below, for more info!!  All are welcome!

Today's prompt is: Open

:: Go ::

As we sat down to dinner, one evening, we began to reach for each other's hands - so we could pray and ask God His blessing on our meal, our hearts and our home.
This is what we've done since day one of marriage and in the start of building our home.  We form a circle... saying "we agree!". We're together!! We're one!!

One evening - already alluded to - this wasn't going to happen for our three year old.  Something, someone, moments prior had offended her.. and she wasn't willing to join the circle.  When she did come around.. the hand she placed into her Daddy's hand was a closed fist.

Oh, so close!  But, she was still missing the mark, wasn't she?

How many times do we do this very same thing with God our Heavenly Father?  We come with all the motions in place - but not fully.  We come with clenched fists.  Our hearts aren't open and so we can neither give our praise nor receive His blessing.

Obviously, we needed to walk and talk with our young daughter that this wasn't okay.  She needed to come to a place of forgiveness... and oh, how hard to have a three year old understand.

Open heart = Open Hand.

Forgiveness = For Giving

May we all be open to growing in this area... of our lives!!
:: stop::

May you have a wonderful, and warm weekend!!

Richest Blessings...to you and yours.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seize the moment, seize the day! {winner reveal!}

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Tuesday has come and gone, but its happenings... well, they need to be mentioned!!  Because, they are definitely noteworthy  and several things have made them so... (at least, I think so.)
And - today is my first chance of sharing these moments with you!  So, here we go!!

First off, it was...
National Random Acts of Kindness - on Tuesday!  Did you know that?  I heard about it first thing Tuesday Morning and it set the ball in motion.
Besides, the fact that it was Donut Day or it's more technical term - Fasnacht Day!

Who wouldn't want to start the day off with one of these??

Tuesday was also a Snow Day... which meant, NO SCHOOL!!
And, by and large, that meant a PERFECT day just for SLEDDING.
Our old house - growing up! with lots of changes, as far as we can tell...

Can you believe this?  My kids have never and I repeat, never, gone sledding - where they remember it (they were too young, the first time!) and so that just HAD to happen for them...

I share so many stories of myself, as a kid - growing up sledding on this particular hill and so I decided we'd go back to visit "my old" neighborhood (we asked permission - first) to use the hill for an hour or two...
You should have heard my two older kids on the ride there.
"How big is this hill?", "What's it going to be like?"  "I have butterflies", etc.
We soon arrived.
It was strange being on the other side of the fence, from where I grew up -  friends of ours (the old neighbors) still live next door (which it is their hill) and that is how we had access.

Wow... what fun!  I asked if two of my brothers would join us...they're the two big dudes you see here in these photos..
I was glad to have them along - for the ride!  So, were my kiddo's...
they love their uncles.

Oh - and I made this, first thing Tuesday morning!!
Snow Ice Cream to eat with some hot-out-of-the-oven Apple Crisp, for later in the evening!

It made the best breakfast, the next morning!!

The nap I snuck in, in the afternoon, which was totally unexpected, was the actual icing on the cake.  I guess, I needed it!!

Seize the moment, seize the day!
For the best day ever.
And, before I forget, special thanks goes out to all who participated in the Mugs & Muffins - back on Monday... the winner of the chocolate, coffee and the his & her mug cozies Giveaway is:
::Gwen K::
 I never seem to be able to comment on blogs - so I will post here! Dean and I both agree that having a common ministry is one key to a Happy Marriage. Even though our common ministry now is special needs adoption - and a part of our every day life that consumes us greatly! It is a way for us to be connected and stay connected in daily decision making that benefit and glorifies God. ~ Gwen K.

I counted up all the entries of friends that said they wanted to be included in the giveaway, including the ones from facebook and ran a random number generator. Gwen's entry was from there, on Facebook.
Please congratulate her - when you have a moment.
** Gwen, I'll get these out to you - as soon as I am able! :)

Now, I'm off to seize yet another day, and another moment!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mugs & Muffins :: Secrets to a Happy Marriage (by Pam Phelps), Recipe and Giveaway!! {GIVEAWAY - NOW CLOSED!!}

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Welcome to this first OFFICIAL Mugs & Muffins, for the year!! 
Good Morning!!  To YOU, on this a very chilly Northeast Winter's Morning... perfect time to gather for some warm fellowship, even if it is online - this morning.  Amen?

 I'm very happy you all decided to come back and hang out here, with me, for this.  ** as some of you are aware (and I know, because of your recent responses, either by this blog and via comments or by personal email...) you know that I am hoping to try something new and that is to host a REAL LIVE Mugs & Muffins some time soon - in my home.  Those details are still prayerfully being ironed out...

And, as far as I am aware... you all are very excited and supportive.  Which really excites me!  Many of you - regretfully - are unable to attend due to distance, etc., but you sure would come if you could! And that is very bittersweet for me.  I sure do appreciate the "best wishes" that have been sent my way.  So, again... I'm very, very excited about this as a real possibility.

In the meantime... we're here today around the proverbial table and Valentine's Day has just passed us by.  That's okay.  It's cold outside but warm indoors.  We've much to be grateful for and of course, we can still talk about this topic of Love &  Marriage today and get away with it - because we can and we should.  But before we get into our topic... let's pass around this plate of Yumm!!

And, be sure to have your mug full (coffee or tea!) and ready to roll, as we get started.

The recipe for these muffins will be included at the end of this post.   And, as you read - be ready to share your own "one secret to happy marriage" as part of the GIVEAWAY - at the end!
Sometime ago, I was reading one of my current favorite blogs.  My blogging friend, Pam, who authors this particular blog, was sharing her and husband's secrets to a Happy Marriage - 35 years going strong.  Actually, I should clarify this with her... because, honestly I'm not sure if she has been married for 35 years or if they have just been together for that long...
UPDATE to add:  I have clarified this with Pam and she and her husband have been married for 35 years.  ((I'm impressed!))


When I first read this list... I felt compelled to print the list out and hang it on our "non-existent" headboard.  (ahem, the wall above our bed)  It stayed there for awhile and then it soon got moved to the bathroom wall - where it would actually be read on a more regular basis - where time would be taken to dwell on it.  lol!  All that to say, this list has served my husband and I in very real ways.  Gentle reminders!!

Special thanks goes out to Pam (and her husband) for granting me special permission to share this list here, with you all...today!

Secrets to a Happy Marriage - by Pam Phelps

  1. Pray together.
  2. Honor each other.
  3. Never speak disrespectfully to each other.
  4. Support each other in front of the children.
  5. Go on dates; even after 35 years it is important to go on dates together, even if it is just a walk in the park, or a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
  6. Hold hands … even in public (yes, we're "those" type of people)
  7. Laugh  and LAUGH SOME MORE!!
  8. Don't take yourself so seriously; Crush that spirit of offense under your feet.
  9. Enjoy your children and grand-children together.
  10. Look at the other persons point of view. Sometimes we can get in a rut of our own way of thinking… stop pause and turn your thoughts in a different way.
  11. Stop complaining… please refrain from the moan, the complaint, the sigh, the sarcasm.  The Lord grew weary of the children of Israel behaving this way, and our fellow human beings get weary of hearing us do the same. Negative, frustrated, complaining expression of fear and woe takes a person out of the atmosphere of faith, and into the atmosphere of heaviness.
  12.  Resist having a critical,  negative, correcting or controlling, spirit  
  13. Speak gently
  14. Speak kindly
  15. Bring each other special things.. cup of coffee in the morning (my hubby does that for me), glass of cold iced tea in the afternoon (I do that for him), a late night snack, a pair of slippers, a blanket, a sweater, all these are considerate kindnesses that bless.
  16. Learn to become interested in each others interests.  Its not always easy to get my thoughts geared into tractors, motorcycles or trucks.. I make myself get up and look… listen and participate.  My hubby does the same for me.
  17. Look and smell nice for each other.
  18. Forgive… really, let it go.
  19. Don't expect each other to be the same as each other.. enjoy your differences, its okay; its natural to be very different from each other and  yet still be one of heart and mind.
  20. Learn the differences between men and women and allow these differences in each other.
  21. Men are men, don't resent them for it Ladies.
  22. Women are women, don't resent them for it Guys.
  23. Enjoy the differences that God gave you rather than allow frustration to enter in.
  24. Be an encourager. 
  25. Look for each other's gifts and talents and thank the Lord for them.  We create a blessing for ourselves, when we see through God's eyes the blessings of someone else.  I thank God every day for my husband, for his gifts, his strength, his goodness and kindness.  If you don't think you see these things in  your spouse, ask the Lord to show you all the good things that are there.  Pretty soon you will.  Cultivate those things with thanksgiving.
  26. Get rid of pride.
  27. Put on humility
  28. Be strong and helpful, not weak and needy.
  29. Its not about winning or being right.  Its about loving and being patient.
  30. PRAY!! I know, I said that already… its a good way to start and a good way to finish; I have found the only way to navigate anything in life is to Pray.
Isn't this a great list?  I'm so glad I printed it out... all of these are wonderful and much needed reminders.  No matter where you are in your marriage relationship.

So, the two suggestions on this list that stuck out to me (and for us, as a couple) are #8 and #16.  For myself personally, I can really struggle in the area of taking myself way too seriously.  My husband will often encourage me to "lighten up"... and there are times and days when I can or do and I'll have to remind him of the same.  For number 16 - it is the same way  We can get so busy do, do, doing our "own thing" that what the other is involved in or cares about - gets set on the back burner, forgotten about (in our minds and what have you)  - in that if it matters to them (so much!) it should matter to us, at least, somewhat, if not just as much.
My husband and I can certainly grow in this area of "supporting" each other's likes and interests...a whole lot more than we already do!

In example: I'm scared of sitting down and watching a football game or poking my nose under the hood of a car - and he's scared of washing the dishes or hanging the laundry.  LOL!

I'm half kidding here (my husband is wonderful), but you know what I'm talking about.  There are ways to do this "better" - even though it will never be made perfect.

One of our secrets that I would toss in here, to add to this list, is that it is all in the little things.  Simple as this.  My husband, Scott, and I will fill each other's toothbrushes at night - whoever gets to the task first.  It is just a little thing... but it matters.  And, when we forget - we should also "fail" to remind each other that the other forgot. :)
Another might be in a certain way I pray for my man!!  I  used to be VERY faithful in this... I should do this more often or at best, get back into this more consistently.

I guess I'm sharing more than one, here.  But another I thought of and while we won't wake up this way... we will often fall asleep, at night, holding each other's hand.  It just gives us both a sense of togetherness, a unity (our affirmation and commitment) and especially if we've just had a disagreement or whatever - that words may be tense - we still love each other and we're here for one another... it's just a nonverbal way of communicating that we still love even though there are no words.  It's hard to stay mad at someone, if your holding each other's hands.
How about you??  What are your thoughts, after reading through, this list?

:: Giveaway::
Today's giveaway is very simple.  A bit of "red and white", like I've mentioned...nothing too Valentine-y... but something that is still appropriate for the topic shared, today.
 I think these two imPERFECT coffee mug cozies -lovingly handmade by me (something NEW!) - paired with a 1 lb. bag of Dunkin Donuts Dark Roast (ground) coffee and a small bag of Lindt chocolate truffles - will make anyone's heart skip a beat.  That is, if you're anything like me. :)  The two coffee mugs are not included in this giveaway.  ** And, I apologize, there is no photo of the chocolate and coffee - but, I promise - they are included!!
In order to enter today's very simple giveaway I simply ask you share your own "one secret" to add to this list or maybe share one or two on Pam's list that really resonates with you.  As well, feel free to share a small story, related to your marital relationship that would be a blessing to us all..

I'd like this time of leaving comments be done graciously and interactively.  So - for that I say the more times you comment - you'll receive as many chances at winning.  Let's engage with one another... as though we're sitting in the same room and sharing our hearts - there!

This GIVEAWAY will extend through Wednesday, the 18th of February - and end at or around 10:00 pm, EST.  Facebook comments are also welcome!!  Spread the love... ask your friends to join in, the more the merrier.
 **The winner will be announced, shortly thereafter..

This Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake Muffin recipe is a tweak of the tried-and-true favorite recipe; one I've shared here before, on the blog, under this title: Cherry Coffee Cake

But today I'll also include my little tweaks and what I did to make them into muffins.  By the way -- these are really good while still a tad warm, because as you can tell.. as they cool - the cream cheese firms up.  My own personal observation - but I want to be honest.  You might want to keep that in mind.  Wow!! Eat them warm... DELICIOUS!!   If I may say so myself.
~Cherry Coffee Cake~

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 egg

((cream cheese, cubed, into small cubes - I didn't measure out, to start.  Maybe 2-3 oz. total.))
1 (21-oz.) can of Cherry Pie Filling

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Powdered Sugar
Hot water
almond extract for flavor (opt.)

Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Cut in butter.  Break egg into 1 cup measuring cup and fill with milk; beat.  Add to flour mixture.  Put in a 9x13 (greased lightly) baking pan.
Divide the batter between 24 paper-lined muffin tins.  Add one small cube of cream cheese on top of the batter, one for each muffin, before spooning pie filling on top.

Mix topping by cutting butter into flour and sugar, making crumbs.  Sprinkle crumbs over top of pie filling.** and you won't use all of the crumbs.  The leftovers can be thrown into a freezer bag, for the freezer, to use another time.

Bake at 375* for 30-35  15-20 minutes (for muffins).  Be careful these don't get too dark, you may have to rotate trays in the oven for part of the time.  They will also feel/seem under baked. Let cool and remove from pans to a cooling tray.  They'll be fine!!

Mix hot water and powdered sugar to desired consistency...and drizzle over top.

Again, these are amazing,  warm straight out of the oven!!

*** One special note or two about the Coffee Mug Cozies.  They probably should not get wet, nor go inside the microwave.  Neither of those two scenarios have been tested!  lol!  They also are "no-two-alike" and so, selected buttons and hand lettering may vary from the photos shared.  Look for these being an added "new feature" in my Etsy shop!  Down the road...

Thank you so, so, much for coming by here today!!  I really do appreciate you as my readers.  Please pray for our little family.  We have some things on the horizon - we would appreciate your prayers for, as well... our son, Caleb, has been sick since Wednesday afternoon with an intermittent headache, tummy ache and earache... that we haven't been able to stay on top of.  We may be seeing a doctor later today!!
Have a wonderful week, stay warm and God bless!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thinking of You! {Mugs & Muffins - invite!}

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“It’s amazing how lovely common things become, if one only knows how to look at them.”
~ Louisa May Alcott

Working to cherish the simple, plain and ordinary of today...
Praying to see it all through eyes of grace!
Friends, I've been thinking of you and I just want to take a minute to invite you to return, here to Treasured Up and Pondered, on Monday - as we take on our First OFFICIAL (online) Mugs & Muffins of the year!  The real-live, event,  I recently brought to you're attention (as on my want-to-do list) is still in the works.  I have talked about this HERE.

I know Valentine's Day will be over, come Monday, but that's okay. We'll still have a special feature on Love and Marriage that I can't wait to share.
As usual, this will include... a yummy muffin recipe and a simple, yet fun giveaway.
I promised a little bit of "red and white"...

Will I see you, here?  I sure do hope so.

You know - community is a wonderful thing.  And, I sure do love and appreciate you as readers... what else can I say! I celebrate you. I cherish you!  You all have been so wonderful and so encouraging and it's a joy to host this online- treat for you, from time to time.  Until Monday...

Have a lovely weekend, celebrating your loved ones!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Covered in Grace

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I sure loved the chance to do this, yesterday!

Hanging laundry (mostly sheets!), on the line.. ahhh!!

It sure does give off a refreshing feeling.  Having clean, sweet-smelling sheets...on the bed!
Reminds me of a verse found in Proverbs 11:25, that says...
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Now,..What in the world - you say?  How does this verse tie in with clean sheets?
Let me share with you a little story from last week.  And, at first read, of this story - you're going to wonder just how I'm going to tie this story, in with clean sheets, this verse and this quote... well I'm going to try.  Hang with me. :)
So, this story...  it is a true story (eh. maybe it'll be longer than I thought) and it's one I don't share to gloat over or brag about -its just that this is the way it went down.

Helping someone else - in Jesus' love - who can NEVER return the favor...wow!!
Sure does make one feel good.

Let me start with the back story.
Our family van had been in the garage, one day last week, and it was time to pick it up!  This was now an evening of my hubby getting home from work, all of us jumping into his car and running to a neighboring town - about 15 minutes away... doing this all before dinner!!  (We decided we would just eat when when we got home... and then be able to stay indoors for the evening. Actually, my hubby did have evening plans - but way later.)
On getting the van  - my husband asked me if I'd like to drive it home (giving me some peace & quiet for a few miles - obviously, because the kids are all hungry and whiney-- plus, they need some "just daddy" time, etc....)

Here is where the real story begins!

So, I'm driving down the expressway - and about to take our exit home.  When just ahead of me, already driving on the ramp, is a car that I can see is driving on a very flat tire.  Now - I'm one that gets frustrated with the limited way we have of communicating to other drivers while driving - regarding flat tires, no brake lights, something is dragging or badly askew, etc.... you know?  Anyway.  From what I could tell - this looked liked an elderly couple - in this particular vehicle.  And - I felt a real concern for their safety.

 By now - they are through the light at the end of the ramp and already there are several other cars in between us. I can see this car is going slow... only because I am sure this particular driver doesn't NORMALLY drive too fast - due to being elderly.  However, my mind is now racing as to how I could notify them of their very. flat. tire.

I began to pray.

Maybe this car will come up to the next traffic light and I can "saunter" up beside them and "yell" out the window about their tire.  Or, better yet.  Maybe they'll turn into the local grocery store and I can follow them in there.  By now all the other cars, in between us, had taken other side roads or turn offs, or whatever, that now I am the one right behind this vehicle.
Yes!!  They pull into the grocery store and I follow.

I follow ever so slowly behind so as not to look like I'm stalking... but, as this car pulls into the handicap parking spot and stops, I pull into the second handicap spot, right beside them and stop, too.
As I pull up beside the elderly lady catches my eye.  I roll down the window and motion but she can't understand...or hear me, rather, what I'm saying.  Nervously, I get out of my car and she rolls her window down and I ask her if she is aware of her very flat driving-on-the-rim tire.

The look on her face was priceless.
She didn't know.
But this women all tucked up in headscarf and conservative winter coat, with a knit fabric dress completely blew me away with her poise.
She totally kept her calm and thought about what she could do.
She seemed rather unflustered about this tire... though obviously concerned, and grateful that this was discovered.
She was sure she could call Triple A.
But, I thought of my husband... who was "behind" me -- somewhere. I KNEW
he could help!!  Oh, but she didn't want to bother him...
We had time to do this...I assured.  And, we did.

(He had stopped for gas, and had seen me pull into the grocery store, but his first thought was that I needed to run in there for a quick dinner item or something...)

So, when I convinced this sweet lady to allow me to call or try to get ahold of my hubby to come and help ... he was there within minutes (almost before I had hung up the phone) and I don't know that this lady knew what to think.  She was so grateful.

All of a sudden "help" had flocked to her like white on rice and she hadn't even known she was in trouble.
You see - the irony of this moment was this...
She had been helping someone else.  She, walking with a cane, herself, had been the one to care for another friend - the other passenger!
The passenger was an obviously "ill" woman, perhaps a cancer patient or on dialysis (I have no idea...) - who had just had appointment at the local hospital.  This friend was giving her ill friend a ride home, but first stopping to get a few groceries for this said friend.

We never exchanged names.  All I know is that this lady lives in our local town, somewhere, and in her own home, still!  The same house for 52 years, and that - "folks tell her she should move to the nursing home - but she doesn't want to go".  She smiles with that.. that shrug of shoulders... her independence is willing strong inside her.

By the time the two ladies were finished with their wee bit of grocery shopping my husband had replaced her tire with the "spare donut" that she had in her trunk. Which was flat, too, by the way.. and for the record, we do have a tire pump thinga-ma jiggy in/ as part of our van which Scott was able to use and between our two vehicles.. he had ALL of the right tools with him, as well,  - Oh, and our kids were about to kill each other... for waiting.  But, they soon got over it.

I just can't get over the providential timing of this whole story.  It taught our kids a great and valuable lesson - on being available to love on others (with the real love of Jesus!) when those same folks can never, NEVER return that same favor to us.

That is how we can refresh others and then be refreshed ourselves.

In my opinion this elderly woman's generosity came full circle.  Like I said - I have no idea this lady's name.  But in my heart of hearts - I want to call her, name her, remember her as Grace!

This moment was covered in grace!
Her poise and reaction and humility of not wanting to bother my husband, etc.
She was extending grace - to her friend - who was ill, who needed a ride and groceries.
God's grace was evident in keeping her safe.
God's grace allowed me to see her, follow her and ultimately we could help her.

Yes! This whole thing was simply covered in refreshing grace.

And - guess what!  I said I was going to try to tie this in with clean sheets - and well, maybe I have, maybe I haven't- but, one thing I do know it is time to run another load of laundry.   And- we've had another "nice & sunny" cold, crisp day, today - one that another line of sheets hanging would look really nice, right about now.

Monday, February 9, 2015

You can't make me love you!

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Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. ~ Thomas Merton

I read this quote today, and it made me take a step back.  Stop dead in my tracks, actually.
I don't think I live this out, intentionally - where I'll stop to inquire whether or not someone deserves my love or not and yet, some how - down deep - I know this happens.  Far too often.

For that I am truly sorry...
Consider it a thought to ponder, as you walk out your day and the rest of your week!
How conditionally - do you love?
Wouldn't it be nice to say - You can't make me love you!  Any more, any less... I just do!

I want to love like that.

Until next time...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: Keep

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Here we are again, finding ourselves on a Friday - with just five minutes to share - on a one-word prompt!  Today's word is: Keep
Joining up with Kate @ Heading Home for the usual FMF linkup.  See below for the details (by clicking on the button) for how you can be part of this fabulous community, as well.

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The first thing I thought of with this word, Keep, is the term...
Sentimental Packrat.

You smile. 
And, so do I.  A little.
It's a name I'll give myself and a few others near and dear to me.  We keep things.
Simply because, there is too much emotion attached.
Not always...

Sometimes, some days, here and there, I'll get on a roll and toss and let it go and then those "rats" can't find a thing and neither can I.  (laughing..)

Seriously, though...
In our culture, it's the heart that is the seat of the emotions.  We tend to hold onto things, keep things close - those things which are very near and dear to our hearts.

Memories and moments matter.
So much so, that they're usually what's worth keeping the most!

We're not the only one known to keep things.  
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, scripture says,...
"kept all these things and pondered them in her heart". {Luke 2:19}

I like that.
It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who likes to keep things tucked away... down deep.

:: stop ::

Have yourself a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Winter's Marvel

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Marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well...

**from my kitchen window across the way, in an early morning sunrise!

As a family, we have just been enjoying the recent winter sights, and smells. You know... the ones of woodsmoke in the air, or when the scent of snow is in the air.  You can tell!!  The scenes that early morning brings with the sunrise. Even the evening hours with the rise of the moon that lead into the nighttime skies.  It doesn't take long... just mere minutes for the whole scene to change.. have you ever noticed?

The fowl of the air are also capturing our attention.  Snow geese!  A whole flock of them -just down the road aways... always catching our attention as they fill the skies.  Begging us to hop in our car - to drive and get a closer look. We wish more would come!!  Even, the little "snow" birds... we've scattered seed in hopes to gain their attention as well. 

These photos simply hope to capture the "joy" we've felt - celebrating the goodness of God.  He is marvelous in all He does.  In all his creation... (see, Psalm 139)  
By the way,  we're still working on memorizing these verses.

We share memories, as we talk about these things...we go out and do our best to enjoy these "gifts" whenever, possible.  All of these photos are part of early morning conversations...while waiting for the bus.  Or, as we crowd the windows at the next marvel - we encounter!

I love this quote, I found, recently..meaning I think it sums things up quite nicely - when one SLOWS down long enough, to pay attention to life as it happens around them.  May we only do this more... and more!

Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing. ~Camille Pissarro
Enjoy your day ~
and keep warm.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sewing Questions/Interview

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Not long ago, I was asked if I'd be willing to be interviewed - in regards to myself as a seamstress or of one who enjoys sewing.  Questions like: how I started, when I started, would I be able to provide sewing advice and recommendations, etc.

I said, Sure!!  This could be fun!!

These questions came from a young gal-friend of our family.  A young lady, named Jessica, by now about 14 years of age or so.  She is one who I used to "watch"; the past couple of Summers.  At the time, she would be too young to stay home, alone (as all her family members were at their jobs), and I wanted/needed someone to hang out with my kiddos... it was 'near' perfect!!!  A win-win, everywhere.  Pretty much, she became (almost!) part of the family.  Jess knows I'm a sewer... although, there is a LOT that even I do not know.

Jess was asked to interview someone who is a Seamstress  - for a project/report for her school, and this is the result of the interview.

1. What kind of sewing machine do you use?  I use a Sears Kenmore.  True Story, about my machine.  It really belongs to my Mother.  She received this sewing machine as an Engagement gift – from my father (many, many years ago!) and has used it for all my growing up years – sewing miles and miles of stitches in handmade clothes.  I’m now 41.   I used it for a long time, myself, for the very same reasons and this machine is still going strong.  Though, perhaps it does need a good service and cleaning.

2. What sewing tool do you use the most and why?  I would say either a good sharp scissors or my seam ripper.  Without either, I would not get very far.

3. When choosing a pattern, what do you look for? Mostly, I would say I look for a pattern that best suits the idea I have in my head.

4. What most interests you about sewing? It is part of my heritage (I guess!) and so it is one of those innate things in me.  I like how relaxing it can be.  And truthfully, there is a WHOLE LOT that I do not know in regards to sewing.

5. As a beginner sewer, what advice do you have for me?  The old adage is true!  “A stitch in time saves nine.”  Slow down and take your time…

6. What kind of material do you use and what do you think is the easiest to work with?  Well, I will work with most any kind(s) of material (I call it fabric).  If you want easy, I would recommend a nice sturdy cotton blend – either a solid or a floral patterned fabric.  Stay away from plaids or stripes

7. How old were you when you started sewing and what is the first machine you ever had?  I can’t remember exactly.  Probably 6th or 7th grade… and we used regular sewing machines. With brand names such as White, Kenmore, Singer, etc.

8. Who was the first person to teach you to sew?  I am sure my Mother would have taught me a few things, here and there – when she had time.  Most of what I learned was from my Home-ec teachers (in school) and/or I taught myself!

9. What is one of the most difficult things about sewing?  For me, it would have to be little Interruptions.  Or, having to put it all away after just getting started on a project.

10. Do you need to use different needles for different kinds of material?  Yes!!  There are recommended different size needles for different fabrics… I try to use an all-purpose as much as possible.

11. Are there different thicknesses in material?  Oh yes!!

12. So you use your machine to sew on buttons or so you sew them by hand, which way is easier?  I have never used my machine to sew on buttons.  I only know about sewing them by hand.  And, there are tips for doing this that will keep buttons on longer, etc.

13.  What kind of fabric do you use most and why?  Currently, and because I have my own bag making business, I mostly will use a lot of upholstery fabric.   I also will use cotton blends, tapestry, faux leather, and homespun fabric.

14. What do you think is the easiest to sew and why?   I am not sure, if you are asking about certain fabric types, but if so, I would say anything that is not lace or silk… is easy to sew.  **A side note about easy sewing is using a good quality thread.  As well, as fully understanding your machine (reading the manual) – and being sure it is threaded properly – as well as having your tension (both top and bottom) adjusted properly.  These sorts of things will matter a lot – to ensure an easy and fun sewing time!

15. Do you sew with only straight lines or zigzag? I sew mostly in straight stitch.  Every now and then, for certain reinforcement, I will use a zigzag stitch.

16. Do you sew smaller pieces of clothing, if so; is it harder or easier than bigger things?  Not necessarily.  I would recommend saving smaller articles (doll clothes, etc.) of clothing for when you’re feeling more experienced or more comfortable.

17. Out of everything you have made so far, what is one thing you are most proud of and why?  I wouldn’t say I’m proud, rather, I would say I am still (simply) amazed that I sewed 8-10 two-piece outfits in a deep purple brocade cloth for a friend’s wedding.  I remember the nerves!  In addition, I remember these being quite challenging because of the rounded tail type jacket and that they featured 6-8 fabric-covered buttons up the front, for closure.  The skirts were long, A-line skirts with a slit up the back.  To this day – I would say “never again!”… I might have been a tad out of my league with that one.  But… that was oh so long ago!  And, my friend is still happily married. :)
One other thing that I am glad I tackled (and, you could say, I am somewhat proud of) was to make several quilts.  Most were gifts… and I have several more quilt ideas I would LOVE to sew together, for my own self and family.

18. Do you sew as a hobby, or do you sell your things?  I do both.  Mostly though, I now sew to fill orders for my (Bags by Bevy) etsy shop.  I never thought, my hobby would turn into a small business… but, it has!  And, that keeps sewing extra fun!!

19. Is it easier to pick out patterns and be able to make them or are some harder than others?  Some patterns can be quite complicated.  Most will indicate a level of easy, moderate or difficult and there are “brands” that are specific for “easy” and a beginner sewer.  So, it will matter as to how comfortable you feel as to what pattern you will choose.

20. Do you have any more advice for me, as a beginner sewer?
Sure!!  I would say – HAVE FUN!!  One of the ways that always inspires me, with sewing projects, is to go into fabric stores and walk around; touching and feeling fabrics, looking for favorite colors and textures.  I guess you could say, I have an artist’s eye!  Maybe, that helps…I don’t know.
Say to yourself – “I bet I could make this” and imagine what it would look like on you as an outfit, as a quilt or pillow or whatever else you are thinking of making!  A good imagination is important and keeps it fun!
Probably one of the key things is to say, to myself is – If I can envision it or see it in my head, first – then I can make it myself or find a pattern that will tell me how to do it.

So, if you're a sewer... How would you have answered some of these questions?  Let's give Jess some more ideas so she can share our enthusiasm.  Shall we?

I do think of this quite often.
My home-ec teachers.  In school.  If it wasn't for those ladies and their patience, wow!! Not just in sewing but in other areas of expertise.

I learned so much from them and I carry it with me today!!  I'm so grateful... for their realm of influence, in my life.  And, if I can do that for someone else - wow!!

To bless and be a blessing!!

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