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

Monday, March 30, 2015

breaking the silence ...

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At least, I'm trying to anyway.
It's hard to believe that I've taken a blogging break for what has been going on for two weeks, now.  Can that be right?
 I'm also finding it hard to figure out how to break the silence... let alone improve on it.

One thing you must know...

I've been thinking about you...and that makes me smile! 

In truth... our daffodils (for this year) are just now poking their noses through the soil, though not blooming yet... and I kind of feel like that.  Like I too, am poking my nose through the hard, untouched soil (and, trust me, it's hard!) - just to see if any one is watching and waiting for me to "show up".

If you're reading this... please say "hello"!!  I miss you.
Let me know what you've been up the past couple of weeks...

***
We're still crazy busy around here!  Getting ready to go on a long anticipated vacation... leaving this coming Wednesday!  As well, we've been quite busy with a host of other things that have kept our/my attention elsewhere. (you can browse through my last post, to catch up on that...)

I hope to return to blogging more regularly... here shortly!  After vacay... obviously!

And - there is, for sure, one thing I must make good on!
And that is a real-live Mugs & Muffins event.
Please stay tuned...

As we wait - patiently - for the daffodils and the rest of Spring to show its full splendor... I thank you kindly for your loving and quiet patience with me!!


Until next time...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring! Changes. Could it be?

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While driving through town, the other day... I noticed something. I noticed people.  Smiling.  Laughing! Walking differently. Fast.  Slow.

Over and through puddles collected on the sidewalks...

Spring is in the air... at least - we hope! That day the pavement was wet with melting snow, the sun was shining and the temps were warmer - asking only for a spring jacket.  The birds were and still are singing...differently!  Have you noticed, this??

I had to smile...

We're walking with a Spring in our step, people!!
****
At least, some of us have a bounce in our spring.  Some of us are more at a wobble and hobble. :)  In the midst of a very crazy prep week, last week... our youngest was begging to go outdoors to enjoy the fresh air. I didn't blame her.  Spring is on it's way - after all...
She insisted on her princess dress and rain boots (Ahem!! This was pretty much her attire for the whole week, during the day).  Hey... it works for me!

Our family has just come off of a back-to-back banquet weekend.  Our weekend was very busy!  But wonderfully good!!
One event was a Blue & Gold Banquet (for our son's cub scouts) - catered and decorated.

This board was a game challenge we had put together. ..for the FPU class.
 The other was a Graduation/Pizza Party as we rounded out our last class of another Financial Peace University - nine week session.
I wish I would have taken more photos...
We had a great class - we met so many wonderful people and their stories are amazing!
We're so sad it's over already.

 Both of these events, Scott and I have had a major part in... and we couldn't have done without ALL the help that came our way to pull it off.  We're just pooped!  Hence, the hobbly, wobbly statement...
**
We're also anticipating some answers this week... due to a potential job change for Scott.  Same place of employment, for him - it would be just a lateral and upward move, if it happens.  We're praying... as this would be a nice change - but it isn't necessary.  Scott likes where and what he's currently working...
We'll see, what happens!
We're also counting down days to a family vacation - heading to visit some dear blogging friends, who live in Canada.  You'll be jealous once you find out who it is...
These are folks we have not met - yet, as in face-to-face.  However, our souls have met.  We have talked via email and over the phone a lot (even our husbands!)... we (already) consider these friends - as kindred spirits.

We're also looking forward to opening up our home, again, to more avenues of hospitality.  Reconnecting with dear old friends, and fremily, around our kitchen table, once more... and, as well, seeing a change of immediate next-door neighbors.


You might say the "nest" is getting fluffed and feathered....
Spring always brings change!  Doesn't it??


We also are counting down days to a wedding in the family!
My brother and his girl are getting married - end of April.

My girls are excited - to be a part of this special day!  We all are!  We love - absolutely adore! - Kelsey.

So... some sewing & gifting is in order.
We'll talk more about all these things another time.

Just wanted to let you know - so you're not left to wondering. :)
I'm planning on taking a small Spring Break - from blogging for a bit.



Oh!  And, I also updated Aubrey's artwork (this post!) ...  some of you have been waiting to see this!

Until next time...



Friday, March 13, 2015

five minute friday :: plan

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My hubby uses this phrase a lot.
Plan your work, work your plan.

It's a great thing to live and abide by; holding yourself accountable to and with life, in general.
So many of us who might struggle with procrastination might need this extra bit of "advice" to keep going in the right direction.
But all of us... we all plan for things.  Many things come across our way throughout our lives.
We plan to get married.
We plan for a family.
We plan a garden, vacation or school.
Etc., etc.
All of those are good things ... and there sure are many other things we make plans for.. again, all good things... but, any and all things planned take work.

Hard work!

Scripture says -
Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed...
{Proverbs 15:22, ESV}
I've been pondering just how valuable "counsel" is and must be - as part of the plan.

If we don't have a PLAN for the plans we have, what will come of it?

The above verse - in the photo - speaks for itself.  Doesn't it?
We reap what we sow!
Look at this plant - this photo taken just two days later.  If we want this plant to grow... it requires correct positioning in sunlight... just the right amount of soil and water...etc.
Plans.
Plants.
Things happen... when we do the work required... even though it is really the work of something far greater in the "unseen" and the "unknown".

Two days later- from the first photo taken...

Plan to thrive?  Do you plan to do well in school?  Marriage?  Parenting?
Let's go one stage deeper...
What condition are the roots of your heart and soul?
Whose counsel are you seeking?
Any plans for that?
***
Joining up with Kate @ Heading Home for the Five Minute Friday link-up.  It's so great to be a part of a community where no one judges and we all take five.  Five minutes to write and be real...
all on one word topic.  Today's word prompt was PLAN.
Thanks for reading!!
****

May you have a wonderful weekend!!
It's in the plans, right?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lessons learned from a three year old!

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Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. ~ Isaiah 26:3 KJV

How can a three and a half year old possibly upset me so much?  Challenge me so much?  Teach me so much?  Humble me, too?

She's a sweet little girl.  A big girl - yes!!!
Yet, stubborn and strong -willed.  Silly and fun-loving.  Bossy and loud! She has to be... to keep up with everyone else in the family. :)  She was always my "easy baby", the easiest - the one whose name means Gift of God and a Father's Joy! She is just that. Absolutely!!! A beautiful gift and joy!! However...
 She's growing up so fast.  Too fast.  I tease, actually, when people ask me how old she is that I'll say she's three going on thirteen.  Inwardly, I cringe - every time those words escape my lips. Because she already is fiercely independant.  I hope this doesn't get worse or continue.
So, I fear for her.
She's three!
She still has a lot to learn about safety... and trusting.  Whom to trust in!
She sings it herself.  Stop and listen to stay safe.  Stop and listen... 
I'm not sure where she's first heard this song... but I remind her of it often - when she herself forgets..

So, the other day.  I wanted to hold her hand - while crossing an ally street and through a parking lot.
She didn't want to.
It was a fight.
There was a determined will on both parties.
Throw in the fact that people were watching... me... us...in this power struggle.  Who would win?
I felt the pressure... to be in charge (of course!) and not fail.
Fail I did.
She ripped away from me and darted out almost into the path of a very slow moving vehicle.. thankfully, it was very slow moving..
nonetheless...
((sadly, this hasn't been the first time!))
It scared her.  It scared me.  But - I let her know that it REALLY scared me... because I need this to have an affect on her.
I say... this is WHY Mommy wants to hold your hand. Why I NEED to hold your hand!  I want to be sure you're safe.  YOU NEED TO HOLD MY HAND!  I don't yell this -but I speak them sternly as possible... and with much emphasis. I say.  I love you!  I want to keep you safe.   And, I ask... Why don't you want to hold my hand?  Don't you trust me?
(there is no verbal answer...)
I know the answer.
Pride.
Independance.
Will of her own.

Explaining all this to a three year old with an attention span of a gnat isn't too productive.
One of the things I've been working on, recently, with my daughter - is when there is a moment of correction that needs to happen I will ask her to place her hands in mine and we'll (try to) make eye-contact.
I really want to get to her heart.
Oh - this is a fight, too!

Open hands.  Open Heart.
For Giving.  Forgiving.

What I'm realizing is ...the lesson my daughter has been teaching me (unknowingly to her) is the same questions asked by my Heavenly Father to me.
He asks: Why don't you want to hold my hand?  I love you!  I want to keep you safe.

These days,.... one minute... I'll hear the stubborn, disturbing words of... "I don't like you - Mommy! You're so mean!".   The next minute, out of the clear blue, come some of the sweetest words you'll ever hear of ..."you're the best Mommy in the whole world".

Aren't we just the same?  We're so fickle.
Immature.
We want to love!  Trust!  Obey! We can't... always. We're too fiercely independant!
Full of pride.
Self-sufficient and well... what we call a strong-will is really a strong-won't.  Isn't it?

All of us!!   We NEED Him.  We NEED to trust Him!  And, we have no idea just how much!
We also have no idea just how deep the Father's love is for us.
We have no idea just how perfect His heart is.
He never feels like a failure - because of our consistent shortcomings.  He can't.  He never fails!
I'm sure it saddens him... but He's so long-suffering, patient and full of grace!

That's why I share that verse - at the top!

I pray that my mind will stay on HIM... then, there will be perfect peace.  Peace of heart.  Peace of mind.  Peace of will.

Surrendered still.

He will KEEP me!
Safe and sure.

****

Monday, March 9, 2015

Let's talk about Brownies!

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Toffee Brownie Bites - a.k.a. A Pile of Sin on a Plate!
There is a little something I want to share with you, today!!

I cannot get this little brownie story - analogy out of my mind... it's been so convicting and heart-challenging.
So I asked, and with permission from the blog author herself - I share this story with you, today, as well!!  I hope it will serve to stir something for you to think about, too!
(as quoted and shared with permission from Becky @ Farmgirl Paints. Becky's full, original post is HERE  and if you haven't read it before -- you should! 

Here are Becky's words...
Years ago I heard a story from Joyce Meyer.  She was explaining a life lesson to her kids, she said, What if I made you the richest, most moist brownie ever.  It was absolute perfection. So good you could smell it across the room!  Would you eat it?  Now, what if I put in the teeniest amount of dog poop?  Not much, just a teeny bit.  Would you still try it knowing the brownie had dog poop in it? Well of course not!!

I've never forgotten that illustration.  I filter out a lot of crap from the world, but I've let some dog poop creep in.  I need to listen to that still small voice...that ick in my stomach when I know something is sinful and wrong and turn from it.  Even if it is just a song, a movie, a magazine article etc...  We are called to be different.  To be set apart.  I'm making a decision to put down that tempting corrupt brownie.  A little is still too much...

***
This analogy from Joyce Meyer is really "pungent and powerful" when you think about it.   And, Becky's words could very well be my own.

It's a slow fade...

And sometimes - just by not being intentional and prayerfully careful in our lives - before we know it... the inevitable has happened.  We are through and through filled with what we know to be as down-right sin.  Easier to see in someone else... harder to detect in and of ourselves.  We need HOPE!

Because there is hope!

There is GOOD NEWS!!!

We shouldn't, we can't, stay in this guilt and condemnation. This is the good news of the Gospel!  Listen, to this...

In Christ, there is NOTHING I can do that would make you love me more and NOTHING I have done that makes you love me less!

Simple as that!!  But we still have a part to play... in being aware of the sin that so easily besets us. (Hebrews 12:1)  As Christ Followers we have every right to challenge, encourage and hold each other accountable to the faith we profess.  Let us be Faithful - to follow Jesus!

**The above quote is taken from this book:  Gospel, by JD Greer. A book our small group (with Church) is currently reading through.  Very, very good book!

And, maybe this isn't right... or you've just sworn you'll never eat another brownie again... but, just for fun - I have to share with you this delicious brownie recipe I have since dubbed as "a-pile-of-sin-on-a-plate"... they're that "wicked".  You will find the recipe ingredients listed HERE!!  In fact, in the original posting of this recipe... I included a warning!!

These are really that good! :)

((sigh!))

I hope you hear my heart today!

Have a wonderful, week and God Bless!

until next time....

{singing}
oh be careful little feet where you go...      oh be careful little eyes what you see...     oh be careful little ears what you hear...

For the Father up above is watching us with love...   Oh be Careful... little heart whom you trust.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: Gather

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** Joining in with this Five Minute Friday Community and today's word prompt is: gather!

:: Go ::
Surprised to see these icicles gathered right here in plain, eye-level sight, I pulled my kids to the bedroom window - first thing, this morning.  The sun was really bright and of course, while they enjoyed the beauty they saw, they also weren't too happy that I made them "gather" a little longer just so I could capture a few photos.  ** I know, more icicles....

I got to thinking how I can relate to this at times ... in a different way.
I balk at being told to "gather".
When our hearts aren't "into it" and it feels like a demand or a duty to be done... it's hard to enter in.  Isn't it?
It's hard to participate.  
Oh, I pray for a softened, willing heart.

I asked my kiddo's later... what it means to "gather" and if it matters?
Does it matter? and why?

One of them said, like when we gather to pray... we pray.
When we gather to sing... we sing.
When we gather to worship... we worship.
To gather always involves a purpose and a reason for that gathering to take place.
Yes! Yes! Yes!

It matters why we gather.
It matters how we gather, even more!

Most importantly... a gathering is obviously more than one in attendance.

I enjoyed those icicles... but I wanted to share what I saw, with  my kids, and enjoy the moment together.

That's why we gather.
::stop::
***

Looking forward to gathering with a few ladies for a Book Study and Breakfast, tomorrow morning!

How about you?  Any plans this weekend that involve - gathering?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nourished

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After toying with the idea of what to share here... today, I went outdoors to "play around" with my camera.  It wasn't long before I found a few things to make me smile...relax... and savor!
I'm all into patterns and intricacy right now, and I think I found me some.
This guy just plain, down and out, made me smile!

It doesn't take much, to make me warm up, does it?  A few seconds after stepping indoors... the mail came.  Another love of mine...snail mail...with hopes of something "personal" and not junk...  So, out I went again.  And, there, in the mailbox... lo and behold, a card of cheer which really perked me up.. thank you- sweet friend!  All the way from KY.

This bright and cheery card was just as warm and friendly on the inside as it was on the outside.  It read...

Bevy- Just a quick note to say "hello" in hopes that these beautiful colors would brighten your day.  We only have a few more weeks of "winter" and Spring colors will be sprouting up for sure.  Hope all is good your way... take care.  xo

How did my friend know I needed this today?

It nourished me!

***
So.  The book, in the background, of that last photo there, is a recent winnings from a giveaway I had entered!  The book is entitled: Nourished!  So far, its been a fabulous read and I feel so blessed to have been the winner.... surprised - as all get out, too!  I'm thoroughly enjoying this book!  It's got some great quotes, tucked in here and there which really bless.  And, you all know how much I love me some quotes. :)

Like this one:
As much as we need to go out into the world to explore, we are that much braver and confident when we know that we have a place of sanctuary that will welcome us back from the adventure...
Creating a nurturing, nourishing home is a process that is always unfolding in its own perfect way.  ~ Leah Kent

And, another:
Usually, when the distraction of daily life deplete our energy, the first thing we eliminate is the thing we need the most: quiet, reflective time.  Time to dream, time to contemplate what's working and what's not, so that we can make changes for the better.  ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Just a little something my soul needed on a day like today.  Nourishment.
I think it happened. :)

** We're hunkering down for another storm system, to come through, this afternoon and evening!!  And, Lord willing, a Hot and Nourishing meal will be served up, just fine, tonight!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Five Minute Friday :: visit {Battleship NJ}

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Yes! I'm a day or two late...
No.. I'm not writing (necessarily) on one topic for five minutes...this round.  Although, I plan on throwing in a few lines of explanation or comment as I go... I know it will be way  longer than five minutes.
Yes!  I want to still be included in this link-up and I still can, as it is still open...thank you, Kate!
and Yes! as you can tell by the post's title that I did end up taking my camera on my son's Scout overnight encampment to VISIT the Battleship NJ.  Something I wasn't sure I would do - as mentioned here!!
(So, so interesting!  So glad I was invited to go along!)


We left Friday afternoon and came back early afternoon on - Saturday!
Our youngest daughter, Jayne, who didn't go with us, but instead went to Grandma's had a "BeLAST"... needless, to say...
It's wonderful to be back home and all be together again.  We've been talking about our time on the BB-62, ever since.

Enjoy the fleet of photos.. ;)
On our way  crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge!
We're headed to Camden, NJ...
Caleb standing by the bunk he chose!  One he would ultimately fall out of during the night and not remembering one bit it- upon waking up the next morning! ;)
In my opinion, these bunks were like sleeping in a coffin!  Not the best night of sleep for me, nor any of us... really!  Especially, after Caleb's incident.
 Caleb in the Brig!
Checking out the Barbershop!
Notice the steepness and shortness of step width!!



Yes!!  These are the stairs or ladders. They are literally EVERYWHERE!!!  Up and down, levels and decks.  It's of utmost necessity to have three points of contact at all times, when using these "ladders".  Ask Aubrey!!  Three points of contact.  Either, one hand and two feet - touching.  Or, One foot and two hands...while in motion.  Yeah!!!

A second rule of thumb for safety.  NO RUNNING!!  You never run on the ship...  And, as you'll read further down through this post.  You don't have to be running at all to still get hurt...

After dinner - we went on a guided tour of the ship.  We probably only scratched the surface of this "museum"... Mr. John was our personal tour guide...
I could have taken so many more photos, of this tour... I missed many, many "good ones"...
But the wax figures, that you'll see in so many of these upcoming photos, both spooked and tickled me.  It surely helped to make this tour "extra" interesting!!  We even found some that looked like people we know - in real life.  Which even made it more "fun"!!

Mr. John was wonderful and so patient with us and our questions...

This was down in the boiler room... do you see the portals (the black framed out holes)?  There rounded doorways with steps. I fist thought I was looking into mirrors... everything is so identical and symmetrical...
In this photo you can see 6 different portal/doorways... we had probably crossed through that many even before I ever took this photo.

I was saying just learning your way around this ship and having to constantly watch your head and your step ... was "crazy".
I also said... making your way around this ship gave a whole new meaning to the term :: Lost at Sea!!
(smile!)  I felt so out of the loop.

This is only half of this amazing photo...
Next.  Here we are in what is called a turret, this was No.3 of the three turrets on BB-62.


This is what I was talking about in having to watch your head and your step at all times.  Scott literally had just plunked his head hard on that white looking canister hanging from the ceiling.  Hence why he's there on his knees holding his head.  The second photo is of him looking to see what it was he hit.  I was trying too hard not to laugh... hence the blurry photos...  I suppose!  I am glad it wasn't too serious.

Just in this room alone... as I stood in one spot, looking around... I wondered just how many nuts and bolts I could see.  The thought was astounding... and this wasn't even the whole ship...

If you ever get a chance to visit something like this.  Go for it!! I would say, it certainly provided me with a whole new appreciation for the men and women who have served and are serving - as status in and of our Country's Army, Navy and Military Services.  The commitment it would take (and does!) is exemplary!  Wow!!
***
Again, I could have taken a thousand more photos... to capture our time.  Aubrey and I were just glad - once again - that we were invited to go along.  Even though we felt like a "fish out of water" amongst all the cub scouts and their dads!!  
Here is one last photo...
It's just me.  One tired Mama at the end of the day.  One stiff and sore Mama, too!

(thanks to one of the kiddo's who got a hold of the camera..)

I hope you enjoyed your visit!!
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