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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Living the Life | Salt of the Earth

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In anticipation of the season to come, gift-giving is obviously on the mind.  We've just come from a season of giving thanks - to what we now think of as a season of giving gifts.

Please enjoy this lengthy excerpt (I know..) and may it be something for us all to consider.  For certainly all of us have room enough, to grow, in our hearts, of putting ourselves aside and to think of others...instead.
 Even if it requires more than the usual bout of sacrifice, which we may already graciously give!
***

At the busy intersection of Ginza and Z streets in downtown Tokyo was a small wooden box fastened to a post.  The box, like a neatly built birdhouse, had a slot underneath it's slanted roof and miniature door in the lower right hand corner.  At intervals during day or night, people would open the tiny door and take out several coins.  Then they would shuffle off into the crowd.

At least once a day a well-dressed Japanese gentleman dropped coins or paper yen into the slot beneath the slanted roof.  Without glancing to the right or left he, too, disappeared.

This "give-and-take" caught the imagination of hundreds of Japanese.  They called it the "Salt of the Earth" movement, a unique adventure in anonymous charity.

It began on September 10, 1956, when 46 year old Shinichi Eguchi nailed the first box to a light-post near the Hagoromo Bridge in Chiba city, a Tokyo suburb.  Eguchi, who wrote inspirational verse, was convinced that the most worthwhile line he ever composed was the one on that first box,

"Whoever is truly in need is free to help himself to the money inside".

A desperate man gave Eguchi the idea for the venture.  The man had told Eguchi that life had dealt him so many bad breaks that he was determined to kill himself and his family of five.  Eguchi responded by getting the man a job and moving this man and his family into his own home.  The wages the man earned, however, were so inadequate for his family that his eldest daughter, aged 15, became a prostitute.  When Eguchi heard of this he blamed himself for not having done more for this family.  Poverty, he declared, is everyone's sin and everybody's responsibility.  He vowed that he would give 1,000 yen (about $3 a day) to charity for the rest of his life.

He recalled a legend about a money box in the Swiss Alps, in which villagers claimed was watched over by the Lord.  People put money into the box to help the poor, who took out what they needed and without abusing the privilege.  When things were better with those who had been aided, they sometimes replaced what they had taken.  But the donations always exceeded the demand.  Even thieves never pilfered the box and everyone in the village became more generous and brotherly-minded because of it.

This story of the Swiss Money Box became associated in Eguchi's mind along with a Scripture passage he had learned as a boy - when he had first become a Christian.  "Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt hath lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?"  And thus began his ministry...

Eguchi converted a discarded milk box into a "Salt of the Earth" box and wrote on it a message to the needy.  He fastened it to a post near the Hagoromo Bridge.

As he was "salting" this first box with a handful of yen, an official came along and asked what was going on.  When Eguchi explained, the official thought it preposterous, but to show good will he too dropped some money into the box.

During the first six months, the boxes were destroyed fourteen times.  Sometimes it was juvenile vandalism but often adults wrecked the boxes - just the same.  Eguchi took these setbacks as a test of faith and kept replacing the boxes.

One day Eguchi found a scribbled note in the box from an unemployed laborer.  The laborer had said that at one point he contemplated suicide but that the box  had made him change his mind.

Later other notes appeared.

One woman wrote that the few yen she had taken had kept her family from starvation.  A thief confessed that he had been on his way to rob a house, but as he was about to take some money from the box, it seemed he heard a voice.  Withdrawing his empty hand he decided to go straight.  Later, when he was helped by a friend to find an honest job he gave credit to the "Salt-of-the-Earth".

One day a well-to-do merchant, who had often seen poet Eguchi "salt" the box, decided that he too would like to put up a box of his own.  Inquiring how to proceed, he was told that there were no rules governing the size or construction of the box or where it should be placed.  However, there was but one requirement: whoever put up a box would have to promise that they or an associate would place some money in it  every day.

Readily agreeing, the merchant installed his box.  When a typhoon struck Tokyo and hardly anyone dared venture out, a policeman spied the merchant fighting his way against the roaring wind to put money in the box.  This so impressed the policeman that he, too, set up a box in a different section of the city.

Eguchi began publishing a small bulletin for free distribution, placed in a receptacle beneath each box.  The four-page pamphlet contained testimonials, essays on the power of faith, and poetry.  One issue carried these lines: "Wounded pilgrim, take help from this box; Rich or poor, wounded traveler be filled from this box.  Be filled."

Eguchi eventually distributed over 14,000 copies of the bulletins each month and placed an additional 6,000 under the boxes at his own expense.  Publishing the bulletin and supporting the boxes was such a drain that Eguchi frequently pawned personal belongings to keep his "pact with the Lord."  His wife and two sons, aged 13 and 19, cooperated with him in the adventure.

The movement grew and soon there were over four-hundred "Salt of the Earth" boxes in Japan, along with others scattered throughout the United States, placed there by tourists who learned about the movement in Japan.

"When you join the 'Salt of the Earth' movement," said Eguchi, "you are uniting with an unseen fellowship.  A person who makes and supports a box becomes a changed person.  In the past if he had been reluctant to trust people he begins to have faith.  If he has been tyrannical, he mellows.  If he has been idle, he becomes industrious.  The greatest mission of the the boxes is in the new outlook on life they bring to the donors and receivers alike."

Changes took place in others, too.  One Japanese townsman testified that he used to spit at the box whenever he passed by.  But he became so impressed by the loyalty of the man who kept the box "salted" that he constructed a box of his own and pledged to support it.

Eguchi's theory was that a person should give and then forget about the gift.  "We should not mind," the poet insisted, "if a hoodlum takes money out of a box to use it for his alcoholic merrymaking.  No one ever knows what the final outcome may be."

In another issue of one of Eguchi's bulletins, he shared a story of a drunkard who confessed he had been taking coins from the box for drink.  One morning, however, his conscience bothered him so much that he put some yen into the box instead.  This act of restitution so filled him with self-respect that he decided to stop drinking.

Shinichi Eguchi felt that any hard-and-fast organization would rob the program of its selfless spirit. So the project had no president, no directors and no one to solicit contributions.

"What we are trying to do," Eguchi said, "is get a box in every village and city in our country.  Then we can dare approach and challenge other nations.  And only when every nation is inspired by selfless love and service will the true meaning of the 'Salt of the Earth' program be realized.  It is not merely a matter of giving the money - it is, the most of all, a matter of living the life."

~ selected piece taken from the October, 2015 - Fishwrapper.  The original story by Marcus Bach, 1961, condensed and edited.


***
I've never seen a box like this in real-life!  I'd be curious if anyone reading here, has... or perhaps you know of something similar - in action.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Father in Heaven, We Thank Thee

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We're spending a quiet day at home today - just our family, and we're thankful for that!  With hopes and plans for gathering as a larger family - on Sunday.

We have so much to be thankful for!  If I could only begin to count my blessings!!!
This simple prayer came to mind today, as I think of Thanksgiving Day - and all that means for me!

We Thank Thee
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet,
Father, we thank Thee.


For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.


For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee.

For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee

Pumpkin Dip

For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

Amen!

***
Enjoy your family and friends today!  And remember, if you think thanks... you'll live thanks!
Count your Blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I just thought I would close this post by sharing with you this simple recipe for Pumpkin Dip.  Something for you and yours to enjoy over this holiday season...

:: Pumpkin Dip for Gingersnaps ::

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup pumpkin (canned)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spices (combo of cinnamon, cloves and allspice)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

gingersnaps

Using an electric mixer, whip together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the pumpkin, spices and maple syrup - whip again for 2-3 minutes (the longer you whip, the more fluffy it becomes).
Add a drizzle of maple syrup and crushed gingersnaps crumbs on top for looks.  Dip with gingersnaps or apple slices.

* I've also found this dip to be a delicious topping for pancakes or waffles.. enjoy!!!

***
I'm sharing this post with Tuesday @ Ten

Monday, November 23, 2015

{Bags by Bevy} Ladies Breakfast and sales update...

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“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside."― Stephen R. Covey
I've been quiet here - lately - on the blog, in this little space,  I know.  Simply because life has been happening the way it should be!  Busy, sure!  But - living it well... saying yes to different things!!

Some of that busy involved this...

Several of you have been wondering just how that Ladies Breakfast and Home Goods sale went this past Saturday... for me, with Bags by Bevy!

To answer your question - I would have to say it went pretty well.  I mean, I feel pretty good about it. ;)

Several items never got updated into my etsy shop and well... a majority of them sold - first thing!!!

Listed below are the items that sold.


:: Smoke and Mirrors ::
Classic Medium Tote
Sold to Kathy M.

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:: Autumn Bloom ::
Classic Medium Tote
Sold to Julie B.

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:: Tea Wallet ::
holds two tea bags
Sold to Gwen K.

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:: Black Lace ::
Overnight Bag
Sold to Lori H.

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:: Tea Wallets ::
 both hold four tea bags each - can be used to carry business cards, etc.
One sold and one as a gift (given away)!

****
 :: Figgy Pudding ::
Pocket Pouch
Sold to Julie B.

****

::Homemade Goodness::
Cookbooks... for sale on behalf of my sister, Gladys - with proceeds of cookbook sales 
to Bald Eagle Boys Camp
Total of 3 sold - with two more sales pending...

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Here is my table display, for the morning!!


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We were asked to sign up to bring a dish - if we desired.
I chose to make an Overnight Caramel French Toast.  No photo, though. :( Sorry!

Albeit to say - there was quite the selection and yummy goodness...all around.  
No one left hungry, for sure!!  If they did - it was their own fault. 


I wish I had a few more photos of the time together... the fellowship of over 50 ladies, in attendance, was so sweet! And so was the "message" truly shared from the heart!  A message on  God's Faithfulness - through some really difficult seasons in one dear sister's life.  The worship time was moving - with the songs chosen - and I, for one, could have kept on singing.

There were tears and smiles and many hugs of affirmation, throughout the time, with many of us being able to relate with one another...

It was wonderful!!


I'm really thankful to feel this sense of belonging with these dear ladies from our local church!!

My prayer is that it will only continue to grow and strengthen in the years to come!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

{BagsbyBevy} breakfast, sneak-peek list and cookbooks for sale...

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Head's up to all my local friends...

I'm excited to say that I've been a busy little bee - anticipating a Ladies Equip Breakfast and Homemade Good's Sale - for this upcoming Saturday AM - with our church family.

Ladies Equip Breakfast 2015

Have you signed up - yet?  If you're interested in attending - there is still room!!  Message me and I'll be sure to add you to the sign-up list.  All ladies, 13 and older, are welcome to attend!

Here is a "sneak peek" list of what I'll have with me...
  • Classic Medium tote bags
  • Overnight Bag
  • Tea wallets - 2  & 4 count
  • Pocket Pouches
  • For the Love of Laundry/clothespin bag, with pins
  • little girls skirts - clearance sale
  • CoffeeMate Mug Warmers
  • Homespun Baby! shoes 

Basically, it is everything that is available in my etsy shop plus a several additional items that have yet to be added to inventory. :)  As well - I'll have along a fine stack of these cookbooks.

:: Homemade Goodness ::

Come and see for yourself!

My sister, Gladys,  has had her hands all over this wonderful cookbook, in its making, and is hoping to sell off a few more to bring is some more support for Bald Eagle Boys Camp.

They are selling for $16.95 a cookbook.  Cash or check only - for payment.

The cookbooks are for sale regardless... if you're interested in one - please follow through via comment and email...

Think christmas gifts, teacher gifts... or as a gift-to-yourself!!

This really is a nice cookbook - with hundreds of recipes... 
All consist of homemade goodness, for sure!

***
Hope to see some, if not all, of you on Saturday!!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weary, Worry and Worship!

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Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest! 
~ Matthew 11:28

I want to share with you a little story out of Our Daily Bread - a humorous story, as a matter of fact, that I thought would illustrate... this thought I have of worry, weary and worship!

A man worried constantly about everything.  Then one day his friends heard him whistling happily and looking noticeably relaxed.  "What happened?" they asked him in astonishment.He said, "I'm paying a man to do my worrying for me." "How much do you pay him?" they asked."Two thousand dollars a week," he replied."Wow! How can you afford that?""I can't," he said, "but that is his worry."

This past week has been nothing but long lists and "busy" demands.   Particularly the past couple of days.
Each night, I would fall into bed exhausted.  Weary.
Worried that it'll not get "finished".  Worried that I'll not have strength to muster through another moment.  Feelings of anxieties so large...

However, I am so comforted with the fact that it honestly is not for me to concern myself over, with these things.  I still do though - because I'm human.  But comforted for sure that Jesus says  - Come!
Come to me - child.  Weary, heavy-laden and worried soul!  You need rest!  Only give it over to me and I will do this for you.  And, He asks.  Can I carry you?

Yes Lord!!  I surrender.

I am so grateful that the LORD never grows weary.  He never is tired.  Always faithful to meet our every need.  I can depend on this - truth!  I can rest in this.
And when this happens...
I can worship my Maker.... with spirit, soul and body!
I will worship Him - and praise Him through this storm.

***
Linking with Kate @ Heading Home for Five Minute Friday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Letting Go {Tuesday @ Ten}

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Saturday.... what a wonderful, wonderful day, it was - living, loving and pulling together as a family.
To work as a team both indoors and out.  Some of which to bless our landlord, Mr. A.
The thing is, is he doesn't know it (yet); nor does he have to necessarily.
These are things, around the farm, that he would have tended to  - but now that he is in this place - 
dare I say it?...  of letting go...
Oh, how I hate the thought of it for him.

I can't imagine day in and day out.  Brain clear and mind brave but physically the challenge remains.
The letting go of 
dreams, passions, 
of dignity and will.

Having hope but not being able to fulfill and hold on.

The feeling of life... fleeting!  F a s t - in its ebb and flow.

For me?  For us?
This affects us too.
This change dribbles down to us in a way that only changes like this can do.
Life - the daily day-to-day - goes on.  Yet, we must decide to let go.
For whenever that day calls.

We're hoping to go visit with our landlord tomorrow... just to let him know - we're okay.  We're praying for him and that we miss him terribly - around the place!  Mostly - just to say "hello" and to bring him some encouragement... as best we can!
***

Linking this post with Tuesday @ Ten - Finding the Grace Within.

Friday, November 6, 2015

five minute friday :: dance

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Setting the timer for five minutes. 

::go::

This is not something I do very often.  Dance.  In fact.  I don't know that I was born with a dancing-sort-of-bone in my body.  My parents didn't have that in them either.  Long story.

My kiddos' sort of do.  Must have come from the other side of the tracks. :)

When my dad passed away nearly 20 years ago. Now. If that didn't stop me in my tracks for typing that out.  Wow!   I cannot believe it will be 20 years - this coming April.  
Anyway.  We, as a family, all smiled and did our best to imagine my dad dancing in Heaven... on those streets of gold. Oh... I know he is! And, what a glorious sight. 
 Interestingly enough is, we would still have family and friends look at us funny if we were to mention that ...  whether they believe it or not.  They simply cannot imagine...the dancing part.

Seeing all the gold-colored, leaf-covered roads right now.. makes me think of this.

And - when I think of Heaven and its streets of gold... I can't help but get this giddy feeling in my soul straight down to my toes.  Oh yes!  There, I can imagine dancing...
And, lots of it!!
:: stop::


These leaves are still holding on, high in this tree.
Appearing as if with bated breath... for when they're last dance will occur.

One of my most favoritest of sounds.  Leaves skittering across the pavement or lawn... chasing each and another around and around.  Until at last they're laid to rest.


So... like I mentioned my children like to "dance"... and I caught my youngest outdoors enjoying the day dancing with the leaves underfoot and before I knew it... she had collected a handful - for the memories. 

Here is to hoping you have a wonderful weekend... 
***

Linking this post with Kate at Heading Home for her Five Minute Friday link-up!
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