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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


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 I feel like I've recently touched on this word, and I well, maybe it's been longer ago than I realize.  When something really belongs... it's a real treasure.  Could it really have been two summers ago?  I guess.  Wow...time flies, doesn't it?

Which brings me to my thoughts today.

Last week would have been my Grandmother's (a.k.a. Grammy) 97th birthday!  She's passed now for some time but I just love these photos of her from our Wedding - back in 2005.

I felt I wanted to share them with you, today.

Wow.. seeing these photos makes me miss her all the more.  And, you know what?  One of my biggest regrets in life is not appreciating her to the fullest - when I should have.
But oh I loved my Grammy.  She had the pillowiest upper arms... (as a youngster)... I always loved this about her.  They were so, so comfy to rest my head on. :)
The funny thing is.  As I grow older - I see her in myself more and more.  Her wit.  Her "funny" side.  Her sense of humor, even her pizzazz.  Yes, my Grammy had some of this.  She was a riot! Some even deemed her a trouble-maker. :)
Now.. I have a long way to go, and I don't know if I want to ever go this far.  Being a trouble-maker and all...
Actually, I probably shouldn't even have said trouble-maker as much as she was a "whippersnapper".
That sounds like something she would have even called herself.., as a name!  lol!!

  But anyway, all that to say... if I could only sit and talk with her today - wow!
Would I ever glean a lot.

She often took initiative.  She was a go-getter.  And, maybe she had to be this because my Grandpop - was so laid back.  I don't know.
She made friends easy.  Everyone knew Aquilla.
No one person was ever a stranger.  They were just always a friend she just hadn't gotten to know yet.

I love that I have her way about the kitchen - using a little of this and a smidgen of that - and well... I would say she was a dump cook.  So, am I and proud of it. :)
Not always the tidiest of homemaker's - but always pleasant... and willing to give others a home - if needed!  And, how many, many folks have they taken under their wing in their life-time?

I can still hear my Grammy sing - in her deep, slightly-off alto voice.
Hear her chuckle.  Hear her tease.
She always had the best expressions and the best stories...
And - if you know me and think I can cry at the drop of a hat... well... I'm nothing in that regard.
Her heart was so big!!!

She dabbled with singing in choirs, participating in community events, reflexology on the side, missions/bus trips, quilting, etc.! A farmer's wife.  A gardener. My grandparents owned a small (hobby) orchard...always, always putting something up.
Always willing to go out of their way to do for others...

With all of these memories shared today - I am so grateful that they belong to me.  I really treasure these warm thoughts and choose to hold onto them, deep in my heart.

It's all what makes me want to be a grammy someday!

Some day!

I am so grateful that she (as my dad's mother) was the Matriarch of the family to which I belong.
 Makes me very proud and I feel very, very blessed as well.
Even, if I too, have pillowy upper arms.
I miss my Grammy!!

In this photo we are standing in front a quilt that was "made" by my Grammy (actually, quilted by several Lancaster Co. Amish friends) and this gift was on display at our wedding - because she thought she would never live to see the day of this particular granddaughter getting married.    And, that was her and I's little inside joke.

This quilt lovingly graces our bed, today!!

I love the memories that it holds!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What does it look like to care? + giveaway winner!!

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Strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who 
have weak knees. ~ Isaiah 35:3

Do I care?  Do you care?  I mean, as in like, really care - for others?
What does "to care" really look like?

Where I attend church - we have what are small groups that meet on a every-other week basis  and those groups, in particular, are called caregroups.
Except that right now...our current group has recently disbanded and we (as a family) are on the hunt for another caregroup to join, within our church community.  Searching that out and pondering over this aspect has caused a lot of questions to loom large in our hearts.  What is "care"?  What am I expecting; what am I looking for in a new caregroup?
What am I willing to contribute to others - as far as care goes...etc.?  Would I be willing to help lead a caregroup for others to attend and feel cared for?   Ahhh. So many questions...

I've also been wondering where I've fallen off the band-wagon of caring or if I have, even at all?
It's all just stuff to think about.

We all know this caring stuff is so important.  So necessary for life and growth.  And - besides the fact that it is commanded in Scripture... to encourage one another - and to build each other up!!

We need care as much as we need to care!

I do believe there are varied levels to this.  I don't think there is this high attainable place of caring and that you have finally arrived... but I do know we are called to care for one another... whether it be little or a lot...or just the right amount.  It'll never, ever be done perfectly - that is for sure!

As I've been thinking through this thought of what care looks like, I can't help but share a couple of helpful quotes that have quickened me to the core,  Quickened...with both conviction and encouragement.  I only hope they will serve to do the same for you, as well.

Here is one from Barbara Johnson.

When we do little acts of kindness that make life more bearable for someone else, we are walking in love as the Bible commands us.  One way to do this costs only the sum of a postage stamp, a little paper, and ink.  Everyone of us has felt the nudge to write someone a letter or note.  Many times we don't follow up on it; we tell ourselves it wouldn't matter anyway.  When we think this way, we miss giving receiving splashes of joy.

For me - while this surely means following through with a thoughtful card or note... I also know it means making or taking that phone call.

I don't do the phone.  (eeks!)

I personally shy from this so much... and yet I realize it's just another avenue to "fully" care for others.
Oh, there are so many, many other ways... for sure, to care!!  Ways such as: a personal visit.  A Blessing Meal. A listening ear.  A cup of coffee.
A ride to work or an appointment and home again...

What could it be for you?

Here's another quote, from Barbara...

When the floodwaters of the cesspool have come up to your very soul (you know what that means for you!), you don't need challenges; you need comfort.  You need a friend to come alongside and say, "I am hurting with you... I am standing with you... I am weeping with you.  I am undergirding you as best I can.  Link your shield of faith with mine and somehow we will make it together."
~ Barbara Johnson

I know I need this.. and I fully appreciate when this is how someone cares for me.

This following prayer - may it be mine and yours, as well!!

Heavenly Father,  Create within our hearts a broader, more kindly inclination to extend our hand to whomever You send along this slippery path of life.  May we lovingly hold each other up and keep each other from falling.  Inspire and enable us to "be there" for each other as You are there for each of us. ~ Marilyn Meberg

**  Linking with Finding the Grace Within | tuesday @ ten :: care


Announcing the Giveaway Winner for the book:
 Love Walked Among Us!

Country Gal

You are the winner!!  Congratulations!!

Please email me your mailing address - as soon as you are able!
aitsbevy (at) yahoo (dot) com

Friday, February 12, 2016

Long Line of Love + Giveaway!

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It's not too often that I have a blog title come to me before a post is actually written. But, that's what has happened with these words here today.

If you know anything about me and my story and our current family's situation...you can conclude that I don't favor to change(s) very well.

A lot has been happening the past few months that can almost reflect the bitter cold of the outdoors.  That's only true, right now, because of the arctic chill that has come down and settled in over our region.
And we're anticipating a lot more changes rising high on the horizon.
We know the why - but there is no telling when or how they'll come about.

Not all the changes happening around here are terrible, though.  They are changes just the same.  They stiffen.  Hold us back- till we "warm up" to the idea. It's okay! 
 They rattle.  They upheave - till it settles back down and we're ready to "ride out the wave" the rest of the way.  Going with the flow.

But when one starts to look for the color that love brings; the cheer in the dark and hardened places... because, it is there!... it really can revive and bring life and meaning back into the stone-cold heart.

What can crack that for you?

What brings that life-blood pumping again - for you?

What warms that ole heart of yours?

Are you longing for some color - crystal clear - in your darkened world?

Walk with me for a minute through this "cold and blustery" morning.  The sun is shining - yes!! and the sky is bright and gorgeous blue!  Icicles hang on and low - line upon line. 
 I look for them.  Nestled in here and there.
They make me smile!!

They remind me of the warmth of God's love melting.....forming...shaping...the cold into something new!!
Ooohh, what's this?  I see my kids names etched in the snowbank - line upon line - all in a row.


Enter indoors - it's time for a warming-up, kind of cup of coffee (and soon some lunch, boasting one of my favorite condiments... pickled beets!!) and my eyes scan the dining room table.  Leftover bits of paper-heart making is strewn all over... my heart swells just a tad fuller as I see handwritten love notes from my four and seven year old.  With that I hardly see the mess.

Together we clean up the pieces and somehow the heart seems willing (You know, this isn't always the easiest of chores - to clean up after the fun is done!)... I can't believe it!!  
Where is the easy button?

Has their hearts melted somewhat, somehow, too?  Changes...

I know.  We've been praying this prayer lately.  
Create in me a clean heart, oh God!  And renew a right spirit within me...
Well.  He's obviously doing this.  In all of our hearts...
On the heater... I see more hearts laid out, lined up, all in a row... my seven year thought to do this to dry ALL THE GLUE needed to layer these valentines... which she used entirely way too much glue, was my first thought, and I wanted to scold.  But in the end - this was her creativity in full swing and I decided if I'm to continue to "build my home" the way I know I want to then I need to let it go!

Let my love grow... and use WAY more encouragement and praise than ever before!

You see - I know I've come from a long line of love.
Why... out of the blue this potted plant from my mom - who stopped by on a whim!  
Really?  No... it's because she loves...and to say, I'm thinking of you.
Happy Valentine's Day!!

As I have been loved so I must love you!

Which reminds me.

How about a GIVEAWAY today?

I've been reading this book... slowly but sure.  And even passed it on to a friend or two, to borrow...

Love Walked Among Us, by Paul E. Miller.
Can I just say....It's amazing!  

This love is Jesus and in a very practical way - teaches us how to love like he loves!!

I do have to tell you the book I give today is a bit tattered. Loved on.  "Gently used", you might say - because it is my own copy. However, I just want to bless you with this quietly compelling and encouraging read.  Your comment today - will allow you a chance to win this wonderful book as my giveaway today... simple as that.

The winner of this giveaway will be declared and notified, sometime next week!
Until then... seek to see some color in your world today?  Can you?

Do you know you're from a long line of love?

How can I be praying for you today?

And, may I wish you a lovely weekend!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

When...when this post has everything to do with encouragement and nothing to do with the snow! ;)

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I could stand in a snow-globe world forever and feel bliss!

I want to share a few verses with you from Proverbs 3:27-28.  I know I've talked about these verses before - but they bless me so much, everytime I read them,  Therefore, I feel the need to share them with you again and again.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
    when it is in your power to act.
 Do not say to your neighbor,
    “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
    when you already have it with you.

I recently came across this interesting challenge (whether you're a gift-giver or not - it's for all of us) in a small circular that comes through our doors every other month or so.  I thought it would be fitting to share with you, for today.


1. The Gift of Listening...
But you must REALLY listen.  No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response.  Just listening.

2. The Gift of Affection...
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the pack and holds hands.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for your family and friends.

3. The Gift of Laughter...
Clip cartoons.  Share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

4. The Gift of a Written Note...
It can be simple "Thanks for your help" note, or a full sonnet.  A brief, hand-written note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5. The Gift of a Compliment...
A simple and sincere compliment can make someone's day.  "You look great in red."  "You did a super job!" "That was a wonderful meal."

6, The Gift of a Favor...
Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7. The Gift of Solitude...
There are times when we want nothing better to than to be left alone.  Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition...
The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it's not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You!

All that to say - look at what came in the mailbox the other day!!!

It made our whole family - jump with joy!!  So happy and so proud of our son!

You talk about feeling encouraged?  This surely did it.

Because let me tell you - this was surely one unexpected way of getting a message across... 
in my son's world!  Mail for him?  From his teacher? 
Out of the Blue?
I kinda think it'll stick...

** Linking today's post with Finding the Grace Within | tuesday @ ten :: when

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Who surrounds you?

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Well, this statement stopped me in my tracks!!

I was listening to a radio preacher the other morning and this is what he said.

If folks are on your nerves then they probably are not on your heart.


In other words...
If people are not on my heart (and mind) they're on my nerves!

Same thing!

 How many times does this hold true for me. In particular with me as a mother!  My children get on my nerves and so can other people, at times.  Obviously, this statement implies I don't have a deep care and love for them in the first place...therefore, I must have a relationship problem... because I react with my head and not with my heart.  True... maybe!?
He went on to say... and I'm paraphrasing...

To get people off your nerves you've got to get them on and in your heart!

To love like Jesus loves.
We must surround others with patience and with understanding.

Let me tell you - this is way easier said than done.

I really took this to heart and decided to really pay close attention to the what, how and when of "my nerves" being rattled ... as it pertains, in particular, to mothering.

I noticed something.  Usually when someone "got on my nerves" it was because:
 My agenda was being inflicted...
 My schedule was being up-ended...
My expectations were not being met...
Me. Me. Me.

Quite frankly - I knew where this was going... and fast!
It's NOT meant to be about me.

To love means to surround others with patience and understanding and put one's own self last.

This is how Jesus loved!

This is hard!  Quite frankly, I can't do this by myself.  I can't give out what I do not have.  I need more and MORE of Christ's love to the fullness.  I want to overflow...

With patience and with kindness.  With understanding...which means I really have to take time to sit and listen to the needs of others that surround me.

Scriptures say, for out of the heart the mouth speaks!

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6:45

I don't know about you - and what you're thoughts are on this... perhaps you'll share in the comment section below, but I got to thinking this - that as blunt as this statement is... I'll take it!  I'll use it as a measuring tool.  A guide to really evaluate my level of love and care I have in my heart - for others.

Here is the question we should all ask ourselves.

Who surrounds you? 
 Are they on your nerves or on your heart?

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