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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Here we come a caroling...

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This photo (mix) has got to be one of my most favorite of moments and memories!  Caroling.  I loved it then and always will.

This evening I had the privilege to load my three kiddos, along with three of their cousins to attend a choral production with some home school families, from our church.  We knew quite a bit of them and I tell you - it feels so good to support friends, like this and this is only one way.
However,  on our way home, you can imagine - everyone wanted to sing and pretend they, too, were part of such a beautiful production and so we all took turns leading out in song one of our own favorite tunes.
Of course... those Christmas Carols are ALL so beautiful... and it took me right  back to my childhood days of when caroling in our church community or our neighborhoods was a REAL priority.   I found myself sharing this memory with my carload of choristers...

It was one of the most anticipated events of the year, for me.. to go Christmas Caroling.  Oh, the memories this evokes... Here is what I shared...

We always went Christmas Eve - with our church - to the large local community.  No matter the kind of weather.  I can remember going in the bitter cold, times of heavy snow (lots of memories on this one), even in the rain... however, the community KNEW we were coming. They expected us.  Prior to going our youth group would get together, a couple of nights before, to make up fruit baskets and bake cookies to take to folks along the way. 
This event involved bundling up (little kids and all), carpooling and still there would be what seemed like a mile of cars following each other with their four-ways on... we'd all get out of the vehicles, trudge carefully to the front door, with flashlights and song sheets (though not really needed, as we sung from memory anyway). Someone would knock or ring the door bell.  Someone else would lead us out into song.  Joy to the World, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels sing, etc.
We'd all gather closer together our harmonious voices echoing through the night sky.  Sure enough the front door would open and huddled in the doorways were the elderly, the growing family, a single person and every now and then, the surprised or "unsure" person (of what to make of all of this).   Some would ask us inside for a cup of hot chocolate ( I remember one year, someone offered chili) ... SERIOUSLY! 50 + plus people getting served... sometimes we were asked to come indoors because of someone to sick to come to the door and they simply wanted us to sing our hearts out- and they with feeble voice did their best to join in. 

It was beautiful.

We'd always end our four-part harmony caroling, at each home, with:

We wish you a Blessed Christmas,
we wish you a Blessed Christmas,
we wish you a Blessed Christmas
and a Joyous New Year. 
Glad tidings we bring to you and your kin,
good tidings for Christmas and a Joyous New Year. 
(said in said- shout unison)

It seemed like forever - but starting at 6pm sharp! and ending more times than not at 10pm (getting to the last folks on the list) was a long time, but worth it - we'd all head back to our church to finish up any remaining cookies and fruit from the fruit baskets & cookie baking.  Someone usually would stay back, usually an older grandmother or two who didn't want to make the trek into the bitter cold or "inclement" weather - they were the ones who "had everything ready" when we returned; the kettle steaming of hot chocolate, the trays of cookies and a roaring fire in the fireplace.  Yes! there was a fireplace in the "auxiliary building".   Someone also had prepared a (handmade) Pinata for the final activity of the evening.  We ALL took turns from youngest to oldest (adults included) to take one turn at bat.  Chaos erupted... as we all dove to get pieces of candy and nuts.

Oh, what fun!

I wish I had a better picture to show - to share of my memories better.  I wish I could make these memories the same, for my kids... maybe one day, we will.


Do you go caroling?  Have you ever considered going?  Bundle up.... let's go.  I'll go with you.
Here we come a caroling... among the leaves so green.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

give us this day our daily bread

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Recently, I was gifted these books, by a dear friend.
The Life-Giving Table
by, Sally Clarkson

 As well, we were recently gifted this table and bench, by another friend.  We've been enjoying it... a lot!!   Here is a thought taken from the second chapter... by Sally's husband, Clay Clarkson, who authored a portion of the book.
"Creating a lifegiving table is an intentional act of
 gathering, blessing, eating, sharing and serving."

So, the book, Life-Giving Table...what about it?  Well, I have been enjoying thumbing through; slowly reading the first couple of chapters of this book and there is so, SO much to take in.  I said, I feel like I have to "sit and marinate" in it - to let it all soak in.

Its really asking me to think about the "gathering" that takes place around our table.  Sure.  It's the place where a lot of our life happens! Things get plopped. Crafts are crafted.  Its used for play time - of forts and "race tracks"; coloring and games.  Homework is done, there.  Laundry is folded.
Piled high and cleared off again - so that meals can be spread out upon.
Its true that while we gather there to consume our daily bread... that, that is also where training and teaching happens.  Correction.  Encouragement.  Singing.  Prayers are prayed.
Community and Fellowship flow.  Sometimes its raw and loud and not always pleasant.  Most times and more often than not -its amazing!!

I have always said... that the kitchen is the heart of the home.  But, here of late, since reading this book, I've been trying to bring this "idea" to my kiddos.  For them to recognize, that our dining room table... this is a place of ministry... it is the Heart of the Home.  Even more than the kitchen itself.

"For Jesus...the home is not what defines the table; the table 
is what defines the home." ~ Leonard Sweet, from Tablet to Table

Its not a perfect place.  There are scuffs and scars.  Its worn and scratched...
But...it's ours!!
Its function is truly central to our home!
Where daily we pray and ask God... "Give us this day our daily bread."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Spirit of Loveliness

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It's bedtime.  More often than not, the only time of day - I get to pull out a book to read.  Too many times, the pile of books that I want to read is higher than my arm is long.  I typically never can stay awake long enough to read, let alone retain - anything - that I may have read, in the first place.  Sure, I want to.  It's just that either life is way busier than I think or other conversations take over and take place... but... that really is no excuse.  Personally.  I just don't like reading - not like I'd like to.  I was talking to a dear friend of mine - on Sunday - at church and we were talking about this very thing... and she said ALMOST the exact same thing is true for her... and ya'll... she's an author.  A homeschooling mama... she HAS to read... and yet, she struggles, too!!  I have never felt so supported as to hear my friend admit to this very thing - herself.
Don't get me wrong.  I love books!  I sure do.  In fact, I try to encourage my kiddos' to read, read, read. That books are their "friends".. they need to treat them well, etc.  Honestly, I really do like feeling the pages in between my fingers.  The way they smell,  the way they open, the clever illustrations.... even the font matters a lot!!! I would much, much rather hold a book in my hand than an electronic device - such as a kindle, etc.   And, yet... the "art" of reading; it's novelty, the time it takes itself to read the words and comprehend... is a real struggle.

Why do I share all of this?  And, why the photos of this book - that I share with you today?

Great question.  So, first off, this book was recommended to me by a cousin of mine, some time ago.  My cousin, Carmen, has truly become a dear, dear friend of mine - someone whom I respect quite highly and has become almost, more like a sister to me than some of own immediate sisters.  I clearly remember the day when Carmen truly encouraged me to open this book and take to heart the "teachings" of Emilie Barnes.  A dear saint of the Lord - who has recently gone home to be with her Saviour.  I would say (in my heart and mind) - Emilie has become a pillar post in the foundation of my "home-making"... and home keeping.  I have really admired the things she wrote and shared.  In fact, I have several of her books.  BUT... this one.  The Spirit of Loveliness... has carried me.  I'm forever indebted to my sweet cousin for her persistence that I get myself a copy of this book.

So.  I got to thinking.  There is no better way to get back to who I am than to dust off the cover of this "dear friend" and because it's format is like that of a coffee table book (its easy to read, in bite-sized chucks) ... I can slowly get back into reading (what I would say) has been and always will be one of my first loves.

For me.  The topic of home- keeping, hospitality, and growing in character (to be that godly influence as a wife and mom; a woman of Christ) ... is my deepest passion and desire.

In earlier years of blogging - I have alluded to this book before, although I'm not so sure that I actually referenced it.  There is a post about "glowing windows" whose idea came from this book, I'm pretty sure. You've got to go read that one!!!  I even linked it for you - so you can find it easy and go read...
It is simply another but continual prayer of mine.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

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This recipe deserves - I mean, DESERVES - some serious raves!!!
 My kids couldn't stop eating it, but... I had to make them stop!!  lol.

So, over on Facebook, this week, I've been part of a 7-day black and white photo challenge.  
And, loving it!!!  It's been fun to dust off the camera skills...and shoot some frames.
This photo though - didn't turn out to be a favorite - but let me tell you, as I have already said it.....  This is one yummy coffee cake!!

Here is the recipe, again!!

:: Coffee and White Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake ::
 1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. instant espresso
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour (I used reg. whole wheat!)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup all -purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup quick oats
4 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375*.   In a medium bowl, mix the buttermilk, oil, sugar, espresso and vanilla together.  Stir in the flours, baking powder and salt.  Fold in the white chocolate chips.  Pour batter into an 8x8"  baking pan.
For the streusel: In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugars, oats and melted butter together.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

I think it deserves a more delicious looking photo, don't you?   
So, here you go!!!  :)

I hope you get to make this and that you and yours enjoy it much as our family did - over here!!

Friday, November 3, 2017

house becoming home

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast. a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  
~ Melody Beattie

These are all photos from the past (our old home) - but warm me every time I see them.  I hope you don't mind me sharing them again, as a repeat.
 Our house, now, here, is slowly become home.  It's true.
 It starts with gratitude...
I'm truly grateful.
This is what November calls to mind.  Gratitude.
Not settling.
But truly satisfied.
May my heart-house become at home!!!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/melodybeat177949.html?src=t_home

Friday, October 20, 2017

October Blessings

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That time of year... when the weather is funky.  Cooler in the morning (or, should I say - down right cold-ish?) and warmer in the afternoons.  The sun sets and rises differently.  There are different smells to the air.  Even the heart of the home (the kitchen) finds itself busier than usual.
Dishing out comfort foods, yummy breads and other fall festive fare.  Reasons to get together with family and friends.
And...so!  The warmth of the season is here.  Full of changes.  Full of Blessings.

I love October!!! 

((Shhhh!!   I know.  We're half way through the month and I'm just saying this all now? You know...I'm just trying to slow it all down.  If only I could.))

Friday, September 29, 2017

How NOT to Be!!

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Earlier this week, as my kiddos were sitting round the breakfast table - I began to hear an rumbling echo of something I had heard the day before while at an eye doctor appointment, with my husband.  My kids words were not happy words, to each other.
  And, I mean it.  They were eerily similar to what I had heard the day prior.   
As been our new school year, daily habit - we've been pouring over scripture, while the kiddos eat their breakfast.  I try to find one or two verses that we can talk about and find some sort of application...time permitting.

Upon hearing their "ugly" words to each other, over cereal and milk... the verses from Ephesians came to mind.   Ephesians 4:32 - And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

But, as I opened my Bible, to began reading, my eyes fell on verse 29 and immediately - the prior morning scenario became a story.   I read the verses, aloud...and started in.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen....

The Doctor Office was a busy place; the waiting room, quite crowded.  Because, my nose was in a magazine I hadn't really noticed who all was coming and going...but, all of a sudden I hear from across the room - this startling angst, of someone muttering LOUDLY under their breath...
"Whaaa.... just shut up and sit down."
I look up and see an elderly couple across the room from me.  If I could only truly paint the picture.
Here sat this weathered, old man...with a cane across his knee.  I'm assuming it was his wife sitting beside him but as body language would clearly put it... she was sitting as far away from him as possible, with her back turned towards him and her head in her hand.   I thought for a moment they were talking to each other and I went back to my reading.  But several minutes in... I hear it again...
"Come on...! What the h***.  Shut up!... and...sheez!...(shaking head)."  
This time, coming from the woman.  And then, I realized who they were talking about.

Over at the desk, stood another elderly woman of a different ethnicity... her strong dialect giving it away... and she too, was on the louder side; growing impatient... only because perhaps she couldn't understand. ?? I'm not sure.  However, I was impressed as the office staff were patiently working with her and so on... and she eventually, did find a seat...which quieted down the "disturbed" couple.

Obviously, though.  This on-going dialogue, at the counter, was too much for them, since, they repeated their annoyances several times...

I sat there, stunned.... "listening"... saddened by what was going on.  Trying to look past and through the thick skin, to see what might possibly be going on inside.  I wondered if anyone ever made these two smile...?  Did they ever know JOY?  Did they ever have a good day??

As, I shared this story with my kids... I relayed.  Sure.  I don't know what made this elderly couple "react" like that to a situation that wasn't theirs to contend with.  I don't know fully what was going on inside in their hearts and minds.  What their story is or was.  I can imagine, though, based on what I heard and saw that... they don't normally live "happy lives".  With each other or with others.  You know the phrase, "Hurting people, hurt people"?
Here they were, an elderly couple with who knows how much life ahead of them... (none of us, knows or has guarantee for another day.) ... but to be this far in life and to have allowed "bitterness" to take such deep root and have it take over spilling out into life at a moments notice.

Because, then I said, "Kids... what happens if you knock this glass over??  Whatever is in it will spill out, right?  When life comes our way and our "glass" gets knocked around... what's on the inside will come out, right?"

I reread the verses.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  ~ Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV

What an opportunity to see this a lesson to be learned. A lesson, on HOW NOT to BE!!
I don't share all of this to point out the "flaws" of this elderly couple.  Rather,  I see it as a lesson for myself.  For my family.  To be mindful of what things are taking root in our lives.  I'm just as guilty - in my responses.  I'm just as prone to have my "glass get knocked"... and whatever is inside gets spilled out.  I'm guilty!!   I, too, have my days of muttering, and angst, and impatience and down right ugliness.   That's probably why my kiddos' find it easy to display all of that with each other...
they see MOM.  And, DAD! No one has it all together!

We NEED Jesus, every single day.  I NEED HIM every hour.  
 I'm so grateful for these verses in Ephesians to remind me of how God wants me to live out my days.
As a wife, a mom, a friend, a sister, a neighbor...

I will probably, forever, have the picture of this couple etched in my memory... as a way of reminder in how NOT to be!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Old thing. New thing.

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The sights and sounds of the nearing season are always my favorite. I hear a familiar sound of geese overhead and see the ditches filling with mustard seed trees.  The wafts of frequent campfires, perhaps, and the shifting sunlight filters in and out in unexpected moments and ways   I savor it all... as I can.  
Driving here and there down unfamiliar country roads, around our new home - brings to mind memories of what now feels like oh so long ago.

I decided to pull up old photos, today.   Oh!!   Tugging at the heart strings... are days - moments in time-  that I can't ever get back.
My little's.  They are growing up so fast.  Our old homestead. Not the same as it once was.  I tear up!  Where in every season, there - I found time to capture it with the lens.   I have fond, fond memories held in these photos...  its like I was truly being intentional in every thing I did. With everything I saw.  Seeing the beauty in every nick and corner of the old place.
Its hard to do here.   Everything is still so "new" and unfamiliar.  It's not embedded deep within.  Yet!!  There is no nostalgia, here. Yet!!  I'm trying.   I'm trying to imagine... new things.  New things that settle my soul when I see them.  When I hear them.  

Is it strange that when my littlest one says... "I want to move back home to our old house"... that I can relate?!?!  I mutter those same things...under my own breath, sometimes.

Thing is?  We can't.  

This is where new roots are being established. 
Its that old thing, new thing going on.   Can anyone relate?

I remind myself, almost daily.  That God, my Heavenly Father, knows 
all about it.

And... Scripture reminds me, he would say to my heart...

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."   - Isaiah 43:18-20

What is that NEW thing God is calling you, to??

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dusty Paths

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This morning I was writing out a note of encouragement to a friend of mine.  Her daughter and mine are pretty near the same age and Aubrey wanted to bless her friend with a note - to Get Well!

Broken bones are no fun!

I got to thinking about how often this friend and her family - in their own quiet way - are the best and I mean THE BEST homemade card makers and they're always filled with lots of love and encouragement.  I mean, ALWAYS!

I don't know how many times we've received a thick packet in the mail... from this dear family.  "Just because" or truly because we were walking through something...hard to go through.

They have their own moments and hard times and I (honestly!) don't know that I have been as faithful.

While thoughts came to mind as I wrote this note this morning... "dusty paths" came to the forefront.  Wanting to acknowledge their time of  "difficulty".   A daughter; arm recently "casted", as well as  a job that is over the top stressful... well, I can only imagine.... I know it's been really rough right now, for the husband.

Things. Many more things could be mentioned - that they as a family are going through.

And, while we know God walks these paths before us, beside us and behind...

These paths, they feel dusty!

That's what I wrote.  Acknowledging their "dusty paths"... ways that don't seem clear.  Or, paths that are not filled with ease.  Certainly, not flower strewn pathways.. but in them... there is good!
I miss our old home and farmstead... its part of my own "dusty path".
And again. We walk these paths one foot in front of the other... knowing, God is holding our hand.   Confident he has a plan that far exceeds our own.   I'm encouraged in Scripture... these words of reminder.

 This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.  ~
Jeremiah 6:16

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Naturally, Budding Art and Artists

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When fun - HUGE, GIGANTIC - white things pop in your yard outta the blue and you've got two youngsters, nearly born with pencils and paintbrushes in their hands... these two!... and when Dad and brother are away on a camping trip and you - as a mama - gotta come up with something creative to do with your girls... well.  We didn't have to look far!!
Out in our backyard -we were provided with such an opportunity!!

Look at these art-forms!!

My girls!!  They pulled out their paintbrushes...
I whipped up a batch of homemade cornstarch paints (*recipe below) and my girls went to town.

Painting "the town" - red!!

That's what this became.  Little houses.  A mini town... per say.
**And I, I CANNOT believe it.  I ended up NOT getting a photo of the finished work!!  
It looked like the Mario Brothers.. lived there.  At least, that is what Scott and Caleb said when they got home and saw all the colored (painted) mushrooms, out across the lawn.   

Don't ask me.  I don't know much about Mario and his brothers.

The funny thing is.  These mushrooms only grew in this particular spot on the lawn.  Only to get mowed over once or twice but that is all they grew. 

Such a neat part of Creation!!   I enjoy finding things like this. 
I'm glad I got a photo of these beauties...

I'm glad my girls had the opportunity to see them up close and personal.  So intense, too!!
Did you Jayne's face??

Paint Recipe, anyone?
Equal parts of cornstarch and water. Mix well.  Divide evenly and color with food coloring.  
It all washes off in the rain...
Easy, Peasy.
Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art the mushroom.  ~ Thomas Carlyle

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First Day ~ Back to School!

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Here they are!!  Our First Day - Back to School! - photos, as promised.
Caleb, 5th grade - Aubrey, 3rd grade and Jayne - 1st grade!!!
Prayer of Blessing!
Boarding a packed Big Yellow - 29!

You only get to do that "first day" one time... so, I suppose by hanging onto these photos for a day, or so, and sharing them later - spreads out the moments, right??  For our family, our First Day - is extra special in that we have entered the doors of a BRAND NEW, to us, SCHOOL!!
That's what happens when you move to a new location.  Our kiddos seemed quite nervous about it. Trying to imagine life at a "new" school.  Missing their old friends and well-known faces... 
 But... as the summer wore on and we ventured out to different community events (ie; VBS and Kids Kamp, etc.)... they were then able to interact with other kids and well, guess what??   They now have "new" friends at school, and some, even in the same classrooms!  Kids they met out and about over the summer!!   I knew it.  I tried to tell them. :)  This is, though, one of those things they have had to discover, on their own, and excitedly share with you - once they get home!!

I tell you what!!   As a mom, its a blessing to get back into some semblance of a routine. Because, as you can imagine our summer was just a tad bit "different"... then normal.  Oh sure, there are still bumps in the road, to be hurdled.   We had quite a few, just this morning... but, we chalked it up to "we're still working out what this new routine is going to look like".  We're used to being out the door by 8AM... here it's more like 8:15.   So, we have time...a few minutes, at least... to create some healthier habits.

We always have a time of family devotions in the evening before bedtime... but, it is my goal and prayer to add in even some MORE of God's Word... to our normalcy. 
Sitting to the breakfast table is part of that and a good place to start.  Hopefully, we have everyone's attention, right??

So, yesterday... beings it was the 28th of August, I pulled out two verses from Proverbs 28 to share with the kiddos.
I'd like to share them with you, too.. because of what keeps being mentioned ever since.   I love it!

Proverbs 28: 19-20
He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies 
will have his fill of poverty.
A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager
 to get rich will go unpunished.

 You might be wondering how, in the world, do these verses fit in with a first day of school scenario??  Well, after some dialog, here is my son's deduction from these verses...

C: I get it.  So, working my land is like me doing my school work.
M:  right!!
C :  If I get distracted and don't pay attention I will become "poor".
M: right!
C: So, if I don't do my job (like, school, for me, right now, is like Dad going to work!) then I won't get paid.  Because, my pay is my education... ??

M: (proud moment) YES!!!!!

Let's just hope and pray this "new attitude and new thought" sticks
- all year long!!!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Place :: home!

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“It's sad if people think that's (homemaking) a dull existence, [but] you can't just buy an apartment and furnish it and walk away. It's the flowers you choose, the music you play, the smile you have waiting. I want it to be gay and cheerful, a haven in this troubled world. I don't want my husband and children to come home and find a rattled woman. Our era is already rattled enough, isn't it?  ― Audrey Hepburn
Thinking about my place in the home!!!  There is this... 

It's this chair that's become my space and place!!  A quiet evening, an early morning... while on the phone, talking to a friend or checking messages.  Sipping on a cup of coffee or a pink drink... sharing a moment with one of my kiddos or hubby... just talking!
This is a place to say "I'm at home".

And, then.  There is the rest of the place that is mine!!

The rest of the home!!  And, what an opportunity - to resemble Jesus in this Place!! 

Switching gears, here, for a moment.  Bear with me!
 Oh, the tears began to fall this morning.
Another place... I want to talk about is here... Treasured Up and Pondered.
Through a small series of events - an old blogging friend and I recently reconnected.
As I logged in to view her blog and "catch back up" on and in her online space...
the tears just filled my eyes.
When you have soul sisters... who without even really "saying" anything - simply minister to you!!

You know?   And, then through that, following along... I stumbled across an old Part 1 and Part 2 (two different posts, of my own) that I had truly, truly forgotten about.  Stories that I personally had shared, with my kids, a couple of years ago, from my childhood-past, that tied into the present of today - and were life-lessons that I had totally and completely forgotten about.
God knew this...

This is why I love being a stay-at-home-mom!!
Having a Place!!
Having a heart and home for serving others.
For listening.
For helping.
For being available.
Is it always easy?  No.  And, I have my moments where I want to get off the train.
(though, those are getting less and less) :)

But to be able to have this place for journaling, for me, is a salve for my soul. 
So many times... I have been able to sit and re-read something the Lord has laid on my heart - completely written in the past - that is so very vital for my present reality.

It's moments and times like these that un-rattle me!!!!

In other words.  I'm undone!!
 place to land
- linking with fiveminutefriday.com .  Prompt word is: Place.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Of toy army men, pretzel nuggets, devotions and plastic containers. All part of an answer to prayer.

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 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  ~ Matthew 6:25-34
One afternoon, since our move, my son found yet another box to unpack. The box housed Lincoln Logs and about 30 or so little plastic army men.  We hadn't seen them in awhile... and well, he found it kinda fun to play with them again.  Completely understandable.
As he was cleaning up ... he declared he wished he had a plastic container to put them in.  Something like a peanut or cashew container.  Something clear, with a screw-top lid.  "Sorry, bud", I said. "I don't have anything like that right now... and I don't plan to go out shopping anytime soon.  I'm sorry, I don't know what to tell you."

The next morning.  I head downstairs, for the day, and there are on the counter sits a container!!  Just like the one my son asked for... except it housed peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets. Okay... this works, but WHAT?!?!

Not sure where it came from.  I asked my husband.  Of course...he knew!!!

Backing up a bit... 
You see, the night before, Scott (my husband) had been out helping my Brother-in-law, do some work around his place and getting home after we all were in bed and then out, the door the next morning for work..we had to catch up over the phone.  This is what I found out.  Because he (John) is a service tech for broken-down trucks, out and about... the story goes that if there is/was an accident or such... and a pallet gets broken... the merchandise gets dispersed and so that is how a WHOLE BOX of peanut butter filled pretzels wound up at our house (mind you, lots of containers!) because what is my brother-in-law going to do with but so many boxes... but share?

Yes!!  6 plastic containers. Not one!!  But, six!!

So - I thought about it and asked Caleb, once he came downstairs, if he had prayed about his need?
"No", was his response. "I wished for it, but I hadn't prayed about it."

We sat down to talk.

I assured him, it was okay... but to listen to me.  I reminded him of our devotional the other evening... when we read from The Jesus Storybook - the passage and story from Matthew 6... about God caring for the birds of the air, the flowers of the field.
And, how that sometimes and more than we realize - even if we don't ask... God still cares enough to meet our needs!!

"You may not have asked GOD for a container, but HE still heard your heart's cry... and through the circumstance of events he provided for you..."

It was really neat to see these words sink into his little heart and mind.  He really pondered this one for awhile...

Truth is.  I needed the reminder, just as much.  I still get the chill-bumps; the smile on my face, the comfort in my heart... knowing we have a good, GOOD Father... who cares and meets our every single need... no matter what!!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Simple Thanks!!

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"Some days just call for escape.  When restlessness or loneliness or just the stickiness of life in a fallen world makes the wall of your home feel a bit close, the remedy may be an adventure..." 
- Sally Clarkson | The Life-Giving Home

When you have friends that ask to take your kiddo's for the WHOLE day, for a second play date, with events similar to this one (homemade popsicles and water fun!).... you have kiddos' that wake up super early; eagerly excited, who can hardly eat breakfast, because their anticipation of a fun, fun day is about to begin!!! 

 I'm so, so grateful for willing friends.  Friends..who are willing to take time, to take on more, so that I can have less (stress); that I can tend to an agenda that's been awaiting me...

Some days, I don't know what to say!!  But, thank you!!

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.  ~ John Muir

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