Monday, September 29, 2014

hello, sunshine!

Cutest mommy / sweetling moment this morning...

I came downstairs wearing a yellow sweatshirt that Ila had not seen on me before. She took one wide-eyed look and giggled and said, "Mommy, you look like sunshine! I think it suits you!"

Tucking that love note away with joy ♥

Saturday, September 27, 2014

sweetlings, tea & celebrations

Have you taken any time for tea lately? It occurs to me as I sit to write this afternoon that it has been quite some time since I have taken time for tea. The sweetlings and I usually share a cup often, but we have not done that this month that I can recall. Nor have we shared a tea party since the spring - wow! I am amazed, but what a wonderful challenge to make sure that we do take some time for tea this coming week :)

While we are on the subject, I thought I would share a few of our favorite "tea times" with you. I hope that you find here an idea that will bless you - along with lots of joy and love that we always bundle into our tea time baskets ♥

Breakfast Tea – The sweetlings and I love to combine tea time and breakfast time. This is a favorite meal of the day, so they always have some scrumptious ideas for what we can serve. Sometimes we go a bit heavier with eggs and breads, other times we just do English muffins or bagels or muffins with yummy toppings and always some fresh fruit on the side.

Afternoon or Evening Tea - This is a very special time for us :) It means that we have invited someone we love to come and share tea with us. We get out some of our loveliest china and linen and set a celebration table. Then we bake and slice and arrange - usually we serve a homemade cake of some kind, a fruit cup, and some tiny tea treasures (like cinnamon flowers or lemon pastries). Adding to this, we like to have flowers and candles on the table and a little gift for our guest.

Heirloom Tea - This is a theme tea, and it makes for a wonderful party. You can use this idea for a birthday tea or a mother-daughter tea. You set the table with a different china pattern at each place. Use a lovely mix of serving pieces as well. Bake treats from your recipes and from those of your mother and grandmother, etc. As we share in an Heirloom Tea with our guests, we share the story behind the china and serving plates, and the story of the foods, too.

Teddybear Tea - M's first birthday was celebrated this way. We did a nursery tea - using small cookies and cakes and cambric tea (milk with a splash of tea) for the littles. Each guest was invited to bring her favorite childhood teddy bear. This tea included friends from the age of one and a half to eighty something, so the guests could share about their bear if he/she was no longer with them :)

Family Time Tea - This is another very special tea time, as this is the tea that we prepare for when Jamie arrives home from work. The sweetlings and I set the coffee table as our tea table, and we usually use one of their small tea sets for this. We serve blueberry muffins and fresh fruit and something chocolate (since Jamie loves it). We do our best to keep it a surprise, and J is always delighted to come home to Family Time Tea.

Christmas Tea - My sister, Paige, and I hosted several of these, and they remain some of my very favorite tea time memories. We invited ladies who had blessed our lives in special ways. Each lady was asked to bring her own tea cup and saucer. It is a marvelous time of sharing and remembering and tea :) For Christmas Tea, we always serve several types of tea, family favorite cakes and breads, and lots of holiday tea time goodies. It is all quite dressed up with our finest china and silver and linen.

Under the Tree Tea - This is a tea for two :) It is simple and elegant and is especially meaningful on Christmas Eve. Everything for Christmas Day celebrations is complete. We turn off every source of light except the Christmas tree and brew a pot of tea. We share tea time cuddling and sipping and just being... lovely!

Friday, September 26, 2014

never can measure

"You never can measure what God will do through you
if you are rightly related to Jesus Christ.
Keep your relationship right with Him,
then whatever circumstances you are in,
and whoever you meet day by day,
He is pouring rivers of living water through you..."
~OC

Spending some time in my thoughtful spot today with this quote from Uncle Oswald. We never can measure (no instrument of measure can contain it), the possibilities are endless (and that is endless to a degree that we cannot get our minds around), whatever, whoever, wherever, whenever...

And we also will not ever know here and now all that He is accomplishing in and through us - someday maybe we can sit with Him and talk it all over, seeing as He does (joy!)...

But what we know, what is certain is that we keep that right relationship.
In His power and by His grace ♥

Thursday, September 25, 2014

this moment

It's a brilliant, cool day. Fall is so welcome! The breeze is dancing in the trees outside, and there is a hint of rain to come. The sweetlings are joyfully working with their subjects, pausing to giggle at the story Poppy (my dad) is reading to Ila in the living room (he makes the chicken sound effects, and we all are delighted). Lunch is simmering on the stove. We will stop to share a meal together in a little while. The talk and laughter will feed us just as much or more than the food.

I am here at my desk, taking a pause to record this moment
with such a grateful heart. It is priceless ♥

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

five years

I have written before about our sweet, sweet friend Belle and her mommy, Kelley. You can find more information about them in the "online friends" tab of my journal. Today marks the fifth anniversary of Belle's diagnosis. Amazing! A miracle! It's a day worth celebrating for sure ^_^

A very special lady, Aunt Jen Jen, has written a special tribute here - a collection of joyful notes and things Jen has observed and learned alongside Belle the past five years. Pop over and read if you have a moment!

And then, lift a prayer of praise with me? For Belle's life, for the joy she brings, for the Jesus she shines, for the fact that she is still here... dancing, singing, loving ♥

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a psalm for fall

I'm glad to see this morning
Because the day is so fair,
And I feel God's presence so keenly
About me, everywhere.

The heavens declare His glory,
The trees seem to speak of His power,
And I see His matchless beauty
In each small, growing flower.

The rocks all tell of His wonder;
In the hills His strength I see;
And the birds are singing His praises
In the songs they sing to me.

Oh, I'm glad to see this morning
In a world of beauty so rare
Where the God of Heaven is present
About me, everywhere.
~adapted, author unknown

Welcome, Fall! So many lovely reasons to remember and to celebrate!
My heart is full - how thankful I am ♥

Monday, September 22, 2014

what?

The prevailing question of the day... what can God not do?

Answer: nothing! not one thing!

He can do anything He wants to do,
any time He wants to,
in any way He wants to,
in, through, for anyone He wants to...

What's more, and best of all, His ways are perfect. His plans are marvelous. And by His love and mercy He works all things for good for those who love Him.

Two precious families are on my mind and heart today. The Yopps have just found out that their eleven year old son, Camron, has a rare form of leukemia. The Gilberts have just lost their wife and mom, Connie. Please lift them up with me? Trusting, trusting  ♥

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mom's Signature Sloppy Joes

I have a treasure from my recipe box to share with you today. I remember the first time Mom served these - the combination of ingredients is a little unique - and we thought, "Say what?!" LoL!  Come to find out, of course, these are fantastic. Definitely "Jane worthy"  ^_^

They are super easy and make a quick, fun meal.
I hope you will enjoy them, too ♥

Jane's Signature Sloppy Joes

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
1 can Campbell's Chicken Gumbo Soup
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Brown beef with onion, salt, and pepper. Drain.
Add other ingredients and let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Notes: You can add tomatoes to the mixture if you like.
These are delicious on any kind of bun, but amazing on onion rolls.
We like them with a little bit of spicy mustard on the bun (just a taste!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

more on forgiveness

To forgive is to die. It is to give up one's right to self, which is precisely what Jesus requires of anyone who wants to be his disciple.

"If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, carry his cross every day and keep close behind me. For the man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for my sake will save it."

Following Christ means walking the road he walked, and in order to forgive us he had to die. His follower may not refuse to relinquish his own right, his own territory, his own comfort, or anything that he regards as his. 

Forgiveness is relinquishment. It is a laying down. No one can take it from us, any more than anyone could take the life of Jesus if he had not laid it down of his own will. But we can do as he did. We can offer it up, writing off whatever loss it may entail, in the sure knowledge that the man who loses his life or his reputation or his "face" or anything else for the sake of Christ will save it.

Still hanging out in my thoughtful spot with E Elliot ♥

Friday, September 19, 2014

upon the subject of forgiveness

"We don't pray, 'Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who ask us to.'

We say 'as we forgive those who trespass against us.'

It's not a matter of ignoring what's been done. When God forgives he doesn't merely overlook our trespasses. He doesn't ask us to overlook others' trespasses either--he asks us to forgive them. So that means our Christian obligation (our duty as a Christ-follower) is to forgive anybody who has invaded our rights, our territory, our comfort, our self-image, whether they acknowledge the invasion or not."

Reading a little Elisabeth Elliot today ♥

Thursday, September 18, 2014

easy as breathing

"Contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, 
and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; 
it will not grow in us by nature."
~A Begg

Spending some time with the subject of contentment today. How natural it is in us to complain, to want more, to see that green, green grass just over the fence... it's as easy as breathing. But in truth it is life-stealing, this discontent that is so easy for us.

Life and peace, rest, joy, hope... they are all firmly planted in being content just where we are. No matter the circumstance, the physical location, the state of being, we are to be content.

Striving toward that kind of breath of fresh air ♥

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

grace

My heart is so full. I've had another precious lesson in how kind and gentle the Father is. Perhaps you know what it's like... to see something or reading something or be talking with someone... and you realize that He is speaking to your heart.

God shows you a place in your heart and life that really needs some work. Truly, if the lesson had come first hand, it would have been so, so hard. But with such grace and such love He allows you to see in some other way. I am so thankful for His grace ♥

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

dashing about

Tuesday is a slammed day for us with school, gymnastics, soccer and scouts, but, oh! The fun we have. All of the dashing about leaves us fairly wrecked, but everyone is having such a super time, that no one notices until bed time. The sweetlings are ready for bed when the time comes and asleep almost as soon as they lie down. They will rest so well tonight!

We could not handle more than one day a week like this, and I am very thankful that the schedule is much more even and spread out over the other days of our week.

The best part of all in my humble opinion is getting to be the mom (Jamie may say it's being the dad). We get to see the excitement build as the day grows into afternoon and the sweetlings get ready for classes. They hop and dance and chatter about all that they are looking forward to, and it is an absolute delight to witness.

Then, we get to watch the class. Gracious, was any parent ever prouder? LoL! They are simply gorgeous to my eyes as they enjoy, learn, try, effervesce... what a privilege.

And finally comes the wrap. They share and giggle and explain what happened in class and then try to show each other new things as they buzz around like little bees.

Tomorrow will bring more stories as they remember today and practice and get ready for the next lessons. They will already be looking forward to them. Isn't that neat?

Oh the joy of simply living these days ♥

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ramping up

Wow - I am putting the final touches on our upcoming week of school, and things are really ramping up! I know that this happens in the third week... but I forgot! ^_^ Adding the final subjects in, expanding the work in several subjects, the sweetlings are going to be very busy. I am excited (and a little owl-eyed) at the prospect, but it is all so good. If I can keep my head about me, they will, too, and it will be just super!

Can you guess my prayer request?
No headless days (lol)! Thanks for praying with me ♥

Saturday, September 13, 2014

my big little bulldog

What an adventure we had this afternoon! Samuel's soccer team played their first game today. He was so nervous and so excited for the last couple of days and this morning - counting down the hours and minutes until time to head to the field for warm-up.

We had a wonderful first half and had just paused for half-time when the rain descended ^_^ An absolute downpour! We laughed and stayed to see if it would slack off, but ended up nearly being washed away. The ref called the came and the coaches agreed to try for a make-up game.

We are all already looking forward to our next game.
Goooooooooo Bulldogs!! ♥

Thursday, September 11, 2014

for this day (:

There lives an old man at the top of the street,
and the end of his beard reaches down to his feet,
and he's just the one person I'm longing to meet .
     I think that he sounds so exciting;

for he talks all the day to a tortoiseshell cat,
and he asks about this, and explains about that,
and at night he puts on a big wide-awake* hat
     and sits in the writing room, writing.

He has worked all his life (and he's terribly old)
at a wonderful spell which says “Lo and behold!
your nursery fender is gold!” --and it's gold!
     (Or the tongs, or the rod for the curtain);

But somehow he hasn't got hold of it quite
or the liquid you pour on it first isn't right,
so that's why he works at it night after night
     till he knows he can do it for certain.

                                      * So as not to go to sleep.

The Alchemist by AA Milne 


Ah, well, a glorious day, yes? A little introspection here, a little looking up and out there
and whispering well crafted words to myself as the clock ticks on ♥

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

a beautiful escort

"Obedience is a beautiful escort
into the presence of God."
~B. Adams

This little note was tucked into my reading today, and I have been thinking it over all afternoon. It's lovely, isn't it? I'd never really looked at obedience that way. I tell my sweetlings all the time that the best way we have of showing God how much we love Him is to obey Him. And then today this quote has taken hold in my heart, painting a new facet into the canvas in my mind.

Such a gift to consider all that He has for us ♥

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

end of the world

Cutest sweetling musical moment today: Samuel's eyebrows going higher and higher into his hairline as I sang all of the words to the REM classic. His comment? "Mom, I knew you could really talk, and I know you like to sing... but sing-talking? Awesome!"

Ah, those hidden super powers (lol) ♥

Sunday, September 7, 2014

thinking of Belle

I have our sweet friend, Belle, on my mind today and thought I would share an update with you from her mom, Kelley...

"We appreciate your prayers for Belle and for us more than anything.  Sept. 24 marks the 5 year anniversary of Belle's cancer diagnosis.  These past 5 years have brought many blessings in many ways to our family.  We have had moments full of joy and laughter and made memories that we will cherish forever, but along with the triumphs, we have also had to live in the face of reality and with the fact that Belle's prognosis is not good.  We were reminded of that once again this past summer when yet another tumor appeared.  So it's your prayers for strength and trust that mean the most, as well as, the love that we are shown on a daily basis.  Thank you doesn't begin to express the amount of gratitude that we feel."

Belle is 7 years old and in first grade this year. She has two sisters and a brother, Taylor, Emily and Jack. Her daddy and mommy are David and Kelley.

Though we have never met them face-to-face we love this precious family. Will you lift them up with us? The sweetlings, Jamie and I would appreciate it so much ♥

Saturday, September 6, 2014

miss twinkle toes

Can there be anything cuter than a little one with brand new shoes that sparkle? Our little Miss is the very pleased and proud owner of a new pair of "bops" that not only have a rainbow of colors and glitter but light up as well ^_^ Needless to say the inclination to toe tap and even boogie down a little has increased exponentially around here.

Jamie, on the other hand, thinks he sees lightning every other minute (lol) which increases his stress level -- and makes Miss Twinkle Toes burst into laughter.

Right now, she is rushing in and out of the rooms with no lights on, returning to say that she is setting off fireworks all over the house.

Life at six years is mighty fine, I tell ya ♥

Friday, September 5, 2014

undisturbedness

When our Lord speaks peace, He makes peace,
His words are ever "spirit and life."

Have I ever received what Jesus speaks?

"My peace I give unto you"---it is a peace which comes from
looking into His face and realizing His undisturbedness.
~OC

Treasures from Uncle Oswald ♥

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

ready, set, go! first days notes

Ah, well, three days down... and how many to go? LoL! Our new school year has begun wonderfully well. Thanks so much for praying with us ♥ The plan is working, we are settling in well, and all is joy so far. My sweetling scholars are excited, and their attitudes have been lovely. How thankful I am!

Once again this year with our schooling in mind, I am focusing my heart with this treasure: "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him... Psalm 37: 3-5

And this one as I continue with the vision for our family that God gave years ago and has continued to bless: "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, just as we told you... 1 Thes 4:11

And this one, a bit more personally just for me: "By the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect... 1 Cor 15:10

I have updated our reading lists in the "what we are reading" tab, and our plan for the year is up in the "our school year" tab. Please do leave a comment or drop me a note if you have suggestions for books for any of the sweetlings. We are always searching for wonderful reads!

On top of everything the Father had already done in this new week, He tucked some special blessings into this afternoon. I delivered Meredith to our precious Jo for her first piano lessons earlier, and it was such a joy to see Jo again - it has been so long! Meredith came in from that lesson just beaming and so excited and looking forward to their next lesson together. Neat, neat, neat!

Samuel, Ila, and I went by the "yellow library" for a visit with Mrs Debbie and to pick up some books, and we had a lovely time catching up. We also were blessed with a way to share some of the materials we have finished using -- and some wonderful new books for our own shelves to keep.

The more I sit still here just now and consider, the more I find I could write ^_^ There are so many things for which to be thankful that I can see in these past three days. So blessed ♥