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

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Weekend Brew :: deep and wide

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I don't know about you, but I can read and read and reread... this passage... and still not fully comprehend the depths of its truth!

Does it matter that I don't fully grasp?  No, not really.  But I can rest in this.  I can be satisfied in this. I can know it...
I am aware...Jesus' love runs deep and wide for me!!

One day, I will know it.  Fully.

I like this... "filled to the measure of the fullness".

Oh, and I laugh. Ha!!  I just caught a typo on my photo, there, and it looks like I'm "stuttering", pausing for effect - when I say it twice ... "the the"... and in a way it can be just that.  A stutter in the sense of being truly overwhelmed to the fact that this is something I may never fully comprehend while here on this earth.

Amen?

My Freshly Brewed Life

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Minute Friday :: Ready (and Giveaway Winner reveal!)

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My house may not be ready, but my heart is.  Come on in!

A mantra of my soul.  A phrase.  One I wish would always be true of me.  One I strive for and often feel a fail over.
When I think of the word READY I think of it as a word that in all honesty can't stand alone.
There needs to be a willingness, first.
A preparing.
A sense of anticipation.
If I want to have a heart and home that is ready...then,
I need to first be at peace.
Peace for whatever comes.
Ready for change.
Willing for it to happen.
Hoping to have a time worth waiting for.

Ready anticipation.
I also believe this isn't meant solely for house-worthiness in having guests over...
this is more a reflection on heart-readiness in the first place.  For every area of life.

Lord, ready me... I pray!


***
Joining with Five Minute Friday and writing for five minutes..

Kate Motaung mentioned in her "introduction" today about a challenge within the challenge...
She was talking about writing for five minutes, every day for the month of October.  You can read about it for yourself, here!  And, know that you're welcome to participate in either or both of these challenges. Five Minute Friday and 31 days...

This made me think back to when I participated in The Nester's 31 days series some time ago.  Back in 2012.  There, I spent 31 days writing on essentially one topic... hospitality!  The link to that series is located on my sidebar.  Feel free to browse through that at your leisure.

Today's prompt -word {READY} took me back to that series and I found a post I had written, back then, that hinges on what I hoped to reflect on here today.

Here is that post, entitled; Field of Dreams.


I'm struck by the thought that just a few short years ago, I honestly didn't know too many families that lived there across the field.

Today... I can tell you I now know SEVERAL families and have had several of them visit our home for meals or for kid-play-dates, etc.  Our children go to school together.  Are in Scouts together.. some of the families; we go to church together, etc.

And my struggle remains the same..

To be ready.

***

So, are you ready for the GIVEAWAY Winner reveal??

First off, I want to share a huge appreciation smile and say thank you for coming here to Treasured Up and Pondered and reading so faithfully.  Thank you - especially for your participation in Monday's Mugs & Muffins post and Giveaway.

It's an encouragement to all...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Giveaway Winner is:  Kathy
Here is her comment:

Thank you, Mitzi, for your story. I too am a breast cancer survivor. 7 years now. And I don't expect it to ever come back. Although I believe that mammograms help, and I always get mine every year, the mammogram I took showed nothing. I felt the lump and was told it was my imagination because the mammogram was clear. I insisted on being treated, was sent to a specialist, and the cancer was found. In all of this God was there not letting me give up and believe the first answer. I say this to remind everyone to get proactive with your treatment.
I could related to everything you said.I never believed I would die. I had been married for all of 8 months having gotten married for the first time at age 52. I prayed and asked God to allow me to have more time and He gave me such peace. I know you will understand when I say this.
Again, thanks for sharing your story. I am so glad you kept your hair. God is so good!
CONGRATULATIONS!!  Kathy - you have been a faithful reader, here and I'm so glad you won this giveaway.  May God bless you.  Your testimony is just as encouraging and beautiful.  Thank you for sharing a snippet of your life with us all..

**Kathy, please email me your mailing information and I will get this gift out to you - asap!
aitsbevy (at) yahoo (dot) com

May you all have a Blessed Weekend!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Don't lose your chance...

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Today is the last day to enter....!!  I wouldn't want you to miss out..
Take a deep breath and join in.  You still have time!!


I just had to share this photo of my now 6 yr old Aubrey in her Birthday Wishes and Celebration - as of yesterday!

If you haven't had a chance to read my friend Mitzi's personal testimony on becoming a Breast Cancer Survivor...then do so today!  It would mean so much for her to "hear" from you - through your comments.

I so appreciate my friend's story and her willingness to share it with us.
I thank God for her and for her dear family...


***
Enter HERE!! For a chance at the giveaway...

The GIVEAWAY winner will be announced at some point on Friday - September 12th!

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mugs & Muffins :: Guest Post, by Mitzi (a friend of mine!) Recipe and Giveaway! {now CLOSED!}

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Welcome back to Mugs & Muffins!
Welcome back, both old and new!
To any new friends - who have begun following here recently - this a just a time and place to gather together with fellow readers.  Enjoy that proverbial muffin and cup of coffee... (recipe is always included!)
Its a moment to just sit back, relax and encourage one another.  You can read HERE - why and how this Mugs & Muffins idea got started.
 As you leave, today, be sure to enter your name for the drawing - the Giveaway will be happening and announced later this week!  See details at the end of this post!  And the Giveaway will remain open all week long!

While I have your attention.  Grab yourself a muffin*; pass the plate around, and don't forget to fill up your favorite mug with something delicious.  Coffee or Tea... makes no difference.  I'm just so glad you're here and that you want to stay!


** The muffins are in honor of my guest writer and friend!  Here's why..
When my friend Mitzi, and her husband, moved from PA back their home state...after being here in PA for several years... she says she had no idea how much she would miss Shoo-fly Pie. :)
If you don't know what Shoo-fly Pie is... well, it is a staple in these parts of the Commonwealth.  So..
Every time I get a chance to travel; to visit my friend and her family - you've guessed it.  We are sure to take along a pie or two...
And now... these muffins are or surely will be part of her recipe collection.

***

This month I'm so happy to have my wonderful friend - a in-real-life friend - share her heart with us today!

Mitzi and I have been friends since eons ago!  She is a marvelous cook, a sweet-tea drinker, a wonderful mother and a HUGE Disney fan!

Mitzi has the biggest heart of any I know...and well... quite frankly... I miss her tons!  I miss her smile, her hugs and her infectious laugh!  She lives too far away!  Period.  One thing I love... is that my kids and husband made themselves Great friends with Mitzi's husband and children, as well... and there is STILL conversation and the begging to go and visit them again.  Sometime soon!! 

Please make welcome - Mitzi Matata. 
If you've seen any comment, on my blog, under this name, this is her!
Photo taken several years ago on one of our visits.  Mitzi's
husband, Chris took this photo! 

So, sit back and enjoy... this is a long post!  But, you'll be blessed as you read along!  I promise!


Hello!  My name is Mitzi Matata (not my real name*) and I...I am a long time friend of Bevy's!!

I am wife to Chris, Mother to my now 13 –year- old triplets Benjamin, Savannah and Isabelle and friend to a cherished handful.
Bev asked me to share my story so I've been thinking and praying for many months about what the Lord would have me to say.  One day, I asked myself out loud what part of my journey I should focus on and my daughter, Savannah, said “Well, Mommy, you have to talk about your breast cancer.”   So, my journey with God through my breast cancer will be my focus - here in this message today.

I’ll be sharing scriptures with you that I clung to and song lyrics that I feel God gave me encouragement and strength from.  I want to tell you about ways God became more real to me through a very difficult time and how he used a scary illness to bring me into closer fellowship with Him.  Most of all, I want to testify how very good our God is – all the time.   All the time – God is good. 

That phrase “God is good all the time- all the time God is good” is one I wrote at the end of nearly every journal entry on my Caringbridge site. 

Caringbridge is a free website designed to help families keep their friends and loved ones informed during difficult times such as life-threatening illnesses.

I want to share a passage from the opening page of my Caringbridge journal.

“around noon on Oct.10th, 2008, (less than a month after my 40th birthday) the doctor called and said to  me:  "Now, Mitzi.... I want you to stay calm... your biopsy results are back and you have tested positive for breast cancer."  My world, my life and everything I'd known and been to that point would never be the same.
My family and I cling to the Lord Almighty... He is Yahweh Rapha…. our God who heals. His will is perfect and He has, is and will forever direct our path.
We have been abundantly blessed with love and support from our friends, our church body, our family and even those we've never met. People all over the world are praying for us... and we feel it.
My prayer is that I will glorify the Lord through this... whatever is ahead of us on this journey. Jesus is with us (me, my family and you) every step of the way, as He always has been and will be forevermore.”

As I faced an uncertain future, my biggest fears and concerns lay with my children.  They had just turned 8 years old.  They were just babies… and they needed their Momma.  And I needed to make sure they had me … and that they had a beautiful childhood.  My childhood was not lovely.    My childhood was not peaceful.  My greatest desire in the world was that the childhood of my children would be the opposite of my own.  During the moment of that heart-stopping diagnosis, I was terrified of 2 things:  1 –that I would leave my children Motherless at such a tender, young age.. and 2 that they would suffer if I suffered and that their childhood would be taken from them and replaced with sorrow, perhaps even worse than my own.

I wanted to live for my children and I wanted to protect them from all the ugliness this disease would throw our way.  Chris and I felt that we needed to be honest with them about the illness but I still wanted to protect them from it.  Through the innocence of 8 year olds, one of their biggest concerns was that I would lose my hair with chemotherapy.  So, that became my prayer.  For the sake of my little ones, dear Lord.. let me keep my hair.  If I can keep my hair, then it will be less scary for them and maybe they won’t be as affected by all of this.

Chris and I had a heart-wrenching time of tears and prayer with our best friends a day or 2 after my diagnosis.  I shared of my deep desire to keep my children protected from all of the hardship and pain that lay before us in the coming months.  The Lord spoke through our friend Paul as he told us to surrender our children to the Lord and let Him grow them stronger through this time.  Instead of protecting them from all that these days may have, pray that they would become closer to their heavenly Father because of it, relying on Him with a deeper faith than they’d ever had.  I had to give them completely over to the Lord to take care of and let the Almighty Abba Father be their comforter just as He is mine.  That was a turning point for me in the journey.  I had not looked at it that way before and would not look at it differently from that day forth.

However,  my biggest fear still was that I would leave my children without their Mommy.  I spent hours, days, weeks silently begging God to allow me to live long enough to raise my children.  During this time, I went through numerous tests and procedures for the breast cancer.  It was determined that I would have a partial mastectomy with sentinel lymph node removal.  Basically, that meant that only the tumor and a large portion of the surrounding tissue would be removed along with the “Master” lymph node.  The thoughts behind this decision were that if any cancer passed through the lymph node system, it would have had to go through the sentinel node first.  My surgery was 1 month after my diagnosis.

Part of my growth through this time was finally believing that God loves my children even more than I do.  HE is their Abba Father, not just mine.  He is Their Lord, their redeemer, their Saviour .  I must hand my children over to God and trust that he would never leave nor forsake Benjamin, Isabelle or Savannah – even if I died from this cancer while they were still so young.

People didn’t want to talk about the “what if I die” scenario with me.  I would hear words of encouragement that I was going to fight this disease and win.  That I would be around for a very long time.  But I had to talk about what if.   Even if I beat the cancer, I still needed to come to a place of complete trust in the Lord.  I had to face death eye to eye.  The breast cancer simply made me have to think about death.  The realization that I could walk out my door and be hit by a falling tree or a struck by lightning actually brought me comfort.  Why?  Because, it made me believe in my heart what I already knew in my head:  None of it was in my control.  None of it was up to me.  It was in God’s hands.  I needed to be at a place where I was OK with God doing whatever He wanted to do in His perfect will with me and my life and I had to trust that He really was a good and loving God and would be no matter what my circumstances or the circumstances of my children.
I gradually did come to a beautiful, peaceful place in my soul that was able to say “Not my will, but yours, Lord, be done.”  And I meant it.
During all this time, the devil wanted to hurl lies at me throughout this process.  He bombarded me with fear and trepidation.  He shouted lies and he whispered lies.
I cried out in my journals for people to please constantly remind me of truth.  I needed scripture quoted to me.  A sweet young lady from our church sent a huge packet of about 15 different scriptures verses on pretty 8 X 11 paper.   I’m going to share some of my favorites:
Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”[a]
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 62:5-8
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. ”
Joshua 1:9
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
We taped the scriptures up all over our house- in our kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, hallway and even the laundry room.
Those scriptures are still on our walls, 5 years later.
Their truth is a constant reminder of the love God has for our family and of the love our friends have for us, too.
Groceries, meals and childcare were generously and sacrificially given throughout the many months of treatments by people who showed unconditional love for us.  These people were the hands and feet of Jesus. Their kindness towards our family will never be forgotten.

Through this journey, I can testify that God was with me and is with me still… all the time.   He has never left my side.  He never left my husband or my children as we faced fearful times.
I have learned and fully believe that His will is perfect. His plans are perfect.


Jeremiah 29:11
“11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Romans 8:28 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose.”

I know that doesn't mean He promises to heal me.  It does mean that I can rest in the fact that all things are under the authority of a GOOD, loving God.
My favorite song through this whole journey has been one written by Scott Krippayne ((I encourage you to take a minute and listen to it for yourself) and here are the lyrics:


“Sometimes He Calms the Storm

All who sail the sea of faith
Find out before too long
How quickly blue skies can grow dark
And gentle winds grow strong
Suddenly fear is like white water
Pounding on the soul
Still we sail on knowing
That our Lord is in control

Sometimes He calms the storm
With a whispered 'peace be still'
He can settle any sea
But it doesn't mean He will
Sometimes He holds us close
And lets the wind and waves go wild
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child

He has a reason for each trial
That we pass through in life
And though we're shaken
We cannot be pulled apart from Christ
No matter how the driving rain beats down
On those who hold to faith
A heart of trust will always
Be a quiet, peaceful place
Sometimes He calms the storm
And other times He calms His child.”

I wrote the following in my journal on Jan. 29, 2009

“I have this image of a little child dancing with Jesus on a beautiful beach at sunset. I am that child.
We're happy... splashing... holding hands... dancing in a circle... laughing and smiling.
I consider this particular image a gift from the Lord. When I worship, it's this image that comes to my mind.
Recently... the image has changed a bit. Now, Jesus is carrying the child (me) on his shoulders... still on the beach, along the edge of the water. We're thoughtful and quiet as he walks along, carrying me.
This image in my mind's eye is also such a precious gift from the Lord.
And... it's so descriptive of what I feel is happening with my life on earth. When I'm not praying for someone else, I'm often quiet with my Lord these days. His presence is very real and never in question. He's just carrying me, holding on to me.. and I to Him. Not a lot of words need to be said. I am just trusting in His power to keep me moving along.”

I am currently on a cancer-fighting drug that I take every day.  I was to be on it for 5 years but have recently been told it will be increased to 10 years.  It’s not a fun pill to take as it does have several unpleasant side-effects but I thank God that I have it to fight the disease and I remember Hebrews 12:1


“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” 

My prognosis is very good.  One of my doctors said to me: “Mitzi, you will die someday –--
but it won’t be from this cancer.”


Hallelujah.

And… for those of you who are wondering…
The Lord was gracious and loving and allowed me to keep my hair throughout the cancer treatments.  It was a beautiful gift for both me…. and my children.

And, one final thing- a word of advice from Mitzi!!  “GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!  The Lord used mine to save my life!”

To which I (Bevy) second that...I remember Mitzi, a long time ago, a very long time ago, as being one of the first, if not the only one, who encouraged me to treat myself to this; "as a birthday gift", for myself; saying, "don't be afraid to go to the Gyno and while you're at it go and get a Mammogram done." I'm very glad I listened to her.  If nothing else I, at least, have peace of mind - at this point in my life.
I'm very grateful to God for my friend, Mitzi!

:: GIVEAWAY::  {NOW, CLOSED!}
Today's giveaway is a simple item.  Handmade by a good friend of mine named: Becky L.


Journaling is something that my friend Mitzi mentioned she did.  Albeit, the fact, that it was kept all online through Caringbridge.

I have given away one of these handmade Journal Covers (w/ notebook), before... but, I feel it is just so appropriate to offer one up again.  You can see more of what Becky does - and has for sale in her Etsy Shop!  Please feel free to stop by and check it out!

**The Giveaway will run through the rest of this week and the winner announced sometime on Friday, the 12th!

For entries earned, please comment below!  Feel free to interact, as readers and commenters, with one another.  Interact by sharing stories, Scripture and encouragement.  Maybe you have your own prayer request...something you would like prayer and encouragement for.

 Each comment made is considered an entry! Spread the word, tell a friend!

Let's be a blessing to one another!!

:: RECIPE ::

Shoofly Muffins
Crumbs:
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup brown sugar

Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda

Mix together first four ingredients; by cutting in the butter.  Should be lumpy.   Take out 1 cup for topping.  Mix together filling ingredients and add to crumb mixture mixing well.  Pour batter into cupcake papers 2/3 full.  Put 1 tsp. of reserved crumb mixture on top of each muffin.  

Bake @ 375* for 22-25 minutes or you can just put it all into a 9"x13" baking pan at 350* for 50-60 minutes..


Thank you so much, for coming by here today!!  And for your participation.  I always look forward to meeting new faces and interacting here with you on days and "events" like today!

***
May you have a Blessed Week!!

Remember the winner of the giveaway will be announced on Friday!

See you then...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five Minute Friday :: The Whisper...

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It was late last night... I had already heard the whisper.
Even before knowing anything about the prompt, for today.
I had a choice then as to if I would listen to it or not...
and I still do.

Welcome to Five Minute Friday.

The place where it takes a suggested 5 minutes to get it out there on paper and share your heart.

***

Ironically, the book pulled out for the bedtime story, last night, was entitled; Anything for You, by John Wallace.  Illustrated by Harry Horse.  

Anything for You
Cute book!

Ironically, I had planned ahead to try and take a photo of the four of us... attempting to catch a glimpse of me (more so) in the act, the moments of Motherhood.  
Something I should do more often... 
Somewhere, I heard that whisper earlier in the day.

At the time, I did not know the prompt for today's FMF,(Which is: WHISPER, in case you haven't figured that out already!) nor did I know the book which we would be reading.

And...ironically, the fact that it took several times of actually getting a somewhat decent looking "selfie" - did not DID NOT have any whispering involved.

It almost didn't happen.  And, when it did... it felt fake and hypocritical.
. .. .. .
In the bedtime routine of reading a book, the story-line is sweet. This Mama bear and her little one are at the end of a very busy day!
Her Charlie has been helping her with housework, etc.  And, sometimes making more of a mess than anything.
He's tired.  She's tired.
But, this Mama bear keeps it together.
(First whisper:  You don't!)
She's gentle...in her approach.
(Second whisper: You're not!)
and on and on...
She suggests things and he answers that he do anything for his mama.
Things, such as, where he'd swim to the end of the tub and back for her...
That he'd draw her his best picture.
Climb the tallest tree.
Smile his biggest smile...
Be her best friend.
ANYTHING!!

I read...

Will you climb into bed, close your eyes for me, and sleep all night for me, whispers Mama?

Anything ... yawns Charlie.  And he's off to sleep..

**
Lights out.  Kisses on foreheads and "good-night, sleep tight's" are exchanged, with my kiddos.

I whisper ... as I leave the room...

I love you!

(Third whisper:  Really?  You do...?)

The truth is... there are some days I'm so grateful to God to be on this side of the day. 
The side where they're (finally!) asleep and I can hear myself think.

Quiet. Peace.
I whisper thanks!

***
You know what though?
Jesus whispers this to me.
Quiet. Peace.
My prayer is that I would hear MORE of the quiet peace in and throughout the midst of my day.  More than I do.

He really does whisper this for me... and over me!
I just don't know that I'm always listening...to the right whisper(s).

Psalm 107: 28-30
Then they cried out to the LORD  in their trouble, 
and he brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm, 
and he guided them to their desired haven.

**** 
Thank you for reading along today.  You're welcome to join in with this community of writers... 
It's a very encouraging place to be. For details on how to be a part... Read HERE!
 ((I also know this was way over 5 minutes... and that is okay!))

***
Please, come back on Monday - for the next upcoming Mugs & Muffins. Great things are in store, here at Treasured Up and Pondered.  I can't wait.. please be sure to ask a friend to join us! 



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