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My Freshly Brewed Life: January 2010

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Silent Gift - Book Review

I received a free copy of The Silent Gift from Bethany House Publishers to read and review. I am so glad that I chose this book. The title and the cover immediately caught my attention. From the very first page until the last, I was drawn in and captivated by this story. Set in the time of the great depression, a struggling mother and her disabled son flee the grasp of an uncaring, unloving husband and father, setting out to find their own way. The young boy, although silent, has an incredible gift that he uses to bring joy, as well as sorrow, into the lives of others. As people come from all over to receive from the boy's "gift", the mother has to decide whether she will allow the boy to use his gift to provide much needed income. After the husband tracks down his son, the mother is thrown in prison for "kidnapping" and the son is sent away. After the mother is released from prison, she begins a desperate journey of love, longing, hope and restoration as she desperately searches for her son. During this time, although she acknowledges she feels forsaken by God, she realizes He has been with her every step of the way. She also comes to terms and accepts this wonderful gift that God has given to her son. I would highly recommend this book!

Visit Amazon to purchase this book.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Beside Still Waters

Today, a portion of my Bible reading was Psalm 23. When I was growing up, and when I was a new Christian, I always thought of this Psalm as the "funeral Psalm". I heard it read at funerals, and saw it printed in funeral literature. The more I read this Psalm, the more I realize how very much God is with me. Here are just a few insights that I've received today from Psalm 23:
  • The Lord cares for me, watches over me, and provides all that I need. He is my Cartaker, Shephard, Overseer, Guidance Counselor, Daddy God, Father, Provider and Giver of all things.
  • The Lord brings me rest, peace and refreshment. He calls to me to be still in His presence so that He can bring peace and refreshment to my soul.
  • The Lord gives me strength. With God, I can do all things!
  • The Lord guides me into righteousness so that my life will glorify Him. The Lord has given me the tools necessary to live a Godly life. I have His Word and the Holy Spirit who is my teacher.
  • The Lord is close to me in the lowest of times, and I need not fear. Even though I may walk through dark times, I trust that God is with me even there. It is in those times where I press into Him, spending more time in His presence, letting Him love on me. When I am close to him, all the worldly cares fall off.
  • The Lord's authority over my life brings protection and comfort. As long as I am walking in the ways of the Lord, his authority and protection abide with me. When I choose to step outside of His will, then He may remove that authority and protection for a season, but only to draw me back to Him.
  • The Lord provide's a feast for me, even in the presence of my enemies. I will have trials, but if I feast on His word, and learn to be still in His presence, it makes walking through those times much easier. I want to feast on His word!!!!
  • The Lord anoints me and sets me apart for service to Him. I was reminded of Jesus and how he was anointed for burial. When I gave my life to Christ, I became dead to my old nature, and alive again in Him. My old nature has been buried with Christ, and my new nature has been made alive by the anointing and power of Jesus Christ.
  • The Lord provides abundant blessings to me, too many to count! My cup is always full. I often don't realize that, and often look as my cup as half empty. I have so much to be thankful for. He has blessed me abundantly.
  • The Lord's goodness and unfailing love pursue me all of my life. This is by far my favorite verse. I picture myself running down the street, being closely followed by goodness and unfailing love. What does that look like? Oh come Lord Jesus and overtake me with your goodness and unfailing love!
  • The Lord provides a place for me to dwell with him forever! This is by far the best part. I get to live with God, ruling and reigning with Him, forever! Ahhhhh. So good!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Five Things.....

Genny over at My Cup 2 Yours is hosting "Talking About Thursdays". I am so excited to participate and get to know new people. Today's topic is Five Things About Yourself.
  1. I am the 4th child out of a family of 5. I have two older brothers, an older sister, and a younger sister. I am basically the middle child, sandwiched between my oldest and youngest siblings.
  2. Between the ages of 12-15, I took professional roller skating lessons. I competed all over California, winning a few solo trophies, and my brother and I skated as a pair and we won 2nd place in a competition.
  3. Although I think doggies and kitties are cute, I am not much of a pet lover. I had them growing up and didn't mind them then. But as I've grown older I seem to have adopted a dislike someplace. Why then might you ask do we have a dog, had a cat, and have a bunny? Gotta bless my kids, right?
  4. I worked as a legal secretary for over 17 years after graduating from Heald Business College.
  5. I currently work at my church as the Pastoral Administrator. I love my job and I love my church family!
That's it for today. Looking forward to visiting and getting to know you all!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Language of Love & Respect - Book Review

The Language of Love & Respect is a key read for any married couple. It is packed with valuable insight into the different languages men and women speak concerning love and respect. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs brings solid Biblical basis for the way in which men and women are to relate to one another, and provides practical tips as to how couples can begin learning each other's very different yet unique languages. Clearly, God has designed men and women differently. A husband will not receive affection the same way his wife will; and a wife may not feel love the way a husband is trying to show it. Men are created to hear the language of respect, while women are created to hear the language of love. Although I have taken marriage classes containing alot of the same information, this book has caused me to want to learn even more about the two very different languages that men and women speak. I especially enjoyed reading about the three cycles of marriage:
  • The Energizing Cycle - His love motivates her respect; Her respect motivates his love;
  • The Crazy Cycle - Without his love, she reacts without respect; without her respect, he reacts without love; and
  • The Rewarded Cycle - His love blesses regardless of her respect; her respect blesses regardless of his love
Couples must work together to avoid the crazy cycle -- the part in your marriage when you are not communicating, when you are in some level of conflicts, or when life together just isn't going well. Dr. Eggerichs suggest that when a husband chooses to come across lovingly even though he feels disrespected, he can prevent the Crazy Cycle from spinning and possibly getting out of control. On the other hand, when a wife chooses to come across respectfully even though she feels unloved, she can stop or slow the Crazy Cycle as well. I feel I have a long way to go in helping to avoid the Crazy Cycle, but by reading this book, I feel I have a starting point and a road map as to where I need to be. Once men and women learn to speak one another's languages, the result is mutual understanding and a successful, happy marriage.

I eceived this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mustard Seed Faith

Matthew 17:20
“You don’t have enough faith,”Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

Jesus told his disciples that they did not have enough faith to cast out the demon. He told them if they would have just had faith as small as a mustard seed, then it would have been done. I think often we try and muster up huge amounts of faith to do what it is we feel God has called us to do. In a healing line for example, I have been known before to tell God I did not have enough faith to pray for healing. But did I have any faith? Yes! Then I should have believed that God would have met me the rest of the way. Because we are in partnership with God, it only takes the faith that we do have to perform the task. God meets us the rest of the way. Our faith, joined together with Him, can accomplish any task. I would say that it takes faith, no matter the measure, and most importantly a willing vessel and yielded heart to see the hand of God. I walk in different levels of faith in my life. There are areas where I do not have to call on God to increase my faith, because I've gone to the next level in that area. There are other areas where I am continuing to ask Him to increase my faith, because I know that unless He meets me, I do not yet have the faith to see it accomplished. It all starts with a seed. Will we plant that seed so that God can water it and take it where He wills?


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Technical Difficulty

Oh how I've missed my friends. I have been without an internet connection in my home since last Thursday, so the only time I can get to read blogs or even try and post is when I am at work and well, I simply don't have a lot of time at work. Just when I seemed to bet getting back into the flow of blogging. Well, I have time to get some of the projects done around the house, as well as nearly finish the two books I am reading for reviews. I am hoping my local MAC tech will come over soon to fix the problem. Until then, I pray you are all having a blessed week and that God is pouring his love and blessings on all of you. I can't wait until I am up and running again and can visit you all and comment on your fabulous posts and pictures.

Here is a question to ponder:
What are you passionate about?

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Challenges of A Full-Time Working Home Schooling Mom

Now how is that for a title huh? Beginning on February 2nd, I will add "home schooler" to my already long list of titles - Wife, mom, sister, friend, lover of Jesus, employee, etc. My oldest son who is technically a sophmore in high school this year has really been struggling. It would take me an enormous amount of words to explain our journey. But I've known for a long time that traditional school was not working and that we had to do something to help him get back on track. I struggled over the last year about what I could do to help him. I did not feel I was getting proper support from his teachers, and since they eliminated all counselors at his high school, there was really no one left in his corner. Private schooling was not an option, as the finances are just not there. Full time mommyhood and schooling , although a most desirable and rewarding position, was also not an option because I still need to work. Just when I thought there was no hope, along came CAVA. You may click and read more about it. Basically it is an individualized on line school system. It is still run by the public school district where my son is currently enrolled, so at least everything will be familiar to him. With CAVA, I will have the flexibility that I need to do schooling at strange hours, so that I can work, my son will get to come to work with me a couple of days here and there if need be, and access his assignments on line. I was provided with a computer, printer, all of the materials and texts we need to get started. I am so thankful that God opened this door for us. At least now I will be
able to see every assignment, what it is and when it's due. I could not get the teachers to give me this information.

And now the panic has set in. Me, a home schooling mom? Who do I think I'm kidding? I can barely keep my house cleaned and remember to bath my 6 year old let alone think I have anything left to give to my 15 year old's schooling. And Even though I won't be schooling to the magnitude that some of my friends are, it is still going to be a challenge for me and maybe even more of a challenge because of all of the many hats I wear. I could really use some tips on how I can stay organized, keep on top of things, strategies to keep him motivated and engaged (did I mention we are dealing with a boy who is NOT self motivated). Yep, this will be a challenge. But I know that God has called me to it and will equip me for it.

I know some of you who follow my blog (is anyone out there?) also home school your children, so I would welcome any wisdom you would like to share!!! I am always amazed at what you do and all that you accomplish, so please, do share!


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Father's Love

I was reminding myself today of how much God loves me. I can hardly wrap my brain around it sometimes, the depth of His love for me. Some days, like today, I just need to go to His Word, His love letter to me, and remind myself. I hope this blesses you today and I pray you will realize how very much the Father loves you too!

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you.
Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways.
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image.
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring.
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived.
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation.
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book.
Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live.
Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother's womb.
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don't know me.
John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love.
1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you.
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could.
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father.
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand.
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs.
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.
Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you.
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession.
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul.
Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things.
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me.
Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires.
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart.
Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes.
Revelation 21:3-4

And I'll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.
Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.
John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being.
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you.
Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you.
1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love.
Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me.
1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.
Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I'll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.
Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.
Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child?
John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you.
Luke 15:11-32

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

*Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2010


Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window... It's raining quite a bit. Reminds me of God's refreshing rain!

I am thinking... it's 11:00 a.m. and I am still in my jammies.

I am thankful for... friends who love me unconditionally

I am wearing... gray sweat pants and a purple sweat shirt

I am remembering... Haiti. My heart goes out to them and I am praying for them

I am going... to the store at some point

I am currently reading... The Language of Love and Respect & The Silent Gift

I am hoping... that we hear from our mortgage company this week about our modification

On my mind... thinking about my son who starts school on line next month. Will I be a good full-time working, home school mom?

Noticing that... my laundry is still in the basket and needs to be folded

Pondering these words... "I will never leave you nor forsake you"-Jesus. Even when I feel like He's so far away, He's so close to me.

From the kitchen... Nothing at the moment. Must go grocery shopping

Around the house... Me and my kiddos hanging out in our jammies watching the Golden Globes. Thank God for DVR!

One of my favorite thing...hugs and kisses from my kiddos.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Show Us Your Life - Weight Loss, Diet & Exercise

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

I am so excited to be able to participate in this post sponsored by Kelly. Weight loss is something that I've struggled with for years. I am a Yo-Yo, "on-again, off-again" dieter as well as an emotional eater. I can't tell you how many times I've joined WW only to give up right before my breakthrough. I have finally come to a point in my life where I am realizing I've been doing nothing but making excuses as to why I can't lose weight, and I've decided there are no other options. I must lose the weight in order to remain healthy for me, my husband and children, and to live the life that God intended for me to live.

One of the things that I knew I had to do was rid my body of sugar cravings. So about a week ago I made a choice to exclude sugar and white flour products from my diet. I've lost 5lbs. so far. And to tell you the truth, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. Have I been perfect? No, but for the most part, with the exception of a few grams, I've been sugar-free. I don't miss it. I don't crave it and I am starting to feel healthier. I am not sure how much longer I can totally go without sugar. Who knows, maybe forever. Now that I've tackled the sugar cravings, I am hoping to begin incorporating exercise into my life this weekend. Just the word makes me cringe. I have not exercised for years, and frankly, my entire body hurts when I do. I would love some tips on how to best do this. I work full time, have four kids and lots going on in my life. I don't have a Wii but I dream of participating in Wii Fit challenges with my friends some day!

In order for me to be successful in losing the weight, my entire mindset about how I think about food has got to shift. God gave us food to consume, but He did not ask us to be consumed by food. As the saying goes, "Eat to Live". Don't "Live to Eat". I often think I struggle more than I need to because I forget that my Heavenly Father wants to partner with me in this. I don't often ask Him for help. But as soon as I realized God is for me in this, it's become easier.

I love my iPhone and I am using a really cool App called "Lose it". This helps me to log in my food and exercise each day and keep track of my weight. You can even invite friends to join and help keep one another accountable. If you have an iPhone, or another type of phone that allows you to download apps, check it out!

Some advice to you:
  1. Make the choice. It all starts here.
  2. Find some program where you can easily keep track of your calories, food, etc. each day.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Find 1-2 people who will come alongside you to encourage you and pray for you.
  4. Give yourself some slack. You may not always be perfect. Lifestyle changes take time.
  5. Don't give up. If you fall, God will be right there to set you back on the path again.
You deserve to be healthy. Your husband and children deserve for you to be healthy. God's desire is for you to be healthy. One step at a time. You can do it!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

In Pursuit of Wisdom

I have been praying for a long time that God would bring be into His fullness of joy. It is something that I believe is only found in the presence of God himself, and in the place of prayer. God said,

"..these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer." Is. 56:7
Part of my Bible reading today was Psalm 3:13-15:
13Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gains understanding.
14For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
and her wages are better than gold.
15Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
What I haven't realized is that while I am being intentional to get alone with the Lord every day and to grow closer to Him through reading His word and through prayer, I am overlooking the fact that He grants to me wisdom and understanding as my mind and spirit become more in tune with His. Wisdom is something I should diligently seek. It is far better than riches and more precious than the finest of jewels.

I found these 8 characteristics of wisdom here and would like to share them with you:
1. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… pure. Do I need to spin, tweak, force, or fudge in order to make a decision work? Then maybe it’s not pure; maybe it’s not really wise.
2. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… peace-loving. God’s wisdom leads to unity and peace. Does the decision I’m considering promote peace? Then it’s wise.
3. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… considerate. To think God-wise is to think others-wise. It’s the wisdom of God to put others before you, and to esteem others as more important than yourself.
4. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… submissive. God’s wisdom makes us easy to live with and work with. The submissive person is willing to hear all sides of a question. He can disagree without being disagreeable. She is “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). Many people think that stubbornness is conviction and strength. But when God’s wisdom is at work there is a willingness to listen, think, pray, and obey whatever God reveals. “Yielding to persuasion” is another way to define wise submission.
5. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… full of mercy. To be “full” of something means to be “controlled by it.” The person who follows God’s wisdom is controlled by mercy. Does judgment control your thinking, or mercy?
6. The wisdom that comes from heaven… bears good fruit. It’s easy to argue and debate. But God’s wisdom is practical; it produces good works. When God’s wisdom is real in us, we won’t just debate; we’ll do good.
7. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… impartial. There will be no prejudice in the pews when God’s wisdom is in operation. Rich, poor, male, female, black, white, Republican, Democrat, Palestinian, Jew, are all one when in Christ.
8. The wisdom that comes from heaven is… sincere. When God’s wisdom is at work, there is openness and honesty. Pretending is unwise. While transparency often means vulnerability, it’s the wiser option.
Today, I am choosing to begin a hard pursuit of wisdom..



I opened this Joyfultoons cartoon today and it immediately spoke to me. I think all too often as Christians we are content to stay in the what seems like perfect, safe, warm nest that God has built for us. But as long as we remain there, we are missing out on the "more" that God has for us. I often get in a place of contentment with where I am. And before I know it, I stop pursuing, stop asking for the more, and stop moving forward. It would be easy for my loving, Heavenly Father to come alongside me and simply kick me out of the nest, but He's so gentle, isn't He? He is so patient and will simply wait until we muster up enough faith to make the leap. Yes, the nest is wonderful, but I want the wide open sky, how about you? Let's spread our wings and fly!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hide and Seek

When I was a little girl, my brothers and sisters and I would often gather outside in the court where we lived for a game of hide and seek. I wasn't much of a hider; however, I loved when I got the chance to be the seeker. After I had counted to what always seemed like 5,000, I would boldly proclaim, "Ready or not, here I come!" And then I would take off with much enthusiasm to find those who were hiding.

Lately, I've been feeling as if I've been playing a game of hide and seek with the Lord. But this time, I'm not being much of a seeker; I am doing more of the hiding. I can here Him calling my name, saying, "Come out, come out, wherever you are!", but for whatever reason I haven't allowed myself to fully come out of my hiding place just yet. I am not intentionally hiding from Him. But these days I am finding myself constantly on the move, not slowing down long enough to allow the Lord to catch me.

I started the New Year off with some really good goals -- daily Bible reading and prayer, moving towards health and wholeness. But I am realizing that as I've been busy striving to reach all of my goals, I've lost site of what's most important -- sitting at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to speak to my heart. I even find that sometimes my daily Bible reading is mechanical and there is no revelation. The truth is, I am realizing I am much more of a Martha than I want to be. I am so caught up in the "doing" that I am not spending enough time just "being". I long for a heart like Mary's.
The Lord says, "Ready or not, here I come!"

My response is, "I am ready Lord. Come and find me!"
So here I am Lord, I am ready to be found. I will meet you half way and seek after You. I come before you now, empty handed, with no agenda, no tasks to complete, no questions to ask. I just want you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near. (Is. 55:6)


Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year, New Look

Happy New Year! WOW, I cannot believe it's been 15 days since my last blog post. Did you miss me? I've missed being into a regular flow of things. One of the things that has made it hard to blog, besides brain block, is that I have decided to move my blog over to Blogger and have it totally redesigned. I currently reside on Squarespace. I love it here, but I am not using all of the functionality which caused me to move in here in the first place, so I thought I would save some money and simplify my life. Oh, and ALL of my bloggie friends and followers live here. I know I will love it here. My site is not quite ready yet, so until then, you can still find me here.