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My Freshly Brewed Life: November 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

Oh Miscellany Monday, how I've missed you! So thankful to be linking up with Carissa at lowercase letters for the Miscellany Monday this morning!

{1}...Did you miss me?  It's been almost a month since my last Miscellany Monday post.  I am not very good at scheduling posts and my Mondays have been pretty hectic.  I have missed you all and am looking forward to reading your posts this morning!

{2}...Leftovers. I didn't get enough of them. I cooked two turkeys this year and after dividing up the leftovers, I ended up with one sandwich. It's such comfort food to me.  I can literally taste that yummy sandwich in my mouth right now. Oh well, maybe I will have to cook a turkey for Christmas just for leftovers!

{3}...Sales and more sales!  Did anyone get any good deals over the weekend? I got great prices on two of the cell phones my kids wanted. We have Prepaid phones through Virgin Mobile and although their phone prices tend to be higher, I got one for an $80 savings and the other a $50 savings.  My kids will be happy!

{4}...O Christmas Tree!  I am sure many of you have already put up your trees. Do you have "real" trees or artificial? For many years now I have wanted an artificial tree, but my children will not allow it.  We are looking forward to going up to the Tree Farm in a couple of weeks to cut one down.  O visions of  pine needles dance in my head.

{5}...Gifts.  So what is on your Christmas list this year?  Here is the only thing I've asked for:

{6}...Christmas Music!  Love it....Love it....Love it.  I don't have a big collection but am thankful the Christian Radio stations have began playing it.  Puts me in the mood.  I am going to have to download some more from iTunes.

{7}...Traditions.  What is one Christmas tradition in your family that you would like to share? When I was a child, every year we would get new pajamas and we were allowed to open them on Christmas Eve.  I have carried this tradition over to my children.  We try and focus on "something they want", "something they need", "something to wear" and "something to read".  We always open the something to "wear" on Christmas Eve which is normally new pajamas.

I hope you all have a fabulous Monday!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Staying Calm In The Chaos

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents, brothers and sisters and their families. I cooked my first turkey and it was delish!  We sat around, talked and laughed and planned our courses for BLACK FRIDAY the next day.  As I began to puruse the ads, I felt sheer panic setting in.  There were so many amazing deals. Where would I begin?  I had a limited cash flow.  What would I spend it on?  So I made a list, charted my course, decided what I was going to have for breakfast at IHOP at 6:30a in the morning and went to bed.  I awoke on Black Friday at 9:30a.  I thought to myself, "You'd better hurry up. The mega sales end at 11:00a."  Who cares, I promptly told myself and rolled over and slept for another hour!

My daughter and I did venture out about 11:00a.  First stop, Peets Coffee!  After all, who shops without first having coffee?  Next, we went to the clothing store where my sister works. I was after $5 shirts and slippers.  I was in the store for about 10 mins when I heard a commotion on the other side of the store.  My sister was on the phone to 911.  As I walked over, a woman was laying flat on her back, arms rigid in the air, convulsing of a seizure.  No one was at her side, yet there were several who were looking at her.  Not medically trained, I wasn't sure what I could do.  But I could PRAY!  I rushed to her side, laid hands on her and began to ask for the presence of Jesus to come.  By that point, she was foaming at the mouth and bleeding a lot from her nose (possibly due to hitting her head when she fell).  A nurse who was in the store came over. We rolled the woman on her side.  There was blood everywhere. On the floor, on me. We grabbed shirts off of clearance racks to try and minimize the damage to the carpet.  We waited for about 15 minutes before the EMT arrived.  Some had panic on their faces, and I could have given in to it.  Yet I prayed, silently and calmly for this woman to be invaded with the love and healing of Jesus.  I will never know what impact I may have made, but I felt good as I walked away knowing I did something.

Next stop, the mall. By this time it was already 12:30.  I could tell getting off the freeway that the parking lot was filled to capacity.  So I asked Jesus to provide "Princess Parking" and found a pretty good spot right outside JC Penny, where my beloved bar stools were on sale from $99 to $39.  But I had missed the sale. They had been marked up to $89. Bummer.  Oh well, I said to myself.  The sale will come around again.  I did manage to pick up a "Buy One Toy Story Talking Buzz Light Year" get "A Talking Woody for Half Off"!  That was a deal for me and I was done.  And home we went.

As the Christmas shopping season has officially begun, it can be quite chaotic out there.  Stores looked like they had been hit by a tornado.  There were screaming children everywhere.  Poor things, they see things they want and can't have.  People tend to be more rude, cutting you off as you go to park and elbowing you as you walk.  I watched so many people carrying so many packages and wondered what they had bought.  Was it all worth it?  Was it all necessary?

In this season, I have to be very purposeful in keeping JESUS in front of me at all times, so as to not lose sight of the true meaning.  Although it makes my heart happy to be able to give to others, Christmas is not about Black Friday, Santa, Sales, More Sales, commercialism or fancy decorations (of which I have none).  Christmas is ALL about JESUS.  The baby born in a manger.  The God head come in human form so that I could live. And Christmas IS about giving -- of my time, my love and my giftings to others.  Yet it's hard not to get caught up in all of the hype.  

Here are some things I do to keep me calm during this season:
  1. Focus on JESUS! I listen to worship music and Christmas music to keep me in perspective. I read His Word. I want to know this man, this greatest gift. I know that if I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, He will work everything else out.
  2. Make a plan and stick to it.  There were so many amazing deals yesterday.  I could have come home with a lot more than I did.  However, yesterday was all about my little boy and his two greatest desires.  And I got them.  And they were on sale.  My children know that things are tighter this year than normal.  They have all been asked for their lists, and really aren't asking for much.  They know that a few presents under the tree and a lot of love is more than some kids have. 
  3. Shop On Line.  After yesterday, I think on line shopping is the way to go.  I was able to log in at midnight to Best Buy on Thanksgiving morning and purchase an item for one of my kids at an $80 savings!  Woo Hoo, God is good!
  4. Look for ways to help others.  Yesterday someone had a need and I met it the only way I knew how.  Sure, I lost time, could have bought those bar stools, but this was Kingdom Reality in motion and God used me to bring the Kingdom at that moment.  Are you willing to sacrifice of your time to help another in need?
  5. Find JOY in the simple things.  I was happy when I found the deal on the Toy Story toys for my son. But the day was even better sitting around the table with family last night, eating Chinese Food, listening to my son play his guitar and sing worship songs, and hearing my children laugh.  These are the moments that flee all too soon. These are the moments I want to capture this season.
Praying that as you enter this season, you will rest in knowing that JESUS is all that matters.  May He fill your spirit with peace and calmness and my you and your family be blessed beyond measure.
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3)

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ABC's Of Thanks

Finding Joy | The ABC's of Thanks

I am linking up with Rachel at Finding Joy for the ABCs of Thanks.  Given that Thanksgiving is just two days away, I thought this would be a great way for me to express what I am thankful for.

Alyssa, my first born precious girl!
Bible. I could not survive without God's Word. It is life to me.
Coffee.  Need I say more?
Deep longing.  It keeps my heart pursuing my Jesus!
Eternity.  I get to spend my forever with God!
Friendships. So thankful for all of the women in my life.
Grace. Without it, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Healing. I serve a God who still heals today!
Iced lattes.  Even in the Winter time.
Joy. It's so much more than being happy.
Kisses. I love kisses from my kiddos!
Laughter.  It is medicine to the soul!
Moments. Sometimes, those are all I have.
Night. It's when I am most productive.
Oranges.  One of the few fruits I will eat.
Provision.  God is faithful!.
Quietness. Seldom, but so thankful when it does happen.
Rain. It brings refreshing!
Salvation. So thankful He first loved me!
Time. I always have enough.
Umbrellas. Shelter from the storm.
Visions. Thankful for what God shows me in the spirit.
Wisdom. Without it, I would be tossing in the wind.
Xtra sleep. Not often, but so nice when it does happen!
Yes! I love the "yes" that God has placed in my spirit!
Zebras. I couldn't think of anything else!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Perfect Parenting

I am featured over at 5 Minutes for Faith today, talking about "Perfect Parenting".  Are you intriqued?  Here's a little teaser:
I was never a nervous or controlling person growing up. I always thought of myself as pretty relaxed and down to earth.  Then I got married and had children.  When my children were small, I remember how every little thing concerning their young lives was such a huge deal. My life became rigorous and scheduled, as opposed to care free and spontaneous. As my children grew older, I became a very anxious and controlling person. It was not something I ever expected to be, it just was.
Won't you stop over and read the rest of my post? I would love for you to leave a comment letting me know that you did. 

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Prayer For Our Military

Today my heart is with the families and loved ones of those who have served and currently serve in our United States Military.  Many have been injured or lost their lives defending my freedom.  I can never repay them and I will be forever grateful for their unselfish sacrifice.

Today, I pray this prayer over every man and woman who currently serves.  May the hand of God protect them and may His ministering angels watch over each of them.  I pray that they will sense His overwhelming presence and feel His love surrounding them.

Will you join me in praying for our military today?

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 
9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 30

Day 30:  A Picture

I fell off the wagon in the home stretch and missed the last 3 days.  But I didn't want to miss posting today and I hope it's not too late!  I have loved this blog challenge and I am so thankful for the wonderful blogs I found.  You are all amazing women with beautiful hearts!  I look forward to continuing to read many of your blogs!  Heck, I just might have to read them all!

Rainbow Guardphoto © 2008 Bùi Linh Ngân | more info (via: Wylio)

Remember ladies, even on cloudy days His promises are always Yes and Amen!
For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding "Yes!" And through Christ, our "Amen" (which means "Yes") ascends to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)


Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's Never Too Early For Christmas Cards

I love Christmas. I love getting Christmas cards in the mail.  I love that they are all unique.  I especially love the photo cards. They are not only a wonderful keepsakes from my precious family and friends, but I love to display these cards in my home year round as a visual reminder to remember to pray for these families.

I love to purchase cards at Shutterfly.  They have so many unique designs.  And you cannot beat the price or quality.  Here are a few of my favorites this year:

Did you know that Shutterfly is giving 50 free cards to bloggers?  Yes, it's true.  Click on over here to find out more!


What Matters Most

Over the last couple of years (notice I said years and not days, weeks or months), conversations like these have been all too familiar in our home:
Mommy, can we go to a movie today?  No, sweetie, I don't have the extra money.
Hey mom, can you buy me that neat flannel?  It's on sale.  No hun, I have bills to pay.
Mom, can we buy some ice cream bars?  No sweetie, I can only buy what's on my list.
These conversations continue on almost a daily basis.  As a mother, it's not just my desire to provide what my children need, but I long to be able to give them the things they want from time to time.  Over the last couple of years, we've struggled financially to keep our heads above water.  God has been so good to provide my husband with work, after being laid off for a year, and we never lack in having the things that matter most -- love, food, clothing, shelter.  I have grown so much in my faith during this season of my life.  But although I am learning and grasping the importance of the things that truly matter, I am not sure my children, at least the younger ones, have caught on just yet.

My heart aches when I have to hear myself say "no" over and over again to the smallest and even most inexpensive things.  Today was an especially hard day. I took my youngest daughter shopping with me and had to hear myself deny her wants a few times.  And then I started to look around and see that the stores were beginning to put out their Christmas merchandise and I could feel near panic setting in.  I caught myself beginning to feel a little hopeless and depressed.  I had to pull it together though.  I refused to have a melt down in the middle of the mall in front of my ten year old daughter!

When I got home, I had to begin to reflect again on the goodness of God.  I had to purpose in my heart to fix my gaze on Him, focusing once again on what matters most.  Today was an opportunity to teach my daughter that although she has wants, they are not necessarily needs at this time.  And for those things she is in need of, God will take of those things.  We do not have to worry about what we will eat, drink or wear, for the same God who feeds the sparrow will feed and clothe us.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
 28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
 31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matt. 25:26-33 NLT)
Even though today was a hard day I know what matters most.

I may not be able to afford the movie theater.
But we can enjoy a movie we own, snuggling together on the couch,
sharing popcorn and making memories.

I may not be able to afford the latest fashion.
But I am very resourceful.  eBay and Craigs List are two
of my best friends.  We don't mind hammy downs.

I may not be able to buy a lot of the "extras" at the grocery store.
But our stomachs are always full.

Our God is rich beyond measure and desires to lavish good gifts on His children.  That includes me and my family.  And even though I've been labeled as the "mom who always says no", we serve a God who loves to say "YES"!  I pray that my children would understand how rich they are.  I may not be able to take them to the Magic Kingdom for vacation.  But I can show them how to secure their place in the Kingdom of God and teach them to set their affections on things above and not so much on material possessions.

I am so thankful that God is using this season of my life to help me to understand the importance of the things that matter most.  All of the other things I leave in His very capable hands. 

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Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 26

Day 26:  A Picture Of Your Family

I don't have anything too recent where we are all together. 
This photo was take last year at Christmas.

My kids were 18, 15, 9 and 6 at the time.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge - Day 25

Wow, I've missed a few days. Life has been busy and I've just been feeling a bit lazy.  I am excited to do today's topic.
Day 25: iPod Shuffle

I do not own an iPod any longer (burned up in the hot car) and can you believe I haven't loaded any music on my iPhone?  So, I put iTunes on shuffle and this is what I got:
  1. Sacrifice of Praise by Merchant Band
  2. Encounter Jesus, Session 4 by Mike Bickle
  3. Psalm 100 by Matt Gilman
  4. Hold On by Grace Williams
  5. All For You by Starfield
  6. Trust by Kristene Mueller
  7. Joy Is In This Place by Tim Hughes
  8. Always Forever by Phil Wickham
  9. Here I Am by Mercy Me
  10. Turn Your Eyes by Vicky Beeching
I hadn't listened to some of these in a long time.  I have so much music and sermons in my iTunes. I was blessed by doing this post!  I can't wait to see what you all have on your iPods!


Monday, November 1, 2010

O Taste And See

I am featured over at 5 Minutes For Faith today, talking about the Lord's goodness.  Here's a little glimpse:
I have been reflecting on God’s goodness over the past couple of months.  There are so many ways that He has blessed, encouraged, brought healing, provision, strength, hope and joy to my life.  In all of these areas, I have seen His immeasurable goodness towards me and I am so grateful.
Over the last couple of days I have been meditating on this Psalm:
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8 NIV)
To read more, click here.  Leave me a comment letting me know you stopped by.