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My Freshly Brewed Life: December 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

I am a little late in linking up today, but I hope you will stop by for a visit.  I am so thankful for Carissa and the Miscellany Monday. I have missed linking up and look forward to visiting your blogs!

{1}...I sang, in a store!  I had to run out on Christmas Eve because, can you believe it, I forgot to buy candy for my kids' stockings? I mean really, what kind of mother would forget the candy? Anyways, my daughter was with me (yes, she helps me pick out the right candy) and we decided to go to Target, in the hopes of also finding the missing Beanie that my son wanted.  When I arrived the line was wrapped half way around the store.  It took me just a few minutes to gather up what I needed, and I proceeded to the back of the line.  I noticed not too many people were smiling, and I heard a lot of complaining about how long the line was (duh, it's Christmas Eve people. What where you expecting?)  I wanted to do something to lighten up the mood. I suggested to those around me that we sing Christmas carols, but no one seemed interested.  So, I took a deep breath, and I did it.  I sang, in the store, at the top of my lungs, this song:

I'm Singing.  I'm In A Store and I'm Singing!

My daughter about died, running for cover under the basket.  Oh I sang it loudly and real good.  My voice even cracked at the top, just like in Elf!  Ha ha, I have to laugh at myself.  I did get some looks.  I am sure people thought I was strange, but it was so freeing to break out in a song like this!

{2}...Random photos for my random post.  Sadly, I didn't capture any of the kids opening their gifts.  I was the Santa this year so I couldn't do both.

Our lovely tree with the presents all wrapped and ready to open!

My son youngest son, waiting patiently for his big brother to read
the Christmas story.

My Christmas present from my husband, which I actually got a week early!
I'm in LOVE!

Promises and Kisses!

{3}...What now?  Well, my tree is still up, decorations still hung, cookies half eaten, presents here and there.  The Christmas aftermath is here.  There is a lot to do to get the house back to normal.  I am hoping I can tackle it all by next weekend.  

{4}...Narnia.  I took my 10 year old daughter to see the new Narnia movie today.  Has anyone seen it?  What did you think? I thought it was a good movie, although I do not think it compared to the original.

{5}...New Years!  Are any of you making any resolutions for the New Year? I don't make resolutions really, although I do have a few goals I would like to achieve this year, which I will share later on my blog.  What are your plans for the New Year? I will be spending an extended time in worship and prayer at Convergence House of Prayer.  We will be going all day until about 1:00a on New Years.  There is nothing better than bringing in the New Year with Jesus!

Have a wonderful week my friends!


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Unwrapping The Promise

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family.  Even in my lack, I realize how truly blessed I am. My heart is heavy and full of prayer for those who are missing loved ones, sick, lonely and facing extremely hard circumstances.  Tonight as I was sitting here reading blogs and unwrapping my Dove Chocolate to read the little promises inside, I got to thinking about the many promises that were given to me by God through His Son, the greatest gift of all.  This most precious baby, born in a stable, laying in a manger.  This child, so small, yet so full of promise.

In Him lies the promise of LIFE to those who accept it.
In Him lies the promise of HOPE to those who hold on to it.
In Him lies the promise of FAITH to those who receive it.
In Him lies the promise of LOVE to those who embrace it.
In Him lies the promise of JOY to those who choose it.
In Him lies the promise of WISDOM to those who seek it.
In HIM lies the promise of GRACE to those who walk in it.
In Him lies the promise of PEACE to those who rest in it.
In Him lies the promise of MERCY to those who give it.

The season of Christmas may be over, but I will continue to unwrap the promises that Jesus, the Child of Promise, has freely given to me.


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Prophetic Art Journey - A Guest Post


I was thrilled when Leah at Dance And Be Glad asked me to guest post on her blog and share my prophetic art journey.  If you have never met Leah, she has a beautiful heart of worship. As a person who was once involved in worship dance, I have found that I have so much in common with her.  I love that she is allowing God to use her blog to express God's heart in the various art forms.  You must have a look around her blog.  You will love it! Here is a little teaser on my post:
My journey in art began several years ago. I am privileged to belong to a church community that embraces the freedom of expression in various art forms such as worship, media, dance, drama, painting, or sketching.  Although I have been involved on worship teams and led a worship dance team, I never really considered myself an “artist”.  I did not have an understanding as to what true creativity was, but desired to be creative.  I began to pray and ask the Lord to release His creativity through me.
To read the rest of my post, click here.  Thank you for reading.  Please leave a comment letting me know that you stopped by!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Paternò - Sunset in perspectivephoto © 2010 Francesco Pappalardo | more info (via: Wylio)

I found myself losing mine yesterday.  For a moment, most of the day really, I took my eyes off of the reason for the season.  I allowed my circumstances to rise to the forefront and I was once again faced with fear, anxiety and depression.  How does this happen?  How do I walk in joy and victory one day, and fear and anxiety the next?  I just wrote a guest post over at 5 Minutes for Faith about not fearing what appears to be immovable mountains in our lives, and found myself camping at the base of the mountain, forgetting for a moment that I did not have to fear because the Lord was with me, and that with Him ALL things are possible.  

So last night, after regaining my focus, I began to think about perspective. It's the way I see things. Do I want to continue to look at my life as half empty, or have full?  It's about my attitude.  Will I allow myself to become bitter and angry over something that I, in my own strength, cannot change?  It's about choosing joy in the midst of hardship and struggle.  Every new circumstance that my family is faced with that could be a cause for worry, doubt and fear is an opportunity to look up into the face of God, reflect on His promises and faithfulness to us, and realize how truly blessed we are.

I have a loving husband who works hard to provide for our family
and who loves me unconditionally.

My children are healthy and following the Lord.

We have shelter and food on our table.

My family lives nearby and we get to enjoy Christmas together.

Unemployment has brought opportunity for sacrifice and growth.

One car broke down, but we have two that are working.

Not enough money for all that I want to give at Christmas....

but JESUS is FREE!

I have been pondering these scriptures this morning as I allow God to once again breathe hope over my circumstances.

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:5)
I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.  (Psalm 121:1-2)
"LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 16:5-8)
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  (Psalm 118:1)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  (Psalm 27:13)
How about you?  Have you lost your perspective?  He is with you Beloved One.  May Jesus come afresh and a new and breathe hope over your circumstances.  May you be filled to overflowing with peace and joy!  

Merry CHRISTmas!

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Monday, December 20, 2010

A Willing Heart

Today I am featured over at 5 Minutes for Faith talking about having a wiling heart like Mary.  Here is a little teaser:
I have been reading the account of the Birth of Christ all this week and meditating on this most precious gift that was given to me.  It was a gift of love that, although I try to understand, I still cannot. I want it to get deep into my spirit, and I want my response to this love to be a willing heart. A heart that says Yes to God’s perfect plan, even though I cannot see clearly.  Mary had a willing heart.  She was willing to be used by God, no matter what the cost.  She said Yes!
I hope you will pop over and read the rest of my post.  Oh, and I would love it if you left me a comment letting know you visited!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Guest Post - Oops! (Typos)

Don't you just hate when you don't catch typos before your posts are published?  And even worse, my mega error is on a guest post, so I can't go in and fix it.  I was the featured guest post on Courtney's blog, Live Beautiful, today. I noticed a huge misprint, which may have been in the text I gave her, or it might have happened in the upload that I wanted to bring to your attention, so as to not cause confusion.  In the Joyce Meyer quote, I state her as saying, "God is the God of sudden lies".  This of course was supposed to read, "God is the God of suddenlies".  When I saw this my stomach about churned!  There is also a typo on the very last line.  It says, "Until them", and it should read "Until then".  I strive to publish posts free of such errors, but this one just didn't catch my eye until it was too late. I am so sorry!

Thank you for reading my blog.  I so appreciate my followers!

Contending For A Breakthrough - Guest Post

I am thrilled to be guest posting over at Courtney's blog, Live Beautiful.  If you have never visited her blog, you absolutely must.  She is a young mother and wife and although my children are much older than hers, I've learned a lot from reading her blog and have always been encouraged by it.  

Today I am sharing a post I wrote some time ago about Contending for A Breakthrough.  Will you stop over and have a look?  And please leave me a comment letting me know you did!  

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Seriously The Best Cookies Ever!

finding joy | Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap

I was so excited to see that Rachel at Finding Joy was having a Christmas cookie recipe swap.  A couple of weeks ago, a friend brought these amazing cookies to our monthly movie night.  I have never had them before and they were fabulous. It was like melt-in-your-mouth heaven.  I instantly fell in love! I am excited to share the recipe with you!

Saltine Cookies

Tools: Cookie Sheet/Baking Sheet, Quick Release Foil or Parchment, Pot, Spatulas, and a Whisk 

Ingredients: Butter, Sugar (refined or not) Saltine Crackers and Morsels of your liking (milk, white, reeses peanut, mint or even dark chocolate and mint, butterscotch and nuts if you like.

*Preheat oven to 350 

In the pot melt 2 sticks of butter.  Start preparing the cookie sheet and line it. Spread out the Saltines in rows. Pour in 1 cup of sugar to the melted butter and blend in.  Next pour the contents onto the saltines and spread out evenly.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and set for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, take the baking sheet out of the oven and pour out a package (standard size) of morsels onto the saltines.  Wait one minute and then start spreading them evenly over the saltines. Let it cool and once hardened, break them apart and enjoy!

Visit Rachel @ Finding Joy for more amazing Christmas Cookie recipes!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....finally!

{1}...We visited the tree farm this weekend to cut down our tree.  We normally go up to the Santa Cruz mountains, but we couldn't leave until 3:00p so we were thankful to find one in Castro Valley which is much closer.  My kids had a blast decorating the tree and the house.  It was fun going through all of their childhood ornaments.  Hubby and I just got to sit back and watch.  Here's the finished tree.  Do you see the little green Christmas Tree ornament in the middle, near the top?  I made that when I was in kindergarten!

{2}...Here's a picture of my eldest daughter and the boyfriend.  He had never been to a place where you cut down a tree before so we invited him along.  Aren't they cute?

{4}...Last night our church staff and board members got together for our annual dinner and gift exchange.  This year we went to The Grill On The Alley.  The atmosphere was wonderful and the food was delicious.  We ended up with two $50 Amazon gift cards.

{5}...After dinner we went across the street to Christmas In The Park.  I took some pictures on my camera, but now I can't find my chord to upload them.  Here is a picture I took of the very large, blue Christmas tree.  

This is the last week of school of the kids, and my last week of work until after Christmas.  I am looking forward to getting some baking done next week!

Visit Carissa at lowercase letters for more of the randomness!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cold Hands Warm Hearts Package of Love!

I was so excited to participate in the Cold Hands Warm Hearts gift exchange hosted by Much Love Lily and Sandy A La Mode.  And can I just say that these two ladies have FABULOUS blogs and if you haven't already checked them out, you must.  I am a little late getting my link up, but am thankful I will still be able to go and visit the other blogs who participated.

My swap partner was Jenn.  We spent some time getting to know one another through emails and I have loved getting to know her.  I was so excited to receive her package in the mail and could not wait to open it.

These have got to be the cutest and softest gloves and scarf! I absolutely love the colors!

I love music and I love listening to new styles.  I have never heard any of these songs before.  They really ministered to my spirit and brought much peace!

I have read some of Max Lucado's books before, but never this one.  As a person who struggles with her identity from time to time, I know this one will be good!  Can't wait to dive in!


 Now, THIS is a MUG!

I was giddy with excitement when I saw this mug.  I mean, what kind of coffee or hot cocoa could I drink in that?  Oh and Jenn told me she hand painted it, so that makes it extra special.

If you would like to see more of the Cold Hands, Warm Hearts swap, go here.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Exposed Roots

Rootsphoto © 2055 Steve Garry | more info (via: Wylio)

My 10 year old daughter had to have two teeth extracted a couple of days ago.  She can be somewhat fearful of pain, so I told her that if at all possible I would ask them to use "laughing gas".  She had a prior dental experience when she was about 7 where gas was used and it was easy breazey.  However, I did not promise her anything and with her being older now, I explained that she may just have to endure a little bit of pain and discomfort. After talking with the dentist, and after watching her brother get a cavity filled with just a little drama, we decided to just use Novocaine.  When the dentist came in, my daughter lost it. I could barely endure watching.  She was so scared and I was scared for her.  Yet I knew that she had to endure this minimal amount of pain in order to prevent further tooth decay and protect her other teeth.  To say I felt like a failure as a mother is an understatement.  She cried through the numbing process but I assured her that afterwards, she wouldn't feel anything. At least that was a promise I could keep.  She did fine for the rest of the procedure and promised she didn't hate me for letting her go through the pain.

Over the last couple of days, the Lord has been speaking to me about the roots in my own life.  Most are planted in good soil, where they will continue to receive nourishment and grow.  However, there are some roots in my life that, although may have started out in good soil, have become exposed and contaminated with the disease of this world and unhealthy mindsets.  These roots have become infected and the Lord says that now is the time for the extraction to take place.  I do not like pain and I would like nothing better than the Lord to numb me first, so that I do not feel the process.  But I believe that the Lord would allow me to endure it as a reminder of the things I must do to ensure a healthy root system in my life.  
"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing."  (John 15:5)
Jesus is the vine.  His roots go down deep.  If I remain in Him, grafted and clinging to Him, then I will be free of contamination and spiritual disease.  I long to bear fruit.  I  long for my roots to go down deep into good soil.  I want to be so founded and built on Christ that nothing can shake me.  Yet, there are areas in my life where I have allowed myself to become weak due to my lack of spiritual nourishment.  My heart yearns for God, yet certain areas of my life are suffering due to my lack of intimacy with Him.  It's not that I don't spend time with the Lord. But some days it's just hard. And I long to go deeper.  I want to bear the fruits of righteousness in my life.  And I must continue to allow God, the Living Water, to bring health and nourishment to those areas where I am weak.  The pruning process is hard and painful at times, but necessary so that my diseased roots can be pulled up in order for new birth and growth to take place and be established in good, healthy soil.  

I love how the Lord speaks to me through situations in my every day life. My daughter has already recovered from her ordeal at the dentist.  Me, I am continuing to ask the Lord where I am weak.  My heart yearns for God.  I know that He loves me even in my weakness and in those times when I feel so far away from Him.  And so I choose to be exposed.  I choose to be vulnerable and to face my weakness, knowing that where I am weak, He is strong.  I choose to come to Him, empty handed, faced with my lack and my sinful state.   And I say "YES".  I give Him permission to come, to uproot those areas in my life that do not bear good fruit.  He is such a gentle, loving Father. I know that He will walk with me through the pain.  His heart is for me.  He loves me too much to leave me rooted in unhealthy soil.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Day 4


 Day 4 - Christmas Memories

Growing up, I remember the anticipation me and my four brothers and sisters had as it got closer to Christmas.  Our house was filled with the smells and flavors of Christmas.  I loved helping my mother make cookies and decorating them.  Although my parents couldn't afford elaborate gifts, there were always lots of simple presents under the tree.  I will never forget the year that I received my first electric raiser.  It was purple and white with butterflies.  I was so embarased.  Now my brothers would know that I shaved.  The year my sister and I both received baby dolls and buggy strollers was another favorite.  I have fond memories of taking our babies for walks around the neighborhood. 

I will never forget the year that I caught "Santa" taking all of the presents which were hidden in my parents' bedroom to the living room to be placed under the tree. At that time Santa and I had a talk about all of the Santa business, and my parents then allowed me to help display the gifts under the tree, as long as I kept this secret to myself and didn't tell my brothers and sisters.  

We always had a house full, with extended family coming to visit. I loved spending time with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  I remember we would sit around and sing Christmas carols until we couldn't remember any more.  

One of the fondest Christmas memories that I have is the year my husband asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve.  We had only known each other for 3 months -- yes, 3 months -- but we knew that we loved each other and believed Christ had brought us together. But I wasn't expecting an engagement so soon.  My husband asked me to come over to his apartment so that we could exchange gifts.  I walked into a dimly lit apartment, there were long stem roses in the Christmas tree, soft music in the background.  Still I did not expect.  After my husband opened his gifts, he presented me with a very large and adorable teddy bear and a card.  The card was beautiful and at the end he wrote how much he loved me and asked me to marry him.  I started crying.  But still, I took this to mean sometime in the future. It took me a while to notice that the teddy bear was holding the ring box in his paws.  I was thrilled. Eight months later we were married. Still today on Christmas eve I celebrate that moment 22 years ago when we committed to be together forever!

I can't wait to read about your memories.  Link up with Cait at The Blessed Life

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Friday, December 3, 2010

12 Days of Christmas - Day 3


 Day 3 - Gift Ideas

Our Christmas budget has been especially tight over the last few years.  Each year my family buys small gifts to give to the children and adults at our church's Christmas Outreach, and then I focus on my children.  After that, I spread out the love as inexpensively as possible, but as creatively as possible.  One gift that people of all ages enjoy are:

No Sew Blankets

These are so easy to make and you can find the material inexpensively.
You can find directions on how to make them here.

Other ideas for Children,

(My kids love to go and buy hot chocolate!)

Some ideas for Teens

And for the Men in your life,

And for the special ladies in your life,

I hope I have given you some fabulous ideas for gifts this year.  Link up with Cait at The Blessed Life for more of the 12 Days of Christmas.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

12 Days of Chirstmas - Day 2


Day 2 - Christmas Traditions

Here are a few of my family's favorite Christmas traditions:

Movies - Beginning now all the way up to Christmas, my family loves to watch Christmas movies. Some of our favorites are Elf, The Grinch, The Santa Clause and Miracle on 34th Street.  We try to watch a few each week.

Baking - A week or two before Christmas I get together with my mom and/or sister to bake cookies.  We make Sugar Cookies, Sandies, Magic Bars, Snicker Doodles and more!  If I have the finances, I love giving baked goodies to friends and co-workers.

Christmas Eve - Christmas Eve is always spent at my younger sister's home. The family comes over and we each bring something to contribute to eat.  The adults each buy a $10 gift, bring it wrapped with no name and we play the "steal it" game.  The children normally draw names in advance and buy a small gift for the cousin that they chose.  

Also on Christmas Eve, my children open up their new PJs, not necessarily Christmas ones. They all look so adorable on Christmas morning in their new PJs.

After the children go to bed on Christmas Eve, I bring out their presents (which I never put under the tree ahead of time, because they normally only have a few) and stuff their stockings.

Christmas Morning - I lay in bed as long as possible.  My oldest son, who is 16, is usually the first one up, sometimes as early as 5:00a and I make him promise to not sneak a peak into his stocking while waiting for the other kids to get up.  My younger two, ages 10 and 7, usually are up between 6:30-7:00a and I normally have to wake up my oldest daughter (19) and my husband through bribery.  We love to sit with our children and read about the birth of Jesus and pray together.  Then the kids open their stockings and gifts and hubby and I exchange gifts.  Afterwards, I make breakfast which normally consists of Cinnamon French Toast, Bacon, Hash Brown Cassarole, juice and coffee.

Christmas Day - We normally spend Christmas Day at my parents or sister-in-law's home.  We take turns so it depends on whose turn it is, and for the life of me, I can't remember!

Link up to the 12 Days of Christmas with Cait at The Blessed Life

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12 Days of Christmas


I am participating in the 12 Days of Christmas with Cait at The Blessed Life.  

Day 1 - What Does Christmas Mean To You?

Christmas to me is LOVE.  God loved me so much that He sent His only son, Jesus, to earth to be born so that I might live eternally and forever with Him.  It's hard for me to comprehend such love.  I am so grateful that He came.
Christmas is about loving others.  Every year for the last several years our church has put on a Community Christmas dinner for those in our community who are homeless or who cannot otherwise afford a Christmas dinner.  We fill their stomachs by serving them a hot meal, and get the privilege of filling their spirits by sharing the free gift of Jesus.  We also bless the children and adults with gifts. It does my heart good to be a part of such an amazing outpouring of love to others.
Christmas is also about spending time with my family.  We enjoy getting up early on Christmas morning, reading the story of Jesus' birth, praying together, opening gifts, making a huge breakfast and then enjoying the day with extended family.
It's easy to get distracted during this busy seasons. I strive to keep JOY in my heart as I reflect on the goodness of God and all that I have been given through Jesus, God's free gift of love to me.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Be Still And Know

I am featured over at 5 Minutes for Faith today talking about the importance of "Being Still".  Here's a little teaser:
And so it begins. This season of busyness. There are many days when I feel overwhelmed. As a wife, mom, full-time worker, minister and friend, there are many things competing for my time and attention.  And especially during the holidays, my life tends to get more hectic and overwhelming.  In a season when I am called to give thanks, to reflect on the beauty of the Lord and be reminded of the most precious gift that has been given to me, I am distracted.  As if I weren’t busy enough. Now there is decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, parties and the list goes on.
I hope you will visit me at 5 Minutes for Faith today to read the rest of my post. Please leave me a comment there letting me know you stopped by.

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