Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
I am not sure if you can read what it says. I guess I should’ve cropped it a little more. *shrugs shoulders* (On a side note…I just found out that I have been spelling the word ‘shrugs’…wrong for years. Huh. I would have bet money that there were two g’s. Ah well…you learn something new every day. Lol!) Back to business. The coffee description reads as follows…”A coffee for both the connoisseur and those who occasionally have trouble spelling it.” Bahaha! And I am one of those people. I put in some extra e’s and u’s…and left out an o and an n here and there. Haha…I love it! I commend the marketing crew on this one. I can’t decide if I will for sure buy it again. (The verdict is still out.) But…they sure got my attention once!
I am doing a taste test for a new coffee brand. I have to admit that I have been converted to the dark side. (Of the coffee connoisseur world that is. No need for an intervention here!) Ever since I got my new Bosch Tassimo Brewer (*bitterness here with them at the time being…but that is for another time and place*)…I have not been satisfied with my usual. Hangs head for a moment of silence for her former 20 year commitment to Maxwell House. It was the brand I grew up on. Every Saturday…my brothers and I were allowed to have one cup of coffee. We learned to drink it just the way my mom did. Kinda weak (sorry mom). Lots of powdered cream. And of course a fair amount of sugar. (We didn’t like the taste of the actual coffee. We had to ‘doctor’ it up a bit. ;) ) It was the highlight of my weekends! =)
I stayed pretty true to this method until recently. (I did swap out the powdered cream and sugar for liquid flavors…but the coffee was the same.) Like I said though…I was fine with this coffee until I got my Tassimo. The lattes that I made were made with espresso…and it totally changed my taste preference. Now I’m really enjoying strong coffee. I feel like I am cheating on my mom. I was the last one of her children who still preferred her style coffee over my step-dad’s
So last week I was at Walmart…and I decided I would pick up a couple of new coffee brands. I already know I like Dunkin Donuts…so I ventured out from there.
These are my side by side testers of the week. Gevalia medium/dark ground coffee is on the left. I loved the cute little cup and saucer pictured on the front of the package. And of course yellow is always an eye-catcher! And any coffee that labels itself as incredibly smooth…is worth trying.
I have tasted Seattle’s Best… …so now I am on to Gevalia. (On a side note. I am in love with my Bunn! First…it is great shape for being made in 1999! Second…I get almost instant coffee. And…it stays HOT! Didn’t realize what a luxury this feature was until I was without it. ;) I still appreciate the coffee pot that was loaned to me…but I was REALLY excited when I fixed my Bunn!!!!)
I add this picture only to show that you can now tell that this is coffee and not chocolate milk. I was adding more cream than coffee before. I am actually liking the flavor of coffee more and more. It is amazing how quickly my taste buds adjusted! Soon…I will be down from 1/4 cup (might be a bit of an exaggeration…but not much)…to 1 tsp per mug of coffee. THAT IS HUGE FOR ME! Haha!
I love this pic of Ariel! She is a little ham when it comes to the camera. A free spirit, most who know her say. Just last night she was making up a song after I prayed with her at bedtime. It was four minutes of awesomeness! I did have to shut the camera off for a short time only because I was shaking with laughter…and I was not being the most effective camera-woman. Haha! I love that she isn’t shy…and that she sings for Jesus often. She says that if you aren’t singing to Jesus…what is the point? I agree, with all that I am! =)
Okay…so I have a winner for my morning coffee contest. Drum roll please…
Sorry Seattle. Even with your awesome marketing on the package…I have to go with actual flavor. Gevalia wins this morning’s contest. (Click on the link to order a bag for yourself!) More testing will follow. (I won’t blog each one…just wanted to sit and be happy with my coffee today. And this post makes me happy!)
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Finally last night it was time. BEDTIME!!!! I had been counting down the minutes since about…930am. (Don’t judge me…we all know you have all done it before! Lol!) I was trying to rush through bedtime routines quickly so that I could go be one with my bed.
I prayed with my daughter. Check.
I kissed her goodnight. Check.
I tucked her in tight. Check.
Got Levi laid down in his toddler bed. (At 1 1/2 years old…this is a step that was repeated several times.) Check…check…check…check.
Prayed with my three boys who share a bedroom. Check.
As I was planning my exit…my oldest son, Aiden began to pray. He didn’t ask if he could…because God knew I would probably have said, “No, not tonight…Mommy isn’t feeling well.” It would have been a ridiculously stupid answer to a wonderful question…but luckily he didn’t ask. He just began to pray.
“God please help my Mommy’s head to feel better. Help her to be able to rest. Touch her body and take away anything that is attacking her. Tomorrow if she doesn’t feel better help her to say…”I am healed, I am healed, I am healed, I am healed.” over and over again. (Each time he said it…he got a little bit louder!) And when you heal her head help her to tell all of her family and friends, “THANK YOU JESUS I AM HEALED!!” (This too was said with much emotion and almost a little bit of screamo in there.)” As he prayed these words over me…he held my hand and squeezed it and shook it a little bit when he was getting into it!
I went from wanting to rush to my bed…to laying my head on the side of his bunk. Tears streamed down my face. A smile slowly formed across my mouth. I began to say “Yes Jesus!” in agreement with his passionate prayer for me. Oh how I didn’t deserve that prayer last night. I am one blessed
I woke up today with a slight headache. He asked me while he was getting ready for school. I wanted to lie and say that it felt fine…but I didn’t. He smiled and hugged me and said that he hoped I felt better. Just after 8am…while he was at school…my headache left me completely. I sent a text to his teacher…because she is also my wonderful sister-in-law. I can just imagine the smile that appeared on his face when she told him that his prayers were answered.
What a wonderful reminder. Keeping believing…and you will see results. I did. From the mouth of innocence…came much blessing. I am so glad he didn’t ask…and so glad he is paying attention to the examples set before him. I heard things that I pray. I felt squeezes that I do. I heard passion that I know I recognize in my own prayers. I saw mountains moving…at the command of a powerful child of Christ. Mine.
This makes all those nights of praying with my children…so worth it. They are paying attention. Exceptionally well I might add. They are putting these things to practice. I am so proud of who they are becoming. Prayer warriors. Worshippers. Servants.
I am reminded of this verse that I repeat to myself some days that I just don’t ‘feel’ like doing the right thing (whatever it may be.)
Friday, April 6, 2012
Submit your answers any of the ways posted, for a chance to win a prize that I really want to keep myself (Haha...now that doesn't go along with my whole 'greed' teaching now does it!! ;) ) You can submit them as a comment on my blog. Or on facebook. Or email me. I am excited to see the ripple of God move throughout this 'contest'. Let's give God the glory for His goodness through acts of kindness to and through one another!
Once my randomly placed tulips come up this spring...I am going to relocate them so I can enjoy them. (They are my favorite flower!) Right now...they are hidden from my view in a bunch of tall, dead weeds...and the only people who can enjoy them is drive-bys. Lol! You are welcome for that random information. (Your day is now complete!) I guess I need to hang out with some friends. This lack of adult conversation is making me ramble. Tee hee! *sigh*
Have a blessed 'Good Friday'! If you want to read an amazing, heart gripping truth about what Good Friday is all about, written by my favorite author...click here! I read it this morning...and I sat with tear-filled eyes in awe of the truth. Matchless. This is what makes my God...matchless!
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The enemy wants us to please self. He wants us to always be thinking of a way to make more money. He wants us to sacrifice for a price. He wants us to lower our morals for a price. Never have the words in this song Here I am to Worship made so much of an impact to my way of thinking. "I'll never know how much it cost...to see my sins upon that cross." (Your welcome for getting that song in your head for the rest of the day. Pleasure is all mine! ;) )
What is your price? What is the price you would accept to lower your moral standards? Max Lucado writes in his devotional, Embraced by God (which I highly recommend if you have a love for writing)...that money is in the hearts of American people. Please take a minute and read this excerpt from his book listed above.
"If money is the gauge of the heart, then this study revealed that money is on the heart of most Americans. In exchange for ten million dollars:
25% would abandon their family.
25% would abandon their church.
23% would become a prostitute for a week.
16% would give up their American citizenship.
16% would leave their spouse.
13% would put their children up for adoption."
Ok...now let's all pick our jaws up off the floor after reading that. Seems a bit extreme huh? Well greed doesn't usually just throw itself at you in full force with ten million dollars. No, it must start with accepting just a slight drop in your moral standards. Then a little more.
Soon...people who you once loved, begin to keep their distance. Probably thinking that you will sell them out for the right amount of money. People you hardly know are trying to befriend you...for their own personal gain. No one knows you anymore. You aren't yourself, and you don't trust anyone.
Included, and most important in that list of people that barely know you...your Father. (Father being capitalized because I am speaking reverently of your Creator!)
You see...provision, abundance, and knowledge...they were never intended to be a replacement for your faith, trust and compassion. The less you needed God for provision...the less faith you required to get through your days. The more abundance you acquired through your drop in morals...the less trust you had for anyone...including God. And the more knowledge you gained of how to become more wealthy...the less compassion you had for those less fortunate.
If this is you, ask yourself...was it worth the price? If this could be where you are headed, ask yourself...is it worth the price? What is the cost? Who is suffering?
I have incredible news. If you can relate even on the smallest scale...it is NEVER too late. The foot of the cross is always open. There is an alter out there waiting for you to kneel in front of it. It is always ready and waiting for you to surrender it all to Christ again. He is the One who bore the sin of greed on that cross. What an incredible Easter gift you could give to God and your family...surrender.
And if you are out there saying..."Vanesa, I don't have two nickels to rub together. You don't have to worry about me losing myself in this 'abundance' you speak of." Then remember what I said in my last post..."Greed has nothing to do with money...and everything to do with the heart and hands that hold it." Greed does not confine itself to those who have much. The enemy will get in the heart of anyone who allows...and use whatever he can. Just be wary of his scheme. God just unveiled him to you...watch yourself.
All good things come from God. God always deserves the glory. He always deserves the honor. He always deserves the respect. God always deserves the excess to do HIS will.
Pray for protection from this scheme of greed that the enemy will try to use on you. Bathe your children, no matter their age, in prayer...against greed. Always give as the Lord requests...no matter what the price. The cost will bring eternal, ever LASTING rewards!
Go be His hands and feet with whatever He has blessed you with. Food, transportation, love, compassion, animals, books, songs, the list is endless. And our God is a creative God. He will tell you to give the wackiest things...and the Light that you share is matchless. Don't believe me? Well then, let me tell you a story.
I will never forget the day that some dear friends of our showed up with a trunk full of groceries for us. It had been a rough couple of months for us financially. We were barely keeping our heads above the water...but still being faithful with what we had. When he pulled up and opened his trunk...I could've cried. (I don't think I did at that moment...but I did later for sure! It's my style ya know. ;) )
As my husband and his friend began bringing in bag after bag...I began loading up the fridge and cupboards. There was one item in particular that brought me to tears. Go-Gurt. It was not an extravegant gift. Just simple. It was a blessing that cost him less than $5. You see those four children that run around this house with me all day...had been asking for weeks for me to buy them some Go-Gurt. I had to keep telling them no. Each time breaking my heart for how innocently disappointed they were. This large box of Go-Gurt was proof that God cares about even the smallest of our desires. He met our needs...and our wants.
And those friends of ours (R & R)...they proved to me that they will obediently give as God leads. They will not give in to greed. They will surrender their abundance to bless those that God leads. What a wonderful example they were to me...and oh how that day inspired me.
Creative...be creative. Look for ways to use what resources you have...and give like no one else! Your mission is unique...unlike mine...but so important. You show Christ through every act you do in His Name! You are the Christ that others see. Smile at that! This is never to condemn you...and always to inspire and encourage you my friend.
Oh my you will never guess what God just reminded me of. (I am putting my lesson today to use!) This is my 100th post since I started writing my blog in February of 2011. It makes me a bit sad to see how many days I wasted without sharing...but I still choose to be really excited with the days I was obedient!! So...in celebration of this event...I would LOVE to do another give-a-way! I have an idea in mind...and if you love God...love coffee or chai...and love chocolate...YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE!! =)
Send me a message on my blog. On facebook. My email. Text me. Call me. Just say the word GIVE-A-WAY and then tell me how you blessed someone else at God's leading. Or how you were unexpectly blessed by someone else. Or even how this post inspired you to be creative and you plan to bless someone soon! That would be sooo awesome! It will be such a huge encouragement to hear from you blogger-land stalkers out there. LOL!
And I will mail the awesome-est prize to whoever it is that wins. (Randomly selected of course!) No person reading this right now is too far! I see you out there in Germany, Russia, Malaysia, Taiwan. Come on...let's go global!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The subject of choice…greed. Ack! I know some people who I would classify as greedy. How about you? I am sure you could think of someone if you thought real hard. It isn’t just me right? (By the way…I do not condone that behavior. I hate that specific people subconsciously popped into my head when asked to define greed. Judging at it’s finest. =( I learned from it though. That is the purpose of writing it down. To see the enemy’s thoughts as my own…and throw them back in his face with a new revelation from my favorite Author…God!)
So when I was asked the question, “What is your definition of greed?”…I was struggling to not list qualities of the people I know. See, awful huh? I know. God and I have dealt with it. I had to make a conscious effort from that point on to make general worldly categorized statements…instead of specific examples. My definition of greed was a bit surprising to me. And extremely humbling!
Wanna take a quiz with me? Read through my greed defining statements and mentally check the ones that describe you at times. I did it and I was embarrassed. You know those people I couldn’t help but think of above? Ugh…how it hurts to be judged so easily and carelessly. I get it! Warning…if you are having a bad day…maybe wait until later. =) I don’t want to pull you down further. Just to help you realize what God has to teach you for today.
Greed is never being satisfied.
Greed is being envious.
Greed is not being able to rejoice when others succeed or are blessed.
Greed is saving when you know you are supposed to be giving.
Greed is dreaming of wealth and nice things to the extreme of pointless obsession.
Greed is becoming desensitized to the hurting around you.
Greed is treating people differently according to what they can do for you.
Greed is believing that the most money= the most important.
Greed is laying down your morals for the sake of personal gain.
Greed is buying on credit with no plan or hope to pay it off.
Greed is the thrill of the purchase with the remorse of the effects to come.
Greed is dangling your belongings in front of others to puff yourself up.
Greed is discontent with how you are being provided for.
Greed is hiding purchases from your spouse/family.
Greed is keeping the good stuff for yourself (example:
Greed has absolutely nothing to do with money…and everything to do with the hands and heart that hold it.
Ouch! I’m ashamed to admit how many of those describe me at times. This list is like my own little chapter of Proverbs. As I have said before. Proverbs is like a kick in the stomach to me. Lol! “A wise man ___________(lists what is right there)…but a fool _____________(lists what I do there).” If any of those, or many of those make you feel a bit guilty…you are not alone.
Conviction doesn’t feel good.
But correction…the point in which you apply your knowledge of right and wrong…that feels amazing!
Let’s end with one of my favorite Proverbs. I mentioned it in a recent post. And just incase you didn’t look it up…I will take time out of my busy day to type it for you. ;)
Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”
Don’t be stupid. (That is what I wrote to myself beside this verse in my Bible.) I smile every time I read it. And it speaks mountains to me when I feel convicted and don’t want to accept it. When I do though…oh how I imagine God can finally high five the angels around Him. I am a work of art…and so far from being finished. But the days that I have breakthroughs…those are the days that God can add the vividness to His masterpiece. And I hope you can agree that when your world is bright and vivid you are happier. Brightness and vivid colors are signs of life! Breakthrough the chains that hold you in a place of greed. Your life will never be the same!Conviction doesn’t feel good.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
We’ve all probably heard that before. ‘Bloom where you are planted.’ You know me. I can make anything into a devotional lesson. Lol! And that is just what I had in mind when I took these pictures a few weeks ago. In my opinion, the flowers pictured below would be much more beautiful if they weren’t growing under a big maple tree. Because then they wouldn’t be surrounded by dead leaves and small, fallen branches. In the light of the sun though…they open up (see picture #3) and are beautiful, no matter what surrounds them. Did you get that? Let me help you apply it. ;) “In the light of the Son we too can show true beauty in all places and situations .” And that beauty isn’t measured in the weight on your scale. Or the skill level of your make-up regimen. Or the outfits that you put together.
True beauty is from within. Don’t believe me. Let’s go to the Word of Truth and Knowledge. 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.”
Do you desire to be looked upon as a woman/man of great worth? Who’s scale are you comparing yourself to? Are you worried about how you stack up next to your friends? Or family? Or fellow church members? Or maybe your struggle is comparing yourself with people with the same gifts and talents. Let those be your verses for today. When you are feeling down on yourself…remember that a gentle and quiet spirit before God…is unfading. Remember that the Son of God…makes your world shine brighter…not fade away. And remember that He holds those things up as great worth! You are beautiful…and don’t let the enemy (or your circumstance) tell you differently.
Do not doubt your ability to be transformed in the likeness of Christ. Look at how gorgeous this spring flower is amidst the deadness of fall that surrounds it. It is alive. No one can doubt the life that shines through it because it stands out in the dead and dark of its surroundings. And you can’t help but to smile at the vivid colors among the dreary.
Spring. It brings life. It brings color. It brings a fresh start for new ideas. I love spring in PA. It is a lovely season. No more snow. No more salt on the edges of the roads. No more sliding into ditches. No more bundling up from head to toe.
It brings warmth from the sunshine. Good things are to come. Beautiful things. Things that remind us of our Creator.
What is your spring like? Do you rejoice at the sight of new buds? (Speaking of buds. I ‘planted?’ some flowers last fall. Sort of. I say the word planted with a question mark because I wasn’t sure if they were going to live. And because I was unsure if they would even live because I had neglected them for so long…I wasn’t sure if I wanted to waste my time and energy in digging holes if they were just going to die. So what did I do? I dumped them in different places on the side of my shed. Yep…dumped. As in on top of the grass…in clumps. (My ‘green thumb’ is not quite developed. Ha-ha!) And to my surprise this spring…they are growing. Green leaves are emerging from the clumps of dirt that fell out with the bulbs that I
planted dumped last fall. So I did officially plant them around my shed. As in dug holes and gently placed the bulbs into said holes. Then recovered with fresh soil. I look at them almost daily when I walk by to see how they’ve grown. I know I have no right…but I am proud of myself. Lol! Sad huh? I honestly don’t even remember what type of flowers will appear. Oh how I love the surprises of spring!)
I love a fresh start! I love new life! I am excited for what is to come this year! I had a word from God spoken over me a few weeks ago. “It is going to begin to come easy for you. What you have been trying to do…will now be easy.” Whew…sometimes I need simple and easy. Praise God for something to look forward to! I can’t wait to see what those words entail for me. I have ideas…but I will wait on God to reveal them for sure. After all, I want His will above mine!
What does this fresh start mean to you? What new adventures are you looking forward to? I am praying for you out there in blogger-land. I may not know you. I have no idea what you are facing. But I pray for the people that this blog reaches. And that includes you! God knows you better than I…and I trust He is pouring His love on you.
How much easier it is to bloom when you are surrounded by life! Sometimes it takes going through trials to make you appreciate the easy life. Worry is not for us, as Christians. We have faith. We have trust in our Maker. We have the Word of Life. We have the Spirit to intercede on our behalf. Surround yourself with like-minded, life. People who are in your corner rooting for you to succeed for Christ. Pray them in. And pour out the love of Christ to each person you meet. (Even the difficult ones. Ugh, I hear ya…but it will be worth your effort!)
Bloom. And encourage others to bloom.
Share your gifts from God. Encourage others to share theirs.
Speak. And encourage others to speak words of Life.
Love. And encourage others to love.
Forgive and forget.
This is a fresh start for you. It is never too late to decide that you want to strive to be more like Christ. This is your year. Claim it…and start changing today!!