Thursday, December 29, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Resolutions

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It is here again: the New Year.  We all knew it was coming.  The signs were there.  Thanksgiving came and went.  We all turned our clocks back (with the exception of my Saskatchewan friends).  We put up Christmas decorations and some of us braved Boxing Day sales (Canada's version of Black Friday).  So, why am I shocked that 2011 is almost gone and 2012 is on its way?

A lot of things have happened this year.  We met autism and discovered its effect on our lives.  We made the decision to move to a province with better funding for children with special needs.  We slowly watched as Sam needed a patch to correct a lazy eye to full surgery to correct the issue.  We have struggled with depression and frustration.  New schools and old job.  Throw in 4 boughts of stomach flus in which the 2nd one took out our old washer and you have a fraction of what our 2011 looked like.

I am hopeful that 2012 will be better.  I am getting pumped at what the New Year will look like.  I have been inspired to look at Resolutions as changes I want to make.  Not the typical eat less, lose weight, etc.... resolutions, but actual habits.  Last year I participated in the 3 in 30 Challenge for the first few months.  I looked each month at a spiritual, emotional and physical habit to work on.  I will be doing the same this year.  I am going to choose a few habits and exercises that I want to accomplish this year.  I don't want to set myself up for failure.  I want to set myself up for success.  

Spiritually I will be working on reading the Bible chronologically, memorizing scripture and continuing participating with my Good Morning Girls Facebook group.  I also will be tackling at least one non fiction book each month.  I have promised myself that I will not buy any more books until I read the ones that I have already.  I have a lot so I may not be able to buy any books until 2013.  I feel these are some easy goals to complete.   I have been getting up at 6:30 am to do my devotion time (OK, so I make it up at least 3 times a week).  I also will be watching less tv during the day.  Most of what's on during the day is just ridiculous and time wasting so I can fill it with other things or if I need a break, I'll read some fluff.

Physically I am going to try to make getting active a regular routine in my life.  I am pretty sedentary (well as sedentary as a mom can be).  I live behind a park and a walk way and watch people walk by all the time.  It's time I get out and walk.  I can take advantage of the days where it is just Sammy and me,  put him in a stroller and walk for a while.  There's a bakery/coffee shop about a 20 minute walk from my house.  I'm sure that I can talk him into  going there.  On days where I can't get out I have a treadmill that sits alone in my basement, rarely used.  I need to start using it.  Over the last few days I have struggled in watching the kids watch TV or play their video games.  I remember when I was a kid and played outside all the time.  But then my family was outside a lot.  How can I force them to go out and play if I do not exhibit it myself?  I am hoping that by my getting out and about that the kids will be encouraged to do it as well.

As I have said before 2011 was draining.  In 2012 I want to focus on the positive.  Not in a false Pollyanna style but in a way that encourages those around me.  I want to be honest about my feelings.  When I am not doing well, I want to be able to tell people that and it be OK.  I don't want to wear a false smile and say "Great!"  Sometimes things aren't OK.  I think we need to be open with the people around us.  When we are struggling, we need to let them know.  People who read this blog know more about my struggles than people who I see at Church each week.  That's wrong and I am going to end it.  I cannot be emotionally healthy unless I am willing to be honest with not just myself, but with those around me.  Life is hard.  It's not easy and again, that's OK.  

As you may have noticed this year I was a little up and down with the blog.  I was wondering if I was even going to continue the blog or not.  This past week I have been really inspired and lead by God regarding the blog.  I have a tonne of ideas that I need to get on and posted.  I am not going to say that I will be blogging daily, but I will be blogging more than I have in the past few months.  I even am going to set some time each week to work on my blog.  I have someone coming in to do respite with the boys and I may use that time to blog or clean or just sit and drink coffee peacefully.

As you can see I am excited and hopeful for 2012.  I really feel like I may be seeing the light at the end of the valley of the deepest darkness.  What are your resolutions this year?  What are you going to be working on?  



Come join in the random fun.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday's Voice - Iran


Officials Frantically Deny Spread of the Gospel
The Iranian media is desperate to refute claims that Christianity is spreading among Iranian youth and through cities considered to be almost exclusively Islamic. The government-supported Jomhouri-e-Eslami daily newspaper is calling the spread of Christianity an unfounded rumour, but there are definite contradictions in fact to this statement. On October 2, the government-supported news website, Javan-Online, acknowledged that the acceptance of Christianity was becoming a trend and reported 200 house churches were discovered in just a few months in the traditionally Islamic city of Mashhad.
Moslehi also cryptically announced there will be a new effort to fight the growth of house churches in Iran, and there are serious concerns that this Christmas season could bring intense persecution for Christians. Last Christmas season, authorities from the Ministry of Intelligence raided house churches and the homes of believers in Iran arresting hundreds of Christian.
Pray the Body of Christ will continue to multiply and mature despite persecution. 

Pray the government will be open to change and allow full rights and protection for non-Muslims. 

Pray that those who flee Iran will find refuge and help. 

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm a Geek!

I am a geek!  Only a geek would get excited when our Pastor announced that the Bible League of Canada Devotional Day Planner was in and available.  I managed to grab one of the last ones available.  I actually got a little nervous I wouldn't get one when I saw so many of the ladies with them at coffee.  This lovely planner has daily devotional readings, an area to write daily prayer requests and several reading plans.  This year the main reading plan is a chronological reading of the Bible in a year.


Last year I attempted to read the Bible in 90 days with Moms Toolbox.  I made it through to Luke.  That's the furthest I have ever made it in one go.  I justified that I have read Acts to Jude on my own before and in other studies.  So the only book I haven't read is Revelation.  Note how I put "justified".  I feel bad that I didn't finish the B90 challenge.  I enjoyed reading and learning more of God's word and the history of God's people.  I feel like a "drop out. "B90 drop out, no graduation day for you....."  I can hear Frankie Avalon singing it to me while I sit in a nice church pew (think Grease, without the pink hair).  

This fall I decided not to try the challenge again.  I wanted to focus on  getting up and studying daily (I'm still working on this) with Good Morning Girls.  I've met a great bunch of ladies who I have become close to even though I have only met one of them in person.  But.....I still feel lead to read my Bible start to finish.  

This fall I also discovered this and have been coveting it ever since.:


I love the look of this Bible and since I do not currently own a NKJV translation, it is definitely the one I will be ordering in the future.  It comes with maps and articles about the historical context.  It also is in full colour.  

Because I do not believe in coincidences, but believe in the leading of the Holy Spirit, I feel lead to read the Bible chronologically this year.  I will be posting a weekly reading plan on my side bar and posting each Thursday what God has been teaching me or leading me in my reading.  The reading plan I will be following is from the Devotional Day Planner.  If anyone is interested in joining me I may post a link each week after my post.  

I can not wait to get started and can not wait to see where God leads me in this journey.  Won't you join me?

I'm linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven. 



Friday, December 23, 2011

Caffeinated Christmas - It Was the Night Before Christmas and Other Stories...

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I love Christmas books.  In fact we have a whole box of Christmas books that get brought out the day the decorations come out.  The kids get excited when they see the books.  Some of the books are tradtional.  Some are contemporarary.  Some focus on Santa.  Most focus on the Nativity.  Some of these books are new.  Some we have picked up at second hand stores.  Each represents Christmas in some way.  I thought this week that I would share my favourites with you.

Shortly after being married and becoming a Christian I heard the writer of "one silent night", Janice Chaffee being interviewed on her book.  It was a compilation of various Christmas stories of women of all walks of life.  Some are well known Christians and some were just ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances.  It's a great reminder that we only see the outside of people and never truly know their whole story.


Every household needs a version of "A Night Before Christmas".  The one we own is the original poem by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Cheryl Harness. 


While I read this to the kids, I often start singing as I sang this in elementary school.  I still remember the tune for 3/4 of the book.  

"Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star" by Christine Harder Tangveld is another book that I sing to.  You can't help it when you read it.  Sam can now hum to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, so I read it to him often.  I love how the star gets bigger and bigger as you get closer to the end.  The focus is on the Star of Bethlehem and all who follow it.


A book that I feel will become a classic is "We Believe in Christmas" by Karen Kingsbury.  I love the flow of the book.  It's a great reminder of what we are really to focus on during the Christmas season.  Sometimes it's hard for us to explain to our children why we believe.  This book helps us explain to them why.  The illustrations are also great in that it depicts an average family traveling to Church for their Christmas Pagent with views along the way of the outward visuals of Christmas. 


One of my new favourie holiday books is "Llama Llama Holiday Drama" by Anne Dewdney.  Sometimes as adults it is easy to forget how our holiday stress can affect the kids.  We drag them shopping with us, we get them to help decorate and bake.  They are eventually going to blow.  I love how this book reminds us that just being together is what makes Christmas so special, not all the hoopla that we think we need.  The Mama Llama is very smart.  I want to be like her when I grow up. 


My kids favourite book isn't even really a book.  It is the Usborne Advent Nativity Book pop out board book.  Each day of December the kids get to pop out one of the participants of the Christmas story.  They get very excited about this and do not miss a day.  Nicole will often read the story to Thomas while they put up the scene.  So far it has been the best Christmas book purchase.


These are our favourite books.  I can't wait to add to our collection.  This year Nicole is receiving "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson.  I can't wait to read it with her on Christmas Day.

Come share your favourite Christmas reads or other randomness with us this week.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Caffeinated Christmas - Visions of Sugar Plums and other Christmas Goodies

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What is it about Christmas that makes us think of cookies and chocolates?  Not that I am complaining.  It just seems a lot of work for once a year.  I keep reading on Facebook about how many of us are spending full days dedicated to Christmas Baking.  Some have even posted as to how they are going to keep the goodies safe from being eaten until Christmas.  I was also starting to stress about this this year, until I made some shortbread cookies.  I realized how easy they were.  I for some reason forget this fact.  I made 4 dozen and let the family eat 2 dozen in 1 day.  I did freeze the rest, but only because I double batched my gingerbread recipe and knew that I was going to have them eating these this week.  Why do we save our best for this time of year?  Why don't we bake like this more often?  Just things I am pondering.....

In the past I have hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange so that I don't have to spend quite as much time in the kitchen.  I have very strict rules:  must be baked, must not be a chocolate chip cookie, and must bring 8 dozen.  I try not to invite too many people so that we can each get as close to 1 dozen of each as possible.  One year there was just 4 of us and that was a good cookie year.  I have had people actually get upset over my rules and then send store bought cookies.  I just rolled my eyes (privately, that is) and accepted them graciously.  I don`t understand why people wouldn`t want to bake 8 dozen cookies once and then have most of their baking done in one day.  The last exchange I had (2 years ago) was well attended and we had a lot of variation in cookies:  lime sugar cookies, chocolate coffee shortbread cookies, pfeffernusse (say that one 5 times fast).... We each went home with 8 dozen cookies of some variation and they didn't last long.  I had to fight the middleman for the good ones.  

Some of my take from the Last Cookie Exchange.  The chocolate dipped ones were yummy.


I usually make Eggnog Cherry Loaf for my participation in cookie exchanges.  I know it's not a cookie, but its festive and yummy.  It's always nice to have one available for when guests come during the season.  My Evil Twin now makes this recipe every year and gives them to her day home parents as gifts.  I am thinking I may be giving these to the teachers as gifts this year,  as well as a coffee card.  Who doesn't love Christmas Baking and coffee?

Eggnog Cherry Loaf
My gift to you this year is the Eggnog Cherry Loaf recipe.  My grandmother got the recipe from a Christmas card one year and made it on a lark.  She then had to send the recipe to me so I could try it and I did.  It is quite simple and as I said before, yummy.   I hope you try this recipe and share it with your family and friends.

Eggnog Cherry Loaf

2 1/2cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cup eggnog
6 Tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2cup chopped candied red cherries
1/2cup chopped pecans (optional) 
 
Preheat oven to 350 F for 45-50 minutes

Mix dry ingredients together.
Mix wet ingredients together, with cherries and pecans.
Mix dry and wet ingredients together until just moist.
Place in prepared 9 x 5 prepared loaf pan. 
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Come join in the Caffeinated Christmas with your favourite recipie or randomness you would like to share.

PS:  Next week we will be discussing The Night Before Christmas and Other Stories....



Friday, December 9, 2011

Caffeinated Christmas - Seasons Greetings

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Did you know that the oldest Christmas Card was first published in 1843.  It was actually very controversial too as it showed children drinking wine.  Not the first card I would run out and buy.  In fact, I often wonder why we send out Christmas Cards.  Did it start out as the lazy easy way of letting your family far away from you know that you might be were thinking of them without actually writing a full letter. 

I'm fascinated by Christmas cards because I stress about them every year.  I either have to many or not enough.  Which ones do I buy?  Should they be festive, religious or fun?  Should I make cards or should I buy cards?  Should I just produce a photo card?  The final and most important question:  Who gets the cards?  Do I have to give a card to everybody at church?  Which family members get a card?  Do I send one out just to the siblings or should I send cards to our grown nieces and nephews?  Do I have to include a Christmas letter in each of the cards or just to those close and intimate friends and family?  Do you see my dilemia?

My husband comes from a large family and extended family.  My family is quite large as well.  We have many friends and acquaintances.  I always start with a list of names and then count how many people are getting cards each year.  This year it is over 60 cards.  That's a lot of postage.  I do cheap out with postage as I try to hand deliver as many as possible and I try to batch up my family's in one evelope to my Grandmother, where they all eventually go on Christmas day.  But the writing..........I have learned over the years instead of writing a personal message to each individual to just write a short and simple verse or saying.  Last year was easy because we did a photocard with a verse I chose on it.  I just shoved them in the mail and away they went.  

Last Year's Card
 
This year I decided not to do that and to just buy cards.  I then struggled with religious or not religious?  This is the argument I have with myself every year.  As you know, if you have visited before, my family is not religious in anyway and I'm always afraid I'll go too far with the religious conatation.  Every year, I decide to just be true to myself and share what I am called to share: the TRUE reason for CHRISTmas.  Not the commercial Santa Claus version I grew up with.  Every year I pick out a verse and add it to the card if there isn't one already or if I have made the cards.  (Yes, one year I did make the cards but I massed produced one design for my own sanity.).  





I searched some eCard sites like Dayspring and Crosscards for a bible verse and came up with :  Behold....I bring you tidings of Joy Luke 2:10.  I felt this was appropriate as the inside of the card was already "May your holiday sparkle with joy."   I wanted my verse to reflect where we should be looking for our joy, something I sometimes I have to remember myself. 
I'm know every year my list changes.  People come and go from our lives.  I may stress about the Christmas Cards.  I may even wonder why I continue this tradition.  I think though that with so many people connected via the social media networks there is still something personal about receiving a card in the mail and a small handwritten note as a reminder that we are thinking of the person and praying over them.

I can't wait to see your Christmas greetings.  I know originally I had said that this post would be about favourite, funniest, strangest, etc... Christmas greetings received over the years, but I just felt moved to write about the whole phenomena.  I can't wait to see what your greeting post will look like.  Come and link up this week with your greeting randomness.


PS:  Next week we will be discussing Visions of Sugar Plums and other Christmas Baking......
Friday, December 2, 2011

Caffeinated Christmas - All I want for Christmas is...

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All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, oh my two front teeth.....


No I don't want my two front teeth for Christmas, Santa Claus.  I have those.  But there is a lot of other things cool I would like.  I pin on Pinterest and love marking down my wish list when I am on it. (Please feel free to add me as your friend if you pin.  I love repinning other peoples finds.)  I thought I would share some of things that are on my wish list  this year.

1.
PAMELA   ( colour - black and grey)
I love this t-shirt.  It's more than a t-shirt, it's a statement.  I found the designer on Etsy.  I like all of her pieces, but this is my favourite.

2.
I would really like an e-reader.  I am getting tired of carrying around 5 novels from the library weekly and when we travel.  It would be nice to have something I can just carry around.  Plus, it is quicker to get ebooks from the library system than waiting for books through the regular hold system.  I really want to read the new book in the Inheritance Cycle series but am afraid to see the number of holds on it.  By the way, I am unsure whether I should ask for the Kobo or a Kindle.  If you have any thoughts let me or Santa know.

3.
I used to have a steam mop and I miss it.  Nothing gets a floor as clean as a steam mop.  I have tried microfibre clothes systems and they just don't do as good a job.  The steam really gets rid of any dirt and any film on the floor.  I am very fussy about my floors and get annoyed at myself when they are not as clean as I would like.  Plus, steam mops don't take as long to clean the floors.

4.
We have the Xbox 360, now we need to get this handy little attachment.  It is a visual remote and analyzes your body so that your body becomes the controller.  It would be fun to play games with the kids or just dance games with myself.  I'm thinking Black Eye Peas Experience game.  We could all get silly and show our best moves.  I would even vlog it for you guys.  LOL.  I don't know if I actually would go that far.

5.

I think every mom should get this every year - a day at the spa.  I would like the works: manicure, pedicure, massage, facial, etc...  I want to be pampered and waited on.  I want total relaxation without any interuptions.  I can already picture myself there.  However, I don't want to go a healthy spa, I want my snacks to involve wine and chocolate.  This isn't about me getting physically healthy, this is about my mental health.

6.
My goal next year is to read the whole Bible chronologically.  I ran into this version via Christianbook.com.  I was excited, because it has maps and historical content and it is in NKJV.  I have been waiting for the right bible to get in that translation and I think this is the one.

I hope you enjoyed reading my wish list.  I can't wait to read yours.  Next week we will be discussing Christmas Greetings.  Sharing our favourite, funniest, strangest, etc... Christmas greetings received over the years.

Come and link up today and share your wish list or just share your randomness.  Merry Christmas Everyone. 


Monday, November 28, 2011

Messy Monday - Waiting....

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

This week is the first week of Advent.  A time of preparation for the celebration of Jesus coming to us.  Today I was reminded that it is also a time of waiting.  We are waiting for Jesus' return.   We cry out " O Come, O Come Emmanuel"  come save us.  Come deliver us from our sufferings and our trials.  We cry out just as they have been crying out for the Saviour since the fall. 

O Come O Come Emmanuel is my favourite Christmas song.  It speaks to my yearning for Christ to come.  It speaks to not only my joy, but also my anguish and pain.  I yearn for His return and lament impatiently.

Today I am sharing Selah's version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  


Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Thy people with Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!

Oh come, Thou rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'ver the grave

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, Oh Israel!
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - The Ghost of Anniversary Past

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 As I am writing this it is Thanksgiving Day for many of my American friends.  It is also almost the start of Advent.  My husband and daughter are watching "Scrooge" with Alistair Sims (only the best version of it).  Tomorrow is my husband's and my 11th Anniversary.  This past week we have been remembering past anniversaries.  There has been much laughing, as well as much grumbling.  You see, our anniversaries are cursed.  We have never really had any anniversary plan come to complete fruition.  In honour of our anniversary and in honour of the start of Advent I will do my version of the 12 Days of Christmas in the "11 Anniversaries." 

On our 1st Anniversary my true love and I drove home from his nephews wedding through a snow storm with his parents, got lost in Montana and stayed at some cheap scary hotel with pink bathroom fixtures.

On our 2nd Anniversary my true love was sick.

On our 3rd Anniversary my true love and I got stuck in a snow storm with our little girl on our way to Jasper and stayed at a hotel in Nordegg.

On our 7th Anniversary my true love and I decided to forgo any celebrations as we were just about to travel to Disneyland with the kids.

On our 10th Anniversary my true love and I had planned to go away for the week, unfortunately we could find no one to watch our children so we ended up going out for dinner.  He, however, arranged for a driver to drive us so it was redeemed.

On our 11th Anniversary my true love and I plan to go to dinner at one of our favourite restaurant that we haven't been to in 5 years.  I am very excited.  Our Sister in Law has volunteered to babysit.  On Monday, we also plan to go to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert (Yes, Virginia he is still alive.)  Praying that we are able to make it.
Ok, so I missed some of the years, but those were probably something happened and we decided just to let our anniversary pass by silently.  Our anniversaries have been a roller coaster.  Some fun, some interesting and some just plain depressing.  It's like life.  But the joy and blessing is that we are together on this ride; that we are committed to our relationship and our family.  Happy Anniversary Honey!

 Now some bloggy business.  Next week I will be starting up the Caffeinated Christmas.  Every week I will have a theme and if you would like you are invited to join in.  I had fun doing this last year and hope you will enjoy it.  The themes this year will be. 
December 2 - All I want for Christmas is...
December 9 - Seasons Greetings (Christmas Cards)
December 16 -Visions of Sugar Plums and other Christmas Baking
December 23 - The Night Before Christmas and other stories
I hope you will join in with the Caffeinated Christmas.  However, please feel free to post whatever Christmas Randomness you want to share next week.  

Come link up and join in the random fun.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Messy Monday - Blessing

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  


Webster's defines blessing as:
  1. (a) The act or words of one that blesses (b) approval, encouragement
  2. A thing conducive to happiness or welfare
  3. Grace said at a meal

The blessing I'm talking about today is not the third one.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that my children take great pleasure racing through their blessing to see who can say it the quickest.  I should video it and share it with you....but I digress.

We live in a world of gratification and happiness.  We want to be happy and filled with joy.  We look at other people and long for what they have as it appears they've been blessed.  A woman struggling with infertility questions why she can't have children when a 15 year old has an unplanned pregnancy.  "Why not me?" she cries.  A faithful person who tithes and volunteers regularly and always gives over and above when asked, cries "Why me?" when he suddenly finds himself plunged into financial crisis when he loses his job because of the economy. 

I have these same feelings.  What have I done to deserve this?  I struggle with the Why me?  Why us?  Why can't we have 3 "normal" children?  Why do our boys have autism?  Why can't my boys be like other children?  Why is my norm now spent filling out forms, getting funding and attending numerous appointments.  Why?

Laura Story went through these same questions.  Just as her career was on the rise, her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  She wrote a beautiful song about what a blessing could look like, not just what we think they look like.


It's too easy to ignore the true blessings around us.  I live in a country where I have the right to worship God.  I live in a nice house.  I have good medical.  I have access to services I didn't have earlier this year.  As of today I choose to look at my struggles and trials as blessings.  They are forcing me to look at, surrender to; and trust God.  We all long for the big things.  Sometimes we just need to look at the small things and know how blessed we are.
Friday, November 18, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Coffee Treats

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About 18 years ago, I started working for lawyers.  It was also at that time that Starbucks starting opening stores in Victoria, BC where I lived.  In fact, there was a Starbucks just a few blocks from the office.  I was not a coffee drinker so I rarely went there, but everyday I saw the line ups.  The Christmas after I started, my bosses' wife brought in some Christmas Blend coffee as a treat for all of us.  I tried some and it was love at first sip (even with the 1/2 cup of cream and sugar).  I loved the flavour.  I cried when we couldn't get anymore because it was only out for Christmas.  Every Christmas since then I have to go out at get a bag or two.  If I'm lucky I sometimes also get a few bags more for Christmas.  It's not Christmas anymore without it (like Elvis's Christmas record).  


This week I got an e-mail from Starbucks letting me know that not only are their Christmas flavours (Gingerbread, Egg Nogg, Creme Brulee and Peppermint Mocha) available, but also that Christmas Blend was in.  What a coincidence since I ran out of coffee today.  Tonight I drove to Starbucks and bought a pound of it.  I can't wait to get up tomorrow morning and drink my first cup of the season.  But I can't just stop there....

Tonight I also got to try the new Skinny Peppermint Mocha Latte.  I couldn't believe it.  It's like having my cake and getting to eat it too.  It's like eating a dark chocolate mint with a little extra kick, but a quarter of the calories so that I don't feel guilty.  I don't even miss the whip on top.  It is very smooth and creamy.  Just what I needed on a cold winter night, since it was snowing heavily on my way to Starbucks.   Now if you want to try this yummy flavour or any of the other holiday flavours, right now Starbucks has an offer for 2 for 1 between the hours of 2 pm and 5 pm until November 20 in Canada and the US (In no way have I been paid for this endorsement, but I thought I would pass this information on).  If you have a friend, go and enjoy a treat together.  Or if you want to try the flavours but don't want to pay for as many, go and treat yourself to 2. 

Come link up with some your favourite hot wintery treat (hopefully with some caffeine) and join in the random fun.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Remembrance Day

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Today is Remembrance Day.  It is a day to remember those who gave so much for so little.  As a child I was taught to respect this day.  I spent many Remembrance Days in the cold in my girl guide uniform standing at attention in honour of those men and women who served in the Great War, World War II and the Korean War.  As an adult I may not go to the Cenotaph, but I still honour our service men and woman by purchasing a poppy.  I teach my children to respect the sacrifices that others made on their behalf.  I also talk about the war in terms they can understand.  

In all this though, I watch the world and see the disrespect of those that serve in our military.  The condemnation of the men and women who are willing to give themselves for something that many question.  It sickens me that those who like their nice cushy lives disrespect the ones who enable them to have them.  I see this day that should be so solemn become a day of commercialization through sales.   The running to grab the best deal on that new couch makes their sacrifice seem so cheap.   Is this what our veterans fought for? 


A few years ago a Canadian songwriter Terry Kelly faced this dilemma and wrote a song about it. 



You Tube description of the video is:
On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven o'clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terrys anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.
I hope you enjoy the song and remember what so many are willing to forget.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Strength and Unfathomable Love

Two Sundays ago my pastor was doing a sermon on speaking truth in love based on Ephesians 4:15.  I was enjoying the sermon, but then I noticed a little highlighted study area in my Bible regardign burnout based on Epheians 3:14-21.  I read over this text and sat in amazement for about 1 minute.  I quickly book marked it and went back to listening to the sermon.  Here is that prayer:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21 NIV84)

Paul wrote to the Ephesians so that they could understand God at a deeper, more personal level.  Paul shares 1st that he humbly knelled before God for them.  He then asks for strength for the believers.  Secondly, he asks that believers would know God's love which surpasses all understanding.

How many times have we struggled with trials and not gone humbly before God first?  Where do we go?  Usually for me its my friends.  When I don't think I can go to them, I turn to something else (food).  Yet, Paul shows us right here that we are to first come to God humbly on our knees.  We are to take all of our requests, our hurts, and our struggles to the one who truly understands.  Our friends will tell us what we want to hear.  God will tell us what we need to hear.

The only place we can receive the strength to get through what we face is through God.  He is the only one big enough to carry us.  He wants us to lean on him.  He is our saviour, our protector, and our deliverer.  When we are at our weakest is when we are at our strongest.  It is there that God is able to lift us and lead us.  It is there that we can begin to let go of our fears and anxiety and trust in God to lead us and shelter us.  A few weeks ago, I was literally held down by depression.  I was inconsolable.  I couldn't find the strength to get off the floor.  I somehow grabbed my Bible in my nightstand and started reading the Psalms .  Slowly through crying out "Why?" in my anguish as David did, did God give me strength to firstly get up and then to face my trial head on.  I can't say its easy, but I know who is my strength.

The part of the prayer that really blew me away was the love that surpassed understanding.  God's love is so unfathomable no one will fully comprehend it.  I think that is one of the stumbling blocks for unbelievers.  Why would someone die for my sins?  Why would someone love me no matter what, besides my parents (sometimes, even this isn't true)?  Our society is very much a me society.  Does it make me feel good?  What can you do for me?  When we see people struggling, too many times we turn a blind eye to them.  To many people around us are struggling with addictions, depression, trials, poverty, etc......  They are hurting.  God loves them.  Loves them where they are and calls us to love them as well.  We as believers are called to love each other and lay down our lives to each other (1John3:16).  We are called to love as Jesus did.  This at times is hard and not understandable, but it is how we are to be the reflection of God on earth.  

There are very few times where I have had others pray over me or heard them pray for me as John prayed for the Ephesians.  It is a simple act of love and compassion.  It's showing God's love and enabling Him to do His work in and through us.  I believe that we are called to pray like this for each other.  To lift each other in our struggles.  We are one body.  Some parts are weaker than others.  That's the time we need to help in the healing.  Do you know someone who has been dodging arrows?  Have you prayed for them?  Have you prayed over them?

I am linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven today.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Messy Mondays - Never Give Up

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

I have to admit that today when I planned to read my Bible, I put on the tv.   The Untouchables were on and could feel myself becoming entranced in it.  I made an executive decision to turn the channel.  The Hour of Power was on.  I can't say that I watch this weekly or that I watch it monthly, but every so often I do check it out.  I have heard the new worship leader sing before and I tuned in just as she was singing a song her husband wrote called "Trust in God".  I wish I could post a video, but I can't find one.  You'll just have to check out the site and listen it there.  It's a powerful song about trusting God no matter what you face.  

However, what really affected me was when the pastor, Jim Penner, asked? 

"Who doesn't have a storm?  Who felt an arrow this week?"  

This means alot to me, especially today.  Today, I lost it after church.  I was totally overwhelmed by the boys in trying to get them out of the church.  It took 5 minutes to get Tormentinator's jacket on and that was only after I caught him.  Middleman was running around and not cooperative in getting ready.  I just started crying.  Why me?  Why do I have to go through this?  Why does everyone else have "normal" kids?  Why? 

I don't have the answers.  Sometimes it seems like my life is so much worse than others.  But I don't know their stories.  I don't know what happens behind closed doors.  I only know what I see.  Just as they only see what I let them see about me. 

We all have storms.  We are all running from arrows on a daily basis.  Some hit and wound us.  Some we manage to dodge.  But we can never give up.  We are called to fight the good fight.  To stand on guard.  We are called to put all our trust in God alone.  To give Him our storms, our struggles and our wounds.  We are to let Him lead and follow.  It isn't always easy.  It may be hard.  But we are not to give up.
 
"Never give up.  Never give in.  Trust in God"  Scott v. Smith
Friday, November 4, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Award Time

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This last month I have been previliged to receive two bloggy awards.  I am super excited and honoured.  If you follow often you know that it has been a rough time hear on the prairies and these are nice brighteners to my day.  

I received the :


 from Juanita at Just Breathe, a lovely twitter, bloggy and new real life friend; and

I received the:


from Sherri at Love, Laughter, Friendship and Faith, a lovely blogger and reader of Caffeinated Randomness.

Of course with bloggy awards there are rules and luckily it's the same for both awards.

1. I must disclose seven things about myself.
2. I must pass this award on to 15 other bloggers.

I have decided to doubly award each of my 15 so they can have twice the fun and blessings as I did this last month.

But first, my seven things:

1.  I'm addicted to Dr. Diet Pepper.  I think it's even worse than my Diet Coke addiction during my twenties.  I can go through a case of Dr. Diet Pepper in three days.  I don't even realize how much I'm drinking until I go to reach in the box and realize I have no more.  It makes me sad.  I've even had friends comment on how much I drink.  I have finally had to limit myself with how much I drink and only treat myself occasionally.  Of course when it's on sale then that's a different matter.  

2.  I hate Christmas countdowns before Advent.  It stresses me out - even in March.  I don't care how many days there are.  I don't care when your shopping is done.  I just don't want to hear it.  I get overwhelmed and feel I haven't prepared enough.  I try to get all my decorations up within the first week of December or the first week of Advent.  Then the tree goes up at least one week, if not two, before Christmas.  Shopping is usually done by that day as well.  Why rush Christmas?  Don't you get bored of it before Christmas even shows up?

3.  The thing I love and hate the most about winter is snow.  I love the first few snowfalls.  It makes everything look so clean and peaceful.  It`s how I imagine heaven looks like, except much warmer.  However, when it turns brown and hangs out for 5 months, then it`s time for the snow to go and quickly.

4.  At 17 I was getting off BC Transit and got hit by a BC Tel van.  I don`t know if the BC Crown Corporations had it out for me that day or what.  (Disclaimer:  I did walk in front of the bus 10 ft from a cross walk).

5.  I only started drinking coffee when I worked for lawyers.  Mostly as an excuse to get away from my desk.  I would drink it with a lot of sugar and cream.  I didn`t really get into coffee until after Middleman was born.  I am now a 3 - 4 cup a day drinker and get crabby if I don`t get one first thing in the morning.  

6.  I really got tired of hearing everyone gushing about Relevant on Twitter, that I haven`t been on it for three weeks.  It felt like high school and only the cool girls were going.  It`s not jealousy either.  When all you hear about is one thing and what people will be wearing and who they`ll be rooming with and etc....., it gets tiring and I know I am not the only one who thinks this way.  I had several friends twitter about irrelevant.  I`m sad that I missed it. I hope I don`t offend those who did attend.  I know they had fun and enjoyed themselves, but it got to be like the Christmas countdown situation.  (I haven`t really missed Twitter too much either.)

7.  I like to think of myself as a crafty person.  I enjoy crafting and love the satisfaction of a job well done and finished.  Did you notice that last word  I have many crafts half finished and waiting to be done.  It could be why my craft area looks like it imploded on itself.  There`s no incentive to do my crafts until I get that area tidied up.  I wanted it done by the time that hockey started.  It`s begun and my area looks worse than it did when I first set it up.  Of course, I have had help by Tormentinator who keeps going there and pulling things out and dumping things all over the floor.

I hope you ladies learned a little more about me than you already did.  The ladies that I will be doubly blessing this award season are:

1.  Jedidja at Kostbaar! (trans: Precious)
2.  Katherine at ....Just a Thought
3.  Andi at Andi`s Ramblings
4.  Linda at Joy in the Journey
5.  Kim at Too Darn Happy
6.  Cary at Serenity Farms
7.  Shawntele at Rambling with Grace
8.  Bobbi at Blogging Along
9.  Kendal at a spacious place
10. Jen at Finding Heaven
11.  Brandy at Everlasting Joy
13.  Courtney at A Work in Progress

and because it`s my blog and my awards to give, I return them to :
14. Juanita at Just Breathe

Now these lovely ladies are asked to join in and (a) list 7 things about themselves and (b) share it with 15 other bloggers.

I hope you all have a blessed week. Join in the randomness by linking up with us.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Messy Mondays - Reformation Day

Last year I posted about the history of Reformation Day and thought I would share that with you today.


What's that?  You don't know what Reformation Day is?  That's what I got from my own Pastor last Sunday.  In fact, she said that the only people of reformed background would probably know what that was.  I bet millions of Lutherans are jumping up and down in protest right now. (:P)  This is a day that is important to non- believers and believers alike as it changed the course of Western Civilization with a stroke of the hammer.

On October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of All Saints church in Wittenberg.  This Theses was his argument against the sale of the selling of indulgences.   This was quickly translated from Latin into German and printed for distribution.  In two weeks, it was distributed throughout Germany.  Within two months, throughout, Europe.  It was the beginning of the "Protest"ant Reformation.  Luther probably only wanted to "fix" what he saw was wrong within the Catholic Church, not thinking about what he started.  

Without Luther, there would be no Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans, Calvinists or Lutherans.  No King James Bible, as prior to Luther it was considered heresy to have a bible in one's own language.   Most importantly, there would be no teaching about the justification through faith or in other words, no teaching that we can never earn God's love or forgiveness, it is just freely given to ALL of us. 

If you're bored tonight (what with giving out candy), I would recommend watching Luther.  It is a great movie (does have many historical inaccuracies, but what historical movie doesn't), about the first years of Luther's ministry. 

So again I say to you - HAPPY REFORMATION DAY!
I hope you all have a great Halloween and Reformation Day.  I'm still left to wondering if Luther's actions started the first trick or treators and if the church considered his theses a trick or a treat. :)
Thursday, October 27, 2011

Caffeinated Randomness - Different, but Same

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This week I was talking to my evil twin about my blog post on Tuesday.  We had some great discussion about inclusion.  Then she posed this question to me:  "Why is it that we spend so much time saying we are different, yet when someone who really is different comes along we spurn them?"  Can you say hit me with a 2x4.  

We are raised to be independent people.  To have our own thoughts, beliefs, and sometimes ideals.  We are taught that not everyone is the same.  We are taught to embrace our differences.  I know as a mom, I want my children to be leaders.  I want them to be themselves.  I don't want them to do what the other kids are doing.  I love that my daughter is into dinosaurs rather than Hannah Montana, Selena Gomez or Justin What's His Name.  I love that Middleman is into Transformers and Rescue Heroes and loves to play with his sister.  I love that he loves to play with his friend Sarah by running up and down the hills.  Tormentinator is already forming his own personality.  He is my stocky little battle ax.  He is stubborn, yet so loving all at once.  He wants to play with his brother and sister and isn't really afraid of anything.  

Saying all this though, I worry that they don't fit in.  The Princess is struggling gaining friends out here.  She is struggling with being the only one who doesn't really have a best friend to play with daily.  She has had a great core group of friends to lean on and play with.  She was never alone.  Middleman has his own struggles with his disability and it makes it hard to communicate with his peers.  His friend Sarah is a little girl in grade 4 who had a disability as well and has no friends her own age.  Tormentinator doesn't have anyone his own age to play with and since he also does not communicate vocally, he struggles to play with others his own age.  The very thing I love about each of them and encourage, is also the very thing I worry about and wish that they would fit in.   Why?

What is it in each of us that we want to be different?  Yet we also don't like it when someone different comes around.  What is it that makes us really want to be sheep being lead down the path?  What is it that we have expectations and beliefs that make us want to put the square peg into the square hole and that A + B = C?  Why do we make fun of those who are different; who don't look or think or act as we do?  When does this start?  Is it nature or nurture?  I don't have the answers to these questions.  I don't even know if I want the answers.  

Just as each of us wants to be different and encourage this in our children.  Really, we just want to be the same.

Come join into the randomness and express your difference.



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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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