Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Grace Defficiency

{This is kind of a long blog post, but I hope you will read it all.  I think God is trying to speak to us- maybe he was just speaking to me.  But usually I find that others can also relate.}

"For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" John 1:17
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I was reading a devotional book this morning and it was talking about how many of us have a "Grace Deficiency".  We don't freely accept the grace that was given to us.  Instead we beat ourselves up any time that we feel like we've messed up or failed at something. Now grace is not a license to do anything and everything w/out consequences, but grace is the ability to make a fresh new start.  The devotion stated that many of us need "Grace Infusion."


----- Wow, How timely was this word for my life? 
I know all too well about deficiencies and infusions.  It wasn't two months ago that I found out I had a severe iron deficiency, almost to the point that had I continued without being treated it could have caused serious damage.  I received 5 infusions of iron via IV. I don't think it's a coincidence that I read this devotion this morning and it related to my physical well being also.  I decided to dig a little deeper on the subject. And find out what God had to say.  Here's what I found out:

What does iron do for the body?
Iron is a mineral needed by our bodies. Iron is a part of all cells and does many things in our bodies. For example, iron carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is a part of many enzymes also. Enzymes help our bodies digest foods and also help with many other important reactions that occur within our bodies. When our bodies don't have enough iron, many parts of our bodies are affected. (adapted from the CDC website)

How does this relate to grace?
Grace is needed by everyone without grace we would still be living under the law of Moses.  Which we know was not working, thus God sent his son Jesus. (John 3:16) Grace is like oxygen to our souls.  Without grace we live under conviction and condemnation.  Grace, when compared to an enzyme that helps digest foods,  it is what allows us to digest the Word of God.  We can read the Word of God two ways as a rule book of does and don'ts or through the eyes of grace as a love story and words of wisdom and guidance. Without grace our spiritual life is affected.  Without grace our reactions to tough situations can be impaired.

What is an iron deficiency?
Iron deficiency is a condition resulting from too little iron in the body. Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States.

What is grace deficiency?
A condition resulting from not allowing ourselves or others to live in God's free grace.  Grace deficiency is the most common reason people beat themselves up over every small mess up in life and live a life without joy.

What are the effects of an iron deficiency?
  • Iron deficiency can delay normal thinking and processing skills.
  • Iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy can increase risk for small or early (preterm) babies. Small or early babies are more likely to have health problems or die in the first year of life than infants who are born full term and are not small.
  • Iron deficiency can cause fatigue that impairs the ability to do physical activity in adults.  Iron deficiency may also affect memory.
  • Iron deficiency causes a decreased immune function, which increases susceptibility to infection
  • Severe iron deficiency may lead to a rapid or irregular heartbeat or an enlarged heart.
What are the effects of a grace deficiency?
  • It impairs our mental and spiritual function.  We loose sight of what God's will is in our life.  We live our lives thinking and processing things as if God is just waiting to hit us over the head with a stick every time we mess up.
  • We never fully give birth to or give up to soon on the dreams that God has given us.  We feel inadequate and unworthy. Grace deficiency can cause your dreams and visions to spiritually die prematurely.
  • Grace deficiency will wear you out spiritually and physically. Trying to keep up with rules and regulations is exhausting.  God knew we couldn't handle it, thus He sent his son.  A grace deficiency will cause you to forget the blessings that God has promised you.
  • Grace deficiency will leave you vulnerable to attacks from the enemy.
  • Grace deficiency will cause unmerited stress on your heart and life.
How do you fix iron deficiency?
Eating more nutritious foods, supplements, and if necessary iron infusions via IV.  Also certain foods and  vitamins aid in the absorption of iron and on the contrary certain foods and vitamins can hinder the absorption of iron.

How do you fix grace deficiency?
Consume more of God's word, supplement times of worrying and depression with prayer, and spend time in worship, enter into the very presence of God where he can wrap you in his arms and infuse his love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness into your life.  Find friends and a church body that can help you absorb that grace.  Avoid those people and places that seem to suck all of the life out of you.


I never knew that going through this time of getting my iron levels back up to the proper level would also be used as a parallel to God's grace in the future. It's amazing how God works like that.  I hope someone that reads this can really reflect on God's true love and grace for them.  You are NOT a failure. You are an over comer; with God all things are possible.  Don't give up.  If you mess up, stand up brush your knees off and try again!
XOXO,
Brandy
















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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No Birthday Party!

Everyone take a deep breath and exhale.  Are you sitting down? Maybe you should be?  Because guess what?

We are not giving my son a 3rd birthday party this year!

I know it's horrible!  I know I've just blown all chances of receiving the "Mom of the Year" award.

But you know what?  IT'S OKAY!!!



For the past two years, I have thrown these massive birthday parties for my son.  I'm talking like 40 people in attendance.  The first year we had the party under a beautiful gazebo at a park in Pascagoula.  It was frog themed. 


The second year we did it at my parents home and it was Dr. Seuss themed. 





While I had a great time, I loved getting to see everyone, it was still a big task to getting everything done.  Not to mention costly!  I tried to start planning in January just so I could afford to buy things a little along and not be hit with an enormous party budget buster in May. I tried to keep it simple.  The first year we did hot dogs and chips, the second year we did chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.  The parties turned out great and part of me is missing the fact that I'm not planning one this year. 

But the other part of me is relieved.  Let's be honest for a one and two year old, they could really care less about decorations, party foods, photo booths, and favors.  Give them a slice of cake and their happy!

I also noticed last year I fell into a "Party Envy" mood.  Looking back, I planned that party several months ahead of time and I had wanted the party be just as good, if not better than all of those photo- shopped pics on Pinterest.  If I'm really honest, deep down I wanted my party pics on Pinterest to receive 100,000 repins like other people's pictures.  Why?  I don't know.  Pinterest has a way of telling people, moms especially, that your child needs a huge, elaborate birthday party and professional pics to go along with it.  And if you don't have all of the cutest banners, printables, and decorations then your party isn't good enough.  After all you love your child right?  They deserve the BEST, right?  Well yes, I love my child and I want them to have good things, but does it have to be the very BEST? No. I believe if we're not careful, if we fall into that mindset that my child must have the BEST then we could be setting ourselves up to raise some very bratty children.  Just being real!  We're setting up our children to believe that their self worth is directly related to materialistic things. That's not the kind of parent I want to be.  Sure when I can, I want to give good things to my child, but that doesn't mean breaking the bank or stressing out.  Really there's no greater gift than giving my child my time and good memories!

I never had those types of massive parties when I was little.  I can only really remember one birthday party growing up and that was my thirteen birthday party.  Even then I had I think 3 friends come over for a sleep over and we had pizza and an ice cream cake.  I thought I was hot stuff!  And that year my mom took me to Glamour Shots for pics. (please tell me you remember Glamor Shots?) Sure I almost always had a cake for my birthday but most years it was just mom, dad, and me.  Sometimes we would have my grandparents over, but never anything major.  Guess what?  I survived.  I am not in therapy.  A good birthday does not require a massive party!

Originally I had planned on throwing another 40+ people pirate themed bash for Jeremiah's 3rd birthday.


This is one of my pics from my pinterest board.
  Then it hit me.  Am I really doing this for him or more for me and the other adults?  What if I took all that money and energy and just spent the day doing something fun with Jeremiah.  Would he enjoy just spending time with his mommy and daddy?  Probably so, he'd never know he didn't get the pirate party this year. Maybe next year I can do a scaled down pirate party.  But this year, it's just going to be mommy, daddy, and Jeremiah doing something fun!  I still plan on doing a small cake and maybe a cheap happy birthday banner. But that's it.  Actually, we're inviting my mom and husband's parents over for a mother's day dinner on the 18th and maybe we'll just do cake and ice cream then. Keep it Simple!

So what are my ideas for a fun day with Jeremiah?  We're still throwing out ideas.  These are a few of the ideas that have came up:

1) Going to the New Orleans Zoo and Aquarium. Jeremiah loves animals and fishes. Con's- it's a two our drive, kind of costly, and will be hot as blue blazes by the end of May.

2) Going to the Gulf Shores Zoo- only a 45 min to an hour drive, much smaller, less expensive

3) Build a bear workshop- Jeremiah loves stuffed animals, especially his bunny rabbit.  So he might enjoy making a new one.

4) Lynn Meadow's Discovery Center- A children's hands on museum. Only about 45 mins away, inexpensive. I just worry that he may still be too little to enjoy everything there.

5)  The beach- I guess that would depend on if Jeremiah decides he likes the water this year.  Last year he hated it.

6) Visiting the train station in Silver Hill, Alabama.  Taking a real train ride.

7)  Or maybe just a day getting frozen yogurt at a place called Chill, playing at a nice park, and maybe eating dinner somewhere fun and different.

Any suggestions?  What are some things your 3 yr old likes? What are your thoughts on the massive birthday parties that everyone seems to be throwing for their young children?  Are you setting yourself up to feel the need to have to do something bigger and better each year?  Are am I the only one that gets pulled into this trap?


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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pinterest Party

I had been hearing others that were hosting a Pinterest Party.  It sounded like fun.  So I wanted to plan one too!  Here's what I did:

1) Created an event on FB and invited a bunch of local friends. In the future, maybe I should put a little more thought into the day I have the party.  I had a bunch of people want to come but they later realized that same day was also opening day (Jamboree Day as we call it in the south.) at the local baseball and softball parks. Lot's of people with kids couldn't come.  Oh, well we still had fun.

2) Everyone that came was given instructions to bring one Pinterest inspired party/ finger food recipe for everyone to sample.  I recommended if possible to bring the recipe printed or wrote out so everyone could leave with new recipes.  But really that was kind of unnecessary since you could just as easily go back and find the recipe on someone's pinterest page.

3)  We decided to make one DIY project.  I gave a supply list of about $4 worth of items each person would need to bring with them.  I also tried to have on hand extra material in case someone forgot.  We decided on doing a nail art project. (pic's at the end of the post)  In hind sight, that may not have been a good beginners project.  Most everyone ended up taking their project home to finish.  Also, those with arthritis in their hands, this was a difficult project.  I never thought about that when I decided on project.  So keep in mind each person and their ability level when you do a party.  I've seen a couple of other options were each person brings a little baggie of supplies and printed out instructions on how to make your own DIY Pinterest inspired project.  Then while at the party you draw numbers or play some type of white elephant gift game and each person leaves with the materials to go home and create their own project.  That might be a better idea, especially if you are in a time crunch.

4) There were a few other things I wanted to do at the party, but it just didn't happen and with only a handful of people it was hard to accomplish things.  A few other ideas is to ask people to write down on a piece of paper how many Pinterest Inspired DIY projects they seen in your home that you have already made.  I know I have about 15 projects that were made via pinterest ideas in my house.  I also made a few special things, like a cupcake tower just for the party.  Some things would have been easily spotted while others not so easy.  You could offer a prize to the person with the most correct answers.  Another idea is to offer awards to the person with the most pins on their page or the most boards or maybe for the craziest category.  Just make it fun.

5) EAT!  That was probably the most fun part, just sitting around eating lots of good food and chatting with friends.

Here's my pics:

I had to hide my centerpiece from my son.  He wanted the jelly beans!

Food display table.

My little cousin (14) made this.  Deviled eggs made to look like a flower.  Super cute and easy.

This is the cupcake tower I made, using a clear dinner plate, a clear dessert plate, and a clear bowl.  In between are cheap clear wine glasses. I just used Elmer's All Purpose Super Glue to hold every thing in place.  The cupcakes were vanilla with white icing and coconut dyed green on top and chocolate robin's eggs on the center, to look like eggs in the grass. My cousin Ann Marie made those!

This was my Pringles chip can turned DIY vase.  Just wrapped twine around the can and inserted flowers.  Easy, Peasy!

The food was so good, we couldn't keep people out of it before the party even started.  The strawberry ingredients are listed below.  To the right is a cherry cheese cake dip served with mini-graham crackers.  Yummy.  Basically it was cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and cool whip blended together.  Then topped with cherry pie filling.

The INFAMOUS strawberries!  These were delicious.  Strawberries with the centers hallowed out and a cream cheese and cool whip dip inside.  YUMMY, YUMMY

Look at all the food! My aunt Ann cooked way more than just one dish! She said she couldn't decide on one thing to cook so she cooked several.  We didn't argue!

Left to right: Chicken bits wrapped in bacon with brown sugar topping, Ham and Cheese Sliders, Pizza Muffin Bites.  (Notice my pinterest inspired printables in the back ground.)

In the crock pot was smoked sausage cooked in apple sauce.  I'll be honest it didn't look very good while cooking, but it was delicious. Then Taco Egg Rolls and Taco Wanton bakes.

My mom and grandmother

Sitting around the table working on the DIY project.



This is what happened when one of the nails accidentally came out and she had to start all over.  In the end, hers turned out really good, but I forgot to get the after pic.

A hot mess!

Hopefully, you can see we had a great time.  It was mainly family that came and one friend. But it was great.  It's not very often we all get together, especially with no children involved.  The one thing I forgot to take a picture of was the lemonade.  It was so good.  It was Country Time lemonade powder mix, a can of pineapple juice, 6 cans of sprite, and lemons cut up in it for garnish.  It was so good.  I would even dare say better than Chick-fil-a's lemonade. (Gasp, I know.  But it's true)

Have you thought about hosting a party?  You really should.


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Monday, April 8, 2013

I Have Not Disappeared! -Photo Dump

Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the "blog" earth..... I suddenly re-appear!  So whats been going on in my life (you may or may not care).  LOTS!!!  So this will be a very random post with lot's of pics! Nothing is necessarily in chronological order.

First of all we had EASTER! We had a great time with family.  My little man was so cute in his little Easter outfit.  We took him to a couple of local park areas and took a few snap shots!



Look at my little fellow, Handsome as can be (I may only be a little partial.)



Easter Egg Hunt and Nana's and Paw Paw's

I'm a bad mommy and blogger.  I didn't get a picture of his Easter Basket.... Oops!  The bunny brought him a couple of movies, new swim trunks and shirt, a plastic T-Ball set, and some bubbles. No CANDY! That's right, we let the bunny know that we would prefer that we didn't have a basket full of chocolates sitting around because if Jeremiah sees candy that's all he wants for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  So no need in creating more arguments at meal time.

 Speaking of Easter I don't think I ever showed off my Easter mantel.  My favorite thing to decorate for the holidays is my fireplace mantel.  I'm working on getting a collection for each major holiday. However we want speak of the fact that these Easter decorations may or may not still be sitting on the mantel :/

It may be hard to read in the pic, bu the cross says "My Redeemer Lives"

Speaking of holidays, Did I ever show you these?  I don't think so.

Jeremiah's pinterest inspired V-day gifts for his teachers
 
for his friends!

A close up of the V-day favors!

We took Jeremiah to meet the twins (Callen and Makayla, aka his besties) for a play date at Pete's Party place a few weeks back too.  They had a blast.



Look at that precious smile! Mine refused to look at the camera.


I'm not sure who's more of a kid, my son or my husband.


I better not complain about my hubby too much though.  He did paint this for me!

This cabinet was originally a light oak finish. I decided we needed a pop of color, so hence the teal cabinet now.  It holds DVDs and CDs.  I love the color!  I'm even considering painting my exterior front door that color...hum, maybe!
Oh, while we are talking about bargains.  I went to a yard sale Saturday.  I scored a nice jogging stroller for $5.00.  The stroller needs a few minor repairs, new tires.  But I've already called a bike shop and I can get them replaced for $15 each.  So even if I end up with $35 dollars invested in this stroller, its worth it.  Brand new it was a $365 stroller.  I say it was a big score!  (I forgot to take a pic of the stroller.)

I also got this purse that still had an $88 tag on it for just 25 cents.  Yep, very good deal.

I've also been taking a little more time to read lately.  Especially since I've had to spend a lot of my time in doctor's office waiting rooms. (no fun!)  But I have read two books and started on a third book.


Great, light read. Very Witty and practical


I must admit I am a Duck Dynasty fan! I love how down to earth these guys are and how they put their Faith up front and out in the open for all to see!  I can't wait until Phil's book comes out in May!




I've only read about the first 30 pages, but so far very good!  A very honest and transparent look at how us women sometimes become "unglued" over small things.

Stay tuned for tomorrow! I hosted a Pinterest Party at my house a few weekends ago and I have lots of pictures to share.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Sponsors

Well it's been almost a month since I decided on taking the new endevour into advertising and swapping ad spaces on my blog. I have had three people to swap with me (plus one spot I imported over).  I promised to do at least one feature post a month with all of my sponsors/swappers.  So this is my first sponsor post.  I have started following three new blogs, which I love!  Let me tell you a little bit about them...

First there is Holie over at Penguins, Pasta, and Polkadots!
Holly is 25 years old and from the sunshine state of Florida!  When I first read Holie's blog, I could relate to a lot of what she said in her "about me" section.  She grew up in church much like I did and has spent a lot of time working youth ministires.  Also did I mention that she has also lost 33 pounds!!  Way to go Holie!
She also sponsors every Wednesday the "First Things First" link up party.  She basically gives three questions, such as your first roomate or your first speeding ticket and asks that you blog and answer those questions. You can find her link party here!
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Then there is Mrs. Sybil at Peace it all Together!
My favorite quote I read on Sybil's was this:
I am a woman, balancing a career and a family, which elicits many feelings, 
from pure joy to crippling inadequacy, and everything in between

Amen, sister! Most of us moms know exactly what she is talking about!  She also has a son with a sensory processing disorder.  Sybil ventures out to help others understand what this is and provide encouragement for other families with special challenges.  I love reading her Letter's to Kindergarden, you must read them!  She also ventured this week and got her husband to write a guest post for her and invited others to have their spouses do the same and then link up.  I think my husband barely even reads my blog, so getting him to do a guest post is probably not going to happen.

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The next and newest sponsor would be Miranda at Progress, Passion, and Young Professionalism.
 
Miranda is 23 years old and a recent college graduate that is finding her place outside of classrooms and text books. I really enjoyed her post here on what the professional world has taught her so far.  I look forward to reading more on Miranda's blog.
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Last but not least, a special spot is and will continue to be on my page for Mrs. Chastity Touchstone
She is a young 29 year old mother and wife that was recently diagnoised with breast cancer.  I promise to leave the Team Touchstone banner on my page until we get a report that says she is cancer free! Chastity's strong will, positive outlook, and determination is an inspiration to everyone she meets.  Want you go like her page on facebook?  Drop her a note of encouragement!

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Well there you have it!  These are my sponsor/swappers for the month of march!  Would you like to be a swapper for April visit my sponsor page here.


Happy Easter Everyone!  I hope you enjoy celebrating reserection Sunday!

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