My Peeps

Friday, December 31, 2010

9 Strange New Year’s Traditions from Around the World

Looking to add a fun twist to your New Years gathering tonight? Check out the ways some other cultures ring in the New Year! Pretty interesting stuff! :) HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

"Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right."
- Oprah Winfrey

In Spain it is customary to eat grapes at midnight.
If you chose to be a little cultural this year and celebrate New Years in a different way, here are a couple of traditions that take place all over the world on the 31 of December.
South America - Residents all wear brightly colored underpants. Those who wear red, are hoping for love in the new year. Those who chose to wear yellow, are wishing for money.
Denmark - Many Danish leap off chairs at midnight, hoping to ban all bad spirits in the new year. They also have a very loud and destructive way of celebrating the new year- they break dishes. People throw their old dishes on their friends’ doors on New Years and the one with the most dishes outside their door, usually has the most friends.
Philippines - It is a tradition in the Philippines, that Filipinos focus on all round things. They consume round fruits such as grapes and wear clothing with round shapes such as polka dots. The round shape reminds and celebrates the roundness of coins, as they hope for prosperity in the new year.
Spain - At midnight, Spaniards consume 12 grapes and try to consume all of them by the time the clock stops chiming.
Belarus - In Belarus, unmarried women compete at games of skill to determine who will get married first in the new year. One game involves setting piles of corn and a rooster before each of the single ladies. Whichever pile the bird approaches first, is believed to be the one who is to be married first.
Germany and Austria - Germans and Austrians pour lead as a tradition, which includes using molten lead like tea leaves. The lead pieces are pour into a bowl filled with water, leading the lead to form shapes which predict what is going to happen in the new year. If the lead forms a ball it means good luck, if it looks like an anchor it means you will need help in the new year and if it’s a cross it means death.
Ecuador - Usually when you burn someone’s picture it means bad break up. However in Ecuador, the fiesta includes all the locals gathering together with pictures that represent something you do not want in the new year from the last year and burning it.
Chile - In the city of Talca in Chili, people participate in a mass on New Years Eve and then they all go visit the graveyard, to set up their chairs and wait for the year to arrive with the dead.
Puerto Rico - When it’s New Year’s Eve in Puerto Rico, they throw buckets of water out the window to “clean” the old year out. They also clean their homes and decorate them, as it is supposed to symbolize the “cleaning” of the spirit.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Music via iPad/iPhone

Check this out.  It seriously makes me happy when creative people have guts to pull of something as ridiculously awesome as this. :)  Watch to the end - its so much fun.

Merry Christmas Everyone~! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Christmas Angels

This is the time of year when charities are in full force, trying to take advantage of the spirit of giving that is in full supply during the holiday season. Commercials are filled with reminders and ads making us aware of the poverty that exists outside our doors. Some of the ads get me choked up every single time, like Angel Tree for example. Tears usually fill my eyes as I am "taken back" to the memories of my own childhood Christmas memories.

"A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses."
Chinese Proverb

My dad worked hard but only made about $5/hr and with a family of seven, that didn't stretch very far. So, most of my childhood, my parents depended upon government assistance, food stamps, etc. And when the holidays came they relied heavily on church donations and organizations like Angel Tree to provide the bulk of our Christmas cheer. Our parents would let us know that money was tight and we wouldn't have gotten any presents if it weren't for the church or organization who adopted our family. You might think that my parents shouldn't have said anything to us about where the gifts came from, but I'm glad my parents were honest with us. Being aware of the generosity of others affected me deeply and personally. I believe it made me a more grateful, generous adult.

When I was a little girl, I LOVED dolls. I especially loved the pretty porcelain ones. They usually have fancy dresses and the prettiest faces. I wanted to collect those more than anything, but they were definitely NOT in our price range. One of my most treasured Christmas presents came when I was about seven years old. I opened a box and found a pretty, fair skinned doll with brown hair, dressed like Little Red Riding Hood, complete with the hooded cape, but in baby blue instead of red. I knew she wasn't the expensive porcelain doll, she was only made of plastic, but she was the nicest doll I had ever owned. I loved her so much that I couldn't bear the thought messing her up by playing with her. So I immediately wrapped her in a garbage bag and put her in a safe place. As the years passed, I would take her out every now and then and play with her for a few minutes, but I always carefully wrapped her back up and returned her to her safe place. I still have her to this day. She's still wrapped in the garbage bag to this day. I still take her out every now and then and the emotions of that Christmas morning still flood my mind.

All of that to say, I don't know who my "Angels" were... but if I could, I'd want to thank them, and to be honest, that moment would probably include blubber of the worst kind, tears and snot and all. I'd thank them wholeheartedly for not only giving me the gifts they donated, but for setting the example of generosity that has changed my outlook on life.

Thank you, Angel Tree Ministries, and all who participate in giving to the less fortunate. You never know how a simple gift will impact the life of a little one. I hope to pass along that love of giving to my own children. Although, they don't know what it feels like to be hungry or go without, I hope they will be generous with the abundant blessings their life is full of.

"To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.Benjamin Franklin"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How do we change the world...?

"Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality."

Romans 12:9-13 NLT

Sunday, November 28, 2010

UGLY SWEATER. Got one? I'll pay you for it.

We've all gotten one as a gift at one time or another. Most of these beauties were invented in the glorious 80's. Well, my sister and brother in law are throwing a Christmas party this year and are hosting an "Ugly Sweater Contest". The problem is, I've been stuck because I've purged our closets over the past year, giving our "gems" away to goodwill quite awhile ago. So, I've decided to ask for help. I realize that this might bring me some scorn from some of my family members; who are also invited to the party; causing them to call me a cheater or something like that... but... I prefer to view it as being resourceful. :)

-->> I need your help and YOU need money for Christmas = Win-Win situation <<--
Here's what I need you to do:

1) Follow my blog by clicking that little "Follow Me" button at the top of the screen.
2) Look through the back of your closet and find that gorgeous jem you've been hiding but you're afraid of tossing, just in case Aunt Gertrude asks you if you still have it.
3) SEND a PICTURE of you wearing your ugly sweater to me (, mention - UGLY SWEATER CONTEST IN THE SUBJECT LINE PLS) NO LATER THAN Dec 9TH

My responsibilities include:
1) I will choose a winner Dec 10th.
2) I will send an email in return announcing the winner.
3) I will send you the address you will use to send the sweater to me to use in time for my party.
4) If I receive the sweater in time to wear to the party (12/18)... I will immediately send you $20 for you to use as you wish just in time for Christmas. That should cover your shipping costs and give enough to spend elsewhere. :)
5) IF YOU DON'T SEND ME THE SWEATER IN TIME FOR ME TO USE FOR THE UGLY SWEATER CONTEST.. Your sweater is no good to me.. and I will NOT send you money for it!

Let the games BEGIN!!

Don't know what an ugly sweater looks like? Need inspiration? Check this out...

oh... and while you're here... Follow my blog. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The stuff dreams are made of...

Until recently, I was a worship pastor for an amazingly awesome, creative, relevant, not-ur-run-of-the-mill kinda church. It was a dream job for me. One I didn't even know I would love as much as I did. I loved every thing about it! It was all I had ever dreamed of. I got to sing and arrange music and get the opportunity to hang with creatives and learn from brilliant leaders...AND I actually got PAID FOR IT! I know? Saaweeet! Right?!!...

...Well, I realized very quickly that my job didn't JUST require me to make song sets and sing pretty on the weekends. I had to learn how to communicate vision, create structure, rules and procedures; inspire creativity, counsel hurts; play referee and be the lead cheerleader for my team. I learned a lot about myself. I learned that not only did I love music and the creative world... but I LOVED people. I also learned that without that love for people, I'm miserable and lost. I learned that I have a gift of making the most "closed off" or private person, open up and share their heart. Not because I'm awesome, but because that's how God has gifted me me. I learned a lot about communicating with others, and how important it was to communicate in "their language/style". (Which is quite difficult sometimes). I learned that outside of worshiping my sweet Jesus with other believers, nothing fulfilled my heart more than inspiring others to live a life of purpose, purposefully. I love figuring out what a person's passion is and what they're good at and then helping them accomplish it, by overcoming negative mindsets that have held them back.

So, all that to say, I'm excited. I'm excited because I have MORE to learn. I'm in a new city, with new people, a new church, and new adventures awaiting me. I'm also excited because - I'm about to enroll in a course that will help me to fulfill my passion to empower people to accomplish their goals and dreams. No matter what environment I'm in, in a church small group, in a workplace/office; working as a school volunteer, or even within my own family; I will be able to utilize the skills I'm going to learn about how to bring the best out of people. My hubby is excited because I'll be able to CHARGE for my extended time with people too. hehe

Classes start in January. I have mixed emotions. I'm excited and VERY nervous. But, this is definitely something I HAVE to do. I believe it will help give me the skills I need to take my natural gifts to another level of excellence and effectiveness. I want to use my own journey to inspire others to achieve their own goals as well.

"There are some people who live in a dream world,
and there are some who face reality
and then there are those who turn one into the other."
~ Douglas Everett

Monday, November 15, 2010

The line is getting fuzzy... Thank God.

"To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible next year, Crossway has commissioned an "illuminated book of the four Gospels." The Four Holy Gospels, which is set to release this January, complements the apostolic accounts of the life of Christ with traditional Japanese art by renowned artist Makoto Fujimura." Tyler Kenney of

Mark my words... We are heading towards a new era. This is very exciting to me... it makes my tummy fill up with butterflies for some reason. This is a beautiful piece of work... I want one!~ :)

Fujimura - 4 Holy Gospels from Crossway on Vimeo.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What you'll need for a perfect Thanksgiving dinner...

My five year old, Nathan, along with his kindergarten classmates, took a shot in helping their families make a delicious Thanksgiving feast. His teacher emailed the recipes today, so I figured I'd share a few of my favs with you. These made me giggle.

Pumpkin Pie Recipe By My Very Own: Nathan
7 seeds of a pumpkin
17 cups sugar to make it yummy

Put the seeds in a bowl and smoosh them. Put sugar in a cup and get it all the way up to 17. Put it in one of those things that put it all together, get it in the oven. Make the oven really hot and then let the pie cool. It takes 7 hours. You can eat it.

Chicken Recipe by Dominick

1 30 pound chicken 2 packs barbecue sauce
2 packs candies (Don’t buy the vegetables. I don’t like vegetables. Buy the candies.)
3 cheese chips 30 cheeses

Wash the chicken in a pan with water. Mix the candy up with the chicken and put barbecue sauce on it. Dip the cheese chips in the cheese. Cook the chicken in the oven for 7 hours at 5 degrees. Eat the chips with the chicken.

Turkey Recipe by: Jacqueline

10 20 pound turkeys 5 bags sugar
3 bottles hot sauce 3 boxes of pepper and salt
10 pounds of white sprinkle cheese 1 bottle of ketchup
3 jars mayonnaise

Put the turkey in the sink and wash it with cold water for 10 minutes. Cut off the feathers. Put the turkeys in a pan on a stove. Cook them for 10 or 20 minutes on high heat. When it’s a round circle with two bones on the side, it’s done. Put the turkeys on a big nice round plate. Put everything on a big round table and if they want it they can get it.

One foot in front of the other...

"The road to success is not straight. There is a curve called Failure, a loop called Confusion, speed bumps called Friends, red lights called Enemies, caution lights called Family; you will have flats called Jobs. But, if you have a spare called Determination, an engine called Perseverance, insurance called Faith, a driver called Jesus, you will make it to a place called Success." - Author Unknown

Love Came Down from Brian Johnson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Big Hole in our Heart... with Destiny's name on it...

My husband and I would talk about how cool it would be to move out of state. He and I were both born and raised in Florida and pretty much all of our family also were born and raised in the Tampa Bay area. We would dream of fall colored leaves and snowy days. Well, my husband saw an opportunity to move, and low and behold, they gave him the go ahead to look into it. Long story short, my husband got transferred to Alabama. I was pregnant with our third child, we had a 1.5yr old and a 9 yo at the time. We didn't know anyone. We had no friends, no connections, just each other. It can be a scary thing, moving to a new place. Everyone there usually has their cliques, their groups, their family; and there you outsider. We had no idea what to expect; we couldn't have braced ourselves for what was coming...

We decided about a month after moving there that we needed to find a church. Well, we tried one, but it failed miserably to give a warm welcome so we moved on. We overheard a neighbor bragging to another neighbor about how her church had a rockband, so of course, I inquired for more info.

From the moment we drove onto the YMCA parking lot we were greeted by friendly people waving us in. They somehow knew we were visitors and directed us to front parking spaces. If that wasn't enough, we were then greeted by the most outstanding front door team. Smiles were everywhere. We dropped the kids off in their respective, high energy rooms, and we were off to the sanctuary (which was actually a gymnasium). We sat down and we were warmly welcomed by a few others. The worship started, and by this time I couldn't get the smile off my face. Then, as if all this wasn't enough, the Pastor came out and gave a relevant, challenge "to take it home and try it and you'll like it" kinda message. I looked at my husband and knew that we were both hooked....we were home.

Bear with me here... I'm having a mushy moment...

So, six years later, as I watch the video, recalling being one of the attendees on those days. I can't believe how fast time has gone. The faces of all the people I've known, the memories and experiences flash through my mind like lightning and the tears flow down my face like rain. All I can say is wow....

Thank you, Destiny Family, for all the amazing things you've taught me. Thank you Pastor Joey, Melanie and Pastor Aimee for pushing me past my fears; into a place of blessing and favor like I've never known. Thank you for helping me find my purpose. Thank you to those of you countless people, who took the time to send encouraging emails my way on a Monday morning, letting me know that you were touched in some way by God's presence during a service; those encouragements came at the perfect time, just when I needed to know whether I was making a difference or not. Thank you Destiny family, for worshiping so passionately that you inspired me to worship with abandon. Destiny Praizteam, each of you have made a huge impact on my life and who I am today. You're beautiful worshipers and I am honored to have been a part of your lives. Thank you front door team for doing your job of giving a warm welcome that first day we came and visited Destiny. If you hadn't done your job, with excellence the way you did, we probably wouldn't have stayed and been able to experience all the blessings we experienced these past six years.

Destiny family... Keep loving, Keep serving, Keep inviting people... Cause you're world changers. You're making a difference. 5000 souls were saved in 10 years. Wow! That's awe inspiring. Countless other lives were changed too... I know, because I'm one of them. Happy 10th Anniversary Destiny!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

To use shampoo or not.. that's the question...

I just came across a fantastic blog full of remedies, tips and tricks to making the life of a family more frugal and fun. Well, one of her blogs caught my eye and I must admit, the neat freak in me totally turned my nose up at even the thought of never using shampoo again... However, I went ahead and read it. And wow... it made sense. I'm not sure if I'll actually DO what she suggested.. but, who knows?... I might. Is anyone out there willing to take the challenge for the rest of us?

Check it out:
Simple Mom Blog/No More Shampoo

I have a friend, that told me about this one awhile back...but I had a hard time believing that using olive oil on your face would actually be good for it. I had visions of my face becoming an ache cesspool. But, this info claims otherwise.

See for yourself!

Simple Mom Blog/Use Olive Oil to Clean and Moisturize your FACE

Please tell me if you have tried this. I'd love to hear about it. Or if you think this is a disgusting idea - I'd like to hear that too. :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LIVING in the moment

How many times do we sit with our laptops on our lap, partially listening to our kids tell us a story about their day, their friends, their life? We could be really engaging and connecting to them. How many of these missed opportunities can we count; time that we can never replace...? How many more moments am I willing to waste. I'm tired of wasting away my time. I'm purposing to LIVE in the moment... to be present. To look up at the sky, to look my husband in the eyes when he's talking to me... to put my computer down when my kids want to talk. I'm making a decision to be PRESENT.. to LIVE.

"Jesus, help me to be present in the moments of my life; moments where you are waking me to the beauty of it all. I want to take those moments, when your Word is in my hand, to close my eyes and know you're with me. Help me be PRESENT and to remember that YOU always are... in every moment of my life... MY very PRESENT HELP in time of trouble."

Watch this video... see if you don't want to make a decision to do the same::

BE HERE NOW from blaine hogan on Vimeo.

Digging In...

I'm preparing to do a Daniel Fast. I have mixed emotions about it. I'm nervous about succumbing to the cravings and need for certain things, like coffee for instance; because its part of my morning routine; the most important part to be honest. I'm excited because I know that on the other side of it, is clarity and direction; deliverance and freedom. I'm excited to see how God moves in my life and those I'm am praying for during this time where I'm focused on Him. I'm also excited that its only 21 days... does that sound super-un-spiritual? oh well! ...You know you'd think it too. I'm going to go ahead and order a cookbook and a book I found on a very helpful site to use during the fast. Here's the link just in case you have ever thought about doing a Daniel Fast. I'm gonna need all the help I can get.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Frosted Flakes... "Brings out the tiger in you!" ;)

From Me and Mine

My son Nathan, came to me and emphatically asked that I buy him Frosted Flakes the next time I went grocery shopping. He was convinced that this cereal would help him perform at Olympic status when he played in his next football game. Later that day, I saw the commercial that spurred the idea. It reminded me of when I was a kid, I lived and breathed tv. I watched tv as often as I could. I lived vicariously through the lives of the characters that paraded in front of me... no joke. Television played a huge role in how I perceived the world around me.

I went down memory lane when I searched youtube for 80's commercials. I had a complete time warp while watching those commercials! I remember sitting on the edge of my seat, soaking in every commercial! I wanted everything each commercial was selling. I was convinced that the toy they were displaying was going to make me the happiest kid to ever live. I definitely didn't feel like it had been almost 30 years since I'd seen those commercials. (...that's the scariest part of walking down memory lane...)

Here's a good one that I remember like it was yesterday... Jerry O'Connell in a speedo hehe :)

I'm curious... What is your favorite childhood commercial? find it on youtube and share it or describe it! :) I'd love to know.