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j'adore paris

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and a little sassy, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine, the men!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.


my honey

There is this amazing man in my life. He's supportive and he's loving. He has told me that even if I fail, he's proud of me for following my dream. As time goes on, I realize that, after God, he really does put me first in his life and that he loves me more than I know. Justin, you are a true blessing in my life. This post is for you.

Thank you for sharing the journey with me. Thank you for all of the prayers, wiping all the tears, wrapping your arms around me, the many pep talks, the way you tell other people about me with pride in your tone, the hundred different ways you look at me to make me feel special and sexy, for loving my family as if it were yours all along, for giving my dad a hug when we lost our long-time family dog, for bringing me water in the middle of the night and for being the best husband on Earth. This list could go on and on, but your should know I am grateful for you.


i never knew what Nana was talking about...

If you ask her nationality, my Nana will say, among other things, that she's Viking. Now, that's just crazy. She's mostly Puerto Rican and Hawaiian. Everyone in my family wonders if she understands what a Viking is. Dear lady, sweet little Nana - I can just see her in the horned helmut and long blond braids! Well, according to this quiz, she was right all along.

You're Sweden!

After years of trying to rule the world around you, you've finally put aside violence in favor of advocating peaceful resolution.  There's still a little Viking in you, but mostly you like Nobel Prize winners and long nights by the fire.  And safe cars.  You always read the safety manual in airplanes, and you're just a little cold.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid


a note on faith

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. - Malachi 3:10

Did you know that is the only place in the Bible that God asks you to test him? For five years I have been listening to that verse and the messages that go along with it. Aout 16 months ago, I took it to heart and began to tithe. Until recently, I would teeter-totter between being happy to give and being resentful that we could use that money. I have never touched or altered our tithe. We have been faithful in this since we began to do it. I heard a couple testimonies on this subject, and I always thought it sounded strange. People would get-up in front of our church and talk about how tithing changed their lives - like money would show-up out of nowhere and they would be able to pay their bills and they were never in need, because God always provided. I thought that was all good and fine, but that it was a little on the "hoakey" side. It's not that I didn't believe God was capable of doing that, I just didn't think it happened exaclty how they said it did.

About a year ago, Justin and I noticed that we never seem to have a problem making ends meet. In fact, about 6 months ago, we were riding really high and things seemed great on the financial side of things, we were able to pay down debt and put money away into our savings. We kept on tithing, but it wasn't a struggle for us. It was a sacrifice, but not a struggle. We also started to see the strange ways that God would come through for us, like when we got a strange customer appreciation check from AAA or when our church paid for some design software, because they believe in me. When I started Bean Creative, we watched our savings go down, down and down. About a month ago I started to get really scared and believe me, the tithe we were giving would have helped our situation greatly. Tithing became a huge struggle for us, but we were faithful. Last week, God spoke to me in my quiet time:

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously, will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under complusion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7

And it struck me: I haven't been giving joyfully, I have been giving reluctantly. I was obediant, but my heart still belonged to that tithe. So, just when I was ready to give-up the business and get a "normal" job, my family group asked me about it - and I broke-down in tears. I told them that I was so scared, because I didn't know at what point it was time to turn-around. I told them that I didn't know if God was telling me to quit, because He had something else in mind. I was so sad and so scared, because I love my business and I feel like it's a part of my big dream. My family group prayed over me and for the first time in weeks, I felt a sense of peace. I decided right then and there that, from now on, I would be happy to give God back what was His to begin with.

I shared this with Justin as we ran our errands after Bible study and we felt good about where we were. We were just thankful that there was still money in savings and that we wouldn't worry about the rest, until we got there. On our way home, we picked-up our mail. As it turned-out Justin got a notice from Verizon (his old employer) that his bonds had vested before he left and they wanted to send him his money.

We stared at each other for a long time - silent. Surely, this was a joke. It wasn't. On the very day I decided to be joyful, we were blessed beyond our imagination. (I have to tell you that Justin has always been a joyful giver - ever since that first month when he decided to give tithing a try and we never went back.) It doesn't stop with Verizon. My big check came in on Saturday and today my bank gave me an American Express gift card - just for opening my business checking there, which means we have some Christmas shopping money. On top of that, I had 2 people call me with orders and one person refer me out today. Praise God! I know God is moving all around us. He is faithful with those who are faithful with him. I just feel lucky to see God in this way.

Now, I want to say a quick word on why we give. We do not give, because we expect to get back. We give, because God commands it of us and because we truly believe that all we have is His. One day, we will give more than the 10%, because we know, with God's help, we will be blessed enough to do that.


you're invited, too!

this weekend at crossroads


then they come around

Blogdom, you are beautiful. Thank you for your notes of encouragement, empathy, understanding and assistance in regards to my friend problem.

This will be a short post, as I am running on 2 hours of sleep and just barely hanging in there. My friend, mentioned in the previous post, appologized. I appologized for my part of the disagreement and all is well. In general, I am a very forgiving person and I don't hold grudges - but I do get upset and I let people know about it. So, watch out!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!


and just like that, friends will let you down

Today I had a disturbing IM chat with a friend of mine. We have been friends since college. We have made every effort to stay in touch, even though our lives are running 100 MPH in different directions. She may say that we don't get together enough, and that is true, but whether or not she believes it, I truly do try to see her as often as I can. My life, just as result of being married, a stepmom, a business owner and leader in my church keeps me a tad more obligated than hers does. That is not a judgment, but a statement of the difference between our lives.

Justin and I tightened the reigns on our budget this weekend. Essentially, we have $35 for entertainment expenses for the rest of November. This is because we went to Las Vegas for my brother-in-law's birthday last weekend. Originally, this friend was going to come over to my house and then we were going to go out to a nice dinner. We were talking about hitting the city and everything. In fact, she was going to stay over. However, after the budget reanalysis, I realized that I could not afford to go out on the town. So, I left her message asking if I could cook for her and then go to a movie or something after that.

When I IMed her this morning to ask her if she got my message, she went-on to confirm that she got it and that she needed to "bitch" about the situation. She claimed that hanging-out with me meant that she had to compromise on what she wanted to do. Like we can't go shopping or go out to eat... (As you know, I am still on the shopping-fast.) She then, generously, offered to pay for me if I could not afford it - just so we could do what she wanted to do. Well, this really upset me. I replied to her saying that she was being self-centered and that I didn't tell her that and offer to cook dinner, so that she pay for the night out. I told her that I could not afford it and that if she did not understand that, then she should not hang out with me. I then typed a cryptic "Forget it" and logged off.

When I left that message for her last night, I honestly expected her to be totally understanding and be somewhat excited that I was cooking for her. I didn't try to cancel our meeting. We were still going to get together. I guess, in her eyes, it's not hanging out, unless you spend money. I don't quite understand what her problem is - other than I seem to be a friend who cannot afford the lifestyle she leads and it brings her down.

I am so mad and hurt right now. If someone close to me said that they couldn't afford to do what I had suggested (or what was planned) and then offered to cook - I would totally understand and try to meet them where they are. I wouldn't try to force my desires on them, making them feel inferior and bad about their honest attempt to be responsible. To me, friends, that is not generosity. It is selfish and it is elitist. Anyway, needless to say, I am now free on Saturday night and shy one friend.


i want it that way

So, it's Sunday and I'm working. I tried to rest, but I have so much to get done. I have been goofing off in Photoshop a bit and came-up with this photo of me. I think it's interesting and creepy. If I ever decide to become a singer and produce an album, I think I'll include this in the liner notes. Next on my list of things to do: must learn to carry a tune so that I can become a singer with an album containing narcissistic liner notes.

Anyway, other than being all about MySpace these days, I came across these Chinese students singing and it made me smile. Thanks for sharing, Darlene. Enjoy, blogdom. Sleep well.


i'm sorry wendye

"Could a nonfat, sugar-free latte be this tasty?" The minty, chocolately deliciousness rolled around making a party in my mouth. But as I was delighting in the taste, my heart sank as I read the cup - this wonderful creation belonged to "Wendye." It was a full-fat mint hot cocoa. No wonder it was so yummilicious.

Apparently, I don't even look at the cup before I start sipping. At least it wasn't something nasty like an Americano. I do wonder if Wendye actually spelled her name that way. It could be the correct spelling, but knowing Starbucks, it may not have even been her name. It probably belonged to a "Mindy."

Don't worry, friends, I did inform the barista that I had mistakenly taken Wendye's drink. She slapped me on the hand, re-made Wendye's drink and then sent me on my way with Maria's good, but not Wendye-good, Starbucks fix.


for my friend

A good friend of mine brought up an argument about how our church doesn't have a real shelter for singles - that it is all a farce to get single people married-off. He claimed that the church did not value single-people and that they didn't try to relate to singles where they are in life. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. I don't know where this exactly plays into that argument, and maybe it doesn't at all, but I found something really interesting in my quiet time, today, and it made me think of him.

"My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that our faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's." 1 Corinthians 3:4-5

I hope that my friend sees that so many people care about him and that we do our best to show our love to him. However, it's not our actions, our message, our programming, our music nor our words that should give him ease - it is in the power and love of Christ. Nothing we do should be compared to what God can do in our hearts. I am not ducking responsibility for our church to start a better singles ministry and message series, but it isn't about that. It's about the Holy Spirit moving in such a way that we put all of our trust in God's hands. I am not arguing the point of which the church plays a vital role in our communities, but merely pointing out that it is dangerous to expect to be fed solely by the church.


not an apple

I thought you would like to know that I did not carve an iJac this Halloween. I stuck to the traditional style. Aren't you proud?