Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do you know where your food comes from???

Last night we watched the documentary "Food, Inc." Basically, it is a film that was made to inform the American people where our food originates. From the raising of the animal to the grocery store. It was VERY eye opening.

Most people (myself) have absolutely no idea of the filth we have been eating and serving to our most precious. The meat! The meat is the biggest nightmare! Cows, chickens, and pigs that are injected with tons of antibiotics, steroids, and animal byproducts. They stand around in their own droppings all day. Chickens should normally take 79 days to mature before processing are injected with hormones to grow faster (about a month) and to grow very large breast (because the people like to eat white meat). Many die because the internal organs cannot keep up with the rapid growth (it is unnatural growth). Then the processing plants wash the chickens in ammonia.

Can you imagine the effect that these chemicals are having on our bodies when we eat these products day after day. America is saturated with cancer, diabetes, and obesity. It seems to me, that our food is the problem. Not just the over eating, it is WHAT we are eating.

Cows, did you know that cows should only be eating grass. When a cow eats a diet of grass, the grass in the stomach kills the bacteria e-coli. But these mass producing beef farms are feeding the cows corn (makes the cow larger than a normal grass fed cow) and more prone to e-coli. In the film, there is a heartbreaking story about the death of a child because he ate a e-coli contaminated fast food hamburger. The beef company knew the meat was contaminated and didn't recall it for seventeen days. The little boy died in eleven. Cows should be pastured and fed a grass and hay diet. Not raised in mud and manure and fed a diet of corn and chemicals.

Fast food, you really don't want to know what you have eaten if you've ever gone through a drive through. Animal meat fillers.....I'll just leave it at that. (It sickens me to know how many times I have fed this to my children.)

What can we do???? First, get informed. Rent this film. Shop local produce markets and farmer's markets. SUPPORT your local organic farmers. Yes, it is going to cost you a little more to eat cleaner. Eat less meat and when you eat meat, buy organic or Greenwise meat. I started this a week ago. Publix Greenwise meat is more expensive but I would rather know what my family is eating is clean and NOT filled with poison. Buy organic in season produce. Much of the out of season produce in grocery stores has been sprayed with a gas to make it look fresh.

Grow a backyard garden. This is inexpensive and very rewarding in many ways. Good healthy grown fruits and veggies! Plus the added bonus of family time working together. Make it a family mission to work the earth. God will provide and reward your efforts. Our family began gardening years ago, and we love it so much. Every year our garden gets bigger and bigger.

Listen, until last week, I had never purchased an ORGANIC product. I thought organic was a marketing label to justify the mark-up price of produce. My eyes have been opened to the importance of eating clean food. This has really derailed my coupon/frugal way of shopping. I will be reworking my menus and grocery list with little to no processed foods and more of the good stuff. I figure by not eating out because restaurants use large quantities of these mass produced meat products (scary) we will be saving about forty dollars a week. Adding that to the grocery budget, we should probably come out about the same budget wise.

Please see this film and make an informed decision about what you eat. America needs a food revolution! If Americans change our eating/buying habits the food producers will have to change their ways. Somewhere, they LOST their way. BIG TIME! We have a say. Three meals a day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Job suffers........Day 29 of 365

In the Chronological Bible, we are on day 29, and poor Job is in a world of hurt. This man has been through the worst imaginable suffering. He had it all....Family, land, livestock, and the respect of being an elder. Among his people, he was considered a great man. In the eyes of God, Job was a fine man.

One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. "Where have you come from?" the Lord asked Satan.
Satan answered the Lord, " I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that's going on."
Then the Lord asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless-a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil."

Like I said before, poor Job. That's all the evil one needed. A praise from God on His servant Job. To the evil one, it was a taunt.

Satan replied to the Lord, "Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!"

Well there you have it! Satan on the attack. Doing what he does ...attack. God allowed Satan to test Job. He took everything but Job's Life.

I feel so bad for Job. He experienced such anguish and grief that his friends didn't even recognize him. When three friends came upon Job on the road.

When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

Such suffering! After seven days, Job finds his words. A LOT of words. Then his friends chastise him for a while. And finally God speaks to Job...I can't wait to read what God says to Job, but that is tomorrow's reading. I know ultimately God restores Job's life and blesses him again, but I have never completely read Job's story for myself.

Devoting this time to God's Word has truly blessed my life beyond words. I feel like so much of God is being revealed to me for the very first time. What I want most in my life, is the strongest closest relationship with the Lord and to share it with my children. To reflect the Lord to others. Most days I stumble, but He is always there to dust me off and put me back on my path.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eating from the pantry review

We are nearing the end of the month. I had intended to post more of my menu plans for the month, but my mind was a little pre-occupied the past couple weeks. I still managed to stick to my goal of eating from the pantry and freezer for January.

I just went over my $100 goal for the month. I found center cut chops for 1.79lb. and stocked up. The meats in the freezer were getting low, and I don't want to pay full price when the week is over. I managed to cook the turkey and a large roast over the weekend. These have made several meals.

The turkey.....sliced turkey and gravy with mash potatoes and veg.
turkey sandwiches
dark meat for turkey noodle soup (frozen for Friday dinner)
white meat for turkey potpie (frozen for Saturday dinner)
turkied (made up word) out after that.....

The chuck roast was served sliced with rice and veg.
open pot roast sandwiches w/gravy
and tonight beef quesadillas

Breakfast this week
blueberry muffins
oatmeal (for me everyday)

tuna salad
grilled cheese and soup
bagel bite pizza's (kiddos favorite)
fruit cup

I will be continuing with the pantry challenge, but I am looking forward to shopping for deals again soon. I plan to continue using up everything in the pantry even into February. The new items will be rotated to the back.

Did you eat from the pantry this month? Did you save a bundle?

God has been SO good to us.....In every way! We have received so many blessings recently. Our house payment reduced due to a recalculation of our escrow account. We had been over paying. They sent us a payout check and we applied it to our loan balance. Trying to payoff this house ASAP. Some of my husband's guest gave him belated Christmas gifts in the form of restaurant gift cards. Those have come in nice during the month on days I just didn't want to cook. We are expecting a little tax refund this year and we are adding it into our savings.

Last January, we started the "Total Money Makeover" with Dave Ramsey. This past year we paid off all credit card debt, student loan debt, any other little sums we had out there. We are trying to attack our mortgage and balance of our one vehicle (one paid off). How wonderful it will be to be totally debt free one day. Personal income is the number one wealth building tool. Imagine having your whole salary with no monthly payments (except utilities). You could really build some wealth.

If you haven't read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, you should consider finding a copy. He really helps put your financial vision in perspective.

Having a vision and working toward the vision is key.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Praise report

Thank you to friends that have prayed on my behalf. I found out the lump is not cancer, praise God. I will spare you the yucky details, but it was actually a blocked pore. The lump is now gone, and my mind is at peace.

By the Grace of God go I!

Love to you,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Blessings from the farm

She tends her birds and gathers her eggs.
Thankful for His provision. Our very first egg.

My kitchen....
It's the heart of our home.
The room I spend most of my and cleaning.
Providing sustenance for the ones I love.

The labor of dough is my simple pleasure.
The smell of fresh bread baking is the scent of home.
Love lives here!

An afternoon at the pond with a hook and a pole.
This is life being lived.

My Love.
My Heartbeat.
My Treasure.

Thank you Father in Heaven, for this life.
Most importantly, Thank you for
your Son and His gift
of Eternal Life.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spirit of Fear is No More

I am eternally GRATEFUL to all that have lifted me up in prayer. I have felt your prayers in my life.

I am still waiting on the insurance confirmation, and as soon as my paper work arrives, I will be scheduling with my doctor. I am at peace though. When I am in prayer in the Lord's presence, in my spirit, I feel as though God is telling me to be comforted and at peace. I trust Him....that's what Faith is, right.....believing without seeing. A few days ago, I felt convicted, of letting the enemy whisper fear into my mind. After all, that's what the evil one does best. He LIES!! He attacks believers causing fear, sadness, doubt, and anger. I will not let him rob me of my Joy.

I will update about my situation as soon as I have some news. Again, thank you for prayer. The POWER of prayer always amazes me.

"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands," Psalms 31:14-15

Monday, January 18, 2010

Please pray for me

Dear friends,

I have no happy recipes or smart things to say today. I simply and humbly ask (please) that you would pray for me when you come into the Lord's presence.

A little while back, I found a small lump in my left breast. I had hoped it would go away. I have prayed for it to go away. It has not. It is still small, but I have begun to feel something in there.

Last year, we lost health coverage and other benefits with my husband's employer. We purchased private coverage for our children, but the expense is great. We couldn't afford coverage for my husband and I for the time being.

Last night, I purchased an expensive plan for myself. I don't know how or if we can afford this monthly expense right now, but I completely trust God to meet this need.

I am walking into something so frightening, but I am giving it all over to God and trusting. My life is His.

My mind wonders into the darkest corners at times. What would my husband do? My children? My babies......I LOVE these precious babies with all that I am. You know that if you read this blog. I cannot bear the thought of not being here to walk them through this life. When the mind begins to go there, I stop myself, and pray. Lord, remove these thoughts from this mind. Strengthen me, prepare me for what lies ahead.

Maybe, it will be nothing. Oh God, I pray it is nothing.

For now, I have to wait for the new insurance to take effect and wait an agonizing fifteen days before I can even call the doctor. I have not been diagnosed with anything, so I hope the insurance doesn't refuse to cover me, or try to say that this is a preexisting condition. Hopefully, there is NO condition and I have just been fearful for nothing. Please Precious Jesus, let it be nothing.

Again, please pray for the lump to go away and for me to be healthy.
Forever grateful,

If you are in need of prayer, please comment your need. I promise, to be a prayer warrior on your behalf.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Expecting........

Chickens!!! Gotcha.............This is my husband's latest project. A movable free range chicken coop.
It opens at both ends and the front can be opened for cleaning. It is light weight (two people) for easy moving.

The inside of the coop is the laying area. Fill it with hay and hens and we are gonna be in fresh egg heaven. I can't wait to get us some chickens. I have wanted chickens for a while but my husband wasn't too sure about the mess in the yard. This "ark" is the perfect compromise. The chickens still move freely on the ground below but not all over our lawn.
My husband has decided to make this a little side business for himself. He has already taken the first order.

Friday, January 8, 2010

looking straight ahead

Keep your eyes focused on what is right. Keep looking straight ahead to what is good.
Proverbs 4:25I came out of my room one morning to find her curled in the chair reading about Jesus. Even though she is three and can't read a written word, the Word written in her heart she repeated. "Jesus with the children, Jesus hugged the little girl, Jesus made the little girl better" these are all her repeated phrases.

Even if, they never learned to read or do long division, if they wrap their heart around Jesus. This mother's heart couldn't contain the overflow of JOY.

A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals...Proverbs 12:10

The view from my front porch.

taking a stroll

I will walk with them, and talk with them. I will teach them His word and of His love and promise of eternal life. This is my reason for being on this earth. This is my ministry. These two!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today eating from the pantry

No....this was not breakfast. This was dinner! I pulled the leftover Christmas spiral ham out of the freezer and heated it up along with my son's new favorite "egg in the whole". Added a side of cheese grits and fruit.
Walla.....bon apetite!! It was fast and easy!

Egg in the whole

This easy recipe came from the Pioneer Women Cooks cookbook. I have made several dishes from her cookbook so far and this has been Garrett's favorite. He wants eggs like this everyday. Good thing our chicken coop is almost finished being built. Can you say fresh eggs??? Can't wait to have chickens! I will post pictures when my husband finishes up the project.

I watched the movie "Julie and Julia" the other night. It is a really cute movie! In the movie, the dish Boeuf Bourguignon was mentioned several times. It made me salivate when she tasted the dish. I had to google the recipe. It sounds delicious! But some of the ingredients are not going to fit in my strict $100 budget this month. So, that will be in a post next month. I can't wait to try my hand at French cooking.

Until we meet again.... Brandi

Monday, January 4, 2010

Taking the pantry challenge

I have decided to take the "eat from the pantry challenge". Some bloggers over at moneysavingmom blog are doing a thirty day challenge of eating only from the pantry. I have been wanting to clear through my pantry and freezer. Both are full and why not pocket the savings this month. I will be allowing a $100.00 budget (hopefully less) for milk, eggs, and fresh produce for the month.

My children eat a lot of fresh fruit. I begin the challenge with (produce) three and a half bags of apples, a cantaloupe, eight oranges, and two bags of baby carrots, ten lbs. potatoes, three lbs. sweet onions. My freezer is pretty stocked with meats. One turkey, one spiral ham, several packages of boneless and bone in pork chops, ground beef, several packs of bacon, two whole chickens, frozen shrimp, boneless chicken breast, pack of turkey lunch meat, and ten or so bags of frozen vegetables. There is also two containers of Breyers and frozen butter. The dry goods are equally stocked. About ten boxes of cereal (not there favorite kinds though...owell), five boxes of instant Quaker oatmeal (my fav), two boxes of pancake mix, 5lbs. of sugar, 4 jars Bertolli sauces, many boxes of dry pasta, peanut butter and jelly, 5 cans chx & tuna, etc... It's full! My cabinets are equally as full of groceries. I just have to get creative with the menu. The trick is gonna be, getting them to eat turkey five days straight. LOL... it has been done before and it can be done again.

We could probably make it two months eating from the pantry, now that I take inventory of the freezer and pantry. I might extend the challenge to two months. Just thinking of all that savings we can pocket and save. I am all about saving money! I enjoy the challenge every month of seeing how little we are able to live on. December being the exception, of course. I still did really good on the budget last month even with buying Christmas gifts. It helped that my husband saved a little each week of the last six months, and we were smart spenders this year.

I'll be posting some of the things I cook and the menu plans for this endeavor. Anybody out there, want to give it a go with me?

BTW, the Bible journey is on day 4/365 and we are in Genesis. Basically, it is how the world populated and the lineage leading up to Jesus. Folks sure did live a long time back then. Some 700 or 800+ hundred years. That's a LONG time to work and walk this earth. I'm finding it hard to not keep going, as I love to read. I am being disciplined and following along with each days reading.

Happy Day....Brandi

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2 of 365

So, we are off to the new year! And a blessed new year to all!

Like I said in the last post, this year, I am embarking on a one year reading of The One Year Chronological Bible. I began this quest yesterday with a group of folks that signed up at Tina Johns blog If you would like to sign up, go there now and sign up. Just a little about Tina, she and her husband Pastor Christ Central Ministries of Alachua, FL. She is an amazing woman of God. Her blog is beautiful and I always receive encouragement from her message. Go there and visit her!

From what I have read so far, this is a great Bible. I actually skipped ahead Christmas night and read parts of Luke and the entire book of Revelations. I couldn't put it down. In the chronological Bible, events are put into the order that they actually occurred. This allows you to read the Bible as a single story and to see the unfolding of God's plan in history. Which brings me to what is on my mind today.

The Bible is the greatest history and science book ever. So many people, buy into the ridiculous "theory of evolution". They believe millions (or billions) of years ago there was just a "big bang" suddenly in space and that formed the earth. Over millions of years, this ball of dirt evolved. Single cell organism turned into sea creatures that turned into walking fish. Walking fish walked out of the ocean and turned into monkeys that turned into man. Hmmmmmmmm.........and people actually buy this junk.....Hook line and sinker they do! They stake their eternal life on it. I have a few in my extended family that believe these lies. Some are very "book" smart too. I'm talkin PHD smart. She thinks, she is so smart and right, that no one can really have conversation with her. About anything......I had to stop trying to reach her for Jesus years ago. I tried to plant the seed but it was brushed away quickly. I will always be in prayer for her though.

It is so hard for me to grasp, how intelligent thinking people will believe a ridiculous THEORY. But refuse to open the Bible and read the actual history of the earth. From the very moment it was breathed into existence. The first book (Genesis) means beginning. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. BUT the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. He was here ALWAYS, always has been, and will always BE. This comforts me so much!

So, God is here ALWAYS. Creating heaven and earth, then creating sun and moon calling them day and night. Creating dry land, plants and animals. Then He scooped up a handful of dust, blew into it and created a man(in God's own image). That's Big, the Creator created human beings in His own image. He gave the man(Adam) dominion over everything. Then God, puts the man to sleep and takes the rib. He makes the rib, woman (Eve). Of course, Ms big britches Eve, had to go disobey the Almighty and bring on the fall of all mankind. Thanks Eve! Luv ya sista! Especially, during child birth! I thought of you while I labored. Girl, I was not thinking about being your bff either. (Of course I'm joking here) well maybe a little. Thanks to her, we have pain bearing children. Let's face it, if not Eve, one of us would have blown it soon or later. We are sinners after all.

I bring all this up because of the history behind it all. It all has relevance to our lives. All the way back, the answers are there. Want to know, why are we here? In the beginning He tells us why.

It makes such PERFECT since. A guess, by a man named Darwin, and FYI even Darwin didn't believe in his theory. The God breathed Word is the actual record of the earth's history. Don't take my word, read it for yourself. If you are a nonbeliever, ask God to open your heart and mind to His love and written Word. He will meet you where you are and He Will open your eyes to the truth.

More to come, I'm sure! This is just day one and already, He is stirring my spirit.