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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So you want to know about: My Dream Job


What would your dream job look like?

My dream job would give me room to be creative, make my own hours- would allow me to work in the office and from home - provide paid travel and be very understanding when it comes to my responsibilities as a parent -- that's a dream job!

Ask me anything

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

PHONE ENTRY- New entries coming soon... until then..Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Speaking of gifts:

My 14 year old daughter paid me an awesome compliment tonite... She read my blog and said I was a really good blog writer and she enjoys my style of writing as much as she enjoyed reading "Twilight" - Wow! I'm still on cloud 9

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"BAKE A BATCH OF LOVE"











As you already know - I dedicated my last 6 blog entries to the "spirit" of Christmas and gift-giving... What you probably don't know is that in January - it will be the one year anniversary of the death of one of my little girls. If you don't mind -I don't want to get into details -- I just want to get to the heart of my post...

See..I had been promising the girls we were going to bake for the holiday season, but one thing after another kept postponing it. When we FINALLY had an opportunity to bake -- that very day in fact - we lost her to a tragic accident...

So why the post? I just want to remind you - tomorrow is not promised - so today, while you can - "bake a batch of love" with your family and please, tell your friends and other family members to do the same. My girls and I got started early this year - we've learned -no more putting it off!

Above you'll see our first batch of cookies(we've since baked much, much more) - the heart wasn't planned...it just came out that way

A sign? I hope so...

Be Blessed

Monday, December 14, 2009

Speaking of Giving...





Check out this lovely "boho" scarf my little sister made just for me as a Christmas gift!!! And - it was a surprise!!!
The pictures just don't do it justice!

Gift Giving on a Budget -Intro - Part I -The "spirit" of Christmas

Gift Giving on a Budget - Part I

This blog is going to get broken up into 4 parts ..the intro...the tips in two parts...and then some interesting Christmas facts.

In the past I have given many classes on a variety of subjects - including gift- giving on a budget. This year I wanted to share the class with my new home church and while I was preparing the class the Lord lead me to push a step further... so what started out as a one page class - turned into - as the Lord would have it- an in-depth class on gift-giving and the "spirit" of Christmas. We all had a blast in the class and I hope you enjoy the tips as much as everyone else did!

*** ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~

So what is the "spirit" of Christmas?

Well, most of us have heard over and over about how its about honoring the birth of Jesus and with rote memorization can speak on the importance of Christ's birth...even more I hear of people saying how they celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with their families ii I'm not knocking anyone, but the Lord led me to a scene in a movie - "The Grinch that Stole Christmas"(the original cartoon & book) of all things and had me ask...

How many of us; after hours of holiday shopping, picking out the perfect gifts - after hours of putting up the tree and placing every tiny detail of our holiday decorations up on the walls and the outside of the house etc... and after buying and preparing the food for a fine Christmas feast to share with our families, would, upon awakening Christmas morning, to find it all gone - grab our children and our neighbor's hands and go outside with singing and rejoicing for this glorious day?? (remember they did not cry and scream and call the police first)

Let's take it a step further... how many of us upon learning who the culprit was - because he turns himself in - would, in the true "spirit" of Christmas - forgive him and have him sup with us that evening? For those of you that answered- "I would!" - let me commend you - you really have this Jesus thing down - for the rest of us - we got some re-thinking to do:


Ask yourself:

Why do we(as a society) give gifts at Christmas?
Why do I give gifts at Christmas?
Do I enjoy Christmas or has it become a chore? (If it's become a chore – it's time to re-evaluate)
Who is on my gift-giving list?
Are these the people I truly ”know” & care about enough to give a gift to?
What is my “true” Christmas budget? By true budget I mean how much you can reasonable spend without: borrowing money, going into debt, foregoing paying your bills and/or tithes and/or falling short financially for the months ahead
How can I make this Christmas more meaningful – for me and those I love?

Consider:
What are you favorite Christmas memories? Why?
How many actual “gifts” do you remember? Why?
What made them(it) important to you?
Was it the actually gift?, The reason for the gift...,what the gift meant to you.. or
Was it the experience you associated with the gift?

Now try to recreate that for someone you love...

Remember:
Be Thoughtful
Be Creative
Be Cheerful
Be Generous, but also
Be Wise/Mindful

Let's be conscientious giver's and gracious receivers!

Be Blessed!
Part II - below...
http://www.latinapheonix.blogspot.com/2009/12/gift-giving-tips-part-ii.html

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gift Giving tips: Part II

Gift-giving Part II

Give a gift of the Heart:
Eccl 11:1, Proverbs: 16:24

No cost:

Write a song or a poem – no matter how corny it may sound to you – it will be special to the other person
Write a letter – WRITE a letter – email is only acceptable in this case if there is no other way for the person to receive the letter, except via email.
Make it personal
Do it in your own handwriting – even if it stinks – if it's illegible, even to you, then and only then, can you type the letter, but it must be printed - then sent
Don't just write a 3 line note – make it a letter that conveys your true feelings for the person
Make it about blessing the person with your love – no venting or bringing up old hurts
tell this person how much you love them/ care about them and /or appreciate them being in you life and why.
Add a prayer or a blessing just for them that they can read over and over.
Or tell them all the things you'd love to buy them if you had the money
Add a “picture Wish list”(optional)
Place it in a pretty envelope and put in a box...present it as a gift...don't just hand it to them.

Make a “Picture Wish List” - taking old(or new) magazines make a collage of all the things that you would get the person if you had the money – nothing is too big or too small! Glue them onto a sheet of paper(or more). Add stickers and or cut out words and phrases from the magazine (or add your own). Once its dry -fold neatly & fit it into a card or a box...you can sprinkle the inside of your folded paper with glitter for more effect when they open it. Place a note card on top for them to read before they open their “gift” that says something like “If this world were mine...” or “If I were a rich man...I 'd give you...” etc... be creative!

No cost to low cost:

~Make a special music CD – be mindful of the music you choose
~Find out what their interests are and buy them a magazine subscription
~But them a gift certificate to their favorite store or restaurant (any amount)
~Buy them a book on their favorite subject
~put together a “theme basket” or mug - with inexpensive items
~Is there something you own you know they would really like? Consider parting with it...remember to do it cheerfully and without regret – once you give it – it's theirs!


Give a gift of Your Time:

I John 3:18

No cost to low cost:
An elderly family member in a nursing home
A friend or family member in need of help cleaning garage or painting room
A single mom (or a couple) in need of a babysitter from time to time
A loved one with no transportation in need of a ride
Someone you know that's incarcerated and could use visitors
Be creative... look around see where your time would be a better use of your efforts, especially if you have no money

When giving this kind of gift remember:

This is a GIFT... no strings attached
If you really don't want to do a chore and you know you aren't going to follow through then don't offer it.
Be a person of your word – if you gave the offer – then follow though with it
Create a “Coupon” - don't just tell them their gift, create a pretty certificate or coupon and present them with it
Be sure the coupon or presentation is clear on any limitations: such as not on Fridays or Sundays during church hours, only good for x amount of hours and to used by, etc... be specific... you want this to be enjoyable for all parties involved!
after presenting the gift - try to sit and nail down an exact time and day that's good for all parties involved
Be sure to mark your calendar and follow through!
Don't wait for the receiver to contact you or remind you! You call them to confirm or better yet show up ready as promised! This YOUR gift to Them!

Give a gift of Your Talents

Do you have a gift or a talent that another person could benefit from? Maybe it's something
they need, could use or would love to learn? (Lessons, consultations, workshops, etc. can be expensive – your expertise is valuable)

The same principles as above go for this type of gift, as well. Be sure that you include all that is and is NOT included in your gift...and the duration of the gift
Remember the “longer” the gift goes for - the greater the value
Some examples of great talents to share: Sewing, art, knitting/crocheting, massage, spa, cooking, cosmetology, photography, Financial, Legal services, etc...

Give a gift of ”Filling a Need”

low – high:

Very similar to the above gifts, except that instead of fulfilling a need with your time – you opt instead to fill the need with your resources – especially financial. Instead of buying a gift consider:

Paying a bill for a month or more
Investing in a friend's business – a little or a lot every bit counts(If you can not “invest” in their business – BUY something from them to give as a gift to someone else... )
Take someone shopping: what do they need?
Clothes?
Food? (You can do this with food-stamps)
Household goods? - Toiletries?

Be Creative...and thoughtful...remember these are people you care about

Be Blessed
Part III - Below...
http://www.latinapheonix.blogspot.com/2009/12/gift-giving-part-iii.html

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gift-Giving - Part III

Gift-Giving Part III

Give a gift of ”Food”

No cost to high cost:

A little different from going shopping for a person (or taking them shopping for groceries)

~Bake a batch of Cookies or a cake and wrap it up pretty or place in inexpensive airtight containers. Now they are so inexpensive you can give them to a person without the hopes of getting your container back

~In a clear jar: layer the ingredients to your favorite cake or cookie recipe so it makes pretty layers – ex. one layer of flour, one layer of brown sugar, another layer of flour, one layer of chocolate chips, one layer of sugar. **Be sure that the layers are the exact amounts needed for the recipe so that all the recipient has to do is pour the mixture into a bowl and add any additional liquid ingredients( such as eggs or milk etc) to make the baked goodies. Make sure it’s packed in tightly and wrap the top with a layer of pretty fabric and a ribbon bow. Be sure to include the recipe and instructions!

~Fruit Baskets & “Gourmet” Baskets make nice gifts for large families. They are fairly inexpensive to but at the store but even less expensive to make yourself.
Consider collecting all of the families recipes and making them into a cookbook – In this way you’re giving “History” and Food.

Give a gift of ”History”

No cost to high cost:

Consider how many of the older people in your family are getting on in years, think of how many years of history and memories that could be shared with the younger generation would be lost if someone doesn’t take the time to jot down those memories now!

Ok- for this you’re going to need a bunch of dedicated family members, preferably the patient ones with good handwriting or just patient enough to sit and listen and ask questions.

You will need:

~A pad (or a voice recorder – with extra tapes) – You may also want to consider using a video camera

~A list of questions to ask -you can find lots of books on the subject or find sites online with helpful suggestions
People willing to transcribe the information into a word processing program – simply put: someone willing to type it all up into the computer

With no budget:
Send it via email

low budget:
Print out onto paper – punch holes and keep in a binder or make several for family members

Mid to high Budget:
Make into actual books. There are several online programs to help you put your ideas into bound books…Also consider scanning pictures and adding them to your book(s)


Give a gift of ”Nostalgia”

Remember all those old memories you shared with your family coming up? How many of your cousins now live in other parts of the country or the world, even? How about scanning all those pictures you (or your mama) have of all those memories and posting them online to share with other family members. Each of the other members can do the same for you - if your budget really allows, you can even print them out to share, as well.

Give a gift of ”Creativity”

Low to high

~Make something with your own hands – don’t worry if it’s not perfect just make it with love

~Buy something from an “Indie shop” – every city has independent shop owners with artisans that can use your support. If not there are plant of great artisans online to choose from

~Make a Craft box filled with lots of crafty goodies for the family to share and make together!


Give a gift of Family Time


~Buy a game board for the family to play together

~Buy a game console with games the whole family can play – the great thing about the Wii is that anyone can play it

~Start a new family tradition and make it personal for your family like sharing every Christmas Eve at grandmas house


Give a gift of New Memories


Just like sharing Christmas Eve together every year, consider- instead of gifts – the gift of new memories for example:

~Instead of spending the money on toys - take the family to Disneyworld for a week or visit a family or friend that lives out of state. Be sure to set-up the accommodations ahead of time. When you get there- be a tourist- not a couch potato!

~Consider spending the month going to all the movies that come out for the holidays or rent holiday videos all month long and watch them with the kids

~Make gifts together everyday until Christmas

~Or instead of giving gifts for Christmas – give gifts on the Epiphany Jan 6th

“Resources”


Stores:
DollarTree
Dollar General
Walmart
Target


Joanns**
Michael’s**
Hobby Lobby**
**lots of great stuff to make or use with your projects, plus knowledgeable staff & free craft sheets for ideas

Online:
Too many blogs and craft sites to mention, but type in craft blogs into your search engine and have fun!

Some of my favorites are:
www.hellomynameisheather.com
www.cutoutandkeep.net
www.marthastewart.com
www.wilton.com
www.michaels.com
www.burdastyle.com

for some indie shops online:
www.etsy.com
www.artfire.com

check me out at www.latinapheonix.etsy.com

Pictures and books:

www.walgreens.com
www.blurb.com ++
www.mypublisher.com ++
www.shutterfly.com **
**Unlimited picture storage
++Website that helps you create your own “picture books”

Hope you got a lot of new ideas about gift giving!
Be Blessed!
Interesting Christmas facts below...
http://www.latinapheonix.blogspot.com/2009/12/interesting-christmas-facts.html

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gift Giving - Interesting Christmas Facts

~ The 12 days of Christmas are from December 25th – January 6
~ January 6 is called the epiphany and it it considered the day that the Maji (wise men) came to visit the Lord and gave Him gifts – this is the widely recognized reason why we give gifts at Christmas now
~ Gift giving at Christmas, as we do now, is a fairly new tradition
~ Christmas became a national Holiday in 1870
~ Candy Canes represent Christ: held one way they are the shape of a “J” (for Jesus) and the other way the represent the Shepard's Hook. Of the stripes? Red for the blood and white for innocence... what a great witnessing tool!



The Twelve Days of Christmas:
(Found on: http://www.abcog.org/12days.htm)

One partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy.
Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
From here on, the order is different from the original song!
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
(Information from Catholic Information and Urban Legends websites)

I hope you enjoyed my four part series on Gift-giving -- want more? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Holidays
Be Blessed!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

PHONE ENTRY... random thought...You gave your whole life to be the person you are today-was it worth it? (Richard Bach-"One")

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

She's baaaccckkkk...

She's baaaccckkkk...

Before I write my first blog post, in years, I just wanted to stop and say thank you to those of you that have supported my work - both literary and artistic - your support has always meant soooo much to me..

My plan is to get back to the business of doing what God has blessed me so well to do and I truly hope that you will all rejoin me on this journey and, hopefully, bring some friends along...