Sunday, November 14, 2010

Won't Lie

I won't lie.

It's been a killer hard month. Busy. Too busy. Full of really high highs and really low lows. I wish I could be better at keeping up with this blog during busy times, but this is one thing that gets pushed by the wayside.

Here's a run down of what's been going on:

Brandon and I were asked to be the campus pastors of Redemption Charlotte. We got to choose the city, and Charlotte has been on our hearts for a long time now. We are excited about the opportunity, but of course still trying to wrap our brains around what will go into starting a new video campus in another state.

A week later Mom's battle finally came to an end. She won. Not in the sense of "I beat Pulmonary Hypertension", or "I got a lung transplant finally", but "I passed this test, I finished the race, I gained the prize...and the Prize is Jesus." She went to be with Him on September 21. We were incredibly saddened, but also relieved that she is suffering no more. We are grieving as best we can. It's terribly hard, and lonely at times. But we remember that she is with the Lord and that gives us hope to see her again. Hopefully a long time from now, right?

Our friends, Brad and Cory-Marie got married the day after Mom's memorial service. It was a beautiful wedding and we celebrated as much as we could considering the circumstances.

A week later, we went on a cruise that we had been planning for months to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. It was a good time to rest and reflect...and eat. We did a lot of all that. We reconnected as a couple and it was a wonderful time to have a little respite. We spent a couple of days in Charleston after the cruise with some friends and enjoyed celebrating another wedding...Amy and Yves Gege. It was a gorgeous day and perfect for a wedding.

Four days after we got home, our nephew, Channing, was born in Fayettville, NC. We drove there to be with John and Pepper and welcome little Chancakes to the world. We haven't been able to see him since, but look forward to getting some good baby snuggles at Thanksgiving.

On the way home from Fayetteville, we stopped in Charlotte and stayed with a buddy who gave us a generous tour of the city, mainly Uptown areas. We got charged up and excited about that.

After we got home we decided to try to move forward with our move and put our house up on the market. And before we could do that, we had to do some big time renovations. New hand scraped floors in the foyer, great room, dining room and hallways/closets. New ceramic tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Touch up paint, little projects here and there that have needed to get done...it is now "go" time. We've been staging our house, packing our belongings up, and furiously cleaning to keep it sparkling clean. We are praying for a quick sale so we don't have to keep this up for long, because it is just plain exhausting.

We have been taking a lot of trips to Charlotte and are excited about what will happen there. We've been reading a lot of books about multisite churches and speaking to people who live them out. We're digesting a ton of material in a very short period of time. Thankfully, I have been a part of a church that did multisite pretty darn well, so I have a little experience in it. A little.

My aunt Leslie beat cancer last week. In the same way that Mom beat PH. They are now enjoying Jesus together, I'm sure. We went to Greensboro to be with our family to celebrate her life last weekend.

So that's it. Not much. Wait...I'm lying. I told you I wouldn't do that.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I recently have become slightly obsessed with a design blog I stumbled upon called Young House Love. And since stumbling upon it, I have been inspired to declutter, clean, organize, repaint, refinish, design, etc. My house is slowly but surely getting whipped into shape.

I recently took a took on a little project which turned my husband’s skepticism around and made him a true believer that the DIYer part of us is still alive despite our busy lives as parents and professionals.

I was looking for some file storage for our office, and came across this vintage file cabinet at a garage sale for $5.

As you can see, it needed A LOT of work...

First, I took off all of the hardware and sanded the entire things down multiple times. (When I took the drawers out, I found an original Time Magazine Special Edition from 1969, “To The Moon and Back”. On Amazon, it sells for $5-$25 + shipping, so maybe that will get me my money back!

Back to the project...So, after getting everything as rust-free as possible, I spray painted the cabinet and the hardware a semi-glossy black with Rustoleum spray paint. After it was thoroughly dried, I chose four pieces of coordinating scrapbook paper and cut them to fit on the front of the drawers. (sorry, I was way more excited about the project than documenting the project and forgot to shoot some of the steps.)

I then taped off the drawers where the paper would go and sprayed adhesive in the center. Then I put the paper on.

After it was dry, I reattached the hardware, and viola! A new, improved, super chic file cabinet.

Soon I will get some good pictures that do it justice in its new home, my bonus room/scrapbook room/office. It looks awesome!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Where the heck we've been...July

In July I surprised Brandon with a trip to Summerville to see one of his all-time heroes in the faith, David Hogan.
(that's him in the middle with the salt & pepper buzz cut and goatee. He's a bad mammajamma.)

Jo-D Hogan and others pray for Brandon

Brandon's parents and Nikkie came with us as well. Nikkie got to ride on John's motorcycle!

Had the girls all dressed up for July 4th...Festive and darn cute if you ask me.

Brandon, his brother and their dad went on a camping/kayaking trip down the Chatooga River.
(Pepper stayed with me and the girls while they were gone...thank the Lord for her cause I wouldn't have made it alone!)

After the boys got back safely, we were all able to celebrate John Channing Berry's upcoming arrival at John & Pepper's baby shower in Hendersonville!

We took a mini vacation to Mt. Pleasant and Isle of Palms and stayed with my mentor, Leesa, and her family, the Northrups where we were thoroughly spoiled in every way. Dave and Leesa cooked, entertained, and even babysat. Their oldest son and his family had just been transferred back to the Charleston area, and had moved in temporarily until they get a house, so their 18 month old, Trig, served as a ready playmate for both Ella and Allie. I forgot our camera, but here's them playing in the backyard.

Finally, my dear friend from college came down with her two beautiful children to hang out. She lives in Kansas, but was visiting family in Highlands, NC which is about 2 hours away. We actually got all the kids down for a nap at the same time (a miracle?) and had some sweet catching up time.

Where the heck we've been...May and June

I know it's been a while since I've blogged. My friend, Carrie, calls it being a "slogger" or slack blogger. Whatever name you want to put to it, yes...I've been bad at keeping my little blog updated.
"So, where the heck have you been all summer, Berrys?"
Well, here's May and June...

Pickin' stuff from our garden....

Using our Zoo Pass...they have a great playground which serves as a wonderful rest stop.Swimming in a redneck swimmin' pool...
(Yes, we swim in real swimming pools, too.)

Visiting Grammy and Pappy in Columbia (picture by Rhonda Danner Photography).

Getting in some good sister time...

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Allie's First Birthday

We had an amazing time at Allie's 1st birthday party. I decided to keep things "low key" and just make the decorations and cupcakes. Turns out, that's not so low key when you have two little kids running around and providing bi-minutely interruptions, and you can't quit the ideas from popping in your head. Yes, low key can turn into almost overwhelming when you have time to check out what all the other creative mamas are doing by Googling "homemade 1st birthday party". At some point, I decided to quit adding and stick to my low key plan. I was having a blast thinking of all the great things I could do with my plethora of scrapbooking supplies and my newfound sewing skills. The final projects that made the cut were a homemade birthday tutu, a customized onesie, birthday hats, cupcakes with toppers, a banner, and some other around the house decor. I was pleased with how it turned out.

One of the best thoughts for the low-keyness of the party was to ask my friend, Rhonda, to take pictures for us. She is a photographer and fellow stay-at-home mom who lives across the street from us. Our 1 year olds are just about at the age now where they can have a play date that consists of more than diaper changes and major meltdowns. So, in lieu of gifts, I asked her to take a few shots for us while they joined in the festivities. This allowed me to enjoy the party without worrying about capturing every moment on film (or digital card).

Click here to see some of her great shots. Also, if you would like to order any of her shots, you can go to rhondadanner.com . Click on Client Proofing, type "allie" in the password box, and take a look at the whole kit and kaboodle. Ordering information is on the website. (The posted pic above is not one of her shots...hers are even better!)

We had a nice turnout for the party, including most of Brandon's family, and a couple of Ella & Allie's friends with their parents. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, and we enjoyed grilled hot dogs for those to whom it didn't pose a choking hazard, and other 1 year old appropriate goodies.

The apex of the party had to be Allie getting to break her 1 year sugar fast and tearing into her cupcake. She LOVED it and barely left a crumb to clean up. She also had a chance to experience her first non-diluted juice box and she surely enjoyed it. The kids were a little sugared up by the end of the day, but a nice long outside play time and Easter egg hunt negated it and they happily went to bed on time that night and slept all the way through.

We are so very thankful to have Allie in our lives. She is such a source of joy and laughter in our home, and we are beyond amazed at her sweet spirit. Thank you to all who celebrated with us!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Frugal February - Failure?

If at first you don't succeed, DON'T GIVE UP!

That's what I'm taking away from Frugal February now that I'm reconciling all of our bills and statements to figure out the total spending for the experimental month.

We had some....hiccups, I guess you could call them. Some things, like our semi-annual car insurance bill that is due in February just couldn't be helped, so I didn't even count that. I did, however, check around to find out if we were getting the best rates possible, and we are (so that's good).

I felt like we really did sacrifice on many occasions...I can't tell you how familiar we are with PB& J. I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many we ate this month! There were so many days of Brandon taking left overs to work instead of hitting up Chic-fil-A. I clipped coupons and matched them with sales. I tried to stay to my list. We ate our pantry almost empty, but then had to restock it. But even then I was focused on buying things for recipes, not just to buy them. Only once did we go out to eat (and that time, with a coupon!) just because we didn't want to cook or clean.

Here's the thing...life happens. We spent more on gas because this month included two trips to Columbia and one to Hendersonville to take care of my parents and pick the girls up from their grandparents' house...We had a few opportunities open up for us to minister to others and that included buying them lunch or coffee. I know it didn't have to, but in these instances it just did. My camera was broken and instead of missing out on the lives of our small children any longer, we decided to fork out the money to get it fixed (after researching all the options, of course). I hosted a baby shower for one of my dearest friends...These things all add up, I guess.

I'm not going to beat myself up about it. Really, I'm not. I'm not even going to declare this month, "Money Saving March" or "Mo Money in My Pocket March" or anything else like that.
But I am going to try to make more small adjustments in our spending so that we can save and give more in the future.

So long, Frugal February. Although you were only 28 days, you felt soooooooo long.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Frugal February - Creative Thinking - #6

"When starting out, don't worry about not having enough money. Limited funds are a blessing, not a curse. Nothing encourages creative thinking in quite the same way." - H. Jackson Brown, Life's Little Instruction Book.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Frugal February - BumGenius! -#5

Gotta say that I never thought I'd be "that mom" who does cloth diapers, but I love my bumGenius diapers! And...they are a great subject for Frugal February! I was given most of mine, so the initial investment wasn't as much (they usually run $16-$17 each).

Some of the factors that make these great are:
  • They grow with the kid (fits 7-35 lbs).
  • They each come with two inserts, making them even more customizable...Knowing that Allie fills her diaper more at a certain time of the day allows me to put in the super-duty insert!
  • They cut down on diaper costs. Check out this diaper calculator to see your savings.
  • They can be used for more than one kid!
  • They are "greener" than disposables.
  • If washed and cared for properly (meaning no stains), they could be resold on consignment websites.
  • They are cute, cute, cute!
Now, I'm not gonna lie and say they are perfect. Far from it. Here are a couple of downsides:
  • Cleaning out dirty ones is a crappy job. Literally. I have had a few incidents where I am up to my elbows in poop. Not many. Thankfully, I have an additional insert that I try to put in that catches the solids and is biodegradable...I can just toss it in and flush. But on those times when I forget to put that in, or if the girls have solids that are, um...less than solid...I have a mess on my hands.
  • Storing dirty ones is sometimes stinky. I usually rinse them out and throw them in a pail and wait for them all to get dirty before I do a load (to save water, detergent, energy). This is fine when I am staying home all day and committed to using them. It gets trickier when we are out and about and I have to use disposables, therefore making the time the used ones sit drag out...this is bad for the nose sometimes.
  • The velcro straps kind of get pilly after being washed over and over.
  • They are bulkier than disposables, so sometimes the girls' clothes don't fit as well when wearing them.
All in all, these are great items to have for the stay at home mom who sticks around the house a good bit. I wouldn't send my kids to church or Mother's Morning Out with them on because I feel like it gives the nursery workers more work and can get messy (I'll admit, I don't always check and empty the diaper bags as soon as I get home).

I would say that we have saved $150-$300 since we've been using them.

For more info on cloth diapers, hop on over to my friend and fellow mama, Kelly's site.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Frugal February - Brandon's Wisdom- Entry #4

Brandon always likes to chime in with, "No matter how great the sale, you always save more by not buying anything at all."

Hmmph. I guess he's right.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Frugal February - A Drop In The Bucket - Entry #3

I don't know the people who designed and built our home (or the other homes in my neighborhood that are clones to my home....home clones, I guess.) But if I ever get a chance to meet them, I am going to have a few questions for them, the first one being, "what in the world were you thinking with the plumbing in this house?"

Like any good storyteller, I tend to embellish minor details to help make what I'm saying vivid and memorable. For example, "That book was so good, I read it in about 2.5 minutes flat." But let me just say that while I admit that fact, I am not exaggerating in the least bit when I tell you that it takes at least 3-4 minutes (depending on outside temperatures) to get the hot water to come out of the shower head in our master bathroom. I literally turn on the water as hot as it can go and wait. Sometimes I do push ups and sit ups. Today I got in 100 ab moves before I checked to see if there was hot water and it was just getting warm. And don't even get me started at how frustrated I get when I can't use warm water to wash my hands immediately after using the restroom...ugh!

That is what brings me to this post...I had to come up with a way to save all that precious water! It began when we first moved into the house and there was a massive drought going on in the area. Lakes were being sucked dry, the news was pleading with the community to conserve water, etc, etc, etc...I hated the fact that at least 5 gallons was probably going straight down my drain before I even stepped into the shower.

So I got a bucket.

And I put that bucket under the water flow. It catches almost all of the cold water that comes out (yes, it's a 5 gallon bucket and almost full), and then I heave (or if I'm preggo, I have Brandon heave) it away and take my shower.

What do I do with my bucket o' cold water? A number of things:
  • I usually put it in the washing machine. My machine stops putting water in the basin when it gets to a certain level, so this hastens the process and the amount of water needed to wash clothes. Obviously, this works best with a cold water setting.
  • Sometimes I use it in the girls' bathtub. It works out that the hot water comes in and adds to the cold bucket water at just the right level for safety and comfort.
  • During the summer, I like to use it outside in my garden, or for my plants.
So, it may seem like a little thing, but those 5 gallons at every shower add up!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Frugal February -Grocery Guru? Perhaps not. - Entry #2

Frugal February began with a trip to the grocery store. This is more significant than may come across on the surface. Going to the grocery store may not seem like a big deal, but when you're trying to spend as little as possible, it becomes a little more complicated. Let me indulge you:

Before going to the grocery store, I had to take inventory of my fridge, freezer, pantry and cabinets. What do we have? What do we need (as in staples). I realized during this step, that we really have a lot more than I thought. This is the result of many couponing frenzies when I would have been a fool not to get something for FREE or for mere pennies (more on this later). So I have lots of rice, pasta, canned goods, etc...that need to get eaten up! I also made note of all the fresh fruits and veggies that I have that will go bad if I don't use them soon.

After taking inventory, I decided on a meal plan for the week and beyond. I wanted to use all of my perishable foods without having them go to waste. I also purposed to utilize some of the aforementioned extras that are plaguing my pantry.

This week, for example, I am making Whole Wheat Bread, Canadian Stew, Turkey Chili, Barley w/ tomatoes & basil, Chicken & Sweet potatoes, Salmon Cakes w/ Rice, and Tacos.

Next, I checked my coupon stash and the store circulars to see if there were any can't-let-them-get-by-me deals. I tried to match up sales and coupons.

Finally, I came up with a list of about 10 items that I needed this week. This included a few items for the kids and a few that the recipes called for.

The next thing I knew, I was strapping Allie to my chest in the Baby Bjorn and wiping down the "car" cart with antibacterial wipes for Ella.

Here's a clincher...and I have to give myself a pat on the back for this one cause it's a true sign that I am really working hard on this Frugal February thing...I bought ONLY what was on my list. Even with Ella in the cart, I was able to keep my blinders on and work my plan. Yay!

Now, I know that there are some super couponers out there who are so savvy at this shopping thing that they regularly save more than they spend. That is not me. I will forever be amazed at some of these women who have the time, energy and organization to do that, but I'm at a place where I just can't be that person right now. I'll do what I can and not let myself feel condemned because I don't have staggering numbers to show off yet.

So that's it. I got all of our groceries for the week for less than half what I usually spend. It's a start.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Frugal February - Entry #1

It's February 1, 2010. We are officially in FRUGAL FEBRUARY! What's FRUGAL FEBRUARY, you wonder? I thought you'd never ask.

FRUGAL FEBRUARY is an experiment that the Berrys are doing. We are trying to see how little we can live on in the month of February.

There are a number of reasons why we are trying out FRUGAL FEBRUARY. Some include (but are not limited to):
  • The economy: We all know that the economy is bad. That's not new news. Thankfully, we have just recently felt the belt tighten a little in terms of Brandon's paycheck and other work-related expenses that were once covered, but are now not covered due to the economy and cutbacks that the church has wisely made. It is nice to know that God is our provider, and He has used Brandon's job to provide for our family in great ways.
  • The discipline: It is good for us to work discipline into every area of our lives. Last month, for me, it was in the area of eating. I finished a 21 day Daniel Fast as I abstained from all meats, dairy products, and sweets of every kind. I never thought I could do it, but I did! Now, even after I have finished the fast, I am still able to hold on to some of the discipline that I put on myself as I choose what and how much to eat. This month we are disciplining ourselves in the financial areas of our lives. It is so easy to become "fat and lazy" in this realm...going out to eat for convenience or just because I don't want to do dishes...buying things at the grocery store that I won't really use or need in the near future and/or that may go bad before I use them...wastefulness needs to end (or at least get a good spanking).
  • The need: I am not saying that Brandon and I flippantly spend our money. In fact, I would categorize us in the more conservative tier of our friends when it comes to what we spend and how often we spend money. We do this for a few reasons, but mostly because we want to have more to give to the Kingdom of God and those who are truly in need. This isn't a "pat yourself on the back" moment...it is the reality of our lives when we live them by our principles and convictions. We usually have enough left over each month to be able to bless others with food, clothing, a nice gift, or even a little help with someone's bills which have had to be neglected because of temporary setbacks. This doesn't just feel good, it IS good, according to God (See Matthew 25:40 for just a few examples of what He says about helping others). Recently, we have had more people express a need than we have resources for, so that has aided our decision to do our FRUGAL FEBRUARY experiment.

That's my rant...I wanna hear your rave. How does your family cut expenses? I want any and all ideas! Please comment and let me know...I'll promise to read them and try as many as I can out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Recent Readings

I've really been enjoying going to the library to check out different books for children. I solicited the help of Ingrid, one of the friendly and ever-so-knowledgeable librarians who had me laden down with 20+ books in 5 minutes flat! Ella loves the reading time, but Allie is much more engrossed in turning the light on and off than the story or the pictures. I know the time and experience is getting into her little heart, mind, and soul, though!

Knuffle Bunny & Knuffle Bunny Too Mo Willems

If You Give a Cat a Cupcake & If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor

I Love My New Toy also by Mo Willems

I haven't even been through all of them, but what are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have to admit that as a stay at home Mom, I have come to love the connection that I have with others through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter. Sometimes it's my ONLY connection to the outside world, the adult world, or the "real" world. I love the fact that I can keep up with long lost friends, faraway family, and people I do life with daily at the click of a mouse. I can enjoy watching my friends' kids grow up on uploaded videos and pics. I can show off my own kids with others, too.

But there are some things that I'm not a big fan of when it comes to Facebook. Here's a video that captures my sentiments. (Except the old people one...my kids' grandparents are on FB, and I'm glad it gives them a little fix in between visits.)

Enjoy and let me know what you love/hate about Facebook!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 21

Well, it's the last day. At sundown, my Daniel Fast will be over. I'm not planning on going overboard when the clock strikes to end my fast, but I will probably try to stop by and get a chai or coffee before we head over to RWOC for our Defining Your Child's Destiny parenting class.

I'm still expecting God to meet with me today in a deep, intimate way. And even after the fast, I look forward to a richer relationship with my Creator.

During the fast I feel:
* I have gotten closer to the Lord. I have been able to hear Him more clearly and see Him more readily in situations than I had previously.
* My spirit hungered for God more than before. If a day went by without some deep communion with Him, I really felt it.
* I've had a great success in making my body submit to my spirit. I haven't really cheated, which (honestly) is a surprise to me. This was a huge victory to me. I feel like my body is not addicted to sugar and high-fat foods like it was during the holidays. Hopefully this will translate into better eating habits for the future.
* My mind is clearer, and I feel healthier. Also, I've lost a few pounds, and my clothes fit better.
*I've had breakthroughs in prayer points and have seen God work mightily on my behalf.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 17

A new focus for the fast...

Today at RWOC, Apostle Ron talked about the reality of the financial situation for our church, and did an altar call for those who are either (a) unemployed, laid off, looking for work and can't find it or (b) business owners or others who have taken significant hit to their businesses that have sent them into survival mode.

You would not believe the amount of people who came up to the altar. HUNDREDS. People who are hurting, who are struggling, who never thought they'd be here.

Apostle Ron is fasting on behalf of these people and believing for a financial turnaround for the Church...the people of God's Kingdom don't have to live by the world's economy. But we do have to use wisdom when handling our finances.

I'm adding this to my list of prayer foci for the remainder of the Daniel Fast.

Brandon and I are also going through and shaving down our budget (again), looking for extra streams of income, and trying to simplify our lives and sell some items so we can continue to give generously to the Kingdom, to supply the House.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Queen For A Day

Brandon got me good for my birthday.

He wrote out a sweet poem declaring me queen for a day. Hallelujah!

Queen for a day privileges included:

Not having to change diapers.
Getting an hour long aromatherapy massage with Roxy @ Urban Nirvana.
Getting my hair washed and fixed @ Urban Nirvana's salon after said massage.
Having Ashley pick me up and take me to lunch.
Window shopping with Ashley after lunch.
Getting dropped off at Barnes & Noble all by myself for some leisure reading & relaxing.
Being picked up in a newly washed "Don Juan" (that's what we named our Nissan Pathfinder)
Taking a nap.
Having Mama Nissi (Brandon's Mom) babysit all day and night.
Enjoying a dinner out (read--no dishes to do!) with Brandon.
Watching "Avatar", which was WAY better than I expected.

Not too shabby, huh? I thoroughly enjoyed my queen status. Now it's back to Wifey, Mama, CEO of the Berry Household, Nose Wiper, Diaper Changer, Taxi Driver, Pastor's Wife, Ultra-exhausted status...It's a good thing I love these titles as much as Queen!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 15

God, for my birthday, I want more of YOU! I don't need cakes or big celebrations, but I do need a fresh breath from You. You are everything to me, and I thank you for 31 years of life...and especially the ABUNDANT life that I've enjoyed since knowing you for these last 13 years. You are the best GIFT I could ever receive.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 13

Another answered prayer:

Tonight at clubRED Tavner brought an anointed message about finding our purpose from our Creator. It was definitely needed for teenagers and adults alike!

Tav gives an altar call at every service and gives a chance to everyone to accept Christ for the first time or recommit their lives to Him. Those who choose to do so, go into a separate room where Brandon and I and Maggie (along with some other wonderful leaders) counsel them, pray with and for them, and give them materials to help them grow (Bibles, Life Change Booklets, etc...).

I met a young girl today who really desires to change her life. Her past may be tainted, but God has erased it from her tonight when she asked for forgiveness and invited Him to take over. I am praying and believing that she is going to be a catalyst in her group of friends, her school, and her community for change. She's gonna change the culture. She's gonna show them how God can turn someone's life around.

Breakthrough is coming in the ministry and with the teens. Just you wait and see.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 10

I've found some rather yummy recipes to help me on my Daniel Fast. I can't believe how expensive it is to eat this way! There are hardly any coupons for fresh fruits and veggies! And I have been also purchasing vegan foods, which definitely boost my bills at the grocery stores. I also have to go a lot more often, because fresh foods don't last as long as processed foods, so I have to buy small quantities more often.

Brandon and I visited Asheville for date night. We hit up Rosetta's Kitchen , an all Vegan restaurant, for dinner. We were pleasantly surprised! I had a tofu pot pie that I could have sworn had real chicken in it. He had a veggie burger. It was a little different than we are used to, but we enjoyed getting out of our 'box' a little.

Afterward, we went to The Green Sage, a "green" coffee shop. They have all sorts of good things to eat and drink (I enjoyed hot filtered water with lemon while Brandon had a caramel macchiatto or something that sounded way yummier). But they also use all 'green' materials, have solar heated water, recycle and compost, etc...it was pretty cool. I was definitely tempted by the coffee and desserts, but again, greater is He in me than he who is in the world! Score: God in Me: a lot, Satan: zilch!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 5

Today God answered a prayer that I've been praying for a year. I can't get into too many details but I am very excited to see Him orchestrating circumstances to bring glory to His name!

Praise God!

On that note, here are my major prayer points during this fast. If God lays it on your heart, please join me in praying!

* More intimacy with God
* Physical healing for Mom, More intimacy with God for both my parents...
* Family healing for Berrys, including for J & P to be blessed with a baby in 2010!
* Direction and Wisdom for 2010 (Raising Ella & Allie, Finances, extra streams of income)
* Breakthrough with the Teens in ministry.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 4

Well, my Daniel Fast began at 12:01am on Jan 1, 2010. We had celebrated with Redemption World Outreach Center at the Bi-Lo Center and had employed the help of two teens to babysit our girls at the house. We had ordered them pizzas and sodas for dinner.

And when we came home by 1am, I was faced with my first temptation. Who wouldn't want some pizza after a night of celebrating? I resisted. Score: God in Me 1 Satan 0!

Then I went to visit my parents while Brandon took a much needed 2 day retreat to spend time with the Lord and organizing and strategizing the upcoming year. My parents house is infamous for having wonderful goodies. Usually, it is the demise to any eating plan I try to do on my own. But, I came armed with my own food this time, and was able to spend a lot of time with God while the girls slept or played with their Pappy. This allowed me to resist temptation while I cooked up some meals for them. Score: God in Me 2 Satan 0!

I forgot to mention that my best friend from college, Claire Eckert, has partnered with me on this endeavor. I think it's going to be great to be able to hold each other accountable and encourage one another through this. We have exchanged prayer requests, and are committed to praying for one another throughout this fast. We've lived apart for 5 years now, and as you can assume, it's much harder to stay close when you're not doing life together, so I'm excited to have this point of reconnection with her.

I feel like I'm beginning to focus less on my eating situation and body and more on God, which is a good thing! I'm excited to see what He is going to do in and through me!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Daniel Fast Day 1

Jan 1, 2010.

I have been praying for MORE OF GOD lately, and through my prayers, I have felt a movement towards a time of prayer and fasting.

Fasting. It's not something I usually do "well". I love food. I love to eat GOOD food. It's not just the taste, it's the EXPERIENCE of food that I enjoy.

When Brandon and I were first married, we tried to fast once a week. I hated that day every week, and really began to dread it. Looking back, I'm pretty sure it's because my eating habits every other day were so poor that my body rebelled like a spoiled child during that one day that I couldn't give it what it wanted when it wanted! (In my defense to my poor eating habits, I must say that we were living on such little finances that we would stand in line for free food and had to try some pretty suspect items such as cans that just said "beans" on them. What kind of beans? It was a surprise!) During those times, I never really felt close to God. I was too busy thinking about King Stomach who was on the throne of my mind.

But I remember one time during that first year when we lived in LA when God impressed on my heart to do a three day fast (full fast, nothing but water). I was a little nervous, but couldn't deny that it was a God thing, not a man thing. I was praying for my parent's salvation. That was my focus. And the fast was surprisingly easy because I was caught up in talking with God this time.

Another time, recently, when I felt the need to do a three day fast was when my mom was told by doctors that she had but a few weeks left to live. Again, God pressed on my & Brandon's hearts to fast and pray on her behalf. Since I was nursing an infant, I was instructed by her pediatricians (who, by the way, are amazing and love the Lord and supported me in this endeavor) to take juice and continue with my prenatal vitamin. That was back in August, and Mom's still alive and kickin'.

So at the end of last year, I began to seek God on deeper levels and He kind of led me to this fast. I'm doing a Daniel Fast. Basically that means no meats, sweets of any kinds, dairy, fried foods, or anything to drink but water. I feel like it's one of those that are going to be difficult, but WORTH IT. I'm excited to get closer to God, and if that means giving up some rich foods, I will consider it a small price to pay for deeper intimacy.

I'll try to post my thoughts and reactions to the fast on my blog. My hope is that it will encourage you to grow in your own relationship with God.