Pleasantly Surreal…

Life is strange yet familiar.  The kids have adjusted incredibly well to everything which makes me realize that I should have left that man years ago.  I didn’t, I stayed; I honored my commitments.  The funny thing is, most people would think that what happened was awful.  It was.  There is no honor in what was done.  So the fact that it was a gift to the kids and I provides some insight into just how bad things were.

Life is great now.  No more drama, no more lies, no more excuses, no more abuse!  We are near family and when all is said and done that’s all that matters.  I’ve had the big fancy house and it was smoke and mirrors.  Life isn’t the whats and the where’s it’s the who.  Who are you sharing your life with?  Who are you sharing yourself with?

I’m finding myself again.  It’s incredible, exciting… almost surreal.  Some believe God controls everything and for the most part I agree because He is IN everything… but if you read His letter to us you’ll see just how often He sits back and watches.  He loves us enough to allow us to walk our path.  He steps in when needed… He sets things in motion at times… and then He sits back and lets us walk.  Last night I was reminded a simple promise from Christ

  • 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”     Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV

Life is what you make of it.  Make it great!  God has given us all the tools we need to accomplish His will.

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I’m posting this again because I’ll be using it tonight and again this weekend we have have our first bbq of spring! (2nd of the year)…. but it’s almost that time where it seems every other night we’ll be grilling.. and I just got my husband a very nice grill / smoker this past weekend for an early Father’s Day gift 🙂
I know this recipe will be helpful to you. Give it a try today! You can always freeze them and then just take them out as needed. Have a blessed evening!
PS–
there have been a multitude of major life changes in our home and in my personal life over the last few weeks so I apologize for many lapses in blogging. Thankfully, I’m free to do this as I please as it’s a personal decision and I earn no income from this blog. However, I’d like to spend more time and effort into helping you ladies CYB, so I’ll rededicate myself to this blog as soon as things get back to “normal”.

Cultivating Your Branch

These are a hit in my household, and have been since day one. Gone are the days of buying buns! These buns are easy to make, delicious, and much healthier than store – bought buns. This recipe makes about 12 – 16 buns, depending on size.

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast; if you buy in bulk, this equals 2 1/4 tsp.
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt; coarse ground sea salt is great
1 egg

Directions
1. In a small saucepan, heat milk, water and butter until very warm, 120 degrees F (50 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix together only 1 3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture, and then mix in egg. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time…

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Melina’sMemorables is now Raspberries and Honey

I’ve changed the name of my shop!  You can find it at
http://www.RaspberriesandHoney.etsy.com

I’m excited about this change, and I’ll be unveiling my spring collection soon.  Check out the shop Monday!

Have a blessed weekend y’all!  Don’t forget to wear your green and celebrate tomorrow.  I’ve recently learned that I do, in fact have black Irish in me…. so I’ll be celebrating tomorrow 🙂

How about you?

Hey Y’all!!

Hello World!!  Where ya been??  I’m so excited to now be @wordpress.  Blogger was a good starting point, however thanks to wordpress I’ve consolidated 5 blogs into one.  I feel this will be great for simplifying in 2012, and more user-friendly.  Now y’all only have ONE blog to “follow” and subscribe to via email.

Not to mention… WOW is editing in wordpress EVER easier. for real!

This is great!  I am about to head out to pick up the kiddos, but just wanted to say hi, and welcome.

God Bless!!

GIVEAWAY!!!

Hello Loves!!Melina’s Memorables is now on facebook. Please, Please, please head on over and “like” us on Facebook. —After you “like” us:—*To be entered in our giveaway: leave a comment on our facebook page explaining what your favorite springtime color is. **To gain an extra entry: post a blurb about the giveaway on your blog (BE SURE TO INCLUDE A LINK TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!, and then leave a comment on our facebook page including your blog url. ***To gain another entry: Tweet about our giveaway (BE SURE TO INCLUDE A LINK TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE)!, and then leave a comment on our facebook page including your tweet. ****To gain another entry: Share this blog post on your facebook page, then leave a comment letting us know you’ve shared us with your facebook friends.*****To gain another entry: email this blog post to five of your friends and be sure to cc: cultivatingyourbranch@gmail.com Thanks in advance for helping us grow!Drawing will be randomly selected by  Random.org@ 9:00 AM, EST on March 11, 2012This may be a longshot…. but…. **For every 50 people who “like” us on facebook I’ll draw one name.How many people will win on March 11? It’s up to you! Make it happen!! Good Luck!!!

MelinasMemorables – Giveaway+Now on Facebook!

Hello Loves!!
Melina’s Memorables is now on facebook. Please, Please, please head on over and “like” us on Facebook.
After you “like” us:
*To be entered in our giveaway: leave a comment on our facebook page explaining what your favorite springtime color is.
**To gain an extra entry: post a blurb about the giveaway on your blog (BE SURE TO INCLUDE A LINK TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!, and then leave a comment on our facebook page including your blog url.
***To gain another entry: Tweet about our giveaway (BE SURE TO INCLUDE A LINK TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE)!, and then leave a comment on our facebook page including your tweet.
****To gain another entry: Share this blog post on your facebook page, then leave a comment letting us know you’ve shared us with your facebook friends.
*****To gain another entry: email this blog post to five of your friends and be sure to cc: cultivatingyourbranch@gmail.com

Thanks in advance for helping us grow!

Drawing will be randomly selected by  Random.org
@ 9:00 AM, EST on March 11, 2012

This may be a longshot…. but…. **For every 50 people who “like” us on facebook I’ll draw one name.How many people will win on March 11? It’s up to you! Make it happen!! Good Luck!!!

The Love Jar

We’ve all been there: someone asks you what your new year’s resolution is and you realize you haven’t thought about it yet, and it’s NYE!! Maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t dwell on foolish things such as new year’s resolutions…. don’t get me wrong, I used to make resolutions, set goals, and really believe I’d stick with them. After a few years of realizing I never kept them, I guess I stopped wasting my time with the whole idea of setting a goal and sticking to it. This year, however, I actually do have a resolution, and I fully intend on sticking with it. You see, this one isn’t a temporary goal. This is a life goal. This is a grow-in-my-faith / life-lesson / I-need-to-change- -about-myself / God-will-be-able-to-use-me-more / God-wants-me-to-change- -about-myself kind of goal. I hadn’t thought about it much before the last week and since we’re just beginning the second week of the new year, let’s just say that 2012 has started with a bang, and God has already revealed that this is going to be a life changing year for me, for my heart, and how I love.
It all started with everyone posting before NYE about their new year’s resolutions, tips to choose the right resolution, tips on keeping your resolutions, etc. Everything NY resolution had been sent to my inbox… it’s amazing what we blog about (case in point). I am sure that all those bloggers had good intentions just as I do with my posts. However, it sort of frustrated me. I hadn’t thought of a resolution and truthfully wasn’t planning on it.

This is how it all began:
My husband’s birthday is the 29th of December, so he often gets a less celebrated birthday than most. He doesn’t seem to mind, but I’d like to go all out for him next year to make up for the semi-celebrations he’s used to. This year, the kids and I made him a homemade gift, entitled Love365. (only, there are 366 days in this year, and we added 3 for the last three days in December so it should have been 369… oh and we also went all out and added many more just for the difficult days, or so it didn’t have to end next year… so… I suppose, since the jar is stocked full – with an unknown multitude – we’ll call it The Love Jar.

What we did is get a mason (like) jar, and a few packs of index cards, 200 to be exact. We chose neon and pastel colored cards. Next we folded the index cards in half the long way, cut them, and the kids and I wrote notes to my husband, filled the jar with them, and placed some ribbon around the head of the jar. We ended up with slightly less than 400 as a few were thrown away as mistakes. The kids drew pictures, told their favorite memories, favorite activities they enjoyed doing with their dad, and thanked him for various things. I didn’t need to tell them what to write… a few times they asked for suggestions when they had writer’s block, but every card has a completely unique expression of their love for their dad on it. My notes to my husband were similar: favorite memories, thank you’s for various things, a few cute coupons for things, funnies, etc. The idea of this gift is so that your giftee has a note, a love letter if you will, to open every day for the coming year (I keep meaning to bring his to work so he can keep it on his desk…. one of these day’s I’ll remember).
Now, I know a woman may appreciate a gift like this much more than a man. However, imagine for just a moment the stresses your husband must endure on a daily basis. It’s a dog-eat-dog world we live in folks! If and when my husband has a bad day, I would love for him to be able to just grab a random note and either see a picture his child drew, or a thank you from one of us, or a reminder of a good memory, etc.
I got the idea from one of the amazing women in my Maximize Your Mornings group. I also planned on doing the 12 days of Christmas for my husband but I asked myself:

Why would I ONLY do this for 12 days? I mean, this is my husband. The MVP in my life! Why commit to do kind things for 12 days… …and then what? Just go back to the same ole’???

So I’ve decided to sort-of implement the love dare concept… but for the rest of my life, not a temporary period.

I decided to give myself until the new year to begin since it was just a few days before Christmas, we’d been sick, etc. Now, mind you, it’s not as if I need reminders to be pleasant and loving to my husband, it’s just that I’d made a new year’s resolution, or rather, a LIFE RESOLUTION for myself. So when I was asked what my NY resolution was, I thought for a moment and found the words I wanted to describe it. My life resolution, my goal for the coming year and the rest of my life: Love Intentionally.
My goal for myself, and actually I am willing to bet that this was put in my heart by God, as He desires us to love as He loves. I am at that point in my life and in my faith where I realize my faults, and I desire to work on them. I love people, it’s not as if I’m some sort of zombie or a cold-hearted person…. not completely anyways… it’s just that I haven’t ever asked myself how I show my love. You know how the biblical usage of the word love, most often, in instructions is the verbal love. Love, as a verb. I hadn’t ever thought of it like that until I listened to a study from Shepherd’s Chapel. Pastor Arnold Murray discussed in length that the most often used form of the word love in the bible is the verbal form; and not long after hearing this study I heard a similar study from another trusted Christian pastor I enjoy listening to.
Love. Intentionally. This is a WHOLE new concept for me. It changes the way I think, the focus of my thoughts and prayers, the way I speak to my family, friends, even strangers. The fact that God has instructed us to LOVE others. Now I learn that we are supposed to put our love into action.

Join me, if you will. I can promise you, YES – this will change your life. For the better. We can do all things through Christ, our Lord. Will you join me on this journey?

So, there you have it, my new goal, my life goal, my NY resolution if you choose to call it that, is to Love. Intentionally.