Monthly Archives: November 2013

11/30 Gratitude

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Today, I’m grateful for gratitude.
Focusing on a lifestyle of gratitude this month has been altering in an amazing way. I’ve found myself less frustrated with irritating small things. More aware of “small” blessings.
This video was shown at my church last Sunday. I wanted to share.

11/29 On Having Enough

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Preparing for the holiday season as I also continue learning about ministries like Compassion and Amazina, the sponsorship organization run by Katie Davis, whom I mentioned a day or so ago, has opened my eyes to the fact that I have enough. Beyond enough, I have excess. And I’m excessively blessed.

Today is America’s unofficial holiday Black Friday, when the country is focused on shopping, whether focused on the deals they’ll find as they venture into the throng or the throngs they’ll avoid by staying home. I’ll be working, so not out looking for deals but not avoiding crowds either! I was offered the opportunity to go out before or after my shift at work, but I can’t bring myself to venture into the shops, even for good deals. I love getting the most for my money, but when I chaos is more than I can handle. And there’s nothing I need. I want good deals. I want a new sweater. I want a pair of $20 boots, but need?

(And this is in no way a guilt trip for those who enjoy the day! Go at it. I used to loooove the energy of the shops on this day. Maybe I’m just old. I think I’m going to put on my pjs and watch a movie after work 🙂 )

I am so grateful for the fact that anything I need is at my fingertips, and really, anything I want can be, if I’m willing to make it happen. But I’m also grateful that the Lord has been teaching me the difference between the two. I’m grateful for my parents who have always been good about teaching me the same. I’m grateful that enough is enough, in the best, most blessed way possible.

I think of Anne Shirley, standing on the bridge with Gilbert, placing her hand in his and saying, “I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls. I just want you.” Anne knew that true Joy stemmed not from things, but from relationship.

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An aunt recommended a book called 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I am excited to get my hands on a copy and read it, though I’m slightly nervous about the conviction it will bring. The best lessons are rarely comfortable, but I’m learning that simplicity is freeing. And enough is enough. (But I’m going to have a hard time if I start feeling like I ought to pare down my book collection.)

xo, Breanne

Do leave a comment if you’ve read any of Hatmaker’s books or if you know of any other books on the subject that you think I may enjoy!

11/28 Happy Thanksgiving!

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Today is the day of national gratitude, friends. But the practice thanksgiving didn’t originate with America, with the pilgrims that long-ago harvest. Today, I encourage you to remember the words of David, in Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

May your Thanksgiving Day be full of fellowship and family, a day to recognize the blessings of our Almighty God, and may that attitude of gratitude remain within us throughout this coming year.

xo, Breanne

11/27 Music

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When I was just a wee one, my mom signed me up for a group keyboard class. Followed by 8 years of piano lessons until my teacher moved away. Followed by three years of harp lessons including intensive theory classes until I left for college. I was immersed in melody and sheet music, and while I didn’t love the practice time, I loved the music.

Not only did I play, but I listened to music constantly. Over a hundred hours of logged classical-music-listening hours for extra credit in my music appreciation class (I earned more points in extra credit than the class was worth–I think the teacher added a cap after that semester). I listened to the radio and cd’s and my iPod. And in college, I found out that Pandora had a 40 hours/month limit, which I wasn’t pleased about.

That limit was lifted. I rejoiced.

Music plays strongly into my life. Notes motivate and encourage, soothe and calm. Worship music centers me. Soundtracks drive me. When I drive, and I don’t enjoy driving, music helps me focus and keeps me from getting too anxious or irritated when driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Jon Mclaughlin is always a good idea.


(gratuitous Mclaughlin. I could listen all day. I often do, actually.)

When music contains a memory, the space in between the notes reaches deeply, able to reach emotions and memories in a unique way. When I hear a song that was a “summer anthem” for my friends and I in the past, I’m tempted to roll down my windows and crank up the volume, reliving that memory with them.

Or a song that soothed my loneliness my first year at college away from home brings just a hint of that bittersweet memory.

Listening to Jon Mclaughlin brings memories of friends and concerts, besides the fact that his trilling, playful piano performances delight me in every sense.

And even as I write this post, Pandora’s playing in the background. I’ve been alternating between Hans Zimmer’s soundtracks and Christmas music. Before Thanksgiving. I know. I know.

But the nostalgia wrapped up in Christmas music is too sweet to only listen to for a few weeks out of the year.

11/26 Miracles (and Baby Beckett)

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Over the past year, I’ve been following the story of Baby Beckett, my cousins’ cousin’s baby, born with a serious heart problem that kept him in the hospital for the first several months of his life, with quite a few major operations on his tiny infant body. But instead of my clumsy summary, check out this video of his story (and I dare you to not be charmed by his smile):

My favorite line from the video is when Jonathon said, “We are so very blessed, not just because we had a favorable outcome, but because God is using our son, our story in profound ways, and we are just blessed to be a part of that.”

From praying over Beckett and keeping up with his miraculous story on their blog, Heart of Beckett, two Truths have been impressed into my heart: 1) God is always in control and using our lives for His glory, and 2) this moment is the only one we’re guaranteed, so use it wisely and immerse yourself in the blessing of now. Also, God works miracles today. Don’t ever believe differently.

Keep Beckett in your prayers as he continues to grow and strengthen. Pray for his parents, who continue to trust God to care for their precious baby boy.

Also, take a second to vote for Beckett in the Gerber baby photo contest–see the resemblance? 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/Gerber?sk=app_586462271392312&app_data=265400

#ODAAT (One day at a time) #GoBeckett!

xo, Breanne

11/25 Compassion International

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I knew, when I started this series, I’d end up with a Compassion post. I’m quickly approaching my one year anniversary of official Compassion involvement, though I became casually involved earlier with church.

When I started brainstorming the post, I was coming from the angle of “I’m thankful for Compassion for all I’ve learned from my kids and from the program.”

But today, I’m really grateful for the difference that Compassion makes in the lives of children, families, and communities all over the world. Yesterday, I found the following video on Compassion’s website:

I was in tears, both at the despair of these children and the joy they found through the love of Jesus. The more I read about hearts changed through this program, the more I am confirmed that I am supporting a worthy organization (and of course, I fall more and more in love with my sponsor kids with every letter I receive from them).

And even beyond the spiritual treasures produced through their church-based ministry, these children are fed. They’re tutored. They’re clothed and bathed and cherished. They are given access to medicine and even operations and hospital visits, as necessary.

The problem of poverty has been brought very near to my heart through my involvement with Compassion. I’ve also begun reading Kisses From Katie, by Katie Davis, who moved to Uganda to serve orphans; her story brings more names and faces to the abstract term “poverty.” Everything I learn slips its way into my heart and whispers, “Do something.” And when it’s finished whispering, it shouts.

Compassion is one of many organizations that “go into the nations to preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15), as they also serve and share, as the believers modeled in Acts.

Recently, one certain family on the Compassion site has been on my heart: three-year-old quadruplets from Ghana. Precious, aren’t they? And a bonus: videos of each child (and mom!) if you click on their links! I love them. They each have such adorable attitude, and even in the 10-second videos, you can see their mama’s love for them.

And can you even imagine the difference that education, nutrition, and medical assistance would make for this single mom with four precious, precious babies? Money for schooling, health, and shelter, a chance to break the cycle of poverty, a chance to bring hope to this family through their local church.

I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned through my experience with Compassion, but the more I learn about poverty, the more gratitude I feel for the work of Compassion for over one million children currently in their program. Grateful that I am able to have been blessed with the resources to be a part of this ministry.

xo, Breanne

11/24 Children’s Church

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When I came back home after college, I felt disconnected from my home church, having attended so sporadically on breaks and weekends all through four years of college. I wanted to step in, take ownership of my church, so I signed up to volunteer in nursery (it was a step).

I was assigned to a 2nd and 3rd grade girls’ Sunday School class. Then moved to the K/1st Children’s Church class. Now, nearly two years later, I have never been happier that God overrode my plans.

This week, my mom stepped in to help me when my regular co-teacher was suddenly unavailable. When she greeted early-arrivals while I made a couple copies, one little boy told his mom that she wasn’t his “real” teacher, because I was. Upon hearing this story, I melted.

I love my Sunday School kiddos. Lately, I’ve had a class of mostly little boys, who are loud and crazy and impulsive. But when I’ve finally won their trust and their (limited) attention, and when I manage to pull their attention in for just a moment, they’re thoughtful and wise. They work hard to learn their memory verses (while clomping around the room and reciting it in a dinosaur voice). They are beginning to encourage one another. They include visiting students. I’m so proud of them.

I’m delighted when they draw a picture to send to Mwajuma, their Compassion girl in Tanzania. When they grab my hands to tell me a story (even when it begins, enthusiastically and with a huge grin, “Miss Breanne! I just did something disgusting!”). When they can remember how to pronounce “Rehoboam” and “Mephibosheth,” even when sometimes they forget my name, reverting to “Teacher.”

When I was in high school, many people asked if I was interested in pursuing Education. I wasn’t. Not at all. But sometimes I look back and wonder if I should have, but for now, I’m grateful for the opportunity to teach these young ones, prayerfully allowing God to work through me to shape their sweet hearts.

Thank you, N, for working so hard on your memory verses.

Thank you, L, for singing with abandon.

Thank you, J, for always bringing a bright smile to our classroom.

Thank you, A, for thinking so deeply and answering so lovingly whenever we speak of applying our lessons at home.

And thank you, Jesus, for speaking to my through these little boys.

xo, Breanne