Monday, September 19, 2011

Life in general...

So my mom informed me that I don't update this nearly enough...honestly, I don't feel like it is interesting at all or that I have anything worthy of updating...but to make her happy I guess I am updating!

I have been in Charlotte for a month now and it feels really weird, kind of like I'm on vacation or something but I still haven't figured out where I am going when my vacation is over. I love my apartment and my roommate, we are finally almost done decorating and it feels very "homey." We watch A LOT of disney channel, like to the point where I have pretty much seen every episode of Good Luck Charlie, Shake it Up, and A.N.T. I really look forward to the new episodes on Sunday! Also we have watched a lot of movies and our collection is expanding quite nicely! I slept pretty awful for the first few weeks and I think i'm finally getting to where I actually sleep through the night...but I have been having the craziest dreams and my bed squeaks so bad it's super annoying!

Campus is beautiful and it is a nice workout from the parking lot to my classes...too bad I only go twice a week for like 2 hours. I am pretty disappointed in the lack of work grad school is giving me. I was expecting it to be so hard and overwhelming but it has been the complete opposite! I know that it will get more difficult but for now I really enjoy the content and get excited to do my homework!

I started volunteering in a kindergarten classroom in a Title I school for my clinical observation! I will only go about once a week but I am so excited, it is an incredible opportunity and I can't wait to get more involved! I have never worked with kindergarten so that will be interesting! I also got a job but I am only part time and pretty much on call so hoping I will get a good amount of hours but it will vary each week. So for now things are pretty slow and I am taking it one day at a time! I have had a lot of time to work out so if I end up gaining weight there will be a huge problem!

Charlotte is beautiful! I love being so close to the city and seeing uptown at night is so exciting but I can't really explain why! There is seriously everything you could ever want within 10 minutes from my apartment. I mean outlets, restaurants, fast food, movies, stores...anything! I think there are like 3 malls no farther than 20 minutes away! I have been going to Elevation Church and am trying to get involved in some small groups so that is exciting!! My grandma has visited, my friend Kristy...and hopefully more will come soon!

This past weekend I got to take my roommate to Blacksburg! It was sooo much fun and I had really missed it but I definitely left feeling funny. It's weird to not be there anymore, it's weird the emotions I felt being there and leaving again. It was kind of hard experiencing some of the memories I had there and realizing what certain things in Blacksburg meant to me. Overall it was a great experience and I can't wait to visit again. I didn't really know what to expect and am realizing that I am in such a new phase and the Lord is teaching me a lot I just don't always realize it at the moment. I have to move on now and deal with the past at the same is crazy and I don't always understand it! I have a lot of time to think here and it's kind of annoying, I over think things WAY too much sometimes and I am really working on that! Trying to let life happen in accordance with God's will as I seek Him and obedience! I have no idea what is in store for me this year and that is kind of scary...I've never felt so clueless...I have always had some indication of what would happen or comfort in where I was. But I can't complain and overall I am excited to see what God has in store because I know it will be better than I can ever imagine!

On that note...I have been really meditating on this verse and feel like it pretty much sums up my feelings here in Charlotte...

"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, 
for to you I lift up my soul."
Psalm 143:8

Sorry that this isn't very interesting even though it's so long!!
I have lots of new recipes to use this week so maybe I will actually post something about that...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Patient Endurance

My dad reminded me that patience is not my strongest trait today, after a minute or so I agreed but then began to reflect on how much I have grown in this area over the years and how huge it is for me this summer! There are so many things that I have been going through and I keep asking the Lord to just take them for me and solve my problems. However, I am constantly reminded that it's hard work for a reason. God doesn't fix our "problems" as soon as we get them because if he did we wouldn't learn anything and our faith would not grow stronger in him. I personally would probably think that it all happened with my own strength and I would not become more relient on Jesus and how vital he is in every aspect of my life! 
This verse speaks so clearly to this topic; 2 Corinthians 1:6, "If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer." Even though in this scenario Paul is addressing the Corinthians I don't think this could be any more perfect for the way I have been feeling. It is so reassuring to know that everything I go through is not meaningless but it is powerful in some way whether in my life or someone else's and God uses it ALL for good! It is so hard to have joy at all times but like my pastor said this morning, "If you do not have a daily quiet time you are robbing yourself of joy." Joy is so easily attainable when we are seeking it in the right place! Every "problem" and comfort we have is for Christ and the work that he is so continually doing in our lives, to bring him the true glory that he deserves!

By the way this summer has been incredible and God has shown me yet again how amazing and in control he is! I was a little scared to come home but I have been so busy and I love it and all of the people I get to spend time with :)

"Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from human oppression, that I may obey your precepts." Psalm 119:133-134

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I'm broken inside, I give you my life

As I was laying in my bed last night trying to fall asleep I started thinking about the past three years of my life; the fun that I have had, the hard times I have experienced, the friends I have made, classes I have struggled in and those I enjoyed, and most importantly the transformation that Jesus has done within me. When I thought about who I was as I entered Virginia Tech freshman year I am in awe of how different I am now. My mindset, interests, attitude and outlook on life have all changed and I LOVE it. It is so cool to reflect on the changes that have happened within me and to be able to praise the Lord for the mighty work He has done. I never would have expected to be so different or for my life to currently be where it is, I am constantly reminded that it is not my plan and I know nothing!

The title of this post comes from one my favorite songs, Give Me Faith, it is also a phrase I could use to describe the theme of my last three years. I have finally begun to see how broken I am and how little control I have over my life. Just tonight I was at a worship and prayer time, my last CRU event at Virginia Tech, and just repeating to the Lord that I cannot handle my life AT ALL and I don't want to because it does not go well when I try. I am reminded of a verse, Psalm 16:2 which says, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.'" I have seen that so clearly during my years in college and I am so thankful that I have a God who can sympathize with me and who cares so much for me that He will take all of my burdens and all of my cares and that He will carry them for me and provide and love me every single second of every single day.

Tonight I spent time with two of my friends just talking about life; frustrations, joys, and just sharing experiences and advice. I was able to use parts of the story that God has given me through struggles I have had to help another girl and use my testimony for His glory. We were reading random passages to each other and I thought of one of my favorites; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." How cool that I am able to use stories from my life to help other people, I never would have expected that as I faced the trials I did, but I am so thankful for those trials and seeing God's faithfulness bringing me through them, refining me and making me stronger through His power. 

I can confidently say that I did not waste my time at Virginia Tech and I am so thankful for the person I have become and that the Lord is continually making me into. I could go on and on about the blessings I have seen through friends and experiences at Tech, specifically through CRU, and I am so incredibly thankful for the impact that has had on my life. I am especially thankful for those that took the time to invest in me even when I was stubborn and frustrating, specifically my discipler Janelle, I know you probably wanted to slap me so many times when I just didn't get it! Thank you for your perseverance, love, mercy and encouragement!!! Also the girls in my bible study and my co-leader Kristy, you have all had such a huge impact on my life this year and have helped me grow tremendously!! I am excited about my future and know that these last three years have changed me for the better and I am not only more appreciative of my relationship with Jesus but also so much  more aware of the reality of Christ and His death and resurrection!

"You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light."
Psalm 18:28

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Joy Is Made Full When It's Shared

 I have the most amazing friends! This year has been filled with a whirlwind of emotions and changes in my life and God has blessed me so abundantly with incredible friends and family that have encouraged and pushed me every step of the way! This post is going to be dedicated to Kristy Wilson but I want every other person in my life to know that I love you very much and am so incredibly thankful for you!!

I have truly been seeing the power of the Holy Spirit and just grazing the surface of being able to appreciate how glorious it really is! I have been going through Psalm 119 and seeing how powerful God's word is and just developing more of a passion and yearning for it! One of the coolest things I noticed was that in multiple verses it mentions following God's commands = no shame! So many times our first instinct when realizing our sin is to feel shame and guilt but as we seek the Lord and do what He calls us to there is no shame and that is a beautiful feeling! His word keeps us from sin and the more we meditate on it and fall in love with it the closer we get to Him and farther away from sin! Obviously we are not perfect but what an amazing picture that God gives us His word so that we may see Him more clearly and become more like Him every time we become engrossed in Him! "God not only provides the rules and guidelines but comes with us personally each day to strengthen us so we can live accordingly." I am just constantly realizing that I can't do anything on my own absolutely nothing and that is the beauty of the cross and the fact that I have a Savior who chose to give up his life in the most agonizing way so that I could have life abundantly; and with His strength and love I can persevere through the twists and turns of life attempting to glorify Him each step of the way!

In approximately four weeks this phase of my life will be ending, Virginia Tech! I will have the summer to prepare and in August the next phase of life begins, graduate school at UNC Charlotte! Some days I'm excited, some sad, and some just nervous. Overall I have a peace and a confidence that the Lord has amazing things in store for me and I can't wait to see what the next two years entail. I am sad to leave my friends and bible study girls and am nervous to start at a school where I know NO ONE! But I am excited to grow up and go on my own and continue to seek God's will for my life and grow into the woman he created me to be!

This is where Kristy comes in, I could not have survived this year without her and her friendship means so much more to me than she may ever realize. There have been moments of joy, sadness, weakness and strength and she has always been listen, cry, yell, laugh, sing, dance, and just be crazy with me! I am going to miss her and am so thankful for God putting her in my life. I have grown so much even just this semester and know a lot of that is due to her wisdom and input in my life! It has been such a tremendous blessing leading bible study with her and the Holy Spirit has rocked us so many more times than we can count! Those girls have taught us so much and given us so many laughs and smiles :)

I can't wait for them all to visit me and I pray Kristy and I will stay connected for a very long time! People probably think we are insane as we stand on the steps of the dorm where we lead singing as loud as we can Your Love Never Fails! Or when we dance at stop lights and make music videos of us singing in the Wendy's drive thru! Driving my grandma's convertible with scarves around our heads! Dancing in the kitchen with santa hats at 2 am! Or even when one of us falls down and the other gets on the ground with them and just laughs! I could probably write a whole post on the fun things we have done together! Thank you for being such an incredible friend and witness in my life!

So moving on, I do have a recipe this time and Kristy helped!! We bake for our bible study every Wednesday and it is one of the favorite parts of my week! I had been dying to make these cupcakes and it finally worked out for us to do it! Fortunately she is an awesome photographer and even though we only had my camera she was able to get some good pictures :)

I guess you could call these 
cookie dough cupcakes
We went real simple semi-homemade style!
Box of Devils Food cake mix
Cookie dough *frozen*
White frosting
Mini chocolate chips
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
                                       1 1/3 cup water                                      

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the cake mix, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, and 1 1/3 cup water
3. Fill your cupcake liners about 1/4 of the way full
4. Drop a small spoonful of frozen cookie dough in the middle of your liner
5. Fill the rest with cupcake batter until it's about 3/4 of the way full
6. Place in the oven for 20 minutes
7. Let them cool then frost and drop a few chocolate chips on top for decoration

These came out really cute and we had a fun time modeling the cupcakes and of course eating them :)

 These last pictures are from my phone but I wanted to show off our bstud girls :)

As they make music they will sing, "All my fountains are in you." Psalm 87:7

Monday, December 6, 2010

Inexpressible and glorious joy

Unfortunately I do not have a recipe to share with this post. I have not been doing much cooking or really baking this semester. Life is slightly crazy and honestly a lot of the time I just don't feel like cooking something for myself. Although I have made chocolate white chocolate chip cookies quite often for friends :) I don't even know what to really call them but they are my fav and it seems that others really like them as well! So here is the post just in case you want to try them!
Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had this strange and random desire to write today. I really just want to share what's been on my heart and what life has been like this semester! I am going to be very vulnerable and I pray that there is a reason for my desire!

These past 4 months have been great and also hard in a lot of ways. My life has changed somewhat dramatically. Well dramatically because I am in college and if you know me, I pretty much make everything dramatic! The people I spend most of my time with is different and my living situation is different and well everything is honestly just different than the past two years and than I expected it to be. But that's the cool thing, it's not about our plan and I am just resting in the assurance that whatever is going on right now is up to the Lord and well it's perfect because it's his plan and he knows what he's doing!! I have been given the privilege to lead freshman girls in bible study with my friend Kristy. Who by the way has been such a blessing and I am so confident that God put her in my life at the perfect time and is using her in tremendous ways in so many people's lives, but especially mine!!
I get to spend every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:45-5:00 with my friend Melanie. We have so much fun together and I never imagined we would become so close. She puts up with my crazy stories, random laughs, frustrations, sometimes tears, and just how weird I am. Thank you Melanie, you will never know how much it means to me! I have also been getting closer to some friends back home like Gretchen! We feel so comfortable around each other and have been able to have such wonderful conversations every time we get together! I am looking forward to the growth and continuation of that friendship! She is precious :)

I found out early on in September that some things in my schedule had changed and it was possible for me to graduate early. I talked with my advisor and parents and decided that we would make this work! So July 2, 2011 I will officially have my undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech! Well my dad is always saying that we'll see and I'm not sure he's confident that I will make it, but I am determined! I have the opportunity to walk in the graduation ceremony in the spring and then will be taking 3 online classes during the first summer session. I am so excited! This means that grad school is in the very near future, like August! So this is really exciting but has become an extremely stressful and frustrating experience. Because I wasn't expecting to graduate I hadn't really looked into schools or done much to prepare for applying. I have probably looked at 20-25 schools trying to figure out where I want to apply. I have narrowed it down to 5; UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UNC Charlotte, College of Charleston, and ODU! Every time I think that I am finished with the application or have done everything I need to something comes up and there is even more that I have to do. I am starting to think maybe I am just not supposed to go. Well I'm just kidding, but seriously it is extremely frustrating. If I didn't know Jesus was guiding me and has a perfect place already in mind for me I think I would lose my mind.

So even though life isn't really that bad there has been a lot of pain and suffering that I have been dealing with. I miss my community from this summer and the joy and growth I was experiencing. I have really been struggling with having that inexpressible and glorious joy lately and it stinks. I want so badly to be that joyful all the time and I know I can, I have just been struggling to understand how. I would say that I am an extrovert  and a lot of times I feel alone. So for me it's hard to see that joy when I'm alone. I have been blessed with a fabulous opportunity to disciple an amazing girl named Alison! I really value our time together each week and can say that she is helping me just as much as I hope that I am helping her! We started reading this book called Dancing with My Father the description says, "How God Leads Us into a  Life of Grace and Joy." So it's pretty much perfect for how I have been feeling and I absolutely love it! Something I read last week really caught my attention and pretty much sums up how I want to feel. "I want to celebrate the inner reality of  his Spirit, rather than live as a victim of circumstances in my outward reality." So that's what I'm striving for! Spending time in the word even when maybe I don't really feel like it. Dragging myself out of the bed and doing something beneficial. Going to hang out with friends when I feel like just staying by myself and watching tv. I hate being lazy but love it at the same time. I feel so much more productive and excited when I am super busy. When I don't have much going on I find that instead of taking that free time and really using it wisely I really don't do anything beneficial.

I know that right now I am experiencing a frustrating season of life. But I also know that I am going to come out stronger and more prepared for what lays ahead of me. I am excited to see where God is taking me and especially where I will end up next year!! Life is crazy and you never know what is going to happen next, we aren't even guaranteed tomorrow. I want to live my life to the fullest and with an overwhelming and contagious joy and peace. I am very thankful for my wonderful friends and family who support me no matter what and try their hardest to understand where I am at and how to encourage me :) Life is always good and it is impossible to truly have a bad day when you know Jesus and have eternal life!!

Psalm 16:11 says, "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

All I need to do to experience that joy is to rest in the presence of the Lord! This is extremely comforting but not always easy! But that's what I will continue to strive for and be excited that NOTHING can separate me from the love of Jesus Christ!

I want to share this song that is super comforting to me!!

P.S. I am absolutely loving my new favorite pandora station: Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, and Meredith Andrews!

And Kristy and I's sweet bible study girls :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Project Recap

I'm home! This has definitely been an insane summer and I can't even explain how amazing it has been. Time really did fly and I cannot believe I am going back to school in just 4 days! It is going to be really difficult to recap all of my summer on here but I decided I would share a couple of prayers I had throughout the summer and some of my journal entries to help you get a glimpse of how God was working in my life in Santa Monica!

June 12, 2010

Heavenly Father, thank you for the heart of freedom you have given me. The friends you have blessed me with, and the money that you so quickly provided. It is obvious that I am supposed to be here and that you have something amazing in store for me. Prepare my heart to leave the past behind and to run forward. Bring peace and security to my soul, along with the motivation to pursue you and these new relationships. Cleanse me of my judgmental ways and purify my stained body. Thank you for your love and desire for my heart. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone. Show me how to enjoy this and continually seek you. Prepare me for the future and show me what steps to take. Thank you for your grace and unconditional love, remind me each day. Calm my fears and take away my anxieties. Create in me a pure heart and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Give me the desires and motivations to seek you with my whole heart. Develop in me a desire to learn and an attitude and comfort to get to know people on project and to be adventurous. Grow my heart for the lost and make that a strong passion and love that will last. Leave everything at home and draw me to you with arms high and heart abandoned. Renew in me a heart filled with the Holy Spirit. Teach me your ways, how to live in the spirit, and how to take on the fruits of the spirit. Guide me each day in who to talk to and how to spend my time. Let me open my lips to sing you praise and bring you glory in everything I do. Amen.

June 23, 2010

Lord, thank you for being loving, faithful, gracious, mighty, caring, comforting, and near. You have proclaimed these things in your word. I pray that you would reveal them to me daily. Thank you Father for valuing, loving, and redeeming me. Thank you for making me beautiful and giving me purpose. Remind me of these marvelous things you have done in my life and show me my worth. You have given me more than I could ever ask for or imagine. Show me how to express my thanks and live in such a way that represents your truth. Amen.

* I have never felt so loved and beautiful as I did this summer. Christ was able to show me how loved and special I am in  His eyes and I can finally appreciate that!

June 30, 2010

Lord, I know you are charting a safe course for me. Show me what that looks like; to live for you, love like you, and follow you. Show me what it looks like specifically this summer. I want to completely focus on you and serve you to the fullest. Show me what that means and looks like. What do I need to do in order to follow you? Lord be clear and obvious, take me deeper, draw me nearer.

Take away my fears. Fears of the unknown, of where I am supposed to be, of who I am supposed to be, of what I am supposed to be doing, of how I am to follow and live for you. Make my treasure be you completely. Allow nothing else to interfere or come between us. I honestly feel completely lost and do not know what to do. Make it so clear God. Shove it in my face, slap me with it, make me see who I need to be. Amen.

* I realized that this plan I had for my life was my plan and not His plan. I wanted to know what He wanted and stop trying to figure it out, I was able to better understand where I need to be going and to quit planning it for myself.

July 14, 2010

Tonight is date night with Jesus and I have been really excited about it all day. I was actually fasting today for the first time ever. It was easier than I thought and such a testimony to God's strength for the energy that I had at work. I didn't go to sleep until 2 am last night and didn't eat today so I shouldn't have been able to function. God is good isn't He! I wanted to grow on project, but I didn't realize things would be so difficult at times. The song "I'm falling to pieces" is playing in Krispy Kreme and at first I thought yeah that's me, but in reality I am not because I have Jesus and with that faith also comes hope and certainty that everything will work out. Looking back on what has happened so far on project I am continually seeing how sinful I am. I have seen how judgmental I am towards other girls and even guys. I have also seen how refreshing it is to relax and let somebody else be in control in certain situations, now if only I can learn how to let God be completely in control. I have seen how nice and genuine I CAN be to people and how much better things are when I am that way. I have been learning to look at things from an eternal perspective instead of simply the dot that is my life. I just read Luke 6:45 about guarding your heart. The commentary says, "What is in your heart will come out in your speech and behavior." God is shaking my world right now in all of the feelings and thoughts I have had this far about my future. I need to remember that God's plan is far GREATER than my own and I must be confident in the fact that whatever I think is of this world and that whatever He thinks will always be perfect and will trump what I think. Hebrews 11:40 says, "God has planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." Right now I just want to know what God's will is for my life but I am realizing more and more how much I just need to rest and wait on the Lord. It is crazy to analyze these things and really see how much I need to work on, especially to be more equipped as a bible study leader, but also knowing that I will never be fully equipped and it is only by God's grace that I have the opportunity to be in this position. I have realized how important it is for me to be strong and stand up for myself. There is so much to think about right now and I just want to be free here from all of these thoughts and worries. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6. Thank you for taking my pain and my anxieties.

July 23, 2010

Tonight we did one of the coolest things I have done. It was a treasure hunt evangelism style. We got into groups of 3 and 4. I was in a group with Annie, Cory, and Chris. Heather prayed for us and then we just sat quietly for 5-10 minutes praying and listening to what God was telling us through words, pictures, songs, or anything in general we thought of we would write down. We shared our words with each other and decided where we were going to start. Some of the words we had were yellow, white moving truck, cannons, Colorado, trees, food, McDonalds, dancing, Ferris wheel, cotton candy, Rage Against the Machine, and many more. So we started down California towards the pier. On the way we saw a white moving truck turn onto 8th street or so. We decided we had to follow it. It parked shortly after turning and the guys tried to talk to them. Unfortunately they didn’t speak English and asked us to leave. We kept walking and realized that McDonald’s is on the road named Colorado so we decided to head there. On the way we noticed the Whole Foods on the corner of a street covered in trees. We went that way to McDonalds and found a homeless man eating a sandwich. We started talking to him and learned that he grew up Baptist and believes that God is taking care of him. Chris had felt like he was supposed to grab chips at the church and ended up giving them to this guy. We had a nice long talk with him and prayed with him before heading to the McDonalds. We got there and Annie and I were headed to the restroom when the guys noticed one of 3 guys sitting on the curb outside. He was reading something so they went to ask what it was…the Bible! He ended up being a Christian from Kentucky who dropped everything, got on a bus and came to Santa Monica to witness to homeless people. He was so encouraged y the guys talking to him and he didn’t know what time or day it was but had enough money to survive on his own. We decided to keep walking and noticed a cannon by the pier. We stood around there for minute and Cory talked to a pretty crazy guy who just wanted money and food. We kept walking down the pier when we came across some guys break dancing to Rage Against the Machine. The ferris wheel and cotton candy were to their left and there were some girls sitting on a yellow curb. Annie and I really wanted to talk to someone and had been praying for God to show us who. We tried to talk to a lady who did not speak English. I had noticed these other two girls and we decided to give it a try. I can barely remember what really happened because it was so awesome. We just started talking about the dancers and what they were doing here. We found out that they were from Arizona about 45 minutes away from Annie. They were in high school and looking at going to UofA. They asked if we were Christian’s and we were able to tell them what we were doing this summer and specifically that night. They were catholic and within the last year became really involved in the youth group program at their church. They felt like God had worked in their lives so much and that He brought us to them. It was extremely encouraging talking about being a Christian in college, and about what God has been doing in their lives. We prayed with them and Annie gave them he number to talk about UofA it was so encouraging to see how God placed and guided us to all of these wonderful people.

August 10, 2010

Everything that I learned this summer revolves around one word, surrender. I have learned what it means to fully surrender all things to God and give him the entirety of my heart. I realized how many things I had made idols in my life that I hadn't even noticed at the time. In coming to this realization and having to truly give up these things so that they were no longer hindrances in my relationship with Him I was able to learn the importance of relying on God. My thoughts and actions are not my own and I should seek and trust Him in all things. The one thing I really wanted to get out of project internally was how to be intimate with God. Through being completely reliant on Him I have learned to pray more and really come to the Lord with anything and everything that is on my mind. In regards to evangelism my thoughts have really changed. I now better understand how to naturally evangelize. I am more equipped to listen and ask questions as well as how to transfer into the gospel. It is so important to share our faith with others and it really can be easy. Be open and friendly and really pray for opportunities to share. My life literally completely changed this summer and I am trusting God that He will continue to guide me and make each step clear. I can't do anything alone so Lord step in and take over. I am ready and willing to follow you. 

* This summer truly was amazing and I have learned so much and grown in so many ways that I could not have even imagined before! God is so good and He is always near! I have had so much joy this summer and I know that it is all from Him and I am so thankful for what He has done and is continuing to do in my life! If you have any questions please feel free to ask I cannot wait to continue sharing my experiences! God flipped my world upside down this summer and I am so excited to see where He takes me!!

"The deeper you and I are rooted in the unfailing love of God, the less we sway when the winds of life blow harshly." Beth Moore

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cookie Brownies and Goodbyes

So I am sitting in my motel room in Santa Monica right now, crazy. I can't believe I have already been here for 5 days, it feels like just yesterday I was finding out about the trip. It was difficult saying goodbye to everyone at home but I know that it will all be worth it! I am not going to go into much detail about project right now but just know that the Holy Spirit is here and God is going to do amazing things this summer! I absolutely love my roommates and made a ton of other great friends all ready. I had one day of training for my job at the summer camp and I know I am going to love my job :) We have already had some opportunities to go sharing and just see what some of the thoughts and opinions are of people here, it is crazy and such a reality check. I expected that it would be different and I am not too blown away, but it is just frustrating to see people so against Christianity when they don't even really understand it or when they think they do. The group of students here are wonderful and the desire to learn and grow in our faith is so evident!

Anyways on to the recipe...Wednesday before I left was my good friends birthday and so I wanted to bake something! His girlfriend is also one of my best friends and she had told her sister about my of course I had to bake something for his birthday and for her to take home to her family! I decided on cookie brownies or whatever you want to call them! Since I had to leave at 5:30 the next morning I settled on the box mix and made my own ganache.

I wasn't able to take pictures of them cooled and cut because my wonderful mom had to get them ready for my friends :) But here is the basic recipe and some pictures I was able to take!!

Read the back of the box for directions:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie Bars

1. Mix together the ingredients for the brownies in one bowl.
2. Mix together the ingredients for the cookies in another bowl.
3. Pour the brownie batter in the bottom of a 13x9, 9x9, or 8x8 greased pan.
4. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on top of the batter.
5. Place in the oven for 35-50 minutes depending on pan size. (It says on the back of the box)
- I used a 13x9 and baked them for about 38 minutes.

*Let them cool as you make the ganache.         

Chocolate Ganache
 12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
6 tbsp. butter

1. Melt the butter and cream in a saucepan just before it comes to a boil.
2. Pour the creamy mixture over the chocolate chips.
3. Let sit for 20 seconds and then stir together until creamy.
4. Pour the ganache over top of the cookie brownies and let sit for about 30 min - 1 hour for best results.
5. As soon as you are ready you can serve!!
I read something recently and I can't remember where but I told my cousin and thought it was one of the coolest things I had heard. It was somewhere along the lines of, it is not about how much you're getting from the Holy Spirit but how much you're giving. The Holy Spirit is always there and always ready to work but it's up to you to follow through and seek Him. Don't wait around to "feel" something take steps of faith, pray, and seek the Lord and the Holy Spirit will be the driving force behind every aspect of your life. Many times I find myself waiting for the Holy Spirit to speak to me, but I am even talking to Him in the first place?

"Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 
2 Corinthians 5:5