Friday, June 24, 2011

chocolate, provision, and stories. word: CHOCOLATE! I'm telling you, I can't seem to get enough of it lately! Chocolate pancakes, chocolate pudding, chocolate coffee, peppermint hot chocolate...the list goes on and on. Do the french particularly enjoy rich chocolate? Since I've had France on the brain so much the past few days (note the music at this point) it would make sense that I'm beginning to crave some rich chocolate french dessert....right? ;-) Here's the thing though, I'm a bit of a health nut, so regular chocolate (though don't get me wrong, I LOVE it) is out for the moment since I'm currently trying to stay away from sugar. Enter the most AMAZING recipes for everything mentioned above (especially that chocolate pudding that can be made into these incredible FUDGE popsicles) without the sugar or any artificial sweeteners. Anyone interested in the recipes? Just imagine, chocolate pancakes, peppermint hot chocolate, FUGESICLES, and all of it completely guilt free. That's right, you heard me right ladies! So, if you're interested, just leave me a comment on this post and if I get enough, I'll post how to achieve all this decadent chocolate magic;-)

I've been thinking a lot the last few days about what it truly means to have "no thought for your life" and know that if you are in His will, He will provide all that you need. I desire that to not only be head knowledge, but heart knowledge as well. Whenever I'm faced with a financial issue, I so quickly become discouraged and think, "How can I possibly make it through this one?" It's a ridiculous thing to even think, because you know what? My Father owns cattle on a thousand hills and at any moment He can sell one and boom, I'm provided for once again...or something like that anyway:-) The point is that I desperately need to trust Him, no matter what the circumstances look like. I want to be like George Mueller, who would sit the kids in his orphanage down with no food on the table, bless the non existent food (because he knew no matter that the food had not appeared yet, that God would provide it) and then the milk truck would break down out front of the home and the milk man would offer everything he had to the kids because it was going to go bad anyway! This is how my every day life should be and I desire it more than anything. To know that even though I cannot see the provision or where in the world it will come from, He is absolutely faithful and will provide  all that I need, just for the simple reason that He loves me and delights to have His glory seen in my life. And you know what else? I would rather live every single day of the rest of my life not knowing where any provision is coming from and utterly trusting in Him, rather than to make lots of money, have all that I need and forget that dependance that each day merits on Him.

Isn't it amazing to depend on Him and have Him write beautiful stories of such dependance through our trust? Though it may be hard in the moment when we're going through such times, afterwards, when it's all said and done, such situations make for the most wonderful stories! Stories that we can sit around and tell our children and grandchildren, "There was this one time when I was young, that God did the most amazing thing..." Though, I hope it's not just "this one time" but many, many, many times that warrant such story tellings.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Dreaming of sitting in a little cafe somewhere...Watching people stroll by hand in hand, the sounds of distant music floating in the air, fresh bread and pastries baking from the tiny bakery across the street. The wrought iron table I'm sitting at has a bit of a wobble, but I don't mind, because it offers the best sort of view. So, pressing my foot onto one of it's legs, I pick up my coffee cup and breath in deep. The air is rich and heady, the coffee is strong and jolting, making the combination something close to heaven. Smiling, I lift the small cup to my lips, watching all the goings on, thinking of the outdoor market that will soon claim my attention. Ah, the thoughts of huge cheese wheels, crates of rich red tomatoes, olives drenched in the best olive oil, basil, thyme, baskets bursting forth with sunflowers, roses, bachelor's buttons. Tables piled high with the sweetest figs, crunchiest apples, juiciest grapes....bliss. Every step, every corner turned, assaults the senses with the most wonderful smells and sights....and the people, well, they have stolen my heart. A violin's notes dance across the breeze and as I sit there, thinking of all these things at my tiny table at this enchanting little cafe. I realize, I am home...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

frosting, france, and other random thoughts.

A few things that are running through my head this beautiful morning:
  • If you have never heard the song "Jesus, King of Angels" by Fernando Ortega, you need to listen to it. 
  • Today is going to be a very full and wonderful day. Among other things, I am making bright pink and purple frosting (have I mentioned what a frosting fiend I am?) for cupcakes for a very anticipated birthday party for this little cutie below. Who is turning 2, by the way! Oh, boy! How I love this little girl, she is one of the many lights in my life and how thankful I am to my precious Jesus, that He saw it was good to place her in my life. 

  • Alright, I have decided that making carmel coffee and adding a teaspoon and a half of cocoa powder, is pretty much amazing! Especially for a chocolate lover....Mandy, if you're reading this, you need to try this! How do you feel about chocolate in your black coffee?? Well, we can try it when you come over to my room;-)
  • Saturday mornings are definitely my favorite morning out of the whole week. It's the only morning I don't have to rush off somewhere. Now, this may seem strange, but I do not use it to sleep really late, though I do sleep until 6 on Saturdays, which is late for me. Instead, I get hours first thing with my Jesus. I drink way too many cups of coffee, journal, dive into the Word, pray and blog till my heart's content:-) It's a very wonderful sort of morning. If I am blessed to have kiddos of my own one day, I can't wait to share Saturday mornings with's gonna be our favorite morning of the week! Can you say double chocolate chip pancakes, anyone?! Oh yea, I'm gonna be that kind of mama:-D 
  • I'm thinking of France on this beautiful morning, in the middle of America....I think I would like to go there very, very much. 
  • I think I shall think of France a lot's just that kind of day:-) 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

give "it" up.

Good morning all! Here I sit with a wonderful cup of cinnamon vienna coffee, been up since 5, and had quite the productive morning so far, despite the serious lack of sleep last night. It's going to be a coffee all day sort of day....Generations of Virtue, I'm truly beginning to understand the love of coffee that you beautiful girls have:-) By the way, for those of you who have never heard of GOV, check them out at  FYI: They have a beautiful jewelry collection among all the amazing things that they do. Seriously, you need to get familiar with this incredible ministry!

So, back to this morning. I'm pondering many things as I sit at my little english desk. I'm thinking about a conversation I had with a friend last night about the love of my God. I'm thinking about how much I am truly, totally, and irrevocably in love with Jesus Christ and how I can't wait to physically see Him face to face....forever! But, I love and cherish this life so very much, that I'm really beginning to understand that each day can be like this, I don't have to wait for Heaven to have that indescribable joy and happiness that comes with living a life according to His will.

A very dear friend of mine has this beautiful quote as one of her favorites in Set Apart Girl magazine:

"If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or watching TV, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and ever in His presence...? You'd be bored to tears in heaven, if you're not ecstatic about God now! " 

— Keith Green
This powerful quote really hit me this morning. Not that there's anything wrong with reading or watching edifying novels and movies, or anything else that is up to the standards of Heaven, but it's our heart attitude about such things that makes such a drastic difference.  (And by this I do not mean that buying into our culture and all that comes with it is perfectly fine. Every book, every movie, every song, every conversation should be harnessed by the spirit of God. If there is any question about it being up to standard, just don't watch it.) If I was asked to give all this up tomorrow, would I happily do it just to have more time with Him? If the first thought I have is, "Well, I just couldn't live without such and such....and isn't it a little extreme to take it that far anyway?" then I need to re-evaluate  just what is making me cling to whatever I'm holding so tight. For He is the only one worthy of my whole heart, He is the only one that I should cling to with every fiber of my being, and He's the one I should be willing to give up anything for. There should be no thing in this world that holds such a sway over me to make me question if giving it up for Him is worth it.

Worth it?! Let me tell you, I have learned the hard way that nothing is worth making less of my relationship with Jesus. Yet, as I was saying to my friend last night, He will not be worth it to you if you have not truly seen His face, if you have not truly experienced His love, because once you have, it utterly transforms you and the thought of going back to a time without Him is unbearable. Once you've experienced this, each day is just one day closer to seeing Him, and that is worth it all! What a life it is!

So, with all this running through my head this morning, I opened my Bible and this is the first verse that my eyes landed on:

"Return to the stronghold, O prisoners who have the hope; This very day I am declaring that I will restore double to you."    -Zechariah 9:12

Yes, I was a prisoner who now has the Hope of all glory and I would leave all that this world offers and return to His stronghold. For as long as I'm safe in the stronghold of all He is, He will restore more than I ever dreamed to give up here, and not just restore, but double it with something so wonderful, I cannot even fathom all that it is. What a God we serve! My hope for you reading this, is that today you will return to the stronghold afresh. Rediscover Him and gaze into His beautiful face to see all that He would willingly give you, just because He loves you so, very, much.

May your day be full to overflowing with His beautiful love, laughter, and chocolate;-) 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

happy here.

It's a beautiful Saturday here and I'm reminded once again that I truly have grown to love this place I call home. Though, I'm sure I'd feel that way pretty much anywhere God leads to. Amazing how that happens, isn't it? I used to think that I just couldn't truly be happy unless I was on the coast of North or South Carolina (preferably South) since that's the place I proudly claim to be from. I thought I'd be miserable anywhere else, that I'd never love a place as much as I love it in S.C. (unless we're talking about Ireland or England of course) and though it's true that my home state holds the first place in my heart, I can honestly say that the most amazing change has taken place.

You see, I truly came face to face with my God for the first time in my life almost two years ago and as I stared into His eyes, I was irrevocably changed. I discovered that no matter where I live, if He has called me there, if I am walking hand in hand with Him, then the beauty and love of wherever I am suddenly springs to life like I never expected. And it really is true. When I stare at these mountains that I used to wish were the sea, I wonder how I could have wished such a thing? For I have truly discovered the meaning of lifting my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help. It has been in this place, in these mountains that I've found this quote from Corrie Ten Boom to be utterly true:

"You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have." 
It has been here that I've found myself with nothing but Him and He is truly all I need. Though I am no longer in that place of utterly having nothing but Him, I am reminded, like today, that if I will think back and remember, He truly is all I need. This is a beautiful thing to have realized in full and it gives me a confidence for my future. Though I may not know where the money will come from for gas or groceries, or a thousand other things, I do not have to worry because my Father owns cattle on a thousand hills and He is all I need. Truly:-) I love this!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

procrastinating and pondering.

So, I should be sorting, folding, and putting away clothes. Instead, here I sit typing away, just as if I had nothing better to do:-) Perhaps I really don't. The clothes will wait and I'll get a lovely post out of all of this waisted time...

Tomorrow begins another term here on our beautiful little campus. New faces, new personalities, all coming together for a beautiful rocky mountain summer! I love summer! Not just because I have such high expectations of what my God will do with those coming here this summer, but simply because He is so good and I still wake up every morning and I'm amazed that this is my life. Wow. Thinking over the journey, the steps it took to walk the path to this place, I am in awe at the hand of He who knows me so well, holding mine with each and every step. At times, not holding my hand, but carrying me when I could not stand on my own feet any longer. For He knows when He should take my hand and when He should wrap me in His arms and carry me through the journey He has asked to walk with me on. In the morning, in the evening, He knows it all.

So, here I sit, procrastinating and pondering the summer ahead. Actually, I'm thinking about lots of other things that fact that A just discovered that if you steep peppermint tea, add unsweetened cocoa, then a little steavia, it makes the most delicious peppermint hot chocolate. And the best part is that it's healthy!!! As Pooh would say, "Yum, Yum!" I shall try this momentarily...instead of picking up my room.

Also, did you know that if you beat 3 egg yolks with about a teaspoon of cornstarch, heat a cup of milk with cocoa to taste, then mix all of that together, add a little stevia and stick it in the refrigerator (or freezer in popsicle makers) you will have a yummy chocolate pudding (or fudgesickles) that have no sugar and are simply scrumptious! True story:-)

I'm headed off with A tomorrow for a nice long day of work and play in Old Town. Of course, our playing usually consists of some sort of work...which really isn't like work at all...obviously;-) We shall plant ourselves in a nice little coffee shop or cafe and stay there an untold number of hours working on this project or that. I need to find her birthday present at some point in tomorrow's day. The gift I was going to get her is now (because of untold circumstances) a little too expensive for my budget this month, so now I've got to get creative...any ideas? I love getting creative with gifts. You should just see the beautiful little fairy easter basket that some of the "wee folk" dropped off for A on Easter...I'll post some pictures of it, shall I?

Alright, now I'm officially falling asleep, so I do believe I'll turn in for the night. This post was pointless...but, we need a bit of pointless every now and then, don't we. I still haven't taken care of those clothes....sleep sweet!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

for you, sweet girl.

And it comes. It comes like an arrow to your heart and for a space of time, you feel like you cannot breath. It comes and you know just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, that from this moment forward, your whole world will never again be the same. Oh, perhaps things will turn out beautiful in the end, but nothing will ever be the same, no matter the outcome. For it is all around you and in you and you feel it changing you. Helplessly you watch the change, for no matter what you do, no matter how loud and long you scream, no matter if you sob or let the tears quietly fall, you are helpless to stop any of it.

For, no matter who we are, no matter how "good" or beautiful or seemingly perfect we are, it still comes. In one way or another, it will touch our lives, just for the simple fact that we live in a world that is waining. A world that is crumbling from the inside out and in the end will fall. So, it touches us. It sees no difference between one person and the next. It just, simply comes.

And we scream that it is unfair, that she did nothing to deserve this. I look at her and I think of how she is so sweet, so good, and how I would be like her. I look into the depths of my own heart and see the glaring reality of the ugliness lying in wait there. And I scream, she did nothing to deserve this! I look at my God and I question, why?! I know that He has everything in the palm of His hands, but why?!

And with eyes streaming tears, my beautiful, loving, perfect Creator, looks back into mine and gently whispers, "She is mine. She is my beloved. Do you question that I love her more than you can ever imagine? I formed her in her mother's womb, I brought her beautiful life into being. For, I have a purpose for this life of hers and because she has chosen to be mine fully, I will use every touch of the enemy to bring glory to Me. No matter the end result, she is Mine. Be still, beloved, and know that I am that I am. I will work miracles before your eyes that even you cannot comprehend." 

Yes. This is a truth my heart knows well, that though I may have moments when I question, I know that I know that I know, He is faithful. And I am brought to a stillness before He who knows her and I more than we can ever know ourselves. Who has a plan for our lives and loves us more than even I can fathom.

And so, beautiful girl, you are a witness to me, far more than you'll ever be able to understand. Though I trust that in the end, things will work out just the way they should, your strong and quiet faith in the midst of the storm is enough to show me how small mine is in comparison. He is already using this in my life to press me into Him, so even now, the journey you face is already worth it. I love you and I miss you far more than words can express.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A chorus of frogs and crickets gently floats through the air of my open window, drifting sleepily about. The keys from a piano dance from inside the computer to envelope my tapping fingers. Thoughts of moonshine, winking stars, and long night rambles through moonlit fields fill my head. Fireflies for companions, owls for watchmen, lazy breezes for guides... A path stretches out before my feet, lined with stately silver grass, blowing in the night air. There's nothing like night air, filled with the taste of dew and starshine, I drink it in. I would never be able to drink enough, though I might have every night from now until the end of the age to do so.

"The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life."    -Psalm 42:8

"You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress."     -Psalm 17:3

"I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:"  -Psalm 77:6

 There is a song to ponder in the stillness of the night, this is what I would meditate my heart on for all the nights of my days. That the Lord is faithful, His love is everlasting, He rejoices over me with shouts of joy, and delights to give me every good and wonderful thing according to His beautiful will. I have found so often that laying in bed, my thoughts can so easily wander to frivolous things, things which do not matter. Or they might be filled with worry about one thing or another. Yet, He is revealing more and more to my heart that not only are my days to be His, but my nights as well. If I will meditate upon Him in the stillness of the night, longing to know ever more of who He is, He will reveal the most beautiful and majestic song to my soul. The night holds something special, a stillness, a oneness that can be found with He whom my soul loves, that I would treasure and crave throughout each day. For though there is great joy to be had in the coming of the morning, the night may hold blessings untold if given over to Him as well. So, may I meditate on each aspect of His character when I lay down and when I rise up. Never is there a time that should not be fully given to Him, never a time when I would hold back any part of who I am or the time I possess. For time is not mine to hold, it is not mine to own, but it is a precious gift bought and paid for by Him, and does He not deserve the just reward of His sacrifice?

Yet, I am selfish. Many times I feel that I deserve time of "my own" to do with as I wish. May it never be! Not that I must be reading my Bible or praying every minute of every day, but I would be in such a place at all times, that if He calls I would immediately drop whatever I'm doing to fall on my knees in prayer or to give of my time in digging ever deeper into His word. For it is an attitude, a state that I am to live in constantly, to be ever ready to give whatever He asks of me and to hold back nothing. 
Truly, I believe that Jesus was a man of immense joy, that He had more fun and laughed bigger than anyone. Yet, He was always ready to take up the burdens His Father placed on His heart and do what it took to see them pressed through. And I would be like Him in every way.