Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Starving

First of all, I must say that I had some of the best food of my life in Austin Texas!
Little food truck named,
"Shut Up and Eat"
or
"Are You Gonna Eat or What?"
I don't know, but they gave me the sandwich of a lifetime!
Mesquite smoked turkey, shellacked in jalapeno jelly, fried green tomato, chipotle aiole.
 House made chips.
COME ON PEOPLE!
I died.

Second Bar Restaurant, best gnocchi of my life!
I might have licked the bowl when no one was looking.

Coopers BBQ
Brisket, beans, white bread, macaroni and cheese (which the Texas native with me said was one of the best!) pickles and peacan cobbler!
WHAT??

Not pictured was the fried chicken eggs bennedict I had on the way to the airport!
I must go back to Austin just to eat more!

In Austin, I attended the IF Gathering.
A Gathering of 2000 women in Austin, hundreds of thousands of women live streaming all over the world, to come together to be equipped in the name of Jesus and be unleashed out into our communities to make a difference.  We explored the question, "What IF we lived like Jesus?"
In the past few days since being home, I have tried to start unpacking the experience of
the IF Gathering and I've realized a few things.
First of all, I didn't know I was starving going into the Gathering.
Looking at all these pictures of food, I kinda think, "how did I eat all that?"
But an empty belly can hold much.
Just as an empty soul can hold much.
With all of the rich truth that was poured out at the Gathering, I never seemed to be uncomfortably full, like Thanksgiving full.  Instead I just received all that was offered, realizing that my soul has been starving for solid, rich truth for a long time.
My appetite for solid food was awaken as I realized that I've been drinking Spiritual milk for far too long.  I don't know how my faith in Jesus has been subtly watered down over the past few years, still growing and being nourished, but not in a way to produce an abundance!
Just in a way to produce enough to look "productive."
But devouring meal after meal after meal of God's unmistakable truth, spoken from a place of deep conviction and passion did not leave me uncomfortably full, but quite the opposite.
It left me awake, alive and longing for more.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
I often think of Lent as being a season of fasting.
A season of identifying with the suffering of Christ by depriving ourselves of something we enjoy.
I'm not giving up anything today.
Instead, I'm indulging.
For the Lenten season, I'm going to feast on the rich Word of God more than I have before.
I'm going to identify with Him through knowing Him more,
spending time listening, reading and praying.
I'm going to indulge in His rich, delicious truth that not only gives life, but gives life to the full!

Sometimes we don't even know we're starving until we have a meal that awakens all of our appetite.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Unpacking


I just got back from 4 days in Austin Texas at the IF: Gathering.
It was a women's conference and going into it, that was about all I knew.
We had many questions, 
"What are we going to?  What is this thing?  Who will be there?  Who is speaking?  
Is there a theme?"
Ending with our final, joking question, 
"What the if?"
Since we were traveling from California, you'd think we would have sought some of these answers prior to purchasing airline tickets!  But no.  
We just knew we needed to be "there," whatever "there" was.

Holy smokes!
4 days later and I have a lot of unpacking to do!
It was like going to an all you can eat buffet, where after 20 minutes of eating ridiculously rich food, your stomach aches, yet you cannot stop eating because the delicacies around you are far too valuable to leave without sampling.  So you start stuffing food in your pockets, your purse, your pant legs and even your ears so you don't miss a single morsel.

I felt as though I was in the current Hall of Faith with some of today's greats.
There was not one keynote speaker.  There were about 30!!!
Yea, just about 30 different people sharing golden morsels of truth 
in the short span of about 14 hours!
Well now I'm stuffed to the gills and have a lot of unpacking to do.
A lot of processing.
A lot of going through notes, praying, journaling, praying and then some more digesting to really understand what I just encountered.

I'm excited to share with you what God spoke through His servants at the IF:Gathering.
But I'd love for you to hear some of it for yourself!
Today only you can watch the live stream for free!
So, grab a pen and paper, a glass of water and your baggy pants because you will be filled to the gills!

Go to 
register to watch the live stream
at the top menu bar, click on "archives" to start at session 1

My favorites were:
Jo Saxton Session 1, 54 minutes in   time marker - 54:00
Beautiful Indian woman Session 2, 3 hours into the session    time marker - 30:33
Eugene Cho Session 3, 2 hours into the session   time marker - 2:00
David Plat Session 4, almost 2 hours into the session    time marker - 1:54
to name just a few!!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Excuses Excuses



Excuses
Excuses
Lately I've had some ideas and dreams that I'd like to make happen.
I dream and jot down thoughts and get really excited.
Only to loose steam a few days later when the reality of
"I have no idea how to make that happen" darkens all hope.
I wouldn't know where to start
I wouldn't know who to ask
I'll just go back to doing the dishes and laundry!

There is so much practical knowledge that I'd need to make some of my dreams come true.  Practical knowledge that I don't have and don't know where to get it!
Everyone seems to want to throw out advise and suggestions, at which I politely nod and smile.
All the while I'm thinking,
"It sounds like you're speaking German to me because I haven't a clue what you're saying."
You know, the suggestions that others think are so obvious and simple, 
but to me it's a foreign language.
So I let the ideas fade away with my legitimate excuse of "I just wouldn't even know where to begin."

Well, I read a great word from Rick Warren the other day that totally smacked me in the face!  He was talking about Noah building the ark.

"There were problems that could have caused Noah to doubt.  First, Noah had never seen rain, because prior to the Flood, God irrigated the earth from the ground up. Second, Noah lived hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean.  Even if he could learn to build a ship, how would he get it to water?  Third, there was the problem of rounding up all the animals and then caring for them.
 But Noah didn't complain or make excuses.  
He trusted God completely, and that made God smile."

First of all can I just say that my seminary educated self didn't know that 
prior to the Flood there was no rain!  
What the what?
But seriously, there were so many legitimate excuses Noah could have thrown down because truly he had no idea where to begin with what God told him to do.  It was all like a foreign language.
Rain?  What's that?
Giant ship?  Never seen one.
It's supposed to float?  But where's the water?
Herd and care for all the animals ever created?  Not qualified.

But he didn't make excuses.
He trusted God to provide the plan and He did.

Thanks Noah.
I needed to be challenged to stop making excuses of all that I don't know, 
and just trust God to give directions to make these dreams of mine come true!
I heart Noah.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Simplicity of Childlike Snow

Everyone has been posting these beautiful pictures of snow all over the country 
and it's made me a bit jealous!
I grew up snow skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California and this year especially, I've been a little sad that I'm not giving my children that same experience.
My son is about to turn 7 and he's never seen "real" snow before!
Something had to be done about that!
So with a random day off school this week, we took the kids to the snow!
Because this is supposed to be an El Nino year for us Californians, there actually is a bit of snow on our mountains, even in Southern California.
So we drove through absolute desert, like sand, cactus legit desert, and the mountains that rose behind the desert were covered in snow!  As we headed up the incline, anxious to step out into the frothy fluff, my husband and I looked at each other with a bit of a grimace, thinking, "um, is this it?"
The kids were about to jump out of their seats, "CAN WE GET OUT NOW??"
But no, we kept driving, looking for the "prefect" spot to stop and play.
We assured them that we were not going home until we got to play in the snow, but we were just looking for a good spot to sled.
After pulling over to survey several spots, only to return to the car and move onto somewhere else, we finally found a decent area to play and allowed the kids to get out of the car.
The same grimace came over our faces as we stepped out, almost slipping flat on our backs on the hard, icy, snow.  As the kids ran ahead of us, my husband and I began picking apart this experience, "this snow is terrible, it's so hard and icy, we're all going to break our necks!  it's freezing out here, I have a headache already, this is miserable!" 
 Just then a kiddo ran back to us, "Come on!  This is amazing!  Hurry and grab the sleds!"
They were beaming from ear to ear.
They couldn't be more ecstatic with this "snow."
I looked at my husband and said, "Let's not say anything.  They're totally happy.  They've never been to the snow before, they have no idea that this sucks!  Let's not ruin it for them."
So we kept quiet, walked extremely gingerly so as not to fall and break anything, 
and let them have the time of their life!



 

On the ice, amongst the dirt, rocks and branches, they slipped and sledded down some hills and couldn't stop laughing and smiling.  It was a solid 35 degrees and I was grateful for all the snow clothes our neighbors lent us, even the pink boots for my little dude!  
(that's how much he loved the snow - he didn't even care that he was wearing pink girl boots!)
Such a great life lesson was once again learned!
Kids don't have a huge file of previous life experiences.  They aren't constantly comparing.  
They are totally present in the moment, loving every bit of it!
Every moment is a gift, even if it looks different than previous moments!
There is a new gift in every experience.
Look for it!
Find it!
Then ride it like you've never done it before!
Happy Friday

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

My little girl is a ferocious reader!
She devour books in no time and quickly is onto the next.
She recently finished, "Absolutely Truly," by Heather Vogel Frederick.
At the end of the book, which takes place in Pumpkin Falls, 
there is a recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
and she has been begging me to make them since she turned the last page!






and they were delicious!

Aunt True's Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies:
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 c. pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 T. molasses
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt (only if using unsalted butter)

Filling
4 oz. cream cheese softened
6 T. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

For cookies:
cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add eggs and beat well.  Add pumpkin, vanilla, and molasses; beat until smooth.  In a separate bowl. whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  Add to pumpkin mixture and stir well.  Using a teaspoon-size cookie scoop, drop onto greased cookie sheets.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until the cookie springs back to the touch.  Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy.  Gradually mix in powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Generously frost the flat side of one cookie and top with another flat side of a cookie to make a sandwich!  Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

You Are Loved


In this day
whatever you face
whomever you meet
know that 
You Are Loved

Let it sink down deep.
You are the beloved of God.
Beloved
Be loved
Receive it today.
Unconditional
Unstoppable
Unending
LOVE

Friday, January 15, 2016

We Are Not Troubled Guests

Wednesday night I went to a performance of sorts.
An honest, vulnerable, hilarious, storytelling by Scott Erickson.
I met Scott many years ago when I lived in Seattle and Scott is someone who always puts a smile on your face!  Whether he's showing up at your door with a "welcome basket" filled with random items like a can of soup and stuffed animal, 
or going out karaoke in a powder blue, polyester tux fully equipped with ruffles!
Oh, and did I mention he's a painter?
Oh yea, and that he loves Jesus!
And that he's married to a beautiful woman that I'm currently obsessed with 
(that's for another post! but check out The Modern Proper in the mean time!!!).

Anyhooch, Scott is currently doing a one man show called,

0000handheld

It's a mulitmedia presentation of his difficult conversation with God that came out of a dark time in his life, and lest you think it's moody and depressing, think again - there is a moment when he busts out with a little karaoke of Queen! 
 I'll leave it at that!

I had no idea what to expect, although I know Scott is highly talented and a person that I've always loved time with, I figured the show might me a bit too artsy for me and go over my head because I'm not really that "deep."  But oh no!  I was on the edge of my seat the whole show, laughing, borderline crying, but smiling for sure as he time and again revealed simple yet profound truths that stirred up all sorts of questions in me.

One thing he said that stuck with me was that people spend a lot of time in their lives trying to fit in and avoiding situations where we feel like we won't.  We want to belong.  This might cause us to be something other than who God has created us to be, 
someone who will fit in with society's norms and meet the world's demands.  
But if we are not true to ourselves, we are not living into who God has created us to be and fully reflecting His light to all around us, the light He put in us.
However, we are not troubled guests in this world.  
We belong. 
 Just as we are. 
 Just as God created us.
Go be who God made you to be today.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.

And if ever you hear of We Are Not Troubled Guests playing somewhere within a 5 hour drive of you, do yourself a favor, get in the car and drive!
Happy Friday.
***

Go to Scott's site for all sorts of rad art and videos of what he does!
Some of Scott's Rad Art!


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