Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Welcome to Winter

Again, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for being absent for so long. I'm sorry for neglecting this delightful project that seems to have gotten much less attention than it deserves in the last few months...tragedy I tell you...

So, what's new? Well, I'm heading to Italy on January 25 for (hopefully) 6 months. The original plan of being on staff for the second OM Arts School of Mission (Incarnate 2013) has changed as the decision was made to postpone the school for one year. As of now it looks like I will be helping the ministry Marco is involved in get off the ground as they start up the Italy branch of the organization (to find out more go to their website here...SRS Online). Then from there only God knows...which is kind of comforting in a weird, out of control, trusting someone else with your life kind of way. Good thing the Someone I'm trusting is also the Someone who made me so at least He knows me pretty well...

Things with Marco are moving along just swimmingly. He spent the month of September here in my house with my parents and I. I was dancing most of the month which meant he spent A LOT of time with my parents. Turns out it wasn't such a bad thing ;)

After September my thoughts of things calming down were proven ridiculously incorrect and things just kept going. I started working at a lovely home decorating store called Portico with some dear friends of mine, Emma and Sarah Grover, kept dancing, and starting choreography for the SONdance Christmas show. The show was this weekend and it went really well. The students worked so hard and totally rocked! It has been an amazing experience being a part of this family of people who are passionate about dance and using their gifts to praise the One who gave them these gifts to begin with.

I haven't had a ton of time to cook or bake lately and I have really missed it. My creative drive is at an all time low right now, which really bums me out. But, I do have a couple of recipes that I have been meaning to share...since October...

Live Granola
makes a lot of servings
I adapted this recipe from Elana's Pantry Granola recipe...

  • I used 1 cup of raw walnuts instead of macadamia nuts

Other than that change, follow her recipe and enjoy however you want! 

also makes a lot of servings
  • about 2-3lbs of apples and pears, chopped (I used fuji and bosc)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
(these are all rough estimations as I combined a couple of different recipes)
In a large saucepan or pot combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and process until the texture is uniform, but not completely liquified. Store in an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze and store in the freezer for a couple of months. 

I combined the granola with warmed up apple-pearsauce for breakfast on several occasions and it was delicious-ly fall-like...
Now...onto winter...

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Time of the Great Pumpkin...

Yes, it is that time. Pumpkins are not so quietly invading every store, Starbucks and roadside stand. The first kiss of autumn has landed on the breeze and rustled the trees. I think, summer is on its way out...FINALLY! And with that, comes the visit from the Great Pumpkin - at least according to Linus that's what happens. I think I'll join in his welcome celebrations and ring in this autumnal visitor with a couple of lovely pumpkin recipes to warm the soul and slip into a quiet state of nostalgia...

Pumpkin Puree
  • small pie pumpkin 
  • oil of choice (I used grapeseed oil because it doesn't have a distinct flavor and I would be using the pumpkin for baking)
Preheat oven to 400F. Cut top and bottom off of pumpkin. Place flat side down and slice in half. Scrape out seeds (save for roasting!!) and lightly drizzle with oil. Place cut side down on foil or parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 45 minutes or until you can pierce the skin easily with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Scrape out flesh and puree in food processor or blender. Store in refrigerator or freezer for any and all pumpkin recipes you may have in store! 

Vegan/Paleo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 24

  • 2 cups almond meal/flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 1/3 cup coconut or grapeseed oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1/2 cup fresh pumpkin puree (canned is fine, but honestly once you go fresh it's hard to go back)
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Mix all ingredients together in one bowl and combine thoroughly without over-mixing. Drop by generous teaspoonfuls onto lined baking sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes. When finished, allow to cool slightly. These are very moist cookies and will not firm up much after cooling - which is how cookies should be, right?

Crockpot Chicken and Pumpkin Curry Paleo Pizza

For Chicken and Pumpkin Curry:
  • 2 medium organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 roasted pie pumpkin (cubed, not pureed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBS. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt and pepper as desired
Turn on crockpot to low. Place all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. When finished, chicken should be moist enough to easily shred when stirred. Combine all ingredients and set aside. 

recipe for Paleo Pizza crust here: Paleo Pizza Crust

Before placing crust in oven for second baking, top with desired amount of chicken and pumpkin curry. Also, if you feel like putting any other toppings on your pizza, now is the time. Bake for 25 minutes at 350F and enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vegan Black Bean Quinoa Mango Salad w/ Wilted Kale

My dad is in Scotland now on a serious golf trip. And of course my mom and I miss him, but it's nice to have a little more room for experimentation in cooking. Not that he's not adventurous, he is totally. But he doesn't always feed into the organic, natural, sometimes no meat is ok mindset. He'll try it, but at the end of the day he does enjoy the more traditional fare. So, on Sunday, I decided to try a little something to test on the guy when he gets home...and I think we have a winner...

Yum. Seriously. Yum. We had company for dinner last Wednesday and my mom made an amazing mango chutney by combining a pre-made chutney with some other ingredients - it was fabuliscious. We had a mango that needed to be used ASAP so I thought, why not combine the two? Done.

Then it was simply a matter of pairing. Black beans and mango? Yes please. Quinoa is an awesome substitute for rice because it is PACKED with protein and great for digestion. So there, main dish done. Now how about them greens?

We also had some kale that needed to be used and my mom suggested throwing in the red onion too (because no one likes rotten red onions..)

So here it is, a deliciously light summer meal that I'm pretty sure will be dad approved (might take some convincing for Marco though...)

Black Bean Quinoa Mango Salad
serves 2-4 

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 can whole organic black beans (rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup homemade mango chutney with add-ins (this is the recipe my mom used: Mar-a-Lago Pear Chutney, plus peach jelly) 
  • 1 whole mango, chopped
  • 1 whole avocado chopped
Cook quinoa according to package directions (usually 1 cup water to 1/2 cup quinoa). Set aside to cool when done cooking. While it is cooling do this...

Wilted Kale
serves 2
  • 2 cups baby kale, rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup virgin organic coconut oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
Heat oil over medium-low heat in large saucepan. Add in chopped garlic and sauté until lightly browned. Throw in onions and kale. Stir gently until everything is coated with oil. Lower heat to low and cover pan. Let simmer on low for about 5-10 minutes until kale is wilted, but not soggy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Before serving, mix black beans, mango, avocado, and chutney into the the quinoa. 

Serve like this..or not. But it's really pretty if you do it like this so you should...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ratatouille: Beyond the Vegetables

No, I'm not referring to the adorable Pixar film. I am talking about the dish itself - that delightfully rich and wonderful combination of eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Looking at it on a plate, one might think that the process is simple - a little sauté and BAM! there you have it. That's what I thought. Until one day as I was browsing some other food blogs (again, Foodgawker...the ultimate food-lover's distraction) and found a site with Julia Child's ratatouille recipe. Being a lover of 1) Julia Child, 2) all things French (sorry Marco, you'll just have to get used to it...), 3) cooking, 4) vegetables (again'll learn to love them I promise), I of course clicked on over to read the claimed official recipe. Oh la, la, la, la...Julia!!!! It is one of the LONGEST cooking processes I've ever seen in my life. I nearly clicked away, but then paused and suddenly had a seriously ridiculous desire to conquer this recipe. That was that. I would make Julia Child's Ratatouille.

The next morning, I walked to the local Farmer's Market in downtown Modesto and picked up the ingredients I needed - I modified the quantity for one (think nice dinner salad size). My plan was to make it that afternoon, but life happened as always and it would be put off for a few more days. Finally, Ratatouille day came and I began the process around noon - noon:30...and finished around 2:30. Yes, that's right. Two full hours dedicated to the creation of what appears on a plate to be a simple concoction of sautéed vegetables. The whole time I was cooking, with my Pandora playing a delightful compilation, I kept thinking about how I would create this blog post. The idea that kept flashing in my head? Ratatouille and a Lesson in Patience. Because, trust me, you've gotta have the latter if you're going to conquer the former. Before I go any further, here's the recipe source and pictures of my process...

(quantities adjusted)

my interpretation of how to cut the eggplant and zucchini

 green bell peppers and yellow onions sautéing 

tomatoes (peeled, de-seeded, de-juiced) in with onions and peppers

all the veggies cookin' together

final product (plus own addition just because...)

To give you a nice little time frame, I made this about a week and a half ago. I've been wanting to post, thinking about posting, but just hadn't done it yet. Until today. This morning I was reading in Luke 10, and at the end came to verses 41-42...

"'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'" 

To give some context, Martha and Mary were sisters whom Jesus went to visit. Martha was busy with certain necessary preparations, while Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to him talk. Simply listened - that's all. She just enjoyed his company and his teachings and his stories. And honestly, I have read this verse a million times over and it has been a consistent reminder to me when I start to allow stress and worry to overshadow everything else going on in my life. But, every time I do read this verse, something different is going on. Some other stress or worry has made its way into things giving me strange dreams, an overeagerness to plan and write everything down, and then the desire to turn and run away when I actually look at the schedule I've just made.

I think Mary had it right though... Which is funny to say considering my last post was about taking action. However, Mary did take action eventually. Her time would come to be proactive. To run to Jesus, to beg and plead for her brother's sake, to tell others of Jesus whereabouts - to be an advocate and witness. But first, she chose to listen. She chose to invest her time into what would be more beneficial and helpful in the long run.

Things are kind of crazy right now - I am back into preparations for the road to Italy again, potentially and hopefully to stay this time, but definitely for the school again in 2013 (to get more info go here - Incarnate - 2013... I'll be sending out my own email newsletter soon). I've started seriously dancing again with rehearsals and workshops now and classes starting soon. September will be full with performances, rehearsals, classes, starting a new job, Marco coming to visit, and continuing the preparations for Italy. Someone get me a bed, seriously strong sleep meds, and wake me up when it's done! Oh but wait, life doesn't happen like that, huh?

Enter Mary.

Girl sat down and listened. She ceased from doing. She invested her time. She enjoyed the process. It's so simple.

But we get impatient because we don't have just the right answer for every single thing in life. So we rush, make stuff up and complicate the whole of it. Sometimes action is what is required. Sometimes we need a Mary...or in my case a Julia.

So take the time. Make the ratatouille. Taste and see that the Lord is Good. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

He fed. He walked. He healed.

Jesus was a man of action.
He listened. He spoke. He taught. He went out. He retreated. He called. He led. He washed. He died. He rose....

He fed...
Matthew 14:16-20
"Jesus replied, 'They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'
'We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,' they answered.
'Bring them here to me,' he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciple, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied..."

He walked...
Matthew 14:25-31
"During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. 'It's a ghost,' they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: 'Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.'
'Lord, if it's you,' Peter replied, 'tell me to come to you on the water.'
'Come,' he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'"

He healed...
Matthew 14:35-36
"And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed."

the Sea and Shores of Galilee, 
where some of Jesus' ministry took place
including the above events

And in the midst of all this action - all of these verbs - I see a common adjective describing Jesus. Provider. He provides. Another action. 

Interestingly enough, we are called to live with Jesus as our example. Wouldn't that indicate some action? Some sort of ministry or path or walk of life to follow, taking action in some way. Whether that action be big and bold, or quiet and receptive...we are called to action. Sometimes we don't know where that action will take us. But, we must move. We must act. 

I confess, I'm not always the best example of this. Sure I stay busy and active - it's part of who I am. But, the action is not always the "Jesus action" so to say. Sometimes it's simply busyness. Sometimes I wave the "waiting for a word" flag. And it's usually somewhere in the midst of this routine, when I'm feeling antsy and unsettled and anxious (and I apologize to anyone who has been on the receiving end during these times) that God provides the not so subtle reminder of the things required for the race He's placed me in....




When complacency sets in, the questions begin. When the questions begin, the need for personal affirmation takes over. The trust in God falls, and I wonder why I feel like I'm right back where I started once again.

But the truth is, I'm not. I'm on a journey. I'm going somewhere. I'm doing something. And it's somewhere and something waaaaaay bigger than myself. Bigger than my brain can fully grasp. Bigger than my eyes can fully see. God is making my dreams come true - say WHAT???

Who knew that when God - the Creator of the universe - says He is going to do something He actually means it. Crazy right? In a world where promises and guarantees are tossed around like beads at Mardi Gras (guaranteed or your money back!), and just as quickly broken or compromised, there is One who means what He says without all the extra fluff. So when He started making my dreams a reality, naturally I questioned. I mean it makes perfect sense, right? Oh ye of too small a brain...when wilt thou learneth?????

Well, here I am once again, "learneth-ing" another lesson. In the midst of the waiting, the over-action, and the emotional reaction, sometimes you just have to go.

It seems so simple. Just go! Right, ok, well call me Peter as I swim among the barrage of questions that just flooded my brain. Until, I reach up and there is the hand pulling me back on my feet, reminding me of His presence, His provision, His call. So I will take the step. What is the step? Well, for those who followed my most recent journey, this may look familiar...

Bobbio Pellice, Piemonte, Italia;
where some of Lauren's ministry took place,
and where there's more to come

While I do not know everything that will happen, I do know that He does. He provided the means once, and He will provide again. He knows the way. I will follow. Someone very dear to my heart (one of those dreams come true, you might say) shared this...

Acts 20:22-24
"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." 

Once again, I am taking the road to my Jerusalem - to Italy. Another leg of the race is underway, and it's time to go. I am asking for your prayers of support and partnership now as more comes together for this journey. I will be starting a newsletter via email very soon, so if you would like to receive updates this way, please send me your email address at 

It's time for action. Time to go, time to move, time to live...

She listened. She followed. She danced.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Vegan Antipasto Spaghetti Squash

It has been much, much, much too long. I'm sorry my dear friends...sometimes life gets in the way, you know? But alas, I have missed this little project immensely and found it high time to get back to it! So, I give you this delightful dish...

Spaghetti squash aren't in season, but I was craving one. I was also craving olives. So, I combined the two. Bam, 'nuff said.

Vegan Antipasto Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • about 1 cup mixed olives (I used a combination of kalamata, green stuffed with garlic, and another variety of green), sliced
  • about 1/2 cup sliced hearts of palm
  • about 1/2 cup roasted, marinated red pepper (I got these from the olive bar at the local grocery store)
  • olive oil
  • ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400F. Zap the squash in the microwave just to soften it a bit. Slice squash in half, long-ways, and drizzle with olive oil and ground pepper. Place cut side down in a baking dish. Bake at 400F for 45 minutes. In the meantime, slice olives. When the squash is done, allow to cool enough to handle. Scoop squash flesh into a bowl and pull apart so it resembles spaghetti. Throw in the olives and mix together. Buon appetito!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Paleo Pizza Take 2

I decided to make the paleo pizza crust again tonight (see BBQ Pork Paleo Pizza post). But tonight things were a little different....
I added freshly chopped basil into the crust instead of Italian seasoning
The toppings were completely different and utterly dee-viiine!

  • 1 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced 
  • 5 slices prosciutto (best quality you can find)
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 10 spears asparagus chopped into thirds
  • 1 1/2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
To reduce balsamic...
Bring 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low until balsamic reduces to about 1/2 cup. Drizzle onto crust after the primary baking, but before you place the other ingredients on. Crumble the Gorgonzola on last to kind of hold everything together.

Follow all the same instructions for baking and prepping and baking again...and enjoy!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time...
In a land far away...
In a time not so long ago...
Something amazing actually happened...

This land is a place called Italy...
In a little town called Bobbio Pellice...
In a big yellow building called Forterocca...
With a group of people called artists...
Who walked around in socks...
Frolicked in flowers...
Danced and sang in the woods at night...
Painted with their feet...
Used hair for art...
Made moss graffiti on stone houses...
Threw the most awesome birthdays ever...
Organized photo-shoots in the wilderness...
Worshiped with the entire beings.
They became artists fully alive and awakened to who God created them to be...creators for the Creator's Kingdom...

And it really happened...

Once upon another time...
In another land far away...
In a time very, very long ago...
Something else amazing actually happened...

This land is a place called Israel...
And the man who the "something amazing" is all about is Jesus...
And he really lived...
He baptized...
He saw value and invited the lowest of society to follow him...
He turned water into wine...
He healed the broken and hurt...
He brought the dead to life...
He talked to masses, and he talked to a few...
He was honest, faithful, and merciful...
He ate, drank, and celebrated...
He also died...
Then he came back to life. 
And it really happened.

And because it happened...
Our lives can really happen...

And they all lived...really, really lived.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Meal

My mom is fantastic and we share quite a lot. No matter how much I tried to deny it over the years, there are many ways in which "I am my mother's daughter." And that's fine...I really like her...
So to help celebrate her, my dad and I made dinner tonight. We enjoyed a crisp Prosecco out on the back patio, table set with birds of paradise and the summer breeze blowing through..
For dinner we had...
Strawberry Cucumber Salad
serves 6 (yay leftovers!)

  • romaine lettuce
  • purple cabbage
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled
  • about 10 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • Pomegranate balsamic vinegar (if you can't find it, regular balsamic is also good)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Rinse and chop lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, and strawberries. Throw in a large bowl. Just before serving add sliced avocado and crumbled blue. Dress to taste and enjoy! This is a really nice, light salad to enjoy on a summer evening...
Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
serves 3-4 as a side
  • 4 red potatoes, skin on
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 2-3TBS. olive oil
  • 6-7 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Line baking sheet with foil. Rinse and chop potatoes into cubes, about 1-1 1/2in. in size. Rinse and cut off woody ends of asparagus. Cut into three even pieces about 2in. in length. Place chopped potatoes and asparagus into a large freezer bag. Add garlic, olive oil, rosemary (left whole), and salt and pepper to bag. Tightly seal and give it a good mix around. Pour entire contents of bag onto baking sheet and bake at 450F/230C for about 25 minutes, checking during the baking process.

Apricot, Pistachio, and Sage stuffed Pork Loin
serves...way more than 3...
I don't know the exact ingredients, because my dad did this dish. But here is the basic idea...

  • dried apricots, finely chopped
  • raw pistachio meats
  • sage
  • white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • a few other seasonings and spices..
Marinate pork loin ahead of time. I think he used white wine, but I'm not sure what else. Mix all ingredients well (maybe in a food processor?). Preheat oven to 350F/180C. To stuff and bake, make a cut through the pork loin and open enough to stuff mixture inside. Once you've prepared it, place in glass baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for about an hour at 350F/180C. After this first hour, check for doneness. We had to bake ours for another 20 minutes, uncovered. It was extremely tender and the combination of spices with the sweetness of the apricots really complemented each other...
Now, go tell your mom that you love her. Sincerely, are loved!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pre-Processing Meal

Ok this is only a little post to celebrate the first meal I made upon returning from Italy. I'll post a more lengthy, detailed version of the end of things in Italy plus getting smacked in the face with life post-Italy this week...just need time to (say it with me now!) PROCESS!!!! So here it is..a nice, refreshing salad to round out this stinkin' hot central valley day (after Olive got mad at me for not driving her and died in the heat on the side of the road..)

Clean and Fresh Summer Salad
makes one big salad
adapted from Detox Salad

  • half broccoli crown
  • half head cauliflower 
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 6 leaves kale, stems removed
  • 1/4 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 raw, sliced almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries (or mixed berries of choice)
  • 1 tsp. kelp powder
  • juice from half of a lemon
  • 1 TBS. rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS. raw agave syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
Wash and rinse all of your ingredients. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets and place in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, then place into a large bowl. Process carrots and kale together the same way, and add to bowl. Throw seeds, almonds, berries, and kelp powder into the bowl and stir gently to combine. Finally, pour on lemon, vinegar, agave, and salt and pepper. Give it a good mixing and enjoy! You'll feel quite refreshed afterwards, I promise :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cartwheels and Frilly Knickers

By this time, we've been to Rome/Latina, invaded the city with a flash mob (video available soon), fellowshipped with an awesome clown named Dario and his church, returned (thanks to our trusty van, Das) to Bobbio, and hit the ground running (or dancing, playing, sketching, painting...) Now we are less than a week away from our final exhibition (ahhhhh....FREAK OUT!) and a mere 12 days away from our final day in Bobbio. Oh and the fly population at Forterocca is multiplying by the thousands daily.

Say that 12 times fast, spin around in a couple of circles, jump in Torrente Pellice (the local river),  - repeat upside down and you might reach the place where we are all right now.

As we've been going through our final workshops, we've been looking at "the road back." Many (myself included) would rather run in the opposite direction than face that road, but alas, it is swiftly approaching and this hero's journey is entering the final act.

In addition to preparing our pieces for the exhibition we're all trying to process (a word we're all planning on banishing from our vocabulary after this experience) what God has been teaching us during these last almost two and a half months. To give all the details of what He has been saying to me would take two and a half lifetimes, and truthfully it isn't for all the world to know - it's between me and Him. But to give a little insight, here's the short version of how I got my childhood dreams back...

One morning before worship I went for a walk and asked God, "What do you want me to know today?" I then found a nice rock to sit on and create some space for Him to speak when I heard Him say, "It's time to get rid of the lies." And almost instantaneously the lies I had been believing most of my life surfaced as God led me through a rebuking of them all. Things like "planner", "controller", "fear of weight gain", "feminist", "rational", "sarcastic".... It was a hefty list, believe you me. I felt so free and strong! I told the enemy to shove, claimed victory in Jesus Name, and went on my merry way to worship. About 15 minutes into worship something hit me - I suddenly had no identity. I was nearly 24, but all of a sudden I was back as a small child with no agenda, doing cartwheels in a dress with her knickers showing to world...and I was scared out of my mind. After worship, our morning session began and I think I heard all of 5 words from that first hour (sorry Mat). We had a coffee break and when we returned my dear friend and dance mentor, Cheryl Vigouroux shared her testimony - then I lost it. I left the room and took residence in the handicap stall of the downstairs bathroom sobbing for the next hour and a half. During this time our wonderful student care leader, Erika Tello joined me and allowed me to spill my guts. In between the hysterical sobs and forced silences when people came in to relieve themselves, God gave me back three dreams that I had learned to suppress really well over the years...

  1. Dance in a professional company - and actually get to perform
  2. Marry my very own Prince Charming
  3. Eat a big ol' bowl of ice cream (or gelato...) without a single thought about the size of my waistline
There they are. And there I was crying like a child, feeling like a child, and having my childhood dreams restored. It was beautiful...
it was frightening...
it was freeing...

I wanted to do cartwheels in a dress with my frilly knickers out in the open as if to say, "Booyah world! I'm free!" It's a sad day when the world strips us of our true identity. The person God created us to be. Too often, as we "grow up" we grow out of our heart desires that God placed there the day He knit us together in our mother's womb. People tell us they are illogical, impractical, and we shouldn't get our hopes up so it's better to set those things aside because, by golly they just aren't realistic. But here's the thing...
Jesus called the children to himself and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will." (Matt. 11:25-26) David also tells us, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) We think we've got it all figured out. We make plans, organize agendas and meetings. We work out financial plans, make sure there's a safety net, and a steady job. Then sometimes we give these things over to God and ask His will be done. And this isn't to say that making plans or being financially wise or looking at the next logical step is bad...that's not what I'm saying at all! But what if, the first thing you did one day, before making your own plans, was to ask God, "What do You want me to know today?" Suddenly those things you thought were your heart's desires get wiped out and replenished from the Source with the desires He originally intended you to have...He knows us better than we know ourselves and He's just waiting to remind us...

Just make sure you've got your frilly knickers ready for the occasion because it's going to be a party...

Monday, March 26, 2012

we can still read picture books

here are some pictures...
because somewhere along the lines of growing older, society decided that picture books just didn't follow...
in the words of my dear friend Emma Hawthorne...
view from the mountain
map of town

where Silvano works and gives us yummy "cioccolato"
I live here
cioccolato a la Silvano
lavender and un petit chocolat avec creme de pistache
Charlie in Torino
original cobblestones
clementine, origine: Calabria - Italy
How many munchkins can you fit on a bus? 
Too many...
first gelato at the famous Torre Pellice gelateria...
arancione, pistacchio, e fior di latte 
it gets better...
yes, he does have his degree in gelato
just teasing
interesting thought
What do you do when you drop a metal tray on your foot?
Call Doc Marco of course!