Monday, March 25, 2013

a God plan...

Yep, we're back here again. Agendas...calendars...updates...meetings...

All good in theory. But remember...I'm in Italy.

And it's spring. Which means even the weather is fickle. Awesome.

This last weekend my "plan" was to go to Rome for an event bringing awareness to the global problem of human trafficking. The film Nefarious (here for more info: Nefarious Documentary) has been making a worldwide tour and had its final stop in Rome this weekend. A group of fellow artists had been working on a street drama to attract people before the three screenings that would be happening at a local theatre. I had been asked to be a part of this drama, as well dance in the theatre before each of the screenings. Incredible opportunity! I was stoked. I knew which dance I was doing, I had created a character for the drama, I had looked at train tickets and was about to buy them when I received the "WAIT!!!" In the enthusiasm I hadn't really stopped and asked if this was a God plan. Sure it was a good plan...I mean hello! Arts, human trafficking awareness, a train adventure to Rome...sweet deal. But, was it God's plan? Apparently not. As more information was revealed I realized that I would have been abandoning commitments here in the valley. Commitments that had CLEARLY been an answer to prayer upon coming here. Not that going to Rome would have been a bad thing...from what I have read, God absolutely rocked this weekend through this event! There were lots of hurdles that came up. One being a transportation strike on Friday and Saturday. Who knows if I would have been able to even get there!

God is teaching me a lot about asking Him first. It's so easy to become blinded by enthusiasm, a need to please, an inability to say "no;" we often miss that moment, or opportunity to commune with God and find out what He wants. We have His promise that what He has is better than what we could even imagine! Shouldn't that be reason enough to ask Him about everything? I mean...think about how much more rockin' that rockin' outfit would be if you asked God what to wear first. Ok, sure that may be a stretch, but also, why not make it that much of a practice in your life. So that every single decision you make comes from Him. He gave us these brains with which we make all of our plans, so shouldn't we include Him on them too?

I pray that we would no longer be blinded by enthusiasm and short-sightedness; busyness and fear, but that the one who gave us the freedom to choose and plan would be the consultant for it all.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"
James 4:13-15

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

5 Marzo 2013

On this day, someone very special to me turns 29. This is a person that I can honestly say the Lord brought into my life without my knowing. He was preparing my heart in a way that I was unaware of until that fateful day last year when the pieces fell into place. I guess you could say it was the Father's birthday gift to me. Or a going away present. Whatever the "category," I found myself humbled at His feet for this particular present...

At my surprise birthday party last year...
the "heck no I will NOT dance face"

To be honest, it took some coercing from the Lord for me to believe this was actually a gift that was good, timely, and unique...and lasting. This was no joke. I was told during this time that, "Sure, God has a sense of humor, but He doesn't joke with our hearts." Wise words..truth, baby. I have never had God speak so clearly and honestly through one of His children as He did through this one. Let me tell you, there were many conversations that went something like this...

him: enter wise words here
me: enter awkward "are you serious, God?" laugh here
him: "But why you are laughing?"
me: Oh nothing...God is just really funny that's all.
him: "But why you say this?"
and so on....

One day in particular when I was really wrestling with this reality of all this, the Lord gently lead me to this verse...
"The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace."
It came with the reminder, "I do actually Love you this much, daughter! And I want to give you good things. Why can't you accept my gift?"

Ouch. Like tears, on my knees, humbled BIG TIME. Humbled, but so incredibly thankful. I was now able to walk forward, totally, 100% sure of this gift. I didn't have to look back...ever. When the enemy reared his ugly head of doubt or fear I could say with total confidence, "Um...heck no, techno fool!"

All this to say, God is the giver of good gifts. He delights in giving good things to those who love Him. It brings Him joy when we accept His gifts. But He also wants us to give these good things back to Him...when we can honestly say, "God it's yours!" Personally, feeling totally inept to take care of this gift has definitely helped in this process. Not that it's been easy. Nor has it been anything I really ever could have imagined for myself (the whole "no long distance" thing? Yep...out the window...). But, my oh my, it has been good. Very, very good...

his first time in Disneyland (Sept. 2013)

So my love, caro mio, Tanti Auguri!!! I love you with as much love as is possible and look forward to celebrating many, MANY more birthdays with you...yes, they will be celebrated every with it. 

"I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:6

Saturday, March 2, 2013

National Peanut Butter Lover's Day

I don't think this is an Italian fact I'm absolutely sure it isn't because it is "national" not "international"...


However, for all of my peanut butter loving friends, I would like to say a belated "Happy PB Lovin' Day!!!" to you! And for it I present you with the most amazing peanut butter cookies EVER. Why you ask? Because I don't like peanut butter cookies. And I once seriously helped Jill McAfee wipe a plate of these babies clean...

Oh and PS...there's only 3 ingredients...

not the best view, but trust me..they're amazing

On behalf of all the peanut butter lover's out there...I raise a cookie in your name...buon appetito!

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
makes about 2 dozen 
adapted from Gluten Free Fix
  • 1 cup peanut butter (whatever version you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup honey*
  • 2 egg whites (or one egg)*
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional...and would make these 4 Ingredient not 3...technicality)

Preheat oven to 325F (or about 162C for my European friends).  Mix all of the ingredients together in one bowl. Scoop by tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes depending on how soft you like your cookies. Us Americans preferred a nice soft interior while caro mio preferred the slightly crispy version. Now grab a glass of milk (or vino...) and mangia!!!

*to make these vegan, simply substitute the honey for agave and the eggs for one ripe, mashed banana.