Friday, February 26, 2010

Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance.

galatians 4.7

"I think about what a privilege it is to get to talk to God like my children talk to me. To feel FREE to ask questions that might be silly, make requests that might be selfish and share my heart, my dreams, my hopes without embarrassment. Too often I don’t just have open dialogue with Him because, well He’s God. But when I see it in the context of this verse and am aware of the conversations I love for my kids to have with me, I realize I don’t have to worry about being silly or foolish or shy or embarrassed or selfish or fearful or censored in my dialogue with God. I am His child. We just talk. Being CHILDLIKE makes every thing so much more simple." [taken from here]

oh how far i fall from the truth of this all. how far i am from the understanding that i am heard and loved by the God of all creation. i know my heart...i know its evil all too well.

i was inspired this morning to write down the things i am afraid of...
the things that cause fear. here is what i have so far in textEdit:

"what am i afraid of? . . . . .."

that's all i have. i can't seem to work past that.
it's as if i'm afraid to put to words the things my heart most fears.
because then i feel as if i'm responsible to do something about those fears.
it's as if i am scared to put myself out there and work through them.

the majority of my fears lie in relationships.
and disappointment in myself. and not being made right.
but i do know that i am made right in the presence and power of Christ.
so where is the disconnect?

friends...what are you afraid of?
have you worked through it?
have you attempted?
have you avoided it all together [much like myself]?

i know it's a healthy thing to do. yet i feel as though to work through all of these things, that 'privilege of intimate conversation with God' needs to surround me. and it's not. i want to be there. i want to know that again.

sweet Jesus. take this hard hard heart and make it soft.
speak to me Lord but also...let me speak to You.

i am a wreck.
your love never fails

Monday, February 22, 2010

it all comes together in the end.

the other day i was feeling slightly...indulgent. i dived head first into a 'full fat' version of red velvet cake. there is something about the RED [favorite!] and the smoothness of the cake that makes me want to gobble the entireeee thing down in one sitting [and then probably go to 6 step&pump classes and 3 iron reps classes at the gym]. all afternoon, while hanging out with the hubby, i was psyching myself up for this didn't take much though. i was soooo pumped!

there is no lying, i have a massive sweet tooth...and i think you can find it somewhere between my mouth and my willpower. it has a hard time deciding who to be good friends with. most of the time there is a good compromise and i either find lower fat/healthier dessert recipes or i modify original recipes myself. but on saturday, i threw caution to the wind and went for the reallll deallll.

here we go!!


yeah..that's all the pictures i got out of this one.
i got a bit flustered and forgot about the camera ):

a couple of steps in, i realized that i only had 1 of the 4 tablespoons of red food coloring that was needed. i got so frazzled and went into a mini panic session. i knew that i could make the cake without the food coloring and it would taste just like normal but that wasn't the point! i looooved the red and i was splurging on the real version of the cake and i'm sorry but i'll be damned if it didn't turn out right! in walks josh wondering what the commotion is all about and bless his heart, though he doesn't understand my freaking out, he becomes my hero and volunteers to run down the street to safeway and pick me up some more food coloring! i love him so much!!!!

so he comes home and i continue and minus the lack of camera, all goes well!

ready to go with some deeeelicious cream cheese frosting ['light version]

topped with a bit of toasted coconut and...

ta da!! soooo good.
a finished cake and a happy husband!
and HA. who am i kidding? a happy julie too!

i don't have much else to say right now so i'll just share this:

God is Love.
Every person, beginning with me, is worthy of receiving Love.
My true identity is Love.
The greatest gift I can give anyone is Love.
Every thought, word, act and expression motivated by Love matters.

[to me this is convicting and inspiring. what does it do for you?]

valentines day flowers from the hubby - still going strong!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

the real voice

i'm still reading a million miles in a thousand years. and i am still enjoying it so so much. this morning, bright and early, i read this and my heart knew it's words too well.

"the real Voice is stiller and smaller and seems to know, without confusion, the difference between right and wrong and the subtle delineation between the beautiful and profane. it's not an agitated Voice, but ever patient as though it approves a million false starts. the Voice i'm talking about is a deep water of calming wisdom and says ...hold your tongue; don't talk about that person that way; forgive the friend you haven't talked to; don't look at that woman as a possession; i want to show you the sunset; look and see how short life is and how your troubles are not worth worrying about..."

josh and i had an argument last night and it was ridiculous. not because i felt misunderstood or that he didn't care about me or my feelings. it was ridiculous because the fight was stupid. in the midst of our frustrations i said something along the lines of "this is absolutely stupid. we sound like effing toddlers" patience had gone out the window and even though what we were talking about wasn't worth anyones discussion, we kept going.

finally, we grew up 20 years, we stopped bickering and my husband, in an effort to get me to smile, offered me a christian side hug [please see this video]. i never thought it was possible but the offer for a pure christian side hug [while laying side by side in bed] healed the past 10 minutes of conflict (:

i tell that story to come back to the quoted paragraph. God knows, without any hint of confusion, right and wrong. he does not get agitated with us but his patience endures even through the worst of our pits. my humanness has never been so clearly told than in the story of our marriage. my mind blurs right and wrong. it confuses beauty with justification. it mixes up patience with stupidity.

but in all of this, one thing remains, when i fail - He prevails.
in my impatience and stubbornness, His hand is all over my heart, calling me to be still...
to be still and know that my husband is a gift.
to be still and know that i don't need to be right.
to be still and know that i am LOVED.
to be still and know that i am so much to be thankful for.
to be still and know that he is God.

- - -

it's friday morning. that means that tomorrow is saturday. that means i go to the gym and take another kick butt fitness class.
but [yay!!] that also means that i get to search my favorite baking blogs to find the perfect recipe for the afternoon.
i'll gather my things in the kitchen and turn on the music, tell my husband i love him and then i'll get to work.
i'll keep you updated on what unfolds in our little green kitchen.

here is something i made the other day.
they taste better a day or two after than they did the day of.
also. i think i baked them a few minutes too long.

do you see that brown sugar GOODNESS?!
i could eat a whole bowl of that stuff if my stomach allowed.
i have to be quick to take it out and quick to put it away when i bake...
other it'd be gone.

have a good day, world. i'll let you know about my baking escapades later (:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

to know Him.

i'm reading a book right now by c.s. lewis entitled, surprised by joy.
only on page 39 but so far so good. as i was reading tonight [with my hubby reading next to me] something caught my attention.

he was sharing various stories from his childhood...more specifically from the first school he attended in england. he said he had his first metaphorical conversation there. they were debating where the future is like a line we can't see or if it's like a line that hasn't been drawn.

when i read that, i stopped. and thought. what did i think the future was like? at first my mind went to the fact that i suppose there are Biblical passages that could support both sides but then kind of came to the quick conclusion that i didn't necessarily care which answer was "right". what i was going after was "what do i think about this?

lately josh and i have found ourselves having many conversations about the future...about what kind of life we're comfortable living and what kind of life would probably make us think twice. we come up with no solid answers. [i think i am thankful for this] the way our hearts think and the way our lives have been lived, we have a hard time grasping the idea of 'settling down'.

we are fully confident that the Lord does call some of His children to 'remain' but what the Lord has showed us and taught us in the past years is that He wants us to go. not to escape life here, not to travel for the sake of traveling, not to work overseas to look like a good person but to GO because he's clearly called us. because in a way, His glory is dependent on his children.

"all of life comes down to just one thing
and that’s to know You, oh Jesus,
and make You known"

because know Him is to love him.

we are searching and we are praying. things are brewing.
we are waiting. anticipating the Lord is going to do great things.

will our feet end up here?

Monday, February 15, 2010

one more time.

here is to blogging more frequently.

valentines started a day early for me. i had found a recipe for skinny red velvet cupcakes on one of my trusty food blogs and i thought it'd be perfect for valentines day! [did you know that one piece of normal, from scratch red velvet cakes is close to 24 weight watcher points?! that's practically points for the entire day! YIKES] so with josh watching the olympics [and with me sneaking a peak from the kitchen every once in a while] i went at it on saturday evening.

nice and colorful and quite festive for the holiday of red and pink! however, must to my disappointment, they didn't turn out quite as nice as i had hoped. whether it's the recipe or my error or perhaps just too high of expectations [though Gina hasn't ever failed me before so i'm leaning towards it being by fault] the color separated [pink on top, brown on the bottom] and they weren't sweet. thankfully my husband is a sucker for cream cheese frosting so once i put a bit on each cupcake, he found them to be good. how? i don't know. i'm still sulking over my failed attempt.

-they look decent though, eh?-

i was awoken around 7:30am on valentines day by josh getting out of bed. he kissed me on the cheek and said he was going to make me breakfast and i should just go back to sleep and he'd wake me when it was ready. about an hour or so later, i wake up and wander out to this...

he'd made me strawberry filled chocolate crepes, went out and got me a bouquet of flowers along with a single rose to represent our first valentines day together and also picked up some of my favorite coffee [transferred to my travel mug]. pretty nice, huh? we laid around watching the olympics and talking about random things. it was a nice morning!

i started jillian michaels 30 day shred last week and since i hadn't worked out on saturday, i did levels one AND two and thought i was going to collapse. haaaard work. josh did some of the workout with me too. funny (:

we decided to get ready and go out to lunch at Pita Pit and then walk around that area of town. very cute, very modern, very nice. it was right near downtown too.

josh made dinner for us too! steak. mashed potatoes [his favorite] green beans. whole wheat baguette. yum. i was craving something sweet and yummy and as i expressed earlier, my cupcakes were not going to satisfied so i decided to make something else! chocolate bottom banana squares it was!

it wassss yummy and it didddd hit the spot! and i healthified the original recipe and cut almost 1000 calories!! sometimes that works out and sometimes it does not. i'm GLAD it worked this time!

tonight for dinner i made chili! extra lean ground beef (:

here are our bowls to start:

here are our bowls soon after:
[andddd decided i wanted a biscuit. so i made them. from scratch.]

here we are. 6:15pm and done with dinner and time to relax.
watching the olympics and probably snacking on the chocolate bottom banana squares.
decent evening i'd say (:

oh. and we rearranged our living room the other day. we like it.
our home may not be extravagant but it is our HOME and we love it here.

enjoy the rest of your week blog world. i hope something unexpected and happy happens.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

it's a winding road.

when i listen to the theme from the movie indecent proposal [which i have never actually seen] i feel as though the story of my life is being set to music. and perhaps that's a bit of a dramatic thought but the song, from the very first time my ears heard it, has influenced me to dig deeper into this story that i'm in. this story is my life.

i'm reading donald millers latest book, a million miles in a thousand years, and he's currently diving deep into what 'makes' a story. what are the concepts that are required to form a story and even a little bit further...what is it that's required for a good story.

he discusses a couple of thoughts but then he brings up this poignant thought:

"if the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation." [page 68]

if the point of life is character transformation then i've been going through one intense story the past six months. my life was flipped upside down when i walked down that aisle and married the man i love. we got married, we spent 6 days in florida. we came back, packed my stuff up and i moved to canada. new city. new church. none of my friends. none of my family. new new new.

all of this to say this: while the outside life i was living was obviously changing, the transformation happening within was hardcore. i have been stretched and i have been challenged. i learned what it means to persevere in the trials that are set before me.

moments of profound sadness and loneliness were coupled with moments of such extraordinary joy and wholeness with the man i love. it has been a gray season. darkness and light have had a strange relationship in my heart.

this life as a new wife has been crazier than i ever thought. using the words of a facebook friends status:

i can be such a monster to josh. so humiliating when it's over. i need the fruits of the spirit.

in the many many many ways i feel i have failed over and over and over, this man who stood before me and committed his life to mine has upheld his end of the bargain so well. his gentleness is astonishing. i am digging more into what a tender wife looks like and praying for Jesus' sweet revolution of love in my heart. i need Him in His FULLNESS to come and mess up my heart and transform. i seek and desire to know peace in all circumstances.

it's been 6 months and 5 days since i said "i do" to josh.
we have both failed. we have both triumphed.
now, more than ever, i am absolutely committed to...

putting aside my expectations and replacing them with joy because God has given me a gift...a husband who would lay down his life for mine.
putting aside my inpatience and replacing it with humility because the Lord loves me and my husband loves me.
putting all of my ridiculous comments and replacing them with a gentle spirit because i know that huge plank in my own eyes still exists.

ephesians 4.31

josh and i have been trying to go through the book of matthew because our hearts want to have a deeper understand of who Jesus was and what He did and how He moved and what He has called us to do. we believe that God is once again stirring up plans for us to 'go' and serve. there is a sense of urgency in our hearts but we understand that it must be coupled with the will of the Sovereign One.

if we're going to go and serve and love and be the hands and feet [oh what a humbling call...] we need to know the Scriptures. thank you Jesus for putting desires on our hearts. without them, we'd be so lost.

i'm all of a sudden feeling quite done with writing tonight.
but this is more than i've accomplished in quite some time.
leave your comments. i always enjoy reading them. and i also enjoy being linked to your blog and probably your friends and their friends and so on. josh makes fun of me for reading random peoples blogs but come on...we all do it. i think? (:

i'll leave you with some pictures from the past month and a half.

many blessings friends.

new years eve 2009

my sister ashley and i

josh gained a wife and his first sister on august 7th.

happy 6 months babe

what a blessing he is to me.

"beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
1 john 4.11

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

i am learning.

"give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus"
1 thes 5.18

i have obviously been lacking at blogging.
i don't have anything planned for tomorrow.
hopefully i'll be writing.