Favorites for now.

Sorry I’ve been a stranger. I’ve got a lot going on. I haven’t had a day off work in over a week. I’m taking an online accounting class. Ew.

In more exciting news, I just started a foundation called Sound of Soweto for the school that my family and I visit in Kenya. Check out the website! Its been a long time coming, and I’m just THRILLED that its finally happening. Praise the Lord! He is being so good.

Anyways, here’s some of my favorites for now. You know I’ll have new ones in a week, but this is what I’m loving now.

Favorite NEW THING: my Kelly Rae Roberts journal. It makes me SO happy to write in every day. I love her and want to be friends.

SEEKING GRATITUDE SKETCHBOOK

Favorite GRANOLA BAR: Bobo’s Oat Bars. Remember how much I looove granola bars? I’m not lying to you when I say this is my favorite all time. Yeah. Whoa is right. They’re only made in Boulder, CO, so non- Coloradoans, sorry. But you can order them online. I’m planning on ordering like 42 boxes of these when I go back to school.

Favorite COLOR COMBO: I’m in decorating mode since I’m about to move into my new apartment in about a month. Thinking these colors would make me happy every day.

 Which leads me to… Favorite STYLE ITEM: My new Mint Sorbet nail polish. It’s in the scheme. It makes me happy. The joy you can get from a dollar these days.

Favorite THINKER BOOK: Erasing Hell by Frances Chan. He spoke at the Cru Conference where my parents are for work. He was a gifted speaker and he truly loved Jesus. Things gonna be changin’ up in there. Anyways, this book is so timely, with all the controversial books and questions recently about hell and whether or not everyone goes to heaven. He goes right to Scripture, doesn’t take passages out of context, and delivers some hard truth that should make anyone think seriously about their destiny. Read it.

 Favorite TIME WASTER: Pinterest y’all is AWESOME. One of my friends said, “Its like ESPN for women.” If you don’t have one, get one. You will thank me.

Favorite HOMEMADE CONCOCTION: Mean Green Couscous. It has snap peas, cucumber, green onions, pistachios, and FETAAAA. I wanted to use up the rest of my box of couscous, so I made this. Its real good and a fun twist on the traditional Couscous Tabbouleh. Recipe coming soon.

Favorite PERSPECTIVE BOOK: The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. My dad and I read his book The Reason for God together and now we’re reading this one. He is a great writer and offers a new perspective into the story of the prodigal son, by claiming that we have, more than anything, a prodigal God. 

 And my NUMBER ONE FAVORITE THING, that gets two shout outs in one post, is the Sound of Soweto. I am just so blessed by the Lord and excited to see what He has in store for the Sound of Soweto and our relationship with Soweto Academy.

Take a good look at me, God, my God;
I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
or laugh when I fall on my face.
I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms— 
      I’m celebrating your rescue. 
 I’m singing at the top of my lungs, 
      I’m so full of answered prayers.

Psalm 13:3-6 (The Message)

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Unfailing Love.

No matter how long any of us have struggled, God is not giving up on us. Even if we’ve drained all the human resources around us dry,

He is our inexhaustible well of living water!

 

He may allow the life of a captive to grow harder and harder, so she will be more desperate to do what freedom in Christ requires- but He will never divorce her. He woos and he waits. The measures God takes to woo us to liberty may be excruciating at times, but they are often more powerful evidences of His unfailing Love than all the obvious blessings we could expound. When all is said and done, perhaps few truly know the unfailing love of God like the captive set free. 

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His UNFAILING LOVE and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy!” (Psalm 107:21-22)

Beloved, if he has become God alone to you, you have a powerful story to tell. Start talking.

-Beth Moore ‘Breaking Free’ The Freedom of Unfailing Love

I wish I could type out the entire book for you all, but once again, I encourage, encourage, BEG you all to do this study! Its rocking my world.

I’ve got a story to tell that just keeps getting better.

Overwhelmed by His UNFAILING LOVE!

(By the way, did you know the Bible uses the phrase ‘unfailing love’ 40 times? And all 40 times, its talking about God. He is the only Love that never fails. Look up the verses and rest in His unfailing Love. Don’t doubt it anymore, loved one.)

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Cake Pops!

Like I said, I’m a dreamer.

And, I gotta admit something I have been in denial about. Truth is, as much as I would like to, I probably won’t do all the things I say that I claim that I will do…

Like becoming famous for my dancing skills. (You can ‘Amen’ to that one if you have ever seen me dance..)

Or having a vacation house in every country.

Or owning my own safari park where I am friends with all the giraffes and zebras and elephants.

However, I wouldn’t bet against myself on doing realistic things like traveling to exotic places, being a successful entrepreneur, and making a lasting difference for the Kingdom of Christ. These dreams are already in the making thanks to my Jesus, so hold your horses folks. You don’t want to miss this. I, in fact, greatly enjoy doing the things that I say I would like to do. Like when I said I would make some of these:

  

We had our friend Megan over the other night for her birthday, and I got put in charge of dessert. (They knew me well when they dished out our duties.) I think that nine times out of ten, birthday cake is grooooss, and I about died over the cake pops at my brother’s wedding. I made a promise to myself to make some, and I was determined to keep it. So I did. They were kinda messy since it was my first go, but forget about the way they look…

Ok, I take that back. Don’t forget. They look delicious. And they were.

They were AWESOME. Moist. Perfectly vanilla-y, and perfectly chocalatey. Not too much, not too little. Cute. Happy. Wonderful. I cannot wait to make other flavors and decorative cake pops in the very near future.

If its your birthday, tell me, so I can make them for you.

Even if its not your birthday, tell me to make them for you.

Even if you don’t tell me to make them for you, I willl.

But I guess if you don’t want me to make them for you, make them yourself. Even though that might hurt my feelings. But I’ll forgive you and give you two ways to make these. You’re welcome!

The From Scratch Way Ingredients:

Vanilla Cake:

  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons 1% milk
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter
The Lazy Way Ingredients:
  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 can of chocolate frosting
For Both:
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate you can melt (you can use white chocolate, semi-sweet, dark, whatever you like. I used Baker’s Semi-sweet squares)
  • Some kind of skewer to stick the cake balls in
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350.
For the Cake:
For the ‘From Scratch’ Way, mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. One at a time, mix the eggs in. Add vanilla.
Then add the milk and flour to the wet bowl, alternating between the two.
Pour the batter into a cake pan and bake for 15-25 minutes. (Use the toothpick method to see if its done.)
For the ‘Lazy Way‘, just make the cake however the box tells you.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
For the Frosting: 
For the ‘From Scratch‘ frosting, combine the sugar and cocoa first and then add the milk and vanilla. Stir together. Beat in the butter until light and fluffy frosting appears.
For the ‘Lazy Way‘, open the can. Nuff said.
Cake Pop Assembly:
  1. Once the cake has cooled, destroy it by breaking it into little pieces with your fingers until it looks like bread crumbs. Put in a bowl.
  2. Add in 2/3 of the frosting to the crumbs and mix well. (For the box mix, add little by little until the cake just sticks together well enough. You can eyeball it. Not hard.) Note: you can never have too much chocolate frosting so make it to your liking.
  3. Take a spoon and scoop out an even amount of cake/ frosting mixture and roll it into a ball. Set it aside and do the same with the rest of the mixture.
  4. To decorate, melt your melting chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until melted. Dip the end of a skewer in the chocolate, then stick it in a cake ball. (This helps the sticks not slide off.) Do the same with the rest of the skewers until all the cake balls have a skewer.
  5. Now, with each cake pop, dip it into the chocolate mixture, smooth it over with a knife or extra skewer, and coat with sprinkles. This is probably the hardest part, but you will figure out a method that works for you. Once you have chocolat-ized and sprinkled each cake pop, I suggest putting them in the fridge so the chocolate can harden. (Once the chocolate is hard, they can store outside of the fridge.)

Now, wave your cake pops in the air like you just don’t care and sing the happy birthday song to someone (even if its noones birthday..) Prepare to be amazed and feel like a professional baker. Enjoy!

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Break FREE. (even if you don’t read any other posts, read this one)

For the past 7 weeks, I have been working through this Bible study by Beth Moore called Breaking Free. She bases it mostly off of incredible passages from Isaiah.

Now, hear me on this. I have done a lot of Bible studies in my short 20 years- looking for freedom from my fears and insecurities and anything and everything that distracted me, even a little bit, from the Lord. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been more greatly used by the Lord in my life than this study. No sermon, no interaction, no experience so far has changed me as deeply as this study has changed me. It has changed the way I think, the way I feel, and the way I act. I have found myself doing and desiring the things the Lord wants me to do and desires for me: things that I have wished for for ages.

He is workin’. Oh boy, is He workin’!

It has cleaned out areas of bondage in me that I didn’t even know existed, as well as the ones that have been in the forefront of my mind and life for years. So whether or not you think you are in bondage and whether or not you think you need to break free of something in your life, do this study!!!!!! I don’t think there is one single person on the face of this planet that could not benefit from this study.

Beth says that, “You are held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God has planned for you.”

A stronghold is anything that preoccupies your mind other than Christ Jesus. Now, I know I got a load of thoughts floating around up there all day, most of which are not about Jesus and His Word and His Truth. Honestly, I think a lot of degrading things about myself- things that Jesus does not say of me. Girlssss, are you with me on that? And frankly, I’m not okay with it anymore.

This is not about stronghold management; this is about FREEDOM, girls. Don’t you want to be free? Truth is, most of us don’t even know what free is yet. But the past 7 weeks, I’ve been getting taste after taste of freedom, and now all I do is crave it.

“I love loving Him. Surrending my heart to Him has not been a sacrifice. I don’t know any other way to say it: He works for me.”

I’m not stopping until my temptations are under my feet, and I have stomped them out along with all the lies the devil just looooves to feed me! I am so passionate about this, and hope for each and every one of you that you might find full and lasting freedom in Christ and the life that He wants for you. Get ready to do some hard and dirty work. But know that it will be so worth it.

You’ll get your life back. I promise you that.

He wants you so bad, girl. He’s just waiting for you to ask Him for some freedom. Go get you some healing.

A couple quotes that I have really loved (even though I pretty much highlight every word):

We were created for the purpose of giving God’s invisible character a glimpse of visibility. If we grasped the eternal implication of such a destiny, we would want to do anything possible to make sure all hindrances were removed.

All bondage begins with sin. All bondage promotes sin. Even a thin chain can strangle the life out of you.

Life’s way of reacting to a crushed heart is to wrap tough sinews of flesh around it and tempt us to promise we’ll never let ourselves get hurt again. That’s not God’s way.

When our hearts have been shattered by loss, we have an opportunity to welcome a supernatural power to our lives. It doesn’t come any other way. That is the power to live again when we’d really rather die. It is a power that displays the life of Christ in us like no other because it defies all odds. God becomes the only explanation for our emotional survival and revival. Perhaps the most profound miracle of all is living through something we thought would kill us. And not just living, but living abundantly and effectively—raised from living death to a new life.

Friends, please don’t miss out on the free and abundant and effective Spirit-filled life He has for you. It is more wonderful than you could ever imagine or plan or hope or dream. He knows your dreams. He longs to surpass them.

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Couscous Tabbouleh.

I’m callin’ out all you lazy people with this one. Including me.

I, too, am guilty of buying pre-made sides and pre-made meals. Its obviously so much easier and some people come up with some pretty good stuff that I probably wouldn’t come up with on my own. But I learned a couple lessons with this recipe:

Lesson 1: Everything tastes better homemade. (I think its the secret ingredient – the satisfaction and accomplishment of doing it yourself – that makes it taste so good.) (Disclaimer: If you do it right. Things don’t taste better if you burn them or put salt in instead of sugar or something like that.)

Lesson 2: This recipe makes life easier. For 4 days I didn’t have to make a side, think about a side, or buy another pre-made side. This was just waiting for me in the fridge every day, just sitting there in its mediterranean deliciousness.

Lesson 3: I should move to Israel. I only learned this because I brought the leftovers to my G-ma’s house last night for our 4th of July party. She got really excited and exclaimed that I would eat great in Israel (she goes a lot and apparently they eat this there). So let me know if you would like to contribute to my plane ticket and house fund so I can eat my homemade tabbouleh in my Israeli villa.

So if you are looking for some self-satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, need a recipe for simplifying your life, and would like to move to Israel with me, make this:

Couscous Tabbouleh:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups couscous
  • 2 cups chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (I used cilantro and only used like 1/2 a cup, but you do what you want. Just feel it.)
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
Directions:
Cook the couscous according to the package directions and let cool. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Um, easiest thing ever. You can’t mess it up. Lazy ones, there are no excuses.
Get your couscous on!

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In repentance and rest…

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says,

“In repentance and rest is your salvation;

In quietness and trust is your strength…”

Isaiah 30:15

I never thought that one of the most exhausting things ever would be learning to REST.

Physically. Just sit there. Be unproductive. (A terrifying thing for people like me.)

Spiritually. Repent. Develop a quiet spirit. Trust. (Even more terrifying. Much, much more.)

But I’m learning. And you wanna know what happens?

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

Acts 3:19

Aaahhh. My soul is sittin’ in the shade with a good book and tall glass of ice water. I’d love for you to join me.

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Mozzarella Grilled Pepper Salad.

Last night, man, I was pooped. I had been working and cleaning and doing laundry all day. Ick. But after our vacation, I was itchin’ to get in the kitchen. (Hey, that rhymed. Nicee.) Anyways, I decided I deserved something delicious and homemade. But it had to be:

1. Easy

2. Cold (I have this weird thing where I base my meal decisions on whether I want hot or cold food. Yeah… anyways.)

3. …and cheeeeesy. What can I say? I had a hankerin’.

As I always do when I’m looking for something simple and delicious to make, I opened up my most recent edition of Rachael Ray, and found this:

  

Cha-ching.

It met all the requirements…

1. Easyyy peasy. This is all it takes.

2. Cold. Nom nom nom on some freshhnesss. Yes.

3. Cheeesyy. I love me some fresh mozzarella any day. Coulda ate the whole log if I tried.

So if you’re having one of those days, and you want some cheese and garlic bread at its freshest and finest, make this.

Mozzarella Grilled Pepper Salad:

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 bell peppers (mixed colors to make it perty.)
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 large baguette, sliced crosswise into 3/4 inch- thick slices
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup torn basil leaves (I used cilantro cause that’s all I had. But basil and mozzarella are always a great team.)
Directions:
1. In a small bowl combine the garlic and EVOO. Let it sit while you prep and grill the bell peppers.
2. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Cut the bell peppers into flat panels and throw away the stems, cores, and seeds. Lightly oil the grill grate and grill the pepper pieces, covered and turning occasionally, until just softened, about 10 minutes. When they’re cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch squares and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, onion, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
3. Brush the bread slices on both sides with the garlic oil. Grill, turning once, until well marked and toasted, 2-4 minutes. Cut into large cubes.
4. Stir the remaining garlic oil into the salad. Add the croutons, mozzarella and basil; toss. (I added some spinach too just for kicks.)
Finally, bask in the easy, cheesy, chilled goodness that is before you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
Note: this recipe is even better when you have fun making it. I sure did:

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