When God Wrecks You

March 19, 2014 § 3 Comments

By nature, I am *impatient. On my best days I am testy, impetuous, restless, quick-tempered, short-fused and vehement. I find it terribly hard to wait on God for a decision I want made yesterday. And like a child, I tend to get upset when I have to wait for an answer.

*I’m working on it. Slowly.

I’m not proud. Really. I’m just being honest. My flesh and my spirit are at constant war for my emotions. In my heart of hearts I want to be gentle, kind, loving, merciful, full of the grace that has been given to me and most of all patient. More precisely, to find JOY while being patient. I do. But like I said, the struggle is real.

If I were to make a movie about my life thus far, you would see that the main conflicts in my life are a direct result of me. Me trying to do things my way. Me trying to make things happen in MY time. Me trying to be in control. These are the *battles. I’m in one right now, and I’m finding it extremely difficult to be joyful.

*I lose. Always.

So, that being said, here’s where the wrecking comes into play.

Some of the things I’ve heard all my life are “The joy of The Lord is your strength.” And “Just choose joy!” Ok. Great. They’re just some of the things people say to you when they know your walking through something difficult. To be honest? They never really helped me feel better. Until today; and it was like God was telling me I should have had a *V-8.

*forehead slap and everything.

“…You will enrapture me [diffusing my soul with joy] with AND in Your presence.” (Acts 2:28 AMP)

Wrecked.
Angst.
Selah.

He will diffuse me with joy WITH His presence.
He will enrapture me with joy IN His presence.

What The Lord revealed to me today is this: Even when I don’t feel like it, I am constantly IN His presence. I carry His presence WITH me everywhere I go. There is no reason in heaven or on earth for me to not be consistently FILLED and OVERFLOWING with joy! All this time, the enemy has been trying to rob me of something that is impossible to steal. If His presence is part of me, (like the Word tells me it is because I have traded my life for His) then His joy is also a part of me. They go hand in hand. You cannot fully experience the presence of God without fully experiencing the complete and utter JOY that is found there!

Sadly, that doesn’t mean that my struggle with impatience ends. It doesn’t mean it gets “easier” to wait on God and His perfect timing. What it does mean, is that I don’t have to be discouraged in the waiting. I does mean, that I can be content and joyful where I am now, even if it’s not where I want to be.

So here’s to waiting. Patiently. Joyfully.

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Politics VS. Policies: The Reality of What It Means to Love Jesus

February 22, 2014 § 2 Comments

I just love the fact that Jesus was a “rebel” in his time. He went against he grain and the accepted “normal”, thus setting the PERFECT example not only of how we as individual believers should act and treat all people, but how He wanted the Church, His BRIDE to treat the world! He wasn’t out to tell people how awful they were, He was out to show them how WONDERFUL He was! The Jesus I know and read about wasn’t judgmental, hateful or self righteous because he was the Son of God. He was the definition of acceptance, love and humility, all while keeping His standards in line with the truth of God’s word. Just because we as believers are called to a higher standard doesn’t give us the right to elevate ourselves higher and mightier and holier than our brothers and sisters. And likewise, it doesn’t mean that we are to lower our standards to conform with what the world says is acceptable. Jesus said we are to be in the world, not of it. He also said to love your neighbor as yourself. That includes your homosexual neighbor, your atheist neighbor, your democratic, liberal, conservative, republican, and non-voting, whatever neighbor (shocking I know), your pro-choice neighbor, your lost neighbor and your believing neighbor. Because even though Jesus didn’t promote prostitution, murder and theft, doesn’t mean he didn’t love the prostitute, forgive the murderer, and welcome the thief in paradise.

Often I feel like we get so caught up in the politics of Christ, that we forget the policies of Christ. But at the end of the day, His greatest commandments are still these:“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)

We show love to God by loving the people He created, regardless of their political agenda or personal beliefs. And I for one, will never be able to think of my “neighbors” the same way again.

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Starting Over

September 8, 2012 § 20 Comments

I love words.

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I wish I could breathe them in like air. Consume and digest them like food. Wrap them around me like my oldest, softest sweater.

But sometimes

They fail me.

Like for these past few weeks. While being showered in love and affection and food (of course), I have been speechless.

There is a feeling you get when packing up your entire life to move in the opposite direction of your darling mother, most beloved family, and friendships that you’ve only recently recognized the value of . And truthfully? I’ve been feeling a little miffed about it.

Because, it’s not like the movies. Hollywood: you lie.

In case you were wondering, it’s not all sweet freedom and independence and homemade cherry pie.

Its nausea. And fear. And salty-bitter sadness. And more tears than the average set of tear ducts can handle. And resentment at the unlovingness of life. Yes, I know that’s not a real word. Judge me.

And then, suddenly it’s time. Tears.

All too soon, the last of the goodbyes, well wishes, and best of luck’s have been given, and you’re standing in your kitchen for the last time, clinging to your mother for dear life and not caring the tiniest bit that snot and tears are staining her shirt and ruining your face. You’re mind is racing. You’re thinking of all the little, seemingly insignificant things you won’t get to do together anymore. You’re choking on “I love you’s” and “I’ll miss you’s” and all the words left unsaid. More tears.

Then, you’re driving away with one loaded white taurus, a pair of leaking eyes, and a heart that’s filled to over-flowing with love and gratitude. If ever you find yourself questioning or doubting your value and significance in the lives of the people you do life with, try leaving them. You’ll be amazed.

Somewhere in between those 1500 miles,16 hours, and 3 bags of kettle corn, the tears begin to fall with less velocity and consistency, the ache in your chest begins to dull, and you start to breathe again.

Before you know it, you’re pulling in the drive to your new home at 1:30 a.m., too physically and emotionally spent to shed another tear or entertain any other thought besides sweet oblivion. At least for a few hours. Then you wake up. You cry. You call your mother. You cry. You unpack your car. You cry. You start putting your room in order. You cry. You repeat. You cry *less.

*progress

And one day

You look around and you see the sun shining for the first time in days. You see your new town and fall in love with its beauty and newness. You spend the day out on the town, and at the end of the day, you pull into the driveway to your new house and feel relief that you are finally home. You smile and it’s not just to be polite. You laugh and it’s not forced. You start dreaming, planning, and writing again. You live.

New beginnings.

Big News Part 2

August 16, 2012 § 32 Comments

“Why?”

Such a small and simple word. A word uttered thoughtlessly, millions of times every day in a thousand different tongues. And while the dialect or pronunciation or delivery may differ, the meaning is always the same: Make me understand.

In this post, I told you how afraid and vulnerable and out of control I was feeling. I let you take a small peek at the life I was leaving behind. What I failed to do, was tell you why.

Why would I move 1500 miles away from all that I know and love? Why would I ever *leave my mother? Why do I have such a **potentially unhealthy obsession with lists and details and asterisks?

*There is still room in my suitcase

**I have no answers

photo source: wanderlustandlipstick

All that being said, there is really only one question remaining to be answered. Why am I moving to Ohio? List lover that I am, here is a short one that captures the heart of the reasoning behind the move:
  1. I’m helping plant a church.
  2. Huh?

Now that you are even more confused than before, allow me to elaborate. You heard me right. I’m moving to plant a church in Columbus. What exactly does that mean? Well, in all honestly, your guess is as good as mine. But in order to try to help make sense of this strange statement, lets start at the beginning, shall we?

Back in May of this year – before laughing.loving.eating was born or even thought of I went up to Ohio to visit Mr. Levi Loyde, my special someone, and his wonderful family. Ironically, or as I tend to think not so ironically, they are also life long family friends AND it was their church that I attended when I lived in Ohio the first time. It was on this trip that I was asked to seriously and prayerfully consider moving back to Ohio to plant a church in a somewhat rougher area of Columbus.

No building. No pews. No pulpit. No congregation. No lights or sound. No worship team or creative arts department. Nothing whatsoever resembling the modern-day “church”. None. Nada. Zilch. Zip. *Just a handful of God-loving people who desire nothing more than to see the hearts and lives of hurting, broken people (just like you and I) transformed into something beautiful.

*church

And friends, let me just say, I will always love Jesus. I will always love His church. I will always (try) to love His plans. Truly. But in that moment, when my heart started racing a thousand miles a minute and my palms started sweating profusely, I wished I didn’t love so much. Because I never, hear me, nevernevernever wanted to live in Ohio again. EVER.

My faith has never been so challenged. My fears, well they all have a thing or two to say about the idea, too. Usually on a daily, if not hourly basis, I’m reminded of all the things that could go wrong. I think about how I despise winter and adore the sun. I agonize over the fact that I am moving without having a job or steady source of income. I remember how sad and lonely and broken I felt when I lived in Ohio before. I worry that I won’t ever feel “at home”, despite being surrounded by incredible people whom I absolutely adore. I’m tortured by thoughts that are almost too horrific to name, like being unable to bake and cook on a semi-regular basis. I would cease to exist.

But

The moment the question was poised, in the midst of thinking that I would surly suffocate and die under the crushing weight of all my doubts, my selfishness, my insecurities and each and every one of my greatest fears, something like peace washed over me. Something that spoke louder than all that fear, that is still speaking louder than all the doubt, the confusion, the insecurities. Something like courage and hope and the belief that I am on the right path. Something that calls me, draws me, and moves me like I’ve never experienced before. So I’m going.

I have BIG news.

August 8, 2012 § 31 Comments

Friends,

I’m moving.

To Ohio.

Again.

On September 1st, all of my earthly possessions, my main squeeze, and myself will cram ourselves into my little white Taurus and drive 1,500 miles away from sunshiny Florida, to buckeye-land Ohio.

And, let me just tell you, I’m thrilled. Absolutely tickled pink.

But

Amidst all that joy, mixed up in all the excitement,  I’m sad, too. And terrified. And way, way, way out of my comfort zone.

I’m sad because going there, means leaving things behind here. People, places, and parts of my life that just won’t fit in my trunk no matter how many space saver bags I have. (Mom, don’t worry. I haven’t given up trying to find a way to squeeze you in.)

Waving goodbye to the tropical flavors that I have learned to love

Sayin’ sayonara to the breathtaking beauty of life near the equator

Leaving

all

of this

behind.

I’m terrified because the last time I moved to Ohio, I was *trying to run away from the mess that I had made of my life, and in the process, I just ended up hurting myself and the people I love the most. It’s taken a long time for those wounds to begin healing.

*in case you were wondering, life followed me

I’m so far out of my comfort zone because, well, to be honest I’m *somewhat of a control freak. Ok, ok. I AM 100% control freak. Everything I do is extreme. Perfectionist by nature, I am the definition of all or nothing. In my mind, black and white don’t fade to gray. I like plans. I thrive on details. And lists. Oh, how I adore lists. Unfortunately for me, this move was not planned. This move is not detailed. And there are no checklists.

I wish I was spontaneous. Really, I do. I would love to have a carefree mentality of taking everything in stride as it comes, and “rolling with the punches.” I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to leap before I looked. I’m sure, it’s bliss. The fact is, change of any and every kind freaks me out, throws me out of whack and turns my world upside down. I can’t even change shampoo brands without giving myself at least a week to adjust to the idea. I just hate it. I hate the unknown, the fear that comes when something is unfamiliar and thus potentially harmful. So to say this is a challenge for me, would be a grand understatement.

And the numero uno reason that I’m stressin’ so much? Four weeks (less than that now), is simply not enough time for me properly plan and execute the “perfect” move. Sadly, I’m not entirely sure that four months would be enough time. So now I’m rallying. I’m makin’ lists and checking them off  like a mad woman. I’ve packed my car up a few dozen times in my mind to figure out what essential items are making the trip with me. I’ve calculated and recalculated how much money I’m going to spend on gas and food. I’ve scheduled *bathroom breaks and rests and potential sites to stop and see along the way. And I’ve done all of this, knowing full and well that more than likely, nothing will go as planned. Because when does life work out like that?

*this is a no judgement zone

Anyways, that’s the scoop. You’ve all gotten to taste a little bit of my brand of crazy, and I hope that I haven’t frightened anyone away with my antics and fanatical rantings. But this is my life, and this is what has been taking place in it lately. Stay tuned for part 2 of my big news!

Always, A.

Apologizing

August 1, 2012 § 9 Comments

Blogging is like friendship.

All about communication.

And lunch** dates.

**breakfast, brunch, dinner, coffee, and dessert, too. I don’t discriminate.

That being said, ask any of my friends, and they will tell you that I am the worst communicator they know.

Not exaggerated.

It’s not that I don’t love them, or think about them, or miss them (or you). Because I do. All the time. Really, It’s me. I’m just awful at keeping in touch. Call it self-absorbed or rude if you like, but that’s just the way I am. I would love to chalk it up to technology failures, politics, religion or any of the other countless scapegoats out there that consistently take the fall for human short comings*, but then I’d be a liar, too.

*another post, another time.

So, to apologize for letting an entire week wiz by without so much as a how do you do? or even a simple recipe, I’m gracing you with some lusty food photos and a few other random “life-shots”, as a sort of quick peek into what I’ve been doing for the past week.

Baking sweet things

Eating obnoxious amounts of broccoli

Turning fungus into fabulous

Playing favorites with my fruits

Spending quality time with my sister

Did you even need to ask?

Eating lustily

Making messes

Embracing life as a beach bum

Being cheesy

Missing this guy.

That pretty much sums it up. Let’s do lunch** soon, ok?

❤ A.

Coconut Raspberry Dream Cake

July 25, 2012 § 14 Comments

This woman.

This foxy lady.

Mrs. Glamour-in-the-flesh.

My mom.* (Hold the gasps)

*the woman my world revolves around, my inspiration, my best friend.

Yeah, her.

She had a birthday this weekend. Let me tell you, twenty nine* has never looked so good, madre.

*sometimes it’s ok to lie

And Mrs. Glamour?

She has a special fondness for all things coconuty and sweet. And raspberry. And chocolate.

Bless her.

So to celebrate this jewel, I created this gem.

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Happy birthday, Mom.

I love you longest, deepest, and widest.

-A.

Coconut Raspberry Dream Cake with White Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

This cake.

She is everything cake should be.

Light, fluffy, and moist, moist, moist.

The most heartbreaking, delicate crumb that will ever pass your lips.

I dare you not to go back for seconds.

The Cake:

  • 5 Large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite raspberry jam/preserves
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch round baking pans.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk eggs whites, add 1/2 c. coconut milk and the extracts; mix thoroughly and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low to break up any lumps.

Add butter and coconut milk and mix on low until combined. Increase mixing speed to medium and beat until fluffy and light.(about 2 minutes)

Add egg white mixture in 2 additions; mixing until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between the three pans and bake 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cakes to sit for 10 minutes in the pans.

Remove cakes from baking pans and allow to cool completely before assembling and frosting.

The Frosting:

  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3-3/12 cups powdered sugar

Melt chocolate and cream over simmering water; allow to cool completely.

Cream butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar on high until light and fluffy; add chocolate mixture. Continue to add additional powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until the desired consistency is achieved.

*Will make more than enough to frost this 3 layer cake. Store any extra in the fridge.

To Assemble:

Once your cakes have completely cooled, place your first layer on a flat, parchment covered surface (I recommend a cake stand or foil-covered cardboard) and spread with 1/2 of your raspberry preserves. Top with second cake layer, and spread with remaining preserves. Place remaining layer on top and frost entire cake with the butter cream frosting. Try to frost as evenly as possible.

Lightly press the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake, or just sprinkle on top (whichever you prefer).

Chill cake in the fridge for about 2 hours so that layers and butter cream sets. Take the cake out about 30 minutes prior to serving.

EAT AND BE MERRY!

 

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