Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time flies, whether your having fun or not!

It’s been over a year since I left for Brazil. In some ways that seems like ages ago, in others it seems like it was yesterday. There was something about that trip that has made it become a marker in the timeline of Andrea’s life. Just like graduating from high school or college or starting my first job, going to Brazil in July of 2009 marked something in my life. I’m just not quite sure what that is. That trip was unlike any of the others I have been on. Again, I don’t know if I could put into words what made it different. Maybe part of it was because of the relationships I made with the students and leaders on our team. Another part might be seeing the Spirit of God work like I have never before seen. Or maybe it was certain questions and thoughts that were spoken to me, that I still can’t fully answer. I am sure it was a combination of things that left me not wanting to leave (a first!). I boarded that plane, in tears, unsure of all of these things going on in my heart.
I arrived home to a different apartment. It was the same complex, same size, same floor plan, and even had the furniture in the same place, the only new part was that it was on the other side of the complex. This perfectly described what I was feeling. I was coming home to the same life I had when I left. Yet it was different. Everything is the same, yet still different.
My goal after arriving back home was to continue to discover what God was doing in my heart as well as answer the questions posed to me. As time went on, the novelty of it wore off. The ‘high’ was gone. And here we are, a year later and I have to ask myself, “What have you done all year?” My first reaction is always the same. Nothing! I’ve done nothing with my life.
But as I look back, life isn’t necessarily the same anymore. In the past year, I have traveled to three countries: Brazil, Canada, and France. I have completed three years at ACSI. I have been able to play a part in the launch of RH Fullerton though prayer nights and the greeting team and have found a church home. I’ve led a life group for 2.5 years and have watched my group (as well as myself) change and grow. In the last year, I trained (if you could call it that) and ran a 5K. I’ve learned a lot about myself, good and bad.
And while I can see that I have actually done something, I have to ask myself, does it matter? Do these things have an eternal significance? What have I done that will matter in eternity? I’ve been really convicted lately with the amount of time, money etc that I spend on me and what I want and what makes me comfortable. What else are we here for other than to share Jesus? I don’t want to look back on this next year and see that I have done all of these amazing things, but in the end, it has no significance.
I want to be apart of the revolution Jesus is inviting us to play a part in. I want to do something that matters. I don’t want to do what is comfortable. And as hard as it is to even type out I want to trust Him so completely that I am unafraid to put myself in situations where I will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Time to Wake Up!

Dreams are a funny thing. Not necessarily dream we have while sleeping, although mine are quite funny and out there, but dreams we have for what our lives will be like.
Ive had this one dream for as long as I can remember. It began when I was in preschool at church. And it has lasted these 20+ years. I will admit, the odds of this dream ever coming true were not in my favor. My senior year at Biola, I had a little glimmer of hope. I thought that this might be my moment to make this dream come true, or at least get the ball rolling again. Maybe not even get the ball rolling, but this glimmer of hope helped me see where the ball was. It was just a mirage. But I held on to the little hope that I had.
Well, last weekend, the dream ended. There is NO possibility of it ever coming true. Truthfully, I never thought it would come true...I don’t think I would ever want it to come true. It was more of a fun little story that I could tell people. The funny thing is, I am kind of sad.
I think about all of the dreams I’ve had over the last 25 years. What dreams have I ignored? What dreams have I foolishly spent too much time and effort thinking about? What dreams have I let pass me by or felt unqualified for in some way? Which ones were of my own efforts of creating the life I wanted?
I want another dream (or even dreams). A God given dream. A dream He has given me, because it is something He has for me or wants me to do. A dream that will become reality because, after all, it isn’t mine, but His.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Brownies and Spaghetti Squash

I love food!
I love making it and I love eating it.

I enjoy browsing through my cookbooks looking for different recipes to try. There are a few things I will make over and over again, but most things I try, end up being a one shot deal. This is probably because of my lack of cooking/baking ability. Most recipes serve, at the minimum, four people. And while at times I might eat like I am four people, it's a little too much food for just me. I will usually cut the recipe in half. This wouldn’t be a problem for most people. However, I tend to forget half way though. The cake will end up with half the amount of flour and a full amount of sugar.

Even though my creations aren't anything to write home about (those that are, are sent via picture text message to mom!!), I still love the process. I get to make something delicious (hopefully) from several items that would be anything but delicious on their own.

Food is an incredible thing on many levels. The question was asked in my Life Group, "Where do you see God"? My answer at that moment was food. That answer received many laughs. I had this realization as I was in my kitchen cooking with spaghetti squash. I pulled out of the oven and cut it open. I soon had a pile of spaghetti like strands filling up the plate. And while you might be laughing at this as well, it was an AHA moment for me. God has given us all we need to nourish our bodies in the food he created. And its not just bland manna like food. He has given us food in all shapes, sizes, colors, textures, smells and tastes, each filled with vitamins, minerals and the nutrients needed to keep us alive.
Not only is he a creative God (have you seen spaghetti squash?!) but He is also one who loves to lavish his children with good things.
I also love food because it brings people together. When was the last time you were with a group of people and there was no food?
All of that to say, I have found the most amazing brownie recipe. This will not be going in the ‘tried and failed’ pile. In fact, I have made them three times in the last two weeks. They are full of rich, chocolaty goodness and even a hint of coffee flavor. They are super quick to make (and eat!). I have no desire to cut this recipe in half. I will gladly eat the whole pan!

1 C Sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

3 tb baking cocoa
3 tb butter, melted
1 tsp instat coffee granuals
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
2-3 tb warm water

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add butter; mix well. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; add to batter and mix well.

Pour into a greased 8 in square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min.

For frosting, combine the cocoa, butter and coffee. Gradually stir in confectioners sugar and enough water to achieve a spreading consistency. Frost brownies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Becoming Who I Am

I love this phrase. 'Becoming Who We Are' was the title of a sermon series my church did. It has been on my mind a lot recently and I think I am just beginning to grasp what it means. I think the illustration of a husband/wife or mother/father best descibes this process. When you say 'I do', you become a husband/wife, but that is just the beginning. You then spend the rest of your life figuring out what that means. The same is with parents. When that little baby is born, ready or not, you are a mom/dad. In the same way, you spend the rest of your life figuring out what it means to be a parent.

I am a child of God. I am deeply loved. I am forgiven. I am new, the old is gone. I am in Christ. The list could go on. I am already all of these things. But I am just now learning what it means to live it out. I want to be able to sit in these truths, and belive at the core of my being they are true (They have to be. Jesus said so!) and boldly live who God says I am.

I wonder what our churches, neighborhoods, schools and even the world, would look like if we really truly believed that what scriptures says we are, is actually true!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And so it begins...

I've really been into blogs lately. I have my list of blogs that are bookmarked on my computer, which I read daily. Some are family, and friends. Some are craft and cooking blogs. And some are blogs by people I've never even met before, but somehow stumbled upon. The common denominator in all of these is that I am inspired/challenged when I read them. I am inspired to try new projects or recipies. I am challenged to be a better disciple of Jesus. I am inspired to be a goldy woman, friend and someday wife and mother. It's their passion, insite and raw emotion that comes out in their writing that challenges me to look at the world differently.