Friday, December 2, 2011

He sees me.

I've recently become addicted to the show Parenthood. I adore it. The mish-mash of humor and serious issues plaguing families is wonderful. 

One episode keeps coming to mind. The Grandpa/Grandma pair are going to marriage counseling - the Grandpa is given a line to use when he starts getting overbearing/controlling and hears himself going somewhere he shouldn't with his words. He's supposed to look at his wife (or whoever else he's trying to control) directly in the eyes and say, "I hear you, I see you." The change in his wife's countenance is immediate. She knows that he acknowledges her, he cares about her, he loves her.

That quote came to mind the other day mid journal sesh. I was pouring out my unemployed, angst-ridden heart to the Savior of the universe over a steaming americano at Cafe Milo and saw the words You see me fall onto the page. My wrestling for joy has been pretty intense as of late. The weight of unemployment and burden of neglected or sidelined responsibilities have overwhelmed me to a point of panic. I was expressing to the Lord how the tug of war for my affections, self worth, and identity is exasperating. I hate that the problem exists. I WANT to trust completely. I WANT to delight. I WANT to see myself as He sees me. But I keep getting in my own way. 
The lies are yelling louder than truth. It's turning me against myself, which in turn morphs my brain into believing that everyone else is against me as well. I HATE THIS. All of these thoughts manifesting show my lack of trust in you. Doubt in your provision. A blatant disregard for your affections. A turning away from the mirror you hold that shows my reflection as you see it. You see me as whole. You see me as chosen. You see me as successful. You see me as beautiful. You see me as worthy. More than see me. YOU: the God of the universe who spoke creation into being, who calms raging storms and walks on water. YOU see ME: this mess of an insecure woman battling depression, aching to feel whole. You see me. You get me. YOU KNOW. YOU LOVE. HELP ME TO DO THE SAME!
Isn't that the deepest longing in all of us? To be seen? To be heard? To be known? As I read back on my words, the part that God grabbed my heart with wasn't WHAT He saw in me through Christ as much as it was that He saw me at all. As I recalled the scenes from Parenthood, I realized how much I needed to be reminded that the God of the universe DOES see me. There's even a name of God for it -- El Roi - the God who sees. His word tells me time and time again that He sees and hears and listens. He has not abandoned or forgotten me at all.

So friends that have asked how I'm doing...I'm doing okay. This season is HARD, but my God is good. I'm still applying for jobs (big and small, near and far). I'll probably be taking an hourly job soon to fill the gap in employment and help with my emotional well being. As I continue in this waiting period, I see God changing me. I don't always like it because, quite frankly, it's painful. Some days are better than others. I want to be working, but I trust in my God that knows all things. I trust that in all of the pages of applications I'm filling out, He has something specific in mind. Day by day, verse by verse- I'm making it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bad Attitude

My bad attitude ruined today's baking adventure. 

The challenge: make one gluten free apple pie, one gluten/dairy/soy free cran-apple pie, and one normal pumpkin pie. 
What I didn't think about before embarking on said adventure: pie crust ingredients=flour, water, butter or shortening (shortening has soy in it). In other words, I need to magically make a pie crust out of funky tasting flours and make it stick together with something other than butter.

I broke a plastic bowl. I slammed it against the counter. I was smashing the pie crust back into a ball for the 4th time since I couldn't get it to stick together or roll out. Then I burned my hand grabbing the pie out of the oven (oh hey self- a glass pie pan coming out of a 375 degree oven will be HOT). And I was just generally quite frustrated. My impatience made the process aggravating instead of just challenging. 

Everything ended up turning out okay-the realization was that gluten free pie crust WON'T taste exactly like standard pie dough. But it WILL come together and be special. Even if it's a failure, the fact that I tried is what matters to my food intolerant mother. The apple and pumpkin pies are still in the oven, but the cran-apple one just came out. 

So. What did I learn from today? 
1. Make a pot of coffee before starting something of this magnitude. I had no coffee today. Bad news. 
2. Use less coconut flour/coconut oil in the gluten/dairy/soy free pie. The coconut oil gives things a funky aftertaste
3. Use a foil tent on gluten free crusts- they burn even more quickly than regular pie crusts. Watch carefully! 
4. Recognize the whole process as an act of love. Look at that person. Love them through baking with a good attitude instead of getting mad. I failed at this today (SORRY MOM!). 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Old draft, same truth.

I found this draft of a post I started from 7/10/2010
I hate the cycle that I'm in
My heart hurts.
I just don't really know what to do with my life right now.
That's all it was. I guess I couldn't quite get the words to come all the way out and didn't feel like that was sufficient to be a blog post. Funny how I found that today. I think that post is true today, kind of. I hate the cycle of disappointments, yet I know why I risk. I hate that my heart hurts, yet I know that the aches make me ::stop:: and realize that I need Jesus more than anything. And I really don't know what to do with my life right now, but I know who to trust in. His name is Jesus.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cardboard Testimony

I'm in a Bible Study right now on the book Who I am in Christ by Neil T. Anderson. It has been an awesome way to dig into scripture and cling to truth.  Last week we watched the original cardboard testimonies video. The videos show the transformation from what the world or ourselves tell us versus who we are in Christ. Here's the original one:

It reminded me of Easter Sunday at the Austin Stone a few years ago when they did this. I was singing in the choir and they started playing the video. Tears were running down my face.

We were encouraged to come up with our own cardboard testimony for where we are right now. I came up with a few, but one was this:

Broken engagement, Shattered dreams.
:flip over:
Revelation 17 and 21. Betrothed to Christ, He makes all things new.

What would your cardboard testimony be?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


No really, I am. On multiple levels.

I'm a hot mess because I'm a girl and I sweat a lot. By a lot, I mean that this discussion ACTUALLY happened last week between myself and the dapper Zachary Gilbert whilst sitting on the couch next to one another at Connection Group:

Zachary: Anna, are you cold? (we were sitting next to an open window)
Me: *snorts* um. no. I'm anything but cold.
Zachary: Really? Okay. *he looks kind of awkward and confused*
Me: Why, are you cold? If you're cold, we can shut the window.
Zachary: *confused look* I just thought you might be since you're wearing a sleeveless shirt.
Me: Oh no. I have rivers of sweat running down the backs of my arms right now.
Zachary: *laughs* Yeah right, good one.
Me: *serious face* no. really, I do.
Zachary: nahhh. You're fine! You do not!
Me: *passes Zachary a note I had written to give to one of the girls in my group once we finished discussion and prayer*
I have sweat dripping down the backs of my arms right now. The prescription strength girly version deodorant clearly isn't doing the trick. I think I need to switch to the guy version...what was it? Certain Dri?
Zachary: *starts laughing* Oh man. You WERE serious!
Me: *also laughing* yup, I'm a hot mess.

Isn't this true of all of us? We have things that haunt us at the most inconvenient times. For me, it's the fact that I get hot really easily. I sweat. It's awkward...especially in mixed company. I try to wear clothes that I can layer to combat the problem, or wear sleeveless shirts to prevent getting hot altogether. My temporary fix for the problem SEEMED perfect- no sleeves, no sweat!? It ended up helping to a point, then made things even worse. I couldn't hide the sweat. It had nowhere to go but out of my body. Isn't our sin like this? We can come up with temporary fixes like avoiding people, or starting a gossip session by saying "I don't want to say anything to slander anyone BUT..." or justifying away indiscretions by convincing ourselves it will only happen ONE MORE TIME.  We can seemingly hide our mess for a season, but it will come out in due time.

The Lord wants us to completely rid our lives of the junk. Not in our own strength, but in HIS. He wants us to depend on all that He is to define all that our lives ARE. No more clinging to partial solutions. No more peeping one toe out of the dark shadow of sin you're lurking and caught in. STEP INTO THE LIGHT! When we call sin SIN, we disarm Satan. We call our brothers and sisters in Christ to wage the battle against Satan with us. God's already leading the charge, but it sure is nice to have other people in the trenches too! 

So in the same way that I have to call my hot mess problem SWEAT and find the BEST SOLUTION possible (Certain Dri or some other miracle sweat sucker), I also have to call things like lust and jealousy and gossip and pride what they are: SIN. I have to combat them with the BEST SOLUTIONS available to me if I want any relief. The best solutions are confession to the Lord, heart-level repentance (an actual TURNING AWAY from the behavior or action and RUNNING TOWARD my Savior), confession to a sister in Christ, scripture (Philippians 4:8 has been HUGE for me), and constant prayer.

I'm a hot mess, but the Lord has me covered.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Daring to Hope

I started to write this post a few days ago, but just couldn't do it. I wasn't ready to commit to what I knew this would be about. My heart wasn't all in and it wasn't true.

I have now been waiting just under 3 months for news about the job I applied for back in July. I've been posting a lot about the waiting process (a lot, okay- 2 posts. It seems like a lot in my blogging deficiencies). The waiting has shown me a lot, some nice things and some not so nice things. 

I extend grace to others more freely than I extend it to myself, especially with life expectations.
My ego is huge.
I struggle with not having a plan or next steps.
Every time I try to succeed in my own strength, it ends with me face-planting on the ground.
Satan wants to use the valleys of my past to whisper failure into my present. He wants to crush my spirit and kill my hope. His biggest victory is me being unwilling to get up and try again.

As my focus changes again, I will choose to see things through the lens of the season the Lord has me in. I will live in the now, learning to take in the journey without knowing the destination. The road trip isn't always about the place you're going. The joy, the stories, the slogans on the t-shirts, the bonding-those happen on the way. My story and my journey have already started--I'm not waiting for it to begin. Dreaming of the "next steps" isn't productive, it hurts my current relationships and the possibility of forward motion. Living out what MIGHT happen is counterproductive.

So in this season..
  • I see my brokenness, but am focusing on Jehovah-Rophe, the God that heals my crushed spirit. 
  • I am taking joy in Jehovah-Jireh, the God that provides. He has made it possible for me to live with my parents for this season. There are no bills coming in to pay, no pressing need (other than my own pride) for me to move out and no need for shame. I am loved and my parents delight in providing.
  • I am seeing Jehovah-M'Kaddesh, the God that makes me holy and sanctifies, refining me through the hurts and disappointments of unfulfilled dreams. I am surrendering those dreams to Him. He makes ALL THINGS NEW, even my dreams. 
  • I recognize that I am not alone, Jehovah-Shammah, the eternal God who is there, is with me. He has not abandoned me. He has purpose for my life and is walking me through this season. 
  • In my days or moments of feeling distraught and not quite knowing what path to take, I can trust in Jehovah-Rohi, the Lord my shepherd. That name holds so much! He's my guide. He leads me. He comforts me. He feeds me. He seeks after me when I run. He is tender.
  • Lastly, when I turn inward and try to succeed on my own, then fail; instead of being despondent in my inability to be my own champion, I can depend on Jehovah-Nissi, or the God that is my banner and standard of victory. My attempts will NEVER be enough. His will always be more than enough. His victory covers every failure of my past, present, and future. I win because he won for me! 
Satan had a hey-day with me last week. His lies crushed me. I stopped wanting to hope. I was afraid of more disappointment. Through the grace upon grace lavished on me by my parents and friends, God challenged me to hope again. To believe that His plan is better than mine. To hope in that which is certain-that God has my best in mind.

So thanks Mom and Dad, for taking me out for a pre-celebratory dinner on Thursday night. For telling me that even though I don't have a job yet, God WILL PROVIDE in His time and that we were going to celebrate that FACT together. For knowing that I needed you to hope for me.
And thanks friends, for your hugs and prayers. For helping me laugh. God is using you in big ways.

I'm daring to hope again. Risk causes the potential for disappointment and hurt, but risk is what makes life an adventure. I want to LIVE my life, not watch safely from the spectator seats in the nosebleed section.

Picture Dump

A Bridge in Madison County w/ Morgan
Yes, that is my first Turkey Leg.
Wedding happies with my friend Danielle
Babysitting my cousin's kids...oh Iowa :)
Wine? Yes please.

Ever wonder what Jr High Ministry looks like? THIS!

More wedding happies--my pledge daughter's wedding!
More Community Group fun at a bridge
Labor day weekend visit with my sister and her hubby

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


A few tidbits (okay maybe MORSELS is more accurate, these are kind of long) I thought I'd share from reading I've been doing lately.

First is an excerpt from an excellent book that my friend Tori let me borrow called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson. 
Joy is not a requirement of Christian discipleship, it is a consequence, It is not what we have to acquire in order to experience life in Christ; it is what comes to us when we are walking in the way of faith and obedience. 
We come to God (and to the revelation of God's ways) because none of us have it within ourselves, except momentarily, to be joyous. Joy is a product of abundance; it is the overflow of vitality. It is life working together harmoniously. It is exuberance, Inadequate sinners as we are,  non of use can manage that for very long. 
We try to get it through entertainment. We pay someone to make jokes, tell stories, perform dramatic actions, sing songs. We buy the vitality of another's imagination to divert and enliven our own poor lives. The enormous entertainment industry in America is a sign of the depletion of joy in our culture. Society is a bored, gluttonous king employing a court jester to divert it after an overindulgent meal. But that kind of joy never penetrates our lives, never changes our basic constitution. The effects are extremely temporary--a few minutes , a few hours, a few days at most. When we run out of money, the joy trickles away. We cannot make ourselves joyful. Joy cannot me commanded, purchased or arranged. 
But there is something we can do. We can decide to live in response the to abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs. We can decide to live in the environment of a living God and not our own dying selves. We can decide to center ourselves in the God who generously gives and not in our won egos which greedily grab. One of the certain consequences of such a life is joy, the kind expressed in Psalm 126. 
Second is an excerpt from a book called Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung recommended by my friend Luca: 
The only chains God wants us to wear are the chains of righteousness—not the chains of hopeless subjectivism, not the shackles of risk-free living, not the fetters of horoscope decision making—just the chains befitting a bond servant of Christ Jesus. Die to self. Live for Christ. And then do what you want, and go where you want, for God’s glory. God’s will for your life is not very complicated. Obviously, living a Christlike life is hard work, and what following Jesus entails is not clear in every situation. But as an overarching principle, the will of God for your life is pretty straightforward: Be holy like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of God.

What have you been reading? Any specific excerpts that have been encouraging you or whole book suggestions? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


God has changed the attitude and posture of my heart in a dramatic way over the last week or two. The agony of waiting has lightened. He has been prodding my heart with His word. Declaring his faithfulness. Singing His love. Filling me with awe at His majesty. Beckoning me to rest at His feet.

I started this blog the day I resigned from Hyatt when I lived in Austin, Texas. THAT was the day I wrote the tag line and title for Reckless Trust. God knew that reckless trust would have to be an anchor in my walk with Him over the coming months and year. That HE would be my rock. That HE would be the source of my stability. That there would be UPS and DOWNS. He didn't promise that life would be easy or pain free--He promised that he would carry me through it all.

Without this season of waiting, I would have missed the pure JOY of babysitting this little man.

Without this season of waiting, I would not have been able to DIG IN to relationships with the people in my new post college pre-minivan connection group at Cornerstone.
Without this season of waiting, I would have missed out on uninterrupted fall happies as God ushers in my favorite season of Autumn. 

Without this season of waiting, I would still likely be afraid of riding my bike on the street.

So I'm thankful. God is faithful to answer prayers. He has replaced my anger at this season of waiting with an overflow of JOY.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Fall Fairy's Happy List

Some people say I'm over the top. THAT'S OKAY! I love fall. I'm not afraid to admit it. A simple pleasure of mine is baking and enjoying the season--so these first few weeks I've taken FULL ADVANTAGE! I've recently been dubbed the fall fairy (not sure if it was by me or by friends...I'll take it either way. Currently taking donations of wings, tutus, and other fairy-like apparel). Here are a few recipes, photos, and happies from a week of fall delights. 

1 cup butter 
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup light corn syrup 
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Over medium heat, combine first 4 ingredients and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda. Stir well. Pour over 8 quarts popped corn (in an air popper, this was two 1/2 cup batches of kernels). Stir to coat well (NOTE: it looks like not enough caramel to cover it all--but it is! It's PLENTY! Turns out super tasty and sweet and caramely). Bake in large roaster or pan for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to dry.
5 ½ lbs apples cored, quartered, and chopped (Tart apples work great or a combo of different apples)
3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon (I accidentally put 3 TBSP in---and it was fab. Spice it to your liking--I used way more than they said!! I think I used different amts in each of the 4 batches I've made, the average being around 2 - 2.5 TBSP, 3 for a big batch)
½ teaspoon ground cloves (OR MORE!)
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt (optional...I didn't really put it in)

Put chopped apples into the crock pot. In a separate bowl, Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Pour over apples and mix well. Put crockpot lid on, cook on high for 1 hour. Decrease heat to low; cover and cook on low for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown. Stir occasionally (if possible, I left mine cooking from 5PM until 8AM the next morning and it was FABULOUS—so don’t fret if you can’t stir it or if it’s in a long time). Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer. If desired, whisk until smooth (I used an immersion blender to get mine to the desired consistency. Spoon into freezer containers (or mason jars!), leaving 1/2-inch head space. Cover and freeze or put them on the shelf if you chose mason jars (if you put them in unused mason jars with new lids while it’s hot, the pressure change will seal them!).
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (or combo of all purpose and whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans or muffins tins with 30 muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, vanilla, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans or muffin tins
OPTIONAL: add one teaspoon of streusel topping (I recommend this!!) to each muffin. To make streusel topping, whisk together 4 tbsp flour, 4 tbsp white sugar, and cut in 4 tbsp butter until it is nicely crumbled in—also can add ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans). Great on top of the loves too!!
Bake for about 50 minutes for loaves or 20-24 minutes for muffins in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. WATCH THE MUFFINS! No one likes a dry muffin, especially not the fall fairy!!
4. Harvest Pork Chops (or Roast) - My sister made this recipe up. SO GOOD WITH CHERRIES!!
4 boneless pork chops
3 apples (peeled and cored)
1 cup Dried Cherries (may substitute craisins, but cherries are better :)
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn starch
2 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together water, corn starch, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into crock pot. Add
apples and cherries. Place pork chops (or whole pork roast) over mixture. Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 3-4 hours. Serve with rice. Enjoy!!!
5. Bulk Pie Crust - also a family standard. We made 9 pies in one day then froze the other 11 pie crusts!
5 lb bag of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
3 lb can butter flavored Crisco brand shortening
3 cups cold water

In a large bowl mix together the bag of flour and the salt. Cut in the shortening with knives or a pastry
blender until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cold water. Mix together. You may need to use your hands. Form into twenty balls. Bag or wrap the balls or roll out and place in pie tins and freeze until ready to use. When ready to use, thaw the balls and roll into desired thickness for your favorite pies. Balls keep for 12 months in the freezer. I have found this recipe to be both delicious and a huge time saver. I just had someone tell me that this crust was the best they'd ever tried--definitely a keeper! 

Pie Filling
5 1/2 cups peeled cored sliced cooking apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter or 1/3 cup margarine, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375°F, Fit pie crust into pie plate. In a large bowl, mix sliced apples, lemon juice, both sugars,flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pile HIGH into crust.
Prepare topping:.In a medium bowl, with a pastry blender or a fork, mix flour, both sugars, and butter until coarsely crumbled. Sprinkle evenly over apples. Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes. DEVOUR with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or STRAIGHT UP!
6. Oatmeal Bread (This is a classic Family Recipe!!)
1 cup oatmeal
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
5-6 cups additional white flour

Combine the oatmeal, sugar, salt, margarine, whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the white flour and 2 cups of very hot tap water. Blend together with a mixer until well mixed. While that is mixing in a separate bowl combine the yeast and a half a cup of warm water. Add the yeast mixture then additional 4-5 cups of flour. May mix using a dough hook with a mixture of by had. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5-10 minutes. The dough will be very soft. Cover and let rise until double in size. Punch down the dough divide dough in half and place in two greased loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. Also--This bread freezes really well! Eat one loaf, freeze one for later (or make a double batch so you have 4 loaves). Best within a few days of baking (or thawing)  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Misplaced Hope

We just started a new series at church on the book of Revelation. My friend Sarah and I were talking about what heaven will be like following connection group this past Sunday. Mid-sentence, I had a big whoa moment. I was thinking about the level of excitement I had in that dream/imagination state pondering aloud with Sarah about Heaven and the returning Savior. The euphoria and anticipation. Then I thought about the level of anticipation and LONGING I have during this phase of "waiting" to hear back about my interview. I compared the two:
Heaven: I don't need a callback, I know the answer is Yes and Amen through the blood of Jesus.
Interview Company: I wait for a callback, HOPING that the answer is yes.
Heaven: I know it is real, I know I get to go, I know it is "soon"
Interview Company: I imagine what the job COULD be like, IF I get it, and "soon" could possibly never materialize.
Heaven: A reality that sometimes gets pushed to the back of my mind since it's been so ingrained in me from a small age. So out of my realm of comprehension, that I sometimes don't try to understand the intricacies.
Interview Company: Rarely forgotten. I wait and long for an answer. I ache for that reality to be true. I imagine myself behind a desk and within their walls. I daydream about my life there.

The HOPE and ANTICIPATION I feel for this job is funny and almost sad when compared to the GLORY and TRUE HOPE I can and should have for heaven. I'm so thankful that the Lord stirred my heart to show me the misplaced affections and longings I've been carrying. To make me realize how laughable aching for a JOB is in comparison to aching for ETERNITY and my true home. Don't get me wrong-praying in faith for a job is still okay--but placing my hope and energy in the one that answers prayers is worth more time!! Re-directing my affections towards the Savior of the world and His return!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


"There’s good news today: He has a plan! And his plan is good and his plan isn’t one-dimensional and finite like yours because all you can really do with your plan is figure out your best days. You can only control the things you can control. So not only can you not control outside influences, you don’t have any sort of capacity to control evil. But God’s plan is a good plan. God’s plan takes the best shot from his archenemy, Satan, infiltrating the inner circle of Jesus, having Judas betray Jesus and hand him over for the purpose of the King being assassinated. And God doesn’t do evil, as Pastor Mark said; he uses evil. God has a plan. Jesus has a plan. My hope today is that you’ll change your perspective, you’ll reverse your default mode of looking at your plan, and you’ll begin to understand who you are in Jesus’ plan because he loves you. And his plan is good." - Dave Bruskas 
Such good truth. Thankful for God's perfect timing. 
See the full sermon here:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shattering my contentment

I keep thinking I hit rock bottom, only to have another wrench thrown in my path. I called the company I interviewed with back again, only to hear that I would have to wait another two weeks. They're still doing the internal shuffle and don't have the position ready to fill yet. I just wanted to throw my phone against the wall!

God is using this time to shatter my perception of being seemingly content. To reveal the gross state of my heart and the way I hold SO MANY things above Him in my life. To break my heart over my own rebellion and in the process break me of every one of the idols I've been clinging to. The idol of financial stability. The idol of future expectations. The idol of career success. The idol of independence. To show me that HE is my great reward. HE is my stability. HE is my success. HE is my future. Nothing else matters.

I've seen in my past that it takes a lot to get my attention. Often times I find myself face-planting on the ground before I realize something is awry in my life. I see this time of waiting and being a broken mess as one of those face-plants. In His severe mercy, God knows that this is what I need. He has big plans for my life. He has intentionality with this season. IT IS NOT IN VAIN!

This has been a week of profound realizations. 
  • I'm angry at God. I'm tired of waiting and I don't understand why He's choosing to stretch me like this. My heart is hurting and I'm aching to know SOMETHING (anything!) on the job front. Through my tears and prayers -- I realized that I was beyond just not understanding; I was mad. God has been whispering gently to my tear-stained face that not a single tear falls without Him wiping it away. That he knows my aches. He loves me even when I am defiant. He has me exactly where He wants me. He's breaking down my dependence on myself--showing me that in my own strength, I will not make it. I will be angry and bitter and lonely. In Him, I can trust fully.
  • I'm lonely. In the midst of new friendships and changing relationships, I yearn for steady and intense fellowship. I struggle to dig in deeply with new people because I know that people will move on again. God whispers that He is the deepest and most satisfying relationship I will ever have. Lean into Him. 
 I'm thankful that the Lord is teaching me in this season. Praying that I would be willing to listen, even when it hurts.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Waiting Game

The interview went well. Now I'm waiting. I got a callback to find out that the director of the division I'm interviewing into retired, thus setting off a string of promotions and transfers internally. I will likely have to interview again with the new boss since the original person I interviewed with will no longer be in that department.

What does one do with excessive time on her hands?
This girl gets busy.
  1. I made a new friend: Jane Austen. I've read Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion so far. I'm SUCH a fan. Yes, they drone on from time to time. Overall, though- I find myself relating and laughing out loud at some of the thoughts/exasperations of the characters. Their woes and excitements make me smile as I understand the soaring highs followed by tumultuous lows. Even the length of sentences speaks loudly to the art of prose. The ability of Jane Austen to make me laugh by the brevity of sentence. So fun.
  2. I made greek yogurt in my crock pot. Once successfully, the second time was a failure. I followed my mentor Tori's lead--she had told me about making yogurt in the crock pot.
    I googled since I wanted to see if it would also work with greek yogurt. Came across this article that covered things pretty well. The only thing I adapted was wrapping the crock pot in a beach towel once I added the cultures --rather than putting it in the oven w/oven light on. The first batch was AMAZING. I put it into mason jars. Adorable and so tasty. Smiling apron picture is from the first try--I was happy that day. Second one--I decided to put it in the crockpot 'warm' setting like a few other websites suggested. FAIL. Burned it and turned it into reviling clotted curds of nasty. I need to make it again to redeem the activity.
  3. I perfected the art of homemade cinnamon rolls. I crave cinnamon rolls on a semi-regular basis.
    I think it's some aspect of my inner child remembering going to the mall in junior high to ride the carousel then go get a GIANT Cinnabon. This recipe is spot on. The only thing that I changed was using regular cinnamon instead of the fancy kind she talks about. I cut it back to 4TBSP (1/4 cup). And watch the cooking time--mine took a little longer than 20 minutes. More like 25ish. One other bit of advice...don't crowd the buns. Let them do their thing.The pan that I let rise/proof longer and had more room in the pan turned out PERFECTLY. They were huge and gooey and delicious. The picture is pre-baked. They were even better when they came out!
  4. Listening to some great new music. Favorite new albums on repeat are Bebo Norman's "Oceans" (especially the song God of my Everything) and Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons" (Songs Never Once, Endless Hallelujah).
  5. I got crafty. I saw this blog post linked to from someone's facebook. It's a fabric memory game. I decided to make it for a baby shower gift. ADORABLE! I made two with canvas backing and another with denim. They are a bit time consuming--but completely worth it. I found the little box/chests at hobby lobby. They look like they were made for the game!!                                                  

    In short (well, not really. this post is kind of long), I'm waiting. I'm learning to enjoy the waiting not just in anticipation of what's to come, but as a pivotal growth point in my current journey. The Lord has me waiting for a reason. Maybe to take time to enjoy HIM! and to remember other little things that delight my soul. God is faithful.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quinoa Cooking...TAKE ONE!

What better to rouse a sleeping blogger than a midnight snack? I agree, NOTHING! I just had this delicious concoction for the second time today because I couldn't imagine going to sleep without another bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Spicy Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with BACON
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or water/veg stock)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste!)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled (or more if you want! "real" bacon bits work for this too) 
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (optional, depending on allergies)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 425˚. Peel and dice sweet potato into 1/2" cubes. Toss sweet potato with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-20 minutes until sweet potatoes and tender and just beginning to brown. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, rinse quinoa and place in a pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 12-15 minutes (or until the liquid is absorbed). Once the sweet potato is roasted and quinoa is done, put the quinoa, red pepper, bacon, and sweet potatoes in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Toss everything together and stir in the dressing. Garnish with feta cheese when served. Can be eaten hot or cold! Adjust Cayenne pepper to taste (I used a tad more than some people might prefer to give the recipe a kick).

This recipe was a marriage of a few different recipes I was inspired by: and, along with my great imagination. In other words, I added BACON.

I had it for lunch. Then again for a midnight snack. Great hot or cold. YUM. My first experience cooking with quinoa was a complete success!! Anybody have any recent favorite recipes?? I'm inspired as of late and am ready to dig in. In other new news...I have a job interview on Tuesday. I'm REALLY excited and hopeful. woo.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where to even begin?

I keep starting posts, then stopping. I can't get the words to come out. 
I'm still alive. 
I'm a terrible blogger.
I've been here and there, just not blogging.
Since my last post I got engaged, traveled quite a bit, planned a wedding, subsequently broke my engagement, and now am applying for jobs and enjoying the end of summer.

My life has been chaotic, to say the least. 
I'm thankful that the God of the universe is not overwhelmed or surprised by the tears, fears, joys, aches, longings, and delights of my soul. He is the same God I served a year ago when I was unemployed and hurting. He is the same God of a few months ago when I was an Iowa State student. 
He GETS me. He has me covered.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another turning point

Hello faithful readers. 
I'm jumping off another cliff again. You know, drastic life change? Yeah, I know. It's not normal to keep completely changing dreams and directions. YET I DO! 

About a month ago, I was doing my usual job board trolling and saw a position posted for an Alumni Development position at Iowa State. The job got me SO EXCITED. Twenty times more excited than I've felt about teaching. I just couldn't help but wonder if this was something bigger than just a job posting. If this was a red flag for me to pay attention to. I've had this nagging feeling that I just wasn't sure about teaching--if I was ready to commit to 1.5 more years of school and debt before getting my feet on the ground. I just want to be working. To have a paycheck. To have the means to travel or buy a new dress (Do you know how dangerous Anthropologie's emails are??) if I want to. 

I finished out the semester with papers and finals, got my grades back, and started looking for jobs. I applied for a few Alumni Relations positions (Drake, Purdue, Iowa State) and then recently applied for a few jobs in West Des Moines as well. So. No more school for now. Applying for jobs- trying to be picky. I'm in a season where I have the luxury of not having bills looming over my head. I want to find a job I'll enjoy (even if it means serving coffee for a while).

One of my biggest prayers over the past few years is that the Lord would change my dreams and make them his. That was a hard prayer to pray as I saw the discrepancy between my expectations and reality. I saw that I was holding my view of God hostage because MY dreams were falling apart. It's funny how the Lord uses seasons to break us and change us. To show us that He has great plans. We don't get to see all of the details, but we play a leading role in the show. 

Who knew that I would move back to the midwest, get fired from a job, move back in with my parents, go back to school, drop out of school, get plugged in with a junior high ministry where I would meet a special someone (don't worry, he's not a junior higher), and end up happily living in Iowa (turning down interview opportunities in Indiana)? Had you mentioned any of those events a year ago and told me they would be true of me, I would have laughed in your face. I smile at how the Lord CAN change my dreams. He can humble me and put me on my knees before Him. He can delight my heart through friends, springtime, and new seasons. 

Sorry for the delay in posting--I've been busy figuring out what to do with my life again. Thank you all for coming along on the ride with me! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Great Sin

I had a friend tell me that he immediately thought of me when he saw this clip. He thought I should go watch it.

I watch the video...I score pretty high on the pride test. As much as my spirit flinched when I was told this test brought me to mind, I knew I would fail any test on pride.
I don't want it to be an issue, but I know this is a huge struggle for me. 
CS Lewis has some great words about The Great Sin

So many aspects of my personality and mannerisms are competitive, full of debate, and intense. I know that I'm prideful. I get mad at myself when I start getting super competitive, then friends/family can tell I'm worked up and assume I'm even more into winning than normal (that's a big amount). It's a slippery slope. 

My biggest fear: embarrassment
Games I hate: charades, acting/singing in front of others unless it's worship music
My safety net: jokes or making fun of myself so no one else can first
At the core, my fears and my quirks are rooted in not wanting to look dumb. I want to appear put together. I don't want to feel stupid. If I truly believed and lived in the belief that Christ was all, the opinion of those around me wouldn't hold such merit in my everyday life.

As I study the humility of Christ, I see how far from that I am. I see that my pride is ugly. The core of me is utter depravity. I need Jesus more than ever. Oh that I would set my pride aside, humble myself, and ask God to do a mighty change in me. That I would recognize that my pride shames the Gospel. That the glory of God and wishing to honor Him with everything would be my motivation to surrender my great sin to the Lord. 
To be bold FOR JESUS. 
To seek attention FOR THE CROSS OF CHRIST.

Call me out. Help me wage war against myself.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thanks Self

I was watching "The Time Traveler's Wife" on TV the other night. If you haven't seen the movie, the premise is that a man travels through time. It's the story of how his time travel impacts his family etc.  Sometimes he travels forwards or backwards, meeting himself and other people in his life at different stages of past or future. One thing that stuck out in the movie is the way the protagonist teaches himself lessons and gives himself advice to get through whatever he knows is ahead. 

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to meet myself in 10 years. What would I tell me? Or to go back to middle school. What words would I give myself if I had 3 minutes to lay it all out there? 

I've been blogging and/or journaling for a long time. I started wayyy back in the day when xanga webjournals were all the rage (well, not really-but they were for me! Want to meet high school Anna? Other than that, pen and paper prayer journaling has been an on again off again trend since early college. I'm not a daily "dear diary" girl, by any means. I write down prayers/lyrics. I take sermon notes. I just try to keep it all in one place so I can know where to look back if I wrote something down. I decided to pull out my journals last night and read through some of the old entries. It's like time traveling, only through letters and prayers. Suddenly my 19 year old self is speaking gently to my heart. My desperate cries of surrender and wrestling with my idol of self sound so familiar. 

As I read the words that poured from the depths of my deepest pain and height of my soaring victories, I found myself amazed. How easily I forget that this isn't the first time God has taught me these lessons. He gently reminds me through myself that my independence is a precious gift, but can be an idol as well. That learning to surrender is a battle that I need to wage daily. That I am precious.

Thanks self.
I needed your wisdom today. I needed to pray with you. I needed to hear your authentic cries for help. I needed to learn your humility. I needed to rest quietly in God's presence with you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


My birthday came and went. It was hard this year -- not because of turning 25, but simply because it seemed unimportant. It was just another day of class, another day at home, another day with friends. There were amazing facebook wishes and high fives from a few random people in class that heard it was my birthday--but nothing that seemed special

I think the blah of this year was partly because last year was so epic. Surrounded by friends in Austin - old missional community, new missional community, best friend flew in from Minnesota, work friends, roommate, choir friends - they brought wine and cooking gifts. Not because I told them to (well, I did tell them to bring wine), but because they KNEW me and my quirks. We ate and drank and mingled. It was easy. Flowers at work, dinner at my favorite winery with my besties. I miss that life. 
Steph flew in.

Flowers at work last year   

Party last year

Work friends

Through the dull pain of change, the Lord is teaching me to wait. To rest on him. To see His GLORY and BEAUTY in the hope of spring. The gentle and sometimes violent rains that usher in the flowers. The deep, dark soil churned up by farmers ready for seed to be planted in. Then we WAIT. Eager anticipation of harvest.
James 5:7-11 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Learning to rest and hope and trust is a process. Clinging to the promise that the Lord is compassionate and merciful. Dancing in the rain. Taking joy in this season.

I'm so glad to have friends here in Ames that can love me through that process. Friends here to talk through Scripture with. To laugh at jokes with. To sing at concerts with. To banter during Catan with. To delight in the waiting with me. So thank you - to the Texas friends that I miss so dearly and to the Ames friends that I'm enjoying the NOW with.
Connection Group guys at the Matt Wertz show

The Annas and Vanessa at the show

Gungor Show with Danielle