Wednesday, August 31, 2011

{ pleasure & pain }

My friend Jon recently showed me this poem. He came across it in Vancouver-spray painted to a wall in an alley way. I just think the poem is so sweet. I truly do think that our pain shapes us and forms us into the people we are. It reminds me not to take advantage of the simple pleasures in life, but to savor every moment of them :)


I've come to finally see,
that everyone but me
loves life for it's pleasures
and hunts them for their glee.
But I believe, It's lifes tough pains
that really make you see
because without the pain
that comes with life
what pleasures would there be?

with love, peace, and happiness,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

{ oatmeal chocolate chip cookies }

As I sit here and write this blog post, I am enjoying a hot cup of Chai tea and a gooey, freshly baked oatmeal cookie. Isn’t that the best way to spend a gloomy afternoon? Baking, listening to ADELE and then relaxing and blogging :) I thought i’d share with you a great recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for you to enjoy anytime!

What you will need:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats 1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda 1 cup baking margarine
1 cup white sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg 1 tsp vanilla
However many chocolate
chips you want :)

First thing to do is preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Combine dry ingredients [oats, flour, baking soda & baking powder] except sugars, and set aside.

In your mixer, or a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy.

Next, beat in egg until blended. Add vanilla and coconut, mixing well.
Add dry ingredients. Mix just until blended.

Now for the best part..chocolate chips :) You can add however many you like! I added a few handfuls. { just a little tip: mix in chocolate chips by hand, because a mixer will often times crush the chocolate chips } *Also feel free to mix it up by adding nuts, raisins or dried cranberries! I ended up adding dried cranberries to a few of the cookies and they tasted delicious :)Roll into balls, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten slightly.

Now pop ‘em in the oven and bake for 11-13 minutes.


with love, peace and happiness,

Sunday, August 28, 2011

{ a lovely day }

I have lived yet another year! Yayy Haha. Yesterday, august 27th, was my fifteenth birthday :) my day was fabulous- with lots if food, lots of laughs and great company. I started my day off by going to IHOP for breakfast with my mom and Emily (my sister). Unfortunately my dad had to stay home because he had an awful head ache :( poor daddy! I planned to get my favorite, stuffed French toast, but then I saw they had funnel cakes for a limited time only! Well, I HAD to get them :) haha. Who doesn't love deep fried dough?! I swear I gained like twenty pounds by the time I left that place! Oh, and our server, Eddie, was quite the interesting guy. He was defiantly hitting on me and my But it made for all the more fun. After breakfast, me and Emily did a little shopping at Value Village! (for those who don't know what value village is, it's a huge thrift store.) It was a very successful shopping trip, and we found a lot of great pieces. Once you get past the dingy smell, and search through the endless racks of other people's junk, you will often find some treasures. The key is to have lots of time and a good eye- you have to see beyond the hanger and think about how you could make that piece of clothing trendy :). Once we finished shopping, we went over to the Johnston's house (family friends) and had a great supper and hung out. They have two boys, Kyle is my age, and Levi is two years older. There were defiantly lots of nearly pee-my-pants moments haha. We always have a fun time together!

So, overall I had a great day..although I do not feel any older :P But the day will eventually come when i wish i felt younger. I am excited for many more birthdays with great friends..and of course great food :D

With love, peace, and happiness,
the belated birthday girl, Rachel

Monday, August 22, 2011

{ CLT 2011 }

Hello friends! I am finally home after two weeks of being gone :) It feels like it's a million degrees in my room right now. I have my obnoxiously loud fan blowing on me in hopes of cooling down! Oh, and I am typing this on my new iPad.. I feel very high tech haha. Summer is quickly coming to a close. *tear*. I love the feeling I have, though, when the summer ends and I feel like I accomplished many things. And I feel like I have grown a lot through out this past summer.

CLT defiantly had the most impact this summer. For the majority of you who don't know what CLT is, it's 'Christian Leadership Training' - a program at Lone Prairie Camp (the best camp btw ;) no bias at all haha) in which you learn more about Christ and your spiritual journey, and of course, leadership skills. This summer I did CLT one and absolutely loved it. I learned an insane amount of stuff about my faith and about myself. Each and every CLT session I left with my minding spinning. Our sessions with Scotty rattled me in a way I can't even explain. It was a large, but extremely good group of CLT One's. I found the group dynamic was really amazing; alot of good, but very different, opinions and views of Christianity, which is something that was very new to me. All my core beliefs were knocked down, and I became vulnerable. But in the best way possible. I suddenly had this total open mind about my faith and I was able to search deeper and really start to understand my relationship with God. Everything I had learned about my faith growing up was challenged. At some points I even questioned this whole Christianity thing. But It was challenged in the best way possible. I no longer felt like a robot who believed in God just because that is what I grew up with. I now had a better understanding of WHY I believe what I believe. And I believe it because I WANT to, not because I am forced to. I used to think of God as this tiny box that I could see and fully understand, and I was looking in at God. But now I realize I am in that tiny box and God is all around me.

One of the big things Scotty told us was to just learn about Jesus. Forget all the long, churchy words and simply study Jesus' life. Read the gospels and learn about how He lead His life on earth. Take that and apply it to our lives. For CLT, we read the book 'The Barbarian Way'. The author talks about living this radical, barbaric Christian lifestyle. Multiple times he compared our lives to that of Jesus'. Explaining that we are called to live crazy lives for the sake of our faith. "..for those of us who embrace the cause of Christ, the cost to participate in the mission of God is nothing less than EVERYTHING we have- it is not always fair or equitable." The barbarian way is about love expressed through SACRIFICE and SERVANTHOOD, which I think is so cool :)

I also learned the significance of prayer. I journaled on July 13 about how I though something was missing at the moment- and that was prayer. I realized that God was so present at camp, but he was not present in my heart. I had been reading scripture, interacting in CLT sessions, but I totally neglected prayer. And I realized that I needed that prayer to keep me going, and to keep my relationship with God growing. Matthew 6:5-8 was a really big help. Jesus is teaching the people how to pray and to be humble when doing so.

In august, I went out to camp for a third week to do support staff for Junior camp. There were only 4 cabins in total, so the there were very few campers. I think the camper to staff ratio was almost 1:1! So Scotty said it was 'extra love on the campers week' this got me thinking about how important it is to love and be selfless in love- thinking about others instead of my own wants or needs. The next morning I was reading Romans and came across some verses that emphasize the importance of love {Romans 13:8} "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another." {Romans 12:9} "love must be SINCERE."

I feel like each day and each week I took something significant away. I learned more about my faith, I grew spiritually and gained relationships that I will always keep and never forget :). Can't wait till next summer!

With love, peace, and happiness,

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
{Hebrews 11:1}

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{ sleeping sickness }

Why is it that late at night our feelings swim to the surface? All of my concerns and worries seem to fill my mind on those sleepless nights. I lay awake in my bed, staring at my clock as the seconds, minutes and hours go by. Sometimes I lay there with a million things racing through my head like frantic bees flying around- you can't seem to get rid of them no matter how hard you try. Sometimes my mind is a vast, black space filled with nothing but nothingness. I can't quite decide which is worse. There is something about the silence on those sleepless nights that is so haunting and it gives me chills. But something about this silence is beautiful. When you hear nothing but your own breathing and the rustle of sheets. Your heart beating at a slow, constant pace. Often times my thoughts seem to penetrate the silence. But sometimes my silent mind is even louder. I feel like people have their most nonsensical, most profound thoughts late at night. Maybe that is why some of the most extraordinary songs, poems, and stories have been the result of sleeping sickness. Its not a physical sickness, but one of emotion. Countless times I have laid awake, trying to escape my thoughts. Trying to fall into a state of little consciousness just to get away from them. My body does not allow me to physically move because i am so weak and tired but my mind refuses to rest.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

{ call out }

Hello! This past week me and my cousins, Megan and Maddi (who, if you cannot tell already, are extremely close) went to this thing called 'Shake the Lake'. Its pretty much just another summer festival which i had fairly low expectations for - but i knew i would have fun because i was with meg and maddi :). After driving around for almost an hour trying to find a parking spot, we finally got to Shake the Lake. The first thing that drew me in was the live music which i heard from down the street. As we approached the stage, I noticed a very cute guy preforming on stage. Me and Megan both shared a liking for his music and his boyishly good looks haha. His voice just gave me a happy feeling in my heart. "..and if its really true, that your the one that makes all things new" is a line that stood out to me. i realized he was defs a Christian. Unfortunately, we only got to hear one song of his, but, drawn by his cuteness, we visited his booth that was set up. After two trips to his booth i learned he was from Edmonton :), his name was Joshua Kellert and me & meg both bought his CD. On the way home we listened to it, and i love the 'unplugged' sound of his album. But,tack number 10 rattled me to the core and possibly changed my life forever. Now, its not really a song, just him speaking whats on his mind. It's a 'call out'. Me and Megan sat in silence in the car; listening intently to every word he spoke. I was defiantly on the verge of tears, shaken by the simple truth that i needed to hear. This is what he said...

"This has been heavy on my heart for a long time...when are we going to realize the cost of following God. Everybody's a 'Christian' now a days. Everybody has on their FaceBook status in religion, something under there. Everybody says they are a 'God-follower', but how many people are genuinely, legitimately following God. Now I've got news for you, God is NOT your hobby. God is not your household pet that you spend time with when you find time in your schedule. God has to be your life. We've made an absolute mockery of what it is to follow God. A mockery of the cost of walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. What is the cost? Where can you find what the cost is? Where's the price tag on that? Look in Matthew 19, where Jesus clearly explains to a rich young man the costs of following Him and getting into heaven. The cost is EVERYTHING you have. And we don't see that. Or we see it, but we ignore it. But there's a disconnect somewhere. There's a disconnect from what we want in this world and what God has for us in eternity...and we are not seeing it. I don't care who you are. I don't care what you do. But if you truly believe that God gave His son to die on the cross for you.. if you truly believe the words that are written in the Bible..I'm telling you now, they would become more than just words to your heart. There are children dying all over the world because they are hungry. We have raped teenage girls putting themselves on the corner to help support the kid that they didn't ask for. And we're sitting here in North America complaining because we don't have the newest car...because our car can't park itself...because we can't go on enough vacations. Tell me thats ok. tell me thats the heart of God for our lives. Tell me that you, yourselves, are doing enough. Tell me when it stops. If you haven't realized by now, this is a call out. This is a call out because enough is enough. And doing your 9 to 5 Christianity DOESN'T cut it. It never has, it never will. And its time for you to step up and realize that God DESIRES more, God WANTS more out of the investment He made in your life...because he is not getting enough in return. God as called us to not a higher standard, but the highest standard - which means any compromise is irrelevant to what He has for us. We are called to live a life of ZERO compromise. We are called to live a Christ-like life and you will not find compromise in any of the gospels. I don't care where you are called to further the kingdom of God. Some of us will plant seeds and some of us will harvest. But ALL f us are called to further the kingdom. Don't get offended. This message is not to offend you, but to spur you on- to wake up your spirit. We need to wake up. Where ever we are, we need to wake up!"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

{ im religiously unmoved }

Can You show me something new
Can You show me what is true
I need more than just religion
Cause I'm religiously unmoved

And the weight of it all is pulling me under
And the weight of it all is making me wonder

How can we know so much
Yet still be so out of touch?
And how can we miss the point
When its all about, all about love

Does anybody feel this way
Does anybody feel like they don't belong
Does anybody see this
Does anybody see this way
Does anybody see this way is wrong
I just want something real

These are lyrics from one of my favourite artists, Shawn McDonald. I have been listening to his new album “Closer” non stop lately. His music gets me every time. I don’t even know how to explain it, but the lyrics are so powerful. My favourite part of the song [“Something Real”] is when he says, I need more than just religion, ‘Cause i’m religiously unmoved. When people ask me what religion i am, i say that its not a religion, its a faith. It’s not about the religiosity but about the relationship. I find that often times my faith becomes a routine and ultimately i get no where with my relationship with God. Going to church every sunday, youth group on fridays and praying before meals is all routine for me. Don’t get me wrong, these are great things, but when these are the only things I do, my growth is stunted and I no longer am growing closer to God. Overtime, I grow farther and farther apart from Him. Prayer is a vital part of this amazing relationship with the Creator. I pray like I’m talking to a friend- just a conversation between me and Him. Willingly reading my Bible and being interested in it is another vital part. My relationship with God has its ups and downs..and that is OK! It is inevitable, just like any other relationship.

For me, the thought of having a set of fixed rules about when and how I should pray, and stuff like that, makes me cringe. That’s not what Christianity is about and I think sometimes it gets a bad rap because people think it is. “Christian” and “Christianity”. Those words are just titles. Its the relationship that truly matters!

Another part of that song that gets to me is, How can we know so much? Yet still be so out of touch. I have grown up in a loving, Christian family. So God has always been a huge part of my life. Because of this I know..well a bit about Christ. [I could study the Bible and God for my entire life and still only know a little bit about Him. That is how vast He is, and I love that about Him.] But we have all this knowledge, yet we are still so far away from God. So close, yet so far away- that’s how i would put it.

Does anybody feel like they don't belong..does anybody see this...d
oes anybody see this way is wrong.
I just want something real. I feel like our worldliness interferes with our faith. For me, the worldliness that i have in my heart keeps me from having a raw, REAL relationship with God. And i don’t deny the fact that i let the things of this world get in the way of it. I put my needs ahead of what my Heavenly Father wants. I strive each day to have that raw, barbaric relationship with God that i do so desire. I do not want to lead a life of a fake Christian - that in which i act like a Christian but my heart is cold toward God. Its not about what other people think, its about what HE thinks. I feel like being a Christian has become this thing where you want everyone to think your perfect on the outside - like its only about face and keeping that good image in society. But i’m just gunna say i think that is total BS. That is NOT what it should be about. We are imperfect, we are no better than any other human being. And for someone to think they are better, well that infuriates me to no extent.

Having a raw, real relationship with Christ is being honest with Him and yourself. Its ignoring what the world around us is saying, its silencing and humbling ourselves in front of God and surrendering our lives. Living for HIS glory, and His glory only.

with love, peace and happiness,

Monday, August 1, 2011

{ the life of a summer hermit }

Yo Yo Yo!! Wuzz up homeskillets??
At the moment i should be working on a collage i have to do for the Gym 10 course i’m taking over the summer. However..i’m really board haha :P
Two things you should know about me..actually three random things..

1) I am a huge procrastinator (hence why i’m usually doing my homework right before bed or, if i have time, right before class :P)

2) I am a total night owl. I never was until junior high and then i started staying up crazy late all the time and pulling several all-nighters! I often find myself wide awake at 3 am..the only downfall is trying to get up for school the next morning haha.

3) I (as well as my sister, Emily) am addicted to nail polish. Yes, i is a very unhealthy addiction that consumes my life. hahaha just kidding! The only bad part is that I often find myself broke because i spend it all on nail polish. It was a fabulous suprise when i came home on sunday to find OPI’s “Dating A Royal” nail polish. eeek..we had wanted that color for so long!! Haha i probably sound so stupid right now..

Haha well anywhoo, I am kind of a hermit right now because all my friends are off on fun summer vacays or are out at camp :( thanks for abandoning me guys.. jkjk. I will see them in a week at camp :))

My daily schedule right now usually looks like this...

12:00 p.m. wake up
12:30 p.m. get out of bed
12:45 p.m. eat breaky..if i can find any good food in the pantry..
1 p.m. watch TV
2 p.m. get ready a.k.a try and make myself semi-presentable to the rest of the world. This usually consists of a baggy shirt, sweatpants and if im feeling like being extra presentable, makeup
3 p.m. pretend to be physically active and attempt to log hours for gym 10 :(
----do random crap for the rest of the afternoon till supper------>>
once again, do random crap..i honestly don’t know what i fill my days with...
Emily usually ditches me at this point to hang out with friends :(
-creep youtube until i get tired..then read my scary book
2:30 a.m. spoon Emily while she is sleeping because a) she wont let me when she is awake and b) wel..l i shouldn’t have read that fricken scary book about a serial killer breaking girls bones before bed..
3:45 a.m. finally fall asleep

then i start my day all over again
oh how exciting my life is....

with love, peace and happiness,
rachel..the loner hermit for life.