Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Home 2

So far this is one of the best trips home I have had. I have yet to argue with my sisters, to get snappy at my parents, or wish for SLO. I have been able to run with my sister in the rain everyday and then enjoy the rain from inside my cozy house. I have visited church friends and family friends and spent time resting and not worrying about anything. I have had eggnog, Dewar's peanut butter taffy's (from Bakersfield), and ginger snaps. =) I am almost done Christmas shopping, one more to go, and I have great company coming, from Cassie and Sydney, to go find it today. I am content and ready for more days of wonderful. Three cheers for Christmas Break!!! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Home

I have been home for 24 hours and there are already so many things I love about break:

napping on the drive down in the motorhome
my favorite dinner when I got home (sweet corn cakes and enchiladas)
wrestling with Kimberly last night (and winning =)
watching Inception with the fam on their new HD big screen, my parents are getting quite tech savvy
going to the motorcycle store to get parts for my Dad's enduro
running to my mom's store with Kimbo in the rain
using my parent's spa tub after getting soaking wet
reading "Into Thin Air" from my dad's collection
the new queen bed in my room!
In and Out with family friends
going to Kenny's strawberry farm to fill the hydroponic fertilizer tank

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunrises

With the time change I get something as awesome as this three times a week on my way to work in the morning!
 It makes getting up at 6 so worth it...
 Such a blessing, thanks God! =)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

British Accents, Men's Sweaters, Butterbeer...

A few weekends ago the long awaited Harry Potter 7 (part one) came to the theater!!! Whoot! To commemorate this event my roommates and I had a Harry Potter party complete with all the food from the books and costumes to boot!


With my main gent, Harry Potter.
With Dobby... I was a Weasley.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Favorite Campus Loo

You heard me correctly. I am going to write about my favorite bathroom on Cal Poly's campus. This topic is a combination of extreme boredom at work, having to leave work to walk to the bathroom in the rain, and driving Laura to class which resulted in getting to drive to my favorite porcelain throne instead of walking to the nearby dorm bathroom. So here it goes...

Why I love the Campus Police Station women's restroom and why I go out of my way to use it instead of the ones near my classrooms:
1. I am on a first name basis with every woman that uses this restroom and I have worked with them all.
2. It is a private, one hole restroom (as shown by point #1).
3. It smells nice.
4. It is always clean and has bath and body work's soap.
5. It is big and is always well stocked with lotion, TP, and perfume.
6. It has a fan so it feels like home and its safe.
7. It is heated!

Glad I could potentially make you feel uncomfortable. =)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Here!!!

 The best time of year is here! Cold weather, scarves, boots, baking, and thanksgiving smells... I am way excited. To celebrate, Juli and I made pumpkin pies this weekend...
Julie likes real pumpkins... I spring for the canned pumpkin. =)
All of our spices! They smelled so wonderful!
We made leaves to decorate the top... we were so proud of ourselves.

Tah Dah!!! The finished pies.
We experimented with the crusts (olive oil vs. crisco) and tried our hand at making pastry decor... in the end everyone loved them which is always the best part.

For the Vets

Last week my grandpa took us to see the Veterans Memorial in Atascadero. I was without a camera but I captured a couple of things on my phone.

My grandpa, an amazing multi-war veteran, with the statue at the Memorial. He has no idea I took this.
 A closer view of the soldier.
One thing I realized this past week as we had the day off for Veteran's Day is this: there has a lot of sacrifice made for our freedom, however you define it. For me, it means: the freedom to worship God, the freedom to listen to any type of music I wish, the freedom to have endless options for my future, freedom to have a voice and be heard, the freedom to be anything I want to be.

Thank you Grandpa.
Thank you Dad.
Thank you Uncle Greg.
Thank you Great Grandpa.
Thank you Joey.
Thank you family and friends.
Thank you.

Friday, November 5, 2010

God is SO Much Bigger

I have had a hard time lately analyzing my weeks. I don't mean over critiquing everything that has happened in a week. I mean, not being able to think of anything that happened. Highs and lows escape me. I am determined to not let my time slip by anymore. So here is my high of this past week in order to get my mind thinking of God's blessings in my life...

Two words: Bee class. A beekeeper from Tanzania spontaneously came and spoke (with a beautiful African accent) in class and the Lord MOVED in me!!! In my heart He encouraged, affirmed, and loved me through this man's presentation. It felt like God was taking my jumbled ideas from the whole quarter and showing me that "Yes, Stephanie there is a way to combine your passions into one pursuit for my name. I can do crazy things with your life that you can't even being to imagine. It's exciting huh? It is exhilarating to understand that I, of all people, am in control."

This Tanzanian man has a company that is not only all about beekeeping but is also about saving the environment and helping people out of poverty through the business of bees. Here is why this is incredibly interesting to me:
1. I have had it on my heart to be a missionary that not only takes care of people's spiritual needs but that also takes care of their basic needs. I want to care about long lasting solutions that can fix worldwide issues of poverty, poor health, and environmental destruction. Take care of people's families and they will see Jesus.
2. I LOVE Haiti and have wondered what my part to play is in that country. I don't know if the Lord wants to take me back there or not... all I know is my heart aches for that country.
3. I have fallen in love with Apis mellifera. And I am sure I will love working with all its' sister species. In other words, my bee class this quarter has transformed my life. It combines my love for nature, working intimately with God's creation and working on a project from conception to finish. (Queen bee to bottled honey. =)
4. And the big finish!... I could bee-keep in Haiti and in turn help families support themselves, feed their families, and see the Lord at work in their lives. This is groundbreaking news for me! It was like God was showing me possibilities I had never seen before. He allowing me to see that He is creative and active in my life. He built me for something like this. I can see now that He is and I am STOKED!


This just came on my Pandora... It is beyond perfect for a few reasons: it is throw back song =), it describes me perfectly and my need for the Lord so well, and it is simple.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Random

This is truly random. I was walking out of the bathroom last week, on my way to my wonderful bed (thank you parents), when I saw this little heart hole in the trashcan. I was so pleased with it that I went and grabbed my camera instead of going to sleep. My mom is right when she says it takes forever for me to get ready for bed. =) My apologies to my roommates for airing our trash on my blog but I couldn't help it. I just love these little hidden details in life.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Where I'm Going...

I feel like I am on the road to recovery from apathy. God is guiding me in how to mend the relationships I have broken, break open the heart I have let harden, and rejuvenate joy where I have ceased to enjoy life. God is shining through every part of this process, as He should, because there is no way I could do this on my own. Case in point: I didn't even realize I was struggling with apathy until He started breaking me from it.

Some things God is doing:
1. Giving me peace about my future and the okay to pursue some ideas I have for my future.
2. Helping me to be vulnerable with the people I am closest to.
3. Showing me how to ask for forgiveness and move towards stronger friendships.
4. Reminding me of who I am and how I need alone time, craft time, and good face to face time with people.
5. Revealing himself in worship.
6. Giving me emotions.

Burlap: My new Favorite Material

My roommate Bre works at a coffee roasting warehouse and can get free burlap coffee bags whenever she wants. I have a few left over from a botany field trip I took there a few years ago but now that I have an unlimited supply of burlap I am using it more and more. This past week I made new signs for my friend Natalie who has an Ecuadorian jewelry business. I was inspired by the rugged, raw materials used in the jewelry so I told her I was making her new tags to match, instead of her folded index cards. I wanted a craft project this week and I had to make these once my brain visualized them. I sewed, on my machine, layers of black or brown cardstock, burlap, and creme cardstock. I used a brown marker to write the information.

You can see the bracelet I bought from her in the pictures below. Ecuadorian people make the jewelry to sustain themselves and she sells it to us. =) I love businesses like this!



The Good News of the Gospel

This page speaks for itself and I encourage you to read it a few times. =)

Humility
by C.J. Mahaney

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween at our house =)

Last night The Shire girls hosted our first party of the year! It was such a great time... well until the cops were called on us, more on that later...

I was a picnic this year, keeping with the outdoor theme I have had for the past few years. Other aspects of the party...

Katie got her lip pierced yesterday and then pieced the best outfit together to match...
 Aubrea and Carly made monster cupcakes!!! They were adorable =)
 We had so much good food and when people showed up it doubled.
 I finally got to use my vintage Pepsi crate for something... the cups and plates fit perfectly. I was pleased. =)
 We had a hang out area for people who didn't want to be a part of the dance party with play dough, glow stick bracelets, coloring books, and rings. =) We were proud of our hallway last night.
 Da Rings and tags for your food.
 Tourist at a Picnic =D
 Watching Young Frankenstein outside... the laughter caused by this movie resulted in a noise violation. Thanks neighbors.
 After moving the movie inside =)
 Our living room was a great space (once cleared of all furniture) for movie watching and dancing! This was before the movie but the pictures are out of order...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM THE SHIRE!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Where I've been...

First thing to tackle: my dry season.

This past summer and this quarter have been very different than anything I have experienced before and I have not known how to handle it. Take your worst case of senioritis, mix it with your most unmotivated day, and add some of the emotions you feel when you just want to spend time alone in bed (if you ever want that)... now you can now understand the past few months of my life.
The short expanation is this: apathy rules my life...
Apathy: - lack of feeling or emotion : impassiveness
- lack of interest or concern : indifference
Synonyms: affectlessness, emotionlessness, impassiveness, numbness
I won't even go into the "related words" category of this definition. It is a scary list. Especially since of most of them apply to me and they are not words you would ever want to use to describe yourself. If you are here, in a state of numbness with a lack of desire to invest in life and people, please know that this is not permanent. For me it has ruled my life for a while now but that is only because I didn't know how to identify it. I had no awareness of this apathy, I was just plugging along trying to ignore the fact that I felt stuck in my own life. The hardest part was not caring enough to do anything about feeling stuck. 
Well, God is taking me out of this slowly and the recovery process, as I like to call it, is what I really want to share with you. We have all been in low, dry, and tough places but it is the grace of God and His providence that makes the difference. It is his love that changes us and lifts us up

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Quote: The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

"Better for him that each sin of his life had brought its sure, swift penalty along with it. There was purification in punishment. Not 'Forgive us our sins' but 'Smite us for our iniquities' should be the prayer of a man to a most just God" (226).
Good thing God has more than one quality. Because he is just and our sins do need to be punished. But God is amazingly gracious and loving. Like I so often have to remind myself, God gave me grace instead of death. Also, He does not punish unjustly or without cause. He disciplines those He loves. I am being refined by God's justice and cared for by His tenderness. It is such a comforting place to be.

 On a different note... I recommend this book with reservations. If you are anything like me I don't know if I would put it on my reading list. Here's why: I live and breath the books I read. Meaning, I become so engrossed in books that when the book is happy and light I feel more carefree. When the book is deep and theological I get very quiet and pensive on the days I read that book. When books are dark, heavy, and tenebrous I feel the weight of it on me. This was the case for Dorian Gray. It made me depressed when I was reading it (which is why I finished it so quickly) and I could barely handle the darkness and amount of evil in it. Granted, Wilde's wit was still very present and I  enjoyed reading between the lines in the book's dialogues but the wit was not light (I recommend his plays for that). It was instead a reflection of sin and lost innocence. The darkness of the humor made the weight of the book even heavier than it would have been should the sin of the characters not been joked about. The story is challenging, creative, and incredibly well written... it is just not the best for me. That being said, the last page of the book gave me chills and shocked me. It was that good of an ending. =)

Going to Work

This morning's sunrise at work:
(This good even when captured on a cell phone... imagine it in person =)

This is so relevant to my life right now. Night is chased away by brilliant colors and the promise of day. My hunger for the Lord is being reawakened and my time of dryness is ending. God is taking me into a new chapter rich with the promise of His presence. Which might be why I have fallen in love with San Luis Obispo skies lately. God has been painting glorious artwork in the sky every evening for about a month now and the three mornings a week that I am up before the sun have been incredible. =)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

God's Creation

I wanted to share a bit of God's wonderful creativity with you. I took these at Shell Beach and I didn't edit them. These are all God... =)
PS Click on the pictures... you can appreciate them more when they are full size =)

Finally... a post not about books!

Well if you know anything about me by reading my blog lately you know that I like to read and I have been doing a lot of it. =) Other than that however, I am an enigma. Unfortunately, I am not interesting enough for the lack of information about myself to be romantically mysterious like most enigmas are. I have so much I want to write about now though. I guess I will start with the reason I have not blogged about my life in so long...

It is usually very easy for me to be vulnerable. I write about my life on my blog and anyone that wants to can read it. I open up on coffee dates and at bible study with people I may not know very well. And I usually love sharing my testimony. But lately, I have avoided being open and honest with people like the plague. (Lately meaning, June till now.) No vulnerability = No blogs about my life = God showing me how prideful I have become about my vulnerability. I didn't even realize I was prideful about being "a good vulnerable Christian" until it became hard for me to talk to people about where I am really at.

So now is my chance to be vulnerable, to catch the blogging world up on my life, to share with you the crazy dry season I have been going through, and to show you how God is taking me out of that season. For now however... Sorry blog for neglecting you and only sharing with you my obsession for book quotes. Please be patient with me as I attempt to put my life into words.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Quote: Humility

Humility
C.J. Mahaney
"And in true humility, our own service to others is always both an effect of His unique sacrifice and the evidence of it. His sacrifice alone makes it possible for us to achieve and experience true greatness in God's eyes" (48).

Take this in conjunction with Hebrews 10:11-14:
"And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."

These two quotes have the power to knock me off my feet. Onto my knees to be exact... God's love for us does not stop with our salvation. Christ did not just die so that we may live eternally with God. He died so that while here on earth, we may live. He died to sanctify us now. To help us achieve greatness and to make us humble before others. Without Christ's sacrifice not only would we have no future but Hell, but we would also have no hope for today. God takes Christ's perfect sacrifice and enables us to live now as well as with Him in the future. He is perfecting us for His glory... how undeserving we are, how ungrateful I am. Christ's death on the cross is a gift that keeps giving.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Quote: Jane Eyre 2

A few more quotes from my favorite book. =)

"We know that God is everywhere; but certainly we feel His presence most when His works are on the grandest scale spread before us; and it is in the unclouded night-sky, where His worlds wheel their silent course, that we read clearest His infinitude, His omnipotence, His omnipresence" (457). -Spoken by Jane Eyre
 [This reminds me of my recent trip to half dome. What an excellent display of God's glory!]

"'I know my Leader: that He is just as well as mighty; and while He has chosen a feeble instrument to perform a great task, He will, from the boundless stores of His providence, supply the inadequacy of the means to the end. Think like me, Jane—trust like me. It is the Rock of Ages I ask you to lean on: do not doubt but it will bear the weight of your human weakness'" (571). -Spoken by St. John Eyre Rivers

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Quote: Jane Eyre

I love this book! I can't even begin to count how many times I have read it but it has become a semi-tradition of mine to re-read it every year. My copy of the book is well loved with a softly creased binding so I can fold it in half (all books I have read more than once have this) and taped covers to hold it together. Best $3.99 I have ever spent!!! I discover something new every time I read it and this time this quote stood out to me...

Jane Eyre
By Charlotte Bronte
"Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognize our innocence [...] and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness—to glory?" (91+92). - Spoken by Helen Burns -
 *Bummer... when putting a picture of the book on my posts I always find the cover of the actual copy I am reading. In this case this was the biggest picture I could find of my version of Jane Eyre.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Quote: The Great Divorce

To preface this next book I thought a quote by C.S. Lewis would do nicely. Go figure. For those of you who have already read this book you are correct in thinking the quote is from the back cover. =)

"If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell."


And here is one of the quotes I loved from the book. It is also one of the only things I could quote without a lot of context and it still makes sense. =)

'"...no natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves. They are all holy when God's hand is on the rein. They all go bad when they are set up on their own and make themselves into false gods'" (100). 

This is so true of me. Love can turn into selfish gain, desire for others to do well can turn to jealousy, and desire can turn from God to lust. Without my eyes set on the Lord, my feelings are egotistical and damaging. I love how simply this quote shows that. As for the book in it's entirety it was really good! I read it in a couple hours and for the most part it was easy to follow. C.S. Lewis once again pulls through with an amazing visual of grace and joy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Quote: A Tolkein Miscellany

I have been absent from my blog for a couple months now. This is particularly disappointing to me because I have spent my summer reading and I have a lot of cool quotes to share with you. I originally started weekly book quotes so I would be motivated to read but I guess reading has replaced blogging entirely! Here is a quote from my most current read, A Tolkien Miscellany by J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by his son Christopher).
Oliphaunt
"Grey as a mouse,

Big as a house,
Nose like a snake,
I make the earth shake,
As I tramp through the grass;
Trees crack as I pass.
With horns in my mouth
I walk in the South,
Flapping big ears.
Beyond count of years
I stump round and round,
Never lie on the ground,
Not even to die.
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old, and tall.
If ever you’d meet me
You wouldn’t forget me.
If you never do,
You won’t think I’m true;
But old Oliphaunt am I,
And I never lie."

This poem is definitely for LOTR fans... Samwise stated that this was a poem was traditional to the Shire but little did he know that he would one day encounter real Oliphaunts. =)

Other unquoted books I have read this summer:
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkein












The Book Thief by Markus Zusak












When I Don't Desire God by Jon Piper












The Holy Way by Paula Huston

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Quote: The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale
By Diane Setterfield

"People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to laws of nature should pass  away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic" (17).

"'But silence is not a natural environment for stories. They need words. Without them they grow pale, sicken and die. And then they haunt you'" (300).
I often read for the sake of reading. So when I stumble across a book I can get lost in I am in heaven. This book was one of those novels. I couldn't put it down. I read it for the story itself, not just to read the sentences. The words painted a world for me that I lived in for a short time. It was not someone else's book, it was mine. Books like this are harder and harder to come by it seems. Especially when it comes to modern literature. I can get lost in a classic any day but I rarely get consumed by a book written in the last century. This book was incredible and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Quote: The Road

The Road
By Cormac McCarthy

"People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there" (168).
This book is nearly impossible to quote. In order to quote everything I love in it I would have to rewrite the entire book for you. So I sadly give you only one small sample of McCarthy's genius. =)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Key to my Heart

I recently had a conversation with the lovely Laura about the key to each of our hearts. It was so great to see that both of us know what gets to the heart of the other person. I will not share with you what our years of friendship have taught us about each other but let me just say there are certain things that make each of us melt. I doubt guy friends ever even think about this but as a girl it is comforting to know she knows me so well.

The reason I bring this up is because of a project of mine that started me thinking about keys. Two summers ago my friends and I were inspired by the connection the girls in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had through the sharing of one pair of jeans. We wanted to find a necklace that we could pass around snail mail style for the summer. Apparently this connection with an accessory cannot be forced however and we never found something we could all agree on. Near the end end of our search we finally found something we all liked, vintage keys, and wanted to turn one into a necklace. So we started bidding on keys on ebay. Unfortunately, being ebay newbs, we were outbid every time.We gave up when summer hit.

I recently decided that if we couldn't have one necklace to pass around I would make four so we could each have one. I bid on a ton of key sets and won a set of ten. I used ribbon and simple necklace clasps to make them into a necklace. I used simple slipknots for everything. Which sadly took me forever to figure out! haha So now we all have one... two years later. =)
You would be surprised how easy things are when you go to make them. Summer tip: try those projects you either didn't have time for or were too intimidated to try before.

Book Quote: The Amber Spyglass

I found one! In the midst of Pullman trying to disprove God I found a gem of a quote that I love!

The Amber Spyglass
By Philip Pullman

"'Did you miss God?' asked Will.
'Yes,' Mary said, 'terribly. and I still do. And what I miss most is the sense of being connected to the whole of the universe. I used to feel connected to God like that, and because he was there, I was connected to the whole of his creation'" (447).