Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Friday. But I'm Still Thankful.

A very happy Thankful Thursday Friday to you!

My brain has turned to mush after a week and a half of staff meetings
and I didn't realize yesterday was Thursday.
My bad.
Despite the business of life there is a great deal to be thankful for.

Today I am thankful for...
trips to places I have never been


crossing state lines
spending time with great people
eating delicious food
running my first half marathon
{despite getting really sick the day before the race}


and of course for these two guys who also ran 
the lights, the sounds and the great atmosphere of the race
 ice cold chocolate milk at the finish line
that God has blessed me with the ability to run
for my wonderful cheer squad shouting, yelling
and high fiving me as I ran my way through Vegas...


video

making new friends
coming home to my sweet roommates
trying new things
face timing with my niece
surviving a dreaded trip to the dentist
making big decisions
learning to be refreshed in the Lord
God's continual 
faithfulness & grace
recognizing areas in my life I need to grow in
learning more about the people I work with
Christmas brunches
baking blueberry muffins from scratch


cozy evenings on the couch
little compliments that make me smile
sweet text messages from dear friends
planning out the flowers for a wedding this coming weekend
free peppermint lattes
great books
crafting
dinners at the Priest household
getting Christmas cards in the mail
 evening runs through neighborhoods twinkling with Christmas lights
a roommate who cooks me dinner
celebrating this cutie patooties birthday


surprise trips home
driving in the rain
Christmas music on the radio
sisters who let me borrow their clothes
seeing my dad while he was back on the mainland 
for a very short day and half


And I am so very thankful that in 3 days 
I will be hoping on a plane
and heading on over to Salt Lake City.
Let the adventures begin!


What are you thankful for today?...


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thankful Thursday to you!

It hasn't been a very pretty week.
But among all the difficulties,
 hurt and chaos that this world throws at us
there is a God who loves us and pours out blessing after blessing.

So today I am thankful for...
a delicious Thanksgiving dinner
and all the hands that cooked, baked and prepared it


facetiming with my dad 
spending an entire day doing yard work
postcards from Hawaii
babysitting my baby niece
spending time with my siblings
making terrariums


spending time outside
rain and the crispness of fall
leaves changing colors
rock walls covered with maidenhair ferns
hiking and adventuring with friends
climbing up waterfalls


grabbing coffee with friends
friends who really care about me
who notice when things aren't right
who ask questions, listen and speak truth into my life
that in 17 days I'll be in Salt Lake City
and in 26 days I will be picking up my roommate from the airport 
{she's been away for 6 months}
evening runs through neighborhoods all lit up with Christmas lights
my Christmas Pandora station
that it's officially Christmas season
the fact that I can now curl up on the couch,
 watch Christmas movies
and feel no shame
{I'm currently watching elf as I write this post}


What are some things from the past week
that you are thankful for?...


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Thursday {Happy Thanksgiving}

Happy Thanksgiving 
to you Dear Friend!

I am thankful that tonight as I
walked into my parents house,
I was greeted by two very sweet and adorable puppies.
That as I made the trek down the hall to my bedroom
I was tripping over my nieces toys.


I am thankful for giggling, cuddling and sweet kisses 
from her as she was getting ready for bed.
It is currently 1am and I'm
laying in bed in the room I grew up in.
 I love that I can hear my brother's upstairs
{very loudly} 
playing Halo 4 together.
I am so very thankful for home,
to be home.

 As I lay here,
 there is an abundance of things to be thankful for.
None of which I deserve.
And yet God continues to pour out His blessings.
So right now, 
I am thankful for...
snail mail from North Carolina
plane tickets to Utah
surprise packages on my front porch
new running shoes
paper chain countdowns


midnight room rearranging
coming home from back to back to back conferences
and sleeping for 15 hours straight.
spending time with intern friends
sharing a hotel room for 5 days 
with this awesome girl...


catching up with friends
dreaming about the next year and getting excited
being able to watch God work
God's faithfulness
and His perfect plan
face timing with my dad while he is living in Hawaii
{I know, tough life right?...}
getting pictures from my dad of all the cool plants
 {and moss}
he gets to see while in Oahu
people inviting me over to help them garden
baking pumpkin pies from scratch


having a full time job
{that I love}
 and getting a paycheck
being able to pay for groceries
my bike
my car
my bed
my apartment
my roommates
our front porch where my small garden is starting to germinate


I'm thankful for each of the ways that God is growing me
and teaching me.
I am thankful for the times of pain and suffering.
Because my Hope in Christ grows stronger
and His faithfulness and love become more apparent.
It's in those times
  I get to know Him more intimately.
I am thankful for how He has and continues 
to shape me into the woman that He has created me to be.
I am so thankful that I am His.

What are you Thankful for on this beautiful 
Thanksgiving Day?...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thankful Thursday 
Dear Friends!

And happy first day of November,
what a great way to kick start this month of Thanksgiving.


I honestly feel like it's been a year since my last Thankful Thursday.
Ok maybe not a whole year,
but it's been a very long 2 weeks.

This past weekend we took around 90 college students 
up into the mountains for fall retreat.
It's all pretty much a big blur.
But it happened,
and God did work.

And these past couple weeks through my
 exhaustion, stress, crabbiness, sensitivity, 
and occasional {or frequent} bad attitude.
God still continued to be faithful
and there is a vast amount to be thankful for.
{and gosh, I deserve none of it}

Today I am thankful for...
A God who changes lives
{who changed my life}
a God who loves me beyond all comprehension
an incredible weekend 
spent with incredible students
trying new things
my growing affection for each of my teammates
the Lords not so subtle reminders that I'm not superhuman
days off 
time spent alone
 gardening
sleep
coffee
 BOTH of my freshman Bible studies
have I mentioned how much I love my job?...
wednesday morning discipleship with these 2 ladies


the mountains
crisp autumn air
clouds
my journal
gmail chatting with far away friends
a clean room
my simmering apple cider scented candle
fresh san luis sourdough bread
great friends that let me borrow their cornhole set
{time spent with my roommate Erin
sipping pumpkin spice latte's from the coffee bean
and carving our bottom of the barrel, 
last pick pumpkins from Trader Joe's}


my car 
crafting
learning to be more independent
running holes into my running shoes
learning to pray bold prayers
new flannel
paintings from Paris
planning an epic trip to southern Utah
being excited for my future
grabbing coffee with friends from church
That there is an amazing God,
who desires to be in relationship with me
and has promised to remain and walk through this life with me.


What are you thankful for today?...


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thankful Thursday to you!

 I've tried to write a Thankful Thursday post for the past two weeks now.
But every time I sit down to do it I get distracted.
or I fall asleep.
Life is happening, life is busy and life is currently exhausting.

But pushing all that aside,
Today I am thankful for...
answered prayers in my life AND in the lives of others
my church
patience
&
grace
short visits with my sisters
my "little" brother
a mom who would do anything for me
sweet text messages from my dad
living close to my baby niece
catching up with dear friends on the phone
my long distance relationships
my community of friends where I live


my apartment
the chairs out on our front deck
the potted begonia's outside our front door
sipping coffee on the front porch
rain
big puffy clouds



God's guidance
God's power
God's ability to change lives
a God who makes the unbelievable a reality
God's word
growth
my job
my staff team



What are you thankful for today?...





Sunday, October 7, 2012

DIY Vintage Dresser Makeover

I recently got my hands on a 75 year old dresser
and it was love at first sight.


Everything on it was original.
The paint,
to the adorable key holes,
and even the cute crystal knobs.


This dresser is what I call truly"vintage" 
and it was in need of some serious TLC.
It just so happened at the time that I was itching for a new project to do
and I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
A makeover was in order
and all it took was 7 easy peasy steps.

{step 1}
Began by removing all the hardware.

{step 2}
Sanded down the oil based paint.


{step 3}
Used a wet cloth and wiped off excess dust from sanding.

{step 4}
Primed it up!


{step 5}
Picked out and purchased paint at Sherwin Williams.
(my new favorite paint store)


{step 6}
Painted and let dry.


{step 7}
 I gave it a new home.
So it was out with the old hand me down from my college years...


and in with the "new"...


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday {UCI CRU}

Happy Thankful Thursday to you!

Today, 
I am thankful for another year with Cru at UCI.
Because lets be honest,
I have completely fallen for this campus and for the students.
I've fallen hard.

I am thankful for my teammates who love me for me.
I am thankful for our student leaders who have hearts for the Lord and the world.
I am thankful for each student I met this week,
and all the students I will meet in the future.
I am thankful for the ways in which God has changed lives,
and drawn students into closer relationship with Himself.
I am thankful that I get to watch the girls from my freshman bible study last year,
grow in their faith, become passionate about the Gospel and
step into challenging roles as leaders this year.

Meet Shanelle, Lindsey and Lindsay.
a few of the girls from my freshman bible study last year
who I have grown to absolutely adore.

The thought of not being at UCI after this year
literally makes my heart ache.
But, I have a whole year ahead of me.
And I am so thankful that I get to be a part of
what God is doing on this campus
and in the lives of the students here.
I am so thankful that we can expect nothing but great things 
because we serve a great God!

What are you thankful for today?...


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thankful Thursday!

Is it seriously Thursday again?
Sheesh.

Today I am thankful for...
my job
the opportunity to work with international students this year
strong coffee
each of my teammates
amazing students that I get the privilege to work with
last minute house guests
conversations over a glass of wine
morning chats at the dinning table with my roommate


Trader Joe's
my iphone
technologically savvy friends
closed doors
God's sovereignty
going to church with a couple of my favorite newlyweds
peanut butter & jelly on toasted sourdough bread


 watching sunday afternoon soccer
spending quality time with my niece
learning to not be fearful of the future
my journal
waking up without an alarm clock
text messages from sweet friends
wedding invitations
prayer 
mountains 
jumping off docks and swimming in lakes 
canoeing 
and spending the past few days here...


What are you thankful for today?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thankful Thursday (Friday)

Happy Thankful Thursday Friday to you!

It's been a busy week folks.

Yesterday as I was bouncing around from one thing to another,
I took a few minutes to sit outside on my front porch.
I sat there, closed my eyes
and began to think about everything that has happened the past few months.
Then it hit me.
I just had one of the best summer's of my life.
Things were rough, hard and even quite ugly at times,
but it was a great big adventure
and God used certain people and situations
 to greatly impact my life.

And because of this...
today I am thankful for:

this sweet summer season
raising and finishing support
my awesome ministry partners
playing in the sierra's
exploring
&
adventures
loving parents who welcome me home with open arms
time spent my three wonderful siblings
watching my baby niece grow up
trips to Utah
weddings
opened doors and new opportunities
closed doors and growing pains
brokenness
God's perfect plan
discovering passions and desires
{each and every person I met}
beginning new relationships
God's faithfulness
flowers
father daughter fishing dates
hiking 
{dancing under the stars}
answered prayers
God's absolute, perfect timing
precious letters
plants
skype
google hang outs
sleepovers
drinking sweet tea out of mason jars
God's provisions
good books
coffee dates
learning, learning, and more learning
God's undeniable handiwork
discovering more of who God is and how much He loves us
God pursuing people
friends who love me and encourage me
my sweet, loving and gracious roommates
our little apartment and our cute & quaint front porch
where I can sit with a cup of coffee,
journal and catch up on my snail mail.


There is just so much to be thankful for.

What are things from this summer season
that you are thankful for?...



Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Staff Planning Day 3

All I can say
is that after today's staff planning meeting...


Leadership Retreat is going to be freaking awesome.
Only 5 days until we are retreating in Lake Arrowhead 
with our Cru students leaders.
I can't stinking wait to see them all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Staff Planning Day 2



Coffee
laptops
google docs
spreadsheets
Coffee
bible study curriculum
scheduling
evaluating
praying and giving it all up to God
and of course more Coffee
all followed by a very unintentional hour and a half nap when arriving home.

day 2 down.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Staff Planning Day 1

6:30am
drag my butt out of bed
bake coffee cake
brew an insanely large pot of coffee


9 am 
staff meeting
and coffee drinking commence...


plan plan plan
pray pray pray
(drink more coffee)
dream big
cast vision
then plan and pray some more.

2:30pm
we begin to look like this.


3pm
staff meeting ends
(an hour early!)

4pm
lay face down on the couch
and pass out.

I would say it was a very successful first day of work.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Very Thankful Thursday

A very  Happy Thankful Thursday to you!

Today I am thankful that I can say
 I am officially 100% supported!
Boom.
Done.

I was praying even before I started raising support back in June
that it would some how be different than last year.
{last year was horrible
 and I DID NOT want to experience that again}
And when I say pray I mean I was pleading with God
that He would bring in all I need before my 
September 1st deadline.
In fact to make things interesting,
 I decided I wanted to finish the day before my deadline.
On August 31st.
I look back on how He brought in all my support last year
when things were looking nothing but grim 
and I know God is more than capable.
He can to this.

About a week ago
I only had a little more left to raise.
But at the rate things were happening
it was looking more and more like 
I would probably finish a few days after my deadline.
I decided to be happy about that
because even though it wasn't the 31st,
at least I would be finishing before campus stuff started.


Last Thursday night I couldn't sleep.
{pretty standard when raising support}
so naturally I got up and worked on support.
I checked my email and went over my numbers.
I redid some of my math and ended up changing a couple things.
I then added in some new support I saw come in when I went through my email
and then literally out of no where I was staring at this...


 I knew I had to have made a mistake somewhere.
{numbers are not my thing}
I went back and did the math 3, 4, 5 more times
but I kept getting the same result.

And just like that I was done with support.
I looked at the time and it was 1:47am
Friday, August 31st. 
The day before my deadline.
{I'm thinking God was laughing right along with me at this point}
By 1:48am this is precisely what was happening,
tears of joy.


Today,
I am thankful for each and every prayer 
that God answered so specifically.
{there are too many to count}

I am thankful for all God has taught me
through having to raise support this summer.
I am thankful that He has used this time
 to prepare me for what He has in store this coming year.
{in life & in ministry}

 I am thankful that God has been
 {and continues to be}
 extremely faithful and gracious 
and though I don't deserve any of it,
He once again brought in every cent that I needed.

I am extremely thankful
for each and every person on my support team.
I am thankful for your steps of faith to partner with me
and walk alongside me through this next year.
You each mean the world to me
and I can't wait to see how the Lord is going to use you and your support
to change lives.


And I am so stinking thankful that I can finally say...
peace out, so long, sayonara to support,
and hello to full time campus ministry!

What are you thankful for today?....


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thankful Thursday to you!

When people learn that I have a degree in Horticulture
I always get the same 2 questions...
"What's that?"
and 
"So how exactly did you get into that?"

My response is always something along the lines of...
I've always loved plants and being outside.
Which is very true.
But this summer I've actually been asking myself
how did I really get into it,
when and where did this all happen?

Well today,
I am thankful for this place.


Because this is where it happened.
This is where I fell in love with plants.
Right here at this very lake.

Long Lake is nestled in the back country of 
the John Muir Wilderness up in the Sierra Nevada's.
I've been hiking back here since I was a little kid
and it just gets more and more gorgeous each time I go.
This has and continues to be my most favorite playground.

As a kid I always loved the landscape
the giant snow covered peaks
the streams and tiny creeks
the moss covered rocks and ground
and all the different wildflowers.
Oh the wildflowers!

(T to B) Erigeron coulteri Coulter's Daisy
Achillea millefolium  Common Yarrow
Linanthus nuttallii Nuttall's Linanthus

But since then,
I've grown to become absolutely fascinated by it all.
How intricate and unique everything was.
I wanted to learn how it all worked,
how it all functioned.

Then some few years later
I found myself at Cal Poly SLO studying 
Environmental Horticulture Science.
Taking an insane amout of science and technical classes.
Classes like Botany
Biology
 Physiology
Chemistry
Pathology
Ecology
 Landscape Design
and even Floral Design.

Most of school was difficult and I didn't really like it.
But put me out in the wilderness
and I was quickly reminded how much I loved plants.
It was worth it.

I am so thankful for all the summer's spent up in the Sierra's.
I am thankful that my parents dragged me along on their hikes
when I was a kid and didn't want to go.
I'm thankful that God used such a unique and amazing place 
{His creation}
to show me where my heart lies 
and what I am passionate about.

Aquilegia formosa Western Columbine

I am thankful that here in this place,
I can find all the wildflowers, trees and shrubs
a horticulturist could only dream of.

Allium validum Swamp Onion

I am thankful that God knew what He was doing 
with me from the very beginning.
I am thankful that He has given me
 a passion for plants,
for the outdoors,
for His creation.

Castilleja spp. Indian Paintbrush

Well, there you have it.
That is exactly how it happened.
Now if you ever want to see a plant geek in their true element
or if you love the outdoors and just want to see some unbelievably breathtaking scenery...
just ask me to take you here.


Lord knows I won't be able to say no.

What are you thankful for this week?...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Support Happenings

8 days.
8 days until my support deadline.
8 days left and this is where I stand....


I am currently sitting somewhere around 82% of what I need.
Honestly, I am blown away by how the Lord continues to provide.

He continues to be faithful and gracious
and every cent I've seen come in is because of Him.
I definitely have some great stories
of how He has answered prayer after prayer
and who He has brought to be a part of my team.

Support raising the second time around has been different.
Very different.
But it still aint no easy thang.
It's still a struggle,
a struggle to trust God
 to be bold and courageous
 to be fully dependent on the Lord.

I'm learning.
And I'm confident that the Lord is preparing me 
for what He has in store for this coming year.
(and I can't wait to see what He's got up His sleeve).

I can't wait to be back on campus,
to dive back into the ministry at UCI.
To be back with all the students I have grown to
know and love over this past year,
to meet the new freshman girls who I I know I will also grow to love.
I can't wait to be be back with my awesome team.
Heck, I never thought I'd say this...
I can't wait to be back in staff meetings.
(shhh don't tell my teammates)
And I absolutely can't wait
to be a part of what God is doing on UCI's campus,
I can't wait to watch Him as He changes lives.

I am praying and trusting.
That the rest of my support will come in by September 1st.
That the the Lord would complete my support team
and that He would bring in the last 18% of what I need to raise.

If you are at all interested in hearing more about Cru,
what I do/will be doing this coming year
or the ministry at UC Irvine please feel free to contact me,
I would absolutely love to hear from you.
You can email me at rjgordon88@gmail.com
If you are interested in partnering with me for this next year
feel free to check out my personal online Cru page


I am so thankul to serve a God who is faithful
and I can't wait to see what He does!