Monday, March 19, 2012

Six Days and Counting

This time next week,
my team and I will STILL be in the air.
 Flying somewhere between Dubai and South Africa,
in the middle of some serious team bonding.

In preparation for my exciting travels to South Africa,
I may have done a little research.
things are about to get real nerdy here.

I remember back to my Cal Poly days,
one of my favorite things about being a Horticulture major
was all the time that I got to spend in the beautiful arboretum.
Recalling even more,
I realized one of my favorite parts of the arboretum 
was the South African garden!
The colors and textures
were brilliant and breathtaking. 

My heart leaped at the realization 
that I would soon be surrounded by these lovely plants...
in their actual habitat!!
Never in a million years did I ever believe this would happen.

I would love to introduce you to one of my favorite 
South African plants.

The Protea.
(also known as pincushions)

I love how unique and intricate this flower is.
Its whimsical character makes it
 one of my favorites to use in arrangements.

After looking into this countries plant life a little further,
I've come to learn that this lovely plant
is actually South Africa's national flower!

Who's got two thumbs,
and is now even more excited about her upcoming adventures?..
This girl.

Six days and counting!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday (Friday)

Happy Friday to you!

I am thankful for Joy.

The past few months have been filled with a lot of ups and downs.
I have been in a funk.
Until just recently.

When I get worked up and stressed out,
the first thing that goes out the window is my time with the Lord.
I was thinking of everything I could do that would make me feel better,
make me feel "happy".
What I didn't realize was that my life was becoming robbed of joy.
In fact,
I was becoming numb.
I was beginning to run on empty.


The Lord brought me to my breaking point a couple weeks ago.
And I realized you can only run on empty for so long
and that "happiness" is not what my soul longed for.
As I began to break down
I began to dig deeper into God's word.
And as I began to make time with Him a priority,
I realized what was missing from my life.


It was then as if the Lord softly spoke to me...

"Rachel turn to me, rely on me, be filled with me. 
I am and always will be your constant, steady source of joy".


Thank you God, that you offer us joy.
Not happiness, but pure,
deep joy that is more than just a feeling or emotion,
but a way of life.
I am thankful that the joy of the Lord runs deep through my soul.
I am thankful that the joy of the Lord is my strength!
(Nehemiah 8:10)

What are you thankful for today?...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ministry and Terrariums

If you could hear the tone in my voice as I write this,
you would hear pure and utter excitement.
Anyone who truly knows me, 
knows the decibel I'm talking about....

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to
 combine two things that I love dearly.
Ministry and Horticulture.  
It was an awesome opportunity
to put my horticulture degree to work!

My freshman bible study ladies gathered up some of their friends
 for an evening full of horticultural goodness.
And I got to give my very first terrarium building lesson.
And boy was it fun, 
well at least I thought so!

I loved getting to hang out 
with such wonderful and lovely woman,
I got to meet some really awesome girls!

The night culminated with a free swipe into the dinning commons
(definitely a perk of leading a freshman study!)
where we all got to enjoy a somewhat delicious dinner 
and plenty more conversation.
As well as lots of ooooo's and ahhhhh's from the tables around us
as they saw our plethora of terrariums on the dinning tables.

Dinner of Champions!
What a blessing it is to be able to combine together
what I studied at Cal Poly into my ministry here at UCI.
Horticulturists here are few and far between.
I'm confident that the Lord knew what He was doing 
when He gave me a passion for plants!

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

2 Weeks From Today...

I will be boarding an airplane along with 6 other people
to embark on, no doubt, 
one of the greatest adventures I have ever been on. 
(Not to mention, the longest flight I've ever been on...)
To a continent I never dreamed I would go to.

In 2 weeks,
I will be headed to the beautiful country of South Africa!
It honestly doesn't feel real.
I'm not sure it ever will.
But, it's happening.
And it's happening soon!

God has provided such an amazing and unique opportunity,
and I am so blessed to be a part of it!


I will be helping lead a team of 4 students from UCI
on a vision trip.
This trip is specifically designed to show the students
what ministry would look like on a Cru summer project
as well as a STINT (Short Term INternational)
 in South Africa.

While there,
we'll be coming alongside the current STINT team,
sharing our faith
and getting an idea what ministry looks like on a day to day basis.

I can't even begin to express my excitement,
that these 4 students have committed to giving up their spring breaks
to go on this vision trip.
This is BIG for UCI,
our students are seeing the need for the Gospel around the world,
and have willing hearts to take it to the end of the earth.
Literally, the ends of the earth!


If you are at all interested in partnering with me
in this vision trip to South Africa,
 please feel free to contact me!
Or, you can click here visit my personal online giving page
to make a donation!

Every day,
 the amount of butterflies in my stomach grow significantly.
But, I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store!
This really is going to be a wonderful adventure.

Bring it on!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

When Thursday's roll around
I am always amazed how quickly these weeks are passing.

I am thankful for God's plan for the future!

Last week I submitted my application
 for a 2nd year internship with Cru at UC Irvine,
and I am so excited that the Lord has brought me to this point of decision!

I have been wrestling with what to do this next year
for a while now.
In all of my frantic and unnecessary stressing out over the matter,
I think I actually knew my decision the entire time....

God has done/is doing BIG things here at UCI,
BIG things with our students
BIG things in this ministry
and great, BIG things in my life.

This past year has been full of ups and downs,
growth and challenges, excitement
and the Lord's constant faithfulness, grace and love.

I think of what a second year could be like here
and my heart leaps with joy.

With a second year comes:
more Wahoo's fish tacos, panda bowls and great conversations in this place....

more wonderful discipleship times at the bucks with wonderful women....

and more sharing times, quiet times, and strolls in Aldrich Park....

I'm so thankful that God has a plan for me this coming year.
I am so thankful that He is leading me, growing me and shaping me for what He has in store.
I am thankful for the future!

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Honestly, looking back on the past two weeks
I have SO much to be thankful for.
Even today, I can think of 92092834 and 1 things I am thankful for.

But right now,
I am thankful for this wonderful women...

Meet Ashleigh.

She's my boss,
my coworker,
my teammate
my friend,
my discipler,
and my sister in Christ.
And she is fan-flippin-tastic!

Ash has been hands down,
one of the biggest blessings in my life this past year.
No doubt, she is a gift from God.
He has brought her into my life in His perfect timing,
as I am transitioning into this new life in the real world.

I am so thankful for the relationship that we are continuing to build with one another.
It's a real, deep, true, legit relationship
that is filled with both good and hard times.

One of the things I admire most about her
is how much truth she can speak into my life.
Something I am finding I need constantly.
And somehow she is able to be extremely encouraging through it all.

And, I am so thankful for the fun we have together.
This girl cracks me up...
a LOT!

Thank you Lord for this wonderful women
who's friendship is continuing to enrich my life.
I'm so excited to see how the Lord will continue to grow and cultivate
our friendship as sister's in Christ!