Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall, Fall, Fall!!!!

Oh my goodness, my heart could not be any happier! Cooler weather, pumpkin spice and a wedding around the corner - it's all so much fun! I am absolutely OBSESSED with Fall! I broke out the boots and scarves this morning and it felt so refreshing - it somehow makes this season of my life so much more exciting (just when I thought it couldn't get any more exciting)!

With the cooler weather I'll be sure to be making a batch of my all time favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies this weekend! If you're a pumpkin lover like myself, I HIGLY recommend you try baking them. In fact, I love them so much I'll share my secret little recipe:

1 1/2 C Pumpkin (I recommend the spiced can of pumpkin, not the regular...and add more pumpkin if you like a more cakey cookie, less if you like it firmer - i'm a fan of the cakey kind)
3/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Oil
1 Egg
2 C Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 t Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Milk
1 C Chocolate Chips (I always add extra :)
1 tsp Vanilla
Nuts (optional - I usually do them without, but if you're a nut lover - go for it)

Dissolve baking soda in milk; set aside. In a large bowl add pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg; stir. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda mixture. Mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 10 to 12 minutes or until done. Enjoy!

Well, I'm off to run today's wedding errands, but let me know I've sparked a new addiction.

Happy Fall!

&hearts d

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh yeah - I'm still planning a wedding...

Just 6 weeks from yesterday I will become Mrs. Brenton Collyer! It's so crazy to think about! I had a walk through on Friday with my two wedding coordinators and it hit me - this is really happening! It's so exciting though. God has truly blessed us beyond belief and we haven't even said "I do" yet. I constantly look around at all the things He's done and is doing and think to myself, "This is crazy. I don't deserve any of this." But it's a true example of His love - His amazing, undeserving love. It's so sweet.

So I'm totally the girl that gushes and grins at the thought of my very own wedding and I'm absolutely the girl that wants to show the world what it's going to look like before it even happens; but I can't, I'm not letting myself. I would show pictures of my dress cause I absolutely love it and I would show pictures of my flower ideas and my cake but you'll simply have to wait until after the honeymoon to see. Something I CAN share with you though is our future home! :) We're so blessed to be able to rent a HOUSE during our first year of married life - we will know this week which one it is (it's a toss up between two different ones at the moment). And as if wedding planning isn't hectic enough, throw in decorating and creating a home on top and you've got one scatter-brained girl. I've been thinking about what our home will look/feel like and all I can think of is aqua and pink! Poor Brenton - haha! He's been a good sport about all of my girly wedding colors and even our registry haha, but as for the house, I'm not so sure pink and aqua will fly. We'll see - in the mean time, here's a little taste of my latest color obsession :


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I left my heart in Israel...

I am alive - I promise! :) I've been putting this blog off because I really want to accurately share the most life changing moments I've ever experienced, with you. Our trip to Israel was just incredible (I'd HIGHLY recommend it to anybody, believer or non-believer, it's worth every penny) and to put into words what my heart experienced over a two week span is simply impossible. So here's to my humble attempt to describe the beautiful Promised Land...

Despite the long, grueling hours of travel, unfamiliar foods, lack of working hair dryers, intense desert heat and the full days of touring site after site - my heart feels as if it's had the ultimate awakening and rejuvenation. To stand on the mountains Jesus once stood on and to see the sights He probably saw was nothing short of amazing, my Bible reading has gone from fuzzy, black and white to High Definition and extreme color in a matter of days! It's real - it's all real....that's the only thing I can tell you. From the Sea of Galilee and the Valley of Armageddon, Nazareth and Bethlehem, the Jordan River to the Dead Sea, the Mt. of Olives to the Via Dolorosa - it's all there! It truly exists!

I'd have to say a few of my most memorable moments were traveling across the Sea of Galilee on a replica similar to the boats Jesus and His disciples would have traveled on, walking through the ruins of Capernaum where Jesus once lived, being baptized in the Jordan River, floating in the Dead Sea, traveling to a tented Bedouin dinner via camels, walking through the Holocaust Museum and tangibly seeing the heartbreaking history of God's chosen people, laying eyes on the Dead Sea Scrolls, leading worship with my fiance and praying for our future together amongst the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, walking the Via Dolorosa where Jesus publicly carried the cross, and lastly - visiting the Garden Tomb Jesus may have very well been laid in for three days!

I've never seen so much rock and dirt in my life!! My first thought was - this is it? THIS is the Promised Land the Bible so sacredly talks about? But as we traveled from site to site and began to dig into the scriptures - it made sense. These people were and still are - the heart of God. This land is His and it reeks of spiritual warfare. They have no natural resources and the land is a desert, but they've worked so hard and have created beautiful orchards and crops and are abundant in beautiful, fresh food. As you travel through the winding roads and passes, you look out to see an array of crops that produce the most beautiful fruits and vegetables. These people are passionate about their country and they're hard workers - they've worked so hard to make it a fruitful land despite their lack of natural resources (oil, precious metals and gems, etc).

Our guide, Ido, was one of the most interesting people I've ever met. A Messianic Jew and archeologist, he was passionate and knowledgeable of his homeland. He displayed more passion for His God and His land in two weeks than most people in America will ever display in a lifetime. It's real to him. He understands He is a chosen race and He is living in a crazy era - one where God is preparing the land for His return. And as I mentioned before, spiritual warfare is almost overwhelming. The Jews vs. the Muslims - God vs. Satan. We spent a few days in Jerusalem visiting the Western Wall (the Wailing Wall), the Temple Mount (where the Temple once sat and where the third Temple will be rebuilt according to the book of Revelation, yet the Dome of the Rock currently resides) and the Dome of the Rock - all intense spiritual places. The Jews at the Western Wall passionately read through their books of prayers and maintain their religious rituals totally blind to the fact that the Messiah has already come and is returning once again very soon - a very strange experience standing amongst women who dedicate their lives to their rituals. Driving through the Muslim quarter was an entirely different experience - walking amongst Muslims who dedicate their lives to a god who doesn't exist and passionately fight to maintain control over the Temple Mount so they can keep their place of worship. These people live so closely to one another, yet hate one another so strongly and still - they're missing it all - Jesus is the One who came to save them and God is the One who will deliver them from other nations and return to save them.

Lastly, the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount - what a bizarre thing it was to stand so close to a stunning structure that represented so much evil. It made my stomach churn just being there, but a few short feet away from the building, stands the Eastern Wall - the Lions Gate where Christ will return! It's so amazing that so much spiritual tension is held in one concentrated place! You can't help but feel overwhelmed by it while standing on that mountain. Prior to visiting the Dome of the Rock, we were taken to a place that housed the makings of the items that will be displayed and used in the third Temple. I wasn't aware of this until we visited this location, but plans are already in the making for the third Temple and everything is being prepared - they've already reconstructed several of the items the Bible talks about in the first Temple and have done so according to the exact materials and measurements listed in the Bible. They are just waiting to have control of the Temple Mount again so that they may build the Temple where it belongs. It was so amazing to see the attire of the priests and the golden lamp stands and to smell the incense and myrrh they would be using - prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes! Another amazing fact is that while standing near the Dome of the Rock, you notice that behind it there is plenty of space for the Third temple to be built AND it lines up perfectly with the Lions Gate! Ido seemed to think that someday they will build a wall between the Dome of the Rock and the empty space and will allow the Jews to rebuild the Temple there in an attempt of peace. Ironically, the area that the Temple could be rebuilt is located directly over the place they think the Holy of Holies was located! Talk about chilling! I couldn't believe I was standing on ground that prophecy was going to take place on!

I truly did leave my heart in Israel, I hope to return again someday soon. I loved the people, the land and the history. If you ever have a chance to visit, please do so - it'll change your life! It's real - all the things the Bible talks about are so real and prophecy is being fulfilled daily! God's stirring the heart of His people and is preparing His land for His return! "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." Revelation 3:10-11

Sorry this was so long, if you have a minute feel free to check out a few pics from the trip (I have two albums on Facebook if you'd like to see more :):

Monday, September 7, 2009

Update from Jerusalem, Israel....

I have 2.40 minutes to give a quick update. We made it safely to Israel and oh my goodness has it changed my life! I LOVE this country! I love the land, the people, the history and most importantly - I'm falling so deeply in love with my Jesus all over again! It's truly been an incredible experience. We've been to so many sites and locations - too many to cover in less than two minutes, but we have visited the Sea of Galilee, the valley of Armageddon (sp?), and the Wailing Wall just to name a few. We are now in Jerusalem and will be here for the remainder of our trip. I can't wait to share my pics and stories once we return! Lots of love and prayers!