Monday, September 30, 2013

Welcome, Fall!

Fall is my favorite. Let's be honest, I just love experiencing seasons in general! And I am oh so grateful to experience my first ever "real fall" -outside of Florida- with changing leaves, cool air, boots and scarves! It's what I've always imagined fall to be!

The Stowell Home has taken on a new look for fall...

I'm happy with how it turned out. And, I've since added an Autumn Wreath scented Yankee Candle which smells to die for delicious. 

As I think about fall and the changing of seasons, I am reminded that God not only changes our environment but He changes hearts! This past month, I have seen many girls come to know Jesus personally for the first time. It has brought my heart so much joy to watch girls' faces light up when they are initially introduced to Truth! And my joy continues as I watch God bring them into a new season, a new life. It's been a month full of thankfulness to God for calling me to what I consider a blessing of a job, for working in the lives of student athletes and coaches, and for the beauty that comes with change.

"Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might, He changes times and seasons." - Daniel 2:20-21

Monday, September 16, 2013

Prayer is Always Needed

Prayer. Talking with God. We crave it in times of trouble. We are drawn to do it when we reach the end of ourselves. Unfortunately, it is all too often not our first response. Prayer.

Last week, I intentionally sent a text to a dear friend and ministry partner [who happens to be a former rock star collegiate soccer player] to pray for the student led Women's Soccer Bible study that was starting up here at Rutgers. She responded that she gladly would and for that I was grateful. I knew that prayer was necessary-- only God could bring girls to attend the study, only God could effectively speak through the two girls leading, and only God could make His Word come to life for them. Prayer was essential because it invited God into the situation and demonstrated dependence.

This week, I had three friends reach out for prayer. One sought prayer as she met with a parent, seeking financial support for her new ministry. Another, a new mom, found out yesterday that her husband was let go from his job. And the other has reached what seems as her rock bottom-- she asked I pray for her and her school-aged daughter who was the victim of a terrorizing and traumatic event. 

I came to realize, that there will always be something in life that needs prayer. Why? Because we will without a doubt be faced with circumstances and emotions that far exceed us-- they require Divine intervention. When we pray, we are acknowledging to God that we need Him, that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). This Truth rings true this week for me, "Pray for one anotherThe prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." - James 5:16. I couldn't be more grateful to have friends who will not only seek prayer, but who are willing to bring my needs to the Lord on my behalf!

Do you regularly pray for those in your life? Do you reach out to others when you're in need of prayer? I'd encourage you to go before Him today in prayer! He is faithful to answer.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hearty [fall festive] Oatmeal

Since the weather has begun to cool off here, I have been craving a warmer breakfast -- something other than fruit smoothies! I decided to jam-pack oatmeal with some extras for a filling and fall inspired breakfast!

Plain Oats
1 Apple
Dried Cranberries
Brown Sugar

Prepare oatmeal according to package instructions (I added milk and a dash of cinnamon before microwaving). While oatmeal is cooking, dice apple.

Place apple into microwave safe bowl, add desired amount of brown sugar and cinnamon. Microwave (time will vary by microwave) until sugar is melted and apples are tender.

While apples are in microwave, chop together dried cranberries and pecans.

When apples are done, pour over prepared oats.

Top with dried cranberries and pecans. And enjoy your filling, fall inspired breakfast! I have enjoyed this several times recently and am still clinging to the end of summer by sipping Carmel Macchiato iced-coffee with breakfast =)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


My Labor Day Weekend was a busy one filled with much fun! One of the fun things I did was, with some friends, attend a Tenth Avenue North Concert in Ocean Grove, New Jersey -- what a cute town!

First, we had dinner and played some games on the beach. It was a breezy, cool night, perfect for the occasion! Then we headed to the Grand Auditorium for the concert. Now, Tyler and I have seen Tenth Avenue North MANY times - most recently this summer at our Cru Staff Conference in Colorado. So when we were invited to go, we hesitated a little since we had just seen them. But, wow, am I glad we decided to go! Not only did we enjoy time with friends, but the concert was AMAZING.

God really spoke to my heart through the lyrics of their songs -- mostly through their song "Losing" (video and lyrics below). I have been moving towards forgiveness of someone for several months now. I was deeply hurt by their words and actions. And it's so easy for me to [at least attempt to] defend my bitterness and anger by the magnitude of how badly they hurt me. I convince myself I've never hurt anybody as badly as they hurt me! But God accepts no excuses for an unforgiving heart. And by His grace, He forgives us and empowers me to forgive those who wrong me. 

The line that says "But truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not" REALLY got me -- because the person I need to forgive hasn't shown any signs of remorse or attempted an apology. And while that hurts, God isn't asking me to forgive those who are sorry. He's calling me to forgive others as I have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13)! In humility, I must remember all that I have been forgiven for and I am need forgiveness no less than anyone else. 

And Tenth Avenue North is right, when I'm not forgiving, I am the one losing. It takes too much energy and effort to be angry and hold on to something than it does to forgive someone. Are you experiencing that "losing" feeling -- wasting energy on not forgiving someone? Who do you need to forgive? Seek the Lord, His grace, and His strength. His will is forgiveness, so trust that He will provide all that you need to do so.

I can't believe what she said
I can't believe what he did
Oh, don't they know it's wrong, yeah?
Don't they know it's wrong, yeah?
Maybe there's something I missed
But how could they treat me like this?
It's wearing out my heart
The way they disregard

This is love, this is hate...
We all have a choice to make

Oh, Father won't You forgive them?
They don't know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
'Cause I feel like the one losin'

Well it's only the dead that can live
But still I wrestle with this
To lose the pain that's mine
Seventy times seven times
'Cause Lord it doesn't feel right
For me to turn a blind eye
Though I guess it's not that much
When I think of what You've done.

This is love, this is hate...
We've got a choice to make

Oh, Father won't You forgive them?
They don't know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
'Cause I feel like the one losin'

Oh, no!

Why do we think that hate's gonna change their heart?
We're up in arms over wars that don't need to be fought
But pride won't let us lay our weapons on the ground
We build our bridges up but just to burn them down
We think pain is owed apologies and then it'll stop
But truth be told it doesn't matter if they're sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound
Of mercy and Your grace, Father, send Your angels down

Oh, Father won't you forgive them?
They don't know what they've been doin' (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
'Cause I feel like the one losin'
Yeah, I feel like I've been losing

Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
'Cause I feel like the one losin'
I feel like I've been losin'

Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
'Cause I feel like the one losin'