Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I'm sitting on a playground bench eating chocolates and writing in a journal. I cast the occasional piercing, discerning glance about me. I like to think I make quite a picture, with the bright pink of my new blouse peeking through on this unfortunately dull and cloudy Spring afternoon.

I am painfully early for work.

Despite the chill in the air I sit on this not-so-freshly-painted green bench because I don't have any cash on hand. I won't have any until my lesson tonight, but I think I can survive without coffee and brioches until tomorrow.
This city often has a heaviness to it, and kind gestures are therefore especially appreciated on days like this. I want to be extra kind today.
I am reminding myself that this time is a gift.
Yes, this time is a gift.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Music, Ministry, Calling, and Clarity

From the title you more or less get an idea of what this post is about. Basically, I'm in a period where I desperately need clarity in how, where and when my calling of a music ministry is going to take place. Now, I don't need God to tell me the whole story, because then I wouldn't exactly be walking in faith (well, I would, but it'd be different, you know?), and then some of the fun of the journey would be taken out. What I just want to know is the next step. Which country, which city, how to procure documents for this place I've been called to, and how I should support myself/be supported financially. I am down to the wire, folks. For real.

Recently I had a dream in which it was felt pretty clearly that God was telling me to take good care of the music ministry given to me.This is the same dream in which I also received a huge barrel of gifts. Then, there were two occasions immediately following in which while I was leading worship, people started crying. And I mean crying. Ok. So God is using me. Excellent. Now, what should I do, exactly, to take care of this ministry? I received a word from God during worship this Sunday service, in which I was told to rise up and do the work He set before me. So yea, it's time for me to get proactive about this. But again, how?

I feel a bit like a whiny broken record that even I want to toss into a corner, but it's those whiny kids who eventually always get what they want, isn't it? I would love to be able to come to God about this like a well-ordered, organized adult, but honestly I feel like wiggling in frustrated immaturity, pouting my lip, furrowing my eyebrows, and releasing a squeally, utterly annoying, "waaaaaaaaaah". I cannot even fully articulate all of the questions I have right now...

Still, I am encouraged because "the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." Romans 8:25-27, NIV

I've been encouraged to pray these verses from Ephesians, asking for wisdom of revelatiom. The idea is to personalize the prayer, so you pray it for yourself. Then you can also pray it for others.
Ephesians 1:17-23

New Living Translation (NLT)
17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Ephesians 3:14-21
New Living Translation (NLT)
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

I'll end this post with a Psalm that over the past weeks has already been a great encouragement to pray: Psalm 138

A psalm of David.

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
    I will sing your praises before the gods.
2 I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
    by all the honor of your name.
3 As soon as I pray, you answer me;
    you encourage me by giving me strength.
4 Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
    for all of them will hear your words.
5 Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
    for the glory of the Lord is very great.
6 Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
    but he keeps his distance from the proud.
7 Though I am surrounded by troubles,
    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.
8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.


* Bible passages retrieved from:

Friday, March 21, 2014


Sometimes getting a little spoiled can be a good thing. A little pampering, a little being taken care of, loved. Nothing wrong with that.

Lately I've felt incredibly spoiled. But what that really means is that I'm not used to, or perhaps I should say I am uncomfortable with the amount of good vibrations coming my way. It is natural for me to accept love from my mother. It is natural for me to encourage and counsel others. Now I am learning to be encouraged, to receive, to abide in my Savior.

I'm being inundated with love. All around me there are little reminders, little whispers of I love you...
... I care about you

I'm taking care of you... 

... You are important to me

You are special...
...You are made in my image

I have clothed you in My righteousness...
...I am you portion
I am working all things for your good...
Find your delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart... 
See, all these things will come and have already come to pass!

Believe in your worth, because I have given it to You, and you can always find it in Me

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Revolutionary Smile!

** Before you go on to the poem, can I just say how true this turned out to be? I wrote this poem on my way to work this morning. Every morning I say hello to the lady who sits at and monitors the school entrance while enclosed in her glass box, and every morning she either ignores me, doesn't hear me, or sort of frowns in return. Today, having just finished writing this poem, my smile was feeling revolutionary, and I felt the power of God's joy flowing through me. This morning the lady smiled back at me! It was a little tentative, but I could see real pleasure at being greeted cheerfully and not just ignored like most people do when they enter the school building. I've been smiling at her and saying "good morning" for months, people. Even when you don't see an immediate outward change, know that God is moving in the spiritual realms. In order to get to know her better, in order to witness to her effectively, I needed to be patient and consistent in showing love. She will respond now if I go up and ask her name and share a bit about my testimony. A foundation has been laid now. Even some parents lit up when I greeted them this morning as they waited for teacher conferences. Light is powerful folks. God is good!  Ok. Here's the poem.

Revolutionary Smile

This is dangerous.

In a city so full of doom and gloom frowns, a smile is revolutionary.
This morning, I am especially so.
My smile is as wide as the Grand Canyon, yet it represents only a fraction of the immense joy in my soul.

Song bursts forth from my mouth; I no longer care that I'm in public.
Today I am a songbird gleefully releasing her morning melody.
Today, I taste God's presence like a child tasting ice-cream for the first time on a hot summer's day.
Cool, sweet, refreshing.
Today, I dwell upon God like we dwell upon 1st love's 1st kiss. I feel the excitement of being with Him well up within me.

"Taste and see that the Lord is good!"
I have, and there will never be enough words to describe it for I cannot even completely understand the fullness of His goodness.

This is dangerous.

This smile is a light in the darkness that will not be overcome, but change almost always causes a push back.
I'm ready.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gift Upon Gift

One recent gift that I haven't blogged about yet was the one in which God allowed me to lead worship from the floor. Literally, the floor. To be more specific, this was during Saturday's worship at the youth service.

I tend to hold my worship in sometimes, but then the Holy Spirit bursts in me and there's no shame, only loud proclamations of God's goodness. God has given me an ear for medleys, and that is often a large component of how I lead worship.

We were worshipping to Kari Jobe's "You are For Me", in Italian, of course, when I notice that the chord loop we were on worked for another one of my favorite worship songs. So there I am, singing "Su di noi" (Let it Rain-Jesus Culture), tranquil as can be, when the Spirit bursts in me and I start wailing on "Where You Go I Go" (also Jesus Culture, Bethel Church). While not the same key, the melody fits over the chord structure.I'm having a medley good time. I go between that and "Let it Rain". It was a special moment, really, because during that time I was feeling self conscious about how loud I can sometimes get when I'm praising. It was like God broke down the door and opened the floodgates of heaven like I was asking in the song, and let it flow through my vocal chords. I didn't have any brain cells to spare to care about whether or not people thought I was being obnoxious.

Anyway, I stay in this special place a bit, though much quieter than before, moving between songs, when the worship leader switches to "Let it Rain"! He did a medley! Oh the joy that rose up within me! As far as I can tell, they've never done this before. I was so excited, and I felt like God was telling me, "I'm using you no matter where you are in the congregation". Leading worship is my ministry, no matter where I am!

You see, I know they heard me on stage because for about a month now after almost every Saturday service someone on stage tells me about how they heard me worshipping on the floor, and it blessed them. Even the guy in my cell group who is always really far back on the stage, next to the drums. Even I was surprised with the strength and volume of what came out of me while I was worshipping, so I'm pretty sure they heard me on stage. Again.

So, in this past week of gift upon gift, this was one of the sweetest. Truly, all you need to do is be the light God made you to be, seek His kingdom, and you'll walk in the promises of His Word. The blessings overflow in abundance!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cool Ways I Met God Recently...

So! Wassup?
It struck me this morning on my way to work that I've had lots of wonderful divine encounters. From meeting friends on late night trains and stopping for a chat and a prayer, from running into people I never expected to, and schedules just happening to click, everything is coming together in the coolest ways!

I'll start from the middle.
On Wednesday I had the morning off from work and decided to use that for quiet time and a morning fast, instead of the lunch fast I had planned around my usual schedule. Awesome. Then that evening I shared the message in small group, and that was awesome too! It was really a God given word, and many people received :D.
Then Thursday, somehow my schedule worked out, despite everything getting moved around, and even though I had missed two meals instead of one (hungry Allegra= She Hulk. seriously.), God gave me the patience to deal with an incredibly unfortunately behaved little girl, to the point that her mother commented on my patience at the end of the lesson to the father when he got home. God is good!

Then on Friday I went to an open mic where I shared one of the songs I recently wrote from my times of worship and personal time with God, and on Sunday I ran into someone from the bar where I played. He invited me to sing with his buddies next Sunday, and you can bet I and a few others will be there! We just happened to go to Sempione for our after church worship, and there you go: evangelism opportunities! Assuming the weather holds up, we'll run into each other again.

This Sunday was pretty much fantabulous. Not too long ago I remember reminiscing over a group hang out at my friend Alisa's house that happened a few months ago. It was so anointed that people still bring it up to me when we run into each other at church. It was with mostly these people that I hung out with this Sunday afternoon, and so we were all primed for the movement of the Holy Spirit. One of the guys in this group had come to church with a friend who was going through a rough time and reached out to him for some spiritual guidance. While we were all there sitting in the grass in the middle of crowded park belting out worship songs in English and Italian to our heart's content, he starts crying. Apparently it was right as we started singing, "All consuming fire. You're our heart's desire. Living flame of love, come baptize us."

Naturally we're all excited about this. Another girl new to our group who was a friend just happened to have had a similar experience last week, and when she felt led by God to go and pray with him and listened, that's when he let loose the flow.  Apparently he started crying as soon as he got to church too, and so I'm sure this is not a day he'll easily forget. We're praying for him to give his heart fully to God, and I'm trusting in His timing.

Then we continued worshiping into the late night, but inside since it was getting cold and people had to leave, and I became aware of just how important my quiet time is as a worship leader. I pour out a lot when I lead worship, and I need to remember to have time to receive from God. So when I took some time to rest during our evening worship, it was nice. But then for the last 30-40 minutes I needed to pick up my guitar! It will be good for me to learn to receive even as I pour out, because when leading worship I feel the most "me". The most what I was made to be.

The last thing I'm noticing is God's provision. I've had a few extra expenses coming up, what with a Bethel retreat I registered for and the setting up of my hopefully functional new/old iPhone 3, but I've also had a flood of new requests for private lessons, all of which fit into my crazy schedule. This week I'm doing three lessons more than I did last week! That makes a huge difference for me, and I'm so grateful.
I'm especially looking forward to Thursday, since I work with one of my favorite (yes, I've got faves) students, and then I start with a new student from the group of friends I praise with. It's the guy who brought his friend on Sunday. These types of lessons are nice because we'll be able to fellowship and talk about God as His English improves.

Ok, now that I've written a short novel here, I'll end the post. This is what happens when I can only update when I have access to public wifi or the computers at work! Trusting God for a wifi revolution at my apartment!
Ciao ciao folks!

Monday, March 17, 2014


The other day I had a revelation about consecration. Often in the Bible, especially in the Hebrew Bible, we see the word 'destruction' a lot. In particular as Israel was claiming their promised land. This 'destruction' was the type of destruction associated with consecrating something or someone fully to God, as an offering.

One morning during my fast last week (it ends tomorrow!) this popped into my head, mostly in relation to this period of fasting and consecration I've entered into. Anyone who's spent any length of time with me understands that I absolutely LOVE reading, and I don't handle hunger particularly well. Therefore, deleting all of my romance novels from my kindle app (even my favorite ones!) and voluntarily choosing to skip meals was very much a sort of destruction of myself. It was a sacrifice. But you see, I chose to do this, and this revelation coming to me was almost like a 'good job' from above, a sort of confirmation of my journey.

Suffering is part of the package when you choose to follow Christ, but I daresay that sounds worse than it actually is. Every sacrifice brings with it its reward. There comes a point where "suffering" takes on a different meaning.There are many accounts in the Bible and elsewhere, where people rejoice in trials, tribulations, and the like, and thank God that they were counted worthy of suffering for Jesus Christ.

I can't say I was jumping for joy all of last week, but I can say that I had some very special moments with the Lord. And definitely my relationship to food has changed. Today would definitely be the first time I was physically unable to finish a pizza. And the old adage, "There's always room for dessert", well that wasn't the case today. Half of my small cup of ice cream went down the drain. There are worse things, I suppose.

Well, today I've also gone to get my new/old phone fixed. I haven't had a smart phone since coming to Italy, but it hadn't been a problem until WhatsApp became the primary form of communication amongst essentially everyone I know. One of my small group members gave me his old iPhone 3 for my birthday, to remedy the issue. Very nice of him, except that it doesn't charge. I'm hoping that it's just a port problem, and that it will charge once that gets replaced. We shall see.

Either way, it's been quite a lovely sunny day! I'm definitely loving this weather!

Friday, March 14, 2014


So my birthday was pretty awesome. I fasted two meals and felt awesome doing it. It really felt like some issues I had with food were dealt with that day, and today I feel strong going into another day of fasting. Super exciting! Some friends and I are going through a period of consecration, and so I've gotten rid of a lot of not so good reading material I'd been holding on to, and I am so sure that all of this is bringing good fruit. Whoo!

So right now I'm dashing off to meet up with a few friends, but I've got to say, life is good :D.
I got myself a good wax for my birthday this morning, and so I'm ready for poolside aperitivos, should they arrive.

Also, the gifts that I ordered for myself were waiting for me when I got home yesterday! Talk about God's amazing timing! I literally ordered my pedometer like three days ago, and international shipping is not supposed to be that fast. I'm already counting my steps and working through my 10k steps a day healthy goal. I'll be sure to update on how all of that is going.

Ok! Dashing off through this lovely weather! yay :).

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's My Birthday!!!


Ok, so today is my birthday. Super awesome. I bought myself quite a few kindle books and a new pedometer with the amazing gift card my mama gave me, and I'm already enjoying the benefits of my new reading material. :D
I spent my workday handing out Boston souvenirs to my colleagues and people in the school, and I gave out two packets of cookies that I brought to share with everyone. Can I just say that giving feels WONDERFUL! It might even be better than receiving. Or at least it makes me feel less bad when I do get something.

On a side note, I had a dream a few nights ago that I got a huge barrel of gifts, and so I feel certain that God has some wonderful things in store for me as I grow in this period. The increase in joy and peace, the large amount of people who comment on my weight loss, and the larger amount of people who tell me how peaceful and settled I look as opposed to a few months ago, means I'm already off to a great start.

Yesterday I received so many wonderful things during my quiet time. Specifically some verses from Psalms that really encouraged me. Then, I was also encouraged as I prepared a mini sermon for small group. It was really really cool. I shared from David's life, focusing on his facing Goliath and his battle for getting the Ark of the Covenant back from the Philistines. It was supposed to launch from the sermon our youth pastor preached on Saturday, and so I started from there and then went further, since a simple regurgitation of what he had said would have been, well, not as useful.

I can say again that I applaud God for His timing. All that I'm doing now are things that I've wanted to do for awhile, and I was so frustrated over having to wait. I'm a leader, and I've known that about myself for awhile. I have an anointing to lead and when the opportunity does not present itself as I think it should I can get frustrated. But I've learned in this period that waiting can be a good thing, and I realize that I am much better equipped to do this work than I would have been had God allowed me do this sooner. I am humbled now, and I am not seeking the approval of man.

Now, I'm still learning how to wait gracefully, and there are a few areas in my life that I have to keep coming back to with that lesson, but I trust that all is in God's hands and that He's working all for my good. After all, He told me so!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Post 64-whomp whomp

Well folks, I think it's safe to say that my one post a day challenge for a year was an epic fail, but making it two months wasn't half bad. Anyway, we are now well into March and my current internet situation is such that a post a day is nearly impossible. Plus, I realize that my creativity these days comes in spurts concentrated largely around the weekends. I have been writing quite a bit, but getting it all online proves challenging.

Anyway, here are some updates. Last week was the week that refused to go wrong. I had fabulous lessons with students, then there was carnival break, I got a WONDERFUL early birthday present from my mom, the box with my ipad and other sundry items arrived, I was invited for an AWESOME lobster dinner at an AMAZING Sardinian restaurant in Milan, I had incredible quiet times, worship at church was particularly anointed, and opportunities to fellowship with and disciple people are coming up faster than we know what to do with them. In short, God is good. Very good.

Now, it's not as if nothing annoyed me, or as if everything was perfect. But, when you are a positive child of God, you roll with the punches and come out a knock-out winner. I certainly learned areas I need to grow relationally, and now that I have been made aware, I can open myself up to the Holy Spirit that the transformational work in me can be brought to completion.

Anyway, my birthday is in a few days (Thursday!) and I'll turn 24(!). Next year I'm looking forward to my quarter life crisis. This year, well this year is looking to be uneventful. I haven't planned anything and I doubt anyone else has either. I don't even know how many people know my birthday is Thursday. This will be my second birthday celebrated in Europe! Honestly, my day will be spent at work, and then I'll go to blues practice. Then Friday I'll work, have a private lesson, and then maybe go out for a drink. Maybe.

And then Saturday, well que sera sera.

I'm looking forward to the physical evidence of God's promises in my life. This is what I would call a pregnant period. Or perhaps I should call it a birthing period. My time of incubating is over, I feel. Giving birth is painful, but the end result makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Post 63

Well, I don't suppose there's much to write about today. Well, there's always lots to write about, but I feel like I'm still processing so many things that I don't much know what to do with any of it.

I've been exercising, which is nice. Mostly on my walks to school. I'm getting quite fit, and I'll keep it up. Seeing as how our bodies are temples, I'd like to keep my temple spiffy. Here's a poem for y'all.

i just don't know
lose control. no, give it up
can i give it up?

yes, i daresay i can

out of my hands
You've made them capable
but Yours are more capable still

i give up control, willingly

Well, that about explains things better than trying to write them out another way.  Catch you on the next post :).

Monday, March 3, 2014

Post 62

Reflection on the Fruits of the Spirit

Peace comes. Not fought for. Then is expressed.

Love like Yours is received, not sought for. Then shared.

Patience grows, not in a hurry. Then is displayed.

Kindness flows in and out, not forced. Like ocean waves in high tide.

Self Control.
Self control comes not by my might, but in letting go of control, to God.

Joy comes in the morning, but really it's been here all along!

Gentleness is less of me and more of You!

Faithfulness in me is a mirroring of the faithfulness in You.

Goodness is the essence of You alive in me.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Post 61

I've been feeling lately that my preoccupation with finding a partner has begun to take up too much of my mental and emotional energy. Spiritual energy too, now that I think about it. I felt a spiritual encouragement to let it go and stop fretting over it. This feeling was confirmed for me during a conversation with a friend this afternoon. She shared from a Joseph Prince teaching that blessed her. She said that one way to look at things is to see all the various areas of our lives as tubes, and God sends His blessings down those tubes. We've got our financial tube, our relational tube, other tubes that I can't think of, etc.

So, what happens is that when the enemy sees God getting ready to send you a blessing, he sends difficulty in that area, and in our lack of faith we grab on to the tube and knot it with our worrying and begging God to save us. That stops the supernatural flow of things. The blessing is already on it's way, and all we need to do is thank God for the mercy coming our way. Then we trump the devil and the tube is left free to let God's blessing flow.

So, this is sticking with me, and I'm sticking with it. This isn't the easiest thing for me to do, I suppose. I've been single for oh, six years now? And my only relationship was senior year of high school. No offense to my ex, but I knew from the beginning that it was a mistake. The holy Spirit told me no, but my flesh said, "Do you really want to graduate high school never having had a boyfriend? So uncool!" I will say that that experience has made me never want to disobey the Spirit on such matters ever again. If I don't feel a green light from God, or if I feel a "No", I don't consider the guy as a candidate.

Lately though I've gotten impatient, and so I'm coming back to square one. I'm almost ashamed that I've been in Italy this long and I'm still single. Everyone and their mother assumed I wouldn't make it three months without some dashing Italian male sweeping me off my feet, and some of my colleagues last year were embarrassed by the longevity of my singleness. "What are our young men doing?!", they questioned. So did I...

But then, it's not as if men didn't hit on me in my time here. I just didn't feel any green lights from the Spirit. I do have to say as well that there is need of some healing on my part. Someone once suggested that I push away guys who like me and set my cap at what I feel is unattainable so I don't have to actually deal with relationships. I just stay in a sort of limbo land of maybes and hopefuls. And after that last relationship, I can see where this might be true. No more!

If I believe that the Lord my God is a great chain breaker, healer, deliverer, and provider of every good thing, then I have nothing to worry about! I am already taken care of, and the man that God has prepared for me won't be perfect, but he'll be perfect for me. :)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Post 60

*When I've got a recording of this song I'll share it. 

In the secret, quiet place, we can see you face to face.
Yes, in the secret, quiet place.
In our deep and dark spaces, Your light enter and replaces
everything that does not please You.

For You are a God of pure and holy standards. Pure and holy standards. 
Every righteous are You.

All the earth, it sings Your praises. Creator God of all the ages.
All the earth, we sing Your praises.
You send rain to desert places. You breathe life and we awaken.
Almighty God, we sing Your praises.

For You are a God of great and awesome splendor, great and awesome splendor. 
Glorious are You.

I will sing Your praise all my days.
I will sing Your praise all my days.
Only You can save.
Jesus, only You can save.