this little brown book couldn't have come to me at a better time. twenty-twelve is quickly coming to a close + a new year is hiding just around the corner. twenty-thirteen. a year that will [ hopefully ] be filled with many new adventures. countless laughing fits. good food + even better music. many long conversations with close friends accompanied by a hot cup of tea. a year where i accomplish lofty goals + dream bigger than i ever have before. a year captured through the lense of my camera. filled with happy, sunshiny days + cozy, rainy mornings. days of great joy, where i can't help but smile. and, inevitably, days of sadness where the only thing left to do is cry. i hope to relish in the simple, sweet moments. moments that make me realize that, although it can be rough at times, this life is so very beautiful. i look forward to many more late nights filled with ideas + sparks of inspiration. i hope the pages of this leatherbound notebook will be overflowing with all of the above - beautiful words that explain my life, my heart + my God oh so perfectly. as this notebook gets battered + bruised, let is serve as a reminder of the countless adventures it has endured + the many adventures still to come. 

much love,
rachel





// LETS GET LOST

me + em took a little early morning road trip to visit our family out of tow and of course we had to take a little detour :)



[ march 2011 ]
‘Worship is not an event to attend and watch. It is a lifestyle to be lived.’

That quote couldn’t be more true. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about worship, and how different our lives would be if we lived and breathed worship. Worship is not something we do routinely before the pastor rises to preach on the pulpit – week after week, petty lip service. Doesn’t our King deserve more than that? The answer is yes. He deserves every ounce of praise we have left in our bodies. We should be worshipping Him until our frail flesh is weekened to point where we have no choice but to fall to our knees. And I can guarantee we are not giving Him that. Now im not here to judge. I am guilty, on several accounts, of lip service. But see, that's just the issue- we are all guilty of it, yet it seems we are not doing anything about it. Our worship is lacking substance, lacking the Spirit.
Isaiah 6 is one of my favorite and, what I think to be, one of the most powerful chapters in all of Scripture. It is the perfect representation of what our worship should be. “And they were calling to one another:’Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” {Isaiah 6:3-4} Their worship was so intense and so REAL that the doorposts and thresholds shook. Just take a moment to picture that. Incredible, eh? I emphasize the word real because God knows your heart. He knows if you are sincere, or if you are ‘worshipping’ to bring glory to yourself. Often times I feel as though we praise God, saying, “Look at me, God. See how passionate my worship is? See how I am lifting my hands up to you? I’m such a great Christian!”. We worship as if it is about us. Is that really what our worship has come to? OUR preferences, OUR likes, OUR praise for ourselves. THAT is not worship, that is pride. “‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’” {Isaiah 6:5} Raw worship means laying down our earthly pride, letting ourselves become completely broken. Humbling our sinful bodies at the cross. Singing until the whole earth hears. Worshiping with such intensity that the doorposts and thresholds SHAKE- letting the weight of God’s glory crush us in the most beautiful way. Worship needs to BE our lives, our every breathe – living to bring the King of all nations the glory He so rightly deserves.

much love,

rachel 

BITS + PIECES 


BLESSED. 

i feel so blessed to have been able to spend christmas with some of my favorite people! My cousins, Megan + Maddi [ along with my auntie, uncle + my other cousin, Josh ] came up to spend christmas day with us. it was such a delight! i love these girls to bits. since we were young, we have always been incredibly close to one another, being born so close together. me, megan, maddi + emily are inseparable - always together, always laughing at some dumb thing another is doing haha. there have been times when we roll around on the floor, laughing until our stomachs hurt. there have been times when tears have been shed + fits of rage have been exchanged. but through it all, i believe it has made us stronger. as each of us grows older, there is a bittersweet feeling in my heart. each of us are trying to find out who we really are, what we want to do in life + are chasing our ever changing dreams. there is a part of me that wants to time travel back to the days where we spent hours making plays for the parents. back to the days when we would spend an entire day roaming + getting lost on our grandparent's farm. back to the times when our curiousity + longing for adventure sometimes got us in trouble. back to the days when we would walk to the conveint store down the road + buy candy to gamble with. at times, it feels as though the hardest thing to do is accept the fact that we are changing + growing up. it is my hope that our unconditional love for eachother will keep us together and will keep us close for the rest of our lives. its so hard to find the words to express how much these girls mean to me. to sum it up, i love love love them. 

much love, rachel 

[ p.s. both megan + emily have recently joined the blogging world! check them out: 

a very merry christmas ( e v e )

christmas eve is always exciting in the banek household! from year to year it changes slightly [ depending on my dads work schedule ] but it always consists of the candle light service at church, lots of tea + holiday tunes, presents + [ the best part ] chocolate fondue to conclude the joyous evening. i love it all. the sheer joy of being together for christmas makes this my absolute favorite time of the year. i hope you all had a fantastic christmas eve!

much love,
rachel

[ p.s. please please please excuse the not so quality pictures. my camera is broken, so i have resulted to iPhone photography haha. fingers crossed it will be fixed + running in no time! ] 

hope you all have a very merry christmas surrounded by family + friends! eat lots of turkey, but make sure to save room for the best part, pie : )

much love, rachel

merry christmas ( eve ) everyone!

much love,
rachel

merry christmas, everyone! i am finally off school for the holidays [ YAY! ]. i am so stoked for a relaxing christmas break spent with wonderful family + friends. stockings are hung, lights unraveled + trees so carefully decorated. this is my absolute favorite time of the year - everything just feels so warm + joyous. i hope you all are enjoying all the exciting christmas festivities. now, it wouldn't truly be christmas without some  christmas tunes to go along. i know, i know. some hate it, some love it. and i just happen to love it. so, for all you  cheery spirits who appreciate some good [ + sometimes cheesy ] christmas music, here are just a couple of my favorites:

she + him // baby its cold outside + christmas waltz [ this entire album is a must have.]
the civil wars // o come, o come, emmanuel 
michael buble (with shania twain) // white christmas 
mariah carey // all i want for christmas [ my guilty pleasure haha ]



now that im off school for a couple of weeks, i hope to blog [ hopefully ] each day until christmas, so stay tuned : )

much love,
rachel 



P U L L   M E   A   L I T T L E   C L O S E R

Your love has ravished my heart and taken me over.

and all i want is to be, with You forever.
pull me a little closer. 
take me a little deeper.
i want to know Your heart. 
cause your love is so much sweeter, than anything i've tasted. 

last night was an eyeopening, humbling experience. an experience that i have been needing for longer than i cared to admit to myself. i attended a young adult service called the project at Millwoods Pentecostal. i sat down in the narrow pew among the hundreds of young adults gathered to worship and fellowship together. the worship [as usual] was powerful. but the last song, in particular, was the one that got to me. closer by bethel church. pull me a little closer. take me a little deeper. i want to know your heart. as the sanctuary sang these words in complete unison i was overcome with so many different emotions. things that i have shoved in the deepest corners of my being, things that i have left to fester for far too long, were no longer hidden. frustration and anger towards God. feeling distant from a Creator i so deeply want to know and live for, but feeling unable to grasp His love. His grace. His mercy. as i sang those words, it was my cry to Jesus that He would pull me in and wrap me in His embrace. that he would reveal himself to me so that i may know him deeper and make him known. in that moment i felt such joy praising an amazing, saving God who is so worthy of our worship.



as the worship concluded, Pastor Phil got up on stage to preach. he spoke about 2 Kings and about how we are writing our legacy as we live our lives. Hezzekiah lived a life so amazing that there was none like him before or after. he turned to God in times of struggle and God came through because he was faithful. Phil stressed the immense importance of running to the Father whenever the water gets deep. whenever life seems to much to handle. his message knocked me completely on my face with the realization that this is something i rarely do. he reminded us of God's unfailing love - that, no matter where we stand in our spiritual journey, He is there. walking with us. drawing us in bit by bit.  revealing himself to us each and every day. and when we surrender our lives and everythings that we are, at the cross our lives become something different. something indescribably beautiful. something that leaves a legacy worthy of the life God has called us to live. 



much love,

rachel


// to hear the message click here to listen to it online. they also have an app called 'the project' where you can listen to all the sermons. i highly recommend it. 




Me + my sister, Emily spent a lovely morning at Duchess Bake Shop. This was my first time going there + i can't wait to return soon! if any of you live in Edmonton, i highly recommend you check it out! i enjoyed a delicious latte with a lemon blueberry scone + Em had the white chocolate raspberry scone accompanied with earl grey tea. We also picked up some macarons to go! [ try the salted caramel macaron - soo good. ] it was a delightful way to end my week.

beautiful words // no. 1

i love finding quotes that somehow speak to me. the sometimes simple, sometimes complicated words that encourage me. drive me. and make me smile. weekly, [ most likely mondays ] i will be posting some inspiring words [ usually via my trusty friend pinterest. ] i hope you enjoy + delight in these words as much as i do.


(Photo created/ taken by me)


thank you, Mumford & Sons for always writing beautiful lyrics.

// SUNDAY'S HAPPENINGS 


today was a very productive day, which is strange because sunday afternoons are usually consisted of naps + lazying around the house. but today, laundry was done. rooms were cleaned. crocheting was completed + reading was enjoyed. all of this was accompanied by the sweet sound of the smiths. oh, and i can’t forget the delicious breakfast of waffles topped with caramelized pineapple. so good.

much love,
rachel


I am so grateful for weekends, like this, spent with family + happy 10th birthday to my cousin, noah. what a cutie. congrats on reaching double digits!