i try to live my life simply. i, unfortunately, am apart of a generation that is so frightfully busy + complicated. often times we don't stop to realize the little things that bring such happiness to our lives. so, i decided to make a list. a list of all the little things that make me happy + that bring joy to my life. 


walking barefoot in the grass // catching up with friends over a cup of tea // when your favorite song comes on the radio // feeling pretty // late night runs to walmart // the smell of campfires // driving around with friends, music blasting // little crushes // clean sheets // big family get together a // eating pickles out of the jar // rainy days // sitting on the floor // sunday afternoon naps // fresh fruit // start gazing in the country side // receiving a letter in the mail // laughing so hard your stomach hurts // finding a new favorite song // clean room // late night talks with cousins // getting butterflies in your stomach // long, leisurely breakfasts // bear hugs // compliments from strangers // getting dressed up // feeling confident 


much love [ + joy ],
rachel

i made this recipe a little while ago + i knew i had to share it will you all! Joy The Baker always has the best recipes. i love the combination of all the amazing flavours, especially the fresh mint. i think i may have to adding it to more recipes! this flatbread is definitely better eaten fresh and believe me, i don’t think it will last more than a day anyways! i imagine eating this on a warm summer afternoon outside paired with a nice salad, a refreshing drink + many great friends to share it with. [ summer please come soon! ] this recipe is utterly delish. [ i’m fairly certain i ate over half of this myself haha ] thanks, Joy!

happy cooking!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
recipe via Joy The Baker 
makes 12 squares
2 packages (about 5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
3 cups of flour, divided into 1 cup increments
3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup thinly sliced strawberries
coarse sea salt for topping
1/2 cup goat cheese crumbles
good quality balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
1 tablespoon fresh mint, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water.  Stir to dissolve.  I use a fork so I can mash and stir any yeast clumps.  Add 1 cup flour and blend together until smooth.  Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
After the mixture has risen, remove the covering and stir in 3 tablespoons of olive oil, sugar, and orange zest.  Add one cup of flour and stir to blend.  Add the remaining cup of flour and salt and work together into a dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.  If the dough is too sticky, add up to 1/3 cup more flour and knead.  Dough will be slightly sticky, and that’s alright.
Clean out the large bowl and coat with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Place dough in the bowl, and flip it over so that it’s entirely coated in oil.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and knead for just a minute, before pulling and stretching the dough into a 16×9-inch rectangle.  I used a rolling pin to help me to this.  Place on a greased baking sheet and let rise for 30 minutes.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
When dough has risen, use your fingers to make random indentations in the puffed dough.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with sliced strawberries, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden, crisp and baked through.  I rotated the pan once, halfway through baking.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from the baking pan, slice into squares with a pizza cutter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, and fresh mint.
Serve + Enjoy! 
much love,
rachel 

BITS + PIECES 





scribbled lines + ink filled pages



these days, my life practically consists of long study dates at starbucks [ all by my lonesome. haha. ] + huge coffees [ hazelnut latte’s from starbucks are seriously the bomb. ] why? two words - exam week. definatly not my cup of tea, or anyone's for that matter! as i've been flipping through my books i have noticed a common occurance - perfectly written notes and then, out of nowhere, spontaneous sparks of inspiration. random thoughts on life - lists, doodles + [at times] nonsensical writing. evidence of a dreamer. i love the fact that i am constantly inspired by the fascinating world around me [even though it has proven to make studying a little but harder]  i am excited for this week to come to an end so that i can get back to blogging regularly! but until then, i'll just stay right here - nestled in the corner of Starbucks, trying to make sense of these scribbles + doodles.
                                                                                  much love, rachel
          
chilly winter mornings.
now, I must admit, it's a rare thing to find me up bright + early if I don't have to be. i am most definatly not a morning person [ although i very much wish i was ]. but on those rare mornings when i wake early, i get the chance to admire the sheer beauty of it - 

the smell of hot coffee brewing, 
the feeling of warm feet touching the cold hardwood, 
wrapping yourself in a cozy sweater
 + the admiring soft glow of sunrise as it peeks through the frost covered window.

this is the beauty of those chilly winter mornings - i guess i should get up earlier to admire it more often. 

i love early mornings. when it feels like the rest of the world is still fast asleep and you’re the only one who’s awake and everything feels like it isn’t really real and you kind of forget about all of your problems because for now it’s just you, the world and the sunrise. 
[ unknown ]

much love,
rachel  

[ the sound track of my early mornings? james vincent mcmarrow + bon iver ] 




[ august 2011 ] 
Hello! This past week me and my cousins, Megan and Maddi (who, if you cannot tell already, are extremely close) went to this thing called ‘Shake the Lake’. Its pretty much just another summer festival which i had fairly low expectations for – but i knew i would have fun because i was with meg and maddi : ). After driving around for almost an hour trying to find a parking spot, we finally got to Shake the Lake. The first thing that drew me in was the live music which i heard from down the street. As we approached the stage, I noticed a guy preforming on stage. His voice just gave me a happy feeling in my heart. “..and if its really true, that your the one that makes all things new” - this boy loved the Lord. Unfortunately, we only got to hear one song of his, but, drawn by his cuteness, we visited his booth that was set up. After two trips to his booth i learned he was from Edmonton! i love supporting local artist, so both me + meg bought his cd. on the way home we listened to it, and i love the ‘unplugged’ sound of his album. but,tack number 10 rattled me to the core. Now, its not really a song, just him speaking whats on his mind. It’s a ‘call out’. Me, Meg + Maddi sat in silence in the car; listening intently to every word he spoke. This is what he said…
“This has been heavy on my heart for a long time…when are we going to realize the cost of following God. Everybody’s a ‘Christian’ now a days. Everybody has on their FaceBook status in religion, something under there. Everybody says they are a ‘God-follower’, but how many people are genuinely, legitimately following God. Now I’ve got news for you, God is NOT your hobby. God is not your household pet that you spend time with when you find time in your schedule. God has to be your life. We’ve made an absolute mockery of what it is to follow God. A mockery of the cost of walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. What is the cost? Where can you find what the cost is? Where’s the price tag on that? Look in Matthew 19, where Jesus clearly explains to a rich young man the costs of following Him and getting into heaven. The cost is EVERYTHING you have. And we don’t see that. Or we see it, but we ignore it. But there’s a disconnect somewhere. There’s a disconnect from what we want in this world and what God has for us in eternity…and we are not seeing it. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what you do. But if you truly believe that God gave His son to die on the cross for you.. if you truly believe the words that are written in the Bible..I’m telling you now, they would become more than just words to your heart. There are children dying all over the world because they are hungry. We have raped teenage girls putting themselves on the corner to help support the kid that they didn’t ask for. And we’re sitting here in North America complaining because we don’t have the newest car…because our car can’t park itself…because we can’t go on enough vacations. Tell me thats ok. tell me thats the heart of God for our lives. Tell me that you, yourselves, are doing enough. Tell me when it stops. If you haven’t realized by now, this is a call out. This is a call out because enough is enough. And doing your 9 to 5 Christianity DOESN’T cut it. It never has, it never will. And its time for you to step up and realize that God DESIRES more, God WANTS more out of the investment He made in your life…because he is not getting enough in return. God has called us to not a higher standard, but the highest standard – which means any compromise is irrelevant to what He has for us. We are called to live a life of ZERO compromise. We are called to live a Christ-like life and you will not find compromise in any of the gospels. I don’t care where you are…you are called to further the kingdom of God. Some of us will plant seeds and some of us will harvest. But ALL f us are called to further the kingdom. Don’t get offended. This message is not to offend you, but to spur you on- to wake up your spirit.Where ever we are, we need to wake up.”
I was on the verge of tears, shaken by the simple truth that i needed to hear. it was a reminder that has stayed with me ever since. 



i n s p i r a t i o n   |   m y   h a v e n


one of my most exciting projects of twenty-thirteen is going to be my room. at the moment, i sit in here surrounded by dark purple walls accompanied by a theme of black, white and grey. Don't get me wrong, my room is very nice, just not a space I personally love to be in. my room was 'me' three years ago - but not so much who I am now. I am incredibly grateful that my parents have always encouraged our rooms to be a place where we love to be + that we have freedom when it comes to painting and decorating our rooms. so, I hope to turn my dark walls into a crisp shade a white, replace my matchy decorations with eclectic gems from the thrift store and fill my walls with photography, typography + art. I have always loved interior decorating + I strongly believe that your bedroom [ + your home ] should be a creative reflection of who you are, which is why I am so pumped for this project! I promise i will be updating you each step of the way - from thrift store adventures to decisions on what white to pick [ before going to home depot I had no clue how many shades of white there are..it's ridiculous haha ] to the countless trips to ikea - you'll be along for the journey :) so for now, I leave you with some inspiration. thanks, pinterest : )

much love,
rachel
oh darling, lets be adventurers

FEARS + DREAMS



The other day in leadership class we were shown this video. at the end of it, we were confronted with two questions - what are your dreams? + what are your fears? so, i made my list.

fears
// reaching the end of my life and realizing i did not make an impact.
// taking a risk to pursue my passions - afraid that i might fail.
// ending up alone.
// living day to day with no passion or purpose.
// not being there for someone when they need me most.
// loving money more than people + more than God.
// losing the people i love.
// trusting that God's plan is best.
// living a typical life.

dreams
// know Christ + make Him known.
// help troubled youth.
// find love.
// travel the world.
// live a life full of love.
// never stop pursuing my love of photography.
// go on a missions trip.
// live a radical life, following my heart, not my head.

i am a dreamer. i have this yearning in my heart to live my life with purpose. a life filled with adventure. "I urge you, brothers, to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." [ ephesians 4:1 ]. I want my life to glorify my Saviour. but what gets in the way is this little big thing called fear. its what stops us from doing the things we are truly passionate about - fear of failure, fear of being different, fear of being vulnerable. all of these things fill our heads and, as a result, deafen our hearts. it becomes mind over heart - instead of heart over mind. what we truly dream of doing is overcome by our deepest fears. the result? living a typical life. an average life. and yet, we look at the people in the world pursuing a fullfilling, radical life and we wonder, why i can't i have a life like that? believe me, i've had that thought many many times. well then it hit me, i can. we all can - but we have to set our frears free. easier said than done, i know. trading in your fears in order to pursue your dreams is scary + requires you to take risks. it often requires us to set aside our own selfish pride for the sake of others. i don't know about you, but living a radical life - following God + the plans he has for us and making our dreams a reality seems pretty wonderful to me.

"fear causes inaction, but God is always about calling people to action." 

much love,
rachel

[ p.s. you should all check out the sermon on fear from the series called 'Paralyzed' at www.theproject.com : ) ]

// instagram [ twenty twelve ] 


follow my instagram: @rachelbanek

much love,
rachel
 
there is something so fascinating + so hauntily beautiful about old things. their rustic charm + timeless elegance never fails to capture every ounce of my attention - which is why spending a cold, winter afternoon exploring the nooks + crannies of an antique mall makes me positively smitten. whether it be a battered piece of furniture from the early 1900's or a retro set of pyrex dishes from the seventies, i love it all.

farewell twenty twelve, hello twenty thirteen! it don't know where this past year has gone. it seems as though just yesterday i was embarking on a new journey called highschool + ringing in twenty twelve. the last half of this year has been a whirlwind of new + exciting events in my life. [ almost ] everything feels right at the moment. i finally feel settled into a highschool that i love. new relationships are growing + blossoming, day by day. and i am giddy thinking about the excitment + fresh start that the new year brings. i guess the perfect word to describe how im feeling right now would be content. yes, utterly content. smitten. optimistic. hopeful that twenty thirteen will be filled with all things wonderful. as cliche as it may be, i do make resolutions. im very much a list person - seeing my goals laid out before me helps me to be productive + proactive. so, i have made a [ fairly short ] list of resolutions for twenty thirteen. enjoy!

// [ ok, so the first on my list is probably on 99 percent of people's lists, but believe me, it needs to      happen! ] renew my gym membership, get back in shape + be bikini ready by the time summer roles around haha. now that that's out of the way, i can move on to more interesting resolutions...
// read more regularly.  
// continue to blog weekly + grow and develope dawn to dusk.
// cook.cook.cook. my house is filled with many cook books + my computer spammed with many bookmarked recipes just waiting to be made. 
// get more sleep. 
// bake a pretty layered cake - worthy of pinterest. 
// go camping in the mountains. 
// continue to deepen + further my relationship with god. to ask him for wisdom each + every day.
// get back to volutneering at Hope Mission homeless shelter on a weekly basis.
// redecorate my room. my room is to be painted a crisp shade of white + filled with unique antiques + eclectic pieces. i hope to turn my room into a haven that i absolutely love. 

much love, 
rachel


// BLOGLOVIN'

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much love,
rachel