Saturday, December 31, 2011

one word. one verse.

Last January, I declared 2011 the year of change. At that point in time, I was about to move into a new dorm room with a roommate that I had never met at a new college with a new major. That's a lot of change going on at once. As I look back at the past year, I changed so much- and I think it was a good kind of change. I've made so many new friends. I've grown deeper in my relationship with God. While I vent about my college all the time- secretly I really love it. I love my new major. Over the past year, I've learned that change can be a good thing.

So, when it came time to pick my one word for 2012, it was kind of hard. I mean, change fit last year- and it still fits now. My life feels at times like it's in a constant state of chaos due to all the changes I face. But, I wanted a new word for the new year. So, for this year, I picked
I know, it seems like a silly word. Sparkle reminds me of so many things, and that's why I'm picking it. It comes from Philippians 2:14-15 where Paul tells the Phillipians to "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe." Sparkle just sounds prettier than shine.

I want to sparkle this year. I want to be that princess (the child of God) that I talk about becoming and I want to dwell in the presence of the King. I want to sparkle this year and let my personality shine through. I want to sparkle and show people the love of Jesus. Finally, I want to find all the sparkle in my life. Seeing as Project 365 is kind of hard (though I lasted 2 whole months last year!), I'm going to try a Project 52. One picture (at least!) a week that shows the sparkle in my life. It may be finding joy in things that I would normally complain or argue about...or they might just be things that make me smile each week. It's about focusing on the sparkle in my life and how I can sparkle in the world I live in.

Last year, I also tried to memorize 2 scriptures a month. While I'd love to say that I'm going to do that again, I just don't see it happening. So, in an effort to simplify, I'm committing to one verse at a time (well, it's actually four this time). I'm going to work at my own pace and work with the scriptures that I come across rather than rushing into things and overcommitting myself. To start with, I'm going to work on Jeremiah 29:11-14. I'll write a little more on why this one tomorrow, but for now, I want to just share the word with you.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
I think that passage is just beautiful. God WILL provide a future for us! Even when the economy is down and we don't know how we are EVER going to find a job in this job market, HE has a plan that is greater than we could ever imagine!

Friday, December 30, 2011

christmas vacation

I’m not the best at remembering to blog about my family vacation to the Keys. Sorry.
I promise that even though it took me so long to blog about it, it WAS really fun. Mostly because it was warm. Like Nike shorts and a tshirt kind of warm.
It was pretty depressing to fly back into Atlanta where it was cold.
I didn’t bring my camera on the trip, so all photos were taken by my mom. She’s pretty much the best.
We didn’t take many pictures because we were busy relaxing. But, Mom did bring the camera when we drove down to Key West.
019  025
These are some pictures from the Southernmost Point. Interesting fact. At this point in Key West, you are closer to Cuba than Miami. I tried to talk Desmond into going for a little swim- I mean, 90 miles isn’t THAT far- but he wasn’t interested.
There were chickens everywhere in Key West. Apparently they are native or special or something, so the people that live there aren’t allowed to remove them or anything. Desmond decided to go run out in the street and chase one around a bit.
060 061
We couldn’t go to Key West without having some Key Lime Pie! We visited a little shop that Bobby Flaw did a throwdown at one time. Can you tell that we are huge Food Network fans in our house?
063 068
We saw a pretty sunset.
And we saw some street performers. Let me just say- Key West is crazy. Like voodoo lady and drag show kind of crazy. Not exactly family friendly. But, it was fun to go on an adventure.
We stayed at a little place called Hawk’s Cay.
Desmond did a SNUBA lesson the morning we left. He thought it was the coolest, even though it was just in swimming pool.
Then, we drove back to Miami so that we could catch our flight out in the morning!
Overall, I’d say it was a good vacation. I mean, it was warm. It’s hard to eat gluten-free on vacation though, so I ended up sick a few times. We flew back on Christmas Eve, so the Miami airport was crazy. The culture of entitlement at resorts isn’t something I’m fond of. I missed southern accents. Fun? Yes.

How do you balance things though? How do you deal with watching African-American and Latino workers board a bus to Miami every night (in a scene that looked eerily like “The Help”?) How do you deal with seeing all the strip clubs as you drive down the road knowing that it is likely that sex slaves are trapped there? Girls that have been promised a future in America that were tricked? It’s hard to look at people spending so much money on vacations knowing that there are children starving across the street. It’s hard when you know what you ought to be doing conflicts with what you are doing. How do you find balance in your life?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Home Again

Merry Christmas! I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas Day celebrating the birth of our Savior and spending time with family and friends.

I love Christmas jammies pictures. They make me smile and I love looking at them year after year.



Last week, my family and I spent some time in the Keys. Vacations are fun. Especially when they mean 80 degree days and laying out in swimsuits. Obviously, I didn’t want to post all the details on here before we went (just in case one of you dear friends is really a creepy old man that wants to break into my house or kidnap me). But, now that we are home again, I decided that some details could be shared. I’m still editing up some pictures, but here’s a sneak peek into last week!



Saturday, December 24, 2011

All I Want for Christmas is a Bathrobe- Christmas Series Part 5

Okay. So maybe a bathrobe isn't all I wanted for Christmas when I was five. But, I was pretty gleeful. Today is the last day of this Christmas Blog Series. It really was fun to remember all the fun Christmas memories, and I think this is a great video to end on. We'll pick back up tomorrow morning for a Christmas Recap like every year! Happy Christmas Eve!

What kind of old memories do you have of Christmas morning growing up?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Unwrapped- Christmas Series Part 4

Today, we're going to fastforward a few years to 1995. The three year old is now a five year old and that means more presents and more expectations. Happy Christmas Eve Eve! :)

Things to Note:

  • I really could read. Promise cross my heart. I was super genius. But, have you ever tried to read presents with names written in cursive on them? I thought so. You understand my predicament then.
  • My nightgown was handmade by my Mom. She had loads more time to do crafty things before the boys came along. Which means I better sew all I can when I have first future child because I won't have time when the others come along.
  • My nightgown's pattern was not upside down like my cat dress a few days ago. I'm pretty sure someone didn't want all my clothes to have upside down pictures. That would just be awkward.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Morning- Christmas Series Part 3

Christmas Morning. I think it has the best feeling. There's a sense of anticipation in the air. I mean, it's part of the magic of Christmas. Every kid wonders as they run to their stockings if this year will be the year that Santa will have them on the naughty list and they will get coal. So, today I want you to think back as far as you can remember and think about that Christmas of Innocence. The Christmas before you grew up. Remember running into the room, whatever room your family "does Christmas" in and that realization that "all your dreams came true".

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Girl that Got Stamps for Christmas- Christmas Series Part 2

As you may remember from yesterday's post, we're rediscovering Christmas through a three-year-old's eyes. Do you remember the kinds of presents that you got for Christmas way back when? I got stamps. I guess that just shows that I was destined to be a Martha Stewart at an early age.

Things to Note:
  • I was in awe that I got a "Teddy Bear Tamp". I didn't know that punches held that much excitement.
  • What mother gives a three year old an ink pad? Mine. It's either because I was a super responsible child or that I was the firstborn and therefore could do no wrong. This was in the days before the boys came along. Thus, this super responsible child got an ink pad for Christmas.
  • Little Mermaid was the coolest Disney Princess ever back then. She was even on my birthday cake when I turned four.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sharing is Caring- Christmas Series Part 1

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is remembering memories about family. I love sitting around and playing "Remember When?" and laughing about things that happened in the past. Another way to relive Christmas is to go back and watch old home videos. So, this week, we're going to be taking a few days to relive the past and give you a peek into a the Christmas of a certain three-year-old.

Things to Note:
  • I had a stutter. It's definitely because it was so smart that my mouth couldn't keep up with my brain. If you notice, sometimes I still get a little caught up in my words when I think to fast. Sorry, it's a smart people thing.
  • I wasn't real great at sharing. But, I was all into people sharing with me.
  • Daddy gets clamps every year for Christmas now. Most of the time, it's just a joke. But, it all goes back to the Christmas when he told me "Lauren, you can never have too many clamps". Daddy liked working in the shop and building stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ahead of my time...

So, I came up with a great Christmas Week blog series. But, due to some unforeseen technical difficulties, we're going to have to postpone that a bit. Until then, I uncovered this home video to share. Lest anyone think I'm behind on the times, I want it to be known that I was a video-blogger (henceforth known as a "vlogger") from the tender age of five.

Things to note in the video:
  • My dress has upside-down cats on it. Originally, it was supposed to be right-side up ones like normal people have. But, seeing as my mom sewed, it didn't turn out that way. We're not going to mention who's error of judgement that was- but I wanted the cats facing me so I could look at them right-side up. Yep. I was that girl.
  • My theology is horribly incorrect. Let it be known that after taking a course in Christian Theology, I can assure you that my belief that "Everybody loves Jesus, because Jesus loves me and I'm the princess" was definitely heretical. Shh. Don't mention my past to future employers. I was FIVE for goodness sake!
  • I wrote my song myself.
  • I choreographed that dance at the end myself. (Myself being the girl that dropped out of dance class every time her mother signed her up for it and the girl who had absolutely no rhythm.)
  • Video services provided by Daddy. We didn't have webcams back in 1995. I'm not even sure we had the web?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

dream jobs.

So, I read this post by Amy Beth yesterday and it got me thinking.
What do I really want to be when I grow up?
Like, if money/location/etc didn't matter?
  1. A Mommy.
  2. A Princess. 
  3. A Disney Princess (like at the parks!).
  4. A Preschool/Kindergarten Teacher.
  5. A Children's Director.
  6. A Children's Ministry Curriculum Writer. (Is that what they're called? I don't really know. But, I'd love to write curriculum)
  7. A Cupcake Shop Owner.
  8. Run an  "Imagination Shop".
  9. Work for Compassion.
  10. A Social Worker.
  11. A Campaign Manager. (Haha. I know. Lauren + Politics= Dangerous.)
  12. A Footie Pajama Designer.
  13. A Footie Pajama Model.
  14. A Cupcake Taste-Tester.
  15. A Nanny. 
  16. A Writer.
  17. An Etsy Shop Owner.
  18. The Person That Comes Up With TLC Shows
  19. Hannah Montana. (That's a joke...promise?)
  20. A "Baby-Rocker" at an Orphanage (That's ROCKER, not ROBBER)
  21. A Wedding Planner.
  22. A College Professor.
  23. A Bridal Boutique Owner.
  24. A Professional Monogrammer.
  25. A Baby Panda Trainer. 
  26. The Person on "Extreme Home Makeover" That Leads the Crowd in Saying "Move That Bus!"
  27. A Fairy Godmother.
  28. The Wish Giver-Outer for Make-A-Wish
  29. Abby Cadabby. Fancy Nancy. Or Pinkalicious.
  30. A Clown. (I know that sounds creepy. But, I just want to hand out the balloons. I'd be a nice, non-creepy clown. Promise.)
  31. One of Santa's Elves at Christmastime at the Mall.
  32. A Tiara Tester.
There's lots more jobs that I'm sure I would love, but these are the first thirty-two that came to mind.
If you could have any job in the limitations...what would you want to be?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lessons Learned

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
I'm guest posting over at Bloom today about being a recovering perfectionist.
I'd love if you'd hop over there and check it out
Keep reading the rest of the blog, too. I promise that Nicole will rock your world!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Perfect Blogger Syndrome

You know, there's so many wonderful things to be said about blogging. It brings us new friends, gives us ways to document our lives, and can bring a sense of purpose as we bring a message to the world. But, there's also bad things. Have you ever read someone's blog and thought "Why can't I be like THEM?" Have you ever edited a post because you thought "Oh, my hair looks awful in that picture" or "I don't really need to share that story"? I think we all get to this point at sometime or another. I mean, how can we resist comparing ourselves to others in blogging when we do it in real life? 

I think there's something out there called Perfect Blogger Syndrome. How many times do we "run out of things to blog about" because our lives seem so boring compared to others? How many times to we disappear because our lives are no longer glamorous and fun and exciting? I've read so many posts on this subject this week and I think I've figured out why I don't blog anymore. It's not because I've run out of topics. It's just that the topics I have aren't fun and exciting. I've learned that life isn't always "Yay Jesus!". Sometimes it's a quiet prayer for help getting through the day, and that's okay. It doesn't make me any less of a person because my dorm room looks like, well...a dorm room. It doesn't make me any less of a person because I don't go on fun and exciting trips and meet fun and exciting people. I'm still me, Lauren. I'm still a blogger. God has me in this place in my life for a reason. This week, Ashlyn wrote a post on her blogging comeback. In it, she wrote
I've realized that I need to get over myself, because there's people out there--at least I'm pretty sure--that don't always want to see a shimmering little life where my nails are always an unchipped You Don't Know Jacques and my new little Atlanta home looks like Pinterest knocked on my door and said "GIRL, get out da way I'm here to decorate." And where it's really easy to be 23-and-a-half because you were pretty good at college and then lived by yourself on the road for a year. This stage is more like the junior high of adulthood. And that's okay!
It's okay. It's okay not to be perfect. It's okay not to have all your Christmas decorations up. It's okay not to have a perfect family Christmas card. God loves us in spite of our imperfections, so it really shouldn't matter what people think. It's okay not to always have fun adventures to share- we can still share the ordinary, mundane events of life. That just makes the exciting times look all the more exciting. It's okay not to be the "Perfect Blogger" with 456,343,233,783 followers. It's hard not to compare ourselves to others, but it makes blogging so much more enjoyable. 

After all, didn't we start this to write down memories so that we could remember them years from now? Didn't we start blogging to bring glory to God...and not to ourselves? These are things I need to remember in times when I'm tempted to compare myself to the "Perfect Blogger". None of us are perfect. Some of us just let our imperfections shine through more than others. Let's take down the facade and not be afraid to be ordinary. After all, I'm no celebrity. I'm just a girl in college from a small town in Alabama. Embrace the ordinary. Embrace the mundane. Find contentment in who you really are and not who you're pretending to be.

Monday, December 5, 2011


  • We're going to do a bullet point list today because that's really as far as my brain can go.
  • I had my first final today. Professor showed up 30 minutes late, but it only took me 5 minutes because it was easy. That's good, right?
  • I watched Eloise at Christmastime this morning. It's pretty much my favorite Christmas movie.
  • On another related note, I watched Rudolph and Polar Express tonight. I promise I'm studying Mom.
  • I have about 1/2 of my Theology study guide done and that's not even until Wednesday. 
  • So, I started a gluten-free experiment last week. 
  • Hence the reason I have a bunch of gluten free pins on Pinterest
  • I already feel somewhat better, but it's hard to tell. I'm pretty sure I'm sticking with it though. 
  • I miss cupcakes the most. I'm going to have to make some GF ones ASAP. Come on Gigi's, get with the picture and make some yummy gluten free food for me.
  • Oh- and mexican food. I had a Moe's craving today. And Pizza Hut- don't get me started on that one. The dough...
  • I'm pretty sure that I'm about to go to sleep. I've been in jammies all day and in bed for most of it too. But, I was productive (aforementioned study guide + finishing a term paper).
  • I really need some Christmas socks.
  • I'm feeling more than slightly nerdy today. Bahaha.

  • If you haven't heard of Nicole's "Big Give", you need to check out her blog ASAP. Pronto. Um, go! 
  • And...goodnight. :)