Sunday, January 29, 2012

SUPER Sunday Sparkle- Week 4!

This is a SUPER Sunday Sparkle because I have tons of pictures. I started out with a goal of one picture per week, but I’ve taken more than one for most of the past few weeks! Project 52 doesn’t HAVE to just be a collection of 52 pictures if you’re playing by my rules. I think there can be a few extra thrown in there for good measure. :)
With all my free time this week, I’ve actually done my hair. Crazy, huh? One day this week (Honestly, I don’t remember these things) I put a bow in my hair. Yes. A Lady Gaga bow. I figured out how to do it months ago from some blog, somewhere…I don’t really remember. So, I was playing around and fixed my hair in a bow. While I thought it was super cute (and super Lauren-ish), I chickened out before wearing it to class. For some reason, I feel like I have to be super-psycho serious there. A a bow isn’t serious. It’s playful. I think I might wear it someday though.
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On Friday, I did a sock bun in my hair. I like sock buns, because they keep my thick, frizzy hair all together when I go to sleep with wet hair and it dries funny. (I ditched the belt you see in the pictures before class. Something just didn’t look right). I think I tried to make a goal last week of dressing cute each day. I’m not sure I really passed though, because I think I wore Pajama Jeans one day.
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I’ve had a hard week this past week (as you can tell from my last post). I don’t know why, but my emotions are ALL over the place. I’ve been struggling really hard to keep my head above water. But, in the midst of all of this, I’ve been immersing myself in scripture. I’ve been teaching my kids in Sunday School that the can turn to the Word to get help from God in any situation, and I’ve had to do that myself this week. Rather than throw a pity party, I’ve used the Word of God like a sword to kill and destroy all of the lies that Satan is throwing my way. I know that God must have a mighty, awesome plan if Satan is working THIS HARD to destroy me.
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Typical week in the life as seen through my planner. Yes, dear. I schedule TV watching in my planner. Don’t want to miss The Bachelor, Dance Moms, or Toddlers and Tiaras, do we? This week was pretty light work wise, but things are heating up for this week. I’ve got a test on Thursday and midterms are coming up FAST. Eek. I know it’s only January, but when finals start Mid-April, there’s not a lot of playtime. Got to study-udy-udy!
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This precious picture is my darling youngest brother. For some reason, he decided to dress up today for church (I’m saving my other picture from today for next week, but this one seemed to go better with last week). He’s sure cute, isn’t he? Sorry ladies, he’s not single and ready to mingle. :)
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And THAT concludes SUPER Sunday Sparkle for Week 4!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Looking for Sparkle.

Honestly, I was going to post a "pity party" post about my life. That was the total plan for the post. It just seems like things keep hitting a brick wall just about the time that I figure things out. Honestly, right now I'm struggling.

Yes, I'm only taking 12 hours (4 classes) this semester. But, I'm completely lost in two of the four classes. As in, I have no idea what we're talking about. I mean, I read the material multiple times. I think I understand it. Then, I go to class and take a quiz and I fail it. FAIL IT. I mean, you get a 65 for putting your name on the piece of paper. I write a page and a half and do what I think is a great job- and I still get no credit for my work and get a 65. It's incredibly frustrating and happening in BOTH classes I have with this professor. I mean, I love the guy. He's old and amazing and super brilliant. But, I'm just not getting what I'm doing wrong. I did fine last semester in my Theology class with the same kind of quizzes. But, for some reason, Philosophy and Ethics are kicking my butt. In addition, I have this pride thing where I really don't want to end up with two "C"s this semester. It will KILL my GPA, and I just recovered (somewhat) from my two "C"s Freshman year. At this point, it would pretty much end my hopes of grad school, seeing as I'm going to have to get a scholarship for that. I'm frustrated that I'm putting hours in doing reading, highlighting, and outlining and getting NOTHING in return. At this point, I'm about ready to throw in the towel.

I'm not trying to complain (okay, actually I am. I just need to vent and really this is all I have), but I'm incredibly lonely this semester. I feel like I'm not the only one struggling with this (because I've read so many other blog friends' posts about how they have this same problem this term), but it doesn't make things better. Last semester, I was hardly on campus. I was always running to class, or church, or home or whatever. I was struggling to stay on top of everything. There was no time. This led to me not being the friend I needed to be. But this semester, here I am with no job. Okay, that's kind of a lie. I work Wednesday nights for a few hours watching Preschoolers. But, that's really not something that requires any prep time and it takes about three hours for dinner plus kid-watching. I have an enormous amount of time. While this does give me time to stay up to date on my homework, it's mostly reading. That doesn't take forever. I feel like I'm always sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I've tried to spend time with friends and stuff, but they're always busy with other people. I mean, I don't expect to be everything, but if I make plans with someone- that's normally something that I look forward to all day. Then, when people cancel on me- I get disappointed. I've learned to just not expect anything. I'm not trying to be a downer, because I know that I brought this on myself last semester, but it just gets lonely. It's quiet around here. I'm normally in my pajamas by dinner time, and in bed watching a movie shortly thereafter. I'm tired of being boring- I want to do something exciting. But, it just feels like there's nobody around. I miss spending all day with my friends. I miss having lunch together and dinner with people. I mean, I'm seriously pitiful. I'm going to make a great cat lady someday.

I'm at a complete loss of what to do with my life. I just have this feeling that grad school isn't going to work out. For some reason, going into massive amounts of debt to work in a church seems crazy. I don't know why most of these churches want master's degrees or a degree from seminary. I mean, they're not going to pay you enough to live on- much less pay back student loans. At the same time as all of this, several of my dream jobs have openings. I'm not talking about tiara tester or footie pajama model- I'm talking reality here. Yet, since I'm not graduating until December, I'm thinking that they don't want to wait 11 months to get me. I'm freaking out about my future, even though I know that I made a New Year's Goal not to. Freaking out. I know God has a plan for my life- but he needs to get with the program and realize that my "cat lady" tendencies aren't going to pay the bills. And that I really don't want to work retail, restaurant, or call center. I'd like to put my college degree to use. I've only worked for the past four years on it, for crying out loud!

So, my "non pity party" post turned into one. Drats. I was trying to avoid that. I was trying to stay positive- but it's hard. I know that I have a "great life". I don't want to be lectured about that. But, sometimes it's hard to keep going. It's hard to not want to quit. It's frustrating when you work so hard (on homework, friendships, and life goals) and they aren't working out like you planned. Yesterday, Nicole tweeted something about how life is changing, and sometimes it's hard (I don't remember the exact quote). Somehow, I was able to pull out, "Life changes are good! It means we're actually living. If you didn't grow and change, you wouldn't be where you are today!" I'm not sure how I got that out- because honestly, I've been feeling pretty crummy. I'm not too fond of the changes that life is throwing at me. I end up yelling at God. I end up throwing things. And I end up taking a lot of bubble baths. But, sometimes we need to take the time to relax. To realize how far we've come- and how hard times have brought us good things. Sometimes we need to look for the sparkle in our lives, even when we don't feel particularly sparkly at the moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 3

A little late this week (it's kind of Tuesday), but I just remembered to post this! Fun, fun.

A fun little present for a friend. She and I are going to be going through Grace for the Good Girl together for the next few weeks and I am so excited. Of course I had to wrap the book in some computer paper and stick an Erin Condren label on it.

Another one of my friends turned 22 last Friday and I had to make her this little piece of birthday cake. She's a sweet Catholic girl, so I had to make her a holy family cake. Complete with a snow globe. Yes, it's that amazing. :)

And that's the sparkle from last week. Yay! (So, I'm typing this up on my iPad and it just autocorrected "yay" to "thistle". So, from now on, I think I'm going to say "Thistle!" when I get excited from now on. End of story. Winning. Anyone catch that Bachelor reference just then?)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Tightrope

Depending on me may feel like walking on a tightrope, but there is a safety net underneath: the everlasting arms. So don't be afraid of falling. Instead, look ahead to me. I am always before you, beckoning you on- one step at a time. -Sarah Young

Interesting fact: I've told my parents since my freshman year in college that my fall-back plan is dropping out of college to join the circus. Please note that I hate stinky animals and I have a crazy fear of heights, so I'm totally not cut out for the job. I've always had a crazy dream of being an acrobat, though. They just seem so graceful as they fly through the sky to their untimely deaths.

I was reading in my devotional last night (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young) and the above sentences really stood out to me. I mean, so often this whole trusting God thing seems too hard. The economy is "too bad". The salary for ministry is "not enough". My classes seem "useless" when I'm going to end up working at McDonald's. But, I have to remember that God is always right there. He is one step ahead of me, guiding me along this path. I don't need to fear- or look down. I just need to keep my "eyes on the prize" and gaze heavenward. I just need to look straight ahead and look to Him for assistance.

Okay, so at the risk of sounding like a complete geek, this reminds me of some of my family's favorite TV shows- Ninja Warrior and Wipeout. While the two shows are different, the both focus on a common goal- get to the end of the course in the fixed amount of time without "wiping out". It is a challenge that is more difficult than first glance. The obstacles are quite difficult and a majority of contestants cannot even get through the first course. But, for the ones that are able to finish, they hold a high place of honor. The passage from my devotional is like these shows. Even when I am on an incline plane, bridge, or escape ladder (figuratively speaking, of course. I am so afraid of heights), I don't need to look down or look back. I don't need to keep looking back to what already happened or where I messed up in the past. I just need to keep my focus on God. I just need to focus on the end goal- to finish the race. Sometimes, like the contestants on these game shows, I may fall. But, I don't need to focus on this. My safety net will catch me. My God will scoop me up and put me back up on that rope. I don't need to fear falling or what "might happen", because God is right there ahead of me. He is telling me when and where to step. He is encouraging me. He is telling me not to give up, because it is going to be "so worth it" in the end.

[Note: Sunday Sparkle coming soon...probably tomorrow since I left my iPad charger at home and the pictures are all there.]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

RePost- Who Do You Go For?

So, I've been busy. For one of my classes (that meets two times a week), we have to do a blog for each class. Obviously, I love blogging. But, I tend to use up all my blogging topics (minus things like Sparkle Sunday) over there. I'm not posting the link to that blog (um, can we say awkward video blogs? plus, it's mostly class related stuff), but I've decided I'm going to post some of my favorites as the semester goes along over here to share with all of you. I've decided to name the series "RePost", since I'm "reposting" posts from over there. :)

I think that this post is one of my favorite blog posts that I've ever written. Last week, we talked about faith and politics as viewed in the Book of James and the early church. Since faith and politics are two of my favorite things...I really liked it. Ready, go!
Who do you go for?

I mean, I've lived in Alabama since I was four. One of the first things that I learned about after moving here was allegiance. In "Elmore-County" terms, allegiance means "who you go for". Growing up, nobody specified which teams you had to choose between, it was just a given that your choices were Auburn or Alabama. To make things more complicated for this confused child, neither of my parents grew up in Alabama. My dad is from Texas and attended Baylor. My mom is from Florida and attended Florida State. So, when faced with a football dilemma, I normally went with Florida State, seeing as they had a football team and had pretty colors (to a little girl, that's all that really matters anyways). But, when I went to Kindergarten at Wetumpka Elementary, things changed. Florida State wasn't "good enough". I had to decide between Auburn and Alabama. I'm going to be honest here and tell you that I flip-flopped every year depending who my best friend was, which team my teacher preferred (I was totally a teacher's pet), and which colors I liked better on a chosen day. I wasn't really loyal to one team or another. It depended on which side of the pep rally I wanted to sit on (meaning "where is my best friend?'). It meant which shirt do I have that has a matching hair bow. It meant things completely unrelated to football games. This continued through middle school and high school. I never really gave much thought to the matter because I really didn't care. Growing up, I said I would never actually attend college at Auburn or Alabama, so it didn't really matter. Well, that changed my senior year in High School when I applied to Auburn on a whim and ended up choosing to go there. After attending some football games and getting into the general college atmosphere, I decided to be an Auburn fan. Obviously, I don't still attend there (something about not liking crowds and lots of people), but the loyalty still remains.

So, why did I tell this story? To illustrate a point, of course. Allegiance to something means nothing until it means something. Okay, I know, that seems redundant. But, let's dig a little deeper here. First, what is allegiance? According to Merriam-Webster, allegiance is defined as "devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause". When I was growing up, my allegiance (or devotion or loyalty) wavered between Alabama and Auburn because neither of them meant anything to me. It wasn't as if my family members attended one university or the other. It wasn't like I was raised to be a __________ fan. No, my allegiance varied depending on who I was with. I had no ultimate allegiance. It meant nothing to me until it meant something (when I attended Auburn).

Something that we as Christians have to wrestle with is who our ultimate allegiance is for. As Christians, we have to decide whether our ultimate allegiance is to God (what the Bible says) or to America (what our country/ feelings of patriotism say). Don't get me wrong here. I feel like you can love BOTH God AND America. I think it is good to be patriotic. I think that there is nothing wrong with a Christian "loving America". There have been tons of songs written about this. I mean, "God Bless America". Clearly, there is a belief that God loves America and America loves God. But, sometimes you are called upon to make a choice. A decision that may be hard. There are some situations when your love of country may conflict with your love of God. That is where we must choose an ultimate allegiance. What happens when the teachings of Scripture don't line up with the expectations and beliefs that your country holds? This is hard to imagine living in Alabama. Christianity has become a part of culture. There's not much of a risk being a Christian here. I mean, to run for political office, you have to be an active member of a church. Otherwise people might start calling you a "turban-wearing Muslim" or a "baby-eating Satanist" or something crazy like that. So, it's hard to imagine what it was like for the early Christians in Rome. There's not an easy way to separate my religion and my politics. It's hard for me to claim allegiance to one over the other. My morals come from my religion. My morals influence my political views and who I vote for. Thus, I can say that my religion plays a large role in my politics. But, I believe that I have a higher calling than being a "good American". I believe that my allegiance to the cause of Christ must be greater than my allegiance to America. I can't flip flop between the two, choosing which is convenient. A choice has to made.

Sometimes this choice may place us under threat. I think that the secular world should view Christianity as a threat. If all of the people who claimed to know Christ, who claimed to have a relationship with Him, lived their lives as if the gospel mattered, then the world would be radically changed. If the people of Christ rose up to fight injustice, then the people doing unjust things would not be happy. If all Christians began loving their neighbor as themselves and caring for the poor and poverty was eliminated, where would the social programs go? What would make governments "look good"? What would make them look like they cared for their people? If Christians were meeting every need, then what? I think the governments of the world would absolutely see Christianity as a threat. I think it speaks volumes that they don't see us as a threat. How are we living? Look at the life of Jesus. How he lived. What he did. Every aspect of his life. The Roman world saw him as a threat. He was a threat because he wanted change. He wanted to challenge people. He was seen as threatening by the political and religious leaders of his day. Ultimately, they sentenced him to death because they felt so threatened by him. His ultimate allegiance was not to country- rather it was to God.

So, when it comes down it, we have a choice to make. God or America? I'm not going try to say that serving in the armed forces is bad. I come from a long line of military people. I'm not saying you shouldn't say the pledge of Allegiance, okay? I'm just saying, when it comes down to it-when the world falls apart and you have to choose...
Who do you go for?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Sparkle-Week 2

There was lots of exciting Sparkle in my week.

I'm not really great at only taking one picture a week. Mostly because I have so much time on my hands. 12 hours isn't my favorite course load. I mean, yes...I AM taking Philosophy and Ethics. Those are hard. But, this overachiever is spending way too much time watching TV. I need to get a hobby. :)

Without further adieu, here's my Sunday Sparkle.

I've already vlogged about the incredibleness known as the Pasta Boat. Changed my life forever.

I finally got some more command strips and finished hanging my pictures in my room. Yay, pretty!

I have this verse on my whiteboard by my door. I've had it up since Christmas, because I think I need to be reminded of this sometimes! It reminds me that I need to find joy in my present situation- where I am at right now. God has a meaning and purpose for me being RIGHT HERE. I am perfectly posited to do good work for His name right here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This Post Might Change Your Life

No, really.
It all started last Saturday when Mom and I were shopping at Ross. Dangerous store I tell you. Cheap prices. And while we were shopping, we came across a nifty little invention called the "Pasta Boat". I've really been wanting one for awhile now, because I knew that it would revolutionize the way I thought about food. I mean, I know that some of you live in houses and apartment where you have these things called ovens that you can cook yummy brownies in, but I live in a dorm where the only place to cook is a microwave. Apparently a toaster is a fire hazard. So, the Pasta Boat could literally CHANGE MY LIFE. And at $3.98, this was the PERFECT, CHEAP way to change my life.

And boy. It did. I've had pasta four times this week. Or five. I don't really remember, because I'm kind of in a pasta coma. And I'm considering changing my superhero name to "THE PASTANATOR". Yes, I'm for serious. So, if you want to learn how to change your life and revolutionize your dorm room, you should definitely watch this video I made of me cooking. I'm thinking about submitting my idea to the Food Network. I could have a show like "Cooking with Lauren and Her Super Fantabulous Pasta Boat" or "Dorm Room Dining: Pasta Boat Edition". Either way, I'm sure it's going to be a huge hit.

In other news, I was going through a period of Diet Coke deprivation during the filming of this segment. I've run out and really don't want to get out in the cold, nasty weather to buy more. So, pardon the craziness.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Sparkle

This year, my word of the year is sparkle (we discussed this last week-this should be old news.) Since we discovered that Project 365 is more than slightly difficult, I've adopted a Project 52 model this year with a goal of at least 1 picture a week. This week, I got three. This first picture is all my textbooks except for one. Let me tell you. I went through issues to get that philosophy book. I ordered off Amazon twice and got instructor review copies. Returned those because in big bold letters it says "do not resell" and it is basically illegal and stuff. Ordered it from my bookstore, they don't ship it, they hand deliver it to me. And guess what- same thing! Instructor's review copy. Sorry for trying to be ethical. It's one day before classes start and I'm over this book thing. Instructor's review copy it is.

Can I just say that Passion was amazing? I watched it on my computer and it was basically perfect (no crowds) except I missed the whole experiencing part. Bummer. I think my favorite night was Francis- it always is.

Lastly, I started a 1000 gifts project to help remind me about gratitude. (confession: I still haven't read the book.) One of the things I am grateful for is warm quilts. They are so nice on cold days. I think I'm also grateful for LNG charge cords so that I can lie in my nice warm bed with my nice warm quilts and be on my computer.

So, that's the sparkle from this past week! Come back next Sunday for more Sparkle! Yay!

Friday, January 6, 2012

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Have you ever wished you could go back and talk to yourself in Middle School or High School? I posed this question last summer here on the blog, but I just got around to finally composing a list. There's so many things I'd like to say to myself. For sake of time and organization, I've composed it in a list rather than a letter. I tried to be personal, while still maintaining a sense of impersonal language so that I might could use it in a lesson someday. I really feel like as young women we need to spend time investing in the lives of the "little girls" around us. Whether it be the smallest girls in the nursery or older girls in the student ministry at our churches, we NEED to teach these girls. We need to think about the things that we wish we would have known. We need to teach these girls that they are "kind, smart, and important" as Abeline in The Help teaches her babies. So, this is my list of ten things that if I could go back and talk to my younger self I would tell me. (Wow. That sentence was incredibly awkward.)
  1. You are going to be shaken. Your world is going to be rocked. You're going to feel like your life is over. I promise you are going to survive, though. It is going to be hard. But, you need to remember to turn back to God. Always keep trusting him, even when he seems silent. You're just talking too much and need to learn to listen. 
  2. Stop hiding things. Be more transparent. You are not alone in your struggles, even though it may seem like it. Find a trusted friend and share what is going on. Find some godly women in your church-they are dying for you to ask them for advice. You don't have to keep up the "perfect little Christian girl" act anymore. Sweetie, we already know your not perfect. 
  3. People are going to let you down. The people that you trust the most are going to disappoint you. This is a part of life. Don't stop having friendships with people because someone else betrayed you. What is done is done. Move towards the future. Hey-when you graduate high school, you're not going to see these people again. Live for the moment. Show the love of Jesus. Don't give up. Don't let Satan win by holding grudges and not moving on. 
  4. Invest in people. Spend time creating meaningful relationships. Don't just be "bffs"-share in life together. Don't be shallow and fake. It is okay to let your imperfections shine through. Show them the love of Jesus. Let your love of Jesus be so present that no one can ignore it. Don't let fear keep you from speaking out. Live it out so that you don't regret things later. 
  5. You are beautiful. While it might not seem like it because you don't dress as cute and your hair is a frizzy mess, remember that the King is enthralled with your beauty. He thinks you are worth it. Don't waste time comparing yourself to other girls- you aren't them. They feel just as empty inside as you do. There isn't a magic potion to make you feel better. Fill that emptiness with God and seek to find contentment in him. 
  6. You will survive middle school and high school without being in a serious relationship. It may seem like everyone is dating, but you are called to something better. Don't think less of yourself because you aren't dating anyone and you've never been kissed. You were called to a higher purpose. God has a plan- and that involves saving yourself. You don't need boys to be happy- so stop having a pity party and rejoice in God's timing! 
  7. Work on your relationship with God. It isn't about checking all the boxes and being perfect. Read His word and know what he is saying to you. Study it. Spend time in prayer- not because you feel like you have to, but because it is the desire of your heart. There is so much he wants to teach you. There is so much you have left to learn. The Bible isn't just about Jonah, Noah, and the Christmas Story. You have a long way to go, precious child. Don't give up. 
  8. Don't stress about the little things. Your grades don't matter as much as you think they do. It isn't worth a breakdown. A "B" is not going to kill you. It won't be the end of the world. (Trust me, you are going to get TWO "C"s your freshman year of college. Live and learn, sweet girl.) 
  9. Don't complain about your family as much. Yes, your brothers are annoying. Yes, your parents are "way too strict". But, when you go to college, you are going to miss your babies. You are going to call home everyday at 3 to hear about how their school day went. And your "totally uncool" parents? They have your best interests at heart. You really don't need to be allowed to see those scary movies. They will just give you nightmares. The reason they care who your friends are is because they care about you. You really do love them- even when you say you don't. They really are super amazing and you'll be glad they did what they did someday. 
  10. Throw away that life plan. Throw it away. You may think you can schedule out your life, but you can't. You will end up doing what you never said you would. You are going to go to colleges you said you wouldn't. You're going to be indecisive about your major. You won't have a ring by Spring. That "MRS" degree? Ha. Think again. Follow God's plan, and don't stress out about what that entails. Go with the flow. Be bold. Be daring. Speak fearlessly. Proclaim the gospel. Do the things that really matter in life and let God handle the rest. 
So. What about you? What would you share with your younger you? What message do you feel that you need to share with the younger generation of girls that are a part of your life? 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Indifference is NOT an option.

Even though I didn't physically get to Atlanta this week to experience Passion 2012, I watched the Livestream online. Can I just tell you that we serve a GREAT God? I felt like each speaker was speaking to my needs at that moment that I was listening. It really got me thinking about what I need to be doing in my life. I don't need to wait around until after I graduate to do something- I need to do something NOW.

One of my favorite quotes from this week was, "Ignorance is not an excuse. Indifference is not an option." We can no longer say that we are not aware of the problem of human trafficking. We can't say that we are not aware that more people are being sold into slavery now than at any other point in history. Kids are getting their childhoods stolen away from them. Little girls that should be playing with dolls and having tea parties are getting raped on a repeated basis. THIS IS WRONG. We can't just sit around doing nothing. I can't just sit in my room saying that I'll do something later. God COMMANDS us to do something...and to do something now. When we begin to believe this, crazy things happen. Crazy things like lives changing. Crazy things like 44,000 college students worshiping in a football arena. Crazy things like those college kids raising THREE MILLION dollars to fight human trafficking. Yeah, that's the God I serve.

I don't know if you were at Passion. I don't know if you watched the livestream. But, I can tell you that you need to get your hands on those messages. Some sessions are still up here (until tonight/tomorrow), but you need to go here and buy the Digital All Access pass so you can get your hands on all of them.

Earlier I mentioned my favorite quote. Since I want to remember it all year long and not forget it, I made a little printable. Since I would LOVE for you to remember that "Indifference is not an option" now that we know, I want to share this with you. It's an 8x10 and you can print it out at home. Or you can send it to Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and get it printed on photo paper. Your choice. A present from me to you. :)

You can download below or go here to download on Scribd's website. There are five colors to choose from: turquoise-ish, navy, orange, pink, and gray.



Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. 
-Matthew 11:28-30

Sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we forget to rest. We work so hard at planning every intricate detail of our lives out that we forget who has planned out our lives from the very beginning. We get so caught up on "the perfect resume" and planning out steps to get to our "perfect future" that we forget to live in the here and now. I truly believe that sometimes God calls us to rest. He calls to us saying, "Precious Child, don't you know that I have all your days planned out. Relax. I've got this. Come and rest in my arms." 

Take comfort in knowing that your Creator already knows what's going to happen. It doesn't matter what is on your resume. It doesn't matter what extracurriculars you do or don't do. It doesn't matter what sorority your in or who your friends are. What matters is that you are living in the here and now. What matters is that God already has every detail of your life planned out. He knows what's going to happen when you go back to school this semester. He already knows what's going to happen after you graduate. If you are following his Word and are doing what he has commanded- you're headed in the right direction. Are you loving God? Are you loving his people? Then nothing else matters! Take rest in THAT! Bring your burdens to HIM and lay them at his feet. Surely you don't think the unemployment rate is a bigger problem than God can handle. If I remember correctly, he's moved mountains. He's made a donkey talk. Um, hello- he's raised people from the DEAD! Take rest in Him. He is all that matters.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

new year. new goals.

This year, I'm claiming Jeremiah 29:11-14 as my "Verse(s) of the Year". This passage reads,
 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.”
So many crazy things are going on in my life. I'm growing up and about to graduate college, and honestly- it's a little scary. I spend so much time stressing out about what I'm going to do a year from now. I'm handing this over to God. This doesn't mean I'm never going to have a freak out moment- but, hopefully they will be less frequent. I'm handing over my future to the one who already knows my future. I'm going to let His light shine my path and lead me where I need to go- whether it be grad school, seminary, children's ministry, Walmart greeter....I'm going to lean on him. He has a plan for my future.

I've been working on a book since this past summer and hit a roadblock this semester. Most of the material in the book (so far) has been written on in one way or another on my blog, but I want to buckle down and work on this thing. It's got a long way to go, but I really want to finish it.

Last Spring, I read through the Bible in a month. While it was definitely something I needed to do, this year I want to commit to reading through the Bible in a year. With the extra time, I want to spend time studying and diving deeper into what I'm reading. I want to soak it all in and dwell on His Word a little longer this time. Rather than checking the "I Did My Reading Today" box, I want to immerse myself in the presence of God and let Him speak to me through His Word.

 Nicole's post this week really struck a chord with me. Her word for the year is "with". She wrote,
“With” is the very nature of God. God knew that we needed to be with him in order to better understand him. So, he sent us Jesus. And God was with us. The time Jesus spent on earth, he taught us all about “with”. How to love, how to care, how to encourage, how to give grace. He was the ultimate example of with. He was constantly with people. He didn’t just preach from a stage and go on his merry way. He was in the crowds. He had friends. He met with people. He was with.
I want to be intentional about being present in my relationships. Rather than staying in my room doing homework all the time, I want to get out in the world and be His hands and feet. I want to find a way to serve my community by being present. When I'm teaching my kids in Sunday School, I want to be completely present with them and not have my mind on other things. When I'm spending time with friends, I don't want to be texting other friends- I want to be completely present in their lives. I want to show the love of Jesus through my presence. In addition, I want to be present in my relationship with God. I want to get better at having a quiet time and dwelling in the Word. I want to get better at attending campus worship services and bible studies. I find that so often I get caught up in serving God's people that I don't allow myself to be served.  I want to be present in my relationship with God, not always running around doing something.

December 2012. Barring any major complications, this shouldn't be a problem. I'm a little bummed not to be graduating in May, but seeing as I am attending my 3rd college, on my 5th major, and I took a semester off- I'll deal with it.