Friday, March 30, 2012

The "Dunk and Sprinkle"

For future reference, I'm declaring today Fabulous Friday. In part, because I giggled so much while writing the following post. I don't think I've laughed as hard while writing a post as I did the past few days as I've worked on this post. I wrote it to send in as a guest post for Stuff Christians Like, but I couldn't wait to post it. I think it takes at least a year to get published over there...and I'm too impatient for that. Plus, it's a few hundred words over the limit. I'm also working on another book (yes, that means I'm in the process of writing two books at the moment- one silly and one serious) and this may just be part of the "silly" one. So, without further adieu, I'll introduce this post. If you know me very well, you know that I'm just not the best at the whole relationships thing. And, when I'm forced to come up with an excuse quickly...well, things don't always go very smoothly.
(I could think of seven-the magical Christian number, but the last three would be lame) 
Christian Breakup Lines:

1. I'm sorry, but you're not the person God wants me to marry.
This one is a cop out. I mean, I've used it before, but that doesn't make it any better. What it really means is "I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I really don't like you, so I'm just gonna blame God". While I do believe that the boy in question was not the man God wanted me to marry (I mean, he was Baptist and I'm a Methodist. I was sprinkled. It just wasn't going to work. Calvinists and Armenians can't get along forever), But, the real reason I ended the relationship was that he wasn't a good boyfriend. I have high expectations, you know.

I don't think my high expectations are a good thing though. Sure, they make you guard your heart and all, but is anyone going to be "perfect"? I mean, I'm pretty sure "the one" is going to be annoying sometimes and get on my nerves. This story isn't a perfect fairy tale, my name isn't Cinderella, and because boy is a boy- he probably isn't going to always act like Prince Charming. Not saying I need to lower my standards, but my expectations (and yours!) need to be realistic. We don't live in a Disney movie.

2. I'm sorry, but I'm moving to Africa in a month.
Is this really fair? I mean, this is the ultimate break up line, because who is going to argue with it. I mean, if I don't move to Africa, then who will save all the poor, starving African children? If I don't go, I might end up like Jonah in the belly of a whale. Or large fish. Whichever is more biblically accurate. This is the "big poppa" of breakup lines- make sure it's worth the emotional angst you may cause the person. But, if they- hypothetically ask you to go see a Disney movie and make corny Disney jokes like "let me be the Woody to your Jessie"- that's the situation that you should employ this line. If you just aren't into him in a "wish he liked it so he'd put a ring on it" kind of way. Sit him down to have a little DTR and tell him that you're moving to Africa. Just try not to do it via text message. That's kind of mean. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Okay, fine. I have to admit, I've used this one. That is a little embarrassing. It was kind of an exaggeration though. I mean, I've never BEEN to Africa, much less moved there. I was planning on moving to the south side of Chicago though, and that's kind of like Africa, right?

For this to work, you have to use Africa. It stirs up those emotional images we discussed earlier. I mean, you could say, "I'm moving to China to help the baby girls". That may work. South America maybe...but it might be too close. He may try to visit you or something and you'd be caught in your lie. But, don't say you're moving to Europe. It's too intellectual, and boy may want to come visit you/go with you. They have cool places in Europe. And for goodness sake, don't use Antarctica. Boy will know you are lying then. Especially if you think Alabama gets cold in the winter. Oh- and make sure you actually leave town to go somewhere. Or at least change colleges. Or avoid him. Otherwise...that'd just be embarrassing.

3. I'm sorry, but I'm joining a convent and becoming a nun. 
To start with, I've never used this one. I'm not Catholic, so that would be pretty difficult unless I dated someone that I didn't discuss religion with. Or that didn't understand the religion we discussed. But, the fact is- I would totally use this one if given the chance/opportunity (okay, running and hiding from embarrassment here). I mean, nuns and priests are known for their vow of chastity (I know that we are in the 21st century now and things might have changed in some places, but to my knowledge, they can't marry). So, telling someone that you've decided to persue a more religious lifestyle and join a convent would be a great way to break up. I mean, it's totally me, and not about you at all.

Short side story here. In high school, right before graduation, we did "senior predictions". Basically, where would you be in five to ten years (silly, of course!). My friends wrote that I would "go off to Auburn and discover the evils of the world and decide to become a nun. After joining the convent, I would invent 'Hot Nun Tanning Lotion' and market it around the world". So basically, it's been predestined that I should become a nun.

4. I'm sorry, but you're a ___________ and I'm a __________. 
I briefly alluded to this one in the first line. But, I feel that I should go into greater details. There's a variety of ways to use this one. For example:
  • I'm sorry, but you're a Baptist and I'm a Methodist. 
  • I'm sorry, but you're a Calvinist and I'm an Armenian. 
  • I'm sorry, but you believe in predestination and I like the doctrine of free will. 
  • I'm sorry, but you dunk and I sprinkle. 
  • I'm sorry, but you raise your hands, and I'm uncomfortable with anything other than formal liturgy. 
  •  I'm sorry, but you let women preach/wear pants, and I think a woman's place is in the kitchen. 
  • I'm sorry, but you're a Democrat and I'm a Republican. 
  • I'm sorry, but you go for Alabama and I go for Auburn. 
I think you get the idea by now. I hope. Normally, this breakup occurs between two people from different backgrounds. The backgrounds conflict too much, and in the end, they can't settle the agreement. Sad, I know. My favorite's the "dunk and sprinkle" one. I call it the "dunk and sprinkle". It explains all of life's conflicts. I mean, if you disagree with me about something and you just so happen to be Baptist (I have nothing against Baptists, promise. I'm just a Methodist and it's a part of the great Metho-Baptist controversy) I'll just use the "dunk and sprinkle" and walk off like nothings wrong and accept that it's okay to disagree. Part of me hopes I can use it someday. But, the other part of me does want to get married someday, so I can't keep running off potential suitors like this. 

So, what are the "best" worst breakup lines you've ever used or had used on you? Come on, it's Fabulous Friday, let's join together and laugh of our "failures". Literally. Haha. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


“To live a life of perfection is not to make all A’s or to never miss a Sunday at church; rather, it is to live a life true to our identity as children of an utterly untemptable God who never changes, shows no partiality, and has no darkness in Him at all”
-Beth Moore, Mercy Triumphs

I'm currently struggling to write a paper on Christian perfection. I know, I know, it seems a little silly. I'm just frustrated that it's not turning out perfect. I had a route that I wanted to go, but my sources aren't wanting to follow that direction. I wanted to write a paper on perfection, legalism, and Grace for the Good Girl (perks of being a religion major). But, I think I might be actually learning something from all of this- that I don't have it all figured out. I mean, I like to think that "the law" is a bad thing- well, not like an evil-bad thing. More in a I-Don't-Like-Being-Boxed-In kind of thing. Like their isn't freedom in this law. That this whole perfection thing has to be followed to the umteenth degree and when I fail- I fail. But, there IS freedom in this law. It's called the perfect law for a reason. Mariam Kamell says, “The Torah was a law of liberty both because it was given at the time of liberation from Egypt, and because failure to obey it led to repeated enslavements to nations” The ancient Israelites didn't despise the Torah. Yeah, sure, following all of the little laws probably got a little old after awhile. But, by following the law, they were protected.

I think that if you dwell on this whole perfection thing long enough, you will see that we desperately need wholeness and completeness. Even the demons believe in God and fear Him. It is not enough to simply believe. In Mercy Triumphs, Beth makes the statement“To only affirm the first half of the Shema is not enough. To affirm the creedal statement without loving God with one’s entire being is to keep half of the Shema. James calls us obey it all: ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Lack of works equals lack of follow-though. This is what results in the doublemindedness or doubt that James talks about.

We hesitate to commit wholeheartedly to some single particular thing or idea. We stand at the edge, hovering, wondering what may happen. So, we don’t fully commit. We dip our toes in the water, but we run back to the dry sand when the tide comes in. This makes me think of the yogurt commercial on TV where the Mom tells her daughter to go run and get some yogurt- one in each flavor. The point of the commercial is that Yoplait (or whoever) sells too many flavors and the poor girl ends up trying to hold them all and she drops them and we get a "clean up on aisle 11". But, how often are we that girl? We don't want to say "my favorite flavor is blueberry", so we end up conflicted over which "flavors" we should "buy". We end up juggling church, Sunday School, bible studies, dating the perfect Christian boy, wearing modest clothing, trying our very hardest to be the "best Christian". Trying desperately to be perfect. In the end, we don't fully commit to anything. We go to bible study- most of the time. We show up to service- most of the time. But, we still have one foot out in the world. We don't want to miss our favorite TV show, so we don't sign up for Bible study on that night. We don't want to be "uncool", so when the opportunity arises, we jump for it. We love God, but do we love him with everything? Elijah dealt with this in 1 Kings 1:18 when he told the people of Israel “How long will you go limping between two different opinion? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. He demanded loyalty. This is the same concept James is putting forth.

John Wesley wrote, "They are freed from self-will, as desiring nothing but the holy and perfect will of God; not supplies in want, not ease in pain, not life, or death, or any creature; but continually crying in their innermost soul, ‘Father, thy will be done’…[there once was temptation] but now it does not come in, there being no room for this, in a soul which is full of God." I mean, how many of us would jump on this. I would love to be able to say that this was my mindset. That I desired nothing but God's will. But, I've not been perfected yet. Beth Moore says, “James presents perfection or completeness as the ultimate goal. His call to perfection is not about achieving an abstract state of moral perfection, but about living holistic lives before God”. Perfection is an ultimate goal. But, this goal isn't one of "moral perfection"- doing all the "right" things- it's one of a holistic life. It's one of working towards a mindset of "this is not where I belong, I have a higher purpose". It's seeking wholeness. It's seeking completeness. That's what James means by perfection.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Dress Project Update

Eleven more days to go!
I'm beginning to run out of ideas (hence the knee socks in today's photo).

Yes Mom. That's a navy dress over a black dress. With navy keds. I'm well aware of the clashing going on in this picture.

I found this neat app (pic stitch) that is free and make collages. Since I had to use my iPad to take pictures anyways (dead camera battery), I thought it would be neat to shake things up a bit a get creative.

Can I just say, I'm going to be really happy come Easter! In addition to my Jesus conquering death and the grave, I get to wear normal clothes again. Please don't judge me if I wear Nike shorts and a tshirt everyday. This whole dressing cute thing is over rated. What am I going to do when I get a real job?

Monday, March 26, 2012

I Already Know...

Lately, I've done some questioning. I mean, God's timing doesn't always seem to line up very well with my timing. It is so hard to not get discouraged when things don't go as I've planned. I mean, this summer. I have no idea what I'm going to do. The classes that I need to graduate aren't offered in the summer (downside to a small college). So, I'm hoping for an internship. I've always said my dream was to work in children's ministry- but, there aren't that many full time children's minister jobs that would higher a straight out of college, no experience (aside from a stint as an intern), female (sorry, I can't be a "good husband and father". I'm a girl). So, I'm starting to look into youth ministry- specifically middle school. Not what MY plan was, but God provides.
I find myself wondering why my timing and God's aren't aligning. I mean, it's spring. No ring. Everyone is getting engaged or married. My heart's desire is to be a mommy and wife someday. While my daddy tells me I can cancel on our weekly lunch date if a "hot date" comes hasn't happened yet. I'm not giving up hope (I'm only 21 for goodness sake!), it gets frustrating. And then, I think back to the book of Job. My "hard times" are nothing compared to his. Boils. Dead children. Mad wife. Bad friends. You get the picture. He starts complaining to God, then God steps in. It says in my Bible "then God spoke". I think that was a powerful and scary moment. He says, " Look Job. Where we're you when I set this world into motion? Where we're you when I laid the very foundation? Who are you to question the almighty God?" (super paraphrased).
I can hear God saying the same to me sometimes. He speaks and says,"Lauren, where were you when I created this world? Where were you before time began? Who are you to question my timing?" I mean, it sounds a little silly. Genesis 1 and 2 tell us the story of creation. It's an amazing story. How God could make something from nothing is beyond me. I seem so small. He knows what's going on. He has a plan. Who am I to question the one who already knows everything? One of my favorite songs is "I Already Know" by Mandi Mapes. In the song, she writes,
I already know who's gonna save you. I already wrote, the end of the story. You were made for me and I'll never leave you. In the end, you will be happy. In the end, you will be with me. In the end, it's all for my glory.

Trust God. He's been around a little longer than you have. He knows a little more than you know. Don't doubt his faithfulness, because he's promised that he will stay with you.
That he will love you. Forever.
That he will never leave you. Ever.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Break Sewing Projects

Today, I decided to be productive and do something. I mean, I had a goal to write some research papers over the break. But, since I left my notebook and my outline in my dorm (which is all locked up for break), I haven't been able to do much on that. So, I decided that sewing would be a good alternative. I had some projects that I've been wanting to make, so I worked on them this afternoon.
 My shirt/tank top idea came from here. I used a large gray tshirt that I had in my craft stash from some tshirt scarves that I had made. The bottom was cut off, so it was a little on the shorter side to begin with. I'd definitely recommend not cutting the bottom off before you begin. I was working on my appliqueing skills this afternoon (and miserably failing), so I added a heart to the bottom to add some color. Gray is just kind of dull, you know? The good think about tshirt material is that you don't have to hem anything! So, it was pretty much a 5 minute project. Two lines at the top (to make the place for the string to go through) and then sewing the square on was all the sewing required. Super simple. I'd say you could definitely make this even if you weren't a "sewer".
My "skirt" was also really easy. I didn't use a pattern or anything online, I just used my brain knowledge. I had a 1/2 yard of fabric that I ordered forever ago. I loved it so much that I didn't want to do anything with it that might mess it up, haha! This is the fabric. It's Kate Spain and it's beautiful. I wanted to make a skirt, but I didn't think I would have enough to make one. Luckily, I was wrong. I make it like this one except for I put the elastic in a casing instead of putting it on the outside. Worked much better. I made the elastic tight enough that I could wear it as a high skirt (see above, pretty short), low skirt (lower left) or on top of a shirt as a "tunic-ish thing" (lower right). I really like how it turned out, and am so happy that I have a half-yard skirt! It's a little short, so I'm thinking about possibly some fabric to the bottom. The only problem is that the "white" in the skirt is actually an off-white. Bummer. So, we'll see.
Oh- and yes. A One Dress Project Update?
Twelve more days. We. Can. Do. This. Not much to say about either outfit. Neither of them are "loves", but they aren't repeats and they are semi-cute. Hiding my hair under a ball cap's awful and I really don't know what to do about it. I hate awkward lengths. I'll be thrilled when I can get my hair into a ponytail in all the hair and not just half of it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

dresses and braids.

I love braids. They bring sunshine, rainbows, and smiles to my day. Back before the great haircut of 2012, I rocked a side braid just about every day. My hair was SO LONG (to me anyways), and I didn't know what else to do with it. It took forever to straighten, so I just braided it. No french braid or anything fancy...just something like braiding a friendship bracelet, except with hair. I can only find one picture from this era, so it will have to do.

Fast forward a few weeks and I can no longer braid my hair. I mean, it barely gets in a ponytail. This "5 minute girl" doesn't like taking too long to get ready. Since it's Spring Break this week, I look like crap and have hair hanging everywhere. It doesn't look too awful contained in a baseball cap, but that doesn't seem to go too well with the black dress (confession: last saturday I changed out of my dress and into shorts and a tshirt so that I could wear a hat to Desmond's baseball game). So, I determined that I needed to do something to help the stray hairs stay back. I found a few braid tutorials for short hair online and got to work. The end result was kind of a conglomeration of all of the tutorials and wasn't a braid- it was actually a twist. On the tutorials I watched, the hair covered the end- but, it didn't work out that way. So, I ended up sticking it back in a ponytail and it ended up halfway cute.
I still have some hairs hanging down, but I think with a little refining this may just work! Obviously, I was just experimenting tonight and I have no idea how long it would stay up, but I think this one may end up in the "keep" pile and replace the side braid while I have short hair. I think that if I parted my hair in the middle, I might could make one of those "crown braid" things. I keep seeing them on Pinterest, but I have no desire to spend hours fighting with my hair trying to get it in a french braid. But, if I could do something with a twist- that might work. Yay for creativity!

Now onto the dresses from the days. As I mentioned in my post earlier today, we have arrived at Day 25! I think I've finally figured out the settings my camera needs to be on to make it take okay pictures in my room! I just look a lot paler without all of the editing! Haha. This girl didn't make it to the beach for Spring Break this year, so I'm definitely not as tan as Day 24 made me out to be. I am wearing that lovely twisty-braid thing that I just told you all about. See the difference with my baby hairs? It's like they've almost disappeared!

For today (since I really didn't write much about human trafficking earlier), I want to link to this article from Vanity Fair. It was written almost a year ago, but this article has probably effected me more than any other article I've read. It's a hard read (emotionally), but it's something that we NEED to know. One quote that strikes me from the article? This one.
“I’d always dismissed the idea of human trafficking in the United States. I’m Indian, and when I went to Mumbai and saw children sold openly, I wondered, Why isn’t anything being done about it? But now I know—it’s no different here. I never would have believed it, but I’ve seen it. Human trafficking—the commercial sexual exploitation of American children and women, via the Internet, strip clubs, escort services, or street prostitution—is on its way to becoming one of the worst crimes in the U.S.”
Human trafficking happens RIGHT HERE in our backyards. I live in Alabama. We're known for football. We're known for our manners and our deep southern drawls (that I STILL don't have after living here for 17 years). But, according to the Women's Fund of Greater Birmingham, we should be concerned about human trafficking. They say that, "forty percent of the sex trafficking major hubs in the US are located in the South or Southeast, the region can be classified as a key area for human trafficking." That's shocking. An area of the country that is known for it's hospitality is also known as a key region for human trafficking. That's why we cannot let our guard down. We have to fight for what we know to be right. We must pursue justice. We have to get educated and passionate about this issue. And that is why I'm doing the One Dress Project. For girls like Gwen and Alicia. So that someday girls like them can be rescued. So that someday girls like them can have a bright future. So that someday girls like them can see the love of Jesus. 

Spring Break.

It's Spring Break this week, so I've been a really bad blogger. As in, it's Thursday and I don't have last week's Sunday Sparkle post up. Oops. I am still doing my One Dress Project though, so I thought that I would give you guys an update.

First, I have last Friday and Saturdays pictures. Friday was the last day before I left to go home for Spring Break, so that's why the background is different from the rest! Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, so of course I had to wear green so that I wouldn't get pinched!
 It's starting to get harder to not repeat outfits. I mean, I only have so many cardigans. I'm running out. But, I'm making things work. Sunday, of course, was a "mini-Easter" as my pastor calls them (Sundays are technically not part of the 40 days of lent, if you count from Ash Wednesday) so I don't have a picture since I had a day of freedom from my dress (yay for Nike shorts!). Monday, I threw a shirt on and used the dress as a skirt. Tuesday, Mom and I went shopping in Birmingham (more like Window shopping, but I did make a few purchases- some books, jeans from Anthropologie that were on sale, and a shirt from Forever 21). When I take my pictures at night, I tend to look really pale and ghostly. It's kind of creepy. I promise I'm not sick or dying, these pictures just didn't turn out great. The lighting is really bad and I had to edit on photoshop).
I'm saving yesterday's picture to post with today's tomorrow or Saturday (I like to do the double pictures better than the singles). I'm on day 25 today, so only 15 more days to go! This project is starting to wind down, and I'm getting excited. It was a ton harder than I thought, but I definitely feel blessed. When I pick out what I'm wearing in the morning, it makes me think of WHY I'm doing this. While I don't think that my As Our Own goal is going to be met (there is still time to give- button on the sidebar), this has given me the opportunity to talk about sex trafficking in a variety of ways I normally wouldn't. I've had people ask me why I'm wearing the same dress. I've gotten to share about my project.

I told my Sunday School kids what I'm doing. When I told them that there were still slaves in the world, those 4th and 5th graders didn't believe me. One of them said, "Maybe in other countries, but not in America!" When I told them that there were slaves in America and that Atlanta was one of the top human trafficking cities, they didn't want to believe me. 27 million people are enslaved around the world. That's a lot of people- and we must do something about this problem. We talked about what they can do to stand with conviction against things. One kid said he wanted to wear the same pair of shoes every day to raise awareness for kids around the world that don't have shoes. Others talked about ways to feed the hungry or stand up against bullying. I think it's so great that they are learning these things while they are still young, and I'm so glad that I get the opportunity to talk to them about this!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Busy. Tired. Spring Break is in sight!

It's late. I'm tired. And I just realized that I haven't blogged all week.
Unlike the rest of the world, I have Spring Break next week (as opposed to this week or the week after next week). Why my institution of higher education planned things this way, I have no idea. But, I do know that it has set me up to have a test this week and lots of reading for class. Oh- there was also this show called the Bachelor that took up three hours of my week (complete waste of a season) and this thing called voting that took like 5 minutes tops (be prepared for a Roy Moore rant sometime in the next few days. Why Alabamians decided he would be a good choice is beyond me. It almost makes me want to vote Democrat this fall for the judicial race. Almost.)
So, I put things off until tonight. I have a tub that needs to be scrubbed. A floor that needs to be mopped. Some dishes that need to be washed. Some clothes to be packed. A "library" to pack (I have some papers to write over the break- 15 books plus a kindle). And a blog that desperately needs to be written. So, like every post seems to go here recently, here's the pictures. I'm still wearing the dress. Yes, I wash it every so often. I haven't repeated an outfit yet. There's a button on the sidebar if you want to support As Our Own. You get the idea by now, right? Okay, the picture evidence.
I feel like I'm super pale in the first picture. I'm not dying or anything. I had an  8 hour stomach bug that hit approximately 2 hours after the picture was taken. So, I wasn't feeling all that great. Otherwise, it's just my normal, pale self. Apparently my Vitamin D I've been taking hasn't kicked in yet. :)

So, Spring Break plans? Write my three papers I have left for this semester. Work on a homework assignment for my Church History class. Read some books "for funsies". Um, let's try survive a week in the house with two jealous boys (10 and 14) that aren't on Spring Break. Lucky for me, I've got bribery candy. We're handing it out a little at a time this time. Haha. Big sisters rock. :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 10

Yummy dinners.

Bribery candy.

Watching sweet children on Wednesday nights.

Pretty pictures.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

catch up.

I've been awful at uploading my pictures this week.
I've been awful about blogging about those bible verses I said I was going to blog.
I had great plans for catching up and all that jazz, but I hurt my thumb.
It's really hard to type without your thumb. It's also hard to open a can of diet coke.
(For future reference, don't try and scrape mod podge off of a pair of scissors with your finger. Scissors are sharp, and you will cut yourself).

So, for today, I'm just posting the pictures to catch up from Wednesday through today.
Today's picture was taken by my dork of a brother who doesn't really know how to use a camera.
This was the only non blurry one...and I'm not changing back into it for more.

This month in Sunday School, I'm teaching the kids about conviction. A line from tomorrow's Jesus Calling for Kids really stood out to me for the lesson, and it also reminded me of the One Dress Project.
Be brave! Step out in faith, and I will step right out with you. Let me work through you. Together we will do great things for My kingdom. 
Be brave. Do what God leads you to do...even if it sounds a little crazy. All sorts of people have had God tell them "crazy" things. Abram was told by God that his wife would have a baby in her old age. Mary was told that she would give birth, even though she was a virgin. The Israelites were told to march around a city for seven days to make it fall. What they have in common is that they were brave and they stepped out in faith. In this way, God was able to use them and work through them for his glory. Great things were done for the kingdom through their acts of faithful obedience. I'm not trying to say that wearing the same dress every day is at the same level of biblical awesomeness as these great heroes of the faith, but I believe that my taking this step can lead to great things being done for the kingdom. What does God want you to do outside of your "zone"? Be bold. Be brave. Stand strong, even when the world around you thinks you're nuts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

inform yourself.

I know that I spew all sorts of nonsense on this thing that I call a blog.
When it comes to other kinds of social media, I'm just as bad.  I'm really great about "retweeting" things or posting about this "campaign" or that one. But, (confession time), sometimes I'm horrible at doing my research. I get so caught up in the emotions of the moment that I do whatever is asked of me. Social media is a powerful thing. It can get the word out super quick about all sorts of issues. This is a good thing. Take the whole "KONY 2012" example from Twitter.  Things like "Kony 2012", "Stop Kony", "Make Kony Famous", and "Uganda" have been trending since yesterday. Invisible Children has done an amazing job getting the word out about the horrible crimes this man named Kony has committed. I mean, I had never heard of him until yesterday (and I count myself as an informed citizen that reads the news). Social media is amazing. It can help a small campaign become a large movement. It can raise awareness. But, social media has one big problem: it's just not personal.

It's easy to click "RT" and forget about it. It's easy to go along about your day and forget about the children that are suffering in the LRA. Social media makes "getting involved" seem *too* easy. It doesn't require anything. Just move on and forget about the issue. I was talking (well, tweeting) with my friend Kayla today about this. She said something that really stuck with me. She said, "my pet peeve is that pressing retweet or posting a video won't solve this. Hoping for international awareness for the cause of human rights will stay w/ ppl!!" We must stay aware of the issue, if we want ANYTHING to change. This reminds me of last Monday at PCC when Louie said that the thing that the traffickers want the most is for the movement against human trafficking to die out. They want you to forget what you're fighting for and they don't want you to have a passion with staying power. They want a quick burst, then the movement to disappear. Something that I wrote a week ago really still resonates with me today:
We can't stop with learning about the issue. We can't let this be a temporary thing. The traffickers' biggest hope is that we will lose our passion for this issue. They want it to be a phase we go through. They don't want us to become emotionally invested in the issue. They want to have more passion for trafficking people and making money than we have to stop them. That's their only hope. If we work together, we CAN do something. We can change lives.
We can't stop here. It's not all about social media, retweeting, and how many hits a video gets. These are real people. These are real lives. There has to be a lasting passion for justice. It's gotta have staying power, and we cannot let this issue fade into the background.

Okay, now I'm going to get on to the "get educated" part of the post. I don't know where I stand about Invisible Children. I love some of the stuff that they do. They produce amazing documentaries that get the word out about the problem in Uganda with child soldiers. I've read many conflicting articles over the course of the day, because I'm desperately trying to understand. I've read articles that say IC is great, and some that say IC is horrible. With all the conflicting data, it's hard to see the truth. One website that I really have found useful is Charity Navigator. While I know that it can be hard to check every charity out (and you'd go crazy trying- sometimes you just have to trust that God will take care of things), I've found it to be a pretty good, non-biased source. It concentrates primarily in how the different charities deal with their finances. I also encourage you to check out a charity's website before you give. Do your beliefs line up with theirs? Are their interests your interests? I mean, you are giving them your money, so you have a right to know what/who you are giving to. Be smart. Do your research. Don't just trust what you read on the internet. Don't just trust my word. When I talk about an organization, I try to do my research before I talk about it- to make sure that things add up. But, I'm human! I mess up! Don't take my word for things. Do your own research- make the issue personal. For example, maybe you feel really called to do something with human trafficking because of my One Dress Project. But, maybe you don't feel right about As Our Own. That's okay! I won't take it personally. As Our Own is an organization that aligns with *my beliefs*. I like how they do what they do. You don't have to agree with me on the organization- I just want you to do something. Find a cause. Find an organization. Do SOMETHING. Find your passion. Make things personal. But, please don't take my word as gospel. Don't treat it in that high of a regard, I'm only 21 for goodness sake! Do your research and get informed. Do something bigger, and don't forget about your passions. Don't let them lie dormant. Don't let the traffickers and "bad guys" win. Don't forget.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

double digits.

Woohoo! We have reached the double digits, guys. I am now a little more than one-fourth of the way through with this project (that seems like a really big milestone for some reason).

If you can't tell, I wasn't feeling the best yesterday morning. It was probably around 1 or 2 that I finally got dressed. Since I slept in my yoga pants, I wore them yesterday morning while I was up and about around campus to see the nurse and get my absences excused. Being sick really stinks! I was pretty convinced I was dying (thanks to my face being pink, pink, pink). But, our wonderful on-campus nurse assured me that the side-effect was completely normal and I wasn't going to die. That's always a good thing. This morning, I woke up feeling super wonderful. My 11 am was canceled for the day, so I didn't have to be anywhere until 12:30. That felt amazing. I got wonderful amounts of sleep last night and am a really happy girl! Then, I walked outside and learned it was grass cutting day. Apparently, it's spring again, so that means grass cutting is starting back up. Grass and pollen flying everywhere. Yay for allergies. Drinking lots and lots of water helps. I just hope I don't drown. (I read once that if you drink too much water, you can drown. Is that true? Any science majors want to help me out here?)

Well, Saturday, I shared that I want to share some words of wisdom from the Scriptures this week. I mean, so often I feel like we think that the bible doesn't say anything about the issue of human trafficking. Like, this issue is a new problem and God doesn't "really" have anything to say about it. Haha. Excuses, excuses. But, if you actually open up that book and read it, you'd see that God has a lot to say about justice. He's a just God that desperately loves his people.

Psalm 82: 3-4 says, "Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Defending the cause of the weak and the vulnerable is not optional. It's a command. We are called to rescue them and deliver them. 

Proverbs 14:31 says, "Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God." Oppression of the poor is a bad thing- it isn't loving God. But, being kind to people who are in need- that's something that honors God. As I tell my kids in Sunday School- love God, love people, nothing else matters.

This next one always gets me. Proverbs 21:13 reads, "Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered." We can try and ignore their cries. We can try and pretend this horrific problem is not occurring. We can stick our fingers in our ears and scream "I can't hear you!" like a small child. But, stubbornness does not lead to happiness. We like the whole "ask God and it will be given unto you" part of the Bible. But, this proverb says that if we ignore the will God ignore us. That's a scary thing 'yall!

One more for today. Proverbs 24: 11-12 says, "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?" This is a scary thing. You know about the issue now. You cannot be ignorant any longer. Indifference is NOT an option. These two verses make me think of a story I heard about the Holocaust once. People in Germany (and other parts of England) would see the trains with the Jewish people that were being taken to concentration camps. They ignored it, because they didn't think it was as bad of an issue as it was. They ignored the issue and did not rescue those that were being led away to death. Are you going to do the same thing? Are you going to ignore the issue and not rescue these people from the hands of injustice that will eventually lead to their demise? I was watching a documentary the other night on human trafficking in Detroit (on MSNBC, I'll try and find it online later!). One woman interviewed said that she was told that she could never escape. The traffickers either drug you, they overdose you, or they beat/kill you. Human trafficking victims are literally being  "led away to death" and are "staggering toward slaughter". What are YOU going to do about it?

Maybe we can't march into the brothels tonight and rescue these girls. Maybe not every rice plantation slave will be freed by tomorrow morning. But, there are things you can do. You can pray. You can write letters to congress and let them know that you want them to write up harsher legislation against traffickers. That you want it to be exceedingly hard for them to do what they do- we don't need to make it easy! You can sign petitions. You can get the word out. You can give money (See that little link on the sidebar? It's a donation link for As Our Own!). There are tons of things you CAN do. Don't focus on what you can't. If we all do a little and do our part...who knows what might happen!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Sparkle- Week 9!

It's Sunday Sparkle time again! This project has been really fun so far. I'm still working at getting everything printed and placed in a scrapbook, but when I get a complete layout, I'll be sure and post pictures. After all, I really do want to be a crafty blogger...haha.

I don't have as many pictures from this week as from weeks past. I've been busy, and I'm hard at work getting my one dress project pictures up. So, just a few this week. As I blogged about here, monday night, my daddy and I went to PCC for the 72 Days for Freedom kickoff. It was super amazing and really encouraged me that we CAN make a difference in the problem of human trafficking. On the way over to Atlanta, we stopped at the Dwarf House in Newnan for dinner. I love gnomes, so naturally I like things like dwarfs and tiny doors, too. After the program, we had a candlelight thing by the hand from Passion. It was pretty neat.

I didn't take anymore pictures until Friday. That is when some crazy tornados came through. According to UAB research, most deaths from tornados are a result of head trauma, so you should wear a helmet. Des and I took this to heart.

Saturday night, my Dad found Jesus. As in, we were sitting around the table and dad said "I just found Jesus on the wall". Okay guys, bidding starts at 500. Who wants a wall with Jesus? (Haha. Kidding. Love my house). I added in an arrow so you can find him easier.

Tonight (yes, I'm including Sunday this week), I did my weekly grocery run with Kaitlyn. First, I wrote up my list. Then, I looked at the publix ad for this week and printed off some coupons. Everything was on my list that I got, except for some crackers. But, they were $1.49 for 2 boxes (Bogo at $3.49 plus a $2 coupon), and I will eat them, so I think it was a good deal. My "win" for the week was my vitamin d. My doctor said I should start taking it. So, I found one for $4.99 regular and I had a $3 off Publix coupon (from their booklet) and a $1 off coupon that was on the item. Winning. That means it was $0.99. Not too shabby, even if they weren't gummies. I also needed some Zyrtec, and they had a deal for the Publix brand. If you bought the 30 count (for $13), you got the 14 count free. So, I spent $13 for $23 worth of medicine. I think that counts for something! Overall, I saved $24 and spent $36 (pre-tax. It was 40 with tax) and was able to get what I needed for less. Yay!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Heart of Justice

At the request of my mother, I've continued the "hands on the hips" pose. I don't know. I feel weird taking daily pictures of myself anyways, but just standing there- I don't know what to do with my hands. I feel silly. So, I strike a sassy pose like this one.

I giggle way too much. That's why I have a bazillion pictures from each day. (Don't think I just take one. I have to give myself choices on which picture I'm going to use on my blog!)

Today, I went for the "comfortable" factor. I really wanted to wear sweatpants. I've been fighting my allergies for the past week (or two) and fighting a losing battle. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and they put me on some steroids (since I don't like shots) to try and kick start my immune system. They are supposed to make me hyper and I should be able to get tons done and not want to sleep, but (since I'm always the opposite of what they say) they made me sleepy. So, I'm not really wanting to spend time getting a cute outfit together. So, I just threw on a large sweater (from the thrift store awhile back) over the dress and some leggings under it (and made it look kind of like a skirt). It turned out surprisingly comfortable and I even napped in it this afternoon (winning!). Thanks to Mom, I didn't have to use my timer and got a semi-decent picture. 

According to, trafficking is "transporting people away from the communities in which they live and forcing them to work against their will using violence, deception or coercion." Every minute, two children are sold into slavery.

Children. Not men that can "fight for themselves". Not women that "brought this upon themselves". We can't hide behind lies and excuses. These are innocent children being forced to do things against their will. These are children being forced to labor and not being allowed to go to school. These are children that are forced to do things that they shouldn't have to do. These are real children with real lives. Trafficking is something that God despises, because it hurts his children. According to Deuteronomy 10:17-18, "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing." Again, Psalm 10:11,17 says, "The wicked say to themselves, 'God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.' You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed..."

Have a heart of justice. Hear the cry of the afflicted. Encourage them. Listen to them. Give them human dignity and worth. Defend them. This next week, we're going to be digging into what the bible says about human trafficking and justice as we continue this "One Dress Project". Yay!