Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Being Still.

I encourage you to take time to
slow down
so that
you can
fully experience the moment.

I think so often we're apt to busy ourselves
with things that really
don't need to be done.
We keep ourselves busy
so that
we don't have to "feel" these feelings.
It's kind of a protection mechanism.

The NASB translates Psalm 26:10 as
"Cease striving and
know that I am God".
Can you practice that today?

Can you allow yourself to
be still for
a moment
so that you can hear God
speak into your life?

Can you fight
through the uncomfortable
feelings that it may bring?
Can you stop trying so hard 
just for a day?

Allow yourself to
feel sad.
Allow yourself to
feel happy.
Allow yourself to
feel whatever 
you are feeling,
and run with it!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dear 17 Year Old Self,

Dear 17 year old self,

I know that right now life seems crazy and you feel overwhelmed. I know that right now you're wondering what the heck you got yourself into by deciding to go to Auburn. Well,  22 year old self is here to tell you that you're going to make it.

It's going to be hard. The next five years are going to challenge you. They might even be the hardest five years of your life. You may think that you have your live all planned out, but go ahead and throw away that color coded spreadsheet- you're not gonna need it. You may think that you're going to be some big shot lawyer or campaign manager, but that's not really your scene. Trust me. You'll change your major five times. You'll make some great friends at Auburn, but you'll transfer to two other colleges before you find your spot. You'll make some more great friends along the way- friends that will stick with you through hard times. In the end, you'll end up right where you started back in 8th grade- headed off to the MSW program at Alabama. Yes, baby girl- you're gonna make it.

Hard times. They are headed your way. You think high school and AP classes are crazy? You. Just. Wait. I know that you think that B in AP Calculus was the worst thing ever for your GPA, but I promise it will be okay. It's really not the end of the world. I know that you think that you have this stellar resume with lots of different involvements, awards, and such. I know that you think that your GPA is awesome and that you place so much worth in that number. But truthfully? None of that is really going to matter. You're already admitted to Auburn. Seriously girl. Loosen up a little. Live a little. Don't spend so much time worrying about the little things. You'll make two C's during your first year at Auburn. You'll think it's the end of the world, but I promise that it isn't (You'll actually be really happy about one of the C's- you're gonna think that you're gonna fail World Civ with that crazy Russian teacher, but you'll pull out a C and be happy with it). You are worth more than a number on a sheet of paper, don't let it define your worth. In the end, your college GPA will turn out just fine and you'll get into grad school.

I know that you're freaking out. I know that you are scared to death that you won't even be able to handle the three nights away from Mom and Daddy for Camp War Eagle. I know you're scared about not getting the classes that you need and how the whole roommate thing will work out. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to be nervous. It's okay to talk about how you feel about all of this change. You'll go home most weekends of college (and live at home for some of the time), but during your Freshman year, you WILL go a whole month without going home. Sure, Mom will visit on Thursdays- but YOU CAN DO THIS. You are strong. You are capable.

So, on this night of graduation- smile. Enjoy this moment. So what if things don't turn out "picture perfect"? So what if you lose your tassel when you throw off your hat at the end (Yes. That's really going to happen). Laugh about it. Don't be so serious and sad that it's all over. You really don't have to be a "grown up" just yet. Enjoy this time. Enjoy this moment. These last few years have been hard. This past year has been stressful with school. But, you've got your whole life ahead of you. Don't waste it by worrying about "what if". Don't waste your life. Make the most of each moment that you've got. God has a marvelous plan for you- one far bigger and far better than you could ever dream of. Big things lie ahead, baby girl. Don't give up.

Your 22 year old self

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

what i wore wednesday

Mom and I went downtown today to take some pictures for my "About" page (I also have a new one on the sidebar). It was kind of lacking in the picture category, and I don't really have any pictures of me that were taken since our Christmas card session. 

Top and Belt: Versona Accessories
Pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Target

I may have gotten a little silly at times...

We saw some wildlife, like this beaver...

And then we saw some bats under the bridge, so we decided it was time to go.

And that's what I wore today. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

DIY Life Binder

For awhile now, I've been seeing these binders called "Home Management", "Homemaking", or "Mommy" Binders. Seeing as I don't really have a home to manage or make, or children to call me Mommy, I was sad that this organizational project didn't really apply to me (because it's totally in my zone). But, after further investigation and research, I discovered that I COULD make a binder that applied to my life situation and status- and call it a Life Binder! 

I spent some time picking out the different sections and printables I wanted in my binder. I made the section covers to match the front cover, and when it was all done-I smiled. I say it's "done", but it really is a work in progress. There's several sections (like menu planning), where I have several sheets that are different layouts of the same idea. I'm still figuring out what I like- and I won't even really begin to use it until August when I move to Tuscaloosa!

For my binder, I chose the following sections: Health, Menu Planning/Cooking, Cleaning, Finances, Blog Planning, School, and Calendars. The Health section has printables related to being healthy, exercising (tracking it so that I don't go overboard), and emergency information. Menu Planning has printables guessed it, menu planning. It also has some lists for favorite recipes and stuff. 

Cleaning has some cleaning checklists and information from Martha Stewart on how to clean certain things. Finances deals with budgeting and bills. Blog Planning deals with planning stuff for here. School has some printables to fill in with information for my classes, and classmate contact information. Finally, Calendars has monthly and weekly/daily calendars (as seen below).

I made the little Blog Post planner on the right. You can download it here.

I'm just so excited with how colorful it turned out! I put all of the pages in page protectors so that I can write on them with dry erase markers (or wet erase markers) and then clean them off each week. I figure that with this many pages, I don't want to have to reprint them all the time! Some pages will be filled in (like the emergency page), because the information won't change.

Here is the list of where I got all of the printables from:

Exercise Goals- 
Emergency Information- DIYhomesweethome
Weekly Goals-
Healthier You-
Gratitude List-Blessing Manifesting

Menu Planning: 
Weekly Menu Plan- kissen studio
Menu Plan- For the Love of Joy
Favorite Meals- Steph Murdoch
Meal Categories-The Ivy Twines
Common Kitchen Measurements- One Good Thing by Jillee
Substitutions- Tip Nut 

Homemade Cleaning Recipes- Clean Mama
Daily Cleaning Chart- MomItForward
Martha Steward Cleaning Tips- Here

Monthly Spending- Mom Agenda
Monthly Budget- Is Daddy Home Yet
Bills- I can’t find the one I used, but this one from Is Daddy Home Yet is similar: HERE 

Blog Planning:
Blog Planner- BarelyMommy
My Blog Planner- PDXBloggers
Brainstorming- PDX Bloggers
Blog Post Planner- Made it myself :)

Class Schedule- The Nest Effect
Library List- Bird and Little Bird

Monthly- The Learning Effect
Day Keeper- Here

Saturday, May 18, 2013

blueberry protein muffins

I've been looking for a good source of protein for a few months now. I don't eat that much meat, and yogurt still isn't my favorite thing in the world. This afternoon, I found a recipe on Chobani's Pinterest page that I wanted to try. I really really don't like Greek yogurt (by itself), but I was willing to try it baked in a muffin.

I used this recipe for "Power Muffins" from Domesticated Academic, but I made a few changes in the ingredients. I followed her recipe exactly, except I used these ingredients (I italicized the ingredients I changed, and you can click over to Domesticated Academic for the recipe):
  • no-stick cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats–I used quick oats (about 1/2 of it was Cinnamon Roll oatmeal packets...which is good because I didn't really like that oatmeal)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 15 ounces Greek yogurt (I used some Fage yogurt that Mom had in the fridge...sorry Mom. I made muffins?)
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries (Mine were frozen)
They might not be the prettiest muffins, but I'd definitely make them again. When I put it into a nutrition calculator, it said that there are 5.3 grams of protein in each muffin (compared to 1-2 grams in Betty Crocker mixes). It's not as high as Greek Yogurt alone (usually around 13 grams per container), but it's a good replacement for those of us that don't eat Greek yogurt, but still want the protein. Plus, since there is a banana in it, you get some nice, yummy Potassium. Since it has oatmeal, it's a pretty dense muffin and it's really filling. As in, I'm a little stuffed after having one for desert. :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

DIY Life Planner

Some people do crazy things when they get stressed. Me? I make planners. There's just something in creating stuff that calms me....maybe because it settles my OCD? I don't really know.

A few days ago, I found a link to this planner on Pinterest. I thought to myself, "Self, you could totally do that!" (I'm working on the positive affirmations, so there's a lot of self talk going on in my brain). So, I carefully printed out the pages that I wanted to be in my planner and then I created the front and back cover (the back is just like the front, except it has a flower instead of my name). Once I got everything printed out (double-sided, just like a "real" planner), I took it to Office Depot to have the covers laminated and the book spiral bound.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember the small debacle I had with Office Depot, or rather- the lady working the Copy/Print shop. First, she put the book in upside down. This made the holes go on the wrong side (which she says was totally my fault, but I deny it). I didn't realize it at first, so I had redo it. Then, she proceeded to call me a not-very-nice-word under her breath and a complicated customer to my face. I was completely frustrated (as I had spend all morning printing out the thing and she was messing it up). So, I called it a morning and went home.

That afternoon, I decided to run into town again ("town" is about 20 minutes from my house) to go to the other Office Depot. I had gone home and cut off the holes that were on the wrong side, so my pages are slightly thinner than 8.5 x 11. Once I briefly explained the situation, the nice man working at the Copy/Print shop at this store fixed my planner for free. This made me really happy and restored my faith in my favorite office supply store. I just won't go to the one on the other side of town anymore. 

So, that's my new planner! I love that its thin and that it fits perfectly inside a binder (not hole punched, but-you know). And it's cute! And functional! And I'm so excited that I can start using it next week! Yes, only I would start a new planner mid-month, but I'm just too excited to wait until June. If you're interested in making your own planner, here's links to the printables that I used!
On Monday, I'm going to share ANOTHER organizational tool that I've been working on- my Life Binder! It's kind of like a "Home Management Binder", except that I don't have a home (more like an apartment in the Fall) or a husband/kids. So, it's a special "Lauren" version that I put together that I can't wait to share with you! :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

he will answer.

Sometimes life gets hard. It hurts. In these times, it's really hard to find the motivation to blog. I mean, I don't really want to admit that I'm struggling. I don't want to admit that I'm having a hard time. It's human nature to want to preserve the ideal of perfection. We put on masks all the time, pretending like we're okay. But, it gets exhausting. It's hard work to keep the facade up.
"I'm fine.""It's okay.""I'm good."
What do "fine", "okay", and "good" really mean? I think most of the time we use these words as masks. We use them to pretend that we're okay. That we've got it all together. But, we're not really using "fine", "okay", and "good" in the way that their dictionary definitions intended. 
Fine: adj. free from impurity, very well, all right
Okay: adv. or adj. all right
Good: adj. suitable, fit. agreeable, pleasant. adequate, satisfactory.
So no. I'm not "fine", "okay", or "good. Some days are better than others. I'm tired of putting on the mask of perfection every day. If you think I live a picture perfect life, you probably don't really read my blog. But, even though I'm not "fine", "okay" or "good, I still have faith. I still believe that God hears me when I cry out to him. I still believe that he will answer from his holy mountain. Keeping the faith isn't always easy. But, I know- I believe- that it will be worth it. I believe- even in the dark times- that God will come through. I believe that God will do far more than I could ever dream or dare to imagine

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

fighting fear with words of truth

Fear seems to be hitting me especially hard right now. There are just so many "uncertains" in my life. One minute, I've got control over my anxieties, and the next- I'm off the deep end. But, I'm learning to recognize these times. I'm learning to recognize when I'm going off of the "deep end" into doomsday scenarios that won't occur 99.999% of the time. I'm learning how to discover which thoughts and worries are put into my head by Satan to distract me from where God is leading me. I'm learning what it means to live- I'm finding free!

About a year ago, I read a book called "One Thousand Gifts". It kind of changed my life in some ways. One of the things that the author writes about in one of the chapters is how she has index cards with bible verses on them that she clings to when she's in the depth of the pit of anxiety and fear. When everything seems to be falling apart, she clings to what is true, what is faithful, what will last forever. So, what did I decide to do? I decided to make some Scripture cards.

I wanted something cute (I use them more if they're cute...that's just how I work). I wanted something flexible- something with the verses that God was speaking to ME from- not just some list off the internet or Pinterest. I feel like sometimes God speaks certain words into our lives at certain times, and these are the words that I want to reflect upon. Over the past two weeks, I've clung to these verses. At night before I've gone to sleep, I've read through them- and I'm sleeping a little better and a little more peacefully. 

I wanted to share this project with YOU. I know, we're all going through different struggles. But, I want to share my heart with you. Maybe you're struggling with fear and anxiety right now. Maybe you're worried about "what next?". I don't know what battles you are fighting or how to heal your broken soul. I don't know how to tell you that everything is going to work out- because I still struggle and fail and doubt. But, I do know how to share the TRUTH with you. John 8:32 says, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." I believe that the words from scripture are TRUE and that they can set you free. God is THAT powerful. 

For my cards, after I designed the cards, I printed off my graphics (can be downloaded from this Google Doc) and glued them onto index cards. These cards are 3x5 sized which makes them perfect for index cards. I wanted them to be thicker and more durable than computer paper, but I think that it would have been easier to just print them off on card stock. :) Silly me. Since I don't have a laminator, but I wanted them to be a little more durable, I used clear tape on the outside. They look a little ghetto and have some air bubbles and such, but I think that they're still pretty cute. Finally, I punched a hole in the corner of the cards and put them onto a binder ring. This was just to make it easier so that I don't lose them all over the place (plus, it makes them easier to flip through)!

Let's go out and "find free" today. Seek out truth and recognize the lies. Fear and anxieties may be a part of who we are, but we don't have to let them control what we do! God is stronger and more powerful than any of the false things that Satan might throw at us. He holds our entire world, our entire life, in his hands. He's THAT big and THAT powerful. So really, why should we fear? He's always on our side. Sometimes we just need Scripture to help remind us of that.

Friday, May 3, 2013

pinterest, you have failed me.

First, there was the "Grilled Cheese in a Toaster" incident of 2012. It ended up with a partially burnt/partially cold sandwich and a toaster fire (by toaster fire, I mean that there were tiny flames in the bottom of the toaster). I thought that it would be an easier way to make a sandwich, but I just ended up "setting a small fire that would have burnt the house down if Mommy wasn't home to fix it".

Then, there are the various home remedies I've tried. I blame my "hippie/natural remedy" self on the fact that my mom made my baby food and all. And the fact that we owned like every copy of Firefox (or so it seamed). And the fact that my parents did go thorough that weird "preppers" phase. I just really don't like the side effects of some medications. Like, a sinus infection is bad- but that doesn't mean that I want to have massive stomach pain and cramps due to the antibiotics. So, I've been experimenting with some "natural remedies" from Pinterest in hopes that they might help.

  1. Cinnamon and honey- yummy, but doesn't really work. 
  2. Apple cider vinegar with/without cayenne pepper- nasty tasting, clears sinuses temporarily, but doesn't really work. I don't know why people sing ACV praises. It just tastes like vinegar. It definitely doesn't taste like apples or apple cider. The name is kind of deceptive advertising.

So, I don't really know why I thought this one would.  "Get Rid of the Flu Fast Detox Bath"- sounds like it would work for sinus problems and a severe cold/sinus infection- right? Well, maybe if I had followed the directions.
  • 1-2 cups of Epsom salts- I couldn't find any, so I used a cup of Kosher salt instead. While it was still "salt"- it wasn't the same. At all.
  • 1 cup Baking soda- Baking soda and Baking powder are not the same thing. Just fyi.
  • 2 tbsps powdered ginger- I only used one tbsp. because some recipes said two was too intense and I didn't want to pass out or anything like that.
  • 1/2 cup sea salt-(This should have been my sign that Epsom salts and Kosher salt wasn't the same thing. Max assured me that Kosher salt was just the Jewish version of Sea salt and that they were the same...)
So, maybe I should have followed the recipe. Or maybe I should stop trying to find natural remedies. Maybe Pinterest isn't the solution for everything. While it was a nice bath, it definitely didn't "cure" me. My nose is still stuffy and runny. I still have a cough. I'm really no better than I was before- it's no miracle cure. Maybe I'll just take the antibiotics and deal with the side effects- this crazy sinus junk is no fun. :(