Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A New Toy??

So, up until the accident on Saturday, I had planned to buy a kayak before summer hit.

I got into kayaking the last two summers working at the River Rat in Townsend. Though it wasn't any kind of hard-core kayaking, I enjoyed getting out on the river with friends or Ben, seeing the sights, enjoying the peace and quiet and getting some exercise.

Thus, since moving here, being in such close proximity to the Neuse River, Falls Lake and within a couple hours of the coast, thoughts of buying a kayak crept in.

I had done a decent amount of research and found the one I thought would best suit me: an Advanced Elements Convertible Kayak. (pictured at left).

The things I like are that it is inflatable, aka, I can store it in my apartment and tote it with me when I travel to the coast or home; it's durable; seems good for what I want to do with it (non-whitewater, non-heavy ocean paddling, lakes and slow moving rivers); it can seat 2 people or one person and my dog, and it was reasonably priced, as kayaks go. I found it for about $600 or $650 with the paddles and pump. Also, the neat thing about it is that you can adjust the seats so if I was riding solo (if I found some friends who also had kayaks).

However, with the car accident, I am seeing my money go whooshing out the window and the odds of me getting a kayak are slimmer. However, that doesn't mean I still don't want one! Thus, I am wondering about this tax incentive/credit thing that Bush signed on last week....Depending on how financially responsible I can be, maybe I could still swing getting it. That'd be so great!

I can picture it now: Spending hot days on the lake, me (and Ben) paddling around in the coves, or me and a buddy enjoying a summer evening floating down the Neuse River and cooling off...Sounds wonderful, don't you think? Also, I could take it over to the Outer Banks (OBX) for a day or weekend and explore the Barrier Islands, which are only accessible by boat. Such fun.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lily- All Smashed Up

I was involved in a 3-car accident yesterday with my beautiful (still new to me) 04 white XTerra, Lily. She is all banged up :(

Ben and I were on our way to his Obedience School graduation ceremony at Petsmart on Saturday when a lady 2 cars in front of me decided to turn left into Walgreens. However, she did so by slamming on her brakes and turning from the through-lane (which I and the other car were traveling in), thus completely ignoring the obvious turn-lane next to her.

So when she stopped, the car in front of me stopped, and I tried to stop, but couldn't. The roads were wet (it had been raining), my tires slid, and I slammed into the car in front of me. Let it be known that I WAS NOT TAILGATING. I had chastised myself earlier in the day for driving too close and made a very conscious decision to amend my driving habit, so I know I was not following too closely.

The old lady driver tried to lecture us both on tailgating, totally forgetting that it was she who had been trying to turn from a no-turning lane into Walgreens. About the 5th times she opened her mouth to me about "my poor driving habits," I smarted off to her....So sorry for that. That was not being the light of Christ, and I know my temper gets away with me sometimes. She was being so rude and mean and fussy though, and I obviously had the worst of it. I know that's no excuse, but even the lady in the middle car was about to lay into her.

Anyways..... Pray for quick resolution on this, a favorable outcome for me (is that possible?), a rental car so I can stop bumming off my my friends and a chance to meet with the lady I hit (the middle car) and her husband for dinner. It could be a good ministry opportunity.

*sigh*......I think I just have really bad luck.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lighten things up a bit

Someone (a dedicated blog stalker of mine!) kindly told me today to update my blog, as my faithful readers are ready for some new stuff. Thanks for the advice, and congratulations to her on her news ;)

Re-reading my last few posts has made me aware of how sad I sound lately. While it has been an extremely odd few weeks, I don't want anyone to think I am not finding joy in life and the Lord. He is so good to me, way beyond what I deserve. Life is still good, and I am still happy. So, in order to lighten the blog-mood a bit, I wanted to share some links I particularly enjoy.

Have fun, and I hope you giggle as much as I do!!

Johnson Badger Commercials:
This is a series of commercials produced for Johnson Automotive Dealers here in the Triangle. Although I have never had the fortune of seeing them on TV, YouTube is an amazing tool in that I can watch them all online. Now, you can too, from outside the viewing area! These are my favorites. To see them all, just search for Johnson Badger on YouTube.
(f you can't see any of them, it's because I am trying to type the links out by hand as copy and paste (in every method I know of) is not functioning on my laptop. My "real" computer is not functioning at all, so I take what I can get! All that to say, just search Johnson Badger for some laughs)
Wiggle Room
Sexist Badger

A friend of mine introduced me to this little fella. Meet Whiplash, the cowboy monkey. This duo performs at rodeos!

Hope that cheered up the mood on the blog a bit. Now, if only I could get out of this flu-funk I've got, that would be fabulous.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Just emotions, taking me over

I have gotten better over the last few years at recognizing when I am being irrational and over-reacting to things.

However, I am no better at talking myself out of those feelings or at getting them under control.

Confused? So am I.

This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster (although, Union friends, I recognize it has been NOTHING compared to what you guys have dealt with!!). Tuesday morning of last week I was told I was going to Union February 19/20 with Dr. Akin, Southeastern's president, on a recruiting trip. He would be speaking in chapel, and I would be hosting a luncheon and answering questions about SEBTS. All day Tuesday, I was SO excited to get to see my friends. Tuesday night, the tornado hit.

Not being closer and able to help my friends has been hard on me. I spent 4 (at least 3) years with a lot of those people, and here I am, living safe and sound with more material things than I have need for, and they have lost everything. I can't even go and help bag up stuff because I am so far away. Those were the girls I led as president of Zeta; those were the students I hosted in my dorm room when they were seniors in high school; those were the students I gave tours to when they visited campus; those were the baby freshmen I took under my wing during Focus. So many of those people impacted my life, and I have been really wishing I could be there to help them through this time of need.

Also, one of my close friends from high school got married on Friday. The wedding was beautiful and everything went off, pretty much, without a hitch. That experience brought with it its own set of emotions, as I began the mental preparations of "sending" my friends off to marry guys they haven't known nearly as long as I have known them....It's just weird. Don't get me wrong, it's a happy time too. I am so excited they have found "the one their hearts love" and are beginning a new life with them. It's a beautiful example of the relationship between Christ Jesus and the church. So, in that, I am really happy.

All in all though, it was a weird week. Add to those emotions the feelings that the people who you call friends don't care and it just makes the whole thing even odder. A couple of times this past week I have been really disappointed in the actions of my friends (or rather, lack of actions.)

I know those feelings of hurt are irrational, in comparison to the hurt Jesus suffered. He suffered on the cross, and I hurt him daily when I lose sight of the things which matter most to him - the lost world. Nevertheless, I got my feelings hurt, by expecting people to behave differently than the selfish and self-centered sinners that we all are. My frustration then resurfaces as I try to shake my feelings and can't.

Can't I just be content and satisfied in the precious relationship I have with the Lord? Why do I feel the need to supplement that relationship with human relationships, which will always let me down? I am ashamed that I say Jesus is enough for me, but I often don't truly feel that way and I certainly don't always live that way. I want to be so engrossed in Him that everything else is secondary to me....

Why is total reliance on Him so hard for me?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Union gets blasted by a tornado, no fatalities

Efforts have begun to clean up Union University after a tornado ripped though campus last night, leaving 50-some students injured and numerous buildings destroyed.

The small Southern Baptist-affiliated school was hit by a tornado around 7 p.m., at which time it destroyed about 40 percent of the campus housing and severely damaged another 40 percent. The roofs of Jennings and White Halls, the two newest academic buildings, were ripped off as the tornado swept across the 120-acre campus. Cars were overturned and destroyed, leaving many students without transportation to safe housing.

For now, students are being urged to register with the Red Cross so they may be easily accounted for and found by parents by calling 731-427-5543.

No official word yet on what donations are needed, although students have been saying everything is gone, so clothing, toiletries, food and general supplies will doubtless be needed in the coming days.

Check here for up-to-date information.

Video footage is available here of the tornado, along with an interview with student Candra Pennington. The Jackson Sun is also keeping up with the footage.

This is what it means to be held...

Last night, my alma mater, Union University, was devastated by a tornado that ripped through campus around 7-7:30 CST.

Though there were no fatalities, there were a few serious injuries, and about 50 injuries (hospital-worthy) in all. Also, the campus sustained massive damage, mostly to Hurt and Watters complexes (the girls and guys complexes) and to Jennings Hall, where I had a majority of my classes.

Dr. Dockery, the president, said it was about 10 times as bad as the tornado that hit campus the year before I got there. I am thankful there was never a major storm while I was there, but I do wish I was close right now so I could go and help in whatever way possible.

Union was my home, my stomping grounds, and the place where I grew a lot for the last 4 years of my life. It hurts my heart that they are going through all of this right now, and that I can't be there. I am worried about my friends, especially ones I haven't been able to get in touch with or hear anything about.

As I was thinking about all of this and why God allows things like this to happen, I am reminded of things I have been hearing and learning the past few weeks.

Everything happens according to God's perfect plan. Now, I am not saying God chose to have the tornado come through, injuring many and killing several in Jackson, but I know he allows bad things to happen in order that we will draw close to him. In times of trial, we are forced to rely on the One who has all things under his hand, knowing that he will sustain us. Our purpose in this world isn't to live comfortably, or safely, as a missionary from Central Asia spoke on yesterday. Our purpose is to give God the glory for what he has done. Suffering of any human magnitude has no comparison to the suffering Jesus did on my behalf and your behalf because of our sin.

So in that, I have to say, "Praise God" that he took that suffering from me. Also, praise the Lord that there were no fatalities, and very few (relatively speaking) serious injuries. Praise God for a campus that will come together to rebuild itself and the lives of all affected. Praise God that the people who have been injured or lost things that were dear to them have the incredibly privilege of drawing close to the Savior, and being held and comforted in his arms.

Held by Natalie Grant
Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?

We’re asking why this happens

To us who have died to live?

It’s unfair.

This is what it means to be held.

How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive.

This is what it is to be loved.

And to know that the promise was

When everything fell we’d be held.

This hand is bitterness.

We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow.

The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.

And to know that the promise was

When everything fell we’d be held.

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.

How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive.

This is what it is to be loved.

And to know that the promise was

When everything fell we’d be held.

My heart and prayers are with you, Union. Love y'all. -Lauren

(For updates, this is the page Union is using until their website can be restored.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fat pants, forgiving dresses, and fistfuls of cookie dough

I would say I am predictable, at least on some accounts. I had kind of a weird/melancholy/wish some things had gone differently kind of day, so therefore:

1) Bought cookie dough and ate a lot
-Note to readers: Target brand is not as good as Pillsbury and not worth the 40 cent savings.
2) I went shopping and bought a bunch of new clothing (without even trying them on!!)
-Bought a pair of jeans that are wide-leg, aka Fat Pants. Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday so maybe I'll wear them and stick with the theme.
- Bought two "billowy" dresses. I like to call them very forgiving. Thank goodness they're in style.

I say I am predictable, because no matter how many weird days I have, I almost always revert to either shopping or eating or the deadly combination of the two. Neither of these things is productive, generally, in making me feel better. I usually get even more upset when I realize clothes don't fit because of how out of shape I am, and I compound that by eating cookie dough, which obviously is not going to help that problem....Sheesh.

Do men have similar reactions to funky days? I think not. Color me green with envy. How do normal people deal?