Thursday, May 29, 2008

Africa and East Tennessee: They have a lot in common!

Really, they might not seem to have much in common, but I can think of at least one thing in common between Africa and East Tennessee: I want to go there!

What, you may say, is the other connection between them? They are both on my mind today.

Africa is on my mind today because my friend Hannah left this morning to serve in Mozambique all summer. Keep her in your prayers as she will, undoubtedly, be tested and tried and worn out over the next several months. She, along with a team of other young people, will be working with visiting groups that come to do work there. Before she left this morning, she came by and gave me an Africa necklace she got there last time. Now, I will easily remember to pray for her and for the salvation and restoration of Africa when I look at it.

East Tennessee is on my mind because I am going HOME tomorrow! I am quite excited. I haven't been home since February, which is a long time...Actually, now that I think about it, it might be one of the longest "breaks" from seeing my family. My brother will not be there at all, as he is currently en route to San Francisco, California, where he will live and work now. My Dad won't be there most of the time, because he road-tripped with Brian, and won't fly back till Sunday night/Monday morning.

So....yeah. That's what's on my mind. That, and the fact that I am going to go pick up my car from the shop....again. Details to follow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Musical Monday

I was about to do a post on Musical Mondays, where every Monday I will add the lyrics to a song I like and maybe discuss.

....I just realized it is not Monday, but Tuesday. Gotta love long weekends! Check back next Monday for thoughts about good music. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

You mean I'm not supposed to be in pain from this?

Here's a quick recap of what's going on:

I BOUGHT THE KAYAK! Yay! It's big, but fun. Ben and I went out last night on it with my mentor and her husband in their kayak. They have a hardshell tandem, and so were obviously moving quite a bit faster than I was, especially considering that when you have a 50 pound dog hanging over the side/falling into the lake, it makes steering and paddling a tad more difficult. My arm was scratched up from rescuing my frantic pup, my body was sore from paddling, and I was exhausted from the entire ordeal. But, I have been wanting it for so long, by golly I'll be sticking with it!

My neighbor Jennifer moved out today. She was the leasing agent who got me into my apartment, and she had a dog that was Ben's buddy. It was sad to see her go, especially since I never took the initiative to tell her about Christ, which I ought to have done. Me and 3 of my friends helped her move out of her apartment today, so she could hit the road earlier for LA. I pray somehow she could see the love of Christ in my life and that he puts someone in her path to share with her.

While moving, I tried to pick up a heavy box, forgetting "Heavy Lifting 101." I picked it up using my back and not my legs and now feel like an old woman, hunched over and aching. My back is absolutely hurting, and not in a "I'm-so-glad-I-got-a-workout" kind of way. I took a 3 hour nap this afternoon with my heating pad on and I'm not seeing much relief. Pain pills just occurred to me.

Shonica, Lindsey and I went to the Taste of Durham festival this afternoon and saw a fun little slice of life here. There were a bunch of vendors set up with food, which we took advantage of (yummy asparagus dip and arroz con pollo!). We also listened to this good little musician from Georgia, but I do not remember his name....Whoops. Also saw some Argentine tango, which I might have thought was better had I never been to Argentina and actually seen really good tango.

Finally, I just watched "Why Did I Get Married?" Decent, but I doubt any Tyler Perry movie will ever beat out "Diary of a Mad Black Woman" in my opinion. Love that one.

Sorry this is not witty or well-written. I am in pain and tired. Ciao.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

T minus 2.5 hours.....

2 and 1/2 hours.

That's how long until I meet up with Kayak Man and test out the kayak. It's gorgeous weather. I am super excited.

I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My thoughts are like a game of Jenga...

You know Jenga. The game of blocks building on one another, but while the tower grows taller, bigger, gaping holes also develop? Eventually, the whole thing becomes too unstable and it falls over. You lose.

That's kind of how I am feeling. I have a lot of thoughts going round and round in my head. Most of the time they build on each other, in some random, inter-connected-Lauren-thought-train-kind of way. However, I start picking apart one idea/thought until I realize there are a bunch of holes and unanswerable questions in it, then the entire thinking process collapses. It seriously makes my head hurt.

Here are some of the things screaming for attention in my brain:
1) My grandmother just got out of the hospital after falling and breaking her hip. Now, she is supposed to be doing rehab, but the parentals say she is so weak and despondent. Pray the Lord gives her peace, builds up her strength, and gives her a spirit of joy in her circumstances.

2) I am getting my hair cut tomorrow. I do mean CUT. Hurrah! It has been a while since it has been short and I am pretty excited to chop it off. It's gotten so long and heavy. Think Kristin Cavallari (Laguna fans, holla) with short hair; that's the look I'm going for.

3) I just checked the weather and (finally) it is looking like rain today. I say finally because I was supposed to meet with Kayak Man today, but I asked to reschedule for fear of getting struck by lightning on the lake. All day it hasn't looked stormy, but rather decent. That made me upset I rescheduled. However, is now showing some nasty weather coming our way, making me happy I rescheduled. Did you follow all that?

4) I am so excited about *hopefully* getting my kayak!! My refund check came in yesterday, so it's like I'm not really paying anything at all for it! No $$ into the bank means no $$ out. Cathy (my mentor) and I have kayaking plans Friday afternoon, either on her kayaks or on hers and mine if I have it!!

5) Speaking of money, 2 of my friends are about to go out of the country. I need to give them some money and support their efforts to tell people about Jesus.

6) I am hoping to go to the Taste of Durham festival this weekend in...Durham. You guessed it. It looks like fun, with lots of tasty food to test, live music to listen to, chefs to watch and dances to learn. My kind of day. Anyone care to join me?

7) Memorial Day Weekend. I. Am. Pumped......Need I say more?

8) The following weekend is my BFF's bachelorette party/girls hangout day/lingerie shower. This equals a fun day on the lake with some of my besties, probably the last time we'll all hang out like that, ever.

9) That weekend means hangout time with my family, sans Brian. My bro is making the big move to Cali. Crazy!! I am excited for him, as it sounds like a great opportunity for him and he is road-tripping out there, which despite the gas prices, will be a super-fun time for him. However, he's leaving before I get home, so it will probably be a while before I get to see him :( While home though, I am planning on hanging out with mis padres, potentially taking them kayaking for Mother's/Father's Days. Love their adventurous spirit. That's if Mom can reschedule her class which licenses her to carry a handgun.....That's right. You heard me.

10) Where shall I live come September? That's when my lease runs out. I need to figure out: Apartment rent increase, how much other places are, if I want to have a roommate, whether or not moving is worth the hassle, even if I save some money...

All of these big gaping holes? Money and time. Those pretty much constitute the biggest constraints, making it hard for me to figure out exactly what I am doing, ever.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Red Letters Campaign

As many of you know, I like to look at other people's blogs, especially if I a) know them or b) have some kind of interest in what they mostly write about.

Some of the blogs I "stalk" are of families who are adopting children internationally, more specifically - from Ethiopia. I have always wanted to adopt, but I am lately wondering what I can do at this point in my life to support and help orphans/impoverished people. Obviously, I am not in a position to adopt at this moment, spiritually, emotionally, financially, or relationally (especially this one...I would maybe adopt as a single mom in like 12 years, but not until then....).

Anyways. All of this led me to checking out this guy named Tom Davis, who is president of Children's HopeChest, a children's relief/adoption services to orphans in several countries. He also is the initiator of the Red Letters Campaign and the book: Red Letters: Living a Faith the Bleeds.

The purpose of the book and the campaign (from what I can tell) is to motivate Christians and the church to live out our faith in a very tangible, active way, especially as it relates to helping the poor, forgotten and downtrodden of the world.

"In many Bibles, Christ's words are set apart with a red font. It should be obvious, but this distinction helps remind us that when God becomes Man and that Man speaks it's probably something we cannot afford to miss.

So why doesn't the church take these "red letters" to heart? Why aren't we doing more to be Christ's hands and feet to the poor, the disenfranchised, the weary, the ill, the fatherless, the prisoners? It's all there in red letters. Why has the Church shirked its responsibilities, leaving the work to be done by governments, rock stars, and celebrities?

The Gospel wasn't only meant to be read it was meant to be lived. From the HIV crisis in Africa to a single abused and lonely child in Russia, the Church must seize the opportunity to serve with a radical, reckless abandon." ~Book review

So, I ordered the book just now. I cannot wait to read it.Will this book change my life? I hope it will change my perspective. Can THE BOOK change my life? Most assuredly. Let's refocus on Christ's words, given to us in the Bible , and live them out so the world may know Christ!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thank You: To My Mom

I realize you might not see this for a while, and it didn't come to you for Mother's Day, as I am a slacker daughter who lives 6 hours away, but wanted to let you know some of the things that make me thankful for YOU!

1) Thank you for being a Godly woman and being the light of Christ in my life.
2) Thank you for always caring enough to have a hot, tasty meal on the table for our family...even after you've had a longer day than any of us.
3) Thanks for your sense of humor, enabling us to laugh at (I mean with) each other and get a kick out of life in general. I appreciate you teaching me not to take myself too seriously.
4) Thanks for teaching me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life: a good book, a sunny day for a picnic, a good movie, plants and making the earth prettier, bubble baths, hot cookies on a rainy day, and quality time spent with family.
5) Thank you for the opportunities you have afforded me so I can travel. Our vacations and experiences around the world have given me such an appreciation for other cultures and a love for the nations. I'll never forget Costa Rica with you....You made me see that country in an entirely different light ;)
6) Thank you for your listening ear. You have always been the one to soothe me when I am distraught and speak wise words to me when I am being melodramatic (or so you think).
7) Thank you for teaching me the value of hard work and earning what I want.
8) Thanks for your positive attitude. Even when I don't agree, your "Speak it, believe it" attitude makes me laugh and lightens the mood.
9) Thank you for setting an amazing example of being a Godly wife and mother. I hope to someday be half the woman you are to my own husband and kids.
10) Thanks for being my best friend. I value our "girl days" when we get massages, go shopping, eat Cinnabons or take a mini road-trip as some of our best memories.

Thanks, mama! Love you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Kayak time?

This just in: I may be getting my kayak very soon!!

I posted a Craigslist ad looking for one (my specific one I want, which is here) and had a guy respond that he is looking to sell his, possibly. I quoted him a price, so we have entered the negotiation stage....That would be great if it worked out, then I could get it for much cheaper.

If it didn't work out with this one, REI is also having their annual sale, so it's almost $100 cheaper than normal, which would also be a great price!! I would be so excited if I could get it before I go home at the end of the month...

Oh boy, I am excited now and anxiously awaiting hearing back from this guy! Anyone know how long REI has their annual sale for? I'd need to jump on that fast if the used deal falls through...

Also, I don't know these men.
They just represent what a great time is to be had on the AE convertible!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Making some changes...

to my blog and to my heart. For the first and most obvious change, which you probably noticed if you have ever been here before, whadayathink? Do you like the new blog-look?

As to the latter change, a heart change, I hope it will be as equally evident in my life. Forgive me for being so mopey about my life and certain circumstances that drag me down. I only have this to say: I am blessed beyond measure because my Lord willingly took my punishment, creating a bridge between my sinful self and the righteousness of God. Without His blessed gift of redemption and salvation, I would have reason to mope and be upset, but praise God, I have found joy, meaning and purpose in Him.

With the knowledge of his saving grace, though, I will keep my "eye on the prize," pressing onward to that which he has called me to.

"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~Phillippians 3:7-14