Thursday, August 28, 2008

Weekend in Charleston

It feels like forever since I have updated, and I guess in "blog world," it has been a while!

I went to Charleston and Walterboro last weekend to see Adrian, spend time with him, and see what "real life" is for him. It was great to just be together and to see him interact with the kids in his youth group. Plus, I got to hear him speak on his trip to Thailand, and I really enjoyed being there with him for that.

All in all, it was a great weekend! He and Mom and Dad will all be coming into town tomorrow, so I am super excited for them to all meet and get to know one another. Until I update again about life and my thoughts and what God is doing in my mind and heart, enjoy looking at some of the pics from this past weekend!

Such a good boyfriend! He takes care of Benny for me :)

Benny boy loved the ocean! It was his first visit to the beach. Aside from a little bit of an upset tummy, it went pretty well for him!

This beach shot was our first official picture as a couple, I think.

Feeling refreshed and ready to head downtown for the afternoon/evening

Walking around downtown Charleston

After dinner, we walked along the waterfront and got eaten alive by mosquitoes, but stopped for a photo opp at the Pineapple Fountain.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lauren's Week = A Really Fast Car Accelerating

This week has crawled/flown by and has been a bit of a brain strain, honestly.

I have swung from having only to work, with very little other responsibility, to a week where work is crazy, I have plunged full-throttle into classes, God is teaching me a ton, and my relationship with Adrian has become a major player in my life. It's literally like I went from 0 to 60 in 5.2.

This week I have also swung from having a crappy day of being stressed about the most minute details of life to a day where I'm completely at peace with where God has me. The circumstances didn't change, but praise God my outlook did. Thankfully, he showed me (over and over and over, in 1 day) that my treasure and joy is in him, and not in circumstantial things or people. How freeing to recognize that the source of my joy is solid and immovable - the salvation given to me through Christ.

So that bring me to today. Though I'm at peace, I am honestly just worn out by life! I have a decent bit of stuff to do tonight, including buying a planner, taking a trip to Wal-Mart, walking the dog/going to the dog park, going to pick up some jeans from the tailor, napping (?), packing, etc.

Packing, you say? Yes, packing for the big finale to my week: Going to visit Adrian in Walterboro/Charleston! I'm quite excited! It's going to be so good to get away and have some fun....oh yes, and to see my boyfriend ;) I can't wait!! I'm leaving tomorrow after class/work to go spend a few days in his neck of the woods and hear him preach on his Thailand trip. I don't know all the details, and I am A-OK with that. He's a good "activity planner" so I fully trust that it's going to be great. I'll post some pics and let you all know how it goes. Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday's Mumblings

Monday, Monday! Here's something I've been working on for a bit, and figured I'd "unveil" today....Chalk it up to boredom on my part and the fact that you, my dear readers, keep hounding me for all the details of my life :)

Just kidding. Mostly I was just bored. Enjoy!

1. I am pretty much addicted to Dr. Pepper.
2. I want to go overseas as a missionary, Lord willing.
3. That Dr. Pepper addiction will have to be kicked, or I will suffer from serious withdrawals wherever I end up. In case you haven't noticed, it's basically impossible to find Dr. P anywhere else in the world.
4. I have traveled to 19 countries; hopefully that's only the tip of the iceberg!
5. I lived in Ecuador for a month, doing a study abroad. It was one of the hardest/most informative times of my life, thus far.
6. The country is beautiful and I want to go back and study Spanish more, without the threat of not graduating hanging over my head.
7. I love trying to speak Spanish, but I don't do it enough to keep my "fluency" level anywhere close to where it ought to be. I get nervous talking to native Spanish speakers, thus, my level of comprehension is going down daily.
8. Figuring out fun phrases in other languages is kind of a hobby of mine. "Ich ben kien schlafftableta" means "I am a party-pooper" in German (more or less). I'm not, but my friends thought it would be fun to lie to me and tell me to say that all the time.
9. You should ask me what my favorite Spanish phrase is. If you learn how to say it and use it at the opportune time, bonus points.
10. Dancing, especially salsa dancing, is oh-so-much fun. When I told my Mom a friend of mine was going to give me salsa lessons, she asked if she could come, to which I said "no." She then asked if I would get her the recipe since she wouldn't be there to learn it....
11. I used to really love thunderstorms. You could always find me dancing/singing/playing in the rain when I was little, and sitting on my front porch watching the storms when I was older.
12. My alma mater, Union University, got hit by an F4 tornado on February 5.
13. Being that I live in a 3rd floor apartment and Union got demolished, storms now freak me out when I am at home alone.
14. Almost every night I sleep with 2 fans on in my room because I like the breeze on my face.
15. I always fall asleep with my heating pad on, as well, because I like to be warm under my blanket. Plus, I have leg issues, so the heat keeps them from aching.
16. Speaking of leg issues, when I was a teen, my leg bones "outgrew" my tendons and ligaments. This resulted in the ligaments pulling on this little bone on the outside of my kneecaps, causing a lot of pain. I usually fell down when a particularly bad "pull" happened.
17. I have abnormally small feel for my height, which also causes me to fall down a lot. Once I pinpointed the problem though, I seem to be doing better with the whole standing up/walking thing.
18. Most people have two "fat pads" or layers of fat over their internal organs. These are located on the left and right sides of your torso. I do not have one over the left side of my body, thus, when I get really hungry, you can feel and hear my colon popping and rolling around. It's funny to me, but it creeps people out.
19. I worry about whether or not this will affect my stomach's shape during pregnancy. That could be really weird.
20. International adoption is something I am passionate about, and I'm praying the Lord gives me the chance to adopt some children from around the world. (If it's God's will, it's His bill!)
21. Right now, I feel particularly passionate about adopting from Africa, then maybe China, Russia and Guatemala. Why so many cultures? I think I'd like my family to reflect Christ's church, which is diverse and beautiful.
22. I get on these "kicks" where a certain topic will fascinate me for a while and I'll research everything I can about it. Sometimes the kicks last only for an afternoon; sometimes they last for months.
23. My middle name is Ann. I once had a close friend try and guess my middle name, knowing only the initial. When she guessed "Ann" she quickly said, "No, that doesn't sound good." I told her Ann was, in fact, my middle name. Oh well.
24. I like roller coasters, but I didn't up until high school. The new ones with over-the-shoulder bars are the ones I like - not the old wooden ones with only a lap bar. Those still freak me out.
25. One time when I was little I lost a bet with a little boy that I could pull down my skirt without pulling down the spandex shorts underneath, all while spinning on the merry-go-round. I lost that bet.
26. Since I am from Florida, and we all know that's not the real South, I am notsomuch a fan of all things Southern. This includes, but is not limited to - tea (actually really dislike it), UT football (a travesty since I moved to Knoxville), frying everything, NASCAR, really country accents, camo, chocolate gravy (tried that just recently), and driving really slow.
27. Despite living on the water in Florida, I have never learned to surf, wakeboard, kneeboard or water-ski. It doesn't help that I'm uncoordinated!
28. I love seafood. Seriously. Love. It.
29. When I start to think about yawning, I have to do it. This is bad during meetings, when even if I'm not tired I yawn once, then think about how impolite I look, but then can't stop thinking about yawning and thus, I yawn uncontrollably.
30. I was a card-carrying sorority girl (Zeta Tau Alpha) for 4 years of college.
31. Being in a sorority and being president of it for a year taught me a heck of a lot about people and dealing with them, and I think I grew a ton from that whole experience.
32. I think most people who have known me since middle school and high school would agree that I have mellowed out a LOT since those days :)
33. Two of my favorite places to eat at are Moe's and Cheesecake Factory. One I eat at weekly, the other......whenever I can but not very regularly.
34. At Moe's I like the Moo Moo Mr. Cow, the Homewrecker, the Billy Barou, or the FunkMeister. What, you may be asking, are those??? The Moo is a child's burrito with cookie and drink, the Homewrecker is a regular sized burrito, the Billy Barou is an amazing nacho concoction, and the Funk Meister is the cheap, but tasty, soft taco.
35. At Cheesecake Factory you will find me eating the Chicken Madeira or the Chicken Piccata, with mashed potatoes. For dessert (duh) I love the White Chocolate Caramel Latte Cheesecake. Yes please.
36. Favorite sweet snack foods are anything that combines the killer combination of peanut butter and chocolate.
37. Given a choice though, I most always will go for a salty snack, breaded or meaty snack over a sweet one. This is apparently really unusual for females to prefer non-sweet stuff, but I do. I get nauseated if I eat something too sweet too early or late.
38. One of my favorite ways to clear my head is to go for a drive in the evening with the windows down and my music blasting. Unfortunately for me, my gas-hogging XTerra and the prevalence of deer in the area have put the kabosh on that.
39. I tend to be sarcastic, but I don't think I do it in a mean way. As a friend used to say, "Sarcasm is my spiritual gift."
40. My Dad and my uncle are both named Donald, but don't worry, they're not brothers. My Mom just married someone who had the same name as her brother.
41. One of my best friends is named Lauren. You wouldn't believe how many times the two of us would meet new people, both introduce ourselves (with our names) and then have them ask, "Wait, are you sisters?"....Wait, are you an idiot? What parent names two daughters the same name?
42. I have a dog named BendicĂ­on, which means "blessing" in Spanish. He is what I like to call a German Labrusky, which is a fancy name for a mutt, that best I can tell, is a German Shepherd, Lab, Husky mix.
43. Benny is absolutely nuts. He runs around a lot, jumps really high out of pure excitement, pretends to sprint full-force at you before veering suddenly away from your body, chases the laser like his life depends on it, and is one of the most jolly, optimistic personalities I've ever known.
44. I have found myself moving rapidly into the phase of my life where my friends are all getting married and having babies. Honestly, when I was in elementary school and reading Sweet Valley High books, I never would have imagined making it this far in life.
45. In high school, I seriously used to think I would die young and tragically, and I would wonder who would come to my funeral. I don't think about that so much anymore, but I do know I want the song "When I Get Where I'm Going" to be sung at my funeral. But sung by real people, not a CD.
46. I go off on serious tangents occasionally (see above), and sometimes that makes people uncomfortable.
47. However, being that I am blonde and a bit spacy at times, I usually go more the other direction in conversation by saying something dumb and lightening up a conversation.
48. Though I can be spacy, I do think I'm a smart blonde, so blonde jokes are really funny to me. As are women jokes. If you know good ones, please feel free to share.
49. Pirate jokes are also really high on the list of the types of jokes I like. The cornier, the better.
50. I stole this whole concept from Adam via Ginny, so some of these random bits are inspired by their random bits.
51. I took gymnastics for at least a year, but still cannot do a cartwheel and land properly.
52. Repetitive noises annoy me. Fans that click at night, key rings that jangle together in the ignition, dripping, rattling, ticking clocks, etc. I would cave pretty early under Chinese Water Torture, I think.
53. Music inspires me and often "enhances" my moods. If I am feeling slightly happy, listening to happy music makes me really happy. If I am kind of melancholy, sad music can make me downright depressed. Basically, it's a drug, I guess.
54. Up until sometime in high school, I strongly resisted listening to anything that wasn't country music or found on a WOW cd. Everything else was "devil music." Thankfully, I got over that and now enjoy all kinds of music.
55. I really love to sing, but don't think anyone really likes to listen to me sing. Maybe my Mom does. She always smiles when she hears me singing, but it might be more of a pity smile than a "What a lovely voice" smile. Either way, Ben is about the only one I belt it out in front of, because it makes him cock his head really cutely and calm down.
56. When he was little and I was trying to crate train him, he would cry in his crate at night, a lot. So I would sing him to sleep with Phil Collins' song, "You'll Be In My Heart." You know, "Oh stop your crying, it will be alright...."
57. Most people eat cereal when they can't figure out anything else to eat. I don't really care for cereal at all and I never buy it. I think it goes back to the whole "no sweet stuff in the morning" thing for me.
58. One of my favorite breakfast foods is a hot, toasted Asiago Cheese bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese. Delish!
59. I have talked about food a lot in this....It's safe to say I really like food!
60. Exercising is not something I enjoy as much. I like being outside and being active (kayaking, walking Ben, playing soccer) but I rarely go into an actual gym to lift weights or do cardio. In fact, the only time I have been in the gym at my apartment was when I showed my Mom the place.
61. My Grandma Crane is my Dad's mother and she has also mellowed with age, I believe. She's super-tiny - like 4'11''. Dad and Mom just moved her to TN from Florida so she could be closer to them, which I like because it means I get to see her when I come home.
62. My mom gave me a ring Grandma used to wear but she can't wear anymore. The ring is white gold with a diamond in an antique setting. It's beautiful. It was originally my great-grandfather's cousin's ring, and it was her engagement ring from Germany.
63. I wear it on my left hand as my purity ring, but not on my ring finger. I've had too many people think any ring on that finger is an engagement ring.
64. The curse of the seminary is this: Look at the left hand first to check for a ring, then decide if the person is attractive. In the "real world," the face is the first thing I look at - not the hand. What a reversal!
65. I am kind of a stickler for grammar and punctuation. I get bugged when people make really easy mistakes. For example, when discussing my family in the written format, it's not "The Crane's went to the lake today." We are not possessing anything, nor am I substituting the apostrophe for a letter, so the apostrophe is unneeded. "They're/there/their" also really bugs me when people screw it up.
66. I am sure there are mistakes in this entirely too long post. Feel free to point them out and I'll try to fix them :)
67. Long showers and bubble baths are wonderful indulgences.
68. Massages are also a favorite way to treat myself!
69. I went to school in Jackson, Tenn., which supposedly has more restaurants per capita than New York City....At least that's what I told future students when I was giving tours.
70. Once, when leading a campus tour, I mistakenly referred to MLK High School as JFK High School. When I realized my mistake, I said, "Sorry, sometimes I get my presidents confused!" It was a few weeks later that I even realized what a colossal mistake THAT was!
71. If you didn't get the mistake either in #70, that makes me feel better....Here ya go: Martin Luther King was never a president.
72. I had a "signature dance move" in high school that was absolutely wretched. It scared away many a person from me on the dance floor.
73. I firmly believe rainy afternoons are best spent inside on the couch with a movie or book, or in bed napping. Rain fogs the brain and makes work difficult.
74. One of my favorite stores to shop at is Express. The clothes tend to fit well, are classy, and I almost always have some sort of coupon for there.
75. The thrill of finding a good bargain is almost unbeatable. I know there are other thrills, but I really like this one! It's a challenge, and I love to complete it.
76. My apartment was furnished and decorated for right around $1,000, which I thought was pretty great.
77. My boyfriend is a full foot taller than me, and I like that. It allows me to wear big heels and still feel small, which is very rare for me.
78. I really think he's great and such a blessing in my life.
79. The first night we met I "chewed" a face into a tortilla, an action I do somewhat frequently. I think it's a throwback to my childhood that I enjoy doing that. It's amazing that he stuck around :)
80. I have a weirdness about my pillow. Oftentimes when traveling, I take along an extra pillow case to put on once I reach my destination, since I don't like it to get dirty at all.
81. People's feet or mouths touching my pillow kinda grosses me out too.
82. When given the opportunity at all, I WILL take my own pillow with me - wherever I may be going.
83. There is a joke in the office that I'm pregnant (I'm not, no worries!). It stems from the fact that the girl who had my position before me left because she was having a baby, and like her, I often complained of being nauseous, having lower back pains, or smelling things no one else smelled.
84. Sometimes, when I'm taking a walk along a street, I love to smell a diesel vehicle drive by. The smell just reminds me so strongly of Latin America.
85. I'm weird. It's a fact I am aware of, and pretty much entirely comfortable with.

That's all. I don't know what else to say!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lauren goes to school....

So, today was my first day of class! After nearly a year of working here at SEBTS and being mistaken for a student ("No, I just work there") I finally took the plunge and started classes.

Here I am on my way to class, complete with lunch, lunchbox and bag-o-goodies - packed lovingly for me by sweet Amanda.Did I mention today was my first day of GRAD SCHOOL?! How cheesy can I be? What's funny is that not only did Amanda make me a goody bag, but she drove me to school and dropped me off for my first day of classes. Thanks, "Mom!" I really do appreciate it; what a great friend!

You may now be wondering why I needed a ride to work/school....My car is in the shop, again. Hopefully, today is the last day for a looonngg while! I am getting the antifreeze/coolant leak fixed after it overheated a couple times recently. The good news? My warranty is going to cover it all. I'm glad it's coming in handy!

So, hurrah for starting a new chapter of life as a Master's student, hurrah for having a new goal of graduating, hurrah for goody bags, hurrah for funny professors, hurrah for learning from some (seemingly) intelligent men of God....Hurrah for God. Seriously. I am just amazed at what he's doing in my life!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life is funny....

I have had so many thoughts over the last few days/week that I was like, "I should blog about this!"

I am seriously having trouble remembering hardly any of them at all right now.

Here are a few things I do remember wanting to share that I find funny....

-It's funny to come home at lunchtime to find your turtle and your dog playing together. On the floor of the foyer. Thank the Lord Ben didn't hurt Splash, and that she didn't hurt herself when she kamikaze-jumped out of her tank onto the floor. It was just a funny sight to see - My 50lb dog prancing excitedly around the 6 inch turtle.

-It's funny how when registering for classes as a staff member, taking classes for "spiritual enrichment" and taking classes for a degree program are mutually exclusive. If I want a degree from my spiritual enrichment, then I owe money....

-It's funny how last night I didn't go to watch the meteor shower because I wanted to go to bed early, but instead stayed up until 1:30 on the phone. Isn't it ironic ;)

-It's funny how God works. My mother always says "God is a God of 'suddenlys.'" How right she is, because God works suddenly and swiftly, with very little hint (to me!) of what He's doing. But, it's a beautiful and amazing thing when I look back at how He has been working and see - very clearly - his hand in my life...So maybe that isn't so much funny as just plain incredible.

That's all, folks :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Talent Show/Beach links

Here's the videos from the talent show, as promised. I think they're too big to put in the blog itself, but you can watch them on Google.

Here's the link for the Evolution of Dance video.
Here's the link for the Butterfly Kisses Interpretive personal favorite and the winner of a Paint By Numbers painting of the church.

Here is the link for the Facebook album of my beach retreat pictures (you don't have to be on Facebook to see them).

Enjoy, and I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back from the beach....

Had a wonderful time at Oak Island with friends from church. There were about 20 of us that spent Saturday-Wednesday in a house directly on the beach, just hanging out, relaxing and spending some time studying Scripture together.

We discussed the concept of righteousness, how to pursue it, the importance of being in the Word, and the importance of holding on another accountable, among other things. Through this retreat, spending time with Heather, and being in a discipleship group with some godly girls, the Lord is really showing me areas my heart needs work in - there are a lot. I am so grateful though that He is opening my eyes to some new concepts for me, and I pray I continue to grow deeper in my relationship with Him.

It was a great time of rejuvenation and fun too! I spent a lot of time laying on the beach, soaking up some rays, napping under the umbrella, playing in the waves, playing football, kayaking, boogie-boarding, trying to learn to surf, talking to friends, catching up with people on the phone, taking long walks and enjoying being with some great people. Although I didn't really get a lot of sleep caught up on, I was able to relax, for which I was quite thankful.

I am trying to remember how peaceful I felt, now that I am back and looking at my bank account. Where does the money go? I don't know. I only know that somehow I have over $100 in overdraft charges at the moment, and I have used my card 2 times since the last one came in....How on Earth do I get myself into these messes? Never mind that I most definitely need to pay off some bills of mine....CRAP is all I have to say to that.

Can I go back to the beach yet and forget about money? Please???

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tagged....And other things

My blogging buddy Julie tagged me with this little quiz, so I'm obligated to fill this out! Here's a brief insight into my life:

Where is your cell phone? Downstairs in my purse, hopefully. Both are MIA
Your significant other? Happy to say that yes, I have one :)
Your hair? Kinda nappy. Clean, but air-dried
Your mother? In California, getting ready to join up with the rest of my family for a family vacay
Your father? Getting ready to head to Cali (see above)
Your favorite thing? My relationship with the Lord
Your dream last night? Didn't get enough sleep for one of those!
Your favorite drink? Dr. Pepper and water
Your dream/goal? Be a missionary, adopt foreign babies, live on a cruise ship
The room you’re in? Bedroom at the beach house I'm at this week!
Your hobby? Walking Ben, reading, kayaking, movies, traveling, etc.
Your fear? Missing out on God's blessings b/c I do my own thing
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Overseas telling people about the grace of God
What you’re not? As compassionate as I ought to be
Muffins? Chocolate chocolate chip!
One of your wish list items? New iPod, new Mac laptop, new camera....
Where you grew up? St. Pete, FL and Maryville, TN
Last thing you did? Giggled with the girls
Favorite gadget? None of mine work consistently, so I have no idea
Your pets? Ben - my dog, Splash and Scooter - my turtles
Your computer? Old clunker
Your mood? Happy, blessed and thankful
Missing someone? Yeah, several people actually
Your car? At the shop, currently. Darn antifreeze leak
Favorite store? Target or Express
Like someone? Yeah....very much so!
Your favorite color? Blue probably, though green is growing on me!
Last time you laughed? About 20 minutes ago
Last time you cried? I don't remember, honestly

In other news....I'm at the beach this week and loving having time off that doesn't include someone getting married. Just a few days of sunshine, surf, hang-out time with dear friends, and some time to grow and go a lot deeper in my walk with the Lord.

Also in other exciting news - I'm a girlfriend now, and I like the sound of that. The Lord has somehow seen fit to bring an amazing man into my life, and for that, I am thankful.