Sunday, June 7, 2009

Life Zappers

There has been this on-going dialogue between some friends and I about the pressure of expectation that this city so insistantly pushes onto its inhabitants. The pressure of success, achievement, power, prestige, glamour, luxury, running with the right crowd, and networking seem to be the life-blood and 395, 66, Constitution, and the Parkway are its veins. So many of us get wrapped up in the thought that we have to work, work, work now and someday, one day, we will get to a place where we can slow down and enjoy the benefits. Let's be honest though, the demands only get more steep and we find ourselves living in a culture where we have to plan dinner with a friend a month in advance.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe wholeheartedly in hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. There is tremendous value to these things and on a daily basis I have to submit to their necessity. However, there seems to be an issue with balance for most of us. Most of DC's 6 million dwellers are missing out of the simple pleasures of this city and their lives because they are so consumed with one form or another of success.

My weekend consisted of none of those things yet I would consider it an extremely successful. I spent an afternoon sitting on the stoop with an old friend. I spent time with the sweetest of all little girls and got to be the one who saw her smile as she woke up from her nap. I roamed the aisles of Wegman's, letting my imagination go wild. I drove fast with my windows down, sunroof open, and sang on the top of my lungs - all by myself. I had a conversation with a well-respected and Godly friend that challenged my thoughts on missions, outreach, community, and family. From DC's perspective, I achieved nothing. From my perspective, I achieved sanity and balance while experiencing simple joy.

I know that bills have to be paid, responsibilities fufilled, progress made. Oh trust me, I know this - this is all coming from a girl that is a high D (DISC) with her top two Strengths (StrengthFinder 2.0) being Achievement and Responsibility! But those things alone aren't healthy - at least for long periods of time. There has to be balance. If we're burned out, what good are we to what we have been called to do? God created a world full of amazing pleasures both big and small. Are you delighting in them or are you whizzing by so fast that you don't even realize they're there?

Monday, March 16, 2009


When you hear a message over and over again it is probably something you should pay attention to, right? In the past 24 hours I have been confronted on three different occassions with the concept of worship being interwoven into every part of our lives. These three things?
  • Ryan's blog on Nehemiah being the best darn cup-bearer. Ever.
  • Hearing a potential Future Leader passionately talk about how worship is not confined to the first 30 minutes of a sermon
  • Finding (again) my black wristband that was given out at Frontline years ago with 1 Cor. 10:31 etched in white ink

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything to the glory of God"

- I Cor. 10:31

Am I worshiping God with everything I am? Everything I have? What does worship look like?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bloging on a Blog

This week has been a week of finding old and favorite things - including a box of gifts, letters, and memories from my high school boyfriend! Wow, talk about being taken back in time!

Tonight was no different when someone reminded me of a blog that was posted on the Frontline website a little less than a year ago. This blog was in the form of Q&A and although it contained some silly information, I was struck that even though my life is completely different than it was then, there are still truths that are the same: I am still obsessed with peeps and Giada DeLaurentiis holds a special place in my heart.

More than that though, my passion for serving God with everything I am holds strong. I am passionate about knowing Him and being used by Him - even if some days that means that I'm placing stamps on 346,897 postcards (today's task). I want to know His character more and as a result love, trust, and glorify Him even more! OH! I just get excited thinking about it!

Here is the link: There should be Part 1 and Part 2.

How would you answer the questions? Would they be the same a year from now? What if you were to look back on them 10 years from now?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Can't get enough

Do you have something that you keep coming back to? Something that you just love and can't get enough of?

A couple of my things are...

Body Shop Cocoa Butter Body Butter
Blistex in the blue pot
Caprese salad
Lemons and lemon trees
Classic novels
Chanel Mademoiselle
Lubriderm lotion with the pink top
Banana pancakes
RSVP extra fine pens
Brownstones in Boston

My black puffy winter coat
Skinny jeans

Oh goodness...this list could go on forever!

That's not the point. The point is my favorite website ever - I love every single thing about this sight - the pictures, the writing, Heidi. I love her approach to how she uses food - good, fresh, high-quality food and then making recipes that are healthy and feasible. It makes you want to try everything! I can get lost on that sight for hours at a time and come out feeling inspired and excited. Recently Heidi launched a recipe search engine called On this search engine you can find natural, wholesome recipes by typing in any ingredient you want. Oh! I'm not doing justice to how much I love these sights!

Just thought I would share! Go, get lost, have fun.

Want more? Check out, Oh, the list could go on for these sights too!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In Practice

I really spent a lot of time writing yesterday's blog. I don't normally analyze writing them as much as I did yesterday and, to be honest, I was getting a bit frustrated because I just wanted to be able to post it and be done. But, clearly God was using that as a tool to remind me of His goodness.


Today I have the awesome potential to be beyond stressed out. I blew a tire coming home last night and at some point have to get it fixed (spare tire = not cute and not capable of handling the high speeds in which I like to engage), I have not one, but two papers/projects due for grad school this evening, plus my every day work, work.

I will not be consumed. He knows my every need.

What rest and peace there is in that!

What are you letting Him have control of? What is it that you don't think He's big enough to take care of?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Original? Hardly.

How many of you have ever doubted? Feared? Worried? Stressed?

Yeah, me too. Everyone has had that emotion and experiences it on one level or another.

I know that sounds completely elementary and you're probably thinking, "Lauren, that's the stupidest conclusion that you have come to thus far". But honestly, it's been a huge one for me.

For so long I felt like I was way out of line - that I worried, stressed and feared more than others and therefore a horrible, not trusting, faithless Christ-follower. Part of that was how others made me feel about my questions and part of that was me buying into the lies that the Enemy wanted so badly for me to believe. Psalm 139 - especially verses 23-24 have been on my mind a lot. They speak of God testing and knowing our anxious thoughts and leading us in the way everlasting. Even the Psalmist admitted that even though he knows God knows him intimately, he still had anxieties.

So what's a girl to do? I definitely don't want to take anything out of context so please forgive me if I'm way out of line but I have to defer to what my Bible says (that's not out of line - I'm speaking of taking the passage out of context). Even the Israelites, who saw with their own eyes the goodness and saving hand of God, needed a reminder that He had it under control. Isaiah 43:1-3 says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flames scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..."

There's nothing new under the sun.

Personally, this is a time of TONS of unknowns; unknowns that are there because there was some upheaval, weeding out, and refining in my life. All of my big plans were wiped away and all I have right now is a clean slate. I'll be honest, I don't really know if my bills are going to get paid this month.

Was I and am I sinning by worrying and robbing God of His power? Absolutely. However, today I was talking to my dear friend from Lebanon, Nic, and was reminded how one of the ways of being men and women after God's own heart means letting go of our control and our checklists as an act of worship before a God who is more than able. My surrender and repentance is my act of worship in this time and place and I believe that's what Psalm 139:24, at least in part, is talking about.

Although I'm doing everything within my human power, He is going to have to intervene. The waters and the flames are not going to overtake me - as long as I am pursuing righteousness and trusting completely that God has it under control, it will be taken care of. It may not be in my timing or in the way that I think it will be taken care of, but it will. I can't promise that I'm never going to not stress, worry, or fear again but instead of it being an hour-long freak-out, it may just be two or three minutes before I get snapped back to where I should be.

If God cares so much for the sparrows, how much more does He care for me? For you?

Ah! How can you not help but to rejoice in that?! How can you help but be filled with joy?!

Yes, there's a theme going on with my posts here - but it's the season I'm in and I would not change this amazing time of revelation for the world! Who doesn't want to be brought to a place as good as this?

Friday, January 30, 2009


Like I honestly need another thing to distract me from what I really should be doing. I mean, I have a million things to, school work, reading, blogging, serving, praying, checking facebook statuses...oh, and leading an actual face-to-face healthy social life! But I did it again. I got sucked into yet another social-networking site: Twitter. Basically it's like seeing every one's facebook status, Away Message, and gchat comment in one place. Users simply answer the question, "What are you doing?"

I can't resist it. It's like peanut butter M&Ms, garbage reality shows, and chicken nachos. I know that they aren't good for me but I just love them so much and keep coming back for more! And honestly, am I so narcissistic to think that people actually CARE about what I'm doing every single second of the day?! Apparently. Keeping checking, I'll be posting.

LKEllis. In case you wanted to know.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Nothing and Everything

When I left for Rwanda, when I was there, and when I first came home I "knew" the direction of my life. I knew (or at least, had a pretty good idea) of where I would work, where I stood in my relationships, where I was going to live, and the things that I wanted to make a part of my day-to-day. It wasn't like I had the itty-bitty details worked out but I at least knew the direction in which I was moving. And I was excited about that! I mean, really, really excited. But here I am, almost three months later, and absolutely not one of those things has come to fruition and there is the very good chance (some with 100% certainty) that they will not happen. So what now?

It's funny, but my reminder of how good God is and how in control He is of everything came while I was balancing my checkbook the other day. Now, balancing my ledger was a miracle in and of itself (yay for keep resolutions!) but it was more because I was watching an episode of ER on my computer while doing it (I have to make it semi-appealing). Through the opening and closing segments Abby is quoting a piece of what sounds to be poetry. But to an ear that has heard it before it was quickly recognized as parts of the book of Job.

I have always been in love with Job 38-41 when God tells of His power, expanse, and reach. I LOVE IT! It is so humbling but so empowering at the same time. Who in the world am I to question Him? Who am I to determine my own steps? The God who knows when the mountain goats give birth or who know where the storehouses of snow are kept is the same God who knows my inmost being. How amazing is that?

So again, I ask, what now? I don't know. Trust me, I'm waiting in anxious anticipation but that does not mean that I am not trusting completely that God has something. He called me to be a teacher, He called me to the internship last year, He called me to Rwanda...and He has called me here.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I usually have mixed feelings about New Year's. I feel like, because I'm in my 20s, I should do something big and exciting but all I really want to do is just be near people I really enjoy and just "be" with them. This year I had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with people who really mean a lot to me. It was a low-key event - dinner and watching the ball drop with Dick Clark, Ryan Seacrest, and the ever-so-talented Kelly Pickler. At one point in the night, when everyone was sitting around commenting on Katy Perry's wardrobe choices, I smiled to myself and thanked God for the blessed life I live. I am a fortunate girl. I love my life and am so thankful for what it is right here and right now. I am thankful for the people in my life, how I get to spend my days, the house I live in, the physical security that I possess, the possibilities for the future, and so much more. This is exactly where I want to be. I am content here. I am also so thankful for the events of 2008. I was able to be a part of some incredible things, learn good (and sometimes hard) lessons, laugh, love, and wrestle with who I am and what I have been called to do/be. I have felt this way for quite a while now but in that moment it came flooding over me.

The one thing I do not have mixed feelings about is New Year's Resolutions. I LOVE THEM. YAY for goals! I made a list of the goals I want to accomplish in 2009 in the little notebook I keep in my purse. This notebook is full of good quotes, lyrics, books to read, inspirations, and lists. Although it is not exhaustive, here are a few of the goals that I have jotted down for 2009. These are just little things and I specifically set them because I don't feel like they will get in the way of being open to whatever comes along.
  • Visit all Smithsonian Museums, Monuments, and the Botanical Gardens
  • Read 3 books in French
  • Finish a triathlon
  • Finish a ten-miler with a personal best record
  • Write at least 1 hand-written letter per month (I've done two so far this month and it's still the first!)
  • Keep a balanced ledger (this will be my toughest one)
  • Pay off my credit card (See above. The point is that I want to be free to do whatever God calls me to do and to be able to use my resources to bless and equip others for His glory)
  • Plant an herb garden
  • Be a published writer (I'm okay with just an article)
  • Get straight As at GWU
  • Learn more about and apply being a Locavore
  • Eat more naturally (no more surviving off of caramel-covered marshmellows like I have the past week)
  • Blog at least one time per week
  • Follow politics/economics more seriously
  • Do 100 push-ups in a row
  • Build in regular times of silence - including a 3 day retreat

More than anything though, I want to know my God more. I want to fall more and more in love. I want to be shaped, molded, broken, healed, and used. I want to dig into the Word more, have a more active prayer life, and boldly live out my faith. Why settle for paper plates when you can eat off of fine china?!

None of my resolutions or goals are too lofty. I firmly believe that they can be attained and I am so excited for them to come to fruition! I can't wait to see who and what will be a part of this year!