It's a cold, rainy Saturday here in middle Tennessee.
But I still HAD to get out of the house.
You ever have those moments (days/weeks) where you just have the itch to get up, shower, and drive?
That's today for me.
Probably due to the week of being sick and stuck inside.
It's like I can SEE the sick germs in my house.
I just want to open all the doors and windows and Lysol the begeebies out of everything.
But, it's rainy and slightly freezing, so I'm stuck with just cleaning.
I don't want to clean though!
I can hear birds happily chirping outside (despite the drizzly rain), which speaks to my adventurous spirit and tells me to get up and go!
Alas, rainy day activities are limited.
So, it's probably just going to be a trip to the bank and some other errands.
But, we'll take the back roads and the long way home, maybe even rent a movie for date night in.
Oh Saturday, I like you.



(Happy Birthday tomorrow, Katie!)

Working part time and subbing occasionally leaves me at home alone a lot, with no one of human intelligence to talk to. Bailee and Olive are super great listeners, but awful advice givers. So, lucky you. I'm grasping for human contact. Listen to my words so I stop talking to dogs and the walls around me.

Things have felt pretty slow this week. Especially in comparison to the first two weeks of March.
My brother and his girlfriend came and visited us for a week and then one of our old youth from Florida came and stayed also. Our house was full of memories and fun times. The best way to spend days if you ask me!

Last week, the stomach bug hit us hard. First Husband, then it inevitably hit me. Only mine decide to stay and turn into a cold/flu. (And I didn't even lose a single pound. What good is a stomach flu if you don't lose some extra weight?!) Today was the first time I woke up and was able to take a full breath. Which is perfect timing because next week is our Spring break and we are taking 30 youth to Ohio for a mission trip. I've never been to Ohio, so I'm pretty excited to explore. Bonus, it's only 5 hours away (compared to our Spring break mission trip last year, which was 14 hours away in Arlington, TX.) I'm a Texas girl through and through (fun fact: my 5 times Great Grandfather was one of the signers for the Texas Declaration of Independence) but I'm not a fan of 14 hour road trips with hormonal/crazy and teens. (But if you are one of those teens reading this, I love you so so big.)

My friend had a small birthday celebration in Nashville this past weekend. We tried to get into The Pharmacy but an hour and a half wait was not so appetizing. So, we found the cutest Mexican restaurant and still ended up waiting an hour and half, but totally worth it. We live down the road from Nashville, but I always forget about it. I'm sure there's all kinds of exploring to be done in that grand city. I'm a lover of big cities. Not a fan of cow towns. I've had my fill of those. I like knowing there's something cool happening at any given moment. Good or bad, I know...but I focus on the good.

I found a wood wick candle look alike without the crazy expensive price tag. So, there's that.

(Insert rant of bad hair experience #45867. If I've seen you face to face in the last month, you've already heard this story and you can skip to the next paragraph.)
I got my hair cut a few weeks ago. I was forming dreads and my ombre was boring me, so I figured I needed a trim and new color. Well, can I just say, there are few things more frustrating than finding the right hair stylist. We've been here almost a year and half and I still haven't found "the one." I may be too picky, but it's my hair! I'm allowed to be picky! Now, my hair is thick. Like, too thick. And every time I go to a new hair lady, they go on and on about the thickness of my hair. They call all the ladies around to touch and feel and lift my crazy amount of hair. I'm 100% used to it. I don't know any different, because I've always had this hair. Well, this new lady kept on commenting how much hair I had. After the 20th time, I started to get nervous. I started to realize maybe she didn't exactly know how to cut and style this kind of hair. I had a roommate in college who had crazy gorgeous curly curly hair and I remember her struggle of finding people who would dare touch her locks. (She did however let me cut it once, only once though. Maybe that's a sign.) Never did I think my thickness would cause a professional to stumble. Well, homegirl stumbled. Instead of thinning my hair (you know, those scissors that don't cut all the way through?) she straight up cut chunks into my hair. I'm not talking layers. No, random chunks missing. And, because my hair was "too thick," there's spots all over where she didn't put any dye at all. Folks, my hair is half the amount it usually is. Of course, that probably puts me in the average of how much hair people normally have, but I don't know what to do with it! I've got a half mullet on one side where she was trying to "get rid of the thickness." I have to wrap the ponytail holder another time, I don't have as much volume, goodness. Not cool.

Our lease is up in December and we are not going to renew it. Which means.... house hunting and buying our first house! I'm so so so ready. I LOVE moving and unpacking and painting and decorating. Ahhh, I get so carried away on Pinterest. So ready to put some of those pins into action. Maaaaybe I've already been "window shopping" for houses. Probably not the best idea since I get too emotionally attached to items, but I can't help it! Sue me.

Actually, don't sue me. We have nothing you'd want.

After taking a year away from teaching, God has shown me that perhaps I do belong in the classroom. The desires have come back, I will admit. Although, just the other day I woke up wanting to be a doula and then a photographer and then "You've Got Mail" came on and my biggest dream of being a children's bookstore owner came back to me. So, whatever it is, a full time job is in my near future (hopefully.)

I really wish I loved vegetables and running like I love cheeseburgers and sleeping.

Thank you so much for sitting with me and talking. I really enjoyed it. Same time next week?


joy filled friday

1 bagel bites 2 out of town house guests 3 Saturday morning Bible studies 
4 house hunting (dreaming) 5 rose gold anything 6 a tidy house 7 empty laundry hampers 
8 silhouettes 9 pennants 10 dark wooden floors

Happy Friday, y'all!


The harsh line between promoting self and promoting Christ.

I haven't been posting regularly for a while. I can't exactly pinpoint why, but my desire has changed.
It started out slow, almost unknowingly.
I didn't feel like posting about that time Husband did something sweet. I didn't feel like sharing a post on Facebook that slapped the opposing opinion in the face. I started thinking about my audience and what my post would do to their heart. In a normal day, I come into contact with anywhere from 1-20 people, in social media world, that number multiplies significantly. In one click, one second, I can send out my words to hundreds of people. Would posting about a loving husband bring grief to those single and hurting? Would I be bragging about my "perfect" life? Slowly, more and more, things began to seem "un-postworthy." I questioned the point behind every post/picture. Is there anything wrong with posting about my sweet Husband? No! Is there anything wrong with stating my opinion? No!  But then I started to ask myself, is this to put my life on a pedestal or Christ?  Do I want the praise or does God deserve it? Is my public acknowledgment of His blessings necessary, an outpour of my thankful heart,  or is it to boost my image of being a gold star Christian?
God has recently been hitting me hard with the conviction of glorifying self. With Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and Pinterest, everything can easily be centered around me. My selfies, my life, my words, my opinions, my publicity, my applause.

Usually, I'm on the other side of this trail. A tad bit jealous of the ones with great pictures, great bodies, great stories, great articles, perfect lives. Fighting the the invisible battle of "one upping" people with an even better article, statement, or picture. But now, I find myself hurting for those I once envied.

(Let me clearly state this now, there is nothing wrong with your pictures/posts. You're not a bad person for posting regularly. I'm writing this post to challenge you, as I am being challenged, to seek the point behind it all.)

It all comes down to the heart of it. Am I posting to get a pat on the back, a compliment, a virtual high-five? God's allowed my eyes to be open and conscious about what comes out through my fingers (social media) and my mouth. I have to be, we have to be intentional and conscious about what we proclaim. You never know who's dying to have what you're complaining about. You never know who's struggling with what you post. You never know who you're turning away with your strong opinions.

(Again, let me stress, God delights in the happies of our life! Big or small!)
He created giggles and smiles and innocent fun. And it's 100% okay to post on those things. Share your giggles! Share your smiles! Share your fun! God loves it! He created it!

Maybe take this as a challenge, if you were to label your pictures on instagram "self" or "Christ", which one would outweigh the other? Which category do your Facebook posts lean towards? When you go to bed each night, did your actions throughout the day serve God or self?

My hope, my desire, my goal is that people see Christ before they see Lauren. That they see His works before they see what Lauren did. That's my responsibility. God doesn't "re-tweet," "like," or "double-tap." I have to make His presence known. I can't expect people to assume He's important in my life.

These are a few of the verses that have motivated me to look at my heart in social media. (Of course they can be applied to anything you may put before Christ. For me, in this season, it's my heart in social media.) Take a look for yourself and ask God to show you where your heart is truly lying. Ask Him to make clear the line of promoting self and promoting Christ. Join me in this heart change.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in my that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139: 23-24

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:24

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks like. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21