Last bit of March

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I was reading my friend Wesley's blog (she's an amazing writer- check it out at http://floodingwell.blogspot.com/) and she had posted a lot of poetry. If you know me, you know that I'm not too keen on poetry. But hers are great- my favorite was "Toast to the Dancing Man." Maybe I like it more because I know her and I can hear her reading these. But honestly, they're just GOOD. Go Wesley!

I have written poetry only on a few occasions. Most of them are when forced in grade school. There have been 2 occasions where I wrote something on my own, without goading from anyone else. One is little known and the other people have seen. Consider yourself lucky to read this- or perhaps I should congratulate myself on my bravery. The one others have seen:

Where Did All the Air Go?

my heart is caught in my mouth
and i'm choking on it
gasping for air
but you can't see it... or you just don't care

and i'm moving on and moving up
and joel said "movin' out"
my stomach stopped twisting
but the brain still churns and wonders

this isn't about you anymore
but about me
ambling and rambling and wondering where to go
for even the road less traveled
doesn't really exist
when I can't see any road at all

and I'm looking for Him and I've found Him
Mr. Right, Mr. Perfect
but can't you plainly see that I still
want something more for me.
not to fill a gap or fill my heart...
actually I don't know anymore

I don't even know where to start.


The one not many, if any, have seen:

Dang Poem

I rise
And the blissful state is gone
All I want to do is retreat back
Back under my protective shield
Into the depths
Into the darkness
Into a place without fear

The cold hits
And I am unprotected

I am alone

And the shitload hits
It’s me versus the world

You can’t do it
You can’t fight
You don’t have what it takes
No equipment
Even with assistance
Even with my allies

I take it on
It’s not my battle
It’s someone else’s problem

Yet here I am


Here I stand


And I realize

I’m fighting myself.


Both of these were written years ago, so bear that in mind. I can't believe I'm about to hit the publish button right now.

I can follow directions

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My mom sent me a very cool link from a blog: www.vanessachristenson.com. It's super awesome and you should check it out. I made these rockin' bracelets from her post at www.vanessachristenson.com/2011/03/v-and-co-how-to-jersey-knit-bracelet.html. So I'm going to attempt to put up some pictures (which I haven't done since the "Shark Attack" blog of August (which can be found under 2010, August on your right). I failed miserably at these bracelets at first. I had to start over roughly 9 times. Eventually I got it. Once I figured it out, I finished one in about 5 minutes. And here it is!


This is me with my super cool bracelet.


I had to go find about 2 yards of jersey fabric because the strips (this is just one strip of fabric!) have to be really long. I found mine for $1.97 a yard at Hancock Fabrics. I got grey and navy.


I know it looks kind of big, but I have the tiniest wrists in the world, so everything is giant on them. On you it will look totally cool. I promise.


It's an insane amount of fabric when you go to cut a little one inch wide strip and with four yards of fabric, I'm going to be making these things forever. So if you know me and want one, send me a comment, text, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, what have you and what color. I've already got a little pile going and I'm ready to give them away!

So on the last blog post on my checklist: I did go to the grocery store that day. So #9 is done. I also filed my state and federal taxes and payed my car tax- things that weren't on the list, but needed to be done anyway. I'm going to include bracelet making and other crafty activities under #1, with my quilt, so consider that a work in progress.

Mooooovin' On

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Well the last zillion posts have been about YAGM and how awesome it was going to be. And since it will be no more, the next zillion posts will be about me figuring out what to do instead. And in honor of moving on, I am listening to Needtobreathe's "Movin' On"- it was just too appropriate and wildly literal to pass up.

"You're out of room for marking days on a wall
The lines remind me of just how long I've been gone
You're holding on and now it's time to let go
Just let it go, let it go, let it go, let it go..."
-"Movin' On"; Needtobreathe

So I haven't figured out what to do with my life (still taking suggestions for that one), I have figured out what to do in the meantime. Or rather a list of things to do. Some I have accomplished and others have yet to be done. That's just my style.

1. Finish my quilt. Or at least work on it some more. I don't even remember when I started, that's how long ago it was. It does have a name now. The pizza box quilt. It's kept inside a pizza box.
2. Compile a list of all the majors offered at Clemson, the University of South Carolina, and the College of Charleston and slowly circle the ones that sound interesting and cross off the ones that in no way shape or form will I ever be interested in. For example, majors I will not be partaking in: Dance (sorry any dancers out there- you would be ashamed to know me if I joined your major), Biomedical Engineering (sorry Madison [sister]), Economics (sorry Uncle Tim, professor of Economics at Queens University), Russian (sorry lone reader who lives in Russia), and Computer Information Systems (sorry Bill Gates and Uncle Ron). Majors that seem remotely interesting: Religious Studies (duh), Political Science (just because I dominated that AP Government exam), Marine Science (Blue Planet, thanks BBC), History (gotta love dead folks and what they did to destroy/create our current environment), Anthropology (thanks Bones and anthro professor at Trident), Art History (beautiful buildings and incomprehensible modern art), and Classics (probably completely useless, unless I just want to be erudite. And use words like erudite.) Endless possibilities you see. And then narrow them down to finite possibilities.
3. Write enough postcards to PostSecret to get them published. www.postsecret.com. This may seem silly to you, seeing as I bare my soul enough on this blog (a personal website), but to have it out there to have millions of people know without knowing I wrote it would be so cool. Just a thing. Or maybe I just need to read all of his books. Maybe I'm there.
4. Tell people that I love what I really think of them. Which is how awesome they are. Hopefully they already know, but perhaps a loving letter will give them something to hold in their hands. My love in their hands. That would just be a really cool project.
5. Clean out my computer. I've been slowly doing this, but as it reaches it's fifth birthday, it needs a little care. Five years worth of school documents that are no longer pertinent should get out of here. Make space for all that I have to learn in my life.
6. Listen to all of the music on my iTunes and throw out the junk and enjoy the things I forgot I had. Then make really fun mix cds and send them to all my friends.
7. Read the entire Bible- every line. I have the time. We all have the time. Stand in awe of Genesis, fall asleep over Judges, lament with Lamentations, rejoice in the gospels, and freak out over Revelation. And, of course, blog about it. I'm just going to start at the beginning and plow my way through. Maybe I'll learn something about myself and God. Well hopefully I will, otherwise all that they've been saying about the Bible being the Word of God will be total malarky. [One day God is going to smite me.] Lastly, I'll get mad at the silly people who take things out of context.
8. I will attempt to read "the classics" and try and understand why they're called classics. After all, Mark Twain said that "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."
9. Go to the grocery store. I should really do that one today, seeing as it's already 12:45 in the morning of Sunday, March 27, 2011. See I always start these blogs at 11, thinking I'm going to write something quickly, and then realize that it takes a lot of time to write as awesomely as I do.

I was kidding on that last sentence. It takes a lot of time to write something I think you'll read all the way through to the end. Now that's the truth.

Letting it all sink in... slowly, very slowly

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So it's been a week now and I've been very busy, spending my time either overthinking my rejection or ignoring it completely. Still haven't come up with a plan for what I want to do next, but I'll figure something out eventually. I've also got this interesting conversation going on with God. It starts out "Hey, Almighty One/Holy of Holies/God/Father/Lord/King of Kings/Insert Preferred Title Here, I know you're kinda busy dealing with natural disasters, judging people once they die (which natural disasters kinda create a backlog), fighting the Devil daily, and dealing with everyone else's problems, but... 1. Why can't I go abroad with YAGM next year? 2. If you don't want me to do that, what do you want me to do? 3. People keep saying that you will reveal your will in your own time. I know that Your time is different from our time (and clearly, you have a lot more of it), but consider that I only have about 80 more years IF I'M REALLY LUCKY AND DON'T PLAY IN TRAFFIC left before I'm going to become one more soul in the aforementioned line up of judgement. 4. So please hurry up. 5. I know a big booming voice from heaven would probably send me into shock, an angel would make me scream so loud I'd wake the neighborhood, and a burning bush is just simply a fire hazard, but some sort of sign would be really useful. But if you want to face the fire hazard, send an angel to relay a message, or speak directly to me, I wouldn't be opposed. However, you might want to attach a note to the burning bush, because I'm not quite sure what that would mean for me, considering none of my family members are enslaved or live in Egypt. But really, anything visually or auditory that's explicit in your will and desire for my vocation life would be really awesome."

That's really all I've got so far. I'm not really expecting a booming voice, but hey, it's happened before. I know it's probably not how God want's me to feel, but I'm feeling like my life is a checklist of Lessons Learned. I'm just waiting for the practical application part. And I am really really really tired of the waiting. Patience is not a virtue that I possess. Well, not long term patience. I know, I've been through a lot in the past 4 years. Major Depression diagnosis, Bipolar diagnosis, in school, out of school, then repeat those last two over and over again, death of Namie, death of Aunt Tina, loss of job, 4 botched attempts at getting out of the country (2 Iona, 1 school, 1 YAGM), various illnesses, allergies and trips to the ER- really, quite the roller coaster. So now I'm feeling the "if not this, that, that or that over there, then what am I supposed to do?" Look, don't get me wrong. I'm happy with the life I have. I am blessed beyond belief. The whole bipolar thing sucks, but I have awesome parents, I have health insurance, I have a great doctor and an incredible therapist, I have a job that I like and allows me to save money, I have the best little sisters in the world, I have the most amazing group of friends, a church family that loves me, an extended family that loves me, I'm medically and medicinally stable, healthy (other than that bipolar thing), and all of that good stuff. I just have this feeling inside that it's time to move on. Maybe not tomorrow, but within the next year (or sooner if possible), I'd like to move on to a new chapter in my life. School or a job that allows me to support myself, something like that. That's not a completely crazy thought. I just have to figure out what that might be. Until then, I wait.

That sentence sounds familiar.

Reading: Fluke by Christopher Moore. Buying: underwear, a gallon of milk, and Peeps. Dreams: too vivid for comfort. Have they determined that dreams sometimes mirror your subconscious? If so, I am totally screwed. Wearing: A t-shirt with a green dino that says "carnivore" at the bottom and my favorite jeans. Mad at: Eve. Pretty sure "pangs in childbearing" (Gen 3:16) also meant pangs in menstruation. Damn these cramps. Curses on you Eve for doing this to me!! Don't: take apples from snakes. Thought for the day: Sadness in life is predictable. It is the joy in life that is unexpected, and thus all the more wonderful and sacred. Quote for the day: Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how... we guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark. -Agnes de Mille. Scripture for the day: "For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? He equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip." Psalm 18:31-36. Movie: Life As We Know It. Song: "Kingdom Come" by Coldplay. Time: to go to bed.

finally heard back

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I got an email today informing me I didn't get into the YAGM program. I am working on making my peace with that and I'm scouting out any other programs starting this year doing similar things, both here and abroad. If you know of any for me to apply to, that would be great! I've enabled the comment box to be open to anyone, even if you don't have an account. So I'll take any help I can get. I'm already looking into the Presbyterian church's YAV program. It's already March, but if you know of anything - any cool programs at all - please let me know! I know it's a bummer about not getting into YAGM, but please no phone calls or emails right now- you might make me cry! I'm moving on and right now that's figuring out what I'm going to do next. Anything that sounds remotely interesting and possibly helping other people is what I want to do. So let me know if you know. This is already starting to sound really jumbled. But thanks for your support along the way. Love, Lauren

Beautiful and Torn

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I've been selfish, I know. I've spent so much time in my mind worrying about my forthcoming email bearing tidings good or ill, that I haven't said anything about the earthquakes in Japan or the tusnami that rocked the Pacific. I don't handle disasters well. 9/11 (can you believe that it will be 10 years this September?) was a shock to me and my 12 year old self. I couldn't grasp the terrible act- not any part of it. I couldn't understand why, how, the destruction, the panic of not being able to get ahold of a loved one, the aftermath, or the people affected by it. I simply couldn't process it all. It didn't come to me until days later, as I sat in the dark of my dining room, crying into my bowl of Cheerios. Ahh! Here I go again, the tears streaming down my face, with that little catch in my throat. I can't imagine something like that happening here. Well, I can (thank you hurricanes and living on a fault line), but I can't imagine my reaction to that. What would I do if my home was gone? And OH MY GOSH will these doom and destruction nay-sayers PLEASE back off. If I have to hear one more "the world is coming to an end" speech I just might pull my ears off. Earthquakes happen. Hurricanes happen. Tornadoes. Floods. Volcanos. Water spouts. Blizzards. Droughts. Monsoons. Tsunamis. They have been happening for millions of years and they will continue. Did anyone ever stop and think that perhaps God doesn't do all this stuff, but the Devil? Not saying that he did, but is it so novel to blame the bad guy for the bad things? Apparently so. Personally, shit happens. I hate to use that word, but I think I need the strength of it. Cancer. Bipolar disorder. Poverty. Illiteracy. Postal strikes. The cost of stamps. We live in a world where the Lord gave us free will- we can do good and we can do bad. We live in a world where good and evil are in a constant power struggle. We live in a world that is ruled by God. Logically speaking, a planet this large, in a solar system this size and our proximity to the sun... add it all together and you have the laws of physics and geography and geology and biology. It can't be perfect. These things happen. Blaming it on anything other than the natural forces of this world will get you no where and send you into a tail spin of death, doom and destruction. God created this planet. Creation being the key. But you have to make the best of what you've got. Harp on the death all you want. Jesus said let the dead bury the dead (perhaps a little insensitive on his part, in my opinion), but while we mourn, let us also remember we have to deal with what is left. And that is rebuilding, keeping people safe, sending supplies, supporting the people of Japan as best we can. Think about the living and all the good that is to be done. If anything, (sad to say as it may be), bad things bring people together. So let's remind ourselves of that. Come together. Leave your negativity behind- Japan doesn't need your bad attitude in addition to all that it has going on.

In Ivrea, Italy, thousands of citizens celebrate the beginning of Lent by throwing oranges at one another.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Listening to: Mumford & Sons on their album Sigh No More, but especially "The Cave," "Winter Winds," and "Roll Away Your Stone." The more I listen, the more I like.

Just finished reading: "Lamb" by Christopher Moore. Words cannot express how awesome I think this book is. God has a sense of humor is all I have to say! If I wrote a book, I would have written this one. So I guess I have to come up with a new idea for my book.

4 days. I'm trying not to let this kill me. And this isn't even a guarantee that I'm in the program.

The top three things that make me happy include the happiness I feel when I make other people happy. I'm not sure what the other two things are. Maybe stationary. And pancakes. Really, it doesn't take much.

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you have received. -1 Peter 4:8-10

There's nothing else to say

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I find out Friday, March 18 by email. The goal is that everyone who moves on to the weekend in April gets a country placement. 10 days.

Yes, this is Lauren

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just a few last-minute jitters over my impending interview. I am trying to be calm, but I'm restless. I've got two alarms set for tomorrow and all of my paperwork printed out so I can be thoroughly prepared for any questions about my app or answers. But once this interview is done, I can relax and just wait for their answer. I will have done all that I can do. I am ridiculously sore from driving 10 hours in a 36 hour period and am now thinking of the merits of paying for a massage. I've caught up on almost all of my letters and my three things to do soon are clean my room, clean the inside and outside of my car, and do my taxes. Oh joy. Well at least my laundry is done.

Even I can't guess the ending on this one

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Okay, the plot thickens and the excitement builds. To catch you up to speed: 1. I sent in my application the first week in February. 2. I got confirmation that they got it and filled out another pdf form for them. 3. I got a phone call from Anna, a YAGM alum from the Jerusalem/West Bank program (I think there's a whole blog post about that one) and we chatted it up about everything I wanted to know. 4. I confirmed that all of my references got their stuff and sent it in. 5. I got an email on Tuesday from Pastor Heidi, one of the directors of the program, wanting to set up a phone interview!! 6. I emailed her back. 7. She emailed me back and now we have a phone interview set up for Tuesday at 11 am. Say your prayers please!

If all of this works out, I should hear back about the next step no later than March 25. 22 days. Not that I'm counting or anything. I'm just so excited about what could happen. This could be a huge opportunity for me in so many ways. I could spend a whole year (with my expenses all covered) just working for God in one of these programs. A year with a set job and new people to meet, to go to places I've never been before, to be scared out of my wits and pushed in new and thrilling ways. I want to do something different. And what's more different than working in a new job in a country I've never been to before and possibly with a language that I don't speak? Not much. I'm so ready to know what's going to happen. If I do hear back at the end of March, then I will be flying to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (yes, I had to look that one up on a map) for a weekend of "discernment placement interviews" where I will have interviews with specific country programs.

And yes, I am working on plan B. Until very recently this has been Plan A. And the only Plan. But reality hits when the all of these applications and references and interviews become real and deadlines loom and things start to get into the hands and control of someone else. After Tuesday, this is completely in the hands of God and the Global Missions office. There will be nothing else I can do to prove to them how much I want this and how good I think I'll be for the job. I have to admit, I want this job for so many reasons, one of them being my own discernment. I know full well that your current situation in life prepares you for future situations. Working for someone else and doing something different I think will help me figure out where I'm supposed to be in life. I don't know. That's been proven over and over again.

The full run-down of my life career options (as best I can remember): Astronaut. There was something about a green button that needed to be pressed... I can't say I remember much more than that or even why I wanted to be one. Artist. I still haven't completely thrown that one out of the realm of question. Trainer at Sea World. A Killer Whale as a pet? Totally awesome! Zoologist. Along the same lines, but opened up opportunities for animals on land, not just marine life. Art teacher. At a time when Art was my favorite class in school (and in elementary school it seems like you'll be in school forever) so I saw no reason that once I finally got out of school, I could return to it and stay in art class forever. Heaven! This also came about recently during my panic over not going to seminary and wanting a steady job. History/Art History professor. Again, something about staying in school and learning forever is just appealing to me. Pastor. I can thank God for that one. Speak to me in church, tell me to go to seminary and then bing bang boom there you have it. Something to do with world religions, peace talks. So seminary/divinity school in a different direction. Not really sure what that job title is, or if there's even a job out there that fits that description, vague that it is.

So Plan B is go back to school. And some how I have to figure out what I want to major in. I love religion, political science, government, art history, wildlife biology, history, and about a hundred other things. But what do I do with that?? This YAGM program isn't so I can procrastinate on finding a major and going to school. If going to school is what God has planned for me, then I'll figure it out, I'm sure. But I really think that the program could help me as much as I could help it. Maybe I'll find my calling. Maybe I'll discover what I'm not meant to do (remember that three day stint as a baker?). That can be just as useful. So the next month and a half (or less) will determine if it's Plan A or Plan B. As usual, I'll keep you posted. And hooray for therapeutic writing. I'm glad this blog has readers, but man, you have no idea how much writing helps. Maybe that's Plan C. Write a book. On paper.

Something we should all read and remember

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Luke 12:22-31 (NRSV)

Do not worry

He said to his disciples, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
 
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