Accepting Plan B

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Okay, so a quick little short post before I get in the shower and go to work! To update: plan B has turned into plan A. Or maybe it hasn't turned into plan A, but it's the plan I'm going with. Is that better? Okay, okay, I'll back up. Plan A was going abroad on the YAGM trip. The lovely folks at the office nixed that one. So plan B was going back to school. I've been resisting that idea for so many reasons. First, I didn't like that it was plan B that I was stuck with and not plan A. I didn't want to accept that. I'm also questioning my judgement. Is this really the right time to go? I've thought that before and it didn't work. So forgive me if I feel hesitant about trying this again. I am worried that admissions people won't understand my kindergarden project of a transcript. How much explaining am I going to have to do? And you know that's my favorite thing. So yes, call me hesitant. But I've been looking into it. I really want to start school this fall, and as a transfer student, I have later deadlines- I have about a month to get everything in. I've already finished my Clemson application (save actually turning it in) and started USC. I might need to take some time off work and do actual visits to all of these places. Hopefully with them being a little emptied out for the summer, I can get in and get a good look around. I want to continue my religion degree- both USC and the College of Charleston offer Religious Studies programs and Clemson offers a degree similar to Queens- both religion and philosophy. All of these departments are insanely large compared to Queens. They probably have more than 6 students in the entire program! And more than three religion professors. Not that Queens was bad! Please don't take it as such. I love it. But going to schools with 15,000 to 45,000 students makes things a little different. So here I go, trying something new. Let's see how it works out.

YAY JESUS!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I think I've done a post with this title before. I think it really kind of sums everything up. People always laugh when I say it, but it really is just the icing on the cake. I could go into some deep philosophical thoughts and ramblings on our Risen Lord, but in all honesty, I'm just glad we have Jesus. How could you not be? Jesus is nothing but sunshine on rainy days. Jesus is when you go "I'm screwed!" after something bad happens and then you realize he saved you, and then it's all "Oh. Nevermind." Jesus is when you sing really loud on Easter because YOU'RE JUST SO FREAKING GLAD THAT GOD SENT HIM. Jesus is medicine when you're sick and vitamins when you're well. Jesus is the reason the Old Testament makes sense. Jesus is God's soft side. Jesus is having your cake and eating it too. Jesus is finding out that you really do get everything you ever wanted. So I'll leave pastors to wax philosophical and theological on the texts of today. I'm just glad that Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed- Alleluia! Alleluia! Like I said, all summed up in "Yay Jesus!"

Maundy Thursday- AKA the Last Supper

Thursday, April 21, 2011

John 13:1-17, 31b-35 (NRSV)

The service of Christ: footwashing and meal

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean."

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them...

"Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Part 2

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here's the second part of what was started yesterday (and maybe one day I'll have the opportunity to write another):

Sermon for June 13, 2006
Vespers

The gospel readings for that night:

Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Notes to the reader: What follows is what we called a “sermonette”- I think meaning that I was not authorized to go off on too many tangents and talk for 20 minutes. There’s not too much heavy theology in here- most of this is personal experience, what they had just taught to us in Bishop’s School, and what little theology that I knew beforehand. Didn’t want to get in over my head with things I thought might be right. I left the heavy stuff for those who have gone through seminary and more of life than I have. I tried to include all that I said, the few tangents I went on, and any notes that may be useful to you who weren’t at Bishop’s School will be included in brackets. I hope that by hindsight in having given the sermon already, my notes and whatever else, this is coherent. (I typed this up after I wrote it and delivered it, since it was originally handwritten.)

Good evening. I guess most of you haven’t seen much of me during any free time for the past few days. If you have seen me, you saw me with notebook, Bible, notes, and highlighter in hand, holed up and waiting for some sort of inspiration to help me get this thing moving along. Many of you have helped me figure out what I need to say and how I’m going to say it. But the spirit really gushed through me last night and I was up until 1 or 2 trying to get it all worked out. So here it is. I’m not feeling well tonight, so if I need to speak up, yell at me and let me know.

When I was younger, I used to wonder about the passage in Matthew. “You are the light of the world.” Well, at my church, we stand for the reading of the gospel, as I am sure you do at your own church. And as I am standing, I am awake. I am aroused from the stupor that I am normally in. [I paused here and looked around. I was getting some funny looks from the adults at least, who apparently did not think that anyone should be in a stupor in church. At least not before the sermon was read. So I continued on… I looked at them and said, with a straight face] Now don’t you lie to me, you know that your eight-year old self after two readings from the old testament, a psalm (a song that you find has very little emotion) and a prayer, you’re just a tad numbed into dulldrum. [the odd looks disappeared here- and everyone was laughing]. Anyway, I hear the “you are the light of the world” part. Since I was young, I had complete faith in God. There was no question. But I must say, I thought the guys who wrote everything down were a little sketchy. As an eight year-old, I’m not too keen on being compared to a light bulb in the first place, and I’m not entirely sure why I am being compared to an electrical fixture. (Yes, in my mind, electricity most certainly existed back in the day.) Either way, oil, or alternating current, I found it a little strange. It just didn’t make any sense to me.

But now I am starting to get it. I see the usefulness of my electrical fixture/ oil lamp/ flame thing. This faith beacon is our own little torch of Evangelism. We can go out carrying it high. It is not just a torch for us. It is a torch to light the way of others as well. Faith is like that. Faith starts as a selfish, personal thing. At least we start out seeing it that way. We often have yet to realize that faith is not our own. It is a far greater thing. Faith is with your community. I am not quite sure what to do with my faith all of the time, or should I say I don’t know the greater plan, but it’s also not mine to know. I am, however, working on how to do it. We don’t know the way by being lights, if so, we would have been compared to maps, but we can see, at least into the distance a little, about where to go. But, as Matthew says, there is nothing private about this light. It is a light that is supposed to as many people as possible. So this light is evangelistic in a sense. It is our calling out to people. Now this faith electrical illuminating fixture is not to be shoved into the darkness of a “heathen” or “ungodly,” “self-serving sinner.” It should be given to them, but remember as well, those who are sitting next to you. Chances are you have already chosen to shine your beacon this week. Look at them. Go on; see who is sitting next to you. These people have been “witnesses” to my own faith, in helping it grow and shift for the better. And hopefully you feel the same way. [the reason that witness is in quotes: at St. John’s Baptist, in the sermon the Rev. Graham would holler- “CAN I GET A WITNESS BROTHERS AND SISTERS??” After saying a truth, and the church would yell- “AMEN!!” It became much fun for those of us at Bishop’s School to ask if we could get a witness, and it became customary to say “amen” in the sermon, since it means very truly, let it be, so be it, and other such affirmation statements. It really gathered a new meaning for us, and we say it with great gusto now. Since it might be a little distracting to other members listening to the sermon, I might mutter “amen” under my breath, say it in my head, or nod my head (just watch me)- which is no longer just a tool to keep the blood flowing. ☺ Ahh… off on a tangent again. Anyway-] I have heard so many stories this week about how people have gone on mission trips with their youth groups, or gone and helped with the hurricane relief effort in the Gulf, or just held open the door with a smile and a friendly greeting. I have seen these people who surround you listen to other people’s ideas, questions, problems, conundrums, queries and quandaries with an open, willing-to-listen ear. And not just open, but accepting and loving and kind, for people who know so little, and yet so much about each other. Our professors and teachers and leaders have gotten us interested and thinking about things that never occurred to us before. And, yes, I promise we have been interested. I have talked to a lot of people, quite openly, about things I’ve never talked about with anyone before. There seems to be so much that is put forth here, offered up in such a way where we so freely give and take.

But what is it?
What is this evangelism faith that we share?
What are we supposed to be showing?

As I was writing this last night, a song came on my iPod – I was trying to drown out the shrieks and laughter that drifted down the hall and pierced my ears at 12 midnight. [hey, about the timing, when the Spirit moves you, He does it on His own time.] The song, as some of you older… than me... folks may know- “An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night [insert a few whoops by seminarians and professors and pastors]. Well, since I am not even going to attempt to sing it for you, I’ll read the first part of it for those of you whose memories may need refreshing or don’t know it.

"Just an old fashioned love song
Playing on the radio.
And wrapped around the music is
Someone promising they’ll never go.
You swear you’ve heard it before
As it slowly rambles on
No need in bringing ‘em back,
Cause they’re never really gone
Just an old fashioned love song
One I’m sure they wrote for you and me."

Now whether you know the song or not, it doesn’t really matter. Now I know it’s not quite as elegant as John, I personally think that John would be a master songwriter, and not the same thing, it gets the point across. While I don’t think that Three Dog night was really recording this song as a gospel or were making references and allusions to God, I will use my ‘power’ as writer of the sermon to make it so.

It is an “old fashioned love song” in the sense that God has always given us love and will continue to give us this awesome and powerful love. Hence the whole “eternal love.” Heck, Solomon wrote about it in his psalms (that give the stupor to small children) and he wrote those a long time ago. And it will play over and over again on the radio… and in the pulpit and under awnings out side in the rain [that night we did vespers outside in the rain under the awning that is in the quad next to the refectory] and any where else as long as pastors have wind in them and other people continue to spread the faith, because it’s so important. We often forget the magnitude of this love. We often forget that that “someone promising they’ll never go” is God. Never letting go of us, never giving up and keeping that love in a firm grip. And that old fashioned love song was written just for you and me. [Seminarian Matt O’Rear came up to me after the sermon and asked me, in all seriousness, if he could use that reference in a sermon he was doing. I told him sure- I guess it wouldn’t have been that Christian-like if I chose to withhold that information.]

As Pastor Kannaday said yesterday in class, and I couldn’t put it any better: “God came as only we could understand it. He came as us… He speaks the language of humanity.” And unto others we must show that God still speaks this language of humanity. As a more intentionally Christian-oriented song put it:

Lord you give the great commission
Heal the sick and preach the word
Lest the church neglect its mission
And the gospel go unheard
Help us witness to your purpose
With renewed integrity
With the Spirit’s gifts empower us
For the work of ministry.

* “The Great Commission” by Jeffery Rowthorn

Can I get an amen?

Amen!

Part 1

This is the first in a two part series. I went to Bishop's School when I was 16 and had the most awesome time ever. This letter is a letter I wrote all those years ago to my congregation thanking them for their financial support. The second part is the sermon I wrote there. I figured you would need some context before you read the sermon, so this gives a fairly accurate depiction of what I did there and the impact it had on me. It shows the variations in the Lutheran Church and the unique flavor of all involved. Just remember, I wrote this when I was 16- so no judging! Have an ever so marvelous day!


What Did I Do At Bishop’s School?

All Saints Congregation-

“What did you do at Bishop’s School?” It’s really not so much a question of what I did there, as it is what I learned there. I learned that “amen” is not just a term to be used solemnly at the end of a prayer, but rather, a wholehearted statement of affirmation. I learned that a seventeenth-century, four-four time, tongue twister of a dirge can be equally as powerful as a hip-swaying, toe-tapping, “How Jesus is a-coming to save my soul, Oh Lord, can it be true?” gospel song. I learned that people worship in different ways, but it is ultimately to reach the same aim. Through dirges or spirituals, tear-ridden sermons or stoic faith, Lutherans (and others), have important ways that they communicate and pass on their faith.

Bishop’s School is a one-week experience, complete with life in a dorm, daily Eucharist and vespers, theological discussions, classes on various issues and fun. After sending my application in to the depths of the Region 9 office, through much goading by Pastor Matt, I received my acceptance letter that outlined not only how wonderful the experience was to be, but also how much I would have to pay. All Saints was kind enough to arrange for the monetary part of it to be covered. So for that, I must thank you profusely. So after all was said and done, I arrived in early June to Columbia, where Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary is located.

From the start, there was a feeling that this event was something special. People came up to me to help as I lugged my suitcase, sleeping bag, pillow, required flashlight that I never used, the blanket for these actually cold dormitories, my towels, other personal toilet articles, my umbrella that I never used, and, of course, my Bible. People instantly started chatting about where everyone was from, what they did, how they got there, why they came. It was an instantly warm and welcome environment. As my Religion professor, Dr. Wayne Kannaday, explained it at the end of the week, “You came in here, and you skipped all of the superficial stuff, and you went to the nitty-gritty part of being friends and being there for one another.” Bishop’s School was a creating of a fellowship. We silently, tearfully listened to the problems of our friends. We came upon hardships that tested faith, things that I could never imagine. And I saw amazing people who triumphed over that, and I saw amazing people who still struggle with it daily.

Besides the 25 participants, there were over 16 adults to help guide us through this week. These people were bishops, pastors from across Region 9, professors, seminarians and staff at the seminary and Region 9 office. Daily I started out with the breakfast of champions- communion. With all of the clergy there, it was designated that each would do a different service. I personally believe that the whole gamut of Lutheran church services was run. We experienced everything from a high-church service with chanting and incense to Pastor Vicki Hamilton’s inner city Jacksonville, Say It To Me Sister! service. It was in all of these services that we came to recognize that the spirit can be felt, or can come in such different ways. Not to mention the preaching was so good that we started to bring whole boxes Kleenex to church. I promise, everyone had cried by the end of the week. Promise. Well, three fourths of us had started crying by day four (but you have to give some of the guys a little extra time). This is certainly not to say that we were depressed all of the time. While they made us cry, the pastors also made us laugh.

Take Pastor Vicki for example. Her service came later in the week, after some fairly traditional services. By this point in time, we all filed in to Chapel not knowing what to expect and sat down in our pews. I don’t believe we were handed any sort of bulletin or printout as to what we were to expect, if we were, there wasn’t much on it, other than some psalms and hymns. Being Lutheran, we’ve all got our pants in a bunch now. We don’t know when we’re supposed to sit. We don’t know when we’re supposed to stand. We don’t know when we’re supposed to kneel. We don’t really have a specific time frame for getting out of church. Basically, the Apocalypse has come. Oh, but that was just the beginning. Scene: opening hymn. We all stand straight as telephone poles, singing with all of the emotion of a telephone pole. Pastor Vicki will not stand for that. Oh no. If we are to sing, we are to be excited about it. If we are to say “amen,” also known as “so be it,” then let us say it like we mean it. Not “amen.” But “AMEN!!!!!” By the time we got out of there, we were throwing around “amen” like a tennis ball. Pastor Vicki would say something that was inspiring, someone would say “amen, sister” and then everyone else would start up too, until the very last little bounce was gone. There might even be a few “ummm humms” thrown in there too. There cannot be a time frame on that kind of service. So she showed us how to put a little emotion into our worship. A little swing to our hips during a good song. I though she was right. When you really think about it, we’ve got pretty much the best news in the world. Jesus isn’t half-bad when you want something to be excited about. So we are pretty happy. You just watch me in church sometime. Since in our service, an “amen” might be a little disruptive, I’ve taken to nodding my head during the sermon. I’ve caught myself one or two times looking like a bobble-head doll on a dashboard. I didn’t know this, but there is a bobble-head of Martin Luther. So if you feel like it, join in with a few nods.

During the day at Bishop’s School we participated in classes taught by the celebrities of the Lutheran theological circuit. Dr. Wayne Kannaday, a professor of religion at Newberry College is a genius. I have never met someone who explained a book of the Bible in layman’s terms so well. He has quite a talent for teaching. Dr. Carl Ficken introduced us to Religion in the South, as it has grown and developed into what it is today. Dr. Tony Everett, who has lead at All Saints before, gave us a class on Evangelism. You will now notice my W.I.G.I.A.T. (Where Is God In All This) bumper sticker, proudly displayed on the back of my car, next to my “Grace Happens” sticker. The pastors and professors there gladly allowed us to partake in their knowledge everyday, with questions, stories, comments and, above all, encouragement for our faith journeys.

Speaking of faith journeys, I embarked on one of my own this summer. Besides our morning service, we also had vespers at night. The responsibility of vespers lay upon the shoulders of the Small Groups that were composed of about 6 participants, one seminarian, and one pastor. My group got to go first. As we sat in the Refectory, munching and lunching and planning for Vespers, two nights away, I some how got volunteered for a sermonette, as we called it. Here I was, sitting smug and content, for all I had to do was write a prayer and work on music to be played during the service. I should have learned from the Bible that it is always the time when God chooses to lay some large thing down upon you. In this case, I got stuck with a sermon. I don’t know how many of you have ever tried to write a sermon before, but it’s hard. I cannot explain the massive amount of patience and time that it takes. Two days and nights worth of patience. But I also don’t know if I can explain the sense of wonder that comes over you when people come up and say that they connected with something that you said. It makes staying up late and coming up with crazy connections to early 70’s love songs (oh yes, you’d have to read it to believe it) and light bulbs worthwhile. To see the Spirit work through me to get to other people, it just sent shivers down my spine. Apparently there were even people crying! Crying! At something I wrote!

Bishop’s School was incredible. Every single person there wanted to be there, and by the end of the week, we knew for certain that every one of us was meant to be there. We all grew in faith and community. As one of my new found friends said, “God loves us enough to let us be who we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay as we are.” As the week drew to a close, we were all anxious to get back home, but at the same time, we were very scared to go back. The week was so intense. Friendships were made so fast and so strong, and we all grew in innumerable ways; ways that we wouldn’t be able to see for a while. But Naomi, a seminarian at LTSS said something that I will never forget. “Pastor Jim may talk today at the closing service of going back out into the real world. I want to assure you that this is the real world. Christ is the real world, the world that is, the world to come. These people that you met this week, the ones you grew so close to, this is the real world. And they will be your support.”

This was, by far, one of the most memorable experiences of my life, but it was the best of my summer. Bishop’s School was an event that I really needed for where I was spiritually at the beginning of this summer. I can say with assurance and happiness that I have grown up quite a bit this summer, into someone who is far more confident of herself and where she sees herself going. I cannot thank the congregation of All Saints enough for allowing me to partake in this experience. I wish that I could share everything with you all at once, but instead, I invite you to come up and ask me questions about my experience at Bishop’s School, now that you know what it was generally about. Come and ask me about Pastors Vicki and “Ham” Hamilton’s Church in Jacksonville, or our little outing to St. John’s Baptist Church, the day after we arrived (oh, that was a sight to see!), or my Religion class on the book of Revelation, or my scary experience with the air vents in the dorm room. So thank you so much for this.

Peace,

Lauren Herin

Palm Monday

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just a day late....

Matthew 21:1-11 (NRSV)

Jesus enters Jerusalem

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
"Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

Letter written to Friend-Hannah

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The world -creation- is totally amazing. The fact that God created all of this is absolutely astounding. I stand in awe.

The world around us always makes us pick sides. I hate that, I really do.
Democrat or Republican?
If you are Christian, are you Catholic or Protestant?
Hippie or conservative?
Beach or mountains?
Evolution or Creationism?
"If you're not for us, you're against us."
Pro-war or anti-war?
Pro-military or against it?

Well, I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I'm a moderate. I'm a Protestant, but I believe all denominations are just full of people searching for God in different ways. Does wanting to take care of the environment make me a hippie? I like the beach and the mountains. I'm against war and violence, but I support the military. I believe that science is a part of creation. I don't think you have to pick. I'm not sure how- big bang, 6 days, primordial ooze- but I think God created it. I think people get very wrapped up in choosing sides. Can't we accept that all things are part of the other?

I think science is people trying to figure out what we can't explain. And that's great! I love the thought that brain scans might be able to figure out what parts of my brain aren't working and/or are working at the wrong times. I read last night about the study of how genetics plays a role in determining the passing on of disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They're working on it in Maryland. And you know how important that is to me. I think anthropology is awesome. I am curious about where we [as a human race] came from. I know I believe in evolution on a small scale- we've (we as in humans) been studying certain animal and plant populations long enough to know that animals can adapt to changing environments. I am wary of evolution in the big picture- sure, partly because of religious reasons, but we also still don't know that much about it.

I live in a world of faith, but I'm surrounded by people who want proof. And that's a hard and fine line to tread. You know me and my faith. My faith is not blind, it's very active- a living part of me. But I'm also curious. You know that too. The curiosity manifests itself in different ways: reading, documentaries (hello Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, Blue Planet, Planet Earth), my love of religion- ALL religions. I don't turn away from what I don't know- I figure out why. You can be curious and religious. I hate being penned in a religious box [of what other people think all religious people are like- especially vocal ones like me!]. It gets my goat... I guess that's my answer to the creationism vs. science debate. That there shouldn't be a debate at all! :)

**Thanks Hannah for letting me share!

Honesty is not the best policy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Well today royally sucked.

I'm sorry, I wish there was a nicer way to put it, but there's not. I could probably make it worse if I wanted to, but I won't put you through that. It's been a long day, but I just can't get these thoughts out of my mind. It's one of those things where it's been too painful to talk much about and too hard to keep bottled up inside. By now, anyone who reads this regularly knows that I'm bipolar. On this blog, it's no secret. To me, most of you are anonymous. I see the stats about readers- where they are, how often this is read. One day I got 90 hits- on one post. The total number of reads in the last month and a half is more than the number of friends I have on facebook. And you don't even know my last name. So there are a lot of you who don't know me in my life. To the people who do know about this blog and know me, they know that being bipolar is not something I advertise. It's got a heavy stigma and I hate explaining, so it's a secret to many of the people in my life. On this blog, I have a chance to talk about it without the weird looks from people- some people you tell them and if they don't know me well, they give a little start and then have this look in their eye like "you're not going to freak out on me and go all psycho at any moment are you?" If they do know me, they're surprised at the diagnosis. For the past year, I've been very normal. I've never missed a day of work because of a bad day, I either don't have them or I suck it up and pretend. A few people at work know I am bipolar, but those that do just treat me like any other person. They know that I'm just me. They see me as Lauren, not as a diagnosis. Sure, I have a file folder on my disorder that's almost two inches thick. But I know how to live my life. I struggle at school, that's true. But I'm also a great friend, there when you need me and I'll wake up at 4 am if you need me. My faith is unwavering throughout it all. Sure, I'm not perfect all of the time. My sainted, wonderful mother and most awesome father have dealt with yelling matches and fits of uncontrollable sobs when my life feels uncontrollable. There's a lot that I deal with.

Sometimes the people I'm close to forget that this is something I have to control every day. My meds only work so far- the other half (or whatever percentage) is up to me. Everyday I wake up and I fight it. This... thing will always be in my head. I'll be 89 and be bipolar. It won't go away. I wake up, I fight for my days, and it's a full time job. My parents wonder why I sleep so much. Being me is exhausting! Haha, odd to say, but it's true. But after 3 years, I've accepted it. I have Bipolar Disorder NOS. I am not Bipolar Disorder NOS. That's not me- it's just something I have.

Anyway, what spurred all of this talking about the thing I hate so much to talk about is that today I found out why I was not chosen for YAGM. I'll give you one guess. You're right! Behind Door #1, the only door, is "Sorry Lauren, you have bipolar disorder and we don't think you're ready to take this on." What really gets my goat is a few things. Actually, they got several of my goats. The first is that they didn't bother to tell me in the terse email they sent me, informing me of my rejection. The second is that they didn't even bother to ask. They didn't ask me if they thought I was ready. Seriously? If I didn't think I was ready and could handle it, I wouldn't have applied. They didn't ask for a letter from my psychiatrist or therapist. They did not look any further into the one thing that they thought was holding me back from this job. The reason I am kicking myself: It's my fault. I was honest and told the truth about being bipolar. On the other end of the line, the director seemed totally okay with it and just wanted to know more about it; said it would be fine. Apparently not. I told one of my coworkers. I thought I saw smoke come out of her ears. She uttered one word: discrimination. Amen, sister friend. Third goat: "We want to keep in touch and want you to reapply again." Well, I haven't heard anything from you and I can't put my life on hold for another year. I wanted this for years. This time the timing worked out, or so I thought. That's why I applied. I'm not going to go to school for a year, quit again, and try to go abroad. I want some sort of structure. I like structure and plans.

Look, I hate feeling like I'm harping on this. I just need to get it out of my system. I promise, in a few weeks, I'll be back to normal. Some Bible passages, a religious rant or two, some more crafty activities, and another plan for what to do. I have been here before. This one just really hurts.

I came up with a little idea. I don't know why you read this blog. Maybe you're my family and you want to know my innermost thoughts. Maybe you like when I put up pictures of stuffed sharks. I have noticed that there are very few comments. I'm thinking (and I could be wrong) that perhaps there are a few of you who have bipolar disorder of some form or another or another diagnosis similar to it (depression, mood swings, anxiety, etc)- I've had almost all of them at some time or another. I have set up an email address: faith.macaroni@yahoo.com. Please email me if you ever want to talk about being bipolar, living with someone who is bipolar, think you might be bipolar, have depression, are working through school or a job with bipolar disorder and you just need someone to talk to about it. No fees, no professional counseling (just personal experiences), just me letting you talk to me about whatever it may be. This email can also be used for anything regarding to this blog. Crafts that I make, religious rants I go off on- feel free to email. I just thought that some of you might be happier with something a little more anonymous. I'm sorry I didn't think of it earlier! Obviously just because I bear my soul on this blog it doesn't mean that you want to! So yeah... the email is up and running and feel free to use it.

So God's peace, people of the world. I hope you're happy and safe tonight and have a great day tomorrow (today- I have got to go to bed earlier). Love you all! - Lauren

By the way I'm thinking of changing my subtitle to "Just some thoughts on God, faith in general, and my bipolar life." Thoughts?

No shoes today- we're going barefoot for a cause

Monday, April 4, 2011

"Millions of children grow up without shoes and at risk of infection and disease. One Day Without Shoes is the day we take off our shoes to raise awareness of the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child's life." -One Day Without Shoes on Facebook

I'm not wearing any shoes today. Just look at my feet.


I love my toms. They're comfy and the perfect slip-ons. I've bought them for birthdays and Christmases. And every time I do, Toms gives away a pair of shoes to a kid in need- everywhere from South Africa to Mongolia. You can check out today's event at www.onedaywithoutshoes.com and buy your own Toms at www.toms.com. I've got the classic canvas ones in olive, but I've got my eye on the http://www.toms.com/womens/passport-lilac-women-s-classics...

Anyway- go without shoes today and join a movement to support shoes! Start up a conversation about why you aren't wearing any and see what it feels like to not have protection or support for the two things that keep you grounded- literally.

I'm embarking on a journey of pollen, splinters, rough pavements, and odd looks from passerby. Are you coming?

Old and new commandments

1 John 2:7 -17 (NRSV)

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word that you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new commandment that is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says, "I am in the light," while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light, and in such a person there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness.
I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven on account of his name.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young people,
because you have conquered the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young people,
because you are strong
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.

Screen Time

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My life is like a movie: briefly interesting and then could probably be summed up in an hour and a half. -Me
 
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