Memorial Day

Monday, May 30, 2011

For the commanders who saw the big picture in wars and
for the soldiers who carried out smaller missions
to make up that big picture
This is for you.

For the honored fallen,
the recognized and
the unknown,
This is for you.

For the people who fought and enlisted
in wars civilians supported
and those we protested,
This is for you.

You purposefully chose one of the most
dangerous, brave, challenged, and
honorable professions-
and then you gave your life to it.

Memorial day is a nice treat. It's a bonus Monday off for most, a chance for furniture sales, retail deals and extravaganzas. But today I'm thinking about the people who gave their lives so that we can live our lives today. Furniture deals and all. And so it goes. They're not here to hear my thank you or see their grandkids or spouses. I'm thankful for what they gave. This ended up being less eloquent than I imagined, but all I really want to say is- I remember you and I'm more thankful for your service than you will ever know.

To Scotland! In a few days, anyway.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm so ready to leave. I've had my travel wallet and back pack out for a month. I've slowly been accumulating the necessary toiletries that I can fit into my quart size ziplock (basically what do I need to have for up to three days until I buy my toiletries in Scotland?). I have found these very interesting combo detergent/dryer sheet/fabric softener sheets that you can throw in the wash and then in the dryer- no need for tiny travel size packets of Tide! It's not a liquid either- so in these paranoid days that liquids could be combustible or something, I don't have to worry about that. I've got my converter/adapter kit so I can charge my iPod touch and therefore keep up with my blog, listen to my groovy tunes and send my parents reassuring emails telling them I have not been kidnapped and reassure Thomas that I haven't run off with a yak farmer. For three weeks I'm taking 2 pairs of jeans, one dress, one skirt, and 1 pair of grey hiking pants that are a marvel of modern technology- waterproof, windproof, quick dry if they happen to get wet, moisture wicking on the inside, secret pockets and a material that doesn't wrinkle. And they pack super tiny. Three pairs of shoes- hiking boots, Toms, and a pair of flat sandals. Both the Toms and sandals (haven't picked a pair from my closet yet) will pack completely flat and be light. Boots I wear on the plane. 1 thin cardigan, a rain jacket (completely necessary item), a pullover that's another marvel of technology in how thin and warm it is, an assortment of socks and undergarments, some shirts- and for clothes I think that's about it. Maybe some sort of jacket in addition to my pullover. But trying to pack both light and warm for the cooler nights will prove to be difficult. That and three weeks is hard too. What am I not going to hate that I have to wear for three weeks? Haha, more important considerations. I have a pile outside of my door that I keep adding to and taking away from when I reconsider my options. Eventually (the day I fly) I'm just going to have to say screw it, and go with whatever is in the bag. They have stores there, or so I've heard. I'm just ready to go. By the way, you've been terrible readers as far as the whole helping me find cool places to go thing. Thanks guys. Just leaving me to fend for myself here. I see how it is.
Just kidding.
I'll keep you updated on my comings and goings- even if it is just a packing list.

God, the truth and life

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Proverbs 3:5-12 (NRSV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.

Honor the Lord with your substance
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My child, do not despise the Lord's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves the one he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

So are the people who were expecting the rapture to happen today totally disappointed?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I know it's posted a few days after I wrote it in the car in a notebook, but here it is.

May 21, 2011
10:00 pm

I'm writing this in the car on the ride home from a family gathering (a celebration of three anniversaries and half a dozen birthdays) in Winnsboro. I've seen at least three billboards proclaiming the rapture today and countless church signs. I must confess- I didn't even know we were supposed to have one today! I know! How silly of me to forget the rapture, especially when they finally figured out the date! (dripping with sarcasm) Yeah, something about coming like a thief in the night, and OH YEAH- "but about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Matthew 24.36. If I have a billboard telling me the exact date, is Jesus coming? The Bible says probably not. Matthew chapter 24 if you want to know what Jesus said- the Olivet discourse. You know, if I was planning the whole Rapture thing, I would think it'd be better if it came as a surprise. Well, as much of a surprise as it could be considering it's proclaimed in the Bible and all.

Personally, I'd rather the rapture not happen in my lifetime. Let's think about this rationally. Do we really want to stand in line with 7 billion other people? All awaiting judgement? No way. Now you know, just because I said this, the Rapture is going to happen in my lifetime just because I wrote that. Just to spite me. God does that a lot. And why not? He is GOD after all. I accept that I point out the silly bits of Christianity; that I point out the obvious or raise questions that some people take for granted. Just to make you (and me) think.

I try not to offend or judge people too much, but my religious views can't make everyone happy. So I was wondering, what are all of the pastors who were preaching the Rapture happening today going to say in the pulpit tomorrow? I mean, according to EST, it still has an hour and 46 minutes to happen, so it could at any second. But assuming that it doesn't happen, what will those pastors say? Hummmmmmm. Shoulda thought about that before giving the Rapture a specific date! You know they're just sitting at home right now, staring at the clock, going "hurry up!" I don't mean to mock those who thought/think the day to end all days is today. And I have enough sense to know that if I get whisked from this Volvo in the next few minutes, I'll be right there with them. I just like to look at religion and how people factor into it. That's all... and then put my quirky and sarcastic sense of humor into it as well. Such is life.

Haha, I even met a nice PCA (Presbyterian Church in America, the more conservative branch of the Presbys) man tonight who basically said he didn't think women should be allowed to be pastors when I told him that I might go to seminary and become a pastor. He just started getting this stern look on his face. I just smiled and said, "God told me so." Not specifically about pastoring, but about seminary- but one thing can lead to another. Yeah, I admit that I kind of said that to bait him. He is an engineer and we were talking about what I was going to do with a religion degree. So yeah, it irks me when people get uppity about liberal arts majors being "not specific enough to find a job"- but that's another rant. And I was just thinking "try and snag me on being a woman and wanting to join the ministry. JUST TRY ME. I've been defending that argument for six years. I get better every time." I know I shouldn't bait people, but he started it! We didn't come to blows or anything, but I made my position clear and firm with laughter and smiles. That's just the way I am.

Matthew 22.34-40
"When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, the gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 'Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?' He said to him, '"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'"

I think that a lot of people view the Rapture as a sort of huge "I told you so!" moment. A chance to prove to others that your position was right. But it's not your moment. It's God's moment. In which HE judges. Not YOU. We're a quick bunch who rushes to say "you're wrong and I'm right" to others in religious matters. Christianity is not an "I told you so" religion. We have this huge Bible so full of rules that we rush to apply them to everyone else. You know my position on things. I strive for those two rules: 1. Love the Lord your God above all others. 2. Love your neighbor as the Lord loves you. And it's my position that those are the two most important laws that Jesus gave us, and so those are my priorities. When I perfect those two rules- to get them absolutely right all the time, then I'll go about worrying about the other things and wonder if what other people are doing is right. Until then, that's my most important consideration. Just loving. I don't know if that's the right way, but it's got a solid Biblical backing. I'm trying my hardest and it's my way. Less inclined to judge, more to love. And share my love. Give my love. So I try to do what's right, even though I constantly and consistently fail through my frustration, impatience, judgement, stubbornness, and general willingness to follow my own will with only minor consultation with/from God. But that last thing usually results in me getting a Gibbes'* slap on the back of my head and a stern "my will, Lauren, not yours" reminder.

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angers, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8.38-39

"If you don't believe in God, how can you believe in love?"
-Noah and the Whale; "Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down"

*NCIS reference.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

I HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED TO THE COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON!! YAY! Just waiting for Clemson now. But so happy to have a place to go this fall. I could expound upon it more, but I'm just going to be happy right now.

This post is nothing more than a list of really awesome music that I'm listening to RIGHT NOW

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lake Michigan- Rogue Wave
Mama Said- The Shirelles
Bubbly- Colbie Caillat
Rock & Roll- Eric Hutchinson
Life, Love & Laughter- Donavon Frankenreiter
Bennie and the Jets- Elton John
Head Over Feet- Alanis Morissette
Belated Promise Ring- Iron & Wine
World Spins Madly On- The Weepies
Bluebird- Christina Perri
I Don't Want to Wait- Paula Cole
Beyond the Sea- Bobby Darin
Kiss Me- Sixpence None the Richer
I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow- The Soggy Bottom Boys
January Wedding- The Avett Brothers
Crossroads- Cream
Home- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Paris (Ooh La La)- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Sugar Magnolia- Grateful Dead
Architects & Engineers- Guster
The Cave- Mumford & Sons
Roll Away Your Stone- Mumford & Sons
Grass Grows Greener- The Rapparees
Blue Side- Rooney
Lingering Still- She & Him
A-Punk- Vampire Weekend
I Just Can't Wait to Be King- The Lion King Soundtrack

By now, you know that I listen to just about everything. So this is a little indie, a little pop, a little old stuff, but just stuff I like. It makes me happy. Whether or not it's "cool" or not. And yeah, I Just Can't Wait to Be King is at the bottom of that playlist. It's on my iPod. I listen to it. I'm that cool.

Answers to your questions... and then some

1. Still haven't heard back on applications.
a. Queens acknowledged that my transcript was sent to both schools, Clemson agreed, C of C is silent. Still no word on Trident transcript or HS transcript.
b. I did get confirmation that my AP scores were sent. Assuming that my SAT scores are there. Isn't that what the $29.50 rush was for?
c. I'm trying not to be overly anxious. Patience, Lauren, patience.
2. Found a place to sleep in Glasgow, still hunting for lodgings in Edinburgh. I must make reservations soon or I'm not going to have a place to sleep. Please let me find one soon! I'm just too frugal to pay more than 20 pounds a night for a bed, haha.
3. Wesley, I have finally started East of Eden. I'll let you know when I have finally finished it. 595 pages left to go.
4. I am perfecting my ability to hold vast quantities of dirty dishes and talk to the residents at my job (server at a retirement community, remember) about my trip to Scotland and future plans for school. Why do they always ask the questions after I've cleared the plates and am holding dirty dishes for at least three people in my hands and lined up my arm? Today I covered - in one conversation with plates (not conversing with plates, with the residents. . . I'm not crazy)- not getting into YAGM, then my trip to Scotland in 3 weeks and 3 days and why I'm going and what I'm doing when I get there and where I'm staying and what I'm eating and why on earth I'm traveling by myself and then will I be coming back to work and then will I go to school and where am I going to school and why I haven't heard back yet. We cover a lot of ground.
5. The music department at Barnes and Noble is music no more. It is over-run with dvds and the little music selection that is left looks like someone took crack and then "organized" it. Since when is Shakira jazz? There is no place left to buy good music in Mt. Pleasant anymore. Sad day. And yeah, I like having an actual cd to put in my car, with a cover and art and paper and stuff. Call me retro in your MP3 age.
6. I'm going to make a post that is my playlist from the last few days. I know you're just dying to know what I'm grooving to when I write these things. Speaking of that:
7. My new favorite dance-around-and-lip-sync-in-your-underwear-song is "Paris (Ooh La La)" by Grace Potter & the Nocturnals. A most excellent band and I am thoroughly enjoying their new self-titled CD.
8. Confession- when I was younger and listened to the radio and heard them talk about a band's "self-titled" album, I didn't get that the title of the CD was the band name. I just thought someone gave them permission to name their own cd. Which I thought was very controlling of the producers otherwise.
9. This turned into another one of my lists. Sorry. I'll go now. Just one last thing:

"Mindless graffiti takes some form of thought." Thank you, public restroom in Black Mountain, NC for that insightful wisdom.

Things into which angels long to look

Monday, May 9, 2011

1 Peter 1:8b-12 (NRSV)

The promised salvation comes

Even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven things into which angels long to look!

"And I'm back in the game!" -10 Things I Hate About You

Friday, May 6, 2011

I know I haven't posted for a week (can't believe it's already May 7!), but I have been ever so busy. I've made so many decisions in the last week I can hardly keep them straight. So here's the rundown on my life:

1. I have applied to Clemson University (in Clemson, SC for all ye international folk)- a public school best known for work in the research sciences, architecture and engineering, and agricultural studies. I know it seems like an odd place for a religion major to choose, but it's a solid school and I know some fantastic people who go there and some awesome people who went there (my parents). It's my top choice. I also applied to the College of Charleston (in my hometown of Charleston, SC). It's got a great religion program and BONUS- Hannah (my sister) goes there too. Also a great school, public, and offers more in the way of the liberal arts. I'd be honored to get into either one and am nervously awaiting replies!

2. I finished both 6 page college applications. I hunted down SAT scores from archives (you know you're getting old when your test scores and high school transcript go to live in Archive Land) and then putting a rush order on them. I didn't even remember what I got on my SAT. I'm sorry if any of you reading this are affiliated with the SAT board, but seriously, ask most of the college kids who are juniors, seniors or just graduated, and they will tell you that they too forgot their scores. So I found mine out. This is how smart I was in 2006: Reading- 710, Math- 660 (never did like those numbers), Writing 730 (couldn't you tell with how utterly fantastic this blog is?? Insert a little sarcasm and a smile there). BOOYAH! So a whopping 2100 on a scale of 2400. Not terribly shabby. But that was 5 years ago so I'm not too sure how I would measure up now. I guess I'll find out if I get into school and then what I do when I get there. Also pulled AP records out of archives and requested transcripts from high school, Queens and Trident. Do you understand how amazing it is to complete all of that in five days? Or how much it costs? I will not tell you that number for fear of deterring anyone who wants to re-apply to school and has been out for a while. It's totally worth it. At least I hope it will be. I do have to say, as far as applications themselves go, schools have made it incredibly easy with the online applications. I would like to take the chance and toot my own horn for being ridiculously productive and driven to get all of that out: toot toot!

3. I'M GOING TO SCOTLAND. I wanted to write I'M GOING TO FREAKING SCOTLAND. But I thought the all caps and the simple sound of the word Scotland would be enough. I am leaving June 8th and coming back the 29th. You have no idea how happy I am. I did the happy dance three times today. I've known this for a little while now, but getting that printed copy of my airline reservation today with all of the little numbers for seats (window seats all the way!!!) and times and flight numbers- it makes it REAL. Soooooo happy and soooooo excited. I am going to visit Natalie for a week, then spend my time in the Lake District in England (try Bing images or watch the version of Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightly), Glasgow, Edinburgh and then probably some trips to random castles, infinite museum visits because I am a museum nerd and I can spend ALL DAY there and no one is there to hurry me along, wander around the cities and towns with my jaw open, and shop for the month of birthdays that will happen about a month after I get back. I will then post so many pictures on this blog you'll get bored. I'm taking my iPod touch so hopefully I'll be able to write short blog posts about where I am and what I'm doing so you can be insanely jealous. Several goals: try haggis (not for the faint of heart or stomach- pun kinda intended), find a yak farmer, and have as much fun as possible.


4. I have a lovely boyfriend. His name is Thomas and he is amazing. Just thought you should know. :)

And the title quote can be applied to almost all of these things. I'm taking my life and fate into my own hands and it's thrilling. And the only people I need permission from to leave the US/enter the UK are customs officers. I've got a valid passport. I'm doing life on my own terms. AND I'M LOVING IT!