Life goes back to normal

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Just me. Sitting at home, contemplating a nap before bible study. But instead of thinking about what I have to write for the 30 Day Blog Post Challenge, I'm just wondering what to write in general. I've been working by natural light all day, but now it's almost 4:00 and the late summer thunderstorms (amplified by Tropical Storm Issac) are rolling in again, making the sky dark and cloudy. Thomas is flipping his sleep schedule to nights, so he's sleeping. Moby is sleeping, head hanging off the couch in a way that makes me marvel at his ability to stay on the couch and wonder how on earth that could be comfortable. Long story short- it's getting darker and I am tempted to fall asleep as well.

Life is moving along slowly, as most things in South Carolina move in August. Thomas and I know that if his leave chit for Italy isn't approved in time, we won't be able to afford to go. He's going to casually saunter by the Commander's office tomorrow morning at the end of his shift and see if he can't, very politely, inquire about the state of his approval. It is a very good thing I'm not allowed to go in his office, because I'm about ready to kick some shins. Let me rephrase that. If I were a different person, I would have kicked some shins. As I am me, even if I could meet them, I would just kill them with politeness, sweet smiles, and if it got really bad, some passive aggressive comments.

What can I say? When it comes down to it, I'm not very confrontational with people I don't know. Stubborn? Always. Aggressive or assertive? Maybe not as much.

So the blog is back to where is was, sort of. Dropping down on the number of hits each day, the list of countries with readers has gone back to the usual ones (but thank you to whoever read this blog in Morocco), and I no longer get to see that 100 people read a post. But the challenge was fun! Thank you to all who kept up with me and encouraged me along the way. Thank you to the few people who left comments, and to the large group of people who commented on Facebook or sent me messages. Hopefully I'll be able to translate some of the lessons I learned with that into my everyday ramblings.

You should probably forgive the next two or three posts as I am getting back into the swing of things, and contemplating where this blog will be going. If you have any ideas as to what you like to read, learn about me, etc, then let me know! Did you like the lots of strange personal information that was issued in the 30 day challenge? Not care for it so much? Want to know more about my strange Bipolar brain? The odd craft and art projects I do? Any improvements or changes you'd like to see? What makes you keep reading this blog?

I'm still baffled sometimes on that last one. Haha!

**Check out the tabs at the top of the page in the next couple of days. Hopefully I'll be able to update them with new blogs and websites I'm following. I'll never be able to keep up with how awesome other people's sites are, but I'll keep trying!

All I have to say, someone else said

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today I read a really amazing article by a guy named Shane Claiborne. He lives in Philadelphia and runs a ministry for the poor called The Simple Way. And if you're new to this blog or need a refresher, you could say this guy and I have a pretty firm grip on the same type of Christianity. Please spend whatever time you have where you would have read a longer post by me to read his guest article in Esquire by clicking here. Be prepared to smile, and then think about how you view Christianity in America- and in your own heart.
much love, and God's Peace +

No. 27- What you've learned in the past year

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I am in a very different place this August 20th than I was last year. While all of the little school children started at the elementary school at the end of my street today, I didn't even think of school. I do miss new school supplies, but for the first time- ever- I wasn't worried about not starting school this year. I don't feel the need to go to school right now and I know I'm better off here. I no longer feel that my life is dictated by what I feel I need to do, just because other people are doing it. For once, I feel at rest. Schools will always be around, teaching something, but the closest I'm getting to one is taking Moby to obedience classes.

I've learned about weddings, but more about marriage. It's one of the reasons I am glad we had such a short engagement. It was easy to not get caught up in wedding plans and focus more on what comes after. The daily living together. To being a wife, as well as an on-call best friend. Every day I learn more about being a military wife, about the sacrifices that Thomas and I both make. I love knowing that I can always count on him. We each put the other person first, above all- and that is what makes our marriage a partnership. We find more and more reasons to love each other each day. Even when it seems as though I can't possibly be lovable, he still tells me I am amazing. Marriage is great.

God continues to teach me the same lessons over and over. (Mostly because I can't get them through my thick head.) So from God's perspective...
a. I love you.
b. I know what's best for you.
c. Where you are right now is where I need you to be.
d. You will find your rest in me.

There are many little things that I've learned. Things that shape me into the fabulous person that I have become. Every time a year goes by it seems like it went by fast and at the same time, so much stuff was packed into it! (Moby just nudged my arm to tell me he wants to be included in the list too.) I've had this saved as a draft for over a week now, trying to come up with something completely brilliant. But for now, this is it. I'm 23 and married and at the end of each month I feel like I've learned something. I have a great life and as crazy as it gets sometimes, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

And with that, the 30 Day Blog Post Challenge is officially over!!

No. 30- Favorite photos of yourself

Friday, August 24, 2012

**No. 26 is coming!**

Here are some of my favorite pictures. It was hard to choose and my old computer is starting to get cantankerous. So until I take my relic of a computer to the Apple store Genius Bar to see if they can fix it, I'm stuck with the files I can actually access. 


**photo credit for the top 2- Riverland Studios and Caroline Howard**

No. 29- Shuffle on my iPod

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

1. "Devil's Been Talking" - Needtobreathe - The Reckoning (listened to this album 3 times on the drive back from Virginia)
2. "Speed of Sound" - Coldplay - X&Y
3. "After the Storm" - Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More
4. "Dream Came Down" - The Push Stars - Paint the Town
5. "I Wanna Marry You All Over Again" - Derek Webb - The Ringing Bell
6. "Caught Up In You" - .38 Special - Flashback
7. "Hummingbird" - Wilco
8. "Mykonos" - Fleet Foxes - Mykonos- Single (for free on iTunes years ago. love it)
9. "One Big Holiday" - My Morning Jacket
10. "Hangin' Johnny" - Great Big Sea - Road Rage (twisted yes, hilarious, yes)
11. "Everybody" - Ingrid Michaelson - Everybody 
12. "Fluorescent Adolescent" - Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
13. "Folsom Prison Blues" - Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison (does anyone not love this song? and live at Folsom Prison- makes the cheering that much better)
14. "Leaving on the 5th" - Voxhaul Brodcast - Timing is Everything
15. "Old Joy" - Noah And The Whale - Last Night on Earth
16. "You Can Call Me Al" - Paul Simon - Paul Simon Collection
17. "I'll Make a Man Out of You" - Mulan Soundtrack (bought this on purpose)
18. "Hamonium" - Rogue Wave - Asleep at Heaven's Gate
19. "A Southern Thang" - Better Than Ezra - Before the Robots
20. "Gracie" - Ben Folds - Songs for Silverman (cutest song ever)
21. "Paper Thin Walls" - Modest Mouse - The Moon & Antarctica
22. "Alcohol" - Brad Paisley - Hits Alive (for one reason or another, I'm addicted.)
23. "I'm Sleeping in a Submarine" - The Arcade Fire - Funeral
24. "Blue Orchid" - The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan
25. "Give Me Something" - O.A.R. - King
26. "Turn A Square" - The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
27. "Circus" - The Features - Exhibit A
28. "Ooh La" - The kooks - Inside and Out
29. "One Love" - Bob Marley & the Wailers - Legend
30. "Serenade" - Franz Schubert (one of my favorite songs)

And then we hit my Starting Out in Italian cd. So that's all for now.

No. 28- Only two brands of clothing for the rest of your life

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm not a huge trendy clothing person. The fact that this prompt is even in the blog challenge shows that by number 28, I was very tired in coming up with different ideas. I shop at consignment stores and discount stores like Marshalls or TJ Maxx to get the $150 pants for $20. I get my "trendy" clothes from Target or Old Navy because, let's face it, I'm not going to pay $200 for a pair of green jeans that aren't going to be "in" next year. I don't pay that much for a regular pair of jeans. I'm cheap. But in a scenario where my budget is expanded a bit, these are my only stores.

1. J. Crew- J Crew is classic, a little preppy, modern, and they have beautiful and well-made things. Pictured: Evie long dress, Brompton Mini Hobo; Green Polka Dot one-piece (so cute!)



2. Patagonia. When I don't feel like wearing floor-length gowns and I just want to be in clothes that I can live in, Patagonia is my go-to place for all things outdoorsy. Pictured: Down sweater hoodie; Atom bag (the only thing here I own- it's a great bag); Better Sweater Marsupial
**No one paid me to say this. These are my favorite stores and I mention them because I do love their stuff, the way they fit me, and the fact that a third of my closet is made up of these two brands. All photo credits belong to and

No. 26- A place you'd like to live

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I've traveled to a lot of places, or at least a respectable sum for my age. But to think of living somewhere, rather than just visiting a place, is harder to do. So I thought of all of the things that make my home home for me. Why do I really want to go home after three weeks in Scotland? Or Italy? I usually miss my family and my bed. But then again, Thomas and Moby would come with me, and I can pack my mattress.

I love water. I love the smell of the marsh and the salty air. Mull and Iona felt so comfortable to me because they are islands, surrounded by water, and they smell distinctly like the ocean and the marsh of my home. I think Moby would love to live in Scotland and chase sheep. I could sew, make things all day, and eat fish and chips with vinegar to my heart's content. (My mouth is watering.) Thomas would love the weather and the food. I just love... pretty much everything about Scotland.

If I stayed in America, I would take the Pacific Northwest in a heartbeat. I think I've considered this more because there actually is a possibility that we could move there due to Thomas's job. I'm quite sure I would love it. It would be a totally different change of pace, but towering trees, parks, hiking everywhere, and living on the coast would be amazing. They have a huge gathering of artists and craftworkers there. There's a big focus on local food as well. My parents and siblings have voiced enthusiasm over this choice and everyone says they would come visit. Good to know. :)

A lot of things are up in the air right now... and probably will be until Thomas leaves the Navy. Until then, I will get my fill of traveling and moving and living. Hopefully that will one day include a post in Bangor, Washington (Seattle area). Anywhere there are submarines, we may go!

No. 23- Improve your relationship with God

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Love more. Love with reckless abandon and a generous heart. If I could accomplish this, and only this, forever, then a wonderful person I would be. And a much better Christian.

No. 25- Favorite Posts Since I started This Blog

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm excited about this post, but it's a little daunting. I have written 195 blog posts in two and a half years. That's a lot of writing. I also remember what the blog first looked like when I started (blue and green dots). I think my mom may have been my only reader (and I know you've read every post since, Mom. Thank you!)...

Took about 2 hours, and there are still lots of posts here. It was an interesting experience, to go through and read things that I wrote so long ago. Some are short, some long. Would love to hear what have been your favorites so far! Leave a comment if you can.

Walk Humbly
To Do and Not to Do
77 to 490 Times. Get crackin'. That's a lot of forgivin'.
Learning how to be Lauren
Shark Attack!
You're caught up in the fight of your life
While you were out

It really is the World Wide Web
In Celebration of Valentine's Day
Last bit of March
Honesty is not the best policy.
So are the people who were expecting the Rapture to happen today totally disappointed?
22 Life Lessons
Showers are powerful things
My Aunt Tina
Time to come clean
Thanksgiving List

The life and times of Moby
Dear So and So, please and thanks
One of my all-time favorites: 1 John
The Legal Pad Challenge
Things that keep my faith

Favorites from the blog challenge: 1, 4, 5, 12, 16. 17, 18, 21, 22

No. 24- Five items you lust after

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lusting is bad. I do not condone lusting because in its worst form, lusting can lead to failed relationships and a dissatisfaction with the life that you have.


(there's always a "but," isn't there?)

Aren't there just 5 little things that you wish you had? Total luxuries you would not afford yourself in the everyday, but due to the advent of Pinterest and any magazine ever, you wish you had? Yeah, thought so.

Here are mine.

1. A leather bomber jacket. Like this Bogner Syna Biker Jacket. Very nice.

2. The Eames chair and ottoman. Moby will not be allowed on it.

3. The aforementioned chair and ottoman will go in this library- it's the one from the Glasgow School of Art. And it is perfect. Thanks, Charles Reenie Mackintosh.

4. Horseback riding lessons. And this is a picture of a Cleveland Bay (for some reason, my all-time favorite horse breed as a girl). And yes, I was that girl who had a million horse books- preferably the non-fiction kind. What can I say? We were only allowed to have fish until I was ten. A horse is the opposite of fish.

5. The house and farm in Oregon that Thomas and I made up if we win the lottery. Lots of dogs, horses for me to learn how to ride, endless guest rooms for all to visit, libraries to fill with Eames chairs and Herin designs, art all over the place, something always baking, and a house full of laughter.

I know, I will never get the library from the Glasgow School of Art. But maybe one day I can get one from the illustrious Samuel Bennett Herin? (Hint, hint Dad.) I know, I'll probably settle for a fake leather jacket that I can get for $39 at Target. The Eames Chair? If I save all of my pennies, that one might happen when I'm 80 and old enough to enjoy it. Hopefully I'll learn how to ride a horse before I'm 80, though. 57 more years of horse-less existence? I can't. As for the house- as long as I have family to visit and fill wherever I live and a place where Thomas and I can call home, then we shall wait. Maybe one day we'll get that house and I'll show you what it turned out as.

Don't know if the pictures linked to the websites, but I tried. Sorry jacket, Misters Eames, Charles, and horse if they didn't.

Outside in sunshine

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Total slacker lately, I know. Without going into a lot of detail, the past week has been really exhausting.  I'm spending some time with my family tomorrow and then going to Virginia on Sunday! Thomas and I are taking a mini vacation for a few days he has off and I am thrilled to see him again. I can't believe I've been married 6 months already. Does the rest of marriage go by this quickly? So in honor of my beloved husband (and Moby's one year birthday), here are some photos. Thomas bought me a new camera before he left (I am one seriously blessed girl) and then I dragged him out in the fading light to play around with my new toy. When I get my male model back, we'll go out in better light and better talent- but here's what I've got so far. (I suggest clicking on them to make it bigger)

No. 22- A Quote you try to live by

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No commentary here, just the words. Meditate on them.

Daily Advice:
Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry. -Robert Heinlein

Living With and Accepting Others:
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. -Mother Teresa

When I'm Nervous:
What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence and learning. -Fredrick W. Faber

My Faith:
Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. -Martin Luther

Stay Strong:
Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life. -1 Timothy 6:12

Absolute Favorite Bible Passage:
"Now the Lord came to me saying,
'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.'
Then I said, 'Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy." But the Lord said to me, 
'Do not say I am only a boy'; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.'
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, 'Now I have put my words in your mouth."
-Jeremiah 1:4-9

No. 21- Your fears

Monday, August 6, 2012

Courage isn't an absence of fear. It's doing what you are afraid to do. It's having the power to let go of the familiar and forge ahead into new territory. - John Maxwell

I've had trouble thinking about this post. While I am afraid of many things, I don't want to sound like too much of a complainer. There are lots of things I'm not afraid of too. I think the quote above sums up my fears nicely. Here's a quick list of my fears:

-My Bipolar Disorder scares the poop out of me.
-I am afraid that I won't be a good enough wife.
-New jobs scare me.
-I am deathly afraid of what other people think of me.
-I don't like living by myself.
-I'm so afraid of Thomas's eventual submarine deployments where he won't come back for up to 9 months and during that time, I may never hear his voice. So afraid that I don't even think about it.
-I'm scared of disappointing people.

But this is what I really think. I think that as long as you keep plunging into the deep end, your fears end up teaching you far more than if you had no fears to begin with. Despite being afraid, my mantra is that it's better to try and have failed then never try at all. I'm only 23, but I know this to be true. In my life, failure is an option. It's not desirable, but it's a lesson when it happens.

You could say that I live my life in fear. I'd prefer you to say that I live my life being courageous, with fear sitting in the passenger seat (with a seatbelt on and airbag ready just in case I do actually fail).

As far as that list goes? Well I have Bipolar Disorder, and there's really no getting rid of that one, so I just keep plodding along. Some days I skip, others I run, and this afternoon I hid under the covers for an hour. So it goes. Next up, wife. Almost 6 months in and I'm hanging on pretty well. Commendable results for both me and Thomas. New jobs? They probably scare everyone and all you can do is your best. Living by myself? Well, I have Moby and I'm at the mercy of when the Navy says Thomas can and cannot be here. C'est la vie. Still scared, but still doing it none the less. As far as deployments.... yeah, let's keep that being stuck under the ocean forever as far from my mind as possible. I do fear disappointing people though. It is a true fear.

Being afraid of what other people think is probably the silliest thing I wrote. Partially because, who cares? Partially because oftentimes I really don't care what other people think. For goodness sakes, I skipped down a grocery store aisle at 8 am this morning- where you run along and then jump on the back of the cart/buggy and ride. That thing your mom told you not to do because the cart would fall over backwards and you'd die crushed by cans, covered in eggs, and then if that didn't do you in, the handle would probably cut off your air supply. My mother never explained it so graphically, but it was implied. Little kid's imaginations run wild. But it's far too tempting, even for semi-rational grownups like myself.

I do spend far too much of my time being afraid. I also spend far too much of my time unwillingly conquering my fears. When I say unwillingly, I mean that the Navy or the Good Lord decides that it is time for me to conquer 4 or 5 of the things on my list all at one time. The Navy may not be very helpful in many situations, but God does tend to swoop in behind them and help me to get through whatever fear I have to work through.

signing off,

Lauren, the courageously afraid

No. 20- Something or Someone you miss

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thomas. He left for Virginia again just a handful of hours ago and I don't really know how soon I will see him again. In another day, or perhaps this evening, Moby will stand at the front door or the bottom of the stairs and whimper. I already know that it will be weeks, maybe months before he comes back and the house feels empty.

I am so proud of Thomas. He's brilliant, and because of that, he gets to do all kinds of things- alas, some of them take him away from home a bit more. (To catch you up, if you don't know, Thomas works for the Navy as a nuclear engineer/mechanic/lab worker.) He always excels on tests, usually scoring in the top two or three. He spends a lot of time studying, but always helps others study too. He is excited to be able to start teaching in November.

Thomas does an amazing job of providing for our little family. When it comes to the big and important things, he is methodical and logical. When it comes to remembering to vacuum, meh, not so much. Haha, but it's okay. We make the best team, equally balancing out the other and never feeling resentful in our duties. His kindness cannot be overstated, nor could his love for me. He takes such good care of me and every time I say I don't deserve it, he cuts me off with a kiss. After feeling icky all day yesterday (and moody because of his impending departure) he came home with a huge bouquet and a big sweet tea. The man knows me.

He's got a crazy schedule up there, but while he's gone, I sleep with my phone next to me and he calls when he can. I'm a proud Navy wife, but anyone who tells you it's not hard is delusional!

My men:

No. 19- Sweet Vestiges of Summer Playlist

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I've got YouTube videos for them all, but since some of the songs were around looong before YouTube, some videos have the right music, but random pictures to go with them. Either way, the songs are great and it's my late summer playlist. I go through ups and downs in my music listening phases, and most of these songs are happy, dancing, sing loudly in the car, skip around the house, fun songs. Because that's the way I feel right now.

1. "Still the One"- Orleans. Weird compilation video, but the song is good.

2. "Runaway Baby"- Bruno Mars. Just got his most recent cd, so I'm addicted to pretty much everything on it right now. This is just infectious, particularly when you are able to hit the repeat button and listen to it over and over and over again.

3. "I Was Made For Sunny Days"- The Weepies. This one just keeps reminding me that even when you miss your train and get stuck in the rain, the sun comes out again. It always makes me happier.

4. "Barbara Ann"- The Beach Boys. I love love love this song. My dad and I sang and danced to the Beach Boys all the time and I found this video of them doing a performance on the Jack Benny Hour. The sound is pretty great (except for a few screams) and it's fun.

5. "Forget You"- Cee Lo Green. Another song that's all over the radio around here that you just can't get out of your head. It may not be (or may be) the song you wish to sing someone, but the official video is pretty funny. And yes, it's the clean version.

6. "Freedom"- The Push Stars. Chris Trapper has a lovely voice and sound. This is exactly how I feel about Thomas and how he feels about me. It's such a sweet song.

7. "Gold on the Ceiling"- The Black Keys. I just love their sound.

8. "What Makes You Beautiful"- One Direction. So yeah, another boy band and they're what? 14?, but what makes this song awesome is that Thomas learned all the words and he sings it to me. This is pretty amazing because he doesn't even know all the words to his favorite song. It's one of the most oddly romantic things about him- that he sings this song. SO CUTE!

9. "Rise"- Will Dailey. Lyrics are lovely, so is his voice. Longer video, but worth it.

10. "5 Year's Time"- Noah & The Whale. If this song and this ukelele don't make you happy, I don't know what will.

11. "Rhythm of Love"- Plain White T's.

12. "Sweet Darlin'"- She & Him.

13. "Cocaine"- Eric Clapton. I am not endorsing the use of drugs, this is just one helluva song. This is another one that Dad and I used to sing at the bus stop. It's a wonder none of the other kids in elementary school had heard of it...

14. "Girl Named Tennessee"- Needtobreathe. Some Carolina boys with that piano, and... yeah. Love it.

15. "Carolina Girls"- Chairmen of the Board. I had to end on this note. I just had to! But if you don't know the "rivalry" between the Beach Boys love of California girls and the Chairmen of the Board making a song called Carolina girls, then you may not understand the first three minutes. But this is South Carolina music, music where I come from, shag music (by the way, here, shag is not sex, the shag is a dance- that's for you Squarah), and this is my home.

No. 18- How could you improve your prayer life?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When I was thinking about this post and what to say I kept going back to Thoughts on God and this particular paragraph: "... my biggest relationship with God is when I pray. And I do it all the time. We have an ongoing conversation- mostly in my head, but sometimes out loud. I pray at night when I can't sleep, I prayed laying on my back in the floor of my craft room yesterday, and I love to pray in the car on long drives (usually out loud then). I like praying verbally, but mostly it's just whispering. It's very relaxed..." So how can I make what I have (that I like) better?

I need to say "thank you" more. An easy way for me to calm down in the midst of worrying about bad things (like Thomas leaving for Virginia for 8 weeks on Sunday) is for me to figure out how he's providing for me. I live in a safe place. I have a large dog. I have friends and family who watch out for me. I have my own small schedule of household chores, work, Moby, and events that keep my days organized. I know that communication is harder and less frequent with Thomas being further away, but it really does make it that much sweeter. I should say "thank you for all that you have provided" much much more often.

I need to listen more. I've written a lot of heartfelt posts about the hard things in my life. There have been many horrible times in my life where people I love have died, times when my Bipolar Disorder was raging out of control, times where I was just so lost. People give that "just wait and see what He provides" answer a lot. Mostly when they have no clue what to say. To be honest, it's rather annoying. What they should say, what we should all do, is listen. Sit and be quiet, Lauren! Tune out everything around you and hush. I close my eyes. Find that deep space within you where He lives. Push out the sound of the loudly ticking clock, push out the smell that Moby needs a bath, push out your doubts. Oh hey! There's God! Then there's this lovely consumption of stress and a great wash of peace. Then you can find some answers. Every now and then, you just have to go look for Him.

Be aware! My goodness if people would only be more aware. You don't have to climb to the top of a mountain to find God (but I do recommend it at least once). You need to find the thing that you and God share. This is going to be really hard to explain because I think I've maybe told two people about this, ever. To start: I have this thing with Red-tailed Hawks. I want to put an image here, but I don't want to steal anyone's photography so click here. They are large birds of prey. I first started loving them in high school in a Wildlife Biology class. I think they are really beautiful and powerful- and they have red tails. After I graduated, I started seeing them everywhere. They're common in the grand scheme of things, but not exactly a squirrel or your average songbird. Not something you see every day. But I see them much more frequently than your average Joe. It's become this thing between me and God. Like a little sign (maybe not of Biblical proportions, but go with me). I see them in weird places- on walks with Moby, at college, at camp, and always when I'm not expecting it. I saw one on a tree smack dab in the middle of the Queens University campus (in the middle of Charlotte, North Carolina). It was one of the worst days, running everywhere, and there, just perched on a pear tree like it was no big deal, was a GIANT bird. A couple people glanced, but I stopped and stood right in front of that tree and I started grinning until I was laughing. I looked at the bird, told him "thank you" and he flew off. True story. I grinned the rest of the day, this little private joke between me and God. So I say "be aware" because when I am aware, brilliant things happen. I just have to remember that.

Listen more, be aware, praise more, thank more- as a Christian, everything can always be done more. The trick is just to remember that it's more for you and more for God. There's no captive audience, people to impress, or books to sell. You are. He is. Let it be.

**Check out the giveaway!!** It's about to be updated with something amazing.