Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Celebrate the Day

...and with this Christmas wish is missed
the point I could convey.
If only I could find the words to say
to let You know how much You've touched my life,
because here is where You're finding me,
in the exact same place as New Year's eve.
And from a lack of my persistency, we're less than half as close as I wanted to be.
And the first time that You opened Your eyes
did You realize that You would be my Savior?
And the first breath that left Your lips-
did You know that it would change this world forever?
And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
to what this midnight made so clear - that You have come to meet me here.
To look back and think that this baby would one day save me.
In the hope that what You did, that you were born so I might really live.
To look back and think that this baby would one day save me.
And I, I celebrate the day -
that You were born to die.
So I could one day pray for You to save my life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All Work and No Play

'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.'

I shutter to even think of the movie, The Shinning, from which this famous line comes from. [I loathe scary movies.]

But there is some truth here, right?

All work and no play makes [LAUREN] a dull [girl].

Or does it? Or does all work and no play make Lauren a disciplined and well- educated girl? Who knows...I can barely keep track these days.

I am excited to escape some work and enjoy some play with friends tomorrow at Christmas on 5th Street, a lovely Baylor tradition.

There will be hot chocolate, the lighting of the enormous tree, great music, and Christmas cheer, to be sure.

I am more than ready :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Did someone once say "You can never go home again" ?
Well, if they did, I beg to differ.
I did go home again, for Thanksgiving break to be exact.

I know everyone loves Thanksgiving. I mean, what is not to love about family, turkey, pie, football, and rest? It has glorious written all over it :)

I did love Thanksgiving break. When I say I loved it...I really mean that my heart soared with unexplainable joy when I got to hug my mom after three long months. Do I sound like a fourth grader who couldn't make it through day-camp? Ha. I don't care. My mom gives the best hugs in the whole entire world and man, oh man, did I miss those hugs!

My brother and I watched football. My sister and I went shopping. My mom and I baked. My dad and I took a long drive through our old neighborhood. I sang too loudly in the car with my girl friends to silly music with the windows rolled down, even though it was freezing outside. I sat in my favorite coffee shop, drinking my favorite chai, and reminisced with old friends.

I realized the quaint loveliness of my hometown over the break. What is it about a hometown that is so special? And isn't it funny how we all tend to talk badly about our hometowns when we move away? Well, my hometown is dusty, flat, and some might say boring. We're definitely lacking in the whole trees, lakes, and rolling hills kind of thing where I'm from. It's definitely not the most beautiful place I've ever seen.

But you know what, it's mine. My hometown. I like that. What do you like about your hometown?

Lord, thank You. Thank You for family, for friends, for West Texas sunsets and for always being able to return home.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's a Love Story

I love music.

Just like the rest of the planet, I presume. Music speaks to a part of my soul it seems no other art form has access to.

Lately I've been obsessed with a song called Love Story by Taylor Swift.


I feel like a little girl when I listen to this song. It's about a fairytale romance, equipped with a prince, a princess, a castle...the whole nine yards. Perhaps that is why I love the song so much. I love feeling little again, because I am scared to grow up. But I think there is more to why I have listened to this song on repeat countless nights the past week.


Watch this video :)
Romeo, save me.
I've been feeling so alone.
I keep waiting for you, but you never come.
Is this in my head?
I don't know what to think.
He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring,
and said marry me, Juliet, you'll never have to be alone.
I love you and that's all I really know.
I talked to your dad, go pick out a white dress. It's a love story. Baby, just say yes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bring on the Fall

The time has finally come.

The weather has taken a turn. Leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground. Soon I will be eating turkey and pumpkin pie with my beautiful family.

Change is in the air. Can you feel it?

I can.

I need it.

I am usually not a fan of change. Then again, who is? However, I am ready for a little change. Some renewal. A change in the soul. Yes, change can be beautiful. We all need change.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Consumer-driven American and Corporate Starbucks Mania

Did my title make you cringe with horror?

ha ha :)

Do not fear. This post will not be a crazy rant bashing America which we have all grown weary of, and with good reason.

However, I did need to share an interesting occurrence.

Today I stood in a line that was far too long, and paid far too much for a tiny cup of coffee I didn't even really want. I drank my cup of joe in a rush on my way to political science. As I hurried into the classroom and took my seat, I couldn't help but be frustrated with myself. I thought, "I just spent $5 on that stupid, mete ocher cup of coffee."
Who cares, right? It's just a cup of coffee that I willingly waited in line to buy. So why would I be upset about it? Funny you should ask...

I can't help that I happen to adore my grande, sugar-free vanilla, soy, decaf latte from Starbucks. But should I spend $5 on a cup of coffee that I don't even really want at the time just because my consumer-driven mindset tells me to spend every last dime in my wallet? No, I shouldn't. You know what I have learned (from my amazing parents who always teach me something even when I don't realize it)? You do not wake up one day and suddenly become financially responsible. It takes practice. It takes wise people who show you what that looks like. It takes budgeting and finding out what is important to you.

I'm making way too much out of one measly cup of coffee, aren't I? I guess those cups of coffee add up over time, though. It added up to $12.62 for me last week. Maybe $12.62 is no big deal to you. But when I think of a grandmother, whose name is Ruby, who is raising her four grandchildren and working two jobs -one cleaning bathrooms at Baylor University- $12.62 becomes a big deal to me... a huge deal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Healing for the Flesh, Refreshment for the Bones

Do you ever feel the need to be refreshed?

In this busy season of life, full of more tests, presentations, papers and projects than I would care to count - I am in desperate need of refreshment.

Not the kind of refreshment you look for from your favorite beverage on a hot day, or after a brisk run around the Bear Trail. I'm talking about the refreshment you need for your soul.

It feels like every fiber of my being has been calling out, better yet, screaming out for this refreshment.

Where can one find such a thing?

"Be not wise in your own eyes, Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." ~ Proverbs 3:7-8

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I want to be little again.

I want my mom to make me peanut butter [no jelly] sandwiches with the crust cut off.

I want my dad to carry me on his shoulders.

I want to fight with my sister over who gets to sit in the front seat.

I want my brother to trick me into doing his chores.

I want to take family vacations.

I want to still believe in Santa Clause and fairy tales.

I don't want to pay bills, worry about graduating, or make 'grown-up' decisions. I want to avoid responsibility. Is that terrible?

The Heart's Affections

Have you ever thought about all the things our hearts have an affection for?

Perhaps this is a topic too deep to discuss so early in the morning. Nonetheless, it is a topic I have been reminded of often these days.

'What are my heart's affections?' ... I wondered.

1. Coffee - don't laugh. I'm serious about this one. What is it exactly about the aroma of a cup of fresh brewed coffee that makes me think I am not ready to face the day until I savor its goodness? It beats me. It may have something to do with my [slight] addiction to caffeine. It may have something to do with routine.

Or could it be something more than that? I love getting my favorite mug out each morning and waiting impatiently for the coffee to be ready. Most of all, I like sitting on our porch swing with my cup of joe in hand. My heart has an affection for this.

2. Organization - I love when things are organized. From my room, to my school work...my heart has an affection for organization.
Perhaps organizing gives me a sense of calm, a sense of control, when life is often so hectic.

3. Creativity - Creativity, of all kinds, delights me. Not just my creativity, either. I love seeing others be creative. For instance, one of my best friends Sarah is incredibly creative with her art. It amazes me. I couldn't paint something to save my life, but her art is so effortless. Another dear friend, Mallory, is so creative musically. Brittany shows her creativity through her incredible photography. Sarah Miller is creative with Spanish. That girl is fluent, I tell ya, and her heart rejoices in Spanish.

What is it about creativity that captures my heart in such a profound way? I think it has something to do with God's astounding sense of creativity.

If I was Rob Bell, I would say :

"This is about that."

So, my affection for coffee probably isn't really about the coffee.

My affection for organization and creativity is probably not really about organization and creativity. Because this is always about that.

There's always something more behind what our heart has an affection for, I believe.

Monday, October 27, 2008

because writing a blog is so much better than writing a paper...

I should be writing a paper, instead I'm posting my second blog of the day.

I want to walk down memory lane, because didn't someone once say 'You never know who you are until you know where you've been'?

Antibes, France.

Monte Carlo Casino, Monaco.

Paris, France.

Enjoying the beach in Barcelona.

The Colosseum, Rome.

My beautiful city, Florence, Italy.

Sunset in Sardinia, Italy.

Eating 'schneeballers' in Rothenburg, Germany.

Roomies in Cinque Terre, Italy.

I miss Europe. I miss the adventure.
But isn't every day an adventure?
Whether it be in Florence, Italy or Waco, Texas...life is beautiful and I am grateful.
'Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain.' ~ Dave Matthew's Band

Fear of Blogging

I have this fear, an irrational one to be sure. It is the fear of blogging.

Why? I'm sure you're dying to know...

1. I'm afraid of the inevitable inconsistency of my blogging. (I was in Europe for four months and blogged a total of three times...pathetic.)

2. I'm afraid I will have nothing to say. Shocking, I know.

3. Mostly, I am afraid that if/when I do begin to blog, the real me will shine through. You know...the me that I don't want anyone else to see. Blogging is vulnerable, I believe. Vulnerability scares me. See? The real me is already beginning to shine through my blogging...

However, despite my [irrational] fears of blogging, I am diving into the blogging community...quite late. Besides, all my friends are doing it. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Excuse me, where's the Castle?!

Okay folks, let's play catch up. I've been a terrible blogger since my journey here in Florence has began. However, I'm making some effort and trying to keep you all (all two, maybe three of you who read this) updated on my adventures so far. :)

So, I went to GERMANY two weekends ago with my roommate Katherine. I never thought I would have the opportunity to go there, but we found a cheap flight into Frankfurt from Florence. Now, when I saw cheap, I mean we flew roundtrip from Italy to Germany for 40 euros, or about $60. I love how easy it is to travel in Europe!

Katherine and I visited Frankfurt, Wurzburg and Rothenburg, Germany. Although Wurzburg and Rothenburg are fairly small towns, they might sound familiar to you if you've ever heard of the "Romantic Road" in Germany. This road, which actually stretches through several towns and several hundred miles, is famous for it's Castles and idyllic, small towns.

This is a view of Wurzburg, Germany, home to some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

When Katherine and I arrived in Wurzburg, we met an angel. Katherine and I had our huge tourist map out and we were looking for which bus to take when this little, old German woman came out of nowhere. She took the map from us and asked us where we needed to go. After we told her, she pointed out the correct bus to take and then she bought Katherine and I two bus tickets to our destination!! We were blown away. We pleaded with her to let us pay her back, but she refused. She simply said "have a beautiful time in Wurzburg" and then she was gone. We felt so blessed. God is good.

Needless to say, we loved Wurzburg! It is such a beautiful, quaint town. The people there are so welcoming, helpful, and kind.

This is a famous cathedral in Wurzburg.

The only negative comment I could make about my time in Germany was that I was freezing cold. I guess I'm just more of a warm weather kind of girl. Despite the cold, I am in love with Germany.

After climbing several hundred stairs in the freezing cold, Katherine and I were thrilled to see this famous Castle in Wurzburg! Built in the 13th century, this Castle was home to several generations of German nobility. The Castle was almost destroyed in the 1940's by a bombing during World War 2, but was rebuilt in the 1990's.

This is Rothenburg, Germany. No picture could really do this town justice. It is the most idyllic and peaceful town I have ever seen in my life. Imagine the mock German town they have in Disney World. It's way better than that!

A view down Rothenburg :)

These are called schneeballers. No really, they are called schneeballers. They are delicious! They are kind of like the German equivalent of gelato.
My time in Germany was delightful. I am so blessed to be seeing all these different parts of the world and experiencing so much beauty!
More to come...
I love and miss ya'll!


Here are a few photos from a day trip I took with some friends to Pisa, Italy ...

Pisa is a beautiful town. It's only about an hour train ride away from Florence. We had a wonderful time while we were there! Let me tell you something, though...it was so odd to me that I was actually standing next to this famous leaning tower. I couldn't really believe it. It was a great experience.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Finally.... After almost three weeks in Florence, I am finally writing a blog! Goodness...I didn't think it would take me this long.

So...Florence, Italy is simply an amazing place. It is absolutely beautiful here! I live on the Arno River, near the famous Ponte Vecchio Bridge in the Santa Maria Novella district. My apartment is very European and full of character. We don't usually have hot water and we line dry our clothes because we don't have a dryer. However, I really don't mind it. I'm learning to embrace these differences! :) I live with my good friend Katherine from Baylor, as well as one girl from the University of Alabama and another girl from Colorado State. I really enjoy my roommates! I think it's a great experience to live with girls I would never ordinarily have the opportunity to live with...it's teaching me a lot. Having Katherine here has also been a huge blessing for me. We are able to be there for each other if we're ever feeling homesick or want to talk about friends and familiar things back at Baylor.

I walk about 20 to 25 minutes to school each day from my apartment. This is becoming one of my favorite things. I stop by the same cafe each day on my way to school and have my cornetto (croissant) and my espresso shot (Italians love their morning espresso). I walk along the river each day, passing the Ponte Vecchio bridge and the famous Duomo cathedral. I literally pause at times, just to admire the beauty and remind myself how blessed I am to be here this semester.I am forming relationships with store owners at the cafe and restaurants I usually go to, and at the local market I shop at. I love that about Florence. This is a community and the Italian people here definitely view it as that. People here are very relational and intentional about their time with one another. For example, when someone says "Comestai?" (How are you?) -- they really want to know how you are doing. I think this is a foreign concept for most of us in America. "Hi, how are you?" in America is simply an everyday greeting. We don't usually care how someone really is. We just ask as a formality. It's not that way in Florence at all!

A few interesting things I've noticed about Florence so far...
1. The streets and sidewalks are very narrow here and sometimes you have to jump out of the way of cars, taxis, motorinos (mopeds), and intimidating Italian women.
2. Italians, and Europeans in general, love nutella (a hazelnut/chocolate spread). If you want peanut butter here, you can except to pay about 5.40 euro for a very small jar. This is about $7.20 in America!
3. Italians generally have pretty small refrigerators and so they usually go to the market every day.
4. Italian guys really do say things like "Ciao bella" when they pass you on the street. I thought people were just joking when they told me that.
5. Already mentioned this, but no dryers here for your clothes...it's all line dry.
6. People love their dogs here! You can bring your dog into just about any cafe, hotel, or restaurant...they actually encourage it.

Overall, I can not believe I am really here most of the time. I saw THE David (yes, Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture) at the Academia museum here in Florence about a week ago. I also went to the Uffizi museum here in Florence and saw paintings like "The Birth of Venus" by Boticelli, paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello...I could on and on. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing these original works of art. It was a very surreal and incredible experience. I am taking a class here called Renaissance Art in Florence and I am so excited about this class because we are learning all about these famous artists and their work and then going on site to visit these galleries. I feel so honored to learn about these things and then see them in real life.

I have dealt with a little homesickness and culture shock the past few weeks I’ve been here, but it seems to get better each day. I find myself missing the little things like…
1. Being able to pick up the phone and call my family and friends anytime I want
2. Peanut butter
3. Hot water
4. Driving my car

Just those little conveniences and nuisances about America we can often take for granted.

However, I am just pushing through any sadness I might feel at times and embracing the very short time I have here. I know this time will fly by and I don’t want to miss a minute of how interesting and beautiful Italy is!

More to come…!

Much love,

Katherine and I on the Ponte Vecchio

The Duomo Cathedral