destination:

13. Somewhere you’d like to move or visit.

I think this post will be interrupted quite a lot by pictures. Where I used to want to live changed pretty frequently– most often, it was simply characterized as “Not Here.” Now that I have someone with whom I will share a life (this is the face I might be making at imagining that), I think moving everywhere I’d like to live will be slightly more difficult, but I am excited at the prospect of visiting the following places.

1. Underwater hotels. No, seriously. Look at this place. Can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t love to stay there at some point? (As long as scuba divers weren’t creeping on you when you slept.)

https://i0.wp.com/www.luxuryhomedigest.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/underwater-hotel-in-dubai.jpg

2. Redwood Forest National Park. Despite my family’s extended travels over the years as my brother and I grew up, I’ve never been to the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington). Quite a few of the next places will involve there, one of which includes the famed Redwood trees in California. Did you know that people have lived up in them before? That just fascinates me. Also, they’re ancient. God designed them to last. In a world where so much is fleeting, these trees have stood there for quite some time. 

https://i0.wp.com/images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/california-redwood-forest-brendan-reals.jpg

3. Crater Lake. Can’t explain this particular desire, other than it’s really pretty.

https://i1.wp.com/images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large/giant-swirl-of-pollen-at-crater-lake-national-park-pierre-leclerc.jpg

4. Oregon. Anywhere in Oregon. Just… anywhere. This is a picture of Proxy Falls.

5. Greece. Hooray! An international location! Let’s just be honest, it’s not just the awesome architecture that’s there, but it’s also the food.

6. The Four Corners. The idea of being able to exist in four places at once sort of fascinates me.

7. The Grand Canyon. My future husband has been here and gotten a picture on the ledge. I might take some persuading to get to the edge, but I’d love to do the same thing. Maybe even hike down to the hotel at the bottom.

8. Alaska.Everybody I’ve met who has been here says that it’s the most beautiful of all 50 states. Also, am I the only person alive who wants to see the Northern Lights?

 

In the end, though, I’m just excited to go anywhere. I’m happy as a clam when I’m on a new adventure. Like Dave Matthews says, it turns out that it’s not where, but who you’re with that really matters. I’ll close with one of my favourite quotes from a Jodi Picoult novel:

“How could he convey to someone who’d never even met her the way she always smelled like rain, or how his stomach knotted up every time he saw her shake loose her hair from its braid? How could he describe how it felt when she finished his sentences, turned the mug they were sharing so that her mouth landed where his had been? How did he explain the way they could be in a locker room, or underwater, or in the piney woods of Maine, bus as long as Em was with him, he was at home?”

That is precisely how I feel. It matters not where I am, but whenever the Lord goes before or behind me, I am at home.

Advertisements

bulletbulletbangbang

12. Bullet your whole day.

  • 7:22 a.m.: first alarm.
  • 7:56 a.m.: second alarm.
  • 8:16 a.m.: actually wake up… after hitting snooze twice.
  • 8:49 a.m.: finish shower. Get dressed. Feed fish. Get water for hospitality.
  • 9:04 a.m.: leave for grocery store.
  • 9:11 a.m.: leave grocery store. Head to pick up Eunice.
  • 9:29 a.m.: pick up Eunice. go to church.
  • 9:37 a.m.: arrive at church. Start to assemble hospitality table.
  • 10:30 a.m.: church starts!
  • (?) 11:07 a.m.: lights go out. No, seriously. Lights go out just after the sermon started. Auditorium is bathed in darkness.
  • 11:08 a.m.: Pastor continues to preach. We have an awesome pastor.
  • (?)12:16 p.m.: service ends. Eunice and I clean up from hospitality. I become more devoutly thankful for my flashlight app on my smartphone.
  • (?) 12:32 p.m.: We debate about lunch.
  • 1:03 p.m.: We arrive at the Inner Harbor. Go to Chipotle. Start eating delicious food. I start craving a milkshake. Talk for two hours.
  • 3:15 p.m.: Leave Chipotle.
  • 3:42 p.m.: I realize I need gas. I drive to a gas station. I become thankful for my smartphone once again as I use my GasFinder app and find the cheapest station on my way home.
  • 4:05 p.m.: get home. Put dishes away. Have dance party.
  • 4:31 p.m.: Leave for Smontoya’s apartment.
  • 4:45 p.m.: Arrive at apartment. Talk about job hunting, boys, mawwage, ministry, epic first impressions, etc.
  • 5:38 p.m.: Leave to go job hunting! Go to Safeway. Sarah talks to people about jobs. I realize I can get cheap cake mix. I go to find cake mix.
  • 5:47 p.m.: Sarah helps me decide on which cake mixes to use… and then we buy it.
  • 6:03 p.m.: Arrive at parent’s house to drop off bowl. Sarah sees Dad’s epic music collection.
  • 6:22 p.m.: Leave parent’s house. Head toward PJ’s for more job hunting.
  • 6:39 p.m.: After visiting PJ’s quickly, Sarah and I decide to go to Gino’s. I still want a milkshake (see craving from 1:03 p.m.)
  • 6:52 p.m.: Arrive at Gino’s. We get our food.
  • 8:08 p.m.: Leave Gino’s. I go home.
  • 8:20 p.m.: Arrive at home. Modify the furnace. It feels lovely and warm in my house.
  • 8:25 p.m.: start messing around on the computer. Send emails. Try to figure out technology (still a work in progress).
  • 8:53 p.m.: Restart facebook.
  • 8:59 p.m.: Modify Facebook friend list.
  • 9:39 p.m.: Think “Oh, right. I have a blog.”
  • 9:42 p.m.: Start watching old Office re-runs.
  • 9:59 p.m.: Start writing blog post. Finish blog post. Keep watching The Office.
  • 11:13 p.m.: Call Mike back. Talk with him. Go to sleep. : )

the song sings itself

11. Put iTunes on shuffle and write ten songs that pop up.

To begin, I’m a closet hipster who doesn’t have iTunes. Secondly, it bothers me a little bit that this blog comes up on day 11 and I have to write ten songs. Why couldn’t this be prompt number 10!?

You all may get a bonus song, depending on how good it is.

  1. A Party Song (The Walk of Shame) – All Time Low
    • Even if this isn’t one of my favourite songs by them, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dance party playlist without All Time Low on it.
  2. There Could Have Been a Light – Dream Curtain
    • This song was given to me by an awesome brother who made an awesome mix CD for my 24th birthday. It’s quickly become one of my favourite mixes. (When he was making it, I got a text saying “You are either going to love this mix or tell me that I should never make you one ever again.” The former was true.)
  3. Dust – Augustana
    • This album takes me back to sophomore year of college when I started making mix CDs for other people.
  4. Where Are You Now – Mumford & Sons
    • Is it possible for Marcus Mumford and his cohorts to write a bad song!? (That was a rhetorical question.)
  5. Tyrant – oneRepublic
    • I LOVE THIS SONG. Maybe it’s the piano line at the beginning, but about the third time I listened to it I decided it was one of my favorites. It’s gone on several mix CDs I’ve made other people as an intro just because it draws you in.
  6. You Make Loving Fun – Fleetwood Mac
    • Oh, I’m glad that Fleetwood Mac made it onto this list. I grew up listening to classic rock (courtesy of my Papa), but Fleetwood Mac was probably the first or second group I listened to on my own. I remember listening to their “Greatest Hits” album when I was in middle school; to this day, “Tusk” remains my favourite song by them.
  7. Perth – Bon Iver
    • One of the most solid artists I’ve heard since leaving college. I confess, I don’t know exactly which song this is—whenever I listen to this album, each song fades into the other seamlessly.
  8. Cadence – Anberlin
    • Anberlin takes me back to college. This is a pretty cool song.
  9. If God Made You – Five for Fighting
    • If God helped write this song, then He must love me. I remember buying the CD this was on for one song (“100 Years”) at Target, figuring that since I loved the song so much the rest of the CD had to be good. After listening to it once, I decided I didn’t like it that much and felt like I’d wasted my money. Approximately three or four years later, during winter break my first year back from college, I listened to the CD again. I re-heard this song and fell in love with it. Now I love it more than 100 Years.
  10. Longer Gone – Eric Church
    • I went through a country kick. Even if the boyfriend who got me on the kick didn’t last, one of the happy residuals of the relationship was me learning about this artist.
  11. Parachutes – Coldplay  
    • The eleventh song was a solid one, so it’s getting added. I’m so glad Coldplay made the list. This is actually an awesome album; I remember listening to it as I was going to sleep my junior year of college. (Since I had no roommate, I would usually made sleeping playlists and let them play throughout the night.) This album was a frequent on there.

love and smooching

10. Discuss your first love and first kiss.

Dangit… an awkward prompt.

My first kiss is kind of a funny story, actually (even if it was more than slightly gross at the time). So, naturally, I’m going to make you read about it at the very end of the post. No skipping ahead.

First love, first love… though I absolutely question how true it was, I do think I was in love, at one point. However, I fell out of it because it was not centered around Jesus. I do think that true love lasts, but if we fail to understand that true love originates in Jesus, then we’re not going to be able to reproduce it on our own.

For Internet Identity Protection, I’m not going to say my first love’s name. If you know me well, you know his.

Despite growing up near each other (we went to rival high schools) and having mutual friends, we never met until college. And for a long time, we were friends. Aside from my roommate, he was the first person that I messaged over Facebook about school stuff. And he was one of the first people that I became friends with on campus, but I must confess, I never thought I would date him (or even like him all that much). However, due to a shared quirkiness and severe affection for Jesus, sarcasm, and road trips, we gradually became closer and closer. My sophomore year, of the four or five people I felt really close to, he was one of the closest. I grew to view him as my best friend.

I don’t think I really acknowledged that my feelings for him had taken a romantic twist until I started dating someone else right before my junior year of college. Though I was dating someone new, I would often enjoy conversations with this friend and dread conversations with my boyfriend (mostly because I was afraid we would run out of things to talk about). Despite the fact that I was dating someone else, I allowed myself to conduct “questionable” behavior with this friend (long hugs, back rubs, hanging out late into the night in our dorm rooms, etc.), allowing my emotions to reign when it came to my decisions. After about a month, when my boyfriend indicated the depth of his feelings for me, I think I panicked in my head and then about a week later broke things off. Two weeks after that happened, things got extremely complicated with my friend (we kissed) and ever since then I think our relationship struggled with a great many things, mostly because we both let our feelings rule over our common sense. This happened about halfway through my junior year of college.

Fast forward about a year and a half, where things basically continued to go back and forth between both of us. During this year and a half, I continued to let my emotions rule, and by the time I graduated and we started dating after we were out of school, I fully believed I would marry him. I thought myself to be in love, and to some extent, I think I was. Loving him forced me to learn about putting another person in front of myself, and it also made me see things about myself and how I related to another person. It also gave me HUGE insights regarding the love of God, which perseveres and continues in spite of all the horrible things we do.

But, this love could not last forever. Much as we could try to make it last in our own power, the only thing that will enable love to continue is by attaching to and then channeling its Source (John 15:5). I didn’t learn that until after we broke up in 2011.

Even though it took quite some time for there to be peace between us after the breakup, I’m thankful for the lessons he taught me while dating (and before) and the lessons the Lord taught me throughout all the mountains and pitfalls. Now that I’m irrevocably and truly in love and Jesus is at the center, the Lord has brought all of those lessons He taught me back and allowed me to apply them. I wish I hadn’t made quite so many mistakes or given up so much of my heart, but at the same time I truly don’t know how the Lord would have taught me otherwise. And so I choose to be thankful.

&&&

And now, first kiss. Long story short: It was after a date we had gone on. We were about to say goodnight, and he asked if he could kiss me. I said sure. When we kissed, he totally went for the open-mouthed kiss, and I went for the close-mouthed one, which led to me kissing his teeth and him getting spit all around my mouth. (Gross at the time, funny in retrospect.) Anyone want to guess how old I was?

ImageAlso, I didn’t make this face, but I sort of wish I had.

never place a period,

09. What you hope your future will be like.

 Image

I’m tempted to be completely snarky and make up a mad lib about what I hope my future will be like, but the peanut gallery next to me keeps sending negative vibes for that particular idea. SO, since the future is all about perspective, I’ve decided to write about what I hope the future will be like from the viewpoint of a comma. You may think this is just me being sarcastic, but one of the large hopes that I have for the future is that everybody understands the proper usage of a comma and can use it with finesse.

(Side note: That was me being sarcastic. I know this to be an impossible dream.)

NOW, may I present: the future the comma’s always been hoping for.

I know you know who I am. I’m a regular in here. If I were lumped into the fruit category, then I may be schlepped in right after a cluster of grapes, between a bunch of bananas, and right before a basket of peaches. I typically end up separating two alpha male complete sentences, and occasionally, if someone is really comma savvy, they’ll give me some serial usage. (If you were curious, I’m also a shameless precursor to puns.)

My overuse has become far too exacerbated over the last decade. Mostly owing to the inability of younger minds to maintain a lexicon of anything longer than four letters, much less string intelligible words together, use of the comma seems to be a lost art. Don’t even get me started when it comes to how the older generations use me! If the education system wasn’t such a mess, I would send them back to school and remind them of proper comma usage! It’s a travesty! For goodness’ sake, people continue to confuse me with my little-known and often misapplied doppelgänger, the semicolon.

Though you may accuse me of cynicism, I do maintain a small sliver of hope that people will again recognize my proper usage and not simply apply me too liberally or too sparsely. I am the salt of the grammar world: as soon as people realize that overuse quickly segues into horrible health conditions, and too little use leaves out the necessary flavor, I will be content with my lot. I can understand the occasional misuse of my fellow comma-rades; after all, excessive use is sometimes like excessive celebration (sometimes you just can’t resist it). But I certainly hope for more dignified placement in the future.

joie de vivre

08. A moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.

At risk of thoroughly irritating my dedicated followers, I am so glad I am late in writing this post. Knowing this prompt was coming up allowed me to mull it over for quite some days now.

My typical disposition has always been sunny. Which is ironic, because usually my inner disposition (my innerspition, in keeping with my prerogative to invent my own words) is quite cloudy. Closet cynicism is my style, but the last few weeks God’s been calling my bluff on that. ANYWAYS.

Could I take you all on a timeline? There are pretty much three moments, upon reflection, that I can honestly say I was truly satisfied with my life. Nothing needed to happen; I had confidence in my King, Father, and Friend; I worried for nothing.

May 2010

So, the first moment of recollection is about a week after graduating from college. In the hills of Pennsylvania, one of my closest friends and I were on an InterVarsity retreat. I had a summer job I knew would terminate at the summer’s end, I was leaving most of my good friends in Frederick, and I was returning to my hometown of Baltimore to live with my parents (two things I hadn’t wanted to do, as is evidenced by previous blog posts). A big season of my life was over. At this InterVarsity retreat, we as recently graduated seniors were studying Abraham. In much the same way that we were embarking on a new season of life, Abraham does the same. There are several times that the Lord reminds Abraham and promises him that He has been Abraham’s God in the past and He will continue to be God in the future. So, in keeping with this verse, our leader told us to make a timeline of all the ways God had been with us in the past and then pray through all the ways He will lead us in the future (even as yet unknown to us). ImageOne of the coolest parts of this activity was that it allowed me to reminisce over the whole of college and write down all the little things that I hadn’t even noticed along the way. Have you ever noticed that we tend to miss things at the time, but later, as we think about them, we begin to notice things? My friend and I sat on two rocking chairs on a porch and spent probably an hour and a half – maybe more, I don’t know – talking over different things that we remembered through college. It was amazing. And I knew – certainly, without a doubt, unquestionably – that the Lord was my God and that He would take care of me. It was such a moment. I cannot wholly explain the fresh-water feeling it gave me, but you know when a wave of cold water shocks you on a hot day? That’s how I felt. It was exhilarating and horrifying all at once. There was at once a wonderful feeling that the Lord would take care of me, but riding on its heels was the feeling, “But what’s He going to do even with that feeling!?” Regardless, though, I don’t know of another time that I felt so peaceful. You have to understand, I was worrying so much about what my life would look like after that summer ended, and worrying about how much would change, but in that moment I had no worry. The Lord took it away.

As a side note, I also really love having that timeline of God’s faithfulness. I took one piece of paper and folded it in two, and on each half of both sides of  paper I wrote highlights of what God did each year of college (both in other people and in my heart and life). I still have it in my Bible. It’s been a huge encouragement to go back and re-read.

February 2012

The second moment is slightly more recent; it directly involves my church and, in my mind, serves as the prequel to the current season the Lord’s ushered into my life. It was a Tuesday night (I don’t remember exactly when, I wish I had written it down…) and I was at BSF, listening to a discussion of Acts (it’s entirely possible we were not in that particular book, but rather 1 or 2 Timothy, which discusses church membership in more explicit detail). I forget exactly what the lecturer was saying (and I thank God for that, because I remember exactly what He said to me, which is always a better thing) but it was something along the lines of serving where the Lord has placed you and using your energies in His church.

 

Now, something that God had been convicting my heart of for quite some time – since January of 2011 – was being a consistent member at a church. After leaving my old church, I’m going to say I was rather cynical about finding a church that not only professed true faith in Jesus alone, but also acted out their faith. After what I had seen in some churches, I was nearly convinced that churches with good doctrine did nothing to serve where they were, and churches with bad doctrine seemed all the more vehement to act upon their impulses, no matter how poor their doctrine was. (Side note: I’m not saying I still think that, nor am I saying it’s an accurate picture of how churches are. It’s just how I felt at the time.) Yet, over the last three months or so, the Lord led me to a church that wholly leaned on Jesus’ name and then acted out what He said. They were the opposite of “stuffy Christianity” that seemed all talk and no action or all action and no talk.

This Tuesday night in Bible study, I heard the Lord directly say to me, “Laura, I’ve placed you here [at this church]. Why are you holding back your time and energy?” I knew it was God because instantly after hearing it my brain started making all sorts of reasons as to why I should bide my time and just make sure I wasn’t going crazy. (Usually when I make big, life-changing decisions it takes me at least six months to come to them.)  I also knew it was God because I was struck down with fear not because of what God said, but because my life would have to change. And yet, right beside the fear, there was joy. The Lord placed me in a community. What a gift! How could I not be satisfied and excited with where my life was going!? 

February 2013

And here’s the last one. I’ve deliberately made it today (it is the second day in February 2013, after all) because I truly have been given exactly the amount of joy I need. Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6), and the Lord has filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and wine abound (Psalms 4:7). The Lord is my portion (Lamentations 3:24) and my very great reward (Genesis 15:1). Those who look to Him are radiant and their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5). I have been given such joy and satisfaction in my Savior and I rejoice that He prunes the weeds of anger, bitterness, lust, envy, and spite out of my heart. (I wish He would do it faster, but hey – He’s the Gardener…). I love the season He has me in now and I can’t wait to see what more He teaches me. I cherish those He’s placed around me and beside me.