Friday, November 19, 2010


Difference. It is what makes us a creation. God's breath in each of us makes us different. In Henri Nowen's view, it's what makes us the beloved, so why is it that difference is the source of tension among children of God? I ask this question after 3 months in a city full of difference, a house full of uniqueness, and a job where each week I am presented with a new set of volunteers who come with a new set of preconceived notions about what their week will entail.
Our house is currently reading 'The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace.' I find some of the stories interesting, but one thing really stuck out to me recently. Scott Peck writes about the difference in a community he was a part of, saying "I had not known before that it was possible for a group of people to acknowledge their differences, set them aside, and still love each other." I couldn't help but to stop and reflect on this. What does it mean for a community to set aside their differences? What would that look like? I have to disagree with Peck on this because I feel that the differences are not what stops a community from loving but should be what motivates it. Difference should not be something that needs to be set aside and ignored for the purpose of the greater whole. I argue that difference should be embraced and held close. Our differences should be what motivated us to love one another. My closest friends are the ones who recognize the ways we are different and incorporate that into our relationship. I am not loved in spite of my differences, I am loved because of them. That is what makes my community whole.
I'm not saying this is easy in any way. I am constantly frustrated with the ways I am different from others and how that affects our relationship. In times of frustration, I try to remind myself that the things I love most about myself may frustrate other people, but also that those things I find frustrating about other people might be the one thing thaey cherish about themselves. This is a hard realization to come to and even harder to live out.
Community in its deepest sense is love others for the way in which God has made them special which can only happen once you love yourself for the differences God has given you. Cut what's the point? Why does real community even matter? Peck writes "Simply seek happiness, and you are not likely to find it. Seek to create and love without regard to your happiness, and you will likely be happy much of the time. Seeking joy in and of itself will not bring it to you. Do the work of creating community, and you will obtain it- although never exactly according to your schedule. Joy is an uncaptured yet utterly predictable side effect of genuine community."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sitting in the Driver's Seat... My First 5k!

After 8 long weeks of waking up 3 times a week to exercise, the day has finally come for my first 5K!

The week started off normal, I planned out my running schedule for the week and made sure that I only drank water and didn’t pig out on bad food for me.

On Thursday morning, I got up to go running, feeling a little off, but went anyway. After only half of what I wanted to run that morning, I had to stop. I just wasn’t feeling up to it, and I was so disappointed in myself for not being finishing my goal on the run before the actual race. A few hours after my run, I got really sick, and wasn’t able to hold down any food the whole day. It was so miserable! I was convinced that I wouldn’t complete my goal. I woke up Friday morning feeling no nausea, but completely empty because I had not eaten food in so long. So I started the process of replenishing my fluids and eating solid foods. I was still convinced that I wouldn’t be able to finish my race, but that I would get as far as I could.

I had trouble falling asleep on Friday 1) because the Ranger game wasn’t over yet and I wanted to see if they won (p.s WORLD SERIES!!!!! HOORAY!!!!!) and 2) because I was anxious about my race. I woke up a full hour before my alarm, but decided to just get up and get ready and take more time to stretch ad watch an episode of Gilmore Girls (the Dance Marathon episode that marks the beginning of Rory and Jess aka my favorite episode ever!) and after it ended I headed over to the race.

It was mass chaos when I got there! There were so many people and so many booths, and I finally got to the registration, grabbed my number, and found the starting line. It seemed like the entire city was there to run in a small street. There was no way I would have any room to move, let alone run. As they blew to horn to begin the mass of people began to run. People were passing other people in the tight clump, but eventually I was free to run at my own pace. I will admit that I was expecting to be motivated by race day, but in all actuality there were way too many people to feel comfortable running at my own pace. I have spent the last 8 weeks running in solitude with my IPod and that’s it, and all of a sudden there other people were interrupting my thoughts and running pace. It was a hot morning and about 2 hours later than I am used to running, but I kept going. About half way through the race, I was beginning to get really hot and tired mentally but noticed that my legs were doing just fine at the pace I was going. I made a mental note that if I could do the first half, I could certainly do the second.

As I crossed the finish line and saw my time (33:33!!) I was so excited!! I was shooting for somewhere between 30 and 45, so I was so excited to see it so close to 30!! I was so proud of my accomplishment and what I had done, and then I found out that I finished in the first 1,000 people and I GOT A MEDAL!!!! For those of you who know my history with anything athletic, you know that I have never really been very good at it. I have earned a total of 2 trophies in my life. The first was for a pinewood derby competition, and it was for the “Frilliest Car” because mine was pink sparkly with a Babie on it, and the second was the “Good Sportsmanship” trophy for my 3rd grade basketball team (we never won a single game). So basically, I have never actually earned an award for my outstanding athletic accomplishments. For other people, this may not be that big of a thing, but I now have a physical representation of what my dedication can accomplish. I didn’t just finish the 5k, I earned a medal!

This whole experience has taught me so much about myself and what I can do. People will disappoint you, the world will throw things at you, and things will always go wrong, but I know that I can set a goal for myself and accomplish it. I was the one getting myself out of bed to run in the morning, I was the one who pushed myself to accomplish something. As my life tumbles in different directions, and outside influences continue to throw me curve balls, it is good to know that I am still in the driver’s seat, and the goals I set for myself can be accomplished.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Familiar

As I sit here in Tulsa, OK I am flooded with 4 years of memories. Yesterday, I spent the day in Dallas. It was weird to think that I've been away for 2 months and been able to put away the thoughts of my empty house, and the memories that lie within it. 15 years of my life have been lived in that house with my family. I've spent so much of the last two months trying to force thoughts of my house, my home, away. I've been focusing on my new house and the responsibilities I have in my new life.

As the plane came into Dallas, I saw the familiar cityscape that I love so much. The Dallas skyline will always have that affect on me, but as I started thinking about all of the other times I've flown home and seen the light bouncing off of those buildings, I remembered that this one would be different. My home is different. After a wonderful day with my aunt and brother, I was reminded again of why my home is so important. People have this obsession with not holding on to material possessions, but as I walk through the empty rooms of my home, those possessions are what give me peace. They inspire my memories and connect me with a time that is no longer here. Being at home reminded me of all the people that I am serving this year and that some of this lost every material possession they had, and they have learned to live their memories through another avenue. I, on the other hand, have only these possession to unlock the memories of my life.
At the end of the day in Dallas, I headed to the airport and began the second phase of my journey back to the familiar. As my plane came into Tulsa I was hit with a different kind of excitement. The excitement of seeing my friends in Tulsa and the familiar campus where I did so much growing up throughout my 4 years here. I think back to my first day on campus and how I felt, how excited I was to finally be in college, and how adult I felt about living on my own so far from home.

This morning I got up to run and about 5 minutes in, I stopped and began to walk and look around the campus that I called home for 4 years. So many things have been built since I began my time here, but so many other things remain the same. The familiar buildings and trees brought my mind to all of the things I've done here, the people I've met, the events in my life that led me to who I am today. As I continue my journey through the unknown in New Orleans, I am comforted by the thought of my freshman year at Tulsa. Everything was so unfamiliar, I missed home, and I missed the things that kept me grounded. I missed the familiar. Those feeling of my freshman self were, over the course of 4 years, changed into the beautiful memories of my college experience. So, when I feel as though I will never belong in New Orleans, that people will never fully accept my sometimes-hard-to-handle personality, I am reminded that this is not the first time I've started over.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Working with my Own Two Hands

***So I originally wrote this blog post a week ago, and intended to take pictures off of my camera to add to this post. Alas, life is life, so that didn't happen, so I'll add what is necessary and promise a picture post sometime soon!

I have officially had my first week of volunteers!! It was so wonderful to finally get started on when I’m here for. Before the week began I was tired and frustrated with the lack of work I had been able to do and the frustrations that come with being an organization in transition. Basically, I am learning the ropes of the village for the next couple of weeks under the direction of two PDA volunteers until November when Project Homecoming (whom my position is with) will fully take over. This basically means that all of the things that I’m excited to get started on won’t really kick off until November, so I’ll be waiting just a little longer to fully jump in.

That aside, I still had a GREAT week! We had two groups from North Carolina (Charlotte and Carry) and one group from Frankford, KY. I got to visit all but one group (they went on a recovery tour when I went by) at their work sites, and even got o participate in the work on the house! I am going to keep up with how many different activities involved with construction I learn over the next year, so here begins my list (I've also included the name of the street of the house I was working on):

Tuesday, October 5 (Rampart)

Scraped paint

Washed windows

Crawled under a house with a 6x6 beam

Wednesday, October 6 (Clouet)

Laid tile

Made Thin Set

Thursday, October 7 (Clouet)

Measured and cut tile for a bathroom

I hope this list will continue to grow as I will really be working toward visiting all of the volunteers throughout the week!

I also went to my very first home dedication! It was so great to hear her story of how she was able to come back to her home, and it was so beautiful! Below are some pictures of the week!


Monday, October 11 (Spain and Cartier)

Removed a square out of the back of a cabinet so we could pull it out from the wall without disturbing the plumbing. Used a power drill with a paddle drill bit and a jigsaw (not the puzzle kind)

Wall-tiled a little (really, only one tile, but I'm learning!)

Tuesday, October 12 (Cartier and Gallier)

Wood putty-ed

Primed a window sill

Wednesday, October 13 (Clouet)

Learned how to grout a tiled floor

Ran buckets of water for the volunteers tiling

Thursday, October 14 (Rampart)

Sanded down wood putty

Touched up primer on top of the woodputty

I have to say that this house is kinda my favorite. The house was donated to Project Homecoming as a blighted house (abandoned, unlivable, an eye sore, etc). So, instead of having a home owner from the beginning, we have the opportunity to fix up this old house and sell it to a new homeowner that would not have otherwise been able to afford a home of their own. My favorite part of this house is the history that is locked deep in the walls that used to stand in this house. I do have a couple of picture of this house form a previous outing to show you what I mean.

Every time I come to this house, I begin to daydream about the family that lived here. I imagine children playing throughout the house and outside in the neighborhood.

I imagine birthday parties, holidays, and all the celebrations that this city's culture values. I love the interactions that I have with the homeowners of the other houses, but something about this house is different. This house represents a brand new chapter and a brand new home for someone with new sites and neighbors and memories. I can relate to that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fundraising Update!

I am very close to my fundraising goal of $6,500 for my year in New Orleans, so I am trying to make this final push in order to raise the rest of my funds!

If you have been thinking to yourself "Oh, yeah! I was going to donate to Lauren's YAV year, but I keep forgetting!" then there you're in luck! There is still very much a need for your financial support for my year!

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to
Katy Lee
YAV Coordinator
3700 Gentilly Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70122

Checks should be made payable to The Presbytery of South Louisiana with my name in the memo line.

More than anything else I need you prayerful support! This week will be our final week of preparations before we hit the ground running with about 50 volunteers! I am so excited to get working, but there is still a lot to be worked out!

I will be posting a more extensive update pretty soon, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 13, 2010

She works hard for the money!

So I have officially had my first week of work and after moving office furniture for two days straight, I am ready to take on my responsibilities at the volunteer village! I wish we were getting volunteers sooner than September 26 because I’M SO EXCITED!!

“But, Lauren, what is your job?” you may find yourself asking. Well, my official title is ‘Village Manager’ for Project Homecoming, and what that actually means is that from Sunday night until Friday morning of each week, I get the privilege of serving, talking to, and being with people from around the country that come to New Orleans to help in the recovery efforts. Most of the volunteers stay at Olive Tree, a dorm-style volunteer village setup by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Each morning the volunteers will be greeted by my fellow village managers, Tasha and Danielle, and sent off to their worksites, and each evening they will spend their time (if they so choose) with me! In the paragraph following this, I will explain more of the specifics of my job responsibilities.

Ok, so here are a few of my responsibilities of my job:

-On Sunday nights, I will meet the volunteers and welcome them to the city and help them get settled into their new home for the week!

-Each evening I, along with the 2 PDA Village Managers (at least until December), will be a resource for volunteers to learn more about the city and the recovery efforts. I am also hoping to do spiritual programming for groups that don’t already have their own.

-In my down time when volunteers are at their worksites, I will start working on a summer youth mission trip program that we hope to start for Summer ’11!! I am SOOO pumped for this! I will be putting together proposals to present to Presbytery, and then do promoting and all the other things it takes! This will be a more intensive evening schedule that would use keynoting and fun and spiritual activities to provide youth groups with a worthwhile mission trip without killing their youth directors to come up with it on their own (basically everything I wished for when I was a youth director!!). So needless to say I’M STOKED!!!! I will be sure to post on my progress because I’m sure it will be a long road

-Keeping up with the grounds at Olive Tree… :/ Fun Fact about Lauren: She’s never mowed a lawn before. Before you judge, please remember that I have an older brother, so that was his job. So, it looks like I’ll learn how to use a lawn mower this year. We’ll see how that goes…

I’m so excited to start working with volunteers, but unfortunately that won’t happen until October :( My need for instant gratification is once again making me restless!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Road to 5K

So as some of you may know, it is in my 5-year plan to run a 5k. Well, under the influence of my site-coordinator, I have signed up for the New Orleans Race for the Cure on October 23. That is just 8 short weeks to get my out-of-shape, lazy, and exercise hating butt ready to go.

I am writing this post after my first full week of 5k training using the Couch to 5K program (cause let's face it, I'm a couch potato...) to chart my progress. The program is setup for the exercise-challenged and works to build endurance (of which I have none) over time. For the next 9 weeks, I will (in theory) be running 3 times a week.

So far this is what I've learned:

-Jack's Mannequin radio on Pandora is a great running tool. It's just enough energy without really making me hate that I'm up at 6am.

-Running in circles for 9 weeks would drive me crazy, I'm running in a park that allows me to change up my route daily to allow my creative mind to never have a full routine.

-There is absolutely no point to wear a clean shirt every time I run. It may sound gross, but I think I hate doing laundry more than running.

Challenges that I have yet to overcome:

-New Orleans is HOT! I know what you're thinking, and, yes, I did know this prior to coming down here, but you don't understand! I get up at the crack of dawn and it's STILL hot! And if I move to slow to get out the door in the morning, it's even hotter. I thought I had proper heat training what with growing up in Texas, but the humidity is just ridiculous. This is one girl that can't wait for fall!

-I still hate....
~getting up early
all of which are vital to my training.

Needless to say, this will be a long road, but maybe by the end, I will not be so mad at myself for my stubbornness to do this. And let's be honest, if I wasn't so stubborn, I would have quit by now...

Also, if you would like to support me in my 5k, you can donate online by clicking this text!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beauty in the Burdens

So much has happened since my last blog post! Here’s a summary of the last 2 weeks of my life:

1. Moved into the Blue House! (see picture below) It is a wonderful duplex that I live in with 5 other young adult Christians who have also called God’s call to be in New Orleans this year!

Sitting on the new levees next to the lower ninth
From Left to Right: Maegen, Katie, Evan, Emma, Tasha, Me

2. Last week we went to YAV orientation at Stony Point in New York. We experienced worship, discussions of culture, race, self-care, and many other things we needed to hear before headed off to our sites! More importantly (to me at least) we all had a chance to be in fellowship with each other! I had a blast getting to know other YAVs and continuing the relationships with those I had already met! So wonderful!

(At Stony Point State Park off the Hudson River)

3. The six of us are back at the Blue House and ready to get to work! (Although we’ll probably eat our words a couple months from now)

Here’s is the Blue House Top 5 (things we do most often):

5. Watching Youtube videos

4. Dancing

3. Eating

2. Laughing

1. Napping!!

Now for the meatier portion of this blog post:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." Jeremiah 29:11-14

We read this Bible verse today. Not a particularly uncommon verse, but today it spoke to me in a completely different way. Usually when I hear this passage, I think of all the wonderful plans God has set down for me and how much I trust in the ways he will lead me to prosper, but today I picked up a new part of the passage. God proclaims that He will bring me out of the places where He banished me and back out of exile that He carried me to. I had never thought about the places of exile and banishment as a place God has carried me to. I’ve only thought about God carrying us out of those places.

Lately I’ve felt pretty disconnected, and I don’t really know how to handle it. This passage helped me to see that maybe this isn’t a place where I am straying from the path, but just a stop along the way. God is so much bigger than me, and just because I can’t find Him or connect right now, doesn’t mean I’m not sitting in His hands. It’s hard to think that God would want to put us in a place of banishment of exile, but who are we to say what’s best for us. I can’t say that I like it here or resent the place I am in my life, but maybe I can learn to find beauty in the burdens.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Best Friend

After a completely amazing summer of serving God with an amazing staff at Camp Gilmont, my world was turned upside down. Nothing could possibly prepare me for the last 11 days of my life. Everything seems like a blur. Even with the outpouring of love my brother and I have received, I feel numb and empty. How do you even start to move on? People ask how I am, but what good is that? I know they are trying to be comforting, but it’s just such a horrible question to answer because no matter what, it doesn’t change/help anything. I’m still here in the same situation. Neither party is satisfied with the answer. I would love say ‘good’ but that would be a lie, but I can’t say bad because that is a lie too. I am my mother’s daughter. I am strong, and not the fake kind of strong that I put up to look ok. I take my example from the best. I cannot find the silver lining yet, but I know it’s there somewhere; nothing about my mom lacked that sparkle.

Not that I didn’t know if before, but I have an amazing family and wonderful friends. It has meant the world to me to have such an outreach from all over. I may not have responded to all of the outpouring, but I definitely felt it.

As I get ready to go off to a city I don’t know to live and work with people I have yet to meet, I know that I go broken, but I know that God has a funny way of putting exactly where he needs us at exactly the right time. This year will be special, but not for the reasons I signed up for. God had a different purpose in mind. Being the strong (and sometimes stubborn) individual I am, I know I will struggle to find the balance between dealing with my anguish and hiding it, and I will have to learn to accept love from unlikely places. I have a sense that God has something planned this year that I cannot even dream of (He’s tricksy like that…).

But how to prepare? How do I get ready not only for the year ahead of me for YAV but also for the process that lies ahead of me to deal with this pain? Am I even in a state to help other people? I know that there are no real answers to these questions. I know God is doing something. He’s always doing something. This is never the end of it all.

So where do I go from here? Well…

4223 or 4225 Franklin Ave.

New Orleans, LA 70122

That’s where! My new home away from home in New Orleans. Everyone has been asking me for the address and this seemed like the best way to get it out.

Nothing about me wants to sit alone and feel sorry for myself. So it’s almost time to pick myself up, and smile because nothing makes you feel better than a true smile on your face.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Psalm 139:7

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Has Begun!!

I have officially started my summer as the Assistant Director of Grace Presbytery Summer Camps at Camp Gilmont!! It feels great to be back at camp and ready for another amazing summer serving God! We have had a great week of staff training and are ready to get our first campers tomorrow!! If you would like to send me mail during the summer my address will be:
Lauren Rampy
6075 ST HWY 155 N
Gilmer, TX 75644

I am very close to reaching my first fundraising goal of $2500 toward a total of $6500 for the year, so there is still a need and plenty of time!

Tax deductible donations can be made to Presbytery of South Louisiana with Lauren Rampy in the memo line, and mailed to:

Kathy Lee- YAV Coordinator
Presbytery of South Louisiana
3700 Gentilly Blvd
New Orleans, LA 70122

Donations can also be made to the PC (USA) website, but a 5% administration fee will be taken from all donations.

I will be finding out my placement before the end of the summer, and I will be sure to blog about it once I find out!! I'm so excited about the opportunities that this year and this summer will bring!!

In our staff devotionals I was led to a verse in Ephesians that really spoke to me about this summer and the year ahead.

19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. -Ephesians 2:19-22

The passage speaks about Christ building us up together as a place that the Spirit will reside. As much as my individual faith means to me, it is nothing without the support of those around me. It's amazing to think of the power of people when it comes to faith. The faith community I have has built me up to be the person I am today, and through the faith of those around me, I can clearly see the work of the Spirit throughout our time together. God has truly built up Church through the building of individuals, and through our interactions with each other, we add to the body of Christ. Individual faith alone cannot keep the fire burning in that individual. It really takes a community to build individual faiths and God's community at large.

In Christ,

Friday, May 14, 2010

As We Go On...

As of last Saturday, I am officially a college graduate!

It seems so weird that this huge chapter in my life could come to an end so abruptly. I can't really remember a time that I wasn't in school. All of a sudden, my life is no longer my education, but it's using that education. What will that look like? What will my life be like without classes and extracurriculars. I walked the stage, packed the apartment, moved my life back home, but i still feel like I will be going back to Tulsa in the fall. The last month seemed to whirl by, and it doesn't seem fair that it's already over.

So what do I take from this experience? What have I gained from my 17 years of education? I have gained myself. Through all of the ups and downs of school, I have found the person that I truly am, and the passions that lie deep within me. God has created me with a purpose in mind. I can see glimpses of that purpose. My love for faith and searching. My love for God's children and youth. All of these passions pulsate throughout my body and guide my every move.

I have been home for 5 days now. I grew up in this house, but for some reason, I feel like an outsider. Everything in my room remains the same, but the life that runs throughout has aged. I have aged. I have been away for 4 years, living my life in a room that is not my house. My freshman year I swore up and down that Tulsa was where I went to school, but it was not my home. I would always love Dallas more. Throughout college, I have learned to love them both. Dallas will always be the place where I grew up from a girl to a budding high schooler, but Tulsa is where I learned to be me. I learned independence and life values. I learned what meant the most to me, not just what was important in the home I grew up in. Tulsa was my ground to discover who I was without someone always looking over my shoulder or checking up on me. My independence was learned in Dallas, but held no merit until i learned to use it in Tulsa. And now, after 4 years, I have left Tulsa for good. Sure, I will come back for visits, but it is no longer a place I can claim as home.

The thing I miss the most is my Tulsa family. As college students, we leave our families in search of ourselves. We claim our independence, and run off to see the world alone, but we are never alone. At Tulsa, I found a family. I found a group of wonderfully fantastic people that love me for who I am and see me for the wonderful person that I can be. They were with me through some of the hardest times in my life, and stuck by me when I was acting less than perfect. There are no words to truly describe the impact these people have made in my life. The hardest part is leaving. Knowing that we are all spinning in a million different directions. Who knows what will become of the friendships I made in college, and that truly sucks. These people in my life really matter, and to know that our friendships will have to meet the test of distance is crushing. I don't mean this to be depressing or morbid, but it's true. How many people do you hear talk about their college friends and say 'I wonder what their up to these days." It's an undeniable truth that some of these friendships will wither away, but I am curious to see which ones will stick.

These are times I will never forget, but they are gone now. It's time to take the next step and see where my future will take me next. My past will forever be my present because it has shaped the person I am today.

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the lord that will be established. - Proverbs 19:21

Monday, April 26, 2010

When it's God time, It's go time!

Today is my last day of classes. Everything is coming to a close as graduation nears. Last Kappa formal, last Kappa meeting, last day of band, last days at work. This chapter is coming to a close. So what have I learned?

I have learned that my time with God is irreplaceable. My whole life I have compartmentalized my faith in order to accomplish other things. As I leave college and go into my year of service, it is evident to me that my mission is to learn how to incorporate God into each act of my life. His is my whole being, so why do I let myself push Him out. It's time to take this step in my relationship with my God.

Speaking at Gateway, our campus worship service. I spoke about my love for faith. Before college, I found my faith to be a part of my life, but through my college experience I have seen by faith become my life. I am in love with God and strive to deepen that love and that faith. As I take this next step I leave a lot behind. I am moving to a place where I know practically no one, so that I may know Christ more deeply.

Through affirmations, I was told by a good friend that I may compartmentalize God, but 'When it's God time, it's go time!' I love this! My prayer for my year is to make all time God time, so that every aspect of my life can center around my deepest desire, to know and love God.

I'm nervous. That's obvious, but the nerves are what make it so exciting! I love the challenge, I love the adventure! Who knows what this year will hold and the surprises that may unfold, but I know that good or bad, every day will be a blessing from God. It is my hope that each day I can be a blessing of God to the city of New Orleans.

"God expects us to serve Him on His terms- not ours... Jesus was requiring an absolute surrender. To be a disciple meas forsaking everything to follow Jesus, unconditionally, putting our lives completely in His hands. When we say that we want to be His disciple, yet attach a list of conditions, Jesus refuses to accept our terms. His terms involve unconditional surrender." -Commentary on Luke 9:57-62 from 'A Hole in Our Gospel' by Richard Sterns, President of World Vision USA

Friday, April 2, 2010


This week I was once again reminded of the goodness of God.

My dad has been going through a rough time with employment and has had to make some major changes in order to survive. It has really been weighing heavy on my heart, and it seemed that the more I prayed, the worse it became. I just couldn't pray hard enough.

At church on Sunday something told me that I needed to share this burden with my faith community, so during the prayers and concerns, I stood up and asked the congregation to pray for my dad. Later in the service, a woman sitting behind me handed me some money and asked to pray for my dad by name. This overwhelmed me. She had been visiting our church that Sunday and didn't even know my name, but gave out of her heart to help my family.

Later that day, I received a call from one of our church pastors. He had been approached by a member of the congregation that wanted to help my dad out in whatever way they could. Hearing this message, the only thing I could do was to praise God for how lucky I am to have such a supportive community surrounding me. The whole week I have felt wrapped in His love. I shared all of this with my dad so that he would know of the prayers being said on his behalf. To know the love that surrounds us is to truly recognize the grace that God has given us.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4-5

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dream Interpretation #2

So, I usually dream very realistically, but here's another one that threw me for a loop:

I don't remember the whole dream, but here's what I do remember- I was in the presence of a very large and very old elephant who was on the verge of death. I went to sleep and the next morning we expected him to be dead, but instead, his mate had died and he had stayed up the whole night making some sort of cover for her our of beads. It was very intricate and hard work for such an elderly animal.

I don't know how to make sense of this, but here is what I learned about dreaming of elephants:


To see an elephant in your dream, indicates that you need to be more patient or more understanding of others. Or perhaps there is a memory that you are holding on to for too long. You need to let go of the past. The elephant is also a symbol of power, strength, faithfulness and intellect. Alternatively, the elephant's introverted personality may be a reflection of your own personality.

To dream that you are riding an elephant, indicates that you are in control of your unconscious and aspects that you once were afraid of.

I'm not sure where the rest of the dream comes into play, but this did calm me a little. I do tend to hold onto things that I should let go of, and hopefully I will be able to overcome and move past the fears I have.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.-John 14:27

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dream Interpretation

Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant... I was really weirded out by this, so I looked it up on a dream interpretation website. This is what it said:


To dream that you are pregnant, symbolizes an aspect of yourself or some aspect of your personal life that is growing and developing. You may not be ready to talk about it or act on it. This may also represent the birth of a new idea, direction, project or goal.

This now makes so much more sense! A new direction and a new chapter in my life!

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
-2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Orleans, here I come!

Everything leading up to this point has been a mystery journey to an unknown location. There are still the unknowns of the next year, but one thing I do know is that my life will change. I love being able to say that I'm officially going to New Orleans! I can't wait to experience the life of this city and everything it has to give. It amazes me that these people live in a city completely destroyed by Katrina, but continues to be a power house of music and spirit. I look at pictures of the devastation that still exists, and I'm floored at the resiliency of the people to rebuild in the most positive way possible. I know that I will be blessed by this city every day throughout my year there. I only hope that I can be as much of a blessing.

All of the people I met over the past weekend have totally enriched my life. The community of support I found within the arms of complete strangers reminds me of the love that God has. To go into this place is to truly experience heaven on earth. The laughs I experienced and the tears I cried have left me yearning for more. August couldn't come sooner! Up to this point YAV has been a plan. It was a direction I decided to take in my life toward my future, but after this weekend, YAV has become a way of life. If we had this love for complete strangers all of the time, this world would be and unstoppable force of God! The comfort I felt being hugged by people I had met just hours before cannot be described in words. These people didn't know where I had come from or what my life had been like in the weeks prior; they just loved me.

Everything is moving faster now. The days leading up to that letter seemed like months, but now everything is happening so fast. Soon I will be mailing in paperwork and interviewing with possible placements. It seemed like years away not too long ago, but in only 40 day I will graduate from college and begin a whole new chapter in my life. Only weeks after that I will experience another incredible weekend of Pathways and a whole summer serving God's children at camp. YAV orientation will be here sooner that I know it!

"Before a word is on my tongue, you know me completely, O Lord." Psalm 139: 4

This Psalm was shared with me in two completely different circumstances, and I feel that it was given to me as a gift from God. God knows me completely and has known me since creation. There is nowhere I can run to escape His love, and even in my darkest times, He will be by my side as my rock. Even when I am fallen and bruised, he guides me on my path. There is no step I take that He has not already seen. He is the ever present figure in my past, present, and future.
So no matter where God takes me in the next year, or even in the next weeks, I will hold strong to the knowledge that my challenges are commissioned by my Father, and the one who knows me wholly.

Everything is about to change.