Friday, November 19, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
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
Sunday, October 10, 2010
***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)
Crawled under a house with a 6x6 beam
Wednesday, October 6 (Clouet)
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)
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.
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
Monday, September 13, 2010
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
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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!
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!
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
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
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
Friday, May 14, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
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
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
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
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