a directed heart

a glimpse inside


The Prodigal Parable: A Response (in poetry y’all!)

My Prodigal Son class required that we turn in a creativity project, and last night we all shared our projects. It was so encouraging to see my classmates using their giftings to respond to the parable. We saw sketches, paintings, a pastel drawing, typography poster, music video, skit, board game, sculpture, gingerbread house re-creation  & heard several poems and songs. Like I said, it was moving and super encouraging. I even scored a copy of the typography poster! Whoo!

Here is the poem I shared last night. I knew I wanted to write a poem from the get-go, but it took a few months to get some ideas swimming around. A sermon from a few weeks ago really inspired me and connected some dots, thus the poetry writing began. Pastor Clint preached from Judges about the cycle of peace-sin-oppression-repentance-restoration-peace that we all go through, which is especially clear in Judges. The cool part is that God is faithful to his people and patient throughout that cycle, waiting for us to return to him in repentance. So cool and really encouraging and reminded me a lot of the parable. The poem has since morphed a lot, but this is where it is stationed now.

The Prodigal Parable: A Response
Lauren Albrecht

At night I remember you,
Even praise and thank you, but
Come morning I’ve forgotten you,
Occupied instead with who, when, why, and what.

Coffee, clothes, class conflict
Deadlines, duties, disappointments prohibit
My mind from bringing you into it,
Instead it stays centered on me and my benefit.

Oh, how easily I follow
Willingly chasing what appears fulfilling
Seeking love and approval leaves me hollow
Because I already have both in you

Oh, that my want be better directed to
my eyes be locked on
my heart be empty apart from you

For night again returns to me
Along with a reminder
I’ve forgotten He,
He who loves me so prodigally

How can I forget so easily?

Oh, Prodigal God, steal my heart
Away from my prodigal wants
And reel me back to you, back to my start.

Back to community with the One
Who gave his life for me—the God who loves so prodigally,
The God who calls me his Son.

What an extravagant love you have for me,
So graciously you wait for me,
God I hate the way I live for me,
Thank you for waiting so patiently.

Thank you for calling me Son.



A Marvelous Day

Marvelous Monday had everyone out of class & climbing trees yesterday (literally), but my favorite part was trying Chickfila’s new desserts!

Jacob and I got a cookie sundae and a brownie sundae to share, and boy were they tasty!

Please notice the sunburn developing on my arm. I don’t remember the last time I got sunburned this badly. I looked like a tomato (and still have some redness leftover today to rock).


Jacob pretended like he wasn’t super excited to spend time with me AND eat sundaes… what a faker.

There we go. The real excitement comes out. Look at that smile.


Thank you Marvelous Monday staff for making yesterday so marvelous. Skipping class makes any day marvelous enough, but we enjoyed laughing at our friends trying to walk on water in big plastic gerbil-looking balls, climbing trees, and attempting to chug a gallon of milk in an hour. The last part was disgusting, but for some reason people find that stuff entertaining?

Sadly, today is back to real life again: class and work this evening. On the bright side, only 8 more days of class before finals! Whoop!

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2011 in a large nutshell

January: I turned 20! Some of my friends from OH surprised me and came to visit. They coordinated with Jacob to distract me and keep me busy all night until they arrived and I was so surprised!

February: My mom came to visit for Family weekend and met Jacob’s family for the first time! Jacob, Teresa (his mom), my mom, and I all went to see Milligan’s production of Treasure Island. I traveled to PCTC (Pennsylvania Christian Teen Convention) with Milligan at the end of the month and made my first-ever sewing project in the van on the way there.

March: Lauren McInturff traveled home with me for spring break, Jacob and I visited Asheville one Saturday, and Redeemer moved into the King Center building in downtown JC. I left at the end of the month to travel to Mountain Christian Church to speak at a fundraising dinner for Milligan.

April: The whole campus celebrated Wonderful Wednesday (a surprise day with no class and tons of entertainment) and Jacob traveled to OH with me for Easter break!

May: I kicked off the start of summer break by heading to Lakeland, FL with Mosby. We relaxed, hung out by the pool, and enjoyed some rest and good books!

After vacation with Mosby, I got to hang out with great friends in Ohio and celebrate the marriage of Kevin and Jen Martin on May 20.

Jacob helped me build a kite at the end of May… something from my 20 while I’m 20 list. We had a blast and even tried flying it afterwards. There was absolutely ZERO wind, though, so the attempt looked like me running around his backyard with the kite, letting it go, and watching it fall straight to the grass. We did get a lot of great laughs out of it, though.


I moved in with a family from church for the summer and started waitressing at Firehouse Restaurant in June.

My parents and I traveled to Florida in mid-June for my cousin’s wedding and we stayed for a week to make it a vacation! What a refreshing week with my family. This picture was taken at the Castillo de San Marcos.

Right when I returned, Jacob and I left for vacation with his family at Myrtle Beach. We tried to fly our kite but the wind destroyed it.

Little did I know that Jacob planned to propose while we were at the beach! He asked me on June 30 and I said yes!


Immediately after our vacation at Myrtle Beach, we headed out for a weekend of camping… my first camping excursion (also on my 20 while I’m 20 list)! It looks like I’m doing well in this picture, but we discovered that camping is not really my thing… thank you for taking such great care of me, Jacob:).

Jacob turned 21 in July. He was VERY excited about his present, even though he guessed it because I’m a practical gift-giver and he is just plain smart:)


Mom and Dad threw us a surprise engagement party with both of my parents’ sides of the family in August when we visited. My cousin-in-law Lisa made this awesome sign for us!

Jacob and I got a couch in August!

Jacob helped me move everything into my dorm room and even stayed to take down/put up blinds and get the couch situated while I was at training all day (how nice is that??).

I started work as an RA this year. We took staff pictures when we got together for training in early August. All the other students moved in mid-August and I hit the ground running to kick off my junior year. Jacob and I also started our 13-week Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class toward the end of the month.

September: A lot of school happened this month, as well as a couple Res Life programs.

Jacob and I traveled to Knoxville on a whim one Wednesday night to hear Jon Acuff (the author of Stuff Christians Like and Quitter) speak. It was funny, forming, and a great adventure for us:).

October: My parents celebrated their 25th anniversary!

Jacob and I traveled to OH for a wedding in late October. On the way home we met Meg and Abbie at Starbucks for some quick hang time. One of the few times this year I got to spend time with those girls.

Sarah came to visit Milligan for the first time in late October… it was such a treat to spend some encouraging time with that girl.

Sarah visited during Homecoming weekend, so she got the full Milligan experience, to say the least. This picture is from the Homecoming parade… Milligan’s new president Bill Greer and his wife Edwina are pictured above.

I had the honor of speaking at President Bill Greer’s Inauguration Dinner later that week, and it was so fun to get all dressed up with Jacob! We both had to buy some new clothes, but it was a great excuse to have a fancy date!!

November: My brother Nick turned 18 this month and Jacob and I started meeting with the Magnesses for premarital counseling! We are very excited to continue learning from them and preparing for our marriage!

 After a rough day at school one week, Jacob treated me to Starbucks! This is a notable event because Jacob hates coffee… and did you notice there are two in this picture??? He got himself one because he said he’s trying to like and appreciate what I like and appreciate (Caramel Brulee Latte in this case)…. I’m not sure it worked, but I sure thought it was sweet!

December: Christmas party after Christmas party! Jacob and I went to the Chickfila Christmas party and hung out with his coworkers for a couple hours the first Sunday in December.

And I celebrated Christmas with my fellow Hart RA’s with a crafty Christmas exchange!

Jacob and I visited Bristol’s famous Motor Speedway in Lights for the first time together (my first time ever)! It was a blast and was definitely worth $10.

And after lots of papers and finals, Jacob and I traveled home for some Austin family time over Christmas break. He stayed for a few days at the beginning and the end of break and I stayed for about 2 weeks. That time was consumed with catching up with family and making wedding plans! Woo hoo!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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Merry Christmas, 1st Floor Hart!

I made a Merry Christmas banner for my hall to keep us in the Christmas spirit despite this crazy last week of class and finals coming up next week… And it was a fun crafty escape for me to take a break from homework, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone, I think.

I’ve become increasingly more ashamed of the low-quality pictures I’ve been posting, so I’m all the more eager to retrieve my camera when I go home for break in a few weeks. I’m also excited for some free time that I can devote to reading and knitting. And any other crafts that may come to mind between now and the start of next semester.

That’s all for now.

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a briefing that’s not so brief

An update on life in JC, TN:

-School is going surprisingly well… the past week I’ve pretty much had a break from homework, so much that I’ve already finished two assignments that are due next week. I’ve been taking a reporting & writing class, which has brought me serious headaches as well as some joy. It’s been fun to explore that facet of writing and experience the thrill of getting articles published, even when it’s just to our college paper. I don’t want to do reporting post graduation, but this class has certainly stirred my love for writing….. so, we’ll see where that leads.

-Redeemer is gearing up to celebrate our 5th anniversary! The staff is putting together a video celebration where all the members (no matter how long you’ve attended.. from 3 weeks to all 5 years) are invited to submit short videos describing what Redeemer means to them/ how they’ve grown through Redeemer/ etc. I’m pretty excited about it. They’re putting all the videos up on youtube, so I’ll link the page when it’s finished (around Dec. 3 I think).

For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing my uniform in person, here is a sneak peak:)

-I’m still working at the Firehouse, usually only 2 shifts a week, but sometimes 3 if I can squeeze in an extra one. Although the work gets redundant (I wait tables… there’s only so much potential variation), it’s been great to see more depth develop in my relationships with my coworkers. I can DEFINITELY see more openness and I’m finally starting to make real connections with people. Be praying for fruit in those relationships.

-Jacob and I are struggling through what is definitely the toughest season in our lives (his schedule is much crazier than mine, granted)… but we have a lot of church family who are embracing us, building us up, and encouraging us. My friend Brandy tells us, “You are the blessed ones!” We are blessed to have the opportunity to rejoice in this suffering, since suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and our hope does not put us to shame… because our hope rests in Christ alone. We’re learning a lot about who we are and the depth of sin, but much greater than that–we’re learning the depth of the gospel. We’re learning that it penetrates, heals, and casts our eyes away from empty worldly hopes and back onto Christ, our real hope.

-I’m on duty for Thanksgiving break, so this will be my first Thanksgiving ever not in Ohio with my family! I’m glad Jacob’s family lives so close, though, so I’ll get to celebrate with them this year. I’m making this delicious recipe I found off of Pinterest for Cookies ‘n Cream Oreo Fudge Brownies… maybe I’ll take some pictures of the process and blog about it next week.

-To wrap this up, I’ll end with a little summary: Jesus reigns, even when I feel stressed, angry, unsupported, weary, and like all odds are against me. Christ reigns, Christ is being made much of, Christ is worthy, God is for me, and God is still sovereign above all. I am prone to selfishness, deceit, anger, ill thoughts, and speech that tears down, but Christ reigns. He has rescued me from the pit of despair and ransomed me from those futile ways with his very own and precious blood. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. This Scripture has never been more real to me than in this season of my life–Christ, you are our hope, you are our joy, and you are our strength. Amen.

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train me up

I’ve moved in to my room at school, bonded with my fellow Res Life staff, and now I’m waiting for the rest of the students to arrive. Pray for the next few days… that they are restful and they prepare me to love on the students moving in Saturday and Sunday. More on all of this later, including my heart. I felt the blog needed some attention, but my bed calls since it’s 1:17am… and my goal is to be in bed around 11pm.