a directed heart

a glimpse inside


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A Day for Thanksgiving

Today I am overwhelmed with the abundantly long list of things and people for whom I am thankful, so I thought I should share just a little bit of that list.

Above all, I’m thankful that Jesus died for me, for mankind, to rescue us from sin and bring us back to God in reconciliation. And even more than that, he continues loving me despite my tendency to forget him. What abundant grace–let’s gather at his throne today and give him the all the thanks.

I’m thankful for my wonderful, merciful, hilarious husband. Thank you, Jacob, for loving me when I’m at my worst and listening to my crazy dreams. I’ve learned so much about the depth of God’s love for me through you over the past 5 months. Thank you for laughing with me, cheering me up, encouraging me to sit with Jesus, and letting me do whatever I want when it comes to decorating our apartment. :) And buying me furniture. Big thanks for that ;) You are a superstar and I’m so, so thankful God gave me you as my husband, best friend, partner, and encourager. I can’t say thank you enough. I love you!!

I’m so thankful for my family, who loves me so well all the way from Ohio. I’m blessed and so happy to be spending today with you. The love you guys have for me (and for Jacob!) has blown me away, and I cherish every moment we get to spend together. Thank you for sacrificing for us and welcoming us home no matter what else has been going on in our lives. You guys are such a blessing.

I’m thankful for our family here in Tennessee. It has been SUCH a blessing to have sisters with whom I can share life-I love you girls! And thank you Larry & Teresa for opening your home to us at all times, while at the same time giving us space to figure out what it is to be married and on our own. You guys are also a HUGE blessing to us and I delight in the time we get to share with you guys.

I’m thankful for the crazy communities the Lord has blessed us with! Thank you for surrounding us with people both here and in Ohio who love you and love us and encourage us to seek you together! We feel SO BLESSED and cannot even say enough how wonderfully encouraged and loved we feel by all of our friends, both near and far.

And thank you, Lord, for helping us adjust in our church transition. The past few weeks have been so refreshing and genuinely enjoyable. Thank you for transforming my mind, opening my eyes, and humbling my heart to meet you in our new church. Thank you for surrounding us with brothers and sisters who encourage us to do what may not be the easiest, but in the end is definitely the most growth-provoking and encouraging. Thank you for providing us with opportunities to use our gifts to serve you and be blessed by you and also to bless our brothers and sisters. I have been overwhelmed by your faithfulness in this season of our lives. Amen and AMEN!

And last but not least in the slightest bit, I’m incredibly thankful for our jobs. God has provided for us more than we could have ever hoped! We both are in positions that humble us and give us great opportunities for ministry.

We are so blessed!! PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE HIM!!!


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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.


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I Think This Is Contentment

Lately I’ve been feeling very content in the mundaneness of life. Going to class, going to work, planning dinners, cleaning, trying to do homework, reading, grocery shopping, talking with friends, washing dishes, watching movies with Jacob, making coffee, eating Special K Redberries every morning for breakfast… really just the same things over and over, but it’s nice. I feel like there’s a rhythm and I like it. I like living with Jacob, and even though I rag on him about where he puts his clothes, I like doing little things for him like laundry and keeping a clean home. Everyone around us is getting engaged, getting married, getting pregnant, or having babies, but I’m content right here where we are now, living life together and enjoying the mundane, everyday-ness of it all.

I scheduled my classes today for next semester–my last semester of school! I can hardly believe it, but I am so ready. I’ll be taking 17 hours–Dynamics of Group Communication, Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasion, 3 hours of The Stampede (the school paper), Christ and Culture, Editing and Style, Alexander Technique, and–what I am most excited for–HORSEBACK RIDING! Yeah! I’m excited to round up my boots when we visit home next so I can get some horse time next semester!

Going right along with this random blog post, I read a few chapters in Luke today and I am happy to say it left me thinking. In Luke 8:9-15, Jesus explains the parable of the sower (the one where the seeds fell in various types of soil). The last verse jumped out at me today. It says, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Maybe this is only striking to me today because everyone else has already figured this out, but Jesus is saying that we make the choice to be good soil. Being good soil is not only hearing the word, but holding tight and fast to it and letting it invade our hearts! We must let the word of God change us and bear fruit in us, but–here’s the kicker– this is a process, so it takes patience. Sometimes it’s easy for me to be frustrated because I don’t feel like I’m learning anything or growing, but at the same time I give in to that frustration and stop pursuing the Lord. I am not holding tight and fast to his word with patience. Instead I’m brushing it aside when I don’t feel instantly gratified and blaming Him for not teaching me anything. So today I am listening to Jesus’ words. I am going to hold tight to his word and what his word says is true with patience. And while that sounds easy when I read it, I need to focus just one day at a time. So here we go.

Lord, again I come to you after searching elsewhere for what can only be found in you. You are my Light, my Foundation, my Rock, my Savior, and the reason I even have life. Thank you for patiently loving me with your prodigal love, waiting for my eyes to open and my feet to run back to you. Today I am choosing you, holding fast to you alone. Not my friends’ or families’ approval, nor the gifts with which you’ve gifted me, nor my appearance, nor my grades, and nor my possessions. Those things are but specks next to you and your great, great love. Amen.


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On Random Accomplishments & Hope

-I have spent the last few weeks organizing & reorganizing the bookshelves in our living room. Not reluctantly, trust me… I love organizing. And reorganizing. So I have thoroughly enjoyed myself each time I emptied all the shelves just to put the same items back on them. Jacob, however, has laughed at me and told me our apartment does not need to look like Pottery Barn. Here’s a sneak peek at my favorite shelf:

Since we used a lot of chalkboards at our wedding, we now have lots around our apartment. I think it’s so fun… we can personalize and change the messages whenever we want!

 – Jacob and I stayed up until almost 2am last night catching up on the first two nights of TheVoice. Tisk, tisk if you want, but we LOVE that show. And we’re determined not to miss out just because we don’t have cable. That’s what Hulu is for! Needless to say, this morning when we both tried/had to wake up early, we concluded we cannot stay up that late anymore. Those days have passed.

– Today’s weather makes me want to sit in a rocking chair on the porch all day long. Since we don’t have a rocking chair or a porch that we don’t share with our neighbors, I’m looking forward to the day we will have both, whenever that day comes.

Thanks to the Johnsons for the sweet Disney Cup, which is perfect for my morning coffee! And, yes, that is the massive amount of coffee currently in our fridge just waiting for a date with the creamer and that cup.

– I FINALLY made the iced coffee I’ve been talking about for weeks! I’ve been using this coffee creamer for a few weeks now…. and let me tell you folks, it has been a glorious morning thanks to this stuff. I actually wanted to get up this morning because I knew I had this treasure waiting for me.

– Can we just take a moment to celebrate the fact that I have been so hungry to be in the Word these past two weeks? What a refreshment and source of renewal each day! Praise God! If you’re struggling to be in the Word today, I encourage and challenge you to do it anyway. Just for 5 minutes… once you get going, I’m sure you’ll stay there longer than you planned:)

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:17-20)


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Wedding Part 4: A Little Behind-the-Scenes

Okay, this is the end of our wedding series! I hope you all enjoyed feeling like you were there via pictures:). This post is a little “behind the scenes” of SOME of the projects we worked on during the months before the wedding.

Table Number Painting

 

They started like this…

We bought these from Kirklands, one of my favorite Home Decor stores. We also used them to hold some labels on the food table.

After painting, they looked like this…

Walah! They now match our color scheme… “Rustic Elegance” in Purples, Creams & Browns.


Centerpieces

 

The centerpieces were born one night in May in my room at the Johnson’s house. I knew I wanted a tag like that, but I didn’t know what would be on it. And I had been collecting that jute (the string) for months from Walmart (the only place I could find it… and now I can’t find it anywhere). I had recently bought the lace from Ben Franklin Crafts in Kingsport- like $3 for 5 yards.. crazy, right? I stumbled across this verse in my Bible, this image popped into my mind, and I got out of bed and started working. You can tell from the state of my desk that I wasn’t neat about it. This was the picture I sent to Jacob & my mom to see what they thought… and it was a winner!

Erica, Sarah, Christina, and I put together the centerpiece and aisle arrangements the day before the wedding. I hadn’t ever arranged flowers before, but it was a blast!

Saran Wrap

We covered the tags in saran wrap in order to protect them when we sprayed the flowers… had to keep everything looking sharp before the big day!

And here’s the finished product!

Aisle Arrangements

 

Dad and Jacob worked for a long time trying to scrape the stickers off of the votive jars.

It was painstaking for them, but entertaining for me and mom.

The next day we DIYed the arrangements at the farm…

… and then they hung beautifully down the aisle!

Guest Gifts

 

My mom is awesome. She put together these nice gifts for all of our guests who stayed in the hotel during the weekend. Jake and I helped her assemble them on Thursday afternoon.

Programs

 

I designed the programs on my computer in a program called Adobe InDesign… we printed them onto special paper….

….cut each individual page…

…and tied them together with twine!

I was really happy with the finished product… and so excited we made them ourselves from start to finish! The front page consisted of the order of service, we listed the names of everyone who was officially seated during the wedding (grandmas/grandpas, moms, sisters), the usher (Nick), and we had a memory section for our family who couldn’t be with us all on the second page. We had lyrics on the third and fourth pages for the two songs our awesome musician Blake played during communion (Nothing But the Blood & In Christ Alone), and lastly a thank you page for everyone who helped out!

All the while, Jacob was working on the reception playlist!

Favors

 

The cards arrived back in March…

…so we made an afternoon out of unwrapping, labeling, and re-packing the cards!

My mom and Leslie wrapped each and every pack of cards and glued cute embellishments on them all the week of the wedding. So many details.

The wrapped favors added some color to the table… killing two birds with one stone: favors & decoration!

If only I had more pictures to bore you with: us tying ribbons on each of the bubbles, spray painting the glass to make the chalkboard sign for the aisle & Guestbook signs, writing notes to all of our grandparents, Jacob making Giant Jenga (he did take pictures for me… what an awesome husband:)), Jacob folding napkins, us writing the seating arrangement on the chalkboard, etc. Glad I didn’t post those pics? I bet:).

Hope you enjoyed a little behind-the-scenes wedding prep!


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Wedding Part 3: Our Chalkboard Guestbook

In lieu of a standard guestbook, we had a “guestbook” area where our friends could write us messages on chalkboards. The photographer hung out over there for part of the reception to take pictures of our friends with their chalkboard messages.

Kayla & Amy

Casey, Abbie, and Meg

Sarah & Carter… who are getting married this weekend! Woo-hoo!

My brother Nick and his girlfriend, Caitlin

Sarah & Jeremy King… they’re married now, too!:)

Kate & Andrew… the soon-to-be “Gerbers” come this December!

Tommy, Luke, Adam, Lauren, and Juan…. I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean, guys!

“Too late Lauren, you’re ours now!” — Jacob’s side of the family, ha!

Jim & Sandy, my parents’ great neighbors! We love you guys:)

We don’t know how she got here… no one invited her??

Peggy & Bobby… Jacob lived with them during his internship in Maryland. It was so nice of them to travel all the way to our wedding!

Jacob’s Aunt Sharon

My cute parents!! We love you guys, too!:)

Alex played violin for the wedding and did an AWESOME job! Brad videotaped for us and Darlene helped set up in the morning & directed the grandparents. Thank you so much!!

My cousin & his girlfriend Jessica

My cousin Ben & his girlfriend, Lauren

Uncle Greg & Aunt Jennifer

Aunt Brenda & Uncle Dan

My cousin Jeremy and his wife Jenn

Jacob’s Grandmother

Jacob’s cousin & aunt, Madison & Nancy (Tracy L. is the lady “we didn’t invite”)

Oh my goodness… Grizel. Don’t worry people, that is not true.

Fellow camp team members…. Erica & Josh

Aunt Janet & Jenna, my cousin

Becky & Josh #sotrue :)

Erica

Jerry & Leslie… Leslie did so much to help us during the wedding planning… thank you, Leslie!!

Alex & Christina… who will be married in just over a weeks!

Jenn, Jeremy, Kim, Tammie, Jim, and Maleah…. “Never go to bed angry”


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Wedding Part 2: Reception

Oh, hello, Beautiful Big White Tent.

Here’s the setup before anyone got to it!

Thanks for this picture, Becky! I DIYed these centerpieces, both the jar and the arrangement. Thanks to Erica, Sarah, and Christina for putting the arrangements together with me the day before the wedding! We had a blast and they turned out looking great!! (You can also see a customized water bottle from the ceremony on the right!)

The centerpieces said “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,” from 1 Corinthians 13. We chose this verse because it screams Gospel in every phrase. Yes, weddings are about love, but much more than our love for each other they are about Christ’s love for his Church… and what a great, great love that is! Christ’s love has truly born all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things for us… and still does every day. May we model our love for each other after His love. Amen & amen.

We had Sweet Tea, Lemonade, and Water…

and pretty lime, lemon, and orange slices for added elegance!

Dorothy Lane Market catered the wedding. We had pasta salads, broccoli salads, fruits and veggies…

…and sandwiches on all different types of cute rolls.

We used this chalkboard that we found at Hobby Lobby for our seating arrangement display! Jacob and I wrote all the names & table numbers the night before the wedding.. when everything was finally pretty set in stone. We loved the hand-made-ness of it!

After searching and searching for a card box I liked, I finally found this cute birdcage! We added some greenery and Leslie made a label, and we were good to go!

We made it through the line with some food, although we didn’t sit down very long to eat much of it!

Thanks for sharing your plate with us, Sarah!:) Here you can see the napkins Jacob so beautifully folded during the few days before the wedding… all 100+ of them! Great job, Jacob! And in the left hand corner you see the wedding favors wrapped in the cute purple paper! We gave our guests personalized playing cards, since we (and both of our families) love to play games so much! My mom and Leslie Sharkey wrapped them all and embellished them… thank you!

And here we are cutting the cake…. after we stood there awkwardly not knowing what to do. So maybe we didn’t think ahead… it’s the one area we missed:)

Since we didn’t know what we were doing, we forgot to feed each other at the same time…. oops…

… at least we both get our own picture!

And then we have the toast. This is such a special picture to me.. Jacob holding my hand while Dad hugs me. Thanks for your toast, Dad. We love you!!

And these are the lovely ladies who set everything up the morning of the wedding! So thankful for your hard work–thanks for making everything come together!

And, of course, we had lawn games! Sarah, Carter, Sarah, and Jeremy are out there playing Giant Jenga, hand made by Jacob (with the help of Adam Tomlinson) the week before the wedding!

We also had badminton, bean toss (aka cornhole, but we renamed it for the sake of the wedding), and croquet.

And that’s our reception in a nut shell! We had a blast and felt so loved by our friends & family… thank you to everyone who helped out and who celebrated with us!!

Guestbook pictures up next!!