a directed heart

a glimpse inside


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Instead of my Usual Review

By this time I normally would have been working on a “2012 in Review” post for a few weeks, ready to hit “publish” this morning… but I’m taking a different route this year.

2012 has been full of ups and downs, struggles and victories, and celebrations of new lives coming together. It’s been a great year on the outside, but it also has been a giant spiritual struggle on the inside for quite a while now.

I’ve struggled to dig into the Scriptures with a hunger for the Word I once I had. I’ve been apathetic toward spending time with the Lord and my attention span quickly dissolves when I finally convince myself to sit and try to focus.

This past Sunday the Lord moved in my heart, stirring up all the pieces that had settled into the dust. I clearly heard him speaking to me, addressing this problem I’ve been struggling with and angry/depressed about for what seems like so long now. When John writes to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:4-5, he says, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.” I have abandoned the joy I had in Christ. That joy we all experience when we first meet him- we are so excited to dig into the Word and read until our eyes fall out! We’re eager to pray- all the time and about everything. We’re eager to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. I’ve forgotten my first love and let myself become apathetic about what I sometimes feel I’ve “read so many times already.” (How arrogant is that?!)

Yeah Yeah

So it’s time to repent, Lauren, and return to your first love. It’s time to do the works I did at first, when I first fell in love with Christ. It’s time to sit at his feet and soak in every word he says. Part of the “works I did at first” included spending a lot of time with other women studying the word together, both older women, women my own age, and younger women. It’s time to return to intentional community, and the Lord planted some exciting ideas about those very things in my heart yesterday.

I asked the Lord to give me fresh eyes when I read his Word, and he did. I’m so excited to tell you that I could not get enough of Bible last night, and it was so, so refreshing.

So in light of the new year, I am returning to my first love and pursuing him the way I did at first.

For the grace of God has appeared (!), bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce all ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us for all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14) What beauty!!


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Post-Christmas Present Reveal Pt. 2

MORE PRESENTS!!!

My mother-in-law, Teresa, had me stumped for a while. Here’s (part of) what I came up with!

Wreath

Granted, that is OUR door, not my in-laws, but I needed somewhere to display that pretty wreath for pictures:).

Wreath 2I can’t tell you the second part of her gift until after we see my parents, because I made one for my mom, too!

However, I must give a shout-out to Mosby and her mom for helping me via picture text while I picked out the arrangement for the wreath. I sent her picture after picture at Michael’s because I was shooting for a winter-not-Christmas-not-fall looking wreath… and I struggled. I just like browns and golds too much!

ProcessThe biggest picture is the arrangement I ended up buying. The brownest one was my first, but it was way too fall-ish.

Do you think the wreath looks like a “winter-but-not-Christmas-or-fall” wreath?

I’ll post the second half of her gift and the rest of the handmade Christmas gifts after we celebrate with my parents! Happy crafting!


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Awkward & Awesome Thursday

Awkward

-The fact I’m in my pajamas every. single. time. the mail lady or FedEx guy comes up to the door to deliver a package. That’s also the time when I realize just how much the television is BLARING.

-I worked a lunch shift last week for the first time in probably six months… and it showed. When I greeted my first table, I brought them their silverware, checked over their receipt to see if I needed to make any salads, and then told them to “enjoy their meal”… which they didn’t have yet. They looked at me blankly so I tried to recover by saying, “Which I will bring out to you as soon as it’s ready!”…………….. duh. I sounded like an idiot. I also said “Good afternoon!” to them when it was still morning, which they also very kindly pointed out to me. Great.

-Not knowing we had a roast beef sandwich on our lunch menu (this is what I get for only working dinners all the time… rusty.) and stammering all over the place in response to the customer.

-My server book with all my money, receipts, pictures, Bible tracks I’ve received (yeah, for some reason I’ve kept those for fun?) and the rest of the junk I keep in it falling and scattering all across the floor on my way to deliver a drink to a table. Mind you, he was the only customer in the entire restaurant at that time and this fiasco occurred right in front of him. That felt good.

-I thought THAT was really awkward until the NEXT night when I spilled my entire server book into the TRASH CAN and across the floor. That got the attention of an entire table, who proceeded to watch (and laugh) while I dug through the trash to find my receipts and cash that fell inside…

-A party of 13 asked me to sing our dessert menu to them… Seriously??? That is so awkward. And embarrassing. And mostly just awkward. I didn’t do it. Maybe the most awkward part is that after they left I wished I had?

Awesome

-Have I mentioned Christmas BREAK?! Trying to soak this one in, seeing as it is the last one I’ll have ever.

-Coming home from work one night last week to see Jacob had wrapped presents for me and put them under the tree! Not only was I excited about just the presents themselves, but he also used pretty paper to wrap them (that coordinates with the rest of the presents) and tied ribbons around them!!!! Ribbons!! With bows! I also have these cute little tag cutout things (from the wedding) that I’ve been using to label the presents, and he even punched those out and labeled the presents! My heart melted from his serious effort to go along with my Christmas cuteness. Gosh, I love that man.

-I got all A’s this semester! Woop!

-We had a WONDERFUL Christmas with Jacob’s side of our family, and now we’re looking forward to Christmas in Ohio with my side next week!! Counting down the days!

(Awkward & Awesome is an idea borrowed from Sydney @ The Daybook)


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Post-Christmas Reveal Pt. 1

PRESENTS!!!!!

I did not make crafty gifts for everyone this year, but I did make a few fun gifts for some of our family! Here is handmade present number 1, a personalized gift for my sweet sister-in-law Olivia!

Jewelry HolderWhat girl doesn’t love jewelry? And don’t you need somewhere to put all those pretty accessories? Well, I made her a fun earring holder to display all of her cute finds! I found the frame and stand at T.J. Maxx (my favorite store ever) and I already had the burlap!

Earrings

I bought her some dainty earrings both for fun and so she’d know what the thing was when she opened her gift:)

BackThe back is not nearly as cute, but it does the job. And the stand helps, I think ;).

Other Gifts

To complete her gift, I gave her a cute journal, also from T.J. Maxx…

IMG_0023and a bangle bracelet set from Very Jane!

Bangle SetCheck back for crafty gifts part two on Friday!


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A Little Less Talk, and a Lot More Decoration

Frame OneFor those of you who saw the sneak-peak on Instagram & Twitter, here is the final product! I found this idea here, and it was super easy. I love it because it is simple, cheap, and adds just a little something to an otherwise very bland wall.

Our wall

Frame 2Frame Three

I also love this project because it’s so customizable. You can choose whatever phrase you want to emphasize, whether that’s an idea or attitude you want to encourage in yourself or just something silly, like the example I found.

These 5×7 frames were 30% off at Michael’s and I had an additional 25% off coupon, so they were less than $4 a piece! The only other supplies necessary were a book and a pen, both of which I had on hand, so this project cost less than $12. It isn’t much, but I’m currently enjoying the view:).

The viewYes, I just aired our dirty laundry on the internet. Oopsies. I hope you don’t mind that we’re people and we live here.

Coat Rack

And that coat rack on the right currently holds about 6 jackets, 3 coats, 2 scarves, 2 purses, a book bag purse thingy, and my school back. Yep. It’s messy and I like it. (And that’s about the only thing I like that’s messy around here).

Happy crafting!

Frame Four


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Recover my sight

Luke 18As many of you know, Jacob and I transitioned to a new church at the beginning of this semester. To say it has been a roller coaster for me does not even begin to scratch the surface of the situation.

We have been blessed by so many people in our new church family–even before we became a part of that church family–and they have done nothing but absolutely welcome us in from day one. I am so, so thankful for those people and their sincerity in loving us. It has been so encouraging and has made great lengths at easing my transition.

Keeping that in mind, it has also been really hard. It’s been hard because, even while we know a lot of people’s names, I don’t feel like I have real friends there yet. Relationships take time, of course, so it is completely unrealistic for me to be disappointed by that already…but reminding myself of that true statement does not make me feel any less lonely, awkward, or out of place. It’s easy for me to let that loneliness simmer into discouragement, and that’s a dangerous place to hang out. Today, the blind man in Luke 18: 35-43 resonated with me. I’ve let myself be blinded from Jesus’ goodness lately. I’ve been so blinded by my own inadequacies as a wife, friend, daughter, church-goer, and Christian that I forgot who makes me adequate despite all those things. So today, I am renouncing blindness and asking Jesus in faith to recover my sight. And I’ll do it again tomorrow.


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Awkward & Awesome Thursday

Awkward

This face. AKA me trying to get away from Jacob's foot.

This face. AKA me trying to get away from Jacob’s foot.

-Clicking the unlock button on my car keys to unlock the front door of our apartment.

-Running from our front door to the dumpster in my pajamas to take the trash out because I didn’t want to change just for that reason… As far as I know, no one saw me. :)

-Walking up to the car in the parking lot, only to realize it wasn’t mine when I tried the handle and it wouldn’t unlock.

-Trying to cook with butternut squash yesterday. How the heck do you peel the skin off of that thing?! Talk about a mess all over the place.

-Speaking of cooking, why do we ever use chicken thighs? If trimming the fat off of those suckers wasn’t the biggest wake-up call to hit the gym, I don’t know what could be. It was really gross. I think I’ll stick to chicken breasts from here on out…

Awesome

So and So

My Storytelling class put on our “Buffalo Tales Storytelling Event” last week and it was a blast! We all got to share our favorite story we told from class and we got a great crowd!

-Receiving an A on my big research paper in my Communications Law & Ethics Class!

-Laughing with my husband and enjoying a nice dinner together this week:)

-Christmas break officially starts today! I kicked it off by returning from my last exam (it started at 8am!) and immediately snuggling back into bed for another hour. Life is goooooood.

-Speaking of Christmas break, although I’m picking up a lot of extra shifts at work, I will have about 50% more free time… and I’ve decided I’m going to use that time to get in the Word, exercise, get my craft on, and relax. Maybe even read a book or two for fun. The goal is to make this month rejuvenating.

(Awkward & Awesome is an idea borrowed from Sydney @ The Daybook)