Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh, Clementine...

Hey guys!!!

So, I have BIG NEWS!!!! Four exclamation points worth of BIG NEWS!!!! Ok, eight.

Anyway... I've moved to a new site! I'm getting all fancy on ya.

The new site is here. Go check it out, and leave me some love!

Love you all!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dreams from Childhood

My summers, growing up, were spent camping. Ok, to be fair, we camped in a campground and in a trailer, not a tent, but it was still camping. We'd raft down rivers, play in the woods, pick berries, and explore the great world around us. One of our favorite spots was this old railroad car sitting on top of this hill.

My Childhood Dream
I'm pretty sure I liked it because I wanted to be one of the kids from "The Boxcar Children." You know, the orphans who lived in a boxcar? Yeah, I don't know why I wanted to be one either, but my childhood fantasies generally revolved around that and Little House on the Prairie. I'm pretty sure I was big on things like making my own flour and butter, and wished we still lived by candlelight. So the opposite of pretty much every kid out there now. Anyway, this old railroad car was AMAZING! It had doors, ladders, cupboards, and it was SUPER OLD AND RICKETY!!! (I really am amazed my parents let us play there. More than one splinter happened, and at some point, I think my cousin stepped on a rusty nail.) However, as awesome as it was, those are not the things I think of when I remember back to my days of make believe.

No, I remember one very sad day. My friends and I were on our way to our usual hangout, but this time, something was different! My friends found a nest with baby birds, chilling in one of the cupboards. Being the geniuses that we are, we assumed that the mom had left them to die, and they were now orphans, just like the Boxcar Children! We adopted them as our new mascot, and went to go find worms to mash up and feed them with. Along the way, one of our parents stumbled upon us, and we excitedly told them of our discovery.

Being an adult, they knew the rule that you don't touch nests or baby birds, because once the stink of humans is in the air, that momma bird is never coming back, and the little birds will die. They explained that we had basically just killed these birds, and no, smashing worms to try and feed them for one afternoon wouldn't save them. We were devastated. I mean, they practically called us murderers and idiots in one fell swoop. That hurts when you're little and it's your mom telling you this. But she was right, because the next day when we came back, one had fallen out and died, one was dead in the nest, and the second was just barely hanging on. I'm  not sure about this part, but I think one of the parents did the merciful thing and put it out of its misery, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

Now, I know you're probably thinking, "Wow, Lauren, that's kind of a depressing story, and I don't really care." That's ok. Hang out just a little bit longer with me.

For some unknown reason, this story flashed into my mind, and it got me thinking. We're pretty much those little birds. God's our mom, and the World is, well, me in the story. We get dragged into the World, by our own desires or theirs, and we think that we can never return to our nest, or that God will certainly never have anything to do with us, now that the stink of the World is all around. So we try to make it on our own, we stay where we are, in denial, or we let the World dictate what's going to happen, and let them put us out of our misery.

But the thing is, we have another option. Because God, while He is "the mother bird" in the story, His behavior is nothing like her's. He will come and fight for us, nurture us. He's not leaving us, simply because we have the stink of the World. He's bound and determined to fight for us. We just have to choose to let Him. Because we can't fix ourselves on our own, we can't stay where we are, and letting the World have its way, well, it's just not good enough for me. I want His way. Join me.

Thank you all for reading! It means so much to me.

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Goodbye to 2011

2011 was not a good year for me. Well that's not true. It was a good year for me. I was able to travel, I made new friends, got a better paying job. By all normal standards, it was a pretty good year. But I was dealing with issues that were still bombarding me from late 2010.

You see, someone really close to me tried to commit suicide. It was one of the worst experience I've ever gone though. And a lot of that had to do with the fact it had nothing to do with me. I'm not at all saying that the event should have been. She obviously need much more help with this than I did. The problem I had was this effected me deeply, and I couldn't talk to anyone about it, because in my mind, it would take attention off of her. Everyone asked how she was, how she was doing, but never me. We tend to forget about the hurting people behind the more overtly hurt. So I had this festering anger growing in me that I couldn’t talk to anyone about.

I couldn't understand how she could do this. How did she let everything get this bad? Why didn't she listen to me? Why did she listen to him? Find her value in him? Care about him? I felt responsible for not reaching out enough, for not noticing, for shutting her out, for pointing out the mistakes she was making. And it only got harder when she "got better."

You see, I forgot how to interact with her. I wasn't sure if I should be supportive of her, since she had dived back into the things that had driven her to the suicide, or if I should call her out on it. You're always told that they need support and love, but what do you do when you can't support what they're doing and they no longer resemble who you love? I choose the cowards way, and simply chose not to deal with it at all. I thought by doing so I wouldn't cause any harm. And while I will never know if it caused her any harm, I know it harmed me.

In not dealing with her, I didn't deal with the hurt I had experienced from all this. By acting like I was fine, I may as well have taken a bucket of toxic waste and dumped it on my open wounds. Instead of healing, my unforgiveness festered and grew. I became shut off from a person I care more about than anyone else in the world. I grew distant from others on the off chance that they would do the same thing. I found another I could blame for her actions, and I wished, hoped and prayed for every plague I could think of to strike him.

But the thing is, God doesn't work like that. He's a God of restoration, of mercy, of an all encompassing, all consuming love. You can't hold onto the things that are contrary to His very Being, and take part of His Wholeness. So I came to Him with all of my baggage, my despair, my inability to fix the mess that had happened, and I laid it at His feet. Then, I got up, stepped away from the hurt, and into His arms. And there, in His presence, I've found true forgiveness. Not only for her and him, but for myself as well.

It was rather remarkable when it happened. I half heartedly asked God to give me His heart for them. And without even realizing that it had happened, I suddenly didn’t have the desire to smack him for treating her as worth less than she was. I felt compassion on her for not realizing her true worth. I began to reach out, not with the hope of changing her, condemning her, or even helping her, but with the simple idea of loving her. And in doing so, I was able to forgive myself, and open up.

Thank you for reading. It's been almost a year since I've started writing here, and every day I'm amazed and encouraged by you. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Home is Wherever I'm with You

So, I'm redoing my room. It is a much needed change, but it felt so odd, packing up these things that have been with me for so long. It's not like I'm getting rid of them, they'll go into storage and if I ever "need" them, they'll be readily available, but I'm not going to see them before I go to bed or greet them when I wake. My Goodnight Moon routine is going to be several items short.* Anyway, this just got me thinking on the subject of home.

It's one of those concepts that we often take for granted. So many of us have just always had a home. I'm assuming you all know that not everyone has the stereotypical "home," with the four walls and a roof, but if you weren't aware, well, yeah, lots of people don't. But that's another subject all together. 

No, what struck me about home is that feeling you get when you're at home. You know that one where you just have peace? Not that home life is always easy or peaceful. Mine certainly wasn't. But there is that distinct peace that takes you once you're "home." That feeling you can be yourself. Your true self. Not that you're not your true self everywhere, but you can be even the ugly part of your true self at home. You can lean on and get support on your bad days. Basically, I guess the best way I can describe that feeling of "being home," is when you look absolutely awful, your hair is a disaster, your face a mess, you can find nothing in your closet, and the person you have a crush on has decided to overlook the magic that would be your union, and your mom holds you while she lets you skip school, watch your favorite movie, and  eat ice cream. 

If you've never had an "Ugly Day," I only hate you a little bit. If your home life never blessed you with the same peaceful feelings mine did, I am genuinely sorry. But the thing is, "Home" doesn't have to be a solitary location. That may be contrary to what you've been taught and the basic definition of the word, but its true. You see, home isn't the things around us, just like church isn't a steeple and altar. Home is about people.

You see, I have at least two homes. One, in Minnesota, and the second, in Zacatecas, Mexico. It's really hard for me to say that the one in Mexico is my "second home." I know it's splitting hairs, but it doesn't come in second place to my home in Minnesota. They're tied. And you know why? It's not that the same people are there that are in Minnesota. It's that I have that same feeling. There's that same safety there. And it isn't because it's stereotypical "safe." It's because when I'm there, I'm where I'm supposed to be. I'm in the place that God has called me. And the truth is, that feeling doesn't have to be limited to Minnesota, Mexico, or other places that start with "M." That feeling, the security, it comes from being with God, where He's called you, where He's leading you, where His still, small voice calls you. When you're searching for that answer to where you're supposed to go, follow that voice, that peace. It might not be the "smart" choice in the natural, but it's where you'll be at home.

Thanks for reading, guys! It means a lot to me, really. And to just clear some stuff up, I don't advocate giving your feelings free reign in your life. Please. I do say that there is a peace that comes when you're doing what you're supposed to do. So yeah. Glad we cleared that up.

*I do not actually have a Goodnight Moon routine.Except that I do. Or don't. You'll never know.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Days of Summer...

It's January 4th, I'm in Minnesota, and we have about 2 inches of snow. For us, that's practically summer. Ok, fine, it's more like spring. Either way, the weather is being odd, and so am I.

I know, shocking, huh? Lauren Jean being odd? Actually, that's pretty much par for the course over here. But I am actually going to talk about something that I am not really big on talking about. Love.

You see, this is a topic that I feel, well, it gets way to much exposure. I can think of about 5 blogs just off the top of my head that that's their main focus. Girls devote their daydreams to it. Boys, well, I don't know, but I know that its at least on their minds.  Love is one of those things that is so much more than the butterfly feelings we get when thinking of that special someone. Love is God, but even that answer seems to have clouded up what Love truly means.

For some, Love is placed on this pedestal. It's the magical element that once they posses it, all their troubles will simply melt away. It might not be this drastic for all, but it can be something as simple as thinking the person of their desires is perfect. That they will make them complete, give them inspiration, be the pillar that they can lean on.

For others, they've been burned far too often to believe. They take their troubles on by themselves, in an effort to be seen as strong, but in doing so they grow weaker with each battle they wage.

I recently watched the movie 500 Days of Summer with some friends. I had already seen it, but quite a few hadn't. If you haven't and you were planning on it and you don't want me to ruin it, well, stop reading? I mean, I'm not gonna reveal anything that you aren't warned of in the 1st 5 minutes of the movie, but still, even though there is plenty of warning, somehow people are still surprised at the end. So, I guess, make up your own mind? I actually encourage that whole thinking process, so yeah, figure it out yourself.

Anyway, so in the movie, there's this guy, Tom. Tom believes that he will only be complete when he meets that special someone. Then, in typical movie fashion, he meets Summer, and falls immediately for her. She informs him she doesn't want a relationship, but within the next few minutes, they're in bed. Mixed signals? Most definitely. Though in this world where sex isn't seen as something to be valued, it doesn't really surprise me. Eventually Summer ends things with Tom, despite the fact that things seems to be going so well. We continue to follow Tom, who's miserable, since he obviously can't be complete without love. Then he runs into Summer, and they get along wonderfully. And then he sees her wedding ring. The girl who didn't want a relationship is married. He freaks, and decides that he's moving on, going to pursue his dreams, yada, yada, yada. He quits his job at the card company, and goes out on an interview to be an architect, and he meets Autumn. And the count with Summer comes to an end, and the one with Autumn begins.

The movie is fine. It certainly is a different take on the rom-com. It has a more real feeling. Because in reality, relationships that should never have been started start, because one or both parties is so infatuated that they can't see the obvious signs of trouble. The thing that shocked me was the conversation that took place afterwards.

You see, the movie had quite the polarizing affect on my friends. Some LOVED IT. They thought it hilarious and real. Others couldn't stand it. They said it was too real. One said it hit too close to home, that it reminded her of times in the past where someone had dropped her without any warning sign. Another didn't want to watch movies for their realness. He has a real life, and wants to watch movies that were better than the life he leads.

Both of these responses are normal and typical, at least that's my guess, but I think they're a little sad. I come across young girls all the time who, after their breakups, that pretty much everyone could tell was on its way and probably a good thing, go back to romanticizing their relationship. "He was the one!" "No one will love me like he did." (That's a good thing.) "What will I do now?" are things frequently heard from their mouths. Instead of recognizing what actually happened in the relationship, and learning from it, they dig themselves further into their delusions that he was their knight in shiny armor, on a white horse, when in reality, he was a punk kid with dirty clothes on a skateboard.

I know its normal to look back and see only the good, but why? Has it ever done anyone good? I dare to say, No. No it hasn't. Because when all you see is the good, you fail to see what needs to change. For those who fear this being left, I say 1st, be glad that it happened sooner than later, and 2nd, learn to look at your relationship with a realistic eye while you're in it. To those who just find it uncomfortable to be confronted with reality, grow up. The fact is that this is happening. People don't know what true love should actually look like, and because of it they end up going after the smallest glimmer of love with all they have. Or they end up turning away from what could be true love because they believe Love to be more a kin to the likes of "typical" romance, the likes we get shoved down our throats from Nicolas Sparks and Hollywood. Some people really believe that tragedy makes a romance, or that if your family and friends raise objections, its just because "they don't understand him like I do." We've been brainwashed into thinking that the man who has been a playboy for ever will change with no effort when he meets the right girl, that the girl with a stuck up attitude is just waiting for a geek to bring out her good side. The truth of the matter is, that doesn't always happen. In fact, I'd be willing to say that that hardly ever happens, and when it does, it usually doesn't stick, without hard work and God.

I don't really have much of a point with this other than we have to get more realistic about love. It's not a magic fix, but neither is it in every loser we come across. We need to get a better realization of what it really is. Which is probably why there are so many blogs out there on the interweb dedicated to it.

Thank you all for reading! Sorry its been so long since my last post, I just haven't had much inspiration, which is probably why this one was so long. It's like thought blockage. Without a constant and consistent release, when I finally get something to talk about I just can't stop! Anyway, so if you're not a fan of the longer post, drop me an idea! Love you much!

P.S. Don't go and watch 500 Days of Summer if you are more sensitive to strong language. It has plenty in it. 

P.S.S. Everyone is more than welcome to their own opinions, even on this movie. To my friends who didn't enjoy it, I'm truly sorry if this offended you. It simply reminded my of some other things that I have been hearing, and seemed to illustrate my points. Again, I do hope that you see my heart in what I've written, and not simply the words. Thank you.