Monday, December 31, 2012

thanks, 2012

I'm a planner. A list-maker. I love making goals and thinking long and hard about what I hope a new year will contain. But, it doesn't sit quite right with me to move on to a new year without fully digesting the last.

This time last year we were living in Houston, stressed and constantly on our knees about Sam's job.  It was a place that was hard to be, and not a place he wanted to stay.  We spent the first few months of the year in desperate prayer.  I look back on those times and remember so many tears, prayers, and moments holding onto hope.  We knew we needed a way out, but we didn't see the way.  

Summer came, and he began interviewing. Early June he accepted a job with State Farm--in Austin. We began to think of switching cities to be closer to our families after a lot of shut doors in Houston.  It was a dream, but we didn't think it would be a reality.  One interview and a job offer later, our whole world was changing.

It was during this time that Sam's grandma became very ill.  We watched as her desire for Heaven outgrew her desire for Earth. She spent the end of her days making us smile, with grace and love in every breath.  The timing of her passing with us moving to Austin was a difficult one. Sam lost his last biological grandparent as Grandmother passed, but the joy of marriage gives him 4 more.

The hardest months of the year were the summer. We had devised intricate plans for me to remain in Houston, at the job I loved while Sam worked in Austin until I could find a job and move together. We each had places to stay, and plans for how long this all would continue.  In what seemed like a miracle, I got a job, and we would be moving together.  We rushed and packed, found an apartment, and said our goodbyes. 

The most lasting part of that crazy summer is the way all doors would open for the move.  It was undeniably God. We found an apartment in a SINGLE DAY and had family look at it for us. My dad came down for the move. Our lease in Houston ended in exactly the month we needed to move, so we wouldn't be paying double rent.  We had previously given notice to our Houston apartment because we had planned to relocate within Houston.  So many details, and God's hand had prepared them all.  In the quiet moments, when doubt set in, this miraculous story of our move was the hope to which I hung. 

July came, and we began to get settled in our new city as we started our jobs. The job I started at The University of Texas turned instantly into a sour spot, and within two weeks we knew I needed a new place. 12-14 hour workdays, underpaid, and constant yelling made it a place that wasn't sustainable for our family. 

The days turned dark and we wondered what we had done to our family.  We missed our home, our friends, and the life we had in Houston.  Since it was just us in a big city--we only had each other. Those first years of our marriage we marked with so much sweetness.  In those 7 weeks until I found a new job, we clung to the knowledge that throughout the summer, it wasn't us that orchestrated Sam's job and our move, but God.  It was Him who brought us here, and we had to be faithful to stay.

The 7 toughest weeks of our marriage ended with a phone call and a job offer.  I was going to be leaving my job at the University, and headed to the State Lab.  Tears of joy and relief flooded both of our eyes, and we began to celebrate.  For us, I don't think we really accepted Austin as our home until I switched jobs.  It was survival mode before that.

Fall came, and we saw God's plan like we weren't seeing it before. Sam excelled and loved his new job, and I was finding my way at my new place.  Don't get me wrong, since leaving the Stehlin Foundation in Houston, I struggled.  I had found such a home in the work and people in Houston, and leaving it felt like leaving a bit of me there.Now?  That's the best part. It's still a place I've left my heart, and when we return, it feels like a homecoming.

But with fall came really making Austin our home.  Sam grew up here, but now we were making a home for us in this city.  We ventured out, found our places, and we're working on finding a small group and church.  We've been here six months now, and we're easing into our rituals.

2012 was an experience like no other. When we started it 12 months ago, I didn't see a move, so many job changes, and a new city in our future. This year--with the changes, stress, and challenges, brought us to places we never expected.  It was a year I don't want to repeat, but it brought and taught us so much. So here, on the last day of 2012, I just want to say thanks. Thanks for the memories, the challenges, and all we learned.

Friday, December 28, 2012

running and the holidays

I mentioned before that my running life has been fairly non-existent since the marathon. That's the understatement of the year.  And with the Cowtown marathon coming up in only 58 days, there really isn't any time for this.

It's been a slew of excuses. It all started with taking a week off after the race, that turned into two.  And then the cold weather finally came. And along with it all the coziness of home and my bed at 5am. Add in traveling 3 times in December, celebrating an anniversary, and Christmas, and you've got yourself 5 extra pounds and a number of runs you can count on one hand.  Recipie for disaster.

It's been ugly. But, the past week has offered hope. Sam's decided to train for the half marathon, and that's got me all sorts of giddy. Between making him a schedule, researching for him and running some of our weeknight runs together, I'm excited.  I did get a lot of new gear for Christmas, and that's got to be one of the best perks of deciding to run 26.2 miles multiple times.  New shorts, jacket, and a fan-tastic new foam roller on the way.

It's not perfect, and it definitely needs work, but it seems as if my running life may have been resuscitated just in the nick of time.

The only race I've got lined up for 2013 is the Cowtown marathon on Feb 24th. I'm looking to add more (halves and fulls) to my lineup. What's on your list?

And, I'm on nike + running. You should be too. It's a great, easy and FREE way to log your miles. And as for modivation, it's helping too. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

San Antonio Marathon Recap

This post is long overdue. I mean, come on.
The marathon was over a month ago.
But it's been here, sitting and rolling around in my head.

You see, the marathon was awesome, and great, and not at all what I wanted.
It was so different.

It was hot. 70 degrees. (For running, add about 20 degress to the actual temp and that's what it feels like while you're running. SO. 90 degrees. In November. 

I was not happy about the temp, but there's nothing you can do. So I tried to put it out of my mind and knew I would need to slow it down a bit for the race. No big deal.

The plan was for me to run the first 16 miles by myself, and then meet up with my dad for the last 10. Mile 8 I start getting back spasms. Think: lower back muscles contracting and relaxing in complete and utter chaos.

I'd had back spasms on my 23 mile training run, but they started at mile 20. I was able to push through them and didn't think much of it.

Now, we're at mile 8 and I've got so far to go. They're getting stronger and claiming all of my attention. My pace slows to nearing a crawl.  Finally, I find Dad at mile 12. He was watching the text alerts he had been getting about my time, and knew something was going on. For the first 8, I was holding the pace I told him to count on, and then there was the steep drop.

Dad decides to stay with me from 12 on instead of 16.  Hallelujah.  At this point, I'm hurting but just thinking about getting to each mile. Just the next one. Just 13.

At mile 14, I lose it. The spams are so big at this point I can't walk through them. I'm on the ground, and I just lose it. I'm crying, Dad's asking what's wrong, and the cop is coming over. I'm embarassed, frustrated and just at an utter loss.

After 5 minutes on the ground we start walking. Dad calls to our group at 16 (Mom, Sam, Forrest and Rachel) and let's them know what's going on. My sweet, sweet husband starts running toward us with all the pain meds he can find. At 15, I get meds and we find the nearest medic tent.

Immediately the medics load me up on salted gatoratde and potatoes.  Yes, that does mean adding SALT to gatorade. It's disuisting. I don't reccomend it.  The Dr at the tent says "I don't reccomend you finishing this race." Tears. 

This is not how this was supposed to go. I had trained so hard. I thought I had earned this race. It was going to be fun.  So after a quick calculation from Dad we knew we could do an 18 minute mile for each remaining mile and still make it under the cutoff time.

That brought hope. I was up and determined, even if we walked the whole remainder. After a few miles of walking, we starting doing some walk/jogging. 

And eventually, we made it. It was long, and so different than I wanted. But I did it. 26 hard miles, but they're mine. The medal is mine, and it counts.

For the longest time I haven't wanted to talk about the race. I've quickly changed the subject when friends ask, not wanting to face the shame of what happened again. But now, I'm ready. It's not shameful. I did it. It looked different than I ever dreamed, but it's still my marathon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ordinary life

sometimes, when you're busy with all the mundane little things, the blog goes to the back burner.
and it only gets harder and harder to post again as the time goes by.
but you know, I'm still here. Life is still going, and in the midst of it, I want to document.

December is here. And we're nearing the middle of it!

1: My brother's girlfriend graduated this weekend in 2.5 YEARS! And of course, with honers. She's been accepted into multiple law schools, and we're all blown away by her. Congrats Rachel!

2: It's Christmastime! We finally decorated.

3: I've got a hankering for a chalkboard wall. In an aparment, that's a no go. So..I'm thinking large painted piece of plywood hung to the wall. Any of you aparmenters do this? Suggestions?

4: Our second anniversary's in 7 days. For now, all I will say is that it's true: marriage really only does get sweeter.

5: I'm supposed to be training for the Cowtown marathon, but it's been a bit lackluster, if I'm honest. Busy Saturdays and missed group runs make for hard running weeks and the cycle only get worse. I'm needing something to get back on the horse.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Gift Guide 2012

Whether it's a list of suggestions for yourself, your mom, your friend,  your sister or sister in law, all of these items will be well loved and cherished. 

With all of our shopping done, and a LOT of it done online, I'm pumped. Great gifts, no lines, no stress. It arrives at my house! In a box! Wrap it and done.

SO, I've brought you the best of the internet.  

The guide to all the women in your life. Or just print this out and hand it to your person. They'll thank you. 

Chunky Brushed Gold Chain Bracelet+ Falling leaf earrings + Circle Letter Initial Ring

boom. your shopping is done. except for the men. they'll get their own wishlist. promise.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday things

Hello. I'm Lauren and this is my blog. Sorry for not writing and neglecting it. I'm working on changing that. 

 1. Thanksgiving is Thursday, yet I'm already in sit around and sleep and eat mode. 

 2. I'm going to be having a BIG SALE in the shop for black Friday. Stay tuned for that one. 

 3. I'm anxiously awaiting Friday so I can decorate for Christmas. I'm working on a few different DIY projects, which I will share later. 

 4. I ran a marathon last week, and although it was good, it was much different than I thought it would be. More on that later. It deserves a whole post. 

 5. Christmas shopping is almost done! BUT, I'll be putting together a list of my favorite things and sharing. Tomorrow. So come back for that. 

6. Community is good and hard to find. Cherish yours, whether it's your biological family, your online blogging family, a girlfriend, your book club, or your neighbors. If it's your place to love and be loved, be thankful for it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

just start already

Have you ever been in a season of life that just feels strange? Nothing's wrong on the outside, but yet your heart can't find the place it wants to call home? You flip from activity to activity looking for that community, yet your hands turn up empty each time?

 It's harder to handle when you've had real community. When you know the sweetness of calling friends in the middle of the night, or taking dinner because you know they've had a rough week. It deepens the ache--the pit of a hole that knows there's a place for living gospel that isn't being filled. And yet, we've been blessed. Those people exist for us, just not here. They're spread out, but the bond doesn't break. The Bible talks about community, and the people in Acts seemed to find it so easily.

And yet, we're here. Still searching. Still trusting that there are a people for us, in this city. A people who will sit in our house until midnight and drink wine. People that will ask the questions that don't have answers, and let the silence loom. There are people for us here, that will laugh and love and learn. So this week, instead of just waiting, we're starting.

We're making the awkward phone calls to the acquaintances and telling these people that we want to be friends. It's the worst and hardest parts of dating, but you have to do it go get to the good stuff. Sure, we'll be rejected a few times, but once you've had the real, life-bringing community, nothing else will do.

So we're picking up the phone and starting already.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


it's race week. Like, as in: my marathon is on Sunday. and this is whats going on in my land in the days leading upto the race.

Reading: motivational running posts. running magazines. the list I'm making in my head to repeat to myself in the hard miles.

Eating: Pasta, potatoes, rice. All things carbo-licious.

Listening to: running playlist. Includes Justin Bieber, Rhianna, and Beyonce. It's grand.

Feeling: I'm oscillating between extreme excitement and pure nerves. It's a roller coaster. Wishing: this week wasn't dragging so I could do the run already!

Drinking: water. lots and lots and lots of water.

Watching: lots of movies. Fast and the Furious: Tokyo drift was last night's pick. Night before: Aliens. We like to keep it different.

Doing: a lot of nothing. resting, laying on the couch. trying not to count the minutes until Mom and Dad arrive. But if you want to count along, we're at just over 31 hours.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

making room to breathe

SO, 31 days ended a while ago and I'm not near finished with that series. And if I'm honest, I don't know what I'm going to do about it. For now, the plan is to continue to write it. Just for me. It's something where I'm being taught and it's painful and good for me to keep writing it. So, if you're interested, I'll try to keep you updated about how that is going.

but this post is about something different.

it's about how to balance life + blogging. I don't know if balance really exists. Maybe we're just in seasons. And some seasons are completely devoted to one or two things and thats's ok.

because for me, I put an inordinate amount of pressure on myself to get a post out there every day. and then it doesn't happen. and 2 weeks go by, and the pressure only builds. How can I go back to blogging after being so bad at it?

And the other things pile, and pile and pile. And I say yes, yes yes. Then--the do nothing stage. I shink and shudder as I look at the list and I cry and do nothing.

So here I am. A bad blogger. Trying to make time for everything. And in that, cutting a lot.  Because I need to make some room for myself to breathe.

I am running the San Antonio marathon this Sunday--and the plan for this week was rest. Rest from running, rest from stress. Just rest. Focus on the goal, watch a lot of movies. And if I'm honest, I've failed pretty bad at that too. 

So this place, and my life, is returning to those goals.

Serving my God
Loving my family
Representing Christ in all I do at work.
Being a part of community.
Running Seek First.

And everything above that, it's extra. Because in doing all those things, I need to make sure I have room to breathe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

day 23: grace that transforms

Five years ago, I was in a rush. New to college, I was ready for life to move fast.
I had my schedule, and I was ready to go. I knew dates I wanted to be married by, yet there wasn't a guy in sight. I knew when I wanted to make this amount of money, I knew where I wanted to live, I knew it all. It was pride at its worst, and I was full of it. Bursting, really. I wanted all the attention on what I had done. Where I had gotten myself.

And then grace stepped in. Seemingly slowly at first.  My mind started to waver at the thought of medical school. I wasn't quite as sure as I had been for all those high school days. The plan began to crumble. And the plan began to change. God was changing the plan, and in the midst, He was changing me.

A move to a completely "off the map" city, new job, and another move later, He's still changing me.  I recently got a promotion at work and Sam asked how I felt. "Thankful" was my response. And I think about that girl 5 years ago. She might have had a different answer. When I see that it's Him giving me grace, I'm thankful; when I think it's me, I'm prideful.

 But in the transformation, it takes a bit of rubble. It's hard to build thankfulness in a heart where pride rules. There's been some hard days, and raw grace that has torn down the hard places in my heart. At times it has seemed like a war zone, flesh constantly fighting spirit. And yet, in the rubble is where I know He's working. Grace is transforming.

 He's changing me, and He's not done yet. Thank God He's not done yet.

Friday, October 19, 2012

day 19: practice grace

Grace isn't natural. I want to punish those who do wrong in my eyes. It might be with judgement, with my silence, or even with pity. I want them to get what they deserve. But when it comes to me, I want to be shown grace every time. Isn't that the heart of selfishiness? I want these things for me, but I'm unwilling to show them to others.

This weekend, when that person is getting on your nerves, or you can't take what they are doing for one more minute. Or even when you've failed your own to-do list, practice grace.  Take a deep breath, and let it go. Give them the listening ear they want. Give yourself a little grace and ask for some help with that list.

Practice grace.  It's not natual, and it's going to take some time to learn. Come back Monday with your grace story--I'll be sharing mine.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

day 18: hopeful grace

Yes, I realize I've completely fallen off the 31 days train. But since this subject of lavish grace is so important to me, I'm still going to be writing all of the posts. They may just come late, or not it order, or whatever. There's grace for that.

side note: today marks the day I've been with my husband for 5 years. 5 YEARS!

I can remember the 6th grade awards day like it was yesterday.  I was new to my school, wanting to make a lot of friends and a good impression. I had hoped for many awards, but one stood above them all. Student of the year.  It would make me noticed among my peers, praised by my parents, and proud of myself.  I sat in my chair, hands sweaty as the school principal called names. Mine wasn't called.  My lip began to quiver, tears began to well up, and I thought my one big chance was over.

Grace isn't like that. It never leads us down a road where it disappoints us. Sure, there are times it seems dark; times where we don't see the next turn. We don't see the way out. With grace, we can be free to let our heart hope, knowing that where He leads us, there is hope.

With our family, right now, we are torn between two wonderful paths for my career. I have dreams, hopes of a PhD, but I also see myself in a life of nursing. We're hopeful for both, and we're trusting the decision to Him. Applying to both, hoping only in Him.

Because He is the only solid thing to place our hope in.  When all else fades, He will remain, and I hope that you are hoping in nothing less.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

day 16: law, grace's enemy

Do you know the story of the prodigal son? The one where a father loses one son for a number of years, and his eldest says with him. Yet when the younger son, who has behaved recklessly returns, the father gives him the party and celebrates his return?

I always sympathized wit the older brother in that story. He had done it all right! He deserved the party!  I felt like I knew him. The rule follower. The good kid. Under-appreciated and overlooked.

I loved law. I loved the rules. It was black and white. Good and bad. And yet, when we divide it so starkly-we all fall on the side of bad. We've all screwed up. I just thought my version of screwed up was the best.  And yet, what I've come to learn is just different. I'm no better than a man who cheats on his wife. I'm no better than an alcoholic. It's all sin. I sin differently-but we are all in just as much desperate need of grace as the other.

I had just allowed myself to believe that I could negate my sin by living under the law. And that grace was for those who were desperate.  Law teaches us we don't have to be desperate for grace. We've almost got it--just with a little more work.

Monday, October 15, 2012

day 15: grace in the lacking

There's this disconnect for me when studying and writing about grace. Because the truth is, I'm not good at it. If I'm honest, I'm critical, judgmental, and very prideful. I love law. Grace is something others are good at. Me, I've got other gifts, but grace isn't one of them.

I'm not good at grace when it all isn't going as planned. I'm not good at it when things don't go my way. I'm not good at it before coffee, or after 10pm.

Grace seems to be for those who have it all together. Those who are running their household like it's a walk in the park. It's something I'm striving for, but haven't quite reached.

But yet, by definition grace isn't something we can do. It's something we are given. Maybe if I'm so bad at it, have I fully received it in my life? Not just as the cross starting point, but in the mess. Do I let grace rule in the Thursday night cleaning of the kitchen? Or is grace for Sunday, and law for the rest of the week?

There are lots of areas in my heart and in my life where law rules. In those dry and dark places, it's time for grace to take over. To find grace in the lacking.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

day 11: unmerited favor

I buff myself up sometimes.
In the car, in the shower, grocery shopping.
It's disguising how often I do it.

"I'm doing so good! I have a job, I love our house, I've cooked dinner every night this week."
"I look awesome. My outfit rocks. It's a great hair day."
"I'm so happy. I've worked so hard for this life."

And while some of this is true, and I think it's good to feel confident about our looks, there's a lot of I in there. Things I've done, things I should be praised for.

And yet, the truth is so far from that.  The truth reads so differently.

I'm a sinner. I'm selfish. I judge others easily and am very critical.
I've done nothing to deserve my husband, my house, my  job.

The difference? Grace. Grace takes the ugly truth that is, and by unmerited favor makes it the beautiful mess of my life.  If we walked around each day knowing who we are, yet celebrating the difference in our lives because of grace, how much more beautiful the world would be.

I hope today, you see what your life is and celebrate what grace has made it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

day 10: quiet grace

Grace can sneak up on you.

It can find you in the quiet of the morning with a coffee cup in hand, a cool breeze that breathes life back into your worn out day.
It can find you as a whisper in your mind amonst a day that screams to-do lists. A quiet whisper that says "slow down."
It can find you through the voice of a friend, a spouse.

Grace can be so quiet. In a world that's loud, in your face, and harsh, grace is a quiet, tender whisper that soothes and brings life.

Today, I hope you find and focus on a quiet grace gift you've recieved.

Friday, October 5, 2012

day 5: treasure hunt

Grace is everywhere.
It's in the little and in the big.  My eyes are blind to the graces, the gifts at first. But with new glasses, new eyes. I begin to see.

The quiet cup of coffee in the morning, the sunrise over the hill. The job promotion. The date night. The conversation.

With new eyes, the graces abound. And I reliaze they've been there all along. It's not the graces that are new. It's me. He's changing me, daily, and today, for the first time, I get to see the graces I've been missing.

As we head into the weekend, won't you look through different eyes to see the graces?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

day 4: defying grace

Most of my life, I've lived in defiance of grace.  Unwilling to let myself be given a gift of any kind, believing that working for what I earned was better. It's pride, and stubborness at the core, and I didn't want a handout from anyone, much less God.

So with every good grace, every praise from a teacher, I puffed myself up. I was something. I was achieving, climbing, making something of myself. 

My heart in this was hard. I measured people by what they did. The success of their career, their house, kids, anything. I looked at life by the measures we can see and those material things that are of little worth, and I judged. Left and right, anyone I could see, I whispered harsh criticism. It's ugly and it's shameful, but worst of all, it's true.

Grace to me is so foreign. It's so humbling, and so unnatural. I want to do it all. And yet, I must submit that I can't do anything, but I can only receive what is given to me by another.

Oh yes, I have good moments. When the house is clean, and I've had two cups of coffee, and it's not a work day. When the whole world aligns and all is perfect, then, and only then, am I good at grace. But in the real days? The ones where I snap at my husband and I rush and I stress. Those days I leave grace on the bedside table when I wake up.

But that's grace. It's for us too. The ones of us who know our hearts are mean and judegmental and hard. It's for us most of all.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

day 3: a first glance

I was 6. I had lied about brushing my teeth once again. (gross, I know). I was caught red handed and I kept lying to get out of the lie.  I knew it was wrong, and yet there didn't seem to be any other option. I wanted out of the situation, and so I lied. But she was on to me--as mothers are; she knew my game.

And when, though tears, I finally confessed to my mom that I was lying, instead of the punishment I thought was coming, it was something else entirely.

A hug, and quiet, loving words. "Lauren, I love you. You are my daughter and I just want what is best for you. But please don't lie to me."

I deserved punishment. I thought yelling, shame, and being grouded was headed my way. And yet, something different.  Isn't that what is always offered to us by God? Something unexpected, different. So refreshing, and so undesereved.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

day 2: authentic grace

I've noticed in life that the littlest changes can make the biggest difference.
A new haircut, painted nails, even a new tea towel makes me feel like a new woman.
The seemingly small becomes big, and my thoughts, mind, and attitude are renewed. And while the world around me hasn't changed, I've found that a little bit of me has. 

But when something's off, I seem to feel it in every fiber of my being.  When all the rules and expectations I have of life come crashing to my feet, I feel it. I don't take it well, and I feel ripped.

Grace is like that--it isn't human. It's not something we do well, it's not a great idea that we had. And it doesn't always feel natural. It, at first, feels foreign. I want to fight it, flee from it, and reject it.
As much as I'd like to take credit for it, and avoid the subject of grace being Jesus, I can't. 
Grace is bigger than humans. We are bent inward, and grace reaches it hand outward to a hopeless people, offering the gift of hope. The only grace worth knowing is His.

While we talk this month about grace, know that all grace is not of us. Grace, a gift in the truest form, was a gift to us.

Monday, October 1, 2012

31: lavish grace

last year, when I first discovered the Nester and watched as women all around the nation wrote for 31 days about a single topic, striving and reaching toward a goal, I wanted to be a part.
but the issue?
I discounted my words.
I'm not an expert at anything.
and writing for 31 days on a single topic?
why waste my breath and the space?

but a year has gone by, and 31 days has rolled around again.
and while not a lot is different, my heart is changed.
I'm still by no means an expert on anything.

the difference from last year is this:
I want to write. Grace is a truth that I better want to learn.
and by writing it, I learn it. 
I'm not claiming to be the most grace-filled person.
but I know that lavish grace exists, and I'm digging into it for 31 days.
won't you join me?

day 5: treasure hunt
day 6
day 7
day 8: grace is free
day 9
day 10: quiet grace
day 12
day 13
day 14
day 17
     day 18: hopeful grace     
day 20
day 21
day 22
day 24
day 25
day 26
day 27
day 28
day 29
day 30
   day 31   

Friday, September 28, 2012

this week

has been a good one.
new schedules, feeling semi-normal adjusting to the new job.
cooked dinners at night, nice long runs, falling asleep reading this book.
if you haven't read it, I highly reccomend you go pick it up this weekend.
and read it all, so we can talk about it.

this weekend we're preparing to relax.
I have to work a few hours Saturday morning, but then it's sister blo out time.
I've never been to a blo dry bar--but with a groupon that made is $12 to look great and someone else doing all the work, who could resist?  any suggestions on which one to pick??
and time with a sister I've waited my whole life to have--getting sisters has been great.

I'll also be getting ready and figuring out my topic for 31 days. (linkup by the nester)
I read a lot of them last year, and since I write this blog to reflect and grow.
I've always wanted to challenge myself to write for 31 days straight on a topic, and see what comes of it.
I don't have my topic yet, but I'll spend a lot of time this weekend working it out.
I'm nervous and excited and all those emotions wrapped up in one about this 31 days thing.

and in between, I'll be soaking up all the fall I can find.
In Texas, it's a short (sometimes non-existant) season that lasts only a few days.
but I cram all the pumpkin into those days that I can find.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

oh hello, old friend

um. I haven't posted in nearing 3 weeks. that was an unintentional but very needed blogging break.
oops. sorry. but the thing about blogging for me, is that it's my family's story. and for now, our story was adjusting. Finding a new pattern, new sense of what's familiar.

In the meantime, here's what we've been up to:

+combining the last week of work at UT and the first two weeks of work at the new job
+ lots of running (the marathon's in 48 days. 48!)
+ an 18 mile run I wasn't quite sure I could do. Let me tell you, I was the queen of the world when I finished.
+ an hour commute each way
+life: cooking, cleaning, laundry. whey is the laundry never over?
+ speed dating church style looking for a small group. one word: ACKWARD.
+ eager anticipation of the new Mumford and Sons cd.
+ reading this book.
+ first time to the food truck park for dinner + dessert.

if you're an instagram follower (laurenbattershell), you might have noticed I've taken my time getting some new products ready. It's been very fun and very different, and they are all ready and waiting to be photographed. I've wanted to expand the shop in a completely different direction for a long time, and I've finally done it.

to celebrate that I'm back and the items are now up, use the code FRESH for 20% off all NEW turban headwraps.

Friday, September 7, 2012


If I haven't made it clear, I want to make it known now
Sam really has been the only way I've made it through the last 7 weeks of this job.
He's been completely supportive, doing all the dishes, housework, and letting me crash asleep whenever I can get a minute.
the picture of these vows (though they are not the ones we said at our wedding) have never been more true than they are now. It's funny to me--we promise things at a wedding, and as we grow together, they become more true then when we promised them.
 I am madly in love with my husband. like, widly, madly, crazy in love with him. he is loving and patient and gentle and he leads me so well; he is easy to follow and easy to serve. he is quick to forgive and quick to ask for forgiveness. he makes me laugh daily. there isn't a favorite memory with him...but just a complete and utter underservingness on my part of how he loves me daily. i am so so thankful, day after day, to be his. to get to share his name. to know that he has promised me his whole life here on earth. to know that when the Lord made Samuel in his mother's womb, he was making him for me. my husband loves me with a love that is powerful and transforming. he loves me as to push me more towards Christ. i am madly in love, deeply underserving, and utterly thankful.  
I love you, Samuel.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

where we're headed

as you've probably gathered around here, this new job change has been rough. When I tell people I work for the university, they all smile with delight and say "You must love working at your alma mater."  But sometimes things are not what they seem. And thus working here has been anything but great.

I won't tell you all the little facts of this job, but all parts of it: the commute, the work, the pay, the management....pretty much led to me a position where I was willing to do anything but this. Nanny, Starbucks, Walmart were all things I considered doing to tide me over until I could find a new job.

I fell into a place that was dark and sad; a place no one should be. I felt depressed, useless, stupid and at times, crazy. I watched some of my favorite things about myself disappear and I cried myself to sleep many a night feeling helpless, frightened and trapped. You guys, I've been miserable. It's insane how much a job can do that to you and the effect it can have on your whole life.

And then something happened: I got an interview, and then another. And a job offer. At a place where I'm back doing research. You guys, I never realized just how happy I am when doing science. I never dreamed my career would fulfill me this much or have such an impact on my day.
Life's too short to settle and just merely go through the motions; to accept things and just "get over it"; and I wasn't going to do it anymore. And by the grace of God and support of my family and friends, I'm moving on.
And so next Friday I'm saying so long to this place and headed to the next one.


I know there's a lot of people out there job hunting and searching; trust me, you're not alone. If you ever want someone to talk to about it, email me! I've been there.

also: if you're in a place like me, dealing with difficult people, this post is a must read.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

september goals

It's hard for me to believe it's September.
This year has gone faster than all other years, it seems.

So I've started to list out monthly goals.
Things I want to get done and not just let time flash by without noticing.
I'll try to recap the previous months' goals in each new post.

read three books this month
I'm a reader, but somewhere in adulthood the working + running + cooking has left this favorite hobby a little out of the loop. I'm wanting to make sure I plan time to read.

homecooked meals
with this new crazy work schedule, the amount of cooking I do is pathetic. I'm striving for 4 homecooked meals a week.

run 3 times during the week
With the marathon only 69 days away, I've got to be more diligent about getting my runs in during the week. This means not sitting on the couch when I get home--it's my kryptonite. If I sit down, my productivity for  the night is immediatly zapped. I have my Saturday long runs with my local running group, which are great; but I need more dedication on those weeknights.

organize our files
We are organized people, but yet, our personal files don't seem to have a good system. Any reccomendations?

Friday, August 31, 2012

reading recap: july + august

Some of my favorite memories from my childhood were reading a book under my covers at night with a flashlight. To me, a books have always been a way to escape the world and travel, even when you can't go anywhere.  There is a magic in books that can't be found anywhere else.

I don't talk about reading much on my blog, but in real life, one of my favorite things to do is curl  up with a good book. Rainy day? I'm reading. Cool evening? I'm on the porch reading.  Bus ride to work? I'm reading.

So, I've made the decision to share (monthly or bi-monthly) all the things I've read and my thoughts on them.  If you're a reader too, I'd love to hear your opinion or what's on your list.  AND let's be goodreads friends.  You say you don't know what goodreads is? Ah, it's book heaven. Facebook for books. With recommendations based on what you've read.

Book: Those Who Save Us
Finished: Early July

I picked this book up after reading this post by Elizabeth, and  it has been one of the best books I've read in a long while. It takes a real and honest look at the relationship between a mother and daughter during WW11. Writing from the perspective of the German civilians, it's a book that makes you look at perspective. The character depth was rewarding--I felt and sympathized with both Anna and her daughter, Trudy.

Book: The Weird Sisters
Finished: Early August

This book took me a while to get into,and not just because of the unknown narrator and juvenile behavior of the characters. I found the unknown narrator irritating-at first I thought I might have missed who was doing the narrating and kept going back to see, but then I realized the book was supposed to be like that, that there was no one narrator. For the majority of the book, I didn't connect with the characters or find them interpreting. I thought their lives and problems were flat and simple, very one dimensional. It wasn't really worth the read--but once I was 100 pages in, I felt invested and hoped for a great ending. I wouldn't recommend it to a friend.

Book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Finished: Early July 

This book initially appealed to me because of my interest in cancer research, but once I finished it, I was recommending this book to anyone who would let me talk about it. It's the story of a woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were unknowingly taken from her during her treatments, and revolutionized cancer research. The medical advances and height of advancements made from Henrietta's cells is contrasted to the life of her family--poor and struggling to make ends meet, with no knowledge of the life of their mothers' cells.  This story is so important and overwhelming, and on many levels, sad and depressing. There were parts of this book where I found myself holding my breath in horror, parts where I cried and sympathized with her family, and parts where I was in awe of the advancements made. It's worth the read.

The Hobbit
Finished: Late August 

I've read this book before, in middle school, but with the movie coming out in December, I wanted to read it again.  Some books are almost impossible to review. If a book is bad, how easily can we dwell on its flaws! But if the book is good, how do you give any recommendation that is equal the book? The Hobbit lives up to all the talk about it-and more. From a hole in the ground came one of my favorite characters of all time, the very reluctant and unassuming hero of the story, Bilbo Baggins. As a child, The Hobbit sparked my young imagination, causing wonderful daydreams and horrible nightmares. As a teen, the book made me want to become a writer of fantastical tales...or go shoeless, live in the hole and smoke a pipe. I will continue to read The Hobbit again and again, for the road goes ever, ever on...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

today i choose

to embrace the changes that have come into my life.
to learn to set boundaries between work and home
to let go of the things I can't change
to not define myself in terms of the job I hold

things around here lately have been quiet, I know.
in life, it's been chaos.
so much adjusting, so much change.

I like to think I've gotten better at separating work and home.
I know I've learned to appreciate Sam on a whole new level.

regardless of my situation now or any to come,
I can choose to look at life with grateful eyes.
and see all that I have been given.

so that's where we are--learning to see this new job and life for a time
with eyes that see the grace in it.