Last Year Does Not Disappear

Happy New Year’s Eve!

January 1st holds such a special place in the lives of all of us. Even if you do not write resolutions, make mental goals, or tell yourself you are going to change at least one thing in the upcoming year, you still look forward to it. It symbolizes a clean slate, waking up fresh, a deep breath.

We often view it as our latest chance. Having friend troubles, no worries, you can make new ones. Having relationship problems, no sweat, you can look for someone new. Having school issues, no big deal, you can do better this semester. Having money struggles, no problem, you can actually get a job. Instead of dealing with the things that are currently not going as planned, we have the mentality that we can just up-and-change our lives, because it is the start of a new 365 days.

I would be lying if I did not admit that I am one of these people. I like pushing aside what I need to work on, telling myself I will deal with it a different time when I am really just waiting for the year to end so I can start over and just forget about what I have slid under the rug. But we cannot do this. The people in our lives matter even when they are being difficult. The friendships we have made are important even when they seem to be slipping away. The way we view ourselves is vital even when we plan on loving ourselves soon.

Even though it is a new year, the hard times, the friendships, the grades, the empty bank account is all still there. So instead of starting a new story on a blank page, why do we not just revise our old one?

The year is long. Times will get tough. The excitement you have about your resolutions will fade. You will see that friend. Classes will start again. Your bank account will increase and dwindle. Let last year be a reminder and a guide to how we respond to these situations. By not forgetting about the mistakes or hurt, we can learn from them and better choose what path to take.

Movie Review: Sisters

Sisters“We need a little less Forever 21 and a little more Suddenly 42.”

Sisters is a movie starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler about two sisters (obviously) who come together to clean out their childhood home after their parents decide to sell it and end up having one final party….

This movie is exactly what you bargain for going in. With two of the funniest females alive as the headlining actors, you expect the cheap laughs and the best parts being in the trailer, but this movie has a little bit of sentiment in the end.

Tina and Amy are absolutely wonderful!! Their chemistry was undeniable and I wanted to be one of their friends. I think Tina stole the show, because she was just cracking me up with the “cool” act she had going on as the more happenin’ sister, but both had fantastic, ridiculous characters that they brought to life.

It was a little sad how much I related to Amy’s character of being the responsible, never-been-crazy-ever lifestyle. I just died as I counted how many times I was able to say “oh my gosh I would totally do that” when her character would do or say something. I feel for all the girls out there like that.

But of course in the end, they realized each others value and all is well with the world. So it was not an amazing movie with any kind of profound moments, but it had lots of laughs and crude humor that no one likes to admit they enjoy.

December Book Haul

IMG_5791

Thank you Half Price Books!! HPB is my lifesaver on a regular basis and they always seem to have some great deal that I cannot pass up. Yesterday I was able to get 4 books for $14 which may not seem like a steal, but the top one is a new release.

November 9 is Colleen Hoover’s newest release and I have been itching to buy it since it came out back in November. Her last book, Confess, left me speechless, so I have high expectations for this novel. In this book, a boy meets a girl the day before she leaves to move across the country, but they spend the day together and have a strong attraction. They meet every year on the same day and the boy writes a book inspired by her. For some reason the boy’s truthfulness is questioned….

The Next Thing on My List is by Jill Smolinski, who is an author I have never heard of, but the premise of this book seemed sad yet inspiring plus it was only a dollar! Woman is in a car accident where her passenger dies. Somehow she gets a list of 20 things to do before turning 25 that the woman who died had written, so the woman sets out to accomplish all of the items.

Then Came You is a novel by Jennifer Weiner. I have only read one Weiner book and was not disappointed, but not wowed, but I have heard great things about her writing. This book is a drama about a college senior planning to sell her eggs, a housewife thinking of carrying another woman’s child, and a gold-digger who wants a baby for selfish reasons.

Goodnight Nobody is another Jennifer Weiner novel that I acquired for only a dollar. It is about a bored housewife with three kids who lives in Suburbia with nothing to do. A woman from the neighborhood gets murdered and the mother becomes extremely interested and ends up uncovering secrets and lies in their community.

Everyone Worth Knowing is a novel by Lauren Weisberger. I have never read anything by her, but enjoyed the Devil Wears Prada movie very much. This book is about a girl down on her luck gets a job at a top PR firm and her personal life and professional life start blurring together. Is having a fabulous job really worth it?

I cannot wait to dig into these novels!! 🙂

Why Am I So Unsatisfied?

I cannot figure out why I am constantly wanting to change or “fix” what I already have or who I already am.

Blaming the society I live in is not the answer. It is that I let the ways of this world get into my head. With this fast-paced, me me me, I need the newest best thing right now mentality that is thrown my way on a daily basis, it makes it very difficult to be satisfied and happy with who I am, the clothes I wear, the things that I have, the activities I like, the family I was given, the opportunities available to me… the list goes on.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14

I know that nothing about me is a mistake or an accident. God created and formed me as an individual with unique abilities and interests. I was not made to be like everyone else, but neither were you. We were all made to be different and original, so it is difficult to stand firm in this when I am constantly being pushed to conform.

Honestly, needing the next best thing is not really a downfall of mine. I like my style and do not mind wearing inexpensive clothes and my old Jeep is definitely my favorite form of transportation. But I do fall into the trap of feeling that I am not worthy or enough for those around me. Yet I know that I am, because I am a work of God.

“In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.” – Genesis 5:1

I was created in the image of God! That is a powerful statement and one that I need to dwell on a lot more than I do. It needs to be more of a mantra that I repeat to myself anytime I start to feel unworthy. I am beautiful and special and look exactly the way God intended.

“… I shall be satisfied when I awake in your likeness.” – Psalm 17:15

I do not believe that God wants me to be sad or depressed or unsatisfied, but I do believe that He has given me the means to not be. He sacrificed his son, so that I could be SAVED, LOVED, and FORGIVEN. There is nothing about me that He does not know nor is there anything about me that He cannot restore.

God has a plan for my life and is just waiting for me to choose Him each morning and live accordingly. He is not just going to hand me what I want or wiggle his nose to morph me into what I think I need to be. He can satisfy every need and want that I have, but only if I let Him. 

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” – Isaiah 58:11

Movie Review: Star Wars The Force Awakens

Star Wars 7OMG! OMG! OMG!

I have seen this movie twice now and it is still blowing my mind. I did not expect this movie to be good, much less amazing, but it took my expectations and threw them across the room. The characters were dynamic, the plot had so much potential, and it was funny!

BEWARE THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!

By far my favorite part was the new droid they introduced called BB 8. He (I assume) is adorable and one of a kind! His personality shined through and had the cutest moments that I could not help but smile at. I really want a BB 8 to follow me around, because he was just too cute! Definitely a great addition.

Rey and Finn were also fantastic! I was not sure how it was going to go having two new main characters, but I really liked them both and cannot wait to learn more about who they are. I think Rey is Luke’s daughter, but what I cannot figure out why he would have left her there on that awful planet to fend for herself. Finn is interesting, because he is an ex-stormtrooper, but seeing him really feel puts a whole new spin on the life of a stormtrooper.

Bringing back Han, Leia, and Luke was done wonderfully. I was not sure how they were going to pull that off and was a bit skeptical, but I felt they had just the right amount of screen time. Han Solo played a bigger role than I was expecting, but it felt right. There was only one scene that I felt could have been left out, but the way he interacted with everyone, he was right back where he belonged.

I do not really like the new villain, Kylo Ren. I thought he was fairly pathetic and a good Darth Vader knock off. I know some people really like him, but I did not understand him. He has no reason to be evil like Anakin did. Anakin grew up a slave with only a mother on a horrible sandy planet then his mother died… seriously he had tons of reasons to be angry and mad and pissed, but Ben aka Kylo Ren had a loving family who only wanted the best for him. Boo-hoo. Also he kept having to ask Darth Vader’s old helmet to remind him of the power of the dark side, because the good side pull was so strong… um you need some help!

Overall it was incredible and I think I might be seeing it again lol! So go see it even if you are not a Star Wars fan… you will want to become one! 😀

Be Careful Who You Tell

It never ceases to amaze me that what you say is never safe from being shared. It does not matter what the situation, the story, or the person.

I try very hard to be a good, reliable, and trustworthy friend. I try to be available when my friends need to talk or cry or vent. I listen to their stories and rants. I am not perfect, so I slip up, but I try to keep my gossip-spreading tendencies to a minimum.

I understand the value of a good story, but I do not understand why it does not occur to some people (aka a person who calls themselves your friend) that perhaps what you are telling them is sensitive and is not to be shared. Apparently information is fair game unless specified as “classified” but that logic is ridiculous!

There is a reason that people do not tell their acquaintances the same stuff they tell their friends. Because when telling a friend something, you automatically expect a higher level of confidentiality.

I was saddened to learn that something I told a friend, in what I thought was confidence, had made its way to two different people who were not intended to know. I do not know how long ago this was spread and I do not care, it just reiterated to me that not all people can be trusted… friend or not.

Some would make the point that I should not do or say anything that I would not want spread around, but I would claim that that is not the point.

Movie Review: Remember Me

Remember MeThis movie was weird and I do not really think it had a plot. Honestly, I am not entirely sure how I feel about it.

I am not much of a Robert Pattinson fan. I do not think he can act in any way other than the way he did in Twilight. Although that spacey, dramatic thing sort of worked for that role, I felt it was annoying in this one. I felt like I was watching Edward in a movie named Tyler instead of a different character.

Tyler, in general, did not really spark any emotions from me. I found him to be creepy and dirty rather than romantic or misunderstood. I feel like so many parts of his past that made him into who he was were not very well explained, so the gaps made it hard for me to follow and understand his character. I got that he was lost and upset, but I do not know… I just did not really get it.

I did love the little sister, Caroline! She was absolutely adorable and I understood her character completely. She was definitely misunderstood and in a weird position having lost her oldest brother, having an estranged father, and just being different than her classmates. The scene where she goes to the birthday party was heartbreaking, but I will say that Tyler’s relationship with her was incredibly sweet and endearing.

The movie took a strange turn at the end. VERY UNEXPECTED ENDING that did not make much sense. It was so sudden (which might have been the point), but I do not know. I felt something was missing. So much left unexplained.

In the beginning, I thought the movie was going to be about the girl, Ally, but then once it got going it seemed to be all about him. Then I thought it was going to be about both of them, but it just jumped around a lot with nothing super concrete. It was dark and dramatic, but I did not get the romantic feel. I felt all of it was very rushed.

Not entirely bad, just not what I was expecting. I would not necessarily recommend that you see it, because I was not wowed by it in the least, but I guess it gets you thinking. Maybe I was just not the right audience.

Why I Prayed For Flashing Lights

Sometimes things happen so fast. Opportunities can fly by. If you blink or hesitate, you will miss it.

In my case, everything happened in less than a week’s time. Last Wednesday night I could not sleep, so I decided to roam the web. I saw an ad for a website that helps you find and apply for internships. I clicked on it and started applying for different positions I felt I could be good at. I figured I would not be chosen, but it would not hurt to try. By 5am and 8 applications later, I went to sleep.

The next morning I awoke to an email back from one of the companies I had applied to. It said they had looked over my application and wanted to schedule a phone interview. I was beyond shocked! I was not expecting any kind of response, so to be contacted the next day seemed like a great sign, but after that it seemed to go downhill.

I emailed back saying Friday before 2pm or anytime on Saturday would be a good time to call, but I did not receive a response that night. So on Friday I slept through my alarm and woke up at 10:40am to an email saying they would call at 11am. Strike One. I saw my life flash before my eyes as I jumped out of bed, gulped some water down, and talked to myself for a good ten minutes, so it would seem as if I had been awake for awhile. I emailed back saying 11am would be fine (because what else could I say) and then I received a response informing me not to be alarmed, but when I answer the phone she would be a woman… I had been referring to her as him in all of our email correspondence. Strike Two.

To say I was embarrassed would be an understatement, but she seemed goodhearted about it. In the twenty minutes before the phone interview, I was praying that He would help me be calm, take away my nerves, give me the words to say… basically not to sound like a crazed idiot. I kept repeating Philippians 4:13 and Joshua 1:9 to remind myself that I could do it and I would not be alone. I also prayed that He would make it blatantly obvious to me if this was an opportunity I was supposed to pursue. I even asked him not to hold back on the flashing signs.

The phone interview happened and it went better than I could have ever expected. The woman I spoke with was so nice, sweet, and made me feel comfortable in talking to her and being transparent with my answers. It was by far the best interview I have ever had! But God answered my prayer with a huge flashing billboard. The woman said that they were planning to do away with the position, because none of the applicants were qualified nor did they seem right for the job, but then my application came through and she said I sounded perfect! I figured that was my flashing lights.

I was feeling pretty confident after having been contacted so quickly, having a very successful phone interview, and feeling as if this was an opportunity God wanted me to pursue. We set up an in-person interview for this past Tuesday. Although I felt pretty great about the whole thing so far, I continued to pray that God would keep sending me obvious signs or that He would express to me what I was to be learning from this experience.

So yesterday I drove to Dallas for my interview. My first sign was that I made it there with no problems and an hour to spare. When I made it into the actual building the office was housed, I did get lost trying to find the correct tower and elevator bank, but my second sign was the lady He put in path to help me. In the moment I was so confused and having sensory overload, but instead of becoming overwhelmed I just took it all in and was able to be grateful the lady was there to help me find my way. The actual interview went (again!) better than I could ever have hoped. There were three interviewers, but I only felt a little nervous. They barely asked me any questions, but instead showed me some of the projects I would have a chance to work on. They also introduced me around and gave me a mini tour of the floor they worked on.

It was a surreal feeling being in such a big city, in a beautiful building, in a real company office for an actual interview. As I was on my way out, the main woman I had been communicating with stopped me by the elevator and told me how excited she was to have me join their team and how much she appreciated my ability to be transparent and how I was not afraid to be myself. This was my third sign. I have had issues with being confident in my personality; I am always wanting to tweak it to be what I think the situation calls for, so to have this woman who does not know me, express how much these qualities mean to her was exactly what I needed. I felt God was pulling me aside and telling me, “See Lauren, I created you like this for a reason and you need to be patient and wait for those who appreciate you and love you just as I have made you.”

So I did not pray that God would hand me this position. I did not want to demand anything from him, because I wanted to make sure it was an opportunity and a path He wanted me to pursue. I often get confused and frustrated when I ask God to show me things, so I wanted to make it clear to him that I needed some extra help in differentiating between things that are from Him and things that I manipulate to be from Him. This is why I asked him to be obvious with me and send me flashing lights.

Starting on January 18th, I will be the first Operations and Stewardship Intern for Buckner International. I am beyond excited to begin working with an incredible company with such sweet and genuine people as well as gain hands on experience! Through all of this, I have learned that not praying to get what I want can be more beneficial than specifically asking to have something I want handed to me, how important it is to check my email throughout the day, and how helpful setting more than one alarm can be. I have also gained about twenty confidence points and I have God to thank for that!

Music Review: Wildest Dreams

Say you’ll remember me
Standing in a nice dress,
Staring at the sunset

Can we take a second to talk about Taylor Swift’s latest radio phenomenon. She releases a record and then every few months the radio chooses a song off that record and plays it over and over and over again until we all hate it. The song they chose for December seems to be Wildest Dreams.

I find Wildest Dreams to be extremely catchy, so I am not quite tired of it yet. One of my favorite parts of the song is how in the beginning, the background music is deep and resonates as a strong heartbeat. The heartbeat continues throughout the song, but it gets fainter, because the louder background music comes in, but the heartbeat definitely draws me to the song.

He’s so tall and handsome as hell
He’s so bad but he does it so well

This song flows off the tongue pretty well, I think. The lyrics are very fluid and the words chosen to describe him are too good. I can picture my own version of this guy in my head and that makes the song much more realistic. From the very beginning you get the sense that he is a bad idea, because she claims that Heaven won’t be able to help her, but of course, she goes for him anyway.

I said, “No one has to know what we do, “
His hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room

I will say that this song is a bit more risque than her previous songs. She paints a picture of the acts they are doing… being tangled up, hands in her hair, his clothes in her room; not to mention that all this is in secret and no one has to know. I do not mind these lyrics, because I am an adult and understand, but it is slightly concerning, because of her extremely young fanbase.

I can see the end as it begins

This line really pushes the wrong buttons for me. I am one of those Taylor Swift (dare I say fan) listeners, who finds her to be a bit whiny when it comes to men. Most of her recent songs are about breakups and relationships not working out, so lyrics claiming that she went into this “relationship” knowing it was not going to work out really frustrates me. I find it hard to feel sorry for her or relate when she says things like this. If you know he is bad news or that it will not work out, why even continue. I find that very irritating!

Now as for the video…. why are they on a movie set in the sahara? That is not at all what I got from the song lol, yet she does like to go over the top on her videos. And why is she wearing a wig? And why is it set in the 20’s or 40’s or whatever? Honestly, I was not really into the video. So she has an affair with her co-star while filming their movie. Not exactly an original storyline, but oh well.

Say you’ll remember me

Movie Review: Home Alone

You can be too old for a lot of things, but you’re never too old to be afraid.

home aloneHome Alone is one of those iconic holiday films and happens to be one of my favorites! I think the story is just brilliant and so much fun. As much as I enjoy the famous “protect this house” scenes where Kevin faces off against The Wet Bandits, I really like the scenes with him and the misunderstood old man from across the street. Between all the fun and mischief, there is much to be said about family.

I have seen this movie quite a few times and as a kid I had never paid much attention to the old guy, Marley. It was not until a couple years ago I realized the significance of their relationship. There are rumors about Marley just because he looks a little sketch, but turns out he is a sweet heart. The scene where they are in the church is so touching. The love of an old man mixed with the innocence of a child is too perfect. Their conversation makes you smile, because it is sweet, but so true. The way they sum up their relationship makes you want to go make things right with everyone you know.

Why the hell did you take your shoes off?

Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?

The Wet Bandits are so stupid yet determined, you cannot help but laugh at them. They are so weird and peculiar, but I give them points for not giving up as they went through Kevin’s funhouse, as they call it. Kevin was absolutely adorable as he faced his fear and defended his house. I think the traps he set were so creative and just shows the extent of a child’s imagination. My favorite traps were probably the blowtorch and the ornaments under the window, but the tarantula is a nice surprise.

I think the takeaway from this movie is to remember that even though our families can be so frustrating and annoying and downright mean at times, that they still mean something to us deep down. Sometimes we think that it would be easier if they were not around or if we just disappeared, but I do not think we would feel the same once they were really not there. Just remember that the holidays stress most people out, so give some leeway and love!

If you have not seen this movie, I strongly encourage that you do, because you are missing out and don’t forget to keep the change ya filthy animals!