I like when the year is coming to a close because this is the time when you look back at the year and look ahead to the year to come. I really like reflecting on my past year. Mainly because I don't really take time each day to think about how much I have grown and changed in the last couple years, so I often forget that I am growing or changing at all. But I have really changed. I am not the same person I was when I was four, seven, ten or even 16. I know I'm not the old (you don't exactly get gray hairs when you are 17, but I do have wrinkles), but I have learned things that are well beyond my years. Do you know what the most exciting part is? God is still growing and changing me. God is going to use me for something great in 2009. Better yet, I am going to follow God's plan in 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I discovered my deep love for Peach-Os
I preached my first morning church service in Oakes
Krista and I made really disgusting pudding for science fair
I learned how to change oil and change a tire
I went to the prom with Adam
I job shadowed at the Aberdeen American News
I went to MAX and felt like a rebel against the Dakota District
I learned how to change my guitar strings
I saw Building 429 in concert
I begged people for money for my Africa trip
I preached out of the old testament for the first time
I was lazy until I finally got a job at the nursing home in August
My brother graduated from high school
I finished my Junior year in high school and started my Senior year
I turned 17
I realized that I never want to pick up shingles for a living
Our Africa group performed a human video, I told my testimony at District Assembly, and we went to Cabela's
Oh, yeah... I sort of went to Africa
I watched Michael Phelps make history
I saw the Indian Ocean
A kitten walked into my backyard and then into my family
I spent a lot of time with nursing home residents
I took some time to be thankful
I had a great Thanksgiving and a great Christmas
My mom and I cut a pineapple for the first time
2008 was a great year.
Bring on 2009.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 1:04 PM
It's not like I've never had pineapple before. Actually, I have even had pineapple in South Africa. But, my mom and I had never bought a pineapple and cut it up before. Since my mom recently bought a pineapple cutter and I recently found a recipe for fruit dip, it seemed like Christmas Eve was the perfect time to buy a pineapple. So my mom and cut up this pineapple with the new pineapple cutter and it was really fun. Maybe it was the nifty-ness of the invention. Maybe it was trying something new. I am going to go with the latter. Because, while trying something new is sometimes nerve wracking, it is also a good learning experience.
Which brings me to something that is on my calendar and coming up very soon. I am going on a ski trip on January 1st through the 3rd. I have never skied before and I doubt that I will be any good at it. But it's a new experience. Not only am I stepping outside of my comfort zone by trying something new, but this is also a Dakota district event and I am the only youth going from my church/town. Even though I do know a lot of people on the district, it's not the same. I will be outside my comfort zone because I will be forced to meet new people and I am not the out-going of a person. However, I will say bring on the new adventures and challenges and experiences. Yay for the unknown!
Trying something new is just like cutting a pineapple. After my mom and I cut the pineapple, we were happy because it turned out to be a lot of fun. So, I am entering everything with a positive attitude and hoping that everything turns out to be fun and if nothing else, I can learn something new from every experience.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:16 AM
Friday, December 26, 2008
"Take it all down, Christmas is over" - Relient K, Boxing Day
Christmas is over. It's like Gloria said at work last night, "Now we wait for New Year's." Christmas is over and now we just wait less than a week for the next year. 2009. I thought 2009 would never come and now it's just a few days away.
To celebrate Boxing Day (no, we aren't Canadians), my family going to Aberdeen. Not really to do any shopping and we are planning on avoiding the times when there is a mad rush of crazy people. We are actually going to go to a movie. Sadly, the weather is supposed to get worse. Which isn't a big shock; we have had the worse weather this winter. Hopefully we will miss the winds getting faster, but we might be driving in the freezing rain (oh, joy).
I really like the New Year coming. It is a time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the adventures of the coming year. Usually I make a list of what I have accomplished this year (or not really accomplished but just did this year) and I will make a list about this year, just not right now. So while you are looking forward to the new year, you can also look forward to that. So many fun things for you to do.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:02 AM
Thursday, December 25, 2008
"And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever...
And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here"
-Relient K, I Celebrate the Day
There's something about Christmas. It's a joyful time for some, a depressing time for others. It's a time where we enjoy receiving and we feel like giving more. However, it is really important to remember why we even have this day. It's all about Jesus, who came into this world, fully man and fully God so that 33 years later He could die so that we could be saved. We celebrate a birth today, but we should also remember a death. A death that would bring life. It's definitely a day to celebrate. It's easy to get caught up in presents and ribbon, but let's not forget that this day isn't about us at all, it isn't about what we get or who we give to. It's all about Who was born so that we could live.
Last night I worked, and after I came home from work, my family had some food. We always pig out on Christmas Eve. I totally love it. We later played some games of Clue. Today, my mother and I are going to serve at the Community Christmas Dinner. Which is also something I really enjoy doing, because we get to be part of the community and most importantly, we get to serve and do something that is outside of ourselves. The first year we did it was sort of a stretch for me, because it was stepping outside of my comfort zone, but now I love it. It's an adventure and it's a free meal (free food is always good). Then I work tonight, but I don't mind because I get paid more, which is always cool for me.
Most of all today, I am going to "celebrate the day that You were born to die so I could one day pray for You to save my life." (Relient K, I Celebrate the Day)
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:27 AM
Monday, December 22, 2008
Every now and then there comes along a cause that I really believe in supporting.
Abortion has always been something I have been strongly against and I feel that it is very important to be a voice for the voiceless.
Learn about Never Silence Life.
Visit the website.
Learn what you can do.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 4:19 PM
Friday, December 19, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
We don’t join because we think we will win, we actually have a better chance of losing. And we know that. We aren’t about back out just because we can’t see the victory. We join because we know that it is worth the fight. We know that the struggles will make us develop muscle. We will hold on for so long that we develop calluses, but we will also know that sometimes we have to let go in order to move forward. There’s falling and there’s failing, but we haven’t signed up for either. Even so, we know that we will fall and we will fail, but that doesn’t stop us. It doesn’t slow us down. We have courage and we have strength to keep going. We know that there will be times when our minds and mouths are dry. We carry heavy burdens, but we don’t see them as burdens. We see them as they are. We see them as broken people, afraid to love and afraid of love. We know that there will be a day where our love will break through and enter their hearts. We may not win; we may not ever see a landslide victory. We, however, will experience something far greater. We will experience trials. We will experience the feeling of accomplishment. Nothing will come easy, but that’s better. We will know how to work to get somewhere. We will know that we have gotten our hands dirty in the process, but when we stand up, we will be able to flex muscles some people can only dream about. We are the victorious ones, even if we aren’t the ones with medals around our necks. We are the strong ones, even if we are sometimes called weak. We have a fight that’s worth it. That’s how you know when you have joined the long defeat.
What keeps us going? Hope.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 2:31 PM
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This video is well made and I think it really has a point. So, I thought I would share what my family is doing this Christmas. We decided to do things a little different. Since the economy is in well recession, my family knew that none of us could really spend a whole lot on Christmas gifts. So, we decided to only buy each other what would fit into a stocking. (I will be honest, Mom and I both got my brother something that doesn't fit in a stocking, but only because it was practical. Other than that, we have been very good at following the rules.) Really though, the things we will get for Christmas isn't going to be things that we really need. I don't really need anything for Christmas. Christmas isn't about gifts. It isn't about trees. It isn't about Santa. It's all about Jesus' birth so that 33 years later He could save us all from our sins.
It's a marvelous idea, isn't it? Giving less and in order to give more. Spending less money so we can spend more time. All so we can make a bigger difference.
This morning, my mother and I went to Kedish House (which is a local organization that provides services to victims of domestic violence) and wrapped presents. Every year they have families that are in need and so they collect presents for them, so of course, those presents need wrapping. So my mother and I wrapped a bunch of presents this morning. We mostly used gift bags, but I absolutely love wrapping presents. When I go there, I don't just have a sense that I want to give, I have the feeling that I wish I could do more. I feel like I don't do enough, I just want to do more.
So, that's my challenge for myself and for you. This Christmas season, give less so you can give more. Spend less on gifts people don't really need and spend more time, which is something that people really do need.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 8:50 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
I really do like Joyce Meyers. She is an inspiration to many people (including my mother). Through her ministries, she is doing some amazing things. She is reaching out, helping those who are hurting, and she has a very strong, encouraging heart. I know some people have some beefs with her, but let this be my disclaimer: I really do like Joyce Meyers.
Let me introduction myself. My name is Andra and I am only seventeen years old. I have my local minister’s license through the Church of the Nazarene. I am not that extraordinary, but I have been allowed to have the opportunity to preach around North Dakota and in South Africa and Swaziland. I absolutely love getting in front of a congregation and presenting a sermon. However, I have felt many times that my pastor wants me to be a Preacher more than I do—and more than God does. Even so, I have always thought that it would be great to me the next Joyce Meyers. I would love to be able to speak at conferences. I would love to be able to reach a large mass of people.
Then one day, I had a realization. It wasn’t that shocking of realization. There were no “hallelujah” choirs behind me singing in soprano voices. It wasn’t that sudden either. It wasn’t like a bug being killed as its guts spatter all over your windshield. It was more like a sloth creeping into the room until I turned and realized: I don’t want to be the next Joyce Meyers.
I probably won’t ever have my name be known all over the world, or even all over the United States. I won’t have people walk away from me saying, “Wow, she’d be great on TV.” But I don’t want that to stop me from speaking. I don’t ever want my greatness to be a great motivation than letting people see the greatness of the God I serve.
There’s something great about community. I grew up in a small town and I feel that I will always be very small town. There’s something intimate and great about small groups meeting together. Joyce Meyers is great, but I don’t ever want to be famous. I don’t really even want to be known by that many people. I want to quietly serve God without very much recognition. If people get done listening to me or talking to me and don’t remember my name, I think that’s absolutely alright. I just want people to remember that God is there for them and that God is just and righteous.
I think it’s just because I am young, but sometimes (and not all the time, I am not talented enough to just breeze through every sermon I have ever preached) people hug me and thank me for saying something that reach them and really met them where they are in their life right now. I am really glad something that was said helped them, but they shouldn’t be thanking me. I really always try to say, “It’s only because of God.”
Joyce Meyers is great, but I don’t want to become famous when the all the glory belongs to God.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 3:52 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Yesterday was my last college final. I took my other college final on Monday. It feels good to be done with my colleges classes for this semester. Now I have 13 credits done for college. For English Lit, I never got my first paper back, so I went back after my final to talk to the professor. He doesn't know what happened to it. Which would be really bad, but he does have a grade written down for it, so at least I'm not losing any points. I would still like to get my paper back, though. I like seeing what comments are made and what changes I should have made. Professor Pelletier was funny, he asked me if I was "one of those high school girls." I said yeah and he said how he heard something mention it, but he didn't know before that. I told him that I was glad I could pass off as a college student. (After all, in August, I will be one.)
I have a day off from work again today. It feels weird, most the time when I work, I don't want to go to work, but when I'm off from work, I miss seeing the residents. I got used to working 5-6 days a week and now that I'm down to 4-5, it feels weird. At least this week I have gotten good days off. Wednesdays and Thursdays are when I have something going on, so not working in addition to those things is good. I actually got to go to youth group last night. I couldn't remember the last time I actually went. Even though last night we went to where the AG have youth group, I still felt at home.
Anyway, today is Thursday. So, we are bowling for P.E. Nothing else is really going on today. It should be a very nice relaxed day, minus that I have to finish my Senior Math test in class today. There is nothing relaxing about that.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:55 AM
Monday, December 8, 2008
We are reading this book for Sunday School. We have only read the first chapter so far, but this book is already challenging me and getting me excited to rebel against low expectations. In the first chapter, Brett and Alex talk about the extraordinary experiences and opportunities that they have been given. They have already done some amazing things and they are only 19. (Which, I wonder, when do they turn 20?) First thoughts that come into my head are I have not accomplished anything in my 17 years. Then I realized that's not how I should be thinking. I should instead think that God can do anything through me if I am willing and open to God. Not only that, but I should also reflect and think about how many things God has already used me for. I am not really an extraordinary teenager, but I'm not really a completely "normal" teenager either. I have had the opportunity to preach in South Africa. I have been able to speak for AfterShock, the event my youth group planned and while it wasn't successful as far as the number of people who showed up, it was successful because we organized it all and got bands to come play. I want to do hard things because I know that God uses those who are willing to follow His lead. I want to do hard things because I know that my age doesn't limit how much I am capable of doing. I want to do hard things because that's what God is calling me to do.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:12 AM
Sunday, December 7, 2008
History professor, lecturing on the early 1900s: I mean, the problem of being the only person with a telephone is, well, who you gonna call?
Class, as one: Ghostbusters!
History professor: You kids scare me.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 5:52 PM
Saturday, December 6, 2008
There's something about Christmas that gives me a reason to shop. I really enjoy shopping, however, I start to enjoy it less when a) I don't know what to get people or b) things aren't going in my favor. My mother and I are going to Aberdeen after we get done doing a little painting (yay!) the new youth room at my church (double yay!).
By the way, on a random side note that is totally unrelated. I just realized like two seconds ago, that I have yet to change my calendar to December. I suppose I should probably do that soon.
So, anyway, back to shopping. My favorite part about shopping at Christmas is being able to spend my money on not me. I know I can do it any time of the year, but there's just something about Christmas that makes me want to shell out my money for other people. I know that I have college next year, but I enjoy getting people things that they wouldn't normally buy for themselves or something that they enjoy getting. Plus, I really love being able to wrap presents.
"Yeah, I'll give give give until there's nothing else
Give my all until it all runs out
Give give and I'll have no regrets
I'll give until there's nothing left
-Relient K, Give
Posted by Andra Lauren at 8:12 AM
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Have you ever bought a grab bag? You know, when you buy a bag but have no idea just what is inside? I'm on the fence if I totally love grab bags because they are a surprise or totally hate grab bags because you almost never get anything you actually would like or want. But there is something very tempting about spending $7.50 on 5 accessories. Of course, it probably isn't anything good. And definitely not anything I would probably ever spend money on otherwise. There is something that I suppose tries to rationalize and is saying in the back of my head, "Go for it. It's a good deal. It's a surprise. It'd be fun. If you don't like what's inside, you can always give it to someone else as a gift." I don't know if it is a waste of money or not. Nonetheless, surprises are fun.
Now Gift baskets are completely different. It's not really like you know what is inside, but gift basket seem to have such a more positive connotation. Gift baskets just seems like a joy to give and receive. Maybe I am the only one who thinks so, but I will continue. Gift baskets are just like happiness handed to you in a basket. You aren't really sure what's all instead, but it doesn't really matter, it's just joyful getting a whole basket of goodies.
So, since I like compared life to inanimate objects, I think that life is not a gift basket, but more like a grab bag. There's the first and more obvious reason, because you never know what you are going to get in a grab bag and you never know how life is going to turn out. Another reason is life isn't always what you expect. Gift baskets have pretty wrapping and usually have equally pretty things inside. (Fruit is pretty.) Whereas grab bags probably have pretty nice looking packaging, but could very easily not hold pretty things inside. However, since you never know what you are going to get, it is also full of surprises.
What really matters in the end is that we are covered by God's grace, so it doesn't matter what the packaging or wrapping looks like. It only matters what is inside us and Who is inside us.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:46 AM
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
If you are Christmas shopping for me, here are some ideas: (If you aren't Christmas shopping for me, you should be, but it doesn't matter, I still like making lists.)
1. These Pens
2. You can never go wrong getting me Peach-Os
3. I really like shoes. I wear size 8.
4. Necklaces with keys are always a big hit with me
5. Actually, Christmas isn't about the gifts. I don't really need anything for Christmas.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:58 AM
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
If you know me at all you probably know that I haven't been kissed before. Maybe you didn't know that, because I don't really flaunt it. But I will be honest when talking about it and tell you that I am saving my first kiss. Not just for someone special, but for my future husband (who will be someone special, but even specialer). Now I have been embarrassed before when I told a 15-year-old that I'd never been kissed when she had, but I am not really regretful about my decision. I look back at past relationships that I have had and am glad that I don't have to wish that I hadn't wasted my kisses on frogs (or dogs). However, I rarely explain why I am saving my first kiss. It's not really just because I don't want to regret wasting my kisses, although that doesn't hurt. I watched a video one time of a couple getting married and their first kiss was on their wedding day and they shared their wedding video with the world. And to see their faces is one of the greatest things. I want to be able to say that my future husband is man enough that he could save his first kiss for me. Of course, that means that I am totally depending on God to find me a man (in God's timing) because I know I can't make the decision on my own. Anyway, I found the wedding video again and I thought I would share it with you.
If you want to watch just the first kiss, go to about 19 minutes. Look at their smiles and it's truly great. (Then again I'm a sappy girl.) Also, check out their website: http://www.choiceforalifetime.com
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:33 PM
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I usually always try to write what I am thankful for every year, but I never did on Thanksgiving day. Of course, each day I don't write what I am thankful for makes it harder for me to really make it look like I waited on purpose to prove a point: That there is never just one day to count what you are thankful for, there is never just one time of year to reflect and be grateful. Quite honestly, you should be thankful every day of every year. You should find time each day to say, "Thank you," and realize how grateful you are for something. Even when the world is crashing down around you, you should find time to realized what you are grateful for. So, here's my three days after Thanksgiving list (in no order in particular at all):
1. I'm thankful for my mother. I once told her that she didn't have a job, and clearly, she took great offense. I shouldn't even admit that I ever said that, because I really can't think of anything more rude that you could say. But me saying something so completely stupid made me realize that my mom is a hard worker than a lot of people I know. She did have a job a majority of her life, but now her job is raising me (which I am sure isn't easy). Really, though a job doesn't describe you at all. My mother loves me, my mother is always there for me. My mother will always be there for me.
2. My brother. Now that he is in college, I find more value in family time. Whenever he comes home, I usually try to be in the living room whenever I'm home, spending time with my family. One time Kyle and I were killing time in Wal-Mart while Mom and we found a poster with a list of text abbreviations and we got a total kick out of it. Even to the point where Mom said, "Let's do this," and Kyle and I responded by saying, "SLAP." Kyle is a good brother, and I'm not sure if he knows it yet, but he is going to be the one who will walk me down the aisle when I get married, because he has been there for me.
3. My friends. There are really there for me. They take my Lucky Charms and understand that I wouldn't give up my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I use plural, but I usually will just mean one person but I will leave that up for debate. Even when times are good and talking is scarce, I know that they will always be there for me and will always be my friend. They can tell when things are going alright and ask if things are alright. They help put slips of paper in church mailboxes just to help out. They try to be a gentlemen even when I am perfectly okay holding my bible and putting on my coat. They make me laugh and understand my crazy Relient K references. They give me great advice that I save in my text message inbox on my phone. They correct me when I am talking ungrammarical. They are my friends.
4. I'm thankful that Thanksgiving hasn't been as commercialized as Christmas. Christmas decorations, sales and all the material stuff of Christmas would be out in July if stores would allow that. I'm glad that I can just enjoy Thanksgiving without people wanting me to sale me Turkey lights or something.
5. I'm thankful for the bowling alley. I haven't been there in a while, but I love the feel of that place. It's like my home away from my home away from home.
6. It may sound weird, but I am thankful for my singleness. This is the only time in my life where I can be single. Better than that, I am slowly learning that I need to wait on God's timing. I have made some mistakes, thought it might be okay to see how something go, and I'm sorry for everytime I was hurt and everytime I hurt somebody else. I am slowly becoming content with my singleness. I'm thankful for this. This is the time in my life where God can use me and I can just go where ever He leads.
7. I'm thankful that I have a youth pastor and his wife in my life. They are encouraging and Godly examples in my life.
8. I'm thankful for stuffing and pumpkin pie.
9. I'm also thankful that I have adorable pets. And one of the cats only jumped on the table once during dinner.
10. I'm thankful for how much I have grown in the past year. I'm thankful that I have learned more about myself, even if everything I have learned I didn't like. I'm thankful that I am who I am. I am thankful that I posess the talents that I do. Even though most of the time, I don't feel very talented and I don't feel all too special, I know that God created me and I should be grateful every day I wake up with life. I complain about certain things but I am so blessed that I have all my fingers and toes and I have air to breathe and life to live.
11. I'm thankful for my ability to be free. I'm thankful that I am an American. But way more importantly, I am thankful that I can have freedom. I'm really thankful that I belong to Christ and in Him I get all the freedom I could ever need. I'm thankful that I am a Christian and follow the best leader ever. My thankfulness could never be expressed in words. I could never even understand how much I should be thankful.
There's so much that I could write about and I could go on and on about just how many things I enjoy and how many things that make life happy and how many things I am thankful for.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. --Psalm 100:4-5
Posted by Andra Lauren at 8:31 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sometimes I am too busy reading other people's blogs that I forget to write my own. I suppose not many people run to my blog when they see I have a new post, but that really shouldn't stop me from posting. I don't really post to gain popularity and leave people in awe of my amazingness. I really just blog so I can keep in touch with people, let them know that I am still alive and hopefully practice being honest, so that someone might be encouraged. Most of the time I really just write about what's going on in my life, which is probably boring to most people. I am in the process of growing and so I hope you can see that as things change in my life.
As for today, nothing is really special about today. I have no college classes today (or at least none that I am going to; Biology wasn't canceled but the holiday schedule makes it at the same time as a class that I have at the high school). I don't have any big tests today. Really the only things that will happen today are: School, lunch, school, work. I actually work on Thanksgiving, too. My next day off would be the first of December. Not that that's bad or anything, I need more hours or else my paycheck will be pathetic. As for school, there is nothing exciting ever about school.
Monday I was feeling pretty stressed and overwhelmed. Tests and everything seems to pill up and I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. I even got to the point where I was telling myself that I didn't have time for friends. However, you cannot do much without friends. Friends are the ones who help you out. If they aren't willing to help you out or at least listen while you want to vent, then they aren't good friends. Perhaps sometimes I am included in the "bad friend" category, but friends are necessary. So don't ever think you don't have time for them. Make time for them. For real, that's my lesson for you today.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:33 AM
Monday, November 24, 2008
This is an interview I had with my youth pastor, which I had to do for my Honors Comp. II class last semester (The due date was April 4, 2008). I thought I'd share it with you, actually, I wanted to share it a while ago, but I think I lost it on my computer and now I have found it again.
Jeremy J. is the youth pastor at the Ellendale Church of the Nazarene as well as janitor at Ellendale Public School. Originally from Jordan, Montana, he and his family have made Ellendale home. I was allowed the opportunity to sit down with him and ask him some questions about his life.
Annie K.: Are there any interesting stories you have from your childhood?
Jeremy J.: One afternoon when I was younger, I was playing basketball outside my house. When my dad came home, I could tell he was drunk. He asked to play some basketball one-on-one with me. I didn’t really think he could play, but I agreed. We started to argue about who would get the ball first. I had the ball and faked him out, but since my dad was moving slowly, he fell and hit his chin on my shoulder. That caused my dad to bite his bottom lip so bad that it began to bleed. I felt horrible because I hurt my dad.
AK: What did you do when were going through rough times with your family?
JJ: [When I was young] I would build forts to get away. I would also play a lot of basketball and other physical activities. My friends joked that I was on steroids because I lifted weights at such a young age.
AK: How did you meet your friend [in the family you lived with for a while]?
JJ: I became friends with Barrett when he was a freshman in high school. I just starting hanging out with him and we became friends.
AK: His family went to church; did you do anything that related to church?
JJ: Yes, he and I went to church camps together.
AK: What was your first church camp experience like?
JJ: My mom didn’t want me to go, because she told me that I would get brainwashed. When I got back, I was worried about my parents because I knew that they were going to hell. My mom was upset; I had gotten “brainwashed.” That camp was actually the first time that I had a desire to become a youth pastor, which Barrett’s mom later reminded me.
AK: When you went to college, did you still know you wanted to be a youth pastor?
JJ: It was hard to pick my first major. I wanted to do everything. However, I always knew that I wanted to be a youth pastor. I worked at Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch for a while, and I got that job because my boss knew I wanted to be a youth pastor.
AK: What brought you to Ellendale?
JJ: God is really the One who brought me to Ellendale. He told me to come to college here. I found out about Trinity Bible College because the family I was living with had a son who was already attending TBC.
AK: Did you always know you wanted to stay here?
JJ: I originally wanted to go back to Utah since my wife’s family is there. Before I left for Iraq, I was helping with the youth group in Ellendale. When I left, I felt like I was letting the youth down. There was a time in chapel when the speaker asked everyone who had a youth pastor while in high school to stand. Then he asked for everyone who had two youth pastors to stay standing, then three and so on. He got to seven and there were still people standing. At that time, the average stay for a youth pastor was 18 months. When I came back [from Iraq], I helped with the youth again. I knew that I wanted to be a youth pastor and was thinking about taking the youth pastor job in LaMoure. [The youth pastor in Ellendale] quit and the job opened up. I knew that if I was offered the job, I would take it and stay here.
AK: Have you enjoyed working here?
JJ: I feel it has been a great choice to stay here. I love the youth. God has blessed [my family and me]. I would love to be full time, but I am dedicated enough that if I have to keep working another job, I will.
AK: What are some things about being a youth pastor that most people don’t realize?
JJ: It is a lot more demanding than many people think. I keep trying to educate myself. It’s not all about fun and games; it’s about saving souls. I am just afraid the youth will graduate and fall away from the church.
AK: I understand you were in Iraq, what is something that experience taught you?
JJ: I was gone for 14 months and in Iraq for 11. It was literally a desert experience—I was surrounded by dirt and surrounded by hell. The temptations were right there with me in my tent. There was alcohol, swearing, mocking, pornography, and persecution everywhere. I had so many chances to drink, but I didn’t have any desire to. I learned that I needed to rely on God. I was able to read the Bible and spend time with God. I could tell it made a difference in my attitude; it changed my view on things.
AK: Did you ever get an opportunity to talk to others about God?
JJ: I would sit in watching stations for hours, so I would talk to other people. I wish I had known more about how to witness to other people. In college, I learned that Jesus loves you, but not about the law and the gospel. I talked with one girl who said that she didn’t want a God who sent people to hell. I only knew about God giving us a gift and we could either accept it or not. I wish I had known how to share the gospel with her and others in a way that they understood. After all, a doctor doesn’t offer a cure to someone before telling him or her what is wrong with him or her. I wish I had been able to pull at her conscience.
AK: What was the hardest thing about being away from your family?
JJ: Exactly that—being away from my family. There would be months at a time where I wouldn’t be able to talk to my family. My son was only four months old when I left. I really missed true [Christian] fellowship, because there wasn’t any real fellowship while I was there.
AK: What are some things that the whole experience taught you?
JJ: I was able to preach a sermon titled “Military or Missions,” in which I told those there that I thought everyone should either join the military or go on a mission trip in order to get a different perspective on things. When I was there, [the unit] would be sitting in the back of a Hummer and whenever we would stop, Iraqis would come running toward you. One time a little boy came up to me, he was holding a little medal and said, “For you.” I tried to tell him I didn’t want to buy it, but he said, “You take.” When I took it from him, the look in his eyes completely broke my heart. I gave him some money and wished that I could have given him more. People need to realize that there is so much pain in the world. We have so much more than we realize. That’s why I think everyone should do something so they can change their perspective.
AK: Do you regret going?
JJ: I don’t regret it at all. If I didn’t have a family, I would still be in the military.
AK: Do you have any advice for those thinking about going, whether they are married or single?
JJ: They should understand that it is a commitment. There was a company with 144 people working there and when we came back, half of the married people had gotten divorced. It’s hard, but it’s a calling and a conviction. You marry a person for good or bad. If you are joining, you better realize why you are doing it. It will affect you and your spouse.
AK: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when you came back?
JJ: The adjustment period was horrible. My wife spent 1½ years doing things to keep busy—taking care of the baby, going to movies, spending time with friends and family. I spent those years building, fighting and sleeping on a cot. She was living in a house and driving a van. Coming back, we had nothing to talk about because we hadn’t experienced anything the other experienced. I was dealing with night fires and she was dealing with teething. The only thing we had holding us together was love. We had to start making memories together again. Other people noticed a change in me as well. People would even ask, “What happened to you?” I became a more serious person. I was completely changed.
AK: What was the biggest thing that God brought you through in your entire life?
JJ: Death. That sounds weird, but there were so many times that I had tried to kill myself when I was younger with drinking and pills. God brought me through pain and suffering. I made it out alive. Now I no longer worry about dying. It’s a lot like Paul was trying to say in Philippians 1:23-24, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” I believe that God has been keeping me safe because He is using me for a greater purpose.
AK: Is there anything else you would like to add?
JJ: I am worse than scum on the bottom of my shoe. God saved me and it’s the most incredible thing ever.
AK: Thank you for the interview.
JJ: Thank you for asking me to be a part of this.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:56 AM
We are going to paint the room in the church that the church has let us use just as our youth group. However, choosing a paint color has not been something very easy. Finally, Jeremy made the final decision. Which is probably best, because I don't know if everyone was really happy. I mean, I really do feel that if it was a board decision, then the board should have been the one to decide. But, my mother said that I had to step away and not get stressed over it. It's just paint, I am trying to tell myself. Our mission is what really matters, not what is on our walls.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:45 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Here's a picture of my kitten so you can say how adorable she is and then feel bad for her.
My door is shut and my kitten is outside my door, meowing. I am not mean, but she is getting declawed today and so she can't eat anything. She's meowing because she always seems like she is starving. I feel mean for making her go through pain, but my mother says we can't afford to have her wreck anything. I just don't want her to be pain ever. It's also not very easy to not feed her, and somehow get the other pets fed. We were planning on taking her at about 2:00, but now I think my mom and I are going to take her down this morning. Hopefully they don't need to keep her for too long and hopefully the surgery goes smoothly. Having a kitten isn't easy.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:23 AM
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Me: It feels like Tuesday.
My mom just kind of looks at me like I am crazy: It is Tuesday.
Me: Oh, I thought it was Wednesday. Then it feels like Wednesday.
On Saturday, at the nursing home:
Nursing Home Resident Lady: Do you have a boyfriend?
I laugh, and say: No, I don't.
Nursing Home Resident Lady: Good. You don't need one. They take up too much time and we need you here.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:40 AM
Why Clothes Matter
From the Blog of: Christa Taylor
Writer and guest blogger Margaret Everton conducts a week-long experiment on why we really are what we wear.
I will never forget my middle school tennis partner who, before one morning bell, professed, “The clothes don’t make the person; the person makes the clothes.” The aloofness was cool, the adage wise. But she didn’t believe herself. I knew how many outfits she had tried on that morning.
I didn’t believe her either, and scoffed for years at such trivialization of the role that attire plays—yet I wonder. Am I putting too much emphasis on the impact that clothes can have? As long as I look clean and covered, how can clothes determine how I navigate through this world? As a freelance writer, I can wear whatever I want. So I will. I will document one week of my life wearing only my black track suit to determine if what I wear matters.
Track suits are underrated. Slimming, collar up: I’m Jackie Kennedy ready for tennis. Refreshing to put no effort into myself. This could become my uniform. I feel fine. I think I’ll get tea.
Husband: Do you have a cold? [Glancing at my outfit]
Me: No. This might be my new uniform. Might be the new me. It’s function-meets-comfort.
Husband: Meets pajamas.
Slouch clothes. Fun for the ol’ college slouch day. Not so fun when I’m trying to feel professional and serious on a phone interview I’m conducting.
What are the odds that this week I run into a girl from high school? Former rival dancer now guest lecturer at the local university. And I had wanted to appear so on top of the world if ever we reunited. Did I detect smugness in her smile? Seriously, what are the odds?
I’ve been in this clothing store for ten minutes and no employee has approached me. I’m invisible, unkempt. A woman with poise (and a killer pink scarf) just entered—she owns the room. Like moths to a flame, the three employees approach her. I slink away between two racks of sweaters and leave the store.
Groceries. Tea and—nooooooo. The wife of my husband’s colleague. She can’t see me like this: sloppy, not on top of my game enough to match her lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-mom intelligence and verbal wit. Jeans, boots, cream sweater—her simplicity approaches brilliance. Turn away. I can hang at the back of the store until she leaves. Drop the tea and walk slowly away. No, drop the tea and run.
The end of the day and the experiment is finally over. Jeans, blouse, vintage satin clutch for dinner with my husband. Wow, he says, you look amazing. Confidently I enter the restaurant. A woman taken seriously. I admit that I expected to determine that clothes do matter, but I didn’t anticipate to discover why. Conscious dressing can get bad press as materialism exemplified, but clothes that reflect our identity boost our confidence. Whether we’re most at home in a wool gabardine suit and heels or yoga pants and a tank, we should represent our most authentic self. To any onlooker, I’m just a girl in a shirt, but I sip my Pellegrino and feel like a supermodel. Nobody in the room cares about what I have on; it wouldn’t alter their evening if I still had on my track suit. But it matters. It matters to me.
Clothes Matter, Simplified:
*Well-fitting tailored jeans cover a multitude of sartorial sins.
*Sunglasses and a scarf or hat transform Bad Hair No Makeup Girl into Jackie Kennedy look-alike.
*Voguish purses or shoes exhibit attention to detail and respect for self.
*Vintage costume jewelry creates a uniqueness to an average ensemble.
*A wrap can be a signature piece that serves as a shawl or scarf (and ups the ante) for several
*Yes, track suits give grace to those quick errands, that early brunch, or those “off days.”
Just do yourself a favor and don’t wear it seven days in a row.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:22 AM
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
"So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith." -Galatians 6:10 ESV
Here are some small things you can do today:
- Hold the door for someone every chance you get
- Sign-up to receive AMBER Alert text messaging on your cell phone
- Pack and mail your quality used books to a U.S. organization
- Smile at everyone you see today
- Strike up a conversation with someone you don't normally talk to
- Obey speed limit signs. Doing so shows respect for the law, your life, and the lives of others
- Find out how you can volunteer for the holiday season
- Play cards with someone in the nursing home, even if they aren't related to you
- Give two pairs of shoes
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:00 AM
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
There are so many causes around the world and throughout America. Too often I sit back and do nothing because I feel that I am too small to make a difference. I feel that nothing that I do will really matter. I don't really feel that my voice will be heard. I don't really feel that my $5 will help anyone. I don't really feel that there is anything I can do or say to make a real impact or difference in the world.
Then I realized something.
I am totally right. I am nothing. I am nothing without God.
I can't make a difference. God can. Here's the thing... here's the blockade that I was still hanging out in front of being all like, "This is fun." I was standing still, afraid to move.
I challenge you to get up.
I challenge you to stop limiting God. I challenge you to try to do something big and great and if you fail, that's alright. However, if you succeed or have any sort of success, know that it is only because of God and without Him, you are nothing.
I challenge you to do something great. I challenge you to be the change you want to see. I challenge you to make a difference. I challenge you to start small or start big, but just to start something.
I challenge you to embrace your nothingness. I challenge you to say, "I am nothing. God is everything." I challenge you to embrace God's power and give Him full control.
So, while we are nothing, God can be everything.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:40 PM
Guy eating pancakes: Everything's funny in retrospect, like the time I got that screwdriver stuck in my eye.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:30 PM
I suppose I haven't post in a while, which means, I have some catching up to do. For instance, my youth group ended up not being able to go to Watertown, because the weather would have been too bad and it was decided that it was just safer not to risk the roads not being good. So, that does indeed mean that I have a sermon burning a hole in my pocket. Or rather, my purse, but I haven't taken it out of my purse yet, but you get the idea. Jeremy says he will make sure I preach it sometime soon. Quite honestly, I was looking forward to preaching again just to see if I have totally lost my touch. You see, the last sermon I preached in my home church didn't go so well. (Good thing my mother doesn't read this, or else she'd be like, "Andra, don't say that!") It sort of resembled a train wreck with someone laughing through it the entire time. But anyway, I wanted to see if I somehow took a wrong turn in the "road of life" and it somehow isn't my calling.
When I look back, I really only see all the times that I have totally failed after I opened my mouth. For instance, the End of the School Year Bash my freshman year, when for some reason I thought that everyone was expecting me to speak, but I didn't have anything prepared, so I just got up there and rambled on for way too long. All the while people just looked and tried to pay attention, but I was really just going on for far too long. And then, I hadn't turned my cell phone off, so it went off while I was going on for too long.
Then there was one time I preached in church and it went for way too short. I probably set the record for quickest a church service has ever gotten out. You know you haven't spoken for long enough when afterward people tell you, "At least I didn't fall asleep," meaning that I didn't give them enough time to fall asleep.
Then there was the NYC presentation that Krista and I gave after we got back. The lesson I learned from that is even though you say stupid things, don't tell your entire church that you ever said, "I looked at the pamphlet and it said 50 states were represented and I said, 'Which ones are missing?'" That's not something you say when you have a mike in a church.
There are many times where I have not done a good job speaking. That's really my point here.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:01 AM
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I should be going to bed. In fact, I have no idea why I am even awake. Maybe I am hoping school will be canceled and then I will get a break and can at least take a nap. I don't really want school to be canceled, but at any rate, I should be going to bed right now.
And yet, here I am. You see, my youth group is putting on a service in Watertown on Saturday. I am really hoping that it turns out to be more organized than we were in Africa. (Let's overlook that I got to church to practice late on Wednesday so I ended up not practicing with them.) I am hoping that is God moving and that even though, I don't really think anyone has a clue what we will be doing, that we are still able to stir up that church and get them excited to get their youth ministries fired up. That might be a lot to ask coming from my group though (no offense). Of course, I am just as much to blame, considering I have no ideas for a sermon. So, obviously, I haven't started writing it yet. So, hopefully things fall into place. Hopefully things are driven by God and not us. Because if it were just us, we would crash and burn. For sure.
At the nursing home, one resident asked me to take care of her because she loves me. And this resident doesn't always seem to have it all together (for example, every day I set out a plate to place the pitcher on and she asks if she can have a plate to or why do they only get one plate), she is nice to me and for some odd reason, she seems to like me (according to her, she loves me). Yes, she is the one I forced to take a toothpick. I am finding that most of my stories are about the nursing home.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 11:00 PM
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Now here's the real challenge. After the election yesterday, there is only one thing left to do. (Actually, I suppose you come up with a lot of things left to do, but just go with it.) We have to not only trust Jesus, but we have to praise Jesus.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
I had a feeling the outcome of the election would be this way and I'm struggling to see the importance of just one vote (even though I was six months off of being able to vote anyway), but God is in control. God is in control of my life, this country and all governments. God is in control and we should praise Him.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:08 AM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I'm too young to vote.
But, I'm old enough to care about who gets elected.
I'm old enough to care about the issues.
I'm old enough to realize that government affects me.
I'm old enough to know that just because I don't get to write on a ballot, I still need to voice my opinion.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:53 AM
Sunday, November 2, 2008
If you talk to me a lot (or I suppose, listen to me talk a lot) you probably know most of my nursing home stories. However, if you are just as bad at keeping in touch as I am, you don't know most of my stories. So, I thought perhaps, since I haven't posted in forever and a day, I should take some time and write down some of my nursing home stories.
Soda can be ambiguous. So, I was washing dishes in the back room. The phone was ringing for the kitchen (you can tell because the ring ends with a deep whenever it is for dietary) and it rang like at least twelve times before I answered. Normally, it doesn't ring for that long, but Stacy was charting and Gloria was getting the water pitchers. So, I answered the phone and Subiaco asked for about a half a cup of soda. So, I said, "I'll make sure we have some." (Since after working for almost three months, I don't really know all of what we have and don't have.) So I ask Gloria if we have soda and she says that we do in the back of the walk-in cooler. On the phone they didn't ask for a certain kind, so Gloria said to get some Sprite or 7Up. I find some store-brand lemon lime soda in one of those cute little half of a can and take it down to Subiaco. The nurse looks at me and starts laughing. I ask if this works and she laughs some more. Finally she says, "I know the lady on the phone didn't say baking soda, but that's what we need."
We cover our plates with "hats" apparently. Kyle is a CNA there and I was the only one in the kitchen at the time. So he asked me for something, but clearly he didn't know quite what it was called. He kind of motioned with his hands that he wanted something to cover the plates and said, "Do you have like...a hat?" I look at him and sort of laugh and say, "You mean a lid?" He said, "Yeah." (I must have been looking at him like I thought this was hilarioius, which I did, but he must have thought that he needed to explain himself.) "Well," he said, "I thought they had a special name." I laugh and say, "And you thought that special name was hat?" I really wasn't trying to make fun of him, but it was funny.
Then there's toothpicks. One of the newer residents is usually the last one at her table when I am clearing the tables, so she's usually sitting there when I am there. (Did you get that? She's sitting there when I'm there, I thought I'd like you know like three times, so you get it.) Anyway, she asked for a toothpick for two days in a row, so I assumed she liked using toothpicks. The third day, she was sitting there and I asked her if she wanted a toothpick. She just kind of looked at me, confused. I say, "You've wanted one before." She looks at me and is still confused, "Sure, I guess." So I bring her a toothpick, but I really felt like I was forcing this toothpick on her. And Gloria was there, but she hadn't been there either day the resident actually asked for a toothpick, so she must have really thought I was forcing a toothpick on her. I really wasn't. The best part of the story is that to use a toothpick... she takes out her teeth, right there at the table.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:02 AM
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I would start of by saying, "Why am I already done with my shower and waiting for breakfast? Normally I am never done this early," but I know why I had to get up the first time by alarm went off. Yes, that's right, Youth Alive. You see I have always been the president of FCA and while that's irony considering I am not athletic at all. But I dropped the ball when it came to FCA. I thought that I couldn't not get people to care about it so why bother? I didn't lose my passion for it, so instead of dropping the ball, I was more scoring a point in the other team's basket. You know, if the devil were to be an avid basketball player or something. However, Megan said no more of this and wanted to start FCA again, but with it actually being heavily stressed on athletes, she decided to start Youth Alive, which gives a lot more freedom as to what to do. Especially with Jeremy being the adviser and all. So, let it be known, that I don't want to be at school at 8:10. I don't want to wake up a half hour earlier than I need to and be done earlier. But, if I can, anyone can. It being too early is no longer an excuse for anyone. I am turning (sadly) into one of those people that are just barely on time everywhere I go (except work, I am always around 15 minutes early for work), so I should very easily not go and just be at school at the normal time, but winning my school over for Christ is too important of thing to let pass by you while you are sleeping. Wake up, everyone! This is my senior year and this should be the wake up call. This is my last year. I am busy with high school, college classes, and work. I am just busy with even keeping my head above water. I am busy enough just remembering that I need to make time to breath. But, this is my last year in high school. Ask all my friends, I want to be done with high school and I would start the countdown if it wouldn't be so depressing that there's still that many days left. No enough of my friends read this, but reaching your school is too big of deal to not do anything about it. Youth Alive is Thursdays at 8:10.
Other than that going on today, the rest makes it look like today will not be that good of day. Let's start at the beginning of how bad my day will be. First of all, I forgot my Applied Communications homework at school and it's due 1st hour. I can't just go early and work on it because there's Youth Alive. Then we are playing hockey in P.E. Now I hate P.E. but I hate hockey the most. In Biology today, we are desecting rats. Rats for crying out loud. I do not want to do that. I'll watch, but I don't want to. If we get a pregnant rat, I will cry my eyes out. Then, there's Senior Math, which I don't have done, because I forgot it at school. The easy answer would be for me not to forget things at the school, but I could only focus on getting everything I needed for my scholarship, that I couldn't focus on anything else. And then I work, and then bowl. Which wouldn't be so bad, except it means that I don't have any time to just not do anything. Which I have been busy lately, busier than normal, and I just want to do... nothing.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:51 AM
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I said I would post today and with only 45 minutes left of today, I think I better hurry.
Have you ever licked the back of a CD to try to get it to work?:: No, that's weird.
What's the largest age difference between yourself and someone you’ve dated?:: 4 years, well over 3 years
Ever been in a car wreck?:: No, I haven't.
Were you popular in high school?:: I am still in high school and I am still not popular.
Have you ever been on a blind date?:: No
Do you have any friends that you've known for 10 years or more??:: Ha, ha. Most of my friends right now I have known since kindergarten.
By what age would you like to be married?:: 27 seems to be a good age. But, I don't really care. I think I would enjoy being single for a while and living on my own for a while.
Have you ever made a mistake?::
Are you a good tipper?:: I feel bad when I don't tip enough, so I try to be good.
What's the most you have spent for a haircut?:: Probably only like 12.
Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?:: Ha, ha... I can honestly say I haven't.
Have you ever peed in public?:: Maybe when I was two? On accident?
What song do you want played at your funeral?:: I'll Fly Away
What would your last meal be before getting executed?:: Hopefully it never comes to that, but maybe a giant soft pretzel... with cheese.
Beatles or Stones?:: Beatles
If you had to pick one person on earth to die, who?:: I don't wish death on anyone...
Do you have any phobias?:: Heights and I am kind of afraid developing panic attacks...
What are your plans for the future?:: Go to MNU, double major in Ministry and Mass Communications, get a job that I enjoy, and find "the one" and get married.
If you were an animal what would you be?:: Penguin!
Hair color you like on someone you're dating?:: Brown
Would you rather be blind or deaf?:: Blind
Do you have any special talents?:: I can... crack an egg with one hand?
What do you do as soon as you walk in the house?:: Put my purse down
Do you like horror or comedy?:: Comedy, but mainly because I hate horror.
Are you missing anyone?:: I am filing a missing person's report right now. Alright, no, I'm not. I sort of miss my brother, but he's be home tomorrow, so after that, I may be sick of him.
Where do you want to live when you are old?:: In a yellow house
Who is the person you can count on the most?:: My mom or Trevor
If you could date any celebrity past or present, who would it be?:: Shia LaBeouf
What did you dream last night?:: A couple nights ago, I had a dream that I was dating one of my classmates... yeah, it was weird.
What is your favorite sport to watch?:: Bowling, but second place would probably be basketball, just because I understand what is going on.
Are you named after anyone?:: I am actually named after my father's great aunt Annie
Have you ever been in love?:: No, I haven't.
Do you sing in the shower?:: No. I don't. I think people will hear and no one wants to hear me sing.
Have you ever been arrested?:: No, I abide the law.
What is your favorite Holiday?:: Christmas
Would you ever get plastic surgery?:: No, I can survive with my large nose.
Have you ever caught a fish?:: I have never gone fishing and I would really like to... at least once.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 11:18 PM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I have no school tomorrow, so hopefully I can blog something good and worthwhile. Currently, I am ashamed to show my face (minus the fact that I don't show my face) on my blog while it is in its current lackluster and put-you-to-sleep-boring state.
To make you feel a little bit like you didn't waste time, clicking to come to my blog, here's a video for your viewing pleasure:
The Classic Crime - "Abracadavers" - Directed By Dan Dobi from Dan Dobi on Vimeo.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 11:10 PM
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sometimes I will start doing something and then totally forget and not go back to it. I am thinking that's a bad thing. I should have done some math homework last night, but I didn't. Instead, I went to the volleyball game. Not that I had a choice, since I had to take pictures for Journalism anyway, but still. In the beginning of the game, I actually sort of thought that I would miss some things about high school. By the end, however, I was tired and just wanted to leave (Be done with high school and just go home and sleep. Ha, ha).
Anyway, today I have high school and college. Yesterday I didn't have college classes and later this week on Thursday and Friday, I won't have high school classes. Oh, the life of a high student taking college classes.
I also work again today. I don't know when I will be able to go (or if I go) to the football game tonight. We are in the playoffs tonight and we have home field advantage. It should be a good game, but I probably will only make it to half-time or after.
I sort of feel like I am forgetting something important.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:47 AM
Saturday, October 18, 2008
In my effort to post more, I am currently using Trevor's laptop at the bowling alley. Just so I can bring you a post. Because I know you have been missing out of knowing the boring details of my life.
We have a new resident at the nursing home. While I know we aren't supposed to talk about other people, I will... but I won't use names. We have a new resident and she started to cry because she wanted to go home. It was really depressing. So, I called my mom and told her about it. Now I know my mother is only 56, but still, that day will come when she won't be able to live on her own and on that day, I am fairly certain (not to be rude) that I won't want her to live with me. So, there will be a day when I am putting my mother in a nursing home and she will hate me. A nursing home really isn't your home. For inside the kitchen, I can see that it is all attitude. You will either have a good attitude and get excited every time you get onions on your cottage cheese (p. s. ew much?). Or you will have a bad attitude and cry, only to realize that you are stuck. So, there's another lesson that can be learned from the nursing home: It's all attitude.
As much as I don't really mind working at the nursing home, and as far as jobs go, it's way better than Southside, I must admit I will not mind when volleyball is over and we aren't so short-staffed.
Anyway, I am at the bowling alley. It's funny... I am usually never home. Even last week, when I was home alone, I was rarely home. That's why I am looking forward to Thursday. I have the day off and I don't have school. However, I do still have one college class, but afterward my mother and I are finally going to do something about my senior pictures (that I had taken in June, but haven't really done anything about them).
I am starting to work on the youth group blog now.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 8:31 PM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Sometimes you just have one of those days.
Sometimes you just have one of those days where you are done with work and in a church and you reach in your pocket and realize that you accidentally stole a spoon from the nursing home. (However, you will take it back.)
Sometimes you just have one of those days where you develop a fear that someone will steal your newspapers that you collect in your locket just because no one understands your level of OCD.
Sometimes you just have one of those days where you realize that you hardly ever see your brother and it is nice to talk on the phone once in a while.
Sometimes you just have one of those days where you realize you need to get back and remember why you ever thought you were called to ministry in the first place.
Sometimes you just have one of those days where you just need to take time and realize how many life lessons you are learning without being conscious of it.
Sometimes you just have one of those days where you need to remember to breath.
Maybe it's just me.
Whatever the case, tomorrow can be another whole set of "just one of those days."
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:44 PM
Thursday, October 9, 2008
For something light-hearted:
1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, MP3 Player, or whatever on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say?
What do you like in a guy/girl?
How do you feel today?
The Last Night
What is your life's purpose?
Amazing Because It Is
What is your motto?
What do your friends think of you?
Another One Bites the Dust
What do you think of your parents?
Like a Racecar
What do you think about very often?
Give Until There's Nothing Left
What is 2 + 2?
What do you think of your best friend?
What do you think of the person you like?
What is your life story?
Somewhere in the Sky
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Sound of Melodies
What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
What will you dance to at your wedding?
And the Truth
What will they play at your funeral?
Shut Me Out
What is your hobby/interest?
What is your biggest fear?
Never Take Friendship Personal
What is your biggest secret?
What do you think of your friends?
Can I Get an Amen
What will you post this as?
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:01 PM
My first old person died today. By that, I mean, that today the first resident at the nursing home died since I got a job there. It's really sad. I didn't think about it too much when I first heard, but by the time I was bowling tonight, I was in quite a horrible mood. Trevor was like, "Are you in a bad mood?" Besides the fact that I was in a bad mood, you really shouldn't ask a person in a bad mood if they are in a bad mood. But, I digress. He died and I am awfully sad. I sort of want to cry. Even though I didn't really know him at all and my conversations with him didn't go much past, "Are you done eating?" I am still sadden that I know I won't ever see him again. Right now, the only thing I can hope is that people don't really die in threes. I do not want to lose two more residents. It will end up being (you aren't supposed to pick favorites) one that I kind of talk to more than the others.
Today was a mixture of things. Yesterday was better. Yesterday April was hyper and Mr. Ulmer asked her what kind of toothpaste she uses. (I use Crest and I wasn't hyper. Not that I really think toothpaste would change your personality. Of course, I think Mr. Ulmer was implying that toothpaste could be like Mountain Dew.) I had to play volleyball today. I hate volleyball. I didn't think I hated it that much, but I really do. No one in my P.E. ever wants me on their team. I am so anti-athletic that it's a shock I'm not obese or something.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:53 PM
I was talking to a friend recently and I realized something. That I have wanted to go to MNU for so long, that I forgot why I wanted to go in the first place. Since, MNU is in the lead for college that I will go to, I should probably get back to why I wanted to go there. (Although, perhaps Yale is to Rory as Olivet is to me. In which case, that would make MNU Harvard.) On the phone, I had a non-written down pro-con list. And apparently the pro side was longer. Perhaps that should give me the reassurance I need.
On the pro list: They have really nice green grass in the spring.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:49 AM
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I bought a purse online. And after thinking about it thoroughly, it was a bigger mistake than either of my exes. First of all, the picture and description didn't accurately describe how ugly and not right it was, so I bought it, only be to quite upset in the end. I realize that purses aren't a big deal and they aren't anything to get stressed about, but still, I learned a lesson. Sometimes you just need to keep your cows instead of investing in the stock market, because we all know how well our economy is doing.
Before you hear it from my mother, I will tell you myself. I am slightly OCD. It's true. I let a little bit of my obsessiveness slip while talking to my mother a couple days ago. Now it wasn't totally random, we were in Wal-Mart to buy toothbrushes. But I told my mother that someday when I have a place of my own and a bathroom to organize how I want, I secretly (but no longer secretly) want to get a toothbrush in every color and only brush my teeth with whatever color matches what I am wearing that day. Now, is that really that weird?
But for now, I will just keep my cow.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:48 AM
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Crawl (Carry Me Through)
Rock What You Got
How long will this take?
How much can I go through?
My heart, my soul aches
I don’t know what to do
I bend, but don’t break
Somehow I’ll get through
Cause I have You
And if I had to crawl
Well You’d crawl too
I stumble and I fall
Carry me through
The wonder of it all
Is You see me through
O Lord, where are you?
Do not forget me here
I cry in silence
Can you not see my tears
When all have left me
And hope has disappeared
You’ll find me here
When everything I was is lost
I have forgot, but You have not
When I am lost, You have not lost me
You have not lost me
Behind the Song:
"One critic wrote the following about our album, Beauty from Pain:
“The songwriting seems more vapid, despite the personalized approach, with most songs merely offering a message of ‘we all hurt, but hold on because it’ll get better.’”
I think this critic missed the second half of the message: “Hold on, it will get better. You are not alone, God is with you.” This is not vapid; there is a place below bottom where that is the only message that makes any sense. A friend called me to let me know about his baby birth, but as he asked me to pray, he choked up, unable to get the words out to tell me that his son was born with Down syndrome. I’ve watched mute and helpless while friends have lost family members to cancer. I’ve personally been to the dark place where suicide seems like the only way out. In those times, when our hearts have broken and are overflowing with grief, we don’t need clever theology or smart slogans. All we need is the fundamental core truth of it all...that God has not left us - and though we may have lost hope and lost ourselves and lost everything, He has not lost us.
“How long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all day?” Psalm 13:1-2" - Max Hsu (Superchick)
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:35 PM
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Sometimes we as humans are too hard on ourselves. I am a pretty good example. For instance, I preached on Sunday and I don't think I did a very good job on delivery. (If you were there, you can agree.) However, maybe instead of always viewing things as a failure (which I would probably classify Sunday as), perhaps I should try to think of it more as there was something victorious about it. You see, perhaps it's hindsight. Anyway, my sermon was about death. I literally told my entire church body that they were not just going to die, but are all in the processing of dying right now. Having a healthy person hear that just might make them think a little bit more, but then odds are they will go on to have a normal week, without giving death much of a thought. However, to the person with say, cancer, it might leave more of an impression, in fact, it might even make them a little angry or offended. I mean, they are really dying. (Let's not get technical.) There's a women in my church that was in church on Sunday, listening to my sermon. She is a women with cancer. She also happens to go to coffee where my grandma hangs out (and by hang out, I mean she sits around with other old people and drinks coffee and gossips). She told my grandma that I did a great job and according to my grandma, she was giving me rave reviews. So, in failures, perhaps I should think that maybe my sermon wasn't delivered all that well, but maybe it reached someone. I shouldn't about how much it annoyed me that a certain person couldn't stop laughing, I should think that maybe one thing I said made them realize that they will die, but salvation is possible. Better yet, maybe I should think that it isn't about anything I can do or say, but it's only about how much more God can do.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:45 AM
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sometimes, all I seem to think about is the depressing side of things, so maybe I should make a list (I do really like, or "lunch" lists) of happy things:
- I have really great friends that are there for me and can tell when things aren't totally right and that always try to help
- I have a job and even though most of the time, I am tired and don't really want to go to work, I do enjoy the residents. I mean where else can you find someone that likes onions on her cottage cheese and someone who always wants toast (and I know what kind of bread she likes better)
- My grades in high school are pretty good (not counting Senior Math, that's not going so well), so I actually don't have that bad of GPA, for only having 5 high school classes
- I have a kitten on my lap right now and she is so adorable
- I have a mother who loves and supports me and a brother who still makes me laugh
- I am alive and even though I am dying, I have a Savior who makes dying actually a happy thing
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:07 PM
It was a weird thing that happened yesterday. I was driving home from Aberdeen with my mother (we had just taken Kyle back to college) and so my mother and I were talking about what I am going to do for college. Then I had a really hard time breathing. It felt like my throat was closing up. It was really creepy. That plus I was starting to cry probably made for not ideal driving conditions. But why such not happy reactions when talking about my college plans? Because I have no idea what I am going to do for sure.
I preached the morning service yesterday. I can't say that I actually did that well. After all, I was preaching on death and one congregation member couldn't stop laughing. Anyway, it wasn't the best job I have ever done. But, it is over now.
I woke up late this morning and had a really horrible dream. Like, I woke up and tears were still coming down my face. That's the kind of horrible it was.
Anyway, I should go get ready for school, because apparently being on time is an important thing.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:49 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008
I figured out how to wake up when my alarm goes off, instead of my normal sleeping a half hour past my alarm. All I need to do is just accidentally shut my kitten in my room for the entire night. That's sad that I didn't realize she was in my room until 6:00, but I am sure most of the night she was just sleeping under my bed. She got shots yesterday and that really wore her out. Of course, I think she has more energy now, because she's currently playing with my headphones.
I had a weird dream last night. Not that I am going to tell you all about it, but I will say that it involved a prayer meeting and an ice cream truck that turned into an ice cream cart when it came closer. (And the ice cream was free, but I was encouraged to get a $5 donation to some couple... which may mean that I have been involved in too many fundraisers in my day that I am subconsciously dreaming about this.)
Anyway, right now, I will have to go get ready for the day, but I am slowly getting my sermon together, so I have a question for you all:
What do you know about death?
(P.S. That reminds me of John's little song in the tune of Iron Man and it goes like, "I am the ice cream man, running over little kids with my van." Sorry, I just thought of that. Answer my question now.)
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:43 AM
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Let it be known, far and wide- You are completely and utterly free to wear skirts! I give you full permission to be as feminine and attractive as you like! [...] There’s something about them, that delightful thrill you get when it’s swishing around your calves, or when the man nearby recognizes the fact that you are a lady and kindly opens the door for you, or when you feel so flattered by it’s graceful lines…it’s always fitting, always appropriate." -Christa Taylor [source]
I love skirts and I totally find it tragic that no one seems to just wear skirts casually. I did stats and was a student manager for the girls' basketball team last year just so I could dress up for school. (You see, you dress up on game days.) I absolutely hate basketball and don't really enjoy doing the stats, but getting to dress up made it all worth it. Now, this year, since you couldn't possibly pay me enough to do stats again, I won't have a reason to dress up. However, I really am a fan of skirts. They make me super happy. And so, I vote yes... to skirts.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 5:38 PM
I can't make decisions. In fact, I am so bad, that I am a lot like a donkey.
"A hungry donkey approaches a barn one day looking for hay and discovers two haystacks of identical size at the two opposite ends of the barn. The donkey stands in the middle of the barn between the two haystacks, not knowing which to select. Hours go by, but he still can't make up his mind. Unable to decide, the donkey eventually dies of starvation." -[source]
I did learn about this donkey thing in Biology, which is why, I enjoy that class, even though I have never actually done well in science ever.
Speaking of that class today, it is Homecoming and so today is Mix-Match Day and I have to go to the college today looking like a total retard in mix-matched clothes.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:38 AM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I am not talented and I am not popular. But, let me go into detail.
I am not talented. My brother is amazing, he made a totally kickin' yearbook and there's no way that I could ever match his mad skills. He is just way better at that kind of stuff. Of course, I choose to be in journalism the year after him, so I could never possibly match his greatness. That just makes me realize that I am not that great of writer (so why would I go into Mass Communications? Obviously it'd be something I would be no good at). Seriously, I have no original thoughts. The only good short story that I have ever written I was given the idea by a friend and I just googled it and now realized how incredibly more pathetic I am, because I have been thinking sock gnomes are a new thing and apparently everyone else has seemed to know about them already. And, and, and. MNU doesn't want me. Not that a college should really be like begging people to come there, but I don't know what I am going to do. Jeremy really seems to be the only one that thinks I am at all talented. And I enjoy preaching, but I am not really extremely talented when it comes to that. I mean, again, I don't really have very many orginial ideas. I am not very creative. And by not very, I mean not at all.
I am not popular. Not that popularity in high school matters a whole bunch in the grand scheme of things, but I am not populary. I don't drive a cool car. I don't have pretty hair. I know it doesn't matter and I wasn't thinking that I was going to (which explains why I didn't even vote for myself), but I didn't get on the homecoming court. And who cares really? I don't really like any underclassmen (there are some I like, so if you are reading this, don't worry, you're one of my friends), so why should they like me? Anyway, I am so not cool. I don't know how to talk to people. I am quiet, but I hate being quiet, but I don't ever know what to say to be not quiet and so everyone thinks that I am quiet all the time. Which really isn't true, I mean, just look how I ramble on and on here, I am sure I could ramble like this in person, just try me sometime when I am really angry or on the brink of depression, like I am now. And why am I posting this? Honestly, who cares? Who cares what is going on with me? I am not popular enough for anyone to care.
And I do not text too much.
Man, when it rains, it pours.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 8:58 PM