Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Am Back

I am back in America and I haven't really slept since Tuesday night. Only, Tuesday night South Africa time, so add 7 hours. Yeah, I need sleep.

The trip was amazing. Africa... wow.

But currently, my head hitting the pillow will be amazing.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Africa is Tomorrow

I am leaving for Africa tomorrow. I am trying to make this a quick post because Ollie is sleeping in a kennel in my room and she is looking at me with sad kitty eyes. The faster I am, the quicker I will be able to turn my lamp off and she can get settled. Anyway, Africa is tomorrow. I would say that I am excited and I would say that I am scared. But, I don't really know. I am not really feeling much right now. I know it will be an adventure. I hope it will be life-changing.

Your prayers are always appreciated.

Emails are also welcomed. So, you know, I can feel loved when I get back home. []

God Bless,
Andra Lauren

I Wish I Had a Picture

That is actually taken using a camera instead of just my phone, but my camera is packed away (actually, it is just in my purse, I'm too lazy to take it out). I have decided to name my new kitten...

Drumroll, please.

Olive Oyl. (And "Ollie" for short.)

Now our pets are Mack, Alle, and Ollie. Or, for their full names: Mackinac Gadget, Alle-oop (ha, ha, yeah I am not really sure either), and Olive Oyl.

I Will Be a Cat Lady When I Grow Up

This little kitten walked into our backyard yesterday. Well, her mother might have left her overnight. She has a hurt back leg, so we don't know what we are going to do, but we have taken the little kitty in and she will be part of our family. Our other cat isn't too happy, but she will have to get over it. I am still trying to think of a name... any suggestions?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Know You Will Miss Me

Throwback Thursday (Wee 'Lil Fro)

Why, yes, I did have a little afro when I was a kid.

Throwback Thursday, y'all.

Putting the Phone Down

My name is Annie and I have an addiction. I use it every day. I fall asleep by it. I wake up and look at it. I carry it into the living room when my family watches TV. I check it many, many times a day. I have a phone addiction.

I have a phone addiction, yes, it is true. My phone is almost like an appendage. I never leave the house without it and I usually never even walk around the house without holding it (alright, that's only sometimes true). I don't text that much, but I always have my phone.

Krista said that I should be able to still text in Africa (we leave in yikes, three days!). However, I am pretty sure Pastor said to either not take our cell phones or that we will leave them in the van before we enter the airport, because we won't need our phones. So, I am really trying to tell myself that I just won't have my cell phone. Krista said she was going to find a way to take her phone and that it was one of her concerns. I know that if I took my phone, it isn't like I would be using it when my attention needed to be elsewhere. You know, like on a service or to the people.

"Aim to take as little as possible, and you’ll still probably take too much. If you find yourself always behind a shutter button, try leaving behind your camera. If you take an hour primping every morning, leave behind those gel bottles and hair dryer. If minute-by-minute communication is your breath, consider leaving behind the iPhone and the laptop." -Christine Jeske [source]

Africa is already making me step out of my comfort zone, perhaps I should think of it as a time to grow closer to God, and not closer to my cell phone. It isn't going to be easy being without my phone for ten days. But, here's the thing: I can survive without my cellphone. It will be alright. I would love to text people and be in communication with people, let them know what's going on, or let them know how much I feel out of place. I would love to. I have a feeling that I am not supposed to bring my cellphone. And not just because Pastor was like, "You don't need to bring your cell phones." But because I think God wants me to get rid of some of the noise around me.

This post must make it so clear that I am a 21st century American teenager.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Will Not Be Moved

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Positive Post Tuesday: My Brother

It is my brother, Kyle's birthday today. He is 19. He just graduated high school in May and he is going to college to major in English Education and minor in Graphic Design. He has grown up with me. We grew up playing in the sandbox and swinging while kicking our shoes off and whoever hit the house got ten points. Not that the points mattered. He is my brother. He protected me all the times we walked home from school together. He has listened to me talk, complain. He has told me to shut up. He has seen me cry, he has made me cry. He has seen me laugh, he has made me laugh. He is my brother. He is my older brother. He is not approved of any guy that I have ever liked. He and I have always gotten along. There have been times where we fight, but we are brother and sister. This past year was his last at home and I will miss talking to him in the hallway next year, but I know that he has a very bright future.

So, to my older brother, Kyle, I say: Thank you for being my brother and happy birthday.

Positive Post Tuesday

I Think (well, Know) God Knows

I am stressed. I am stressed because I am going to Africa. I am stressed because I am going to Africa and I am not done packing (but everything should fit, weight might be the problem, though) and no one really seems to know what we are doing. I am told this is good. That this is better even. That since we don't know what we are doing exactly, we not only have to be prepared for more, we also have to rely completely on God.

I am afraid. I am afraid because I am going to Africa. I am afraid because I am going to Africa and I am not going to be with my mother. (Doesn't that sound like I am five-year-old?) I have never really traveled. (Flying to Canada pre-9/11 doesn't really count, because it is nothing like flying to South Africa today.) I am afraid because I am sure something will go wrong. Something will go wrong and I will want to cry. I will want to cry and people will think I am crazy. Or that I am a baby.

I am a lot of other verbs. However, I am trying to tell myself again and again that God has a plan. God knows. God will take care. God will be enough for every need that I have or will have. God is enough to cover my stress and my fears and my other verbs.

" Mission trips in particular have a way of pushing people to their limits. When you arrive jet-lagged and dazed at your destination to find that your shower spews dirty cold water for only an hour a day, your host doesn’t actually have any cement for the house you planned to build and there is no bus to the village for another three days, you might feel just a little antsy, and you might just take this out on the first person to cross your path. Stop. Breathe. Remind yourself it’s not about earning a medal in the history of Good Church People; it’s about still loving God and your neighbor along the way of whatever comes." -Christine Jeske [source]

Monday, July 14, 2008

Writing and Bowling

Perhaps I am unable to write good blogs because on my two shelves of books, I have have two books about writing. I have not read either one entirely. One is a book that was one of the textbooks for Honors Comp. II. It was a good book. I read some parts that weren't assigned reading for fun. Of course, I also didn't read some parts that apparently were assigned to read. That really isn't the point. The other is a book that looked very nifty and I wanted to read it. However, since I have the attention span of a three-year-old, I didn't finish it. I really should finish it, but again, as soon as I sit down, I would rather be standing and then I'd rather be eating or I'd rather be, well, anywhere but sitting down. And as you can tell, I haven't taken the parts I have read too seriously. After all, I don't use good grammar (perhaps because I rarely proofread anything, so I don't take the time to proofread my blogs) and I start sentences with and. Apparently, I also end sentences with and. My point, you ask, dear ones? Well, I just really wanted to start writing about something so I can now continue to tell you how I am going bowling today.

Yes, bowling today. I live in a small town. (It doesn't have a stoplight.) And as we do have a bowling alley (and I should hope so, I am planning on bowling on league and making it my fall-back weekend plans, plus, you know, I will work there every now and then), it is closed in the summer time. Depressing, I know. My bowling is getting rusty. So, I get to go to Aberdeen to unrust my bowling skills (or lack there of, considering I had an about 100 average). Yay for bowling. If it were considered a sport, it would be my favorite sport. If it were considering a sport, you could also consider me to be someone who watches sports on television. However, I don't think watching bowling tournaments on ESPN Classic counts for much. But I do so enjoy watch guys bowl while wearing plaid pants that are clearly four inches too short. It makes me happy inside.

As for my preparing for Africa, I am just trying to come to terms that I will never be fully prepared. We watched a video (a VHS, we were being all old school) in church last night about Harmon F. Schmelzenbach (say that three times fast). We will be going to Swaziland during the Nazarene's 100 year anniversary. We will kind of be experiencing history and we will get to see Harmon's grave.

As far as my packing goes, it is a very slow process. As is life. So, there you go.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So, Here's What Going Down

  • I tried making bread this week in bread maker. We have a bread maker because my mother got it for my dad one Christmas. So, my dad made bread a lot and it was delicious. However, it has been about six years since my dad has been gone, so we haven't even attempted to make bread. Since I had halfway made acceptable popovers, I thought I should try to tackle making bread. It was sort of my "rite of passage" or something. Even though I have survived six years without my father, I still wanted to prove to myself that I can make bread. Of course, my dad isn't organized (it is where I get it from) the book that came with the bread maker is no where in sight. So, I can blame the bread turning out not as great on not having the book. And I know that bread in a bread maker doesn't always turn out, I half feel like trying until I get it right and half don't even want to try ever again. I want to prove to myself that I can figure things out myself. Perhaps I will try mastering the art of the popover.
  • I am going to Africa in a week. In a week. That's scary and exciting. Scary because someone might leave me in an airport or I might lose my passport and then won't be able to show who I am and then I will be killed or something. And exciting because I will get to go somewhere completely new and I will not know what to expect (alright that is scary) and be able to completely step out of my comfort zone (alright this still goes with scary).
  • Minus the whole I'm-going-to-Africa thing, I do feel like I am wasting my summer. I don't have more than just odd jobs here and there. I don't have it together. Last summer was good. Last summer I had plans, a job, even a guy friend to like hang out with. Last summer I even had peach Sunkist. And what do I have this summer? This summer I feel like a mess. This summer I feel like I have wasted all my time and I am doing nothing valuable or helpful to anyone.
  • My county is having a fair this weekend and it has been super windy, so they didn't pick a very good weekend. Not that I really ever go to fairs. I mean, even though I live in North Dakota, I am not in 4-H, so there isn't anything to do at the fair. I think I might be working today for post prom, but even that isn't a sure thing.
  • I hope you are having a good day.
Stats Suck Sunday, anyone?

Friday, July 11, 2008

But Not Today

I have thoughts

that are scrambled.

I have words
that are not coming.

I have something to say
but not today.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Throwback Thursday (Polka Dots)

I liked polka dots even then. Let's guess and say it was 1996 perhaps '97.

Sorry for lack of posts, I have been busy attempting to get it all together for Africa. My mother and I went to Aberdeen today to try to stock up on all I will need. I made sure to get a lot of snack/comfort home because Pastor said I should. I feel unprepared.

I also don't want to admit it, but I feel scared and nervous. 10 days to let that fear build for a while.

There is a mix of thunderstorms/tornado watches in the air tonight. Normally I fall asleep listening to my ipod (usually to the Way of the Master, sorry Todd) but tonight I think I will sleep to the listen of the thunder rumbling.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

11 Days

...and counting!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

So This is How You Find Me

My top five favorite google searches that somehow led to people finding my blog:

  1. break up devastation
  2. decoration writing on cars
  3. far away hug circle
  4. reform wood
  5. pregnant woman with sixlets babies

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Countdown Has Begun

And there is only 13 days until we leave for South Africa.

I have a mixed combo of emotions. I am scared, excited, etc. etc. I have only been out of the country when I went to Canada (and no offense, Canada, but that doesn't really count). I have been on a plane before and really enjoyed it. However, I have never been on an over 11 hour flight before. It will take like two days (wait, three) to get there. Plus, the times will be all crazy. Luckily, I will be with a group, so I can follow more than think myself. Which is good. I still need to get a lot of stuff before I go and I feel totally unprepared. I don't even know if I have all of my sermons together and I sure haven't worked on them at all. Yeah, I am so not ready.

13 days and counting.

P.S. I just recounted the money that I have saved/raised I will be just barely (very barely) breaking even. It's all up to God though. I know I shouldn't worry about money.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Love is Here

by Tenth Avenue North

Behind the Song:
“‘Love is Here’ is a song that was written in response to frustration of just hearing kid after kid after kid and adult after adult after adult just saying, ‘You know I would know that God loves me if. . .’ Fill in the blank with whatever, but we run a dangerous game if we start asking God to prove things that he’s already proven. Romans 5:8 says God demonstrates present tense, his love, in how, while we are still sinners Christ died, past tense, died for us and basically with that verse he’s saying, ‘Look God is proving his love for you today.’ Christ died on the cross and our responsibility is to simply fix our eyes on Jesus. Love is here. Everything we are longing for, whether we would say it this way or not, is really Jesus. Our hearts are made for him and are hearts are restless until they rest in him. That’s what St. Augustine said, so that song is just a call to anyone everywhere that the thing you want is here in the name of Jesus.” - Mike Donehey (Tenth Avenue North)

Saturday, July 5, 2008


"I’m convinced the number one deterrent to community is our inability to be honest with each other. The church often feels like the last place where we can really talk about what’s going on in our lives. There’s a cry in my heart for believers to be able to come together and truly confess to each other. We need to know that those confessions won’t be used against us, that prayer requests won’t be turned into gossip, that we can find real refuge. These days are difficult, and if we need to be in community with each other. The bridge of this song is a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer from Letters and Papers from Prison, “Only the truth and truthfulness can save us now.”" - Sara Groves talking about her song Honesty

Perhaps I am a little late in discovering this site, since it was first posted a while ago. But, I really think that people, especially people involved in the church should read the comments. I am going to use some of the comments for my youth group on Wednesday, since it is summer and hardly anyone comes in the summer, we are just going to have more of a small group discussion thing and I think I am leading it. It is all about honesty really and how there are some things we just can't say in church or around other Christians. And since I am sort of leading the discussion I thought that I should probably think of my own to share. There is absolutely no way I am going to share what I commented on her blog. I feel a little bad even rereading it now and probably should have used more discretion. So, I am trying to think of something that I can be totally honest in sharing. I am not sure what yet. I mean, I have a lot of things I would probably love to say in church, but wouldn't ever actually say. Maybe I will think of something tomorrow, as I sit in church.

How would your life be different if you just used a little more honesty when talking to people?

After all, you don't need to be Abraham Lincoln to be honest.

How I Spend Saturdays

Most of the time, I am busy. Or at least I have something going on. However, today, nothing much is going on. My mom went to Aberdeen to eat lunch with a new guy. And my brother woke up at 10:30 and is not only still using the computer, but he is also still wearing his pajamas, even though it is 2:30 in the afternoon. And although my brother makes me feel less pathetic about myself, I still watched two movies on Lifetime and ate some buttered noodles (which is my current easy-to-make food obsession). Currently, I am just browsing the internet and reading blogs. I gave up on finding something actually productive to do.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th!

I have already reached my quota of fireworks. Hearing them nonstop all week plus I went over to Kierra's house. Colton and Tony lit fireworks and even started to make the bush smoke. It was actually pretty fun, considering that I have never really done fireworks. You see, when my mom was a kid, she had fireworks go off in her hand and ever since, she has stayed far away from fireworks. Which means that I never really got to do fireworks when I was a kid and now I have no good memories of fireworks as a kid. However, I think I will be alright.

Not only that, but I went to my first baseball game of the summer. We won, which was surprising, considering that at one point we were 11 points down, but we came back and won it 17 to 15. And while I never have been much of a baseball game fan, it was actually a lot of fun. It helps being with Kierra, she was kind of explaining baseball to me, but it turns out that I know absolutely nothing about baseball. Kierra and I also went to Serenita's twice. The first time for smoothies and the second time for soup and sweet potato fries.

For the 4th, I think we are just eating out and going to the lake. We will watch other people set off fireworks from a distance. Maybe I will even get to go out on the boat again.

Here is something to remember. We have freedoms as an American, but more importantly we have freedom in Christ. Read this article, here is a little bit of it:

"Southwest Airlines’ tag line is, “You are now free to move about the country.” Did you catch that it’s not a freedom from something, but a freedom to do something? Jesus also offers a freedom to—a freedom to live each moment in the present reality of God’s Kingdom. In other words:
You are now free to be peace even when your life circumstances unravel.
You are now free to be love even when others reject or hurt you.
You are now free to be contentment even when you’re barely making it financially.
You are now free to be the beloved of God even when people put you down.
You are now free to be compassion even when others rationalize their apathy.
You are now free to be joy even when people or circumstances disappoint you.
You are now free to be grace even when others judge you.
You are now free to move about God’s Kingdom." [Source. Written by Jim Palmer]
Enjoy your Independence Day.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Throwback Thursday (Brother and Sister)

This is a picture of my brother and me. Even though to my mom "it was just like it was yesterday," it is from 1993. My mother told me later that this picture was taken the same day that I was being potty trained. I was like, "Thanks, Mom. I needed to know that." But my brother, Kyle and I look adorable. So, who cares what day it was?

Throwback something, too. Join the throwback fun.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I am an Uncool Human

You know, I read all these blogs about cool people who have lives. You know, they work at cool jobs and travel and do like amazing things. It challenges me to be greater and better, but it also is a little depressing. I read about people who are so cool and I just think, "I am so not cool." I am so not cool, I still use the word cool. It seems like everyone else has a larger vocabulary and uses fun, intelligent words that sound witty. They show what they are listening to and they are listening to bands that I have never heard the name of, but they seem like they are total rockin' bands. Of course, I also think that if I looked up any of these bands, I would not want to actual listen to any of it. I am currently listening to Relient K, Anberlin, Between the Trees, Barlowgirl, and some more Relient K. They have accomplished things and are really going places. They take pictures, work on books and music, work in churches. They are like superhuman. I know that they aren't really. I know in the back of my mind that they have flaws, that they fall short. They mess up and have to pick themselves back up again. But, it never seems like it.

So, I sit here in my room and read the blogs of people who are just about as close to superhuman you can get. I sit in my patheticness. And I think, I am uncool, I am not accomplishing anything, I am not doing anything super great or exciting. I am not going anything exciting (well, I am going to South Africa in 18 days). I am just me. I am Annie. My nose is running because I am sick (I think everyone else is so superhuman that I picture them as people whose noses never run and the thought of anyone reading about how I am actually writing about running noses is repulsive, but then I know that no one actually reads this, so I grab a tissue and feel a little better). I feel like any second a spider is going to crawl on me. Not that my house is at all unclean, but I am paranoid. I took my dog for a walk and was starting to feel a side pain after only going like ten blocks. I watch the Style network to see how someone's nest can be dressed. I watch the Food Network because I absolutely love love love Ace of Cakes. I bake desserts so often that there is never a time where there isn't something sweet in our house. I look up recipes. In fact, there are three things that I need the internet for: Read blogs, find recipes, and shop.

I am sitting here and my feet are falling asleep. My dog is snoring. My ceiling fan is making a noise that makes me fear that it will probably fall down on my head. And I realize something: That I am so human and I am so uncool. One day I hope that my blog will sound as cool and exciting as others, but for now, I am just here. I am living day to day. I am failing and falling and trying to be honest about it all. I am learning to live, learning to love, and learning how to change a tire. I am just an uncool human.

Relient K Makes Me Giggle

I give Relient K total props for creative genius.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Relient K Makes My Day Better

I was so super excited that their CD came out today. I pre-ordered it since I am obsessive compulsive. Or at least just obsessive. Since Relient K is just about as amazing as you can get, they are having clues on their myspace and sites in order to get some songs. I, however, slightly fail at life and can't figure this one out. So, if you can figure it out, be my friend and tell me. Or tell me and I will be your friend. Either way, you, well, I win. And winning makes me happy.