Sunday, February 22, 2009
It still hurts. I thought that it didn't. I thought that if I just develop an apathetic shell that it wouldn't affect me. I thought that if I smile on the surface that my lips in the shape of my lips curling upward would somehow sink deeper inside and cause a smile on my heart. I thought that if I closed myself that there wouldn't be anymore room for the hurt to enter in.
Guess what? I was wrong.
It still hurts. I hate seeing my father. I hate every time is in my house. (It's my house because you lose ownership when you leave.) I hate hearing my parents argue. I hate every word my father says, because it is all lies. I hate it.
Sometimes I feel like a wimp and a baby and a PMS-ing girl every time I cry. It's not true. It's not just the things that "I don't need to cry about" that are bothering me. It's pain and scars that will never be removed. There are they forever. Here's a lie that everyone wants you to believe about forgiveness: that you are able to forget. Scars don't go away overnight. They don't even go away over time. Sometimes they fade, but there are always there. I want to discover the healing power of tears, but I know that no band-aid is big enough to cover the pain.
Dad: How are you doing?
Me: You don't have to pretend you care.
Dad: I do care.
Me: I know you don't. Haven't you noticed that you never call. The only times you ever called was when Mom told you to. Haven't you noticed that Mom has stopped telling you? She's stopping telling you because I don't want to talk to someone that doesn't want to talk to me.
Dad: I like talking to you.
Me: Really? Cause your actions speak a little differently.
Dad: I saw your picture in the paper.
I am timid and I don't like confrontation. Me saying that little thing just a couple minutes ago took a lot of courage. I am a wimp and I don't have the strength to fight. I have gone for six years without a father. I would be lying if I said the pain wasn't there. I try my best to hide it and forget about it and live dispite its existance, but it's there. Scars don't go away. I wish I could say the same for fathers.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 1:14 PM
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I was really pretty inspired to write a blog, but right now I am feeling just a little bit too tired. So, instead of writing anything deep and philosophical, I will just get you updated on how I am doing. My mother and I watched a pretty "wacky cracker" kind of movie last night. It was interesting to say the least. Maybe some people could draw some sort of lesson from it, but I am oneof those people. It was still fun. You know it's a fun movie when my mother says, "I'm not sure I should be letting you watch this." However, it wasn't a completely unsuccessful night. I baked a Cherry Chocolate Torte thing. The picture on the recipes looks a little better, but it was really yummy.
In other fascinating news, I learned a beauty trick. It's probably not a new one to most people, but I found it absolutely amazing. I was having trouble removing my mascara, so my mom told me to try Vaseline and that didn't really work, but then she told me to try baby oil. After trying the Vaseline, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to try something else just to end up being disappointed, but it was amazing. Turns out baby oil is one great make-up remover. Who knew?
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:30 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
"I guess we can just pray." Just? When did prayer become not enough?
I don't know about you, but my God is still strong enough to cover all our needs. I don't know about you, but my God is working in the lives of the people around me and He's not done yet.
He probably doesn't want me to share this, but I will anyway. (If you want me to remove it, just let me know.) Yesterday morning one of my friends, Levi was cleaning his gun and shot part of his hand off. I don't know all the details, but I am told that he came through surgery and he will be fine. He didn't lose any fingers, but there could be some nerve problems.
It was last night at about 9:00 when Krista texted me, "How come no one told me about Levi?" I had no idea, so I asked, "What about Levi?" And then I freaked out and ran upstairs to tell my mother. It was weird to see her reaction. She sat down on the side of the tub and clasped her hands together and started praying and after her prayer, she had this peace and calm and kept saying, "He's going to be alright."
Right now all we can do is really pray, but I know that God is big enough to handle this whole situation.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:31 AM
Monday, February 16, 2009
I recently learned something else about my Pastor and another Nazarene pastor. When this other Nazarene pastor starting preaching about three years ago (hey, that's when I started preaching too, but this isn't me because I'm not a pastor. No, Cole, I'm not), my Pastor gave him some books to read and use when writing and preparing sermons. This Nazarene pastor used those books for three Sundays and realized that they weren't him at all. That they were actually keeping him from using his style and his way to get God's Word out. I am going to assume that those books were keeping him from listening to what God wanted him to say because he was too busy trying to prepare the "right" sermon.
So, in light of the fact that people are always going to be preaching and speaking, I thought I would share a couple of the tips of the trade that I have learned in my past three years:
1. Before speaking, if you feel your voice tense, take a deep breath. Now I don't mean a wimpy deep breath that some crazy person has asked you to do for breathing exercises. I mean a deep breath that pushes your stomach out. Really, the main goal is to push your stomach out as far as possible. It will really help loosen your voice. It's hard to be relaxed, especially if you are nervous, but this will help.
2. This is probably going to be a little weird, because this isn't at all what my Pastor taught me. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Don't write your sermon (or speech) out exactly like you would say it. If that works for you, great, I'm glad. However, I have found with myself that I depend on my notes more when everything I want to say and how I want to say them are written out compared to just having an outline. Writing just an outline allows for you to have to really know what you are saying and so then you are able to make a lot more eye contact with your audience.
3. Practice. Everyone in your entire life has probably been telling you to practice and it's annoying, but there is a reason they are all telling you to practice. That reason? Because that's exactly what you need to do for just about everything. Preaching and speaking gets easier in time, but that doesn't mean you don't get nervous. When I say practice, I don't just mean do it a lot over time, I mean say it all out loud beforehand. If it sounds stupid when you hear the words, it probably will be stupid when you say the words later too. What I do is I always try to go to the empty church the next before for a couple hours before (my family cleans the church, so I always have a key) and say the whole thing like I want to when I actually have to. I really can tell the difference in the delivery of the sermon when I have done this and haven't done this beforehand. It makes a huge difference.
4. When you are speaking, you may look back at the clock and realize you are going to go too long or it's going to be too short. I will admit for me, it's really easy to go too short. But here's something my Pastor taught me that I will always take with me: What material you have is all you have. Don't try to add something to make it longer or cut something important out to make it shorter. I once spoke for the evening service at my church and it was probably closer to the length of a devotional than a sermon, but I knew that I didn't have anything else to add and I definitely knew that no one else wanted me to get off on some tangent just rambling on to make it ten minutes longer. God placed something on my heart and that's really all there was to say. Even though I got comments like "well, at least I didn't have time to fall asleep," it was okay, because I had said all that I needed to say.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:55 AM
Friday, February 13, 2009
I go to the post office every day because I am cool like that. I actually find that I have very great conversations with random people there. Mostly it is about the weather, because really, what else do you talk about with strangers? With Valentine's Day coming up, it leads to a lot of fun, for example:
Old lady: Are you opening Valentines? Any luck?
Me: (laughs) No, no luck.
Old lady (as she opens her PO box): Well, we'll see if I have any luck.
(No Valentines were in her box.)
Old lady: There's, well, it's not a Valentine, but it's a letter.
Me: That's better than nothing.
Old lady: Maybe I'm too old for Valentine's.
Me: You can never be too old for Valentine's.
The whole thing actually made me kind of sad. I wish I had a Valentine to give her, because she never got one. Old ladies should all get Valentines.
While I should be one of the many people that are supposed to be celebrating Single Awareness Day, I instead want to say that there is nothing wrong with Valentine's Day. It's great for couples, but it is even greater to be reminded that you are loved. Everyone needs to be reminded sometimes that they are loved.
I am going to leave you with that little gem of a thought, but I will end with one of my Valentine's Day memories, because I really can get like a little school girl. It was third grade, so we had a Valentine's party within our class with each person having a box and everyone giving them Valentines. We then had a little activity where each person said what their favorite Valentine they received. Now here's a little bit of back story. I had a crush on Jeff. Yes, it's true. (We are going to overlook the fact that he has grown into quite a loser.) My best friend and I both gave out Britney Spears Valentines (yes, back when parents didn't totally disapprove of her, although that is probably another story). If I remember correctly, my friend and I were probably in a competition because we both liked Jeff. So, when the moment of truth came and Jeff had to say what Valentine he liked best, we all gripped the bottom of our wooden desk with the built-in seats. And then... Jeff said that the Valentine that I gave him was his friend. It totally made my Valentine's Day.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:04 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Mark 9:21-24 tells a story of Jesus healing a boy with an evil spirit, “’But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’
‘If you can’?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”
I was hanging upside down with nowhere to go but down. Down was right below my head. Down was cement. There I was, eight years old and filled with unbelief.
My parents were adding on to our house, so every evening there was scaffolding left in our yard. So, of course, my brother and I thought of it as new playground equipment. However, the playtime stopped when my foot got caught between the bars of the scaffolding. I was stuck and afraid I was going to fall and die, with my head cracked open on the sidewalk.
Later my mom told me that when my brother came inside the house to get help, she could barely understand anything he said because he was laughing too much. Even though my brother didn’t take my pain seriously, God would never leave me, even in my times of unbelief.
Sometimes we listen to the world as it whispers unbelief in our ears. The result of unbelief is frailty, weakness, pain, and loneliness. It is unbelief that trips us and keeps us from being in the presence of God. Unbelief slithers into our souls like a quiet disease and leaves us spiritually crippled and paralyzed.
We need to remember that God really does hold us. He is not put off by our struggles. We can give him the full weight of our life. When you feel God hold you, unbelief becomes belief. Belief becomes trust and trust becomes strength and rejoicing.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 10:35 PM
Monday, February 9, 2009
I am really tired and I have no idea why I am awake. Oh, wait, I remember. Because I have school. Lame. Anyway, I am awake, I'm alive, and I am on your side. I wanted to post a couple more of my thoughts about the church service in Aberdeen.
Leadership: Pastor Dav came up to us and told my mother and me that the leaders of the church are kind of on a sabbatical (which he said he knows is weird because usually it is the pastor that goes on sabbatical), because they have been leading since basically forever. That is refreshing because it's true the same teachers in Sunday School teach for forever and without much of a rest. Not really saying that everyone wants or needs a rest, but I'm sure people don't always realize what they need. I think that is a sign that they really care about their leadership.
Worship: With the worship band playing worship in a different church that Sunday, it was just the worship leader and for another song, Rick just led the church in a hymn (which I take that they don't really sing hymns much, but it was really great. He paused and commented on some of the words, which shows that it is so easy to forget what you are singing, but it was clear that he was really thinking about words). The worship had a very stripped down appearance and sound. The worship leader really got into it and was focusing on God. It was great to just get down to raw worship, with just one person leading and with one guitar.
Offering: They take their offering by letting people put their tithes in planters. Pastor Dav explained it that then the money would grow the church. Which, I think is really cool. It is really easy to forget what the money is going for, especially when you are part of a church that doesn't really feel like it is growing or prospering. Not to say that my church isn't doing great things, because we are. It is just easy to forget what the money is for and Who it is really for.
If you were from the outside walking into their church, you might see that there aren't many people, but getting a deeper look would tell you that their church is doing a lot of things right and how God wants. And I just got all this from one Sunday.
I told my mother that next we visit Bismarck, but I don't know how much she likes car rides or spending money on trips.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:55 AM
Sunday, February 8, 2009
For a change, my mother and I went to church in Aberdeen today. I think that everyone who has gone to the same church Sunday every Sunday should do this every now and then. Not only because it is fun to leave your comfort zone (and no, I really do not see this as abandoning your church family, because it is just for one Sunday), but because it reminds you what every visitor that comes to your church as an outsider feels like. Where do I sit? What should I do with my coat? Will anyone welcome me? What is the order of their service? Should I stay after and find someone to talk to? What if no one talks to me? I love it. I love not knowing exactly where to sit and what to say and who to say it to. It's also quite fun to see different pastor's styles. Pastor Dav is a very cool guy. He has a fire for God and even though he paces throughout his sermon, he preaches with a zest for the Gospel. It is encouraging to walk into a church with which you are unfamiliar and feel the presence of God and welcoming that comes with knowing you are surrounded by the body of Christ.
When we went on a mission trip to South Africa and Swaziland, the main thing I learned is that the body of Christ is not separated by borders of countries or continents. It is an amazing feeling to go somewhere you have never been and find something in common with those around you because you have a common thread: Christ. You don't just get that feeling with the use of your passport, but you can just hop in the car and go to a church you haven't been to before. When you are a member of the Body of Christ, you are never without family.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:19 PM
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
We do speeches every Friday for Applied Communications. Last Friday, I had to do my speech on what my pet peeves are. I said my pet peeves are whenever anyone (including myself) is late, when people use incorrectly, and whenever I can't find something (dispute my being disorganized). However, I think I just discovered two more pet peeves today.
First of all, it really bothers me when people talk about someone else's business. There is someone who I know who has made some mistakes and is now in well, a bad situation. However, there is no reason anyone should need to talk about her, especially not by name. I mean, I sort of understand why people in church want to talk about it. They think they are just spreading the word so that people can pray and let her know that we support her. However, I really just see it as people spreading rumors and giving everyone a chance to talk about other people's problems. I do think that I need to pray, but I do not think I need to go around telling everyone about it. I really don't need to go around talking about it. It's not any of business. It's not any of your business either. So don't talk about it.
Second of all, I don't appreciate people lying to me. Especially about something that nobody really cares about and isn't even a big deal. Why would you make a big deal about it? Why bothering lying? Lying isn't okay. It makes me mad because it isn't something that you need to lie about. The purpose of their lying was because people kept asking about it so they wanted to see how long they could keep a secret. However, if they had just answered people honestly, then people wouldn't have kept bothering them about it. So, really, it is just a case where they want to draw attention to themselves and want everyone to pay attention to their stupid issues. I just was annoyed that I was lied to for three weeks. And then when I was told the truth, she said, "You are the third privileged one to find out." When really, she should have said, "You are the third privileged one that I am telling that I have been lying to you for three weeks, because I want everything to be all about me."
Can you tell I am a little bit bitter and angry at people? Well, I am. But, here's what I am going to do:
I am going to pray. Recently, I have relearned the importance of prayer. So, instead of punching a wall (which is what I really want to do), I am going to pray for those who annoy me and for those who don't know when to be honest/keep their mouths shut.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 2:18 PM
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I spoke in youth group tonight. As far as some people's standards it probably wasn't that good. I didn't really have notes besides two things I read off of pieces of paper. I didn't really have any organized plans or thoughts, so it was really just God's message tonight. I noticed something about myself while I was speaking, even when I am nervous, there are times when my voice is still calm and confident, which is totally misleading because I was freaking out. I really like having plans and being prepared. However, sometimes God doesn't call you to be planned or prepared, sometimes God just calls you to follow His lead.
Tomorrow I am having coffee with Pastor. My mother wasn't invited because he thinks my mother does all the talking in a conversation between him, my mother, and me. Which isn't really true, but I can see why people think that. Anyway, my mother isn't invited. So, Pastor will probably ask me how I am doing. It's weird when people ask you how you are doing because you always seem to give the obvious answer. I don't know why, maybe because you don't want people to know you aren't okay or you don't really want to explain why you aren't okay. Usually I am the latter. It's not that I am not okay, I just don't have a joy.
Yeah, this is just another one of those posts that don't tell you much besides that I am alive.
Here's some music to celebrate my life:
House of Heroes "In the Valley of the Dying Sun" from Endeavor Media Group on Vimeo.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 9:28 PM
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Here's something I bet you didn't know about me. When I was a baby (yes, I was probably only one or two years old), I met a soap star. Eric Braeden plays Victor Newman on the Young and the Restless, in case you didn't know. During Aberdeen's grand opening of Target, Eric Braeden was there to draw people in, I suppose. At any rate, while my mom and Kyle were in an aisle looking for Legos, my dad (who was carrying me) noticed a large group of females screaming or something, so he went to see what all the excited was. Dad met Victor Newman and Victor said that I was a cute baby. I bet not everyone can say that Victor Newman said they were cute when they were a baby.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 7:23 PM
1. I absolutely love rainy days. Sometimes rain is almost better than sunshine. (However, snow is not better than anything.)
2. I have had my head stapled. Yeah, that's what I get for passing out and hitting my head on the shower frame (I even put a hole in the wall of my bathroom).
3. The only card game that I really know how to play is Go Fish (well, Uno, too, but that doesn't really count). No, I have never played solitaire and I don't have any clue how to play.
4. I am have been to four proms (two my freshman year and one my sophomore and junior year), but I am not planning on going to my senior prom. (And it's not because I can't find someone to go with. It's actually just because I don't really want to go.)
5. I got a new kitten over the summer, but not because I wanted a kitten. Actually, she was left in my backyard by her mother. She had a broken hip and a cracked pelvis. She has healed pretty well, even though she does have a funny walk. Her name is Olive and she is definitely a part of my family. And I am certain our other cat thinks we just got Olive so she would have someone to play with.
6. I really like shoes. And I probably have way more than I really need.
7. I tried snowboarding for the first time last month and it was not successful. Even so, I am all for trying new things. If I get a good story out of it, it was worth it.
8. I know how to change a tire on my car because Cole taught me. So now I am able to avoid that whole being-stranded-on-the-side-of-the-road-because-I-don't-know-how-to-change-a-tire-and-some-creeper-tries-to-come-help-me situation.
9. My favorite band is Relient K, even though the first time I heard their music, I couldn't stand it. (Anberlin is my second favorite, but I liked their music the first time I heard it.)
10. I don't like most breakfast foods. Even though I eat cereal in the morning, I don't like it. I don't really like eggs, waffles or pancakes, but I will still eat them. I even ordered pancakes at IHOP, so I probably shouldn't say that I don't go out of my way to eat them.
11. I have my local minister's license through the Church of the Nazarene and I have preached in my church several times. I have also preached in South Africa.
12.I used to be in ballet when I was little and I honestly wish my mother kept me in ballet and so somehow I wouldn't be as ungraceful as I am today.
13. I love writing, because it's debatable whether or not I am any good at it.
14. I absolutely hate being late, even though I always rush around before I go anywhere. If I am not five minutes early, I am late and I hate that.
15. I drink coffee every morning, but if you ask my mother, she would tell you that I put too much creamer in it for it to still be considered coffee. Still, my mornings aren't the same without coffee.
16. My favorite smell in the whole world is the smell of newspapers. Seriously, when I went on a tour of the Aberdeen American News the printing room was my favorite because it smelled so delightful.
17. I don't really like reading, but there are so many books that I would like to have read that I force myself to read a book.
18. The only reason I don't buy chocolate ice cream to eat at home is because then my pets wouldn't be able to lick out the bowl. Even though chocolate ice cream is my favorite.
19. I am addicted to Peach-Os. They are my favorite candy and I could never get sick of them.
20. I really like wearing skirts and dresses. I like dressing up. I wish I had a reason to more often.
21. I am planning on double majoring at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Ministry and Mass Communications.
22. With the college classes I have taken/am taking at TBC, I will graduate with 20 colllege credits.
23. I absolutely love flying in airplanes, even though I am terrified of heights. Also something odd, on one of the flights during the South Africa trip, I was afraid that I would like develop anxiety attacks while in the air and then there would be nothing anyone could do to help me. Of course, I didn't and I am looking forward to flying again.
24. My favorite kind of sunglasses are Aviator sunglasses.
25. I run into walls a lot and door frames. And desks. And the cart that holds cups at the nursing home. And tables.
Posted by Andra Lauren at 6:35 AM