Joy killer and joy builder.

Brance and I were chatting a couple of weeks ago about social media and a statistic that we came across.

Did you know that well over half of people who use social media feel worse about their own life after they spend time on it? That’s a heck of a lot of people feeling badly about their life every single day. And of course we’re not talking about it cause it’s too embarrassing or we’re in denial. (But, hey, I don’t let that stop me ;).

I am convinced that so many people are miserable seeing what is going on with others because Continue reading

One of THOSE days

Oh man.

Do you ever have one of THOSE days?

You know. The kind where your emotions are up and down like a topographic map of the Rocky Mt. range. Where your kids are a raging storm indoors while a winter blizzard rages outside and you’re TRAPPED. Where you just can’t seem to get anything accomplished, but you’re not exactly sure why. Where you know that even the smallest thing could set you off and you really, really hate that.

Yeah. So that was my day today.

I don’t love days like this. In fact, I do everything in my power to NOT have days like this. I exercise and try to eat healthily. I aim for 8 hours of sleep at night and make sure I am taking my vitamins (especially vitamin d3). I am careful to avoid foods that screw with my hormones. I try my best to spend time outside every day (even in the winter!) and I jump at a couple of hours away to recoup each week (yay for a husband who makes this happen!).  I do everything I can to FEEL my best so that I don’t have one of THOSE days.

And most of the time it works. Most of the time I feel pretty even-keeled. Most of the time I am able to sail fairly smoothly through the Continue reading

4 things for singles who want to marry to do

Practice really, really loving the people close to you in life– your parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends.

It’s crazy how the people we love most in life can also get under our skin the most. Right? The same thing goes for marriage. So, learning to become more patient and kind and long-suffering (LOVING) before you tie the knot will make your transition into marriage go more smoothly. It will make marriage so much sweeter!

During my unmarried college years, when I was at home, I used to look for ways to love and serve my family. I would hop up and do dishes without being asked or wash and fold a load of towels. I spent time visiting a local nursing home or helping make food for people in my church.

It’s also a great time to break any unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict. This will be GOLD once you’re married. Being able to work through Continue reading

Taking a time-out

I am a bit of an emotional chameleon. As in I tend to change with the emotional climate that surrounds me.

This can be an enormous blessing. (My hubby is always saying it is one of my spiritual gifts.) When someone around me is struggling, it is easy for me to empathize with them—to weep with them, even. When something wonderful happens in their life, rejoicing with them comes second-nature for me.

But being wired this way comes with its challenges as well. And one of those is when the emotional climate around me is tumultuous, I can feel tumultuous.

Recently I have felt somewhat torn apart and beat up emotionally. Anybody else feeling this too? So many people expressing their opinions. So many people expressing their feelings about politics and the world. I am not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. I am just saying that I feel like I have been on an emotional roller coaster trying to find solid footing, trying to make sense of the voices.

I am prayerfully (literally) trying to process it all. Prayer has been an anchor for me. Looking for refuge in Christ and flat out asking him for wisdom and guidance has made a huge difference in how I feel as the world around me (the news and social media and even the conversations I overhear in the local coffee shop) seem to buzz more frantic by the day. The rift in our country seems wider all the time. But peace, trust, and direction supernaturally follow as we rest in God through prayer—regardless of what happens around us. It’s amazing!

I don’t want to ignore or be ignorant of what is going on on a national and global scale. And I do have opinions on many issues. But sometimes, I think it is okay to take a temporary rest from the chaos and to focus on my small world—to really love and serve the people right next to me—before I do or don’t respond to all the opinions swirling around me. Before I do or don’t take action. That’s me right now, taking a brief time-out. Praying like crazy. And trusting that God will direct my heart and inform my actions, now and always. I am praying the same for you too.

Love,  Lauren

p.s. I have decided to tag along with Brance and read through some of the Old Testament books of the Bible. Mostly for support, since he knows so much and I tend to gravitate towards the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. We are in Isaiah (ch. 26) right now, reading one chapter a day, if you want to join us. Maybe we could all discuss what we learn along the way in an online bible group of sorts. Comment or reach out to me on the contact page, if you’re interested.