Wednesday, December 29, 2010

top twelve.

1. my nieces' prayers at the dinner table:
"dear Jesus, thank you for the day. um please give us good sleep, give us a good dream. and um thank you for and stores, and pillow pets. AMEN".

2. spending an entire weekend with the family, at home, on Christmas. which has never happen in the history of my life. We are usually traveling to see our extended families (we did miss ya'll though).

3. homemade rolls. twice.

5. parents who provide so much love and care.

6. brother-in-laws who quote practically every movie or show possible in three days, more than once. I learned so much.

7. nieces who bring so much life and energy to the family. and so much laughter.

8. sisters. Nothing compares to a sister.

9. And one nephew on the way.

10. My very first sewing machine! yes!

11. Riding for miles on a surrey with seriously wonderful friends. yes, a surrey. with the fringe on top.

12. Being reminded that gifts and food and decorations don't actually matter. What matters is to be mindful of and thankful for God sending his son to this earth to save a lost and dying world, by dying and sacrificing himself, for us all.


I added a new song today, it's Winter song by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles.

very mellow, but its nice to slow things down a bit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

wrap it up.

You could say this post is a little past due, but I like to think of it as fashionably late :)

One of my favorites parts about giving gifts is the wrappping. I think it means a lot when you take into consideration the way you wrap something, as long as its special to you.

It is just so fun because there are limitless options! So many opportunities for creativity. So here are a few I think you might like and will hopefully give you some ideas if you're looking for any!

Winter Whites

Save the best for first! I absolutely love this array of her gifts.
I melt every time I see them. Love the variety.

using a little nature on your gifts is such a great idea. and its really cheap :)

Miss mustard seed is another one of my favorite blogs. I suggest visiting her.
I love the use of music sheets! So beautiful.

Love the paper leave tags and simple flower together.

This, that, and a suitecase?

Oh this is one of my faves.
Love unique (and cheap) paper, love tags, and LOVE twine.
So nice together.

You can actually make these beaded letters yourself! Yes, that's right.
Just bend some wire, bead, and finish!

Of course, this isn't cheap wrapping, but its so unique!

I love this so much. And it doesn't hurt that plaid is very in this season.
Pah, I just sounded like someone who knows what's 'in'. Far from true.

Okay this is actually a suite case. But I really like handwritten tags & thick stripey ribbon.

A wooden box!

I think the left is fabric which was simply folded over. And to the right you will see some tissue paper. Also a lovely way to save!

Kraft Paper

Stamped kraft paper, multiple ribbons, ga-littered wired ribbon.

A nice simple stenciled flower, pop of color, and some twine.

Again, a paper doily, and some twine, and a nice tag. So great.

Love the satin ribbon with the flowers, mixed with some regular old kraft paper.
A nice contrast.

This blows my mind.
Pretty much grab whatever you can find around your house, and see how it works together.
And somehow it works amazingly.
Even better, the sewn end!

though this picture is small, I love the different ways to use different types of ribbon.

Last but not least, this picture seems to give account to all the above ways to wrap.
And so nicely together.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

And grace has a name, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

opposition and offering of the natural

I hesitate to even start this post because I don't think my words will do any justice. The other day, about a week ago, my best friend Meredith came to spend some time with me and brought with her some very intriguing thoughts. This is just one of a billion reasons why she's a such a best friend. It doesn't hurt that we're also seemingly in the same place in life. Right out of college, pursuing multiple things, single, admittingly struggling with insecurities from time to time. Or always.

When she came over, she shared with me about an incredible urgency which led to some convicting and intriguing truth. Since I couldn't see well enough, she read it to me, then re-read it, and read it once more. Because there was so much packed into it, I couldn't grasp it all at once. It blew me away. It came from the devotional My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It was the readings from December 9th and 10th. You can click here to read them or just read below:

December 9th

"The natural life itself is not sinful. But we must abandon sin, having nothing to do with it in any way whatsoever. Sin belongs to hell and to the devil. I, as a child of God, belong to heaven and to God. It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence, and my self-will. This is where the battle has to be fought. The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best. Once we come to understand that natural moral excellence opposes or counteracts surrender to God, we bring our soul into the center of its greatest battle. Very few of us would debate over what is filthy, evil, and wrong, but we do debate over what is good. It is the good that opposes the best. The higher up the scale of moral excellence a person goes, the more intense the opposition to Jesus Christ. “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh . . . .” The cost to your natural life is not just one or two things, but everything. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself. . .” (Matthew 16:24). That is, he must deny his right to himself, and he must realize who Jesus Christ is before he will bring himself to do it. Beware of refusing to go to the funeral of your own independence.

The natural life is not spiritual, and it can be made spiritual only through sacrifice. If we do not purposely sacrifice the natural, the supernatural can never become natural to us. There is no high or easy road. Each of us has the means to accomplish it entirely in his own hands. It is not a question of praying, but of sacrificing, and thereby performing His will".

December 10th

"Paul was not dealing with sin in this chapter of Galatians, but with the relation of the natural to the spiritual. The natural can be turned into the spiritual only through sacrifice. Without this a person will lead a divided life. Why did God demand that the natural must be sacrificed? God did not demand it. It is not God’s perfect will, but His permissive will. God’s perfect will was for the natural to be changed into the spiritual through obedience. Sin is what made it necessary for the natural to be sacrificed.

Abraham had to offer up Ishmael before he offered up Isaac (see Genesis 21:8-14). Some of us are trying to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God before we have sacrificed the natural. The only way we can offer a spiritual sacrifice to God is to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice . . .” (Romans 12:1). Sanctification means more than being freed from sin. It means the deliberate commitment of myself to the God of my salvation, and being willing to pay whatever it may cost.

If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist and defy the life of the Son of God in us and will produce continual turmoil. This is always the result of an undisciplined spiritual nature. We go wrong because we stubbornly refuse to discipline ourselves physically, morally, or mentally. We excuse ourselves by saying, “Well, I wasn’t taught to be disciplined when I was a child.” Then discipline yourself now! If you don’t, you will ruin your entire personal life for God.

God is not actively involved with our natural life as long as we continue to pamper and gratify it. But once we are willing to put it out in the desert and are determined to keep it under control, God will be with it. He will then provide wells and oases and fulfill all His promises for the natural (see Genesis 21:15-19)". -My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers


"The things that are right, noble, and good from the natural standpoint are the very things that keep us from being God’s best". Wow. It seems like its so easy to validate the things of the heart because they are natural and good. But what about when those things come between me and God. Or when they become bigger than they should.

What are the natural things of your heart?

For me, there are absolutely more things than I realize or can count on both hands. Right now, and for quite some time, they have been the desires of a companion, a relationship which reflects Jesus and his bride, the Church. Marriage, living life intertwined with another. But selfishly, there have been more times than not I let that and other natural desires and yearnings become bigger than God himself, keeping me 'from being God's best'.

"If we do not sacrifice the natural to the spiritual, the natural life will resist and defy the life of the Son of God in us and will produce continual turmoil". Sacrifice. The natural life is natural for a reason. But since sin is apart of our lives, it reeks havoc and keeps the natural life from being what it should. I've been thinking about this one conversation everyday. I need learn to sacrifice and lay down that part of me that seems so much a part of me.

Obviously, Meredith would much more adequately explain her own heart in this, which I hope she will at some point *cough* take a hint *cough*. This one is just the thoughts just from mine.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

wreath this!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has been lifting me up in prayer the past few weeks, past months really. I really appreciate it and I am healing quite nicely. Secondly, today's post is one I am really excited about. I love wreaths. I love them in every season, but especially the wintery season. So since right now I don't have a door or real space of my own to use, I decided I would just 'wreath' my blog this time. Enjoy!

Keeping it natural:

Oh my deer was one of the first blogs I came across that I loved.
Simple pops of color mixed with the natural wreaths are so perfect.

Although I LOVE the green foilage, I think I love what's holding this wreath up more.
Its so rustic. A nice compliment.

Acorns are always a good idea.

Who would have thought to use them like this? I love it. So romantic.

For the fabric-lover:

This is perfect to use with fabric scraps (I keep mine).
I love the mixed patterns.

Rosettes. Fitting for many things; necklaces, hairpieces, bags, clothing, and wreaths.

Again, wonderful. I think she actually used left over fabrics and paper for this one.

I love how neat and orderly this one is.

Yarn. Perfect in so many ways. Useful in so many ways, including this.

Paper made:

So simple, so much texture.
Perfectly understated, while still making a statement.

I think this is for the adventurous type. So fun!

Renew Reuse Recycle:

While I worry about scratching for this one, it looks perfect for a mantle or table.
Maybe even with some softer and colorful Christmas decor.

Cardboard. Such a great use, I never would have thought of this.

LOVE this. She even put it as a centerpiece with a candle in the center.

Glittered jingle bells. They even show you how they did it.

Now this is one I should probably try becuase I have way too many brushes that
look just like this. Gracious.


By the way, I put a new song on today. It's Holiday by Vampire Weekend. It's fun, but if it's too much let me know.

Now I'm off. Sewing, wrapping, napping :) just enjoying the holiday.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

one story at a time.

Hello! I just cannot stand sitting around anymore. I just got back on Friday from Baltimore and could not be more thankful for the people and the way everything worked out. I'll discuss that more in depth later though, I'm typing this with one eye and its going to be short :)

I wanted to share this little sweetness with you.

I saw a video of her telling one of these stories behind a pulpit and then saw these.

Pick one or pick them all.

Either way, she will melt you from the inside-out. left to right. upside down. Okay okay.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

once again.

If the past two weeks haven't been enough reason to trust and believe in the God who created you and I, yesterday would be undeniable.

The past few months we've had some issues with our insurance. Nothing serious, just mistakes that our insurance had made, twice. It wouldn't be a problem if I didn't need insurance. Well it just so happened that they decided to take me off of my insurance two days before my surgery, for no apparent reason (yesterday). Not only did my mom sit on the phone for four hours frantically trying to fix everything, she sent out a quick e-mail to a handful of people for prayer that God would somehow make this work out, since He had clearly been in control of everything else. Well some of those people, emailed other people, and my aunt pammy e-mail 110 people, all asking for a quick prayer of God's faithfulness.

Well, my goodness. God most certainly is faithful beyond belief.

First of all, insurance companies (from what they said) only reinstate a person after 24 hours at least. They told my mom that it would be completely impossible to reinstate me before the end of that day. Well, after hours of phone calls, they called us back after about 30 minutes of telling us that, to let us know that everything was taken care of.

I don't know about you, but that, to me, just shows the power of prayer and what a mighty thing it is. Or better yet, what a mighty God that loves us and cares for us. So tomorrow, I will go with an eased heart, not anxious or worried. I will be mindful of the way God takes care of me and no matter the situation or circumstance, I know that God's timing and ways are perfect and good.

Proverbs 3:5-8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body

and nourishment to your bones.

{For the next few days, I will be away from my office blog. So try not to miss me :) just kidding}

Monday, December 6, 2010

mitchell, the 13th disciple.

Earlier tonight, I was sitting on my niece's bed about to read a story, but she decided that she needed to read to me (at 3 years old). She had been reading stories from a book of bible stories, so wonderful. What makes it funny is she would skip from story to story, making for one very interesting story of the bible. Here is how it went:

Her: 'Here is the angel and mary was scared of him. Mary loved joseph very much. Then they got married and went to beflaham. Then mary had baby Jesus in a stable. Oh look, isn't she (baby Jesus) so cute?! (The story of the birth of Jesus; Luke 1 & 2) And king herod was very ANGRY (shaking fists). Oh look this man has so many boo boos (the good samaritan; Luke 10:30-37). Then someone picked him up and took him to a hospital and gave the doctor money. And then Jesus walked and walked and walked and walked (on the water; Matthew 14:21-33). And oh no she's crying so much (referring to martha; John 11) And then mitchell, um who is this? (pointing to Peter)'.

Me: 'Peter'

Her: 'umm, mitchell. Okay so what is your name?'

Me: 'Loren'

Her: 'Okay Loren, now what is your um number? what is your birthday?'

Me: 'November 17th'

Her: 'Oh okay, who are your friends? What are they called?'

Me: 'umm, meredith? jaime? is that enough?'

Her: 'yes yes. now who is the leader?' (line leader? what does that mean?)

Me: 'uh. me.'

Her: 'OH you're the leader. Now what was your favorite part of the stories?'

Me: Proceeding to explain how I liked the way she told me about the man with the boo boos.

We turned out the lights and then I told her goodnight. She popped back up and said 'kiss! huggie!' She hugged and patted me for such a long time. And my heart just melted. and sank deep inside me. She hardly ever does that with me, she's very independent.

It completely made my night.

Just thought I would share it with you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

a little bit awkward, a little bit awesome

A while back I wrote this post but had never actually posted it. I saw little miss momma do this on her blog and thought 'how cute, I want to do that!'. So here it goes!


-having your niece, in the middle of reading the pokey little puppy ask you, 'where's (insert ex-boyfriend's name)?'............... 'uh....he's at school and working' 'Oh. I like him.'

-when that same niece is trying to use her manners so diligently, and responds to you with a 'YES SIR'.

-always somehow picking the crooked shopping cart.

-amidst a serious conversation about hair straighteners, your friend says, 'you can think this is gross, but if you get a used one off of Amazon, we can totally sanitize it. It would be fine.'

- knowing bloggers by name. and pictures.

-having to use a measuring tape, on the side of a very busy intersection, just because your best friend needed you to, and you said yes. twice.

-you're about to do yoga with a friend. the sign says that you need, 'mat, water and towel'. Then you're friend turns to you and says very seriously, 'are we going to get wet?!'

-a text that says, 'can I tell you something and not mean to sound like a creeper?'

-drum roll please:

SO AWKWARD, that I cannot keep it to myself.

I'm sure I'll regret it later.

Enough. Said.


-when you and your best friend can look at life in different ways, then look at each other and be even better friends because of it.

-when you and your two year old niece are supposed to be hiding in the closet during hide and seek, and then she smiles at you and covers her eyes and starts saying, 'one. two. three. six. nine. TEN.'

-getting accepted to Seminary solely by the grace and hand of God!

-when two friends become engaged to each other!!!

-when you can say nothing at all, and your friend knows exactly what you're 'saying'. lauren g.

-being able to have seriously good conversation with your mom until the wee hours of night.

-amazing doctors.

-an amazing God.

Friday, December 3, 2010

opened doors.

I would say about every 15 minutes of my day, a rush of reality hits me and I can do nothing but shake my head and praise the God who directs my path and opens doors unimaginable.

Get ready. This one is going to be long.

I know I've been saying this over and over the past week but so many good and unbelievable things have happened lately that I can hardly breath. I'm serious. Would you like to hear?!

Sometimes I try not to spill every ounce of my life to you via this blog....I don't know why, I just don't. But I do, however, need to try to be as transparent as possible. Which means that requires me to let you in on life and to be honest about it. So today's is super transparent and will touch on two things that go hand in hand. kind of.

The past several months I have slowly grown through the struggle of having the courage to simply apply to grad school. So often I let fear grab ahold of me and then lose opportunities to live life courageously. In this part of life, fear creeped up slowly almost without me realizing until one day, floating in the middle of a lake, my dear friend Christi gave it to me straight. She told me to quit letting fear control my decisions and that I needed to put forth all my efforts in my applications and just do it. It didn't hurt that she is a recruiter and works in admissions for one of the schools I was applying to.

So a little while after that, okay quite a while after, I finished them. During and before this whole process began, my family kept asking my thoughts on applying to seminary. And to be perfectly honest, my tendency would be to automatically dismiss the idea simply because I knew I there was no way I would be capable to do well in such a place. I absolutely loved the idea of going to seminary, but it was just that to me, an idea. So as I was looking into different schools, making phone calls, and learning more about the programs, one school began to fill my 'schools of interest cup', if you will, not allowing any room for any other school. Interesting how that happens. I can say with complete confidence that the ONLY way I would ever get into graduate school is by the grace and hand of God, not by my self. And boy did He show his might. I got a phone call the day before Thanksgiving and they accepted me. To say that I cried is an understatement. I couldn't breath.

But there's more that's involved with this than one would think. You have to read, a lot. Not that I wasn't expecting that, its a give-in. But I have a small problem with it, I can't really do that (which now makes me sound like I never past a first grade reading level). I can read, of course, but I can only do it for 20, maybe 30 minutes at a time. I sound like a snot, don't I. Gosh. Its hard to explain but my eyes basically read the same line of words on a page at two different positions, one eye sees the line a little bit above the other. Which makes reading really annoying. And that's just one part of life that is frustrating to do. Anyways this past year has been a huge struggle. One that I haven't really expressed outwardly very much. If you'd like to read a fairly detailed explanation of this struggle so that this blog post doesn't have to be a novel, just click here.

I have what's called Duane Syndrome, which is where the nerve endings are not connected to the left muscles in my left eye, which causes me to see double quite often and doesn't allow my left eye to look to the left, which is something I've always had and have learned to be okay with. After a surgery in December, to correct my straight ahead vision, it resulted in some unwanted and limiting effects. Now, I still can't look to the left which was expected, obviously (there's no way to fix that), and I cannot look to the right or down without seeing double. This limits my vision tremendously. Like a lot. This gets really frustrating and painful, to say the least. And unlike other parts of your body, one cannot just stop using one's eyes. So it is constant, except when I'm sleeping, thank goodness.

Okay so maybe I will give you details.

I need to pause and say that this has been such a big part of my life always, and an even bigger part for this past year and I have such a hard time talking about it but I cannot keep it to myself any longer. After having a fantastic and world renowned Ophthalmologist my entire life, he sent me to see two equally wonderful Ophthalmologists (try spelling that one in your head. I googled it), one at Duke and one at John's-Hopkins. I recently got back from my doctors appointment in Baltimore on Thursday and it leaves me in awe. The doctor himself was wonderfully kind and examined my eyes 1500 different ways (don't worry, I bought myself a snickers afterwards). Just the fact that I had the opportunity to see these men is a blessing in itself. He explained what he could do surgically and that he would be doing the surgery himself. He just happens to be the Chief of surgery for the Wilmer eye clinic at Johns-Hopkins and from a family of all Harvard doctors, all TEN of them. I literally don't understand how that is possible, but wow. So then we went up to see Barbara, the lady who schedules his surgeries. After the other lady in training spilled coffee all over the desk, they told me that he happened to had an opening for NEXT WEEK.

It took me five months just to get an appointment with him. five months.

So this is unheard of and completely amazing. My mom and I were in shock, and after picking up our jaws off the floor, we went back to our hotel to think on it. This decision is ultimitely mine to make, obviously I'm an adult and its my eye after all. But after feeling so comfortable with this recent doctor, I decided to go with the surgery for next week. I don't know if you realize how AMAZING this is. I literally will have just enough time to prep for the surgery, fly back, and heal up completely before starting Seminary in January. Talk about God's provision and utterly perfect timing. Like my mother said earlier today, 'talk about your cup running over...ours is running off the table and out the front door'.

Have you figured out how the two of these subjects meet together?!

This gives me the opportunity to fix my eyes a little bit better so that I can also hopefully read! I am sinful inside and out on a daily basis, and the fact that the God of this universe wants to care for my teeny tiny life in such a way is mind boggling. It makes me loose my breath. And ifanyone cannot see the way in which God is ever present in my time of need and faithful beyond anything I could ever imagine, is clearly choosing to be blind to it. He loves us so much and cares for us so deeply. Of course, sometimes its hard for us feeble beings to really see that in our lives, but then again we can only see passed the end of our nose. And like I said before, I'm pretty sure God can see the entire plan. The plan HE created to work in perfect harmony and for our good (Jeremiah 29:11).

I honestly don't think that God would provide a way for me to pursue such a thing as a master's without providing ways to even the seemingly impossible. I know that God will equip me fully to be able to pursue this next part of my life. And you know what, even if I couldn't have the surgery until later or at all, I am completely confident that God would make a way for me to read. Even if it was a ridiculous amount. I know He would. Gosh, I wish I could express the desperation of my voice as I type this because I feel this barely expresses my heart. But thank you Jesus for italics and CAPS.

God has opened up so many doors, even in just these past seven days. Now you know why every 15 minutes I have to take a deep breath because I'm overwhelmed with joy and shock.

Let me reiterate, even if I couldn't have the surgery until later or at all, I am completely confident that God would make a way for me to read. I know He would.

Just like it says in the song that played when you first got here:

when the world has fallen out from under me
I'll be found in you, still standing
when the sky rolls up and mountains fall on their knees
when time and space are through
I'll be found in you.

You make all things new.

He most certainly makes all things new. He makes me new. He gives me feet to stand firmly on and eyes to see. And I am so thankful for that. So, like I said the other day, with a trusting and hopeful heart, I think I'll be okay.

I received an email earlier today from a sweet woman, dear to my heart, and she encouraged me with this verse and it has stuck with me tonight:

Isaiah 55:12 (The Message)

So you'll go out in joy, you'll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause.

All glory, honor, power is HIS.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Here is a snippet of some things that are just oozing with inspiration.

Um. Can this be my mantle? If I had a mantle.

oh I think I might pass out because of how so darn cute this is.

I mean really, who would have thought to do something so neat.
I am especially loving the couch pillows. Talk about color.

a fixie.


Such a neat idea to liven up a glass jar.

I've just come into possession of a handful of them so this is helpful!

love me some acorns.
love me some wreaths.
love me some spray paint in a pretty blue color.

I wish we had some trees with leaves like this in Texas.
Texas is kind of big, so maybe we do.

This blog is FULL of lovely wedding pics and them some. I absolutely love this wedding album on their blog.

And who doesn't love a good umbrella.

This week's song is shadowfeet by brook fraser. I love her voice and the heart of her words.


If you haven't yet clicked on the links below each picture, you're missing out. big time.
So I suggest you do so right now :)

(only if you want to. no pressure.)