Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Looked in The Mirror

I had a very strange feeling day today.
I woke up and had my usual bagel with peanut butter, went to coffee bean to write, and then hung out with another friend at the theater. I hate mirrors. In the theater there's a room covered with them. Actually, now that I think about it, those shiny pieces of glass litter the backstage. Mirrors are truthful...brutally honest and they give me anxiety. All day, I felt a little unsettled with the way I looked. I had a picture in my head of what I looked like and I was unsure of how I felt about it. I've been attacked recently. No, really. I've been attacked hard core at every angle. This unsettled feeling is becoming pretty familiar. Needless to say, I didn't think too much about the mirrors.
This morning I woke up from a terrifying nightmare that left me feeling paralyzed. My friends have been going through fierce trials that have led them to do things not in their nature. I have been having some thoughts I thought would never return. It has been an incredibly difficult time. But why?
Well, as I came to the conclusion just now. Look at what I'm doing. I've given up something I absolutely love in order to benefit another life. I'm stepping outside of myself. I'm leaving my comfortable home to bring news about an entire nation in prison. The attacks are going to be insane! Oh and they have been, trust me, they have. It just makes sense that they would be.
Today, as I sat down to write this, I looked at the Love146 blog. I found victory there. love146.blogspot.com check it out. There is love in the round home. There are fears being conquered. There are smiles returning to these girls' faces. Is it because I've given up sugar to help them? I'd like to think so. Who knows. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Praise God who is powerful and mighty to save His beautiful sons and daughters. It helped to know that what we're doing, all of this heart ached and all of this caring is going somewhere. We're appreciated and all of our struggles are worth it. He is proud of us when we seriously live for Him.

When I got up and looked in the mirror today, I liked what I saw. I was happy with the girl that I saw. I was happy with the activist that stands for freedom and love. I am proud of who I have become...of who God has turned me into. I love my causes...even though they're more than causes. They're reality. I love reality and I love that I'm part of it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

LiNK


Yesterday was an extremely exciting day. Allow me to travel back a few months to tell you why.
A couple months ago I was ecstatic about a tour that I had the chance to apply for with TOMS shoes. TOMS is a shoe company that donates a pair of shoes to a child in need every time a pair is bought from their company. Pretty sweet right? Well, they have an internship called TOMS Vagabonds. They travel around the US selling TOMS shoes and running events called "Style Your Sole" which includes buying some plain TOMS and then decorating your heart out. Anyway (!), after slaving over the application, I got an email saying they had to regretfully cancel the tour due to some tiff with the manager.
While I was applying for the TOMS Vagabond tour, a friend of mine got me psyched on invisible children. Three film makers went to Africa to film a documentary. When they got there, they discovered the longest running war in African history. Whats worse is that there were children fighting this war. Joseph Kony kidnaps children and forces them to fight a terrible fight. Invisible Children works to stop that. I found that their Roadies were leaving for London in the fall and I was super stoked!! I applied immediately only to find out that I needed dual citizenship. Now feeling completely rejected, I remembered that we had also looked up a non profit organization called LiNK.
LiNK stands for "Liberty in North Korea". The first reaction I often get is "LAUREN YOU CANT GO TO NORTH KOREA!!" And I know that. Trust me, I know how dangerous it is. I've been researching it up to the wazoo! This fall I will be travelling with LiNK around the US to spread awareness about the human rights crisis in North Korea. There are people across the globe that are enslaved by their own government. They have seen none of the freedoms we so often take for granted here. LiNK stands out to me farther that Invisible Children or TOMS shoes. An entire NATION is imprisoned. That is out of control. And the worst part about it? Most of the world is unaware that it is even going on. I know I had no idea. I want to make a difference. I want to directly see a movement stirred in people's hearts. I want to see someone stand up for something that is unsettling to them. I want to see a revolution begin for people that have no voices. By going on the tour with LiNK, I'm able to put my words into action, to directly see what I've wanted to see for so long. I know its going to be hard sometimes, but its going to change me. Its going to grow me. Its going to challenge me and I'm ready to have the adventure of a lifetime!!

Here I come world!
Are you ready?

Father God, thank you so much for an amazing opportunity. I pray that amidst the hussle and excitement of going out into the nation, I dont lose sight of you. I pray that I dont lose sight of what you've planned for me to do. God, use me in incredible ways this fall. Help me to grow and to learn and inspire. Help me through all of the struggles and the times that I'll miss home. Help me to get along with my team. Teach me so much this fall! I love you so much and thank you thank you thank you for this amazing time. God I pray for North Korea. I pray for the people enslaved in its borders. God, break the political leaders. Break them and soften their hearts. Be in the borders. Cause a movement. Let us not be silent until we see true freedom in North Korea.
And Father, I pray for girls and boys enslaved in sex slavery. God, I pray for their mental state right now. I pray that their rooms are filled with light today. That they are filled with some supernatural hope that they can't explain. I pray that you break down the walls in their mind and that you bind the enemy from their thoughts. Hold them in your loving arms right now Father.
In Your Precious Name
Amen

Thursday, July 16, 2009

bran and birthdays

I have a thing for cereal. all the time. perhaps it roots back to my Dad giving it to me as a late night before bed time snack to fight hunger pangs as a child. Maybe the convenience of it plays in to my attraction to simple solutions. Whatever the reason, I love to eat cereal, all the time, pretty much anywhere, and definitely in a box...

Sugar is found in pretty much every cereal! I'm amazed and appalled to look at the nutrition side of the many boxes that grace my family's pantry to find that some of the most common culprits are corn-syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, etc. Who ever really thought plain cheerios, corn flakes, and bran cereal had added sugars? The first two weeks of sugar fasting were quite hard in this respect. Waking early, naturally opening the pantry to look for breakfast only to be rudely reminded of the sugar factor in cereal. Finally, one night while doing some family grocery shopping, I searched the boxes of every cereal I thought might be free of sugar and actually found hope! Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to my new friend...

Shredded Wheat!



The unfrosted version, thought not sweet in particular, still has that nice satisfying crunch I so adore. To make it sweeter, I just tossed a bowl of the cereal with some agave, added almond milk, and breakfast was definitely served!

Lauren and I were talking the other day about being tempted to eat sugar. Often, it begins with being in a public place where food is available. For example, she was tempted to eat a cupcake someone put in her face, I couldn't stop thinking about candy. Our first reactions have been to believe the item of temptation tastes like something we abhor eating (for Lauren it's watermelon, for me, lima beans) to cause a distaste for the item instead. Not enough? We go a step further: the children Love 146 and in underprivileged countries worldwide don't get to enjoy these things... so why do I need it? And this is just the beginning.

124 days to go.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

feelin leafy

Most of my friends understand that I have a love for tea. I LOVE tea. So much. All varieties. In fact, I believe I have only tasted one tea that I did not like (and I have tasted MANY a cup). Being a sort of foodie, I tend to venture to try new flavors and varieties all the time. Tonight however, I just wanted the simplicity of tea, English style, commonly done with a spot of milk and oodles of sugar cubes. This presents multiple problems of course, one of them being the sugar fast. Replaced easily with Agave, my next obstacle is milk. I developed lactose intolerance less than a year ago and and have been striving ever since to keep my life as normal as possible with any alternatives or replacements (short of the completely unnatural "equivalents") I can get my hands on. Almond milk has been my savior in terms of cereal and milkshakes, so I took almond milk and mixed in some agave, waited for my tea to steep, and added the sweetened milk mixture to my tea. Delightfully and somewhat surprisingly delicious.

Part of me feels like this fast is too easy to be true. I am amazed and bothered at how little I have been praying for Love 146 to my own embarrassment. I'm considering adding more specific restrictions for myself to propel the prayer factor, and yes, lots of prayer and consideration is necessary prior to that.

1 cup of loose leaf organic green tea
1 tbsp raw agave
1/3 c almond milk, fresh or store bought (long as it is unsweetened)

heat water for tea and steep tea leaves. while steeping, stir agave into milk.
remove tea leaves from tea. add sweetened milk to taste. feel free to have more than one cup :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

going against design

I don't know if anyone reading this blog (if anyone other than Lauren and myself actually do read this blog) knows me well enough to understand that I have a naturally logically driven, organized, left-brained personality. I tend to be goal oriented. In high-school, I sought to get the best grades so I could get into a good college. I performed as often as I could and got the best lessons in voice so I could audition well for the best Universities. I made certain I performed well in courses, even if they were general ed, so I could receive my Bachelor's degree with high standing and esteem from my fellow students and teachers. That is part of my nature, who I am.

This last year has been tough.

I moved back home from college to live with my parents while I, ya know the drill, reestablished myself financially so I could move out on my own. I thought it would take me a few months to get on my feet. It's been a year and two months since I've graduated, and I'm still living at my parents house, unable to financially support myself independently. I often feel humiliated that I still rely so much on my parents when I for so long was "doing things on my own". What an illusive existence I led, and the disappointment I have been feeling at the sense I have been failing lately has caused me to spiral into behaviors so... well... unlike me. I've been disorganized, not having any plans, and doing things based on how feel while ignoring everything my brain tells me... Who have I become???

After you graduate, there are few requirements placed in front of you, no instructors telling you what grade you need to pass, no student advisers helping you find a job, no "road to success" guide for you to follow to the T. Life after college is an open field, almost abysmal, that had no set goals before you. So what do you do? Well, you can do nothing, remain lazy, get frustrated (all of which I have done by the way) and then you come to an impasse... What are you going to do to get back the goal-minded life you so naturally and beautifully led, and enjoyed?!


This last year has had it's tough knocks, things that are too sentimental and boring to get into, but through it I have vacationed from my natural inclinations to keep order, method, goals alive in myself. I became lazy, listless, lethargic, all under the stamp of "I'm going through a lot" or "I'm so busy" and "The situations around me are causing to be stressed out". These statements, though they have all escaped from my lips and are all truthful statements, they are NOT reasons to stop doing the things that God instilled in me to do. I was created with the tendency to organize, to set goals, to create logical plans for success, and to not utilize these gifts now that I am aware of them is not only a sin against my creator, but against myself. There is a time for everything, including spur of the moment instances, rest, and even procrastination (I'll write another blog on this some time, just take my word for it ;), but God gave us free will to do the things he has called us to do and created us to be. It's time for me to set some goals.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

real friends

Not only are Hannah J and I blogging buddies, but we're real friends...in real life aside from this internet world. Last night we had a heart to heart because we are burdened people carrying around junk.
I'm pretty sure she won't mind me writing what she said...it was extremely encouraging and helped me through my junk last night.

First off, however, I'll tell you that I got a tattoo.
It means so much to me. I promise. I don't recommend getting one unless you have thought about it for about a year. I thought about mine for two. :]
Anyway, let me explain.
It's a cross because Christ loves me enough to die the most painful death a man could imagine. He died for ME. Thats an incredible thought.
It's a purple and white ribbon--purple is the color for eating disorder awareness, white for sex slavery (if you didn't know it, I'm an abolitionist of human trafficking). I chose to put it around the cross as a symbol of giving it up to God who is the only one that can conquer it.
The word is ushindi and possibly the best part of the tattoo. It means victory in swahili--a language i cant get enough of having been to Africa. I have victory over my eating disorder because Christ has died on the cross for me. It is because of His love that I have USHINDI over the struggle that almost claimed my life. Finally, it's on my head because my head is where ED comes from. He's a lie and he is completely in my thoughts. It didn't feel right to have the tattoo somewhere ED was not. My head just seemed right.
So there you have it. :]] I love it.

Back to Hannah J.
I was given the desire to save the world. What an intense desire! Hannah said "You were chosen to do a great thing. You were given the desire to save and that is a God-given desire that is HUGE!"
That hit me. Why wouldn't the enemy want to attack me? Why wouldn't he want to make sure that the world was not able to be saved or that the hero was knocked down? The world is his and he wants to do whatever he pleases with it which in turn takes innocent people for a ride! I want to say NO to that! He cannot take advantage of anyone. I won't stand for it. And it is for this very reason that he finds the inner most vulnerable parts of me to punch and kick and stab.
But God claims victory, God claims ushindi because His love and His will is perfect, far better than anything the enemy can attempt to do.
She said,"The enemy says 'Ah, your daughter Lauren, let's just see how tough she is. I'll test her.' And God says,' okay, because I know she will prevail. Go ahead. I'll show you how strong she is.' and that is why He allows you to go through some intense trials, because He knows you are ready to beat them." With God, I claim ushindi.
Lastly, she told me to use my sword. When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by the devil, He used His scripture. God's word is our weapon. I never really understood that until now. I always took it literally and imagined myself in the midst of a literal battle yelling out random verses. I get it now. There is a spiritual battle that is far greater than any physical battle and we have to use our words. Our swords are our words.

I'll probably write more on this later. My thoughts are still a little jumbled.
Have a wonderful fourth of july today. Stay safe.
Self control is a great virtue. :]