Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Do You Smell Something Burning?

Yoo hoo...anybody out there? Y'all! I am so sorry I haven't posted in forever. I know you are so dedicated to checking this blog each and every day, multiple times a day only to be left with nothing, but today's your lucky day...I have updated the blog. You may want to know what I have been doing for the last two weeks, but that will have to wait because the craziest thing happened at work today and I have to tell you all about it. This story involves my office, a sweater, a space heater, a raging fire few small flames, lots of smoke, water, and a lot of laughs, so here goes...

So the day starts off as usual...I get to work at 9, Diet Dr. Pepper (DDP) in hand (yes, I drink DDP every morning. If I don't, it's bound to be a terrible day), and ready to take over the world. I am doing my normal morning tasks, checking email, making a to do list, yadda yadda. It gets to be about 10:00 and one of my co-workers, Cris, goes into Donna's office for a meeting. No biggie, just a typical meeting. So I'm up grabbing some files from the cabinets around the corner, and when I walk out of my office I smell something burning. Naturally, I check the kitchen to see if somebody left something in the oven or microwave for too long, but there was no sign of anything burning so I head back to my office, file in hand, and get back to work. I sit down in my office for a few seconds but I am still distracted by the smell of something burning so I ask Laura across the hall if she smells anything. No...she didn't, but at this point I KNOW that something is burning somewhere. I start to investigate the front office...nope...all clear. The kitchen problems there. My office (just in case I missed something) sign of anything there. Next stop, Cris' office....ding ding ding...sound the alarm, we have ourselves a raging fire  tiny fire, with no major flames, and a lot of smoke. Turns out that the sweater that Cris had draped over the back of her chair had gotten in a slight argument with the space heater that was scooted up close to Cris' chair to keep her feet nice and toasty, and that was the perfect equation for a raging fire tiny fire, with no major flames and a lot of smoke. Of course panic mode ensues and my thought process is running a mile a minute... Think Lauren, what do you do? Call 911? Stop, drop, and roll? No,'re not on fire, the sweater is. I finally come to my senses, grab the sweater, bound down the stairs, open the front door and dramatically throw the sweater out onto the sidewalk in front of our office, bound back up the stairs, grab a water bottle, bound back down the stairs and out the front door to extinguish the raging fire, small flames that are Cris' sweater. Lauren saves the day!!  

One slight you may remember from one of my previous posts, we are currently being audited and my first experience with the auditors was not the most professional. Well, low and behold the auditors had front row seats to all the action as they're currently stationed in the downstairs conference room with glass doors. Needless to say, they think I'm crazy, and they will probably suggest that I am not an adequate employee and that I be checked for psychological disorders at the end of their audit. But without me, Enough is Enough would be nothing put a pile of ashes on the sidewalk as a result of the raging fire tiny fire, with no major flames and a lot of smoke that nobody was brave enough to extinguish...I'm a hero...right?? Thankfully the auditors think I'm funny. At least I think that they think that I'm funny. They probably think that I'm a crazy lunatic, but who are they to judge?

 All in all the raging fire tiny fire, with no major flames and lot of smoke turned out to be a huge laughing fest and the highlight of the week at Enough is Enough for sure!

Who says work isn't exciting?

Shining brightly, 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy 80th Granddaddy!

The sweetest, smartest, wisest, funniest, handsomest :), man with the most loving, giving, caring, tender, compassionate, and Clemson Tiger loving heart on God's great Earth is 80 today!

Wishing Granddaddy the happiest of birthdays today and praying for many more to come!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

September's Best

Something I hope to do with this blog each month is to do a monthly review. I will reflect on the month and throw together a post with words, pictures, and memories highlighting my favorite parts. Instead of giving you a long and drawn out recap of my every waking moment, I'll just pop off some words, thoughts, pictures, and memories and leave the rest to your imagination. Enjoy!

September 2010

Praise. Fun. Change. Newness. Laughter. Stories. Memories. Guys. Gals. Truth. Reading. Learning. Adventure. DC. Explore. Opportunity. Experience. Church. Crossroads. Girls. Openness. Answers. Love. Home. Clemson. Football. Friends. Worship. Fellows. Family. Thanksgiving. Praise.

One of my favorite spots in DC

The Falls Church Fellows. Our first week together :)

Flight 93 Memorial. September 11, 2010

Griffin's Birthday cake! Made with love by Elisa, Becca, Kristin, Katherine, and Moi.

6th grade small group leaders! 6th Grade! Livin' the Dream! Yes...sometimes we act like 6th graders.

Elisa and me. Love this girl.

Ryan, Chris, and Griffin hangin' around in Annapolis. 

The Fellows do Annapolis

Picnic on the Mall. 

Fellows (minus Becca)

Go Tigers!

My favorite part of the zoo! This Lion was FIERCE!

As I reflect on this past month SO MANY words, thoughts, ideas, and memories fill my mind. It's hard to highlight the best, but I hope you've gotten a good taste of my September. I can't wait to see what God has planned for October! 
Happy Fall, Y'all!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purfies us from all sin.-- 1 John 1:7

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, sweet moooommmm!
Happy Birthday, to you!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bottoms Up

Picture this...

Yesterday morning at about 10:30 I had just gotten back from running a quick errand for work. I get out of the car, leave the car running, lock the car, and close the door. The second the car door slams shut, I realize that I have just locked my keys inside my running car with all the things that we need for work inside, and on top of it all the auditors are supposed to arrive for their entrance meeting at EIE in a matter of minutes. Great. Just freaking great. Side-note: This is the second time I've locked my keys in my running car this week. The other time was on Monday and it was in much more laid back circumstances. Anyway...from my previous experience with locking my keys inside my running vehicle I have learned that my car has a safety feature, that makes my trunk stay unlocked if the car is running. At least I think it's a safety feature. It might just be some weird glitch that the Jeep has taken on in its old age, but that's irrelevant. So, in order to get my keys, turn the car off, and retrieve the work stuff I am left with no other option but to crawl through the trunk, over the backseat, into the front seat to take the keys out of the ignition and go on with my day like none of this ever happened. No biggie, right? WRONG! Wouldn't you know that no more than 10 seconds after I have started crawling head-first through my car a man walks up, sticks his head, in my trunk, and asks if I'm OK, and if I need any help. With my top half in the backseat, my bottom in the air, and my feet in the trunk I turn around and explain what has just happened. Needless to say he laughs and gives me the "What an idiot" look. Again, great, just freaking great. My dignity and pride had just been crushed by a complete and total stranger. Well come to find out, this complete and total stranger happens to be our auditor and will be spending the rest of the day,week, and maybe even month downstairs in the conference room of our office. Gotta love a good first impression!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

She just keeps going and going and going...

Hi Ho Neighbors!

I hope all is well with all of you! I just want to give you a short (this is not my strong point in writing so bare with me) synopsis of my life for the past two weeks. 

It all started Friday, September 3. The cars were packed. Mom and Grandmother mom's car, and Granddaddy and myself in mine. You can imagine how the ride was with Granddaddy...minimal talking from my side and lots of listening. Listening to everything from sermons, to classical music, to war stories from Granddaddy's days in Korea as a Korean War Veteran. I don't know how, but he seems to remember EVERY SINGLE DETAIL. Needless to say, it was a loooooong trip. We arrived Friday night in Falls Church, VA and had a wonderful last weekend together as a family. Saturday we toured around DC and listened to more of Granddaddy's detail-packed stories of his days in training at Fort Belvoir which is in Northern Virginia, not far from DC. Sunday we attended church at The Falls Church (TFC) where I am doing my fellowship, then moved in with my host family, and then toured Arlington National Cemetery. I couldn't have asked for a better "last weekend" with my family! We had perfect weather, perfect accommodations, and an all together perfect weekend. 

Mom and me looking out from the Lincoln Monument over the Reflection Pool

Washington Monument

Mom and me at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
For those of you who don't know or are still confused about The Fellows Program, I'll give you a brief rundown of a week in the life:

Monday: 9:30-2:00 -- Seminar Class with Art Lindsley (Check him out. He has several books and is BRILLIANT)
               5:30-9:30-- Round table Dinner with Morna, our supervisor, and the other Fellows.
Tuesday-Thursday: 9:00-6:00 -- Work at Enough is Enough
Tuesday: 7:30 -- Youth Family Dinner at TFC -- This is when all the Fellows, Youth Staff, and Youth Volunteers meet to have a weekly meeting about what's going on with Youth at TFC the upcoming week. 
Friday: 8:00-10:00 -- Bible Study -- We're studying the Old Testament
            10:00-12:00-- Seminar -- Guest speakers come in and talk to us about various topics
Saturday: Day of rest...kind of. Usually these days are supposed to be free days, but there's always something going on so they don't really count.
Sunday: 9:00- Tune Up -- Sunday School for Middle Schoolers (Grades 6-8)
             11:00- Church
             4:30-7:00- Crossroads -- A fancy name for middle school youth group. But this is not just your ordinary youth group, this youth group has somewhere in the ballpark of 200 kids just in grades 6, 7, and 8 . The kids all come together for a bit of a social hour and dinner, then Jim Byrne (our AWESOME youth pastor)  does a large group program, and then we split into small groups of about 12-15 people per group divided by grade and gender. I lead a small group of 6th grade girls which so far has been a complete and total blessing. More on that in a later post.

Whew--hectic week. I also left out a lot because my week is never ever the same as the last one, but I'll keep ya posted as this blog continues :)

Ok, so back to the fun stuff....

So I moved in with my host family, The Kreykes' on Sunday and spent my first night with them on Monday, September 6 (Labor Day). They are such an awesome host family. As you can imagine, it's not easy to just up and move in with a family that are complete and total strangers, but I couldn't have asked for a better host family situation. Jon and Shelly are my host parents and they're great. Shelly is so sweet, she puts notes in my lunch bag when I take my lunch to class or work! If that doesn't brighten your day, I don't know what will. My two host sisters are Miriam and Janelle. M is a Sophomore in high school, and J is a senior. They're great girls who love each other, their family, and the Lord. The Kreykes' also have a brother/son, Daniel, but he's away at school in Brevard. There's no way he'll recognize his room (the one that I've taken as my own) when he comes back for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
The Kreykes Family
On Wednesday of that week I FINALLY after months of anticipation got to meet the 11 other Fellows that I'll be working and growing with over the next 9 months. Kristen, Becca, Elisa, Katherine, Ryan W., Ryan Z., Ben, Tim, Griffin, Greg, and Chris are their names and they are sooo cool. We went to Middleofnowhere, Pennsylvania on a retreat to a camp called Summer's Best Two Weeks (SB2W) and it was AWESOME. I know I'm using that word a lot but I'm too tired to think of other words for 'awesome' at the moment. Sorry. Anyway, back to SB2W. We all met in the church parking lot, had a quick orientation and tour of the church, and then hit the highway for a 4 hour road trip to Middleofnowhere, Pennsylvania. What better way to get to know people than on a road trip, and yes, we were in a church van. Our retreat consisted of a lot of things, the most notable being a high ropes course, a zip line over the lake, canoeing, tubing, ultimate frisbee (I was never a fan until this retreat), some other weird game that I can't remember the name of but it was REALLY fun, and star-tripping. If you've never heard of star-tripping, you need to learn. I won't explain now, but remind me later and I will. Amidst all the fun and games were also some very serious times of orientation, learning, discussion, relationship building and most importantly sharing our testimonies. Through everyone sharing his or her story we were all able to make some sort of connection and most importantly learn about each other and our walks with Christ. Again, it was AWESOME! We all joke that we're only friends now because of the "forced intimacy" that we underwent, but hey, it totally worked. I feel like I've known these guys for waaaaay longer than 2 weeks and I see nothing but brightness ahead in our future together. A bunch of warm hearts, open eyes, and Christ-centered minds all coming together. Can't beat that!

Top Row from L to R: Chris, Tim, Ryan Z, Ben, Greg, Ryan W, Griffin, Becca
Bottom Row from L to R: Kirstin, Elisa, Katherine, Me, Morna

We left SB2W on Saturday, September 11 and on the way home we had the most AWESOME experience. We stopped at the sight where Flight 93 had crashed 9 years before. Every year, Morna (our coordinator) takes the Fellows there on the way home from SB2W, but this year was special because we were actually there on 9/11. Unbeknown to us we were in for a great surprise. Laura Bush and Michelle Obama were there for a ceremony commemorating the heroes of 9/11 and Flight 93. Trembling, humbling, sacred, and awe-inspiring are only a few adjectives that describe the atmosphere of the Flight 93 crash site that morning. Again, I am blessed. 

This is the Flight 93 Crash Spot. You can barely see it,
but in the distance there's a little American flag marking the exact spot. 
When we got back from SB2W we had a couple hours apart and then reunited for a host family dinner where all the host families, host brothers and sisters, and fellows came together to meet each other. Imagine 12 different families, some with 2 kids, some with 5 kids, and 12 22-year-olds, all in one house, all at one time. It was loco!

Sunday was again, AWESOME. It was the first time we attended TFC as fellows! We were called up to the front of the sanctuary and introduced like celebrities. All eyes on us and this is no small church! People smiling and clapping and welcoming us with open arms. Also, just to give you an idea of the dynamic of the Fellows and the church, it's kind of weird. The Fellows are kind of distinguished, if I don't say so myself. Sidenote: I plan on milking this status for all it's worth. Who knows the next time I'll ever be considered distinguished. But seriously, it's a real honor and privilege to be a Fellow and I am so thankful that I am blessed with this opportunity!! Everyone at the church knows who the Fellows are and we get lots of special attention even when special attention isn't necessary. TFC community guessed it...AWESOME!

Ok, so Monday was cool, I don't really remember what we did...but I'm sure it was great!

Tuesday, was sooo great. So great that it deserves it's own post. I'll post later about this day, but stay tuned cause it's AWESOME!

On to my first week of work. I'm working at a non-profit called Enough is Enough (EIE) that advocates internet safety for kids, and fights against serious issues such as online predators, pedophiles, stalkers, and child pornography. My first week was kind of hectic, but good hectic! I was able to dive head-first into the working world. What better way to do it? So as it turns out, EIE is incredibly short-staffed. That's a problem. The even bigger problem is that EIE is short-staffed and they're undergoing an audit! YIKES! Yeah...I didn't know what an audit was either. Let me explain...Pretty much EIE gets grants from outside organizations. the Department of Justice (DOJ) granted EIE some money, and now they are auditing the grant to make sure that EIE is being responsible and spending the money wisely and is not a fraudulent company. Anyways, an audit takes a lot of preparation, planning, and organization which is all fine and dandy until your head administrator goes on bed rest! Yeah, you heard me. The sweet lady, Lillian, who is coordinating this audit is having complications with her pregnancy and went on bed rest, THE DAY I GOT THERE. So lucky me, I took over her job until she comes back. Long-story short, I have no idea where anything is, or what anything means, or how to do anything, and I am now helping coordinate an audit. Lord, help me! So far I've gotten lots of positive feedback from Donna, the head honcho, and I feel really good about my job and the way it's going, but I'll sure be glad when this audit is OVER!

Oh yeah..I just remembered what we did Monday. We had our first Apologetics class. I'll go into more detail later, but it was AWESOME!

This past weekend we had our Youth Staff retreat in Annapolis, MD. All the youth staff including, the Fellows, the high school and middle school staff, the youth pastor, and all the other volunteers went to Annapolis to have a beginning of the year kick off to discuss plans for the coming semester etc. etc. etc. The cool part is that Annapolis is the cutest town ever! Little shops, restaurants, cafes, delis, churches, and people everywhere and it's all on a harbor. So cool. You have to visit. We also got to walk around the Naval Academy which was beautiful! Loved it!
Kind of blurry but this is the altar of the Naval Academy Chapel.

Falls Church Fellows do Annapolis

Elisa and me chillin by the water.

These baskets of flowers were hanging from every lamp post along the streets of downtown Annapolis. Beautiful!

Harbor in Annapolis

We got back Saturday night, had a dance party in the church parking lot, and then went to watch the end of the Clemson-Auburn game. After watching a Clemson football game with me my friends all think I'm crazy. Rightfully so. I'm still bitter about the outcome but it is what it is. 

Ok, so that was a reaaallllllyyyy condensed version of everything I wanted to tell you. I left out about a kajillion, billion, zillion details, partly because I don't want to bore you, partly because I'm pooped, but at least you kind of get a picture of my life. Similarly to the Energizer bunny, it just keeps going, and going, and going...

Shining Brightly, 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Here Goes Nothing...

Hey Y'all!

Sooo, as you can see I've started a blog! I know, I know...some of you are thinking 'It's about dang time, Lauren.' Well girls, (and guys), today's your lucky day. Welcome to This Little Light of Mine!

For those of you who don't know, I've been thinking about starting this blog for months now. The good thing is, I finally gained enough confidence to actually get it going. The bad thing is it took me three months to finally commit to this blog. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm's been approximately a three-month-long decision process. So on that note, here goes nothing...

Ok, so here's what's up with this blog. It's me talking to y'all about whatever is going on in my life including, but not limited to, my thoughts, struggles, questions, day to day activities, and maybe even some little bits of random goodness. At this time in my life (any many of yours as well) a lot of things are changing. Location is changing, friends are changing, routines are changing, jobs are changing, and so much more. As much as I'd like to call everybody everyday and give them every detail of my every waking moment, there's just not enough time (sorry, Mom). Instead, I'll post whatever I find fun, exciting, entertaining, and pertinent on my blog and you can just check it out whenever your heart desires. This Little Light of Mine is meant to be totally informal and just a little place of my own on the World Wide Web to write and share my thoughts (whatever they may be) with y'all. My goal is to post at least every other day, but we'll see whether or not that really happens. I hope you'll bare with me as I continue to design and format the blog, and I hope you'll give me feedback on what you like and don't like, what you want to know and what you couldn't care less about, and also about what's going on in your life. This blog is meant for family and friends, but I hope if you feel so compelled you'll share with others as well!

As most of you know I've just moved up to the DC area to embark on an exciting new adventure as a Falls Church Fellow. I've been here for just about two weeks now (I think), and I have been so blessed to have already experienced so much awesomeness that I just can't wait to share so stay tuned.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Shining Brightly,