Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"To See Beauty"

This past Christmas I received my absolute favorite Christmas present of my entire life: a Canon Rebel XS. My first camera that's not just point and shoot. I'm definitely not a professional photographer or even close to it, but I've always enjoyed taking pictures.

For a while though, I wanted a really nice camera for one specific reason: to make simple, overlooked objects beautiful. To draw attention to them and bring out beautiful details in them that may always go unnoticed. I also wanted a camera that would enable me to capture moments of fun, pure joy, excitement, simplicity, and love, in the most exquisite way. I'm not exactly sure where this desire came from, but I knew I really wanted this.

Since I got my camera about 4 months ago, she (I named her Ella) rarely leaves my side. Since day 1, I took pictures of my family on Christmas morning, my older sister's dog (which may not be the cutest dog to the untrained eye :)), Christmas ornaments, coffee mugs, etc. I've taken her around campus and captured students sitting on benches, lightposts, sunsets, holding hands...

While I am fully aware that I'm not the greatest photographer, taking these pictures has opened my eyes to so much. I feel as though we (especially as Christians) are constantly reminded of what a terrible and dark place the world is; and yes, at times it is. We are depraved human beings. Capturing moments though of a laughing baby, a student reading on a bench, or the changing fall leaves has just reminded me that God's creation is beautiful. He has created us "fearfully and wonderfully", and too often I forget to see and encourage that in others. It's reminded me to praise Him for creating beauty.

More so than reminding me of His beauty...I think of why I wanted a camera in the first place. To make simple, maybe not necessarily beautiful objects, appear beautiful and noticeable and radiant. I took a picture once of a plain, old rod iron fence...and with the right settings and editing, the fence looked gorgeous, unique, vintage, classy. I have so been reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes that says "He makes everything beautiful in His time". I think of how sinful, dirty, and unworthy we as humans are but how God's redemptive love for us washes us clean and makes us radiant. I think of how certain life circumstances can be so brutal, painful, and destructive but how God can make even those situations beautiful in His time.

"You make beautiful things,
You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make me new
You are making me new"

Saturday, November 21, 2009

There's more.

So, you'd probably think after I haven't posted anything for about a year that this post would be pretty epic. It's not though, just some simple thoughts :)

Although life is full of excitement and adventure, at times it also scares the heck of me. I was thinking today about where I will be when I'm 22 years old. (Hopefully) Graduated from Baylor with my degree in Fashion Merchandising. Either looking for or beginning my first real job in that field. Possibly married or moving in that direction. And who in the world knows what else. Even though all of that makes me really excited, thinking about the journey of getting there really freaks me out. Taking approximately 225-265 tests before then, making tons of difficult decisions, finding an internship, maintaining relationships during that time, making new friends, and seeing some friendships possibly fade away...seeing myself continue to grow and develop and change into the woman God has created me to be...Yeah, the thought of living out the next 3 or 4 years is a little overwhelming to me.

So, at first I thought the solution to this would be "take things a day at a time. Live in the moment." But to be quite honest with you, even making that my focus can be stressful at times. Thinking about the tests I'll need to be studying for, projects to turn in, difficult situations with friends or family...and then it hit me!

Life really is scary, overwhelming, stressful, intimidating at times when our focus is "live in the moment," because sometimes that moment is a really tough one. Even though I think there's some truth behind that statement..Live outside the moment! Live above the moment. Live outside yourselves. When we approach life, the day, the hour, with the mindset of "I'm going to expand God's Kingdom today by showing others his love,"...that's a whole lot less intimidating or stressful. It brings hope and joy because we're not living "day to day," test to test, to-do list to to-do list.

Approach life as a son or daughter of the King who has been called to live a life of love. Approach the day with God's Kingdom in mind...and in the mean time, you'll take tests and pull all-nighters and deal with people and walk through tough times...but you won't be living in that moment. You'll be living above it and for a greater purpose. Choose not to be intimidated or overwhelmed...for "God did not give us a spirit of fear." He is my hope.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"...While I am unaware"

The video I posted a link to right there is a Rob Bell video called Rain. It's a little over 10 minutes long, but I strongly encourage you to watch it because I think it's really powerful...and that's what this post is going to be about.

[And before you go on reading...let me just say..this post might feel a little heavier than my other ones but I just want to reassure you, I can't remember the last time I have felt this much joy and peace and thankfulness!]

I think sometimes when I feel like I am in the middle of a "storm," I subconsciously gain this false impression of God. I begin to think, "Right now this time in my life feels tough. So I think God is tough." I (again, subconsciously) picture Him in heaven, sitting on His throne with His arms crossed just watching me cry out, but not actually listening. I begin to doubt the validity of the verses that say something like "If you cry out to me, I will hear you." I gain the mentality that I have to do things all on my own because God is the one causing the "storm." He is completely unmoved and unaffected by how I am feeling or what I am going through.

After watching this video though...It allowed me to see two things: 1) That I subconsciously gain a mentality at times that God doesn't care or doesn't want to help. I don't think I realized I had thought that way before until this mentality was so proven wrong in what Rob said. and 2) I was so reminded of just how much He does care. Just how much He does love me. I loved what Rob said about it being interesting to think of the storm from Trace's perspective. The storm was all he could see, it was all he knew. He was not thinking about how they could get home or the journey of getting there. He wasn't even thinking about how his dad was carrying him. All he knew was that it was pouring on him and he didn't like it. The wind, thunder, and lightning were scary. All he could see was where he was at that moment and that a storm. All the while, his dad (Rob) was carrying him home. He knew the way true. That brings me so much peace.

I have really been into blogging since I was about 12 or 13. This blog site is new but before this I had myspace which I made posts on and before myspace..xanga. I've always enjoyed writing but really really enjoy looking at other people's sites. There are a few blogging sites on xanga with photography and graphics that I really like looking at. This one girl's in particular that I was looking at today...really drew me in. I looked at for probably an hour. Not because I necessarily liked her photography or graphics at all but...her site represented so much hurt and insecurity in the world to me. She had a few pictures on there representing the things girls resort to as a result of being insecure. She had quotes on there about no one loving her. Broken hearts. Disappointing people and people disappointing her. And then she had pictures of scales, measuring tapes, girls by toilets...It completely broke my heart and tore me apart.

It broke my heart to see some girl I don't even know just struggling in life and feeling so much hurt and pain and insecurity. I looked at this girl's site only minutes after watching the Rob Bell video...and it made me realize in such a powerful sad God must be to watch us struggle. To watch us go through "storms," to see us crying. Because we're not just some random girl on xanga...I am His baby. After watching that video, and looking at this girl's site...I could feel God clutching me so tightly against His chest. I am His baby, and He is my dad...carrying me.

"...There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way until you reached this place." - Deuteronomy 1:31

I am so amazed at His love for me! So amazed, so thankful. And that video today reminded me of how He truly does carry me. He turns around, puts my hood over my head, even when I might take it off, and walks me through the storm...both when I realize that He's there, and when I don't realize it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What is the "power of peace"?

Around my junior year in high school, I started looking for a peace sign necklace. I wanted one so badly. Peace sign necklaces aren't hard to find because, obviously, peace is so popular these days. But I didn't want just ANY peace sign necklace, I had this exact, specific one in my mind that I wanted. A few months ago, my mom found one and out of no where, bought it for me and gave it to me as a surprise! It was so great. I love it and wear it all the time. I love that necklace, or like the peace sign in general a) because it's trendy right now, I guess and b) peace is just so vital in my everyday life. I love looking at that necklace and being reminded of that.

Earlier this semester we had this project in humanities where we were supposed to construct a 3D or 2D object. A collage, a poster board, just had to represent who we were and what we stood for. If I'm remembering correctly, every girl in my class had at LEAST one picture or object on her board of peace or something of that nature. I'm sure you haven't failed to notice that over the past 3 or 4 or 5 years now, people are obsessed with peace! Especially young people. Girls in my class giving their presentations were saying "I love peace, I'm all about peace. I'm kind of a hippie." Hippies are no longer a thing of the 70's. But when we think hippie, other things come to our mind other than peace and love. There is a stigma of drug abuse attached to the hippies, specifically the use and abuse of marijuana. So when and how did peace and love and hippies all of the sudden become a trend or fashion statement!? I am so baffled by this.

I think I am especially baffled by this for two reasons: 1) I myself have a peace sign necklace! I like it! and 2) You would think with everyone being obsessed with this idea of free love and peace....our individual lives would reflect that, or this generation as a whole would reflect young people living peaceful and loving lives. And for some reason, I don't really think that's what this generation is known for.

Not necessarily this generation specifically, but I think America as a whole is known for being busy. Workaholics. Soccer moms of one too many soccer players. Not sleeping enough because of stress. This generation specifically (or more, high school and junior high girls because that's typically where this love of peace and love is coming from) have a stigma attached to them of being gossipy, or back-biting, or just..far from being known as peace makers. Speaking for myself as a fan of the peace sign, my life right now I think looks far from peaceful or restful!

I just find this whole "love is the movement," and "the power of peace" revolution to be a bit ironic because you'd think with how much of a trend it's become, people's lives would just be EXPLODING with peace and love. And not that in order to be a fan of peace and love you have to EXEMPLIFY both of those qualities perfectly all the time, but 
I mean...the hippies were a fan of peace because they were opposing the war that was going on. I don't think that's where this fashion statement is coming from today.

So why peace? Why aren't people saying they love patience or selflessness...? Obviously, I have a peace sign necklace and peace background on my I'm far from hating on this movement. Just so intrigued by it!   

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The leaves are changing

So, it is currently 8:24 pm as I am starting this post. I have a 6 page essay due tomorrow that is my English midterm grade...and I have written the intro paragraph for it. So I figured, whether or not I write this blog...I'm going to be up super late. So what the heck! Lets make a new post.

Let me give you the low down on Lauren's day today. Class from 10-2:15, tutoring, short meeting with Hollister, meeting a new babysitting family, ate dinner with Katelyn, and got home tonight around 7:00ish. Throughout the day though...driving to class, sitting in my carrel at the library, walking to Hollister from my parking spot a mile away...I was noticing the trees. I took 3 or 4 pictures of them today because they just look beautiful. The leaves are changing colors, and falling off the trees..I love fall.

Tonight me and Katelyn went to Subway for dinner. We didn't want to bring it home and eat it, but it was freezing in Subway so we didn't want to eat it in there either. I opened the back of my CRV and we ate in the parking lot out of the trunk of my car. Katelyn talked with me about her day and how she feels like her life is really stressful right now too...and at was hard for me to listen. My mind was so distracted thinking about work, school, blah blah blah. But I intentionally decided to push those thoughts away for that moment and just listen to her, just engage in what she was saying.

I don't have any deep spiritual truths behind all of this...but today I just realized, if you're not going to take the time to notice God changing the colors of the leaves, or sit in a parking lot and feel the cool evening air and watch busy people live busy lives, if you don't just sit there and genuinely listen to your little sister...then your day truly does just become about school, tutoring, babysitting, work, (insert your life activity here). At the end of the day, you lie in bed thinking about what you did that day....instead of the beauty in the day. Because there really can be beauty amidst just have to choose to find it and engage in it in order to have joy. Otherwise your days equal stress and insignificance no matter how many things you did that day.   

Monday, November 3, 2008

Well Well Well...

For the past month or so I have really enjoyed following some of my friend's blogs. I rarely leave comments though (even though you are able to leave comments without a blogging site) because I've always felt separate from the blogging world. But! That thought process is officially Because I now have my own personal blogging site :]

I never had a blog before now because I never liked the idea of posting things about myself for the entire world to read. But, I have come to really love the idea of sharing thoughts that I have throughout the day, or sharing certain videos or music that I've been into lately...with people, because I love reading/listening to/watching those things on other people's sites! I find it quite entertaining (it has almost become another device of procrastination for me) and intriguing. I also feel more connected with friends because of it...I love it.

There really is no telling how often I will keep up with this, but I would really like to. And I would love for you guys to follow my posts as well! So check back soon.