Category Archives: THINGS I LOVE

FOR NOW

This year hasn’t been a big journaling year for me. Part of that was my busy schedule, and some of it was me hiding from what I had to say. There’s been a lot of shifting and moving and readjusting that I’m still wrapping my mind around. And as we all know, it can be a lot easier to mask our feelings than it is to let the monster out.

My experience in LA this year was incredible. I was taking on bigger projects, moving forward with my writing, growing stronger in my relationships with friends, and most importantly, I finally had Morgan there with me for part of it. Los Angeles went from being a temporary address to a home. So, when it came time to say goodbye in June, I was devastated – not because I had to leave, but because I didn’t know when I’d be coming back.

Despite all the excitement and this newfound sense of familiarity I so longed to discover, I was battling something the entire duration of my stay. I felt like I was being called in a different direction, so I fought. I fought really hard.

And it made me miserable.

I realize now that I was miserable because I cannot control, nor can I foresee, the future. In my mind, this career path was a straight and narrow one: you focus on your job, train like crazy, keep convincing the casting directors that you’re only 22, and soon you’ll get your big break. Anything and EVERYTHING else gets eliminated. But here’s the problem… I was eliminating God, I was eliminating my husband’s needs, and I was pretending like that was ok.

A while back when I heard that the Rams were relocating to LA, I thought, Lord, here’s our chance to both get what we want. We can work in the same city, not have to spend months at a time apart, and everyone wins. I just need You to make it happen. It was a no-brainer. But it was also a no.

So I became mad again, and I stayed mad until we found out we were expecting a baby. It was the first time all year I took someone besides myself into serious consideration. We went home to tell our family + friends and made the announcement around 12 weeks. And for those first two to three months, I joined in on everyone else’s celebration for this precious baby until one day I found myself crying alone at home because I wasn’t in control anymore. The plans I had fought so hard to make for myself no longer looked the same, and I was scared.

God, how am I supposed to pull off both? There’s no way to give parenting and a career my full attention? Why did You bring me out here for the past three years if You knew all along I was going to have to take a step back? You know that’s not how this industry works. This isn’t a good stopping point for me. They’re all going to forget me…

And that’s when I felt Him laugh.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8

I wanted perfect timing, and I thought I knew what that was. Turns out, I was wrong. There is no time limit for God, and there is nothing He can’t make happen later on down the road. In my mind, the time for my career was now because that’s what society wants us to believe. The world teaches us, especially women, that giving up something we care about to start a family is weak. Well, it took a bit of time to figure this out, but it actually makes you strong. Submitting to God’s timing was difficult. Raising this child is going to be extremely difficult. And if in a few years God calls me back to LA, relocating a family is going to be ridiculously difficult. But perhaps He has allowed me these opportunities for something coming later. And I’m ok with the wait. Because right now, I have another job to do…

Right now there are tiny little arms and legs moving inside of me, reminding me that life is about to get really fun. God has graciously blessed us with a son that I get to love with all my heart for the rest of my life. I’m the one that gets to hold him in the middle of the night when he’s scared. I get to bandage him up when he plays too rough outside. When he wants to go watch his dad play football, I’ll be the one sitting next to him in the stands. And when he grows up and experiences hard times of his own, I’m the one that gets to tell him how much Jesus loves him and has amazing things planned for his life, too.

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16

I’m ashamed of the times that I let the fear of the unknown steal my joy. I shouldn’t have been scared. I should have trusted Him more. Our Father in Heaven has known this little boy for as long as He’s known me, it’s just that I came first. Now it’s his turn to enter the world, and I’m counting down the days until he’s finally here.

Only God knows what my future holds, and one day He’ll show me that all these experiences I’ve had weren’t for nothing. They were for something. But they’re not for right now. Now, it is time to be a mom. And I’ve never felt more blessed.

Lauren

#thingsadored

Photography by Sarah Culver

JORD WOOD WATCH

Well, as expected October flew by, and now the holidays are upon us. Pretty soon the hustle and bustle of the season will hit us along with the “Shoot, I haven’t gotten my shopping done yet!”

I’ve never been a big online shopper until recently. I don’t know exactly what I was doing with my life until now. Actually driving to the mall? LOL! Thankfully, we do have the wonderful web to help us out when the hustle and bustle gets too hard.

If you’re like me, it’s tough choosing a fun gift for each loved one year after year. Before too long, you’ve exhausted the sweaters and mugs and holiday inspired knick-knacks, and you’re looking for something new. Something exciting.

Look no further!

This Christmas, I invite you to check out JORD Wood Watches. These beautifully crafted watches are fresh, affordable, and add a fun new twist to any outfit.

JORD watches come in many different shades and styles making them a perfect fit for any shopper wanting to personalize their present. These timeless pieces are stunningly unique and very versatile. I’m able to dress mine up for a night out or dress it down while I’m working from home.

Up to this point, I haven’t had anything resembling a wood watch in my accessories, and I’m really enjoying this new piece.

There are countless things to brag on with these watches but instead of carrying on, I’m going to invite YOU to join my friends and me at JORD to enter for a chance to win a $75 e-gift card! And for those of you that are grumbling because ‘you never win anything’, every person that enters gets a $20 gift card just for signing up!

Trust me, you won’t want to miss out.

ENTER HERE for the gift code!

This will remain open until midnight on Dec. 18, 2016. The gift code expires Feb. 28, 2017.

 

Don’t miss out on this amazing holiday deal! Your family and friends will love it.

MEN’S Watches  //  WOMEN’S Watches  //  MY Watch

*This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.

RINGING IN 2016

Oh 2015, the year of new adventures.

It was interesting for sure. I became an aunt, booked a few jobs, lived alone for the first time, and drove drove drove til my tush was numb – all while spending 1/3 of the year away from my husband. It was rough. But it was a good rough.

I mean, let’s face it. No one’s year turned out like they would have envisioned. May it be good surprises or tire-popping potholes, we all encountered something unexpected, and the same thing will happen next year. The best thing we can do is be ready to face the giants of 2016 head-on while paying attention to the little details along the way.

Today has been entertaining though. It’s the last day of the year, and everyone is reflecting on what happened the last 365 days. I could join in by listing what I did, who I met, where I went, and how I changed, but I’ll spare you the gag sesh. I know what I’m proud of. I’ll keep it to myself. Instead, I’d like to share with you some things I learned + precautions I will take in 2016. Feel free to take notes.

Lessons from 2015

Your hair can and will get stuck in a blowdryer. I’m not the exception to the rule.

Not everyone loves my dog as much as I do.

Selfies are ok as long as you use a tripod.

Ticks are real. Very real.

75% of what comes out of my mouth at home is completely ignored by my husband. I’m ok with it.

You should keep your eyes open at all times while singing in the car.

It may take buying seven or eight lip stains to find the right shade. Oops.

Living alone is fun. It only takes 3 weeks to stop crying!

You won’t ‘literally die’ from giving up a TV show or two.

And lastly, it’s ok to touch other people’s pets and babies. Just ask first.

Goals for 2016

Go on more hikes.

Eat less bread and cheese. And tator tots. No more tator tots.

Try my best to actually use the 100 bottles of nail polish I own.

Get more than two haircuts a year.

Give gifts and compliments often.

Wear more sunscreen – not because I need to, but because apparently it’s healthy.

Say yes to everything. But not drugs. Don’t do drugs.

Take more pictures with Morgan. 

Give away more clothes. Give away, like, all my clothes.

Love everyone. With all that you have. No matter what.

I hope you all have a blessed New Year. Be safe. Have fun. Keep my lists for future reference.

Love,

Lauren

Photos by Anna Grace Photography

EXPLORE MORE

Welcome to Owings Mills, MD, the last place on earth you’d expect to wind up in a scene like this one. And believe me when I say that my mouth hit the floor when I stumbled upon this little corner of the earth. It’s incredible. I’ve visited this trail a few times lately, and I find myself thinking about it all the time.

It’s pet friendly, too!

As I get older, I find myself wanting more of this – more adventure, beauty, solitude, peacefulness, and reminders of God’s love. It’s places like these that cause me to think of how big the world is and how small I am. But it also shows us how much we’re loved.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?” Job 12:7-9

God is the only one responsible or capable of such beauty. It’s a beauty we should constantly seek and never stop giving thanks for.

So grab a friend and go exploring! You never know what you may find out there.

Jacket | Francesca’s

Sweater | H&M

Pants | Garage

Boots | Target

Hat | Under Armor

#thingsadored

CHRISTMAS ANTIQUES

I wandered the aisles looking for little trinkets to bring home and make my own. They were things that had been long forgotten by their original owners, but they were new to me. The Island of Misfit Toys had nothing on Sheffield Antiques. I had hit the jackpot and lost all self control.

If you’re old school like me, try wandering around an antique store near you for your next Christmas purchases. Macy’s is great, and Nordstrom has some really nice decorations, but nothing fills a home with Christmas cheer like the secrets hidden in an old ornament that once hung joyfully on someone else’s tree.

There are so many treasures to be found, but we always tend to draw to what’s shiny and new. Why not dust off that 1950’s Santa on aisle E that’s been waiting to cheer someone up for the past ten years? I think you’ll find he does a really great job.

#thingsadored

CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST

Happy Holiday | Bing Crosby

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear | Johnny Mathis

The Little Drummer Boy | Harry Simeone Chorale

Silent Night | Frank Sinatra

White Christmas | Dean Martin

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen | Perry Como

Jingle Bell Rock | Bobby Helms

All I Want For Christmas | Ray Charles

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas | Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters

O Little Town Of Bethlehem | Frank Sinatra

Away In A Manger | Bing Crosby

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree | Brenda Lee

Baby, It’s Cold Outside | Dean Martin

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas | Judy Garland

I’m old school. Mariah Carey and Glee Christmas can only last me so long before I revert back to the traditional songs I grew up on. I don’t know what it is about Bing and Perry that set my heart ablaze, but they really know how to make Christmas sound right.

I hope this playlist brings you joy this season. Grab some hot chocolate and your loved ones, and enjoy! And if you’re a Pandora listener, check out their Christmas Radio station. It’s full of the good ole stuff.

Merry Christmas

#thingsadored

OVERALLS

Summer is coming to an end, and I’ve been reflecting on a few things that made this summer so great. There were quite a few contributions, but one stuck out.

Sometimes the world does us a solid and brings wonderful things into our lives. Today, there’s something specific I want to thank it for. This particular piece I’ve loved since childhood, it’s gotten me through all phases of life. Devin Kelley agrees, “I grew up in the 90’s, so I’ve definitely resurrected many looks from my youth lately…” They’re dependable, practical, stylish… need I keep on? And yes, I’m talking about you, overalls.

Thomas A. Edison said it best, “I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap for the favor of the kings of the world.” There’s a good chance this was spoken in an alternate context, but no matter! I agree! A friend in overalls is a friend for life.

I recently purchased my favorite pair from Madewell. They cost a few months wages in some countries, but at the rate I wear them, I’ve justified that cost. Plus I had a giftcard.

But how do I pull off overalls? I don’t think they’re my thing.

Good news – overalls are no one’s thing and everyone’s thing. They are one of the only multifaceted articles of clothing in history. What other clothing item fits such a broad range of usability?

For some, they are a work uniform covered in dirt by the day’s end, for others they are a regular outfit to be worn with stripes, polka dots, V-necks, flip flops, and Keds. Then you’ve got Kimmy K and the Pretty Little Liars clique in leather versions that TOTALLY up the game.

In all seriousness, you can’t go wrong.

But I wouldn’t even know the correct time or place to wear them?

Don’t fear. We’ve got you covered there. The answer is e) All of the above.

Overalls are perfect for so many occasions – school, lunch dates, brisk afternoon walks, ice cream outings, jumping in front of random walls.. I mean, what don’t they go with?

Friends, countrymen, literally I’m talking to all of you – go buy a pair. And don’t worry about the cool girl in school that’s all “OMG she copied me.” That’s impossible. Overalls have been around way longer than any of us. They’re amazing. Don’t miss out.

#thingsadored

Photography by Anna Grace Paulovkin


Overalls | Madewell

White Top | Target

Striped Top | Madewell

Converse Shoes | Macy’s

THE REAL WORLD

“Welcome back to the real world!” That’s what I’ve gotten since I’ve been home.

Welcome back to reality.

First of all — ouch. That’s insulting. Second of all, why aren’t YOU embracing the adventure and whimsy and chance of Christ in your every day life! Where’s the spontaneity? Where’s the excitement!

God has not given me a structured life. This is my reality. I move around from here to there, doing this and that, not really knowing what comes next. I’ve been blessed with more than I could ever ask for, and one thing I know for sure is I don’t deserve it. But that’s the really cool thing about God. He gives us what we don’t deserve because He sees in us what we don’t see in ourselves. I didn’t go to LA thinking I was talented enough or strong enough or experienced enough for it. But God told me to go, so I said Yes. He told me to start a Bible study there, and I said Yes. He told me to go places I normally wouldn’t have gone, still I said Yes. He told me to write things I didn’t think I knew how to write about, and I said Yes. And something good came from every single challenge I accepted.

Sometimes when we aren’t happy with the way our life is going, it is either because we’re coveting what others have or missing out on the exciting things God is calling us to do. I just finished reading “Love Does” by Bob Goff, and that man is incredible. He’s a lawyer, but his office is on Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland. He got into law school only because he sat outside the dean’s office every single day. He stalked his wife until she decided to date him. He took a trip to Uganda with absolutely no plan, but ended up freeing children from prison and building schools. He took his kids on any vacation they wanted to for their 10th birthdays and found himself in London having a tea party. He helped a random guy that he’d never met before propose to his girlfriend. Plus so much more! And through doing all these crazy things, he was able to see the hand of God in every single challenge he embarked upon.

God is constantly sending us invitations to live, but we turn them down because they aren’t practical or logical or convenient. But you know, being on the other side of the country from Morgan for five months wasn’t convenient. Living by myself in a strange — and intimidating — city wasn’t practical. Continuing to share my love for Christ while being mocked for it isn’t logical. However, I was invited by God to take a journey that He planned, and I accepted.

So no, maybe this doesn’t look like the real world to you, and that’s ok. But it’s God that created this path. There’s no way I could have done this on my own. All glory and honor goes to Him. Yes, there were times I doubted my decision to move, but I also realized something:

When you’re living for Christ, it’s always the right choice to make.

I want you to think about what it is God may be calling you to do. If it seems scary, then you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t feel like the best timing, then His fingerprints are all over it. Life is full of wonder and mystery and adventure. There are so many things to see and experience, so many worlds we know nothing of. But God is the One who will take you there. He wants all of us to live a life of joy and passion, and when your life is centered around Him, there’s no way that it won’t be. Take risks, be afraid, say Yes to what you feel He’s calling you to do. Get yourself out of everyone else’s ‘reality’ and welcome in the unexpected and mysterious world of Christ.

#thingsadored


Photo taken by: Southern Fried Photography

RUN

Ok guys, spring has sprung, and you know what that means: GET OUTSIDE! This spring I want to challenge you to be outdoors as much as possible. Enjoy your neighborhood, a nearby park, find a new trail, and bask in the beauty of nature the Lord has blessed us with!

I want to tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lauren who was too lazy to run to the end of her driveway. The thought of running was quite appealing to me, and I enjoyed exercise, but you couldn’t pay me to run more than a mile. So, I did something crazy.

Knowing myself as well as I do, I knew I’d never become a runner if I wasn’t under immense pressure, so I signed up for a half marathon. Yes, that’s right: 13.1 miles. I googled ‘Beginner half marathon training’, chose a 16 week training schedule, and got to work. Now I’m not going to lie, I hated it. I don’t think I truly enjoyed running until months after the half was over. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right?!

Friends, I’m being serious when I say this: if I can run, YOU can run. You might be starting out at a 12 minute per mile pace in the beginning, but that’s ok! You can work your way up!

Here’s an easy beginner schedule for you to follow:

Week 1: Run 1 mile / 3 days

Week 2: Run 2 miles / 3 days

Week 3: Run 2 miles / 4 days

Week 4: Run 3 miles / 3 days

Week 5: Run 3 miles / 5 days

Week 6: Run 4 miles / 3 days

That should be enough to carry you into beach-bod season! Now, I have one more helpful suggestion, and you might laugh at how crazy it sounds, but I promise it has made a difference. I don’t listen to pump-you-up pop or hardcore rock while I’m running. It makes me go too fast, and I tire easily. Instead, I have a Pandora station that includes Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Dean Martin, etc. It’s relaxing, light-hearted, and can get you through the worst of miles. Throw in some worship songs and maybe a little Jimmy Buffet when it’s sunny and warm, and you’re all set! And of course, having my precious black lab running alongside me doesn’t hurt things either.

Hope you guys find this helpful. Now get out there and GO!

#thingsadored

Originally posted by The Simply Beloved