“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have.”
Do you find yourself constantly struggling to be satisfied? Do you continually look at what you do not have in your life right now? Do you focus where you are going or what you want to achieve more than expressing gratitude for what you have in the present moment?
Most of us find living in the present challenging. We want to be in a different place than we are right now. Lately, I have been dreaming about a new house. Seven years ago, I was blessed to purchase a bungalow built in 1945. There are things about our house that I love, but it is so easy to focus on the things that do not really work for me. We can only seat eight people for dinner party, and I love to entertain. The upstairs is twenty degrees hotter than the downstairs, all the time. Our kitchen is not Instagram worthy. But focusing on all the shortcomings of my home steals my joy. I am very grateful to have a place to live and enough money to pay the mortgage. I have “charm” in abundance in the bungalow. Our house provides a peaceful sanctuary where I meet with my spiritual direction clients.
Cultivating Joy Step #1: Be grateful. All the wise spiritual teachers say it. It’s not something new. But it can be so hard when we compete with others, focus on scarcity, or believe that what we have is not enough. Spend time each day naming five things you are grateful for in your PRESENT life. If you begin your day in gratitude, you will manifest joy.
Each morning I focus on cultivating gratitude and joy in my life. In our living room we have a collection of our wedding pictures that testify to the power of love. Those pictures bring light and joy to my spirit as I practice my ritual quiet time before my day starts. I am thankful for my amazing husband and our relationship that sustains me. I am grateful for his support during all of life’s moments, especially the hard ones. His physical presence is like Prozac for me; I just breathe deeper when he is nearby.
Cultivating Joy Step #2: Reach out. It is very easy to become isolated in our modern
culture. While we are virtually connected to people in so many ways, but we forget
the power of a shared cup of tea or meal. Real connection can be challenging because it requires us to be honest about our fears, our insecurities, and our stumbling blocks. But when we find a trustworthy friend, mentor, or spouse, he or she can be an invaluable part of cultivating joy in our lives. Joy comes easier when we know we are not alone.
If you do not have a place to call home, or a wonderful friend, do not lose hope. There have been times in my life where I felt totally alone and cultivating joy seemed too difficult. I get that too. But each one of us can practice gratitude every day. Some days just being able to breathe may be the gift of the present. Finding the gift(s) in today, recognizing who we are, and nurturing what we have will lead to more joy in our lives.
Cultivating Joy Step #3: Tend to your gifts. Whatever your life looks like
today, be intentional about tending to the blessings in your life. Recently I spent three hours learning some new computer skills. I am grateful that I have a computer, free time, and a good brain. I did not spend any money or even leave my couch, but I took the initiative to learn something new. I found joy in learning. What can you tend to today? Maybe you need to spend some time cultivating a new relationship, breathing deeply, or expressing appreciation to someone. Whatever you need to do today to nurture what you have, do it!
When we let go of what keeps us stuck in the past or focused on the future, we create space for joy to take root and blossom in our lives. What can you do today to be grateful, reach out to others, and nurture the gifts you have right now? Try these three steps and let me know what happens!
May we go and nurture our lives to find joy!
A couple of weeks before Christmas I had the pleasure of accompanying my new husband, Randy, to his holiday work party. We had a great time. We were able to meet a variety of fascinating people and even reconnect with one of my former colleagues. During one of our conversations we were having a light-hearted chat, and someone referred to me as Randy’s “trophy wife!” We all had a good laugh because honestly there is just no way that this term fits me, or our relationship. Randy was quick to say, however, that I was his “ultimate prize” in life—sweetest husband ever.
The phrase set the wheels of my mind churning though…never in a million years would I have imagined anyone ascribing the phrase “trophy wife” to me in ANY situation. The photo of me in the polka dot dress above is the outfit I wore to the party that night, an early Christmas present from my beloved. If you have known me for longer than five minutes, you know I LOVE polka dots. Maybe it comes from my grandmother Ruby, or maybe I was just born with the affinity; either way, I am pretty excited about that dress. When I look at this picture, however, the woman I see takes me by surprise.
For most of my life, I have not felt very comfortable in my own skin. I wish I had some pictures of my early years here at my house (they mostly reside with my parents). Let’s just say the 1990’s hit, and they hit hard y’all. I’m glad those years are in the past. I struggled to find my “style” for a long, long time especially in my teen years:
I searched for my “outer” identity for quite some time. Oh, and the hair…I had every possible style of short hair you can imagine. I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea, but I definitely thought that was the RIGHT way to go. I was wrong, so very wrong. Not that short hairstyles are a bad thing, they just aren’t good for me. That young teenage girl would never have thought that one day someone would call her a “trophy wife.” In my mind that term was reserved for a very Barbie-like woman that looked nothing like me.
In those days though I was not particularly focused on being a wife, and I never thought I could look like a Barbie doll. I was more concerned about God, studying the Bible, and how I was going to change the world. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to find love. I ached to find a partner in life, just like most teenage girls, I imagine. I just never thought I would be wearing polka dots and pearls one day while being compared to an inanimate object given to winners at awards shows, which brings me to the scripture verse found in Proverbs (see above).
Unfortunately, Proverbs chapter thirty has too often been used to keep women in a position of unjust submission to their husbands. But I do not think God intends for women to be subjugated in marriage. In the best sense, a wife is a treasure for her partner in life. According to the author of Proverbs, the best virtue of a wife is one who fears the Lord. Let me share one final picture:
The women in this picture are amazing, my godmother, my mom and my childhood pastor standing beside me at my college graduation. Thankfully my hair grew out by then! More importantly, though, these women loved me and mentored me through all my haircuts, awkward moments, great victories, tearful days, and years of growing into a woman. They taught me what it means to “fear the Lord.” Fear of the Lord is a deep reverence and recognition of our place in creation and gratitude that we have access to the love of GOD. Experiencing the love of God during my life, primarily through the love of others, has given me the ability to love my husband. Without the love of God and others, I could not be the wife I am today.
Beauty has already been been fleeting for me; some years I look better than others, but the ever-present love of God sustains me. I know that my husband loves how cute I am right now (he tells me pretty often), but he also loves my heart. My heart is the result of the women and men who have loved me from birth through every moment of my life until now, especially my family and friends. To all of them I say thank you. If all that love has made me “prize-like,” then I will take the word “trophy” and own it with joy!
I love this quote from Sue Monk Kidd because I immediately imagine a well-intentioned, rigorously prayerful, and dutiful disciple praying to God, "Ok God, today is the day. Yep, definitely today is it. I am going to let go today. No more of this holding on to my "false self' that rules my daily life. Nope, you get all of me today. Go on, take my heart. Make me new."
I know, most of us do not pray like that. Perhaps we do say some words, write our prayers, or maybe we just sit in silence. I happen to use lots of words. Shifting from my "self-centeredness" to "God-centeredness," however is a spiritual practice that takes effort. I am always so surprised by the ways the ego asserts itself, sneaky little bugger.
I have noticed that letting go generally means we have to give up something that is or was important to us. Often we have to give up something that we worked hard to attain. Often we have to give up an entire" way" of existing in the world. Spiritual masters make "letting go" sound almost fanciful in their descriptions. Kidd, however, is right about our ambivalence because while we want the transformation brought by relinquishment, enduring the loss of change usually involves pain and death.
I am once again on the brink of a new season, a new chapter. With the death of my grandmother, my upcoming marriage, and leaving my position as Executive Director of Brigid's Place, there are many changes going on in my life.. Today, I observed my ego clinging with a death-like grip to what I know. I noticed my attachment to my own need for control and security in a time when many things seem utterly unknown and foreign. Sadly, it wasn't even an exciting example of an "ego-gone-wild." Just a simple, everyday moment of being a less-than-great human being because that's what happens to us when we get scared and resist transformation. Many times we say stupid things, hurt people we love, or just act like idiots.
Thankfully God's grace is sufficient. I am also learning how to have grace for myself. I recognize that change and letting go is a process, and I can't do everything perfectly.
Twice now in two years God has invited me out onto the sea of Galilee. Will I let go of my preconceptions of what I know, what I can see, what I think is the path ahead, and trust?
Will I follow the path of the spiritual masters and find a space where my heart can let go?
Or will I set my jaw and hold tight with my death grip?
Even though there will be challenges and pain....I hope I can keep choosing to let go.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." -John 14:12
"Today is not meant for trivial tasks. It is not to be consumed with consumption or used up with self-glorification. No it's time to take things up a notch. To serve more. To love more of the unloved. To build more temples to God's glory here on earth." -Joshua Dubois
When I visit New York city, I am not a very good tourist. I do not look up. I walk as though my pants are on fire, going from one stop to another, head down, agenda set. The last time I was in the city with my fiancé Randy we actually did visit Times Square. I find it overwhelming. The insane amount of people, the intensity of the lights, and the profundity of messages from every vantage point. Perhaps it is the epicenter of consumption in our American society, symbolizing the internal state of many of us.
For the past year, I have been reading from Joshua Dubois' The President's Devotional nearly every day. The excerpts are insightful and brief, two wonderful qualities for a daily devotional. This past month he had a meditation on the "work" we are to be about as disciples of Christ in the world. His reflection on John 14:12 made me return to these words of Jesus that I have often meditated on as intriguing, perplexing and even challenging. We, the followers, are to do "greater works" than Jesus?
I find these words challenging for many reasons, but for one in particular recently. I look within myself and at my colleagues, friends, family, and the world landscape and so many of us are fighting. We are fighting our inner demons, fighting our family members, fighting our neighbors, fighting for power, fighting because others pray in a different way, fighting for land, fighting for resources, or just fighting to fight. I do not stand righteous above the rest, please do not think I count myself innocent.
What I heard the Spirit of God whispering to me when I read these words of scripture this time was, what are YOU consumed with every day?
Am I consumed with the word of God? Am I consumed with the spirit of God? Am I consumed with love, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, and love? Do I breathe for two minutes and consider my actions before I commit to a way of living in the world?
Am I consumed with the thought...Is this a greater work than what Jesus did?
If the answer to that question is no, then maybe whatever I am considering doing is not worth my time. I only have a few short years in this life--what will I do, how will my works be greater than the one who healed lepers, brought the dead back to life, and rose from the dead?
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul;
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself into your hands,
without reserve and without boundless confidence.
Charles de Foucauld
About four months ago, I was sitting in a Pappadeaux restaurant with a pastor on staff at my church and she said to me, “Lauren, I would love for you to lead a small group study at St. Paul’s now that you have joined the church.” I was excited and also very honored. Of course I said yes! I love to see others engage with scripture, theology and the inner life of the Spirit, so this seemed like a great idea.
For the next month I prayed and thought about different ideas and options on what I could offer to our church community. The pastor and I discussed a couple of approaches that might be unique and intriguing. As the time drew near for me to solidify my plans, I remembered a book I had ordered by one of my favorite theologians, Henri Nouwen. It is a compilation of daily readings for the season of Lent. Eureka! Our group would use this book and explore together our lives for forty days.
Word of warning: be careful what you agree to and pray for in life.
My group at St. Paul’s is absolutely fabulous. They are some of the kindest people I have met in a long time, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time leading the group.
I speak a word of caution, however, because when you pray and ask God for transformation…well, be prepared for some intense days during Lent. I was especially struck by the prayer written by Charles de Foucauld above that was included during the first week of our readings. I wrote two things in my notations. First, wow what an amazing prayer! Second, can anyone really pray this prayer? “I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all.” I stopped right there. That day I could not say that prayer. If I am honest, I do not think I can pray it today either. I want to be able to say that prayer and mean it, but I know there is so much left in me to be crucified.
This man Charles de Foucauld was a French Catholic priest who had a conversion experience when he was twenty-eight years old after encountering deeply observant Muslims in Morocco. He returned to France and then later lived in the Saharan desert as a monk deeply devoted to Christ. I do not know when he was able to pray this prayer, but I hope that one day to surrender my will to God as Charles did in lands far away. He indeed lived out this prayer when he was martyred at the age of fifty-eight.
While I pray that I may be spared the tragic end of a martyr’s death, the season of Lent is the time when Christians remember the cycle of life, death and resurrection. Thus far, every day during my Lenten journey has been filled with profound lessons about letting go of long held expectations, forgiving others, embracing loss to welcome new life, and seeing the world through new eyes. As Lent continues, I will remember the words of Charles de Foucauld’s prayer as we look towards Easter.
“No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
So let me tell you about this amazing little black dress. No seriously, it is really cute. Well, you can see for yourself in the picture. Simple, classic, timeless. It also has a bit of an edge with the leather like sleeves, just enough of a rocker girl “nod” to make any young professional feel a little pep in her step while going to work at a non-profit. Here’s the rub. I could not afford it this week. I had some unexpected house, school and medical expenses. There were also a couple of extra donations I gave, and well, it just was not in the budget.
Here is where the spiritual maturity question kicks in, whom do I serve? God or Banana Republic? On first reading or glance it might seem trivial, or perhaps, like an easy answer. It is most definitely a first world, privileged, middle class spiritual struggle; I will give you that in a heartbeat. I am not going to lie to you though, I was downright sad for a good 48 hours that I could not buy this dress. I WANTED this thing. I did all sorts of calculations and tabulations to figure out how I could own it. Even though I did not end up purchasing it, I have allowed it to own much of my time, energy and spiritual wealth. In many ways it has already bought me.
You see though, for me, it is a much deeper struggle than just wanting a pretty item. In the past five years, I allowed much of my life to spin out of control. I gained over fifty pounds. I became lax in my spiritual disciplines. I have not taken care of myself in physical, emotional and spiritual ways. I sacrificed my health for other aspects of my life that I thought were more important. This past January, I committed that starting in 2013 I would work to gain back more balance in all areas of my life. I am taking steps to improve my health, which means, among other things, I am on another weight loss journey (about the fifth one in my life so far). So this recent loss of now almost thirty pounds means while working typical 10 hour days, going to graduate school, and being in a relationship, I feel like I deserve every dress I can fit into for goodness sake—including this really cute little black one. For the past three years I have barely been able to wear anything!
But, I can’t serve God and money. I can’t serve God and dresses. I can’t serve God and my new body. I can only serve God. As I read about the early desert mothers and fathers of the Christian tradition who gave up everything to seek God in the desert, they were serious about renouncing idolatrous behaviors, thoughts and practices. They abandoned anything that distracted them from the passionate search for God. As I read about their faith this weekend and I listened to our sermon this morning, I thought about my own dress idolatry. I have spent a good amount of time plotting a way to own something that would not bring me any closer to God this past week. What if I had spent that time praying? What if I had focused my energy listening to a friend who needed a compassionate ear of understanding? What if I had done anything that was not focused on a vain glorification of my own accomplishment?
I don’t think pretty dresses are bad. I don’t think God means for us all to walk around in sackcloth all the time. I do think, however, that we ought to take inventory of the proportion of our time spent seeking after God versus seeking after the things of this world. What master are you serving? I want to serve and seek God.
May it be so…
If you are Houstonian then you may know Brené Brown and her work on shame. This Sunday she will be featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program to share with the world about her journey through perfectionism. Brene is a witty, brilliant, and warm social worker that invites us to look at ourselves in new and inspiring ways. I was intrigued this morning as I read about her practice of writing herself “permission notes.” She writes herself notes in new, stressful, or challenging situations that allow her to be present to whatever emotion or feeling is going on inside of her at the current time. From what I can tell, this practice allows her to move through her emotions, allowing “grace” to flow and carry her into a space of openness and authenticity.
My permission note this week goes something like this: “I give myself permission to fail.” I need a really, really big sticky note people. In fact, I probably need a hundred of those stupid sticky notes put up all over my house. Here is the cold, naked truth. I want to be some majestic creature from a storybook that simply does not exist. I want to have three more degrees than I do, I want to be fluent in multiple languages (including original Biblical ones), I want to understand the intricate politics of the Middle East better than those who grew up in its war-torn lands, I want to be able to make perfectly rising pie meringue, I want to be spiritually wise, and I want to do all of this while being in the perfect relationship, maintaining the perfect body weight and having a spotless house. What? Do I expect too much from myself?
I think the answer might just be yes. In fact, I know it is yes, and I know this because more often that I would like to admit I end up curled up in my bed pulling the covers over my head wishing I could stay there instead of getting up to face the world. Those are the good days of denial. Failure, well failure has a whole other face. Failure looks like me crumpled in my closet in the fetal position, tear stained face waiting for the world the stop spinning because I am just not sure how my blog will get written, when the stack of mail will get sorted, how to actually accomplish world peace, or when, dear God, I might have energy to consider raising a child. Weeping in my closet, that’s what failure looks like for me.
So it has been two weeks since my last blog post and I’ve been beating myself up about it. The voices in my head have been shouting, “You have to be consistent. You have to be reliable.” Stupid voices. No, sometimes I have to give myself permission to fail. I have to realize I cannot be the mythical creature that can do everything I want in the exact time that I want to do it. Today my grace came in the form of Brene Brown and her permission slips; that is where my resurrection moment came. Very often, resurrection for me comes in the form of my amazing boyfriend who pulls me out of my closet. He actually does have mythical powers. So, what do you need to give yourself permission for today? Maybe you are struggling with a friendship right now. Maybe like me, you have four different sizes of clothes in your closet and today you have to give yourself permission to love yourself while wearing the biggest one right now. Maybe you have hurt someone deeply and need to give yourself permission to forgive yourself today. I encourage you to give yourself permission today for what you need, and if you need to fail…well, you are in good company!
Last Sunday I brought the story of Moses and the burning bush before our youth in our education hour (Exodus 3). We spent the first half of our time together reading the story. I commend you, that if you have never read it or have not read it in a while, to visit Exodus chapter three in the Old Testament. If it is your first reading then you may think something like, “This guy Moses, he must have been a lunatic. I mean surely he did not go and tell people that God started talking to him in a burning bush? Or did he?” If this is not your first reading of the story, then you likely know the course of events well. Moses, tending sheep in the desert, is simply minding his own business. Then all of a sudden he notices a bush and it is one fire, but oddly, it does not burn up. He goes to investigate and then, God with a capital G begins to talk to him through this bush! It is a fantastical story. For some of us who have grown up in the church it is a familiar Biblical account that we have heard many times.
Well, this was not the case for my youth last week. We had a great discussion, which somehow even included string theory! We talked about how we would react if someone told us they heard the voice of God in a burning bush outside our church. You can imagine the responses. And then our conversation took an interesting turn. I asked the students if they thought that God still spoke to people like he did with Moses or in any way at all, in our present time. I confess that their nearly unanimous answer in the negative made me seriously pause and take a breath. In a brief instant I saw a deep chasm between my experience of God and their experiences of God. And in that moment I wondered to myself, if I were to tell them about my “burning bush” moments would they see me as a lunatic?
Now, I want to say this about the amazing youth at my church. They are some of the most kind, most loving and most awesome students I have ever met. They have absorbed some of the deepest principles of Christianity into the core of who they are and it is beautiful to watch them live out their faith. What I realized in that moment, though, was that they and I have experienced God in profoundly different ways. Later that day, I listened to a sermon from someone who desperately wanted everyone to experience God the same way that he does in life. These combined experiences made me ask myself, how do I share my faith experiences without prescribing someone else’s encounter with God? Oddly, however this is exactly opposite to what Moses does later in the Exodus account. He climbed the mountain, had an experience with God, wrote down the commandments, and then told everyone what they should do to be in relationship with God.
So I wonder are we called to be like Moses? Or was he a special kind of prophet? Do we need to prepare ourselves for everyone to look at us and think we are lunatics? Or does the Church in America today need another kind of prophet? I do not have full answers to these questions.
But, here is what I want to tell the youth in my church who are still trying to decide if they believe if God speaks to people today. After our discussion I asked God to give me clarity, and this was the text used for the sermon at my school chapel the next day, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jer 33:3). I want the next generation to believe that God will still answer those who call out upon the name of the Lord. I believe in burning bushes. But maybe, just maybe I am a lunatic.
“The truth is, things matter. They have to. They’re what we live with and touch every day. They represent what we’ve seen, who we’ve loved, and where we hope to go next. They remind us of the good times and the rough patches, and everything in between that’s made us who we are.”
–Nate Berkus The Things That Matter
If you have ever been to my house for a holiday meal or a dinner party, you were likely greeted by a table that looked a bit like the picture featured here. I do not do paper plates. Yes I am an environmentalist, but that is not the reason. I come from a long line of Southern women that believe in plates. We have plates for every season, and if possible every holiday. I am not just talking about Christmas and Thanksgiving. I grew up with my mother decorating our table in festive colors and themes for Easter, the Fourth of July, and even Valentine’s Day. My grandmother has her own collection of china and dishes that make us all wonder where she kept all those plates for our family for so many years, hosting gathering after gathering. Plates are things that definitely matter in our family.
I have no idea where the insanity originated. I fought the power of the South for many years, really I did. But, alas, the ladies of Texas won me over and I have now begun my own crazy collection of plates. Yes, I admit I am now in possession of three different kinds of Christmas plates. Thus far, I only have room for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and what we shall call “normal time” plates. I really have no justification for the obsession. There are people without anything in the world and I have enough plates for a small colony of people. But, when I heard Nate’s words in an interview something struck me. The plates connect me to my mother, my grandmother, my godmother, and all the women in my family. They may not be their plates, but they have bought them for me and managed to instill a love for the ritual of creating beautiful tables and a “dining experience.” My plates connect to me to a Southern tradition of many women who believed and still believe that bringing people together around a festive table has power to enliven and perhaps even heal the soul.
I am sure that over the course of my life I will break many of the plates and maybe even get tired of packing them up and moving them around. I don’t know what will happen to all the other plates we collectively have together. What I do know, however, is that when I look at, use, and serve meals on my plates, in my home, they signify so much more than ceramic and paint. What are the “things” that connect you to your family? What do you surround yourself with that brings a smile to your face as it reminds you of the love someone has for you? What is it in your house, apartment, or bedroom that stares at you, taunting you just a little bit as if to say, “The South will rise again!”
I am grateful to Nate Berkus today as he reminded me of my love of design, beautiful things, and ordered existence in my home (which currently escapes me!). His words reached deep into my psyche finding that essential truth that our things, our belongings are an expression of our journey. I hope you take a few minutes today to treasure your own things and be grateful for how they represent the many facets of you and your life. Perhaps one day I will be graced by your presence around my table and you will have the opportunity to experience some fancy plates and if you’re very lucky a place card with your name on it! Here is to all the things that matter…
A couple of years ago I was at a friend’s house having a relaxing morning and I looked on the desk only to find a picture of the crucifix. It was a small card actually about the size of a 2×3 picture and there hanging on the cross was Jesus (or at least someone’s rendering of Jesus) affixed to the cross. On the back of the card it said “In Memory of Frank Brzozowski” with the Lord’s prayer on it. I had never heard of Frank and nor did I have any idea why this card was on my friends desk, but it got me to thinking…what would be on my card? It also made me think about how small we are in so many ways…a life reduced to a 2×3 card with a picture and a prayer, in 300 years perhaps this man will no longer be remembered at all.
I think about this often with the decisions I make in my life. I question what am I will leave behind when I pass from this life into the next of realm. In some ways that question haunts me, in other ways it excites me. Perhaps having a picture of the crucified Christ is the best possible image to capture the life of a person, but oddly it isn’t what I would want. Not because I am opposed to being associated with Christ, for if you know me at all you would know that would be a deep and abiding honor for me. I wouldn’t want that image, however, because we get stuck on that part of the story and we forget to focus on the ascension, the part where new life begins and the glory of God and casts out the darkness. I would want my card to reflect that part of the story, the part where “life is good” and the onlooker is invited into joy. The particular depcition of Christ on that card had his head hung down, low and surrendered. But that isn’t the end of the story.
If I am honest, I would admit that I want to be remberered for something great, something world changing. Maybe it will be a book, maybe an organization I start, or an incredible theological dissertation that significantly impacts the theology of this century. I want to do something really big and meaningful. But regardless of whether that materializes or not, I definitely want my card to have the end of Jesus’ story reflected on it. When I exit this life, I want those who celebrate me to remember that I lived a life confident that the resurrection is the ultimate truth…God invites us into new life, and it is up to us to follow Jesus from the cross to Heaven!
Lauren seeks to inspire others to live passionate, authentic, joyful lives every day. She loves spending time with God, listening deeply to others, and pondering the mysteries of life. She is grateful for her family, her friends, and the amazing opportunities she has had in her life. On the lighter side she enjoys most anything that sparkles, great handbags, fine china, cute puppies, smiling babies, dark chocolate, and a great movie on a Friday night!