Friday, January 29, 2010

The search "Lauren", for your entertainment and mine...

~Alright, prepare yourself for a bit of nonsense. You would think that in the middle of a move and submitting my MS to Amazon that I would not have time for this sort of thing. But, the truth is, our house is clean, our things are packed, and I'm sick of working on my book and pitch (you don't want to know how many times I wrote out that little 300 word pitch, only to toss it over my shoulder and restart from scrap).

~So I sat down to distract myself and here's what I came up with. (The original idea is not my own, so, I cannot take the credit for its inanity. ) Apparently people combine their name with searches on the internet to answer questions about themselves in hilarious ways. I don't know why, but, it's funny. So here's my results based on recent searches. I'm going to post the top three results from every search - no matter what they may be.....promise, as long as it's appropriate!
Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search. 

1. Lauren Needs Attention. (Wow, that is eerily true)
2. Lauren needs to chill out and stay out of other peoples business. (Oh boy, I can hear certain people saying this!)
3. Lauren Needs a New Home. (True!)
Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search

1. Lauren looks like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Good grief! Now I have to go look up a picture of whatever fictional character this is...)
2. Lauren looks like her Daddy (True, more than I look like my mom)
3. Lauren looks like she is doing sooo well. (Uh hu....)

Type in "[your name] says" in Google search.

1. Lauren Says: will be back soon. (Yes! Do you hear this Johanna!)
2. Lauren Says People Have "Low Expectations" For Her Book Series. ( I hope so...then at least there's the chance they could be pleasantly surprised!)
3. Lauren Says Yes to the Dress. (interesting....)

Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search. 

1. Lauren Wants To Know (Yes I do, allot of things actually)
2. Lauren wants Nathan back. (I didn't know he was gone!)
3.Lauren Wants to Gossip. (Ouch, I'm glad this is just a silly game!)

Type in "[your name] does" in Google search. 

1. Lauren Does Not Approve Of This Post… (Well, my conscience is telling me I'm wasting my time!) 
2. Lauren does hair! (Only my own...) 
3. Lauren-Does-the-ShowMe-Technology-Fair. (? I'll show you some technology fed sprouts in the front living room, they grow twice as silly after their liberal daily dose of X-box))

Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search. 

2. Lauren HATES when people go the wrong way in the grocery store. (usually this would be myself...) 
3. Lauren Hates Liars!

Type in "[your name] asks" in Google search.

1. Lauren asks Audrina if she's coming to Frankie's barbecue that day. (I don't even know an Audrina...) 
2.Lauren asks that everyone who is able to attend to be at the dances. 
3. Lauren asks why she let Eden take the blame for the books she stole. (Yikes!)

Type in "[your name] likes " in Google search. 

1. Lauren likes to present herself as someone who's computer savvy. (Possibly, but sadly, she's not...)
2. Lauren Likes Everything. (Absolutely NOT!)
3. Lauren likes to hang out with her friends and watch Chinese television. (Now that's pretty funny, just change it to, "Japanese"...)

Type in "[your name] eats " in Google search. 

1. Lauren eats straws
2. Lauren Eats Better Than You Do (It depends on who you are.)
3. Lauren eats her feelings... sometimes she eats mine too... (Okay... not a single edible item on the list, apparently I ought to be a stuck up feeling eating straw)

Type in "[your name] wears " in Google search. 

1. Lauren wears her fame well. ( Jealous?)
2. Lauren wears a duck suit! (Okay, envy gone. I spoke to soon!) 
3. Lauren wears the same type of wig and is no stranger to dressing too young for her age. (wig? no. dressing too young? maybe.)

Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in Google Search.

1. Lauren was arrested for bringing a pair of scissors to school.(Shouldn't it have been, Lauren was arrested for what she "did" with the scissors at school? I cut everyone's hair off - except my own of course) 
2. Lauren was arrested for "Inciting a riot". (What did I say?)

3. Lauren was arrested for knocking over a Laundromat. (That's a "hefty" charge!)

Type in "[your name] loves" in Google Search. 

1. Lauren Loves Duckies! (Well, I love ducklings. I almost kidnapped some from a public park when I was seven. That's a funny story...)
2. Lauren loves fake eyelashes, and hearts, and coon tails. (I'm glad I don't know this Lauren...) 
3. Lauren Loves the Beatles (NOT)

~So there you have it. Evidently there are a bunch of crazy Laurens out there.

Monday, January 25, 2010

~Guest Post for My Cousin with Autism~

 ~This is my little cousin "Punky" who has autism. Her condition is serious, as the letter below will explain. I'm posting this from my Aunt's blog, where you can read more about "Punky" and her family. They have come into some hard times recently and are asking for prayers and, if the Lord leads you, donations for "Punky's" autism treatment...We are trusting God to preserve them, defend them, and lift them up in this hour of need! Your time is greatly appreciated...

~My mommy calls me Punky and my middle name is Grace. With God's Amazing Grace I have overcome many obstacles in my life. So, my mommy thought a good name for my therapy fund could be Amazing Grace & CO. I am 7 yrs old and I have Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism. My brain does not work the way it is supposed to. I want to get help to teach my brain to work better. Will you help me?

~It is hard for me to do things because my brain does not work right. I do not run, skip or hop. I do not play on the swings or ride a bike. I do not color or draw. Writing my own name makes me cry because it is so hard for me to do. I cannot make my muscles work right to do all of these things. I want to be able to, but I need help.

~When my routine is changes from what I am used to every day, I get really mean and angry and I am naughty. I kick and scream and growl. I throw a tantrum like a 2 yr. old. I do not want to be like that, but my brain does not like changes. I want to be better, but I need help.

~My mommy found some specialists to help me. They only see a handful of children each year. My mommy prayed that they would be able to see me. They have an opening in February!!! That is very soon. i will visit a place that will teach my brain to work better. I will have a special test. My mommy called it a FUNCTIONAL NEUROLOGICAL EVALUATION. They will test everything about me so they can help me. They will give me homework called therapy. It will teach my brain to work better. They will help me.

~This help cost lots of money... $1250.00 for the first visit. Then every 4 months after that, for 2 years, I will go back for re-testing. Those visits cost $850.00 each. My mommy is worried how she will pay for all of the help she wants for me. My mommy made a donation button in her side bar. Will you help by donating today so I can get better?

Thank you and God Bless~

If you would like to donate to Punky's cause follow the link here, and donate at the top of my Aunt's page!

In Christ,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Would you like to read my pitch?

~What if your deepest fear was everyone else's good luck charm? Meet rabbiter's daughter Gemma Bleeker, an eleven year old girl in a Dutch town where storks nest on rooftops and fathers make a living slaughtering rabbits.   
~Mr. Bleeker thinks rabbits are for eating, not petting, and can't understand his daughter's wish for a pet rabbit. Gemma hates butchering and wants a friend besides the flighty girl across the street. She wants her father's love even more than a rabbit, but since she asks pesky questions which challenge his beliefs, his love seems as far out of reach as the blue Netherlands sky.   
~After Gemma dares to ask if God exists, her brother, Wim, leaves the church their father has attended for twenty years. Blaming his daughter for Wim's decision, Mr. Bleeker slaps Gemma - damaging their relationship even more. Out of guilt, he finally gives Gemma a rabbit, but not his love. So Gemma creates the relationship she craves, with her rabbit, Toos.  
~When schoolboy rumors of a rabid rabbit-eating stork begin to circulate – and the stork takes up residence on the Bleeker's roof, Gemma worries for her pet. Though storks are considered lucky, and people tell her there is no such thing as a rabbit eating stork, she locks Toos in the garage. With family life unraveling fast and fresh evidence that the stork is a killer, Gemma turns in desperation to God – only to face heaven's betrayal the next day when she finds that her rabbit, trapped in the safe garage, was ripped apart by a dog.
~STORKS AND RABBITS explores difficulties we all have; growing up, relating to our parents, finding truth, and facing fear; it will immerse you in a culture not your own, but as familiar as your backyard.
~So there it is people, a 300 word pitch creating through literally hours of sweat, concentration, and overworked braincell expenditure. I'm entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest tonight -so prayers would be appreciated! My most pressing concerns right now are figuring out how to configure the microsoft word document properly (no hard returns???) and getting my manuscript in before the site overloads with the maximum number of entries!  
~Do you like the picture? It's also the product of hours lots of labor :) I'm not generally a fan of "glam" shots, but we are supposed to submit an author photo - so Savvy and Mom took me under their wings. Yep, they basically did everything. I just sat there and tried to smile through the plaster of makeup and hairspray. A BIG thank you for all their work, and for the siblings who looked after things. (like getting ready for unexpected prospective buyers - showing up in thirty minutes - when we were already in the process of "dressing up")  
~I can't wait till tonight is over, in fact, I can't wait to move on to the next novel! This one is taking all the starch out of me....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alien Blog Art

 ~Ever wondered what the REAL reason is for all the government billboards requiring us to "buckle up"? What is it their not telling us? My theory; Aliens. But its top secret so, I wasn't the one who told you...

...Here you go - another tag for the side of your Blog! Just save the image to your computer and upload it as a "picture" gadget in the "layout" section of your blog dashboard! If you want it to be small, check the "shrink to size" box. Or leave it the way it is if you want it to be like the one I have on the side. It should work just fine for blogger stretch and regular minima templates. Tell the world the real reason they should buckle up!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In which I give you; late nights, antique malls, chocolate cake, good friends, shady gas stations, apple cider vinegar, and hats; in pictures....

Last week some friends from South TX drove up to bid us farewell before our move across country. Savannah, Rebecca, Johanna, and I took the opportunity to visit a HUGE antique mall in our vicinity; we dressed up in our hats and scarves and had tea in the malls "Secret Garden Tea Room", which turned out to be not-so-secret. There were about 25 other people in the tea room - and we were seated smack dab in the middle of them. Being the silly goons we are, we didn't have the gumption to demand  better seating, so, all the other customers got to listen to our crazy conversation.
Jo drove us, and did a very good job too. As she expertly wove through downtown Fort Worth traffic I realized that I was perfectly at ease with her driving; as to where we go when we drive, that is another matter entirely. We, "ahem", got into a bit of a problem at one point - none of which was in any way our drivers fault - I think it suffices to say that if we had broke down, pepper spray and a stiff umbrella handle would have been in order.
Some of the cars lovelier inhabitants....Aren't their hats adorable?
Some of us found books. Some of us found high heeled wizard of oz shoes in outrageous pink and even tried them on. That would not be me.
Then the aforementioned person made their best friend pose next to a wacky coat holding the high heeled wizard of oz shoes in outrageous pink, which the friend does so tastefully. I love the disdainful single finger hold - don't touch that thing!
 Some more of the wildlife the antique mall offered. Why didn't Nan come photograph the 150 year old books Jo and I were holding instead of this? I had a book, published during the civil war, in my hands!
Then we went home and ate. Actually, this may have been after church on Sunday, but, after all our adventures on Saturday, we had need of nourishment, so this has been assigned to Saturday afternoon in the chronology of events. I don't know who took this picture, but, Jo and I are obviously trying to eat - not a good picture time!
Camera, camera, go away......get the hint?
Come on camera, give us a break! Okay, the only reason I'm posting these is because they are practically the only pictures we have of Jo and I from this trip.
Johanna was determined to weasel her way back into Joel's affections.
Do you think Jo would look good with short hair? Hmmmmm, I like it better long.
Again, somebody seems to have a fixation with photographing me while I eat! You can see my half devoured tortilla on the table, the other half is tucked behind my teeth. I'm becoming quite proficient in the art of gulping down food while throwing on a cheesy grin so that the tyrannical pleasures of the one behind the lens can be satisfied.
Rebecca and a small cameo of my mom in the bottom right corner. Is she chewing her nails?

Jo. I wasn't kidding about us having few photos together.
Nan and Becca and Daniels fingers.
Ah ha! Jo and I, ignore the tete a tete going on in the background, I think they were having camera problems.
Getting ready for a girls group picture.
All looking but one.

Only one looking.
All looking except one has her eyes closed and another has a single strand of hair right down the middle of her forehead.
I'd better say the nursery rhyme or someone else is going to. "There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad, she was horrid." And Caroline's eyes are still shut.
Our photographer decided to get a side view, which I am only posting so that you can see the little voodoo man on Becca's shoulder. Don't ask me why our neighbors mounted a twisty creepy metal voodoo man to their mailbox; its beyond reasoning. I myself have puzzled over the meaning of such behavior many a time, and come to ----- nothing. Anyhow, I was able to cut the voodoo figure out of all the other photos, but not this one for obvious reasons. So there he is, like those devils in the cartoons, whispering in Becca's ear. Actually, he looks like he's piping in Becca's ear. Remind me to ask her what he said sometime...
This is a photo of someone taking a photo, end of story. We did not get our traditional picture of the boys in their favorite place in front of the TV doing you know what. But I assure you, they managed to get in plenty of their favorite pastime.
I think this picture says something about our characters. I'll leave it to you to guess whose feet are whose.
The ummm, boys? Yep - I think we'll stick with our traditional title for this bunch. There is a new bundle in the picture this time. The blanket Robert is holding is named Joel.
A group shot. Now can you tell whose feet are whose?? Actually, I went and put my boots on - it was rather cold.
The sun was in most of our eyes in the last group shot, so we moved to a better location. Actually, I think that is why we moved, but I could be wrong.
Then someone proceeded to get close ups - or maybe Nan did this afterward? Not sure. You are looking at Robert Jay, Savannah, and Rebecca.
You are looking at Lauren and Johanna......

....Oh wait, I see now, this picture also has Joel, Julia, Daniel, and Calvin.
I thought this was a creepy shot. The tree is reflected really well, obstructing the vision of the driver who appears to be about to exert some sort of Darth Vader death choke on the viewer. This person is going to drive my best friend home?
Goodbyes were mournful and drawn out. (Doesn't that car look squeaky clean?) This may be the last batch of pictures like this for a long long time, though if Jo and I have anything to do with it, we may be posting pictures of ourselves in Scotland one of these days....

Friday, January 15, 2010

Storks and Rabbits First Draft Finished!

~I'm ready to submit my first draft to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest on the 25th! Well, I'm nearly ready. First I have to write a huge teeny tiny thing called a pitch. And I'm having trouble with the pitch because they are troublesome things to write. Oh well - how does one squeeze the contents of a 60,000 word novel into a 300 word pitch in an eye catching manner anyways?

~I don't really expect my novel to go far in this contest, mainly because of the Christian themes throughout! Once the contest is out of the way I am going to try sending it through a round of publishers who may be interested in publishing it. Basically I'm trusting God to bring glory to His name however He wants, whether that means the book publishes or not. Its been a wonderful experience and one I can't wait to do all over again!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Abstract Heaven?

 ...Packing boxes, packing barrels, packing suitcases; it seems all I've been doing the last couple days is pack. For those of you who do not know, my family is about to make another cross-country move. We're not foreign to the art of packing either, for as far back as I can remember we have done our own boxing up, each person with their individual area of expertise. Mine is packing books, in fact, they are the first thing I pack up, lovingly caressing the well worn spines before saying goodbye; and the books are the first thing I unpack on the other end, happy to gloat over them again. Yes, I have a small major problem with book infatuation.

...But this blog post isn't about books (As much as I would love to ramble on about them). Its about some thoughts I've been having in this stressful season of change and needing to trust God.

...Excuse me while I vent; Lord, what is Your plan in all this? Do You realize I've moved seven or eight times, most of them across country and continents, in my life? I don't have roots, I don't have a culture to call my own. I'll probably never see my birthplace, and I'm not sure I want to. I've left friends sprinkled across the states like the stitches in a patchwork quilt. I don't even have time to get to know people properly before its time to uproot and move again. A piece of my heart is torn out every time we find a new church, and leave it. I don't know where I belong, the chances are - with a family this size - that most of us won't even live near each other in the end. I love my siblings, through all these moves we've grown so close, we've clung to each other. Cried with each other, know each other. Lord, what is your plan?

...Where is our home? Is it with our family? Is it where we were born and raised? Maybe we have an attachment to a particular house, to the view outside our bedroom window. Is it where we feel happiest? Maybe home to you is the most special place on earth, a place you can't imagine leaving. These thoughts are sweet, beautiful, and touching, but ultimately not true. Our home is not where we live, it is not even we live with, it is what we live for. Heaven is our home. Heaven is our hope.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:8-10

...The Lord has been gently reminding me lately that this life is a temporary one. My real life at home in perfect peace is yet to come. While I live here I am not to become too attached to places, things, even people. His work is all that is important, bringing glory to Him should be my joy and happiness. I am an empty vessel of clay in the King of kings hands, how amazing that He should condescend to make me a temple holy to Himself? That the Holy Spirit should dwell in me? Nothing in this life compares with the knowledge that I am going to spend an eternity with Jesus Christ. Every discomfort is worth the coming prize. Every disappointment is worth the sanctifying work He is doing in me.

..."These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16

... God has prepared a city for His own, for me, but how much time do I spend thinking about it? People who have dreams and hopes speak of them. How often do I talk with others about the ultimate hope we all share?

...Pioneers on the Oregon Trail spent grueling months traveling to their new homes. At night after work filled days, days filled with broken wheels, drowned livestock, burning sun, Indians, wild animals, sickness, and thirst, they laid their weary bones down and whispered in hushed tones of the life they would build for themselves and their children. What kept them going? Hope in a good future. Do I treat heaven better than I treat earth? Does it occupy even a quarter of my thoughts each day?

...Don't misunderstand me, I know we need to focus on our work here and now, on the tasks God gives us each day. I'm not suggesting that we recklessly abandon our jobs and homes to start online chat rooms devoted to our dreams about heaven. On the contrary, like the pioneers who knew they had work to do and did it, we must do our work. But I don't think those weary travelers forgot for one moment where they were going and why. My fear is that for many of us, myself included, Heaven has become too much of an abstract term. We must not lose sight of the goal, or give up on the crown. Personally I think that crown is real in some tangible way. Not just some symbolic meaning. Heaven is not a possibility or a dream, it is as real as the ground we stand on.

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

...We are not beating against air. Nor are we running for something that will perish. Remember that one day this will be a dreamlike memory, and Heaven the hope that is seen. God loves to turn things on there heads doesn't He? He makes the wise of the world foolish, and the foolish wise. One day everything we see as real and tangible in this life will be mere abstract memories - only the things He is working in us will remain.

...I'm on a spiritual journey which is longer and harder than the physical one I will be making soon. In fact, this move across country isn't even important in and of itself, its only important in light of my spiritual journey. With this in mind it is my prayer that none of us will burn out quickly in the secondary physical race through lack of focus on our very real Heaven.

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