Showing posts from April, 2014

Favorite Things

To quote a song from The Sound of Music, "These are a few of my favorite things ... "  :)

Chocolate: Ghirardelli Intense Dark Cherry Tango Bar
This delicious, rich treat is currently my favorite chocolate bar.

TV show: Too Cute!
Fuzzy puppies. Adorable kittens. What's not to like???

Movie: The Young Victoria (2009)
I find this telling of Queen Victoria's story to be moving and extremely romantic ... and (bonus!) there are lots of beautiful, elaborate dresses. :) I highly recommend this movie!

Game: Boggle
Words, words, and more words. I'm a writer. What can I say?

Pen: Pilot G2 Ultra Fine Point
I've tried many pens over the years, but this one takes the cake! I love writing with these smooth and skip-free pens. I think they make my handwriting look better!

Bible verse: “Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” – Philippians 3:16
This is what I would call my "life verse." It briefly sums up how I want to live.

How about you? What are some of …

Purity Isn’t Popular (Episode 2)

I’m used to being ridiculed a bit for my “purity” standards.

I’ve also found that it’s not uncommon in completely Christian circles to be mocked—in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

And I made a decision that I knew people would find strange. And probably make me the recipient of even more comments like, “You’re too easily offended, Laurel.”

But I just had to do it. (See why in my previous post.)

After realizing I was guilty of claiming to want to be pure, but not being careful about what I watched on television, saw in movies, or listened to through music … I made some big changes. I’m really thankful that even though it seems a bit “extreme,” Dave is super supportive.

DISCLAIMER: I want to be clear that the following list is a result of how God is convicting me. This is by NO MEANS meant to be a slap of judgment on anyone who does these things. I just want to share this with you in the hopes to encourage every Christ-follower to be intentional about living lives of purity before God.


Purity Isn't Popular (Episode 1)


In today’s society, it’s seen a childish. Old-fashioned.

I’ve discovered that even in the “Christian bubble,” a person won’t escape mockery for a commitment to being pure. One day, I was in a small group of four fellow Christian believers—ranging in age from about 30 to 50.

They were discussing a popular book called “Fifty Shades of Grey” and a new movie, “Magic Mike.” To give you some background in case you’ve never heard of these:

“Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James. This book is described as an "erotic romance novel."

“Magic Mike” (2012). This movie is rated R. A summary of this movie says, "A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money."

You can imagine my shock when I heard them widely approving of both. Then, when I commented that I didn’t intend to watch/read them because I didn’t think the content appropriate, these fellow Christ-followers mocked me. “Oh, Laurel, you’re so sheltered.” They rolled their…

Dance break!

We interrupt our normally scheduled posts for a *dance break*!

I've been to a LOT of weddings over the past few years, and this is my favorite "group dance" song. Don't judge. And if you know it, dance along!


Funny Things Kids Say

I love how utterly honest kids are. Their observations and antics crack me up a lot!

Our neighborhood kids are hilarious. One day, as I was passing by on a walk, one of the kids (clearly desperate for attention) called out, "Hey!" When I looked his way, he quickly got down on all fours and said, "Look at me! I'm a cow!"

Haha...I couldn't help but smile!

Another day, I saw one of the smallest neighborhood boys walking around to the other kids in the driveway -- and he was systematically pointing at each one asking, "Are you an alien? Are you an alien? Are you an alien…" I guess you're never sure until you ask!

They're never shy about walking up to me and striking up a conversation, either. Soon after Dave and I married, a little girl stopped me and asked, "Are you and Dave married now?" When I said, "Yes, we are," she smiled and responded, "Oh, good! I used to look in the window and see him sitting all by himself --…

Insects & Rodents. Ugh!

I consider most insects and rodents my mortal enemies. At least indoors.

Outdoors in nature, I tend to admire them ...

... but they don't belong in my home!

I confess: I'm that girl who usually yells for her husband whenever there's a spider ... or moth ... or fly ... or ant ...  or other live critter on the loose in our house. But on occasion, my superhero husband is not around ... and I have to take matters into my own hands!

One of those days came last summer.

I had just arrived home from work, and I felt my heart jump when I saw not just one or two ... but a whole long line of ants marching up and down the table in our living room, gathering crumbs from a leftover pot pie. Ewwwww!

I knew it would be a while before Dave got home. So, I armed myself for battle. My weapon of choice? A glass cup.

It was a strenuous battle filled with screams (my own!). Total dead ant count? 103.

So many casualties. But a worthy cause.

And our house was critter-free ... for a little while, …

Three Favorite Lamps!

As I mentioned in our engagement story, I really like lamps.

I enjoy perusing shelves of lamps in stores, looking for what I would call "classic with a unique twist." For our home, I found some really great lamps. Here are three of my favorites!

Lamp #1

This lamp glows in our bedroom. I LOVED this lamp as soon as I saw it because of its lantern-like appearance. And I confess: I bought two!  :)

 Here's another angle of the same lamp:

Lamp #2

Don't be deceived by the pink-looking shade ... this lamp is actually my favorite color: red! I'm not sure why the lampshade is so pink-looking in the photos. It's actually a really lovely deep shade of red. (The same red as the round globe you see on the lamp's base.) Deep red and navy is a color theme that carries through several of our rooms, including our living room, where this lamp and its twin are placed!

Another view. I really like the fact that the shade is longer than a traditional lampshade:

Lamp #3

This is the…

The Joy of Singing


I've always loved to do that.

My parents joke that I was singing before I could talk. Well, I vocalized anyway along with my mom and dad when they were singing.  ;)  My mom and dad made music a big part of my childhood, and I'm so thankful for that.

I have fond memories of taking road trips, and we'd have hours of entertainment just from singing songs -- everything from worship songs to silly songs. My mom has a lovely soprano voice, and my dad is a deep bass. As I grew older, my three siblings and I split into singing parts, which was really fun. I remember one time when we were camping (yes, real camping ... the kind in a tent!) that others overheard us singing in harmony around our campfire and joked that we were "The Von Trapp Family Singers" (from The Sound of Music).

I've been involved in many choirs over the years and even a musical (which just so happened to be The Sound of Music ... lol), but lately things have been so hectic with settling i…

Do you know someone who is suffering?

"One day it will be over, but it's not about how long I have left, it's about how I spend the time I do have.” – Ed Dobson

I love this quote. Pastor Ed is a remarkable man with an incredible story to share.

Do you know someone going through a time of intense suffering? Maybe you yourself are going through a difficult time right now.

Let me encourage you that there is still hope, and that it's not over yet!

Pastor Ed was diagnosed with ALS. There is no known cure. Doctors told him they didn't expect him to live more than a few years -- and it would be a progressive, painful, and difficult process.

Pastor Ed is bravely (and humbly) sharing his story, and I just came across a website devoted to telling his story.

I was really encouraged just by watching Pastor Ed's video, "It Ain't Over," which I've linked to below. You'll discover what Ed's learned through this journey about suffering. And hope.

I hope you'll take 10 minutes to see …

A 7-year-old's journal

I began making entries in my first journal when I was 7 years old. My parents took my siblings and me on a trip out on the West coast of America.

It is fascinating to me what a 7-year-old notices. For example, when I wrote about what our hotel room was like, I mentioned that there was a toilet. I guess that’s an important detail to note…GASP...imagine if there were no toilet!!?

Initially, I wrote a lot about what I ate -- one morning, I had booggoos (bagels) and ongoos (orange juice). I was a great phonetic speller. LOL.

Oh, and check out the fantastic imagery in this short story: “When we went swimming…Todd (my older brother) dunked me under water. I came up crying. I coughed. Gunk came out. Yuck! I was wet. We went inside then.” I can see the inner writer in me emerging at this young age. ;)

But probably the most significant event of the trip was this: “We went to Mexico. Some children were begging us to buy some gum. I was sad. I wanted to help them! I left my money in the car, tho…

The Winter of 1993

It happened in the winter of 1993.

A huge storm rolled through Iowa, coating everything in sight with a thick layer of ice—roads, tree branches, cars, street signs, and homes. The storm lasted for several days, continuing to layer sheets of ice on everything.

I was in kindergarten.

At that time, my elementary school was just a block away from home. So, I walked to school with my big brother, Todd.

It was the first day of the storm. My mom stayed indoors all day long—she was busy with two little ones still at home. She heard the storm, but had no idea how icy everything outside had become.

Suddenly, Todd slammed open the front door.

“Mom! Mom! Help!” he yelled, with an edge of desperation. Mom came rushing to him. “What’s the matter?” she asked, looking him over with concern. Todd was out of breath from running.

“It’s Laurel,” he said, panting. “She can’t walk home from school. She’s afraid of the ice. She’s standing on the road crying!”

Mom didn’t wait to hear any more. She scrambled …