We are all the same people.
With sinning hearts that make us equal.
Here is my hand, not words said desperately.
It is not our job to MAKE anyone believe.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer of Growth.

Sitting in youth tonight (which was great, btw) I realized this is the summer of growth for me. I'm growing mentally, socially, and I'm growing closer to God--what a general phrase, cliche. Let me break it all down.

I was laying in bed two nights ago thinking about where my life is going, the short and long, and I decided this is it. I get this one shot at life, this one chance to be used for something greater (something I want but never really end up putting much effort into)but what difference am I really making? (what youth doesn't ask that at some point? lol) When I first started school last semester I prayed God would use me to change that place (see previous posts). To wake that place up to what God wanted for us all, but as the semester raced on my desire to be His tool slipped more and more. And more quickly than I realized the semester was coming to a close and I hadn't made much of an impact. I was so down on myself....some of you whom I went to school with may have noticed my absence, not just in the classroom, but in conversations, in the general company I usually kept, from the library, ect..
I ran, retreated to the bright new worlds my books took me and the comfort of my bed. For about a week I didn't go to hardly any of my classes, I just stayed in my room and thought, slept, cried and eventually started praying. I felt guilty (Satan's tool) and worthless and it took what seemed like ages to get over.
But I finally did get past it all. I spoke with my sister, with whom words could never describe, about everything I was going through--my thoughts, feelings, hopes and despairs and I asked that she would pray with me. Oh, what a blessing that young woman is!
A few days later my roommate mentioned a girls bible study she wanted to start next semester and asked if I would be interested in it. In short,.........duh! lol

Tonight I decided I am not letting the rest of my time at JBC go to waste. Yes, I am sure I will stumble. I am not so naive as to believe otherwise but this is the summer of growth. I am going to let God grow me. I am going to let Him mold me. I am His and when I fall, and I will fall, He will be my aid in getting back up, in dusting off and moving on.
Am I totally ready right this second? No, not really. There are still things I think I have to learn this summer in preparation for what is to come. Will I be ready when the time comes? You better believe it.

As far as the mental growth I have been doing this summer (and it kinda relates spiritually): Tonight I also decided to stop letting Satan make me feel guilty about what happened a few months ago. I am afraid the distance is still something I will not budge on though......
No more secret friendships for me. Talk to me in person and then perhaps I'll answer your texts... just saying...

In regards to the social growth: hmmm....actually that one is a bit more involved. I'll save it for another time perhaps.

I had a post on here not too long ago that opened with something about how when God is working in you it seems like everything else around you is also focused towards what God's doing.....yeah, that's happening lately and it feels.....indescribable.

Okay, that's enough of an update for now. I have a book or two calling my name and it's far too tempting not to answer ;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day.

Monday is Memorial Day; a day off of work, a day for cookouts, the unofficial start of summer, a day for baseball games, and a day for parades. But above all, Memorial Day is of course a day for remembering those members of our military that have made the ultimate sacrifice over the past 230+ years.

I think it's safe to say a lot of us feel there are many things wrong with America today, or that it's heading down the wrong road. But, there are many more things that are right with America! And one of the biggest is the men and women of our military. These brave souls are: sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friends, and co-workers. They come from poor and rich families. They come from every religion. They come from every corner of this great nation, from Alaska to Florida, and from Maine to Hawaii.

Ultimately they do what is probably the bravest and most noble thing a person can do, they decide to put their lives on the line to protect the lives of others. They put their lives on the line for freedom, liberty, and justice. They put their lives on the line for the right to vote for whoever you want to, the right to say whatever you want, the right to worship God in any way you choose, and the right to not worship God at all. They put their lives on the line so that those before them did not do so in vein. They put their lives on the line for their brothers and sisters standing next to them in battle. They put their lives on the line for Old Glory and everything she stands for. They put their lives on the line for you, me, and all of America.

They are Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines. They are heroes. They are the reason I'm safe and free. They are the reason I can complain about stuff like the way my favorite sports team is playing, traffic, and gas prices. They are the reason why I have the freedom to go on a website like this and post something that reaches a few dozen people.

To all the members of our military (past and present) and their families, especially those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, I say this. I know there is no way I could possibly give you the thanks you truly deserve. I admire and respect you and the sacrifices you make very much. I will always be thankful that I have the best people from the best country protecting me day and night. You all are in my thoughts and prayers everyday.

God bless our Military who are protecting our Country for our freedom. Thanks to them, and their sacrifices we can celebrate on Memorial Day. We must never forget who gets the credit for the freedoms we have, of which we should be grateful.

I hope everyone has a safe, fun, and happy Memorial Day! Please if you ever see a service member, thank them, especially this weekend.

~Lauren Nicole

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Glenn Beck on "The View"


I just watched Glenn Beck on "The View" and may I say..... no, wait. I need to go take a shower first. I feel dirty.
I sat in front of the TV for 45 minutes watching those women rip apart topic after brainless topic until Glenn came on and it's got me feeling like I just rolled around in a large pile of the world's most disgusting garbage. Ew.

Glad the show is over. I did at least learn something today. The order of introduction is VERY important! You should always have your facts straight about who spoke first. Always. WHAT A JOKE THESE "VIEW" WOMEN ARE!! hahaha

They started the interview off with an argument over who spoke to whom first on a train a few weeks back.... it was, without a doubt, the most childish discussion I've ever seen on television. I was embarrassed for Barbra Walters and Whoopi Goldberg. They looked like little kids up there! Hah, who am I kidding? I enjoyed watching them make fools of themselves. I can't wait for Glenn's show later to hear how he responds to it all. Hopefully, he wont apologize too much. He has no reason to, despite what those two women thought.

They later talked about his opinion of Pelosi resigning. And by "talked about his opinion" I mean Glenn gave his opinion and the women twisted it, like most Liberals are accustom to doing, until it hardly resembled his original opinion at all. Hey, at least they kinda let him give his opinion though, right?

The rest of the show consisted of Glenn trying to talk and them running over his words; constantly twisting and turning them, often before he could even get them out of his mouth.

It was sickening watching them fight over who would be the first to catch him in the lies they were fabricating. Sickening, I tell you.

How is this show still on air after all this time? Why do they have so many viewers, pardon the pun. I can only conclude that their viewers consist of Jerry Springer fans and catty, young adult women who have a baby on each hip, chicken frying on the stove and nine dogs running around. My point being, no intelligent person has any business watching that show on a regular basis. It's disgusting and I feel as though I've lost about 10% of my brain cells and like no amount of showering will ever make me clean again after just having watched one episode. There really must be more stupid people in the world than I thought. Sad.

Glenn did well though. I'd rather he not keep such company but other than that, I'm glad it's over and pleased he didn't have his head ripped off of his neck right before my very eyes by those beasts.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Looking for a cheap and easy meal?

I tried to keep this as basic as I could and with as few ingredients as possible. Obviously, expansion on any or all aspects of this meal preparation is welcomed. :)

Pasta--I like bowties best for this dish, but you can use whatever you'd like. Penne pasta works great as well.
Mushrooms--I like baby bella mushrooms, but again, use what you'd like.
Two Sauces--A red sauce and a white sauce. Classico has a very nice variety of 'white sauces'. My favorite is Sun Dried Tomato. The Mushroom Alfredo is good in this dish, too.
As for the 'red sauce', try Ragu's traditional pizza sauce.

Italian spices
Salt (to taste) Unless you go with the other option, mentioned later.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Butter (about 1/8 of a stick)

Start by boiling a pot of water (don't forget to add a pinch of salt, its better for the noodles). You will be able to tell when your water is ready for the pasta by simply stirring the water. If it continues to boil, its ready, if stirring the water makes it stop boiling then it's not ready.

Measure the pasta you need. Pasta generally doubles in size when cooked, so 1 cup uncooked = 2 cups cooked.
Slowly add the pasta to the boiling water. Ideally, the water shouldn't stop boiling, but if that happens, it's okay.
Now, stir, stir and stir some more! Pasta will stick together if it isn't stirred enough in the beginning. Let your pasta cook for 8-12 minutes.

While it's cooking you should start your sauces.
Pour your "red" and "white" sauces into separate pots on medium heat. Add roughly half a cup of water to each then stir until the water is absorbed.

To the red sauce, add your Italian spices. I've never actually measured how much to use but I usually sprinkle in enough to evenly cover the top of the pot. You really can't go wrong with it unless you like accidentally screw the lid off wrong and end up dumping in half the bottle... of course, even then all you have to do is scoop out the excess and laugh at yourself a little.

Now that you have your sauces going go back and check on your pasta. By now it should be "al dente" or firm, yet tender.
Taste it and see if it needs to be cooked longer. Unless you had it cooking on a low setting, it should be finished and ready to drain. Don't rinse it. That takes off all the starches and wont allow your sauces to stick. Just let it sit in the colander and let the excess water drain off.

While that's draining, get a small skillet and add Olive Oil(enough to coat the bottom) and your butter (about 1/8 of a stick). Turn the burner on medium-high heat.

In waiting for the Olive Oil to heat up you will want to prepare your mushrooms.
There is no need to peel mushrooms. The only trimming they may need is the stem end, if it's dry, or the tough stem portion of Shiitakes or the root of the Portabella. All other mushroom stems may be prepared along with the caps.
Mushrooms can be sliced thick or thin, cut in quarters, coarsely or finely chopped using a sharp knife. I like to slice mine thin. Remember, they shrink once you start cooking them.

By now your skillet should be nice and warm for you. So, carefully add in the mushrooms. If it sizzles right away that's fine but if it pops a lot then turn down the heat just a little.
To Saute mushrooms: cook and stir them until they are golden and the released juices have evaporated. It will take about five minutes (stir your sauces in the meantime). Don't overcrowd the skillet or the mushrooms will steam rather than brown.

(OPTIONAL) Recently, I experimented with my red sauce by adding feta cheese. It gave it a slightly fuller taste, not to mention a pretty color.

A helpful hint: feta has a somewhat salty taste.

I will probably start using feta for now on as a replacement to salt because not only did it have a better taste but it also has better health benefits.
If you want to use feta in your sauce simply cut off a block of cheese, roughly the size of your thumb. Then, mince it (cut it into tiny pieces..dice it then run your knife through it till its about as small as you can get it). Sprinkle the feta into your sauce and stir. It wont melt in so don't worry if you still see the lumps after several minutes of stirring.

By now everything should be coming together nicely. You pasta is ready to be platted, your sauces are smelling wonderfully and your mushrooms are simmering away quietly, moments away from being placed atop your dish.

Now, what I like to do is layer everything in individual bowls. Starting with the pasta, then a little red sauce (it goes a looong way), then the white, top it all off with sauteed mushrooms and bon appetite!
A little grated Parmesan goes well on top also.

This is a quick, inexpensive meal the entire family can enjoy and you can be proud of.
Look out Olive Garden, there's a new Italian chef in town!! :)

I'd be more than happy to answer any questions or address your comments.
So, feel free to email me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dearest Mother,

On this, the day we are told to remember our mother's
I would like to present you with this post
in hopes that it will show you how much you mean to me,
to all of us.
Happy Mother's Day.

I was in your tummy for 9 months and all I got was:
Your eyes,
Your passion,
Your love for politics, learning, teaching and cooking,
Your ability to think on my own but to work with others,
Your desire to do what's right even if it means doing it alone,
Your curiosity,
Your tenacity,
Your love for the Lord,
Your hope for the lost,
Your knowledge that prayer, prayer
and more prayer is always the right answer to any situation.
Your strength in troubled times,
and the will to make it through.
Your capability to look at the world with open eyes,
not judging things based on how the rest of the world perceives itself,
Your ability to be resourceful,
Your kind caring attitude, understanding, patience and helpfulness towards others,
Your knowledge of what a young lady should act like;

But more than anything, Mom...
You've given me you.
What more could I possibly ask for?

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for all the countless things you've taught me,
"H" is for her heart that loves the Lord;
"E" is for her ears that always stop to listen,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be, ;-)

Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,
"A word that means the world to me.

If I could give you diamonds
for each tear you cried for me.
If I could give you sapphires
for each truth you’ve helped me see.

If I could give you rubies
for the heartache that you’ve known
If I could give you pearls
for the wisdom that you’ve shown.
Then you’ll have a treasure, mother,
that would mount up to the skies
That would almost match
the sparkle in your kind and loving eyes.

But I have no pearls, no diamonds,
As I’m sure you’re well aware
So I’ll give you gifts more precious
My devotion, love and care

You were there when we took our first steps,
And went unsteadily across the floor.
You pushed and prodded: encouraged and guided,
Until our steps took us out the door...

You worry now "Are they okay?"
Is there more you could have done?
As we walk the paths of our unknown
You wonder"Where have my children gone?"

Where we are is where you have led us,
With your special love you showed us a way,
To believe in ourselves and the decisions we make.
Taking on the challenge of life day-to-day.

If I knew as a child what I know now, Mom,
I probably wouldn't have made things so hard for you.
I would have understood,
that you were looking out for my best interests.

I would have known how difficult it is to let go,
to stand back and let someone you love
learn from their mistakes.
I would have realized
how fortunate I was to have a mother
who was always there for me,
even after an argument,

even after I'd said things I shouldn't have.
While it's too late for a lot of things
it's not too late for me to tell you
that I appreciate how loving you are,

how giving you've always been
and that even though
I may not always be good at showing it,
I love you very much.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
I love you.
More than you will know,
more than I can show.

And can I just say-
"The cake is done but you are finished"
A line that will carry on for many years to come, I'm sure.
Thank you, Ms. English Major, for teaching us proper grammar. ;-)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

thoughts going through my mind...

It's been one year today.
[Don't ask, please]

Summer is officially here. My finals are over and I couldn't be more pleased with how well this semester turned out. And my summer classes should be challenging enough to hold my attention for a while.

Debussy is really great. [it's what I'm listening to right now]

I wonder where I'm going to put all my stuff from my dorm. It seems like I came back with a LOT more than I originally left with.. :/

Epic Movie...was an epic FAIL! That was, without a doubt, the gayest movie I've ever seen.
I had like 10 movies recorded (thank you, whoever created DVR) to watch this weekend but only got around to like 3 of them.. Epic Movie was such a waste of time.
It was one of those movies you watch thinking it will get better....but never does... At the end I was like "Wow, that's the movie? Why the crap did I just sit here and watch all of that?" But, I truly did think it was going to get better. Before I knew it, it was over though...and still just as lousy in the end as in the beginning and middle and every tiny second in between. ugh.

Sleep sounds nice.

Brunch with Kristen was really nice this morning. I need to buy more bella mushrooms though. Between the mushroom risotto last night and the mushroom, tomato omelets for brunch..I'm all out. Oh, and that reminds me..I need to look up new recipes that use white wine... I still have some of that left from the risotto and it would be fun to cook with it again.

Wow, I cant believe its already been a year. Life has funny twists sometimes.

Bella Ciao has been stuck in my head for the past 48 hours. Ive tried a billion different ways to get it out but I'm afraid its taking a vacation in my head for a while. I heard another Italian song the other day that I wouldn't mind having in my head for a while. It was so pretty and fun to sing along to [even if I only knew like half the words lol] I don't remember the name of the song though...hmm.. maybe it will come to me later.

Watching Pearl Harbor last night was a bad idea. I was too mad to sleep afterwards. All I wanted to do was go shoot some dang Commie Japs... terrible to say out loud, huh? Well, it's done now. Guess I'll take whatever criticism comes my way.

I feel like painting.

The song I'll Be Your Lover, Too sung by Rob Pattinson makes me Laugh Out Loud.

I need to find a summer job. CSBE sent me a job application. I wonder if I can work around my summer classes? That sure would be a fun job to have! :)

My piano playing has come a long way in the past two weeks. I have noticed a difference at least. If I had an electric keyboard I could practice a lot more. I can't find one I like enough to buy though.

The Script. A new band I've started listening to... I think I really am starting to like them, too.. despite the fact that most of their songs are like sad, love songs. It's like sad country music meets pop/Indie.

Oooh! Angela is giving me the new As Cities Burn CD on Sunday!! :) Well, that thought just made my day 10x better! hehe

Thanks to Twitter I found another new band.. Fin Raziel. I haven't decided if I like them yet or not.

I wonder if I'll be able to get away with taking a nap today. I think I can squeeze one in.

This is terrible writing.
I needed an outlet for my thoughts though.