My parents named me Laurel, after the mountain laurel flower, but I've always gone by Laurie. I feel like I've spent my whole life trying to be what other people would find acceptable, and it hasn't been until recent years that I've thought more about how GOD would like me to be. He wants my heart to be seeking after HIM and not the approval of man. So, this is where I will be working out my thoughts, removing the masks (even my nickname!), being real, and making a FREAK of myself! ha ha Any other Jesus Freaks or just freaks in general or even non-freaky people are welcome to read, discuss, encourage, or be encouraged. Welcome to my brain . . . and my heart. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Elijah Birthday Letter, 2015

My dearest Elijah,

Unbelievable!  Today is the last day you will be twelve!  Part of me is so excited for tomorrow, while another part wants to hold on to today.

A teenager.  I remember the day you started kindergarten at age five, I thought, "Thank goodness I still have at least thirteen years with him before he might go away to college."  Now you ARE thirteen, and I see how quickly the time slips away.
You've changed so much this past year!  You're so much taller (finally taller than Grammy!) and your voice is so much deeper.  It still surprises me sometimes when you speak with the voice of an almost-man.

You're wiser than you were this time last year, too.  I love that each time I write one of these letters, I can see how God has grown you on the inside, too, and that you're more mature than you were last year.  That's the goal!

You're more independent now in so many ways, and though it makes me a little sad to keep letting go a little more, I know it's healthy and good.  You've done a great job this past year of working more independently on your school work, learning new things (including cooking--you're an amazing chef already!), holding and speaking to your baby cousin tenderly--yet balancing that with an appropriate amount of roughhousing, and taking more initiative to be helpful.

I love your sense of humor--you absolutely crack me up!

Your first Shoogie Award! lol

You have the ability and the resources to make a difference in this world as a teenager, in the ways that matter.  Your dad and I pray that you will make the most of your opportunities, and that the things we have taught you as a child will sink in and make sense and affect the choices you make as a teenager.

Happiest of Birthdays, love!
With much love,

Psalm 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.”

Proverbs 1:8-9 “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.”

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2 Timothy 2:22-25  “Have no part at all in the wrong things that young men like to do. Believe. Have love. Follow what is right. Live at peace. Do these things along with others who have a clean heart and talk to God.  Keep out of foolish quarrels. You know that they start fights.The Lord’s servant must not fight. But he must be kind to all people. He must be a good teacher to them. He must be patient with them. When he corrects those who are against him, he must do it in a gentle way. It may be that God will turn their hearts to know what is true. ”

Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” 

That was then . . .

. . . this is now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Because of the Martyrs and For the Discouraged



The news from around the world and in our own country and region is overwhelming.  I can barely stand to read or hear it.  What's going on?!  I know, but I can't wrap my head around it.

Am I the only one?

Sometimes it takes great effort to reign in my thoughts and focus on what's important and true.

God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit.  Truth.

Evil exists.  Truth.

God has given man free will to choose truth or evil.  Many will choose evil.  Truth.

Truth prevails over evil.  God is stronger than evil.  Truth.

God wins.  Truth.

Satan has already lost.  And is acting desperately before his allowed time is up.  Truth.

No matter how much ground he gains in these mournful days; no matter how many heads he detaches from faithful bodies; no matter how many lies he convinces ticklish ears to believe; no matter how big the messes he makes in countries, families, and individual lives, Satan loses.  Truth.

God prevailed.  God prevails.  God will prevail.

End of story.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  --Romans 8:38-39

Can't see the video?  Click here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Dear Old Friend . . .

The person this is written about will never read this, and I will never, ever put a name with it.  Writing this is my way of working through my thoughts after having time to contemplate tragic news.  Wow, it is difficult to process something so dreadful in a Christ-like manner, as the humanness wants to take over.

Dear Old Friend,

I know what you did.  You don't know I know, but it wouldn't likely matter to you whether or not I know.  You're in a dark place now, where folks are not likely to be kind to you, and your thoughts are probably often consumed with survival.

I'm sick with the knowledge.  Part of me wishes I didn't know.  It's the kind of thing that reminds you of the bliss ignorance really is in comparison.

My heart hurts for your family way more than it hurts for you.  But there's still room for a bit of compassion toward you.  I now understand why you clung so stubbornly to your "cheap grace," a way to justify your secrets in your own mind.

The ache in my heart--I don't know what to do with, about, or for it.  I just keep praying . . .

 . . . for those who loved you--that they may find truth and healing and the true love they need.

. . . for you--that the depths that haunt you will bring you to your knees; that the prideful chains around your heart will be broken; that you, too, will find and accept truth, healing, and true love.

Prayer is all I've got for you, my old friend.  I don't have the courage to go where you are and try to talk to you, nor am I under the impression that it's my place to do so at this point.  I have no words, anyway.

Not to minimize prayer.  It's really the best thing I can do.  Whether or not you submit to what God wants to do in your life in response to people's prayers for you is completely up to you.  I hope you somehow know that someone is praying for you.  Probably more than one someone.

You SO don't deserve to be prayed for.  You don't deserve forgiveness or any sliver of kindness or compassion or friendship.

But, then, neither do I.  From a human viewpoint, I haven't sunk into the depths of depravity that you have, but your sins were no less covered by Jesus' blood than mine.  Without Jesus Christ, the Jesus of the Bible (not the one you made up), I'd be in the same depths by a different route.

I'm so thankful for His compassion, I can't not extend a portion of it to you.  How I pray you will remember your roots, your passion for truth and justice--your love for Jesus!  You did love Him in days long past.  I remember.

I more than likely won't see you again on this earth.  I don't know if I'll see you after that.  I know where I'll be, but I don't know what you'll choose in the time you have left to make such choices.  What I'm sure of, though, is that if we're both there, neither of us will deserve to be.  We won't have gotten there on our own, by anything we've done or thought or said.

We'll both get there the same way.  Jesus' grace isn't cheap, my friend.  I'm praying you'll embrace His expensive (yet free to us!), lavish grace and find peace for your obviously-tortured soul.


Monday, June 16, 2014

LM Birthday Letter, 2014

My dear LM,

The day you've been so excited about for months is almost upon us!  Your twelfth birthday (and, of course, those words cause me to choke up!)--can it be here already?

You've grown so much in the past year--both in stature and character.  I don't want to dwell too much on the past this time, though.  I want to live in the moment.

Right now you are in your room, listening to Odyssey and building something with Leggos.  You are dreaming about your birthday and talking about it constantly.  You are counting and recounting your money and planning what to do with it.  You are enjoying summer freedom and staying up late.  You are smart, funny, handsome, loveable, friendly, outgoing, inquisitive, sweet, strong, and helpful.

You have your "stuff" you're working on, like we all do, and you are learning to ask God for help.  Just remember this, now and always:  God doesn't make us aware of our shortcomings to condemn us, but because He wants us to be free of them.  What love He has for you, LM!

I hope you'll choose to walk in freedom this next year, and for the rest of your life.  In a mysterious way, that only God fully understands, we find the fullest freedom in obedience to Him.  I so want you to know this concept in ways I didn't comprehend at your age.

You're a great kid, and I'm so very thankful God chose your dad and me to receive the gift of you as our child.

Happiest of Birthdays to you, my son!


PS.  LM: Since I started this new blog this year, if you want to find your former birthday letters, click here. The ones before these you'll have to ask me for (long story).  I love ya, Buddy!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Night Randomness: May Favorites

Best Reads:  I can't help it.  I've been re-reading Pride & Prejudice on my Kindle.  Some books bear repeating so well.  :)  And it's free right now!
Click here for more info

Foodliness:  Love, love, love (but I'm the only one in my house who does) these Snapea Crisps, the lightly salted variety.  I found them at Martin's, but I'm sure they are available elsewhere.  I don't know how healthy they actually are, but they're a tasty snack from time to time.  They are snap peas that are baked, and they kind of puff up and become crunchy.  Something different.

From the Makeup Bag:  My eyelashes need as much help as they can get!  Alas, I wasn't born with LM's never-ending, perfectly curled lashes.  Seems unfair if I choose to look at it that way. ;)  L'oreal Voluminous mascara does a decent job.

Skin Care:  We've all heard how important it is to remove our makeup before cleansing the skin.  Some of the facial wipes out there are quite costly!  Awhile back, I took a chance when I saw that Dollar Tree carries "Exfoliating Facial Wipes" for sensitive skin.  You get 30 in a package for $1, and they work!  They even remove most eye makeup well.  They're not very thick, but they still get the job done.

Musically Speaking:  Love this!  When we sing it in church, I find myself singing or humming it for weeks to come. :)

Home Theater:  LM and I enjoyed watching this adventurous family-friendly movie on Netflix, and I highly recommend it!
Click here for more info.

Candle:  The only candle I burned in May was a "Huntington Home" Spa candle, in "coconut milk & mango" scent.  I love the smell of coconut, and, though I love mangoes, the mango scent overpowers the coconut milk and smells a little to sweet or something.  I'm not a fan of candles that smell like food usually anyway, but the word "coconut" swayed me this time.  It's fine, but I'm not crazy about it.

App:  I go back and forth between reading my physical, crinkly-paged Bible and reading on my phone or Kindle.  In May I mostly read from YouVersion.
Click here for more info.

Human:  My favorite human for this month has to be Landon Austin.  He's doing a very decent thing (which will be obvious in the near future) to support my upcoming Young Adult Christian fiction series, due to be available on Kindle later this summer.  I've loved Landon's music for quite awhile.  He does fantastic covers (often better than the originals!) and records his own original music, too.  Unforgettable voice and scads of talent.  He has a funny vlog channel, too.  Here's his latest (I think) cover:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I Wish . . .

I wish I never hurt anyone unintentionally (or intentionally, for that matter).

I wish I was wise.

I wish I was more decisive.

I wish I learned some things more quickly.

I wish I always knew the right things to say.

I wish it wasn't so hard to take a risk.

I wish I spent more time praying about these things instead of wishing . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Undeserving of the Dream?

So, the plan is that I'm publishing a series of eBooks on Kindle this summer.

Ever since "going public" with this tidbit, I've been struggling with feeling unworthy of having this dream become a reality.


I guess the main reason is that it's not that huge of a dream for me.  Let me explain.  I've been thinking about people who have a dream, and they're so passionate about it and do everything they possibly can to make that dream come true.  There's nothing they won't do, no avenue they won't exhaust to see their desire become a reality.  Some are consumed by it day in and day out, night after sleepless night.

It's never been that way for me.  From the second the idea of publication took root in my heart, it's been an exciting idea, but my attitude has been, "I don't want it if You don't want it for me, Lord.  Do with this manuscript whatever You will."

When I think sensibly,  I know there's nothing wrong with that attitude.  But then the sappy side of me engages and I think of so many who, despite all their passion, never see their dream realized.  Or struggle so much harder than I did to reach the desired destination.

And that makes me feel undeserving.

But what I've been reminded of  the past several days is that, with God, nothing is about what we deserve.  What I deserve.

If I had my just desserts, I would be either dead or living a very miserable life right now.  I would be separated from God forever.  I would have nothing of any sort of value.  I would BE nothing of value.

God doesn't deal with who deserves what.  It's not about that for Him, because Jesus more than makes up for what we lack in the deserving department.  He uses people who are willing to be used by Him for his purposes, and He decides what those purposes are.  What an honor to be a vessel for Him, despite my lifetime of screw-ups and unsavory things I have said and done. That He chooses to use me in any situation is an honor.

There's no one else I could say that about.  Who wants to be used?  But God is so perfect and loving, I can trust Him to use me in the purest and most loving ways.

What I need to stop doing is comparing myself with other people, my story with others' stories.  This isn't about comparing or measuring up.  It's about what God wants to do through me.  I don't have to have a dramatic story for it to matter or for it to accomplish God's purpose.  I believe that now.

Please remind me that I believe it should I falter in my thinking again! :)