oohh, oohh...one thing
Monday, October 31 at 11:12 PM

you should take a funny/cute/hot photo of yourself/a liger/whatever you want...and send it to me (laurendotbrown@gmail.com) so i can decorate my new cubicle in style.

that's all. i should hear shutters going anytime now. don't just think about it...do it. or don't. whatever.

3 words to describe this monday...

FULL. GOOD. NEW.

i've been up since 6am (and if you've been keeping up-to-date you know this is NOT what i've been used to for the last couple of months). i basically didn't stop from the time i woke up until about 20 minutes ago (except for a short break for dinner and a nice conversation with one of my very favoritest favorite fellas--ha, yeah...only the truly amazing things in life elicit that phrase).

i'm tired. it's time to go to bed.

i'm not complaining...every bit of today has been a complete answer to prayer. my body just has to adjust to a normal schedule again. and i have to figure out how to get all the things done in a day that i need to get done. it'll happen...i have no doubt.

i want to say more...but my brain really can't handle any more activity today. seriously.

just know that things are going well here in cola. i'm trying to think of some witty way to end this post...and it's just not happening. good night all.

today is a funny day.
Saturday, October 29 at 12:26 PM

i was lying in bed this morning...sleeping so soundly...dreaming apparently. and in my dream one of my earrings started tickling my neck really badly. i kept dreaming a little...it kept tickling me and bothering me. then i woke up and realized it definitely WASN'T an earring tickling my neck. it was a BIG, HUGE, FREAKIN' COCKROACH THING in my bed. oh my. it was craziness.

also...i went to subway to get some grub earlier. the "sandwich artist" lady seriously asked me this question..."what kind of cheese would you like on this BABY GIRL?" that's just pure awesomeness.

later i'm going to help with a fall festival for some inner city kids. i can't wait to see what kind of humor finds me there. i have no doubt it will be delightful as well.

by the way, the concert last night was amazing, of course. three incredible bands. first time i'd seen david crowder live. good times. you know a concert was enjoyable when you come home with aching feet, buzzing ears, and a sore throat. shane and shane are still my favoritest favorite ever. (sidenote: i realized about halfway through the show why this concert felt sorta weird. one of the musicians would do something awesome or start talking about their gear...and i would look around...and there was no shua, jonny, karl, or lee. this was the first concert in a LONG time that didn't involve some combination of those people. and i missed the "oh gah" faces and the "that was sick" comments...i even missed hearing the total rundown of all the screw ups and really cool moments after the show. awww, tender. you all are missed. you should come down here thursday to hear dave barnes so i don't have to miss you the whole time he's playing...although he might keep me a little distracted. not as distracted as, say, matt wertz...but whatever. i have totally gotten off subject. i love you all.)

so, drumroll please...
Friday, October 28 at 3:03 PM

i got the job!! finally, after like a month of going through the process, i am officially employed. i start monday as the church multiplication group assistant with the south carolina baptist convention (man, that's a long title). i'm really excited about what i'll be doing and the people i'll be working with. thanks for all the prayers, phone calls, and encouragement. i'll give you more details later.

right now i've got to get ready to go see the david crowder band, the robbie seay band, and shane and shane. musical fantabulousness awaits.

google greatness.
Thursday, October 27 at 11:23 PM

someone got to my site a little while ago by googling "beau bailey."

now that is pure awesomeness. beau bailey really is a rock star.

miscellaneous thoughts...

on matters of the heart. (if you're one of those people who thinks i shouldn't blog about such things...then stop reading. but seriously, it's not about any specific relationship or person in my life. just random musings on the subject.)

lately it seems that everywhere i go, every conversation i have, every blog i read is about love, the heart, broken relationships, questions of pursuit, should i or shouldn't i, does she or doesn't she, do i or don't i, etc., etc...

normal questions, especially for us single folks. and i've had a lot of things going on in my own head on some of these matters. so i'm gonna try to organize my thoughts about it all and pour it out right here. hope it makes some sort of sense. here goes...

love is mysterious. we try and try to figure it out, but we can't and we never will.

love is a choice. it is not something that just happens...you have to allow yourself to love. however, i do think there is an element of divinity in it that is beyond our control. i believe (and i'm no expert obviously, so i could be wrong) that the love God designed for a man and woman to share for a lifetime has supernatural qualities. that whole "you just know" thing...that's God in it i think. and that to me implies more than just a choice...it's that sense that you can't NOT do it. (and i guess you must still choose to be obedient, but you get what i'm saying hopefully.)

love (or our twisted idea of it) can leave as quickly as it came. in several conversations the last few weeks, i've listened to friends talk about their feelings for a special someone. feelings that they are sure about. no questions...and then later, i've talked to them as they are struggling with whether those feelings are really real or not. or i've seen a person obviously crazy about someone, but also entertaining the idea of being with a person totally different. and then, two days later...the total opposite. we've all seen it. we've all felt it. one day--total bliss and certainty...the next-utter confusion or even complete repulsion at the idea of that very person who was the object of our affection just the day before. our hearts can be FICKLE. and that really scares me.

it scares me...and i don't believe our hearts were meant to be given away like that. i just don't think that God intended for us to survive a string of broken hearts and deep wounds before we find "the one." i know that personally, i love deeply and it's hard to let go. i don't see this as a negative thing. it seems that when i'm married, this quality will be beautiful in the context of that relationship. that would seem to be how God designed it. if He wants one man and one woman to be together throughout their lives (and i certainly think He does), then it makes sense to create our hearts to love completely, unreservedly, freely...and not to let go easily. it's when we give that sort of love away before its time that our fragile hearts are broken and wounded, and we find ourselves trying to still believe in the sort of love we desire deep within. (of course there are other scenarios...i'm not saying this is the only way hearts get broken. sometimes love is given away at the proper time and it still leads to serious hurt.) it's almost as if our hope for that true love causes us to love too easily...and that loving too easily leads to broken hearts...and the broken heartedness makes us skittish about loving...and before we realize it, we've turned love into something it was never supposed to be--scary.

of course, the flipside of this is living life so intent on not being hurt that we never allow ourselves to really feel anything deeply. and that must be just as unhealthy, i would assume. building walls so high no one can climb...might keep the heart intact, but it'll also never allow it to feel, and grow, and flourish.

i don't know if any of this is making sense, i just felt like i needed to say it...because God's been dealing with me on these issues and i'm trying to understand and allow Him to reshape my thoughts and feelings about it all. honestly, lately i've had to stop myself from feeling like He's holding out on me. like the love He designed me for is something i have to earn. that is just so wrong. i'm constantly reminding myself that singleness right now is not a punishment. He's not holding out on me.

He's. not. holding. out. on. me.

(wow...so yeah. please refrain from the "you're so great. God will bring you the right person at the right time" stuff. 'cause i am most definitely sure that will happen. and i really am good with where i am right now...i'm just voicing observations. hope you're feeling me on this one, and i'm not sounding like a total lunatic.)

16 weeks ago...
Tuesday, October 25 at 12:25 AM

my life was good. nice and cozy. comfortable. i had a great job. i was part of an amazing church. i was doing stuff that i enjoyed every day...working with youth, being in ministry, laughing at my friends. i was surrounded by people who knew me well and loved me. my family was close by. i was living in a place that i knew like the back of my hand. it was sweet.

and then, on that beautiful afternoon 16 weeks ago...God showed up. and He didn't come to say "hi. good job. stay here and live well and enjoy the comforts all around you." He came with an invitation...an invitation to follow Him to a place, a ministry, and a life that was completely unknown. no guarantees. no coziness. no way to know what would happen.

i really had no choice. God had changed my heart almost without my knowing it. He had stirred a passion and a desire within me to come to this strange city and serve the people here in His name. and i couldn't say no. no matter how crazy it might have seemed to leave everything i knew and head out into the unknown...i just couldn't NOT do it.

and so...the last 16 weeks have been the most amazing weeks of my life. they've also been the hardest 16 weeks of my life in a lot of ways. starting over is not easy. developing new friendships and strengthening old ones requires a lot of effort. there have been many lonely times. there have been frustrations and questions. i have wondered how i'm gonna live without a job much longer. i have thought how much easier life would be if i had just stayed where i was. i've felt far from God and i've wanted desperately to hear from Him, without much response at times. basically, i have been completely selfish in a lot of my thoughts and feelings...

but i never questioned whether He was gonna do what He said He would do...what He whispered to my heart all those weeks ago (and to other people's hearts LONG before then). i knew He would accomplish His plans through all of us ordinary, messed up people. i didn't know exactly how or even why He was going to use me...i just knew i was ready to do whatever.

and last night certainly confirmed to me that God uses willing people to accomplish extraordinary, God-sized tasks. none of us have things all figured out. nobody on our team is an expert at what they're doing. we don't have anything to give to God that He can't find somewhere else...we've simply chosen to follow Him. to share His love with the community, and the world, around us. He did not come to this planet, die on a cross, and rise again so that we could live comfortable, easy lives. He came to show us how to live. and His life was one full of faith, and obedience, and also suffering. we should expect nothing less.

and as i stood in the back of the theater last night and just soaked everything in, all the hard times and the doubts and fears somehow seemed a million miles away. God was at work. God IS at work. all i wanna do is be a part of that...easy, difficult, whatever. when you know you're right where He wants you, life is the sweetest it'll ever be.

here's to the next 16 weeks...

i'm still processing...
Monday, October 24 at 10:43 AM

everything from last night. it's gonna take some time to organize all the thoughts in my head.


"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."
GOD's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty--handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them."
Isaiah 55:8-11 (The Message)

i'm a little bit behind.
Sunday, October 23 at 1:21 AM

you'll have to forgive me...this week has been a busy one.

i promise a more interesting post soon.

for now--here's what you need to know:
*i got back tonight from a short, amazing, much-needed visit to a-town. i love my friends. i love big, safe, warm hugs. 'nuff said.
*tomorrow (or actually, today) is the first large worship gathering for midtown. i'm so excited i might as well not even try to sleep tonight. i just can't wait!!
*the job thing is still in the works...the "final phase" of everything should happen on friday, so i'll give you a report soon after.
*i did two things this week that i'd never done before--talked to a friend over im on the computer (as in, i could hear his voice and he could hear mine...like talking on the phone, only i'm talking into my pretty mac. maybe not new to some people, but it was to me. weird, but cool.) and played phase 10. new experiences are fun.
*jordyn moorhead is the sweetest little girl on the planet. hands down. she made my week when she came running up to me thursday night with the barbie picture she colored for me. i miss those moorhead kids.

that's all for now. more later. for real.

i'd like to thank THE beau bailey...
Tuesday, October 18 at 11:44 AM

*for being the first official guest blogger on this site. (though i just remembered one other guest blogger from a long time ago...but we'll just say that one wasn't official.)
*for just being awesome. seriously people, if you don't know beau bailey...you should.
*for making it impossible to have an im conversation with you without wondering if you're on the toilet, and for enlightening us all on the state of your "underbritches."

that was fun.

moving on...i heart fall. i love love love being outside during this time when the weather is cool, but not cold. i love the thought of breaking out the coats again and wearing all those clothes that have been waiting patiently in the closet. i love pumpkin carving and bonfires and leaves changing color. i love fall so much that i always try to help usher it in...i mean, it's the middle of october--it's time to wear long sleeves and boots, even if it's not quite cold enough here in cola to warrant it. i'm still doing it...even if it's 85 degrees (which it's not right now...it's perfect at this moment). some people get spring fever...but fall fever is what i'm feeling. bring it on.

warning! totally random observation to follow...
so i was shopping at wally world the other day and i happened to look at a box of q-tips. on the side in big red letters was a message that went something like this--"DO NOT USE IN EAR CANAL!!" okay, for real people...what other purpose do q-tips serve? honestly, there is no other use for them besides getting that gunk out yo ears. they shouldn't waste the space on the box, that's all i'm saying.

This is not your normal Lauren Brown...
Monday, October 17 at 12:48 AM

First, everyone needs to know that this is Beau Bailey, sitting in for the benched and victim of writer's block, Ms. Lauren Brown. Now, back to my guest blog.

In the brilliant and simplistic words of Mr. Skip Dynamite "yes I love technology."

Tonight as I sit back in my recliner, watching DVDs of the 90's hit show "Saved By the Bell," I look back over the day's events and think about the things the day has taught me.

Something that is pretty understood is that every person has their favorite pair of under-britches. Whether it is an old pair of the generic "whitey-tighties," some comfortable "boxer briefs," or maybe the popular and trusty joe-"boxer." This morning I grabbed my fav. pair out of my cabinet and put my first foot through no problem. The problem is, as I began to put my other foot through, I lost my balance, my foot got caught, and it tore the biggest hole in my favorite pair of under-britches. Even worse, I was out of any other kind of undergarment and I sat all thru two services in church and dinner with the family, knowing what I was dealing with the whole time. Even worse than that is I've been home for hours, I have clean clothes in my room, yet I still have these hole-stricken under-britches on.

So, to technology. Wireless Internet is something to call home about. You can enjoy it from your kitchen, your bedroom, the nearest Panera Bread Company, or even your bathroom. Even more entertaining is knowing that I can talk to any one of my friends via the internet while I'm in the bathroom, and there is a good chance they will never know what I'm doing.

Finally, if anyone is reading this and has a younger sister or brother, maybe you can feel my pain. Someone told me today that they saw my little sister, Nicole, holding hands with her boyfriend at school this past week. I threw up a little bit when I heard this. (Just thinking about it made me throw up a little bit just now.)

Now, just to let you know, I've been in the bathroom this whole time. I hope this blog wasn't too risque. I guess I should have prefaced it with a parental guidance warning. But in either case...

I love "Saved By the Bell."

Beau Bailey

can you accidentally go on a date?
Wednesday, October 12 at 10:26 AM

i think the answer is yes. and i think it happened to me last night.

anybody else had one of these experiences?

so...
Monday, October 10 at 9:49 PM

we're just gonna keep right on going like i never said all that stuff in the last post. not 'cause it was bad or anything, just 'cause i'm feeling a little exposed and vulnerable...but you'll have that. or something. i keep catching myself thinking that maybe i shouldn't have shared quite so much. but seriously, i'm just being real. and that means sometimes seeming like i've got it all together--a strong woman who won't let her sense of worth be shaken by a guy. and sometimes being real means i come off looking sorta sad and girly. whatever. they're both me, it just depends on the day.

in other news...

things are looking really, really good on the job front. i'll give you the details once it's definite.

i have some truly great friends. today i'm especially thankful for this one.
voicemails from lee never disappoint. they always, always, always make me laugh...and they also never fail to make me feel like the coolest kid on the block. where did i find a friend like him? oh yeah, you know...up yer butt.

so, the fair was even more fun than i could have envisioned. i think this fact is true mainly because i went with some of the oddest (in a totally good, we're all odd, i love y'all kind of way), but yet most awesome, people i know. between meredith dealing with the "sad sally" crap, tadd claiming that everything we saw was fake and also constantly referring to the people as carnies, mikey trying to get the inside scoop on every single carnival game ever invented...a wild time was had by all. (even if we did pay $5 to park only to realize later that there was free parking right next to the gate.)

i've got some work to do.

one more thing...
Saturday, October 8 at 11:54 PM

that sucks about relationships that don't work out--someone has to move on first. i mean, there are two single people left at the end of a failed relationship. single people are, by nature, looking for that one person they are meant to spend this life with. and so, inevitably...one of these people finds a new someone first (unless there is some way that it could happen at the exact same time. unlikely, but possible). that's just the way it works.

and it hurts when you're the second one in line...watching as the person you thought was your future starts enjoying the present with a new someone. doesn't matter that you know you're not meant to be with him. doesn't really even matter if you have a little crush of your own. doesn't even matter that you know you deserve so much more than he was willing to give. it just hurts...

especially when it happens ridiculously quickly. makes you naturally question every bit of your relationship. makes you think it didn't mean anything to him. makes you feel like someone who is easily forgotten.

thankfully, it's making me look even more forward to the man whom God created me for. the one who won't change his mind on me. the one who will truly be more than i could have ever imagined. the one who will know all my faults and my quirks and love me because of them, not in spite of them.

so i'm fine with second place in line...because i know that the best things are worth waiting for.

just some stuff.
Friday, October 7 at 10:01 PM

stuff you probably don't even wanna know about me.

i'm a little addicted (little addicted...is that possible?) to:
*these carrot cake thingies that i can only find at wal-mart.
*blog crap--checking my friends' blogs and also tracking the visitors to mine on statcounter.
*magazines. for real, this one is the worst. and the dumbest part is that even though i buy the same 4 or 5 (or so) every month, i don't have a subscription to any of them. stupid, stupid, stupid. dave ramsey would not be proud.
*girly wifebeaters. (and i know that's not what most people call them, but i like the phrase.)
*this pretty little compy.

i honestly don't understand:
*myspace. i mean, i'm on there and all (sort of)...but i still don't get what the big deal is. i'd rather just have someone im me or email me. and all the friend requests from wannabe rock stars and weirdos just get on my nerves and/or freak me out a bit. but that's just me.
*why actors get paid millions of dollars to make movies. of course everyone enjoys a night at the movies...but i don't think that justifies the money that celebrities make.
*why every kid in the world can't be as freaking cute as this one.
(thanks for sharing him with the world, shua.)
*how our society takes marriage so lightly these days. if it's too much work...just move on. when did this become okay?
*why God has chosen to move through midtown
so incredibly. i'm just thankful.
*love. the real deal kind. we're just too messed up and selfish. (but i'm glad it doesn't make sense...the truly amazing stuff usually doesn't.)

when it rains....

it really does pour sometimes.

it's raining here right now. that has nothing to do with the previous sentence, but it is a fact. hasn't rained much here since i've been in town. it's been cooler and just wonderful. i hope it stays fallish.

back to the raining and pouring thing. so, as you all know, i've been job hunting for the last couple of months (okay, so i've been unemployed...whatever you wanna call it). i've tried to be patient, telling myself all the cliches about finding the right thing and knowing God will work it out. but it's been frustrating and hard and i finally got to the point this past Sunday where i said "okay, self, i'm getting a job this week even if i have to work at mcdonald's."

guess what happened?

(wouldn't it be awesome if i said that i actually was working at mickey d's? i just thought about that. ha.)

after two months of next to no luck, i was faced today with two really good options. one that wanted me to start monday and another that is not 100% definite (but it's looking very promising), but even better than option number 1. this turn of events presented me with a little dilemma...i couldn't in good conscious take option 1 knowing that i could very well want to quit in a week or so for option 2 (which is a higher salary and ridiculously incredible benefits. seriously, ridic.) so i had to call the people and just be honest. tell them the situation, knowing i could be screwing myself completely. i mean, i could be sitting here in a week or two with no job at all...but we won't think about that. i feel very good about option 2, so we'll just assume for now that it's going to happen.

funny how the timing on all this worked out. nothing for so long and then bam! thanks for all the prayers and encouragement on this issue. it's much appreciated.

in other news, we're going to the fair tomorrow. i'm excited about the greasy, weird, redneck fun that always takes place at the fair. i've never been to this particular fair, so there's no telling what could happen. i heard people got shot last year. now that's good times. you know you wanna come too, so get in the car and drive on over.

wait, hold up.
Tuesday, October 4 at 10:53 PM

did i really say something on here about hott men in columbia?

i am such a dork.

(but at least i'm a dork with a job interview tomorrow and another good job possibility in the works. hallelujah!)

so, i'm sitting outside right now...

at atlanta bread. enjoying the wireless while i work on some church stuff.

there's a nice breeze blowing. the sky is ridiculously blue. it feels a tiny bit like fall.

this is the life.

i feel a bulleted list coming on.
Monday, October 3 at 11:30 PM

recent epiphanies for me:

*suncom sucks. for real y'all. missed calls. "i'm sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed." no way to check voicemails. no service at the house. like i said, it sucks. (i miss you, verizon. i hope we can be reunited soon.)
*i crave structure. as much as i appreciate freedom and creativity...i function much better within well-established parameters. i like to visualize how something will look and feel. i want to know how it's going to work so i can break that down into actions that need to be taken.
*i choose what i allow to hurt me. that's not a new idea. but the realization that it was time to stop making it harder for myself was nice.
*there are some cute boys in cola. and by cute boys, i actually mean hott men. that is not a bad thing.
*i truly, honestly, totally love the people that i'm doing this midtown thing with. i love meeting with them and bouncing ideas off of each other. i love laughing at (with?) them, working alongside of them, and figuring the hard stuff out together. i even love being made fun of for the stuff that i'm not gonna mention. they are my family.
*you can drive the wrong way down a one way street if you're really careful.

sorry.
Sunday, October 2 at 11:30 PM

i must apologize for the last post. i'm not apologizing for the feelings, just for dumping them on you like that and making it seem all dramatic.

things are really awesome for me right now. seriously.

not much else to say...just wanted to clear that up. more to come soon.