Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How the time does fly.

Have you tried one of these college student hammocks?
They're pretty cool.
It's crazy to me that it's been so long since I've published a blog here. How does time go so quickly? I suppose it just slipped through my fingers while I was busy raising babies and doing business and life. That's ok. This little spot is still here and it makes it fun to come back and blog now that it has been so long. 

So here's the deal with me and technology. We have a love-hate relationship. I like the convenience of technology, but on my terms. For example, I like using Facebook for checking on people and seeing how folks are doing and that type thing. I don't like the feeling that I need to check it because it's a habit or impulse or something like that. I love all of the people, but I am ok with not knowing what they are doing every moment of the day. 

In January, I took a Facebook break... sort of. I still used it for business. And it was inevitable that when I logged in to use it for business that I saw some posts on my personal page. There were also a couple of long waits at the doctor's office where I scrolled through to see if anyone had done anything incredible while I'd been away. Through this time, what I did discover was this - I really enjoyed having extra brain space without social media. I feel like January was an ultra productive month without it! So...I've decided to continue this practice of 'less social media' living into February. I've wanted to blog here sometimes, so now I have a few minutes to do it! 

I hope you'll read when you have a second to do so. If not, no biggie. Only do it because you want to :) I like that freedom! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Favorite Job.

I've had a lot of jobs.  I may not have reached 30 yet, but I've had several jobs and they've been in a variety of fields.  I'm not a job-hopper, I just have had a hard time committing.  There are just so many interesting things to do out there in the world.  I've done a little bit of radio, retail, teaching school, staffing consultation, and newspaper work.  For the last four years I've been a Children's Director and that is something of which I'm very proud.  I think the fact that I've been at it for more than my average one year stint must be a signal that I'm growing up.  There is one job that has been and continues to bring me more joy, more satisfaction and more life than any other.  Around that workplace they just call me 'momma.'  Today is my little Judah's 2nd birthday.  It's hard to believe my little round-headed Charlie Brown baby is already two.  He is the most precious, squishy little guy that you could ever meet.  Until he head butts you in the face or throws a screaming, kicking fit, you'd think he was absolutely perfect.  He is perfect for me.  His big sister will be 4 in December.  She continues to amaze us with her funny little self.  She's smart and silly, optimistic and very sweet.  Her red hair seems to grow more red and I just love it.  They are definitely children, childish children, but they are also delightful in every way and I can't thank God enough for them.  I haven't blogged in a very long time, so bear with me as I gush a little bit over my babies.  There's more to this story, I promise.  Today we went to the park and played at lunch.  There were 3 other moms there with their kids.  I don't hang out with a lot of young moms. I just don't know a lot of people, and everyone in life seems to be so very busy.  Even though I didn't know these moms there was a sort of kinship in what we were doing.  It felt like we all knew that what we were doing was the most important thing that we could have possibly been doing in that moment.  It was like we might as well have been flying through space or hosting a White House gala.  It may not have looked like much, but in my heart I knew that those moments with my little ones were spent in the best way possible.  Some may not think that being with your kids is all that important. All I know is that they're going to be here when I'm gone.  I have to take every moment to raise them up to know Jesus and to make an impact in this world.  They are the arrows that God has given me that one day will go much further than I ever hope to.  They will fly higher and pierce greater darkness.  They will be more sharp, more valuable in the hands of the greatest warrior to have ever stepped onto the face of the earth.  For now I can't imagine what jobs they will have.  Quinn says she wants to be a horse trainer, horse rider and a princess.  Judah would be content to hang out at the park all day.  One thing of which I am assured.  As much as it is up to me, Quinn and Judah will know that my favorite job of all time is being their momma. This is just the job I've always wanted.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Neglect.

I currently have 2 plants.  My precious plant from my Grandpa's funeral has gone to glory land.  I have a little plant of some sort on the front porch and Chris bought a beautiful orchid for me over the weekend, because he is wonderful.  My plant on the front porch has been somewhat neglected lately.  We have been in work mode for the last couple of months, so I haven't been giving it enough attention.  The orchid is doing great. All I have to do is put a piece of ice in the dirt when it looks dry and it should be good.  We'll see how that goes.  My rose bushes seem a little neglected too.  They were so robust when Spring first came.  The heat has sucked them dry and I think it's high time I get out there and hook up the sprinkler.  This is my declaration that I'm going to take better care of my plants.  I find that these are not the only things that have been neglected lately.  My Bible has also been neglected.  I have read it on my phone and tried sporadically to keep up with my Joyce Meyer devo (She can seem harsh, I know, but her teaching is solid!)  I'm going to sit down and get better about making God's Word a priority in my day, every day.  This one is short because Quinn just looked out the front window, onto the porch, and said, "Mom, why did you let that plant's leaves get down?"  I think that means it needs water.  Too funny. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Strong language warning: FEAR SUCKS.

Today I sent Chris a text message that read, "Read my e-mail.  I am so frustrated that I want to just forget this whole thing."  I'm not talking about our marriage or anything that is really important in the grand scheme.  I'm talking about this newspaper.  This thing is going really smoothly, but it is a lot of work.  Today I got an e-mail from the publisher at the paper where we are printing.  They ran into some snags when they tried to print our mock publish.  I froze.  It's that feeling that you get when you see the police officer in the rear view mirror with his lights on.  The little voice in my head started screaming, "YOU WERE RIGHT.  YOU CAN'T DO THIS.  IT'S EXACTLY HOW YOU THOUGHT IT WAS.  YOU'RE NOT TECHNICAL.  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING, TRYING TO START A NEWSPAPER?  IT'S GOING TO BE TERRIBLE AND ALL OF YOUR ADVERTISERS, IF YOU GET ANY, ARE GOING TO HATE IT."  And so I wanted to quit.  I wanted to roll up in a little ball, crawl under a rock and quit everything.  Judah has pink eye and an ear infection.  That voice says that it's my fault that he is sick. I don't wash his hands enough.  Maybe I don't clean the nursery enough, because I am, after all, the Children's Director.  I am sick of this voice. I've talked here about it before. I don't think I'm a fearful person, but I do know that fear tries to creep in and paralyze me on a regular basis.  Writing this out here helps me to feel better about things.  I have been afraid to say too much about the paper because of fear that it will fail.  In the words of Antoine, "That is dumb, really, really, dumb. For real."  So here's what happened.  I called the guy over production.  There were like two things that needed to be fixed. TWO THINGS!  He didn't laugh at me and call me an amateur.  He didn't tell me that it won't work.  The guy I spoke to was very kind.  He was very helpful.  He was very positive.  Thank you, God, for this sweet man.  Chris also spent his entire break encouraging me.  Thank you, God, for this sweet man, too.  I'm not going to let fear freeze me up any more.  Dang it!  I'm going to kick fear in the butt.  With God's help I don't want to spend one more second frozen up by fear.  I can do anything through Christ who gives me strength! Anything! Anything! Get on out of here fear.  You're not welcome.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where I've been.

This is a random post, deserving of this random picture.

I almost feel guilty sitting here posting a blog.  We have been working like worker bees or worker ants or turkeys or something that works very hard.  Beavers, maybe?  Yes, I have been working like a beaver.  I know you don't really care about how busy we are, but I think that I should post something so that everyone (all six of you) do not think I have quit blogging.  I haven't.  I like this little corner of the internet that somehow belongs to me.  I don't understand how the internet works, really.  But I do like that I am the only one that can post whatever I want here and that somebody out there wants to read it.  Now, back to the being busy part of this blog.  Here's what's happening in the C&LSwonke House.  We are currently editing two weddings that will be delivered to their beautiful owners within the next week and a half.  This is pretty tedious work for Mr. Swonke.  I pray for him and ask him to change the laundry out and read articles to me while I am working on the newspaper.  I know he will get them done on time and they'll be amazing; I just think he needs less sleep than he thinks he does.  Six hours, really?   Along with said editing, we are getting ready to launch a newspaper.  This is a very detailed, involved, work-inducing process.  This is a process we've been working on for nearly 8 months.  It's kind of like birthing a baby, people.  All except for the terrible pain part.  This is not painful.  It is actually really fun.  I'll blog about this once it gets on the ground, because I am a little nervous about it all and don't want to get ahead of myself.  My friend Cat said that the only failure is when we don't take a risk.  These words have been so good for me.  They've encouraged me when I've felt afraid about all of this.  Thank you, Cat!  We're taking a risk.  Risky business!  That's us!  Risky business takers!  Risky business starters!  Maybe just goofy.  Along with editing many, many pictures and starting a newspaper from nothingness, we are also continuing on with our regular work and church life.  Chris works 40+ hours at the salt mine and I work an unknown number of hours, a lot from home, some from my church office, loving all of the children in the world.  When we are not involved in any of the above activities, we are trying to be faithful to go to the gym.  Chris is very good at this.  He gets up at 5AM and goes to do a regimented workout that our Pastor/friend put together for him.  By the way, I think our pastors have to be some of the most health minded people I've ever known.  I think that is very good.  Go Sean and Lori Jo, go!  I am thankful for how they have inspired us to take care of our bodies.  I went and ran/walked a mile and a half and did the eliptical machine thing for about 1/3 of a mile.  It was good.  Now I stink.  So, yes, Chris is doing very well with going to the gym.  I'm going 2-3 times a week.  My goal is 3 times a week.  I have lots of excuses.  "The shorts that I like are not clean; I cannot go."  Chris says, "Put on some of my shorts and GO."  He doesn't think I'm fat.  I think he just gets tired of hearing me whine about not getting to my goal weight and he loves me and doesn't want me to have reason to whine.  I don't deserve him.   "I can't take my phone, therefore I won't have music.  I don't want to go if I can't have music," I say.  "Take my phone and GO," he says.  "I will go, but I won't be happy about it," I say.  "GO and be happy about it," says he.  And so I went and I'm glad I did.  Along with typing and editing and exercising and loving children and answering phones, we are also loving our own little babies.  Oh, how I love these kids.  They are just the sweetest, most precious gifts that God could have ever given to us.  Quinn is convinced we will be having another baby.  She thinks she will have a sister.  And guess what, folks, she will be having a sister.  Someday. Maybe.  I am laughing, as I think of the people who might read this and be tricked into thinking we're having another baby right now. Hahahahaha! It's okay.  I don't like to be tricked either.  I'm sorry.  That's pretty much all that's happening right now.  Loving God, working hard, loving the wonderful family that God has placed us in and given us, trying our best to love people how Jesus does.  A happy, full, life folks.  That is just what I've always wanted, indeed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Growing Up Lauren.

An impromptu photo shoot in the Swonke house.  Aww, geez.  So dang cute.

This blog has been in the back of my mind for a while and I just now have a chance to sit down and put it in letters.  I have had the worst time in the world growing up.  It's not that my growing up has been bad; it was so very good and that is where the difficulty lies.  A few weekends ago my babies and I went to be with my parents and two of my sisters.  This is one of my favorite things.  While I was there I heard my 14 year old niece giving my 19 year old niece a hard time about the 19 year old having told the 14 year old to quiet down during their dollar store adventure.  "What's happening to you?  Are you growing up or something?", she asked, jokingly.  I remember when my niece and nephews would ask me the same questions.  They couldn't understand why I didn't feel like going outside to rush down the pine straw covered hill on a box when I was home for a weekend from college.  Even though I couldn't seem to shake what was happening inside, I cringed at the thought that I was starting to grow up.  And now, 27 years old, married and two babies, I'm just starting to be okay with being an adult.  I was talking to my Mom a short time ago and said, "I guess I'm grown up now."  Her response was, "Yes, when you have two children and are married, I think that means you're grown up."  I read a poem when I was in UIL at some point in school.  I can't find it, but I remember it was about a little kid that realized that even though she was 12, she was also 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3,2 and 1.  I feel that way pretty much every day of my life.  Even though I'm 27, I feel every other age that has brought me to this point.  Chris said something really profound about all of this.  One day I was crying about growing up, about my Grandparents changing, my Grandpa passing away, my parents having difficult health issues and such.  He said something like this.  "Lauren, it's great that your childhood was so good that you don't want to leave it.  The only thing is, now it's time for us to make our kids lives good like that."  Even though I would say I knew this already, it was like a light bulb went off in the back of my mind.  It was the light bulb that was previously hanging over the darkened room where I went to cry and ask God why it is that we have to grow up.  All the while the answers were right in front of me and I just couldn't see them.  It's time for me to grow up for many reasons, but two of the most precious little round faced reasons are my sweet babies.  They deserve a childhood with wonderful parents that teach them about a loving family, about a God that loves them so viciously that he gave his only Son, about how to live this life and be a blessing, not a bum.  They deserve special times with their grandparents, just like I had.  They deserve sweet visits with their cousins, like we had this weekend.  They deserve golden, country days with their funny little friends.  They deserve everything, every ounce, of me that I can give.  Being a parent to my kids like my parents were to me as a kid is "just what I've always wanted."  And that, my friends, takes me being an adult.  It's okay to grow up.  Those past years don't go away when you cross the threshold of adulthood.  I know that even though I'm 27, I'm also 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.     

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ALIVE

I always seem to get overwhelmed by the work of serving God.  What video will I use?  What song will we sing?  What activity can I do to be active enough to say that I'm active enough so that He will be pleased with my activity?  Then I remember.  I remember that it's just about Him.  He was a Jewish carpenter that really lived and really suffered and really died and really came back to life.  For me.  He lived here and bled here and died here and rose again and then ascended to heaven.  It's not just a story.  It was for real.  He calls me to love people because I'm loving them for Him.  It doesn't have to be hard work.  He just walked around healing people and loving them on his way through town.  He didn't have a catchy video or a really well written song.  He just loved.  He just loves me.  And I just love Him.  Jesus Christ.  He makes me want to be more like Him every day.  I watched some videos in my video searching tonight.  They are just songs put to videos about the life of Jesus, a curly haired Jewish man.  That Jewish Man was amazing.  I need Him.  I get into a really bad mode where I just need to sit down and watch a video with a pretend Jesus healing sad looking blind folks and trashy prostitutes to remind me that I still need Him.  My God, I need Him.  I hate that I go through some seasons where I feel like I can skate through with just a story book idea of him, rather than loving Him and needing Him so much I just want to cry my eyeballs out.  There's no substitute for knowing Jesus.  There's no activity that fills my soul. Maybe you need to be reminded too.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om3mm2dv--k