On choosing a spouse–the MOST IMPORTANT thing

First DanceWe had been dating for several months and he was a great guy. We were sitting in his living room together talking. And then it happened. He told me that he loved me.

I burst into tears. And they were not tears of joy. You see, I had planned to break up with him.

I grew up in a small town and attended college close to home. I was getting ready to graduate and wanted to move away and experience another part of the world. I had contemplated living in another country, even, as an English teacher. And, well, this man was tethered to the small town I grew up in by his business.

That night, I ended up not saying anything in return and awkwardly excused myself to go home. I didn’t break off the relationship because of the circumstances. But the situation left me feeling very confused.

I realized that things were getting serious and if I wasn’t planning on Continue reading

JOY in all circumstances

IMG_0386Recently we took a little trip to the Cape with our family. We’ve come to love our mini getaways to the beautiful coasts of New England (even though we live a couple of blocks from the ocean in our Boston neighborhood, ha :).

In the past, we’ve gotten really lucky and have chosen some pretty awesome places to stay. We’ve mostly gone out of season and have been able to stay in luxurious hotels and locations for far less than luxury prices. People can’t believe it when I tell them!

Like the time last spring when we ended up staying in this GORGEOUS hotel overlooking the ocean and the most beautiful lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard!!! (my favorite we’ve seen in all of New England. And we’ve seen a lot!!).  It also didn’t hurt that the hotel’s restaurant served the BEST hamburger on Vineyard ;). And not just in our opinion.

The last time we escaped to the Cape we ended up renting the cutest little suite–perfect for our family of four for dirt-cheap.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when our Continue reading

I’m inspired…

floral card
http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/stephaniedavies/product/floral-note-cards-box-set

I recently received something in the mail that was such a boost to my spirit. It made my day—month, really.

It was a card from a childhood friend I have reconnected with.

This friend and I attended the same church during a period of time in our youth. We sat under the loving teaching of dear Fran Sprano (who illustrated her lessons with stories of building planes during WWII! and from her childhood on a farm), shared starry-eyed young girl dreams for the present and future, and enjoyed/”suffered” our way through church camp during the summer.

She was a kind and thoughtful friend, even in our youth. And as an adult, I now know, one of those Continue reading

Surrender

laundryLife is crazy, right?

Kids spilling milk, laundry baskets spilling clothes, hurtful words and negativity spilling out.

I love, though, how peace and joy are for RIGHT NOW in the midst of the crazy and messy and hurtful. In my early to mid 20’s I believed the lie that perfect circumstances were necessary for happiness. Well, I would have never said that (I had been a church kid, after all), but it was exactly how I  lived my life.

I kept thinking that happiness was just around the bend with different circumstances. Oh my.

And then I finally learned to thank God in the midst of the chaos, uncertainty, and challenges of life. Like, actually thank him for the difficult circumstances in addition to the good ones. To really thank him for what he was doing in me through them–for what he was teaching me and where he was leading me because of these hard things.

When I finally learned to Continue reading

How I finally ditched acne (my acne cure)

IMG_1499Acne and I have a long, complicated relationship.

She first introduced herself during my teen years in quite a furry. I went from having smooth-as-a-baby’s-bum skin to pimply skin almost overnight.

It was hormones, I was told. And they were right. But I wasn’t excited about this new friend and look I had acquired–one that I couldn’t seem to get rid of. And Clean & Clear just didn’t cut it.

Not only did I now have these lovely little white bumps covering every square inch of my t-zone, my skin also produced a ton of oil, and my complexion had an uneven, reddish color. You know, the look you get when you’ve been bawling your eyes out. I now know that this is a sign of inflammation.

Oh, and lets not even talk about blackheads. I’ll just say nothing–no strip or cream or magic potion–could remove those nasty little boogers.

Foundation also became a dear Continue reading

When I felt small

IMG_2566A couple of years ago I felt small.

Brance and I  had moved our little family from a rural part of the country (where I had grown up and lived my entire life) to the happening northeast city of Boston.

It took a good year for me to feel completely acclimated to my new environment. By which I mean, not feeling like I was taking my life in my hands every time I drove my car. And public transportation and I are now dear friends, but it wasn’t always so.

All the while, we had a new baby and preschooler I was trying to teach. Brance’s dad had recently passed away. We had left family and friends far behind. And Boston winters! I was not prepared for the depression that would set in from months of being cooped up (thank goodness I have since discovered the “miracle” of vitamin D and walks!).

But I think the hardest thing of all was the betrayal that we experienced again and again by people who claimed to be Christian. Many who were leaders, pastors even, in the Church. It was awful.

The thing that tipped the scale, though, was Continue reading

A new perspective

sailboatsOne thing I’ve learned that has helped me immensely is to view any challenge or failure I face as an opportunity. It’s so good, that when I began doing this several years ago, it literally transformed my life.

This is not something I did in the past and it made for bumpy ride–an unhappy, bumpy ride.

In the past, I sought perfection and every time I faced a challenge or failure I would feel discouraged or defeated. I would focus on what was wrong and how my life wasn’t perfect. Doing so left me unhappy and it kept me from truly living. It also kept me from taking good, healthy risk.

And then, a beautiful thing happened.  I learned a different way and was finally able to reclaim my life and happiness!!!

  • I learned to look at the difficulties I faced in life differently–to view them as opportunities for growth.
  • I learned to no longer be defined by what was going on around me–be it bad or good.
  • I learned that my value doesn’t hang on the opinions and approval of others.
  • I learned that if I couldn’t be happy in the present, right dab in the midst of whatever was going on in life, I would never be happy.
  • I learned that thankfulness is a gift from God that has the power to transform our hearts.

And so, finally, I  learned the secret to being content regardless. Even when things don’t go my way. Even when faced with challenge and failure.

When I finally stopped viewing challenge and failure as doom and I stopped looking to my circumstances for happiness, things brightened immensely. Not that my life got any easier or my circumstances magically improved. My perspective did and that was enough.

With Love,
Lauren

 

To look or not to look

computer 2I assume that all of us have experienced rejection at some point in life. We were dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Or, even worse, our spouse walked away.

Even if we were one of the fortunate few to meet and marry and stay married to our first love, we’ve certainly experienced rejection from a friend or a family member at some point.

Like it or not, rejection just comes with the territory of being alive.

And if we are completely honest, most of us have ended a relationship/friendship for some reason ourselves. Although ending a relationship isn’t necessarily painless, it is typically more difficult to be on the receiving end of rejection, right?

There is something incredibly difficult about being the one left. Something that compels us to Continue reading

The supplements that have changed my life

vitaminsSupplements have played a huge role in helping me reclaim my physical and emotional health.

With their help, I have been able to banish depression, anxiety, foggy-headedness, exhaustion, poor sleep etc. AND drastically improve my sex-life, boost my happiness, increase my energy levels, and improve my cognitive skills and memory.

Shortly after I began supplementing, I will never forget telling my husband Brance, through grateful tears, that I felt A-M-A-Z-I-N-G–better than I ever had in my entire life. It was as if a fog had lifted. But I didn’t need to tell him, he could see the difference.

The difference was night and day. It felt as if a miracle had transpired and I was SO grateful. Anyone who has felt as bad as I did and has had this kind of transformation will know exactly what I am talking about.

Yet, I don’t want to paint an unrealistic picture here. The differences that Brance experienced from supplementing have been more subtle.  He didn’t feel as poorly as I did before. Brance was already clear-headed and didn’t struggle with depression or anxiety. He has mostly noticed an improvement in his energy levels and sleep.

Because I feel SO much better because of the supplements I take, I often talk about them and blog about them (hello Vitamin D3!!!). So, I often get questions about the supplements and brands I take. I thought it might be helpful for me to compile all that information in one place with Amazon links. Here you go.

My daily supplements

Continue reading

Happy Birthday Brance!

IMG_1483

 

Our little family is incredibly blessed by this guy!  Brance is the most loving and adoring father and husband. He keeps us laughing and keeps us thinking. I have yet to meet someone who thinks as deeply and carefully as he does. Or who has as much integrity in the every day when no one is watching. Happy Birthday to our favorite guy! We love you!