Thursday, September 04, 2014

I live in Africa

Jina langu ni Lauralin!  I am living in a different country, and learning a different language. 

I just wanted to share some quick pictures here - and invite you to follow me on instagram (thequeenlgi) as I post pictures there often.

 Here is the outside of where I am living -- the one on the left.  It's nice to feel a bit settled after moving around a lot since arriving.  It's a nice house that I'm sharing with one other person.  My main purpose for now is to learn Swahili.  I have an instructor that comes to the house and then I go out and practice it as I wander around.

My favorite place to go is Java House -- they are one of the few places I can find iced coffee and they provide free wifi :)

I recently took a trip North of Kenya, crossing the equator.  I grew up quite close to the equator (on a different continent, of course).  I remember there being a line, dividing the hemispheres, that you  could stand on.  Sadly there was no such line here -- but there were plenty of people looking to sell me cheap tourists trinkets around this sign. 

The Great Rift Valley is one of the prettiest things I've ever seen.  I remember it well from my time here 18 years ago -- and it has not disappointed this time around.  During our visit up North we drove through it, and were able to see a rain shower in the distance.

Another benefit of this trip was the beautiful stars.  I'm a city girl, so the stars that I'm used to -- NOTHING like the amazing spectacle of stars out where we were staying.  Electricity had only recently reach the area (running water and flushing toilets still had not) and the area we were in hadn't yet paid for it.  With no lights around for miles, I was treated to a beautiful sight.

More pictures later!!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Seven Sacred Pauses

I just finished reading "7: An Experimental Mutiny in Excess" by Jen Hatmaker (on a side note, I REALLY want to be her friend), and I highly recommend it.  Briefly, every month (for 7 months), she fasts from something.

The last month was chapter of the book focused on fasting from Stress. Interestingly enough, the true focus of the fast is spending more time in prayer.  She notes that she has never been a good pray-er, and I feel like I can relate.  It's very hard for me to be still before the Lord.  I either drift off, lose focus, or start thinking about all of the things that I should be doing. She talks about a book she read called Seven Sacred Pauses by Macrina Wiederkehr.  I've recently added it as an alternate to my list of 52 books that I'm reading in 2014 (read previous post for more information). 

Pauses are described as "breathing spells for the soul, an oasis to remember the sacredness of life".  She uses these as a reminder to pause and pray seven times a day.

The Night Watch (midnight)
The Awakening Hour (dawn)
The Blessing House (mid-morning)
The Hour of Illumination (noon)
The Wisdom Hour (midafternoon)
The Twilight Hour (early evening)
The Great Silence (bedtime)

Each pause focuses on a specific thing, and there are scripture verses that correspond to them.  I'm reading more about then and will be working to implement them in to my life; anybody care to join me?  It's hard to pause, it's even harder to remember to pause.  I'm thinking that maybe calendar reminders may be the best way.  Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

 One of the places that I have always loved to go for prayer is a Catholic Church.  I don't need any responses from those aghast at my heretical theology, it is just a quiet place.  Sometimes I think we have lost too much of our reverence and I find I discover it again kneeling to pray in the quietness.  Obviously this isn't realistic for all seven pauses, but I might try to work it in for at least one.  That is more realistic to me as I have one right across the street from where I work -- so maybe that doesn't work for everyone.

As I learn more, I'll share.  I just really like the idea of being purposeful about pausing and praying!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Year of Books

Updated 10 - 23 - 14 (don't know that I'll finish)

I will admit that I stole this idea from my friend, whose list you can read here (of course, her list has only 17 books on it so far).

Not only do I have WAY more books than I can EVER read (not that there's anything wrong with that), I continue buying books at a faster pace than I  read.  This year I'd like to be able to get at least 52 65 books under my belt and here's the beginning of my list.  It's a mixture of Fiction and Non-Fiction and I will add to it as the year goes by.  I need to get several finished that I'm working on so that I can stay on track.  As I finish I will update the blog and cross them out.

Here they are, in no particular order.  The ones crossed out in red are those that I did not complete, nor do I intend to.  I you are interested in the reason why, please reach out and I would be glad to share that with you. 

Also -- I didn't give links to any online retailer as I believe you should support your local bookstores.

1.  King & Maxwell - David Baldacci (Fiction)
2.  7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess - Jen Hatmaker (Memoir)
3.  Rest - Keri Wyatt Kent (NF)  
4.  Gluten Free Girl -  Shauna James Ahern (NF: Memoir)
5.  Mornings on Horseback -David McCullough (NF: Presidential Memoir)
6.  A Praying Life  - Paul E. Miller (NF)
7.  A Hunger for God  - John Piper (NF: Fasting)
8.  Longing to Call Them Sisters - Various Authors (NF: Muslim Outreach)
9.  Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God - Margaret Feinberg (NF)
10. The Jesus-Hearted Woman - Jodi Detrick (NF: Leadership)
11. Lunch in Paris - Elizabeth Bard (Fiction)
12. The House I Loved - Tatiana de Rosnay (Fiction)
13. The Bookman's Tale - Charlie Lovett (Fiction)
14. A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar - Susanne Joinson (Fiction)
15. The Remarkable Women of the Bible - Elizabeth George (NF)
16. Till We have Faces: A Myth Retold - C.S. Lewis (Novel)
17. The Right to Write  - Julia Cameron (NF)
18. Boundaries - Henry Cloud & John Townsend (Non-Fiction)
19. It's Your Call - Gary Barkalow (Non-Fiction)
20. Don't Waste Your Life - John Piper (NF)
21. Behind the Veils of Yemen - Audra Grace Shelby (Memoir)
22. A Vision of the Possible - Daniel Sinclair (NF: Pioneer Church Planting)
23. Reshaping It All - Candace Cameron Bure (Memoir)
24. When Helping Hurts - Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert (NF)
25. Tentmaking - Patrick Lai (NF)
26. The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life - Hannah W. Smith (NF)
27. God's Armor Bearer - Terry Nancy (NF)
28. Educating Alice - Alice Steinbach (Travel Writing)
29. Paris to the Moon - Adam Gopnik (Fiction)
30. Tales of a Female Nomad - Rita Golden Gelman (Travel Writing)
31. Standing Strong - John MacArthur (NF)
32. Be a People Person: Effective Leadership .... -John C. Maxwell (NF)
33. Tactics: Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions- G. Koukl (NF)
34. Legend of the Book Keeper - Daniel Blackaby (Fiction)
35. Sex and the Single Christian Girl - Marion Jordan Ellis (NF: Purity)
36. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit - R. A. Torrey (NF)
37. Cross-Cultural Connections - Duane Elmer (NF)
38. George Muller of Bristol & His Witness to a Prayer-Hearing God - (Biography)
39. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God - Francis Chan (NF)
40. Gospel - J.D. Greer (NF)
41. Pinkerton's Sister - Peter Rushforth (Fiction)
42. Living in Financial Victory - Tony Evans (NF)
43. Sycamore Row - John Grisham (Fiction)
44. The Lie: Evolution - Ken Ham (NF)
45. Cat & Dog Prayer - Bob Sjogren & Gerald Robison (Fiction)
46. Lady of the English - Elizabeth Chadwick (Fiction)
47. The Women of the Cousin's War - Philippa Gregory (NF: History)
48. The Paris Wife - Paula McLain (Fiction)
49. A Secret Kept - Tatiana de Rosnay (Fiction)
50. A Place of Quiet Rest - Nancy Leigh DeMoss (NF)
51. Arthur & George - Julian Barnes (Fiction)
52.  Chasing Cezanne  - Peter Mayle (Fiction)
53.  Dear Exile - H Liftin & K Montgomery (Travel Writing)
54.  Awake: Discover the Power of Your Story - Joel N. Clark (NF)
55.  Rush to the Altar - Jamie Carie (Fiction)
56.  Seven Sacred Pauses - Macrina Wiederkehr (NF: Prayer)
57.  Muslims, Christians, and Jesus - Carl Medearis (NF)
58.  Miraculous Movements - Jerry Trousdale (NF)
59.  My Bookstore - Various Writers (NF)
60.  A Beautiful Fall - Chris Coppernoll
61.  Georgia on Her Mind  - Rachel Hauck
62.  The Tangled Skein  - Baroness Orczy
63.  A Call to Joy & Pain - Ajith Fernando
64.  The Translator - Daoud Hari (Memoir)
65.  This Momentary Marriage - John Piper 
66.  The Last Witness  - Richard Montgomery
67.  An Open Heart - Harry Kraus
68.  Ekaterina (Heirs of Anton) - Susan May Warren (Novel)
69.  Persevere in Procolamation - Toby Miles (NF)
70.  The Insanity of God - Nik Ripkin (NF)
71.  The Beautiful Reward - Jaclyn Palmer (NF)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Book Review: Radical Dating

"It is a truth universally acknowledge by females of all ages, that a single girl in possession of a pulse, longs deeply for the love of a man."  - Radical Dating

I've been asked to be a part of a book blog tour this week.  I'm excited because it's for a book that I purchased and intended to read anyway -- if I had just waited I could have received the book for free, but at least this way I supported the authors.  :)  I'm familiar with the authors as I have followed their blog, Unlocking Femininity, for many years.  They have taken a stand on Biblical Femininity in a world that would reject such notions.  I've looked to them many times for their insight on current topics.  I've also known Sarah Bubar - one of the authors - as our families go way back.  Ok, disclaimers are out of the way!!

I wasn't necessarily excited about reading another book on dating -- I feel like I've read so many of them that I already know all of the things I'm doing wrong or all the 'right' things that I'm not doing, but I did want to see what these authors had to say.  I can honestly say that this was definitely not "another book on dating".  Not only was I engaged through the whole book, even humored by some of the stories, but I found myself being very convicted at times, and very excited at times about the possibilities of dating being different than what it had always been.

One of the things that I've always loved about the authors remained true -- they clearly know their Bible and they clearly love their Savior.  The entire first section is a great dissection of what the Word of God says, not just about dating but about the bigger picture of God's love and our purpose within His plan.  I have every intention of going back through this section in more detail and committing some of the scripture to memory.

The rest of the book deals with the more practical aspects of dating, but still steeped in Scripture.  I love the realness with which they approach such topics as "Can Bad Boys be godly Men?" (spoiler alert: they can't) and how to not be "that girl" (you know who you are). I think the part that I appreciated most was how they address the issue of purity.  They pull no punches, as I don't think we should in a fallen world that tries to convince us to get with the times.  I found myself lying in bed last night thinking through the truths that I read about and how they've already convicted me to work purity of mind and thoughts.At least one of the authors is married, and I love how she addressed common myths about how wonderful and perfect life is after you are married and you never have to worry about loneliness or purity again.

I think the part that I was most happy with was the final section that addressed the issue of still being single.  I can promise you that reading reading books is not a guarantee of finding a boyfriend -- TRUST ME, so until you hear otherwise, I'm single!  What I came away from this book with is the need to work on my relationship with God and let him take control of the rest of it.

"If you look anywhere other than the cross of Jesus Christ to make sense of your singleness, you will be disappointed and confused" - Radical Dating

Thursday, July 26, 2012

2008 VW Bug Convertible SE 2.5 FOR SALE

I'm looking to sell my car.  This process is stressing me out.  Part of me wants it over with so I want to just take whatever anyone will give me as long as it covers my loan.  I'm told though, that because VW has redesigned the car and there are no convertibles available right now that my car is extra valuable and in-demand so if I'm patient I may get for it.  I had a wonderful used car salesperson help me ... can you believe it? 

Here are the details....
2008 Cream VW Bug Convertible SE 2.5 (these last things mean something to those that know things).  It has 73,000 miles on it and I've kept very good care of it.  I've kept up on the maintenance and just took it the mechanic and made sure that all was in working order and tip top shape.  If you know of anyone who's looking to buy it, I'm asking $15,000 and they can leave a comment on this blog or email me at

I absolutely LOVE my car and am sad to part with it, but am moving in to the city and will have no need for it and am not interested in paying for parking for it.  It's a fun car that always got comments and reactions from people and is a BLAST to drive. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Nook

Where do you like to read?  Do you sometimes see pictures of a place and just KNOW that you could read there?  There are several places that do that for me... a chair on the beach.. a little nook in a home... a book stuffy chair!  It's not like it's really all that hard to be inspired to read.  I sometimes dream of the elevator getting stuck between floors for hours so that I can just sit and read my book.  The nightmare end of that of course involves too many people on the elevator, the need to use the bathroom, or not having said book with me at the time.

I found this picture of a perfectly dreamy place to spend the day relaxed and reading.  I'm imaging it next to the ocean with lots of cold seltzer water and fruit at my disposal.  Where do you dream of reading?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My First Book Review - Pearl in the Sand

Until recently I was not a big fan of Christian fiction. I found the genre to be predictable, simple, and not based in reality. Recently this has changed. I have been introduced to many new authors and books by my fellow book lovers Tanya and Leigh Anne and I've truly come to embrace the genre, almost to the exclusion of most other fiction.

For quite some time now I've wanted to review books and I think that "Pearl in the Sand" is the perfect one to start with. The book is the telling of the story of Rahab. We know the basics... she helped the spies hide, the Lord spared her life and blessed her with the distinction of being in his lineage. Within the telling of the lineage it mentions that she was married to one of the leaders of Israel. That is all that the Bible tells us, so this is truly a fictional account of what their lives may have been.

While at times I found I had to make a concerted effort to distinguish between Biblical reality and fictional prose, this book truly brought this story of the Old Testament alive! It makes the wanderings in the wilderness real as it walks you through what their daily life may have been. As I now read through the Old Testament I notice small details about the law because I can now think what that might look like.

This book is a story of redemption. We know that Rahab was a harlot and she ended up married to a leader of Israel. The Lord forgives and redeems for his purpose and for his glory. I love the picture of purity that her marriage brought to her life. Without giving too much of the story away, there was a line that brought tears to my eyes. "She learned purity in her husband's bed". What a beautiful thought when we are surrounded by sexual impurity, to be reminded that God created sex and it is a beautiful, pure thing when it is from Him.

I LOVED this book! Let me know if you have read it and what you think.