Thursday, August 30, 2012


Wait for it...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Be Kind

Im sure almost all of us have heard the phrase

How many of us take it to heart on a daily basis?
How many of us base our reactions on the possibility that the other person may be facing a difficult battle of their own?

My job can present quite a challenge.  For me, it is a constant reminder of societal issues like education, divorce, child abuse, poverty, domestic abuse and personal issues like patience, responsibility, faithfulness, honesty, truth, manipulation, anger, rage and sadness.

It's really is a blessing... in 2 specific ways.

It reminds me of how painful and discouraging the world can be when left to it's own devices and also reminds me of my responsibility as a Christian.  Not only do I serve these folks for a pay check but I consistently need to remind myself that I also serve them because God's put me here to serve them in love. 

It can be terribly frustrating most days trying to keep my cool in an environment thats often quite heated.  Typically, people are full of questions, full of anxiety, worry, anger and impatience. They are often waiting on money from their childs other parent, taking off of work to come to court, trying to navigate court procedures and policies and communicate with many different parties all there to help them. 

I know the process can be incredibly complicated and exasperating. And I am well aware of the tendencies of clients, attorneys and judges and court staff too.  We all have our jobs to do and often times we end up having to "pass the buck" in order to accomplish our list of duties for the day. We know that its not an attempt to aggravate our clients but they dont often seem to understand our workload, just as many of us don't have the time (or energy) to go in depth about what's going on with them.  

Being the main point of contact for our aggravated and often irate clients can definitely take a toll though.  I often bear the brunt of our clients' aggravation and rage and try to diffuse the situation as best I can. Caller after caller, conversation after conversation, I try to maintain my composure, a soft tone, answer questions politely, explain processes and offer up constructive advice.

Repeating to myself Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

...But sometimes I have to admit, I just want to scream (or beat the telephone receiver on my desk). 

 After all, it isnfair that people call me yelling or cursing. Its not fair that I get blamed for other departments or co-workers poor or vague answers. Its not fair that a callers attitude at the beginning of a call can determine what they hear from me and how they hear it. Its not fair that people want to take names, insult me, and call me nasty names.  It is very easy to be offended, angry and hurt.

The only think that keeps me going on rough days is this consistent thought:
....they must be having a really rough day.

The woman screaming on the other end of the line probably just spent the last 15 minutes waiting on hold and was on hold with another department for 15 minutes before that and spoke with a somewhat rude (and probably overworked) court member before that.  

The man calling the system corrupt has probably been transferred from office to office and person to person, multiple times, without getting any definite answers, advice, or compassion. More than likely, no one has ever simply said, I understand why you would be frustrated.

The man asking for my name is probably just trying to be responsible. He's probably tracking who he's talking to and the information hes getting because he has been told a million different things. I would do the same thing.

Its definitely easier to say (and think about), than act on.     But that idea leads me to my next thought:

So how do I do outside the workplace?

I have to admit that when Im in 'work mode I tend to assume less, I hold my tongue well I try to offer a kind word or affirmation when something is done correctly. I try to be pleasant with co-workers, stay out of office gossip, promote teamwork and take up the slack when someone else is struggling.  I try to put myself in others shoes when Im talking with them and allow things to just roll of my back (as my Dad always says).  

But in my personal life, things dont tend to be so cut and dry.  I do often take things personally, perhaps its because its my personal life.  

I can make mountains out of molehills, take offense to actions (or lack of action) and take things personally that probably were simply said, or done in ignorance.  I also tend to clam up at the slightest hint of emotional or mental danger and want to forget the part about being gentle or giving an answer at all. 

*I think it's interesting that the verse specifically says a gentle answer... not... 'ignore what's happening'.*

Maybe it's because I feel as if I know the people around me, and therefore have been awarded the right to judge them or assume that I know or that they should know about me. In every instance, I have to step back (especially recently) and adjust my thinking.

I may not really know what the other person has experienced. I may not know the level of heartache they are dealing with or their level of "publicity" when it comes to handling their troubles

This has been on my heart a great deal recently as I have several friends and family members who have been going through trying times.  Some are waiting for answers, some are mourning, some are dealing with disappointment and pain because of an answer they weren't ready to hear.  Some are adjusting to life with new burdens, some have experienced loss and some are reliving experiences from their past.

Its pretty hard to judge where someone really is when we don't have all the facts.  ...and we rarely have all the facts. 

So... I encourage you (as I continue to encourage myself) to keep being kind!  Ask questions, listen, offer up praise and encouragement and don't fight anger with anger. Fight anger with gentleness, kindness and compassion. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Reminder.

A post from June 2012... I often come back to remind myself:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (ESV)

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. (NIV)

-Micah 6:8

DO Justice/ ACT Justly ...Lauren, don't just "think" just thoughts but act on them, work towards justice and display consistency, fairness, honor and integrity daily.

LOVE Mercy  ...don't just act out merciful things, Lauren. Believe that God desires heart-felt mercy and love mercy with everything you have.  Turn the other cheek, Lauren.  Believe the best of people and let things roll off your back when you are offended or frustrated or misunderstood. God is pleased when you hold your tongue and let it go. Don't allow raw emotion to overcome your love of compassion and tenderness. 

WALK Humbly  ...Action, Lauren, action.... think and do.   God first, people next, me last.  Don't assume I know what's best for others, or even for myself. Don't assume so much and don't feel like everything is directed at you unless you legitimately feel convicted by the Holy Spirit. **(God please help that become blatantly obvious and get rid of all the false guilt in me). 

Be confident in Christ and suffer to self. God is pleased with long suffering, Lauren. He is pleased when you wait with patience and persevere. He is pleased when you choose to be content with what he's blessed you with right now.  He is pleased when you rely on Him and not on your own personal goals. He is pleased when you submit to His plan and take it one day at a time.  He is pleased when you rise above the past, when you rise above experience and assumptions. He is pleased when you praise him first. He is pleased when you push pride aside completely and ask for help. He is pleased when you control yourself, not other people.  He is pleased when you don't pridefully push your case.  He is pleased when you use your gifts for His glorification. He is pleased when you hope in the future even when you can't see it. Don't try to measure up to those around you, no matter how close the situation, age or relationship. Trust that God's opinion is the only one that really counts.  Believe it daily. 

Focus on these things, Lauren.  He say's He will be pleased. HE IS PLEASED WHEN YOU DO THESE THINGS.  BELIEVE IT.

Just breathe...and rest... and trust. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hope and Healing (excerpts)

"You can go forty days without food and three days without water and you can go eight minutes without air.  But you cant go a single second without hope.
Hope is one of the essentials of life."

Here are a few excerpts from an excellent sermon I read today. I find it helpful to remind myself:

God is saying holding on to hurts is like carrying hot coals in your heart – you’re the one who’s going to get burned.  Hidden wounds, when you try to stuff them down, don’t heal.  They fester.  And pushing a hurt aside doesn’t get rid of it.  It just makes it worse. Psalm 39:2-3 - But when I was silent and still,« my anguish increased.  My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned«

This particular sermon focused on abuse, but I believe it applies to a multitude of hurts, disappointments and fears.

Some people try to respond to abuse by just forgetting it.  “I’ll just put it out of sight, out of mind, and stuff it.”
 Some people try to run from it.  There are many ways to escape – get drunk, do drugs, go to bed with people you don’t even know, get involved in work.
 Some people try to just ignore it. Some people try to pass it off on somebody else, blame others.
 Some people try to cover up their abuse.  For some reasons we feel guilty.  We think it’s our own fault.  We don’t want anybody to know so we push it down.  It’s like a coke bottle that you’ve shaken up.  It’s about ready to explode.  One day the top’s going to come off.

God wants to help reveal our hurts, so he can HEAL our hurts.

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Forgiveness doesn't have to be 'deserved'... it's a choice. It's grace. 

You might say, “But they don’t deserve to be forgiven!”  You’re probably right.  They don’t.  Neither do you deserve to be forgiven, but God’s forgiven you.  I’m not saying forgive them because they deserve it.  I’m saying forgive them for your own sake.
You can’t get on with your life as long as you’re stuck in the past.  As long as you hold onto resentment, you are stuck.  That person is still controlling your life in the present even though they may have been out of your life for many years.

Psalm 56:8 (NLT) - You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book

The reason why we get in such a mess is we forget this.  We forget that God saw all the hurt that was done to us.

God wants to replace old memories with Truth.

Your brain is like a tape recorder.  It has recorded every single experience your five senses have experienced – everything you’ve smelled, everything you’ve seen, heard, touched, tasted – it’s all in there.  Everything people have said.  Your brain is an amazing recorder.  It’s recorded it all down – good and bad, right and wrong, true and false.

Here’s the problem: Your brain doesn’t distinguish between things that are true and things that are false.  Particularly when you were a little kid, there were some things that were said to you that were flat-out lies.  Sometimes we believed these lies.  If you believe them, then you act on them.

Some of you are still operating on faulty data.

Some of you, when you were kids, had adults or authority
figures in your life say things like “You’re stupid…  You’re ugly … You’re never going to amount to anything … I’m embarrassed to call you my child … You’re uncoordinated… You’re dumb … Why can’t you be smart like your sister/brother…” on and on.  They said things to you – “You’re worthless” – and that went into that recorder and some of you are 30, 40, 50, 60 years old – and you’re still acting on old tapes.

Romans 12:2 - Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND. Then you will be able to test and approve what God¶s will is²his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I want to suggest to you that you make Jesus Christ the most important person in your life.  He’s going to tell you the truth and you’ll realize that those negative memories are just lies.  You have to decide.

Who are you going to listen to?

The Bible says when you are in Christ you are valuable, you are acceptable, you are lovable, you are forgivable, you are capable, you are usable by God.  That’s what God says about you.

Job 11:13-16 (GN) - Put your heart right, reach out to God« then face the world again, firm and courageous.  Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more.

2 Corinthians 1:4 - God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

That’s called ministry.  God meant for us to help each other.  He can use
your pain for good.

It doesn’t matter who you are.
It doesn’t matter where you’ve been.
It doesn’t matter what the scar.
It doesn’t matter what the sin.
It doesn’t matter how you fell.
Somewhere along the way.
There’s healing for your life …


**I love this church's motto:  
Love God. Grow with others. Serve faithfully. Reach the lost. Find peace. 

---The Cerro Gordo Church of the Brethren

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



 Bright Colors

Bright Creatures

Bright Skies

Bright Faces and Flowers

Bright Buildings 

...and Clothing

and most importantly:
Bright Spirits

Summer is nearing it's end... so I'm thinking Bright Thoughts and Singing Bright Tunes until we bring in the Fall. 

AND one of my favorite Bright spirit kind of songs: 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope 
-Romans 15:13

Monday, August 20, 2012

Note to Court Callers

Please Do NOT:

-Let the line ring once, hang up and call right back several times in a row. This does not help you when trying to obtain information or me when trying to pick up busy phone lines.

-Hang up after I place you on hold.  When you call back, I’m going to end up putting you back on hold. I’m still on the other line with the same caller I was on with 10 seconds ago. And now I may very well have another caller on hold as well.  Now you're in the back of the line.

-Call and refuse to wait on the phone line  …then proceed to leave multiple messages on my voicemail.  I can’t retrieve my messages when I have callers, therefore I can’t call you back if I can’t check my messages.  (So, on a busy day, it may be a half our or longer before I can escape from answering calls, write down your message and go through the codes to call you back).

-Mumble. I can’t understand anything coming out of your mouth.

-Call me back multiple times because you refuse to leave a message for a clerk or another department. I transferred you there because I am unable to help you.

-Yell at your kids or dog or 'baby daddy' into the phone (aka my ear).

-Turn your TV up as loud as it goes, call the court and get angry when I can't hear you.

-Call the switchboard and complain because you’ve been transferred several times.  It’s the Switchboard, not the “Ultimate Answer Board.”

-Curse out the receptionist. It does not promote an “above and beyond” desire from her.  If you care to curse out the receptionist, she won’t care to help you out any further than necessary.

-Let the phone ring only 2 times before hanging up. By the time I hear it, tell the other caller I need to put them on hold, and try to answer the phone, you’ve already hung up and wasted time I could have spent finishing up with the previous caller and moving on to you.

-Call the courts while intoxicated, asking about your court date for a drunk in public charge. Not smart.

-Ask me a question and then tell me my answer is wrong.

-Get aggravated when I ask you questions.  In order to direct you to the correct place or person, I need to know what’s going on. 

-Continue to call Juvenile Court after I’ve explained to you, time and time again, that you’re case is not in Juvenile Court.  Call the court number I gave you, please.

-Request that you be transferred to a manager, or co-worker, in hopes of getting a different answer.

-Call and specifically ask for a Judge, by name, as though you are long-time friends. I’m not going to put you through and neither is their secretary. 

-Call the switchboard and complain about something the “other lady” told you earlier. It’s still me.  I may be busy, and a bit frazzled, but I know I didn’t say that. 

The frazzled lady who's just one angsty caller away from running out the door screaming. You might be on hold forever.  ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This Time -Carrie Underwood


This song reminds me of late night drives to visit my Jed at college. I would often listen to this song on my iPod at work before hitting the road.  Every time I hear it, it still gives me that same feeling of excitement.

I'm waiting for Jed to come home tonight, listening to this song, remembering our dating days and thinking how blessed I am not to have to drive across state lines to see him.

Geek Chic






While I'm blogging...

Jed:  Access Databases.
Me:  Mmmmm... Maybe less talking. Let just stick with the glasses.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Work Day

Caller:  Can you tell me if I have a case coming up this month?
Me:  Sure. Is it a support case? What’s the last name of the person that pays the support?
Caller:  Iwish Hedid
Me:  *laugh
Me:  Okay, Let me clarify… What’s the name of the person that’s supposed to be paying support?"

Me: *pick up the phone
Caller: “I need to know when my court date is”
Me: please hold.
*shakes head

Caller:  I need to get a phone number from you
Me:  Okay, it's…
Caller:  Hang on, Hang on   …let me get a pen
*crickets chirp* 
Caller:  ...
Caller:  ...

and my personal favorite...

An older man called today saying he wanted to just talk to the Judge about changing an order regarding his grandkid. After telling him he would have to file a motion and come to court to speak with the Judge with all parties present... 

He asked if he could "just Skype with the Judge"

I had to cover my mouth to keep my burst of laughter from being heard.  It was cute.  Silly, but cute.

Attire shoe now has a mouth.

After Work-Day Weather

God certainly has a sense of humor.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Remind Me Who I Am -Jason Gray


...The simple song of my heart recently.
This sums it up better than I can.

Help me believe it.

<3 Your Girl, Lauren

Monday, August 13, 2012

PINspiration - Black and White


Black And White.


Simple, Elegant, Funky, Fun and Very Versatile.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

PINspiration- Oranges, Peaches and Pinks

This weeks


Warm Oranges, Peaches and Pinks
in honor of Julie who loves all things orange  :)

You have to <3 warm summer colors. 
 ...And what a better way to bring in the fall than with a little 'Ode to Orange'.