Saturday, June 6, 2015

My Circles.



How true is this? 

I have seen that throughout my life, my friends have changed depending on which season of life I was currently in. This has been an amazing transition because now I truly feel that I have some of the best friends in the entire world!

Before you are born, friends:
     Yes, our families were friends even before we were born. Michelle has been that girl that has memories of our childhood birthday parties, almost dying in a Tornado stories, and we always catch up right where we left off. Even though our lives have taken us to different cities and jobs, we still keep in touch. Our families still go to church together and we are practically family. Love you, Shell!

High School Friends:
     These ladies are just a FEW of the sweet friends from my high school days. North Pontotoc High School was a wonderful place for me to grow up and learn how to have friends but most of all, how to be a friend. Most of my classmates went through our 13 years of "schooling" together and I'm forever thankful for that. We had a few come and go and that just made our 2007 graduating class so awesome. I'm proud of the accomplishments that all of these ladies have accomplished and I honestly CAN'T WAIT for our 10 year reunion. (We missed our 5 year, oops!)



Junior College Friends:
     The good ole' ICC days were the best! I will remember the fun I had for my entire lifetime. I took a million pictures and I have about that many memories. College was a great time in my life because I got to love on people and share the joy that I had with them. I was involved in the Baptist Student Union and it literally became my apartment. I lived there more than in my dorm and those memories are always the best! Amy Simmons was a huge blessing in my life during these two years! We ended up rooming together in the next chapter of our lives and I'm thankful that our paths crossed. These are just a few of the friends that I met at ICC and I'm thankful to have met my sweet, Claire Mattox who passed away last Summer. Her laughter and contagious love of life will always be in my heart. 
              

Ole Miss Friends:
     These two above, Emily and Haley, were my biggest two blessings at Ole Miss. Haley and I grew up in the same small town and became friends while at Ole Miss. Doesn't God have a sense of humor? LOVE it! Emily is from Brandon, Mississippi and it was awesome rooming with these ladies. I've stood by both of their sides as they walked down the isle and I can't wait for them to do the same for me one day! :) Ole Miss friends are the best friends! I made so many new friends and I'm so glad we still keep in touch. 
Sweet Landon was another blessing that I met through Emily at Ole Miss. She has been a blessing through Ole Miss Sporting Events, Emily's wedding and moving to D.C. and just being her sweet self. I'm coming to Nashville soon, Landon!


Southaven Friends:
     Once again, not everyone is pictured but so many of these people had a part of my story. I followed my dream of teaching to Horn Lake, Mississippi and lived in Southaven for three years. I loved it but knew that I wouldn't be there forever. 1,3, and 6 are all pictures of sweet Teacher friends who I shared life with each day at school. They all mean more to me than they know. Picture 2 is Jenny and Cory who were my parents away from home. Love these two! They took me in and loved on me along with their sweet baby, Maddie! Forever thankful! Leslie and Jenna (4&5) were my teacher/speech pathologist friends who I ate dinner with at least once a week! Loved their inspiration and their encouragement. God had a plan for Southaven and I'm so grateful that I got to share it with these treasures! There were so many others that I wouldn't have made it without.. (Marla.. I couldn't find our picture! :(

Oxford Friends:
     This season has been extra sweet! Moving back was one of the easiest things I had ever done. I knew that being closer to "home" and just being back in Oxford would be the best and it has been. Making new friends and getting started in my new norm has been a blast with these friends! I can't wait to add to this and see what new memories 2015 brings! 


This girl has been there through it all. Since meeting in Middle School, we've been tight! (Did I just use that word, really?) She's the best (literally) and has my back no matter what. Thankful for her!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

#MastersDONE

This post has been a long time coming and I am so glad to finally be able to put this out there. It has not been an easy or fun but it is DONE!



January 2013, I started taking classes at night in pursuit of my Master's Degree. People had always encouraged me to go back but I wanted to wait until I knew that the time was right. I received some scholarships and had close to two years of teaching under my belt so I felt like I could do it! Well, it was easy at first and I couldn't have been more thankful. 




I knew that I needed to go back while I was single and had nothing holding me back and I will forever be grateful for that decision. So, I took one/two classes each semester + at least one class each Summer Session until I was SICK of school. It really wasn't "horrible" but I was tired of school and was wanting to be done with it all!


ENTER: (last semester) After moving home from Southaven, buying my new house, and starting my 4th year of teaching at a new school, I was BEYOND ready to be done with Grad School. I took a semester off because I wanted to get my house in order and not have to worry about anything else. I won't regret that decision EVER, but it did make my spring semester VERY difficult. I signed up for two classes in the Spring and that would allow me to take my Comprehensive Exam and graduate in May! And.. I had to ride the OUT (Oxford/University Transit) bus to class because of the decal that I purchased from Ole Miss. To say the least, I wasn't excited but I quickly realized what a blessing that bus was. 



While teaching my sweet Kinders, I quickly realized how hard taking two night classes was going to interfere with my everyday life. I was VERY stressed, and quickly became a worse procrastinator that I originally had been. I found myself working on grad school assignments during planning periods at school. It was not a pretty time. 



So, April came along and in the middle of projects, tests and all that jazz, it was time for Comps to be completed and turned in. I had a week to go over the questions(3) and type my knowledge that had been obtained in three years. Want to talk about intimidated? That is exactly what I was....  I turned them in on a Thursday and waited and waited for the results. 

Now, let me remind you that if you don't pass comps, you don't graduate. But, they give you two chances to complete the test. Finally, on a Friday afternoon around 3:00, I was standing in the hallway at school and I got the email:

FAILED 

Y'all, I've never felt this way in my entire life! I am a VERY positive person and I fully believe that everything happens for a reason. But, in this moment, I was defeated, I doubted myself and I was very disappointed. I texted my Mom and my Best because I couldn't face calling anyone just yet. They both encouraged and told me that everything would be okay. Deep down I knew this but I honestly wasn't so sure.

Over the next couple of weeks, I emailed professors, asked advice and honestly WORRIED MYSELF TO DEATH about something that I had no control over. I was embarrassed but most of all, I was concerned about what would happen "if". I quickly learned that the "if" in our lives is what is so hard. I prayed more than I have in years, I cried, and I worried more than I have in years! 

Thankfully, I have an awesome support group of friends and family that prayed me through. I turned my second round of comps in and prayed for the best! The week of Finals, stressed as I was, one of our professors wanted to treat us to South Depot on the square for our last night of class. After presenting our projects, my phone buzzed and I realized that the email was from Ole Miss. Talk about sick.. I could have thrown up just thinking about it. I waited until we had left and opened the email:

Passed

I prayed, I cried, I worshiped and then I made my phone calls! Everyone was so excited and I was relieved! Even though, I knew it would work out the way it was supposed to, I wanted it to work out in my favor and it did! God is so good!

I had plenty of time to contemplate the WHY of the situation. I truly believe that I needed to be humbled in the activities of my life. I had put so many things ahead of God and he wanted to rope me back in and say, "Lauren, come back! You can't do this all on your own. You have to follow my lead." Goodness, I'm thankful for a God that loves me enough to show me when I need to STOP and listen to him!


That weekend, I walked across the Tad Pad stage, and received my Masters Degree! So thankful for "My Master" who led me each step of the way. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! 


I have been praying for God to allow me to find joy in the journey. Whatever season of life you are in, whether that be on the mountain top or in the trenches, I hope you are finding peace in walking the path God has laid out for you. Not all the moments are joyful, but I think we should seek beauty in the mundane and express gratitude in the difficult. The journey is not always easy, but it definitely is worth it. Keep pushing on all you beautiful warriors of Christ! - Kuntzr