Thursday, December 30, 2010

White Christmas

Christmas was wonderful!!!  We woke up to a blanket of snow covering everything.  There is really nothing like waking up to a surprise snow on Christmas morning.  The decorations were perfect, the food was perfect, the presents were perfect, but most of all the people were perfect.  Not because we as a family are perfect, but because we are perfect through the grace of Christ.  Because of him we are as white as the snow that was falling outside.  After the presents were opened and the food was eaten it was the love of family, having all things in common through Christ, that truly warmed my heart.

The Lord has healed and kept my family united through many rough battles and circumstances.  We have two new additions, of which, we could not be more thankful for in my husband and my sister's husband.  We are a work in progress but I can see the hand prints of God all over us molding and shaping us as he so desires. 

I also see the Lord working on Kurt's side of the family.  Specifically in the life of his older brother Shane. Earlier in December Kurt and I got a phone call from his parents informing us that Shane had been in a really bad car accident in Montgomery and is on a ventilator.  To make it short Shane was driving on 231 from Wetumpka to the Air force base in Montgomery for drill when a Dually Truck crossed over into his lane and hit him head on.  There are no break marks to show that either car slowed down.  Both cars managed to hit each others passengers side (there were not passenger's in either car) giving both drivers enough room to survive the crash.  Shane came out with a concussion, shattered femur, and possibly damaged tendons in his knee.  We are so blessed to have him with us this Christmas and all the praise and credit goes to the Lord who despite the painful road to recovery is going to do great works through him. 

I think about the hope the Lord has given to both of our families throughout the various seasons of life and remember where this hope started out.  It came to us as a baby in a manger, as the reason for Christmas.  So, what better way to be able to celebrate Christmas than with the evidence of that wonderful gift surrounding me!  I don't think it could get much better than that and I am so thankful and blessed. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!!!  I pray the Lord does a mighty work in your life and blesses you in the coming year!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great Love

 "We can do no great things; only small things with great love." 

This quote from Mother Teresa is one of my favorite all time quotes.  For one thing it is short, to the point, and easy to remember.  For another thing it speaks directly to me.  I feel like she is my mama giving me a talking to because she knows exactly what I am thinking. 

I am a big picture person.  By big picture I mean BIG picture.  I think of these great and wonderful things that I want to do one day: write a book, adopt a child, have this life altering impact on my students, work in women's ministry, get a masters in bible and trust me the list goes on and on and changes frequently along the way ; ) Each time my ideas begin to explode or I begin to feel like an overwhelmed failure because I am not accomplishing any of these great things that I dream up, I hear a gentle whisper that says, "Sweetheart, don't you know? (Can you hear him chuckle a little to himself and shake his head?) You, can do no great things; only small things with great love."  Then I, feeling a bit foolish at this point, am able to slow down and remember that it is not I but God who accomplishes any great things, and it is the small love driven things that truly make a difference in the world.  It is never about what I do, it is about how I love the way Christ loves.  This perspective gives me such great peace and joy, so why do I always forget? 

I think I forget because I am human.  I want to be great.  I have been painfully reminded of this through Beth Moore's study on Esther that I am currently doing.  We have been taking a close look at Haman's (Ironic that his name is one letter away from human) character and unfortunately I can identify.  To get the recognition and honor of the world that I crave, I must do "great" things, as a result that is what I find myself striving for. 

I am not suggesting to accomplish some things on my list of dreams would be a bad thing.  It would be a good thing to adopt a child or write a book, but only if the path that leads me there is paved with the bricks of small things that I am doing for others with GREAT love.

P.S.  I had to edit this and make the font black (I don't know why it won't do it auotmatically).  So I apologize if this shows up twice on your blog feed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Outdoor therapy

It is truly amazing what some perfect weather, the sweet smell of grass, and a cool soft breeze can do for the mind.  Having lived the apartment life for a few years now I often miss the luxury of a yard.  Your own little outdoor oasis.  I did not realize how much I missed it until today. 

Kurt is the new baseball coach for Hillcrest Middle School.  Now, all you coaches out there know this little fact that I am slowly but surely learning.  The baseball field (or any other sports field for that matter) is your Jewel, your pride and joy.  Its appearance is a direct reflection on you and your team.  A field primed to perfection can intimidate the visiting team, make star players wish they played for you, and even give you a little job security ; )  Therefore, in the midst of basketball season field preparation is underway.  Kurt's Dad, a coach himself, understanding this dire need took his veterans day off and hauled his top of line lawn mower and seed spreader from Brewton to Tuscaloosa.  Kurt was up by 7:30 on his day off to eat breakfast and head up to the field for a day of cutting grass, spreading rye grass, fertilizing the seed,  fixing pitching mounds, moving back stops, and having basketball practice in between.  Of course I came along to help!  This included a lot of following, watching, sitting, and some reading mixed in there.  Oh wait, I did move some bags of seed and ride on the four wheeler with Kurt while he was spreading seed : )

While I do think this is a little amusing I thoroughly enjoyed my day.  I always love being outside.  I love smelling the grass, the clear blue of the sky, the way the breeze feels around me.  I love being outside in the woods, at the lake, at the beach, in a garden, at a park, or on a ball field.  It just always has a way of calming me and clearing my head like nothing else does.  Today was no exception and definitely provided me with some great outdoor therapy after a very frustrating few weeks (more like whole semester) with my methods placement.  I do not think it is any accident that I can feel God's calming peace the most in the presence of his creation.  Thankfully, after years with out a yard of my own it looks like we just acquired a really big one!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I have been a blog neglecting the ol' blog lately. You might be looking at the "Loving God and loving people" title pop up on your blog feed going now who is that again??? The truth is I have absolutely not been able to get my brain to coherently organize thoughts since this semester has started.

News flash: college is all sunshine and roses till your senior year methods semester hits (all you teachers out there know what I am talking about). Its all about this theory and that theory, this method and that method. Then, there is your placement. Can someone say reality check?

I am usually a very positive person. If there is a bright side to something you can be sure I will find it. That said, I left my placement today thinking, "Laura, what in this great big entire world, have you gotten yourself into?!" There really are just those days where I walk away questioning my future career as a teacher.

I felt so negative and put down the rest of the afternoon. But, after feeling sorry for myself for a little while I realized something. I am not doing this alone. I am not doing this by my own power. Whatever good comes from me as a teacher (or in general) is not my work but God's work through me. No matter how overwhelmed and hopeless I might feel in a situation my Lord will never leave me or forsake me. So, instead of whining and feeling sorry for myself, all I have to do is stop trying to drive! Give Him the reigns and he will do mighty works. That realization never gets old. I praise Him for that! This has no doubt been rough semester, but I can feel Him pulling me closer, shaping me, and teaching me. It is funny how tough times will do that!

On a side note, I am doing the Beth Moore Esther study and loving it! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for some encouraging time with God. As He usually does, God has placed this in my lap with the most perfect timing.

Hope y'all are having a wonderful fall! God Bless!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Vacation is over...

Well, I have been absent from the blogging world for pretty much all summer. We were in the middle of moving apartments and did not have Internet. Plus I really did not do much this summer, and it was one of the best summers ever!!! Kurt and I went to the beach twice, once with him family and once with my family. Besides that we spent some VERY much needed time together. So, there was really nothing exciting to post on. Sorry to all of my six followers, I am sure I was greatly missed ; ) But summer is a distant memory now with school and football in full swing (ok maybe not SO distant with temperatures at a sweltering 90 degrees).

I have officially started my forth year of college. I. Am. A. SENIOR! That just does not sound right. It literally feels like just yesterday I was stepping foot on campus for the first time, crying when my parents drove away, and meeting Kurt Prater at coffee house in the campus view room. I was such a mess back then. Correction, I am still a mess, but I love Jesus a whole lot more now and I let him take care of my messes. : )

Now campus feels like my second home and I am married to that Kurt Prater boy I met at coffee house as a bewildered freshman. It is amazing how many things can change in that four year span of college. But what a great four years it has been!!!

Ok, that's enough of memory lane. I am now in my methods block for education and loving it, but boy is it busy! My placement is for a 12th grade class so that is definitely an adventure and a reality check after my sweet 6th graders last year. It is going to be a great experience though. Hopefully it will toughen me up.

Kurt is coaching all three sports at the middle school this year! : o We are excited but things are going to be busy busy busy! Go Patriots!

That is what is new with us since I went on my hiatus from blogger. It is good to be back!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Smelser Beach trip

I keep thinking that not much has happened since me last post for me to talk about but it just hit me that is completely not true!

First of all Kurt and I spent the last week in June at the beach with his family. Picture this, 15 people (give or take a couple) in a three bedroom condo! Needless to say things get interesting, but I love it!

For those wondering, yes, I did go to Gulf shores, and yes, it was covered in oil. Kurt received a text message from a cousin that was already down there saying the beach was covered! Apparently, from what we heard the day we got down there was the worst oil cover yet for that area.

I knew Kurt was up to something when we hit Foley. After being on the road for 5 hours on lots of little two lane roads and getting a ticket in Bay Minette, Kurt says, "Hey I think I want to eat at Lambert's." I of course jump at the offer because our family had a tradition of stopping there on our way to the beach every year and I hadn't done that in so long! We had enjoyed a wonderful meal of catfish and good ole' home cooked veggies when Kurt informs me he wants to go walk around the outlet mall. Not, "Hey lets stop in Nike and maybe look at the Bose store," but "I want to WALK AROUND the outlet mall." Once we had gone in and out of a couple stores and are leisurely making our way around the enormous outdoor mall I look up at me sweet sweet husband and just get a feeling he is up to something. I suddenly remember the text message from that morning, and called his bluff! Sure he may have wanted to go to a few stores but his real agenda was stalling me from seeing the beach. This turned out to be just what I needed.

Thankfully when we got there, finally, the rest of the family had gone out to dinner. I went to the balcony and took one look at the beach and I quickly felt tears come to my face. It was this helpless heart broken feeling as I looked out on this paradise that I visited every year. As a child I built sandcastles, in those awkward middle school years I learned how to boogie board, swam to the sand bar, and played football on the beach with my friends, as a teenager I went on walks and sunk my toes into the soft white sand, soaked up the sun and relaxed in the breeze. Perhaps the most memorable was as a college student when I was proposed to on the sparking white sand that was drenched in the colors of a breath taking sunset sinking down into a blue green sea. These memories flooded my mind as a stared horror struck at the brown oily mess in front of me. It was as if this place was part of me, had grown up with me, changed with me, and even helped shape me. It is a place I love and it is being defiled.

This feeling of helplessness makes me step back and remember God's sovereignty. As terrible the explosion and oil spill have been God is still in control. Not me, not the Manager of the BP corporation, not the guy down the street, but GOD. The God who caused the ten plagues to rain down on Egypt so that Pharaoh would let His nation go. The God who promised Abraham to make him a father of many nations, and the God who sent his precious son to save a world of lost sinners. God is in control and I am not. I am very thankful for that!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Lazy days of Summer (update of random happenings)

During my recent down time I have read Stephanie Meyer's latest book, The Host. I highly recommend it to anyone! It might take you a few chapters to get into it and fully understand what is going on, but it is definitely worth it! Unfortunately this one is not about Vampires. It is about aliens, yes aliens. I have never thought myself much of the Sci Fi type. I don't really even get into Star wars that much but I was definitely enthralled with this book. Just like vampires she makes aliens seem, well, normal. Now as usual after finishing a good book I am looking for yet another one that won't let me down.

On the topic of books, I also finished Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I have probably been working on that one since January! This book was very challenging for me. It contradicted things that I have been taught, by American culture, to think and believe, but then again if I really look closely does Jesus not do the same thing? If you have read or chose to read this book in the future I challenge you to take your time to really think about what Claiborne is saying and the biblical truths that he is applying to his life. Don't just dismiss it for some radical Christan crazy talk.

My parents came to town over the weekend to take advantage of the extra bedroom that we have for the month. We had a great time playing cards, watching mine and Kurt's wedding video, eating some yummy food and just having a good time together with out an agenda. It has been a long time since we have just been able to sit back and relax with each other with out wedding planning to do. But weddings are done and it is so nice to be able to enjoy each others company!

Kurt and I are currently gearing up for a beach trip with his family. We leave on Saturday and I am ready for some fun in the sun and a cramped condo!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A tribute to Apt E-8

After almost a year in our one bedroom, 400 square foot apartment we have moved! The days leading up to May 31st (our moving day) could NOT come fast enough. I kept myself busy, busy, busy with class and preparations for my sister's wedding. However, spending so much time in such little space will have it's effects on you.

I learned that central air, a washing machine, a garbage disposal, and kitchen ventilation, is in fact not a necessity but, a HUGE luxury. One can actually get used to not having them and still live quiet comfortably. I learned that it is not the living space but the love inside the living space that makes it worth coming home to. I learned how to talk it out instead of ignoring a problem because there was simply no space (literally) for avoidance. I learned that I can actually deal with roaches and not die. Please note, roaches terrify me, and by terrify I mean I freeze up, breath really fast, and possibly cry depending on the size, whenever I see one. This is another story entirely, but yes we were infested with roaches, IN MY KITCHEN until the guy below us moved out. Yeah, pretty sure I know where they were coming from. I learned that I can share a closet with Kurt and you can fit a whole lot of stuff under your bed. I learned how diluted I am to the materialism of this world with each break through moment that I realize a major portion of the world's population would look at my small grungy apartment like I would look at a mansion. I have learned how to be more content, but that does not mean I am always good at it. I have learned that striving for something more or different is a waste of time because you will look back and miss whatever it is you leave behind. I have learned that I will always cherish those sweet cozy moments in our first apartment and I am thankful for the lessons of life, love and Godliness that it taught me.

Life goes on though, and we are very excited to finally be in the same neighborhood where Kurt is teaching. It will be a lot easier for us to get more involved in the community, which was our main reason for the move (ok, so a washer and dryer doesn't hurt ; ). Closing in on Kurt's first year teaching and our first year married it has been fun to reminisce on the past year and look forward to what this new year together will hold!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be Still

One of many things that is funny about mine and Kurt's relationship has been and still is the fact that I am a goer and a doer and he is...well, not. Don't get me wrong he is a hard worker and a really fun guy but he knows how to relax and slow down and I...don't. Basically, we go in this cycle all the time where I wear him out, he has to have "down time," I get bored, and wear him out again, and see the pattern.

However, despite the annoyances of this cycle there is something beautiful in it. I push him to go and do and he reigns me in, keeping me from going crazier than I already am! Just today, for example, being the end of the semester, I have 5 lesson plans, at least three papers the majority of which are due on Tuesday, all of which I had not even started still yesterday! Basically, I am SLIGHTLY over whelmed. He comes home from work and makes me put down EVERYTHING to just go lay with him for a few minutes. I resist, skirm, and wiggle trying to get away, frantically telling him ALL of the work I have to get done and how stressed I am and that I have absolutely no time to just lay around. Of course, those of you who know us, know that Kurt is much bigger and much stronger then me. Needless to say, he always wins. Frustrated I unwillingly am forced to submit to his request.

Slowly though, as I lay still, in his arms, I am able to breath. I feel my muscles relax, the stress of the day melts away and I am able to live in that quiet moment. I am not thinking about papers, lesson plans, or exams. Instead, I am only thinking about Kurt and how perfect and priceless these little moments are and I savor every minute.

Finally after a few minutes of this peace I return to my work refreshed and revived. My homework was not more important than the precious moments I got to spend with Kurt and all of it still got done in a timely manner.

It is times like this that teach me something very important about God. He is longing for those exact same precious moments with me everyday. Unfortunatly I get blinded by the "pressing issues" that I feel have to be done now. I pray that God will open my eyes to see past the "pressing issues" so that I do not miss out on those precious moments with Him.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Can you imagine what it would have been like to be alive that fateful Saturday 2,000 years ago? Driving down for an afternoon at the beach with Kurt's family we passed a church with black fabric draped around the cross. This has always been a powerful image for me, but this year my senses were a little more heightened to how magnificent a holiday Easter really is.

For the first time, I decided to participate in Lent. I gave up sweets, which to my suprise was easier said then done. It even put little stress on mine and Kurt's relationship a couple times : ) Just goes to show you how addicted I am. As this new experience unfolded I was continually counting down the days until Easter, just anticipating when I could ease my sweet tooth once again. As Easter came closer, however, it was not the sweets, bunnies, or eggs that captured my attention as they had in the past. It was my Savior and my God. I noticed Passover week written in red on my calander (that I had been checking like a mad woman due to my sugar withdrawls). Coinsidently I was just finishing up Genisis in my quiet time and begining Exodus. Reading about the Exodus of God's people over Passover week opened my eyes. God raised his people up out of their slavery in Egypt, and with the sacrifice of His son, He raised us up out of the slavery and bondage of our world.

As I continued thinking over this, the weekend finally came! Friday was upon me, and Christ was crucified, BUT I knew how it ended. Seeing the cross draped with black on Saturday reminded me that 2,000 years ago my brothers and sisters did not know how it was going to end. That Saturday was the worst day that could ever be imagined. Their hope was gone. They were scared. All meaning in life ripped away.

This contrast of darkness, with the light the next day would bring, made it all the more exciting for me. The hope that Easter brings to a hopeless world became REAL! I knew my Savior was going to rise in the morning and I could hardly go to sleep!

I talked Kurt into getting up at 6 with me and having our own sunrise service, together, just us and God. Leave it to me to over sleep! I woke up, looked at my clock and it was 6:45! Thinking I missed the sunrise I jumped out of bed and ran outside. It was cloudy. So technically I did not miss the sunrise, at least thats what I decided to pretend. We just sat side by side on his parent's deck, praying, having no words to express our gratitude and excitement that our God and His son CHOSE to save us in all our imperfections. Then, reading through all of the versions of the resurrection, we tried to imagine what it would have been like to be Mary, Peter, or Thomas! It was truely an intimate morning we were able to share with each other and our Father.

Here are some pictures from the weekend!

Never to old for an Easter basket! (this picture is out of order, which drives me Crazy but I don't know how to fix it!)

Saturday afternoon spent at the beach could not have been a better treat! Hopefully it will get me through till the summer!

My big 8 year old playing with every jelly fish we passed walking down the beach. Love him : )

Sharp looking boys!!!

Even Bear wanted to get in on Easter pics! (that was not posed he just walked over and got in the picture)

Yummy Easter lunch!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven

So...a lot has happened since my last post. I have been so busy meticulously picking through thoughts about where my life is going and what God is communicating to me, feeling like if I do not figure it out fast enough I am going to miss it completely. However, I just saw a quote on someones facebook that spoke to my terribly mistaken mind set.

"Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so. You feel like running, but life is on a stroll. This is how God does things." Donald Miller

And boy have I felt like running lately. Throughout this semester God has constantly been hounding me. A good kind of hounding, but hounding none the less. He has constantly been revealing His desire for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. From Gulf Coast Getaway (campus ministry conference in Panama city), Disciple now in Brewton, AL, Brown House and Blue house ministries in Tuscaloosa, and so many other things I have been running into lately have all had this same message. We are supposed to be living out the Kingdom of God in our everday lives, where ever God has put us.

This daunting thought is why my mind has just been running around in circles for the past few months. Until tonight. Tonight I have been reminded that I am never going to miraculously have all the answers or imediantly know exactly what I am supposed to do about this Kingdom living. Lucky for me our God strolls. If He went any faster then that I am positive I could not keep up with Him. Instead of dwelling on my future I have to take a deep breath and stroll with my Father. Taking in everything around me. People. Needs. Hurts. Concerns. Joy. Laughter. Relationships. Until my eyes are open to these things I can never hope to bring God's Kingdom to any situation.

The following are somethings I cannot resist sharing from Gulf Coast Getaway:

We are not following the Lord for a reward one day far off in the future. We are following the Lord because we are in love with Him because of His passionate love for us. Because of that love, living the way he has modeled for us and has called us too is Heaven on Earth!

We must deny the false ego that drives our lives. We do not deserve anything, but God deserves everything. The Kingdom of God is not about us it is about God.

Maybe God needs to rescue me from what I want so I can be who he wants me to be

And Finally Randy Harris' closing points: 10 Ways to experience the Tangible Kingdom Today ( I am a huge fan of lists, so I love this!)

1. Make covanent

2. Memorize the sermon on the mount

3. Quiet Whineing

4. Take a Risk

5. Walk/amble/stroll

6. Relocate

7. Calm Down

8. Simplify

9. Commit

10. Be present
These look so simple neatly in a list but they do not come easy for me but Jesus did them all. He established covanent with those who shared his vision, created the sermon on the mount, did not think of himself long enough to whine, risked everything he had, ambled through life so he could heal the leper or eat with the tax collector along the way, relocated himself to be where people needed him most, even the sea was calm at His hand, lived so simply he did not even have a place to lay his head, was commited to his mission even to death on a cross, and was fully and completely present where ever he happened to be.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If I was Jesus

It is only the third day of classes and I already feel burnt out. I can think of so many other things I could do to glorify God during my day if I didn't have to be sitting in some BORING class listening to a professor who uses unnecessarily big words. Not to mention the worst stress of getting homework done and studying for tests. I am constantly waiting for that day of no more classes when I can REALLY change the world. Or, sometimes I dream of quiting college, packing my bags and heading somewhere exciting to take care of a house full of kids, feeding the poor, and giving water to the thirsty (my mom would LOVE that one). No more boring classes, homework, or tests to distract me and stress me out. Well lets just face it...that's a load of crap.

Yes, while I would sometimes rather be in another country doing exciting new thing to spread Gods kingdom the fact is God put me HERE at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. This is no accident. He has put me here to spread his kingdom and bring Jesus to the college campus and throughout the city. Anything else I tell me self is simply an excuse for not being Jesus in my everyday life. You see, to be Jesus in my everyday life, instead of going to class in a groggy daze, sitting, taking notes, and just getting by, I am called to have the joy of the spirit in my heart, to actually look at people as I pass them pray for them and LOVE them. I can no longer just try to get through class with out being called on or noticed. I am called to LOVE the girl sitting next to me and over the course of the semester form a relationship with her. This sounds so simple doesn't it?

The problem is that my human nature is not wired to be as friendly as Jesus was. Jesus could go up to a woman at a well who he had never even met and after telling her, her own life story as the ice breaker offer her to drink of living water that will never leave her thirsty again (yea, that's not creepy). I can hardly say, "Hey my name is Laura. Whats your name?" with out feeling self conscious of being weird or "to friendly." I think Satan binds us into leading our private lives and keeping to ourselves. He convinces us to leave our neighbors alone telling us that they do not want to be bothered, or that somethings are just to personal to be asked about and we need to give people their own space.

News Flash! Jesus did not have personal space. He did not even have his own house to escape to so he could get away from people. So, why should I live like that? WHEN am I going to realize I constantly need the Holy Spirit flowing through me to live like Jesus because it is completely impossible on my own. WHEN am I going to surrender my plans to Gods plans. WHEN am I going to surrender my why of thinking to Gods. WHEN will I let myself die so that the spirit can live through me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

National Champions 2009

I have never been a big blog fan. I wasn't sure how I felt about posting things about me and my life for the whole cyber space world to see. Kind of creepy if you ask me....I still think its creepy but out of the blue one day I had the urge to start one. I thought, well I'll just set up my profile and we will just see what happens. After a little while of playing around on this thing I discovered ya'lls secret...its addicting! As if I didn't have enough things to distract me.

On a more serious note I have really felt God working on me over my break from school and I was really hoping this could be a place where I could do some thinking and reflecting. While I realize a hand written journal would serve just as well I also know myself in that number one, I would never write in it and number two, thoughts that I do not share often go with out being acted upon.

Well that enough introduction for one night. I felt motivated and inspired because the Bama just won the National Championship. Roll Tide! But now it is fading quickly and my bed is calling my name. If I write more it is not going to make since.

Roll Tide and God Bless!!!!