September 21, 2015

This past week...

Who knew working two jobs and going to college full time could be this much fun?!

I was so nervous at the beginning of the semester, but here I am a week later, and if my days are busier they are certainly not any less enjoyable since I love what I do at school and work.  And somehow there is always time to do other things I love.  :)

At school, I learned about cell division and osmosis in human biology, practiced using the subjunctive mood and the present perfect tense in Spanish, and in advanced composition, I reviewed tons of picky grammar things, like different kinds of clauses.

I packed out a mug for to send for a mug exchange... Thanks to Stephanie at The Enchanting Rose for coordinating the Tea Cup and Mug Exchange!  Shopping for other people is one of my favorite things to do.  I also received a mug!  But you'll have to wait to see it... It is going to get its own post.

I began working at my college's Writing Center as a "trusted reader" or TR (basically a writing tutor, except it's a more collaborative experience).  I've loved it so far, much to my surprise.  As a very shy person, I imagined tutoring sessions being really awkward and hard for me, but I actually feel so comfortable working on an essay with someone.  All kinds of students come in.  It's going to be such a fantastic experience to have before I graduate.

I cut my own hair!  A year ago, my hair looked like this:

Short on the sides/back and floppy on top.  (Also slightly orange... Thank you, misleading box hair dye.)  I've been growing it out for a year, but I missed the fuzzy feeling of buzzed hair, so I gave myself an undercut on the nape of my neck.

I really like the way it looks, especially with a bun.

At the library, I've been creating a display in the young adult area.  Banned Books Week is coming up next week, so I compiled a list of frequently challenged books and made a nice display on the bulletin board.  I'm also changing all the signage in the DVD section.  I like putting the skills I learned in graphic design classes to use!  All of the random things I am interested in seem to converge at my job in the library... Such a God thing.

I read a good book.  Actually, a collection of novellas by Stephen King.  It's called Different Seasons and has four stories in it.

"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" is my personal favorite; it's about a couple of guys in prison for murder (but I'm sure you've seen the movie The Shawshank Redemption).  It's an interesting commentary on institutions; I made some parallels in my mind to the public education system (not to say school is a prison - just to question what the institutions are supposed to accomplish/how they attempt to accomplish it).
"The Body" is another good one.  I began reading it and thinking, "I'm pretty sure I watched a movie exactly like this..."  As I read I finally realized it was also a movie called Stand By Me.
"Apt Pupil" was the most disturbing and graphic - very twisted; not my favorite.  I didn't bother with "The Breathing Method."  Maybe I'll get to it eventually.  It didn't grab me the way the others did in the first few pages.
I've seen some of the movies based on his books, but never read a single one until last week.  I liked them a lot and plan on reading Misery next.  What an excellent, creepy movie - but of course the book is always better.  ;)

I also went to a Renaissance Faire with my mom and sister.  It's such a fun, playful environment with TONS to do and see.  There were many different singing groups of bands, plays about Robin Hood, all kinds of food and shops, random entertainers milling about, and SO MANY people dressed in period clothing!  I'm not into costumes and stuff, but it was a great place to people-watch, haha.  And of course I had my picture taken with a cute juggler.

I would totally go back next year.  It poured on us for a while as we watched the jousting tournament, but all in all it was so much fun.

September 13, 2015

Back-to-School Organization!

And now for something totally different...!

When it comes to organization, my motto is the cliché, "A place for everything, and everything in its place."  Everything I own has a home.  If I have something that doesn't seem to have a logical place, I usually have to rethink if it's something I truly need.

The hardest place to keep organized, it seems, is my desk area.  Ideally, I could have the Pinterest office of my dreams.  Think perfect white walls, lots of natural lighting, a beautiful modern desk, a comfortable yet adorable chair, office supplies totally hidden away, maybe some tiny plants for good measure... Something like this:

So much inspiration:

I can only dream!  I get frustrated when I see these kinds of set-ups on Pinterest because 1) they don't seem 100% functional to me, and 2) they make me SO JEALOUS that I can't have something so gorgeous!  ;)  I'm sure there are real-life people who have such lovely set-ups as these, but it's not attainable for me where I am right now.  So I make do with what I have!  And what I have is a corner in the bedroom I share with my sister.  

The furniture doesn't match, none of it is dainty or chic, and there's a fair amount of clutter,  but it is DEFINITELY functional and comfortable.  It's probably a hastle keeping a Pinterest office clean, with all the expensive accessories and white furniture... I've just got a hand-me-down office chair, a bunch of plastic Target drawers, and some black furniture that can take a beating.  Dream offices aside, my "office" is the most important area in my room.  I spend a lot of time working here, so I need to make sure that I know exactly where every single thing lives.


As a huge bookworm and librarian, my bookshelves are the most prominent pieces of furniture in this area, and I take pride in making them "user-friendly."  I do this by organizing my books by type/subject.

The top shelf has mostly school books, dictionaries, sketchbooks, art history books, general creative-inspiration type of books, and folders with boring paperwork in them (bank, car, college).  I like that kind of stuff to be right by my desk, so I can quickly grab whatever I need as I'm doing homework.

The bottom shelf is a bit more diverse and has Christian books/devotionals/study guides, Bibles, and Bible references, English and grammar handbooks (probably belong on the top shelf, but I can't fit them there); and books that I want to get rid of.  Lol.

This is my fiction shelf!  It's small - just the top two shelves right now - but growing at an alarming rate.  I imagine I will need a new book shelf soon.  My fiction books are organized alphabetically be the author's last name, just like in a library, and they're two books deep, which is... Annoying. (On the bottom shelf is just some CDs, computer stuff, and super old books that I didn't know where to put...).

Art + Office Supplies

On top of my fiction shelf is a set of very precisely-labeled drawers with office supplies in them.  It's not the most beautiful set-up, but it's very organized.  I absolutely relish being able to quickly grab whatever I need as I need it.  I also keep a file holder up top (the light teal thing that's half cut out of the picture) for stuff I need to do: homework exercises, paperwork-type stuff, paychecks, etc.  Once I finish it, it goes off into its rightful folder or binder.

Underneath my desk are two large sets of drawers.  The one on the left has a lot of technology-type stuff: camera + accessories, Wacom tablet, headphones, microphone, adapters, random cords, memory cards, flash drives, etc. (I also stick doodles from my notebooks in the top drawer.  I'm not sure what to do with them yet!)

On the right is all my art supply paraphernalia.  The top has paintbrushes, palettes, and spray paint.  The middle has paints, markers, and tons of drawing supplies of every medium.  The bottom has tools and stuff: different kinds of tape, a hammer, modeling tools, a tape measure, wire cutters and benders, a glue gun, etc.

I keep some small sizes of paper on top of the drawers, but my larger pads of different kinds of paper live in the closet with my drawing boards and easel.

Between the drawers are a toolbox, paper cutter, and massive ruler.

Desk + Things Organization

My favorite innovation this school year has been my "Reference Binder."  I have picked up on a lot of library-style organization habits, and this is one of them.  At my library, we have binders for everything from community activities to general procedures.  My binder is a tool for keeping my class info in order.  As you can tell, I didn't spend any money on a new binder - this one has been generously reused for at least ten years.  There's all kinds of stuff in here.  I have a section for each of my four classes.  I put whatever I don't need with me at school in here for quick reference when I'm studying: syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, handouts, etc.

The Reference Binder lives right behind my computer for easy access.  :) If you are struggling to keep track of schoolwork, I really suggest you try a "reference binder."  I imagine it would be helpful in homeschool as well.  All you need is a binder, some dividers, and a hole punch.

I write all my homework on this whiteboard as it is assigned.  Obviously I've done my Spanish homework already.  :)

 Here are many Things.  My Van Gogh poster is mostly for looks and for sticking notes on.  I've got the reference binder, a tape dispenser, a stapler, a desk lamp, and a pen cup, as well as my brand-new Things organizer!

 I got this at HomeGoods for $10.  It's a beautiful shade of yellow-orange and the perfect size for my desk.  I keep things in it that I need on-hand everyday, like my planner:

 Most important to me in a planner is that there is ample space to write and that it can fold in half backwards.  I got this one from my college's bookstore.

Anyway, that's all I got done this week as far as organization goes.  I'm very happy with it!

September 7, 2015

A day off.

My year is about to get pretty crazy starting tomorrow, so I'm trying to enjoy today - the last day before working 2 part-time jobs while also going to school full-time.  But I guess that's what Labor Day honors: hard work!  I'm a little apprehensive.  Wondering if I bit off more than I can chew.

Still, I wouldn't want it any other way.  I love going to college.  People go to college (or don't go to college) for all sorts of reasons.  For me, it's about the knowledge, community, experiences, and opportunities, and knowing that where God has me is the best place for me to be.

At college, my faith is at times challenged - I feel so alienated as when a professor talks about Christians as if there aren't any sitting in his class.  But I have never found these situations to be damaging to my hold on what is true, nor do they shake my belief in God.

If a professor is standing in front of a group of forty kids giving a lecture on how evangelical Christianity is detrimental to scientific progress, I know that it would be happening whether or not I am there to experience it.  To be there is an opportunity that I should take advantage of, and I often do.  God has used this challenging of my faith to grow me in my knowledge of what I believe; to know the arguments against Him, and how to refute them if He calls me to.

I love how God gives us the chance to be the light someone needs to see.  He could change someone's mind, just like that, but he chooses instead to say, "Lauren, I could speak right into this guy's heart and tell him the truth about who I am, but you will be so blessed if you get to talk to Him about me.  Here is an opportunity to be involved in my mission!  I don't need you to do anything, because I am all-powerful and have other ways and other people I can use, but what an amazing experience you will have if you say yes."  I just love that so much.

And I love my jobs, too.  Well, I love my library job: my other job as a tutor in my school's Writing Center starts tomorrow, so I have yet to decide if I like it.  But in general, I like to work.  I like to live a quiet life and work with my hands (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12) and be involved with a community.

So busy is good.  Too busy and I might have a nervous breakdown. ;)  And I might be sitting here with anxious thoughts running through my head like "What if I can't get my homework done?  What if I suck at the tutoring job?  What if I start getting confused about my schedule and show up late for work or school?"  But it is easily silenced when I think about the incredible sequence of events that have been used by God to lead up to me being in this place, and I know He won't abandon me now.

September 2, 2015

Don't eat the sandwich board; also, don't be afraid of growing up.

I'm finally settled into my job at the library, and again, it is literally a Godsend of a job.  For real, guys, imagine spending all day in the stacks at the library.  And I get paid to do it.

So, yeah, I'm just writing to say I am so extremely happy right now, and also I feel totally unqualified to have such a great Grown Up job.  I've had jobs before.  But something is different now.  I'm still growing up, at 20 years old, and it's not as drastic and scary as I thought it would be.  I don't know; I kind of thought (way back when) that growing up was some milestone.  It kept changing as I passed milestones.  At some point, all of these things seemed to be the Next Step of Growing Up:
  • I turned 13 and started high school.
  • I turned 16 and started driving myself places.
  • I graduated high school.
  • I met my first boyfriend.
  • I went to college.
  • I got my first real job.
  • etc, etc, etc
However, it was not these accomplishments themselves that grew me up.  It was the experiences I had between the milestones.  For example... I had my heart broken, it felt like the world was ending for a while, and I survived.  I changed my majors three times, causing a lot of stress in school.  I was aware of growing up then, too, as I finally gave it all up to God to hold my future and not let me get in the way by constantly changing my mind, lol.  My family left the church we'd attended for years and years, and it was honestly one of the hardest changes I've ever gone through to find my place somewhere else, but I was maturing through it.

I guess I'm realizing that "Growing Up" is totally a thing.  It's experiencing, and maturing, and learning, and growing. "Grown Up" as a milestone does not exist, though.  That's not a thing.  I don't know exactly what it means to be Grown Up; it probably some kind of myth to motivate you to do stuff.  There will probably never be a point where I say to myself, "Yup, I did it - I have Grown Up, and it's all downhill from here."  Like, I honestly don't want to "finish" growing up.  Ever.

Adulthood is one thing; growing up is def another