Monday, January 31, 2011

30 Day Blog Journal - Day 4 and 5! - Better late than never :)

Well, it's no surprise, but I got a little behind on my 30 day blog journal...I should be on Day 6 today, but instead I am going to do Days 4 and 5 in the same post :)

Day 4 - My favorite book.

I've narrowed it down to two...

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers - For those of you who don't know, this is a fictional story based off of the story of Hosea in the Bible. I am honestly not much of a reader, but I think I read this book in maybe 2 days...and it was a pretty long book. I just couldn't put it down. It was a beautiful picture of Hosea's love for his wife, but even more so, God's love for matter how many times we turn away from him and continue in some sort of sin, He keeps pursuing us and loves us where we are.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom - This story is just so precious to me. I can only hope that if ever I am diagnosed with a terminal illness of any kind, that my attitude can be this good and that I use whatever time I have left to love and serve others.

Now for Day 5 - My favorite quote

There are so many quotes out there that I love, and you're probably going to be surprised...but I actually only picked one! This is something I think I actually read on a magnet once...but I love it.  

"Risk - more than others think is safe. Care - more than others think is wise. Dream - more than others think is practical. Expect - more than others think is possible." -Cadet Maxim

I want to live by it for the rest of my life, because I think the words just speak to what LIFE should really be like.

Friday, January 28, 2011

30 Day Blog Journal - Day 3!

It is time for Day 3 of my 30 day blog journal....and the topic today is...
My favorite television show! 

As you probably have suspected by now, I don't know how to limit it to just one, so...sorry about that. Honestly, I don't have a favorite show...most the time I am annoyed with myself that I even waste time watching TV at all, but those shows just suck me in sometimes.  So here goes...I'll mention a few that I DVR and watch regularly.  I say DVR because if I almost never watch anything live. I absolutely hate commercials, and I honestly wouldn't pay for my Dish Network if it didn't involve a DVR!

I started watching One Tree Hill in it's second season because Tyler Hilton was on it, playing as Chris Keller.  I had met him through a friend of a friend of my dad's once, and my older sister is actually pretty good friends with I started watching it then, and even though he hasn't been on it in a few seasons, I've gotten sucked in.  I even went back and watched season one to get myself up to speed...haha.

I know, I know....even though I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, I do watch the Young and the Restless. My oldest sister used to force us to always watch in during the summers when we were home from school, and I always hated it except when they would show scenes about Nick and Sharon. that's not really the case...and this may sound silly, but the main reason I watch it is to 1) laugh at how stupid the drama really is and 2) stay connected with my sis.  My first year at the University of Arkansas, I went to visit her when she lived in central Oklahoma for about a week, and I watched it with her every day while I was there. After I got home I started recording it and have pretty much since.  I don't get to see her or talk to her a whole lot, but sometimes when things get really pathetic on Y&R one of us will call the other just to say, "Can you believe this?!" haha...I know it's silly, but there you have it.

haha...I just LOVE Reba. This show I purely watch for mindless entertainment. They are all reruns now, but Lifetime continues to air them, so I have been recording them over the past few months and watching all the old episodes.  She is just too funny!

And last but not least, I am a bit addicted to Army Wives.  I am looking forward to the new season, which I believe is supposed to start sometime in March...lucky me, right about the time that my boyfriend leaves for Iraq! haha. I think I have teared up if not flat out cried in almost every episode, so I'm sure that will only make it worse now that I can actually relate to some of it, but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for military guys and their families.  I love my soldier and I am proud to stand behind him.

So that's it...those are the primary shows I watch! I also watch American Idol, but I don't really like it until the good singers actually get on...the stupid auditions kill me. But I am kinda excited about Steven Tyler being a judge this year. I also watch an occasional South Park episode...sometimes they just make me laugh, even though the fat kid makes me want to punch him EVERY single time.  The boyfriend is a fan of Tosh.O and The Colbert Report, so we usually watch those together too.

That's it for now...I still need to post part 2 of my "getting disciplined with money" rant that I started back in November...which I fully intend to do, and will probably update occasionally on how all of that is going!

What are some of your favorite TV shows?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

30 Day Blog Journal - Day 2!

So my 30 Day Blog Journal continues with Day 2 - my favorite movie!

My favorite movies don't really change as often as my favorite songs...sometimes I may add one to the list and then later on down the road it might not make the cut if you were to ask me again, but the true favorites I stay faithful to! And here they are....

Top Gun has been my all-time favorite for as long as I can remember. This movie was actually made the year I was born...but I love it. It is completely responsible for my bucket list item of wanting to ride in a fighter jet someday! Unfortunately the F-14 tomcat has been retired...and now the legit fighter jets no longer have room for Goose (they are one-seaters now) I might have to learn how to fly it myself instead...

 A Lot Like Love has been a favorite since I discovered it during my sophomore year of college.  It is so RANDOM, and that's what I love about it! And let's face it...I am a sucker for a romance story that is not so typical ;)

Next we have the Bourne series.  I figured I couldn't really split these apart...gotta have the whole story, right? :) But I own all 3 and think they are just fantastic. And the best part...they are in chronological alphabetical order, which helps my OCD because all of my DVDs are arranged on the shelf alphabetically! (Unfortunately the Oceans movies are not...ugh and it bugs me!)

And last but not least....Oliver and Company! I figured I HAD to include my favorite Disney movie...which is kinda funny, because I'm not a huge fan of cats, but I just can't help myself...I love Oliver :)

Well that's it ladies and gentlemen...a list of Lauren's favorite movies! There are others that were very close, but just didn't make the cut.

On another note...I ran 2 miles today, and I was able to cut 1 minute and 25 seconds off my time from the 2 miles I did yesterday! I am so excited to get into the running takes me a bit to work back up to where I can run the long distances, but I am planning on 2.5 miles tomorrow, and hoping to be on track to run a 5K again (just over 3 miles) by the end of next week! By the way, I am LOVING this weather.  This time two years ago TODAY I was sitting at home with no power, two inches of ice on the ground, and my totaled car (from wrecking it the day before on an icy bridge) had a tree on top of it in my driveway!

What are some of your favorite movies? And since I forgot to ask yesterday, what have some of your new years resolutions/goals been for 2011? I want to hear about them! Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jumping on the bandwagon and New Year Goals (I know..a little late)

I have not posted anything in forever, and I'm really bad about coming up with things to talk about. I guess I just haven't gotten used to this whole blogging thing...I mean really, who wants to sit and read about my life? haha...but oh well.  I decided to jump on the bandwagon with this 30 Day Blog Journal thing to get things rolling...starting with Day 1 - My favorite song!

Thanks to this person for making this little button, and thanks to this person that I actually stole it from... :)

So...if you know me at all, you know that music is something I LOVE...definitely a passion. So let's face it, me picking just one song...yeah, right. So I picked 2 and I'll give you a brief reason why I love them :)

The first one is (drum roll please)...When You Got a Good Thing by Lady Antebellum

If I had to actually just pick one...which I don't...because it's my blog ;)...this would be the one. My favorite songs change so frequently, but this one has stuck around for a while.  Not to be super cliche, but every time I hear just about every word of this song (except for the whole blue eyes thing... ;) I can't help but think about my amazing soldier and how blessed I am to have him.  I have never in my life known a human love so true and so real.  My favorite line is...."There's gonna be some ups and downs, but with you to wrap my arms around, I'm fine." I know things won't always be perfect...he's going to let me down once in a while, and Lord knows I'm going to fail him at times, but we really do have a good that I will hold onto forever.  I am one lucky girl :)

(this one wouldn't let me embed the video, so just check out the link!)

This one has also stuck for a while now...I honestly haven't heard a thing by her I DON'T like, but I guess I just feel like I can especially relate to this one. She actually wrote this song after she backed into some lady's car...haha...and if you know me, that's funny.  But I love to serve a God that doesn't expect me to be some cookie cutter of a believer, but a God that loves me exactly for who I am because that's who he created me to be.  I think He's pretty fantastic.

So there you have it! Day 1 of my 30 Day Blog Journal.  I can't promise I'll post them on schedule every day, so it might take me more than 30 days...but I really am going to try to do each of the topics eventually!

Now onto the second part of my blog goals for the new year! I know, I's dang near February, it's a little late for that. But I thought I'd share them anyways.  I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions anyhow, simply because I feel like if I have something I'd like to accomplish, I feel as though I am quite capable of setting a goal and achieving it without having to wait til the start of a new who knows, there's a good possibility I will probably add to these throughout the year :)

1) Support my soldier with everything I have. In case you haven't heard, my boyfriend is getting deployed to Iraq sometime around the end of April. He left January 3rd to start training with the Arkansas National Guard.  I have had the honor of getting to see him a few times since he's been in training, but those visits are about to get fewer and fewer.  He leaves for Ft. Hood, Texas on February 20th, and I will not see him again after that until the day he actually deploys to Iraq, where he is expected to be for 7-8 months.  If we're lucky, he'll get to come home in time for Christmas this year! But I am just so proud of him. I want to be as strong as I can for him and send him letters, and care packages, and talk to him on Skype as often as I possibly can.  I cannot wait for the day when he gets off that airplane back on American soil and I get to jump into his arms!

2) Stick to a detailed budget, be completely debt free, and start saving/investing. In my last post (yes, in November), I talked about the FPU class I took over the last few months. It ended in December, but I am really working hard to stick to the principles I've learned.  I create an itemized budget at the start of every pay period (I get paid once a month, so this is a monthly budget as well)...some months go better than others as far as how well I stick to it, but I really want to get to where I stick to my budget goals! I also have a few minor debts I'd like to get paid off...nothing major, but still enough that I need to have a good plan in effect to wipe those clean over the next few months.  I have already started putting money away for an Emergency Fund, and I have my first goal amount I'd like to work towards my second goal, which is Dave Ramsey's Baby Step 3, and get 3-6 months of living expenses set aside.  I still have a long ways to go, and I'm not sure I'll get that accomplished by the end of the year, but I'm certainly going to head that direction.  Eventually, once that 3-6 months is funded, I'd really like to start learning more about investing and long term financial planning!

3) Defend by PhD proposal. I am actually hoping to get this accomplished by March, but it is certainly on the list. I have to write a minimum of 15 pages over my research to propose to my committee to become an "official" PhD candidate.  I will also have to defend that proposal and give a presentation to my committee and they will have to approve me to go to the next step toward accomplishing my doctorate.  I have started it, but it is coming along slowly at the moment...hopefully I'll get rid of this writer's block soon and get crackin'!

4) Lose 5-10 lbs and run at least a 10KI listed these two together because running makes me lose weight! I have actually lost approximately 40 lbs since the beginning of last year, and I'm very happy with that and feel so much healthier now.  For a big portion of last year, I was running 3-5 miles a day 5-6 days per week.  I got into running 5Ks and loved it...wasn't doing it as a competitive thing, because I can assure you, I run SLOOOOWWWWWLLYY, just doing it because I enjoyed it, and it was fun to be a little competitive with myself to see if I could beat my previous times.  Anyhow...I'd like to lose about 5-10 more lbs and would like to particularly get my abs in better shape. Also, I plan on running at LEAST a 10K (a little over 6 miles).  I know this is a goal that I can reach if I put my mind to it.  If I get really disciplined, I'd love to be able to run a half marathon (13 miles) at some point during the much as I'd love to say marathon, I think 26 miles might just kill me.  I've got quite a ways to go before any of that...I ran only 2 miles today and it was a bit rough...I am so ready for it to get warm outside! :)

and last but not least...

5) Keep better track of tax related stuff. I have always done my own taxes with the help of TaxSlayer, which I recommend if you get W-2 forms, but this year they have gotten more complicated with the way my fellowship is set up for school.  I started working on my 2010 tax returns today and realized I was in way over my head.  There are deductions I could take that I didn't even know about.  So I'm going to actually take them to my friend Rob who happens to be an accountant and have him help me this year! That being said...since I didn't keep the best track of everything I could for last year, I'd like to start keeping detailed records of anything that might affect my 2011 tax return!

Wow this is long...and I doubt anybody would ever read the whole thing, but if anything, it was nice to have something to randomly express my thoughts if even for my own good :)