Friday, June 29, 2012

Commenting Challenge - Day 5

So, I skipped yesterday's part of the challenge because I guess I don't really know what my hobbies are!  What is it that I do that keep me so busy?!  In reality, I really love to travel (which will help me with today's challenge!).  I also really love to read, but I hardly ever have time to read.  I'm the kind of person that once I start reading something, it consumes my every free second....which means I can't read during the school year for sure!  Right now I think my favorite hobby is hanging out with my soon-to-be husband.  :-)

Today's the final day of the challenge and the topic for today is my dream vacation.  This is actually incredibly easy for me.  Michael and I did a lot of research of vacations when we were looking for places to go for our honeymoon.  My top two dream vacation destinations are:

1.  FIJI!!!!!  Man, if we could have even come close to affording Fiji, we would have been there in a second!

2.  Italy!  I have always wanted to go to Italy!!  But I want to spend the whole summer there and tour the entire country and EAT!!

Honestly, if there's a trip somewhere, I wanna go!  I really do love to travel and hope I get to do more in the future!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 3 of the Commenting Challenge

Day 3 of the Commenting Challenge is all about social media!  I'm kinda crazy about Facebook.  I check it several times a day....and it's even worse now that smart phones let me check it wherever I am! I do keep Facebook strictly for my "real life" friends.  :-)  Since blogging, I've started using Twitter to keep up with all my blog friends!!  You can find me there at @KC_Lauren.  I've also gotten a little crazy about Pinterest....especially since trying to plan a wedding!!!!

The webpages that I follow on a regular basis are really just the blogs I follow!  (And Pinterest!)  I have especially been reading cooking blogs now that I have to practice being a wife who cooks!!  In my single life, I never cooked dinner for just me....seemed like a big waste of time and money.  But now that I have Michael hanging around, I've gotta figure out how to be a wife!!

Thanks again to all you new folks checking out my blog!  I love the comments I'm getting!!  :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Commenting Challenge: Day 2!

If you don't know the guidelines/rules for the Commenting Challenge,  check out yesterday's post!

Today's topic: Tell us about your blog

My blog started as a way to document my journey with the Lord as He leads me home...back to Him.  I'm not a good writer (I apologize for my lack of writing skill on a regular basis on my blog!), but my blog has turned into a means for me to organize my thoughts...good and bad.  I actually started blogging not too long after a really terrible break up (with a man I thought I was going to marry).  I was struggling with a lot of things (loneliness and my relationship with the Lord being frontrunners), and it was so comforting to know that I wasn't alone.  Nowadays, it really is just a continuation of my journey with the Lord and through life....though singleness isn't a struggle for me anymore (HALLELUJAH!!!).  By the way, that's still so bizarre to me.  Singleness has been my number one struggle for the last 30 it's weird to have that monkey off my back.

Anyway.....I am pretty much willing to share anything and everything about where I'm at or what I'm going through.  My mom and fiancé aren't crazy about that.  They think I'm a bit too open with the blogosphere.  But if my struggles can help someone to not feel so alone....then so be it!  I'm an open book!!

As far as inspiration goes....I just write about my life!  And right now that's a full time job between getting married, going to China, and starting a new job!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  I've loved all of the comments just in the last day!  SO MUCH FUN!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Point of No Return

I feel like I need to preface this post with one very important fact:

I love Michael more than anything!!!!  I am totally in love and completely psyched to be his wife!!!  That being said, the journey of our dating and engagement has been somewhat of a challenge for me.

I'm not sure exactly where to begin this explanation...  I guess I should start by saying, I have had some serious heartache in past relationships.  I have never been the love-at-first-sight kinda girl.  And so it's always taken me a little while to be "all in" in a relationship.  And for me historically, once I do go "all in", that's when I get heart broken. forward a couple of years, and I meet my future husband.  He's nothing like my past boyfriends.  He doesn't play games.  He loves me for my crazy, poor-complected self.  It was weird.  And wonderful.  And weird.  Eventually, Michael fell in love with me.  And, as he explains it, he went to the deep end of the pool and did a cannon ball into the water.  He was all in.  I, on the other hand, wasn't about to just jump in head first.  Are you kidding me?!  That's how I get my heart broken!  So, I started by putting my little toe in the water.  And then I stuck both legs in the water.  And then I waded in far enough that the water was up to my waist.  But I struggled to go all in.  Part of me was looking for something that doesn't really exist (the romance movie lovey-dovey feelings), and the other part of me liked the control of not allowing myself to feel as deeply for Michael as he did for me.  I had an "out".  If he left me, if he broke my heart, I wouldn't hurt as bad if I was only waist deep in this relationship and not in over my head.

And then, the other day it hit me.  I'm in love over my head!  I'm in the deep end of this relationship with ten feet of water above me!  Shocked, I announced this revelation to Michael.  Slightly concerned, he asked if I had just managed to make my way to the deep end.  Is this a new feeling for me?  After all, we are engaged and planning a wedding.

No.  It didn't just happened.  I've been there for a long time.  But it happened so subtly, that I didn't even realize that it happened.  (Kinda like when you have a terrible headache and you take some Excedrin and an hour later you suddenly realize your head doesn't hurt anymore.  Or is that just me??)

And, can I just say that I absolutely LOVE being in the deep end of this relationship with Michael?!  I mean, I LOVE IT!!  Michael's so funny.  He told me that when he was in, he was in.  He cannon balled into the deep end and waited for me there.  That's so Michael.  None of this pussy-footing around like I do.  (This means he's really helpful when I can't make a decision about, well, anything!)

I'm not gonna lie, though.  My past still haunts me.  I still have moments of fear of that heartbreak.  I worry that he's going to regret choosing me and leave me by myself in the pool.  (Have I overused this analogy yet??)  But he continues to reassure me that he isn't going anywhere.  I believe him.  I trust him with my heart.  So, we're gonna be hanging out in the deep end of this pool together for a while.  There's not a place in the world I'd rather be.

And, man, do I love him.

The Third Annual Commenting Challenge

Thanks to my blog friend Paige, I am joining the Commenting Challenge for the first time!  Here are the directions according to Jenna's blog:

If you're new this year, a big welcome to you! If you've participated in the last two challenges, welcome back!

This year, I'm doing things just a little differently. The challenge will only last for 5 days instead of 7. In the past, I've asked that you pick 10 blogs to comment on each day...and I got a ton of mixed feedback. Some people wanted to do more, and some had trouble commenting on 10 per day.

This year, I'm still setting the goal at 10 per day, BUT if you can do more then please do! If you can't do 10, just do however many you can manage. This is meant to be a fun, getting to know you type experience.

One more change for this year. I've had a lot of people email me over the last two years asking if I could provide topics for each day because they were having trouble coming up with something to blog about for each day of the challenge. This year I will provide a topic for each day. Just check in with me at 8am central time each day to view the topic. Then, if you'd like, you can blog on that topic. This is not required - it's just to help anyone who is having trouble coming up with something to say.

So, let's get this challenge started!

Hi!  My name is Lauren, and I was born and raised here in Kansas City, Missouri.  After graduating from the University of Missouri - Columbia, I went back to teach at my old elementary school.  I taught five years of elementary (K-5) music and spent the last two years teaching second grade.  I am starting a new job this coming school year in a completely different school district.  I'll be teaching elementary music again and will be working with one of my best friends again!!  I have my Master's Degree in teaching as well as my Education Specialist Degree in Elementary Administration.  So far, I'm just using my undergrad and Master's.  

I'm 30 years old and have spent the most of my adult life struggling with singleness.  Praise the Lord, though, because I met my future husband last December!  We are getting married this September!!!  (It still hasn't completely set in.)  :-)

As if I didn't have enough going on, I'm also leaving for China with a group from my church to teach English to Chinese students.  I did this last year and wasn't planning on going back again this summer....but I feel like I'm called to go.  So....I'm leaving my fiancé and wedding planning for three weeks to follow The Call.

I'm excited to find some new blogs to follow!!  YAY!

Wedding Update: Three Months

The last month has flown by!  Here's what we've accomplished so far (updates are in blue)....
Extra updates are in pink!  I couldn't wait until the two month update to post some of this stuff.  It's kind of like how I write things on my to-do list after I've done them, just so I can have something to cross off.  :-)

Groom -  Michael Malone
Date - September 22, 2012
Wedding Venue - Raytown Christian Church (the church I grew up in)
Reception Venue - The VanNoy Mansion.  It's SOO pretty!

Colors -  Blue, White and Ivory
Gown - It's top secret....but I have it.  (I'm trying not to second guess my decision!!)
Shoes  - Holy frustration!!  I hate buying shoes.  And when it comes to wedding shoes....I hate it even more!  I have really long, really skinny feet.  Seriously, I wear a 10 narrow.  Let me just tell you how many cute shoes come in a 10 narrow.  Virtually NONE.  So I've been battling the shoe war.  I ordered six different pair of shoes on Amazon and not one of them fit me.  Yesterday Michael and I set out to find me some stinkin' shoes that fit!  And wouldn't you know?  I found them at our first stop!  Thank you DSW!!!!  I wanted blue shoes, and I actually found some that fit!!!

Now I have to find some shoes for the reception....because those suckers aren't going to make it past the ceremony!
Makeup - Thanks to a reference from a friend, I found a really sweet makeup lady.  I'm excited to have a run through with her so I can see what the end result will be!
Flowers - Garden Roses, Peonies, Hydrangea and Lisianthius
Maid of Honor - Meredith (my sister)
Bridesmaids - Three of my best friends in the world!!  See here.  
Bridesmaids Dresses -  We picked them out and have them ordered! Read about it here.  
Best Man - Andrew... A great friend of ours!  He was a co-conspirator in the proposal plan.
Groomsmen - Jason, Matt and Greg  (Obviously...they're all friends of the groom.)
Florist - Amy Cason  (She's a friend of mine and is absolutely phenomenal!)  Check out her work!
Engagement Photos -  My friend Allison (also a bridesmaid) took them for us.  Check them out here!
Wedding Photographer - Soo...apparently I know lots of people in the wedding business.  My friend Allison Carenza is doing those.  Again...she's phenomenal!  Here's a peek at her work.
Flower Girls - Georgia, my friend Courtney's daughter; Michael's niece Kyndall.  We've purchased both of their dresses and we're just waiting for them to come in!
Food - We booked our caterer!  We are excited to be using Brancato's Catering.  YUM!!!!  Now we're just waiting to see how many RSVPs we will receive.  Everything (and I mean everything)is based on our guest count.  Which means those RSVP cards are much more valuable than I ever realized!  After planning this wedding, I will always be prompt in returning my RSVP card to events!
Cake - We had three great cake tastings, and I agonized over this decision!!  But I finally decided on using Classic Cakes.  We're going to have a round, four-tier wedding cake.  We (really, I) had a terrible picking the flavor because they were all DELICIOUS!  So we ended up picking several different flavors for each tier of the cake.  We're a little worried about people taking more than one slice (if you've not purchased a wedding cake, it's priced - not cheaply - by the slice.  So this, too, is based on the guest count and has the potential to get really, really expensive.)  We're thinking of hiring security to monitor the cake table.  ;-)  Just kidding!!!!  As far as the cake decoration, no fondant for us!  We're going old school and doing a stucco icing.  This is an example of stucco.  

SO excited!!!  

DJ: I finally booked a DJ.  For some reason, those people don't return phone calls.  So when I found a company that seemed really professional and they actually returned my phone call, I booked them!  We're going with Complete Music DJ and Video.  If you've used them and they sucked....please don't tell me.  I've already put down my deposit!
Rentals: Our tables, linens, etc. are all booked.
Save the Dates: We've sent them out!  
Invitations: We're ordering them this week and hope to have them addressed and ready to go before I leave for China in July.
Wedding Website:  Glad to have that up and running!
Registries:  I think our registries are finally finished!!  We registered at Bed Bath and Beyond, Crate & Barrel, and Macy's.  
Decorations: We're going up to the church this week to try out some decoration possibilities.  I'm such a visual person, that I need to see things set up before I'll know if I like it.  I'm not a fan of a traditional candelabra, but my friend/florist Amy has a couple that are very unique.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to love them!
Thankfully, things seem to be moving right on along!!

Next up:
*Reception shoes
*Mom's dress
*Groom's tuxes
*Mailing invitations!

Friday, June 15, 2012


A glimpse into some of the things that have kept my life busy the last few weeks!!

Michael and I went to a two-year-old's birthday!  A good friend of mine (who I taught with this past school year) threw her sweet little girl a birthday at Deanna Rose Farmstead.  Lots of fun!

Every June my mom and I bake homemade cinnamon rolls in honor and memory of some people we loved very dearly who lost their battle with cancer.  
My mom's sister Sherlee - She died of a rare brain cancer.
My mom's nephew Craig (Sherlee's son) - He died of a rare abdominal cancer.
My mom's sister Janet - She died of colon cancer.

When my Aunt Sherlee was alive, she made cinnamon rolls for the Bates County Relay for Life every year in honor of her son.  (My Aunt Sherlee's cinnamon rolls are quite famous, and are THE best cinnamon rolls you will ever eat in your life!)  When she died, my mom took up the cause, and it has become a tradition that means a whole lot to my mom and I both.  But it is definitely an all-day process!!  My  mother's kitchen turns into a cinnamon-roll making machine!

Waiting for the dough to rise.  It rises a total of three times before we bake them!

Almost ready to put in the oven!

Time to eat!!!  Actually, it's time to sell these puppies!

I've also (obviously) been spending a lot of time working on stuff for the wedding.  I refuse to spend tons of money on little things that don't really mean a whole lot in the end.  For example, the flower girl baskets.  These suckers cost $40 most places!  Whatever.  So, I tried to be a little crafty (which, for those of you who know me, is a scary thing!).  But I think they turned out pretty okay!  (Although my dad and sis think it looks like I put a coffee filter in the basket.)  I think they look prettier in person.  But the important part is that they only cost me $13 to make! 

Another item on my to-do list has been to get a frame collage together for the wall going up my staircase.  I've had the framed "L" for a long time, and when I went to get the "M" (for Michael), Hobby Lobby had put them on clearance and there weren't any M's anywhere!!  I finally located one a solid 45 minute drive away from me (maybe even an hour away), and you'd better believe that I headed out to Kansas for my purchase!  Actually, Michael was my chauffer for the day, which was wonderful! Here's my almost-completed collage.  I ended up moving the picture on the top right over to the top left (thanks to some good FB friends who helped!).

A little planning is a good idea when we're talking about me
wielding a hammer and nail!

Ahh....summer.  This just makes me happy!  A bunch of friends in the backyard with homemade ice cream.  YES PLEASE!!!
This is actually at my parents' house.

And, like I said, the wedding planning has been crazy.  We finally got our Save the Dates designed, ordered and mailed!  WAHOO!!!!  I ended up with several extra and thought I should put them to good use.  I wouldn't want Michael forgetting that very important date!!!  :-)

Caroline's Wedding!

My mom and I made it back to KC this afternoon after a fun time celebrating Caroline's wedding in Arkansas last night!  I am sooo happy for her!!  She was a beautiful bride!!  Here's our trip in (mostly) pictures!

On the road...from Kansas City to Arkansas!

A little Diet Dr. Pepper for the road!
My mom and I got to Fayetteville a little early so we decided to scope out the wedding location, and who knew?!  The University of Arkansas is in Fayetteville!  (Obviously, we had no idea where we were traveling!)  All of a sudden, the new Razorback Stadium was in front of us!

We eventually found the wedding location.  So pretty!  Now that we knew where we were going, we headed back to our hotel to get all prettied up!

So, this is BY FAR the best picture we took the whole night!  As soon as we got to the wedding, my makeup pretty much slid off my face and my the curl fell completely out of my hair.  Bummer.

We pulled into the parking lot and look who was standing outside waving and (screaming) hello to the guests! 

Stealing the look of the guest book table! 

Getting ready to walk the aisle

The bride and her daddy

Getting married!
Kiss your bride!
Giving the bride a hug!

Then, of course, Kelly from Kelly's Korner was there.  And you know I wanted to get a picture!!  
I think I caught her off guard...

At the reception.  We were a bit sweaty at this point.

Congratulations, Caroline!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's Like a Celebrity Wedding!!!

If you have been reading my post for a significant period of time, you know how much I adore Caroline Hughes.

She's the reason I started blogging!  My good friend Courtney was on bed rest with baby #2 when she discovered Caroline's honest, witty, and just down right funny blog.  It was seriously like Caroline and I were living the same life in different states.  Long story short, I ended up spending a few days with her in Dallas over the Fourth of July a couple of summers ago, and she was SUCH a blessing to me during a time when I was really struggling with my singleness.  So, how appropriate is it that we are both getting married in 2012?!?!  I'm so excited for how God has blessed her, and I cannot wait to get on the road for Arkansas this afternoon!  I seriously feel like I'm going to be at a celebrity wedding!!  Caroline, herself, is semi-famous in the blog world.  And Kelly from Kelly's Korner will be there, too!!  I may need a couple of glasses of wine, but I'm totally going to be "that girl" who goes up randomly to people and asks for a picture.  "I know you don't know me, but...."  :-)

Stay tuned for pictures!!!  (I've already warned Caroline that I'll be stealing all of her ideas for my own wedding!!)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Social Linkup

I don't normally link up with other blogs, but I thought this sounded fun!  I'm linking up with The Sunday Social with Ashley and Neely.

Sunday Social

  Here's what they say about The Sunday Social:

What is The Sunday Social you ask?

The Sunday social will be 6 questions every Sunday that all have a similar theme to them. Its a great way to meet new people, gain some followers and find new blogs you can't wait to read! People will slowly get to know you. You can add pictures to the posts, videos, whatever you want. 

The only requirement is that you use our button and answer the questions in whatever way you like :)

This week's questions are designed to let bloggers know who you are and what your blog is about. Here are my answers:

How did you come up with your blog name?
The line "Leading Me Home" is from a song called Let Go by Lindsay McCaul.  I was listening to this song non-stop during a time in my life that the Lord ripped an idol (in the form of a man) out of my hands.  

Cradle my hands, knuckles so white
Open them up, and say it's alright, 
Oh, show me a plan, call it your own
Make it a journey, leading me home

My blog was originally entitled " My Journey: Leading Me Home."  But I shortened it not too long after I started blogging....thought it sounded better.  :-)

What is your favorite thing about blogging?
My favorite thing about blogging is reading how the Lord is moving in other people's lives.  It's been such a blessing to be able to relate with other women across the country who love Jesus and who have had similar struggles.  I also LOVE being able to go back and re-read my blog and see how the Lord has really worked in my life!

What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now can't live 
Twitter.  I never used Twitter before I started blogging.  
And etsy.  I use etsy all the time now!!

Facebook or Twitter? and Why?
Well...I'm a big Facebook person.  But only with my real life friends.  I love Facebook because there's no other way I'd be able to keep up with them otherwise!!  
I keep up with my blogging friends with Twitter.

If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be?
Before I met my fiancé (he's reading this, you know!), I was in love with Brandon Heath.  I blogged about marrying him.  And thanks to FeedJit, I can kind of keep track of who views my blog.  Kind of.  But I'm 99.9% sure that Brandon Heath (or someone who lives where he lives) actually read my blog!  TWICE!!  That totally satisfies my celeb-reading-desires.  :-)

What is something you want people to know about your blog?
It's totally me.  My mom gets on to me about sharing too much on my blog.  Apparently, I'm too emotionally available.  But I've been blessed by others' transparency.  If my own transparency can bless someone else, then I'm happy to be an open book!