Sunday, September 30, 2012

Magical Day!

Mr. and I leave today on a trip to Walt Disney World!

Second honeymoon/reward for surviving our first summer as a married couple.

We are pretty excited.

My dad and stepmom are both HUGE Disney nuts. So huge that they even have a Disney blog ( so they were super helpful in the planning of this trip.

I ended up making most of the reservations and planning the days that we spent at the park. Y'all, it's not easy- in fact it can get pretty complicated. I am pretty sure I did everything right...

We are so incredibly blessed to be able to take this trip. We are excited to be able to spend a week PLAYING! And we are both going to geek out.

And speaking of geeking out...

We are going to Harry Potter world too.

Mr. has no idea what he has gotten into. Love that guy!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

First Summer Married

This was the first summer that I spent in ministry as a married woman.

Holy moley.

I started dating Mr. two summers ago.  Last summer we were still dating until he proposed at the end of the summer.

There was a huge difference this summer since being newly married.  It was incredibly challenging to find balance with my responsibilities and desire to spend time with the teens and my responsibilities and desire to spend time with my new husband.  By the time I got to my second trip of the summer, I declared to Mr. (yes, DECLARED!) that he was coming with me next summer.

Mr. isn't in full time ministry, so it's challenging for him to go on any trip with me.

In years past (even when we were dating) it was exhausting to go on a trip of course.  Being "on" 24 hours a day and responsible for sometimes dozens of teenagers will wear you out!  Particularly when you're in Colorado and climbing a mountain!

Add to that the crazy newness of living with a BOY and trying to figure out what it's like being a wife. By the time that the summer was over, we were both ready to be STILL.  All I wanted to do was stay at home and watch Phineas and Ferb on our couch and surf at Pinterest.

A few things that I've learned:

-Just because I'm married or newly married doesn't mean that my exhaustion was any more than when I was single and doing ministry.  It was merely different.

-Planning a sleepover one day after you come back from climbing a mountain is a ridiculously foolish idea.

-It is okay to let Patrick help me when I've got a thousand things going on.  It doesn't make me a bad wife if I don't make coffee in the morning or I forget to make his lunch.

-God has been faithful in providing a husband who is very understanding about my schedule in ministry- and who even encourages my "after-hours" work.

-It's pretty sweet not having to find someone to look after the Little Monster (aka my dog Phoebe).

-I will be much more deliberate about planning our Summer calendar in 2013. Some of the plans I didn't even CONSIDER! Hence a sleepover a day after I got back from Colorado.

-Teenagers have a lot of baggage.

Okay so I didn't JUST learn that last thing. But I think that I was just so emotional in general, that it made me extra sensitive to the pains of my teens. There was a lot of good God healing this summer.

Praise to the King who meets us right where we are. Even in the midst of life craziness.

Friday Favorite- Coffee and Today!

Starting today, I would love to talk about my favorite things on Fridays!

Many ministers have a weekday off.  Sunday is considered by many churches as a work day, so in order to get a two day weekend, many ministers (I say many because I have at least one friend who works Monday-Friday regardless of Sunday being a super busy day- just the differences in churches!) get a weekday off.

At Altamesa, the ministers get Friday off.

I love it.

It is hard for me to remember a time when I didn't have Fridays off.  I've been working in full time ministry for 6 years now, and at my previous congregation I had Fridays off too.

My absolute favorite thing to do on Fridays is sleep in a bit (my pups don't allow me to sleep in a whole lot), get a nice big cup of coffee, and watch the Today show while Pinterest-ing.

During the Fall and Winter months, when I lived by myself, I would always build a fire too.

Unfortunately, our current house has a fireplace that doesn't work very well, so it looks like I'm not going to be able to build a fire here when the cold weather comes... boo.

But I love the Today show.  I have watched it since I was little.  Most times curled up with my mom on her bed when school was out.  In fact, at 29, I still do that when I'm home.  Except now my sassy sister joins us.  :-)

I love Fridays.

Coffee and the Today Show- my first Friday Favorite!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Celebrating 5 years with my Jim mug.
I have officially been working at my current church for 5 years.


God has blessed me so much that it's hard to put in to words how glad I am that he called me to Fort Worth in August 2007.  And specifically to Altamesa the next month.

It has been a whirlwind.  And I battle back and forth whether it has FLOWN BY or crawled by.  5 years ago I was living with my sweet roomies Lauren and Meredith in 1212 (our apartment's name).  When I started at Altamesa I had about $20 in the bank.  I hadn't worked in about a month.  Instead I cooked and cleaned while Lauren taught theatre during the day and Meredith job hunted.  I applied at every single store/restaurant/etc in our area, but I was praying that the leadership of Altamesa would hire me so I didn't have to fold and refold clothes at Old Navy. 

Praise God that they did!

So without further adieu, the last 5 years in ministry, in numbers:

3- the number of apartments I've lived in.  2 with roommates and 1 with just me. 
4- the number of offices that I've had at Altamesa.  Only one had major flooding issues.
7- the grade my sweet seniors were in when I first started working with them.  Graduation Sunday has gotten progressively worse through the years...
4- the number of mountains I've climbed/attempted to climb with Altamesa
1- play that I've been in since starting Altamesa
6- months that I've been married.  Whoa.
2- the number of dates I went on (here in Fort Worth) before meeting Patrick in 2009.
5- the approximate number of cuss words that one of the guys said on one of those dates.  I didn't see him again.
580- a very rough estimate of classes/small groups/lessons I've taught over the past five years.
14- number of teens that went on Elevations the first year.
2- number of injuries in one day on a mission trip to Crystal Beach
2000- number of times the youth group sang "Accio Love" on a trip to Colorado
1- Girls Gathering Conference that I've helped create- the 2nd GG will be in April of 2013!

So there you have it.  Some random numbers for some random moments of the past five years at Altamesa.  I'm spoiled in blessings being here.

Praise be to a Father who is faithful even when I'm not.  Who loves me even when I'm distant.  Who is present even when I'm in pain.

Love Him.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Why blog?

Honestly (and I realize that this is probably pretty cliche...), I have been feeling the call to write down my thoughts on life as a newlywed, ministry, and really just living in general.  I read a lot of blogs and I read a lot of blogs that pertain to ministry.  I don't really know if there is a niche for female ministers who are newly married (and quickly approaching 30), but I wanted to aid in helping those that maybe could use some of my perspective.

I have been working in ministry (in some form or capacity) for almost 9 years.  I have been in full time ministry for 6 years (1 year in South Texas and 5 in North Texas).  I was single for all but the last 6 months of that (and by single I mean unmarried).  

I am the only female minister on staff.  I work hard (sometimes too hard probably) at making my name known and helping our ministers and our church see things from a female perspective.  Our tradition is ultra conservative, so it is already pretty groundbreaking that we even HAVE a female minister.

God has placed me in this place for divine purposes.  I truly believe that.  It is because of His plan that I am able to wake up every morning and it is because of His plan that I am able to pastor and care for the sweet people of my congregation.

I am also passionate about giving Singles a voice in an INCREDIBLY family oriented place.  It can be very lonely being the only single member in a staff.  It can also be very lonely at a staff/spouse retreat.  There are many wounds that I still have even though God appointed a husband to me in a wild way.

I am also trying to figure out how to be a wife.  I was incredibly independent and when I met Mr. Carnathan, it was strange to have any kind of dependence on someone.  I am still figuring out how to do all of that, all while making sure that Jesus is my main man.

I don't intend for this blog to have much direction.  In addition to pastoring, I also enjoy a lot of other things.  This won't be a "one size fits all" kind of blog.  It will probably end up being a mishmash of a lot of things.

Welcome to my chaos!

About Mrs. Carnathan

I am a newlywed who is thrilled to PIECES about being a newlywed.  Hence being called Mrs. Carnathan.  ;-)

My given name is Lauren.  I am a minister in North Texas at a great church.

I have a degree in theatre that I don't use.

And God placed me in a life of ministry that was completely unexpected.  And completely blessed.

I like to dance, run, sing, craft, and above all, pastor.

I truly believe that all of God's people can be a light in dark places.  Even when times are the hardest.

When I was little, I wasn't afraid of the dark, but I told my mom I was so she would place a night light in my room, next to my bed. I used that light to read by every night.

I'm not afraid of the dark, but love the light because it leads the way.