707 Film Fest

Once a year, Hope Community Church hosts a film fest.

Teams are given a genre, a mandatory prop, a mandatory line of dialogue and two weeks to make a 5 minute film.

Then we get all fancied up and pack the sanctuary for a hilarious night of film watching and award giving.  This is especially exciting because we are pretty much the most non-fancy congregation you will ever meet in normal life.

It is one of my favorite times of year.  I’m seriously in awe of people’s creativity and talent and all around ridiculousness.  Well done, folks.  Well done.

Despite it being one of my favorite events of the year, I have yet to actually make a film.  Perhaps one day.  Or perhaps I will just continue on being a dedicated fan.  Time will tell.

Anyways, here are some of this year’s entries!  (I’m putting my favorite 4 first, but you should watch them all, because I have way more than 4 favorites, and you probably will too if you watch them).

ok, there are so many really great ones that aren’t here.  because they are punks and haven’t shared their videos on the interwebs.

Thanks Hope, for being awesome!

Little Pep Talks

The beginning of 2013 has been a little rough, and not just because winter break ended and I had to go back to work.

I have had a vicious little cold. My kids have been doing a lot of think pair shares so I can make a mad dash to the Kleenex box.

Fortunately, my EA is the best, and she has my back when my fuzzy brain thinks that not having time to make copies is tear-worthy.

Additionally, my cough drops are the best. Their wrappers are covered with little motivational speeches.

My cough drops tell me things like, “give yourself a high five” or… “Your middle name is tough.”

I will let you read more gems for yourself.




sorry kids, you’re gonna have to turn your heads for this one…


Happy 2013


Kari, this post is for you.

We celebrated the beginning of 2013 at our friend Kari’s house. The festivities included welcoming the New Year with fancy confetti, noise makers, confetti, song, champagne, prayer, and confetti. For NYE, it was actually quite lovely.

Well done, friends.


Oh hey 2012. Bye.

In honor of my least favorite holiday, here is my 2012 in pictures.

And here is a great song that our worship team played at the end of the service on Sunday.  It is to the tune of Auld Lang Syne and nicely sums up my thoughts on 2012 ending and 2013 beginning.

If I wrote a Christmas letter…

I don’t send out a Christmas letter, but sometimes people ask me to, hoping that it would be one of the more entertaining ones they receive during this season of merriment.  I think if I were to write a Christmas letter, I would struggle with whether to be serious or ridiculous.  Then I would walk away, not knowing what to do.

I am a P in my myers briggs, so that means there is a good chance you would receive said Christmas letter post-Christmas, kind of like this blog post.

I think that this year I would format it in the form of 2012 highlights.  Perhaps a top ten list of sorts, but not actually in any sort of ascending or descending order, as that would take too much thought and preparation.  Also perhaps not ten things, because that would also require too much thought and preparation.  So just a list of things.

The Best of 2012

my best decision:

Without a doubt, agreeing to take a student teacher at the last minute.  If we looked more alike perhaps Charlotte could pass for my little sister.  K PJ Day

my best risk:


IMG_1116 copy_edited-1

my best forgotten accomplishment:

I finished grad school and got my master’s!  Good job, self. IMG_0112

my best olympics moment:

Seeing the Tower Bridge with its rings.  Thanks, layover! 08 05 12_7311 copy

my best cupcake:

The banana split cupcake.  Yum. IMG_9541

my best moment of being totally overwhelmed:

The generosity of my friends and family as they supported me in going to Uganda.  I still can’t express how thankful I am. postcard back

my best roommate pic taken in a parking lot:


my best broken heart:

Saying goodbye to these twelve beauties. ram gate laughing b&w_edited-1

my best birthday party:

Turns out I only had one birthday in 2012, but Amber and I had a pretty great Twins party – watching the 1991 World Series also turns out to be one of the only times I saw the Twins win this year. IMG_9683-Edit

my best animal:

Elephants.  Who knew how much I would love them? IMG_1999 copy

my second best animal:

A triple tie with lions, gorillas, and zebras.  (Yes, I realize zebras are the only ones pictured here.  That’s because I’ve shown you a lot of pictures of lions and gorillas.  Perhaps someday I will finish telling you about my safari and show you more zebra pictures.  New Year’s Resolution??)IMG_2874 copy2

my best adventure:

Gorilla trekking.  IMG_2148

my best coworker: 

Our kindergarten team this year is really really great.  I love them all so much.  But working with this girl in my classroom each day is the absolute best.  #livingthedream 155359_10100263140571619_252305089_n

my best new discovery: 

FroYo. *disclaimer, I think that I met my new friend FroYo prior to the beginning of 2012, but I think this is the year I strived to make it a part of my daily life.IMG_0114

my best new addiction:

Young Adult Dystopian books

my best new tradition:

Giant balloons. photo (4)

my best target field moment:

The first time I saw the Race to Target Field was a real live thing this year – no longer just on the big screen. IMG_0004

Thanks for being a part of my 2012.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

you warm my hearta

love, Laura

All I know about dating, I learned from Christmas movies…

I have been watching a lot of cheesy made for TV Christmas movies lately.  I love them.

And I’ve been learning a lot from them.

I thought I’d take a moment to pass along some of the relationship tips that I’ve picked up in the past few weeks.

Number 1:  Christmas might be just a few days away, but it is NOT too late to find love in time for the holidays.

Sure, your love might start out as contrived, fake, or unwanted.  But soon (very soon)  it will blossom into a true Christmas miracle.

Number 2: Deceit is a great beginning to finding love.

You usually are trying to deceive your mother.  But really who can blame you – she is putting all sorts of pressure on you to be married.  This pressure really only bothers you at Christmas.

Your mother will forgive you once she realizes your fake boyfriend is a great addition to the fam.

Number 3: If your actual boyfriend (or fiance) dumps you right before Christmas, really the only option is to put an ad in the local paper, online, or by hanging an ad in your store front.

This is actually pretty amazing to know, because in 100% of people (movies) polled, the guy who answers your ad will be your one true love.  #greatnews

Number 4: Realizing that this stranger-man is actually the love of your life requires your mother to have you both stay together in your childhood bedroom.  This is awkward at first, but he will offer to sleep on the floor.  Then neither of you will be able to sleep.  So you will stay up talking.  And fall in love.  But neither of you will admit as much to the other person.

Number 5: Your feelings will be solidified when you are forced to kiss in front of friends and families to prove your love.

Number 6: If you don’t put out an ad to find love, coerce someone to be your fake boyfriend, or pay them to pretend to like you, someone else will put you in an equally awkward position.  It might be your son entering you in a contest to find a husband by Christmas, or a well-meaning family member setting you up on a blind date for Christmas Eve.  You will be unhappy about it at first, but in 90 minutes or less, (give or take a few commercial breaks) you will be wondering why you didn’t see what a brilliant idea this was right off the bat.

Number 7: Wedding are super fast to plan.  And after your family has a couple minutes to get over the fact that you initially lied to them and faked your relationship, they’ll be so happy that you ended up falling in love with this amazing imposter who has no family of their own to celebrate with so they were willing/forced to pretend to be with you but is actually a super quality guy, better than anyone you’ve ever brought home before, that everyone will join the planning-fun and you will be married by New Years (or sooner).

You are welcome.  And congratulations on your newly-found happiness and joy.

I am off to a Christmas Eve Eve Eve party, but am already looking forward to getting home again and either (a) cleaning up the Christmas cookie mess I left in the kitchen, or (b) checking out my Netflix line-up.  I still have a lot more Christmas/love stories to watch.

And then there are all the Christmas/puppy movies.  I’ve always wanted a pet!  Maybe me and my fake boyfriend will bring home a dozen of adorable Golden Retrievers for Christmas.

Winter Break Bliss

The first few days of winter break are about two things for me:

1. Rest.

2. Maximizing the Christmas in my life.

I think that so far I’m doing pretty well. Here is how I have spent my time in the 27 hours since my winter break started…

I mailed a Christmas package. And I only had to wait like 5 minutes at the post office! A true Christmas miracle.

I went to Rusty Taco for dinner with my roommate. It isn’t really Christmassy, but it is amazing. It is possible that we have been twice in the past 10 days.  I would go again tomorrow if I had someone to go with.  Yum.

I went to the mall and visited the Madewell store for the first time. It was as delightful as I’d dreamed it would be.

While at the mall, we stumbled across a delightful little Christmas concert by a brass ensemble.20121221-193823.jpg

We sat down with the elderly and the babies and were filled with Christmas joy. Our favorite parts was this baby in a cart. Because why wouldn’t you love a baby in a cart?20121221-193857.jpg

And when the sweet lady playing french horn shouts across the mall, “Scott! Come quick! We need you” and their friend Scott rides to escalator down and is coerced into playing the jingle bells for the next song. She assured him that the music would just come to him…20121221-194427.jpg

After that, we visited the most beautiful Christmas tree. (Well, this is not counting the tree at Rockefeller Center, as they are in two different genres of Christmas trees).20121221-193917.jpg

But seriously – how amazing is this? I love it so much.20121221-193937.jpg

We chatted for a bit with the man who lives there – he is really sweet and gave us the award of best tree fans of the night – pretty much no one else had been willing to brave the cold (and tresspassing??) to go get a close up look at the tree. (And by the way, if you go visit the tree, you are welcome to walk down their driveway – he loves visitors and seeing how much joy their tree brings to people).

Then I was sleeping by 9:30 pm.

Today I got up for the furnace man’s arrival and drank some of Caribou’s reindeer blend coffee.

I may have been forced to have Christmas cookies for breakfast, as my milk was expired. Desperate times and all that…

I wrapped presents.20121221-193949.jpg

I made Christmas ornaments.20121221-194004.jpg

I finished a Christmas puzzle.20121221-194033.jpg

And I watched a stellar Christmas movie on Netflix.20121221-194018.jpg

I think this winter break is off to a great start! Now I am going to sit by the Christmas tree and drink some tea with my slippers, a blanket, and a good book.

Of Monsters and Men Concert in Review

Last night I went with some friends to the sold out Of Monsters and Men show.  I was assuming you’d want to know some highlights.

First of all, the weather was “beautiful” for December and we were able to successfully leave our coats in the car without turning into icicles on the walk from the parking ramp to First Ave.

Secondly, Kari found us awesome spots to stand!  We had a great view and were removed from the crowdes.   So awesome that (a) my student teacher’s parents stood behind us and (b) another girl really wanted to stand with us.  She tried to dance me out of my spot, but I held strong.  Whether she was bumping into my arm on repeat, crouching down low and nearly nuzzling her head on my shoulder while flailing her arms out in front of her, or melodramatically basically hugging this pillar that was in her way to peek around it to see the show.  I mostly wanted to tell her that perhaps she shouldn’t have chosen to stand behind the cement pillar and then she wouldn’t be having these issues.

Another highlight is when the band said they wanted our help singing a particular song.  None of the words seemed familiar.  I thought perhaps I just had misunderstood their icelandic accents on the song, but I soon figured out that of course the sing-a-long is to the one song that my iTunes refuses to play for me.  I definitely recognized the first 10 seconds that my CD plays before just stopping.  Then the next 4 minutes seemed like a brand new song.  I am choosing to think that they wanted to take time to teach me this song, rather than feel like a lame fan who doesn’t actually know the music of the band she went to see in concert.  Oh irony that this would be the song they encouraged crowd participation…

It was a super fun night – Of Monsters and Men is adorable and they put on a good show.

Plus, Old-Lady-Work-Night-Win: we were all home by 10pm.  That is the silver lining of seeing a band that only has one album out.  The sad part is it is over all too soon…


generous hearts

christmas donationsThe kids ministry at Hope Community Church, where I attend, decided that it would be awesome to collect Christmas presents for the kids at my favorite orphanage in Uganda.  I went to all the Sunday school classes and shared a little bit about Rafiki Africa Ministries and showed a short video with all the kids in it, and invited the Hope children to bring presents for the Rafiki children.  The kids were all super excited about it, and had lots to say.  I loved their enthusiasm and was so encouraged by it.

But the moment that touched me the most is when I was visiting the first grade class (who I taught last year in Sunday school and adore them all) and after we took a picture for a Christmas card, one little girl came up to me, took a bracelet off her wrist, and said, “Do you think the orphans in Africa would like my bracelet?” and without hesitation, she put it in our donations box.

I loved so much that this sweet little one’s heart immediately was so filled with love and generosity, that she gave up a bracelet off her wrist.

Merry Christmas, Rafiki Kids – know you are loved by these kids in Minneapolis who have never even met you.