It's so funny how God works sometimes. I think about how all that I know now was planned out before I was ever a thought or an idea. He's known me since before time, and He placed me in the exact family that only He could know would produce the person I am today. If I was the ruler of my own life, I would never ever have thought to put myself in the family I ended up in, with the mom and dad and siblings that I have now. But that's why He's so wonderfully better than us. He knows much more about us than we know about ourselves, and He know's what we're gonna need and when. I got blessed with my family, mess and all. And I love showing them off to the world. Below you'll find the transcription of an interview I did with one of the best humans I know, my sister Laura. She let me ask her a bunch of silly questions to get only the most beautiful answers that show the grace and wonder that is held within her.
ANNA : So Laura, what do you want to tell me about yourself?
LAURA : Hmm.. I guess I'll start off telling you about the things I love most about life. I aspire to cultivate dreams in people and live my life through dreaming. To have faith in the Lord to accomplish something that's impossible to do on my own. Seeing the impossible become possible is probably one of the most incredible things I think we can experience here on earth. So that's what I love about life, that we get to experience those things. What else about me? Well, I love LOOOVEE to cook! Just because I feel like it's the perfect mixture of creativity and organization. I love it because there is so much balance, you can be so free through expression or you can follow a certain pattern, and I love that.
ANNA : I love that that's the first thing you think of to tell me. You instantly go deep and tell me what you love about life. Most people would be like, 'well, my favorite color is blue...' but you get right into it!
LAURA : Haha! The only reason why I do that is because I think it is so important to live out of passion. And to inspire passion. Because that is what adds value to life and what adds value to people. I like to ask deeper questions, the questions that require deeper answers.
ANNA : What else do you love?
LAURA : I love to travel and to see other cultures and how they interact. And I love to see where different foods come from!
ANNA : What is it that you love most about this stage of your life?
LAURA : Well the first thing I think of is spontaneity. I feel like this place and season is just a circus of adventure and exploration and finding yourself, but also having fun relationships and doing whatever you want whenever you want! I just love the developmental years. You really step into who you are during these years, as well as figure out who you mesh with friendship and relationship-wise. What you like in life, what you don't, what you're good at... and I also think your 20's are the height of your health. You can run and not sleep and live on pure adrenaline and fun!
ANNA : That is so true! I really love being in my twenties as well. So why BIOLA?
LAURA : Mmm. That has been such an interesting question to think about... I am coming to learn that I am here at BIOLA for many reasons. For one, the Lord has provided for me in crazy ways to be here because He has a bigger purpose for me being here that I am supposed to continuously tap into. I am also learning the weight and privilege that it is to be taught things out of a biblical perspective. It's literally life changing. I will go from a Marriage and Counseling class to Theology, which describes why marriage is impactful in the Bible and what the Lord thinks about it. Then right after that I go to Psych of Family, and the classes all interlace. Underneath it all there is this predominant theme of Christ above all. It teaches me how we should live in regards to this truth over our profession and money and materialism and such. So those are huge reasons why I have come to know "Why BIOLA".
ANNA : Wow dude that is so crazy. There is such a beautiful story in your life unfolding... So Laura, tell me your friendship values!
LAURA : Ok! Well, this is also something I have come to learn more about this year. It is both so simple and yet so radical. One of my professors put it this way: Our value in communing should be to be interested rather than to be interesting. How profound that is! Our society has lost the importance of being interested in people, and instead they fight to be interesting. Through this mentality you lose the beauty of truly knowing others. In my friendships I hope and aspire to be interested in them and try to ask better questions and require deeper answers. To inspire people to gain knowledge of themselves through being friends with me. I want it to be an experience where they find themselves and the Lord more so through friendship with me. I think the value is being able to do life with people, but do it through their perspective, and we learn from knowing others that way.
ANNA : That perspective really is beautiful. Thinking that way really does change everything. Think about how precious each moment with someone would feel like if we lived like that, instead of rushing through it to prove something about ourselves.
LAURA : Yes! Or becoming something you are not. It's not about you in the friendship, it's about getting to know THEM. You should already know you.
ANNA : What if you don't already know you?
LAURA : Exactly! I think that's where friendship gets messed up. People don't know themselves well enough and haven't found true confidence yet to know the differences that sit within the other person and the beauty of those differences.
ANNA : So what makes you a good friend?
LAURA : I think my loyalty is one of my greatest attributes in being a friend. Honestly, if it were to come down to a close friend compared to a concert or a party or something, I would always pick to spend time with that person over everything else. It's funny because I'll be writing a paper or something and one of my friends will come and sit down with me and I'll be like, this is my value, this is more worth it, and I'll just push off my homework and not do it...
ANNA : Haha! Where do you think that stems from in your life?
LAURA : My dad probably. Just because I've seen the way he is so invested in us, but could potentially push off other things. Which, I don't really know if that's good or bad! I also think the Bolivian culture has something to do with it. It's the cultures I've been exposed to that have helped me to realize this: things on this earth fade, but people remain. We might as well take as much time as we can to invest in people, even over a job or work or having a steady income.
ANNA : think about all the beauty and fascination that we miss out on because we're so self-absorbed and stuck in our own bubbles!
ANNA : What is your biggest deepest dream? I know you have a lot... but what is the biggest one?
LAURA : On a grand scale, I would say to master the ability to combine my love for cooking and creativity into personhood: into rescuing, healing, and restoration. And that looks like the House. Bella's House. I think the reason why that is my biggest dream is because it is tapping into the spiritual realm, by allowing the Lord to completely ordain the entire dream without me tainting it at all with my humanity. To see that come to life and become a reality would rock my world in seeing who the Lord really is. And also my biggest dream is to know the Lord and all He can do, here on earth. The Lord reveals Himself so much to me through dreams, like the cooking one, and that's why I would want to develop the House so that I could help others to realize their dreams and how the Lord is in all of them.
ANNA : So tell me, who is Bella and what is Bella's House?
LAURA : Well, that's a long story.
ANNA : Try to say it in five minutes!
LAURA : Ha! Okay. So Bella is a promise. God's Promise. That's actually what her name means, and I think the promise is how the Lord takes brokenness and transforms and redeems it into wholeness. That comes through knowing who you are, realizing your dreams, then having community come along side and help foster your dreams, and finally sending you out to share with others. This Promise leads me to Bella's House. The House is a dream center for girls rescued from Human Trafficking to come and be a part of a community that is already strong and a leadership that is bonded in the unified vision. Through this house, the girls can be counseled through past trauma, hopefully receive healing through that process, and then be encouraged in their gifts and skills for their futures. God says that we are born into Sonship. And I believe once we accept this gift of Sonship, we are given a whole new life. I want, through the House, to help the girls find their identity and purpose, and then give them to tools to go out into the world and impact others with their talents and passions. And Bella is the reason why all of this started.
ANNA : Tell me about her.
LAURA : She was a little girl my roommate Ashton and I read about about six years ago that we've been praying for this whole time. She got left in human trafficking after a raid where a group of people went in and tried to rescue as many girls as they could, but she was left behind. Since then we've been praying for her that she would find rescue, and even that the Lord would be near to her in the times we sense she's not out of the trade. She has come in the sense of dreams and visions to Ashton and I, literal and figurative ones. How do I explain it... it's acting upon what hasn't been seen. She is our piece of what has not been seen, but our actions have been spurred on because of her. To me, that is faith. I think through this the Lord took faith and put it into a tangible figure for us to then move based upon that one thing.
ANNA : What age would she be now?
LAURA : She was 5 when we read about her, so she would be 11 now I think.
ANNA : Do you think you'll see her someday?
LAURA : I do, yeah. I don't know when or how, it could be after we die for all I know, but I really believe that she is not the end goal of all of this, but she is definitely a reward of this dream if that makes sense.
ANNA : Yeah, it does. Wow Laura, I can't wait to see what comes of all of you and Ashton's dreaming for this House and for Bella.
ANNA : You're stranded on an island. What three things do you bring with you?
LAURA : Oh man. I hate this question, it's so confining! Ok this is gonna sound cliche but my Bible would be one of them. Um... and a magic lamp that grants me three wishes.
ANNA : Haha niiice.
LAURA : Hmm.. maybe rope? because rope is so useful. And then probably my family. that would be my third thing.
ANNA : That's cheating! it has to be only one thing...
LAURA : Haha gosh this is hard! OH a water purifier! that's what I would bring for sure.
ANNA : Oh I would for sure bring one of those too... good one. So what are your current views on dating?
LAURA : Okay. I have learned a lot about this subject in the past few years. I have been so sought after, and I have also been such a seeker in the dating realm. But I've come to this place recently, finally, where I am content in being open to having fun and letting the Lord teach me a lot from the opposite gender, but not being anxious in finding what I think I need. Because I think what we think we need usually isn't really what we need. I really think the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves in this department. He knows what kind of person we would do best with, and yet He tests us by making us wait for it. And trust me, I feel like I've waited long enough! Haha. I think it's healthy to not date seriously, but be with people and learn from them and relate to them and commune together, while remaining very honest and open throughout the process. I think that's a game changer. As long as your honest about where you are at and you're communicating that, I don't see how going on dates should be a problem. When it comes to serious dating though... that's a whole other answer that I'll have to get to later because I haven't figured that one out yet...
ANNA : Haha I don't know who really has figured that one out...
LAURA : True! I think that learning from the opposite gender is a truly awesome process. I think it reveals more about yourself than it does about the other person, honestly. But I am in a place where I am allowing myself to release my control and letting God have full control of that area in my life. I can honestly say that now, but I don't think I could a week ago!
ANNA : What would you say your style is most like, in decorating and in fashion?
LAURA : Super caaash (casual)! Ooh, with decorating I love cool colors that make you feel cozy and warm. Lots of blues, whites, creams. When it comes to dressing, I will always choose comfortable over cute and sexy haha! I really like basic colors, black white and grey. Mayybe some blues thrown in there, but nothing else. I really do like simplicity. I think that our culture has robbed us of the beauty in simplicity, and has gone too complex. It says, change your hair, your face, change your boobs, your size, everything to go bigger and better in what isn't the raw and beautiful form that you were created to look like. Clothes are a distraction from that too, they can pull your attention and lose the beauty behind what you're wearing.
ANNA : What do you do with your freetime?
LAURA : Freetime... what is that?
ANNA : Hahaha!
LAURA : Can I tell you what I'd like to do if I had more freetime?
ANNA : Absolutely!
LAURA : I would read, draw, and cook. Those are the three things I WISH I had more time to do!
ANNA : What would you read?
LAURA : All the Light We Cannot See would be the firs book, because everyone's been talking about how good it is. Gosh, I just have so many books besides that one that people have recommended, I would just go through the list I have. I would also spend more time with people.
ANNA : What would you draw?
LAURA : Logos, I really like drawing logos! Because it's taking such a complex idea and making it simple. I like saying a lot within a little. Also, I would paint. I love to paint. I would hike, run, go to the beach more. Ugh, I would just sit there and do nothing. Or read. Yeah, that's what I'd do.
ANNA : Who are you most inspired by currently?
LAURA : I am inspired by Walt Disney. Going to Disneyland weekly is seriously therapeutic. I don't know how he did it, but I'm not even kidding, he would a way to bring everyone back to wonder. That is a very, VERY complicated thing to do in such an aggressive and progressive society. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. My professor was talking to me about this, how rare it is to stay in a state of wonder, but how life-changing it is. So he inspires me to do that. Also my professor inspires the CRAP out of me! Because he lives so authentically. He lives based upon himself, who he is, and at the same time values others for who they are, and it's incredible.
ANNA : What's your go-to snack food?
LAURA : Dangit. Wel here on campus it is...
ANNA : let me guess, bananas. and peanut butter and salt.
LAURA : YES! haha, it is! And toast. I don't know, with bananas you just feel healthy when you're eating them but they're also really filling... and they're light. And green bananas are the best, yellow bananas are disgusting. Green ones are tangy. So good. Toast, because it's also filling, with peanut butter, salt, and honey. A sweet and salty combination. And you can actually make it here on campus.
ANNA : What dish do you currently want to cook?
LAURA : I want to cook Indian food really bad. Or Ethiopian. I just want to make a spread of all of the different dishes, like lentils and spicy meat and pitas.
ANNA : Why do you like cooking?
LAURA : Come onnn. Honestly there are so many components that make it amazing. You've got color, taste, smell, visuals, you've got the creative side of it where you can do so many things with just a few ingredients, and then you get to share an experience with someone. And the wonderful thing about cooking is that it's purely done for the sake of people experienceing it. So it brings people together. Like, think of any event: people always have food because it's what attracts a community. If you have food, you have people. I love what food does to people. It softens them, it breaks them down, and they're happy and together.
ANNA : I would say half of my marital problems and fights happen because I get hungry haha.
LAURA : Haha! I could see that. It's so funny though, hunger is something we feel because we need something! Food is one of the most important things we need to survive.
ANNA : What do you like most about yourself?
LAURA : I like how the Lord has granted me the ability to maintain a sense of wonder. I think my innocence has allowed me to see beauty in very normal, not-beautiful things. I still feel like a kid so much of the time... growing up is a tricky game. It's hard because we allow people to trick us into thinking that responsibility is what brings maturity. But I think it's the exact opposite. Okay, not in the sense of responsibility, I just mean that I think growing down is growing up. The people that think you're weird and look at you weird for liking things like Disney, they've lost something. they've lost the ability to wonder why they are the way they are, or why God is the way he is. they've lost that beautiful sense of wonder. They become content with what life has to offer. If we don't want to be content with life, then we have to be able to ask ourselves and seek out more, to be in that state of wonder like a child is.
ANNA : What's your biggest flaw?
LAURA : Oh man, where do I begin. I am irre-frickin-responsible. I forget things all the tiiime! Daily. Like, daily. Important things. I can isolate myself too. That's probably my number one thing, it's that I think I am the best at taking care of myself. I think I'm the only one who lives up to the standard, but also fails at the high standard I set for myself. So I end up not trusting people, not trusting people to do what needs to be done or to stay with me. I'm the only one I can trust, and that's a huge flaw. I count on myself for everything, but then I so easily fail and let myself down in everything. So it's this vicious cycle.
ANNA : Who is your biggest fan?
LAURA : You...
ANNA : hahaha!
LAURA : No I'm serious! I look over my life, and the one person who has consistently believed in me the most has been you. You've always fought for me. You've always prodded me to know who I am, and to figure out who I am if I don't. And then share that with people and be confident in that. I've never received that more from anyone else. And that's crazy that that characteristic is what you want to give to other people, it's why you're doing this blog! I think it's because I've seen it throughout all of life that I can be confident about that. It's just in you, it's who you are. Your confidence overflows, and you want other people to do the same. To know themselves. So you push people to know themselves.
ANNA : Wow. This wasn't supposed to be about me... You're so nice. I love you for that, thank you.
ANNA : Who do you want to be like?
LAURA : Jesus. Haha! Honestly though. The Man was incredible. But if I had to pick a normal person, I would say... honestly anyone that I've read about who drops everything to pursue their dreams and who the Lord helps to get there. Like, I read about this woman who dropped everything and moved to Africa and adopted 12 boys. She's not married, she's 21, she started a House, it's incredible.
ANNA : Do you wanna be a mom?
LAURA : Oh that's scary... but yes. Do I feel capable? No.
ANNA : What are your goals of being a mom, or what kind of mom do you want to be?
LAURA : I think above all else I want to be a selfless mom. I want to be one that puts them before me, but knows the balance between how much I can give and giving it all in those moments, and taking breaks too. You can't just go go go and expect yourself to be %100 all the time. And I've been learning a lot about that... we expect ourselves to give at %100 even when we are running on %50. So to find that kind of balance between giving and resting. And to teach that in my kid. Oh my gosh, I can't even think about that it's so crazy to think about having kids someday!
ANNA : Ha I know! One of my favorite things over the past however many years, has been watching you nanny the three kids Cooper, Inga and Sydney in Colorado.
LAURA : Why is that?
ANNA : Because you always have the most creative ideas of how to have fun! Can you share some of those with me? and share what kind of traditions you wanna build?
LAURA : Mmm. Well I want to have a little thing we do. Like our little secret between the two (or however many) of us. It will depend on what they are like though! Like what they like to do the most, I want to harvest that. If they like to draw, I want to create a whole room where they can draw in. Draw on the walls, and create maps and give them to people.. I don't know, things like that. But I also want to teach my kids about what I love, like the beauty of cooking. So we'll have "Fruit Fridays", where we'll go to the grocery store and I'll let them pick any fruit they want out of the whole store, then take it home and figuring out with them how to create something to eat out of it. Mostly deserts I'm thinking, because kids love sweets. Just so that they can love and see the process! I have been in this Psych of Family class and it talks about raising kids. The European culture heavily teaches their children how to create entertainment with the things around them. So I really do not want a heavy influence of technology in the home.. I'd want basic ingredients of fun in the home. Going on bike-rides, making forts, traveling with them, playing outside. Kids just care about if you are there, so if you're there, anything is fun. And I would want to set that kind of culture in my future home.
ANNA : Okay, last question. Do you have any pet peeves?
LAURA : Oh, I have so many pet peeves. Living with a roommate has helped me realize what annoys me. And they're like the stupidest things ever! One of them is when I can hear someone flossing. The plucking sound? I HATE that! Also, when people clean their teeth. It's such an intimate area of your face, like just do it in private!
ANNA : Haha I haaaate that!
LAURA : I hate when people can't look at me in the eyes when they're talking to me. It just gives off the vibe that they're not interested in what they're saying and they aren't fully engaged. Also when freaking people in LA drive in the rain... they drive as if there was a tornado! all over the road! they go 10 miles an hour when its 80! I hate slow drivers, it's ridiculous. When people chew with their mouths open.. wow I have a lot haha.
ANNA : Literally can't stand slow drivers...
LAURA : OH. I HATE PHONES. when people are on their phones and they miss all these beautiful things in the world and god conversations and stuff!
ANNA : Ok, officially taking that as advice. Less phones!