Faith · Uncategorized

Way: Five Minute Friday

Every Friday I like to join a band of inspired writers over at Five Minute There is a weekly link-up posted here with a prompt for a blog post. Click on the link to see what other members are writing. The goal is to write on the topic for an uninterrupted five minutes. This week the topic is way.


Does anyone else feel like they are constantly in the way?

It’s an awkward feeling when you are trying to be helpful all the while your presence is a complicating factor. Maybe it’s the fact that I possess a bit of social anxiety. When I’m nervous I tend to talk. A lot. I will talk just to avoid silence and oftentimes that backfires. In an attempt to evade awkwardness I actually create it. There I am just in the way of things.

It’s a bit like my relationship with God.

So often I try to find my own way or “help God along” with things the way I think they ought to go. With my human efforts I work at solving problems all the while God is sitting back and watching as I step on His toes. So many times I’ve found myself doing the very things that God alone is meant to do. Nothing I could say or do can heal or produce the things of God.

Recently, someone I love dearly has experienced the pain of a broken relationship. They held onto something that wasn’t working and when things finally imploded it left them hurting and raw. I wished so badly that I could take that pain away. The only way I knew to do that was to offer advice. I texted them often and shared my own experiences. But one night as I prayed for that person I felt God nudging me to get out of the way.

I can picture Him watching me and saying, “Lauren, would you please get out of the way so I can heal this person? I applaud your motives, but this cannot be about you.”

I had to let go of my desire to fix everything myself and realize that I wasn’t equipped with the power to heal them. God alone has that level of might. Instead, my role was to pray for and encourage this person in their faith. God wanted me to continue to befriend this person, but instead of filling them with my wisdom He desired for me to get out of the way and just listen.

When people are hurting the best thing we can offer them is a listening ear. Sure, it feels good to be able to give out advice, but in the most vulnerable of moments God needs room to work on them. He desires for us to step back, listen, and pray. If I get out of the way I see God work through that act of obedience. He uses my presence not my words to minister to others.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Connect

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Connect. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:


As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.  When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (Exodus 17:11-13)

Connection is a natural craving. It’s something we seek after. To know that we are not alone in this world and that someone else cares for us drives our need to connect. We want to know that someone understands. That in this world filled with billions of people there are some who count us important is our longing.

When we go through rough trials we count on those connections.

We need people who care and who understand.

We need people to rally behind us when our strength is depleted.

Like Moses who stood on the top of the mountain with hands raised during the battle, we need friends like Aaron and Hur who will come beside us and give us the power to keep pursuing victory.

  1. What connections in your life have you formed lately?
  2. Evaluate the health of those connections. Is there someone that you need to make time to speak with or visit?
  3. How have connections with others given you strength in a tough time?

The Ameri Brit Mom


Blessings · Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Help

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Help. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:


Last night I had the privilege of helping a friend.

It had been a rough couple of weeks for her family and so my husband and I volunteered to watch their three children to give them some much needed Mom and Dad time. So, yes, last night we were outnumbered. Four little girls (ranging in age from seven months to four years old) to two parents. But it wasn’t chaotic. It was so much fun.

At first, the girls went for the box of dress up clothes–as they always do. Within minutes of their arrival we had a fashion show of ballerinas and princesses. The second youngest, who can only say a handful of words pointed at herself during her runway debut and said, “Anna” as she was wearing Princess Anna’s dress from the Disney movie, Frozen. And the older two fought over who was going to wear the light-up, high-heel, Cinderella shoes. Meltdown #1*.

After the fashion show we paraded to the park across the street. The girls played in the eighty degree heat, but didn’t let the dry, hot air slow them down. After a little meltdown from my own child (meltdown #2*) we decided to head back home for some frozen Popsicles and a bit of Sofia the First, per request of Princess Anna.

In the end, it was such a fun play date and I’m so glad we were able to give my friend and her husband a chance to breathe. As a mom I appreciate how important it is to come up for air every once in a while.

I want to challenge you to find a small way to help out this week. Find someone in your life who could use something and offer it without delay. Don’t put it off! Maybe they need help with mowing their yard, cleaning their house, paying for groceries, or watching their children. Whatever a friend in need is craving most do that for them. Be aware of those around you and fulfill a need this week. It will be fun and rewarding, I promise!

*Also, I must clarify that the meltdown count above refers to my own child. My friends’ kids were angels. My daughter is at that age where she struggles with sharing her toys and her parents. We had a few extra cuddles last night and a couple of lectures on sharing for the thousandth time. 


fiction · Uncategorized

“Thinking of You In Ireland”

The following is a prompt exercise from 712 More Things to Write About by The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto. I’ve really enjoyed spring boarding ideas from prompts found in this book. Who knows? It may inspire my next book.


Thinking of You in Ireland

by Lauren Sisley

“Thinking of You in Ireland.” I can’t believe this garbage.

When we were sixteen Josie and I planned to one day embark on a European journey. Leaving behind the pressures of high school we would run off and tour the hostels with a couple of local guys. That was our dream and our secret. When all of our friends talked about college goals we would look at each other and smile. We never uttered a word to another person about how we planned to forego university to travel all over a foreign continent.

Ever since Josie went missing the summer before our senior year I’ve been receiving postcards from destinations all over Europe. Most people would view these postcards as clues to her whereabouts, but all of those detective shows we used to watch together taught me better than that. When I received the first card last fall from Prague I was quick to notice the local stamp in the top right corner. And that same stamp accompanied every card sent thereafter.

By the third or fourth postcard I realized that all of them were made by the same company out of Detroit, Traveling Connections. It’s like all of the postcards were purchased at the same time in a bundle. I called the storehouse a few times last month, but I reached an operator on my fourth attempt and she informed me that the company had fallen victim to the poor economy and shut down operations.

Part of me wants to believe that Josie is living our dream. She’s spending days on the pebble beaches being served hard liquor from men with rich accents. At times I visualize her stopping in small gift shops concealing her identity with bug-eyed sunglasses and a visor cap in search of the perfect postcard to send home to her best friend. But then I’m reminded about the local stamps and I get that feeling in my stomach that something is very wrong.

I can’t shake the thought that someone else is aware of our European plans. Either she had written about it in an uncovered diary or she somehow divulged this information to a complete stranger. I’d like to think that Josie would never have left on this journey without me. We were inseparable the summer she went missing. But the further I dig into this bottomless mystery the more I realize there was a lot more to Josie than I knew.

Fitness · Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Pass

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Pass. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

About a month and a half ago I got a random message from a friend I had lost connection with a few years ago. We hadn’t lost contact because of a falling out or a fight; life just got in the way for both of us. It was a Sunday night and my phone went off. In the message my friend asked me to run a quarter marathon (10k) with her on April 30.

My initial reaction: laughter.

I even read the message aloud to my husband in my most obnoxious scoffing voice.

I was not in shape and definitely had no business committing to a longer distance run at that point. Exercise was not on my radar at all. However, something inside me told me that this request was not one to pass up. Attached to the run came an opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to adore. Attached to the run came the chance to say that I was able to accomplish something I wasn’t sure I would ever do again. Attached to the run came all the emotions and anxiety that had held me back for so long. I gave my heart a moment to process the consequences of getting back into running competitively.

And even though every part of my brain wanted to send back an emoji of crying laughter I decided to type three simple letters in my response. I said “yes.”

Tomorrow is race day and I feel confident that I will make it to the finish line. All I needed was the accountability of a race and a race day companion to remind myself that this was once a passion of mine. I’m not out to break any records tomorrow, in fact I plan to take it nice and slow and soak up every moment. This is an experience I’m so thankful I didn’t pass up on.

The Ameri Brit Mom


The Power of an Encouraging Word

Encouragement is a big deal. Encouragement can turn a rough day around and make someone who is struggling realize that their situation is really not the end of the world. Encouragement can point someone to Christ and better yet show them an example of what Christ is like. Encouragement offers hope and speaks life not death into the minds and hearts of those around us.

However, if encouragement is so full of life why is it so hard to do? Why is encouragement so easy to hear, but so difficult to speak? It may be that in order to feel equipped to encourage others one usually is being encouraged in their own life in some way. It’s like a chain reaction. If we don’t feel encouraged ourselves it makes it difficult to help another feel this way.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to speak life and encouragement to the people around me. A lesson has become clear to me in this process: in order to encourage others it also takes me encouraging myself. In the past, I’ve dealt with a negative attitude especially toward myself. God is truly reshaping my perspective and helping me to see that before I can encourage the people around me I must also speak encouragement to myself. He’s put people in my life who encourage me. Friendships have been formed on the foundations of faith and encouragement and I’ve been blessed endlessly by these people God has placed in my path.

We have to be cautious that we aren’t motivated solely by the encouragement of others. That is setting ourselves up for failure. People will never encourage us enough to keep us motivated to do good works so our encouragement must rest with God and ourselves.

It’s really important to understand the consequences of our words and actions to ourselves and those around us. What we think may be an small negative comment has the potential power to destroy. Our words can give life or take it away. As for me, I choose to have my words be life-giving.

Today I challenge you to make a list of people in your life who offer encouragement to you. Beside each name write one way you could encourage that person as a “thank you” for all the positivity they bring to your life. Maybe that means writing them a letter, picking up a coffee for them, or spending a few moments in prayer with them for something they are going through. Whatever challenge you decide to take on I pray that you are encouraged in turn!

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:2-4)

Motivating Momma

Motivating Momma: Desiree

Since May is a month of celebrating mothers I have been working on my first ever interview series for my blog called Motivating Mommas. One thing that I have learned that is vital to motherhood is finding other mothers who encourage you and inspire you to be better. I tend to seek wisdom from women who have been where I am and made it through. If you are interested in appearing in this series on my blog please let me know!

The first momma I am featuring on my blog is my friend, Desirée . Desirée is a beautiful woman of God and I admire her so much for her faith, family, and friendship. I first met Desirée at her former church where she worked with Upward basketball. My husband travels to events like Upward ceremonies and performs his basketball tricks along with giving his testimony. Desirée was present at one of his shows and a little over a year later we crossed paths again. Both of our families had begun attending the same church in a different city from where we had originally met.
My husband and I had just begun attending our current church home and we were invited to join a home group that met during the week. We were nervous because we had not met many people in the church yet, but the moment we pulled up to the host house Desirée pulled in behind us and asked if Sam was the “Sizzla” (his performing name). Right off the bat I knew that God had brought Desirée into my life for a reason.
God has been forming our friendship for exactly a year (THIS WEEK!) and I am so thankful for all of the wisdom she has given me. She is a wealth of knowledge and has an amazing testimony about motherhood. It seems only fitting that as Mothers’s  day is approaching that I thank her for being an awesome role model for me. The following is my interview with Desirée.
desiree 2
1. How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
2 kids, Grace 11 & Gavin 10
2. What was the biggest challenge you faced in the early stages of motherhood?
Having 2 only 18 months apart was a lot of work but I would say not having a church family or friends for  support.  My family was wonderfully supportive, but early on I didn’t know other moms or Christian women.
3. What lessons did you learn from your own mother?  
My mother taught me to be kind and a giver. She always showed others her love through acts of kindness and acts of service.
4. What is your most recent struggle as a mother?
Technology!!! Finding the safe boundaries and limits to time and information. Teaching my kids the right way to handle themselves via text, FaceTime, and email was certainly not in any hand book. Social Media!!  To educate them on cyber bulling and internet safety, ugh it’s a big scary web…
5. What is the most meaningful lesson you have learned about being a mother?
 To help my children build a relationship with Jesus. For them to know Jesus in their youth, building a strong foundation.   I also hug & kiss them and tell them everyday they are loved.
6. What advice would you give to a new mom?
To be patient. You will be exhausted, there will be situations when u feel defeated but trust in God’s plan. Also I would say, WORDS are powerful so be positive when talking to your children always build them up with your words and love.  When you do fail (we all have moments when words come out faster than your mind can stop them) forgive yourself and apologize to them, let them know that we make mistakes and want to be the best Mom we can be for them.
7. How do you make time for yourself despite the demands and pace of motherhood?
I MAKE time in my schedule because I know the negative effects it has on us moms not to have a social life, hobbies or interests.  We need the “break” to refresh our minds and to fill our bucket(from the book The Five Love Languages.) Not making time in my past resulted in depression, fatigue, loneliness, over eating and feeling inadequate. So I encourage moms to join a women’s bible study or a moms group to get started at expanding your circle of mommy friends. I am able to MAKE time for myself because of others like my husband, mother, grandmother, and friends help.
8. What is your favorite part of motherhood?
Loving on my children, and being loved by my children.  Watching them grow up and become wonderful people who love God and want to show God’s love to others is truly a gift.
9. Do you have any established family routines (game night, library dates, etc.)?
   We do enjoy a family movie night as well as a family game night.  We also love to play sports together and go camping. We also take our children on individual date nights so that each of them get valuable alone time with Mom or Dad.
10. What are three fun (non-motherhood) facts about you?
-I love playing and coaching Volleyball
-I have a servants heart, so to serve Christ by serving others fills my heart with Joy
-I am an inductee of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame

The Versatile Blogger Award

The blogging world can be so many things. In the beginning of my blogging days I would describe it as overwhelming. When I began to learn about some of the ins and outs I described blogging as creative. Now, as I have been introduced to so many new people and become a part of their daily lives I describe blogging as inspirational. Blogging can be so much more than these adjectives, but these are three that quickly come to mind. Although my goal is to ultimately publish my writing in a traditional medium, blogging has helped me to find my voice and niche. Blogging has allowed me the opportunity to write on several of my insights and interests to see what I am best at and to teach me some creative techniques. I am grateful for all of the praise I have received for my blog (both those who have spoken to me in person about my blog and those who have met me via the blogging world and offered encouragement in the form of comments and messages).

This post is in response to yet another blogging award that I received from the lovely Autumn at Welcome to My World. Some of you may remember her blog from a previous post of mine. The author of this blog is a very inspirational mother whose superpowers rival that of my favorite superhero, Spiderman. She’s overcome a lot in the short time she has been a parent and I am inspired by her story and can relate to her on so many levels about life as a mother of a toddler. Please take some time and check out her awesome blog and let her know you found her through my post!


The following is the list of rules for my newest award. All of the information on this award can be found on the VBA website:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

So for those that I nominate for this particular award: (I don’t want to continue to award the same blogs…so it’s not quite 15)

1. Witty ‘N’ Pretty

2. Live to Write

3. Ali Does It Herself

4. Nerdy Book Club

5. The Persistent Platypus

If you’ve enjoyed my blog I recommend subscribing to these blogs as well. All of these blogs are positive and inspirational. The authors write on a variety of topics from fashion to parenting and so much more. Take a few minutes and check out these sites!

And finally…for seven things about myself (I’m going to try not to repeat anything from my last award post)

1. I love to travel. My husband is from England so my family visits the family overseas every summer, but I also enjoy traveling within the United States. I’ve been to a lot of big cities in the east, but look forward to one day venturing out west and traveling through every one of the fifty states.

2. I have two full-time jobs. The first full-time job is being a mommy for a beautiful 2 1/2-year-old girl. My second full-time job is teaching English and History to 9th grade students in Ohio. Both take a lot of work and patience, but both roles are very rewarding.

3. I’ve been married for almost four years to the love of my life. I met my husband the first day of college in an Honors English course and we quickly fell in love and became inseparable. We dated all through college and got married a month after graduation. I wouldn’t trade any of our time together for a thing in this world. He is amazing and I love my husband so much.

4. I really enjoy a good book. Although they are slightly more convienent I do not prefer to read on electronic devices. There’s just something special to me about a physical book. I also love real books because I have the chance to pass it on more readily once I have completed reading it. As a teacher, this is key. My students are always asking for recommendations.

5. I love to cook healthy homemade meals for my family. It is so rewarding for me to set the table with healthy options and entrees most evenings. Yes, we occassionally dine elsewhere, but the principle of gathering and eating together is priceless to me. I can count on one hand the number of days we have not sat down and eaten together as a family (no matter where that meal may have taken place). I think family meal time is not only physically healthy, but emotionally healthy too. This is a habit that my husband and I plan to continue until death do us part.

6. I have a secret craft passion. Of all the things that make me who I am I generally don’t mention my love for a good arts and crafts project. I do, however, enjoy a good project that I’ve created with my own hands. Pinterest is an addiction.

7. I tend to fill my life with positive people. Who has time for negativity?

Well, that’s all folks. Thanks for visiting and supporting. I am a grateful recipient of this Versatile Blogger Award.


Friendship: It’s a God-thing

In a previous post “It Takes a Village” I eluded to the fact that in a future post I was going to write about my friend from our church group who has recently become a babysitter for our daughter. This is that post.

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to go about discussing all that God has done and shown me and my family through this new and awesome friend and I know that the words I could form to describe this friendship will fall short of what it is…a God-thing.

Let me start off with the fact that I tend to attract people in my life that are nothing like myself. Almost all of the people in my life that I hold near and dear to me happen to be absolutely nothing like me in personality, interest, and skill set. This is very fortunate for me because I get a chance to meet so many different types of people and to have unique experiences in my life as a result of those people that I might otherwise not have. My husband and I are complete polar opposites in so many ways, yet we believe ourselves to be a perfect fit. We tend to find that what one of us lacks the other more than makes up for.

Anyway, this is relevant to my friendship because my new friend, Katy, is nothing like myself. It may be easier to list what we have in common as opposed to ways in which we are different.

We both…

1. Are married

2. Live in Ohio

3. Ran competitively in High School

4. Go to the same church

5. Like essential oils

And…I’m struggling to come up with much more.

The beauty in our friendship is that we both learn so much from each other (let’s be honest I learn way more from her than she does from me). We could, and sometimes do, spend hours just talking because we both are so interested in one another since we are so vastly different. Katy is handy, whereas I’m good at breaking things. Katy is awesome with animals, whereas I go weeks without remembering to change my cat’s litter box (I should probably do that now). Katy is resourceful, whereas I just am not. I’m sure I bring something more to this friendship than these things, but this post is intended to brag on my friend not myself so I’ll stop there.

A little under a year ago I met Katy at our first church small group (cLife) meeting at a new church. She and her husband were the only couple in the group close to our age. We continued to get to know each other over the next couple of months. Our friendship took a turn when Katy began sitting for our daughter in October. That situation in and of itself was a God-thing the way it worked out (I discuss this idea further in my post, “It Takes a Village”)

Over the next few months we grew to know each other better and this is where God has an even bigger hand in our friendship…

Background: Last November my husband was in a bad accident. Our new(er) Ford Focus was totaled in the accident due to the driver of a car behind my husband on the free way texting and driving. We owed a lot of money on the car at the time (which we are still chipping away at). At the time we had been saving up to purchase a second car (one for me to drive to work…a very short commute) We had to use what money we had saved for a second car to purchase a new primary car. For the next year we made it work. My husband has a 45 minute commute (without traffic) and he would drop me off and pick me up after school each day. This gave me a lot of free time in my classroom, which I never got angry about. I found ways to fill my time and not complain about the situation.

After a year of the crazy schedules which oftentimes left one of us stranded while the other was at work, practice, or spending time with friends, we finally got a new car. However, this car was not an additional purchase and added debt. This car was a gift.

Over the Christmas season Katy and her husband had been fixing up a car for my husband and I. One night at our cLife group Katy and her husband pulled up in a new car and gave the keys to my husband and I. These two handy people had left us completely speechless. What kind of friend gives their friend a car? Seriously. Despite having no idea this trick was up their sleeves I was completely in awe of the fact that they had used their unique skill sets to fix up a car for us. Their response to our awe was, “God told us to do it.” We quickly went through the legalities of receiving a new vehicle. God is awesome. I cannot fathom how much of a sacrifice these two had made to listen to God. The money it cost to purchase. The parts that needed work. The time and labor involved in fixing up a car like this.

Sometimes I struggle with how to make this up to my dear friends, and then I am reminded that they were being obedient to God. The way I can show my gratitude for this gift and friendship is being obedient to God myself. It’s been a blessing getting to know this family and creating a friendship focused on God and full of honesty and knowledge. And…I might have learned a few lessons along the way (like how not to drain a car battery…or how to jump a battery once dead)

I am so thankful for all of the people God has put in my path. I just felt led to tell the blogging world about how God has been blessing me through this family. Oh, and by the way the whole car battery thing happened this weekend and we spent most of the evening Saturday and tonight figuring out the problem and enjoying a spontaneous dinner at home. So that’s my daily inspiration.

God is good.