I believe in living passionately and loving even more passionately. I believe in dreaming big and thinking that absolutely anything is possible. I believe in being myself: being my own kind of creative and innovative. I love being able to express myself in a way that is true to me. I believe in being independent but also allowing others to be a blessing to me when they want to be. I believe that where there is a will there is a way. There is no problem that cannot be fixed. I am optimistic even when circumstances tell me to think otherwise. I choose to see the good in today because even in the darkness there is still light. I believe that a good sticky note with an even better self-reminder makes all the difference. I see the world through a unique lens where Jesus is my constant, relationships are important, and every tiny detail in life matters.
I am from a small town with a big heart in south Alabama, called Ariton. This small town is the home of the only purple cat in the nation. It is where I am loved unconditionally by two amazing parents, who have given me the world and every great opportunity. It is also where my little brother and I would play, fight on occasions, and as we grew up, have heart-to-hearts. It is where God gave me my first soul mate in my best friend. We would laugh uncontrollable all-night long. We would cry together, do life together, have a 5-second fight then be over it, have the darkest secret about each other that only we knew. We were inseparable. We were Connor and Lauren. Ariton is where my little sisters are becoming young women of God, where the elder is strong-willed but still care-free and the younger is bluntly honest and dancing around the house. It is where a group of girls known as the wolf pack will be there through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ariton is where a piece of my heart is and will always be.
I found my home-away-from home in Auburn, Alabama. In Auburn, I pursued my education and fell in love with the rolling of the trees, War Eagles, and pure kindness of people. Auburn is where I found healing from life's tragedy: the death of Lauren and a heart shattered to a million pieces. It is where I met the people who changed me for the better and my life forever. Auburn is where I led at Church of the Highlands and started stepping into my calling and purpose, where I met and have fallen in love with the most amazing man of God. Auburn has been the place where I discovered who I am, where I made sense of this puzzle we call life, and where I went from religion in Jesus to a relationship with Jesus. It has been much more than a university to me. It has been the place where God had a plan for me and blessed me so much.
I am officially an adult. I have a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. I am an entrepreneur and young business woman. I have recently stepped into a new season of life. In this season, I have met the most amazing people. I have gotten to be an aide in planning the most important life moments with them. I have always loved the hustle of creating and bringing something bigger than me to life. Thankfully God intervened in my life so now I get to serve Him every day through His calling for me while doing what I absolutely love most: meeting people, hearing their stories, dreaming and creating with them.
My aspirations are to carry over everything that life has taught me thus far. I hope to learn and grow more. I have a longing to travel and see things that God has placed here: things that He designed so carefully and specially. I hope to continue to write and express myself. I hope to make a difference and continue to help people with my words, my actions, and my love. I hope to hear people's stories. I hope to be able to slow down to have morning coffee with my mama on Saturdays, to be able to laugh, dance, and have heart-to-hearts with my sisters, to be able to see my brother and watch him step into his calling and purpose, to be able to catch up with the wolf pack, to be able to pick up right where things left off with my Auburn people. I hope to experience life outside of the routine. I hope that in all I do I radiate Jesus through and through.
This story picks up the day after I graduated from Auburn on May 6, 2018. I had an amazing internship and apprenticeship in Nashville, Tennessee, at redpepper, an advertising agency. What an experience living in another city for three months, stepping out of my comfort zone, and meeting new people! Before I knew it, my time there ended, and I had no permanent offers. I was discouraged to have to leave redpepper and move back home.
Soon after in October 2018 I accepted a position with a small Marketing firm in Auburn, Alabama. Although discouraged at how my job search had turned out, I was so eager and excited to start this new position in Auburn. A month into my new job, I made the decision to resign. I was returning yet again to my hometown, even more discouraged and defeated. The life had been sucked out of me. My big dreams and ambitions had been ripped right out of my hands. I had thoughts of hopelessness that I wasn’t smart or creative enough. I questioned God daily on my PR and Marketing degree.
Once I was back home, God and I started restoring and renewing what I had been stripped of. Not being easily defeated, I began applying for every job that crossed my path. I found myself in a season where fear, doubt, the unknown and rejection tried to take place in my heart and soul. A season that was filled with job application after job application, interview after interview and no after no. Rejection tried to define me.
I battled constantly with the enemy attacking my mind, my thoughts and even my relationships. After the new year, I prayed and fasted for God to lead me and guide me. Yet, even when my dad mentioned to me, “What if you start your own business,” I resisted. The beginning of February, I became the part-time PR and marketing manager with Kimberly Smith Events in Dothan, Alabama. I had found a place where my opinions mattered, my thoughts were heard, my ideas were received as phenomenal and my guidance was needed. God used this opportunity to instill in me once more the confidence I had lost. Also, I returned to Nashville to help a wedding planner. Nevertheless, I still could not let go the thought of what my dad had said.
Throughout the months of January and February 2019, I prayed on what my purpose was supposed to be. Through prayer and fasting, I learned if it’s not God’s time, you can’t force it. Likewise, when it is God’s time, you can’t stop it. I had been frustrated, anxious, doubtful, you name it, I experienced it. I wondered, “God, did you really say this?” “God, are you really gonna come through?” “God, did you mean this?” I knew Him so I knew it. I knew He could and would. I started to believe He would. I chose faith. No matter what I felt, even in my doubt and insecurities, I chose faith. I didn’t see a way, but with God, I believed there was a way. I chose to do it. I decided to start a new venture, lauralece 827.
If you know me then you know I love a good and meaninful heart tug. So, naturally building and naming my business was something I didn't take lightly. There had to be purpose, passion, life, and love. Combining Lauren's first name and my middle name, I created lauralece and used our birthdays to form the number. After all my asking, seeking, and praying, my heavenly Father led me to Romans 8:27 which says, "And God, who sees into our hearts, knows what the thought of the Spirit is; because the Spirit pleads with God on behalf of his people and in accordance with his will." His words were and continue to be my affirmation. He knows my heart and has created in me the desires to be an entrepreneur, to have a passion for creating, to love people, to want to hear stories, to be a writer, and to create a legacy for Lauren--all through the outlet of lauralece 827.
Looking back, God’s hand was in and over my business the entire time. I didn’t and still don’t understand, but I believe with everything my God is still good. I know this because I have seen Him move through the death of Lauren, through heartbreak, through rejection, through confusion, through fear and through the unknown. Losing Lauren taught me my God is my strength and he does heal the brokenhearted. He is still here today, and because I allowed Him to make the calls, He and (my family) are the reason lauralece 827 is here today.