Monthly Archives: May 2012

things i love thursday! (may 31, 2012)

The last day of May. I can’t believe it. I also can’t believe I got too busy to do a list last week. Oh well — here we go!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY:

  • How precious is this picture of Romeo? Seriously.
  • Having a date night in, complete with mini deep dish pizzas, ice cream, and Netflix.
  • Watching random documentaries about bizarre people.
  • Spending a day to finally (!!!) put our house together (for the most part).
  • Washing all of Dax’s clothes, only to get gifted two more boxes worth!
  • “Sleeping in” till 8.
  • Relaxation exercises at our childbirth class.
  • Spending a Sunday morning at home with the handsome fellow you see pictured above.
  • Hamlet, too. I guess. ;)
  • Getting to see Jessica while she’s in town!
  • Homemade strawberry pie. Oh. Em. Gee.
  • Finding out I’M ALLOWED TO EAT COOKIE DOUGH ICE CREAM. (Okay this may have seemed like a no-brainer but when you’re pregnant, there are so many foods you have to avoid because they’re dangerous to the baby, I was starting to get a little sad.)
  • Bison burgers and half sours from Ted’s with awesome people!
  • “Later.”
  • Unexpectedly getting to hang out with sweet baby Isaiah! He almost crawled for me (next time, maybe!) and he definitely cuddled me and fell asleep in my arms. (He also snotted and drooled all over my shirt but it was SO WORTH IT!)
  • Getting to shower Ashley and Baby Jack, who will be here so SOON! YAY!
  • Having a FOR REAL conversation with Kylin. That kid is smarter than me, I think.
  • Having Nora come over and help me organize the apartment.
  • Feeling sweet baby Dax move all the time and, of course, getting to hear his heartbeat!
  • Big salads.
  • Finding out about more pregnant friends!
  • Baking cookies. Like, for real though! Not break-and-bakes! REAL COOKIES!
  • Impromptu midweek hangouts.
  • Dark chocolate.
  • My bestie got a new truck! That’s fun! We also get to hang out tonight which is awesome!
  • Body pillows.
  • Sleep.
  • Cuddles.

My life rules! What do you love?

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defining “enough”.

There has been a word that has been echoing throughout my life lately. And that word is enough.

I’m slowly but surely plugging through Jon Acuff‘s book Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job and I came across a section yesterday that really resonated with me — defining your “enough”. 

In the book, he describes your definition of “enough” as the point of success you have in life where you don’t need anything else to be content. As for Jon, he wrote himself a letter when his blog became successful and turned into a book to remind him of what was “enough” for him. Here’s an excerpt:

But in the midst of this time I want you to remember that a few weeks ago (in March 2009) you sat outside with Jenny on the side of your house in the brown Adirondack chairs with the sun setting and you thought to yourself, “This is enough. I have a beautiful wife, a house to live in, two wonderful children, a job. This is enough. There’s no reason to chase money or material possessions when the book comes out. I have enough.”

Switching gears completely, I know I have been uncharacteristically quiet about it so far, but the Time Magazine cover heard round the world also bears this word.

Am I mom enough? Jeez, I guess not, since I don’t plan on continuing to breastfeed my kid when he’s tall enough to reach the microwave.

This “enough” has been unmistakably evident in my life as of late. Am I working enough? Am I making enough money to afford to be a good mother? Is my apartment safe enough? Does my husband love me and our son enough to never leave us? Am I volunteering enough? Am I praying enough?

As if my own standards for “enough” weren’t already too high, my whole life I’ve tried to live up to other people’s ideas of “enough”: being pretty enough, skinny enough, good enough, successful enough, Christian enough, smart enough, down to earth enough, fun enough, happy enough…

Just enough in general.

With a baby on the way and a seemingly unending laundry list of things to be worried about, I’ve officially given up. There is only so much I can do or be. When is being “enough”… well… enough?

And so, I’ve decided to take a page out of Jon Acuff’s book and define my own enough in a letter to Future Me, with the hope that I’ll refer back to it when I don’t feel enough.

Dear Future Lindsay,

At this moment in time, you’re probably in your cubicle at work, trying hard to focus on the task at hand, but finding yourself distracted by several things: the guilt that comes along with the fact that you’re not at home with your son; the fact that whomever is home with him is probably surrounded by the rest of the things you’re worried about; dirty diapers, dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and a litter box that is screaming to be emptied. You’re more than likely stressed out about the fact that you’re not entirely sure how you’re going to afford to feed your family something healthy this week, either. How many times a week can you have pizza before Congress decides it’s not a vegetable anymore?

Take a deep breath. Relax. Remember that you are doing everything you can. You are doing enough. You are  enough.

You have a husband who loves you and takes care of you and your baby. You have a job; even if that job doesn’t pay much, it does allow for you, your husband, and your son to have health insurance. You are part of a wonderful church community that loves you and cherishes your involvement. You are surrounded by countless friends and family who not only know everything about you, but love you regardless and want the best for you. You live in a safe neighborhood. And even if you don’t know the first thing about decorating, your house has character. Even when it’s messy.

You gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who clings to you in a way that no one else can experience. You are his source of life and sustenance. And even when he grows up to be a teenager and hate you, you’ll still be his Mommy. You’ll still be enough.

Above all of that, you have a God who loves you enough to die for you. He will never forsake you or leave you, even when you’re too tired to put away the laundry or vacuum or load the dishwasher. 

This is enough. You have enough. Remember that.

Love always,

Past Lindsay

P.S. Don’t worry about losing the baby weight. Seriously. Your husband will probably become inconsolable if you go back down to your original bra size anyway. Just embrace it.

P.S.S. Don’t eat the entire strawberry pie in the fridge. Sure it’s delicious but your stomach is going to haaaate you.

P.S.S.S. Has Michelle Obama found your blog and asked you over for dinner yet? Just curious.

What is YOUR enough?

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shattered perceptions.

I’m not known for taking the time to weigh out all the consequences of my decisions. I’m typically of the mindset of hey, why the hell not? versus give me a while to process it and I’ll get back to you with a sound and well thought out plan. 

So, when Eric asked me to write this ridiculously personal and vulnerable post for his blog, I did as I usually do and only briefly considered the consequences of it:

People will read it. And they will know these terrible things about you. But that’s okay, because everyone who reads your blog already knows everything about you. Yeah. I guess you’re right. Alright. Let’s do it. 

So I texted him back with an affirmative.

As usual, there were some heavy consequences I did not take into consideration, mainly the fact that it would be on Eric’s blog, not mine, and, therefore, read by his readers and not necessarily just mine.

Do you know who reads Eric’s blog? I sure do now — at least half the congregation of our 500+ person church, for which my husband works, for one.

I had a handful of people, some I knew and some I didn’t, come up to me and tell me how influential that post was. Not because I’m a phenomenal writer or anything (though if anyone wishes to come forward with that sentiment I’ll most certainly accept) but because it shattered their perceptions of me.

At first, that was really hard to accept. To know that there were people out there who used to think I was one way (not flawed, I guess) and were now aware of just how broken I am made me feel exposed, naked, and ashamed. I thought about Adam and Eve in the garden:

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

 Genesis 3:7-10

Though God knew Adam and Eve completely, they were ashamed to be seen because of their brokenness. That’s how I felt about everyone who read the blog post. Suddenly, even people who didn’t know me now knew my brokenness. And people are a lot less forgiving than God is.

Believe it or not, that wasn’t the worst of it for me. The most shattered, naked, and ashamed I ever felt was actually a couple of years ago. Ironically, it was in front of the same guy who asked me to write about growth on his blog.

Yep. Eric.

He was my ministry liaison at the time, so he and I were having a ministry meeting over lunch at Red Lobster. (A side note: despite the restaurant being literally two minutes from my work, I haven’t been back to Red Lobster for lunch since then because I’m afraid I’ll have the same waitress.) We were talking about ministry, yes, but mostly, it was a meeting about how I was making some pretty terrible life choices and should probably get my act together. (Are we shocked? No? Okay.)

Not the most uplifting conversation to have over my lunch hour, even when accompanied by endless cheddar bay biscuits.

“I just want you to be proud of me,” I gulped between mouthfuls, “and I feel like every time I do something wrong, I’m one step closer to losing you as well as the other people around me who love me.”
“Why?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged in defeat. Then, without warning, I let the big one fly. “I guess it’s because my father left me or something.”

Bingo. Shattered.

The rest of the lunch was awkward and painful because I couldn’t stop crying. I was so naked. So exposed. So ashamed of everything about me. Every time the waitress came by and refilled my water I had to pretend my face wasn’t red and stained with streaks of black mascara. I’m not sure she bought it.

The great thing about these situations, both the blog and the Lunch That Will Forever Remain in Infamy, is that neither time was I met with a negative reaction. At Red Lobster, Eric was unbelievably graceful (even though he probably felt ten times as awkward and weird as I did) and, concerning the blog, everyone who read it was really supportive and, more often than not, had actually experienced similar things. Many people said that they felt relief and safety and grace because of the vulnerability of my writing.

The way I see it, no one has ever gotten anywhere by pretending to be perfect. If anything, we just get farther and farther away from the beauty of grace and redemption that we were created to experience. By pretending we don’t need grace, we never truly learn how to give or receive it. And that, I believe, is one of the biggest falls mankind can experience in this life on earth. 

That said, I know there are things about you that aren’t perfect. Not because I personally know you, but because I know that the only perfect Man who ever lived has already died, risen, and ascended to his Throne. So. Since that’s obviously not you, you’ve got to be broken somehow:

Failed relationships.

Addictions.

Loss.

Divorce.

Whatever.

Whatever it is that has “broken” you, or made you “ashamed,” know that grace is real. And you can’t receive it until you realize that you oh-so-desperately need it. And that might mean shattering some perceptions of yourself. Maybe to others. But mostly to you.

What perceptions of yourself do you need to shatter?

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things i love thursday! (may 17, 2012)

Happy Thursday! Even though we have yet to see a day without rain here, life is pretty great. Besides, the constant rain is just an indicator of just how close we are to summer. Hooray!

Here’s this week’s list of love!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • BEING RETWEETED BY JARS OF CLAY.
  • Lunch at Lake Ella with Libby. (Wow, so many L’s!)
  • Consequent sunburns.
  • “Instagram that S.”
  • Moving day!
  • Having so many friends willing to help!
  • Little Caesar’s.
  • Getting Firehouse “delivered” by Randy. Also, hearing him say, “Derivvery!”
  • Ice cream with friends at Lofty Pursuits.
  • Publix, where shopping is SERIOUSLY a pleasure.
  • Having the tables be turned on me when Dan stayed out with our friends and I went home to crash.
  • Being able to lead worship with close friends.
  • My first Mother’s Day, and all the flowers and cards I got!
  • My husband scoring some major points this weekend, by the way of:
  1. Staying up with me when I couldn’t sleep.
  2. Heating up pizza for me in the middle of the night USING THE OVEN because we were without a microwave.
  3. Letting me nap in the afternoon while he organized the kitchen, despite being probably just as tired as me.
  • Watching Dan on the phone with Comcast. Oh. My. Goodness. So much hilarity.
  • Deciding that if Comcast is our only option at our new place, we will go without TV and just have Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus.
  • He hates Comcast THAT MUCH.
  • Our first childbirth class
  • Having Nora over for dinner and organization. 
  • Hearing my little man’s heartbeat again. 
  • Going over to the Machnics’ for dinner and fun conversation!
  • Mmm. Brownies.
  • Waking up in the morning literally spooning Hamlet, aka the cuddliest cat ever. How’d he manage that?
  • Sleeping peacefully despite my husband being gone. 
  • Getting a text from Eric concerning my husband’s inability to stop reggae dancing…
  • The fact that my husband will be back today! And hopefully won’t bring any reggae dancing with him!
That’s all for me. What do you love this week? 

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guest post: WOW wednesday on m2hf.

All throughout the month of May, my good friend Lindsey is asking “Women of Wisdom” to write guest posts on her blog each Wednesday. I’m honored to be one of the people she asked to contribute. Today, my post is up on her blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

…There are certainly two ways you can gain wisdom – you can live through some “real stuff” and you can surround yourself with and try to learn from those whom have lived through some “real stuff.”

Even though I’m only 26, I’ve already had to live through some pretty intense stuff: growing up with an absentee father, suffering from an eating disorder, being treated for mental illness… But, I think, the hardest piece of life I ever had to live was two and a half years of an abusive relationship. I couldn’t get out of it because I was afraid I’d get even more hurt than I already was on a daily basis. So I stayed. And it was awful.

Click here to read the rest of the post. And don’t forget to check out the rest of her blog as well!

Happy WOW Wednesday!

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the body image avenger.

A little over a week ago, I went with my husband on opening night to see The Avengers. Despite not giving two craps about the comic books, or the characters therein, I still thoroughly enjoyed the film. The writing was punchy and smart, and, for those of us who have no back story to go on, it was easy to follow. Partner that with phenomenal special effects and a conceited yet endearing Robert Downey Jr. spouting off one quip after another? Magnifique.

I will say, however, that at 7 months pregnant and growing, with a steadily shrinking wardrobe, a face that has exploded with zits, and hair that refuses to be anything but unruly frizz, it was difficult for me to spend two and a half hours staring at the immaculately gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, next to my husband who has publicly admired her beauty in the past. While I tried to focus on the movie, my thoughts kept interrupting me:

Is he looking at her? Does he still think she’s hotter than me? Of course he still thinks she’s hotter than me! She IS hotter than me! She’s Scarlett F—ing Johansson! And I’m a big, chubby pregnant slob! I’m pretty sure angels sing when she wakes up in the morning. Angels who, undoubtedly, have pictures of Scarlett hanging on their walls. Angels do not have pictures of me hanging on their walls. If they do, it’s only as a visual reminder for them to talk to God about arranging my appearance on TLC’S “What Not to Wear.” You know… as a favor to me.

You’d think it would be easy for me to hate Scarlett because of all of this. Wish she never existed and all that. But the truth of the matter is, I think she’s just as bloody beautiful as everyone else on the planet thinks she is. And, today, she proved to me that she’s more than just a knock out.

Damnit, you guys. Scarlett’s sharp. She’s intelligent, a self-proclaimed body image warrior, and a fantastic writer to boot.

Touche, Johansson. Tou-freaking-che. You are a superhero, aren’t you? How can I ever measure up?

Anyway.

Scarlett wrote an article for the Huffington Post in response to tabloids making (wait for it) outlandish claims (gasp! who knew?!) concerning her body and weight loss in preparation for The Avengers. The article is bloody brilliant and should be read by everyone. Here’s an excerpt:

Since dedicating myself to getting into “superhero shape,” several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention. Claims have been made that I’ve been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I’ve never met, eating sprouted grains I can’t pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5’3″ frame. Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I’m a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy. If I were to lose 14 pounds, I’d have to part with both arms. And a foot. I’m frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there.

Check out the rest of the article here.

brb changing career path to become scarlett johansson when i grow up kthx.

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things i love thursday! (may 10, 2012)

Happy Thursday! And, because I haven’t said it yet, happy May! I hope you’ve all had a great week. Mine has been filled with blessings. So let’s get right to it!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Not one, but TWO baby showers! If the amount of loot we procured is any indication, our little Dax is already so loved (and spoiled rotten)!
  • Seeing a bunch of friends and family from out of town who drove 4 hours for my shower. Wow. So awesome!
  • TINY BABY THINGS. Especially things with ears and/or pointy heads, footies, and embroidered things sewn on the butts.
  • Getting a sneak peek at some of my friends’ wishes for Dax: I wish you would learn how to ride a bike before your dad. I hope you always laugh at your dad. I hope you have big ears like your dad. (Notice a trend?)
  • FINDING A NEW PLACE TO LIVE! And it’s so cute. I can’t wait to take pictures and show you. We move in this weekend!
  • Having sweet friends come over and help us pack all of our “berks.”
  • Writing in coffee shops, especially coffee shops at which my friends are employed.
  • A “medium” mocha frappe actually being a large. (Friends in high places, I tell you.)
  • Derpy Hooves. Every. Time.
  • Pizza.
  • The Avengers. Holy crap, you guys. I can’t imagine how good it must have been for the people who actually give a darn about the comic books because I LOVED IT.
  • “Hulk Smash Durrenberger.”
  • Robert Downey Jr. I mean, seriously.
  • Cinco de Mayo bible study and party.
  • Virgin margaritas that actually tasted good.
  • Queso.
  • You know, food in general.
  • Being asked to write not one, but two guest posts. (Next one is coming Wednesday… stay tuned!)
  • Reading on the porch.
  • CATS. Especially mine and tiny ones with sorta-broken tails.
  • “Tiiiines, tiiiiiiiiines, tiiiiines.”
  • Actually using Pinterest for wedding planning.
  • Going to church with Mom.
  • Dinner with friends.
  • Deep thoughts and conversations with friends via email.
  • Getting much wanted and needed birth/child rearing advice from good, wise momma friends.
  • Sleepy and snuggly baby Isaiah.
  • “Hey Lindsay… Isn’t cool how I knew it was you without looking?” – Levi is the best.

That’s it for me. What do you love this week?

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guest post: on growth.

Growing is supposed to hurt. That’s why you get growing “pains” not growing “tickles.” I’ve done a lot of growing over the past couple of years (a lot of it, thankfully, has been documented right here on my blog) and, consequently, a lot of hurting as well. I’m certainly not anywhere near done with it yet, either, but that’s okay. It’s all for the glory, right?

My friend and mentor, Eric Case, asked me to share a little bit about my story of growth on his blog. It scared me a little bit because a lot of my story is quite messy, but I agreed to it because the writing is a raw, visual, concrete representation of just how far I’ve come.

Here’s an excerpt:

“Why are you doing this again?”

The words shot out of my mouth like ping pong balls and bounced against the windshield and hit me in the face. Despite the eating disorder treatment under my belt and its offering of some false sense of normalcy, I was still suffering from a disease much more deteriorating. Complete and utter self-hate.

I was sitting in my car, parked about a block from my house and my new husband, with hot tears running down my cheeks.

I’d run away from him again. This time, however, after telling him he would divorce me if he knew what was good for him. Not even a year into our marriage and I had slapped the “d” word across his face and left.

Check out the rest of the post here

Also, Eric is a very intelligent dude. For posts that will challenge you, make you think differently about the world around you, and probably help you realize that the music library on your iPod needs a face lift, read his blog here.

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the middle.

A group of my girlfriends and I just went through a book called Still by Lauren Winner. This is the first I’ve heard of her and, consequently, the first book of hers I’ve read, but this is not Winner’s first book; she’s written before, chronicling her journey from being raised in a Jewish household to finding Christ to teaching at Duke Divinity School. She’s an interesting woman, no doubt, and her writing style is captivating.

Still is a memoir about a time in Winner’s life she describes as a “mid-faith crisis”. She had just gone through a divorce and a God who was once closer to her than her own skin seemed absent and cold. In Still, she describes this time in her life as “the middle” — a time where she did not see the connection between where she’d been and where she may have been going, wherever that was, and so she went through the motions (going to church, prayer, etc.) just to feel a sense of normalcy rather than to actually connect with her Creator, an impossible feat at the time.

I suppose a lot of us go through times like this — “middles”, if you will — and I think I’m going through one of them right now.

Back in September, if you would have told me that in the summer of 2012 I’d be about to give birth to my first child and signing a lease to renew my residence in Tallahassee for another year, I would have laughed in your face. After our yearly trip to Chicago that month, Dan and I agreed that we felt God calling us to a major metropolitan area, probably Chicago but maybe somewhere else, to do full-time ministry together. And so, we had a plan. And we thought God backed that plan. And we set out to start seeing that plan come to fruition.

But, as you can see, none of that panned out like we’d thought.

Living in a college town, a city comprised mostly of transients, there are a couple times of the year when we experience a mass exodus — the end of spring and the end of fall. Of course, we signed the lease to our new place here in Tallahassee during one of those times, which emphasizes the stagnation of our lives even more. As droves of our friends pack up, move away, possibly forever, to bigger and better things, we’ve signed on to one more year of this.

At least one more year of the middle.

I’ve been poring over these feelings over the past week as we’ve been packing up our house. Feelings of sadness, but also fondness. We spent the first three years of our lives together in that house. We learned about promotions and life-changes in that house. We’ve held bible studies in that house. We’ve had unexpected visitors in that house. We’ve adopted cats in that house. We took a positive pregnancy test in that house. I could go on…

So much has happened there, and this past September, a mere nine months ago, we thought that we’d only pack that house up in order to move somewhere outside of Tallahassee to follow a huge and exciting calling. But now, we’re packing boxes to the brim just to haul them across town in what seems like, at best, a lateral move and, at worst, a step backward.

I can’t speak for Dan, who is arguably more relaxed over this whole thing than I clearly am, blogging about it and such, but I know that as far as I’m concerned, in prayer, I find myself barking questions and orders into a void: Why is this happening? Why isn’t it what we discussed earlier? It wasn’t supposed to happen this way — are you even listening? Are you even here? And I’m waiting for the right response, wrestling with the middle, only to be answered with a peaceful silence.

And so. I pray. I go to church. I trust that what is happening is right. But I don’t know why. And I don’t know when it ends or changes.

Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.
It’s only in your head, you feel left out or looked down on.
Just do your best, do everything you can.
And don’t you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say.

It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.
Everything, everything will be just fine.
Everything, everything will be alright, alright.

– Jimmy Eat World, The Middle

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