giving thanks.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I feel like 2011 has been dual enrolling all year in order to graduate earlier and get a head start on college or something. I am having a hard time believing that Thanksgiving is tomorrow. But, whether we like it or not, this is the reality.

Dan and I are gearing up to head to my hometown to spend some much needed time with my family over the holiday, so I will not be blogging the rest of this week. I’m sure you’ll all survive.

But, since Thanksgiving is truly the original gangster THINGS I LOVE THURSDAY, I’d like to leave you with a list of things I’m so thankful for this year. Ready? Here we go, in no particular order!

  • You. All of you who read my blog. You all rock my socks off (which is fine for now, since it’s still 80 outside. But come February, we’ll have some words.)
  • The unending grace of a Savior everyday.
  • My sweet, supportive husband. I swear, I love him more and more every day.
  • A job at which I don’t work holidays and can actually get time off to see my family. (I get to be there till Saturday, y’all! It’s almost like a legitimate vacation!)
  • Close friends who love me even though (and maybe because) I’m me.
  • Vulnerability — being vulnerable and having other people be vulnerable around me.
  • Miracles and the fact that they truly do happen every day.
  • Sundresses and the ability to wear them almost year round.
  • Decaf coffee which somehow still wakes me up.
  • My church family.
  • My bible studies — Case and Breakfast Club.
  • My pastors and their families and how they challenge me to be a better person.
  • Being able to do ministry with junior high students.
  • Being ministered to by junior high students.
  • Books and words.
  • Writing for a living.
  • Art and artists, particularly the ones I get to interact with.
  • Pianos and the people who play them.
  • My cats, Romeo and Hamlet, even though I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in well over a week because of them.
  • Kittens, even though they seem to be taking over my life.
  • Children and babies and the things they do and say.
  • My family, both in Florida and in the Midwest.
  • Text messages and gChat — forever keeping me sane at work.
  • Our quirky but cute house in Frenchtown.
  • Road trips for weddings, celebrations, etc.
  • LIFE.

Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving. During this holiday season, steeped in commercialism and superficial happiness, try to keep your minds focused on the non-material things you’re thankful for.

See you next week! Muah. ❤

things i love thursday! (november 17, 2011)

Hello lovers! Happy Thursday! I hope you’ve all had a fantastic week. I definitely have. This week has been one of the best weeks in all of history. To the list!


  • Tomato soup.
  • Veggie burgers.
  • Food in general.
  • Making music! Always.
  • Great talks about Jesus over chips and salsa. (Again with the food, I’m telling you, it rules.)
  • My bestie Becky came to visit!
  • Making a Flat Lauren with a manly-looking J-Lo body and a sparkly pink back!
  • Seeing Florida State SPANK UMiami at Doak! Sweet, sweet victory.
  • Kicking booty at physical therapy.
  • Planning the advance.
  • My sweet, adorable, handsome husband.
  • Lunch with Ashley and Kylin at Moe’s.
  • Seeing Kylin recognize me from ACROSS the restaurant and say, “Lindsay!” (Which, of course, actually sounds like, “Wiss-see”) UGHHHH so awesome!!!
  • Giving and receiving awesome text messages!
  • The fact that Dan and I can see my family next week. YAY!
  • God.
  • Miracles.
  • YOU!

Alrighty then! That’s my list. What about yours? What do you love this week? Always be thankful!

tuesday tip — pencil yourself in.

Earlier this week a friend of mine tweeted about hearing a sacred echo in her life. I was instantly jealous of her and, consequently, whiny — IIIIIII want a sacred echo! I want to have a clear vision of the direction I should go! I want to have an unarguable reason to do X or not do Y!!!!! *pout*

Isn’t there a saying about being careful of what you wish for or something?

Back in March of 2008, Dan asked me out on our first date — a low-key dinner followed by a concert. Take a second and think about how that probably went: maybe he met me somewhere, or pulled me aside at church or on campus, or called me up and said, “Good morrow, fair maiden Lindsay of Shaw. I happen to fancy you, therefore, I request your company  at a relatively inexpensive eatery followed by taking delight in the sounds of a musical company by the name of The Spill Canvas. Would you oblige, m’lady?” (That’s typically how that goes, right? I honestly don’t know because I’ve been out of the game a while and I’ve always been awkward when it comes to dating.)

That’s not how it went for us. Dan pried my day planner from my cold, rigor-mortis-esque fingers and opened it to the day of the show to see whether or not he could squeeze himself into my overfull schedule. By the grace of God, he was able to write himself in. Hooray! A date! Squeezed between work at a barbecue restaurant, a handful of college classes, and studying for midterms. Phew.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was talking to a friend of mine (not in person but over Facebook chat, which is actually an important detail) about how we all seem to be married to our schedules. We jam-pack each minute of each day with work, school, projects, meetings, appointments, etc., but we never intentionally schedule any free time for ourselves. She and I collectively lamented about our lack of free time and yet our inability to focus on the tasks we have in front of us because we are so easily distracted by Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and even blogs (FBDC promotion fail.) We’ll find ourselves doing nothing, but we’re actually just avoiding doing something, which further stresses us out about the things we have already committed — vocationally, educationally, or otherwise — to do.

Well, self, there you go. You got your dang sacred echo. You need to break up with your planner every once in a while and schedule some down time to relax and take care of yourself.

Ugh, WHIIIIINEEEEE. But but but! Why? I’ve never been good at doing nothing! Being overworked and overstressed has always been my norm! I don’t know anything different! *pout*


Today’s tip is one I (obviously) haven’t perfected yet. (Who am I kidding? I should probably rename my blog, “An extensive list of things I haven’t perfected yet.”) But it’s so important. Scheduling time to take care of yourself not only makes life more enjoyable, but it also brings the beautiful things about yourself — all the reasons you are so lovely — back into focus.

Now, when I say, “Pencil yourself in,” I don’t mean think to yourself, “I should have some me time later.” Oh no. I mean, very literally, to pencil yourself in to your planner/diary/Google calendar/iPhone/whatever. Seriously. If we don’t treat this like an actual meeting or obligation, we might not follow through because this is how we’re wired now. In the 21st century, this is our reality.

If you’re like me and you have no idea where to start on taking care of yourself, here’s a list of things you can schedule to rejuvenate you after you meet all the other demanding obligations  you put on yourself. (And remember, the idea here is focus on your wonderful self, to destress and refresh, so if cooking, for example, makes your heart palpitate and your head explode — welcome, kindred spirit — then, obviously, don’t try that.)

  • Going for a walk in the park alone, with no iPod or cell phone with you.
  • Taking a yoga class.
  • Looking up and trying a new recipe.
  • Journaling.
  • Taking a short road trip, if even to the next town over, to explore.
  • Painting.
  • Working on your car or house.
  • [Insert your idea here.]

And — HERE IS THE KEY — make this scheduled “you” time non-negotiable. If a friend invites you out to dinner or your brother and his wife need someone to watch their baby while they go on a date, refuse. Nothing horrible will ever happen to you if you say no to another person in order to say yes to yourself. Never think that taking care of yourself should be secondary to taking care of anything else, whether those things are work-related, school-related, or people-related. If you don’t have any of yourself left, what benefit are you to the obligations you have?

The answer? None. None, I’m afraid. So, good Lord, child. Get off the Internet and take a hot bath or something.

things i love thursday! (november 10, 2011)

Happy Thursday, friends! It’s that time again — to stop, and remember all the blessings we have in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I definitely have a lot. Ready? Here we go!



  • New glasses! Complete with flowers and rhinestones! (Who am I?)
  • Seeing not one but TWO great plays for cheap!
  • Nikki and Chris! So much yay.
  • “Call you Butt Love?”
  • Free food and drinks.
  • George and Aaron.
  • Also, I finally met Aaron!
  • Sleeping in, oh yay!
  • Dancing again! Even though it was pretty painful, ha. (I’m a champ, y’all.)
  • A Tumblr shout out from Gala!
  • Sharing big secrets.
  • Living at coffee shops and writing away.
  • Hearing people ask, “So what’s your novel about?” (I’M WRITING A NOVEL, WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!)
  • Being told by an English graduate student, “You’re a really great writer.” Well, shoot! Psh! Stop.
  • My team of physical therapists. “You’re probably the best ACL patient I’ve ever had.” Well, shoot again!
  • Having a sweet husband shoulder dinner responsibilities while I spend the majority of my free time writing.
  • Lunch with good friends. Also, having lunch dates/meetings every day this week.
  • Fried pickles.
  • Bagel Bagel.
  • Brand new babies! YAY Isaiah!
  • Mornings with Dan.
  • Catching up with Andrea.
  • Sweet coworkers buying my broke self some coffee.
  • Emily emailing me a long story she wrote. (Good NIGHT is there anything this girl can’t do?)
  • My bible study small group.
  • Spotify.
  • Kina Grannis.
  • Life in general.

What about you? What do you love this week? It is, after all, the month of thankfulness! 🙂

on totally blowing it.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I absolutely love Jon Acuff’s writing. I look up to this dude for so many reasons. Not only is he a compelling storyteller but, through his first blog, Stuff Christians Like, he’s been able to raise the money to fund all kinds of humanitarian relief efforts, like building two (TWO!) kindergartens in Vietnam.

Today, he wrote an interesting post on his other blog about how when a blogger’s Internet persona appears perfect, readers will lose interest. It makes sense if you think about it — no one can relate to a perfect person because no perfect people exist. Even in my own life, I’ve had to stop reading blogs because the writers seemed to have flawless lives. I’d compare my behind the scenes footage to their highlight reel and feel too awful about myself to keep reading. (I am SO TEMPTED to mention one in particular that can’t POSSIBLY be real, but, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO, AMIRITE?!)

And so, after reading that post, I started thinking — is this me? Do I do this? Do I blog about all the great things and leave the crappy things in my life hidden?

Since I’m not an unbiased reader of my own blog (ha) I can’t really make that call. But! I can be intentional from here on out and post more honest, more raw, more real content. And, mind you, this isn’t just so I don’t lose readers. (Although  seriously, don’t leave me, my insecurity can’t handle it.) This is all about being real.

All that to say, I blow it. A lot. Recently, I blew it big time.


After our bible study, we all like to hang out and shoot the breeze about life. Last time, Eric, Emily, and myself were all standing in a circle. I’m not sure what was said (I probably just stashed it away in my fail-odex so, don’t worry, I’ll find it later) but my reply to that word/phrase/question/whatever was a heartfelt and grunty, “DAMNIT.”

With 13-year-old Emily and her dad standing right there. RIGHT AFTER, YOU KNOW, STUDYING THE BIBLE TOGETHER. Awesomeeeeeeeeeeeallidoiswin.

I apologized to Eric and he responded in love and grace because he’s like, a PASTOR and junk. But I still beat myself up over that one for a day or so. (Let’s be serious — I’m still beating myself up over it.)

So. There you have it. I’m pretty awful sometimes. My mouth has always gotten me in trouble. And then, when I get in trouble, I punish myself for days on end. It’s so unfortunate.

Oh, and um, let’s not forget the oh-so-frequent-and-undoubtedly-unattractive nervous breakdowns I experience.

But hey! Then I look in my bad day file and life’s good again, dig?

The point of this hodgepodge, poorly constructed, intentionally-unedited-to-prove-a-point blog post is that IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT.

Say it with me, now, one more time with feeling!


tuesday tip — be inspired.

Yesterday one of my coworkers came into my cubicle with some inspiration for me: a hard copy of her friend’s second novel. And when I say “hard copy” I don’t mean an impossibly thick print-out of a Microsoft Word document. I mean a legitimate book complete with binding, cover art, and an author bio on the back.

Say what? Someone I know knows someone who has published not one, but two novels? And they live here? What?!

All my favorite writers live elsewhere, publishing meaty, worthy works of art from distant, mythological places (like Pasco, Washington or Edinburgh, Scotland.) I don’t know of any famous authors from Tallahassee. Come to think of it, there don’t seem to be too many famous people from Tallahassee (save T-Pain and Buster Bluth, and you can bet all the money in your banana stand I drop those names as frequently as possible.)

At the time of this writing, I’m roughly 13,500 words into my NaNoWriMo novel. Granted, those words are (in my humble opinion) a big heap of rubbish. And while some days I rap away at my laptop like a writing fiend, there are other days — like yesterday — when I stare at the screen in disgust, sick of spending time with my haphazardly built-up characters with their lousy and seemingly pointless dialogue.

But someone from Tallahassee has done it. Someone from Tallahassee has suffered through composing their wonky first draft and editing it beyond recognition, to finally become published by an actual publisher. And they’ve done this not once, but twice.

Yesterday as my fingers sat motionless on my keyboard, the image of that book came into focus in my mind. Listen, self, if someone else did this, I thought, you can, too.

And so, I began to type. And type some more. (And check Facebook three times and Twitter twice and answer an email.) And type some more.

Before I knew it, it was 7PM (my “writing curfew,” which encourages me to stop writing so I make it home to see my husband at a decent hour each night) and I’d written 2,082 (marginally compelling) words. I’d been inspired by someone else to do something great.



My coworker’s author friend is, no doubt, an inspiration. But the truth of the matter is that you don’t have to look far (published authors, famous musicians, political leaders) to find inspiration. I bet that, if you stopped and looked around, you’d find inspiration as close as your friends are. Take my inner circle, for example:

  • My friend Evan has lost nearly 100 pounds and has run several races (including a half-marathon and a triathlon) and is currently training for his first full marathon in February. And all of this didn’t start until the beginning of 2010.
  • After my mom was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the beginning of this year, she changed her life and has dropped enough weight to manage the disease without medication.
  • A family from our church uprooted their entire lives to live permanently in Guatemala and minister to those whom the church has “given up” on. Also, my friend Elizabeth has been down to Guatemala twice to help with this mission and is saving up to go a third time in the spring.
  • Along the same vein, my friend Leah, her husband, and their baby left their whole lives here in Florida to help start a church in Boston earlier this year.
  • My friend Andrea is raising seven-year-old twin girls on her own.
  • My friend Ashley said she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom with her own photography business and she’s doing it.
  • My friend Eric has played guitar with all kinds of famous people (like, he’s friends with The Fray, you guys) and yet he still finds time to pore into the lives of young artists in our community and be a stand-up husband and dad.

I could go on. My friends rule.

The point is, each one of these people is an inspiration to me in some way. Inspiration fuels my passions and my desires. Inspiration makes me feel alive. Inspiration makes me happy I’m me. Inspiration makes me love myself. Inspiration makes me feel as though I could do anything I put my mind to. Like, maybe, write a novel in 30 days.

I’ve been told that I’m an inspiration before. The God’s honest truth about that is that I couldn’t inspire anyone else without the inspiration I get from others. It’s a cyclical and beautiful phenomenon. And I feel like the same thing could be true for you, too.

Who inspires you? Who makes you feel like you could do amazing things? And, in turn, do you know who YOU inspire?

diet coke 12-pack: week of october 31, 2011


Almost, friends! Almost. I hope you had an amazing Halloween and a productive first week of November. Start out your weekend with these little delights from the Interwebs.

Get down from there, cat!


That’s all, folks! I’ll see you next week. Have a fun weekend! When it’s time to party, we will party hard!

things i love thursday! (november 3, 2011)

Hello friends! This week has been all kinds of incredible — incredibly fun, incredibly stressful, incredibly rewarding. Here’s why!


  • Dinner for Laura’s birthday!
  • She-crab soup. Nom!
  • New hair!
  • The Roland.
  • Not getting enough sleep for all the right reasons.
  • Helping Zack and Sarah move.
  • Drive-thru Panera.
  • Capitol Speedway’s reunion!
  • Seeing “You Are Beautiful” written on a bathroom stall.
  • Seeing one of my J-Hi kids get baptized!
  • Tweets about said ovulation.
  • A Halloween potluck at work.
  • “Dead Snow.”
  • Justin’s party.
  • Free stuff at RedEye, thanks to Karen and Zack.
  • Meetings over wine.
  • “Turkey did you know…”
  • My husband rules.
  • My cats are cute.
  • New glasses! With rhinestones!
  • Chocolate.

Okay, people! That’s all. What do you love this week? Let me know!

fighting childhood obesity without fighting children.

A couple months ago, a good friend of mine and mother of three emailed me about childhood obesity. She’s passionate on the subject (as it should be) but is concerned about keeping her kids healthy, in shape, and making smart choices about food in a way that doesn’t encourage disordered eating in the future. (By the way, as someone who plans on having children at some point, this notion TERRIFIES me to death. If I do ANYTHING that breaks my kids to the point of disordered eating, I probably will never forgive myself. I’m even hesitant to tell them about my struggles lest they give them any ideas.)

This subject is a touchy one so I’ve done my best to avoid writing on it until now. But this afternoon, this article popped up in my Google reader about children and diets. I guess it’s time.

The first time I was ever displeased with my body was when I was eight years old. Eight. Not eighteen. Eight. A child. I distinctly remember standing in the bathroom and looking at my body from the side and being angry that my stomach poked out. (Imagine a child’s body. That’s exactly the way an eight-year-old should look.) Then, I resolved that once I got boobs, my body wouldn’t look so bad. So I looked forward to developing boobs. Then, I got boobs. And my ballet teachers made me hate them. And I wanted to starve them away and look like an eight year old again.


As a person who spent the better part of her childhood obsessed with not being fat, I can’t accurately articulate my feelings on the subject. While I absolutely hate the idea of any child being put on a diet (do NOT get me started on this) the obesity epidemic in America, particularly when it comes to children, is something that I think shouldn’t be ignored.

So. The question is, then, how do we encourage our children to make healthy decisions about food and exercise without scaring them into destructive behavior like eating disorders?

I’m no expert. I have no degree on this subject and I have no children. But. Here’s how I’m going to try to address it in the future.

1. replacing negative comments with positive ones.

The entire focus of the diet industry is to deconstruct and violently remove parts of ourselves. Seriously. “Shrink your belly!” “Melt your thighs!” “Burn more fat!” There’s nothing that sounds positive about any of that. It’s laborious, damaging, and scary. By the same token, using negative words about our bodies in front of or (God forbid) to our children has the same effect. We should never say to our children, “Don’t eat that X because it’s fattening and bad,” or, “Make sure to get outside and play so you don’t get fat.” Rather, we should say, “Make sure you do eat all your veggies so you will become big and strong,” or “Playing outside is so good for you because it keeps your body strong!” If working in marketing has taught me anything, it’s that your message is 90% spin.

2. practicing what i preach.

People say that children are sponges — they absorb everything adults do, retain it, and eventually leak it out on their own. I completely agree with this, but I disagree with the idea that it goes away when we grow up. Personally, I don’t think I ever stopped being a sponge. I’m always watching people and sometimes (unfortunately) emulating them. If our kids see us complain about our bodies or use negative language toward food, they’re going to do it. Period. I can’t pinpoint the reason that I thought my eight year old belly stuck out too far, but I can only assume that it’s probably because I heard someone else say that about themselves.

3. focusing on what we can do, not what we look like.

This, I think, is the biggest miss of our entire society. We focus so much on what we look like and hardly at all on what we can do. (My biggest pet peeve concerning this, for instance, is the body ideal of having a completely bone-thin body with giant boobs and a round butt. Sorry, but this isn’t anatomically possible. Yet, our society demands it of us women, because all we seem to be worth is how easy we are on the eyes.) By putting the focus on what we can do — our talents, our passions, our gifts, our strengths — we put value in the things that, despite the passage of time, will not change. I think this is crucial to raising happy, healthy children.

4. not a diet — but a way of life.

Diets don’t work. They don’t. If you can’t sustain a behavior for the rest of your life, it’s not going to help you. Sure, cutting out carbs helps you lose weight for a minute; but once you eat a bagel again (and you will, I promise) you’ll gain it all back and then some. Committing to a healthy lifestyle — choosing healthy foods, eating “unhealthy” foods in moderation, being active, and training your mind to think positively — is the way to go. I am making a vow, here and now on my blog, to never, ever, EVER, say the words, “I need to go on a diet” in front of my kids. I may say, “I need to eat more fruits and vegetables,” or “I should keep my sugar intake to a minimum,” or some variant of those, but I will NEVER say, “I need to go on a diet.” Everything inside me would cringe if I heard my kids say that and so, per number 2 and 3, I will never say it myself.

And there you have it. It’s a bit rough, and may be tweaked a bit once I actually have kids. But there it is.

What about you? Do you have kids? If so, how have you encouraged health in your house?