bad guys.

I can’t remember how young I was when I learned that there are “bad guys” out there, but it was pretty early. I remember being not older than maybe 5 or so, and my cousin (two years younger than me) and i were at Disney and in line for Splash Mountain and I remember a man, probably a dad, in his thirties or forties, letting my cousin and I go ahead of him (probably because he couldn’t see our family watching and thought we might be alone). And I distinctly remember panicking and telling my cousin that this man was going to steal us away and kill us, so I grabbed my cousin’s hand and dragged him to the front of the line so we could evade danger.

This afternoon, Dax and I were sitting on the floor watching some LEGO Marvel superhero show on Netflix (he really wanted to see Hulk and this was all that was available). He knew who most all the heroes were — Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and OF COURSE Hulk — but these good guys were doing battle (in the sky!) with a bunch of enemies I didn’t recognize. But I tried to explain to Dax who they were anyway.

“Those are bad guys,” I said.

“Bad guys,” he repeated.

“Yep, Hulk is fighting the bad guys. Don’t worry. Hulk will win.”

A few minutes later, Dax got up from my lap and went out onto the lanai.

“Bad guys, sky,” he said, pointing to the horizon.

“Oh no, Bubs, there aren’t any bad guys in the sky for REAL. That was just pretend.”

“Bad guys, sky,” he said again.

And then I felt my stomach drop. Because I’d just lied to my son. It wasn’t even half a day ago I was in my car hearing the latest reports of the Islamic State and comments from Pakistani leaders who are disappointed with Malala Yousafzai’s awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize because she is no more than just a “useless girl” and feeling overwhelmed with the number of bad guys in the world.

But there are heroes, too. There are good people, too, and I hope that I am providing enough examples for my son so that when he is old enough to realize the bleak state of the world, he won’t be nearly as cynical as I am.

joy.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. – John 10:10

“As soon as we pay off our student loans, then we can really enjoy life.”

“As soon as my son passes the ‘terrible twos’ and stops throwing tantrums over dinner, we’ll be in good shape.”

“As soon as I learn how to master every chore in the most efficient way possible, then I can really relax on weekends.”

These are just a handful of “if, then” statements I’ve muttered to myself over the past few years. There are plenty more, but they are all essentially the same in that they don’t allow me to experience joy until certain stars align. I get myself so focused on the THEN, that I feel like I can’t possibly enjoy the NOW.

I was thinking about that this week as I was preparing the discussion for our monthly small group and the above scripture jumped out at me. It is Jesus speaking and, in most teachings, the “thief” he refers to Satan. And certainly I think this still applies. But there are plenty of other thieves that Satan employs in our lives that come to kill and destroy the abundant life that God has promised:

  • work stress
  • financial woes
  • health issues
  • comparison
  • mean people
  • and many more.

The thing about that scripture is that there isn’t a waiting period. It’s not like, “As soon as Lindsay gets back from vacation, then the thief will steal her joy with a pile of demanding emails.” Or, “As soon as Lindsay’s paid off all her student loans, then the thief will attack her with a four-digit hospital bill.” The thief doesn’t play that game.

But thankfully, neither does the Savior. He doesn’t say in that verse, “As soon as Lindsay goes on vacation, then I will give her an abundant life.” Or “As soon as Lindsay can figure out how to tithe on the regular, then I will rain money on her head.”

It is automatic. Abundant life is automatic.

Joy is automatic.

We just have to quit waiting for it to show up.

Sure I haven’t paid off all my student loans yet; but I can afford my rent and I can buy groceries at Publix.

And sure my kid is in his terrible twos; but being his mama, I’m also his absolute #1 favorite person in the whole entire world.

And the scoreboard of my life is currently LAUNDRY-49, LINDSAY-0, but I have clothes on my back to keep me warm (regardless of their state of cleanliness and/or wrinkledness).

Joy abounds RIGHT NOW. Be glad in it.

the darnedest things.

The church where I work also has a private school onsite. My good friend Corri, who dyed my hair red, works as a teacher’s assistant there and asked me to swing by the lunchroom during lunch so she could check out how my hair turned out after washing it last night.

As she was checking out my tresses, one of the girls called out to her.

“Ms. Corri, is that your mom?”

“What?” we both shouted. My mouth fell agape. Corri quickly followed up with, “Does she really LOOK like my mom?”

The girl nodded.

“HOW OLD DO YOU THINK I AM?” I was shocked.

“I don’t know, like 24?”

“Okay,” I laughed, “so If I’m 24, how old is Ms. Corri? Like 12?”

“Yeah.”

“Well. Okay. Sure then. I’m her mom.”

rescheduled.

When you are getting ready to have kids, everyone around you (both those who have and have not had children yet) love to shower you with things — diapers (yay!), blankets, cute outfits your baby will likely wear once or twice before outgrowing them, hand-me-downs (more yay), and, of course, advice.

I got all kinds of advice when I was pregnant with and newly mothering Dax:

  • sleep when he sleeps (lol really why is this even advice, it’s so ridiculous)
  • breastfeed
  • formula-feed
  • cloth diapers are best
  • disposable diapers are best
  • swaddling always calms babies down
  • don’t give him a pacifier
  • please give him a pacifier

…and so on and so forth.

Some of it worked for us (shout out, pacifiers). A lot of it didn’t. But we did find that one of the most helpful suggestions was to try and get Dax on an eat-play-sleep schedule. It took a little while but by the end of my maternity leave (when Dax was 8 weeks old) he was sleeping “through the night” (meaning only waking once or twice to nurse and then falling immediately back to sleep) and napping through the day and we were all happy and sane-ish and loving life.

Thing is, since we chose to breastfeed, the schedule we implemented has always involved me. And since he has yet to wean, I’m still a pretty integral part to nap times and bedtime. But since he turned two and started school Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’ve all kind of had to live with a pretty irregular day-to-day schedule. Sometimes I can be there to nurse him, sometimes I can’t. Don’t worry, though — on days I can’t he does great. (Basically, if Mama’s in the house, nursing needs to happen OR ELSE. But if she’s not, it’s cool.)

Mondays are days I usually can’t be there. Dan works from home and I leave the house before Dax wakes up and come home after he has gone to bed. So on my way home from work tonight I swung by my friend’s house and had her touch up my latest dye-job. (Red, guys!) But being that she was rushed and I was also rushed, she sent me home with the dye still in my hair and the cape still around my neck and instructed me to wash it the second I got home.

When I walked through the door I expected to see Dax’s door closed and hear the soothing sounds of the white noise machine telling me he was fast asleep in his crib. But nope. Instead I found him wide awake in his Spider-Man jammies all ready for bed and ALL READY FOR MAMA TO DO BEDTIME, YAY!

Mama with her goopy head of hair dye. Mama who couldn’t do ANYTHING AT ALL, much less snuggle a toddler, until she got in the shower and all the color was washed out of her hair.

I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over. But Dan just told me to go on into the shower and he would handle it. I washed my hair as I heard Dax cry for me in the other room.

When I got out of the shower pushing 10PM, Dan said to me, “So I got Dax to calm down. But only because I told him you would go in to his room once you got done…you know, if you could.”

This frustrated me because it was already so late, and he should be going to school tomorrow so he should be getting up early, and me going into his room would only make him excited to nurse and snuggle and keep him awake longer. My head was telling me, “Just let him get over it. He’ll fall asleep and be fine.”

But my gut said, “Nah. Just see if he’s still awake. What’s one night pushing bedtime back? Even if it IS till 9:30?”

So I went in anyway. And sure enough, there he was, quiet as a mouse but awake and waiting for me. He sat up when he saw me.

“Mama milk!”

So I pulled him out of the crib and we snuggled and nursed and I rubbed his back and smelled his freshly-washed head. And after a little while I looked down at him and said, “Bubs, it’s time for night night. Can we do one more milk then night night?”

I braced myself for a tantrum but instead, he popped up off my chest and said, “One more milk! Night night!” And he nursed one more time, and then said, “Night night!” And laid down on my chest.

Then I placed him in his crib, gave him his TWO pacifiers (wasn’t kidding about that shout out), his plush Spider-Man and plush Elmo, and put his blankie over him. I bent down to kiss him and said, “Night night, Bubs. Love you.”

Then I walked to the door of his room and just as my finger tips were about to reach the handle I heard what made it all worth it:

“Love Mama.”

community.

“We’ve always done it that way” has never been an effective argument for me. Ever since I can remember, I have questioned the status quo (and have usually been overly dramatic about it — *flashback to me making a scene about the interpretation of my semi-progressive bible illustrations in 3rd grade by climbing a kumquat tree and refusing to come down*).

I truly believe that we humans were created by and in the image of a communal God, one whose strongest desire is to connect to each and every one of us and then watch us foster relationships among each other that emulate that kind of connection.

I’ve found as I’ve gotten older that it is both harder and easier to make those kinds of relationships work. It is more difficult because we are an overcommitted group of beings, we humans, having jobs and hobbies and obligations and whatnot, that suck up the majority of the 24 hours we are allotted each day. However, it is easier because, thanks to smartphones and tablets and computers and other gadgetry, we are always connected to everyone.

Like, almost literally everyone.

So why not capitalize on that connection we have? Why not embrace it? Why not try and use something modern to build relationships we’ve always been created to engage in?

Yesterday I wrote about how doing life on the internet can be a bad thing. Today, I’m going to do the opposite.

Because we ARE so overcommitted with everything, building relationships tends to be something that people just don’t have the time for. This goes for both friendships and romantic relationships and I’m here to say that, hey, don’t knock it till you try it. I mean, seriously. I’ve heard people dog on online dating, but several of my close friends have pretty great marriages thanks only to the internet.

(Okay, guys, I know that SOME people are creepers on the internet, but to push back on that, I’ve gone on enough dates with creepers who asked me out IN PERSON, soooo maybe the internet isn’t the cause of the creeps?)

Over the past year and a half I’ve been working at my church as the online campus coordinator, which basically means I’ve been tasked with creating a church community that isn’t confined to the four walls of a traditional brick-and-mortar church, but can be experienced on the WWW.

Tonight I saw some fruits of this past year’s labor when three people (who had never MET each other) and myself willingly got onto a Google Hangout while also simultaneously watching a church service online and, despite being nowhere near each other geographically and not ever being acquainted in person, we engaged in fun dialogue (both via webcam and chat), sang some songs, ate some snacks, and went to church.

Together.

Because internet.

Like, how cool is that?

Was it different from going to church in a building? Of course. Was that kind of the point? A little bit, yeah. Does that make it any less of a community than an in-person one?

I’d argue no.

So what if we’ve always done church one way? Can it not be done another way? Can it not be done in a way that transcends societal norms and also honors tradition?

Uh, yeah! And it’s awesome!

Feel free to comment below if you’re interested in this kind of gig. Because guess what — this is the internet. And, just like at church, everyone’s invited.

precious moments.

Ten years ago, when I had just graduated high school and moved into my dorm at Florida State, there was a new social networking site that had been created specifically for college students called “The Facebook.” I vividly remember a group of my fellow FSU freshmen and I rallying together to get “The Facebook” to add fsu.edu email addresses to its approved network of students.

Once we finally got on “The Facebook” (feels so weird calling it by its first name) life was never the same. All of a sudden, we could now live out all of our college experience not just in real time, but also on the internet for everyone else to see/comment on/like/validate.

That’s right — validate.

If your roommate told you she’s started dating someone, you would ask, “Well, is it Facebook official yet?” implying that her relationship wasn’t “real” until it was made public on Facebook. Similarly, if you got a new job, you would count down the minutes till you could get on your profile and update it to inform your friends of your latest career endeavor.

It’s as if those of us who have been conditioned to do life with things like Facebook and Instagram have replaced the old adage, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” with a new one:

“If it isn’t on social media, did it really happen?”

(I am just realizing that I’ve written this before. But whatever.)

I guess it goes without saying that this way of life — blurring the lines between the internet and real life to a confusing degree — can cause some serious issues. For me, those issues have manifested themselves in a few ways: becoming envious of the lives of my friends appear to have based on their posts, getting offended and upset at things people post on Facebook to the point of ruining my in-real-life days, offending/upsetting others with my own posts, and (most notably for this post) struggling with what to post and what to keep private.

There are certain things I experience that are so special to me that I have to fight the urge to post them. One example I can think of right off the top of my head is those moments in the morning when Dan and I are awake, laying in bed, before Dax wakes up. Another example is all the sweet moments I have when nursing Dax — private for obvious reasons. And just this morning — the inspiration for this post — Dax ran up to a sleeping (and, therefore inappropriately dressed) Dan, poked him and said, “Dada, waffles, please.”

Because those moments are so precious to me, I want them to be “real”, and because I am part of the Facebook generation I have to remind myself that, even if they never see the light of social media, they are no less real than the pregnancy announcements and relationship statuses that are currently populating my newsfeed.

In recent months, the idea of removing myself from Facebook has been extremely appealing if, for no other reason, it allows me to get a handle again on the preciousness of all moments of my life, regardless of their publicity. (Though if I did ditch Facebook, I would have to find a viable alternative place to post pictures of my son lest the rest of my family have my head.)

Does anyone else have this struggle?

what matters.

Being that Sundays are the start of my week (yay ministry!) Fridays are the start of my weekend. I like to try and do all the chores that have gone unnoticed throughout the busyness of the week on Fridays so that Saturdays can be reserved for fun things.

Being that I’ve been nursing a sick child back to health, this week’s chores have not just slipped under the radar; they’ve multiplied. Frustrated by the state of my house, I was scrubbing my kitchen counters with more vigor and anger than I usually do. Over the scratchy sounds of the scrub brush on our plastic-y countertops, I heard a tiny voice in the other room.

“Mama, puzzle.”

“Be right there, bud.”

“Mama, help.”

“In a minute, love. Just gotta finish cleaning this kitchen.”

“Mama, puzzle?”

And then I stopped and thought to myself.

In ten years, am I going to wish I spent more time keeping my house clean? Or am I going to desperately wish I just had one more afternoon with my two-year-old and a puzzle on a not-so vacuumed floor?

So I dropped the scrub brush and headed into the other room to find my boy.

“Do you wanna do this puzzle with Mama?”

“YEAH!” he shouted as he plopped his diaper-padded butt down on the floor with a squish.

Oh my heart. My heart, my heart, my heart.

IMG_8624

empathy.

This time last year, I was gushing with the secret that I was pregnant with my second child. Dan and I weren’t trying to get pregnant; we just did, and had it in our minds that because we got pregnant unexpectedly that this little bean growing inside me was certainly someone special.

My second pregnancy was vastly different from my first one. With Dax, I felt like Superwoman all the time (well, Superwoman who needed periodic naps throughout the day). However, the second time around, I was pretty miserable for the majority of it — constant stomach issues, nausea, hunger, and anxiety.

So when I went to the bathroom at a friend’s birthday party in late October and saw the blood indicating the beginning of “labor” (should that be in quotes? I don’t know. I certainly labored but it just feels strange to me.) part of me wasn’t all that shocked, if I’m honest. But all of me was heartbroken and sad. A few weeks afterward, when my heart was still raw, I remember praying to God and asking Him to just explain to me why.

The explanation never came, but He did give me a name — the name of the baby I’d never hold.

*****

“That’s a really interesting tattoo you have,” said my son Dax’s preschool teacher as I was bending down to pick him up today.

“Oh, thanks!”

“What made you decide to get it there?”

“Oh, yeah,” I laughed as I awkwardly flashed my armpit. (The tattoo in question is on located on the inside of my right bicep.) “This is my family tattoo — see, these two birds are for Dan and me and this bird is Dax, and this white one is for a baby we lost — so I got it on what I call my ‘mom bicep’.”

“Oh, okay,” she replied with understanding. “Did you have your miscarriage before or after Dax?”

“It was after. Like, almost exactly a year ago,” I said distracted as I reached for and just barely missed my son bolting out the door.

“Oh, yeah, I had one right before I had my son,” she offered.

After that exchange there was a blur around me involving my so-ready-to-leave toddler and all of his things, but as Dax was outside climbing into his car seat, his teacher came up behind me.

“Lindsay! I hope you aren’t upset with me about asking about your miscarriage,” she said sweetly with real concern sparkling in her eyes.

“Oh no! Not at all! If I wasn’t comfortable talking about it I wouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place.”

“Okay, just wanted to make sure,” she replied with a smile. “Have a great weekend!”

“You too!”

And just like that, we transformed from a teacher speaking with her student’s mother to two women gently sharing with each other their particular pieces of this broken life who can honestly say in that moment, “I know how you feel. It’s okay. I get it. I get you. It’s okay.”

And that is everything.

31 days of discovery – LINK UP POST.

31days

Hey! Thanks for following me along for 31 days as I discover new things in my life. This is my link up post, so as I post each day’s blog I will link it up here.

If you’re wanting to join me in writing a blog a day for the entire month of October, there is still time to link up! Click here to join in on the fun!

**********

day one: fire.

day two: empathy.

day three: what matters.

day four: precious moments.

day five: community.

day six: rescheduled.

day seven: the darnedest things.

day eight: the limit.

day nine: joy.

day ten: bad guys.

day eleven: some daxisms.

day twelve: music therapy.

day thirteen: caffeine withdrawal.

day fourteen: prayer.

day fifteen: my own strength.

day sixteen: miss (oops).

day seventeen: reality.

day eighteen: little victories.

day nineteen: love.

day twenty: silence.

day twenty-one: miss.

day twenty-two: miss.

day twenty-three: miss.

day twenty-four: miss.

day twenty-five: treats.

day twenty-six:

day twenty-seven:

day twenty-eight:

day twenty-nine:

day thirty:

day thirty-one: