what sorrow. oh, but what joy.

So, we’re knee-deep into the season of Advent and I have yet to acknowledge that on my blog. While I do mention my faith on here from time to time, I try not to blog exclusively about it because I’m a bloody coward and don’t want to lose my Atheist followers. (SHOUT OUT! Love y’all!) But, as a woman of faith, sometimes there are things about my life that are totally, completely, 100% wrecked by Jesus and, at the same time, super bloggable.

This post is about one of those times. Sorry if it offends you or whatever. I don’t mean to do that.

We cool? Cool. [Atheist/Christian approved fist bump]

Being a non-denominational gal, I typically shy away from stuff like Advent. But I have been actively participating in Lent the past few years, so I figured why the H not, because Lent is a lot harder than Advent, in my opinion. If I can refrain from straightening my hair for 40 days and learn something about God, I can probably learn something about God in the days leading up to a holiday where I know I’m gonna get a butt load of presents. #winning

My daily devotional time (that’s just a fancy-pants Christian-ese way of saying, “reading the Bible and praying and journaling every day”) has been through a guided set of scriptures put together by a friend in my bible study. Typically we start out in the Psalms, either crying out to or praising God for pain or for joy. Then we read some Old Testament major/minor prophet goodness, then hit the Gospels, then call it a day.

Monday’s chunk out of Isaiah is all about Judah’s guilt and judgment by God. Without getting into too much detail, Judah is a little brat. And God is tired of it.

A lot of the time when I read these stories, I find it hard to connect with them. After all, I’m not a drunkard, I’m not an adultress, and I’m not a murderer. I’m a good little Christian girl, trying my hardest to stay under the judgment radar. But when I read this excerpt, it clawed its way into my heart and hasn’t left since.

What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them
with ropes made of lies,
who drag wickedness behind them like a cart!

— Isaiah 5:18

While I’ve never killed anyone or had an affair, I felt as though the writer was speaking directly to me.

In recent days, some interesting things have developed in my personal life. (No, before you ask, I’m not having marital problems and my child is completely healthy.) I can’t, in good faith, blog about these things so candidly because I wish to protect the other parties involved. But I will say this — going through what I’m going through right now has made me realize that, like the sinful Judah, I tend to drag my past hurts, failures, and sins behind me, tethered to my weary ankles by the deepest, darkest lies I’ve ever heard told.

You have failed at relationships. You have failed at a lot of things. You are a mess and everyone around you is about to find out. 

Advent is a time of “active waiting” — that is, actively seeking the savior that is bound to somehow be born to a virgin (which, side note, after giving birth I’d like to say that it’s completely unfair of Mary to have to go through the BS that is childbirth without at least getting some action first) and allowing His grace to be enough.

For me in this moment, active waiting looks like this:

  • Allowing those who love me to actually love me 
  • Allowing those who know me to actually know me and still actually love me
  • Basking in the grace I receive everyday, not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what He has done
  • Not giving a f___ what others think about me, as my good friend Nora, the self-proclaimed monk, has told me.

What sorrow for those who drag their sins behind them. What joy for those who die to them and rise to Grace!

friday favorite: my friends.

“Maybe you just have good taste in people.”

That’s something a good friend of mine said on the phone to me earlier this week. I happen to think she’s right. I do make a pretty decent effort to surround myself with people I know will lift me up rather than drag me down or drain me of my emotional resources.

When I survey the group of people I’m blessed enough to call my friends, I’m blown away.

Talented artists. Writers. Musicians. 

Fervent believers. Inspirers. Teachers.

Comedians. Listeners. Sympathizers. 

I could go on all day.

Basically, if you’re not friends with my friends, I feel sorry for you because they’re baller.

Happy Friday, everyone. 🙂

things i love thursday! (december 6, 2012)

Happy birthday to me, y’all! I turned 27 on Saturday so, obviously, I have a lot to be thankful for this week.

nora_redeye

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • My epic birthday weekend!
  • My awesome husband for putting that together.
  • Birthday dinner at the Melting Pot.
  • Libby taking on Dax for round two. (She won this time!)
  • Butterbeer cupcakes.
  • My Harry Potter themed birthday party and the fact that Dax (for the most part) slept right through it!
  • Sleep. Always and forever.
  • Getting visited at work by my two favorite guys.
  • Praying over text message. Oh, technology.
  • Getting to hang out with Nora a lot because…
  • … we played a show together on Saturday! What a great birthday gift.
  • The season of Advent.
  • Dedicating our baby to God in front of our community.
  • Dinner with the crew after church, just like old times!
  • A happy, smiley, adaptable baby that allows us to drag him everywhere.
  • Hulu Plus and Netflix.
  • Dinner with the Mocks at Piggy’s.
  • Running into another family from our childbirth class! Baby Oliver is so cute!
  • Friending said family on Facebook so I don’t have to keep praying I just randomly run into them around town anymore.
  • My counselor.
  • MY AWESOME MOM, whose birthday was yesterday!
  • A delicious, fun, agenda-free lunch with this dude.
  • Coffeeeeeee.
  • My friends and family. I have the best life.

What do you love this week? 

friday favorite: cojones.

That’s right, you guys. I have cojones.

Not literally, of course. The fact that I bore a child almost four months ago attests to that fact.

But figuratively. I’ve got some balls. And that’s my favorite thing about myself this week.

There are certain aspects about our life that Dan and I aren’t content with. I say that vaguely, because for the most part it’s great. But there are certain things about that we feel called to change. So we’ve started exploring some options on how to do that.

One of my ex-coworkers and his wife did things kind of the way we’d like to. So, a couple weeks ago, I called my coworker and then emailed his wife. Today I had lunch with her.

How does that take cojones, you ask?

Well, before our lunch today I’d never met her. Ever.

Takes some pretty big balls to go out to lunch with someone you’ve never met. But had I not reached out to her, I wouldn’t have had a great meeting and gleaned practical knowledge for motherhood.

Good job, self! Way to go!

things i love thursday! (november 8, 2012)

Oh heeeeey there, Thursday. You’re looking swell. Oh, what’s that Thursday? You say you’re less than a month away from my birthday? So glad you remembered! How about I repay you with a list of gratitude?

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • HEAT and HOT WATER because so many people are without right now. 😦
  • Dax’s “Trick or Treat” jammies.
  • All of Dax’s jammies, actually. Footies for the win!
  • Barbecue chicken pizza. “Vegan” style.
  • Brainstorming and song writing.
  • Playing Libby’s REAL piano! I want one of my own so badly, but this will do! (Weighted keys, where have you been all my life?!)
  • People who have asked, “How can I pray for you?” and meant it.
  • AMBIEN.
  • Lazy Saturdays with college football and my boys.
  • Playing music with my friends.
  • Staying at church until almost 10PM because a certain baby boy was passed out on my chest.
  • Being productive.
  • Seeing my friends start dating each other!
  • Snuggling on the couch watching The Daily Show with Hamlet and Romeo. (Poor attention-starved kitties.)
  • Getting ADORABLE pictures sent to me by the girl who watches Dax on Tuesday. (See above. Is he not a lady killer? A chunky one at that!)
  • Election night drinking games.
  • And, of course, BARACK OBAMA!
  • Also: White People Mourning Romney. Because duh.
  • The Internet, for that matter.
  • Leftovers.
  • Jeopardy!
  • gChat/IM at work.
  • Coffee.
  • The sweet card my hubs got for me completely unprovoked.
  • “Small is beautiful.”
  • My friends. Period.

What do you love this week? It’s okay if you say Mitt Romney. We’re all friends here.

things i love thursday! (october 25, 2012)

Wow you guys. I haven’t been this sleep-deprived since HAHAHA OH WAIT I JUST ALWAYS AM SLEEP-DEPRIVED BECAUSE I’M A NEW MOM AND THAT’S JUST LIFE.

Anyway. In lieu of a nap, here’s my weekly love list. Voila!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Smiles and coos from my little boy.
  • Writing songs with a good friend.
  • My mommy came to town for a couple days!
  • Got to see the Pooles again and hang with baby Jack.
  • Calling Dax a sack of potatoes. Because he is one.
  • When trying to figure out lunch options: ME: “Oh. We have a voila.” MOM: “What’s that?” ME: “Instant stir fry.” MOM: “Oh. Voila!”
  • Making mad music.
  • Carrying around a napping baby in a sling. Call me crazy but I love to wear my kid. Like skinny jeans.
  • Skinny jeans, for that matter. Particularly, wearing PRE-PREGNANCY skinny jeans.
  • Eric’s Dax voice.
  • @HonestBaby and @HonestToddler — seriously, all parents should follow these Twitter accounts. Sheer hilarity.
  • Scream-singing to my child (and my entire neighborhood, for that matter). I’ve found that, as far as my kid is concerned, pitch and key do not matter as much as sheer volume does when it comes to lullabies. (Sorry neighbors.)
  • Humbling gChats.
  • Bathtime cuddles. (LOOK AT THAT FACE, I CAN’T EVEN.)
  • Cupcakes.
  • Finding someone to watch Dax on Tuesdays.
  • Getting sweet emails/messages from friends who are thinking about having babies. (If you’re on the fence, PLEASE GO FOR IT! HAVE ALL THE BABIES!)
  • Seeing my friends chase after callings, even when they’re scary.
  • All you can eat sushi.
  • Encouraging tweets.
  • Libby on the drums!
  • Using “Instagram” as a verb.
  • My husband’s dad beard is finally not so scratchy. His ghost-stache, however…
  • Sweet, selfless friends.
  • #fatbottomgirlprobs

YO. Whatchu love this week?

if only you would rest.

Our baby boy is now three months old and, unfortunately, has decided he’s too old for naps.  A 30-minute snooze here, a 45-minute conk-out there, but nothing substantial. It’s quite the challenge to get this boy to lay down AND STAY DOWN for an hour or more, despite his obvious developmental (and emotional) need for quality shut-eye.

I suppose he takes after me in this regard. I gave up napping at just eighteen months but Dax, the overachiever that he is, is trying to beat me on this one.

During the day, he’s happy as a clam to go nap-less. He smiles and coos, causing us to get dopey-eyed and do the same, all the while distracting us from the imminent doom that awaits us come bedtime.

When the sun goes down, our son’s blood pressure rises along with sizable shrieks of protest. We change him into his snuggly pajamas and try to avoid bursting into uncontrollable sobs as we clutch the angry, writhing child who, somehow, becomes stronger than us at night, against our weary chests and attempt to rock him into oblivion.

As my spirits sink, I find myself dejectedly repeating a plea in my head:

Oh, Dax, if only you would rest. If only you would shut your little eyes, stop screaming, and let yourself fall asleep once and for all. You would be such a happy child. You would be so safe. So sound. If only you would stop fighting me and just find rest in my arms.

After what feels like an eternity, he does finally nod off into the deepest, most restful sleep possible. He face-plants on our bed for hours and hours, completely still, as if he wasn’t just a mass of flailing arms and legs mere minutes before. And each time I think, See? Isn’t this better than fighting me? Isn’t this rest better than the anguish and pain?

I imagine that, as he ages in infancy and gets more accustomed to our bedtime routine, this will get better. And then, when he’s old enough to understand the implications of rest and sleep, he will resume the bedtime battle, as if he is suffering from amnesia in only one tiring and frustrating way.

As I transition through this identity crisis (that is, going from the go-to girl for everything to a 100% committed mom) it’s hard to find my center. It’s hard to focus on the good, rather than the bad. It’s hard to not be bitter about having to work, or not being able to be involved in the things I used to be involved in, or that my friendships have to be much more intentional now that my free time is basically null and void. Consequently, in my prayer time, I have found myself calling out to God selfishly, sinfully, demanding, “Why is my life ___ way as opposed to ___ way? Why am I ___ kind of person and not ____ kind? Why are things happening the way YOU want them to as opposed to the way I want them to?”

Last night, as I was falling asleep and praying this familiar prayer, I heard my own voice respond back,

Oh, Lindsay. If only you would rest. 

My heart stopped. I went still. I listened some more.

Oh, Lindsay. If only you would rest. If only you would stop fighting Me and let Me love you. If only you would realize what plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. If only you would close your eyes and stop fighting Me. If only you would rest.

Indeed. If only.

falling.

It’s autumn now which, where I live, means that you can walk from your car to the coffee shop without beginning to perspire profusely (profusely being the operative word, here). You can order a hot latte instead of an iced, if you’d like (or not, if you don’t like) and you can wear a cardigan if you want (or not, if you don’t want) but you are probably still rocking your $2 Old Navy flip fops because REALLY, PEOPLE, IT’S NOT COLD ENOUGH FOR YOUR UGG BOOTS JUST YET, ADMIT IT.

The majority of a Floridian year (March to mid-October) is actually just “summer.” While the rest of the country is sipping hot cocoa and wrapping scarves around their necks, we’re still armpit-deep in a season which, solstices and equinoxes aside, never fails to arrive earlier than we want it to and always, always overstays its welcome. And so, when the relatively “cooler” temperatures finally do show up, they always provoke within me the contemplation of the year at hand, the one that’s steadily slipping away.

How is it fall already? I swear it was just yesterday I was clinking glasses of non-alcoholic champagne at midnight to protect the precious, not-yet-public life growing within me, cheering on the hopes and dreams surrounding the possibilities brought on by a brand new year. And now, with each falling leaf, another minute of 2012 simultaneously shrivels up and floats to the ground, only to be stomped on by an indifferent passerby.

Last Saturday, my group of friends gathered together in the morning as we do each month to eat breakfast and study the bible.

After we all settled down with our plates of donuts and pigs-in-blankets (I had roughly fifty of them… roughly) I quietly surveyed the room of my friends. It was filled with individuals — all unique, all special, all quirky and broken, yet undeniably lovable in our own ways — who have experienced enormous amounts of change throughout this seemingly endless summer:

  • The discussion was prepared and led by a good friend who, at the beginning of the year, before summer swooped in and melted everything, moved to Birmingham to be with his fiancee. The first of our friends to take a huge leap of faith and dive into something alien and unknown, but with the full knowledge that God was behind him 100%.
  • Several months later, in the dead heat of the Florida summer, we gave birth to a baby boy. A boy who, completely unbeknownst to him, would change our world (read: our community’s world, not just mine and Dan’s) for the better in ways we’ll probably never be able to accurately articulate. I can’t deny the fact that seeing that positive pregnancy test did send me into a minor panic attack at first, but once that subsided, I knew that God had a huge plan for us. And I was excited to embark on that journey with my husband and friends right beside me. (I was also excited for summer to be over because YOU TRY BEING 38 WEEKS PREGNANT IN FLORIDA IN JULY.)
  • A few months later, mere weeks ago, two of our friends got engaged and set a date to be married in March, the usual start of “summer”.
  • Another friend purchased her first house just a few weeks before Dax was born. As someone who has now gotten married AND had a baby, I have to say that I’d do those things a thousand times over before buying a home. At this point, homeownership scares the dickens out of me. I’m so proud of her.
  • Another good friend continues to be healed of an autoimmune disease right before our eyes through prayer and obedience. Oh, and her husband is getting a puppy.

A whirlwind of change over the course of this year — mostly this summer. All in one, tiny, apartment living room.

As I write this, I’m sitting in my favorite coffee shop, one whose walls are about 80% windows, and just on the other side of the glass, a man with a leaf blower is loudly clearing the sidewalks of all of the crunchy, brown, tell-tale examples of the season.

In a way, I feel like each of us is a dried up leaf, withered by the effects of the summer, by the steady passing of time over which we have no control, being violently pushed around by the gusts of change.

As if 2012, which came so quickly and is on its way out just as fast, wasn’t chock full of enough changes, there is already a handful of changes lined up for the coming year. New marriages. New locations. New jobs. New babies.

No matter how far away we end up, no matter how blown away we each become, no matter how stepped on or rained on we may get, no matter how different things end up, there is one truth to cling to: we have all fallen from the same tree.

And that won’t ever change.

introducing: friday favorites!

Can I speak off the cuff for a second? (Psh. Why am I even asking? This is my blog, you guys. I do what I want.)

I’ve been pretty aware of all the ways I suck lately. Mostly, over the past week. I guess that makes sense, what with me going back to work and wrestling with what that means as far as my contribution to my home and family. It stands to reason, I suppose, that in this time of transition I might find myself struggling to focus on what is praiseworthy about myself. (Philippians 4:8.)

The truth is, self-love isn’t something you just achieve one day and then bam, you’re all better. I really wish it were that simple, but the reality is that loving yourself in a society that does its damnedest to point out everything that’s wrong with you takes daily discipline. It takes the strength to wake up every single day and look yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, Self, you’re all right.”

Unfortunately, with everything that’s been going on in my life as of late (you know, having a kid and all) I haven’t really taken care of myself in that respect. Sure, I make sure I eat every day and try to squeeze a shower in here and there (I washed my hair last night, y’all!) but as far as putting forth the effort it takes to truly, honestly, take care of my self-esteem and consequential mental health, I’m falling behind. And it’s starting to wear on me.

An old issue I’ve struggled with in the past has reared its ugly head recently. The issue? Allowing myself to be loved without doing anything. 

I’d thought I’d beat it. I thought that, with the help of this blog and the people with whom I surround myself, I’d finally let that little part of me die. But, since stepping away from all the things I “do” for people in order to focus on my son and my family, I’ve started to feel as though I’m being replaced. Forgotten. Unloved.

While I know that isn’t the case, right now it’s hard to believe it. So, I’ve decided to go ahead and use this blog for what it was originally intended — a tool with which I can learn to love myself daily. I’m going to dust off the old “self-love” warrior training boxing gloves and start a new weekly post series on my blog. I’d like to introduce to you,

lindsay’s friday favorites!

On Fridays, as a discipline, I’m going to post a blog highlighting one thing about myself that I like, that is my “favorite trait” of the week. One thing, I might add, is just ME. Not something I DO. Just something I AM. It may be physical, or not. It may be an item of clothing I bought or a way I did my hair. It might be a book I started reading and the thoughts it provoked within me. I’m not sure yet. But all I know is that I’m going to commit to doing this every Friday to remind myself that I’m valuable just because I am.

I’d like to challenge you, my readers, to do it, too. On my Friday Favorites posts, I want you to comment the things you love about yourself that week. Nothing would make me happier than knowing that my struggles, and the disciplined nature through which I will try to overcome them, might actually be a positive influence in your lives as well.

And so. Starting next Friday, we’re going to do this. We’re going to start to love ourselves, one little blog post at a time.

my “normal”.

My baby boy is eight weeks old today. I know it’s cliche and all, but seriously — time flies when it comes to kids. These eight weeks have zoomed by me in a sleep-deprived blur. I feel like it was just yesterday we were being admitted into the delivery room and seeing this face for the first time.

But no. That was eight weeks ago. Those images, compared to the face I saw when I woke up this morning…

 

…blow my mind. He’s already grown and changed so much.

As you’ve noticed, the blog has been quiet these last two weeks. That’s been both unintentional (Dax has had reflux and colic going on which makes for one tired and busy momma) and intentional. I’ve been savoring these precious last weeks as a stay-at-home mommy. When I found that I had some time, I could either snuggle my boy or put him down and blog. Naturally, I chose the former.

A couple weeks ago, I went to a bible study at my church that is comprised of all moms. The newest mom there, I felt a bit awkward and out of place at first. I was the least experienced mother in the circle — still in the throes of nightfeeds and blowout diapers, and nowhere near potty training or choosing a preschool — and felt like I had nothing to offer. Despite my extremely outgoing nature, I spent the better part of the “socializing time” just sitting on the couch, staring at my feet, wondering if I could contribute anything worthwhile to the conversation. I decided that, nope, I couldn’t. Those moms had all been-there-done-that. It’s been quite some time since I’ve felt that strange about being around other people. (That also may have had something to do with my severe lack of personal hygiene but hey, showers are hard to come by these days.)

As we settled in to the devotion, I started to feel a bit more comfortable. A bit more like I belonged. I eased into the discussion and back into my normal skin as I listened to Margo, a good friend and the group leader, read that week’s lesson. It was called, Waiting for Normal.

I don’t remember the specifics of the story, but I do know that it was about a mom who compared her family life — her husband working long hours, never home for dinner, the kids on a weird schedule — with that of her neighbor’s — dinner on the table at the same time every night, the family always together, etc. Sadly, she deduced that her neighbor’s life was “normal” and hers was not. Therefore, she saw no point in trying to maintain a “normal” schedule until her husband stopped working such bizarre hours. She ordered pizza every night instead of cooking. She didn’t enforce a bedtime routine. She said she was just “waiting for normal” in order for life to be worth it.

That devotion was really convicting to me.

You see, when Dan and I first got married, we made an agreement to not have kids until we were in a financial position where I could stop working and stay home with them. Well, as you know, Dax came before we were anywhere near that position. The entirety of my pregnancy and the majority of the first weeks of motherhood, I’ve been fretting over our lack of “normal”. As each day would pass, my maternity leave running out like grains of sand in an hour glass, I would get more and more anxious about the fact that I have to return to work soon because that’s not “normal”. What’s “normal” is what Dan and I agreed on when we got married.

I felt like I was being held at gunpoint and forced to make a choice between my baby and my job. If I chose my baby, everything would be ruined. We wouldn’t be able to afford our apartment, our cars, food, or healthcare. But if I chose my job over my babyeverything would be okay.

Everything, that is, except for the fact that it’s not “normal” and my baby would suffer because of it.

Naturally, the end of the devotion came with the woman realizing that just because her “normal” was different from her neighbor’s didn’t mean it wasn’t “normal”. It was just a different “normal”.

Monday morning, I’ll walk back into my office after having eight wonderful weeks with my boy. The transition will be hard, of course, but the thing I have to remember is that this is my “normal”. I’m not choosing my job over my baby. I’m just choosing my baby in a different way. By going back to work, I’m choosing for him to have health insurance and clothes and diapers and every other baby amenity out there. Just because this isn’t the “normal” I envisioned for myself, it is our “normal”.

And it’s perfect.