things i love thursday! (june 7, 2012)

YOU GUYS. IT IS THE MONTH BEFORE MY DUE DATE. Like. I’m due to have a baby next month. 

I can’t really wrap my brain around that right now, so let’s just get to this week’s list of love!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Seeing my husband at my doctor’s appointment! (He was supposed to be in a meeting and not able to attend. That was fun!)
  • Staying up way too late watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Netflix in order to go…
  • DERPY HUNTING! (See photo.)
  • Lunch with Nora. Mostly getting my mind blown by the fact that she is only 3 degrees separated from Marshall Mathers.
  • Yes. That’s Eminem.
  • Seeing Elyse’s chunky little legs!
  • Bursting into tears while driving alone and thinking of my friends holding my baby in a few months. (Those were happy tears so they totally count!)
  • Dinner with the Hookers! They’re so awesome!
  • Getting to shower Heidi and Baby T!
  • Stopping by the park to say goodbye to a family at our church who is moving away. We’ll miss them, but the party was great! (Especially the cotton candy cupcakes! Yum!)
  • Eating out with my husband on “mini-dates”.
  • Being recognized at church on Sunday for a role from which I’m stepping down in order to focus on motherhood.
  • Hearing people compliment my son’s name.
  • Lunch with Lindsey. SO MUCH QUESO.
  • Dinner with the crew at Friday’s.
  • Our childbirth class, and seeing everyone get huger by the week. That’s amusing.
  • Baby Isaac is here! YAY!
  • Spending the night laughing and playing my new favorite card game with the Case family (even though I totally lost).
  • Bribing Levi to beat Dan. (Dollars have power to 9-year-olds, evidently.)
  • Gross lemonade.
  • Getting dinner with one of my favorite high school girls.
  • Iced vanilla lattes. Decaf, of course.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions! They’re weird and scary but they make me smile because they mean my body’s getting ready to do this thing!
  • Bible study, like usual.
  • My son distracting the whole of said bible study by doing the wave on my belly all night.
  • “Stoplies!”
  • Baby Isaiah laughs! So great!
  • Morning snuggles with the hubs.
  • When baby Dax gets the hiccups! (Got them right now!)
  • Life!

What’s on your list this week?

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?

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.

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?

your body: objectified.

Have you ever thought about why things are designed the way they are? Like, why does a pair of shears have a particularly shaped handle? And why does a chair look the way it does? Why are the keys on a keyboard shaped as such?

This weekend, some friends and I watched a documentary called Objectified that addresses the theory and beauty behind the design of objects. What the documentary shows (I think, anyway… I can’t be totally sure because I feel as though the film, as well as the other people that were in the room watching it, is infinitely more intelligent than I am) is that a lot of people don’t really give a lot of thought to why things look a certain way. They just use the products, completely unaware of the intricate and meticulous intentionality behind their design.

The best example of this, I think, was a Japanese toothpick — at first glance, it looks like any regular toothpick. But on the end, you’ll find two little grooves that cause the toothpick to break. This isn’t because the toothpick is defective. This is intended for two reasons: 1) to communicate to other people the toothpick has been used, and 2) to create a nifty little toothpick “stand” for it to sit on.

[Image source]

On the other hand, some people are drawn to objects simply because of their design. The design cultivates some sort of emotional response within the user: This product is reliable (Toyota Camry). This product is promotes a youthful image (MacBook Pro). This product is what’s in right now. (Prada sunglasses). Whatever. 

When I got pregnant, I scheduled a meeting with one of my favorite female mentors to tell her the good news and pick her brain about the next stage in my life. Not parenthood, mind you — but pregnancy. I had no idea what to expect being pregnant and, even more than that, was overly concerned about what I should be doing/should not be doing while gestating a child.

The best thing she offered me went like this:

“Lindsay, God is a perfect designer. He has already designed your body for this. It is already doing what it is supposed to do. You just get to enjoy it.”

My body was designed for this. This, among every other thing I do in a day. I was designed.

My body (as well as yours) is an object that was delicately created, each part with a specific purpose. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hands to feel and lungs to breathe. But, in contrast of, say, the toothpick, our bodies are also objects that evoke emotion, whether they were created to or not. And in this society, women’s bodies in particular have been known to conjure up some pretty gnarly emotions.

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought of was how uncomfortable and obnoxious my even-bigger-than-before-if-you-can-believe-it boobs are. Now that I’m about seven months pregnant, my body is hardly recognizable to me anymore and, on top of that, hurts everywhere. While wrapping my arms around my ever-expanding frame, I squeezed so hard I winced in pain, praying silently that it would just STOP. I thought of all the celebrities who have babies and are back in bikinis on the cover of magazines the following week, loudly proclaiming that they, “Got [their] body back!” as if their selfish and menacing children stole it from them and I wanted to scream. I remembered all the times I tried to starve every lump, rump, and bump on my body away, wishing they’d disappear forever, never to be pointed out by raunchy men or ogled over by pissy women ever again.

But what if it the toothpick was subject to the same standards we are as women? Though we are both equally designed for functionality and appeal, what if the toothpick had to put up with the same stuff we women do, both from ourselves and society as a whole?

Imagine for a minute the toothpick is sentient (let’s call him Toothy McPickster) and someone came along and pointed at the grooves in Toothy’s abdomen and demanded he get rid of those disgusting “love handles”?

That’s ridiculous, right? Those grooves were put there specifically to fulfill a greater purpose after Toothy does his duty of picking someone’s teeth. So why must they be scrutinized? Particularly when he can’t do anything to change them that doesn’t require some sort of painful procedure, probably in the form of carving away these grooves? (Insert plastic surgery/crash dieting/other harmful way of body modification metaphor here.)

Just as I was about to curse my body yet one more time today, I remembered my son. And how my body is an object that was designed to give him life.

I’ve pored over the words of Psalm 139 countless times in my life — I’ve even written the words across the top of my bathroom mirror in dry-erase marker — but they take on a whole, new meaning after watching Objectified.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

We were designed for a purpose, whether we know what that purpose is (feet to walk, eyelids to blink) or we don’t (big breasts, small butts, wide hips, bumpy tummies).

In a world that does everything it can to objectify us on its own terms, let us be objectified on our Creator’s terms. 

things i love thursday! (april 26, 2012)

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a week. So much has happened. So many wonderful things. We are so blessed. On to this week’s list of love.

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Having a wonderful place to stay with friends we adore.
  • Being able to blog, thanks to a friend loaning me her laptop.
  • Chrissie’s bachelorette party! Yeah!
  • Sparkly shoes.
  • The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Disposable cameras, and Gary’s use of them.
  • Finally getting Chrissie married off. What a gorgeous wedding!
  • Being able to hang out with good friends during said wedding.
  • Shirley Temples.
  • Hanging out with Stephen and Ashley finally. We’ve only been trying to do that for a year and a half.
  • Hearing my sweet little boy’s heartbeat this morning.
  • Walking around the neighborhood.
  • “Camping” with my husband.
  • Mocha frappes.
  • Sweet friends buying us dinner.
  • Brownies.
  • Seeing the kitties and Nikki and Chris!
  • Naps in my car.
  • Hanging out with my girlfriends.
  • Being prayed for.
  • Bible study shenanigans and birth analogies.
  • Baby Isaiah snuggles.
  • Chocolate (shocking, I know).
  • Being part of a wonderful, generous, supportive community.
  • Frozen yogurt.
  • Sleep.
  • Baby kicks.
  • Life.
  • God.

What do you love this week?

a wee bit of an update.

The outpouring of love and support we’ve received since the break-in is immeasurable. From loaning me a laptop so I can work and blog (!!!), to housing us and our cats, to praying for us, to donating to replace our stuff, everyone around us has been so supportive. We really feel loved and taken care of. It’s amazing. Typing out “thank you” seems so trite and useless, but seriously — thank you.

The night we were burglarized (not robbed, sorry — that was a journalist fail on my part) we packed up whatever else we deemed valuable (including, but not limited to, my camera, Dan’s guitar, our Harry Potter wands — no joke — and Dax’s first bowtie) and some clothes and went to crash with some friends. We’re still staying with them because,  even though Dan’s comfortable going back to the house, I can’t stomach it. Just driving through the neighborhood sends chunks rising up my throat. The police investigation (sparked by one of our items being listed on Craigslist) confirmed that the burglars were more than likely people who live in our neighborhood.

Our neighbors. I feel so watched. So violated.

So, we took it upon ourselves to look up the reported crimes that have happened within 1000ish feet of our house in the past six months: one weapons violation, two instances of grand theft (though our burglary is also considered grand theft, so let’s just say three), four auto burglaries, one armed robbery, twelve instances of battery or assault, twenty-one residential burglaries (including ours, yay), and one teensy-weensy little thing referred to as an attempted homicide.

Of course, these are just the instances that were reported to police.

So now we’re just trying to figure out what’s feasibly next for us. We have two months left on our lease, which makes things really hard. As much as we appreciate having friends to crash with, it’s really stressful to not have our “own” place, our own home, especially when I’m so pregnant and wanting desperately to have a safe place to house my child.  Thankfully, we have really narrow parameters (a fixed dollar amount for rent and NONE of those crime stats) so our options have been limited to three apartment complexes around town that fit our needs. Here’s hoping we can snag one soon!

Thanks for your continued support and prayers. Seriously. We are so blessed.

the go-to girl.

There was a time in my life I would get supremely offended if I wasn’t asked to do something important for the organizations in which I was involved, whether they be work-related, school-related, church-related, or otherwise.

Planning an event? You’d better ask me to help.
Putting together a band for something? You know you need me to play and/or sing.
Creating a video? You’d be amiss to  not employ my skills.
If you ask someone else, I’ll know it’s because you think I’m completely worthless and incapable of anything good.  

This mindset got me to a point where I was volunteering for any and everything that was needed. My goal was to be everyone’s go-to girl. What’s more, if I felt like I wasn’t someone’s go-to girl for something, I was mad about it, even if the reality was that I was already spread too thin and stressed out to the point of breaking down.

That time in my life wasn’t so long ago, actually. In truth, that time in my life was…

Oh that’s right.

Now.

I suppose it has something to do with my innate need to be loved and accepted by everyone. Ergo, if I’m not doing a thousand things for other people, I’m not giving those people a reason to love me, which means they will reach out to others for their needs and love them instead.

Oh, insecurity. You tricky, tricky jerk.

When I got pregnant, I was forced to sit down and really analyze all the ways I was spending my time — working two jobs, volunteering in and/or leading four (four?! is it really that many?!) ministries, recovering from knee surgery, trying to keep my marriage and other relationships intact…

And I came to the conclusion that I had to step down from some things. And, thanks to my crazy insecurities, it hurt a lot:

You can’t step down from anything. People will think you’re weak. That you can’t handle anything. That you’re worthless and stupid and obviously undeserving of love. If you do this, the people you hold dearest to you will always label you a selfish loser with nothing to offer anyone. If you’re not everyone’s go-to girl, you’re going to be no one’s anything. 

Ouch.

Even though I didn’t want to, I sat down for a meeting with my husband, who is the pastor in charge of the junior high ministry, to discuss an end date for me as a volunteer. (Yes, by the way — I do have scheduled “meetings” with my husband. There are only so many times you can talk shop on your couch before you’re sick of it.) After sobbing uncontrollably over it, I agreed to continue as a volunteer through the end of April, with the 29th as my last day. We’d break the news to the students then. I was absolutely heartbroken. I felt like I was letting all of the students and my husband down.

“You’re not letting me down,” he reassured. “Either way, I win. Either I have a great junior high ministry leader, or I have a healthy, not-stressed out wife and a healthy baby boy.”
“But you deserve to have both,” I protested.
“You can’t give me both. And that’s okay.”

Okay? How is that okay?! It means that someone else is going to step in and be your right-hand ministry leader. Someone else who isn’t me! Someone who may be a better leader than I was! How is that okay?!

After that meeting was over, I knew I had to have another meeting with Lori, the church administrator and a dear friend, about stepping down from leader of the Outward Connexity (fancy term for “fellowship”) Ministry. You’d think that after my meeting with Dan (that went really well, I think, despite my outrageously embarrassing crying fit) I’d be that much more ready for my meeting with Lori. But I was dreading it — after all, it’s one thing to be honest about your limitations with the guy who signed a legally binding document that he’d love you no matter what. It’s quite another to do so with someone who isn’t contractually obligated to care about you.

Last week after rehearsal for an event we have coming up this Friday, Lori and I walked out to the parking lot and were bouncing details about the event back and forth off of each other. Eventually, the subject of events in the fall came up and my stomach dropped.

“Actually, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that…” I started.
“You know,” she said smiling, “I was originally going to tell you that you were done after this event. But, then, I remembered that you need to work on saying no to things. So I was just waiting for you to come to me and tell me you were stepping down.”

Well. Okay then.

So. That’s it. I’ve surrendered two things and (surprisingly) the world is still spinning and I still have friends.

Am I the only one who feels this way? I can’t be, right? Help me out. 

on motherhood and finally “getting it”.

Beth is a sweet friend and mentor of mine whom, surprisingly, I’ve actually never met in person. At this point it’s hard to imagine that’s actually true, based on our email exchanges. I swear, sometimes it’s like I’ve known her my whole life. (Maybe that’s because I’m besties with her brother? Does that relationship transcend? Orrrrr am I a big creeper? I’m probably a big creeper.)

Yesterday, she sent me an email asking for prayer on sending one of her beautiful daughters away (like, far away) to college. She detailed her feelings in a blog post and a link to it was included in her email.

So I read it. And I cried a little bit. And I wrote her an email in response.

She told me I should put my response on this blog. I was hesitant to because, well, no one likes to feel vulnerable. And my reply to her makes me feel very vulnerable. But. I trust her, so I’m going to, after omitting a couple super personal details. (Plus I think it might make my mom, who reads every blog I write, cry happy tears and that’s always a plus, right?)

Read her beautiful and honest post here.

This post brought me to tears. Yes, because it was beautifully written, but also because for the first time in my life EVER I could kind of (kind of!!!) understand where the hell you and my mother are and were coming from all those years ago.

When I left home and went off to college, my mom wanted me to stay in my hometown and just go to college there, but I was so bitter about that place and all the people in it (“angsty” teenager doesn’t even scratch the surface) that I literally applied for all the colleges in Florida that were at least an hour away. I got into the University of Central Florida (a 40 minute drive down I-4 in Orlando) immediately, and I considered it my “back up” school, but even though it was a good school, it was “too close.” I anxiously awaited to hear from Florida State because, yes, it has a kickin’ communication/fine arts program but also, because it was in Tallahassee, a four hour drive away from everything I knew. As if that wasn’t far enough, I had to go and spend over a year abroad over the course of two summers and a semester.

The plan was once I graduated that I would move back in with my mom and apply for jobs in journalism all over the country until someone hired me. But, I met Dan, so I stayed in Tallahassee and got a job here. I graduated four years ago next month (WHAT THAT CAN’T BE RIGHT) and almost every single time I go down to visit my mom, she cries when I leave.

Up until reading your post, I didn’t really know why. Yes, I’m her baby and yes, she is alone. But. I have always been pretty independent. (For instance, when she dropped me off at the church nursery for the first time at 2 years old, I pointed at the door and said, “Mommy, GO.” I was also the only kid in kindergarten who walked herself to class. I’ll never forget that first day of school — me, quietly sitting alone at a table with my hands folded, awash in a sea of kids and their parents both sobbing their faces off. I never understood it. “It’s just school. What’s the big deal?”)

“It’s just college, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“I’m just moving to London for a little while, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s just marriage, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s just knee surgery, Mom. What’s the big deal?”
“It’s just a baby, Mom. What’s the big deal?”

But I realize now, that it was never about “the thing”. It was never about college or marriage or moving abroad. It was about me “not needing” my mother.

At this point in time, my son NEEDS ME. There is no way around that. Without me, he literally cannot survive. (Though, in two weeks, he could theoretically be born and still survive but that thought just freaking terrifies me.) Reading your post and realizing that one day, he really won’t need me, was kind of heartbreaking.

But in the good way.

Because I know that no matter what happens, I’ll always be his mommy. And you’ll always be Sarah’s mommy. And yes, she may pull a Lindsay and stay in Savannah way longer than she previously anticipated. But she may not. But no matter what she does, she’s going to be out in the world being a conduit of your love and grace and support through all these years and, more importantly, a conduit of Christ’s love.

See, no matter where she goes, she always takes you with her — in her demeanor, in her words, in her creativity, in her affections, in her emotions, in her struggles. Because when people see Sarah, they see the girl that Beth raised. They see Beth’s Daughter.

Just like when people see me they see Chari’s Daughter. Which, yes, at some times, is super embarrassing. (The way we both talk about cats as if they’re people, for example.) At some times it can be really irritating. (The way we both nitpick people’s grammar and spelling. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from my mom picking apart my blog.) But sometimes, it is amazing. Like the way we can both sit at a piano all day until our butts are in pain and flattened against the bench. The way we both harmonize with songs on the radio out of habit. The way we both cry at injustice. The way we both want everyone to be happy. The way she raised me without males around the house and we still worked our asses off to make a difference. The way we minister to people.

And so forth.

I am praying for you and Sarah today. Not just that everything goes well, but that God’s grace and love washes over you. And as you send yet another baby into the big scary world of adulthood, on her own, “not needing” you, remember that God did that for you and Sarah with His only baby boy. And His plan, albeit painful, is sovereign and holy and He is still in control, all those years later. He’s holding you and Sarah right now and you are both safe.

Love love love.

Mom, if you’re reading this (and I know you are) know that I’ve never not needed you. Even when it looked like I didn’t need you, I did. Because after I pointed to the door and told you to GO, you came back and took me home and fed me. Because after you dropped me off at the front of the school and let me walk to kindergarten all by myself, you picked me up and asked me what I learned. Because after my dad left, you started your own childcare business to support me on your own. Because you let me sleep on the floor in the living room in front of the TV because those circumstances were the only ones that would allow me to fall asleep. Because you bought me a bike right after my new bike was stolen. Because you gave me your favorite car when my junker blew up. Because when I couldn’t (literally couldn’t) finish my homework in high school because I was working two jobs and in five clubs, you stepped in. Because when I said I couldn’t you said I could. Because when I said I wasn’t beautiful or worth it, you said I was. Because when my bridesmaids were up to their faces in problems the day before my wedding, you held my hand and told me it would be okay as long as I was marrying Dan.

You are my only mommy (my only PARENT, to boot) and I will never not need you. Not ever.

I love you so much,

Your Daughter

tuesday tip — finding your sexy when you’re ______.

Disclaimer: So, this is my blog, after all. And this is the stuff I’m currently struggling through. If reading it makes you feel weird, sorry. You don’t have to read it. I won’t be offended.

The other day I came across this fabulous article that pretty much sums up every thing I’ve been struggling with lately as far as body image and self-love goes. If you don’t have time to read it, the title speaks for itself:

Who gets to be sexy? Is it me?

I’ve kind of touched on the subject before here and here but, sadly, I currently don’t feel like I’m one of those people who “gets” to be sexy. My husband and I have had several conversations recently (even creating a document about the mental blocks I have and the steps I need to take to overcome them) to try and get to the root of this problem (including, but not limited to: my past, including my ex who sexually abused me, my history with my eating disorder, etc.) and while these reasons are valid, I’m sick of them.

In my head, I think, I’ve always assumed that once I hit certain self-proclaimed milestones then (and only then) could I “get” to be sexy.

  • When I reach my goal weight.
  • When my face finally stops breaking out.
  • When I can figure out how to apply make up and not look like a circus clown.
  • When I learn how to properly curl my hair.
  • When I…
My husband, who is so sweet and wonderful and always trying to help, brought something to my attention the other day:
Dan: “Did you see the lady in front of us in line at Wal-Mart?”
Me: “No.”
Dan: “Oh. Well. She was at least double your size everywhere and was buying lingerie. I thought that if she could do it, you could, too.”
Under normal circumstances, I would have probably considered the legitimacy of his observation. But because I’m hormonal and crazy, I went home, drew myself a bath, and cried in it for an hour.
It seems like it’s only getting worse for me as I get rounder. This is probably shocking to you, but feeling sexy while pregnant is proving to be almost impossible for me. I know, I know. I didn’t see that one coming, either. Lindsay can’t feel sexy when she’s not pregnant? What do you mean she can’t feel sexy when she is? *Heavy eye roll.*

I’ve been searching for ways to try and rectify this. Really, the only solution I’ve come up with is only letting my husband touch me in the morning when it’s still dark since, at that point, I haven’t spent an entire day staring at my gigantic belly and focusing on how “matronly” and “not-sexy” it is.

But then (of course, while I’m struggling with this) Jessica Simpson (who has been pregnant for roughly three years it feels like) comes out totally butt naked on the cover of Elle like she owns the joint. And my husband goes ahead and says that it’s sexy.

Ugh. 

Okay, world. I get it. It’s possible to be sexy while overweight. And it’s possible to be sexy while pregnant. So why am I still completely lacking in this department?

Oh that’s right — because the problem isn’t my body; it’s my mind.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: FINDING YOUR SEXY WHEN YOU’RE ______.

I know not all of you are pregnant. And I know that not all of you struggle with “sexiness” in particular. But maybe it’s confidence. Maybe it’s spark. Maybe it’s being outgoing. But, if you’re like me, and you have this little part inside you that, for whatever reason, can’t come out because you’re currently _____ (fill in the blank for whatever that is: pregnant, over your goal weight, not making enough money, whatever) I’m here to tell you that your circumstance is not your problem.

It’s your mind.

I don’t have all the answers on how to change your mind (because if I did, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have this blog) but here are some things that have worked for me so far:

1. be intentional.

Make an effort. When you think to yourself that you can’t be sexy, just think immediately afterwards, “That’s not true. I can be and am sexy.” It will be awkward and weird at first. But be intentional about it.

2. be persistent.

You can’t change your paradigm overnight. It will take some time. Commit to it because, in the end, it will be so worth it (or so I think).

3. be patient.

With yourself! Know that some days, you’ll be on fire. You’ll be a sex goddess, even! But know that, even still, there will be some days when you feel frumpy and gross and some innocent Wal-Mart shopper is gonna show up at the register with cute lingerie and make you cry in a bathtub and you’re just going to have to let that be okay.

What is your “sexy” that you’re striving toward? Please don’t say I’m alone in this!