introducing: what i noticed for nora.

Moving to a new city is exciting, but the emotions of what you leave behind can definitely cloud your view of your new home. I’ve lived in Naples for fourteen days now, and I’ve absolutely been blinded to the beauty around me by the overwhelming sadness of leaving Tallahassee behind.

A few days ago, I was able to catch up with my good friend Nora on the phone. It was so nice to hear her voice and, for those precious minutes, Tallahassee didn’t seem so far away.

Nora, a Detroit native currently living in Tallahassee but who has lived in countless other places around the globe, is no stranger to this phenomenon and, in order to replace sad feelings with grateful ones, suggested I try to notice — like really notice — at least one beautiful thing a week about my new home and to write about it. I thought that was a good idea.

This week’s WHAT I NOTICED FOR NORA , or WINFN, (if you say it fast, WIN-FIN!) is a bit cheat-y because I actually noticed it before I talked to her. And how could you not?

Along the southwest coast of Florida, the sunsets are to die for. The few I’ve had the pleasure of ogling have left me breathless and thankful.

sunset

 

susnet_porch

[Full disclosure: I did take these pictures with Instagram but no filter! Swearsies! The sunsets here are just THAT pretty. For more sunset pictures (and a thousand pictures of my kid) you should follow me.]

I think this practice is good for anyone. Not just those of us who just moved to a new town and are desperately trying to figure out where/what/how/when/why everything is. Even if you’ve lived in your town for a while, try this. Try to discover something beautiful — even if it’s something small — about where you live and take a picture of it. This will force you to really notice it for all that it is. Creation. Splendor.

A blessing.

things i love thursday! (may 23, 2013)

I think after yesterday’s supah-negativo post, it’s only fitting that TiLT would come next. I promise; it’s not all bad here. Naples really is beautiful and wonderful and I’m excited to be here. I mean check out the view!

the_dock

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE MY FIRST WEEK IN NAPLES:

  • The fact that driving down here with Dax was actually really, really easy. (I did end up with pee on my shorts but let’s save that for another blog post.)
  • Our first family dinner out on the town, which is where the above picture was taken.
  • Pitchers of GOOD margaritas.
  • Oysters!
  • Getting settled in our new condo. (Condo! Sounds so beachy!)
  • Late night texts amidst inebriation.
  • The Third Street Farmers Market, complete with steel drums and a male booth worker who happened to be overly excited about babywearing (I was wearing Dax) and breastfeeding! That’s right — a DUDE excited about babywearing! Nice!
  • S’mores beignets!
  • The worship leader’s wife offered to watch Dax for us on Saturday night so we could unpack and organize. So nice of her! I was even late picking Dax up and she didn’t mind!
  • My first Sunday, and all the nice people whose names I still don’t know.
  • Night time family walks around the neighborhood.
  • Our screened-in porch.
  • Renting The Emperor’s New Groove and shamelessly quoting the whole thing.
  • Delivery chinese food and sushi. Not on the same night, obviously.
  • The sunsets here on the gulf coast. Simply stunning.
  • My first staff meeting.
  • Laughing a little too much at my first staff meeting…
  • Confirmation cake!
  • Cooking dinner for us. When there’s an easy recipe to follow, I’m not so bad at cooking! Thanks, eMeals!
  • Hot n’ Spicy Cheez-Its and Cool Lime Refreshers at Starbucks.
  • Encouraging texts/emails/phone calls/voicemails from people I love/miss the most.
  • And most of all, my handsome, sweet, funny, smart, hero of a husband who is doing his best to take care of all of us.

things i love thursday! (may 9, 2013)

Dan and I have been enjoying a “staycation” of sorts. We haven’t moved to Naples or started our new jobs yet, but our jobs here in Tallahassee ended at the end of April.

It’s perpetually Saturday for us!

We’ve been enjoying this downtime before our big move and life overhaul. Here’s how.

dax_flower_1

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY:

  • I dare you to look at that picture of my baby holding a flower and not smile. I DARE you.
  • Fun photo shoots with Zack and Sammie.
  • Quiet lunches with friends and their babies.
  • Watching Dax eat and enjoy lemons and limes.
  • Waking up to the sounds of my baby talking instead of an alarm.
  • Dax crawls now!
  • He also pulls up and can sort of “walk” when guided. TIME SLOW DOWN OKAY.
  • The dang Publix Mother’s Day commercial.
  • Trying to navigate life as a work-from-home mom.
  • Girls’ night harassing Lane at his new job.
  • Spontaneous dinner dates with close friends.
  • Text message encouragement.
  • The giant smile my boy gives me when I walk into his room after he’s woken up from a nap.
  • Oh — he also WHISPERS now.
  • Treating myself to a sushi lunch.
  • Pedicures and a silly Starbucks run in with Syd.
  • She also painted a picture of me! Crazy!
  • Having a raw, gritty, authentic coffee date with Sarah.
  • Rori and her being an “angry black woman”.
  • New Girl and The Mindy Project.
  • Dax’s first trip to the Florida Natural History Museum with Libby!
  • Libby and Rori having Twitter. Finally.
  • Iron Man 3 and Robert Downey, Jr.
  • Okay, and Gwyneth Paltrow, too.
  • Steak and wine.
  • Date night!
  • Hanson’s new single and their upcoming new album. (SQUEEEEEE.)
  • When good friends just stop by.
  • Journaling with good pens and without lines.
  • Mole-Es-KEEN-eh.
  • There is evidently an Ultimate League in NAPLES! YAY! My new best friends!
  • Making the cats chase our laser pointer.
  • Making our kid chase our laser pointer.
  • Life in general.

What do you love this week?

introducing nineveh.

At the moment, it’s 4:02PM on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m sitting on my couch — not inside a cubicle — while my baby peacefully naps in his crib and one of my cats does so behind my head.

Friday was my last day at my job and Sunday was our last day at our church. Many tears have already been shed and more are coming, no doubt, as the final pages of this chapter of our lives turn.

I suppose that, at this point in time, it’s safe to go ahead and blog publicly about what’s next for our family and to give Nineveh a proper introduction. And so — here goes.

We are moving to Naples! (Florida, not Italy — though the culture is so different down there it’s almost as if we are moving to a different country.)

544742_10102966117528543_833679630_n

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Lindsay, you must have failed Geography because Naples is not central Florida and that’s where you originally said you were headed.

First of all, that’s mean. I never failed Geography. I managed to slightly pass it thankyouverymuch. Second of all, yes, we realize that Naples is not central Florida. So here’s the Reader’s Digest (does anyone still get Reader’s Digest?) version of why we’re headed to So Fla:

Once Dan and I came to the realization that we had to move in order to build a better family life — ideally including me being the primary caregiver for Dax as opposed to him being in full time childcare — we chose central Florida because that’s where my family is. Dan and I were pretty pessimistic about finding a situation in which I would be able to stay at home with Dax, but we wanted to give it a shot. If we didn’t find anything, we knew we could at least count on someone in my family to care for Dax during the day. So Dan blanketed the central Florida area with his resume and we waited.

We had a few churches contact us for interviews and we even visited some. All of the churches we looked into were great, but none of them offered a situation in which our family dynamic would change to be more what we envisioned. I was getting pretty discouraged by this until Dan got an email from a man named Don using a nondescript email address.

In the email, Don said he saw Dan’s resume online and asked if he’d be interested in an opening for a youth pastor. Dan said yes, and the two continued to discuss the position. After a few emails, Dan finally asked Don where he was from. When he said that he was the Director of Ministry at a church in Naples, both of our hearts sank.

Don requested a lunch meeting with us and we agreed to go even though we both thought there was no way we’d end up taking a job in south Florida. It’s good practice, we thought.

But then, the lunch meeting went really well. Which led to a Skype interview with a handful of staff members that also went really well. Which led to an onsite visit and interview that went extremely well…

What came out of all of this is nothing short of amazing, providential, and praiseworthy. Not only was Dan offered the position, but I was also offered a job coordinating the church’s online campus — simulcasts, social media, and BLOGGING!!!! — that is set to launch this summer.

The best part of all of this? The, like, super-duper God part?

Apart from staff meetings on Tuesdays and church on Sundays, I get to do this job completely from home. And, those times I have to be onsite, Dax gets to come with me and hang out in a fully staffed nursery at the church so I can still be near him.

As you can see, there is no way we could have been any more blessed. God has provided for us in a way I (maybe we) never thought possible. And we are stoked.

We have applied to live in a condo down there; once that’s approved, we’ll move in and then start working!

This does not make the pain of us leaving Tallahassee and the community we have here any less real, but it does give us peace about the God we serve and the callings He has for our family.

So. Now I need your help.

What the heck do we do in Naples? Besides go to the beach, I mean?

Ready, GO!

exile, nineveh, and the promised land.

Dan and I both have been offered jobs somewhere. And we have accepted them. In a couple weeks, we are leaving Tallahassee. I’m sorry for the vagueness but my compulsion to blog is way too strong to ignore, despite still being in that weird limbo state of Am I allowed to say anything? Do all the right people know yet? Is it okay for me to put this on the Internet without offending someone or, worse, getting someone fired? 

Since I don’t know the answers to all of those questions yet, I’ll be brief about the details for now. But what I will say is this:

  • Where we are going is somewhere neither of us ever dreamed we’d go. It’s also not central Florida like we’d originally planned.
  • The jobs we have taken are not jobs we could have secured ourselves. They are jobs that, without getting too spiritual on you, were definitely divinely gifted to us.
  • The place we’re going starts with the same letter as Nineveh which makes me LOL because I’m still 100% Jonah. (Side note: this place, however, is NOTHING LIKE NINEVEH. I REPEAT. NOTHING. At least, not as far as I could tell when we visited. There may be big fish, though, within an uncomfortable proximity.)

Yesterday at church — a community in which I’ve served, grown, and transformed over the past nine years — I sat, surrounded by a handful of my friends, and listened as my pastor (and dear, dear friend) gave a simultaneously hope-filled and despairing message on what it means to be in exile. That is, what it means to have everything you know about life completely change in an instant. 

In just a couple weeks, that’s us. Everything we know about life is going to change in an instant. (Or, rather, in one long day of driving and unpacking.)

As Eric spoke, the walls started closing in on me. My chest tightened with unrelenting grief and, before he even hit his first point, the tears were flowing. I couldn’t help it. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mom now so I’m biologically wired to uncontrollably sob at anything, or if it’s because the reality that we are moving away was just too heavy, or if it was because hearing Eric’s voice in that building reminded me that soon I won’t be able to hear his voice in that building, or if it was because I’m Jonah, or if it was a combination of it all. But once the first tear fell, I couldn’t stop the rest of them from following. I just sat in that chair and cried for the better (worse?) part of an hour, mourning the loss of everything I know and trembling at the impending gain of exile.

But this “exile” isn’t bad. Dan and I wouldn’t have accepted these jobs if it were. It’s a HUGE blessing. I’ve no doubt that the manna will spring up in abundance while we are in this “wilderness”. But it is wilderness none the less. It is an unfamiliar place, devoid of the support network I’ve built up over the past decade.

And I am in mourning. Bad. 

The thing about exile, though, is that (again — sorry about the spiritual stuff) when you read the bible, both the Israelites and Jesus experienced exile before blessings. The first thing Jesus did after getting baptized was peace out for 40 days and listen to Satan say terrible things to him. And don’t get me started on the row the Israelites have hoed. Oy. I feel like the biggest toolbox for even trying to draw a connection to what they’ve been through.

All that to say, I bet if you could Google Maps it, or ask Siri how to get there, you’d find that you’ve got to go through the wilderness to get to the promised land.

So, bring it on, exile. And Nineveh. We’ve got work to do. (Also, bring it on Kleenex. You’ve got your work cut out for you.)

things i love thursday! (march 28, 2013)

How sad is this? I know I have a much longer list but, because I haven’t Instagrammed anything, I can’t really remember what I’ve been up to. Ooof.

Okay. Point 1 for Instagram. (I also don’t have a picture to put on this post either. Drat. Point 2.)

Here we go!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY:

  • Serendipitous lunches with old friends and new. 
  • Quoting “Clueless” in a job interview and actually having it go over well.
  • Music. Always music. Playing it, listening to it, living in a world in which it exists.
  • Seeing my little boy in an adorable baby-sized suit.
  • Reading “emerged” as “ermahgerd”.
  • Also getting lots of “ermahgerd” texts from several different people.
  • Video chats.
  • Road trips and the terrible food you eat on road trips.
  • Visiting one of my best friends, Becky!
  • Finally meeting cranky Dobby and watching him curl up into a ball! (He’s a hedgehog.)
  • Coffee.
  • New hair!
  • Playing games with a youth group again.
  • Hearing that a particular person wants to get baptized. By my husband.
  • GChat.
  • Fanta and Coke in glass bottles.
  • Stuffed duckies and new pacifiers.
  • Taking my little man out for special outings all by ourselves.
  • Surprise babysitters.
  • Playing a real piano.
  • Debates over worship songs being good or not. (“Revelation Song” is terrible. I don’t care what you say. I stand by it.)
  • Playing “dropsies” in Starbucks.
  • Watching Dax flirt with basically everyone.
  • Cubicle dance parties — in front of the giant windows.
  • Soy lattes.
  • Smoothie lunch dates.
  • The Uno app.
  • Morning snuggles.
  • Gearing up for my cousin’s wedding!

What do you love this week?

update from the dark.

Oh hey, there. I know. It’s been quiet around here. Here’s why.

One week ago, I read this disturbing article about how the Internet — social media in particular — is making us crazy. It really freaked me out. It gave me so much anxiety that I couldn’t sleep.

So I decided to go on an indefinite social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) fast. Not just a “fast”, either. Like I legitimately deleted the apps from my iPhone and EVERYTHING. (Crazy, right? My smart phone is pretty dumb at this point. Unless you give some cred to the Uno app which, by the way, is super duper and I’m so glad I spent 99 cents on it!)

It’s not that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are inherently bad, perse. That’s not what I’m saying and I don’t think that’s what the article is saying. But it did raise a lot of harrowing truths about our society’s obsession with and actual addiction to these sites and the Internet as a whole.

I’ve been on this “cleanse” for about a week and already I see how I was basically tethered to social media. So many times in the first 24 hours of this fast I found myself mindlessly reaching for my phone, unlocking the screen… only to come to and realize that — oh yeah — I have nothing to look at. I “tried” to tweet FOUR TIMES while I was at the farmers market with my son. Four. Times.

Yikes. What in the name of all things holy would I need to tweet at 9am on a Saturday outing with my baby? That the carrots look extra orange today? The yellow squash is just a tad squishy for my taste? That the Maya Wrap is still ruling our world at 8 months? That there is a Girl Scout cookie booth set up for the first time? (Okay, that one almost deserved a tweet. Also I did buy Thin Mints and Trefoils, obviously.)

It’s been quite the sobering experience. But also liberating. I feel like I’m finally back in touch with reality.

That said, this week has been one full of things that are actually kind of social media worthy. So, without further ado:

HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS I’VE BEEN DYING TO TWINSTABOOK (Twitter-Instagram-Facebook) ALL WEEK:

1. my son’s milestones.

Well, this week was fit for the baby book, y’all.

  • FIRST WORD. Yep, this is a biggie. Dax said his first word just hours after I went on my social sabbatical. Of course. His first word was “dada” and everything is dada right now. Dada is dada, of course. But I am also dada. Also the pacifier. Also food. Also you. Yes, you reading this. You are dada, no paternity test required.
  • We are fitting him for his first suit! He’s the ring bearer in my cousin’s wedding next week. You guys. Wait until you see. You will pass out from the cuteness.
  • FOURTH TOOTH. There are four little chompers in that mouth now. In case you are wondering, we are still breastfeeding like champs and he doesn’t bite. * phew *
  • EIGHT MONTHS OLD. Ack. Time. Where are you going?!

8 months

2. i got straight bangs. 

Y’all. I haven’t had bangs like this since I was SEVEN. That is literally TWENTY YEARS AGO. Yikes. Anyway, my normal stylist is on maternity leave for another month but I had some serious roots showing and am in a wedding next week. So I saw my other friend and let her run wild on my head, which meant straight bangs and ombre color. Here is the before/after photo.

before_after

3. we’ve got some prospects.

We’ve been doing a lot of interviewing in central (and even south?) Florida, so I think we might not actually be homeless at the end of April. Hooray!

4. i’m learning photography.

I’m taking an online photography certification course which is, eh, okay I guess. Not because I want to be a professional photographer by any means but because I have a kick-butt DSLR that I’ve been treating like a point-and-shoot and I’m just over it. The whole point of me shelling out the cash for a DSLR was so I could take good pictures of my baby and not fork over money to legit photographers. Sorry for the honesty, y’all but we broke folks GOTTA BRING THE HUSTLE.

So. What’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from this photography class?

It’s freaking hard, okay. So much more difficult than just having a nice camera. Pat a photographer on the back next time you see one. Respect.

Alright, so, now you’re caught up! Back to your regularly scheduled Internet addiction.

things i love thursday! (march 14, 2013)

Happy 30th birthday, Taylor Hanson! My gift to you is a THINGS I LOVE THURSDAY list that has nothing to do with me being married to your little brother and mothering a thousand little Hansons myself.

Enjoy!

playdate

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Making music with my friends, even when temperamental sound systems make it a wee bit difficult.
  • Having friends over for beers and creative brainstorming sessions.
  • Dax’s first play date in the park with Oliver!
  • Hearing him giggle on the swings.
  • Dancing in the kitchen. You know. BY MYSELF.
  • Long afternoon naps (for both me and the boy).
  • Getting my husband back after his weekend youth retreat.
  • Seeing pictures and videos from said retreat.
  • Video chatting Brian and Katie and going over their wedding (eep!) which Dan is officiating in T MINUS SIXTEEN DAYS!
  • Eating out.
  • But also eating in.
  • Raspberry beer!
  • Getting a text from a friend saying he ordered me business cards BECAUSE…
  • … all I do is win.
  • Working from home with my little man.
  • My last counseling appointment.
  • Peeps.
  • Chocolate glazed donut flavored coffee. #zomg
  • Bringing my man soup to make him feel better.
  • INBOX ZERO!
  • Encouraging fellow moms.
  • Top Model.
  • Lunch with Shana (and RICK)!
  • The way Dan makes Dax giggle.
  • Prospects for the future.
  • Wedding planning with the bestie.
  • Taking in the sweet sights and sounds of this town before it is mine no longer.

What do you love this week? (Side note: teenage me is crying alone in her room right now because she has a feeling she doesn’t end up with Zac Hanson in the end but HEY — this is way better.)

three things i learned from counseling.

I just left my last counseling appointment.

Mind you, this is only my last counseling appointment in this season of life with this particular counselor. My counseling journey isn’t over, by any means. But for now, as of 5PM today, this chapter of my journey has come to a close.

So. What did I glean from the past few months of counseling? A couple things. Let me share them with you! Sharing is caring, after all… especially when mental health is at stake.

1. I am not broken.

I’ve written about this before, but it deserves a second mention because it is so important. A lot of people associate counseling or therapy with the notion that you are in need of “fixing”. Sometimes, I guess that could be the case. But for me, it isn’t. And hasn’t been. I am not broken. I just need help processing things in a constructive and objective way.

2. I’m pretty well adjusted even though, by all accounts, I shouldn’t be.

According to my counselor, my upbringing should have yielded me a permanent residence within an insane asylum with my very own padded room and straight-jacket wardrobe. However, in the words of Dr. Maki, I’m “really put together”. Holla at your healthy boo.

3. Being open and honest about what struggles I have has been a huge asset.

I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again — no one, including you, benefits from you hiding your hurts. Opening up about the things I’ve dealt with, to not only counselors but also mentors and friends, has been more effective in my growth and health than anything else. And yes, that includes medicinal treatment.

So. I’ll say it again. If you are considering counseling but are afraid of any stigmas attached, take it from me: do it. See a counselor. Invite an unbiased professional into your life to help walk you through what you’re going through. See how it changes you for the better!

Have you ever gone to see a counselor? How did it work out for you?

things i love thursday! (february 21, 2013)

I’m sorry for the lack of a TILT post last week. My life is like a Noxema commercial, y’all. I was too busy blogging about how to avoid buggin’ on Valentine’s Day.

CLEARLY I AM STILL ON A CLUELESS KICK AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!

Anyway. Here’s a love letter I sent myself. Sort of.

dax_happy_collage

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Um. Is that picture not the cutest? I know, right? Don’t you wish you could hug him through the screen?
  • My best friend got engaged and asked me to be her matron of honor! So fun!
  • Imagine Dragons. I’ve been so into them lately. I am so mad at everyone who failed to inform me of them before now.
  • Catching up with good friends over lunch, even if the service was a bit slow. More time for chit-chat, I guess.
  • My breastfeeding support groups. Feeding a person with your body can be hard, y’all.
  • Mentorships over email.
  • Mexican food.
  • Dos Equis + lime. Holy delicious.
  • Beer in general, as always.
  • “Nipple” cookies.
  • Hating on the face-eating Krazy Kat Lady. (She has recently evolved to become even more evil.)
  • Candy. Lots and lots of candy.
  • My sweet Valentine’s Day date with my hubs.
  • Friends who agree to babysit last minute.
  • Being in a Harlem Shake video. Oh Lawd.
  • Champagne and Spider-Man valentines!
  • THIS. EVERY YEAR.
  • Nighttime snuggles with my little boy.
  • Bridal showers.
  • Getting a new breast pump from the government. Shout out, Obamacare! Who’s your boo?
  • Watching episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Hulu+.
  • See also: America’s Next Top Model. WHY DID NONE OF YOU CRAZIES TELL ME THAT AN FSU GIRL IS ON THIS CYCLE? I’ve only seen the first episode but I’m already betting homegirl doesn’t last long. #liptattoo
  • Getting to hang out with my mom this weekend.
  • Apples to Apples and In a Pickle. I LOVE WORD GAMES! Squeeeee!
  • Catching up with my favorite students.
  • New babies! Hi Joshua!
  • Putting off the chores in lieu of vegging on the couch with my man.
  • Making musical revelations over text message.
  • Five Guys.
  • Sushi.
  • A year after we got robbed, we finally bought me a MacBook! YAY! It’s used and five years old but, apart from a dead battery and CD drive it works and it’s new to me! It is shipping out this week. Holla!
  • My friends.
  • My family, both biological and not.
  • You.

What do you love this week?