Thursday, March 28, 2013

Seven Years

This year it will be seven years since Natalie, Amanda, and I were all baptized on the beach at our church's Easter sunrise service. We sang this song that morning:
See, what a morning, gloriously bright,
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce, "Christ is risen!"
See God's salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, "Where is He laid?"
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It's the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow'r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week: "Beautiful the Blood"

I never knew death could be so sweet
I never knew surrender could feel so free
I never seen such meekness in majesty
That the blood of Jesus was bled for me

And now I sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful the blood flow
How merciful the love show
The King of glory poured out
Victorious are we now

Never knew through these nails would love unfold
And never knew these wounds would heal my soul
I've never seen such beauty and sorrow meet
The blood of Jesus was bled for me

And now I sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful the blood flow
How merciful the love show
The King of glory poured out
Victorious are we now

Now I'll sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful the blood flow
How merciful the love show
The King of glory poured out
Victorious are we now

How beautiful you are
How merciful you are
How glorious you are
Christ the Savior

How beautiful you are
How merciful you are
How glorious you are
Christ the Savior

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Linden Tree Isle

I've never been extremely fond of my name. I have been even less fond of it's spelling. My mother has forever cursed me with a name that will never be spelled correctly. But, I do love my nicknames or the shortened versions of my name: Lyn, Lyndz, Lu, and Lulu. I've grown out of Lu & Lulu. I hope to resurrect "Lu" whenever I become and aunt. "Aunt Lu" just sounds right. I'll be one of those quirky, fun, eccentric aunts. My models are my own Auntie Aud and Aunt Bea from Ramona and Beezus.
I also love the meaning of my name and that it's English. I love it so much that I chose it for my blog title.

The Linden Tree Isle

Isn't that just sweet? Linden trees are a beautiful thing and the flowers themselves are just exquisite.
They make a really nasty tea as well.

I learned some interesting Linden facts whilst perusing her Wiki page. And, I am sure you know that there is no other educational tool more reliable than Wikipedia:

Linden trees can grow to be rather ancient. 1000 years ancient.

Apparantly you can find the linden tree in all sorts of places: Norway, America, Germany, Poland, England, Canada...

The timber was often used for constructing Viking shields. I don't know why and I have no reason to feel this way, but that fact makes me feel pretty badass.

The wood is also often used for instruments.

The flower holds great medicinal value.

In the Slavic Orthodox Christian world, the linden tree was the preferred wood for panel icon painting.

In Germanic folklore, the linden tree is "the tree of lovers". Okay.....

Unter den Linden is an avenue in Berlin lined with linden trees.

Did you know??? Now you know!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Center Stage

Light. You don’t see it for it's own sake, but by it you can see everything. At least that is how it usually is. This morning, in my short walk from door step to car, I saw light. Its brilliance was so astounding, that I was forced to stop and soak in its beauty. The brightness of the sun beams were so that my street was thick with light. It was a haze of shining gold, and everything else faded into the background. This morning, as the sun rose, light and the earth switched places. Usually, one see the world by the light, but today, for a moment, the earth stepped back and became silent and let the light take center stage allowing me to fully marvel at her unappreciated beauty.


I most likely will not be posting often on The Linden Tree Isle for the next two weeks. I am going to spend nine days with some very dear friends in Minnesota. Here is a pitcure taken nearly 11 years ago of all of us together:

This was only a few days before they moved far, far away. I've only seen them twice since, and so you can imagine the excitement I am feeling right now.

I have a couple posts in progress right now, but after that I think I shall take a short break. Apparently Minnesota weather is about 50 or 60 degrees colder than sunny South Florida is. That means I am almost completely unprepared. I'll admit that my closet is far too full, but of shorts, sundresses, tank tops, and flip flops. Now I have a wonderful excuse to go shopping and buy some cute, new, WARM clothes!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

21: It's Starting Already

I am approaching my 21st birthday (May 11th) and the questions and jokes have already begun.

"You excited about having your first beer?"
"Are you gonna party all night and get wasted?"
"Wow! I though you were already 21. How have you survived working here without drinking your way through it?"
"21? Yay! Drinking age!"

Wow, as I am typing this, someone literally just walked through the door and asked me if I had recovered from Saint Patrick's Day. When people make these comments and jokes, I respond without a word. I just give them this look:

It is with a sick-in-your-gut, knots-in-your-stomach-dread that I face turning 21.  I can say objectively that alcohol is not of the devil and that I believe in Christian liberty. I also believe that liberty can be abused and I absolutely believe drunkenness to be sin.
When it comes down to it, if I'm really honest and just say how I feel about alcohol in all it's forms and uses:

-I have serious anxiety associated with alcohol.

-My dad drank, and I have seen first hand what addiction can do to a person. I've seen people get hurt (myself included) and I've seen his life fall apart. I don't want that for me and I don't want to ever get anywhere close to that.

-I've tasted beer and I think it tastes like carbonated sweat mixed with bile. Ewww and gross.

-The thought of willingly ingesting anything that would cause me to lose control of my behavior scares me. There is no way on earth I would do that. That is also why I thank God daily (no joke) that my wisdom teeth came in without complication and I do not need to have them removed. Those loopy youtube videos of people waking up after having them removed upset me. My mom has tried showing them to me because she thinks they are funny. I refuse to watch.

-I've seen people under the influence. They act like idiots, they can be crass, they have no filter, and they irritate me.

-When I am around people that are drinking even if it's in moderation, I end up getting a migraine and most likely vomit from the tension.

-I have a few family members that struggle with addiction. I don't want to test the waters just in case I have the same tendency.

-I hate that 21 is associated with drinking. That's all that the majority of people talk about. I want this year to be bigger and hold more for me than just that.
-Alcohol and mental illness don't mix. My dad taught me that one. I pray that I didn't inherit any of the issues my dad has. But if I have then I will at least control it better than he did.

-There is no way in heck I am wasting calories and sugar on a drink. If I'm cheating and eating something unhealthy, it will either be a cupcake or linguine or maybe just a stick of butter.

-I fast forward through scenes in movies where people are drunk. I have watched every episode of "I Love Lucy", but I do not find her famous Vitameatavegamin episode to be even remotely funny. I also walk away from the TV whenever Otis is on Andy Griffith.

-I am way too cheap to spend money on a drink.
-Even the casual discussion of alcoholic drinks pisses me off.

-I have asked that no alcohol be brought into my home. I feel on edge when I'm around it and I don't ever want to feel on edge in my home. Exception: Wine is allowed for cooking purposes and I have used beer in chili and boiled bratwursts in it.
But, I can't give everyone who jokes about my 21st birthday my list of why I hate booze. So, I typically blush and then make the face.

I do realize that my phobia may be a bit extreme. I would never want addiction to control me and I certainly do not want anxiety to either. But, this is where I am at right now. Right now, 21 is a big & scary number. Right now, I am contemplating taking a few days off of work around my birthday just to avoid people and their remarks. Right now, I am wondering how wrong it would be for me to lie about my age. I don't know about you , but I'm feelin' 22!
21 also scares me because my life is far from where I ever thought it would be at this age, and as I get older the hope of it changing is waning (I know, 21 isn't that old). But, I will trudge on and make it through that odious day.
I will try to make the best of it. The focus won't be on my ability to legally act like a moron, but it will be on 3 things that matter a great deal to me: Family, Food, & Antiquey things. That's right, in keeping with an old tradition, I am spending my birthday with Mom & my sweet Auntie Aud. We will shop all day in antique stores and then come home, play games with everyone (Uncle Dick will join us), and we will EAT!

Happy Tuesday,


"I woke up this morning, March 18th, ready to compassion. Compassion originally meant “to suffer with,” so I consider compassioning to be a verb. It’s something to write on the to-do-list, something that takes time and energy. Instead of making room for it, we try to avoid compassion, or suffering with, which is understandable. Suffering with others hurts. It scares us. It breaks our hearts. But the deeper I get into this loving myself and others gig the more certain I am that a broken heart is something for which to strive. A broken heart is a badge of honor that says: I loved well. A broken heart is not always the end, but it IS often the beginning. Nobody ever changed the world with a shiny, mint- condition heart."
--Glennon (
Let us compassion more. Let us willingly and joyfully give of ourselves to those who are suffering. Let us put our hearts out there in the open knowing that we may get hurt and bruised, but knowing more that there is nothing more meaningful to the one suffering than having someone walk beside her who can say, "I get it. I know how you are feeling.".
"So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE."
--1 Corinthians 13:13
I think compassion is an expression of love: It's love in action. Let us love more.
"Love it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be."
--Mumford & Sons

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our Vacation in Pictures...

Nat took this picture of me on the Hippogriff ride.

Lunch at the Three Broomsticks.

Drinking Starbucks.

Sisters. :)


We had to stop in at Disney for a couple of hours. We strolled around Downtown and visited our favorite hotels and of course bought coffee. I crave Disney coffee. Nothing compares to it.

Oh Danny Boy!



Happy Saint Patty's Day!

This was larger than life and made entirely of legos!

This one too. How cool!

And, this is how you feel when leaving Harry Potter World for the last time. We had such a wonderful time and made good use of our passes. I think we spent a total of 14 days there over the past year making the annual passes well worth it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Our Last Hurrah!

We are heading up to Orlando bright and early tomorrow morning. For Christmas 2011, Natalie and I surprised Mom, Carley, and Mags with annual passes to Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure. Nat and I came up with the crazy idea in October. We were walking with the girls. Carley & Maggie were a few paces ahead. Nat said, "Wouldn't it be awesome if we could surprise the girls with a trip to Universal Studios so they could see Harry Potter World?" To which I replied, "What if we really did it?! How much would it cost?! OMG! We'd be the best sisters evah! I know exactly how we would present it! They'd be SHOCKED! To Hogwarts!!"
  And then Carley looked back at us and I tried to act nonchalant, but I think I really looked more like this:

So, then we began to develop this brilliant scheme. It would not be cheap, but we would make it work. I found a coupon code that gave us three months free. We made  acceptance letters on parchment with the Hogwarts seal. Natalie used her spidery handwritting to sign it by McGonagall and write their names in green. Then, I wrapped them in beautiful boxes: one for Carley & one for Maggie. We put the conformation of purchase in a box for Mom. Then I booked a Disney hotel for 3 weeks after Christmas and made an invitation from Cinderella's castle on sparkly blue paper (it's all about the presentation, people. Also, in case you hadn't noticed we are really cheesy around here).

The anticipation was unbearable. We opened all of our presents on Christmas morning as usual. When we were all done, Nat pulled out the video camera and I handed each person their respective gifts. I gave up on acting chill:

At first, Carley and Maggie thought that their present was just an invitation like Harry's. Which would have been kind of lame. But, then Mom opened the conformation and they started to realize that this was for real. Carley started to cry, Maggie's jaw dropped and her eye's glazed, Mom said we were too extravagant and wonderful, Natalie laughed, and I continued to have seizures of uncontrolled ecstasy. And then they read the fine print: These were not a single day pass to the park, but were in fact annual park hopping 15 month passes. We are amazing sisters--right? Then I handed them their invitation to stay in Disney. Things just got real. This was really 3 weeks. And then hugs happened and jumping up and down happened and it was awesome.

So, tomorrow is the 15 month mark and we are using our passes for the final time (we will have used them a total of 16 days. I'd say we got our money's worth) and I am so freakin' excited! We are heading up at 6 am on Saturday and will head home on Sunday evening. Poor Nat is driving all of the 6 long hours. I tried to drive one time to give her a break, but started falling asleep at the wheel after only 12 minutes (literally). I pulled into a rest stop and accidentally drove to the back where all of the semi trucks park and was surrounding by them and had to drive in their shadows and that horrible movie I regretably saw years ago about the serial killer trucker came to mind and I started flipping, I won't be driving this time. I'll be bringing my neck pillow and sleeping both ways.
I'm looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend with the family. Pictures will follow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Please forgive my pathetic use of punctuation and grammar. I try. Really, I do. But, years of A Beka were somewhat wasted on me. Grammar was never really my forte. I always excelled more in playing and reading in trees rather than real school work.

That is all. Carry on!

Rambling Thoughts on Bullying....

This post started out as a rant, and then I edited it into something a little more civil, and then I edited again and again, and now I think that it has evolved into something a little less hateful and hopefully a little more constructive.
I learned something when I was 16 that I am relearning now. Playful teasing without the foundation of love and a solid relationship can be felt as cruelty. It's the knowing that you are loved that makes it playful, without that it just comes across as bullying. I learned this once and now the tables have turned and I am learning it again. This time from the victim's perspective.
I blush. I can't help it and wish that there was something I could do to remedy it. I am teased bullied incessantly by someone for blushing.
It usually starts thusly:
Let's call this guy Joe. Joe walks in and says something rude to me. It's typically a jab at my nerdiness (yes, I watch Millionaire while crocheting Harry Potter scarves on my lunch break everyday. Can we move on???). I blush because that is what I do. My face gets hot and tingly, I sweat and get a little shaky and dizzy, and get an immediate headache. I do realize that really is more than just blushing, I will get to that later. So, Joe sees that I'm uncomfortable and then points out that I am as red as a tomato and starts laughing at me. How do I react? I blush a deeper red, my face gets hotter and numb, my hands visibly tremble, and my head begins to pound. So, he laughs harder and teases more. Eventually I laugh with him and agree that I am "such a nerd" just to get him to leave me alone. This happens almost daily. Sometimes, we are in a large group, and I add something to the conversation. The attention that I just placed on myself stresses me out, so I blush. Then, Joe makes a complete spectacle of me and teases me publicly for it.
Today, someone complimented my outfit (I am totally rocking these tights and purple cheetah print flats). Joe's head popped out of nowhere and he whispered to me, "Hey! Are you blushing yet? Ha! Oh, my gosh, you are totally red."

..Where am I going with all of this? Joe and my relationship consists soley of teasing. That wears on me. He doesn't know me well, and teasing must be coupled with friendship and knowing one another in order for it not to offend.  Here is what I know that Joe doesn't know:

- I believe that I suffer from social phobia/anxiety. If you haven't heard of it, then know that it's a harsh reality for some people and can be debilitating when unaddressed.

- The simplest of things like making a phone call, going to a restaurant, making a return at a store, even going to church overwhelm & overstimulate me.

- Attention is the last thing I want. "Agonizing" is not too strong a word to describe it.

- Blushing is one of the most common manifestations of social anxiety. As are, tingling sensations, dizziness, headaches, and shakiness.

-What Joe is witnessing and teasing me for is not just as simple as blushing--that is just the surface. Inside, I feel like I am having a mini panic attack.

- It takes strength, bravery, and a lot of pep talks for me to function in what any other person would call a "typical day".

-He must know this: He is teasing me for being me. That is offensive. Also, blushing isn't something you can easily change or fix. And, you should never tease someone for something they can't change (such as their physical appearance or intelligence).

- Maybe he already knows this one, but bullying only perpetuates the problem. Now, every time I see him, my heart begins to race, my body tenses and I blush out of fear of blushing.

Here is something else I know, that I wish Joe knew:

- Teasing, even when done with the best of intentions, always has the potential to wound. Kindness will never wound, never hurt, never offend. If you don't know someone well, then always choose kindness.

Every person has issues and struggles and unless you know their personalities and quirks, it is most likely the wisest and kindest thing to not tease them. You don't know what's going on in their mind or how their hearts are hurting or what they are struggling with.

I don't think ill of Joe. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I want to backhand him and yell, "leave me alone!" and then cry. To quote Tina Fey, “Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”. But seriously, I think that in his mind, he really is just playfully teasing. I think he is completely unaware that I dread and avoid interaction with him. I don't know if I am approaching this in the best way. Maybe the best and most loving thing for me to do is tell him how jerkish he really is. But, right now, I do not have the guts to do so. Another symptom of  this disorder is the avoidance of confrontation (ergo, I can really be a doormat sometimes). I know myself, and there is no way in heck I am going to tell him to lay off.

So, those are my thoughts.

Let me just say that I absolutely believe that there is a time and place for teasing. I love to tease and be teased in the right time and place. Our family is constantly teasing one another and it's all in fun. But, we are family and know each other well and love each other well, and it's that foundation that puts the "playful" in the teasing.

Also, I am in the process of sorting through all of this social anxiety crap. I am addressing it and dealing with it and pushing myself so as to prevent it from being debilitating. I realize the seriousness of it and do not take it lightly. But, I also know that I am human and have my limits and so I am gently pushing myself and am okay with baby steps and do not expect to become a social butterfly overnight (if ever).

One more case you are wondering, I do love people. Social phobia doesn't mean I am a people hatin' hermit. I love to spend time with people and invest in relationships and hear people's stories and tell people my stories and so on and so forth. There is just a long list of limitations on how I am able to interact with humanity. Maybe I will write about my anxiety more at another time. Right now, this post has exhausted me and I need a break.

Monday, March 11, 2013

One Reason Why I LOVE "Doctor Who"

The Doctor: The box contains a memory of the Universe and the light transmits the memory and that's how we're going to do it.
Amy: Do what?
The Doctor: Relight the fire. Reboot the Universe. Come on!
River: Doctor, you're being completely ridiculous. The Pandorica partially restored one Dalek. If it can't even reboot a single lifeform properly how is it going to reboot the whole of reality?
The Doctor: What if we give it a moment of infinite power? What if we can transmit the light from the Pandorica to every particle of space and time simultaneously?
River: Well that would be lovely, dear, but we can't. Because it's completely impossible.
The Doctor: Ah, no. you see. It's not. It's almost completely impossible. One spark is all we need.


I feel like I have changed drastically in the past year...I think mostly in good ways. But still, some mornings I wake up and wonder at who I have become. Here are some things I have learned/am learning about life & myself:

1.) Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Sometimes I need to push myself to do things even if they go completely against my personality. One little push and a small act of bravery can grow you up overnight.

2.) I need to be creative to maintain my sanity. I need to make time to create, otherwise I feel like I'm drowning. For me, making time has meant setting my alarm one hour earlier, so I can see the sun rise as I sip my coffee and listen to music and write each morning.

3.) I also need routine and schedules to maintain my sanity. I need a bedtime and I need to wake up at a set time even on weekends, otherwise I am an emotional, foggy brained mess. I need to write lists and print spreadsheets and check off my "to do's" and use highlighters and excel will forever be my best friend. I am just a happier and more productive person when my life is structured and orderly...and, I think that is okay.

4.) I cannot separate my everyday life from my spiritual life. And life is precious and everything has eternal value and you can't expect to grow without constant vigilance and blood, sweat, and tears.

5.) I can do that extra thing. I can make time and adjust my precious schedule if it means serving someone else. My schedule is not god and my spreadsheet is not the bible. I can change it as needed.

6.) Being self-aware is important. I need to understand myself and what makes me tick. I need to know myself physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Knowing who I am and why I am and understanding my humanity has been key in bettering myself. The truth is: I am human and flawed and I can't ignore that. Ignoring it makes change and growth impossible.

7.) Going through life looking for opportunities to learn can rock your world. Everyone you meet can teach you something and every experience you encounter can grow you if you are willing.

8.) Think before you speak. Words are powerful.

9.) Be kinder than you feel and smile often.

10.) Preach truth to yourself constantly. On the good days and on the bad days. You don't just need to hear it when life sucks. You need a Saviour everyday.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy 16th Birthday, Carley!

This is Carley. She was an awesome baby.
I thought she was all that.
She was very tolerant of me considering I would always drag her around as if she were my baby doll. Seriously, I thought she was a toy.
She didn't usually least not most of the time. Sometimes I think I may have gotten a little on her nerves.

But, she's always been a little weird too and we've always known how to have fun together.
In more recent news:
She is still pretty awesome.
I still think she is all that.
I still drag her around with me everywhere I go. And I still show her off like she's a toy or a really cute pet. For instance, I make her do her Kristen Stewart impersonation all the time. And I force her to show people her impressions of each of our families signature dance moves. It's hysterical and soooo spot on.
And, she still is very tolerant.....most of the time.

And, we are still both a little weird. And, we still both know how to have a lot of fun together.
And, she makes me laugh harder than anyone else I know.
Love ya, Carlisle!


It is a rather common occurence in our home to look out as the sun is setting and be so taken by it's beauty that we run out the front door leaving dinner on the stove and forgetting our shoes to chase the sun. Tonight was such a night.


 Look at her sweet, newly-bespectacled face.


 Oh! The beauty! It gave me goosebumps on goosebumps.

I like these people. :)



The picture doesn't show how deeply woody and orange it really was. 



I think one of the happiest things in life are trees on blue sky canvas.