Thursday, May 30, 2013

Before I begin I must say a couple things. Firstly, it is very difficult to type when you chopped off the top of your finger and have your pointer bandaged up to the size of a sausage. I have a few posts in process, but my inability to type without hitting four keys at a time with my clumbsy finger has been somewhat limiting. My finger is mostly healed now. Secondly, it's storming outside and I am feeling incredibly meloncholy and dreary, but in a good way. "Sad is happy for deep people" (Doctor Who).

I was originally going to post about absolute truth and then it evolved into extending grace and then it turned into a post about balance and then about whether or not I should "Carpe the Diem" and then somehow it became about perfectionism and then living under a cloud of shame. I'm scratching all of that now and saving it for a later date. My brain is foggy and I need to rest. Writer's block happens when you don't sleep and run around like a madwoman without a minute to take a breath.

I have dinner plans tonight. I'm looking forward to it, but as you well know people tend to drain more that refuel me. I need relationships but also want to curl up in a ball and never talk to anyone ever. I confuse myself. I had plans for tomorrow night, but I canceled them. I need to breathe. I need to have a night where I get home at 5:15 and change immediately into pajamas and stare off into never space.

The good news is that I have 4 hours of driving ahead of me this weekend. 4 hours in a car with Amanda. We will talk about everything under the sun and hopefully that will inspire some writing. But, for now, my mind is entirely full but weariness is preventing me from expressing any of it. I'll be back next week.

Yesterday I drove my little 3 and 5 year old friends home from school. I told them about my plans to drive up to Sebastian this weekend and have a picnic on the bay. You can sometimes spot dolphins and manatees there. Wide-eyed, the 3 year old said to me, "Miss Lyndsay, what if I was on a dock and then it catched on fire and I fell in the bay and all the manatees and dolphins ate my face!?!?!"


Monday, May 27, 2013


Napping in the sand. This is the way to spend your weekend.

Note-taking and reading.

I have lived in Florida for 21 years and the ocean never ceases to take my breath away.


Thursday, May 23, 2013


"Writing is the way I ground myself, and it's what keeps me sane. Writing is the way I try and make sense of my life, try to find meaning in accident, reasons why what happens happens."

And exerpt from Thinking About Memoir by Abigail Thomas. As I perused the shelves of my library earlier this week, my eyes fell upon this tiny book with cozy cover. Those are my favorite kinds of books. Not the ones that everyone is talking about or the best sellers. I like the ones that call out to you from their place on the highest shelf where they have sat unnoticed. Those are the best kinds. Thinking About Memoir may be a well-known book, but not to me. I had never heard of it, but Abigail, it seems, wrote it just for me. She did, afterall, use my words....or I used her words.

"I've been writing/journaling since I was 7 and it's always been my therapy. Sometimes I sit and think about life: both the good and the bad and a wave rushing, crashing tsunami of emotion and thoughts and joys and confusions sweep me off my feet. That is when I pick up a pen and notebook and land safely on my feet again. Writing brings me clarity and helps me process. It makes me feel grounded and sure."
--from The Linden Tree Isle

"I never know what I feel until I write it down and read my heart on paper. Somehow that brings clarity. Writing calms the storm of emotion raging in my soul... I am  feeling many things today and I'm trying to make sense of it all."
--My journal

Yes, writing helps me make sense. It grounds me. And, I have said many times that it keeps me sane.

Abigail went on to say:

"Sometimes just holding a pen in my hand and writing milk butter eggs sugar calms me."

Having a pen in one hand (a good pen, like my blue, felt tip Papermate Flair) and a notebook in the other makes me feel safe. Even if it's just a grocery list I am writing, seeing the ink bleed onto the paper and into words soothes me. Maybe that is why I fill a steno pad every other week with doodles and list and streams of consiousness. It's my medicine. The antidote to stress....calming.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When One Has Writer's Block...

...She posts a narcissistic post of random and uninteresting facts about herself. I think I need to stay up late chatting with Amanda. Those conversations always produce my better posts.

1. I am famous for getting song lyrics wrong..."Adios! Good bye Uncle Tito! I'm going home to se Ed." or "Toot sweet! Toot sweet! The venomous of the ma-toots that you eat!" or "Why should I worry? Why should I caaaaare. Nameenombavvv been saved and it's by faith and not by works." or "Tick tock rick tock in the pool again. Tick tock tick tock in the puhineeeeen." You will notice that when I can't think of an actual English word that fits into the lyrics, I just make up my own. In fact, I love to sing so much that I don't let a pesky little think like lyrics get in my way. If I don't know any of the lyrics, I just harmonize in my own language.

2. I got the accelerator and brake mixed up one time when I was learning how to drive. I went over the median and almost hit a tree.

3. I think eggs are the ultimate food and that is why I put them in everything. Seriously. I do. My sisters wondered why the hot chocolate was so rich and creamy. Eggs.

4. Carley tried to sum me up the other day. "You just love everybody and want to feed them all." Sounds about right.

5. I would much rather hang out with young children and babies than I would with my peers. I am perfectly content reading stories for hours, playing puzzles and princesses, and running through the park all day. Little kids are the best and I can't wait to be a mom. Also I think I may be developmentally stunted.

6. I buy copies of The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlotte's Web, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy  every time I see them. It's a weird quirk that I cannot control.

7.  My favorite kind of TV are sitcoms. Don't judge, but I think I have seen nearly every episode of "I Love Lucy", "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Brady Bunch", "Full House", "Friends", "The Office", "Parks & Recreation", "Everybody Loves Raymond", "King of Queens", "Seinfeld", and "The Middle".

8. I don't think my sister, Natalie, and I ever argued until we were in our tweens. We were angelic children to each other.

9. One time I scribbled all over my arms and legs with a sharpie and then tried to crawl to my room unnoticed. I was noticed and interrogated and I said that the marker fell on me and ink got everywhere... In the shape of smiley faces, rainbows, and puppies......suuuure.

10. I cut my hair with hedge shears when I was 7.

11. I begged God every night (2 years straight), and every time I walked by a fountain I would throw a penny in and wish for another sibling. And then Maggie came. :)

12. When I eat a Twix bar, I scrape off the caramel and spit it out. Why waste the calories? The cookie is all I care about. Gross, I know.

13. I don't have a favorite genre of movies or books. But all of my faves are character driven. People fascinate me.

14. I held and shot a gun for the first time when I was 20 years old. I felt empowered and so very bad ass.

15. I'm a saver and a deal finder. For example: I wore a dress that cost me $3.99 at Ross the other day, and the dress I'm wearing now was on clearance for $7.48.

16. One of the downsides to bargain shopping is that you don't always get the best quality stuff. I once bought 4 pairs of jeans for $4 each. All 4 of them split in the butt wen I was out in public.

16. I start Christmas shopping in September because I can't handle waiting any longer. Also, I make a color coded spreadsheet with every one's gifts to insure that I give them out in the right order.

17. I love makeup. Mascara and eyeliner are my best friends.

18. I save anything that may have sentimental value to it. I may go a little overboard from time to time, but not in a hoarding way. There are no cat skeletons, I promise. I save it all neatly tucked away.

19. I'm quiet and reserved and prefer to listen and observe over engaging in discussion. I don't feel like I know enough to contribute. But, I will always have something to say if the topic is either The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, or The Notebook. Don't even get me started!

20. One of my favorite things to do is clean. I love scrubbing and dusting and getting on my hands & knees and detailing.

21. I am incapable of staying awake through a movie unless the movie is character driven. Otherwise, I fall asleep within 5 minutes.

22. If I could meet any celebrity it would be Ellen. She is hilarious, kind, a great person, and an awesome dancer. Seriously, meeting Ellen is on my bucket list.

23. The other day I told my Mom about a delicious meal. I described it in great detail, "It was perfectly juicy and the sauce had just a touch of cayenne and tang and the tortilla was warm and all of it was seasoned with smoked yummy". She asked where I had eaten this meal. Ummm....I had a dream about it. I've never actually eaten it. This happens to me a lot.

23. I dream about a lot of other things too: Writing a book, Starring as Anne Bancroft or Florence Nightingale in a movie and then going on the Ellen show, being a foster mom, decorating my home someday, naming my children, opening a book shop/antique store/bakery, or meeting J.K Rowling and weeping on her shoulder because what else would I do?...just to name a few.

24. One time my diet coke spilled on my lap and I accidentally swerved and drove on the sidewalk. I don't think I've told anyone about that one yet....

25. I think that I have a refined and incredibly clever sense of humor. I also have an immature and stupid sense of humor. Unfortunately I am inhibited by social anxiety and no one gets to enjoy the genius comedian I am, save my family. It is rather infuriating that I am unable to be funny around anyone I don't know extremely well because I feel that humor is such a huge part of who I am and I feel sort of fake around people if that makes any sense.

Happy Wednesday! Two more days until a three day weekend! Praying for lots of sun so I can soak up some rays. all. day. every. day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Loved This Article

On Writing Well: Four Suggestions

"I find that there are three levels of clarity. When I only think about something, my thoughts are embryonic and muddled. When I speak about it, my thoughts become clearer, though not always. When I write about it, I jump to a new level of clarity.”
--John Piper

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Jerk

Remember this post?

Each month we order a birthday cake from Publix and the birthday people get sung to. I opted to stay at my desk today because I hate being the center of attention. The person mentioned in my previous post caught wind of that and of course called me and had everyone sing over the phone to me. He just loves to torment me in every way possible. I tried to laugh it off and said "thanks" to him. A few minutes later he came up to my desk and asked if I had finished blushing yet. Again I blushed, but this time I felt a little burst of courage and as he walked away I said to him, "You know, you can be kind of a jerk sometimes."....jerk isn't a nice word, I know. But, it was said in kindness and in a constructive and nice way. I wasn't name-calling.
He replied (in a indignant tone), "Really?!?" To which I replied, "Yeah. Maybe you were genuinely being nice when you had everyone sing to me, but making fun of me for blushing isn't funny and it's really kind of jerkish. I can't help that I blush." And then he laughed and walked away. And I smiled and lifted my head a little higher.

Oh, how the mind races...

A million thoughts ran through my head as I fell asleep last night.


I watched a movie a few nights ago. It was rated R. There was one particular character who gave it the R rating. My initial reaction to him was to reach over to the remote and skip through his scenes, but then my hand stopped and I listened. I listened in horror as it dawned on my that this is how some people really act, and more disturbingly, this is considered "humor".  His behavior is mainstream comedy now. When did this become okay? I won't repeat anything he said because it was just that disgusting, but I was so offended as a woman that anyone would dare talk about us like that. And that people would watch this movie and laugh? His character's purpose was for comedic relief. Where is the comedy in using women for the bodies and nothing more? Where is the humor in objectifying women and seeing them only for your one selfish purpose? How is it okay to say that sex is the woman's job and she won't like it but who cares?! Apparently I live in a very sheltered world, and this movie totally floored and scared me. It made me wonder if, as I am walking through the store, I am oblivious to men talking about me this way. I felt completely violated. This behavior is accepted now and I will be the object, the body, the dehumanized piece of meat that men will ogle and verbally rape because society says it's funny and that men will be men and there is nothing I can do. I am in shock, disbelief, and horror that this is allowed. Are women okay with this? Does anger or even a twinge or cry of "this isn't right" rise up in them as they watch these movies and hear men talk about them like this? Do they believe it? Do they believe that they are good for only one thing? I'm so livid. So angry right now.
I am most likely coming in a bit late in realizing all of this. Society has been pervy for a while I am sure, but maybe I just hadn't realized the extent of it. And, the Christian feminist inside me that believes that women are strong and brave and deep and capable and brilliant and worthy is screaming out and saying, "Nooooooooo!!!!!! This. Is. Not. Right!"


I'm wrestling with something and asking the question, "God, why did you make me care so deeply when I can do so little about it?"

He put a tenderness in my heart when I was eight. I cared for these people and loved them and didn't know why I felt this need to be there so badly.  And, until now I have done what I could for them. I write, I call, I open my home, I listen, I show up. But, that's not good enough for me now. I want to do more, but I don't know how. And I'm confused. If God put it on my heart at eight and didn't take away the desire and the knowing for these thirteen years then why can't I do more? I feel like my hands are tied.

This is vague I am aware. That was on purpose.


This verse.

"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."--Psalm 34:5

Read it allowed. Think about each word. Whisper it to yourself as you fall asleep. Write it on a post it note and stick it on your fridge and your bathroom mirror and over you washing machine.

Unashamed. Wow.


Sometimes I want to take people by the shoulders and shake them and yell in their face, "You are fearfully and wonderfully made by an amazing creator. You are intelligent and beautiful and unique and capable of shaking this world, but instead you are wasting this one wild and precious life given to you!!!!! Expect more from yourself! Don't give in to what society says is acceptable. Don't settle. You are better than that!"

Don't worry. I don't say that. Maybe it's true, but it may not be the best way to say it. Talking and teaching is good. But, when someone isn't receptive, maybe the best thing you can do is be the things you want them to be. Use your intelligence. Believe you are beautiful for the right reasons. Be strong & unique. And don't waste a second of your life. And hopefully they will notice.


Tattoos. I never wanted to get a tattoo for the sake of getting a tattoo. But, I had a couple thoughts last night, and I'm toying with the idea.
One is, "be brave". That is my mantra of late. And, I want it to always be my mantra, so why not permanently write it on my wrist as a forever reminder?
The other is an orchid on my foot. Orchids mean a lot to me. Orchids changed my life. I'll write more about that later.


So those thoughts amongst many other things were rolling through my mind as I stared at my ceiling last night.  This morning I have had a cup of coffee, a cup of tea, and a diet coke to keep me going. Solving the world's problems comes before sleep.

More On Bravery

I've mentioned a couple times that bravery has seemed to be a theme in my life these past few weeks. People keep telling me and encouraging me to step outside of myself and go on an adventure. I'm hearing it in conversations, I'm reading it in books and blogs, I'm seeing it in pictures. I'm trying hard to not sound flaky, but it was a little uncanny how many times I heard the words "brave" and "adventure" in such a short amount of time and I wondered what it meant. I certainly don't feel brave. I was talking with Natalie on the way home from small group about this one night. She looked at me with a quizzical look and said:
"You are brave. This year has been marked with bravery for you. You are forcing yourself to do things that scare you."
Uhhhh, what?
This comment made me think. Brave is different for each person. Brave depends on what you are scared of. And, I realized that I was brave in my own way and realizing that felt pretty darn good.

I am brave.
I was brave when I stood outside of church all alone and firmly decided that I needed to change.
I was brave when I said the words out loud, "I think I might go to small group with you tonight, Nat."
I was brave when, even with stomach churning and hands shaking, I followed through and went.
I was brave when, in spite of the fear, chose to go again and again and again.

Bravery is the backbone to every good thing we do...even the seemingly small things. I read somewhere that it takes guts to be kind. Yes. In this brutal world where gossip and bitching and backstabbing are rampant, joining in the hate is often the easiest and safest thing to do. I know. I used to join in, and since then I have said no and chosen kindness and love over hurting and it's hard but it's good and it takes courage.

For me bravery is stepping out and showing up and believing that I am worth it. Bravery is being kind and loving in an often cut throat world. Brave is being myself when "myself" isn't the norm. It was bravery that made me admit that I am broken and a little screwed up and that it's okay because I am human. Whats not okay is allowing yourself to remain in a state of brokenness. Bravery is what made me decide to change and commit to growing and bettering myself every single day. Bravery is being me at my best.

So, maybe I won't move out of state or go to school just yet. That time may come. But, for now I'm building the foundation of courage and strength. I'm being brave in the everyday and maybe it will grow and maybe someday I will do great and scary things. But, one thing I am sure of: Everyday I will take one more small step out of my comfort zone and see where that takes me. I've come a long way so far. And that is encouraging.

Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise something great will come of it.

My  moment was when I said, "Natalie, I'm going to home group with you tonight." And that insanely courageous moment spiraled out and into something beautiful. I am happy and realizing that I am strong.

"Be Brave." That is my mantra.

Two Things My Mother Taught Me

I totally forgot to post on Mother's Day. I am a horrible Daughter.

Better late than never I suppose. But, I will keep it simple and sweet. There are two things I remember my Mom saying to me growing up:

"You can't change the other person. All you can do is change yourself."

This was particularly in reference to my father. I couldn't change him, but I can make sure I don't have to live with the guilt of being part of the problem.

"Don't end your 'sorry' with a 'but'."

That takes repentance and turns it into an excuse. Say I'm sorry...Period. No explanations, no reasoning. Just admit that you were wrong. Leave it up to the other person to forgive and understand and extend grace.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11th, 2013

Good Morning,

Today is my birthday. I've made it to twenty-one. You can't help but reflect over the past year and life what you wanted and what you have on your birthday. I certainly am doing that today. There are a lot of good feelings and bad feelings and that's okay. Life is full of the beautiful and the difficult.

A few weeks back I was looking through my dresser and found one of my many journals that I thought I had lost. I wrote an entry 10 years ago on my 11th birthday about who I wanted to be at 21. Here I am sitting in front of my laptop 10 years later on my 21st birthday pondering my then hopes and dreams and wondering if I have lived up to the person I hoped to be.

If you can't make out my sloppy handwriting (it's improved, trust me) it says (spelling errors included):

 "In 10 years I will be 21 I want to be different in many ways: I want to serve God with all my heart and act in a Godly manner, I want to be a Virtuos women, I want to serve the church. I want to honor my parents. I am going to pray that God would change me and make me a Woman after Gods own heart."

Let's put it this way: I'm not "there" yet, but I am closer, I keep moving in the right direction, and so for that I am hopeful. Better than I was, but I still have a long way to go.

As to the sentence I crossed out. I had a very difficult and confusing few years at home. My dad was not the best dad by a long shot. I suppose I must have scribbled that part out in an angry moment. I could go into that some more, but that's another story for another day. I just don't have the energy for it now.

Twenty-one. Wow. If you look at the bottom of the picture you will see that I  doodled a stick figure of myself, a dust pan, a broom, and a vacuum. The words spoke of where I wanted to be inwardly and spiritually, the doodles told where I wanted to be physically. I had great and many domestical plans, my whole life was mapped out. I was to be married by my 18th birthday. By now I should have at least 3 children and be a foster mom. I should have moved from Florida and be living in a old, creaky house somewhere where there are seasons. Married homeowner with kids. Hmmm.....

And then there are a lot of things I did not plan for. I never thought that on May 21st it will be 8 years since my family had to flee from my Dad. I never thought that it will be 3 years since I last saw him. I never thought that I would be working full-time to help support a family of five. Or that I'd have dealt with so much crap in my lifetime, leaving me a little broken and a lot confused. Life doesn't always go as planned.

Maybe that's a good thing. I'm fairly certain that had I gotten married before I turned 18 I would have screwed it up pretty badly. Babies and children are wonderful, but growing up before you have them is even wonderfuller. Maybe I will leave Florida someday, but I had to learn a lesson in contentment and to "bloom where I'm planted" first. I don't really understand why all that happened to my family happened but I do know that freedom from my Dad saved my life. That is not an overstatement. It's a messy thing: divorce. I hate it vehemently, but sometimes and in certain situations it is the only option and in my case it really did save my life. I still don't know how I feel about working full it possible for me to resent and hate it but at the same time totally love that I can serve my family in this way? I oscillate between loving and hating work a million times a day.
Where I am physically is not what I had intended and not what I would have chosen. But, still I am overall happy. Happy with me. I can't remember the last time I was able to say this. I have much that still needs unlearning and relearning and breaking and mending and reshaping and bulldozing and all that fun, sanctifying stuff. But I'd be remiss if I didn't recognize the evidence of grace and the growth in my life. God is good and He is faithful and has done and is doing a great work in me. I am gentler, slower to speak, kinder, happier, more content, purposeful. Guys, I am not naturally any of those things at all. But somehow, miraculously, I am becoming that and I love it.

So, that's where I'm at this May 11th, 2013.

Also I am re-reading for the umpteenth time this blog post. My thoughts exactly.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Mickey Jar.

I had this idea a while back to have my friend's siblings come down to stay for a few days in the summer. We have had them stay a few times now, but I wanted this to be special and summery and awesome in every way. The problem, as it often is, was money. When you want to go to the beach and the water park and the movies and eat frozen yogurt and go on picnics and have a BBQ....that adds up pretty quickly especially when your talking about 5-7 people. But, I really wanted to make all of this happen. So I do what I always do in times like this. I got down out the old "Mickey Jar". This jar is a mason jar that was originally used to save pennies and babysitting money and change found in pockets for a trip to Disney World years back and so it was dubbed "The Mickey Jar". We have used it many times since to save for other fun things, and this time it's for our week of summer fun. This was two weeks ago. My initial goal that will cover one of the many things I want to do was $90. In less than seven days, between babysitting jobs and an unexpected gift, I had $90. I think God was telling me that he liked this plan and that he was going to make it happen. Since then I have had the opportunity to work extra at my job, and I also have a birthday coming up. Anywho, I just did the math and I'm set. I have a few extra bucks I need to save on my own, but the majority of it fell into my lap because God is good and he wants Jen and Matt to have an awesome summer and Matt to have an epic 13th birthday party at the water park.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's Here.

Busy, busy, busy. Life has been jam-packed. I'm exhausted and feeling stretched thin...all good things, but tiring things. The torrential downpour of last Thursday left us with a cloudless sky: welcome tidings of summer's arrival.

It's here: sunshine and rain showers and blue skies and beach weather and the smell of sunscreen and grass clippings and the urge to have a picnic every weekend and spend every possible moment basking in the rays. My shoulders are freckled already. The car windows are rolled down and the radio is tuned into our Country station. The fruit is sweeter and my summertime craving for diet cola is coming on. Summer is a time to immerse yourself in books which is why I am going to the library on my way home from work tonight. It's a time to watch as many movies as you can and not feel guilty about it. It's when I wear little makeup because the glow of the sun on my cheeks is enough. It's a time to scrub down the grill and stock up on hot dogs and pickles and watermelon. Summer is here. The Fourth of July is but a few weeks away. We'll take our places at the peak of the roof to watch surrounding fireworks. Jenny and Matt will come down for a few days and we'll go to the water park, eat frozen yogurt, and go to the drive-in movie theater. Our lives will be full, brimming, and overflowing with fresh air, each other, and lazy afternoons....Just what I need.