Friday, June 28, 2013

It's Contagious

I have written over 3,000 words these past few days. There is an interesting discussion happening over at Momastery, and I got involved. All energy, thoughts, and wordiness has been spent over there.


When I was 12, things got bad at home. Things had been bad for a few years, but it all escalated and quickly became unbearable. We felt trapped. The prospect of a future in that hostile environment was bleak to say the least.

And, then a family we barely knew opened their home to us. They knew we needed an escape, and they provided one. They had a tiny townhouse, but gave us their entire top floor while all four of them slept in one room. They gave us shelter for four months. And it wasn't just them...many families and many friends did the same: For a week, a weekend, a night, a month....

What would have happened if someone hadn't stood up for us and saved us?

I have learned something from that experience: When someone empties themselves out for you and gives all that they can and then can't help but do the same for another. It's contagious.

I know for a fact that I give and love and do for others now because they gave and loved and did for me then.


Happy Friday! My people are coming tonight so I will be spending time with them for the next four days. See you on the flipside.

Good Day.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Today is officially the first day of summer. My stomach is flip-flopping with excitement. There is something about this time of year. I come alive.
Tomorrow morning my sisters and I will throw open the curtains and windows and let the lemon sunlight flood my home. I'll put on a tank top and shorts and scrub baseboards, dust the cobwebs from the ceiling, bleach the patio,  change the linens, and together we will wash my car. My scratchy, fuzzy radio will sing the tunes of Alan Jackson and Blake Shelton all day. Maybe I'll brew some iced tea, sweetened with plums. Maybe I'll grill up some hot dogs and corn. Maybe I'll drive with windows down over to the ocean and dive in. I'll fit a nap in somewhere, and maybe a card game with sisters. What better way to welcome summer than with sunshine, tank tops, country music, tea, and a bucket of sudsy water? And, at the end of the day, when my little sister's cheeks have been kissed by the sun, and our bodies are sore and sweaty after a long day of hard work, and we smell like saltwater and grass clippings I'll sit down and read aloud the perfect summertime story: Dandelion Wine.

"It was a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer."
--Dandelion Wine

There is no fear in love.

I am an introvert. I struggle with social phobia/anxiety. I love people, but my interaction has to be on my own terms otherwise I get overwhelmed, overstimulated, and stressed. This fear has been very inhibiting. Early this year, and in an instant, I realized that I was sick of it and had a crazy surge of bravery. I forced myself to step out of that comfort zone and it made me sick and my head pounded and my hands shook and my world spun. But it was the right decision and I'm glad I did it. And, already, I feel like I have made huge steps in overcoming this fear. It's crazy how you can go so long debilitated by anxiety and have no idea. I had gone almost a year without attending some sort of a social gathering....aside from my work Christmas party where I came home with a clenched jaw and migraine. I saw my very small group of friends from time to time, but it was limited and on my own terms. I was more lonely than words can describe, but fear kept me from connection. One Sunday, I sat in church and I had an obvious epiphany: I avoid people. I need people. Living without community is dangerous. Duh. But, I had never put two and two together. Instead of recognizing my fear, I had excused it. I was either too busy or too tired to see people. I never realized that the real reason was that I was scared crippled. I had a few, fleeting seconds of courage that Sunday and acted on them. I texted my sister after church I'm going with you to small group tonight.  It made me sick when I hit "send", but it was too late to turn back. I wrote this the day after I went to small group with her. The realization of just how scared I was terrified me. I had avoided people and groups of people for so long that I was clueless to what it did to me. My reaction of such intense anxiety scared me, and forced me to try to get better.


My heart began to beat faster and faster the closer 5:45pm approached. My hands started to shake & beads of sweat began to form on my lip. I had to focus on breathing & will myself not to throw up. My mind searched for an excuse to not go. But, the indescribable fear that I was feeling was enough for me to know that I had to go & face my fears. Natalie drove. I pretended to be engaged in conversation with her, but inside I was telling myself, "It's okay. You'll be fine. It's just a few people from church. Just focus on acting normal, get through the two hours, and as soon as you get into the car to go home you can fall apart again."

At 6:45 pm we pulled into their driveway. My hands fumbled as I tried to put my socks and shoes on. I tried to take a deep breath, but my body wouldn't let me. It came out like a gasp. We walked in. The lights shone so bright into my eyes. There was so much color, it was obnoxious. The room was so small and the walls kept closing in. The noise was near unbearable: I couldn't hear, I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe. My jaw clenched immediately. I coached myself to breathe in and breathe out...slowly. I could feel my face getting hot and my hands trembling. Worst of all were the people. There were people everywhere. Standing, sitting, talking, joking, laughing. Some of them came up to me. Some said, "hi.". Some gave hugs. I smiled back. I said, "hi." back. I hugged them back.  When we all gathered together to sit, the leader of the group asked all of the newer people to introduce themselves. They went around one by one. I shrunk deeper and deeper into the sofa. I wanted to disappear. Tears welled in my eyes. "Please, God, please don't let him ask me. Please let him skip over me. I can't do it. I can't talk in front of all these people. I'm afraid that if I have to open my mouth, all that would come out would be sobs."  The group leader skipped over me. Relief. I stopped twisting my fingers and swallowed the lump in my throat. "Lyndsay, I forgot about you!"  Oh, God, no. The heart racing, flushed face, threatening tears, and clenched jaw returned. "How are you doing?"  "Good", I said. "It's good to have you." "Thanks", I said. That was it, he began the Bible study. Thank you, God. I survived.  I don't remember what the Bible study was about. I don't remember anything else that happened. I had to use every ounce of strength to maintain my look of normalcy. I had to focus with every second on not crying, not going into a full blown panic attack, not letting anyone see me quake with fear.

When the Bible study was over, everyone shuffled around to sit with their friends and continue the conversations started earlier that evening. I continued to sit, staring at the television and pretending I was interested in football. I think I looked believable. At one point, a group of girls (including Natalie) began engaging me in their conversation. I laughed along with them. But, I didn't say much. They were six. I can't speak to anymore that two people at a time.  I had asked that  we leave before 9:00 pm. It was 9:27 pm by the time we said our goodbyes. If it had been 9:28, I think I would have crumbled. We got in the car, dropped off one of Nat's friends and then the tears came. Natalie doesn't know. I turned my face away. I did tell her that it was stressful. She said that I had acted fine and no one could have guessed that I wasn't enjoying myself. "At least I'm a good liar" I thought.


I had no idea what it was that I was experiencing and so I began to do some research: Social phobia. It has a name, and naming it somehow made it seem manageable...something I could beat.

I have forced myself to surround myself with people over the past 6 months. It still scares me, but slowly it is getting easier. And, I am enjoying the benefits of community.

In my research, I have learned some powerful truths that have helped me on this journey:

-I am not the only one.
There are so many people out there that struggle with this as well. Being able to read these people's stories and say, "Me too." has built my courage. Realizing that I am not the only one who is broken gives me the strength to keep trying.

-I won't get better overnight. I am human.
I think that was what kept me from engaging in friendships and community for so long. I felt that I needed to be everyone's best friend, the life of the party, and always have something to contribute in order to be a part. I wasn't able to be that and so I didn't even try. I have now accepted that I  may never be the life of the party, and that is perfectly alright. Everyone is unique and has different and equally important things to contribute. I have come to realize that getting better is a process and one that takes practice. I can't improve myself all in my own private world, and then join the fun once I have my anxiety under control. I have to show up just as I am now: imperfect, terrified, and vulnerable. And, that's where the healing begins. Show up, and slowly but surely you will find yourself becoming braver.

Keep showing up. Even when you are tired. For an introvert, it is so easy to fall into that lonely rut again. So keep trying.

-I can't hate myself better.
I think that is the most important thing to remember in every inner battle we fight. You can't hate yourself into being better. Shame over you social awkwardness or your inability to talk in front of people will never initiate growth. Growth is backed by Love. Love yourself enough to know that you are capable, and can grow. And, when you screw up or embarrass yourself or start to go back into hiding: Forgive yourself and try again. 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..."

Psalm 34: 4 & 5
I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
  And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant,
  And their faces will never be ashamed.

I'm still in the beginning stages, and am still learning about my anxiety. This is what I have learned and what has helped me so far.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ponder This.

"If we only listened with the same passion that we feel about being heard."
--Harriet Lerner

Listen whole heartedly. Ask questions. Show someone you care. Remember, and then talk about it with them later to show them that you were really truly listening and that they really truly matter.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Warning: You will think less of me after reading this post.

I do it a lot. I start typing away about something I am learning or struggling with and then I realize how awful a person I am and then I attempt to change the tone of the post and convince you that I'm really not all that bad, only to dig myself into a deeper writing ditch. And then I save this ridiculously long essay to drafts and promise to never post it for fear that my readers (all two of you) will hate me.

I have several just from the past two or three weeks. They are mostly about my perfectionism and inability to let things go. We all have our weird and (to others) stupid and unimportant struggles. You may read this and say to yourself, "Big deal! Get over yourself!". But, to me, it's a big deal. That is why I am forcing myself to write it all out and publish it....maybe. We'll see...

I have diagnosed myself with selective perfectionism. My perfectionism comes in the form of planning, time organization, and cooking. It is a serious issue for me. I plan my life months in advance, and don't deal well with it when plans change and I have to white out my calendar---I HATE white out! My time and life are meticulously organized. My weekends are always carefully planned to the minute. In a way, this is a good thing. I think organization and time management is important. But, last month I had a week’s worth of white outs and scribblings and reschedulings on my calendar and I started to panic. My chest tightened and I got dizzy. I also tend to over book my life. I am incapable of saying, "No". If you ask me to do something I will say, "Yes". And, then there is the cooking/baking. This is really a pride issue and where you come in and say, "Big deal! Get over yourself!". Everything I ever make must be totally and utterly homemade. I love to bake and am pretty darn good at it (See?!? Pride.). I can't buy a boxed mix and call it a day. I have to bake the cake from scratch, whisk the curd or pudding or jam fillings carefully over the stove from scratch, and all my frostings are completely homemade. I make elaborate cakes too. I admit it: I am a snob. People ask me to bake for get togethers and events fairly often. As you now know, I can't say, "No.", I always overbook, I am an arrogant-baking-wannabe-Martha Stewart. I am a perfectionist.

I love being that perfectionist. It is important to me. It's who I am. And it makes me look good: I am always on time and organized-super-woman, I am dependable and always there if you need me, and I make the best chocolate nutella cake in the universe (See?!? Pride.). I'm addicted to perfectionism. I can't stop. I must be awesome and I will freak at the thought of not being awesome but being awesome puts me on the verge of insanity.  It's so stressful, and in theory I want to just not care and let it all go. I've tried it. I posted this a few days ago. I sort of attempted it for a couple days. It was my cousin's birthday and I said yes to baking the cake. I was asked to do it last minute and started the baking process after 8pm. And, then I stopped myself and took a deep breath and told my Mom that it was too much and we were going to have to bring a boxed cake mix. I made the filling from scratch (baby steps, people. It had to at least be semi-homemade). It felt awful and now I really would have rather just given in and stayed up baking that perfect cake until midnight. It was dry and tasted like chemicals and made me look bad. But, it really didn't make me look bad because I know that nobody really cares whether a cake is from a box or not. I think I am the only one who cared or even noticed. I even told everyone that it was boxed and apologized for it, which is really ridiculous and obnoxious of me since everybody there probably only ever uses boxed cake mix and I was insulting them. I tried to not be a perfectionist, but that only stressed me out more than being one.

I told you that I would sound ridiculous. I know it's really such a small and petty thing, but I don't believe that deep down. It is a huge deal to me. I am addicted to looking good and being in control. Eww. I sound so ugly. I'm not using the term lightly...I really believe that I am addicted.

So, there. I think that I needed to get this off my chest in order to be cured for the weeks of writer's block I've been suffering from. I keep trying to write and nothing was coming out except for this. It's been laying heavily on my heart. So, I guess that means I should just be honest and admit to it. Now you know. I am proud and full of myself and suck.

What is the point to this post? I don't know. I wish I was able to wrap it up by saying But, guess what?!? I prayed about it last night and ka-bam! I am healed! I no longer care! In fact, I am bringing a Stouffer's lasagna and Twinkies to my friend's house for dinner tomorrow night--because who gives a crap?! I am FREEeeeeee! That is not the case.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Grilled Goodness

I was going to take a picture, but then it was all eaten by the time I grabbed the camera. My friends, I present to you the most amazing food I have ever eaten in the history of ever:

It is much more appetizing in reality, I swear. The doodle does not do it justice. I got my grill back up and running this weekend. I bought said grill nearly two years ago. Eventually the gas ran out and it has taken me close to a year to get a new tank. I got a new tank and now have the grillin' fever. I can't stop. I must grill ALL THE THINGS!

If you can't guess, it was tomatillo-honey-lime chicken tacos topped with charred slaw and mango salsa. Hello! Yum.

I didn't use a recipe and may not be able to duplicate it. Below are my jottings of what I remember.


Blend in a blender till liquified: 1 tomatillo, 3 cloves garlic, some red onion, cilantro, lime juice, white vinegar, honey, sugar, salt, red pepper flakes, all spice, and oil. Marinade tenderized chicken breast for an our or so. I slice the breasts long-ways so they are thinner. Throw on a hot grill til cooked and it has those beautiful black grill marks.

Charred slaw:

Chop a head of cabbage into bog wedges. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with S&P. Throw on hot grill till edges are charred and tender and smells divine. Don't cook it, just get those edges black and you want it slightly tender.  Slice cabbage into a slaw. The vinigrette is: apple cidar vinegar, mayo, S&P, sugar, honey, minced or grated red onion, and chopped cilantro. Toss it all together and throw in the fridge.

Mango salsa:

Chop a mango into medium sized chunks. You want it small enough so it gets all the good flavor, but large enough so that it holds it's shape and doesn't become mush. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss with minced red pepper.

Slice chicken and put on a warm tortilla. Top with slaw and finish off with the mango. It's so good. The chicken was so flavorful and made my taste buds happy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Prince of Egypt

I suppose when you grow up in a Christian environment and hear Bible stories your whole life the awe and wonder of the reality of the stories is somewhat lost. I watched "The Prince of Egypt" yesterday for the first time in years. It hit me and all I could think throughout the film was, "This stuff really happened!". Moses' mother really and truly had to hide her baby son in fear that men would barge into her home and tear him from her arms and slaughter him. She really did smuggle him to the river's shore and had the crazy faith and trust to put him in a basket and let her own child drift away from her to who-knows-where. And, then if that weren't all crazy enough, God came and spoke to Moses years later through a bush that was on fire and sent him on a crazy mission. And then the waters of the Nile turned to actual blood. Fire and huge hail fell from the sky. The sun stopped shining and Egypt was filled with darkness. Sickness, bugs, frogs infested the land and people. And then the tenth and last plague. I don't get this one. I can't understand why this horrible thing had to happen, but it did. "...There was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead." Every home, every person lost someone. Every mother had to bury her son. Maybe a part of me wants to believe that at least this part is just a story. It's so horrific. But, it happened. It's hard to wrap my mind around it, because all I've ever wanted is to be a mother and the thought of losing a child is so gut-wrenchingly awful that this part of the Bible bewilders me. Perhaps this is another post for another day. The point is, The Bible is real. Sometimes I think we can forget that all those wild and shocking and horrifying and miraculous and awe-inspiring things are an actual part of History. God parted a freaking sea in two and allowed his people to walk through safely and then in a second the walls of water crashed down on the enemy.

It's all so unbelievable and far-fetched sounding. I watched the movie in tears and laughed and shuddered as the reality of it all sunk in. Can you imagine being an Israelite? Your past, present, and future is slavery. One day the ex-prince/murderer/runaway strolls back into Egypt, walks right up to the Pharaoh, and demands that he let you and your people go. What? Imagine being there as the Nile turned into literal blood. Imagine watching fire fall from heaven. Imagine being awoken by the heartbroken wailing of the Egyptian mothers and fathers on that awful night. Imagine the inexpressible joy of being free and the anxiety and terror as your masters change their minds and pursue you. Imagine the hopelessness with a sea in front of you and cloud of dust and a thousand chariots behind you. Imagine seeing that ex-prince/murderer/stuttering/ scared runaway, chosen by God, walk to the shores edge and place his staff in the waves. Imagine seeing the waves quiver and tremble and burst and tower above you. Your past was slavery, but your future is finally freedom.

"The Prince of Egypt" told the story of Exodus so powerfully. It brought the words to life. I'm in awe, giddy really, and incredibly excited.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


My brain is a foggy mess. It's so frustrating. I keep sitting down in front of my computer, waiting for the thoughts and words to flow......nothing. I got nothing. I think that the ridiculously high fever I had last week fried my brain.

I wrote something today just to keep in the habit of writing. I think I have something good'ish. It just needs some help before I publish it. But, my blog posts are becoming more and more infrequent and so I feel like I need to post something in the mean time....until my brain allows me to string a coherent sentence together at least.

I wrote this a long, long time ago. It's a dream I had. It's kind of personal and I don't know how I feel about sharing it. But, anyways, here it is:

I was walking along the pier. As I strolled, I looked down at the wooden boards and read the words "dad", "church", "friends"....specific names of specific people I loved. I stopped on "dad" and the ground beneath me began to quake ever so slightly and then more and more and suddenly the board began to shake so terribly that I jumped and landed on the board next me just in time for the nails to loose and watch the plank fall into the sea. I looked in the crack where it had been and saw sharks swimming in the waters. My heart began to race and hands began to tremble as I felt the floor shake again. I looked down and saw the word "church". Again, I jumped just in the knick of time. This continued as I jumped from wooden board to wooden board with the names of the friends I put so much faith in. Finally, I jumped on last remaining plank. It stood there, resolute and unwaivering. Carved deep into the wood was the name, "Jesus". I tested it, jumped up and down. It didn't budge. Finally, I knew I was safe. But, the sharks still circled below me and looking down made me dizzy and doubt my safety. The fear of falling was somehow pulling me towards the edge. I dangled my feet over the side and they tingled with fright. Then I pulled them up and hugged my legs tight and lay down on the wood and stared at his name and felt safe again. It went on and on like this: almost falling, finding my footing, almost falling again.

Hoping that a relaxing weekend at the waterpark with my 'lil sis taking it easy will help me get back to living again. I am going to attempt getting back on to my early morning writing routine next week.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chill Out.

If you were able to look through my draft list, you would see many unfinished and befuddled half posts about perfectionism and trying to be superwoman and over-doing it and trying (read "failing") to find balance in life and crashing and burning.

I still haven't quite figured it out. I know that I have a tendency to take on too much and that I am a perfectionist. I realize that I need to start saying "no" and that I need to not be frustrated with myself when my "best" isn't as "perfect" as I would like. My body is telling me that I am not superwoman and I'm having a difficult time getting the message. When things like restless nights and migraines and asthma attacks---perfect excuses for taking it easy---didn't have any results, my body said, "that's it!", and I got a cold. Even then I was resistent. I still went to a friends house for a movie night, and, with a fever, I went to the fruitstand and made soup for my family. And then I went to work two days straight. I just hate not being productive. So, then I was stricken with the full-on flu. There was no fighting it this time. I have never been so sick in my entire life. I slept for 18 hours straight 2 days in a row. I didn't get out of bed for 3 days straight. On Sunday, I slept in until 4 o'clock in the afternoon. I finally got the message. I let myself be. I didn't force myself to do anything....anything. I just rested. It was amazing.

I'm going to attempt being kind to myself and taking things slower. I'm going to rest when I need to and sometimed just because. I'm going to not always try to be awesome. Sometimes being mediocre is okay. I'm letting myself off the hook. Let's see how long this lasts.....