//so I lost my marbles…//

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Definitely had my Tootles moment… (image from imgur)

I’ve always seen characters in movies and on tv shows have that magical breakdown moment where they just LOSE IT on someone. They reach their limit. They get pushed to the edge (much like Curtis, the husky, bacon loving child from Wife Swap all those years ago). The character just lets all the words fly. They let out all their pent up thoughts and anger and frustration on whoever is the lucky recipient. And I had one of those moments. On Friday. In my office. With my co-supervisor present. IN FRONT OF MY BOSS.

I wish I could say that it was an eloquent speech, one that I’d thought through and practiced to make sure I didn’t lose my “edge” (HAH. I have no edge. If you know me at all, the only edge I have comes out when I’m advocating for children and teens who have no one). I wish I could say I didn’t cry or almost slam my head on my desk because I was so tired my arm couldn’t hold my head up. The truth is…I lost my marbles and it’s because while I’ve been so focused on taking care of everyone else, I’ve forgotten to take care of myself. Let me preface this post-I work for a great nonprofit. I love my job. My cosupervisor is a gift from Jesus. My immediate boss has been on maternity leave for three months and before she left, we had worked so hard to help me keep boundaries to save my time and to also be able to serve my team the best way I knew how. When she left… that all changed… and I’ve been struggling ever since.

Last week, I walked into work on Monday and was feeling pretty good. I felt okay. My head felt clear, I woke up early enough to actually thoughtfully consider what to wear. I put makeup on while standing in my bathroom instead of using my rearview mirror on the way to work. I had matching shoes. I FIXED MY HAIR WITHOUT THE USE OF LAYERS OF DRY SHAMPOO AND HAIRSPRAY. For once, I felt like I had it together enough that the facade wouldn’t be completely false. I don’t like having to keep up appearances, especially the ones that I feel like I’m only keeping up with because of the people who placed those “appearances” on me. So, last Monday, I kind of felt like I had made it through the hardest part of my summer, I was one week away to my normal coming back! And I hadn’t had a total meltdown since one of my staff members told me I was the reason they hated their job in June… or in July when the other staff member told me I never taught them anything about the job and I was the worst. I hadn’t had a personal screaming fit in my car during the middle of a work day in what felt like ages (don’t kid yourself. It was maybe a month ago the last time I had to run out to my car). I was so close… and then I got that email. At one point in my day, I had to turn off my computer and just fill in my planner. After Monday, I came home and crashed. Same thing happened Tuesday. Wednesday was a long day, followed by Thursday. And by Friday and reading several emails and me feeling like a complete failure at my job, the limit was met. I had nothing left. So when my boss came in our office to ask me and my cosupervisor about something completely unrelated, I was already defensive. As she started to ask us questions, I was answering and keeping my eyes down and feeling the huge tears form behind my eyes. When my boss asked me why I was being defensive, my first response was “yeah I’m defensive. I don’t feel like I can do anything right…and I’m tired and I have nothing left.”

I don’t write this as a “woe is me” piece of literature. I write it as a warning… a warning that if all you do is serve other people and you never allow yourself to be poured into, you will lose your marbles. I love people. I love the fact my parents raised me and my sisters with this amazing love for others. I don’t remember a time when we weren’t out in the community giving meals to those who didn’t have anything. I don’t remember a time when we weren’t driving through downtown and my dad rolling down the window to give money to a homeless person, or my mom taking us to the Goodwill to donate our personal things to kids who didn’t have anything. That is an amazing thing to have your life built on and it’s something I want to continue to build my life on. What I have realized so far on my “vacation” time is that I can’t continue you running myself in the ground. I can’t keep acting like I have it all together when I really don’t. I can’t keep Jesus at arms length and operate out of what I think “works”. Jesus isn’t meant to be a spectator in your life; he’s supposed to be right there with you.

All this to say, I know I’m not the only one who loses their marbles. Don’t feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t have it all together. Don’t feel like you have to have it all together. If you lose your marbles one day, there’s always another day for you to try and pick them up. It’s okay to aspire to serve anyone and everyone. It’s okay to be an overachiever. It’s okay to aspire to win everyday. And its definitely okay to ask for help. Asking for help is the best thing that could ever happen to you. I think the best lesson I’ve learned so far, is that Jesus wants to teach me how to rest in him and how to really take care of myself. Man, Jesus just gets it. And that’s a good thing, because I definitely don’t get it. Well, I kind of get it. Just when I think I do get it, I very quickly realize I have so much more to learn.

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light’…” 

Matthew 11:28-30

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//the waiting room//

I don’t know who will see this, if anyone will find it remotely interesting, or if it will speak to where you’re at. I don’t know who reads my blog…all I know is that I have some 2000 people who see these posts and think I’m an ok, kinda sorta funny, 29 year old and I love and appreciate that so much. Seriously, when I started this blog, I thought I would just write a few things and maybe someone would be encouraged. But when you get emails that ask “When are you going to write more? This once in a blue moon thing isn’t going to cut it”, that means the world.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a terribly impatient person. I can’t do it. I can barely wait for my water glass to be refilled and waiting for something worth so much more makes my skin crawl. I can’t. I literally can’t do it.

I’m a graduate student at an incredible university, that even with all its quirks and weirdness, I feel like I’m supposed to be here. I have the best friends. I have the best church and life group. I love it here. I love Norman, Oklahoma and don’t want to leave. But…< *don’t you hate this? I always hate the “but” that usually comes after all the good and great things someone has pointed out about you*> I’m still waiting… 

Waiting is just… the literal worst. No one likes it. No one likes waiting for someone to call. No one likes waiting for money to hit the bank account. No one likes swiping their credit card, hoping they can buy the bare minimum groceries sitting in the basket. No one likes waiting for test results. No one likes waiting. What I’ve recently realized is there is a lot of life that happens while you wait. I’ve decided to document it and hopefully, you get a laugh or two out of it.

While you’re waiting, take time to…

  1. Breathe. You can’t change what will or won’t happen. By you holding your breath, all you’re doing is causing yourself internal pain and your facial color to change. Stop it. Breathe.
  2. Sleep. Did you know sleep is important to your daily functioning? No? Allow me to demonstrate its importance with this: my friend Katie and I were talking the other night and she said “Linds… I was so tired the other day, I took a video of me driving home. Look at my eyes…one of them is drooping so low, it looks like my eye is closed! Honestly, when I figured out I parked my car outside my house, I don’t know how I even got home”. Y’all. I’ve been where Katie has been. In fact, while I was writing my comprehensive exam, I got maybe 3-4 hours of sleep every night for a solid 3 weeks. The week the exam was due, I had 3 days where my total sleep amount was 8 hours. 8 HOURS FOR 3 DAYS. Y’all, my whole life was a miracle during February. I really should not have been allowed to drive a car, cut vegetables, or talk to people with that little sleep. Take time to sleep.
  3. Talk to someone. I don’t know about you, but I tend to bottle my emotions up because I’m the happy go lucky girl who loves to support and celebrate others. I love listening to people. I love to laugh and make people laugh. I love laughing until I’m crying. I love how infectious laughter is…BUT, I’m also human, and every happy go lucky girl has her limits. I am so weak, you guys. I am tired. And when I am tired, I cry. When I am weak, the happy go lucky Linds goes away and in her place is the real, raw Linds that no one but my sisters and parents and maybe 2 friends have seen. I knew I needed to talk to someone when I found myself crying over my notes in the middle of the library at OU. It was like all of a sudden, I was noticing my notes were all smeared. I was losing my edge. The greatest thing was in my phone, I have several people I could reach out to. When I let it out, and my friend let me just cry and said “it sucks, but you’re stronger than this… you can do it”, I felt like it was ok to be my true self, happy go lucky or weak. You’re stronger when you have that support system. Let people in. It’s good for your soul and for your sanity.
  4. Eat and drink. The last 2 weeks have been horrifyingly awful for me. I went to Whataburger on Saturday night and couldn’t eat all of my burger and fries… AND IF YOU KNOW ME, YOU KNOW THIS IS A TRAVESTY. Why? Stress kills not only my vibe, but my appetite. Luckily, my friend Dylan was like “Ummm I know you didn’t eat lunch and you probably ate half a donut for breakfast. You’re eating dinner. Do it.” I’ve forgotten to drink water. If it weren’t for Hailey and Jess checking in to make sure I’m still mentally aware of what’s happening, I would probably be very dehydrated. Don’t be that person who neglects all the important things because you feel you can’t make it. You can, and in order to do so, you need food and drink.
  5. Celebrate…but carefully. I’m all about the celebration. I love it all. But when I’m feeling lost or hurt or absolutely like my future is so unsettled, I tend to go overboard. And yes, I’m talking about alcohol. It’s a vice that temporarily makes me bold and even more happy than I am…keyword is temporary. When I wake up after a night of drinking that went too far, I feel guilty and dirty. It’s like I know my limits and went so far past them that it literally causes me pain the next day. Luckily, this hasn’t happened in what seems like ages, but has really been a few months. I went out recently and had a blast. I had 2, maybe 3 drinks, and the rest of the time, I drank water and just laughed with my friends. I didn’t feel guilty at all. I actually felt like if I hadn’t gone out with friends, I would’ve been worse. Worry and stress keep you high strung and physically hurting. When you’re able to release that and just be you, its so rewarding when you go home and fall asleep.
  6. Hug someone. I need hugs in order to function. Some people need acts of service. Others need gifts. Me? If you see me, just hug me. I remember when my parents came to Norman the week my exam was due and when I saw my dad standing in my house, I fell apart. I stood there and wept. And what did my dad do? Just hugged me. Just told me he was so proud of me for what I’ve accomplished in a year’s time. My mom just sat next to me while I printed out my basketball ticket. I was emotionally on edge and ready to lose it that my parents and sister just let me. Up until this point, I’m pretty sure my family has only seen me lose it a few times, but this time, they didn’t tell me not to. They didn’t tell me to pull it together. They just hugged me. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
  7. Encourage…someone else. I know. It’s hard when you’re facing a freaking huge challenge yourself to change your focus to someone else. You should take the time to look around you and see who’s needing encouragement. Most of the time it’s the person who’s writing my name on my Starbucks cup. You can tell people have overlooked them and just wanted their coffee. I’ve started being intentional when I’m at the market or Starbucks. I make sure my phone is in my bag or pocket and always ask how they are. Friday, I was at Q’Doba and the guy helping me was run down and frustrated. The group in front of me was oblivious to the fact he was trying to serve them because they were on their phones. When I got to the register I said “Are you doing ok?” and he just stopped and looked at me and said “you’re the first person who’s asked me that…I’m ready for this week to be over… Today sucked”. I simply smiled and said “Yeah, I feel you on that. It’s been a week for sure”. He looked at me and said “You know what… just take this. It’s on the house. Are you always like this?” I said “I’m trying to be.” Y’all. You don’t know who needs to be acknowledged but you should take time to.
  8. Pray. I wish I could say I pray all the time and my heart life is in perfect condition. It’s not. I’d be lying if I said it was perfect. Actually, if I’m being honest, my prayer life sucks. Like I pray, but it’s the usual “Hey God, it’s me, Linds. Keep me from hurting people using only my words today. K. Thanks”. It’s nothing substantial. I put an expectation on myself for April. My faith has been a little lacking lately, so I told the Lord that April was my month. It’s my month for amazing results and a for sure YOU GET TO GRADUATE on my exam and not just any job, but THE job on OU’s campus. I told the Lord that I have the faith to see those things come to pass. Have they yet? Nope. But it’s still April. This is the first time in a long time that I look to the Lord with this confident expectation (hello… it’s called HOPE) that God is going to answer me, but in a better way than what I even know. Did you know it’s completely appropriate to tell the Lord your expectations? He wants that. He wants you to be so open and vulnerable with him that you just naturally spill it. So, I’ve been incredible vulnerable with the Lord. I believe he knows what he’s doing with me. He knows why the time is taking longer than expected for my test results. He knows why I haven’t heard anything for 2 of the jobs I’m so excited and passionate about. He knows. So why am I still so uptight about waiting? Because even though I know it’ll all work out the way it’s supposed to, since its not up to me, it drives me absolutely crazy. This is why we are not good left to our own devices. This is why as human beings we need someone to contend and fight for us. Because us fighting for ourselves would be a complete and utter nuisance. This is why prayer is a necessity to this waiting life.

When you’re in the waiting room, it’s not time to freak out. It’s actually the best time to breathe, to focus and to get yourself ready for what’s coming. The waiting room is the last stop before the next phase begins. When you leave the waiting room, your life changes in an instant. It isn’t going to be the same after that. So, while you wait, no matter how long it takes, think about all the life you’ve lived. Think about all the lessons you’ve learned, the friends you’ve made and the moments you walked away with. I guarantee you, what’s next will be even better than what you’ve just went through. And guess what? If you did horrible in this waiting room, there will be another, maybe not as long, but another one for sure. And because you’ve been through this one, it’ll be a bit easier to rest, pray, focus and prepare.

Don’t get too hurried in the waiting room… Just trust me… Don’t.

me? saying yes to an adventure? DEFINITE MIRACLE.

**Thanks Fairy Godmother… for coming through again**

//season of unreasonable optimism//

I’ve been challenging myself for the last couple weeks. It all started with a message my pastor and his wife spoke 2 weeks ago. It was about Freedom. As I sat in my seat, my face started burning (that happens with me. When Jesus starts speaking to me, my face gets hot and my ears turn red like they do when I know someone is talking about me… it’s a quirk. Thanks God 😉). It was as though this message was just for me. I have a choice about how I live. Sin keeps me from experiencing my relationship with Jesus to the fullest. I don’t want that at all. Am I perfect? No way. I will never be perfect, but I can strive to be a follower of Christ and by doing so, anything that doesn’t bring Jesus praise is not something I want to be a part of. I realized in that moment, sure, I was living a good life, but nothing about it really screamed “I’m a follower of Jesus”. If I’m being 100% honest with all of you, I’ve always hidden my faith away because I never wanted to offend anyone. Now, I’m an adult. I have every right to have my own opinions and thoughts on things and why wouldn’t I wear my faith like my favorite sweater in winter? I have nothing to hide behind. I have no reason to hide my faith at all. In fact, it’s because of my faith that I am who I am. I am a happy, peaceful, and genuine person. I love people. I love to celebrate people. I love to share my life with whoever I am around. That’s because of Jesus in me. I’m able to love people well because I know he loves me and no matter what I’ve done before, no matter if friends or anyone has considered me an afterthought, he chose me… he chose me first. It was within that message that Chris said “You know, the people who are the most free are the ones who have nothing to hide. They live life in vulnerability…” So, to continue this journey, I’m about to get real vulnerable with a couple thousand of you who read my blog on a regular basis. Here goes…

There is something wrong with me. I am a ridiculously happy person about 6 out of 7 days a week. There’s always 1 day where I wake up extremely late and it puts me in a mood…but we’re all allowed 1 day right?! I love people. I love serving them. I love being with my friends who’ve become extended family. I am a hopeful person…for everyone but myself. *insert cries of “ouch!” and “YIKES” here*

I can pray all day long for my friends and family. I can pray peace for you. I can pray hope for you. I can HOPE WITH YOU FOR WHATEVER IT IS YOU NEED…but when it comes to me, I have a problem. I think I have something wrong with my heart and head because they never match up. I had a friend come up to me a couple weeks ago and he said “I just really need you to pray for me. I know you pray for me already, so will you? I need some help here in this situation…” My response: HECK YES. Of course I will. I’m on it! I’ve often said I’m like my mom. When my mom prays for things, stuff happens. And by stuff, I don’t mean like “oh, this situation just happened the way I needed it to”… I mean “Holy moly, the ONLY WAY this situation could have worked out this way is BECAUSE OF JESUS… Mom has been praying”… I can pray that way for my friends. But when it comes to me… there’s a disconnect. I got some clarity on this yesterday in church. I have a hope problem because my hope isn’t where it needs to be. When we place our hope in anything but Jesus, we are essentially hopeless. We start to get worried, anxious, fearful, and putting ourselves through ridiculous, trivial things that none of us should be going through. Did you know hope is, by definition, the expectation that something good is coming? Seriously. That’s what hope is. That no matter what my situation looks like, or what I’m facing, OR WHETHER OR NOT I’VE SEEN ANYTHING COMING MY WAY,  there is good coming for me. That’s who God is. My problem is placing my hope in myself of course but it’s also because my emotions have decided to run wild and they aren’t in alignment with what I truly believe. If I say I believe that God is my provider, then my emotions that tell me “God won’t have a job for you. You’ll be poor and homeless and back in Tulsa with your parents” can’t have a place in my mind. If I truly were to listen to the people, the nay-sayers if you will, in my life who constantly question my sexual preference because I’m almost 30 and still single, my emotions would constantly be stressed to the max. Yes, I’m single. Yes, I’m almost 30 (THANK GOD FOR NEW BEGINNINGS, AM I RIGHT?!) and Yes, I’m a woman waiting for the man God has set for me. I don’t think there’s a problem with that. I don’t think there is a problem with a woman being so sure in who she is in Christ that she steps out in her calling and makes a move. I’m not perfect, but I know for a fact, beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m meant to be in Norman and meant to be at OU and meant to be at my church. Imagine if we listened to all the voices who don’t align their voices with God… Can you imagine how much more messed up we would be?? I’d rather listen to Jesus who knows me through and through, the good, the bad, and the ugly, than listen to every slanderous and ridiculous statement that people say. 

So here is me aligning my emotions and thoughts with my Savior:

I am a child of God, saved with a purpose and marked for such a bright and glorious future.
I am surrounded on all sides by a God who loves me and considers me first, even when I fail him and consider him last.
He is my provider. The one who sees all, who knows all, and before I even take a step, he has my path well designed.
He is with me always. I may feel alone, but I’m never alone. I’ve found the one whom my soul loves and cherishes. I’ve found someone who is better than any person on this planet. I’ve found such a love that I cannot even explain. When I feel so confused or hurt or broken, he is right there, walking with me through it all.
He has someone for me. I may not know who he is, or where he is, but that’s not a problem. If the God of the universe cares for me and every detail of my life, then he cares the same for the man he has for me. Why should I worry about that? He knows what my heart needs more than I do and I’m so thankful.
He has my finances. If he is truly my provider, then he knows what job I need. He knows what people I need around me. He knows where I am going to be stationed. He knows. He truly knows and cares about me to do this.
I’m not second choice, third choice, or more. I’m first choice to him. Before I ever chose him, he saw me, named me, formed me and shaped my heart. Gave me all these incredible gifts to use and serve people. He knew every decision I would make and still loves me even if those decisions were wrong. He’s caught every tear I’ve ever cried. He’s treasured every laugh. He’s heard every song I’ve ever sung and every word I’ve ever written on paper. He’s held me when I’ve felt so awkward and alone. He’s led me when no one has been there to lead me. He’s challenged me when I’ve gotten comfortable. He’s allowed the waves to get a bit higher for me, all the while still right next to me, grasping my hand.
He wants me to be so Unreasonably Optimistic that I take him at his word. His word is life to our bones. His word is full of promises that are supposed to set us apart from the world. We are supposed to be so unreasonably optimistic that when issues come up or problems or whatever, that we can look at them, and say “Yeah, I see that, but my God is bigger. He’s greater and I believe what he says about me. I believe that everything I need, he will provide. I believe in the midst of trial, he’s my advocate. I believe I’m covered by his love and favor and anyone who comes against me, comes against God. This isn’t my battle. It’s God’s.” <Can you imagine?? If we all started speaking faith and hope like this in every situation? Man, the world would change…>

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a God who loves his children so so much that he is absolutely willing to do anything, anything,  for his kids. That’s the God I serve. The God who makes me so unreasonably optimistic that it seems fake to everyone else. I love people, and I love them so well that some, who have never experienced Jesus, probably think I’m a liar or fake or whatever and that’s ok. My job isn’t to convince anyone that I am who I am. My job is just to love people and by doing so, I hope they are able to see Jesus in me.

So from here on out, if there’s a struggle in your mind and heart and there’s conflict, go to God. Find where the conflict is and speak truth to it. Laugh in the face of the lie and speak truth…and get on the path of being so unreasonably optimistic that people are convinced you’re crazy and want to join you on this journey.

 

 

 

//linds the adventurer: part 2//

Step 1: Say yes.

Step 2: Expect the unexpected.

“Is this really happening? Dylan, Donovan… ARE WE REALLY GOING TO FLORIDA? ARE WE REALLY DOING THIS? GOING TO ORLANDO FOR THE WEEKEND?!”

I need you all to understand something: I don’t do spur of the moment. I don’t do last minute. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary, of course, unless my friends call me and need me. But when it comes to my life and how I live, I just don’t do surprise and ‘shock and awe’ well. I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure as a child I was easy going… I tended to follow wherever the wind would blow. But, as I’ve grown into an adult, I’ve gotten away from that. I’ve become straight laced and probably more uptight (Yes, I said it) about my time. So when Dylan, Donovan and I were sitting in my living room, staring at computer screens, trying to get the best deals on flights, cars, and hotels, I was not looking back. I was not about to say no to any of it. I just clicked “confirm” and before I knew it, tickets were bought, a car was on reserve and a hotel for 2 nights booked. ((IS ANYONE ELSE THINKING WHAT ON EARTH WAS SHE THINKING??!?!))

It didn’t seem real until I was sitting on the plane… actually, it didn’t feel real until we walked out of the airport to the rental car/baggage claim.

Now, like I said, I don’t do spur of the moment or surprises well. I don’t. They make me nervous and make me feel like a clown is going to pop out of nowhere and scare the living hell out of me. I used to like clowns until I was flipping channels at the ripe age of 7 and saw that scary clown IT or whatever they call it. It was downhill from there… HAH! Anyway, surprises scare me. I had maybe mentioned this to Dylan and Donovan before, so when we were waiting in line for what I thought was a free rental car and the very nice gentleman said, “that will be $159.75 for 3 days”, my eyes grew wide. My mouth kind of hung open. I looked at Dylan and Donovan and the both of them said “It’s ok, Linds. We can redo our plans to make this fit in our travel budgets. We can do this”. Their encouragement was like a breath of fresh air. I handed over my card and said “give me a pen. I’m signing”. We get our things and go to the car. We start driving. And it gets even more real! We were in Florida.

My #baes...the ultimate Valentine's Dates...

My #baes…the ultimate Valentine’s Dates…

Dylan had a plan. We were going to surprise his precious parents (oh my lord, you guys don’t even know how precious Sharon and Michael are…like I can’t handle the sweetness of this family) in Magic Kingdom. Like I’ve said before, I’m a Disney freak. I’ve been to Disney World 4 times and each time I’ve watched my mom and dad plan out our working plan. I’ve observed how to work the lines and which sides of the parks you want to hit and at what time. I’ve got the Disney App on my phone and every once in awhile, I’ll check it just because I need to know what’s happening at my home away from home. When we got in Magic Kingdom, the smell of sugar and springtime hits you in the face. It’s like sniffing happiness and magic. You are overwhelmed with this thought that anything you wish will come true. My first stop, obviously, was to get my Minnie Mouse ears…because any upper twenty-something in her favorite place needs ears. It’s not official until you get ears. The other favorite about this trip…Donovan had never been to Disney before. Y’all want to know what it’s like to see pure happiness and bliss and excitement and pure appreciation–take a friend who’s never been to Disney to Main Street and make them stand in the middle of Main Street and take in the sight that is Cinderella’s Castle.

WHAT IS HAPPENING...

WHAT IS HAPPENING…

Donovan having his moment on Main Street U.S.A.

Donovan having his moment on Main Street U.S.A.

Never too old...

Never too old…

We found Dylan’s parents in Frontierland and I was the trusty videographer. Of course, I’m pretty sure my height worked against this plan, but I got the jist of the excitement of seeing Sharon and Michael’s face light up upon seeing their son surprise them. Honestly, I have the best friends in the world and to be included in this outing made me cry. There’s always a time to say yes and go on an adventure. When you do, the feelings you experience are very real and priceless. You can’t expect to be a tough guy or girl when in Disney. I blame Walt for that. It’s like he dreamed this world up with the purpose of making the most manly of men and the strongest of women to crumble upon seeing Cinderella’s castle up close. I’m so glad I don’t take myself so seriously that I miss those moments to let my walls down a little.

Now, I could go on and on about this first day. We rode rides. We ate the best food. We laughed. We cried. We went on Splash Mountain when it was dark out and getting cold and got completely soaked. We sat right in front of Cinderella’s castle and cried as the fireworks went off and Tink flew out from the top tower of the castle. But I have to say, my favorite moment… Was meeting Maddox from the @disneybunch instagram account. If you don’t know who that precious boy and his family is, go look him up now. I was just telling my parents the night before about him and then Dylan and Donovan that morning how badly I wanted to meet Maddox. And guess what… Before we left Frontierland for the millionth time, Dylan’s eyes grow wide and I look to where he’s looking and there, in all his pudgy cuteness dressed as John Darling, is Maddox…

Uhhh we're starstruck...

Uhhh we’re starstruck…

Trying to calm down enough to take a picture...

Trying to calm down enough to take a picture…

CRYING BECAUSE IT HAPPENED...

CRYING BECAUSE IT HAPPENED…

This is what Disney does. It makes adults become like kids again. It makes you walk around with no agenda, no worry about what you left at home, no fear that you look like a total idiot crying over a 3 or 4 year old dressed as John Darling. Again… you just have to expect that unexpected surprises are around every corner and if you’re too uptight about making your next FastPass ride, you could miss them.

You know, a lot of things took me by surprise (be looking for Part 3) but this trip taught me that I only get this life, this moment with my friends and family once. ONE SHOT. Looking back at my life, I’ve done wonderful things with my life, but not a lot of adventuring. I want to adventure as much as possible. I want to do spur of the moment. I want to cry because I’m so freaking happy to be with the people I’m with and take that moment in. If you only live this life once, why are you waiting to start living? You should start, because soon, you’ll realize just how old you really are and how much time has been wasted wishing you did these spur of the moment things…

So, take it from me, someone who doesn’t do surprises, or spur of the moment well, and expect the unexpected. Just plan something and go with the flow.

FAMILY TIME...

FAMILY TIME…

//linds the adventurer: part 1//

I am a creature of habit. I live by what my calendar says and by what time the alarm clock goes off in the morning. I live like an adult. It’s how I’m wired, ya know? I’ve never been one to just say yes at the drop of hat to fun things. Going into 2016, one of the things I told the Lord was that I want to do things I normally would say no to. I was tired of being boring. I looked at my life and up until this point, the most daring thing I’ve done is move to Norman. NORMAN. IT’S NOT EVEN A HUGE MOVE! But, that was it. I looked even further back through pictures and was surprised that I didn’t have more photos to commemorate the accomplishments I’ve done. I don’t have photos with my friends, or life group, or even from when my family would come to town. So, I made up my mind, that if the opportunity presented itself and if I had the funds to just get out of town or go to a concert, or change something about myself, I’d do it. I would do it and not think about what I would miss back at home, but I would relish the fact that I did something so far outside my comfort zone. Here’s a simple example: I’ve had my hair the same way for awhile now… So last week, I added bangs. And you know what? I felt a little bit more confident. Amazing what something simple like adding bangs can do for you… 🙂

before the hair change...

before the hair change…

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and after… 🙂

Well, it happened.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I am a freak about all things Disney. I love Disney movies, the songs, every character, EVERYTHING… I love Disney World. I love Disneyland. I want to live in Cinderella’s castle and pretend its my kingdom. Weird? I don’t care. I guess I blame my parents for raising me as a kid with a wild imagination. My parents never hindered the creative process. When they heard me talking to myself while I played with Barbies or my Disney figurines, they never told me to stop. In fact, they’d probably join in with me. My mom never told me any of my stories were unrealistic or silly. She told me to keep drawing and creating! And my favorite childhood memories revolve around going to the movies at the movie theater. My mom and dad took me to see Bambi and Little Mermaid. My dad took me on one of our father/daughter dates to see The Jungle Book and all I remember is getting to ride in the front seat of dad’s Infinity G20, listening to Billy Joel. I remember watching Disney movies with my parents and loving every minute. The first time I walked through the gates at Disney World, I was 10 years old and I still remember wanting to sprint up Main Street U.S.A. and just stare at Cinderella’s Castle. The best part was, my mom planned our trip and got us reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We got to go inside the castle and meet all the characters and eat breakfast with them. I remember the weeks before our Disney trip and Jess and I decorating manila envelopes with “Money for Disney World” on it. All our chore money went toward that trip. I know we probably stressed my parents out more than they would admit, but I remember the feeling of walking into the parks like it was yesterday. I remember the day we left as the saddest day I’d ever witnessed.

That’s the magic of Disney. So, now, being 29, and trying to make myself adventure a little bit more, when one of my best friends, Dylan,  called me and my friend Donovan and explained he found cheap tickets to Orlando for the weekend, my instant response was “YES. Don’t care how much it costs… I’m going!” I think I even surprised myself because I NEVER DO THAT! I never just say “Ok, sure. Let’s spend money and go to Orlando and stay at a cheap hotel and go to the happiest place on earth”. I was surprised and better yet, I felt so peaceful saying yes. It probably sounds crazy that I find this whole weekend kind of spiritual, but I do.

As we drove to Dallas at 4am on Friday, February 12th, I was listening to a song that we’ve been singing for the last couple weeks at church. Part of the song simply says “You have given everything my heart could ever need and all you ask is I believe. So I am resting safe inside your promise to provide and nothing could ever change your love, you love for me”. This trip is symbolic for many reasons (yep, many. That’s why this is part 1). As I was driving, I realized God has always given me everything I’ve ever needed. He always provides. He always has my best in mind and he never asks me to do anything but believe. He just wants me to believe… What I keep realizing is that I have control issues. I have issues believing something so simple when I know it to be true! I have issues with the simple “I believe you Jesus” part. Why is it so tough for me to just say “yes, Jesus. Whatever you have for me, I’m ready. Let’s do this”. You know, when I was less of an adult, the saying yes part wasn’t hard at all. I just jumped at the chance and did it. Mission trip for an extended amount of time? OK! DONE. Sign me up. Packing food boxes for the hungry? Yes please. Want to volunteer for church events, the worship team and youth group? I will rearrange my schedule to do it all. But now that I’m approaching 30, it’s like I’ve lost the simplistic yes. So moral of the story: no matter how old you are, you should be able to say yes to the opportunities Jesus places in front of you. Will it be hard? maybe. Will it make you feel a little different? probably so. But, will Jesus provide for you every step of the way and walk with you through it all even if you have panic/anxiety attacks? You better believe it.

So step 1 of being a better adventurer: just say yes.

me? saying yes to an adventure? DEFINITE MIRACLE.

me? saying yes to an adventure? DEFINITE MIRACLE.

//let’s talk: don’t ever settle…//

Processed with VSCOcam with s4 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with s4 preset

I haven’t done a “let’s talk” post in awhile, but this one needs to be talked about. I feel like there are people, both guys and girls, who are sitting at their desks wondering what in the world they are doing. They’re thinking about what’s to come. They’re thinking about their future and whether or not they’ll meet someone, and not just anyone but the right one. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

I’m a glass half full girl. I’m always pretty positive when it comes to the future. I love people. I love having conversations with people of all walks of life. I love listening to their stories and being able to hear through all the “noise” what the heart of the matter is. I guess I’ve always been a good listener, but I didn’t realize how good until I started my counseling grad program. It’s a gift, I guess. I’ve never hidden my faith from anyone. I’ve never been one to hide what I believe. I was one of the fortunate ones who had the opportunity to go to a great college prep/Christian school when I was in High School. My senior year, my bible teacher was also the assistant youth director at my church and I had a great relationship with him and his wife. I remember Robb talking to me about the opportunities I’ll have to defend my faith and why it is important to study religions and know why I believe what I believe. I didn’t know that I would need that knowledge 10 years later. I’ve studied every religion. I know the differences between those religions and Christianity. I’ve been across the world and never had a conversation that made me feel like I was stupid or that what I believed was a “myth”…until last night.

Y’all know I have a dating profile on Match.com. It’s the new way of dating in the modern, busy world. I know some people may give me judgey eyes for that, but that’s fine. It’s not easy to find someone you click with and then make it happen organically. It’s really hard! When I decided to really try Match, I wrote out my profile several times. I read and re-read it and felt that I needed to really share what I’m looking for. I did. I unapologetically wrote out the specifics for what I’m looking for. I got matched with guys who were agnostic, atheist, “I’m not really sure what I believe” and so on. Every time I read that, I passed. I don’t have time to date guys who aren’t open and willing to talk about God. Why? Because I’m who I am because of Jesus. Anyone who doesn’t get that will always look at me like I pray to a Disney character who isn’t real. I had my first encounter with getting to know someone who I thought was pretty great. Everything lined up. Everything on paper looked great. I met this person over the OU/Texas weekend (terrible weekend by the way…HOW DID WE LOSE TO TEXAS? SERIOUSLY?!) I liked getting to see this person in real life and getting to laugh and hang out. It was fun. And then the other shoe dropped on me Sunday night.

I’m not a secretive person. I’m terrible at keeping secrets. Hailey and I purchased Johnnyswim tickets for Jess for her birthday and Hailey had to tell me over and over not to burst the surprise bubble because this is by far our best gift yet! I can’t keep secrets and when the “secret” in our nation is attributed to religion, gender, identity, whatever, I can’t keep secrets. I explicitly said who I was in my profile. So imagine my surprise and sinking regret when I hear from this seemingly wonderful guy that he’s agnostic and doesn’t care if I believe in anything at all. I was driving back to Norman and going 80mph when he said that. The air caught in my chest and I literally couldn’t speak. My mouth hung open… “Oh no…Why? Why this? This was fun until now…Now, I have to break it to this dude that this is never going to happen…”

Just like I hate keeping secrets, I also hate being the bearer of bad news. I did not want to tell this guy this would never develop into anything, but as the conversation progressed, I found myself defending my faith and finding that is exactly what I had to do. I’ve never been asked by anyone in my close friend circles what it is I believe and that’s because we’re like minded. We don’t think about asking each other “So, you still believe in Jesus even though you had an awful week?” No! It’s because our faith runs deeper than the surface emotions of day to day goings on. But when someone I’ve come to trust and like and have put an effort in to getting to know starts saying that I believe in myth and a “historical creature who isn’t alive”…the story changes. I go from being a calm and gentle girl to a very sure, very confident and very determined to share my case woman.

“It won’t change how I care about you… Come on Lindsay, don’t say it’s a deal breaker! It’s not! It’s just religion. Who cares? I’ll change for you! You’re everything I want in a girl I want to spend the rest of my life with…Don’t say it’s over”

You know, I was always jealous of the girls in the movies who had guys saying all these things to them. I thought “Wow, I wonder what it feels like to have a guy say that to you…” Well, I’m not jealous anymore. Hearing those things actually made me physically hurt. I’ve never known what it’s like to have to defend my faith and my relationship with Jesus. I’ve been all over the world, teaching and preaching the Gospel and never once had someone say to me “it’s just religion”. Hearing someone I was starting to care about say those things made me physically hurt and made my eyes well up with tears. It’s what rejection feels like. As much as this person was saying things lots of girls would love to hear, I wished I knew this beforehand because I would’ve avoided it all together. Yet, here I was, on the phone, listening to this person tell me why he doesn’t believe there’s a God or Satan, Heaven or Hell. He would chuckle every time I would come back with a reason why there is a God. I kept saying “I’m trying to understand where you’re coming from, but I can’t. Why weren’t you honest? Why would you indulge me and have these conversations with me about God when you don’t believe? This is such a huge part of who I am and I can’t not share this with someone I’m involved with”. Silence.

The point of this: I’ve waited almost 30 years for the right man to walk into my life. I’ve waited and invested in my personal growth and development so when that person shows up, I’m ready. I’ve put in all the work and continue to do so and won’t stop now. I’ve put in almost 30 years of trying to figure out who I am and what I believe and I’m not about to stop that development now because a cute guy who’s missing the key ingredient to making this a something is saying all the right things. 30 years is a long time to work on something. I’ve worked so hard to become a woman any guy in his right mind would be proud of having in his life. I’m not perfect, but I’ve worked really hard to become a person worthy of the calling God has placed on my life. I actually told this guy “If the reason I’m single is because of my relationship with Jesus, fine. I never want to get married then. I will choose Jesus every time”. He said “What? You can’t be serious!?” And I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life than when I said “you don’t know how serious I am right now. When it comes to a guy who doesn’t believe in anything and a relationship with a very real Jesus… Give me Jesus”. I will never settle. I will not let a guy come in between me and my Jesus. You should never feel like “well, if this is the best that’s out there, I guess I can forget this <insert specific attribute here>”. Hear me when I say this to you: if it’s important enough for you to have it on your list of what you’re looking for in the person you want to be with, it’s important to God. He cares about the big and small details in your life, even the details that don’t seem to be happening right at this moment.

Hang in there. Don’t ever settle. Don’t even consider settling. If settling is on the table, you’re at the wrong table. Get up. Move on. Because just when you think “what did I just do…”, something even better is on the horizon. Where you’re at right now… it’s really good to be here… 

Linds

//what i learned from grey’s anatomy//

I don’t know why I do this to myself, where I sit down and go through my Netflix Queue and decide on a series and that any free moment I get, I will be watching this series from start to finish. I did that again after I finished Friends and Gilmore Girls for the millionth time. I’ve always loved Grey’s, even when it got weird. In the beginning seasons, I would huddle up with my girls on my wing at ORU and we would not have any plans at 8pm on Thursdays. It was important. We would pop popcorn and sit and cry together as McDreamy and Meredith would see each other in passing in the elevator and then the moment of them being together would be over… Ugh, the heartache.

One thing I learned from watching the last episode last night, was from a conversation Mere had with her sister. She finds her sister sitting on the back porch of this gorgeous cabin in the woods that Derek built and her sister is crying. Not like a rip your heart out kind of cry, but the cry we’ve seen all our sisters cry at one point in time. The cry of disappointment and letdown. Mere asks what’s wrong and her sister lists off the reasons why she didn’t want to burden Mere with her news. “you have all this going on and I didn’t want to talk to you about one more thing”. I love what Meredith says because it sums up my thoughts on being a sibling and oldest sister-

“You should always talk to me… Because chances are, I’ve faced something worse and can tell you all the ways you’re going to make it through this hard thing. You should always, ALWAYS talk to me…”

This sums up every time I have a deep talk with Jess and Hailey. If I feel in my heart of hearts that my sisters are facing something and they haven’t reached out to me, 9 times out of 10, I’m either getting in my car to hunt them down wherever they are (ask Jess. I have done this before and drove to OKC to check on her) or I’m laying my bed, picking up the phone to call them and hopefully they’ll answer the phone.

There’s something about having been through something hard that makes you want to shield your siblings or friends. You want to keep them safe and keep their hearts intact. If you can shield them, you feel like you’ve done your job. In my world, I have the privilege of having 2 younger sisters. I know I am not a mom and they are not my kids, but I feel a special connection to them. I want to keep them safe from the harms and hurts from the world. I know I can’t keep them safe from everything, but I would try my hardest to do so. My favorite moments are when I get text messages from both of them asking if now is a good time to talk. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten up from dinners or life group meetings or trainings for work to answer the call of being the big sister. I would gladly drop anything and everything for my family. What I loved about Meredith and this conversation with her sister, I felt like it was me and plea with my sisters to always, always talk to me. I may have a million things going on, but I will always have the time to sit and tell you all the ways you are going to survive this momentary thing. This is what sisters are here for… This is what we’re all here for: those moments when our loved ones and friends need to hear how they’re going to make it.

It’s that simple. You’re going to make it. All this difficult stuff right now is just stuff. It may feel hard and it probably is, but once you finish this, the feeling of accomplishment will set in and you’ll look back on this moment and be so proud of the growth that’s taken place. You should always, ALWAYS talk to me. 

Love y’all.

Linds