Monday, December 10, 2012

A Week At The Gym

A few weeks ago, I began trying to schedule out specific blog posts to try to post regularly. Well, that worked for a while. Life just kinda happens. But, I’m not letting that discourage me. I’m jumping back in there and moving forward!
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Monday posts are reserved for my detailed workout plans for the week. The first two weeks of that weren’t so successful, mostly because I was doing it alone. It’s hard to push yourself.

Then I caught wind of a friend who was looking for someone to split their gym membership with them. What do I get? A gym membership for $10, and motivation to work out first thing in the morning!

I had to practice waking up early (since I usually sleep in), and the first few days were really hard. But, since I was getting my body moving, it made it much easier to wake up. And strangely enough, I have found that if I brush my teeth right away, it perks me up and my eyes adjust quicker to being open.
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So, now that all that catch-up is out of the way, here is a peek at my plan for the gym this week:

Treadmill Walking Routine

This 30-minute walking workout tones and strengthens the hamstrings, quads and glutes (legs and butt).

My goal is to stay withing my target fat burning heart rate of 70-80% for most of the fat burning benefit, adjusting my speeds as necessary. For me, a 70% heart rate is 133 bpm, so my goal is to not drop below that.

Minute                           Speed                                Incline
0-3                                             3.0                                             0
3-5                                             3.4                                             1
5-7                                             3.5                                             3
7-10                                           3.7                                             1
10-11                                         3.4                                             6
11-16                                         3.6                                             0
16-17                                         3.4                                             8
17-20                                         3.4                                            10
20-23                                         3.7                                             0
23-26                                         3.4                                             8
26-28                                         3.5                                             3
28-30                                         3.3                                             0

I am going to take a copy of this with me and really focus on my heart rate and keeping it at the speed it needs to be to maximize my fat burn.
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I am also trying to work on getting a steady lifting routine and figure out what works for me. For now, I alternate what I work on. Arms one day, then legs, then arms. It’s that basic. I just try to get a burn going, but nothing too complicated. My biggest priority right now is my cardio routine.
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So, there you have it. I am still figuring out what my rest day is. I know for sure, Sundays, but I may also include a weekday.

Stay tuned for an update next week and keep moving!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Running at School Will Land You in the Hospital

(Told in seven scenes)

Once upon a time, I was clumsy. The truth is that I was born clumsy. I literally fell out of my mother's womb. But, that is a story for another day. This story takes  place in Middle School.

Like most children, I thought that rules were to be followed, unless you felt like they didn't apply to you. Like say, if you needed a little help on your Spanish vocabulary test. It would be okay to cheat...just a little. Or, if there was a dire emergency and you needed to tell your BFF what their crush said about them in the hall. Then, it was perfectly acceptable to pass a note in history class.

Or if you were goofing around with a friend in the hall. And you accidentally hurt you friend. And you are scared for your life. It's okay to run in the halls then, right?


Scene 1 starts with my tall friend and I arguing over a light switch in our homeroom.

She wanted to turn off the lights. I also wanted to turn them off. Since there was one switch and two hands, this led to an argument. I felt an urgent need to turn off the light. My brain was all like, "If you don't get to turn off the lights, you will DIIIIIEEEEEEE!" So, I pressed in. Eventually, fisticuffs were had and I ended up moving hitting her hand.

When I hit her hand, her hand hit the light switch.

When her hand hit the light switch, it cut her hand.


Scene 2 is me running for my life.

I should mention that my friend wasn't just tall compared to me. She was tall compared to a lot of people.

I should also mention that I was on the short side. I didn't stop growing until college, so I was about five years behind this already tall friend. As soon as I saw her hand hit the light switch and heard her shriek, my life flashed before my eyes.

I took off running. My heart was beating out of my chest and I knew that I would probably die of cardiac arrest before my friend ever caught up to me with her tall person legs.


Scene 3 is me crashing and burning.

We were headed into band class. The entrance to band was right next to the door to the courtyard. Becuase it was winter and people would cut through the courtyard, snow and water were often tracked into the halls and then into the band room entrance. When I rounded the corner into band class, I slipped on water.

This is where it gets really exciting.

As I slipped on the water, my legs shot out from underneath me in one direction, while the rest of body moved in the opposite direction. Because I was running, it wasn't just an "Ooops! I seemed to somehow slipped on the ground. Silly me!" I was propelled with force forward. Into the wall. At a speed that was greater than what you would want to be hurled into a wall at.

If my completely scientific calculations are correct (and they always are), then I was roughly moving at the speed of a cheetah. That is fast.


Scene 4 is the slo-mo of what happened due to my body being propelled into the wall. This is based on science and what all my injuries were. I don't actually remember any of this, fyi.

1. My head hit the wall.
2. My right shoulder hit the wall.
3. The rest of my body hit the wall.
4. My body hit the ground.
5. My head hit the floor.

Then I my entire body rebelled against the pain and trauma the I had just inflicted. My arms, legs, spine, and head tried to simultaneously run away, without realizing that they were all attached, and wouldn't be able to get anywhere fast.

That is what was really going on, but to an outsider it would look like a seizure.

Scene 5 is me laying on the ground like an invalid until the ambulance arrived.

I remember looking up and seeing a few faces that appeared concerned and were probably thinking that they could somehow help my sorry self.

I was embarrassed from the whole incident and just wanted to go home, but I couldn't get up. So, I just laid there and waited, thankful that I at least hadn't peed or crapped my pants.

Scene 6 is the ambulance coming to the school. This part is a complete blur This part is a haze of chunks of lost time, so I'll just make it up.

Ryan Gosling and Patrick Dempsey rolled up in their Ambulance. Even the rig they drove looked hot. Fog poured into the band room as the door flew open. Confetti shot out of a cannon and I wondered if I was passed out and this was part of a dream.

Once I saw Ryan and Patrick, I knew that it was really happening. I mean, why wouldn't two amazinghottalented actors come to the rescue of a socially awkward Middle Schooler that quite possible had a concussion and an injured shoulder? It had to be real.

I laid on the floor while Ryan and Patrick checked my vitals. They both fought over who was going to put a neck brace on me, and ended up getting in a slap-fight over it.

In the end, they compromised. Ryan held my head in place and Patrick secured the brace.

Then they loaded me up in the Ambulance and we headed for the hospital.


Scene 7 is a synopsis of the hospital stay, doctors' appointments and diagnosis.

I was in the hospital for two days as they tried to figure out the source of the seizure. I also went to see a specialist that glued all these wires to my head to record brain activity. That lasted for two days, because the first day they forgot to record the findings (which basically gave me an extra day off school).

I was diagnosed with nothing. I had brain trauma, and the seizure was my body's way of dealing with it. They thought I had a blood clot in my brain (which I didn't find out about until five years later, because my mom forgot to tell me), but that turned out to be a shadow.

I returned to school sore, but not broken.

Because of that whole incident, the Middle School changed their policy about using the courtyard to cut through for class. It was completely off-limits. Way to go, me.

And that is why if you run at school, you will end up in the hospital.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Get Fit: Week Two

Update from last week:

I started off strong the beginning of the week (as I expected). But, I was out of town and staying in several different "host" homes. By the time the third day came around, I had severe allergy issues and had lost any shred of motivation to work out. 

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Let's just say that I underestimated how challenging it would be to exercise while on vacation and attending Thanksgiving dinner. I don't necessarily feel discouraged, but I do feel like I need to reevaluate things. Maybe I started with the bar set too high? I need to realize that I am going from very little physical activity and trying to develop a program that works for me.

If I'm being honest, I'd really love to lose weight and get in shape without really doing any work. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that, but I also know that I have confessed far more intimate things than simple laziness on here. :)

So, here's this week's plan. I basically took last week's plan and modified it to fit into my schedule this week (which is going to be a crazy one!)

Cardio: 1 mile jog/walk interval
Strength training and stretching: 30-minute yoga

Cardio: 2 mile brisk walk
Stretching: 20 minutes

Rest day or take a 20-minute walk at a 20-minute/mile pace

Cardio: 1 mile brisk walk
Stretching: 20 minutes
Strength training: focus on arms and abs 20 minutes

Cardio: 1 mile jog/walk interval
Strength training and stretching: 30-minute yoga

Cardio: 70-minute hike
Strength training: focus on arms and abs 20 minutes
Stretching: 10 minutes

Rest day or take a 20-minute walk at a 20-minute/mile pace

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Savings


It sounds easy. You get a little piece of paper that you can take in a store to get a discount.

But, I found out a few years ago that just because you are using a coupon, that doesn't mean you are saving money.

There is a method. And I am determined to learn it.

Today, I bought the paper. You know the one I mean. It's the Sunday paper. The one that has a lot of comics, more advertisements and..... manufacturers' coupons.

Stores have their own coupons, but you generally can't use more than one per same item per transaction.
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Before today, I thought that if I got the manufacturers' coupons, I'd check the store specials like they do on Extreme Couponing on TLC, march right into the store and get my discount.

But, I realized quickly that it's not that easy.

My insert had brand-specific coupons, such as Colgate toothpaste. Easy enough, right? Wrong. The specials that I checked had a special on toothpaste, but not Colgate. So, while I will save that coupon, I won't be using it this week.

From what I've read and seen, you save the coupons, especially since they don't expire until the end of next month.

Stay tuned for next week's savings.
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Current investment: $1.75 (Sunday paper)
YTD Savings: $0.00 (so far)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Waves of Grace

Since I fully surrendered my life just a few months ago, my life has been a little crazy. Not bad-crazy, just crazy.

It's just been thing after thing. God showing me this, a person confronting me (in love) about that. Over and over and over. And just when I feel like I'm able to stand up, just when I feel like I'm able to get upright and a deep breath, another wave hits me. No rest.

Every direction I turn, there is something else I need to do or deal with or another conversation that I have to have that will help me take steps towards mending a relationship. Everytime I brush the dust off my pants, there is some other thing that's about to get my hands dirty.

Here's the thing, though: everything going into it seems like it would be so scary. Confrontation. Trusting Him with my finances. Being corrected. Vulnerability. And they would be, if it weren't for Him.

Something I realized is that these waves are God. They're His incomparable grace. And while His grace pulls me under and leaves me twisting and turning and not quite sure of which way is up, it also sustains me.

I wish that God would just pull me out of the water and let me walk on the beach. But, what He has been showing me is part of being known as His child is being in the waves. But, He promised that He will teach me to swim along the way.
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I have been back in Ohio for six days. I have been able to spend lots of time with family and friends. My best friends here are musicians, like myself. I requested that Sara and I work on a song idea that I was having just to fully express all that has been going on with me lately.

The exciting thing is that this took less than an hour! We got the chords and the words just flowed! We decided to go with the story of being pulled under by waves, with the waves ending up being God's grace.

Here's a little sneak peak at the lyrics:

Waves of Grace (Music and Lyrics by Lindsay Marie Yates and Sara Castro)

You move the ocean around me
You know the stars by name
These waves keep pulling me under
and I can't breathe... I can't breathe.

But You, it's You, to You I surrender.
To Your grace
To Your grace
It's Your grace
Your grace

You knew me before I was formed
My name is written on your heart
You know how much I can handle
Your hand is on me.... hand is on me.

But You, it's You, to You I surrender.
To Your grace
To Your grace
It's Your grace
Your grace

The waves still crash around me
But You taught me to swim.
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I'm open to thoughts, ideas, feedback.

I'm excited about this one!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pet Costumes Gone Wrong

Let's all take a moment today and solemnly remember why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

(To dress up our pets in obnoxious matching costumes. Obviously.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Rusty Nail Butt" is an Acceptable Nickname for a Kid in Elementary School

(Told in seven scenes)

Once upon a time, I acquired a nickname that makes no sense. This story is about how a silly rumor can cause an innocent person (me) to be known (behind my back) as "Rusty Nail Butt," or "Rusty" for short.

In order to understand how I might acquire a nickname so odd, it is important to know that I was in Elementary school in a rural area. How rural, you might ask? Well, it was Farm Friggin' Country.

I’m not sure if playgrounds are still equipped with these, as I haven’t been in Elementary School in almost 20 years, but do you remember those big wooden benches that would be hanging around? This was also a time when mulch was used instead of rubber scraps. This was also out in the country, so maybe we were the only ones with wooden benches.

Anyways, here’s the story:

Scene 1 is where I sat on a wooden bench.

One blue-skied day, I was hanging out on the playground. I think I was playing soccer with the boys. Let’s just say that I was. It makes me sound tough. Okay, so I was playing soccer with the boys.

I got a little tired from running my chubby butt (What? I was chubby!) around the soccer field. The boys may have also kicked me out of the game, as I wasn’t that great. Either way, I walked off by myself (Insert Celine Dion’s All By Myself.) and sat down on a bench. I remember feeling hot, so maybe it was the beginning of the school year.

And then the bench bit my butt cheek.


Scene 2 is when the bench bit me.

When I slid down the bench, I felt a sharp pain in my right butt cheek. Since it was an unexpected feeling, it was quite shocking. Something you should know about me is that  when pain sneaks up on me like that, my mind has an extremely dramatic reaction. I thought I was dying.

Like, for real.

Don’t ask me how my brain translated “Pain in right butt cheek” to “OMG!!! You’re dying!” It just did.

Scene 3 is me going to get help from a teacher.

After I got over the shock of having my butt cheek suddenly bitten….hard, I went for help. I found a teacher. She wasn’t my teacher, so I felt a little awkward talking about my butt with her. But, she was an adult. When you are a little kid, adults are who you try to find when you are hurt.

Then came the issue of how to explain to her what was going on. I wasn’t the best communicator at that age, and there were any number of things that I could have said.

What did I choose?

"Something happened to my butt!"

What does that even mean?!? I mean, yeah, something did happen to my butt. But why the general cry for help? I blame panic and embarrassment.

Now, stop for a moment and imagine that you are that teacher. I have been a teacher in the past, so I definitely experienced many of those “What in the world possessed that child to say such a thing?” moments.

Let’s go over a few possibilities:

1. I pooped my pants. Given the age that I was (possibly second grade), this could have been a possibility. Heck, it could happen to anyone. No one is too old to poop their pants.

2. I fell on my butt. This one is kind of iffy, simply because if I fell, I probably would have said, “I fell!” and we would have gone from there.

3. Someone hit me/threw something at my butt. This was highly probably, given that boys/girls still had a large amount of infectious cooties. If I got too close, a boy very well could have inflicted pain to get me to skedaddle.

4. My butt fell off. This is completely unlikely. I don’t even know why I wrote it. Probably because it’s fun to draw a teacher mentally translating what a kid says to her.

My teacher was able to ask me enough questions to figure out that something stabbed my butt.

Then she peeked.

Then she rushed me to the principal’s office.

Scene 4 is my stay in the office.

By this time, I had figured out the relationship between sliding on the bench and the sharp, stabbing pain in my butt cheek (Do you like how I keep saying butt and butt cheek? I think they’re funny words and like to say them as much as possible. Fart is a funny word too, it just doesn’t have any context in this story.)

The secretary peeked at my injury and immediately called my mom. This is when I started to panic. Wasn’t the office supposed to be able to remove splinters? This is where my mind went back to “OMG! I’m going to die!”

Oh, and by the way, I couldn’t sit down. So, I laid down awkwardly on my stomach so that whatever was stabbing my butt wouldn’t be pushed in any farther.

Once my mom got there, she called my friend’s mom, who was a nurse.

Once my friend’s mom got there, it suddenly became a party revolving around my injured butt cheek. Not my idea of a good day.

Scene 5 is when my mom decided the “plan of attack” on the foreign object.

For what seemed like hours (but was really only a few moments), my mom and the nurse assessed the situation. From the sound of it, the thing was huge. I felt a natural need to know how big the foreign object was that was stabbing me.

My mom’s reply was, “It’s pretty big, sweetie, just lay still.”

Thanks for helping me not panic, mom.

“Pretty big” is a horse compared to a pony or the Grand Canyon compared to a swimming pool or even an early model Cadillac sedan compared to a compact Geo Metro.

“Pretty big” in my mind painted a picture of a knife sticking out of my butt cheek. That’s what it felt like, anyways.

What I found out later was that the splinter went into my cheekie at an angle and then went through the other side. Kind of like when you sew something. Except my butt didn’t need to be sewn.

Scene 6 is when I had the equivalent of minor surgery performed on me.

The plan of attack was the following:

1. Break the splinter in half.

2. Pull each side out.

3. Dig around to make sure no wood is left.

4. Get a tetanus shot. (haha! Tet-Anus! Get it? I love it when jokes write themselves.)

So, they prepared me, and went forth with their plan. I expected it to hurt, and it did. A little. Mostly, it just stung. Then, the splinter was out. I think I expected immediate relief. But, it still hurt. Quite a bit.

Disappointment set in momentarily, but I soon moved on to the “Let’s see this hunk of wood that was stuck in my butt” mindset.

It. Was. Huge.

In my child-mind, it was the size of my hand. So, based on how my mind dramatically remembers things, and a little bit of reality mixed in their, it was approximately two inches long. It was also fairly thick.

I don’t know if that is still a spinter… or just a hunk of wood? I’m not sure. But, it stabbed my butt.

Scene 7 is where I explain the whole “Rusty Nail Butt” nickname.

Okay, so fast forward around ten years. I was a senior. I think senior year in my school mean some people that weren’t that nice to some people felt guilty and wanted to make amends.

No matter the motivation, a girl named Cara came up to me and apologized for calling me “Rusty.” I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about (although “Rusty” isn’t that awful of a nickname.), so I asked her to clarify.

Cara: “Remember that time in second(ish) grade when you sat on a rusty nail?”
Me: “No.”
Cara: “You sat on a nail and had to go get a shot.”
Me: “I’ve never sat on a nail. I would remember.”
Cara: “You haven’t?”
Me: “No. I got a big splinter once from sliding across the bench. I had to get a shot for that. But, no nail.”
Cara: “OH! That’s what happened! We heard you had to get a nail removed from your butt and then had to get a shot. So, we started calling you ‘Rusty Nail Butt.’ And then later, we shortened it to ‘Rusty.’ You never heard us calling you that?”
Me: “No… I don’t know that I would have known you were talking about me, since I never sat on a rusty nail.”
::awkward silence::
Cara: “Oh. Well, I’m sorry.”
Me: “I forgive you?”


And that is how I found out that for 10 yrs, I had the nickname "Rusty" behind my back.
I guess it could have been worse.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Two Kittens in Two Cups

Dear People Stressed About Thanksgiving,

Here's two kittens in two cups.

Your Welcome

Monday, November 19, 2012

Get Fit: Week One

This week's workout comes from It is a basic workout to help burn more calories than I consume.

Cardio: 60-minute jogging intervals
Stretching: 20 minutes

Cardio: 20-minute bike ride at 14 mph pace
Strength training and stretching: 60-minute yoga

Rest day or take a 20-minute walk at a 20-minute/mile pace

Cardio: 60-minute indoor cycling class
Stretching: 10 minutes
Strength training: focus on arms and abs 20 minutes

Cardio: 20-minute bike ride at 14 mph pace
Strength training and stretching: 60-minute yoga

Cardio: 70-minute hike
Strength training: focus on arms and abs 20 minutes
Stretching: 10 minutes

Rest day or take a 20-minute walk at a 20-minute/mile pace

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I am probably going to make Saturday my rest day, as I will be traveling back to VA at that point, but for the rest of it, I am going to follow as best as I can.

Will update next Monday!

Wish me luck and feel free to check in to see how I'm doing throughout the week :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ordering my Private World

A while back, a friend gave me a book called Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald. It was super helpful in learning that there needs to be a balance in life. And part of that, sometimes, is stepping back and slowing down.

I started #NonstopNovember at full-speed. I jumped on that train without a plan. "Of course I can write everyday! I write everyday anyways..." But, I didn't take into account that while I do literally write everyday, I don't always complete a post everyday. Sometimes it takes me days- sometimes weeks- to complete one post, simply because I'm writing as I process. And processing through a topic is... well... a process.

So, #NonstopNovember stopped after 8 days. I couldn't take the pressure of starting and finishing something in one day. I was in the middle of a post about how cute my cat is when I realized that there was absolutely no substance whatsoever to the post. I was just writing because I said I would. And how boring is that?
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#NonstopNovember was about commitment, but it was also about challenging myself. A post about a cat is not challenging. Writing about deep issues is. Coming up with creative ides is. Writing humorous and entertaining posts is.

So, last night I sat down and came up with a plan. A schedule. Something that will allow me to post something everyday, but not overwhelm me with the task of writing on the fly (which, for me, never turns out well).

This plan helps me to still write about topics that are relevant to my blog (Exercise, Humor and God)

Here it goes:

"Get Fit Mondays:" These posts will be dedicated to my fitness goals for the week. This will help me stay accountable, as well as actually having a plan, for once!

"Cute Photo Tuesdays:" Just to make you smile :)

"Anecdote Wednesdays:" These will be anything from the past or present. Funny, embarrassing or ironic stories simply to entertain. I'm kind of toying with the idea of using illustrated stories on these, so stay tuned for that!

"Hearty Chuckle Thursdays:" How do you follow up funny illustrated anecdotes? With humorous pictures, of course! Ever seen a friend post a picture that literally made you laugh out loud? These will be those photos.

"Growing With Jesus Fridays:" God is constantly moving in my life, as well as those around me. Fridays will be devoted to sharing some of those "life with God" stories.

"Project: Vlog Saturdays:" This is an idea that I came up with last week. Not sure what is going to come with this, or what the direction will be, so this is another "stay tuned" section.

"Sunday Savings:" My man and I will be diving into the world of couponing and saving. This is an uncharted territory with both of us, so on Sundays the blog will just update you on how that is going, and (hopefully) keep track of how much we have saved to-date.
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So there it is. The Plan. Fleshing it out like that is scary, because of the whole, "What if I fail?" thing. But, all I can do is dive in, do my best, and learn in the whole process.

The funny thing in all this is that even in the scary part of letting you guys in on my plan, I already feel better. Not as overwhelmed. Like this whole "writing a blog" thing is doable. Because it is.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

But, It's Hard

As I wrote yesterday, God has me in this place where I am walking through some really hard stuff relationship wise.

One part of this is addressing areas of hurt that happened years ago. I'm not certain that it is going to involve dissecting each and every little thing that happened, but it will definitely involve me actively humbling myself and trying to empathize with the other person's point of view. Trying to love them and hear them, even though I have adamantly felt like they were the one that ultimately did wrong for a long time.  

The other part is within a relationship where there is constant conflict. Yet, God is not giving me permission to do what I am best at: walking running away. He is telling me that He will fight for me, as it says in Exodus 14:14, and that I am to be still. He is telling me that I don't have to defend myself and He is showing me that although this conflict hurts me over and over, I still have a huge role in the situation.

Did mention that this is going to be hard? Oh, I did? Well, I just wanted to make sure it was clear.
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Sometimes, I think that maybe if I can convince God that what He's asking of me is too hard, then He'll let me off the hook. But, it doesn't really work that way. Life on this side of eternity is supposed to be hard. That happened long ago, when Adam and Eve sinned. God didn't throw in the towel though. He didn't say, "Okay, Adam. Okay, Eve. You messed up. But, life outside the garden is going to be too hard for you. So..... let's just ignore what happened and you can stay. Okay? But, just try not to do that again."

Nope. They were evicted.

So, I think about that and the hard things I'm about to walk right through.

And then I'm reminded of something a friend told me this week. Psalm 23:4 says, "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me." 

David didn't say "Even though I walk around the darkest valley..."


We walk through things. But our comfort in this is that God is WITH us. 

Does that sound familiar? That was what the pastor was talking about on Sunday. God is not going to tell us to go through something without being right there with us through it all.

That's how He rolls. 
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So, no. I can't skip the hard stuff. 

But, I can go through it with an awesome God.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012



They are hard.

And I'm not just talking about dating relationships.

I'm talking about people. They are hard to deal with.

I'm sure I'm not the easiest person to deal with, but I don't know what it's like to be in a relationship with me. So, let's set that one aside.
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I was sharing with my friend tonight something that kinda makes me sound like a jerk.

You see, the thing is... I don't really like being around people that much.

I like people. Usually specific people. And I like fun. And I also like laughing and making memories and all that jazz.

But, when you throw in the whole need to be around people to experience those things, sometimes I change my mind. Sometimes I would rather stay at home all day. In my room. Making art and playing with my cats.

Wow. I sound like such a hermit!!!
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Here's some hope that I can hold on to: God knew I was going to be this way before I was born. He has a purpose in my anti-social desires. He knows exactly whose path I am going to cross that needs to meet me. Or that I need to meet. And we will share a moment. And if it weren't for my struggles with being social, maybe we never would have been able to connect.

God also can (and does) use this to challenge me. I have to depend on Him for road trips and long outtings or day trips with people. I know that I won't make it out alive and/or still on speaking terms with my traveling buddies without Him guiding me and helping me to love people.
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I am right now in a season of refinement. I am being stretched beyond my comfort zone.  Waaaay beyond my comfort zone. I have to fight the instinct that I have that tells me to emotionally shut down during a conflict. It tells me to act like I don't care at all in order to try to protect myself. But, it keeps me from connecting with people. It shuts people out. It prevents me from experiencing God in an intimate way.

And He is telling me to stop.

He is telling me to be humble. And to listen. And maybe.... just maybe.... I can actually get something out of all of this.

Relationships are hard. Much harder than I anticipated. But, God has told me that He is going to help me navigate all of this.

Because He's cool like that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Unwinding and Destressing... Kid-Style

This is the fifth post in a series for #NonstopNovember. If you need/want to catch up with the other posts this month, you can click here and it will bring you to those included in the series.
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I have a fairly easy job. Well, once I got into the swing of things anyways. I get to play with two funny, beautiful little girls. One is two and quite easily one of my best friends. The other is a new addition to our secret club and loves to laugh and smile.

As easy and fun as it is 99% of the time, there are always those days, when I'm feeling a little funky or when one of the girls is a little off her game. Today, was in that 1%. The older girl was super wound up from being kinda cooped up this morning, and still adjusting to daylight savings time. And when I got there, she was just sort of pinging around like a bouncy ball in a hallway. And baby sis needed to be fed right away. So began my work week.

The cool thing about my job? Naptime. No matter how my day is going, I have a guaranteed time of quiet. I try my hardest so that both girls are sleeping at the same time so that I can unwind and quiet my brain. Today was one of those days when I really, really needed it.
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Usually, I'll read or watch a movie on Netflix. Sometimes, I'll have stuff to work on that I busy myself with-- stuff that doesn't involve Elmo and crayons and bubbles.

Today, I spend an hour playing with a dollhouse. It's okay for you to laugh at me. I laughed a little when I told The Man about it. But, here's the thing about that dollhouse: I spent about 30 minutes rearranging the furniture. and then another 30 minutes playing with the people in all the rooms.

It was so relaxing, to just be able to be a kid again.

Well, until the real kids woke up...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Am With You

This is the fourth post in a series for #NonstopNovember. If you need/want to catch up with the other posts this month, you can click here and it will bring you to those included in the series.
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My church has been in a series for the past few months called "Here to Serve." The angle is not why we should be serving but more the heart of the type of serving that God desires. Let me just tell you. It has been incredible.

Today, God was clearly speaking to me. I'm convinced that this is just the beginning for me. I can feel God stirring something up in me that will have long-lasting results.

Our pastor today started with asking us, "How do you know if you're serving the Lord well?" He said that so much of the time, we live as if we need to serve for God. But, the tricky things is that when we make serving into something we do for God, it is an obligation.

Then he shared a number of scriptures of God asking people to do specific things and asked us to pay attention to what stuck out in all of the passages. See if you can see what sticks out. I'll make it easy for you, even!
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Genesis 31:1-3 "Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.

 Exodus 3:11-12 "But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Joshua 1:5-6 "No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them."
Judges 6:15-16 "“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”

2 Samuel 7:8-9 "Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth."

Jeremiah 1:7-9 "But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,' declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, 'I have put my words in your mouth.'"

Luke 1:27-28 "The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.'"

Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Acts 18:9-11 "One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: 'Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.' So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God."
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Did you see it? It was never about what they were called to do. There was something else. Every time He called them, He promised that He would go WITH them.

God wants to use us to change the world. But He wants to do it with us.

I need to remind myself that it isn't just about inviting God into what I am doing, but joining in with Him in what He is already doing. Cause He is. He is always working in and through and around us. And He wants us to be a part of it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Two Month Mark

This is the third post in a series for #NonstopNovember. If you need/want to catch up with the other posts this month, you can click here and it will bring you to those included in the series.
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The end of July, I got a message from a guy. I was skeptical at first that us meeting and getting to know each other would go beyond friends. Yet, here we are, two months into a for-real adult relationship. People, it's hard. It's difficult in ways that I never thought.

I've never been in a relationship where I argue with the guy. And not just disagree on what movie to watch. Like the ugly stuff. The stuff when as soon as something comes out of your mouth you think, "Wow. Did I really just say that?!?"

And that's hard.

Because you love the person, but they sometimes drive you crazy at the same time. But, because of your love for them, you don't give up. And they don't give up. You decide that you're in it together.

And once you've reached that point of deciding that the relationship is worth fighting for, a few things happen:

The first is that you start seeing things about the other person that you're convinced need to change. These are not necessarily non-negotiables, but just the "Oh.... I didn't realize that they did that" stuff. Important tidbit: it's not our job to change them!! We are dating who they are now, not who we want them to be. All we can do is tell them how it makes us feel. It is up to them to decide if they are willing to change. And it is up to us to decide if we are willing to stick around while they sort that stuff out.

The second thing (and to me, the most important thing) that happens is we start to see ourselves much more clearly. Please don't miss this. I am not talking about the good things. Hopefully, if we are in a relationship, we are able to have confidence in who we are already and are not dependent on another person for that. What I am talking about is the ugly parts of our heart. The spiteful, manipulative, mean things that we can do. In most cases, this stuff comes out when we feel wounded. That stuff is so hard. We can be blinded by just how awful we can be..... until someone is put in our lives to figuratively hold a mirror up. And then we can see clearly. And we can choose to change for the better. Not because we have to, but because we know that God loves us in spite of how we are. And His desire is for us to mirror Him, not some selfish, entitled person.

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 What God has been showing me in all of this are two things:

1. Keep inviting Him in.
From the beginning, anytime I have asked God what to do, or what He thinks about the relationship, He has simply told me, "Keep inviting me in." So we do. We pray regularly together. We are open with each other about our struggles, and beyond that, we take them to God together. That right there...Him being part of this... is what has kept this relationship going.
2. I need Him in order for this to work.
As the quote above says, when I'm squeezed, the real Lindsay-Marie comes out. That is the one that makes cutting remarks or snaps at Jeff or interrupts or.... well, is just kinda mean. Don't get me wrong, I'm not always mean. Jeff isn't always mean. We actually are very loving toward each other and seek ways to serve one another and act as a team. But, when we're fighting, in those squeezing moments, it's as if we are completely different people. And I need God to help me with this. I need Him to show me how to love Jeff when he's being mean. And I need Him to show me how to quiet my tongue when I've been hurt. I just need Him.

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That man right there. He loves me. And I love him. And two months may be a short period of time to some, but to us it has been two months of ups and downs and sometimes just plain hard work! So, we celebrate each small step, knowing that it will encourage us to keep taking steps forward.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Make VA Smile

This is the second post in a series for #NonstopNovember. If you need/want to catch up with the other posts this month, you can click here and it will bring you to those included in the series.
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My friend and I were inspired by Make DC Smile's attempt at bringing happiness and a positive moment to the commuters in the DC/Metro area. We thought to ourselves, "Why not bring that love and positivity to Lynchburg?!?"

So, last Tuesday, we met at 7:30a to greet the 8am commute with encouraging signs.

Here's the thing, people. I am not a morning person. Like, at all. I'm not necessarily a night-owl, either. I just like quiet. It is SO not my thing to be holding a sign on a street corner and genuinely smiling at 7:30 in the morning. But, I pushed myself to do it because I told my friend I would go last week and well.... I had already made the signs.

But, wow. Once people smile, and wave and honk their horns to say, "What up! I like your sign!" it makes it SO worth it. This was a post we had on our Facebook page last week:
Yesterday as I was driving to work, I was deep in thought and up to my eyeballs in stress. I had already spilled my entire coffee all over Panera's floor and was pretty overwhelmed with what needed to be accomplished that day. I drove by 3 ladies standing on the corner of a busy street who were holding signs encouraging motorists. I instantly got choked up and then started smiling. My load seemed a little lighter and my countenance changed. Who goes that far out of their way to encourage people?! I was pretty amazed and uplifted by those women standing outside of Taco Bell. Thank you, you made a difference.

That right there. That is why this weekend, I'm going to paint another sign for a woman who wants to join us next week. Because it uplifts the people that read them as they're still recovering from having to wake up and go to work. Someone may be on their way to a job that they hate. Or maybe they're on their way to the unemployment office. Or maybe they're a boss and have to lay off some employees. But what a difference a small bit of joy can do.

It's also not just about the commuters. Sure, it brightens their day, but it also lifts us up. We're able to enjoy one another, chat, laugh, and have private very public dance parties while we wave at people. What would your day be like if the first thing you did was go out and encourage someone? Believe me when I say it will brighten your own day as well. It may not feel like that when you peel your head off your pillow and splash water on your face.... but it will.

So think about it this way: You don't have to hold a sign on a street corner to encourage people. You can give hugs, hand out cards, send thank you notes, etc. There are SO many ways to encourage people that don't include standing in the cold in the morning. Challenge yourself to go out of your way to bring a smile to other people's faces.

If you would like to keep tabs on what we're doing here in Virginia to make our people smile, please like our Facebook page here :)