Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fully Transitioned

I just placed one of the biggest Mary Kay orders, okay THE biggest Mary Kay order since I placed my first inventory order as a brand new consultant. And, the C in my personality is happy dancing it's way out of my head trying to re-organize everything about my omni channel. The S in me wants to go sit on the couch with my husband and eat the puppy chow I made over the weekend. The D has her boxing gloves on and is mimicking Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail" right before the tv reporters come to do their interview. And the I, the I in me is thinking about the prize I'm so close to earning - the prize that will be David's anniversary present this year.

I choose to go with S. I grab a green coffee mug out of the kitchen and scoop half a cup of puppy chow into it and walk into the living room.

Our new living room is cozy and manly despite the pops of turquoise and candles and our miracle plant that's still with us even after this second move of it's life (not counting what all it went through to get to the Kroger where I bought it from).

As soon as I enter the cozy, family place we've created, David pauses the movie he's watching on his study break.

I settle into the couch as he informs me that the movie only has 13 minutes left. I respond with "Okay." S is so happy. Family time. Be still time. Time to just go with the flow...

David, "Lindz, this is kind of a violent movie. I haven't seen these last 13 minutes, and I don't know what's going to happen."

I knew exactly what he was getting at. "Okay, I won't watch." I knew he was watching a mob movie, and that I wasn't interested in it anyway. Facebook would entertain me for 13 minutes.

"Lindz, I don't want you having nightmares."

And as I stood up with my green coffee mug full of puppy chow and made my way into my Mary Kay room (yes, I have an entire room in our new house devoted to Mary Kay, and it is lovely), I realized David had fully transitioned.

We'll be celebrating four years of marriage at the end of this month. And it is here, at the close of year four, that David has come to the same level of understanding my PTSD as my siblings do.

Up until a couple weeks ago, Katie and Paul understood it better than anyone else.

With Katie there are no words needed. That's the kind of bond you have with a sister you shared a room with for 13+ years.

With Paul there are only protector words - words that ask questions to understand the basics if necessary.

Katie and Paul are my best trigger protectors. They always know and they stand with a firmness that stops your spirit.

There have been a couple instances when I've been forced to deal with a flashback or trigger with basically strangers to me, my situation, or PTSD. They all handled it well. And thankfully, they only had to handle it once.

Not Katie and Paul. Nor Mom or Dad.

The last four years, David's had his fair share.

But last Sunday... last Sunday hadn't happened in about 9 years...

David couldn't come to church with me, so I went by myself. I should have left 15 minutes into the visiting missionary's sermon. But, I didn't want to let Satan win. I didn't want to miss something that I was supposed to hear in the sermon.

Towards the end, a metaphor comparing the mission field to war, a recounting of Christians being pulled out of vans in Africa and having their limbs chopped off one by one, a calling for us to stand if we were willing to give whatever we were called to give on that field.

They stood. I left.

The tears were falling before I even got out of the building.

And David received me experiencing a full-blown trigger of every feeling I had felt during the car-jacking and afterwards.

I repeated my verse over and over again - the verse that we repeat when the panic attacks and nightmares come - For the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

I was so mad. So mad that it'll be 10 years this summer, and episodes with this severity still happen.

I think that's one of the reasons God called David to receive the undergraduate degree that he did - psychology. Of course, that educational background already benefits David greatly in the legal field, but without it, I don't think he'd understand my anger as well as he did on Sunday.

I think that's one of the reasons God sent David to the mission field before he sent me. David went on his first mission trip when he was 13 years old to a place that wasn't American-friendly. He's been held for questioning on the Jordan/Israeli border. He didn't have to have a gun held to his head to understand that feeling you have when you realize you and everything you normally cling to for protection (aside from Him) has no power where you are.

He's talked with enough veterans to understand that even the happiest, joyful, most successful and beautiful of people you meet out and about fall victim to debilitating symptoms of PTSD.

When you know it's not their brain chemistry. When you know how they were before, and how they lived before, and what exactly happened in as much detail as they can vocalize - when you've been through enough of these episodes to realize the physical trauma PTSD puts a body through - you cross some kind of emotional line.

The D in me wants to be stronger than it.
The C in me wants to pick it all apart to decipher it and cure it.
The I in me wants to just be like some of the others in our van- and forget about it and be completely fine.
And then there's the S in me... The S that remembers all of the people I get to talk with who finally get to talk with someone who understands panic attacks. Someone who understands nightmares so vivid, years will go by and you remember them better than real-life events. Someone who understands survival dissociation and going through the it-makes-sense motions. Someone who understands how frustrating triggers are. I remember all of the chapters that have followed June 26th, 2005 - and how my stepping stones have become revelations for other people. I remember the young teenagers looking at me with big eyes confessing thoughts of suicide who realized they weren't the only ones with big struggles. I remember that people are not Jesus. People will say the wrong things and disappoint you, but Jesus never will.

PTSD makes me want to use really strong language, y'all. I would not choose this thorn in the flesh for anyone.

But, as I sit and wait for David's mob movie to finish, I can't not sit and give thanks for His mercy and provision. My sister, my brother, my mom, my dad, and my husband, who gets it, and is prepared and lovingly, patiently willing to walk through this with me, however long it does last.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Like the Merchant Ships

The dehumidifier, washing machine, and dishwasher are all humming along in unison as I pass David in the dining room. He's been spending all of his non-school/studying/working waking hours working on papers/presentations for as many days as I can remember. The house is a somewhat organized disaster. Boxes are everywhere. Things that we need but don't want to be put into boxes yet are sprawled across the counter tops. The contents of our pantry have been emptied and sit around the stove top. Closets are half empty and the office (sigh) looks like a three year old just played in it. 

I've had my moments during this last week when I just didn't know what to do next. Between my  important day job with Dave Sr. and my MK business and calling the numbers on our "moving checklist" that were all wrong and having to track down the right ones to packing the house and figuring out how to get the take and bake poppyseed chicken out of the oven and then out of it's container without oven mitts or anything other than plastic silverware... Between all of this, I've had my moments that placed me on the edge of the deep canyon of overwhelmingness.

David and I did our walk through of our new residence on Friday. I had the worst headache EVER, and the realtor was almost an hour late which did not make for a good combination. By the time we were done and made it through the line at Moe's to eat lunch before getting back to work/school, all I could do was sit there and profess out loud, "At least we have somewhere to live." 

I couldn't even think about how I'm going to get the strange garage-laundry room situation to work or where we'll put Sperry's crate or when I'll find the time to get a shower curtain rod. David graciously suggested I hire someone to clean the new place before we move in, but my head hurt too badly to thank him as gratefully as I should have. Plus, I didn't want to think about finding someone to hire because that meant I had another thing to add to the to-do list. And then I felt terrible for not being as grateful as I should have that my sweet husband wanted me to hire someone else to clean so I wouldn't have to.

So there I stood (figuratively) / sat (physically) in this moment that placed me further over the edge of the deep canyon of overwhelmingness about to topple over.

Just then, our gracious Maker reminded me of the Proverbs 31 woman.

Which is ironic.

Usually, when I read King Lemuel's mother's account of "The Virtuous Wife," the flesh part of me just wants to throw my hands up and say, "Impossible! There's no way you can be this kind of woman today without help from some serious pharmaceuticals."

A cursory reading describes the Proverbs 31 woman as only slightly less than superwoman because she cannot fly.

And she is exactly the kind of woman I want to be.

In times past, I've read Proverbs 31:10-31 and afterwards beat myself up.


You are nothing like her! You should be taking your vitamins every day, exercising, respecting your husband better than you do. And for goodness' sake, girl, you need to start waking up earlier! 


But, that is the enemy's voice. He wants for me to miss the power statement at the end of this passage.

"A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Prov. 31:30b)

It doesn't say that she's praised because of all of the things she accomplishes in Proverbs 31:10-27. It says she's praised because she fears the Lord.

Whether or not I desire the praise or merely to be the kind of woman who accomplishes as much as she does, becoming her starts with fearing the Lord.

I also have to embrace that I can't become like her by my own efforts. However, I already started to become more like her when I first began to fear the Lord - when I began to respect Him, His ways, and His authority.

My parents knew that not all young girls grow into the Proverbs 31 women. That's why they raised me and Katie to have the kind of relationship with our Maker where we did respect Him, His ways, and His authority.

And then they modeled for us what it looks like to help the poor, manage a home, how to make wise business decisions, and put food on the table.

My mom would often pick up new, exotic foods from the grocery store and bring them home for us to either try alone or she'd incorporate it into one of our meals. She'd always exclaim to me and my sister, "We're being Proverbs 31 women!" 

These small moments made the idea of becoming the Proverbs 31 woman realistic. "Bring[ing] food from afar" (Prov. 31:14b) in our day could mean choosing good quality food items from our local grocery store's produce section or international aisle. 

While Katie and I have tried our hand at sewing, the skill didn't exactly stick. So, unlike the Proverbs 31 woman, I don't see us making tapestries (Prov. 31:22) or linen garments for sale (Prov. 31:24). But, Katie excels in painting and crafting beautiful home decor pieces by willingly working with her hands (Prov. 31:13b). I have perceived Mary Kay products to be very good (Prov. 31:18) and just celebrated my first year as a small business owner. It's not that we are to become her word for word - but by the character traits that she possesses and by the blessing she is to her family. 

I look around the house now and instead of just seeing all that is left to do, before we move and after we move, I see God using this opportunity to remind me that I am not nor am I expected to be superwoman. Instead, my heart's desire should be that God would mold me into a woman like the Proverbs 31 woman. Knowing that with God's grace it is possible for me to become more and more like her each day, moves me several steps away from the edge of the canyon of overwhelmingness and into the arms of Jehovah jireh. 

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies. 
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night. 
She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:10-31

Monday, October 27, 2014

Moving

Three weeks and two days... Is that all it's been? Because it feels like it's been an entire semester wrapped into three weeks and two days. Three weeks and two days ago we were given an opportunity to break our lease early on this sweet little barn house. It took us on a roller coaster ride for a few days as we prayed and sought out what step to take next. And y'all, God was so good. Just five days later, when it looked like we were never going to find anywhere to move to if we did decide to break our lease early, I stumbled upon another rental home online. It's a long, funny story as to how the following 24 hours proceeded. But, to make it short, God gave us the house, and we move in on Nov. 15th.

The day I realized we might be moving, I was so sad. I didn't want to take this opportunity. Even though I knew it would allow us to move into a more affordable house, this was our home. David and I have lived in this house for the majority of our marriage. And for those of you who have had the pleasure of being inside of it recently, our home is adorable. I have loved the space I've created. And, now, almost everything that made it so inviting is in boxes. And with each box I tape shut, the less this feels like "home," and the more it just feels like a house.

However, now, it's funny how I don't miss anything that's packed in the boxes. When they were on the walls or couches or tables or hanging in the closets, I adored them and the perfect arrangement. But, now they're just things. I could do without them.

It reminds me of the song my mom sang as we grew up ... "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through, my troubles are laid out, somewhere beyond the blue..." I've been singing it while I pack. Even though our name is on the lease, this house isn't our home. It was just a temporary residence, just like this world...

God's also been reminding me that our homes are resources. With almost every prayer, David and I ask God to help us be better stewards of our resources. Opening the doors to our home to anyone but family members or close friends wasn't something that came naturally to me and David when we moved out here. Home was our sanctuary - a safe place where we could rest and recuperate. Now, our home is so much more than that. At times, yes, it's sanctuary time - family time. At other times, it's business time or study time. But now we consider, who can we invite over? The mom whose husband works late and needs a place to let her children run free in the backyard. The neighbor's kids who need a sitter during the afternoon. Other law school students that are just as exhausted as David is. The people who just moved to Little Rock and don't know anyone yet. Our home is becoming less and less about what we want and more and more about what it's supposed to be used for.

I didn't WANT to move during those 5 days of figuring it out. I WANTED to stay right here. And I knew I was being selfish. I knew God had a bigger plan going on.

And now I'm so excited to watch that plan unfold. Cause this is how it works when you surrender your life to Christ. He moves you.

My mom rejoiced over the phone the day we told her we were moving, "God is moving you! This is exciting!" We didn't even know where we were moving yet, but she saw God's hand all over it. And when it's crystal clear that God is the one who is moving you, you just can't help but be excited about it.

"For in Him we live and move and have our being." Acts 17:28

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive during these last three weeks and two days! Especially to the people who have affirmed us as we seek the Lord's guidance on decisions regarding post-bar. We love you, you know who you are, our cheerleaders that know God has us exactly where we are supposed to be.

If you'd like our new address, just send me an email, text message, or private FB message, and I'll send it to you. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bloggers vs Writers

There are writers, and there are bloggers. They are two very different things.

However, some writers do blog. And we love their blogs- because they do more than just share recipes, or DIY-tricks, or family photos, etc - they communicate on another level - a level that is specific to the written word.

Read many different types of blogs, and you'll see what I mean.

Not all bloggers are writers, and not all writers blog. But, for those of us who have more than dipped our toes into the blogging world, we sure do love it when our favorite writers also blog.

When writers blog we get all of the goodness that comes with a thick, truth-dense book in a shorter, more compact nugget. But the level of communication mastery is still there. Because they are not just blogging - they're writing.

I was at lunch the other week with a new friend. After our salads were finished and the hands on the clock were nearing the end of the lunch hour, we discovered we both shared a passion for writing.

You get excited when you meet another writer. Writers get it.

Bloggers post to share.

Writers write to birth deep thoughts and feelings and convictions onto paper (computer screen) where others, maybe, one day will be able to understand and relate and be moved, changed, affirmed, challenged through the strings of carefully considered words inked to paper. Writers know that they themselves communicate better when their words come through their fingers instead of their mouths.

Bloggers might not understand the difference. But writers do.

Lucinda is such a writer, and I love that about her.

I love that, like me, she wrote things years ago that no one else has ever read. She didn't need the whole world to read it. She just needed to write it. So she did.

Lucinda realized the blogging world could provide a platform for her to share that which the Lord has placed on her heart to share with other people through the written word.

And, her first blog post left me wanting more. I knew it was exactly the kind of truth and content that my faithful readers get excited about too.

She is fierce and transparent - a powerful combination.

So, it is my privilege to share with you Lucinda's debut post to her blog Lucinda's Life Lessons.

Welcome to the blogging world, Lucinda. We are excited to have another writer join our world.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Catch Up

Oh dear readers how I have missed writing to you. I've thought about you often since my last post- there have been so many things that I've wanted to share with you, but the time to sit and "blog" has eluded me.

So, let's just start with the obvious. It's officially Fall, and I haven't met a soul yet who isn't happy about it. It is just beautiful here in Arkansas. Our yard is filled with leaves that I'm sure David and I will get to by the end of October. I drove up to the city of Mountain Home over the weekend for an MK appointment, and I wished I'd had a camera strapped to my forehead that could take pictures by voice command as I was driving. The Ozark Mountains are really, really beautiful. I've seen the Rockies, the Andes, the mountains of Guatemala (I don't know what they're officially called), and I lived not too far away from the BlueRidge Mountains growing up, but the Ozark's beauty strikes me differently. I hope David and I can carve out a long weekend during these cooler months to take Sperry up there and retreat from all this busyness - even though the busyness is good, it would still be nice to get away from for a little bit and receive all of the good stuff the mountains do for your spirit.

Back on the home front, whoever told us the 3rd year of law school was the easiest year of law school was either naive or mean, because it's not. At least, it hasn't been so far. My amazing husband is doing incredibly well with it though. I'm so impressed and proud. I could not do what he does, and I am so grateful the Lord's calling on my life thus far as relates to law is to be the wife of a lawyer and not a lawyer. We are so grateful for the prayers of our friends and family. We feel them daily. We are overwhelmed with the Lord's favor and provision. We know we have circle makers praying circles around our journey and our marriage. Thank you faithful friends.

Other things I wanted to tell you about include the three hummingbirds in our backyard, the Beth Moore Simulcast, and my Mary Kay business/(ministry). But, each is a post in itself, so I'll save it for another day. : )

But, this, this is why I tore myself away from all of the things I needed to do and sat down to write you. I couldn't wait another day or week or month because I know October will fly by faster than September has, and I feel like this is important.

1 Chronicles 21.

This passage has never stuck out to me before. It's possible I've never read it. But, on Tuesday I did, and to sum it up, 1 Chronicles 21 recounts when King David took a census of Israel. This wasn't a common thing to do in the Jewish nation. Other nations took censuses, but not Israel. We're not exactly sure what David's motivation was to take a census, but the important thing is he did, and it "displeased" God. (1 Chronicles 21:7) My little footnote in my NKJV says "it was evil in the eyes of God." After he did it, David realized he'd made a huge mistake, and God punished David for it by sending a plague upon Israel which killed 70,000 men. (1 Chronicles 21:14).

Ok, so I read this, and all day long I'm like, this is heavy. 70,000 men died because David made a "foolish" decision. (1 Chronicles 21:8)

Later that day, I go to small group. We're reading "One Cry" by Bill Elliff and Byron Paulus.  Every week we watch a video together about the chapter we'd just read. And in this week's video, a man involved in legislation in TX shares that he has "seen what happens when bad laws are passed." He goes on to mention the millions of babies murdered through abortion as a result of such laws, and I remember 1 Chronicles 21.

We might just see our bad decisions as foolish choices like King David did. But just because we see something as "foolish," doesn't mean that's how God sees it too. Oh no, He just might see it as "evil."

My heart began to break in a way that it has yet to for our Nation. I began to wonder, has the Lord sent "plagues" upon America as punishment for foolish choices we've made as a Nation? I'm sure of it. Look at the diseases that "plague" the U.S. that other countries don't even have to deal with. How many times have we looked upon the darkness of our country and just chalked it up to, "Well, we live in a fallen world," or "Maybe the end times are near."

Yesterday, I shared my heart with my dear friend, Lauren. She's a nurse at Emory Hospital in Atlanta, and she told me about a patient of her's, who was also a nurse, who one day at work was caring for an IV drug using patient with Hepatitis C. The nurse was stuck with a dirty needle and contracted Hep C as well. She eventually went into liver failure, received a transplant, which her body rejected, and died. Lauren said, "She died because of someone else's decision to use IV drugs."

I stuck myself with a dirty needle at work one day, and I've known other nurses and doctors who have as well. It happens A LOT more frequently that any of us wish it did. And it wouldn't be as scary of a deal if we didn't have so many diseases to constantly have to protect ourselves from. Diseases contracted initially due to someone's foolish decision.

Our Nation is in a scary spot. And I'm not talking about terrorists, I'm talking about what we're doing to ourselves through our foolishness and naivety.

When will we wake up and realize we're living oppressed by plagues which we just casually accept as facts of life.

It doesn't have to be this way.

"How so, Lindsay?" you ask.

Do you know what happens to Nations when they come to know Jesus?

Because my husband works for the public defender's office, I'll just answer that question in regards to crime....

It DRAMATICALLY decreases.

During the Welsh Revolution, 100,000 people came to Christ in 9 months in 1904-1905. "The mighty unseen breath of the Spirit was doing in a month more than centuries of legislation could accomplish."* Y'all, the jails ended up becoming empty.

Our jails are full in Little Rock. I think about what a decrease in crime ALONE would do to this city. Let's just look at the family unit. What would families look like? They'd be more complete because parents wouldn't be in jail. They'd be more complete because loved ones wouldn't have been murdered on street corners. They'd be more complete because their teenage children hadn't disappeared (either physically or emotionally) into the world of human trafficking...

I can hardly comprehend how much my heart is breaking for this city. The Lord has placed insane dreams on my heart for it, like so big it's crazy. And you know what's even crazier- I shared one of them with David. It's so huge, like so many zeros are necessary behind a "$1" for this dream to ever come true, that usually it involves multiple billionaires for this to happen. But, I shared it with David, and he got it. Usually when I share a "crazy" idea with David, like, "Let's drive to Dallas for lunch!" or maybe take a vacation that isn't exactly realistic based on our bank account balances, David raises his eye brows and gives me the "You're crazy" look. But, this dream, this so many zeros dream, and the impact its realization could have on our city, he caught almost instantly.

And not because it's fun but because it has the potential to change this city. Our city needs to be changed. Your city needs to be changed. Our country needs to be changed, and lots of zeros behind a "$1" aren't going to do it.

Only Jesus is.

Can you hear it in my voice? How desperately I wanted to share this with you? How much my heart desires awakening for my neighbors and yours? We don't have to live like this. So why do we receive it like we don't have a choice? We do have a choice - a choice to be foolish or a choice to turn back to Jesus and show others the Way.


Are you looking for a book to read? Consider "The Circle Maker" by Mark Batterson or "One Cry" by Bill Elliff and Byron Paulus. 

*"One Cry" by Bill Elliff and Byron Paulus - Dr. J. Edwin Orr, "The Role of Prayer in Spiritual Awakening"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ice Buckets

I really thought I was going to make it through this ice bucket challenge without being called out on social media to partake.

But, it happened.

All I had to see was "ALS" and then my name, and I let out an audible, "Noooooo."

Kristina Warford is my friend, my MK teammate, a stellar photographer, and David's cousin. This girl is amazing. And when she nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, she rocked the selfishness right out of me.

Kristina's post: Erin Warford called me out for the ALS ice bucket challenge... I'm going to go against the grain. I believe we each have a disease in mind that hits closer to home. With that being said, I have decided to donate instead of dumping the water on my head. However, my money will go to the Alzheimer's Association in honor of my grandpa. I call out _____, ______, and Lindsay Warford to do the ice bucket challenge or donate in order to support a cause they believe in!!

How did this translate through the Lindsay-Filter: Get over yourself.

To be honest, I've had mixed feelings about the whole thing. At times I thought it was awesome and genius and a funny way to raise a lot of money. And at other times I thought, "These people don't get it. Do they even know what ALS is? Do they know what their dollars are actually going to be used for?"

I would argue that the vast majority of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the last couple of weeks did it primarily because they got to be a part of this social phenomenon. When you see little children dumping ice water on themselves (or on their parents), do you think they're doing it because they care about raising money for ALS? Some of them, yes, because their parents explained the situation to them. But a lot of them, no. They just thought it was fun. They wanted to be filmed with their parent's iPhone and posted to Facebook, too, just like everyone else. They wanted to be a part of it.

And you know, I think it's awesome that people are getting excited about a cause that wasn't getting enough attention and that they're doing something to be a part of changing that.

I get like that too every now and then. I walked the streets of downtown Atlanta and slept in the middle of GA Tech's campus to raise awareness for child slaves in Uganda. I didn't know EVERYthing about their situation or the organization that I was raising awareness with, but I was excited, and so were a bunch of other young adults. Sure, there were plenty of people who slept on the quad and on other college quad's whose hearts weren't moved by these children's plight. They just wanted to be a part of this crazy thing we were doing. But that was ok. They were still excited. And, because we were excited and did this strange thing that drew a lot of national attention, stuff started happening in Washington that made a difference for those kids in Uganda.

In a month, there will not be any more Ice Bucket Challenge videos on your newsfeed. And because of all the attention it got, maybe the money that's been raised these past couple weeks will be what makes a difference for ALS. Maybe these little kids will say when they're a little bit older, "Yeah, that ALS thing, we were a part of finding the cure for that!" Even though they didn't really understand it at the time.

You might get excited about running a marathon because you're a runner, but the fact that you'll also be contributing to finding a cure for breast cancer is really more on the back burner.

That's ok. You're getting excited about something, and you're using your excitement to make a difference. That's what we call "channeling."

But, I have to ask the question... Should it take being called out on social media to get us off our couches and opening our wallets?

Maybe we should just be good stewards of our resources on a regular basis without all of the extra attention.

There are so many causes that are dear to my heart.... Veterans and active military with PTSD, human trafficking, cancer, orphans, habit recovery programs...

What about you? Maybe it's animals, or access to clean water, or education. You've got something that stirs your heart. Is it going to take being called out on social media to get you to be a part of doing something about it?

Take a little friendly nudge from me and get over yourself.

I did.

*In response to Kristina's challenge, I am choosing to make a donation to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation in honor of Samantha and Lauren Fisk, Rick Newby, and our little neighbor Taylor, each of whom has lost a parent to pancreatic cancer during the last two years. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Sailing

Remember how I said I might get knocked off my feet if I threw a stick of dynamite in the hydroelectric dam I've built? The one that controls how much of God's blessings I want to receive?

Well, today it happened.

I was literally shaking in my sandals.

I prayed some specific prayers yesterday over my business.

I praised God for answering them, before they were answered. (picture stick of dynamite being thrown at giant, hydroelectric dam)

And then it happened... Panic. Doubt. Fear... The math didn't add up. How would I fit it all in? Would it pay off? How could ALL of these ladies say YES and not cancel? Would it be worth it? The hours in the car. The multiple tanks of gas. Somewhere deep inside I hoped people would cancel.

It was a thought birthed out of fear. Fear that made me feel like Peter. How could I be so selfish? So small minded? So stupid?

"How can I be like this?" I asked myself. "This is EXACTLY what I prayed for. I took God as my business partner. He is answering my prayers. How can I wish for Him to back out and leave it all up to me again?"

I was scared that I couldn't handle it all.

But I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13)

I thank God for giving me more than a life jacket to keep me above the rushing water pouring down on me - His blessings overflowing.

We're not meant to just ride them out. We're meant to do something with them!

You have to work a sail boat, right? You can't just turn the key like you can on a motor boat.

God's given us all sail boats - not life jackets. And we have to work them. You know with all of the ropes and knots and jive ho-ing! It's not a turn key situation!

However, no matter how good you are at the technicalities of sailing - you're not going to get very far if you don't have His wind in your sails.

My work effort alone won't get me to where I'm sailing. I have to rely on God.

"It might knock me off my feet at first! It might look scary and sound loud, but I'm not content to splash in a puddle when I could sail the seas."

Are you still splashing in puddles? Are you praying for a life vest? Or are you ready to sail? What's keeping you back? 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What a summer!

When I was a kid, I loved that show "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" I've caught myself thinking "Where in the World are David and Lindsay?" the past couple of weeks! We had the amazing opportunity to spend a short weekend in NYC a couple weeks ago with Dave Sr and Brenda (David's parents), Erin and Evan (David's sister and her fiancé), and our family friends Tom and Shirley.

Those of you who've been following Warford & Wife for awhile might remember my post about our anniversary trip to NYC a couple years ago. Although I've traveled around the world, I wasn't quite prepared for NYC in wintertime! You can read more about that trip here.

This trip was completely different. Tom and Shirley live in NYC and acted as the family tour guides. We had so much fun. David and I could literally feel our emotional tanks being filled during the fun, quality time we shared with family enjoying some picturesque moments in the city that never sleeps.

Experiencing my first Yankee's game definitely goes down as one of the coolest sports experiences I've ever had. And dinner in Little Italy... I felt transported!


Erin, Evan, Brenda, & Dave Sr!

Me and Shirley on the subway after the game!

Me and David in Little Italy after doing a little NYC shopping.

Two days after we flew back to Little Rock, my mom, Janet, flew into Little Rock too!

So proud of her! She's becoming an expert flyer!

The next day, she and I were off to Dallas to spend 4 days at Mary Kay's annual Seminar. Words can't describe what happened inside of me while we were down there. I'm still processing it all. Even my sweet mom is unsure whether or not I actually had a good time! I was overwhelmed, in the best way possible. I learned a lot. I was humbled A LOT. Like, to my knees in the middle of the night TWICE kind of humbled...

In between sessions at Seminar!

Celebrating many amazing women at the Diamond Seminar Award's Night!

I realized that I don't love people the way I'm called to. I pick and choose. I'm not called to be best friends with everyone, but I am called to love my neighbor, and I'm learning more about what that looks like. It's not easy. And, I realized I can't do it by myself. I can't LOVE the people I don't want to in my current heart's condition. But Jesus does love people. And, His Holy Spirit is in me... That means I can love the people I don't want to. It's a BIG piece of dry, egg-free/dairy-free/soy-free/gluten-free humble pie to swallow. But, I'm already seeing how it's better this way. I'm already starting to feel my heart soften for people that it doesn't come naturally to love.

While I was away, David continued burning the midnight oil working his two part time jobs. He's got a big test on Saturday that we'd appreciate your prayers over! I'm back to being busy with my day job with Dave Sr. (who is an amazing boss by the way!), and I'm working on going into directorship qualification in Mary Kay during the other hours of the day! I thought things would slow down when Fall semester started, but it looks like the momentum we've created this summer will continue through the rest of 2014!

From Auburn to Atlanta to North Carolina to NYC to Dallas to the far corners of Arkansas, it's been a busy summer. And, we've still got a lot to accomplish before 2015 arrives. : ) And, at least for me, a lot more growing to do.

I'll try not to be gone so long again dear readers. Thanks for checking back in... ; )

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fountains and Hydroelectric Dams

I unpack my grocery bag of bright red strawberries, a short, little pineapple, and stalks of celery in need of a good rinsing...

For some reason I thought about the farmer who harvested the bunch of celery. I had this strange urge to want to thank the farmer for growing celery. So, since tracking down the farmer seemed like a silly idea, I instead thanked God for the farmer. And, then I thanked God that He didn't make me the farmer.... That I don't have to worry about how much rain we've had or when to plant seeds and when to harvest crops.

Water must be on a farmer's mind all the time. Are the crops getting enough water? Are they getting too much?

I know I take water and its presence for granted. Only once in my entire life have I had to wonder where I would find water. Only once. But even then, I had a water bottle with me that would purify polluted river water if I got that desperate... (Thankfully, bottled water arrived without it coming to that.)

This week I can't escape the imagery of water. It's everywhere: falling from the sky today, in the first chapter of the book I'm reading, in the songs on the radio, and in the encouragement from believers who are pouring into my life.

Living water.

I have that.

I don't thirst.

I have "a fountain of water" inside of me. (John 4:14) And, like the water in the pipes of our house and the water that falls from the sky, at times I take that "fountain of water" for granted.

There is so much that Jesus wants to offer us, and so often we just take it's presence for granted and fail to accept it, especially if we've been following Him for a long time. We just tap into it when we want to... The fruits of the Spirit, the power that exists inside of us, even our very salvation...

We just go on about our happy Bible Belt lives. We know we're going to Heaven because we put our faith in Christ. And sometimes, unless someone gets hurt or money gets tight, that's just where it ends.

It makes me ponder... What could my life look like if I stopped picking and choosing the blessings I want to tap into? If I appreciated, if I understood, if threw a stick of dynamite in the fancy hydroelectric dam I've built that controls how much of Him I want to receive....

Why not receive it all? Why not pray prayers that could only be answered by the Ruler of the Universe? Prayers so big that I don't think what I'm praying for even exists! Why not experience every fruit of the Spirit? Why be scared of the unknown when He is for me?

Why pray for there to be enough rain to maintain our puddles when He has an ocean right there for us if we'll just ask for it?

Instead of praying for Him to open the floodgates only every now and then when things get rough in our lives, why not choose to live every day with them open?

He offers that. Want to throw a stick of dynamite in your dam? I don't know about you, but I want to see what comes! It might knock me off my feet at first! It might look scary and sound loud, but I'm not content to splash in a puddle when I could sail the seas.

How about you? What are you doing with your fountain?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

No Air Conditioning

Growing up, every now and then my parents would take us three kids to the Atlanta History Center on Sundays after church. We'd see exhibits featuring Native Americans or peanuts or, the most memorable, the history of air conditioning.

That was the day I came to appreciate the men and women we call "inventors." I hadn't realize a life without air conditioning was possible. Especially, in the SOUTH.

I looked at pictures of women in their petit coats and boots sitting on front porches overlooking plantations and was grateful to have not been born back then and to be sporting shorts and jellies at the present time.

One summer when we were a little older, the AC unit for the upstairs level of our house went out. Dad went to the store and bought us all air mattresses, so we could sleep downstairs where there was air conditioning. Aside from the sleeping arrangements, I don't really remember the AC not working for that short period of time affecting my day-to-day life too greatly.

Jump ahead to two days ago in Central Arkansas to when the AC went out in our little one story ranch house.

At times during the past 36 hours, I've felt like Joe and Matt from Dual Survivor...


"Conserve energy... Drink water... The hottest period of the day... Cloud cover..."

Just kidding. I really haven't been that dramatic.

We did opt to sleep in the living room, however, because that's the room with the best air flow.

Disclaimer: We had plenty of offers from people to come and sleep at their house, but really, we knew we could handle sleeping in a hot house for another night. 

This 2nd experience without AC has taught me more than my 1st so many years ago. So, here's what I've learned, all condensed into my short list of "Things To Know When It's Summer and You Have No AC and Live Someplace Hot and Humid"...

1. Open the windows. There is no AC to let out of the house, so you might as well let what ever small breeze does blow by have a shot at making it's way inside!

2. Fans are your friend. (So are dehumidifiers!) Place them strategically around your house in spaces you're actually in. You don't need a fan in the guest room unless it's stocked with MK product. (In that case, place at least two fans in there and open the windows!!!)

3. Drink water! It's not like the power is out and you have to conserve your water supply. Drink it up! Add ice. ; )

4. Ice packs. These saved me last night. I was covered in them. Nursing trick: If you need to heat up or cool down a body, your armpits are a good spot to start. Place hot blankets or ice packs there for whichever direction you need to take your body temperature. So, yes, I laid on the couch with ice packs under my arms! (Laugh at that mental picture!)

5. Keep an eye on your pets. Even though Sperry always knows the coolest spot in the house, he still went through water faster yesterday than usual. Keep your fur babies' water dishes full.

6. If you do have to do house work, wake up early and do it while it's coolish.

7. Don't feel bad about not wanting to cook dinner. It's too hot to slave over a stove top or to fill your house with hot air from your oven. Grab Zaxby's like we did, and eat it in your car (with your dog in the back seat because he needs an AC break too).

8. When you feel hot and miserable just praise Jesus that you don't live in the Congo, and this isn't your daily routine!

9. Walk outside every now and then. It's probably cooler out there than it is in your house.

10. When the AC man comes to fix/replace your unit, chill some Gatorade for him and his co-workers.

So, now you know, should you ever find yourself at home with no AC like us. ; )

Thankfully, Dave the AC man is up in the attic replacing the whole unit as I write this. Thank you Lord for the people who invented air conditioners and the men who know how to fix them!

Stay cool y'all!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Tough Anniversaries

We had a big thunderstorm last night that knocked our power out twice. So, when our power went out  again this morning, all I could do was sigh in relief that it had at least waited to go out until I was done editing a presentation for Dave Sr.

When you don't have internet, but all of your work exists in the cloud, there isn't much to work on.

So, I went to the back of the house to make our bed and stock the bathroom's depleting toilet paper reserves.

I laughed at myself after I automatically flipped on light switches (that did nothing) as I moved through each room.

I put the toilet paper under our bathroom sink and flash backed to our girls' bathroom in Nairobi.

I shook it off.

"It's just cause it's in the back of my mind," I told myself as I arranged the toilet paper in a tall tower.

You see, I've known 6/26 ("Kenya Day") was coming since two weeks ago when I scheduled a mother-daughter facial for that afternoon.

There's so much that was wonderful about that 3 week mission trip to Kenya: the nationals, the meetings they put on after we taught them how, the smiles, the dancing, the pineapple, the country, my teammates, that one meeting where we thought the bleachers were going to be blown over by the wind, our safari... It just puts the biggest smile on my face remembering all of those things. They were great!



The 20-30 minutes that were horrific, obviously were not so great, but the Lord has done great things with that situation since then.

I praise Him for His mercy, His protection, and His goodness then and during these last 9 years. I fully believe everything I've ever said about that trip. I wouldn't be half of the person I am today without that experience. I understand the importance it's played in my life in every single positive way. God is so so good.

But, with all of my understanding and gratitude and emotional healing, why can this one day still conjure up tough feelings?

Why are anniversaries so tough? Does it ever stop? Last year it wasn't bad at all. But, this year it's like looking forward to getting braces put on a second time.

Is it my fault? Am I the only team member who still struggles with PTSD? Am I just that weak?

"Sweet Jesus, thank you for giving me Your strength." 

Before this round of thunderstorms made it's way to Arkansas, we had one morning this weekend where it was hot and humid with no breeze. David asked me, "Can you imagine what it would be like to be on an old, pirate ship in this kind of weather?" Ugh, it'd be miserable to not have any control and to just have to wait for wind! I'd be like one of the muppets on Muppets Treasure Island going crazy singing We've Got Cabin Fever running around spastically.

Waiting can drive you crazy if that's all you do!


So, is it a couple days or maybe a week or two before THAT Day? Are you just sitting and waiting for the storm / the anniversary to come and go?

There are things you can do to get ready besides just trying to ignore it altogether. You prepare your house before a storm don't you? We take down the patio umbrella and move some of the potted plants... There are people who want to pray you through this upcoming anniversary. Your Maker is there when You're ready to talk to Him about how you feel this year.

Maybe you're in the storm already. Is today THAT one day of every year that you wish you could get through without realizing it had passed?

Hold on. It will pass. Even if the power goes out, it will come back on. Let Jesus calm the waters for you. He will. He's done it before.

It's not just another day. It's THAT Day. And no one else understands because they haven't lost their mom, or they aren't widowed, or they never had a gun held to their head, or if they did they weren't in a third world country several time zones away from their family in a white van because that's different than being held up in a Kroger parking lot...

And, dear reader, I get it.

And, you know what? It's a lot easier when you realize that no matter what it is you've gone through, you're not the only one who knows how you feel. There are millions of people who feel the exact same way - like they're alone.

Anniversaries of loss or trauma are hard. They are. But we don't have to go through them by ourselves.

"This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:6-8

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sports

It is kind of weird how much I've come to enjoy sports in the last year. It was bound to happen after I married David - a man who could easily replace any commentator on ESPN at the drop of a hat. It's unreal how my husband's brain works when it comes to sports (and now the law). He's a sponge.


Last week my Dad and I were talking about the final NBA Championship game (I'm a Miami Heat fan, so I was rooting for them), and Dad and Mom (and the rest of my Texas family) were rooting for The San Antonio Spurs. And, I mean, hello, I was born in San Antonio, it's kind of like blasphemy to be rooting for a team who is playing against San Antonio, so my family was a little disturbed... When my response to my Dad's question, "Why do you like the Heat?" was, "I like the players," he then asked, "Well, which players do you like?" I'm pretty sure he was shocked that I could rattle off 5 of them with reasons for each as to why I like them! I mean seriously, it was kind of strange for both of us. Since when did Lindsay start paying any attention to sports because she was interested in them?? Aside from the Olympics of course (because who doesn't get excited about the Olympics?).

My brother played soccer as a little kid, and I attended quite a few of his soccer games, but aside from that, soccer really wasn't on my radar until 4 years ago during the last World Cup.

While that World Cup was going on, I was in Ecuador for 2 weeks as team nurse for a senior high mission trip. I'd been to Ecuador as a teenager on a similarly formatted trip with the exact same host missionaries (David and Monica Proaño with Open Air Campaigners). The ministry we do down there is gospel presentations in parks, schools, marketplaces, plazas, etc. The first time I was down there, we saw kids playing soccer on the numerous soccer fields in basically every town we went through, but it was April, and there were no championship games going on, so soccer (correction, "fútbol") didn't have any impact on our itinerary. But 4 years ago, our itinerary literally revolved around the World Cup. If there was a game going on (and it didn't matter who was playing), there was no one at the market, in the park, or the plaza. So, we would hunker down in a coffee shop or restaurant and watch the game too.


It was a very, very cool experience being in Latin America during the World Cup. And, really, the intentionality of setting aside everything to watch a game (no matter who was playing) was what made the greatest impact on me. I mean, fútbol meant something important to the Ecuadorian people. It's a HUGE part of their culture. Much more than our seasonal sports are here, I'd argue. So, now when I hear about people taking off work to watch the games or planning their lunch break around the game schedule, it doesn't surprise me. There's something about this very international sport that speaks to people and unifies a lot of us.

Side note: I'm always impressed by the referees... Some Eastern European country will be playing a Latin American country, and I can't help but wonder, "Why is that player even talking to the ref? He probably doesn't speak their language!" To which David replies, "They know what a yellow card means."

Another international sport I enjoy is Formula One. I'll watch a whole race and dream of watching the Monaco Grand Prix while basking on top of one of those yachts. I actually got into Nascar first, and it was about the same time I was starting to work as a nurse. One day I was taking care of a special needs patient who was in her late 20s/early 30s, holding a stuffed animal as she woke up, and she was scared and disoriented. One of the OR nurse's had told me that this patient was a Nascar fan. Well, when she was awake enough to respond to questions, I told her I liked Nascar too. She groggily asked me who my favorite driver was. My answer, Carl Edwards. She asked me what I thought of Kyle Busch, and I made a disapproving face, "I don't like him. I think he drives dirty." From that moment on, I couldn't get her to stop talking about Nascar. She was so happy when she rolled out of that recovery room because she had someone to talk with who knew something about a sport she loved. I remember thinking as the techs wheeled her away, "She might be the only reason I ever got into Nascar."

I think sports are interesting like that. It doesn't matter where you're from or who you are or what you believe about life or the universe or even what language you speak, sports transcend all boundaries. And, I'm really glad I'm starting to appreciate this world. I'll give all the credit to my husband, who patiently explains every call, rule, and off-the-wall question I have. I'm sure our future kiddos will be sports kids, so it's a good thing I'm learning so much now before they come along! Who knows how sports will create a connection of unity between them and new people they meet or cultures they're exposed to. As I think about our future, trips to World Cup games, the Monaco Grand Prix, and an NBA Championship game between the Heat and some contender seem like very enjoyable vacation options. Who ever would have thought this girl would be considering such locations as vacation destinations? Not me. But, I also never thought I'd live in Arkansas. ; )

There's a whole wide world out there... It's kind of cool that something as simple as a game could connect so many of us.

Monday, June 16, 2014

To Share or Not To Share: Part 2

Wow.. Never promise that you're going to post something on your blog in x many days unless you've already written/edited said post and scheduled it to post automatically.. Because it just won't happen!

I promised my dear readers a Part 2 post to "To Share of Not To Share" within 3 days, and it's very possibly been 3 weeks!

And in the 3 weeks (or whatever it's been) that have passed, I've had a little bit of time to mull over my answer to, "Why is finding the balance between transparency and discretion important [when it comes to what we share with other people]?"

It's been a very, very busy 3 weeks. I've had so many experiences that I've wanted to share with other people. Funny things neighbor children say. Things Sperry did. Successes and disappointments.

But, I don't have permission from the parents to post to Facebook the embarrassing things their kids said.

And really, only David cares that much about Sperry being silly in the backyard.

My successes I share with the people who will appreciate them.

And my disappointments I choose the people who have offered to walk through them with me to confide in.

"Why is finding the balance between transparency and discretion important?"

I had one of the longest posts ever written out to explain the answer... But, as I've mulled over it, the answer can really be summed up into one word ... Respect.

Respect for ourselves.

Respect for those whom our situation involves.

And respect for the ears/hearts who are going to hear/read what we share.

Respect for Ourselves:

If we would just think before we spoke / texted / posted... We can make ourselves look very uneducated, ignorant, naive, and even disrespectful when we share too quickly.

And we say a lot about how much we respect ourselves and our reputation by what we post to social media.

(Side note, classy people do not post about their own bodily functions on social media... It's one thing to talk about it with a friend who understands bodily functions, or your doctor, but Facebook is not the place. Someone had to say it, so I might as well clue you in here while we're talking about discretion.)

Respect for Those Whom Our Situation Involves:

Can we not talk about ANYTHING that involves another person without their expressed / written permission? Of course not. That's ridiculous. But, we should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us, right? ... I mean, really, that sums it up. If I wouldn't want someone to bash me for some reason on social media, then I shouldn't do the same.

For example, I was at this thing one night recently in a nearby city with a bunch of "church people." (Disclaimer: These were not people who attend the church David and I are currently attending.) You would have thought I was one of Xavier's X-Men, and I had the super power of invisibility. I didn't get a returned smile, hello, even a nod! I wanted to leave, but I couldn't. It really hurt my feelings to be treated that way, and selfishly, I really wanted to call them all out. I could have posted on Facebook in great detail where I was and exactly who these people were that were hurting my feelings in such a hypocritical way... But, I didn't. I texted my sister instead. She knows my heart. She has my confidence.

What good would it have done to call them out on Facebook like that? None. I have friends on Facebook who don't go to church, so why would I remind them that if they decide to check this church or any other church out, there's a chance they'll be ignored... That wouldn't have done any good at all... I don't like it when people post things like that about church people or Christians, because I go to church and I am a Christ-follower, and I try really hard to be super welcoming to everyone. So, I just did unto others...

Respect for the Ears/Hearts That Are Going to Read/Hear What We Share:

Other people's ears/hearts... Sometimes that's easy. You don't mention that Santa isn't real in front of a 6 year old. But, other times it can be tricky... Like, you would never know my sweet friend was sexually abused as a teenager by looking at her or talking with her. But, discussing a recent violent incident in her presence will set her into a panic attack.

I tend to be more aware of stuff like this because I'm often the one in the panic attack chair. So, when I was having a causal conversation about domestic violence with another woman, and she froze like a popsicle when I mentioned a d.v. statistic, I realized the tables had been turned and made sure she knew that I was a safe confidant.

Learning to read body language is a skill that will better you and better other's until the day you die.

Unfortunately there are some people who aren't that considerate. They just like to hear themselves talk. After completely clamming up, fixing my eyes on the floor, and practically wringing my hands while a woman told me about a raping/murder that had happened just miles from my home, I finally interrupted her and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt you. But, I can't hear this." Those of us with traumatic histories have to learn when to speak up, when to just leave the room, and how to heal... We can't live in a bubble, and people can't be expected to walk on egg shells around us.

So, why is finding the balance important? It's better for everyone... It's really just that simple.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

To Share or Not To Share: Part 1

Do you read more than one blog? If so, you've probably noticed that there are many different kinds of bloggers. There are some who only blog about one thing for the purpose of sharing information. Topics can range from food, DIY projects, their family, IT stuff (yes, there are IT blogs), and you-name-it. Then there are others who use their blog as an internet journal. These bloggers allow their online journal to be accessible for others to read whether they're documenting a vacation they're taking or just day-to-day joys and struggles.

Some fellow blogger friends and I have been extolled for our transparency in sharing personal struggles on our blogs.

But, I have a confession to make to you dear readers.... I don't share everything with you.

When I worked as a personal trainer, I worked with a woman who shared way too much information about herself. I felt bad for her. Other ladies would actually roll their eyes when she'd start talking because she was just TMI all of the time. Sitting on the floor with my 8lb dumbbells, I looked at her and realized that because she lacked discretion, she had lost the respect of her peers and therefore her influence... Not to mention, no one wanted to be around her. And, let me be clear, it wasn't just because of what she was sharing about herself... It was because she was all mouth and no ears. No one likes to be around someone who only talks and never listens.

Now, do I have my tongue completely under control? No. I've had my Jennifer Lawrence moments where I've mentally buried my head in my hands and asked, "Did I really just say that?"


Honesty and transparency and openness are all wonderful things... In the right place at the right time with the right people. JLaw has admitted herself that the red carpet is not the appropriate place to discuss some of the things she ends up talking about.

So, let's take a cue from our favorite Hollywood starlet's mistakes and be honest and transparent and open where it's appropriate, when it's safe, and with people who actually care.

Do not be honest and transparent and open when it is not appropriate, in an environment that is primed for an argument, and with people who can erase you from their life without more than a second's thought by clicking the "unfollow" button.

Why? Because they might "unfriend" you? No, because sharing in that kind of environment has the great potential to set us up for disappointment, bad advice, or false affirmation.

If we are functioning on affirmation that is based solely on the number of "likes" we get or comments that agree with us or tell us how pretty we are or how cool our tomato plant is, we're gonna be in a heap of trouble if our internet goes out or our smart phone breaks.

I listened to a sermon this morning by Steven Furtick called The Problem with Pinterest(The Hope of Glory Part 4), and it basically sums the whole problem the majority of our culture is facing in regards to comparison through social media.



As I was listening, I kept thinking about this balance. Transparency vs Discretion.

So what is the first step to finding the balance? I think we start by really considering where we're getting our affirmation from.

Why is finding the balance important? Join me later this week as we delve into that question. : )


"There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Friday, May 16, 2014

Goodness

It's been a pretty amazing week to say the least...

It started on Sunday when we spent the whole day honoring my beautiful mom, Janet, on Mother's Day... We worshipped together as a family at PCC, stared in awe at sea creatures at the GA Aquarium, and sipped decadent coffee drinks at Peachtree's Cafe Intermezzo on the way home...




On Tuesday, we celebrated Paul and the accomplishment "the experts" said he'd never achieve... Not only did this severely dyslexic young man go to college, he finished and graduated (with a finance degree). Afterwards our family enjoyed delicious Southern food on my parents' back deck while Paul opened thoughtful graduation gifts (including a handmade quilt my 95 year old great-grandmother made for him). Grandpa Wayne beating us grown-children in bocce ball was definitely icing on the cake - we were all so glad that he and Grammy Jo were able to make it out to celebrate Paul's achievement.



When I made it back to Little Rock Wednesday evening, I got to celebrate my husband's accomplishment... He had finished finals that morning which thus concluded our second year of law school... Just one more to go... And, I couldn't be more proud of him.



"The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." Psalm 33:5b

Isn't that true? Sure, there are hard things and difficult times. But when we stop and take the time to recognize (and celebrate!) all of the good, there is no room left to dwell on the rest.

Praise the Lord for all of the goodness He bestows on us. We are so grateful.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Finals and Food

David's first day of finals are today. And, like many wives of graduate-school-attending-husbands, I struggle with how I can actually be helpful during this time of the semester. Because, in all honesty, reading week and finals week are beasts that no person should have to take on alone...

It's taken me two years, but last week during reading week, I realized that I could be most helpful by just being supportive

What do I mean by "supportive"? Well, I can support David by actively listening when he gets home, actually doing things he asked me to do during the day, limiting distractions and giving him my full attention (no phone, no laptop, no iPad) during the evenings when we're both home spending time together (even if we're just watching tv), and I can remember that our life does not solely revolve around what's going on with me - he's got a lot going on with him. (So this is the kind of support we should be showing our husbands every day, right? Not just when things are a little more stressful. But, when things are a little more stressful, being the right kind of supportive is so important. Can I get a, "Yep, I know what you mean!"?) 

When you've got a spouse in a stressful program like law school, just keeping food in the house and the laundry basket mostly empty is actually supportive. I've talked with several doctors who've told me, "Man! If I had just had someone who'd done my laundry while I was in med school, THAT would have been amazing!" 

I've already got a pretty good handle on our laundry situation, but food prep doesn't take as high a priority with me when I myself also have a busy schedule. 

During reading week, I wanted to prepare some heartier meals for David to enjoy when he got home from studying all day (that still followed our dietary guidelines of course).

I think all of those years of listening to my teachers before standardized testing really left an impression on me... "Feed them before they come to school! Send snacks!" There's a lot to be said about eating right come test day (and in our case, preparing for test days)...

So, our menu for the week's dinners consisted of grilled barbecue chicken, bun-less hotdogs, a gorgeously loaded salad, and one night I even attempted to make a skinny version of bang bang shrimp, which David liked but said, "Next time we should make the un-healthy version." ; )

In my planning ahead, I knew Thursday night would be the night where I'd have the most amount of time to make dinner, so I wanted to make something a little more interesting.


Both were relatively inexpensive to make, really didn't take much time to prepare, and they were incredibly filling.

(I thought about taking a picture of the lettuce wraps, 
but then I decided I would just eat them instead!)

When David got home last night, I'm sure the house smelled horribly of cooked cabbage. But, even so, as we sat and munched on spring rolls and crafted our lettuce wraps, the stress of his day and upcoming day seemed to slowly melt off. I asked few questions while we ate, just letting him decompress with siracha and soy sauce. 

Being supportive encompasses so many aspects of a person's situation, and we often underestimate the support that comes with a home cooked meal and some quiet time.

To all of you who have been praying for us during this chapter of our lives, we thank you and appreciate you. We're almost 2/3 of the way there. : )

To any other spouses of intense-graduate-program students, how do you show support to your spouse during reading/finals week? Or, when you or your spouse were in such a program, was there one thing your spouse did for you that really made you feel "supported"? I'd love to hear your experiences. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wind Chimes

We were in this outdoor / garden / farming store buying Sperry dog food over the weekend, and this really beautiful wind chime caught my eye. It had stars on it which reminded me of Texas. 

David laughed as I climbed and squeezed over and between boxes of who-knows-what to get to the guarded display of wind chimes.

When I saw how inexpensively priced it was AND that it was made in America, I lifted it off of it's display and somehow managed to climb back over and through the boxes with it to rejoin David and head for the weed killer before checking out.  

When we got home, we first hung the wind chimes on the front porch, but it just didn't look right there. So, we moved it to the back deck which is directly behind my office.


Now, when the wind blows, I get to hear it through the windows.

It's so peaceful... Like birds in the trees... Not the mean ones who caw, but the sweet ones who sing.

I wish there was a way we could hang up our Guatemalan hammock in the backyard, so I could lay there and take a nap and drift to sleep to the songs of sweet birds and wind chimes...

This little red barn house has been our home for over two years now. But, it is unlikely that in another two years we'll still be living at this address. There's a part of me that would like to stay here simply because it's just become so comfortable. But, I remember that right now it's just me and David... and Sperry... and the two business... and the law school books... So, functionally speaking, I'll need to rent out office space when children come along if we don't move into a differently structured home. 

I consider the remodel our homeowners are about to undertake in our kitchen, and I cringe at the thought of more than two people working in that tiny space so close to my home office with hammers and drills and other power tools.

The kitchen as we know it will change. The home will change. How I function on a daily basis through this remodel will change... Point: This current state of residential "comfort" is temporary.

That old song my mom sang to us as kids plays in my head... 

"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, 
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore. 

Oh Lord, You know, I have no friend like you,
If heaven's not my home, then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, 
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

Even before that tornado recently demolished so many homes in our neighboring towns, God's been reminding me that this home, this physical red house we live in, and earth itself, isn't really our home.

The things I like about our temporary home are just snippets of the glory that exists in the home we'll spend eternity in. 

Having a home that we feel safe and comfortable in right now is not something to feel guilty about, but, God is reminding me that we can't get too comfortable. We should expect for things to change. And, an unwillingness to move might deprive us the opportunity to live somewhere better - better for us, better for our future children, better for others, better for His glory. 

The wind blows through the wind chimes, and they play their soft song... 

I hum along and take comfort in God's sovereignty instead of the walls surrounding me. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornadoes

Growing up, I sat and watched the TV screen countless times as local meteorologist Glenn Burns tracked tornadoes through Georgia...

A tornado would be heading right towards a subdivision, and Glenn Burns would tell residents to put on bicycle helmets and get to a room with no exterior walls... His tone was urgent but laced with a collected calmness that made you believe if you did what he said you'd be okay...

This one time, we were watching Glenn Burns, and the tornado sirens started to go off. He said the tornado was heading towards a street that was right behind our house. It was just us kids at home. Paul went into "protector mode" and grabbed all of the cushions off the couch in the living room. Somehow all three of us kids and all of our animals got underneath the cushions and inside the downstairs bathroom to ride it out...

When the tornado hit my dorm in 2008, it was my sorority president, not Glenn Burns, who let us know we had to get down to a safe place.



It wasn't 30 seconds after I'd answered her call that me and 3 of my sorority sisters were running into the hallway for the stairwell... Everyone always says, "It hit like a train." And, that's exactly what it felt like.

Last night, I sat with my knees held against my chest with eyes glued to the television screen as the local meteorologists tracked a big tornado through Arkansas.

Sirens were going off outside, and the lights were flickering. I could see that it wasn't coming towards us, but it was going straight towards friends and family to the west... Friends and family who I knew didn't have basements or stairwells.

Praise God, our friends and family members all around the state are okay. Some have trees on top of their homes and/or are without power, but they are alive.

I turn on the local news to see the footage everyone keeps texting me about... And I can't watch it for more than 5 minutes.
Picture from KATV Channel 7

Because living here has changed me.

It's not just a news story. It's not just footage. Those aren't just country people in the next city. Those are our neighbors. I've never met them. But that doesn't matter.

It's like night and day compared to the tornado that hit Roswell, GA in 2006.  I grew up in Alpharetta (the city next-door to Roswell), but our church was in Roswell. We obviously knew dozens of families in that city, but we didn't personally know anyone who was affected by the tornado. Honestly, the greatest impact it had on our lives was that we weren't sure if I'd be able to have my makeup done for prom at the salon where we'd scheduled an appointment. It's not that we didn't care about the people whose homes were affected. We just didn't know them, and we didn't feel connected to them. There are almost 100,00 people who live in Roswell. Roswell might have been our neighboring city, but it's residents weren't our neighbors. Neighbors lived in the same subdivision as you. And even then, subdivisions are quite large in that part of Georgia, so you didn't even know a quarter of the families who were your neighbors anyway.

But, living here, I feel differently about neighbors. Neighbors aren't just in subdivisions. Neighbors are the people across the street from us and all of the other people on this side of the Arkansas River.

And when the meteorologists told us last night to wait before we drove to the cities that had been hit by the tornados so that rescue crews could get in first, I didn't understand at first why he said that.

Why would we drive up there? More storms could be coming. Why would we leave our homes?

But today, as I look at the footage of the damage that's just 20 miles from my house, I understand.

It's because I look at the destruction, and I see demolished homes that belong to our neighbors. Even though you don't personally know them, it still feels personal.

I never felt like that in Georgia. I never felt this tug on my heart loving and breaking for neighbors in this way.

Would it break for people in third world countries? Of course.

Or for people I personally knew? Definitely.

But, the stranger I don't know who lives two cities over? Not like this.

Living here is changing me.... Love your neighbor is taking on new meaning to say the least.


I'll be giving all of my profits this week from my Mary Kay business to help Arkansas tornado victims. Our products range from skincare for men, women, and teens, glamour, fragrance, and body care. Please consider ordering something this week if you don't already have a Mary Kay consultant at www.marykay.com/lwarford . Thank you for supporting our neighbors. God bless you. - Lindsay