Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy 21st Katie Marie!

I honestly don't remember the moment when Mom and Dad told me and Paul that we were going to be getting a baby sister, but I vividly remember our "family meeting" to pick out her name. 

Paul's choice was SpiderMan. 

My choice was Melissa. 

I'm pretty sure Dad was pulling for Sarah. 

But, Mom's vote won... Our baby sister was named Katherine Marie. 


Katie has had a bit of a wild streak to her from the very beginning! I remember worrying about Katie when she was little. She would literally run outside naked in the snow. I even asked Mom once if she was really a human. I thought she was a fairy or something. She just had this different spirit than me and Paul - she was more free.  


Somewhere around the time of this picture, Katie got sick. I remember the look of confusion on my parents' faces when I heard them talking in the kitchen about "Fever of Unknown Origin." And I interpreted that diagnosis at my young age to mean the doctors didn't know how to fix my sister, so there was no fix for my sister.  

Praise God, Katie got better. But, for the next 15+ years, my greatest fear and most 
frequent nightmare was that something would happen to Katie, and I wouldn't be able to 
do anything to save her. 

Needless to say, Katie has been (and still is) one of the most important people to me in my life. She's been through it all with me. And I'm not so sure she can say the same about me. Since I left for college and moved away, there have been chapters of her life now that I've not been able to be an active part of. Katie was always aware of what was going on in my life, and in some way, she was always a part of it. 

I don't think Katie realizes the impact she's made on who I am, how grateful I am to have her as my sister, to have shared a room with her for so long, for the confidence I have in her trust and secret-keeping skills, for her unfailing love and forgiveness, and for the support and enthusiasm she's given me, even when my accomplishments, struggles, and adventures were beyond her ability to fully understand or participate in. 


When I broke my leg at 16, Katie helped me get dressed until I was limber enough to do it myself. 

When I was carjacked at 17, Katie put on the strongest face for me when I got home, and she's stayed strong through every PTSD hurdle since then. 

When I got my acceptance letter into nursing school at 18, she was the one who read the news to me over the phone. 

When my heart broke into a million little pieces at 19, she sat with me on my twin bed while I cried, night after night, with her arm around my shoulder.

These are just four examples across four years. But, honestly, if I were to start documenting everything I've learned from Katie and through my relationship with her, a blog wouldn't be able to contain it all... 

As I reflect back to the day when she came, I realize that Katie was one of the most wonderful gifts the Lord could have ever blessed me with. 


Happy 21st birthday Katie Marie. So glad you were born and that God let us be sisters. : )

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Things People Say in the Recovery Room

For those of you who are new to Warford&Wife, David is in law school. And I (the wife half of Warford&Wife) am a law student's wife. I am many other things besides a law student's wife, but being the wife of a law student is a HUGE part of who I am in this stage of our life.

David started studying for the LSAT just a couple weeks after we got married. I was working at a hospital in Atlanta as a recovery room nurse, and one day recovered a young woman from surgery who was married to a brand new lawyer.

It's funny the things people will say as they're coming out of anesthesia. The kinds of things that when they ask you later (when they're more lucid), "Did I say anything embarrassing when I first woke up?" you lie through your teeth and say, "No. Not at all." 

And then there were other patients who I cared for who, in their 30min-2 hours after surgery, managed to pass along meaningful, heartfelt words of affirmation that are affecting me to this day and in some cases will continue to affect me for years and years to come.

This one particular young woman passed on some incredibly touching advice in regards to being a law student's wife.

It's hard. It's long. Be patient. He will need you. 

One of the funny things about anesthesia is there's an amnesia effect. So, there might only be 2 patients out of all the hundreds of patients who remember I was the one who took care of them. And, I know that even if there are 2, they don't remember what we talked about. They don't remember what they said. In fact, they didn't remember 20 minutes after they rolled out of the recovery room. That's just how anesthesia works... (Trust me, it's a beautiful thing.)

So this little, blonde wife of a lawyer, has (and shortly after HAD) no idea that she told me, "It's hard. It's long. Be patient. He will need you."

But I'm so very glad she did.

Because even though I couldn't be prouder of my husband and what he's accomplishing right now, being the wife of a law student is hard sometimes. And the process of becoming an attorney feels long.

But those four short sentences really helped prepare my heart with the understanding that it would be this way. And that even though my smart husband is tough and strong and talks about things I don't remotely understand with confidence, that's okay.. He actually does still need me. And being patient through the harder, longer parts of this chapter of our life is worth it.

So, if you've ever had surgery, who knows what you said to your recovery room nurse. It could have been something cute like, "I like your eye shadow." (I got that one a lot.) Or maybe it was something a little more profound. You never know. Under the influence of heavy pharmaceuticals, you just might have greatly impacted someone else's life by passing on a tiny bit of wisdom.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Out of Place

Several weeks ago these green, thick stalks started to slowly make their way up out of the ground in our back yard. Just right in the center.

Not too long after the little stalks made their grand appearance, it snowed, and I figured whatever the stalks were, they would probably end up dying in the snow.

But they didn't. They lived. And they just kept growing taller and taller.

And eventually the little stalks turned into these...


I didn't plant any daffodil bulbs, so I have no idea how these flowers came to be in our back yard!

Yesterday it snowed (again), and I worried the little yellow flowers would surely die this time. 

But they didn't.

Through the snow, the cold, and Sperry running right over them on his way to "catch" the cat that sits on top of the fence, they have withstood.

It doesn't make sense for them to be there, I can't explain to you how they got there, or why they're so hearty.... But honestly, is it necessary to have answers to these questions?

After all, they're just flowers. 

They know they won't live forever, so instead of wondering about how they came to be planted in the middle of a back yard they just grow, they bloom, they withstand... 

They just do exactly what they're supposed to do regardless of the fact that onlookers call them out of place. 

How often do we think God has put us in the wrong place, or time, or job, or situation?

How often did people in the Bible think the same thing?

And what has God done every time? He's made sense of it. 

To us, our lives don't always seem to make sense, but that doesn't mean we have to stop doing whatever it is we're supposed to do because we have to figure out all the answers first. 

God has already done that. We just need to keep growing, keep blooming, turning to Him so that we might withstand the snow and the cold and the trampling... Because no matter where we are, we are in a position to be who we are and do what it is that we are intended to do. 

And to some onlooker, our presence won't be out of place, it will be appreciated and it will make a difference.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A little bit of coffee



Doesn't that picture look amazing? I mean it actually makes my hands feel warmer just looking at that picture. And, I think the blood vessels in my brain have dilated a little bit.

I didn't even make it three days into lent without forgetting that I'd given up coffee. When I realized, three sips in to a delicious cup of black coffee, what I was doing, I literally flung my hand over the top of the coffee mug to stop the aroma from continuing to waft towards me.

A few days later, when a headache began to set in, the first thought that came to mind was that it would just be so much easier to make a cup of coffee.

So I asked myself,

"Easier than what? Easier than suffering? Get a grip, Lindsay-Liu," I mentally slapped the side of my head. "You are totally missing the point."

It's not EASIER to make a cup of coffee. It's just a bad habit I've fallen into. Instead of seeking the Lord's strength and healing when a headache sets in, I go for the coffee and coconut creamer first.

In Guatemala, one of the doctors we work with at Medical Missions Ministry is Hector. On my second trip there, he reminded me over and over again how we often won't even think about praying to God for strength and healing when we have a headache - we just reach for the Tylenol bottle (or in my case, the coffee cup).

Is it because we have more faith in the Tylenol/coffee than our God, or is it a bad habit of turning to the wrong thing first?

Yesterday I'm on the phone with a co-worker. I obviously sounded tired on the phone because she noticed that I wasn't quite as perky as I usually am.

I tell her it's my "coffee hour," but I am "off coffee" until Easter. She commends my decision, but reminds me that since coffee is my worst vice, I really shouldn't be so hard on myself.

I agree. Coffee probably is my worse vice. But, I sensitively continue, it shouldn't be the answer to my problems. I should be looking to Someone else instead.

Mentally, I think about coffee mugs like these...


And, I think to myself, I need one that says, "All I Need is a whole lot of Jesus."

Because that's the truth. It really doesn't matter how much coffee I drink. If there's no Jesus, coffee isn't gonna do me any good. So, why don't I just turn to Jesus first?

Today, I read this post by Diana Stone on SheReadsTruth, and it just nailed it home for me.

"Often, we get so wrapped up in the 'giving up' process that we forget what is supposed to take its place during these 40 days... Observing lent is not just about abstaining from coffee or sweets, it's the symbol of turning away from those distractions to focus on our Lord."

See... Nailed it.

It's not about giving up coffee. It's not about suffering. It's about where I turn. And, it's time to return to Jesus.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Someone's Match

The first house my family lived in when we moved to Georgia was situated in the best spot in the subdivision - the back. Why was the back the best spot? Well, all the usual reasons for living in the back of a subdivision PLUS we had a great little crew of kids who lived in all the houses around us.

My closest neighborhood friends were the Kenyon girls.... Melissa (who was a little older than me) and Jessica (who was a little younger). We played together ALL the time. Paul and I were even staying at Melissa & Jessica's the day Katie made her grand entrance into the world!

But, eventually, my family moved to a different subdivision, and the Kenyon girls moved to a different state.

Thankfully, social media came about and reconnected me and my oldest friends. 

It was about this very time that I happened to watch an episode of Extreme Home Makeover featuring a family with a young son who was sick and in need of a bone marrow transplant. Throughout the episode, the Extreme Home Makeover team educated the audience about how easy and important it is for people to join the Bone Marrow Registry through BeTheMatch. It was a very powerful hour of television to say the least, and within a couple weeks me, David, and my brother, Paul, were swabbing the inside of our cheeks with little cotton swabs and sending them back to BeTheMatch. 

Jessica found herself doing the exact same thing shortly after she heard that Robin Roberts (of Good Morning America) had been diagnosed with cancer.  

Like many people who join the registry, Jessica didn't anticipate actually being someone's match. But, that didn't stop her from signing up.

"After hearing [Robin Robert's] story and realizing that there are many individuals that do not have matches within their families, I decided to join the registry. I joined because if i were in need of a bone marrow transplant, I would only hope others would be willing to donate to me... I signed up online, got my kit in the mail, swabbed my cheek, and sent it back. Done." - Jessica  

And then Jessica got a letter... A letter that has changed her life forever... A letter telling her that she is, in fact, somebody's match.

It's hard to find a person these days whose life hasn't been affected by cancer in some way. 

Didn't all of us who have lost a loved one to cancer wish when they were sick that we could have given them ANYTHING to make the cancer go away? To make them well again? 

Well, for some specific cancers, that's what a bone marrow transplant does.

I'm humbled by Jessica's heart as she walks through this experience right now. She understands that at any point she has the freedom to back out of being a donor. But, she's decided that she won't back out. Because she's someone's match. She's exactly what that person's family has been praying for.


If you'd like to follow Jessica's journey as she prepares to donate, you can follow her on her blog, brown paper packages.

And, if you'd like to join the registry, visit BeTheMatch.org

You might be like me, David, and Paul and the thousands of others who have never received a letter and will never receive a letter. 

But, you just might be like Jessica. You just might be someone's answer to prayer... you just might be someone's match. 

*Thank you Jessica for giving me the opportunity to share a small piece of your story. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent

13 years ago today: Lindsay is in 7th grade, and a lot of her classmates are late to school. When they finally arrive, they've all got gray crosses on their foreheads. (A stark contrast to the colorful mardi gras outfits many of the girls had worn the day before.)

"Why are they late? Why do they have crosses on their foreheads?" All of us non-Catholic kids wonder. We don't remember this happening last year, or the year before? I mean, a lot of these kids I'd been in school with since I was 5 years old. What's going on?

"It's Ash Wednesday." We're 12 years old (some of us are 13 already), so we're old enough to understand religious differences and remember that the Catholic kids had all started going through their confirmation classes this year. 

So, ash crosses on foreheads, that was new to me. But, the beginning of lent wasn't. Lent I understood.

My parents grew up in South Texas where the majority of their friends were Catholic. They went to mass with their friends all the time. Pretty much every year that I can remember growing up, my dad would give up something for lent to remind him of the sacrifice Christ made for him on the cross. My dad understood lent from a Catholic's point of view (because he went to mass with his Catholic friends) and a straight-up Christ-follower point of view (because he was/is a straight-up Christ-follower)

Fast-forward 13 years minus one day...


To most readers this isn't much. It appears to be a last minute thought. But, dig in, because there's so much more there.

What we have in this text message is a daughter praying about a decision to step into a period of 40 days without. 

The same kind of decision her dad made almost every year while she grew up. A decision birthed out of a desire to grow closer to his Maker. A decision not to partake in a ritual but a self-imposed, daily reminder. A decision that wasn't based on others expectations. A decision that was intimate and personal, just between him and God and just about him and God. A decision he made without the expectation that his children would do likewise. 

Even though lent was personal for my dad, the actions that resulted (the going without), did not go unnoticed to his children. I mean, Dad not watching TV, eating sugar, or drinking coffee? Those are things you couldn't not notice! And it served as an example to us, not for what lent looks like, but that there was something important enough to dad to make him choose to go without those things. 

So, this year, we see in the above text message, that even though she no longer lives under his roof, but hundreds of miles away, and no longer goes by his name, his daughter is praying about her decision to go without for 40 days. Why? Because she saw her dad do it. And it was his actions, not his words on the subject (because there were few) that impressed upon her the notion that a decision to go without with the intention of growing closer to her Maker would not be in vain. 

So, in this humbling moment, I realize how powerful our actions are, and I'm filled with gratitude to have a straight-up Christ-following dad who made a decision every year to go without for 40 days.

Love you, Padre. XoXo