Oct 25, 2016


Every year between the months of August and November, our age gap spans a grand total of five years.  And then for remaining eight months of the year, that gap increases to six years.  By way of numbers, that sounds like quite a distance, but it didn't take long for me to realize that no matter the gap, we will forever hold strong.

“We’re all desperate to anchor our souls to something we can trust won’t change.” – Lysa Terkeurst

Our time together dates back almost forty years now.  I remember when she was in high school and I was in grade school; I would be there on those Saturday nights as she got herself ready for the high school dance.  Flat on my belly on her bed with my hands propped up under my chin, I would watch as she carefully applied makeup, and would listen intently to her phone conversations with friends about what they were going to wear, what time she was leaving, and what they were doing afterwards.  I looked up to her from my perch on her bed because I wanted desperately to emulate her every move. 

But you know, that's just how we feel about our hero's. 
And that's how I feel about her. 

My sister.

When I finally got to high school myself, she was just starting her college career, and as it turns out, my desire to imitate her life continued.  But high school was a challenging time for me.  It didn't seem nearly as fun or as carefree as she made it seem, and so I struggled.  Mind you, there were no cell phones back then, and I would often call to interrupt her idyllic college life – long distance - so that she could help me work out all of life’s questions and impossible math problems.  She was always there, waiting on the other end, and wouldn't you know it, she forever had an answer to both.  

Eventually, and without my permission, she went and got married (the nerve!) and in the most dramatic way I can come up with to explain how that felt is to say it was like losing a limb.  I never imagined I'd have to hand her over to someone else - to detach her from my very side, where I assumed she would always be.  It was terrifying to take another step forward without her.  And so, like any mature human being dealing with life, I cried real, ugly, sloppy tears the day she got married, mostly out of fear over what the path would look like without her to pave the way.

But oh, what a silly and foolish eighteen year old I was at the time, to believe that my future would possess any less of her love. 

I'm blessed to admit that I've been saved many times in my life.  My parents have saved me, my friends have saved me, and without a doubt, my faith has saved me.  But then there's my sister.  She has saved me...and then continues to save me again and again.  There have been two distinct and frightening times in my adult life where she has dropped everything to be by my side.  No matter where she was or what she was in the middle of, all of it fell away.  Nothing else ceased to exist in her world, except for my immediate needs.

My sister is my strongest anchor; unchanging.  She is the first one I reach out to if I need someone to bring me back to reality or put things in perspective.  She is the head of my tribe, my person, my lobster.  I can be brave and bold with her or down and out and scared out of my mind; it's irrelevant.  She reminds me that there is truth and goodness in this world and because of her, I will always have hope.

I could never love anyone as I love my sister.

May you be just as privileged to have an anchor like this to depend on in your own life.


Oct 23, 2016

Picked For Me

My sister called her that dreadful night to give her the news that something was very wrong, but she didn’t know yet what it was.  All she could say is that she had received a frantic and urgent phone call, one in which she heard me crying in the background, telling her to come as fast as she could.  She said she was on her way, and would notify her as soon as she knew of any details.

As I sat on the couch, rocking back and forth with my face buried in my hands, the headlights turned into the driveway and the door opened without so much as a knock.  Expecting it to be my sister, I turned away out of anguish, knowing full-well with a pit in my stomach what she was walking in on.  But instead, it was her.  I suppose a mother’s frantic and anxious heart couldn’t sit back and wait at a time like this, so she was the first to arrive.  She dropped her purse and her car keys, knelt down directly in front of me on the living room floor, and did all she could to pry my hands from in front of my face.  My husband sat beside me, urging me to explain what had happened; what it was that I had done and where it was about to take me.  But the disgrace and humiliation that poured out of me was like delivering a crushing blow; I can’t look into her eyes, I thought.  What will she think, if she knows the real me?  It would be over.  The glass bubble of deceit would shatter all around me.

When I finally got out the words, through sobs and moans, there was no shame, no guilt, just sadness and pleading.  Lindsay, she cried, why didn’t you come to me and dad? We would have helped you…

Even now, almost 7 years later, I shudder as those words echo in my mind and pierce my wounded heart.

As one of my favorite authors defines it, this type of love can only be described as Beautiful and Brutal, or more precisely…Brutiful.  Beautiful because it is offered so freely and without hesitation, and Brutal because it says, This will be painful, yes, but I will be with you every step of the way.

Brutiful love.

When my dad arrived at the hospital that evening, he sat next to me at a table while a psychiatrist asked me a series of questions, and like a toddler who’s just fallen off of a swing set, I dug my weeping face into his shoulder as he gently held my hand.  I’m so sorry, dad, just didn’t seem sufficient.

I’m reminded almost every year on my birthday by my mom that I was born in the midst of a thunderstorm, which might explain why, for the first twenty or so years of my life, I was terrified of them.  But who could have guessed the severity of storms they, as parents, would have to endure, or the wreckage we would muddle through as a family to put the pieces back where they belong?

In my mind and in the deepest part of my soul, I believe it can only be the work of the Lord’s Merciful and Divine hands that could have chosen this woman and this man to be my parents.  I don’t know of any other way to explain it other than to give Him the praise and glory He deserves.    

He picked them for me.

The following song is a beautiful depiction of this type of love.  Even though it’s called “Father’s Eyes”, it fully captures my most heartfelt sentiments for my earthly parents ~ my mom and dad ~ as well as my Heavenly Father. 

Father's Eyes

Because of both, I am blessed beyond measure.    

Oct 20, 2016

It's Time

I feel like the older I’ve gotten, the faster time passes me by.  The months and years, anymore, are a complete and total blur.  It's like those towns that only have one street light; you blink, and suddenly, it's gone.  One day I’m taking down my Christmas decorations, and in the next, I’m putting them right back up (with over-the-top-Christmas-glee, I should mention).  

And, YOU GUYS, I have nieces and nephews that are in HIGH SCHOOL and one in COLLEGE.  Stop growing!  I also have wrinkles, and a sore back, and my EYES.  What is happening to my eyes?  I have to hold a book farther away now, just so I can read those teeny, tiny words.  How can this be???    

I hear people saying constantly, “I don’t know where the time goes”.  I utter those words now and then as well, but in all honesty, I know exactly where my time is spent.  It’s spent on social media, in meetings, running errands, working a full time and a part time job, attending events, etc.  There’s no mystery to how my 24 hours in a day are allocated.  I wake up every Monday morning to thoughts of Friday afternoon.  What an oxymoron.  I’m wishing the weeks away, but yet, I want time to slow down?  Sadly, I can’t have it both ways.  

Last month, I went to visit with my spiritual mentor, who I’ve met with on a monthly basis for about the last three years.  (He just happens to be a priest, but that’s not a requirement to having a mentor.)  Anyway, the poor guy didn't know what he was getting into when he agreed to take me on.  He's been through the gamut.  He's allowed me to pour my heart out to him, speak in constant and confusing circles from one appointment to the next, and pepper him with unexpected questions.  At our last meeting, though, he asked me a question.  He was curious to know if I considered myself an introvert or an extrovert, and ever since then, I have been chewing on my answer.  I immediately responded that I was an extrovert.  I've bungee-jumped my way into unfamiliar situations many times in my life, and I’ve weathered the ability to meet and often become friends, with strangers.  I find great joy in connecting with people and finding that common, one-on-one denominator. 

However, Father threw me for a loop (as he usually does) and said that what really distinguishes an introvert from an extrovert is by what energizes them.   In other words, are we energized by being an expressive and outgoing person, or rather, are we fueled by our time in solitude?

Armed with that knowledge, I am certain of this.  Without a doubt, I am an introvert - the type of person that needs to decompress from the world in order to step back into it.  I am a self-professed thinker, processor, and muddler of all things important and also, inconsequential.   I love to interact, but I also love to be still.  For example, my favorite day of the week is Sunday, not because I get to go to work the following day, but because Sunday is my own, personal Sabbath.  Sunday’s are the peanut butter to my jelly and the cheese to my macaroni; I puffy-heart love them.   They must include the most minimal of activities, such as attending mass, coffee, and then lots of napping, reading, and napping once again.  In fact, I get a little stressed and anxious when I have actual, adult-ish things I need to accomplish or attend to on Sunday’s because I want to remove myself for just one day from a life of should's and have-to's and need-to's.  

In the past, I’ve always felt a little guilty for doing what makes me content and gives me peace.  But when time is as fleeting as it is, why shouldn't I carpe diem?  Because time will continue to slip us by.  We will grow older and our kids will grow older and one day, we will sit back and wonder at how we got where we did.  We will wish we had taken more Sunday’s to breathe in the quiet and sweet gentleness of a day well-spent, being still and present in this very moment.            

After all, if we don't stop now, then when?

Oct 16, 2016

All In

I parked my car in the lot and made my way into his office, down the hallway and past the bay of elevators, taking a left turn and then another right through the double doors.  My anxiousness bubbled to the surface as I knocked quietly on his door and with welcoming words from behind it, I heard him say, "come in".  I was met with a gentle smile and a kind gesture to take my seat.  And so it began each and every visit.   I would take my place, shyly and with hesitation, in a chair directly across from him; the end-table sitting close next to me with a box of Kleenex I would surely need.  This is the place - with his desk and his computer and the window looking out over another adjacent building - where my tattered heart would break open piece by piece, and together, we would work on healing an empty shell.

Mental health is like a pot of boiling water.  We keep the sturdy lid on at first, but as the water starts to boil and the lid begins to rattle, we know it's time to allow the water to breathe again.  And it doesn't matter to what lengths we go to hold the lid in place because regardless, the water will eventually boil over. 

My mental health hit an all-time low in 2010 when I struggled with a decision to end own my life.  I remember that day as clear and as vivid as you might remember the beautiful and precious birth of your children.  I can tell you in the most miniscule of details what I was wearing that day, even down to the earrings hanging from my ears.  It was a cold and dreary Friday in February, a day that would ultimately change the trajectory of my entire life.

I don't exactly know where to begin in describing what someone goes through when they make the decision that they no longer want to exist in this world, except to say that it's like placing your hand on that boiling pot of water and experiencing so much pain that your first and only reflex is to remove it as quickly as you can.   The feeling of desperation is so intense and the darkness is so encompassing, it's as if the walls are rapidly closing in around you. 

I often hear people say that an attempt to end a life is a selfish one, and while I now have a new and different perspective, I also take extreme offense to that judgment.  Because in my situation, that couldn't be further from the truth.  The very reason I personally considered such an outcome was to save myself from pain, yes, of course, but more importantly, to save my family from pain.  I couldn't begin to imagine how I had failed them.  So wouldn't it just be easier, I thought, for them to deal with my passing than for them to deal with what I had done?  Wasn't that the best option? 

In a world where you must choose the lesser of two evils, how, exactly, do you choose?

My sister drove me to the hospital that night; my mom in the passenger seat and my husband next to me in the back, as I buried my head deep into his shoulder.  Over and over again I sobbed and cried out, I don't want to be here anymore

It was true.

Brutal for me to speak; quite possibly even harder for them to hear. 

My days spent in the therapist's office were torturous and jarring, but also beautiful and revealing and life-giving.  Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, new life was on the horizon.  I would enter those doors with my confidence laid out flat on the floor, but I would walk out with hope in my step.  I was given the gift of knowing that regardless of what state I was in, I was accepted and loved.  My life was both valuable and valued, something to be held with fragile hands and always, always worth saving.  Friends ~ there is no circumstance on earth where that is not true.  I also learned that tragedy can equate to opportunity, but it was up to me, and only me, to determine what that new opportunity looked like.  

Those of us who often find the world too difficult to bear must remember that the lid of life doesn't actually do what we think it does.  It doesn't, in fact, protect us from feeling what we don't want to feel.  We can't create our own space of hiding for fear of how much it might hurt to be all in.  Because in reality, all in is a thing of pure beauty.  A miracle to behold.
It means - here I am.  I am scared.  And I am bound to fail. 

But love me anyway.


Oct 13, 2016


~ My alarm goes off almost every morning for at least forty-five minutes before I reluctantly roll out of bed.  And now, I'm afraid that if I don't set my alarm that far in advance, I'll wake up late.

~ For the first fifteen minutes, I prefer not to speak or make eye contact with anyone, if at all possible.

~ If I could wear sweatpants and t-shirts every day, I would be thrilled.

~ My favorite day of the week is Sunday, particularly when I have absolutely nothing to do but go to church and take a nap.

~ My heart hurts a little now and then over not having kids, because I think I would have been a good mom.

~ I am most peaceful when sitting on a beach, listening to the ocean, or sitting in my living room with just the Christmas lights on, or when my precious Jovie-girl is fast asleep next to me.

~ I often plan my day around food.

~ I am divorced now, but I can't yet seem to part with my wedding dress.

~ I have at least 60 episodes of Roseanne recorded on my DVR.

~ I have an innate ability to memorize numbers, such as addresses, phone numbers, etc.  But if I meet you for the first time, I probably won't remember your name five minutes later.

~ In order to re-energize myself, I need to be alone. 

~ I think I'm much funnier than I probably am. 

~ I rarely use swear words. 

~ If I had to, I could live without TV, but never without music.

~ I am not at all offended by sarcasm.

~ I have a love for all animals, especially since I went to great lengths to save a mouse the other day.

~ I've never regretted my decision to become a vegetarian.  Except I sometimes miss chicken.  : |  

~ I love my faith.

This is me.

The challenge this life presents on a daily basis is showing those around us our most authentic selves.  

So tell me...what does your most authentic self look like?

Oct 11, 2016

It Could Be Worse

The moment we entered into this bright and shiny world, we entered a space and time that would undoubtedly bring about days of joy and happiness.  Our parents promised to protect us from harm, to lead us through the highs and shield us from the lows.  And I hope that for most of us, that has proven to be true.  But we also know that the moment we entered into this bright and shiny world, there would be days when that shield of protection would falter and crumble, not because of any wrongdoing, but because life must be experienced in a myriad of ways. 

When it comes to those instances in our lives when we experience such heartbreaking and debilitating pain, whether because of a divorce, the death of a loved one, the loss of an income, etc. nothing in my mind is worse than when we decide to be vulnerable with our sweet and fragile souls only to be told...

it could be worse.

Is it just me, or are those three, seemingly simple words laced with a harshness that's hard to overcome?  While not intended by the giver, I assume, they feel aggressive in nature.  It's as if I were to tell my good friend while in the midst of a financial disaster that it's a shame she finds herself in a position where she can't pay her bills, but it could be worse; she could be living on the streets.  

How would such a direct and matter-of-fact response be received and accepted into her delicate heart?   

We assume that by relaying this piece of all-knowing wisdom, we will allow her the opportunity to put her pain into perspective, and to a certain extent, it might very well do the trick.  But in most instances, I would guess, she begins to feel guilt and shame set in over her pain because she's just been told that her sadness is not nearly as important or as vital as someone else's.  So rather than dealing with her grief in a healthy way, she stuffs it down.  She tells herself that she has no right to be feeling the way she is, so rather than immerse herself in these thoughts and try to heal from them, she should go around them.  

But let me tell you something - around never works.  

Through is the only way.

Here's what we need to remember about our pain.  The reality is that there will always be another person who is suffering more than we are.  To the mother who just lost her son, there is another mother dealing with the loss of her two sons.  For the father who was diagnosed with cancer, there is the father down the street who just lost his battle.  For the family who is living without one income, there is the family who is living without two

You see, our job in this life is not to one-up each other's pain; it's not something to compete with.  We should allow each other the grace to sit down, take a deep, healing breath in, and allow those precious feelings to take up space in our heart for as long as we feel they need to be there; until, and only when, we are ready to move forward.

So let's make a promise to each other today, can we? 

I promise not to take away your pain...
if you promise not to take away mine. 


Oct 9, 2016

Are you there?

Have you ever found yourself having a conversation with someone and just by looking at them and watching their demeanor, you can sense that they’re zoning out, that you're losing them to some other world that exists only in their minds?  You could say things like, I woke up to a gorilla in my bed this morning, or My hair caught on fire last night, and they wouldn’t even notice.   You know this is especially true when they respond, Oh, really?  That’s nice.  You give them the stare and they finally snap out of it and say, what?

To be on this side of a conversation is frustrating, isn’t it? 

Let’s be honest here, friends.  We. Are. Distracted.  Probably more now than we've ever been before.  In fact, even as you’re reading this, I’m going to guess that you’re trying to do a million other things, or people are vying impatiently for your attention, or your mental to-do list is relentlessly nagging at you that there are so many more important tasks at hand rather than reading this post.  Any truth to that? 

You won’t hurt my feelings.  I promise.

But let's think about this.  When we speak to each other, how does our interest come across with regards to what the other person is saying?  In other words, how often are you so engaged that you don’t find yourself sitting there, merely half-listening, rehearsing how you’re going to respond or what story/comment/remark you want to jump in with to share?  How often are you simply silent while listening, leaning forward in your chair to visibly demonstrate that what they have to say is valuable (because it is)?  Have you ever been on the receiving end of a conversation like that one?  It feels good, doesn't it?

Special.  Worthy.  Honoring. 

I'm the first to admit that I’m quite often pondering what I’m going to say next when talking to someone, or interrupting with a few words here and there, because heaven forbid we have a lull in conversation.  I think it’s important for us to remember, however, the message that this is sending.  It’s subtly saying that what I have to say is more important than what YOU have to say.  And that’s not at all the message I want to send.  I imagine it’s not the message you want to send, either.

Isn’t it safe to say that sometimes we just want - need - someone to sit with us and be silent?  Fully present?
My sister is a great example of this.  When I moved out of my house and into my parents’ home in 2014 after my separation, she and I were just standing there in the basement towards the end of the day with boxes piled all around us, knee-deep in my “new normal” and I broke down in tears of sadness and grief over a marriage that was slipping out of my hands.  I felt such a tremendous, palpable loss; almost too much to bear.  Without even thinking, she walked over and put her arms around me and I buried my face in her shoulder.  She didn’t provide empty words of comfort or tell me what I wanted to hear.  She knew my sadness was real and raw and that I needed to feel it, so she was just…there.  What a gift.

Life is all about paying attention, right?  Even Ferris Bueller said it himself - “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”   #ferrisbuellersdayoff

So let me ask you…what are we missing out on when we’re not fully present to those around us?

What, or more tragically, WHO might you be drifting away from?  How present are your conversations?

Oct 6, 2016


Fall.  I absolutely love this time of year.  I consider myself lucky to live in a region of the world where I have the opportunity to experience all four seasons.  Sure, I often complain when it's too hot and humid in the summer, too rainy in the spring and too cold and blustery in the winter, but there's just something about the season of Fall that wraps up all of the seasons together.  

As I drive around town, the sun shines on the tips of the trees and I marvel in wonder at how their colors are changing from luscious greens to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  The air is just crisp enough that I need to grab a light jacket on my way out the door, and of course, there's the excitement of football games, apple cider, gourds, and pumpkins.  Every single aspect of this season is comforting to me.  It feels like home.

I also love it when the stores release all of their Fall candles.  Scents like Pumpkin Marshmallow, Honeycrisp Apple and Fall Leaves fill every square inch of the space I inhabit.  In fact, one of the first things I do on a day at home is light one (or two) of my candles.  The flame has the unique capacity to draw me in, hold my attention, and calm my often anxious spirit.  

Our faith can be looked at in much the same way.  Some, when looking at the flame of a candle, choose only to see the danger of the fire. They fear it's power and it's strength.  Then there are the others, who choose to see the flame as a glorious, bright, and comforting light.  

When you focus on your faith, do you see only the good God has done in and through your life?  Or do you accept the darkness that has descended upon you at times as well; those times when you were challenged to your core?  

Let me ask you, friends - why should we be exempt from suffering, if the Son of God wasn't exempt? The Cross is our daily proof that Jesus, Our Savior, experienced the ultimate heartache.  His blood was shed for us.  People turned their backs on him even after they promised to follow him.  He was betrayed and mocked.  Some of us could say, me too, because we've had similar heartbreaking experiences, but nothing compares to what he lived out.

Our faith, like the flame of a candle, can do one of two things.  We can turn away from it out of fear, or we can allow it to draw us in.  There will always be darkness, yes, but the light has the power to resurrect even the darkest of nights, just as it can do with our suffering.  

So...how will you choose?  

Oct 4, 2016


Worthy now.

There's a conversation that rattles around in my head, almost on a daily basis.  And it goes something like this:

When I lose weight...
When I'm on my own...
When I have more money...
When I have the time...
Sound like anything you've ever whispered to yourself?  Have those same thoughts ever rattled around in your head before?   

Well, what if we were to change the dynamic of that conversation, from someday to today?

Worthy now.

Because if we were to hold these same thoughts up against the truth of being worthy, they would end up sounding something like this:

When I lose weight...I will be worthy.
When I'm on my own...I will be worthy.
When I have more money...I will be worthy.
When I have the time...I will be worthy.

Different, right?  My present-self wants to take a step backwards when I hear these words.  

So, why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we insist on the narrative of...Only If?  Why will I do everything in my power to convince you that you are beautiful just as you are, but I am unable to look into a mirror and see anything but  wrinkles and a full-face?  Tell me...why do we hold each other's hearts in our most precious and fragile hands, but refuse to hold our own beating heart with the exact same love and respect?

When will we accept that our worthiness is not conditional?  That it will never be dependent upon the size of our waist, or how much money we have, or whether our kitchen floors are white-glove approved? (And by the way, if you have people in your life who make you feel this way, they are not your people.)  

Being worthy was one of our first gifts when we entered into this world.  But rather than taking great care of our gift, we ask for the receipt.  We hold our gift up to the world's standards and say, no, this is not good, this gift is defective, I want my money back. 

Friends, telling ourselves that we will only be worthy When, is like saying precious and lasting memories will never exist without pictures.  It's simply not true.   

In reality, we exist and we live and we breathe...because.  

Because we are loved.  

Because we are chosen.  

Because we are worthy.

Worthy now.  

Oct 2, 2016


Hello, sweet friends.

If you took some time last week to read my blog (thank you!), you can probably guess it was a big, scary, and revealing moment of truth.  There was a part of me that hesitantly sat back each day and just kind of held my breath...waiting.  Because while there are lots of people out there who already know my personal story, even to the point of living it right along with me, I imagine there were others that had not heard it.  Random thoughts like, will these people still choose to be in my life, and also, will they look at me differently now, rushed through my manic and over-processing mind.  
But then on Thursday, I came across one of my favorite scriptures:   

Read this through a few times, will you? 
Sit quietly with it for just a moment.  
Now, let's break it down...

They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb.  
Let me ask you.  Who or what do you need to conquer in your own life with God's honest and loving truth?  Is it someone who challenges you at your job or in your home?  Or maybe it's an addiction or a secret you are silently struggling with?  What steps can you take right now to conquer this situation? 
Not sure?  Start by asking God, in prayer, to reveal himself to you.  Confide in a close friend or family member.  Reach out.  Do whatever you need to do to begin...to conquer
By the word of their testimony.  
It's a terrifying feeling to step out in vulnerability.  We have avenues such as Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat to boast about all the good we do and how wonderful we are, but we often fail to recognize our faults.  Now I'm not saying we should use those resources to open up our darkest closets, but maybe you know someone who is struggling in an area you once struggled with.  Why not have an honest conversation with them?  That's what this blog here is all about, you know.  It's about saying, Me too, friend.  I've been there.  I know how you feel.  How can I help you?  Your testimony is also your beautiful truth.  Share it.    

They did not love their lives, even unto death.  
In the context of scripture, this verse is like peeling away the hard, outer shell to get to the soft center.  The outer shell is our lives here on earth, but the soft center is eternal life in heaven.  It's what we're working and striving for...isn't it?  Our stories may be brutal and excruciating to share, and the backlash we might receive from others might make us hesitate to ever be vulnerable again, but there will be people who still choose to accept you...and me.  

You are not alone.  

Together, we can do this. 

Conquer.  Be vulnerable.  Unite on common ground.