Friday, March 16, 2018

Recommended with March

In the spirit of the super-early spring we've had here in Atlanta, here's a song I discovered recently that makes me want to walk in the woods or drive with the windows down.  If you're a Mumford and Sons fan, you're going to love it.

And now for some links worth sharing...

I absolutely love this.  What you say to yourself, in your mind and in secret, is so important.  Check out these 18 quotes that will change how you treat yourself.

Here's what fruits and vegetables looked like before we domesticated them!  Banana, is that you?  And dang, carrots and corn have come a long way!

This Korean indie film about an elderly couple looks so sweet but poignant.  It's called My Love, Don't Cross That River, for heaven's sake.

YES:  A Stanford dean on adult skills every 18-year-old should have

On the impact of giving positive feedback ~ "It’ll make our virtual neighborhood an overall better place.  One kind word at a time."

These photos of homeless people are stunning.

For a healthier and happier body: Wellness trends that are (actually) worth your time

Yes, yes, yes.  What teen magazines should really look like.  Oh my word, how I wish society could get a grip on making the world better instead of making money by selling what sells.

And for something a bit lighter, this corgi loves to take showers.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Moving Forward in Sexual Redemption

It's annoying when I'm all of a sudden confronted with temptation and I have to leave the situation.  Like a wimp.  My particular temptations don't seem to be very common, so I feel like a wimp.  I feel like I'm weird.  Strange.  The not-good kind of different.
Me, 2011

See, for 8 years of my life, I was addicted to porn and sexual fantasies.  The liberal among us may like to point out that porn isn't a big deal.  Well, you are wrong on so many levels, but even if you can't be convinced on the fundamental evil of pornography, I'm sure you can see how a binding addiction to anything is debilitating and unhealthy.  I, I was beyond unhealthy.  And even after counseling, being clean for nearly two years, relapse, then gaining substantial control again, I still deal with the consequences.

"Sexual Sin auditions as your servant & makes you its slave."
Perry Noble
Friend, please prepare yourself to be brought into one of my vulnerable places.

I am getting married.  (!!!)
As you might imagine, conversations about sex and related expectations and concerns are in order.  As you might also imagine, the perspectives hurt by my past were quick to come to the surface.  I've been brutal with my mental machete as I look at the way I view physical intimacy.  It's so easy for me to point out what's wrong and what shouldn't be there.  Porn has manipulated my ideas of tenderness, of a woman's role, and of dignity in the bedroom, and I hate it.  It's so easy for me to see how I'm messed up.  It's so easy to put blame, guilt, and shame upon myself.

And that is wrong.

"Your worth exceeds your attempts to depreciate yourself through addiction."
Karen Hammons

First and foremost, being covered by the blood of Jesus sets me before God as pure and spotless.  He is the only judge that matters, and His eyes see righteousness and beauty when He looks at me.  And, my future husband views me the same way.  I am so humbled and so grateful to have his tangible love and audible words to remind of the Great Love and Forgiveness and Grace.  I am blown away, completely blown away.

And now hear this, ye broken and beautiful humans.
(I will listen, too.)
God has created you with intention.  Even your weaknesses.  The aspects of your character, personality, talents, and passions were hand picked from the very character, personality, talents, and passions of God Himself by God Himself.  The parts of you that make you susceptible to this sin, even that was in His mind.  As a human, you are broken, but that doesn't make this part of you wrong.  It just means you are in need of redemption.  And, dear one, redemption is here.  Breathe freely.  You are okay.  And then, can you imagine what it will be like when you are fully redeemed?  Can you imagine what it will be like when this part of you is fully redeemed?  When you are to love and to live to your greatest potential!  When you don't have to be afraid of any triggers or terrors!  When you are filled to the brim and have no need nor desire to find life in those lies!  You have the truth now.  How very, very good.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Most Dangerous Writing App

I did something brand new this week.  I opened up the most dangerous writing app and spent 5 minutes writing down my stream of consciousness.  I had 5 minutes, and I had to keep typing or else all progress would be lost.  This is what I wrote, heavily inspired by Jeff Goins' newsletter, which I read religiously in 2011.  It'd be hard for me to articulate why, but I think it's important for me to publish this here.


Here we are, together, reading through my writing.  I'm not really sure what I'm doing or why I'm doing this, but I want to be a writer.  I want to be good at it.  And I want people to read it.

The trouble is, I'm not always sure what I have to say.  What value can I add to the world that hasn't already been churned out by hundreds, thousands of others.  Thousands of other writers who've been doing this for years.  Thousands of people who are better than me.

And I know what they say.  There's always room at the top, and nobody ever starts there.  But isn't the space at the bottom just too saturated?  Can there really be a place for me at the table?

And I know what I need to do.  I need to practice.  I need to put myself out there.  I need to find people who will critique and suggest and build up and tear down my work.  (It sounds so professional and "together" when I call it "my work.")

And so, as I move forward into the uncertainty, into the fear, into the insecurity, I must keep writing.  Because I believe that deep down, I am a writer.  I suppose, I hope, that I just haven't fully blossomed yet.  I hope that some day I'll cross that invisible line.  Someone will tell me, "Lindsay!  You're a writer now!"  And I suppose that's what I've needed to hear this entire time.

I've needed someone else to tell me I'm a writer.  Or maybe, I've wanted someone else to tell me I'm a writer.  Maybe, I've just needed anyone at all to tell me I'm a writer.  Maybe I can tell myself.

That's what I'm going with.  For today, at least.  Because as I remind myself (sometimes), Van Gogh told us that when someone tells you you're not a painter, by all means, paint to shut them up.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Internet famous

When anyone talks about the spotlight, it's usually to say "I don't like it" or "I prefer to stay out of the center of attention."  Just like how you never hear anyone saying "I love getting presents!" you never hear anyone saying "I love being in the spotlight."  Except for celebrities, I guess.  And except for me.

Since I was a little kid, I've loved having people's attention.  I performed puppet shows for my parents growing up and I loved watching the home videos of the puppet shows when I was older.  I managed and acted in our high school senior talent show.  I performed in a few Directing Class scenes in college, and I was really disappointed when I was passed over for our college plays and musicals.

When creative social media platforms came on the scene and I noticed how much influence (and money) bloggers were getting, I yearned for that reality to be a part of my life, too.  I read tons of posts about how to hike my follower count.  I churned out posts three times a week with the main goal of creating shareable content.  I analyzed and agonized over what I could be doing differently, how I could better present myself, and how little luck I was finding.

Then, my BFF Millie would share with me how frustrated she was with the curated (fake) feeds on Instagram and I noticed most of the blogs I followed repeating themselves and each other.  I got to the point where every new picture of a coffee cup* in a beautiful setting made me roll my eyes, and if that's what I had to participate in to be internet famous, I wasn't sure I wanted it anymore.  I started to rethink what kind of contribution I was making to our internet society, and then I came across this piece "When Instagram Influencing isn't so Glamorous," which firmed up my gathering suspicions.

I think it's important for me to verbalize this.  Gaining and maintaining a constant, eager following takes resolve, work, and creativity I'm not willing to devote to this goal anymore.  As I've grown older, I've gravitated more toward one-on-one conversations and repetitive visits to my same favorite coffee shops, and I've turned further away from content for content's sake.  What I was creating wasn't benefiting others and it wasn't benefiting myself.  It's time to regroup and to shift my vision.

The life I have around me, however curated it is or isn't, is more valuable to me than the possibility of being internet famous.  And in fact, upon further introspection, I've been able to put more of a framework around what it is I really do want: to be an expert in my field, a mentor, someone people go to for guidance or nurturing.  Ultimately, what I want is to be respected and admired, and I don't have to be famous to cultivate those things.


*Check out Delete to Feed to join me in donating meals to Americans in poverty just by deleting food photos on Instragram.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Minimalism in practice: social media

I wish I could pay someone money to opt out of ads in real life.  So far, no one's made an ad blocker for that, but Black Mirror makes me think it won't be long.  In the meantime, I fight the man by blocking every Twitter and Instagram account that advertises on my feed.  Yes, it takes time and yes, it's actually made a difference as far as Twitter's concerned.  I'm sure it's not likely, but I really hope someone at Instagram HQ starts to notice and blacklists me from ever receiving ads again.  I go to these apps for what I've subscribed for, and I don't want anything else invading that space trying to sell me something I don't want.

2017 was the Year of the Podcast for me, and one of the podcasts I consumed religiously was The Minimalist Podcast.  I've always loathed clutter, and it was so affirming and validating to find a group of people who agreed with me and my frustrations!  I think it was their episode about technology (or maybe this one about creating) that started to change my perspective on social media clutter.

It showed me I was contributing to it.

I was making the internet more cluttered.  I was filling it with content I thought people would like with the goal of wanting them to like (and follow) me.   I wasn't offering anything of real substance, I was playing the game to win, not to give, and what I posted reflected that.

As much as I'd love to have the perks that come with being internet famous, I've uncovered that it's more important to me to stick to my values about value.  I know I won't always get it right, and I know there are plenty of ways to define this, but moving forward, I want my contribution to matter.  If I don't believe my content will give value to others, I won't publish it.

Going one level deeper, I do want to reflect on how this newer perspective can lead to being overly critical and even afraid to speak, share, and create.  In fact, I already have internal struggles with what my voice is and what I should be saying, but I can take the time to figure that out and build on top of this new foundation I'm setting.  Regardless of how my voice evolves, I know Value will be one of the core pillars of my online presence.

Be the change you want to see in the world, even when it's something as trivial as what's trending on Twitter.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Recommended for February

Hello again.  Having skipped January (unintentionally), I'm back this month with a few more interesting, encouraging, and beautiful things.  Keep an eye out for a few other written pieces in the next few weeks.  I've been mulling over a few ideas I've been wanting to put to paper, and I think February is the month to share them.  Without further ado...


"True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don't need to regularly escape from."  Take your self-care further.

A beautiful reminder that vulnerability is valuable and courage is worth it.  (This guy is totally worth following on Twitter, by the way.  He's one of the legit Christians out there who I think everyone should be listening to regardless of their faith.)
If you love travel and minimalism, you'll appreciate these minimalist hostels.  That shipping container hostel can get as low as $7/night!

One of the few newsletters subscriptions I like keeping in my inbox is The Hustle.  The folks there write short bits on business and tech news in a way that doesn't bore me to death.  They recently wrote a post about how to write well and in their style.  Have a look at that and see some of their regular content here.

Stay warm out there, Northern Hemisphere friends.

I came across The Wondersmith this month, and I am in love.  She is a kindred spirit of some part of my soul, and I am so excited to show her to you!  She creates magical events for strangers who happen upon her whimsical invitations.  Her Instagram is such a visually inspiring treat, and you can check out her events page for more captured details of her creations.  (The moment I have a spare $100 laying around, I'm going to throw it at her patron page!)

Local Milk is another blog I've been inspired by lately.  As if having a gorgeous kitchen and a love for Japan doesn't make me excited enough, the girl lives in Chattanooga!  The epitome of cool.  One day when I'm rich, I'm going to go on one of her small group travel retreats.

To wear

To buy
To read

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Reflection and 2018 Projection

Pressed ferns and flowers

I can't help but laugh and roll my eyes when I think of my post from last year.  "Girl, you had no idea what was coming.  Daily yoga in 2017?  Give me a break."

I've shared much more of my personal life here than usual here so I won't rehash the details, but here are the highlights and lowlights of 2017.

  • relationships & my emotional, mental life
    • Getting right into it, Caleb and I experienced danger zone fights this spring and summer.  I was very frightened and found myself contemplating divorce, which I swore I'd never do.  Some pastors from our church stepped in when we were having our membership interview and told us that, if we were to join the church, we'd have to go to couples counseling.  It was obvious we needed it, they said, and I agreed.  I'd wanted us to get real help for years, and I was so thankful and relieved when Caleb finally agreed.  We've been meeting with an elder from church since May now, and it's making the biggest and best difference.  We've made a complete 180, and I am so incredibly thankful for this change.  It makes all the crap that came with this year (keep reading!) worth the fight.
    • Caleb and I have met some other couples that we're becoming for-real friends with!  Real life people who want to hang out with us!  We're both really excited to see where these friendships go, and we're so glad we're not as weird as we worried we were.
    • I'm pretty sure it's not because I'm getting older and more aware, I'm pretty sure politics have just sucked more than usual.  At least I'm more engaged than before, but for the record, I find our president to be an embarrassment, so much so that I wrote an amendment to my hopeful perspective from last November.
  • spiritual life
    • Well, everything I held as solid truth got torn down this spring and has had to be rebuilt.  What I have now does not look the same as what I had before.  I'm something of an agnostic Christian, and I'm not even sure if I'm Protestant at the moment, let alone reformed.  You can read more about my journey here and more about my fluid theology here.
    • My small group got two new young ladies on board, so now we are 4.  They're all in the final year at GA Tech, and they're all eager to grow and learn and love.  They've been an amazing encouragement and source of accountability and challenge this year, and they've been great, loving support through the crazy.
  •  other big things
    • Caleb got in an accident on his motorcycle in April.  Thankfully he was okay, but it made the bike unrideable.  
    • We got to take our first for-real vacation without family since our honeymoon this May!  We spent a week in Tokyo then a week in Korea (Seoul and Chuncheon).  It was an epic culinary adventure, with plenty of beautiful nature walks and we're still starstruck when we remember our time there.
    • Caleb was let go his first day back from vacation.  (A poorly founded decision, if you ask me.)
    • My company closed down and let me go in August.
    • I freaked out hard core a weekend later.  (I wrote this about a while afterward.)
    • Caleb got a new job in August two weeks after my freak out!
    • Then in November, he got fired again and found out on his birthday.  (Same thoughts from me as before, but this was even worse considering I'd hardly seen him all November because he was putting in so many hours that entire month.)
    • What.  The heck.  I mean, at least the motorcycle got fixed in September, but give us a break, right?
    • I started working at a local outdoor outfitter to help out with bills, and we picked up dog boarding in our home, as well.  (This pup was my favorite.)
    • Finally, right before Christmas, I landed a job at Pivotal Labs as a Sr. Admin Assistant.  I can't tell you how relieved and excited I've been.  The official acceptance just happened today, but when I was first extended the offer, I ugly cried for a solid minute after hanging up the phone.  I'm so glad I get to work in the tech industry again, I'm so glad it's in a role where I can do a great job but that also has room to grow, and I'm so glad that the people I'll be working with are good, kind, and fun folks.  I'd say this job has been worth waiting for.
    • Caleb's going to be taking some time off to work on an entrepreneurial project.  Turns out we have the financial stability thanks to some investments, and we're going to be okay after all!
  • health & nutrition
    • I ate Whole30 with my friends in April, and it was a game changer for my general diet.  I only lasted 21 days, but after the cleanse, I was amazed when my body felt like lead when I ate only a few squares of chocolate.  I'm much more aware of what I feed my body now and how it affects me.
    • I started making bone broth from scratch, which I like drinking just for kicks.
    • No one at work believes I'm 29.  Turns out moisturizer and sunscreen (and good genes, I'm sure) make a big difference.
    • Caleb and I started weight lifting together at home!  I dislike it sometimes, but the muscle definition I've started to see makes me want to keep going.  I'm really excited to build strength!  I've never done this before, and realizing I could actually be a strong girl is motivating!
  • hobbies & interests
    • I started foraging!  It's the coolest thing about me right now, and it makes the folks at the outfitter shop think I'm legit.
    • I watched the CNN documentary series on the '60s, '70s, and the '80s, the last of which sparked my interest in the AIDS crisis and its effects on the gay population.  This section of history only took up a quarter of a page in my textbooks growing up, and I can't believe how much is left unsaid.  As further research, I read this heartbreaking thread from folks who lived during the time.  I watched And the Band Played On (YouTube),  It's My Party (YouTube), and Dallas Buyers Club along with some other documentaries available on YouTube.  I can't believe I never knew about this.  I can't believe such a large percentage of the gay minority was wiped out.  The horrors of the new and deadly disease unchecked, the fearful and prejudiced national response, and the flat-footedness of the medical industry...  It was hell.  One comment from Reddit stuck with me - we would have had gay marriage legalized much earlier had those gay men who died in the '80s been around to fight for it.  
    • I baked a lot more this year, and I'd like to pick up cheesecake as a real hobby.  I just need some smaller springform pans so my experiments won't have to be 2" thick and 12" in diameter.
    • Stranger Things.  Stranger Things 2.  The Crown.  Keanu.  Pitch Perfect.  Pitch Perfect 2.  Avatar: The Last Airbender (again).  Silicon Valley.  And who knew Thor Ragnarok would be that enjoyable?
    • We really like raw oysters now, and we've been keeping track of all the kinds we've tried.
    • This is my year of podcasts.  Serial.  The Liturgists.  Hashtag Authentic.  The Deconstructionist Podcast.  The Free Sex Podcast.  This American Life.  Revisionist History.

I'm hesitant to set any goals or share any dreams fo 2018, because I know how quickly and unexpectedly plans can fall apart.  I hope for a smooth transition at my new job in two weeks.  I hope Caleb enjoys and grows through his project.  I hope both of us continue to place our value outside of each other and that we keep all of our priorities where they should be.  I'd love to have some more spiritual answers, but I'm not expecting them.

I hope we get to have another relaxing vacation.  It'd be great to do something special for our 5-year anniversary this year.  I hope to visit my BFF Millie and her family in Oregon.  I'd like to fix up our poor car so it won't rattle and so the mechanic won't ask me if I got it for free anymore.  I'd like to get a bed frame and new mattress, and I'd like to filter more quality pieces into my wardrobe.

Whatever this new year brings, I know it will push me to grow.  Hopefully, it will push me to soften rather than harden.  And hopefully it won't catch me too off guard.