Friday, May 13, 2011

I AM SUPPOSED TO WRITE

I grew up in "the church." Translated, I have no memory of not going to church, nor was it an option while I lived with my parents. Some could say I was brainwashed, made to believe what my parents told me, but I would beg to differ. I have always been independent, an envelope pusher, an antagonist, if you will. I had my "rebellious" stage in my late teens/early twenties, if that's what you want to call it. But, here's where this gets fun.

I don't think it was a rebellious stage, but rather the exact path God would have me walk in order to get me to where I am. If I had not held onto some irrational beliefs about the Love of God and who I was "supposed" to be...I would NEVER, seriously, NEVER be where I am today.

I think in a way, I was always testing God's love for me. I was testing the reality of a God that could love despite my laughter in His face. I went on adventures, turned completely away, and questioned why I had ever believed in the first place...but I always came back...because we always come back to what is true. Truth can be tested and will always win out.

The first time I came back,I was 19. I poured myself into church, functions, volunteerism...and I got burnt out. It was a hopeless track to try and maintain. And with every step away, I beat myself up for not measuring up, for not being "consistent". I have found today that I consistently seek out truth and that my faith is constant...and isn't that what God wants from us anyway.

I no longer feel guilty for my periods of "wandering" because I think I've always been on this path to God. Jesus "wandered" with only the purpose of loving people. I like to think I'm trying to do the same thing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

DOUBT...

Hi, my name is Lindsey, and I'm a doubt-a-holic.

I would like to make a confession...I doubt myself ALL THE TIME.

I know, crazy to think...said laden with much sarcasm. I have this keen ability to come off as confident, innovative and at peace, yet I question if I have made the right choice on what feels like a non-stop basis.


This realization came as a result of my son's last well-check visit. I was happily drifting along in stay-at-home mom land working on projects, keeping things clean, and being Jay's secretary whenever time allowed. And then, WHAM..."I'm worried Cohen is falling too low on the growth curve and I'd like to have him reweighed in two weeks." WHAT?!?!?!?! And thus the doubt was ushered in.

I thought breastfeeding was going FABULOUSLY.

I thought he was doing great. He's already rolling over both ways, smiling, cooing, following people with his eyes across the room, playing with his crib toys) etc etc etc...

I did a nauseating amount of research, talked my friends and family's ear off about the subject and finally settled on this fact...I am doing fine. My baby is one of the happiest, if not THE most content infant I have ever seen (unless he's in his carseat...and that's a completely different blog). He is ahead of schedule developmentally and is probably already on his way to being a genius. Just sayin'...

Well, I have made a decision. (My husband is probably rolling his eyes at this point because I make statements like this once a week)...

I am done doubting myself.

Sigh...that feels good.

Turns out, I am fairly intelligent, rarely do things on impulse anymore (ask poor Jay that has to listen to the hundreds of articles I read researching my latest whim), and always have my family's best interest at heart. I am never out to hurt myself or anyone I love and on a consistent basis and I help other people in whatever way my means allows.

I'm sure I'll have to have another addicts meeting with myself soon, but I am grateful that Cohen helped me realize this...

I need to trust that I am doing the right thing. We all do. If we'd give ourselves a little more credit and give doubt a little less time messing with our thoughts, I think our days and nights would be productive and peaceful, respectively.

So there, I said it. I am a doubt-a-holic. But I am a recovering one. And I hope one day to use my past doubting days, to reach a world of people that just need to believe in themselves...

like I believe in me. (AAAAAAAND...end inspirational scene *bows*)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I AM A TYPICAL COLLEGE GRADUATE: 2

Bonjour. Je suis Lindsey.

I can't think in French right now, sorry.

I learned early on that if you want to learn a Foreign Language, you have to learn to stop thinking in your maternal language. They (whoever "they" are) say that when you start dreaming in your Target language, you're really learning. I started dreaming in French my 2nd semester. I'm a fast learner...or so "they" say.

I have not had to think in French in a very long time. I graduated with my second BA in the Spring of 2008. It was a proud moment. I knew who I was, I had a man who loved me by my side, and the world at my fingertips. And then life set in.

I had bills to pay. I had a daughter to feed. My daughter had a seizure condition that has, to date, not been diagnosed or cured. She stopped having them, but that condition could lay dormant in her body...waiting to rear it's terrifying head yet again.

So I kept doing what I knew how to do. That's what my therapist told me, right? Do what you're good at. I HATED what I was good at. It was waiting tables. Ick. Late hours, little family time, opposite schedule of everyone I wanted to spend time with, and a rotating paycheck with little predicability. It was a stressful time.

I sought out every possible solution to get me out of it...and yet couldn't pull myself out of the quicksand.

This is what I learned from French:

Je serai le meilleure version de moi-meme.
I will be the best version of myself.

J'adore la langue francaise.
I adore the French Language.

Je voudrais vivre en France.
I would like to live in France.

C'est la vie.
That's life.

Porte une sauvetage...tout le temps.
Wear/carry a lifejacket...all the time.

I learned that French professors can be nice and they can be mean. Depends on the day of the week and where they were born.

Moroccon professors like to smoke. Only talk to them after they've had a cigarette and NEVER during Ramadan.

French professors that grow up in America and learn to speak French can be elitist...especially if they taught English in France. It's a weird combination.

Greek French professors are petite and adorable...and brilliant.

Art History leads to French which leads to studying abroad which leads to double majoring in French which leads to thinking the only job you can do is teach French or Art, which is not true.

Failing the French speaking portion of the Texas Oral Proficiency Test is the best thing that ever happened to me. I failed at wanting to have something to fall back on.

I found ElleSera through this pain.

Now I have life.

It's amazing how that works.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I AM A TYPICAL COLLEGE GRADUATE

I'm not doing, for my job, what I went to school for.

I have two Bachelor's degrees. I have a B.A. in Art History with a specialty in Early Church Architecture. My Thesis is titled something about "St Paul's Outside the Walls: It's Constantinian Development." It's long. It's glorious. I love it. I love churches. They make sense to me. Old ones that is. They have parts with names like Apse, Flying Buttress, and Nave. Those names are funny to me, because I'm a nerd.

I feel it necessary to pass on my "level of expertise". I don't have a PhD, though I one day will, and I don't have a Masters, though I soon will. I did, however, notice a few things.


What I learned from Art History...

The logo for this organization is a woman with her head open to new ideas, and she is removing the mask of lies and false beauty that she has worn for so long. She is finding herself through motherhood, therapy, new strength, and truth. I learned how to analyze a work of art. And mothers are truly a work of art.

Dr. Rita Tekippe @ the University of West Georgia is one of the most amazing women I've ever met in my whole life. She inspired me. She changed the course of my life. She taught me to love art, to see art, and to see myself. She thinks I am brilliant. And I think she is phenomenal. We really like each other.

I learned that I DO NOT like to actually make art. I like photography, b/c I'm good at it. I hate drawing. I am not good at it. I like to practice it. But I am TERRIBLE. Oh well.

I like foreign films. Those made in foreign lands, those speaking a foreign language and those telling a foreign story.

I learned to love French. I had 2 choices. German, ick, or French. YAY. You know what I chose.

What I learned from French...French men are different.

French women ROCK. See Frenchwomendontgetfat.com for reasons why. I love her. I lost 25 lbs last summer b/c of her. I found it again, of course baby related, and will lose it again.

More on the French side later.

Monday, December 6, 2010

AN IDEA TO GIVE BACK... AT CHRISTMAS...

THIS STARTED AS AN EMAIL...but I decided I should enlist a larger scope of helpers...so with a deep breath, I open myself up to anyone who reads ElleSera.org.


O- (that's my friends name...no really)
I know that you know this, but just a reminder. I want to start a non-profit organization for Single Moms. It's called Ellesera. I have a website that has begun as a blog. Please, when you have time, read Ellesera.org so that you can hear a little more about my heart on the matter.

The reason I am reaching out, is that I need some resources. I remember when church held "More Than a Baby Shower" and I wanted so desperately to help. Unfortunately, at the time, Jay and I did not have the funds available. I was pregnant, losing my grandmother to stomach cancer and dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety over my husband not having a job (we had a severance package Thank the LORD, but it was set to run out the month after I had Cohen) and SO SO desperately wanting to stay home with my kids.

Fast Forward to 10 minutes ago...

I was packing up some of my baby things from Reese to give to a friend that is pregnant, and in need and thought...OH MY GOSH. A recycled baby shower!!!! Not everyone, in these tough times, can afford to pay for something new, even something as small as diapers and bottles. They can, however, donate things they already have. It cleans out their closet AND helps moms in need.

So I take it back. My idea is not to have an actual shower, but for right now, at least, to start a FREE "consignment" ministry, if you will, for moms in need? What do you think? I would take donations, organize and filter through them to make sure they're top quality (much like consignment stores) and THEN, help the women that are part of ElleSera with free, gently used gifts...I'M SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

Maybe I can go to Battered Women's Shelters and give them to newly single women that have left a bad situation. Because years ago...I was that girl. I turned down marriage to a French man that honestly thought he loved me...because we did not share the same values, the same ideals, or even the same language. Not that this would have stopped me...I LOVE TO SPEAK FRENCH.

That's up next...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I AM AT A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE...

now than I was 10 years ago, ten days ago, ten hours ago...or, 10 minutes ago for that matter.

10 years ago, I was 19. Life was so different. I "...[was] selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I [made] mistakes, I [was] out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you [couldn']t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell [didn]'t deserve me at my best." Ok, ok...so I stole that from Marilyn Monroe...who probably stole it from someone one else...but who cares. (There are too many ellipses in that sentence...that's ok...I love ellipses).

10 days ago, I was all of these things, just 10 years older. Not much has changed. Oh wait, yes it has. I am married, a mother of 4, and in love with my best friend so it's convenient being married to him (*confession* I stole that from my cousin's husband's daughter...no she's not blood related...it's her stepdaughter...see, I'm not stupid...look what happens when I have to explain myself...more ellipses).

10 hours ago, I was sitting in my son's room, talking to my mom...who had just had a conversation that would change her life forever. She could have walked in to it with such fear. But she didn't. She courageously stared her fears in the face, and did what she thought was right. Because my mom stands up for what is right. She taught me that. And THANK YOU JESUS, it's one of the few things I got into my stubborn head. I stood up for what was right. Even when it got me in trouble, even when "I [was] selfish, impatient and a little insecure. [Even when] I [made] mistakes, [was] out of control and at times hard to handle." And then, as if God knew what I needed, I met someone that could handle me, my sweet husband.

10 minutes ago, I was listening to God speak to my heart about my mom, about my life, and about my future. Thankfully, I slowed down enough to HEAR Him.
Then...and now.

My mom has continued to show me what is right. She is a good, decent woman with the best smile, laugh, and total INability to pick our her own clothes. It's amazing that before I started teaching her, the woman couldn't match black pants with a white top.She's learning. And just how she learned to do that, I think she'll learn to do a lot of new things. Like stand up for what is right, and for herself...and do things that make her happy, if for no other reason than that they make her happy.

I love my mom.


And it is because of her that I start this new journey. ElleSera is birthed out of my passion to see other mothers, single mothers, flourish and shine like I am. These good things happened to me, however, because of someone like my mom. If you've read the two previous blogs, then you know that there are a few reasons why I'm still alive.

One of them, a big ONE, is my mother.

The others, are God, my husband, my kids, my dad, and my sister but maybe not in that order. Those will be the next few blogs...so stay tuned...for more ellipses.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I KNOW I'M NOT YOUR SON

I hesitate to write this because I don't feel like I'll do it justice...but this isn't really about me anyway, now is it?

My heart almost broke the other night as I heard the news that Marie Osmond's son tragically took his own life. I am many months late in discovering this news but the shock was felt deeply.

Let's start from the beginning.

As stated before, it was reading Marie Osmond's book that brought me some sense of "clarity" during the fog of my Post Partum Depression. Her words, her bravery, saved my life. To put yourself on the line and admit that you struggled with something as "controversial" as PPD is courageous...challenge me if you will. There is so much guilt and self questioning that is brought about with this debilitating illness much less the fact that certain yahoos question its validity. It's real. I promise.

So often, when people decide to "tell their story", you hear them say some version of this..."If I can help even one person with what I went through, then it will be worth it."

Marie, I was that one person.

As I sit here, after the birth of my second child, lovingly watching my 4 year old fall in love with the things I loved as a child, it is physically painful to remember those 4 months that I thought she was better off without me. I have made a few mistakes, and I'm sure I have given her some reason to seek out therapy later in life (everyone needs therapy, but that's an entirely different blog) but she needs me, she loves me (she tells me at least 700 times a day) and the therapy would have taken an entirely different route had Marie Osmond not written her book.

In a time of pain and hurting, I wish I could say something to Marie Osmond. And while this post may never reach her hands...I will say it, nonetheless.

Marie-
I just had a son. His name is Cohen and he is the light of my life. I am positive, even now, that he is destined to change the world through music, or medicine, or philanthropy. And he is here because of you. Thank you for writing your book. Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through as you heal from the terrible tragedy of losing your precious son.

I know I am not your son, but you saved my life...and because of that, I had a son. And he will know, one day, what you did for me.

Thank you.