Archive | December, 2013

Merry new year. Here are three lists.

31 Dec

It’s New Years Eve and I’m blogging.  I’m blogging at my mom’s after eating Chinese with my sister.  Reruns of Modern Family play in the background.  Let me tell you – exciting stuff.

But the fortune from my cookie was pretty cool.  Check it:


Which leads me to – what I think are appropriate – a couple lists.

First, the highlights of 2013 list:

  1. Travel.  [Montana.  Alaska.  Madeline Island.  Chicago.]
  2. Summer day camp at ROG.
  3. Celebrating with three friends as they married men.
  4. DIY projects: a dresser, a lamp, a fabric mosaic, etc.
  5. Conquering an overnight kayak trip.
  6. Favorite new movie: The Way, Way Back
  7. Best reads: Divergent trilogy, YA novels by John Green
  8. First Call Theological retreat at Heartwood in a May snowstorm
  9. I-know-there-are-more-but-my-brain-is-having-a-hard-time
  10. right-now-so-I’m-going-to-stop-at-8.

Second, a plan for 2014 list:*

  1. Step on the soil of many countries.  [Or at least one.]
  2. Finish The West Wing and catch up on Doctor Who.
  3. Complete the Union Jack hexagon quilt.
  4. Visit three new state parks.
  5. Learn a new skill.
  6. Rediscover favorite [and new] games.
  7. Read The Happiness Project.  Discover what joy looks like.
  8. Recover dining room chairs.
  9. Keep blogging!
  10. I really, really want to meet my quilting idols at SewDown Minneapolis.  Maybe?  [It’s not open for registration yet but this is what a SewDown from the Modern Quilt Guild looks like in Portland.]

And third – why not? – the most popular blog posts of 2013 list:

  1. Thanksgiving Favorites.
  2. A Banana Wedding.
  3. A story of how I got left at the altar.
  4. $11
  5. A random Friday Favorites from February.
  6. Napkin cards: A tutorial
  7. It’s not going to be easy [a quote from Henri Nouwen]
  8. A memo to Batman.
  9. Another Friday Favorites from February.  This one features cousin Molly lip-synching.
  10. Hello from MT!

Happy New Year, friends!  May it be filled with joy.

* I never said they were grand or super exciting.

Merry everything.

30 Dec

I have some catching up to do so let’s just do that right now – Merry Christmas!  I hope yours was wonderful and filled with joy and all that good stuff.

Mine was all that and life has just been crazy since then.  Christmas Eve service was beautiful in all its candlelight splendor.  Afterwards, I drove in the snow to meet my fellow Christmas eve misfits.  This year, because Paige had to get back to Waseca to lead a late night service, we met at Applebees for dinner out.  It was low stress and great fun for the misfit pastors unable to be with family that night.

Christmas morning was greeted by somewhat icky roads but a service we still had.  Afterwards, Mabel and I were Wisconsin-bound.  It took a bit of extra time on icy roads and in falling snow but we made it safe and sound AND in time to play the traditional holiday card game.  We spent a few nights in Wisconsin, catching up with family and friends alike and booking an apartment for the stay in Dublin in a couple months.  [Woot!]

Mabel and I drove back to Austin on Saturday with an additional passenger. Cousin Molly decided she would come along and spend a few days of her winter break at the parsonage.  We’ve been watching movies, going to the Mall of America & IKEA, and chilling.

Molly was able to come along because, alas, I’m driving home again tomorrow afternoon.  Alaskan brother Ben is coming home for a visit and sister Emma flies out for Dublin in a few short days.  It’s important for me to be home to say my hellos and goodbyes.  [It’s just a lot of driving!]

So that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to.  Here are some photos to prove it:

[updated] It’s the Saturday before Christmas –

21 Dec

And Lindsay is crabby.

I think I’m crabby because, once again, I’m realizing how different Christmas is as a pastor, and at this point, I’m having a hard time thinking it’s a good kind of different.  I’m crabby because my tree is empty and bare; it’s just not much fun to decorate without comrades.   [It does however have a gnome on its top.  That makes me not crabby.]  I’m crabby because I accidently dropped and broke my candy thermometer last night.  Hrmph.

But, instead of dwelling there, let’s talk about how we go out of crabby.  When you’re having a no-good, horrible day, how do you make it change?


Well, to start, I pull out my favorite Christmas mug.  This was given to me by my Grandma Julie a couple years ago.  I add coffee and – wait for it – peppermint marshmallows.  [The ones I made last night when I accidently dropped my candy thermometer.]  I don’t care for store marshmallows but homemade ones?  Delicious.

Next, I’ll probably spend time in my happy place: my sewing room.  I’ll wait eagerly for the mail and hope that the fabric I ordered [thanks to WELCA and their birthday/Christmas gift!] will be there.  Then I will iron it and fold it and and organize it three times.

I will play the pandora dance/pop music station ridiculously loud.  I will dance and do the dishes.  Mabel always takes this type of music and my dancing as an invitation to wrestle.  I guess my dancing is that bad?

And you know what?  I blog.  Because I already feel less crabby, just talking to you.  Life isn’t all bah humbug, but we have our moments, right?  This morning was one of mine.  Thanks for helping me get out of the funk.  I hope your Saturday has not even the tiniest bit of crabby.  [But if it does, dancing with flailing arms always seems to help.]

Update:  I have fun friends who tolerate and pity me in my crabbiness.  This afternoon I received an invite to a pizza picnic!  My gnome friends who now live in Owatonna invited me over to eat pizza while sitting on the floor [The picnic part was serious, peeps.] and watching The Polar Express.  It was probably the cutest thing I’ve done in a long time.  As long as the weekly pizza picnic isn’t copyrighted or trademarked or whatnot [Aaron?  Sabrina?  Have you copyrighted that cuteness so you earn royalties?  You could design a special pizza picnic blanket for families to buy or something!], I plan on stealing that in my future.   [You know, Mabel and I sitting on the floor by ourselves eating dinner.]  It was a great way to combat any crabby that continued through my day!

Self-imposed stress.

18 Dec

Do you ever cause your own self to stress?

Christmas cards have been stressing me out.  Christmas cards, people.

Now, I love Christmas cards.  I love sending them.  I love addressing the envelopes and the pure satisfaction when they’re stacked in the mailbox.  I love paper.  I love mail.  Perfect combination.

I had grand Christmas card plans this year.  I ordered notecards and envelopes from my favorite paper place – Paper Source – and ohh’ed and aww’ed over them when they arrived.  I pet them.  Such pretty, pretty paper.

The plan was to sew stars on them.  They would have been pretty; I’m sure of it.  But time started to wear thin.  It didn’t help that Thanksgiving was so late and then I went home for a long birthday weekend.  It didn’t help either that I got home from work at 9 last night, and it was 9 again tonight.  They’ve been at the top of my at-home to-do list and they just haven’t been getting done.  And it’s been stressing me out, more than Christmas cards ever should.

Finally, in the car yesterday, I let myself let them go.  I allowed myself to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay if I don’t send out Christmas cards this year.  I told myself that it wasn’t worth the stress.  I knew it was the right decision when I literally felt better.  No Christmas cards is okay.  The self-imposed stress of homemade, pretty paper Christmas cards was not worth it.  Stupid holding myself to standards that are impossible in one of the busiest time of the year work-wise.

HOWEVER, I was at a store today.  And their boxed Christmas cards were on clearance already. So I bought them.  They won’t be sewn.  They won’t be on my favorite kind of paper.  They won’t be handmade.  But the act of greeting the people I love via USPS this holiday season is the important part. That can most certainly be done with cards purchased at the store.  And I’m not super stressed about it anymore.  [Though if you normally receive a card from me, expect that it may be late.  I’m still running short on time!]

Another great stress reliever?  Confirmation.  Did you hear that?  Confirmation as a stress reliever.  We rang bells at HyVee tonight for the Salvation Army and then had ice cream at Culvers.  It was fun.  The kids said they had a blast.  And, plus, they made friends with the workers at HyVee and learned how to make the automatic doors close on themselves.  #awesome


The day in the life –

17 Dec

of Pastor Lindsay.

Do you ever wonder what in the world I do in the course of a work day?  Honestly, some days I wonder too.  I’ll share what I did today because it was not completely typical but not totally unusual either.

9:30  Arrive at office.  [I could say that my late arrival was due to still catching up on sleep from last weekend’s lock-in.  I could say that and maybe people would believe it.  But, truth is, that’s just what time I go to work practically every day.  I have a hard time getting out of bed before 8.  True story.]

9:30-10:30  Catch up on business/news/weekend events with Marilyn.  Let’s call it staff development.

10:30 – 12:30  Office work.  Today this included phone calls, writing thank you notes, bulletins, and cleaning up after a crazy lock-in.

12:30  Let Mabel out.  Lunch of an english muffin and pretzels.  [I was in a hurry.]

1:00  Drive to Albert Lea on crappy roads for scheduled visits.  Arrive early.  Make phone calls in car.

2:00 – 3:30  Visit number one.  This visit includes one couple and one woman who live in the same apartment building.  Don’t you know, today was the apartment’s party for December birthdays and anniversaries [The couple I was visiting was one of the couples celebrating an anniversary – 64 years together!] so we had communion in their apartment and then went to the party.  We listened to a harp player and ate cake.  It’s here I learned what a chivaree was.  This couple was indeed chivareed in a fun sense of the word.

4:00 – 5:00  Drive to a different care center in Albert Lea for another visit.  This woman is one of my favorites.  She says really silly things [Example: She takes a long moment to transition from her bed to her wheelchair.  As she sits, she proclaims, I have landed!] and always has Dr. Oz on in the background.  It is important for later to note that out of the corner of my eye I saw the Kmart Joe Boxer commercial with men in boxer shorts and jingle bells for the first time during this visit.

5:30 – 7:30  Drive to Austin.  Third visit of the day.  This time with a woman who is absolutely delightful and in the middle of making caramels.  She had lunch ready for my arrival – cheese, crackers, sausage, chex mix [which she calls nuts and bolts], and fudge.  She made two different types of fudge this year; she made me conduct a taste test.  I didn’t protest too loudly.  It was here that she shared how absolutely appalled she is at the Kmart Joe Boxer commercial – the one I first saw earlier.   She also told me about the different entrees one can order at Dairy Queen.  I love that she used that word – entree.  Yes, I’ll have the chicken strip entree.

7:30 – 9:00  Drive back towards church to pop in at one last house.  This wasn’t necessarily a pastoral visit but – long story short – to promote a November food drive, I promised I would wrap the Christmas gifts of the name we drew from the box which people entered when they brought food items.  [Confused?  It’s okay.  There were other prize options too but this man wasn’t interested in throwing a pie in my face.]  Well, this particular gentleman and his wife no longer give gifts that require wrapping but, much like my Grandpa Sid was, give envelopes of money.  And thus I had a date to go to their house and write the proper names on the proper envelopes.  That took about five minutes.  But then there was the house history & tour, the accordion playing, and the chit-chatting.  They are wonderful people.  He calls me hon.  Thanks, hon.

To summarize: I listened to a harp player and an accordion player.  I ate cake and fudge.  I ran out of communion wafers in my communion kit and I am one exhausted introvert.  It starts all over tomorrow morning with a breakfast invitation to a WELCA meeting.  At 9.  In Austin.  The usual 8am wake-up time won’t work tomorrow.


Today’s pinterest wisdom:

16 Dec

This heart of mine was meant to travel this world.

I’ve got the travel itch.

But really, I shouldn’t.  This year, I took the train to Montana [An adventure I will be repeating in a month for a continuing education class.], flew to Alaska, and explored Lake Superior via kayak.  It’s been a pretty adventurous year, seeing many different states in many different ways.  This travel itch though … I think it’s calling me across the ocean.

It’s been the pattern in my life that I go abroad every four to five years.  [Being able to say that sentence makes me feel very fortunate for the opportunities.  Seriously.  I’m a lucky girl.]  First it was Spain/Morocco as a sophomore in high school.  Greece/Turkey as a junior in college.  Tanzania as a middler in seminary.  That safari adventure was five years ago this January.  It’s time again.  It doesn’t help that my older brother is currently flooding instagram with photos of Hong Kong as he vacations there.  And then my sister is preparing to leave for Dublin for a semester abroad.

But that whole sister-studying-abroad bit actually helps.  My mom and I have already purchased our tickets.  We will be Dublin-bound for 10 days in February.  I’m already pretty darn excited.  I shared the purchasing of plane tickets with my confirmation students last Wednesday as the high point of my week, to which one of them responded, You travel a lot!  Yeah … about that …

I met with a financial advisor today.  I talked about my slight inability to see my savings account grow at a steady rate.   Perhaps traveling to Montana, Alaska, and having overnight kayak adventures in Lake Superior don’t help that.  Yikes.  Can I use the pinterest wisdom as my excuse?  I can’t help it.  This heart of mine was meant to travel this world.


How about Saturday favorites?

14 Dec

I write this, sitting on the pew in the narthex, and it is EARLY Saturday morning.  3am early.

Why in the world am I awake at 3 in the morning and blogging?

Well, what else am I going to do when I’m hosting a lock-in at ROG and the kiddos are resistant to sleep?  We declared a quiet area and a few youth are sleeping … but the majority of them are talking loudly in the balcony.  And so here I sit, alongside Pastor Jon, as they chit-chat and hopefully grow sleepier by the moment.  Time will tell.

In the meantime, to combat my own sleepy eyes, how about some favorites?

I pretty much freaked when I saw this link.  It’s about creating a giant star for Christmas.  Using tobacco sticks, as she calls them.  Lathe to those of us who grew up hauling bundles of it and making play forts on them in the tobacco shed.  Luck would have it that I have a bundle of it in my garage as I write.  I saved it from my grandpa’s shed, just knowing I would find uses for it sooner or later.  Check.

I wish I had time to make a Christmas quilt.  All the people I follow on Instagram and Twitter who basically quilt for a living are releasing photos of their beautiful Christmas quilts.  *sigh*  Someday.

I know you won’t hardly believe me but I’ve never seen The Hobbit.  [I’m not sure Middle Earth is worth my time if Aragorn isn’t there.]  However, with all the talk of the latest Hobbit movie [especially with its connection to my dear Sherlock], I think I might have to catch myself up.  Here is a guide to eating like a Hobbit.

Chocolate toffee pecan cookies.  Those sound delicious at this point in the morning.  Bring them to me?

I think that’s it.  I think that’s all I have in me so early in the morn.  Enjoy your Saturday.  I’ll be sleeping.

Lindsay. Dude. Where are you?

12 Dec

I turned 30.

That’s where I’ve been.

I joked with some people that turning 30 was a third-life crisis for me.  Not a mid-life, not a quarter-life. Third-life.  30.  No husband, no kids, and student loans.  Crisis.  Never could I have imagined – nor would I have wanted to imagine – that life would be like this at 30.  Enter third-life crisis.

But eh.  So far it’s okay.  I mean, I have a new tea towel from Crate & Barrel.  What more does a person need?

I turned 30 whilst in Chicago.  Chilly, chilly Chicago.  Mama Leanne, Sister Emma, Aunt Sarah, Aunt Kari, Cousin Molly and I hopped on the early train from Harvard, IL bound for the windy city.  We met up with Cousin Connor [my birthday buddy – I turned 30 and he turned 21] and the walking, shivering, and over-abundance of crowds began.

We ditched our luggage at the hotel, saw Connor’s apartment at Roosevelt University, and decided not to wait the 2.5 hour wait to eat lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.  I bought new bowls at Anthropologie and winter coffee mugs at Crate & Barrel.  [I needed none of it but it was birthday.  I was turning 30. The pretty bowls made me feel better.  Leave me alone.]  We drank warm spiced wine in commemorative mugs at Christkindlemarket, a Christmas German festival at which we also shared a giant pretzel and carmel cashews.

We ate a late dinner at the pub attached to our hotel.  The Elephant & Castle.  Molly, Emma, and I spent the better part of the meal wondering what the meaning of the name of the restaurant was.  Were we in the castle?  Was it all an illusion?  Were we to let down our hair from the castle?  What happens when the elephant dies?  Believe me, it doesn’t seem so now, but it was super engaging.  For the three of us.  Everyone else at the table just thought we were weird.

We left Chicago mid-morning the following day.  I had to get back to attend to a couple kiddos needing to be baptized [One of them HATED me for it.  Seriously.  Yelled at me.  And another grabbed my boob.  He’s 11 months.  We’ll excuse it.] and dinner out with Mama Leanne, her boyfriend Jeff, and brother Matt.  I drank two Spotted Cows.  When in Rome.  And it was my birthday.

[It is my birthday was pretty much my excuse for everything that weekend.]

So that’s that.  I am now 30 and the world continues to turn.  I’m still single, childless, and making monthly payments to student loans but so it goes.  I plan to make 30 a fun, adventure-filled year and I’ll take you along for the ride.  What does that mean exactly?  Stay tuned.  There are still 363 days before 31.

The birds are my friends.

2 Dec

I didn’t realize how fun birds could be until they became my friends.

I began feeding the birds this summer.  I have two suet cakes that hang from two separate trees in my backyard.  In the summer, I didn’t notice the birds so much but now that it is winter, I notice them everywhere.

To the extent that I consider them my friends.  I come downstairs in the morning and to the kitchen I go to make coffee and breakfast.  As I go about my routine, my eyes wander to the backyard.  Are the birds eating breakfast too? I wonder.  They usually are.  It’s become nearly automatic; if I enter the kitchen at any point, I look to the backyard and wonder what my bird friends are up to.

Sometimes Mabel and I sit by the patio door and watch the birds.   Sometimes I work from home too, like I am this afternoon, and I watch the birds from my desk view.  Yesterday, as I refilled the suet cakes, I sang them a song.  Come and eat, birdies, come and eat.  I just saw this on pinterest – directions to make a popcorn cranberry holiday wreath for the birds.  I think I might.

Should you be concerned for my well-being as I consider birds my friends?  Nah.  However, if they start mending my dresses and assisting me in getting ready for the day, then be worried.  But we’re not there.


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