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15 Dec
If I were to give you a play-by-play of my Thursday, it would begin with waking in the middle of having an inappropriate dream.  Inappropriate in that I was dating someone inappropriate in the dream world.  Things were serious; we were holding hands.  [gasp.]  That’s all I can say about that.

I went about my day, spending my morning in Blooming Prairie with Pastor Charlie and Pastor Heidi.   We were working to get things in order for the annual BP Christmas Wish tree.  It included running to the grocery store for gift certificates, going thru applications, and shopping for sweatshirts to give to teenagers from the local screenprinting place – Sports Stitch.  It was here I ran into a dear, dear member of ROG.  One who, as he was leaving, decided to affectionately grab/squeeze my arm awkwardly and make my arm jiggle.  That was my morning.  I spent my early afternoon in Austin.  Then, come 3pm, I played hooky.  Paige and I met in Owatonna and drove north to Fort Snelling where we hopped on the lightrail to downtown Minneapolis.  It was holidazzle time, baby.
Holidazzle.  The annual nightly light parade down Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.  It was a wonderful excuse to escape to the city where no one knew us.  A place where we could be anonymous.  A place where I didn’t need to be Pastor Lindsay for just a few hours.  It’s a weight off my shoulders; a break.
We ate at The News Room, a great restaurant with walls covered in newsprint and bathrooms not clearly marked as men’s or women’s.  A couple with their toddler-aged boy sat next to us.  The boy kept looking at me and yelling, “Hello there!”  His parents were a bit embarrassed, I believe; I loved it.
Waiting for the parade to begin.
After dinner, we stood on the sidewalk with hundreds of other people and waited for the light parade to begin.  The light parade of cheesy music.  The light parade of kids strapped securely onto very slow moving floats.  The light parade with everyone from the Hansel and Gretel, to the Wizard of Oz, to people in spinning lightbulbs and circus trains, and to Santa’s workshop.
When the parade was over, we walked on the mall a bit.  It’s funny – you always watch the light parade as it goes in one direction with it’s cheesy music and strapped-in children.  You never wonder how the lighted floats and strapped-in children return to their point of origin.  Last night, Paige and I discovered the secret.  They hop on old buses and are bused back to the beginning, so just as Paige and I were about to cross the street, this bus of fairy tale characters, still in odd costumes, stage makeup, and crammed onto a bus, drove right past us.  The Tin Man stared into the depths of my soul.
He knew who I had been inappropriately holding hands with in my dreams.
It was absolutely hilarious, this bus of characters.  The Tin Man next to the giraffe from the circus float. The little kid mice sitting next to a spinning lightbulb.  All friends.  All tired from a long, cold ride of waving.  All awesome.  Thanks, Holidazzle, for providing a night of anonymity and a night of free entertainment.
We’re exciting; can’t you tell?

[summer list.]

23 Jun
I know this summer will speed on by; it always does.

Heck, June is almost over as it is! In the hustle and bustle, I’m attempting to make the most of it.

That means it’s list time, people.  And it’s all about rest, rediscovery, and joy.

. I have a state park pass in my window.  I shall use it.  Mabel and I can go hiking.  [We were going to explore Myre Big Island State Park this morning but then it was overcast with rain.  Another time soon.]
. Screw makeup.  I’m hiding away all my eyeshadows and eyeliners and bronzers and everything else.  Why do I spend time doing all that?  [I will still put on a protective layer of foundation.  It has sunscreen in it, people.  And maybe a little mascara.]  On a similar note, find the easiest, low maintenance hair style ever.  I think my haircut on Friday may have helped in this department.  [Short in the back!]
. Perfect the overnight refrigerator oatmeal breakfast.  Six individual servings in canning jars in the fridge now.  With strawberries!  [Old fashioned oats.  Almond milk.  Strawberries.  That’s it.]
. Drink water, drink water, drink water.  And iced coffee.
. Always be crafty and re-inventive.  Some things need new life.  [I spray painted a file cabinet today – avocado green with hopeful gray chevron drawers to be yet achieved and fabric yet to be found.]
. Sermons written by Thursday.  [I know.  I say that all the time but this time, there is motivation.  Paige made a bet with the devil and I hope to help her lose.  Two week success so far and it’s such a joy to not be writing on Saturday night.]

. Find and embrace Sabbath time.  We all need that.  Often more than we even know until we take it.

. Get out of town!  Opportunities for this and places tbd.  [With the exception of Stillwater next weekend already on the calendar.  Gieseke B&B bound!]

. Find myself in a canoe or kayak on the water as often as time will allow.  [Finding a man with a Subaru Outback and two kayaks strapped to the top would be a great alternative to this, but I’m not holding my breath.]

. Learn to let things be.  I’m pulling back on pushing certain church work things through … maybe they just need to be instead of pushed.  There are other things on which I can spend my time.

. Read.  I already feel this being a huge stress relief at work, as I made time each day this past week.

There’s more.  There’s always more.  But this is a good place to begin.

I’ll keep you posted [as always].

vacation: post four.

6 Jun
Really, my whole reason for traveling to Grand Marais for vacation was to go kayaking.  One might call it a bucket list item for me; I’ve wanted to go kayaking for a long time and have never found the friends or the opportunity to do it.  Today, I went sea kayaking on Lake Superior and I survived.  I didn’t even tip over or make a gigantic fool of myself.
The more I thought about it prior, the dumber I realized this plan was.  My first time kayaking to be on frigid, choppy Lake Superior?  Really, Lindsay?  Did you think this through at all?  Maybe not the greatest plan of attack.  But Stone Harbor advertised that this half-day trip was suited for beginners.  deep breath.  Okay, that’s me.  Let’s do this.
I was fearful going into it.  Nervous.  I was worried I would tip over.  I was worried I would be completely uncoordinated or not able to get in and out of the kayak with grace.  I was worried the guide would be cute and I would get flustered and dumb because of it.
The first two worries didn’t happen.  The third did.
This is quite literally what happened – 
I arrived at the outfitter and checked in at the desk.  I began filling out the waiver/medical info and the dude behind the desk said Phil would be my guide and he was off getting things ready.  He hasn’t lost anyone yet, dude said jokingly.  I’m writing on the clipboard and a guy appears next to me, talking to the dude behind the desk.  Dude behind the desk directs my attention and says, Lindsay, this is Phil.  He’ll be your guide.
I look up, shake Phil’s hand, and my inner monologue seriously mutters, Shit.  A redhead.  
I’m a sucker for redheads.  And this one was absolutely adorable.*  
There were two other ladies on this trip.  We met up with them, walked out to the back of the building, and put on the equipment we needed – wetsuits [gross.], windbreakers, PFDs, and a spray skirt.  There is no question that I looked like a complete moron in pants too tight.  We went to the beach and learned how to sit in a kayak, how to get in and out, how to paddle, and how to attach the spray skirt [which is probably the hardest part of it all].  Phil adjusts the foot peddles inside my kayak awkwardly while I’m still sitting in it [when you sit in a kayak, you don’t sit with your legs flat on the bottom of the boat.  there are peddles to rest your feet on and pads to put your knees against while bent.] and then pushes me out to sea.
I was completely freaked out.  There were waves.  It made me sway.  I really, really didn’t want to tip [just like everyone else ever].  Was the rhythm of it all going to make me seasick?  Could I really do this?  But then … it was okay.  Gradually, I got the hang of it and it was lovely.
Artist’s Point
We paddled around Artist’s Point and continued on the water for a couple hours.  We stopped along a rocky beach for a brief break; a break needed more to stretch the legs than for the arms.  [I felt like my arms didn’t get nearly as tired as they do when canoeing.]  It was at this point I really had to go to the bathroom but I was wearing a frickin’ wetsuit and there were no bathrooms in sight.  We ate energy bars, I drank no additional water, and headed back out, in and out of the harbor, and back to where we started.
I survived sea kayaking.  I faced a fear and lived to tell the story.  I label this day a success.  
* You know how they say everyone likes the sound of their own name and to make a good impression with someone new, you should use their name frequently in conversation?  Phil knows this technique.  He was so personable and good at the name game.  He also applauded my graduation from seminary  [and I applaud him for knowing the word seminary and that that’s where pastors go for school] and seemed … impressed? … that I was a pastor.  Maybe not all hope is lost.

I’ve lost it.

3 Oct
Not my marbles.  My motivation.
Mondays are always hard.  Coming off a Sunday which tires the dickens out of me [even if it is only technically half a day of work], it’s hard to get back into the office and get work done.  Today is no exception.  I’ve been in the office for an hour and have nothing to show for it.  
But it’s not even that.  I feel like I’ve lost my drive.  Not necessarily in regards to church work but in regards to life.  My world is typically filled with do-it-yourself projects, crafts, and various goals that I’m working towards.  I like to be busy.  And yet, at the end of my days here, I find myself sitting on the couch and watching dvds.  I’m not sewing.  I’m not attempting to make friends with macaroons again.  I’m not running anymore.  I would do all three of those things in any one day while on internship.  What’s the difference?
I don’t know.  Maybe I need to give myself more space for the transition.  Be more patient with myself in this time.  But still, Lindsay, it’s been a month.  It might be time to just kick things into high gear and limit myself to one episode of McLeod’s Daughters a day.  [I do love television shows on dvd.  Last night Paige offered to share her wealth of tv on dvd with me until I get proper television.  I’d never heard of the Australian drama but I’ll admit, I’ll watch it.  I’m intrigued, even if the acting is slightly to overly corny and sometimes equally horrible.  Recent Amazon research indicates there were eight seasons of this drama that originally aired in the 90’s.  Trouble.]
Maybe I need a list of goals.  Much like the seasonal lists of my blogging past.  
Yes, this sounds like a good idea.
Today’s goal: Come up with list of goals.  
Stay tuned.

write a letter.

2 Aug
Last month I challenged myself to send a piece of snail mail for every day of that month.  I sent balloons, old knitting magazines, a magical wand, lots of ordination information, a letter accepting a call to a church, and pictures I cut into a puzzle.  Oh, and wooden chickens.  I didn’t walk to the mailbox or go to the post office everyday, but there were many days when I put in two, three, or forty pieces of mail.  I easily used thirty-one forty-four cent stamps.  Plus some.  
I’ll admit though – some days it felt like a chore.  Some days I dragged my feet or made myself get up extra early to write a postcard to get in the mail.  I think I’m happy to return to the casual sending of snail mail.  [Not that any of the mail I sent was void of care and love.  Not true.]
I wrote a letter tonight.  A real letter.  I sat down at my sewing table, pushed the sewing machine to the side, and filled a lovely piece of textured cardstock front and back.  I love writing letters.  I think there is something so sacred about snail mail.  Not about the bills we put stamps on or the invitations where will fill in the party information – but true letters.  There’s something special about the words crafted and the person who reads them upon arrival, hopefully sensing the love and care and time that went into the letter.  A letter has to be pre-meditated.  It takes supplies and a little thought.  I think it takes me more time to actually write than to type; many times I fight the urge to type and print a letter, signing only my name.  I fight it because handwriting and handwritten letters are just that much cooler in my eyes.
Write a letter to someone you love.  Put a stamp on it and put it in the mail.  Go 1980s on your communication.  Do it.  I think you’ll like it, and I think the person on the receiving end will love it.

Lindsay + July = Snail Mail.

27 Jun
Gandolf likes to say that it’s not how much time but what you do with the time that’s given to you.  [Literally just heard that line at the end of Fellowship of the Ring.  Onto Two Towers shortly.]
Today, with the time alloted to me, I ran errands for both my mom and my grandpa.  [My grandpa stopped by for a mowing break.  I think he really just wanted a cookie; it was snack time and he did enthusiastically accept one when offered.  A few of these are in my freezer right now.  He heard I was going to Stoughton and asked if I would check on his string trimmer which was at a hardware store for repair.  Sure, I said, and then sure enough, it was done with repairs and ready to be taken home.  When I returned to his place to hand it off, he was outside trimming a tree with a chainsaw.  Mind you – he’s 90.]  I watched the tail end of a Lifetime movie and an hour of How I Met Your Mother.  I took two walks – one solo and one with a friend – and quilted.  Now I drink wine, eat popcorn and write to you.
Without anything really on my agenda, I managed to fill my day fairly well.  It was one day – I fear a month or two of nothing really on my schedule will begin to get to me.  Thus I launch a blog post series I like to call Lindsay + July = _________.
In this first installment of the series, Lindsay + July = Snail Mail.  I enjoy sending snail mail – letters, packages, very large playground balls, etc.  I try to do my best to send a piece to many different people at various times during the year and am the post office’s loyal patron.  Sometimes, I get busy and utterly fail at sending mail for a few months.  Other times, I’m pretty good.  I like doing it and I think/hope it brings joy to the person on the receiving end.  [I received a graduation card from my Washington friend, Kari, today and it made my day!]  Therefore, in the month of July, in the hopes of spreading joy and filling my time, I will send one piece of snail mail on each day the US Postal Service offers delivery.  [For the month of July, that will equal 25 pieces of mail.]  Some days it may be a handwritten letter.  Another day it might be a post-it puzzle for you to assemble or maybe even cakepops.  It’s going to be a wild card game here, folks.
Here’s where you come in.  Do you want some snail mail?  Jump up and down and yell, “Me! Me! Me!” [or, if I can’t see you as you do that, write it in the comments.  or tweet me.  or fbook me.]  Also make sure I have your current address [send me an email if I don’t] and then I pinky swear promise you can expect from me a piece of mail in the month of July.  I can’t wait to write to you!  [Or send you a really creepy piece of art that I buy for a quarter at a garage sale.]

I’m home!

3 Jun
I made it home Wednesday night, after breakfast at the Finnish Bistro with my college roommate, Amanda, and her husband, Joe.  I arrived home at eight and unpacked, unpacked, unpacked.  What I don’t need is being stored in my brother’s closet [he doesn’t need it since he’s in alaska placing second in ski/bike/kayak/run races with his girlfriend]; the things I do need have been put away and organized in my bedroom.  It’s starting to feel like I live here again.

Just to clue you, my blog friends, in, here is the place I will be blogging from for the next month, maybe two.  This is “home,” or at least has been since I was sixteen and we built/moved down the road from the farm.  You can picture me in the left upstairs window, blogging to you.  [Actually, don’t picture that.  Creepy.]

Since I’ve arrived home and settled in, you may wonder how I’ve been spending my time.  [Or maybe you don’t really care.  If that is the case, I advise you to stop reading now.]  Unpacking and organizing took its fair amount of yesterday.  I have also baked four cakes [in anticipation of graduation party cakepops], cleaned the house, mopped the porch, went grocery shopping, cooked evening meals, a couple loads of laundry, bought fabric for a summer quilt [oxymoron?] and discovered that the tv show How I Met Your Mother is on Lifetime at least three times a day.  I may begin to plan my days around it.
I also hung up my hammock this afternoon and may or may not have taken a brief power nap as the wind [we live on a hill.  it’s always windy here.] rocked me to sleep.  I plan on spending a bit of time in the hammock tomorrow, beginning a new book.  [The Help is next on my list and it’s already loaded on my kindle after a recommendation and seeing the preview for the movie to be released soon.]
While I do find myself missing my friends and the Cities life and while my last long list was about what I would miss in St.Paul, here is a beginning list of the current joys of being home:
1. Four country music radio presets in my car.  [compared to a measly one in the Cities]
2. My mom pays for the groceries.
3. Campfires.  [My sister and I successfully started one the other night.]
4. Hammock.
5. No noisy neighbors/noisy parking lot/noisy children. [quiet!]
6. A house = space and open window air flow.
7. Satellite television.
8. Family adventures. [already been shopping with Miss Molly … always an adventure with that fifth grade cousin!]
9. I spend less money.  [no Starbucks drive-thru nearby, no happy hour with friends, etc.]

two lists.

31 May
Things I will miss about the Cities [in no particular order]:
1. Fancy bakeries with macarons.  [I finally tried a real one this morning with Joel and Melissa.  “Real” meaning one I didn’t make.  It gives direction to my macaron adventures.]
2. Random adventures with MN friends.  Like the nine of us who saw Bridesmaids last night at 9:45.  
3. Friends who play geeky games with me.  [New Carcassonne game!  New Carcassonne game!]
4. Discovering fun, unique new places in the Cities.  [Gems like the Riverside Theater, Wilde Roast Cafe, and cute stores like Patina.]
5. Museums.
6. Consistent proximity of Target.  Rosedale Mall.  A great JoAnne Fabrics.
7. Walking about campus.

8. Downtowns.
9. Community education courses.

10. Walks around lakes.

11. The seminary neighborhood. [The post office on Como, the Bibilot, Finnish Bistro, and Park Service.]

12. Friends who quote Friends and other movies with familiarity and general awesomeness.

13. Miss M and her family.  Family dinners in Stillwater.

14. to be continued …

Things I will not miss about the Cities [in no particular order]:
1. Children screaming outside my window.
2. An apartment without air conditioning.
3. Traffic.
4. Lack of stars and prevalence of pavement.  
5. um.  um.  [please note which list is longer]

one with a LOTR reference.

10 Apr
I talked to Aunt Peggy tonight on the telephone.  We caught up on life details and as I told her about my ever-impending thesis, she interrupted me, “Lindsay, are you having any fun up there?”
Apparently, I had made my life seem filled with school assignments and future congregation processes.  [Ha.  Fooled her.]
I told her not to worry.  That I was probably having more fun than I should be, and that going out with friends or trying a new craft project usually topped homework on the list of things that actually get accomplished.
Because, she told me, you only have a few more weeks.
So true.  And I’m all emotionally jumbled about it.  [Maybe one could say I’m in a glass case of emotion?  Maybe?]
I spent the first two years of seminary making my way through but pretty much just looking to the future and being done.  I spent the latter part of my internship year wishing I didn’t have to come back to classes.  The first semester of this year was spent in a slight depression, wanting with my whole being to not be a student.  There are right around four weeks left of the semester.  Four weeks left of my four years of work in my master’s degree.  And now I kinda want them to slow down.
Because when these four weeks are over [and add another week and a half of “senior week” before graduation], I’ll be moving away from the cities.  For all practical reasons, I’ll be moving home-home after graduation, as every weekend of June is booked with fun family and friend events.  [See this not as complaining; I actually think it will be quite lovely to spend June in the country and preparing for party upon party.  It will be grand to have the windows open and hear only corn growing, not kids screaming.  As is what happens here.  All day long.  Since my apartment faces the parking lot.  Where the kids ride their bikes, play ball, and scream.  All day long.]  I’ve come to love all the cities has to offer and it’s been great to get out this past year and experience a lot of new things.  Last year, two weeks prior to the end of internship, I wrote this rant.  [And this one four weeks prior to that.]  I’m not quite to the point of ranting, but still think the ‘little sleep, much coffee’ attitude will begin now.  Or at least until this thesis is written.  Or tomorrow.  I’m sleepy now.
A fancy dinner party this Friday with friends. // Half-birthdays to celebrate. // Tandem bike riding and/or canoeing with dearest Sara. // Minnesota History Center in St.Paul.  [Anyone?] // A mosaic class, a letterpress class, and potentially a truffle making class. // A Southeastern MN synod assembly.  [Can I get a ‘woot’?!] // A thesis to write and the same thesis to defend. // A weekend home for Easter to make kinder eggs, maybe an adult egg hunt, and spring cake pops to create. // Thursdays out and about. // The normal load of reading and writing [which I’ve already confessed I do minimally – shh]. 

Perhaps I need to begin by cleaning my bedroom and finding my bed.  My mother will totally be embarrassed [but probably not surprised] by me posting this photo but let me relieve her of any blame – she did teach me better than this.  I’m simply being honest with you that my life is not perfect and that this is what happens when Lindsay can’t decide what to wear and when Lindsay is too lazy to hang things back up.  But trust me, the kitchen and bathroom are [nearly] always spotless.

* There is this scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, that has been playing through my head all day.  Galadriel, crazy elf woman, is narrating as we watch Frodo and Sam continue to travel towards Mordor.  She says something to the tune of this: “In his heart, Frodo begins to understand.  The quest will claim his life.”  Replace Frodo with Lindsay.  Quest with thesis.  Both his with her.  That, my friends, is how I feel after this weekend.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

winter list.

2 Dec
Walking about in my yellow coat, taking advantage of the necessity of scarves, and loving the white snow that has fallen, I think to myself, “Winter.  You’re not so terrible.”  Granted, yes.  I realize the worst is yet to come … but let’s make the most of it, shall we?  That means –
The unveiling of the winter list.  
It’s in no way final.  Adjustments are guaranteed.  But, for now, this is what I have on this second day of December as my goals for the winter season.
a. build a snowman.     b. venture to the Holidazzle lighted parade.     c. go sledding.     d. make, share, and eat hamballs – Mary O. style.     e. attend the St.Paul Winter Carnival.     f. volunteer at Feed My Starving Children.     g. create, address, and mail Christmas cards.  (Wonder if you’re on my list?  Email me your address!)     h.  try my hand at these.     i. shop for a real Christmas tree at those places with the strings of naked lightbulbs – but not actually buy one.     j. organize a quilting bee/club of sorts.  (All are welcome; maybe a bit of a ‘learn how to quilt’ organized get-together.  I’m thinking January.  Details still to be determined.)     k. visit every one of these places, hopefully with my dear friend, Sara.     l. a trip on an airplane to somewhere warm?  (In the works … )     m. roller derby?  I’ll be in the audience.     n. twirl in the falling snow, a la Winona Ryder in Edward Scissorhands
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