our little sparrow – our miscarriage story

 

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It’s been 12 days since I was told the little life inside me that had barely begun had already ended. It was was shocking and as cliche as every movie, every TV show: “I’m sorry, but there’s no heartbeat.”

I know people don’t talk about miscarriage, but I want to because I like talking about the things no one wants to. I’m all about open communication. I’m the girl in the church who asks new married couples how their sex life is going. I’ll tell you all about our budgeting and savings goals. I blurted out “We’re pregnant!” to one of my close college friends just days after we’d taken a test, when we were just four weeks along. They say not to tell many people until you’re out of the first trimester, in case you miscarry, people nearly whisper, as if saying the word brings it about, like it’s Lord Voldemort or something. But we couldn’t keep it a secret; we were too excited. So I want to share our story of loss for the same reasons I wanted to share our news of life with friends right away — because I can’t keep it inside of me. And because October is Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness month, ironically enough.

Honestly, I never thought a miscarriage could happen to me. Sure, we’d always end the announcement by saying, “Yeah, we hear not to tell people so early just in case something happens, but we’d want support from you even if something did.” But it never crossed my mind that something might actually happen. My mom never miscarried and I knew my maternal grandmother had had 10 successful pregnancies out of 11 (I was later told she actually did have a miscarriage at another point, taking her “success rate” to 10 out of 12). We got pregnant basically without hardly trying, which I know is a huge blessing, and one I don’t take for granted, but all these factors made me think I was untouchable. It wouldn’t happen to me. Actually I didn’t even think it wouldn’t happen to me, I just didn’t think about it at all.

So that Monday morning when I wiped and saw just a little brown blood, I told myself not to panic. I’d known for reading every pregnancy website that spotting was fairly normal and half the time meant nothing. The blood was old and brown, not fresh and bright red. I didn’t have any cramping. I actually felt extra sick that morning, and they say if you feel pregnant, and I did, it’s a good sign. It’s when you stop feeling pregnant that things go south. But we were leaving on a multi-state road trip in three days, so I decided to call the nurse and just check to be safe.

The nurse called me back and said what I expected: it’s probably nothing, you can wait a few days to see if it goes away or gets worse, or you can come in just to check. I mentioned the trip and she asked if we had heard the heartbeat at our first appointment two weeks earlier. We hadn’t. At the time, the doctor said it was still fairly early (six and a half weeks), but we’d hear it the next time. (Now I wonder if it ever did beat…) So we decided to go for peace of mind so we could go to Missouri unworried.

I picked up Greg and we drove to the clinic in New Braunfels, and although I kept trying to tell myself it was fine, I started getting uneasy. What if it wasn’t? We prayed outside the clinic, checked in, and waited. We went back to the exam room and saw our doctor,  who seemed quite hopeful. She did a pelvic exam and confirmed I wasn’t “actively bleeding,” which was a good sign, and I still felt pregnant, which she also deemed a good sign. So she started up the ultrasound to finalize all the good signs, but  that’s when things changed.

For whatever reason, my body just never got the news our baby had died. It kept on going, pumping out hormones and blood and growing placenta, all while the life had gone from our child more than two weeks before. That’s why I still felt pregnant, why I wasn’t actively bleeding. They call it “missed miscarriage.”

They brought in another doctor just to confirm what the ultrasound was showing. I bawled. Greg held it together but only until the car. Our doctor assured me it wasn’t my fault and explained what could happen next. For various reasons, we chose to go with a dilation and curettage, better known as a D&C, a procedure in which the doctor dilates your cervix and removes the contents of your womb in a surgical environment while you’re under general anesthesia. We set the date for two days later, the day we had planned to leave on our trip.

Our trip. The timing. My lack of actual miscarriage symptoms. The only signs that something was off was the spotting on Monday. I had no symptoms of miscarriage at any point, not even spotting on Tuesday and Wednesday. I can’t help but attribute the whole timing scenario to the Lord. I almost feel like He said, “I’m so sorry. I’m going to let you in on this now so you use this trip and this planned time off to grieve and heal.” I fully believe had I not spotted on Monday, we still might not know we’d lost it. Our next appointment wasn’t scheduled until two weeks later. Finding out your baby passed away two weeks ago without your knowledge sucks. Finding out it died a month ago… I can only imagine it would be even worse. Or maybe my body would have gotten a clue, and we would have naturally miscarried hundreds of miles from home while on vacation. The alternatives horrify me, and although this is the saddest thing that’s happened to me, I’m grateful for the way in which it happened. I see the Lord’s hand in it.

On the drive to the hospital, as cheesy as it sounds, God spoke peace and comfort to us through some Christian contemporary music (Jason Gray’s “Sparrow”).

“If He can hold the world, He can hold this moment.”

I think He has our little sparrow in his hands. A few weeks before we found out about the miscarriage, I had spent some time journaling with God, and He shared with me His love for me and for our baby. I know He has our sparrow.

The D&C went fine. The worst part of physical pain was the six sticks it took the nurses and staff to get an IV and blood drawn. Our doctor even let us do one final ultrasound, just for peace of mind, just to check that God hadn’t allowed a miracle to happen. She was so kind and compassionate. I went home that afternoon, and after resting for a few hours and finally getting to eat something, with our doctor’s blessing, we left for Arlington.

It may seem crazy they we went on vacation literally hours after leaving the hospital, but I think it was what was best for us. We saw family (including my parents, grandparents, and two of my three siblings) and mourned with them. We spent a lot of time together as a couple. We checked in on each other’s emotions. We held each other as we cried. We laughed and had fun. We enjoyed amazing weather and beautiful scenery. We accepted feelings of sadness when we saw adorable babies in Mizzou clothing everywhere, but also started regrowing our hope that one day we will have adorable babies in Mizzou clothing. We worshiped in the church where I started to fully cultivate my relationship with God. We ate breakfast with the pastor who married us, who has mentored us throughout the years. We cuddled a fat cat. We ate amazing food. We wrestled through the complex thoughts of grief (Am I sad because we lost this baby, or am I sad because we lost the possibility of a baby? Or both? Or does it matter? Should I be more sad? Should we start trying again right away?). We drove through four state capitols. We saw one of Greg’s favorite musical artists. I bought a candle from the Fixer Upper Silos. I posted a lot of happy pictures from that trip and felt conflicted about it. I didn’t want to paint the picture that we were fine because we weren’t. But it’s not a lie to say we enjoyed the trip and we did have fun. The trip was a gift I am forever grateful for.

I’m also forever grateful for the man I married, my best friend, my rock of a husband, Greg. Many times over the last two weeks I have been overwhelmed to tears with love for him. Seeing his heart for our baby and for me through the last few months is astounding. I know I wouldn’t be in this situation without him, but I also know I couldn’t make it through this situation without him. I know he’s hurting, too, but even in his pain he serves me and puts my needs first. He watched the Middle Tennessee Nobodies just decimate my Tigers instead of watching the biggest game of the week (maybe season?), Alabama vs. Texas A&M. A&M ended up losing, too, but the fact that he went to that football game with me instead of watching his (actually pretty good) team, is just one of the thousands of ways he’s shown me love lately.

On our honeymoon, Greg I went to see the Seattle Symphony play a Pixar concert. They performed music from all the Pixar movies, accompanied by clips from each film. Right before intermission, they played the score from the opening montage from Up!

If you haven’t cried while watching this opening montage, you are a robot. And for the newlywed couple who’s marriage was less than a week old? You better believe we both cried like little babies! After the symphony finished their piece you could audibly hear the entire audience sniffling, which was pretty hilarious actually. Greg even overheard a college-aged girl on the way out for intermission proclaim, “Why didn’t they show the part with the goofy dog??”

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On the Tuesday after we got the news, I scrolled through the “miscarriage” part of Pinterest for whatever reason, looking for hope, other people’s stories, a chance to cry, something. I saw this image from Up! and I couldn’t contain the tears. I remembered our honeymoon and our first few days of marriage. I remembered watching that montage thinking it was sad, but it was life, and hopefully none of the hard things in that montage would happen to us. But even if it did, at least we could have each other. And we still do. And that is something I thank God for every day.

We’re back home now. The first day back at work was rough. While I was out, a few things happened with coworkers at my office and now we’re down two staff members for the next few months. It’s stressful, but my boss and coworkers are kind and understanding. Greg came back to one of the biggest church events bearing down on him, just about a week out. It was hard to go back into our normal routine when we’re feeling anything but normal.

God continues to meet us here, though. He gives us friends with listening ears and big hearts. He reveals other couples who have walked this walk before. He speaks hope and comfort to us. I know He grieves with us. He is here, and He works all things for the good of those who love Him. He also lost His own son and knows the pain of death. Thankfully He has conquered it, and we have hope in eternal life with Him.

Thank you for letting me share our story.

200,000 miles*

I’ve traveled and will continue to travel most weekends this semester. Here’s what I’ve done so far and what is to come (loosely estimated)…

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Winter Break Trip
Galveston Port to Houston Hobby Airport: ~40 miles
Flight from Hobby to Love Field: 225 miles
Dallas Love Field to Fort Worth Apple Store to Arlington to San Marcos: ~286 miles
San Marcos to College Station: 125 miles
Total: 676 miles

Trip to GCM Intern Training
College Station to San Marcos: 125 miles
San Marcos to Austin airport: ~37 miles
Flight from Austin to Detroit: 1,165 miles
Detroit to Ann Arbor: ~43 miles
Ann Arbor to Detroit: ~43 miles
Flight from Detroit to Austin: 1,165 miles
Austin airport to San Marcos: ~37 miles
San Marcos to College Station: 125 miles
Total: 2750

AMCF Women’s Retreat
College Station to Fort Parker State Park: ~80 miles
Fort Parker State Park to College Station: ~80 miles
Total: 190 miles

2.42 Women’s Retreat
College Station to San Marcos: 125 miles
San Marcos to College Station: 125 miles
Total: 250 miles

Spring Break
College Station to San Antonio: 172 miles
San Antonio to College Station: 172 miles
College Station to Columbia, MO: ~760 miles
Columbia, MO to Arlington: ~600 miles
Arlington to College Station: 186 miles
Total: 1890 miles

Birthday Weekend in San Marcos
College Station to San Marcos: 125 miles
San Marcos to Austin to San Marcos: ~60 miles
San Marcos to College Station: 125 miles
Total: 310 miles

TOTAL MILES TRAVELED IN 2013 SO FAR: 6063

Galveston Wedding Weekend
College Station to Alvin: 124 miles
Alvin to Galveston to Alvin: 60 miles
Alvin to College Station: 124 miles
Total: 208 miles

Arlington Weekend
College Station to Arlington: 186 miles
Arlington to College Station: 186 miles
Total: 372 miles

Den Reunion in Houston
College Station to Houston: ~97 miles
Houston to College Station: ~97 miles
Total: 194 miles

The Rocket Summer Concert Weekend
College Station to San Marcos: 125 miles
San Marcos to Austin to San Marcos: ~67 miles
San Marcos to College Station: 125 miles
Total: 317 miles

Homegroup Trip to San Marcos
College Station to San Marcos: 125 miles
San Marcos to College Station: 125 miles
Total: 250 miles

TOTAL ANTICIPATED MILAGE FOR SPRING 2013: 7404 miles

And that doesn’t count any more job interview travel or summer travel! I’ll be interested to see what I rack up for 2013 by December!

*This post’s title is a reference to a Rocket Summer song. Google it.

CoMO Spring Break 2013

I’m a little slow updating, but spring break was last week, and I took advantage of my gracious graduate assistantship supervisor and took the week off to head up to Missouri for the first time since I graduated almost 2 years ago!

Absolutely Mizzou-tiful

Absolutely Mizzou-tiful

It was a really lovely time of seeing old stomping grounds and hanging out with dear friends and mentors. It was hard to balance a week of seeing lots of friends, trying to do all of my favorite CoMO things (didn’t make it to the Ragtag… womp womp), eating my favorite CoMO food, trying to be a little productive with job searching and support raising, while also trying to relax during what was likely my last spring break ever. Although it was a busy week, I love every part of it and am so glad I got to visit the Zou! Here’s a little of what I did:

  • Ate delicious Apples & Sausage on a pancake with Samjay at Cafe Berlin, a CoMO brunch MUST.

    Cafe Berlin (photo by Samjay)

    Cafe Berlin (photo by Samjay)

  • Visited with Mariah in Mizzou’s beautifully gothic Memorial Union.

    Memorial Union

    Memorial Union

  • Dined on Addison’s famous Nachos Bianco with my blog friend, Kate, IRL! It was our first time to meet in person after two years of internet friendship!

    Kate & Me

    Kate & Me

  • Hung out in Center Hall and Sporcled with the ladies of Dobbs Canvas Group, aka what my undergrad small group became after they closed Mark Twain Hall for renovations.
  • Applied for some reslife jobs at Mizzou and in Texas, and ended up with a phone interview!
  • Visited the Missourian and caught up with one of my favorite editors, the lovely Liz Brixey.
  • Grabbed some delicious cookies from Ellis Library’s Bookmark Cafe and washed it down with some Kaldi’s coffee before catching up with my favorite eccentric and brilliant professor, Dean Ted Tarkow.

    Bookmark Cafe cookies. Soooo good.

    Bookmark Cafe cookies. Soooo good.

  • Walked across campus to see the newly renovated Pershing Commons and chat with my former Freshman Interest Groups colleague and Director of Mizzou’s ResLife, Frankie.
  • Resisted buying so many glorious black & gold souvenirs, settling instead on a T-shirt for the boyf. He joked that he now has a shirt to mow the lawn in. Jerk. #Aggie
  • Drank some Fitz’s rootbeer in Kaldi’s and worked on support raising.
  • Spent the evening snuggling and giggling with my five hosts (Katie, Elaine, Samjay, Allie, and Michelle) in their adorable house, the Loo (which stands for Land of Oz).

    The Loo gals and me

    The Loo gals and me

  • Grabbed gyros at Casablanca with Pastor Garrett and his lovely pregnant wife Brenna. (Can’t wait to meet baby Eben!)
  • Walked over to Pastor John aka Drage‘s house and hashed out my summer internship job responsibilities for LT and talked recent and upcoming life events.
  • Spooned and took the best nap ever with Samjay.
  • Treated myself to way too much food at Flat Branch with Allie. By far my favorite restaurant in CoMO. Had to get the Flat Branch burger smothered in their ‘Chokes & Cheese for old time’s sake, followed by their cookie sundae with black & gold Tiger Striped ice cream. Also finally got around to trying a sample of six of Flat Branch’s own brews. My favorite was definitely the Oil Change Oatmeal Stout. Dark and chocolaty with some coffee flavors; yum.
  • Craft nighted it up with Mazvita (Mah-‘gee-ta) and made some adorable fabric flower hair clips. Buy one here to support Mazvita and invisible chonic illness awareness!

    Craft night! (photo by Mazvita)

    Craft night! (photo by Mazvita)

  • Enjoyed a famous Rollins Dining Hall omelet with Elaine.
  • Lunched at the Upper Crust with my Walter Williams mentor, Maggie. Although it was a good lunch, I’ll have to remember in the future brunch is the best there.
  • Grabbed some Which Wich with my dear friend Justin who also happened to be in town.
  • Took a walk/hike through Clyde Wilson Memorial Park, tucked in the back of the East Campus neighborhood, with Samjay & Michelle

    Hiking with Michelle and Samjay

    Hiking with Michelle and Samjay

  • Crashed Dobbs’ Canvas Group
  • Watched a terrible movie on Netflix with Michelle.
  • Enjoyed delicious Thai iced tea and peanut phat thai from Bangkok Gardens with my former internship supervisors, Jill & Laura.
  • Toured the under-renovations Mark Twain Hall, my home for 3 years while at Mizzou.
  • Enjoyed the spring weather, the Columns, and Peace Park with Michelle.
  • Crashed a Rollins/Dobbs canvas group video game hangout.
  • Went home early for more snuggling, giggling, and worship with the Loo gals on my last night in CoMO.

    Worship time!

    Worship time!

Overall a beautiful week in Missouri!

We have to go back!

I have an announcement! God- (and Drage-) willing, I will be going back to Colorado LT this coming summer as a GCM staff intern! (If you don’t know what LT is, read about it here. But really you should know about it because I think I’ve mentioned it at least every third blog post since I decided to go the first time in the spring of 2010.)

Now I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I did, too, at first.

But wait, aren’t you graduating from your master’s program in May? Shouldn’t you be looking for a real job?
Ha! That’s the first question I asked myself after I felt the Lord telling me I should consider this internship back in July.

Um, God, you’re telling me I should intern at LT? That sounds like a horrible idea. What will people say when I tell them I’m not looking for a job after graduation, I’m just galavanting off to the mountains and ignoring the “real world” for an extra 12 weeks? And I have, like, loans to repay and stuff.
Yeah, good thing it’s a paid internship!
I’m supposed to graduate and get a real job because that’s what grownups do!
Can’t you job search while you’re in Colorado?
Uh, I guess so… yeah. But employers are going to ask me about this gap between grad school job searching.
Um, what gap? You’ll be working.
But does working at LT really count towards my professional career?
Lindsay. Yes. Duh. You’ll be working with college students and coordinating a summer leadership training program.
Oh yeah… It is pretty much all the things I LOVE about my area of study… discipleship, student groups, leadership, teaching & workshops, event planning… That actually would look pretty good on my resume… hmm…
See. I told you it’s gonna be awesome.
But God, what happens when LT ends and I don’t have a job?
Lindsay, how many times have a carefully and perfectly taken care of all your needs? Oh, that’s right, ALL THE TIMES.
Ok, God. I guess I’ll think about it.
Lindsay, you can say that, but we both know what you’re going to decide…
… shut up, God. (Sometimes I don’t want to admit he’s right even when I know in my heart he is…)

So yeah. I’ve been praying about it and talking to people I trust and respect about what spending this summer in Colorado might mean for me. Obviously all the church staff I’ve talked to are pro-me-going. But I was nervous about what my grad school program coordinator would say if I took the path less traveled and put off my job search a little. Turns out she was supportive of me doing what I felt like was right for me. Something about listening to my inner voice or something (insert Baxter Magolda in-joke for SA-people here). Then I talked to my current supervisor, which I think was possibly the most encouraging conversation ever. This obviously isn’t word for word what he said, but it captures the essence of the conversation.

“Lindsay, if you feel called to go, then you need to go. We all have voices insides our selves that tell us stuff that really might not make sense for other people, but it makes sense for us. You need to listen to that voice. Will your job search look different? Yes. Will you potentially miss out on jobs that will be open in the summer? Yes. But that doesn’t mean you won’t find a job. You’re just going to find a different job. Your process is just going to be different from your peers’, and that’s okay as long as you know that and are okay with it. You’re 23 years old. When are you going to have the opportunity to do this stuff for yourself again? You have 30+ years to build up your professional career. You don’t need to start your professional first job the day after graduation.”

Biggest weight off my shoulders.

So yeah. I’m applying to intern, y’all. I’m really excited for what this internship will do for me personally and professionally. Personally, I think a season of semi-rest and refreshment after this crazy year of grad school will be the best thing ever. I need to get out to the mountains and dedicate 12 weeks of my life to serving the Lord and not writing student development theory papers or studying higher education case-law. I need to breathe mountain air and stare at God’s creation for a few months. Professionally, like I mentioned earlier, this internship will give me more experience in a non-conventional-but-still-applicable-student-affairs-y-type job. It will also give me a better understanding of the inner workings of college ministry and what it’s like to work with other GCM staffers. So yeah. Getting pumped for sure.

So does this mean you’re going on staff?!
Ha, no.

Oh, ‘cuz you don’t want to support raise, right?
Well, that is technically true. I don’t really want to support raise my salary, but that is not the reason I’m not going on staff. I’m not going on staff because I don’t feel called to go on staff. I feel called to get a job at a university and volunteer my resources and outside time to campus ministry through GCM. I feel like the Lord has equipped me to serve in this way, and I am super pumped about it.

Oh, so do you have to raise support for this internship?
Yes, so… be on the lookout for a letter asking you for support through prayer or finances in early 2013! I’ll admit I don’t really look forward to support raising again, especially since I will have to raise more than I had to for Italy last year, but I know the Lord will provide. If he’s calling me to Colorado, he will make a way for me to go.

So what happens now?
My application to intern is due December 1, and then if I’m accepted to intern, I’ll go to GCM ministry team development training in January. Then in May, I will graduate, pack out my room at the Den (woah, too soon… too soon…), and head to the mountains. I don’t know for sure what happens after that. I’ll be doing some preliminary job searching in the spring just in case my dream job shows up, but I imagine I’ll be doing the bulk of the work of looking for a real job out in Colorado. As of today, I plan on looking primarily at GCM campuses (Texas A&M, Texas State, UNT, Mizzou, and Pitt), though I will also be looking at the Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas areas. If I leave Colorado without a job, chances are I’ll move back in with the ‘rents until God tells me where to go next. Not gonna lie, that freaks me out. I haven’t been unemployed since high school, but I trust that the Lord knows what he’s doing!

So yeah! I’ll definitely try to update the blog as more happens, but, um, you may have noticed that I have sucked at blogging this semester, so… no guarantees for regular updates… Regardless, be praying for me, please! Excited to share what the Lord does with me and this opportunity over the next 10 months. 🙂

Why I care about the SEC

Truman the Tiger and Reveille chilling at the “Welcome to the SEC” weekend for Mizzou and A&M.

As some of you may know, this Sunday marked Texas A&M and Mizzou’s entrance into the NCAA Southeastern Conference. This is big deal in many ways, from more prestige for both schools, to a more equitable sharing of varsity sports profits, to all sorts of sports/higher education-related politics I don’t even fully understand. But that’s not really why I care about this move.

If you know me, you might know I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world. Yes, I enjoy a good Mavs game, will take you up on a night at the Rangers Stadium (though I would never take time out to watch a baseball game on TV; blech), and will deck myself out in black & gold or maroon & white every Saturday all fall. But in general, I’m not a sports fanatic. I’ll go to sporting events or watch them as a social activity with friends, but I don’t really have a stake in who wins. I don’t follow any professional teams*, and I only really care if the Aggies or Tigers win. Don’t ask me anything about other teams; chances are I don’t know. And honestly, at this point, I’m doing good even to remember the main football players for A&M and Mizzou. I’ve lost all sense of who plays on their basketball teams. National Championship? If it’s not Tigers or Aggies, it’s really not of interest to me. Super Bowl? I’m there for the food, the commercials, the halftime show, and to watch the Brynsvold Twins watch the game. (They’re the real entertainment.) I don’t even care about the BCS vs. a playoff system. Unless A&M/Mizzou gets screwed. Don’t mess with my two teams. Top 25 ranking? No Tigers, no Aggies? I’m not checking it.

So then you might be wondering why Saturday at midnight my Twitter feed exploded with SEC insanity. Well, it’s because this means more to me than sports. This is two of my favorite places in the entire world united together. I love it.

My tweets from June 30/July 1, 2012.

Mizzou and A&M are my homes. I met my best friends there. I grew up there. They are the last 5 years of my life, and those have been some formative years, let me tell you. So the fact that they’re both here together, newbies in the SEC, warms my heart.

It’s like Colorado LT. Colorado has brought so many different groups of my friends and mixed them all up. My sister and a friend from high school met my Mizzou friends. My Mizzou friends made Aggie friends, and then I met them in Texas. And now my Aggie friends are back in Colorado meeting more Mizzou friends. ALL MY WORLDS ARE COLLIDING, AND IT’S AWESOME.

Allie, who I discipled at Mizzou, and Kristina, who I will be living with at A&M in the fall, sharing a milkshake. WORLDS COLLIDE.

My sister and a bunch of my Mizzou friends hiking Eagle Cliff last summer.

So the SEC just seems to be a continuation. My favorite places on earth continuing to exist together and collide. Plus it doesn’t hurt that I don’t have to keep up with two conferences to watch my two favorite teams. And it guarantees a yearly “WHAT COLOR DO I WEAR MY TEAMS ARE PLAYING EACH OTHER AND I’M TORN” moment. And an excuse for my Mizzou friends to come watch a game in Texas or me to follow the Aggies up to Missouri.

My maroon Mizzou T-shirt so I can support both my teams.

So I guess it does kind of have to do with sports. Whatever.

*This is not to say I’m a bandwagonner. If I have to pledge allegiance to sports teams, I’ve picked them: Dallas Mavericks for basketball (leftover from the days when I did actually follow them. I miss Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzski’s bromance.), Texas Rangers for baseball, Dallas Stars for hockey? (I’ve never watched hockey in my life), Team USA for the Olympics (duh), and Italy for other international sports-related endeavors. Because, you know, it’s the only country outside the US I’ve been to. That’s legit, right?

I’m no Merida

I have been told by many people this summer that I am incredibly brave. People are amazed that I would just pick up and move to Oregon without knowing anyone. They’re astounded I just picked up and moved to Missouri for college without knowing anyone. They think I’m this confident, independent woman who just makes friends at the drop of a hat and isn’t afraid of being alone. In some respects, part of that is true. I like to think I’m somewhat confident and independent (though I think that sentence just negated the “confident” part). I do make friends fairly easily, and I enjoy my alone time.

But y’all, if I’m being real, what you don’t know is that I’m homesick right now. I’m sitting here missing Columbia. I haven’t truly been homesick for Columbia in ages! I’m missing Colorado, and LT was two years ago. I’m missing College Station and Texas A&M. I’m missing my beautiful roommates and their daily friendship. I’m missing my homegroup and our crazy antics and shenanigans. I’m missing the dudes at the Dudeplex. I’m missing the people I play worship with on some Sunday mornings. I’m missing people able to play music with others in general. I’m missing people who would get excited and care that Mizzou and A&M are now both members of the SEC. There, I just word vomited all my homesickness out.


And I hate admitting this.
I want to be brave. I want people to think I’m independent and confident. But that’s just my stupid pride. And that actually isn’t so good. So here I am telling you. When it comes down to it, I’m just not that brave.

(I am, however, a fiery redhead with a Scottish background, so in that sense, yes, I am like Merida. The blog post title is mostly a play on the movie’s title.)

Going to Mizzou wasn’t that big of a deal because it was college. Everyone picks up and starts a new life in college. You’re encouraged to break away from your high school friends and meet new people. Even though I knew no one going to Mizzou, I also knew lots of people would know no one at Mizzou. And we could know no one together. Plus there were all sorts of instruments in place to help me meet people at Mizzou: my Summer Welcome group, my residence hall, my FIG. That doesn’t count.

As for Oregon, yes, I moved here not knowing anyone, but I also knew it would only be for nine weeks. You can do anything for nine weeks. I also did a lot of research to ensure I wouldn’t be totally alone here. I friended the two ACUHO-I interns on Facebook before I even got to Oregon after I asked my boss if there would be other interns here. I researched churches before I left so I could start meeting people right away. People saw that as be just being a planner, but it was also me not wanting to be alone.

And even though I’ve met some great people here and really never run out of things to do, I miss my friends. I miss my home(s). I miss CoMO. I miss Colorado. I miss CStat. (I even miss Arlington a little, but actually not all that much. Sorry Mom & Dad and Blair and grandparents! I’m not used to seeing you that much… that’s the only reason why! I promise it’ll make sense by the end of this post.)

Ever since I moved to Mizzou, I have never truly been without friends. I had my Mizzou friends at Mizzou. I stayed in Columbia with friends for two summers. I went to Colorado for a summer, but I went with Mizzou friends, and in fact, it was nearly all my close Mizzou friends that went! I moved to College Station, but I also already had friends there. I went to Italy for two weeks, but that was only for two weeks, and I at least was starting to become friends with most of my teammates.

This summer, this Oregon summer, is the first time I have truly moved somewhere without knowing anyone or having a group of other newbies to cling to. This is the longest I’ve been apart from my CStat friends. (This is not even close to how long I’ve gone without seeing my family, hence not missing them as much. This is somewhat normal for how we function these days.)

This is quite possibly what post-grad-school life is like. And that terrifies me. People say I’m brave and can just move somewhere without knowing anyone, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t want to do that when I graduate.

Searching for a job is like a big scary black unknown for me right now. Thank God it isn’t happening for 10 months. If I had my way, next fall I’d working in College Station, Austin, Memphis, San Marcos, the DFW, Mizzou or Pitt. Where I know people. Or where there are GCM churches. Where I would not be alone. I see these SAAHE second years recent grads who are off starting their lives in totally new places. They are the braves ones.

I dread starting over. I don’t want to have to share my life story with a new set of strangers. I don’t want to have to re-explain who people are when I tell stories from my past. And I realize this will happen even if I stay in CStat or move to another GCM campus church or back to Mizzou or whatever. I’m going to meet new people, and I actually enjoy making new friends. But only if I have some constants. Even moving to CStat was hard in that aspect because even though I had a few close friends there, I still had a support system to rebuild. I remember thinking to myself, “Crap. I have to find my new Amanda Craven (one of my closer female friends, peer discipler, and confidant).”

Anyway, now I’m just letting my fears out all over the page, which is silly because I know God is going to take care of me wherever I go. I will be okay if I stay in College Station. I will be okay if I end up moving to Montana or somewhere equally as random and far away. In fact, I will be better than okay. I will be great because the Lord’s plan for my life is more than my tiny, homesick mind can fathom. And if this post makes me sound miserable, don’t worry, I’m really not. I’m just excited that in five weeks I’ll be back in Texas. I’m going to enjoy my last five weeks here, but I’m also glad it’s only five weeks.

I just wanted to dispel this myth everyone keeps believing. I’m not that brave! I am only able to do this, to have this experience, because I trusted God with my summer. I know I’m supposed to be here, and it’s been really, really good for me. It’s been restful. It’s been professionally helpful. And it’s been revealing, socially and professionally, about what I want in the future. Just think. If I hadn’t come here this summer, this whole new experience might have been at my first job, which hopefully will last more than nine weeks. At least now I won’t be surprised by my homesickness in the future. I’m coming to terms with it. I don’t have to hide it out of my pride. I’m learning to accept my inherent need for true community, unconditional support, and deep friendship. And that’s worth nine weeks of missing.

Travel Tuesday: Domestic Travel

BWS tips button
I am not usually one to do link-up weekly posts, but this week’s Travel Tuesday prompt from my friend Megan really got my thoughts stirring! What was the prompt, you ask?

“Do you think domestic traveling is really traveling?”

YES.

Now, I may be a little bit biased because I’ve never been outside of the United States (soon to change in three weeks!), but regardless, I think I can make a pretty good argument for while travelling domestically is really travelling.

My family vacations were always full of learning and seeing. We are not a sit on the beach family. At some points we have sat on the beach or in a mountain cabin, but there are always at least a few side trips to see a museum or attraction or monument or natural beauty. So I like my travelling busy and educational. That being said, there are a lot of fascinating, educational places in the US! I won’t bore you by telling you how many museums I’ve been to across the US (It’s a lot. Seriously. By my senior year in high school I broke down in grumpy, tired 17-year-old tears because I was tired of looking at “stuffed animals and rocks” everywhere we went… but normally I love that sort of thing! It had just been a lot of museums in a short amount of time… End side story.), but I will try to recap some of my favorite domestic trips over the years. Let’s try going east to west.

1. New York, New York
I went with my immediate family, aunt, uncle and cousins at the beginning on my senior year. I was so glad to finally visit such an iconic American city and see the sights (Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park, Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, Museum of Natural History…), but I would never want to spend extended time there. Too concrete-y. Too busy. Fun for a visit though! I’d love to go back and catch some art museums and another show or two.

My baby brother looks like an INFANT here with Flat Stanley in the now-closed Tavern on the Green restaurant.

The New York skyline from the ferry to Ellis Island. Or maybe from an architecture cruise? Can't remember.

My first and only Broadway show!

2. Orlando, Florida
This wasn’t really an educational trip at all, but Disney World is one of my favorite places on earth! I’ve had the privilege to go twice: once in 7th grade with my extended paternal family and once in 9th grade on a high school band/orchestra trip. (No photos as these trips were all pre-Facebook/my Macbook. *gasp*)

3. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is my favorite city I’ve ever visited so far. It’s got the culture of New York with more midwestern charm. I’ve been fortunate to visit three times: an 8th grade orchestra trip, during summer before my senior year on a college visit to the University of Chicago and Northwestern, and a weekend trip in college. One of my favorite trips was in high school when my family took the Amtrak train from Ft. Worth, Texas all the way to Chicago. It was such a unique and fun experience eating in the dining car and sleeping in the sleep cars. I felt like Harry Potter!

A trip "the Bean" with my college friends.

The Chicago skyline in shadows from Sear's Tower... which is what it was called all three times I visited! Psh, Willis Tower...

Me in front of the Chicago skyline

4. St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis was only two hours away from Columbia, where I did my undergrad, so I took several day trips there throughout my four years in Missouri. St. Louis has excellent free venues in Forest Park, including the science museum, the zoo, and an art museum. Another must-see is the St. Louis City Museum, which really isn’t a museum at all — it’s essentially a giant playground for children of all ages (and college students). And don’t forget to take a trip to the top of the arch, catch a Cards game, and eat some toasted rav on the Mississippi.

My grandma and I on a day trip to the Arch

Hanging out with some Mizzou and U of I friends at the St. Louis City Museum

5. Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis wasn’t a vacation, per se, but I did love visiting the city for a week during my senior year of college. I went with my church on a mission trip to work with SOS Ministries in the Binghampton neighborhood of Memphis. It was so great to see the city from a non-tourist perspective and interact with the residents there as we fixed up houses. We did take a jaunt to Beale Street ne evening, so no worries. I got a few touristy things in. (No photos because I was in ill-fitting sweats covered in paint and feral cat poo for most of the trip. Glamourous, I know!)

6. New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans was also not exactly a vacation. I visited last October for the 2011 National Orientation Directors Association national conference for my job. It was a lot of meeting and greeting and networking for this little introvert, but the conference was really great overall, and we got to visit New Orleans and eat several dinners on the university’s tab! Bourbon street and the French Quarter in general were a little too much for me (but the architecture and music and culture was fascinating from a distance!), but I enjoyed trying all the cuisine, including lots of Cajun food and delicious beignets. Plus I got to learn a lot about Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina through the Presbytere.

Visiting the French Quarter

Food!

6. Minnesota (St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Duluth — same trip)
For spring break of my sophomore year in college, I went with a large group of friends to Minnesota. Why the heck would I want to visit Minnesota in March, you ask? Well, I had friends who lived there and would be willing to put me up, and I’d never been to Minnesota! It was a lovely weekend with friends, exploring the frozen lake shores of Duluth and sitting under warm blankets watching Mizzou basketball in the NCAA tournament.

Modeling on the shores of Lake Superior

9. Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas
This one might not seem like travelling at all considering my hometown is smack between these two cities, but sometimes when we were in high school, our parents would take a day out of spring break to “visit” Dallas or Fort Worth to see the sites. Seeing the World Aquarium or the Dallas Museum of Art or the Fort Worth Stock Show was always a good time.

Hanging out with my Dallas-Mizzou friend Drew at the Nasher Sculpture Center

8. Austin, Texas
See previous post. Mmm. Love.

11. Colorado Springs/Denver/Evergreen, Colorado
My family used to take regularly summer vacations to Colorado where my uncle had a summer home. These were some of our “sit in a mountain cabin for a week” trips (playing horseshoes and darts, collecting rocks, playing in the hot tub), but we also would take day trips out from the cabin in Evergreen to the alpine slides in Golden, Tiny Town in Colorado Springs, or the US Mint in Denver.

Revisiting the alpine slides in Golden with my brothers this summer

10. Estes Park, Colorado
I lived here for a summer. And it was awesome. And I will probably write about it next week because Megan’s prompt is about your favorite National Park. (Rocky Mountain National Park for the win!)

Hiking to Dream Lake with my sibs and dad this past summer

Y'all. I LIVED HERE.

And I went sledding in June.

12. San Diego, California
Another family trip with my paternal extended family! Lovely time visiting the beaches and enjoying the perfect weather between my freshman and sophomore years of college, but we also enjoyed visiting a docked battleship and seeing the Olympic Training Center outside San Diego!

U.S.S. Midway with the sibs (That cardigan gave me an awkward sunburn.)

First time at the Pacific Ocean! (Awkward sunburn seen here)

So that concludes this week’s Travel Tuesday. I don’t necessarily plan on linking up every week, but if Megan keeps posting interesting prompts, I’ll keep writing!

That’s so Austin

Last week I fell in love.
In love with Austin, Texas.

I know as an Aggie, I’m not supposed to do that, but, well, I did.

I went to Austin last weekend with my homegroup, and even though I’ve been to Texas’ capitol on multiple occasions, something about this trip changed my heart for a city I’ve felt neutral toward my entire life.

I love the feel of the city. The people there. The fact that it’s a city but surrounded by Texas Hill Country. The fact that you can canoe past the skyline. The fact that there are locally supported businesses. The fact that everyone bikes (even though biking still scares me to death.) It just all hit me in a perfect storm of “LOVE ME AND MOVE HERE, LINDSAY.” It’s like a more urban Columbia, Missouri. Love.

The view of the Austin skyline from my roommate Kelsey's house

The tower on the UT campus

The view of the Capitol from the UT campus

The rotunda of the Texas State Capitol

You see, the things is I’ve been thinking about moving to Austin for a while. Two years ago, before I was even back in Texas, my friends Mark & Macie mentioned a potential church plant to the t.u. UT campus, and it struck a chord with me. My graduate degree would qualify me to work at a college, and having someone “on the inside” could be a real asset. Plus I see my job as my mission field, and the church plant could combine those two so beautifully.

The problem is that this said church plant it set for 2-3 years after I get my master’s degree. So I’ve been mulling over this idea. This idea of sticking around College Station after graduation and staying at Fellowship and preparing to start a church on the University of Texas campus. And the mulling has grown into the dreaming and planning. And the dreaming and planning has grown into thinking critically and weighing pros and cons and actually starting to get really scared.

You see, I graduate in just over a year. In a year I start the job search. And I need to know where to look. Do I start a nation-wide search and ditch Austin all together, believing God has other plans for me? Or do I severely limit my job search to College Station and Blinn and trust that the Lord with provide a job?

Beyond just the job stuff, and as much as I have grown to love the idea of the Austin church plant, parts of it terrify me. The risk we’d be taking, I’d be taking. The areas of my heart that would need to be redeemed and changed. It’s a lot to trust God with. And I want to trust Him. But it’s scary.

And I can see myself there. I’ll probably have to get over my fear of bikes and get a tattoo and buy more hipster clothes and a canoe to fit in, but I can see it.

But even though I fell in love this weekend and can see myself there, it’s still terrifying, and that’s something I’m going to have to work out with the Lord over the next year. I’m excited to see what He says.

Spring has sprung

I never thought I would like highways so much until last week.

You see, it’s been five years since I’ve been in Texas during the spring. (Well, for more than a week at a time…) And I kinda forgot what Texas spring is like.

TURNS OUT IT’S BEAUTIFUL.
I’ve missed bluebonnets for years, but I forgot about the rainbows of other wildflowers the blanket the roadsides in Texas. It’s breathtaking.

I’m a loser and didn’t take any photos over spring break even though drove from College Station to Arlington to Austin and back to College station, and I saw hundreds of awesome fields full or red clover blossoms, orange Indian paintbrushes, purple winecups, yellow black-eyed susans and, of course, bluebonnets, so you’ll have to take it at my word and at Google Image Search’s results.

I have been a huge fan of Missouri springs and proclaiming their superiority over the past four years, but I have to say, Texas highways are giving the Mizzou campus a run for its money this March. Especially since it never seemed to really hit true spring temperatures last year

(Sam Fiek, you would love it here.)

Texas is jealous of my love for Missouri

So remember that time I moved away from Mizzou back to Texas and how excited I was about that? Remember how craved Texas? Remember how I obsessed about Texas A&M? WELL THE HONEYMOON PERIOD IS OVER, Y’ALL.

I mean, not really. I honestly do love Texas and wouldn’t trade being here for the world, but seriously, Texas is getting a little jealous and territorial, and I’m feeling a little smothered. IT WON’T LET ME CONNECT WITH MISSOURI. Some examples:

1. Homecoming
This year was Mizzou’s 100th Homecoming, and it was a big, freaking deal. I was trying to make every plan to go back to Missouri for the occasion, but it never came through, and the cherry on top was the fact that I had to work New Family Welcome that weekend. The fates did not want me to return to CoMO.

2. Mizzou vs. A&M (football)
The Tigers came to town at the end of October to play the Aggies. Along with the team came some of my good friends from Mizzou. Did I get to go to that game? Was I even in town that weekend? NO. Again for work, though this time it was for an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans, so I can only complain so much.

3. Mizzou vs. A&M (basketball)
The #3 ranked Missouri Tigers are coming to town to face off  against A&M this weekend. And I had the opportunity to go for free because I signed up for The Big Event. I, however, will be in Oklahoma City. For work. CRUEL WORLD.

4. Mizzou vs. A&M (baseball)
Our homegroup could possibly be going to Austin that weekend. This is just getting ridiculous.

5. Spring Break
I have the time off, but because Columbia is 2 hours from an airport and I don’t want to pay for a shuttle/spend my entire week there, I’m not going to visit. Besides, all my friends would be in school because we have different spring breaks. Womp womp.

But we haven’t even gotten to the pièce de résistance yet. Oh no. That’s what went down tonight. It’s a little different because it isn’t necessarily Texas keeping me away from Missouri… I mean in a way it is, but it’s almost like Missouri is trying to entice me and Texas is rubbing it in my face that I can’t make it work. Rude.

6. The Rocket Summer
I love The Rocket Summer. Everyone knows Bryce Avery is my favorite artist ever. I count him among the influential people in my life. I’m a little obsessed. Despite this fact, I have never seen a honest-to-goodness TRS headlining show. I’ve seen Bryce twice: once when he opened for One Republic at Harding University and once when he played a solo show in Dallas. I can’t count the number of times I have missed Dallas headlining shows because I lived in Missouri at the time.

WELL NOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED. SORT OF.
I found out tonight that The Rocket Summer and Switchfoot (another one of my faves) are touring together in April & May. Guess where they’re playing on April 26. COLUMBIA FREAKING MISSOURI. Whyyyyy, Bryce and Jon, whyyyyyy? I waited patiently for four years for you to come, and you never did. I literally talked to Bryce about The Blue Note when I met him in Arkansas. This is just cruel. I mean, it’s still not a headlining show, but seeing two awesome bands within walking distance of where I lived in MO would have been so awesome. Thankfully they’re stopping in Frisco. And even though that’s kind of far away I WILL be at that show, dangit.

So Texas, honey, I promise to stay faithful to you. I am not going anywhere. If you let me see Missouri or some Tigers, I won’t run back to Mizzou with them. Seriously. I’m here for the long haul. Can you just lighten up a little?