In Progress…


The BEST week.

This past week has been simply a blessing, and there is so much to be thankful for. I hope you can find the joys in days that may just be mediocre. I don’t start work for another week, so my days have been…well… free. God has blessed me with time these past few weeks to rest in Him, serve, establish community, spend quality family time, and simply enjoy the days.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

Sunday: Church at Ecclesia was wonderful; our pastor is recently began a new series on “Heaven”, and I’m excited to begin this journey with my church. I then went to lunch with my friend Lisa; she introduced me to Ruggles Green, and I have to say that I am now a big fan! After some good conversation over beautiful salads, I relaxed the rest of the day, made soup for dinner, and watched Up.

Monday: Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! My dad had the day off, and we both needed to take our cars to the dealership to get fixed, so we met up around 10am and got that taken care of. Dad was ahead of the game since he brought his laptop with him (of course), making for an entertaining 1-hour wait. We then went out for lunch to Panera, then headed on our own way.

Tuesday: It was time to tackle my overflowing closet. There was a time, oh about six months ago, that the closet used to be called a “walk-in”, but I quickly changed the name to “lean-in-and-hope-you-don’t-get-sucked-in”. Five hours later, I finish organizing my closet, bookshelf, bank statements from forever ago, grad school craziness, etc. The best part? I found a million socks that were missing their mate. Success.

Wednesday: After meeting my mom for lunch, I went for a bike ride/walk through Memorial Park. Unfortunately, the recent rain caused most of the bike trails to be closed, so I went walking through the beautiful Arboretum instead. After a quick stop at H-E-B for some groceries (blueberry-pineapple dump cake…. see the recipe in my post below!), I quickly made a cake, and then headed out to SQUARE DANCE with my small group. I have to say, I have not participated in this “physical activity” since elementary school when we were being graded on it, and even then, I never was too fond of promenading with the inevitable smelly boy who was bound to have koodies. However, this was no elementary P.E. activity; I had the MOST amazing time with great people.

Thursday: I LOVED today! My church, Ecclesia, is building a a new location at 1100 Elder (we are currently busting at the seams at our current location on Taft). I believe the new building was originally part of the Houston Fire Department. Volunteers were (and are) needed to help with the drastic renovations that need to take place, so I thought I’d jump in! We tore down walls/sheet-rock/wood/, swept a lot, power-washed, organized, etc. to clear out the space. My partner-in-crime and new friend Mandel (and one of the head deconstructers/builders) was completely amazing, taught me so much (more about life than how to properly use a drill), and tried to convince me that I should be in love with John Wayne. Mandel is, what he likes to call, an “urban camper”; his heart is solely to love and serve the Lord in any capacity he is able to. We became great friends, and I am more than thankful for our day spent doing the Lord’s work together.

Friday: Today I went out to lunch with my beautiful friend, Ginny. I met her through a book study I was a part of at Ecclesia. We have SO much in common, and I sincerely enjoyed lunching with her today.

Saturday: Today was GREAT!  Tim came to Houston for a wedding later that evening, and he surprised me by bringing Chick-fil-a breakfast in the morning. Two and a half cups of coffee later, I introduced him to the deliciousness of Cafe Express for lunch, hit a great BOGO sale at Rack Room Shoes, and tackled the chaos of the Galleria and the Apple store. I topped the day off with a fun dinner with my parents and brother at Barnaby’s in Midtown.

Sunday: After a wonderful time of worship at Ecclesia, my friend Lisa invited me to go to see TUTS production of West Side Story with her at the Hobby Center. Ahhhmazing. This is one of my favorite musicals, and this was my first time to see it on stage!

 

 

~Lindsey

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Lindsey vs. Foreign Plastic

Apparently I grind my teeth.  And after 4 years of not having been to the dentist (yes this slightly disturbing, but NO cavities I might add), apparently I have ground (sounds weird) my back teeth down to almost nothing.

My dentist fit me for a mouth guard to wear at night. He said it will be quite uncomfortable the first week, but that I’ll get used to it and sleep like a baby soon.

the problematic-piece-of-plastic.

Night #1: Success! I slept well through the entire night. I think to myself, “This ginormous piece of plastic protruding from my mouth and irritating my gums is no big deal.”

Night #2: Fail. I took it out half way through the night, completely unaware.

Night #3: Repeat night #2.

Night #4: Fail. I woke up in the morning with no mouth-guard in my mouth, but rather with it clear across my room by my bedroom door.

Night #5: Fail. I fell asleep fine, took it out (again, unknowingly), found it on my nightstand and put it back in around 3am (knowingly), took it out again (still unknowingly), and have yet to even find its whereabouts.

Night #6: I currently must resolve night #5’s dilemma before conquering night #6. Will follow up with you later.

Lindsey.


Recipe of the Week: Blueberry-Pineapple Dump Cake

I’m deciding, as of now, to post a new recipe I’ve tried each week. This will hopefully do two things: first, make me actually cook/bake something new and interesting, and secondly, to actually make me update my blog. Plus everyone likes a new recipe to try now and then.

This week’s recipe, a blueberry-pineapple dump cake. I made it for my small group this week (partly because 1. Tim told me about a dump cake he ate on Monday night. 2. I watched Paula Deen make a dump cake on Tuesday afternoon. 3. I went as far as to dream about making a dump cake on Tuesday night)… and it was a hit! It takes like 60 seconds to prepare before baking… it’s so easy, so no excuses!!

mmmm.


Ingredients:

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (with the juice)

2-3 cups of fresh blueberries (I prefer more blueberries…. and frozen is ok)

3/4 cup sugar

1 package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans (unless you’re a walnut person…. I prefer pecans)

1/4 cup sugar (yes, more sugar)

And it’s simple: dump the pineapple first in a 13×9 baking dish, then top with the blueberries, sprinkle with 3/4 c. sugar. Top the fruit with the cake mix, drizzle with melted butter, sprinkle with 1/4 c. sugar, then pecans, and bake for 45 minutes!

It might not look all that pretty when taken out of the oven, but I promise it tastes great! Enjoy.

Lindsey.


Mosaic.

Well, it has been almost 4 months since I last posted. Sheesh.

Today I began re-reading Job, a fantastic book in itself, but came across these verses that resonated with me throughout the rest of my day: “Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you.(Job 5:17-19).

Thinking upon my this last year, I have seen brokenness that has been restored, and can cling to the promise that God will ultimately bind and heal.  These verses do however state that God does wound and shatter; I often am quick to expect a solely comforting God, and forget that He is to be feared as well. He allows for the brokenness and pain to occur, so that we may rise up in our trials and seek His face even more.

I can’t help here but think of a mosaic, a beautiful work of art resulting from tiny pieces of  broken glass or pottery permanently set into a specific surface, creating a pattern or image more beautiful than the original, unbroken piece of pottery/glass. When up close to a mosaic, flaws are detected. Edges are rough, even sharp. It is hard to see the complete beauty of this art-form when staring solely at one broken piece. But after taking a few steps back and seeing the entirety of the mosaic, beauty radiates as the whole picture is then seen. Each tile, unique and imperfect, plays a significant role  in the creation of this art.

The following is part of the mosaic that God is slowly creating from my brokenness, and I can’t help but get excited about what is to come.

So, where to begin? There is not one defining moment, not one specific hour or one exact place.  It has been a progression over time, a progression that I did not realize I was fully into until about seven years ago.  Then, before I knew it, I became stuck.

It’s a funny thing when people think they have their life all planned and put together.  I being one of these people, born and raised in an incredible Christian home, never thought the time would come when I would feel more consumed by the world’s standards.

I never thought that I would be “that girl” that struggled with self-image.

I never thought I would be “that girl” who hid daily hid behind a façade like the sun hides behind a dark and looming storm cloud, wanting to desperately reveal struggle and truth, but trapped behind a giant mess.

But who is “that girl”? She is desperate for seeking approval and unsatisfied with reality. She is inwardly tattered and word to shreds, but outwardly has all her crap together. She is looked up to by many, and many seek guidance and counsel from her.  However, she plays along in the game of life as not to give the slightest hint or clue that, at any point, she could completely shatter in to a million pieces.

I have an eating disorder. And I’ve had this eating disorder for roughly seven years. I sickeningly purge my food, and occasionally eliminate it all together. With this I feel as if I have a sense of control over my life. It’s not as if I did not have control over things to begin with, though. I suppose in high school, girls especially start becoming more aware of themselves and how they are portrayed by their peers. I went to a Christian high school with required school uniforms, but even in the sea of khaki, blue and white, with knee-high socks and closed-toed shoes, the struggle to be accepted and feel like you’re “worth” something more than just a good dancer/singer/student became unknowingly present.  I wanted something more, and I would do whatever it took to achieve that sense of shallow worth.

So this thought-process morphed in to what became the eating disorder, however hidden until a little over one year ago when I did end up completely shattering. I never liked my physical body, desiring to be a weight that someone who is 5’9” should not in their right mind weigh if they wanted to stand up without tumbling over. So, I had to be sneaky. With dinner ready for me on the table at 6:00pm every evening, and knowing that my mother would most likely not let me go on a “diet”, I had to take measures in to my own hands. Thus, purging seemed the best option for me.

I vaguely remember the first time, and I found myself sitting by the toilet seat crying like I’ve never cried before. This was a different cry, a strong cocktail of mixed emotions. One of “I can’t believe I really just did this” and “What did I just get myself in to?” followed by “I don’t think this can or will end tonight.”

And it didn’t end that night. I began to purge more and more as the days and months went on. No one ever knew, because I still ate my regular meals, whether in the presence of my family, or in the cafeteria at lunch surrounded by friends.  I had this preconceived notion that I would reach my goal weight, and then easily stop the purging, with everything being fine and dandy in the end.  Just like that.

Addiction came when I moved to college. A new level of independence was certainly pretty enticing. I knew I was addicted when after multiple attempts at trying to stop the purging, I would regress in to a more serious form causing physical pain upon my stomach. I lost roughly 25 pounds in 3 months during my sophomore year of college, the largest and quickest drop of weight I had experienced so far in my journey to unachievable perfection.  People noticed the change, but never suspected the “how” behind it all. I also knew I was addicted when I became completely numb to the emotion behind it all. No more shed tears by the toilet seat. It became purely a routine, like brushing your teeth; you don’t even think twice.

On January 6, 2008, my life was spared during a car accident I experienced when driving back to Abilene from Houston. I somehow lost control of my car going 72mph on the highway, causing the car to spin around three times followed by flipping twice, landing on the driver’s side. Seven hours after being rushed to the E.R, I was discharged from the hospital with nothing more than really bad bruises and a jammed thumb. God’s grace was evident more than anything I’ve ever witnessed that day. But my life stirred up even more, and I began to question the reason behind it all.

A couple of months later, I began to get really sick. After a trip to the E.R. in Abilene, and many 6-hour trips to doctors in Houston, it was confirmed that I had ovarian cysts that began to rupture. After continued pain for 6 months, I was then diagnosed with endometriosis and was scheduled for surgery soon after. Most, but not all, the lesions were removed during surgery. A once-a-month injection was required for the rest of the lesions present. Praise the Lord, today I am mostly pain-free.

It was hard to accept this divine gift of grace, both with my car accident and medical problems. The eating disorder began to take another turn for the worse; I began to suffer with PTSD and severe anxiety that caused me to shut out from my life anything that offered joy, warmth, love, and peace. I knew these beautiful things existed, but I did not physically or emotionally know how to fully grasp, understand, or accept them as something I could claim.  I felt as though I carried a ball-and-chain on my ankles, however hidden from my external world. I thought to myself, if I got myself in this mess, I should be the one to get myself out.

The weight of keeping a secret hidden for so many years ended during one of the most trying and rigorous times in my life. I was almost done with my first semester of graduate school, slightly perplexed and confused about some personal factors, living by myself in a mildly sketchy apartment, and attempting to really master the academic field I was studying.

And then I crumbled. No longer could I maintain this life consumed with being consumed. Every day was like a pathetic New Year’s resolution that ends 24 hours after it is made. I needed the Lord’s guidance more than anything, something that I had been quick to shut out. I made the though phone call to my sister, Allison, and she graciously provided comfort, peace, and guidance without judgment as to the next step to take in terms of informing the rest of my family. With the help of a wonderful Christian clinical psychologist, a gracious, supportive and accountable family, and a circle of close friends, I began my journey towards recovery.

Thanksgiving day in 2009 was the last time I acted on any impulse.

Thanksgiving day 2010 marked my one-year of relapse-free behavior. It truly brings tears to my eyes and a big smile to my face thinking that I have gone over one entire year without relapsing. I can only give God the glory for sustaining and carrying me through. He has been teaching me so much about true beauty, love, and mercy. I am made in the image of Him. He is enthralled with the beauty of his children (Psalm 45:11). I am called to love and serve others, and not myself.

I am thankful for struggle.

I am thankful for grace.

I am thankful for healing and restoration.

I am thankful for the joy I have experienced this past year during my journey.

I am thankful for my imperfect, rough, and sharp pieces of shattered glass that are now being formed together to create something beautiful.

~Lindsey.


the “not-so-adventurous-walk-home” post.

Well, normally I take the bus to work. Considering it cost $12 a day to park at the hospital, I opted for something more in my price-range. However, the other day I got off work super early, and did not have any way to get home at that time (the first shuttle pick-up is at 3:55). Before you begin hating on me for not working the “full 8-hours” (Chris Livingston), well… just don’t… I’m not getting the bi-monthly paycheck.

Solution? Walk. 🙂 I really enjoyed my first walk home on Monday, minus getting lost and wondering if the looming rainstorm above would cause some minor problems. I made back it in roughly 20-25 minutes. Dry.

I walked home today, again. And just in case you were super curious as to what I see on my way home, hold tight to your seats, folks. This can get intense.

step 1: find the path.

the hospital

the hospital, again.

a stroll by the Houston Zoo

self-explanatory.

golf course, anyone?

don't think I qualify.

slightly creeper-ish.

uh oh...

the end is in sight!!

over the bayou....

I live next to a Luby's. Sick.

A creepy trail into the woods...

made it!!!

I’m currently finding better ways to fill my time… all suggestions welcome! 🙂


There’s nothing quite like…

1.       clean socks that all match after doing laundry.

2.       finding your credit card, after cancelling it.

3.       the smell of bleach.

4.       stacks of multi-colored post-it notes.

5.       “a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils”

6.       flip-flops in the wintertime.

7.       the Target Dollar Spot.

8.       mental health days.

9.       finding money in the pocket of your winter coat.

10.   the awkward progression of school pictures.

11.   accidentally shampooing your hair twice.

12.   free samples at the grocery store.

13.   sleeping 12 hours, followed by a 3 hour nap.

14.   eating dessert after running.

15.   trying to unlock/get into the wrong car in the parking lot.

16.   elevator “rules”.

17.   people watching at airports.

18.   finding the perfect box of hair-dye.

19.   frozen thin-mint Girl Scout cookies.

20.   listening to Christmas music…year-round.

So, what about you??


here’s to you, bug.

I had a friend come visit me last night right before I was about to go to bed. This friend came in the form of a beetle on my pillow. Sick. Not quite sure as to how it got there, nor do I want to know. I have a slight tendency to think that bugs are bigger than I am.

sick.

There have been many encounters in my past have led me to significantly over-react to life’s little creatures. Let’s start from the beginning 🙂

1. I have a vivid memory (and I’m not fabricating this by any means) of a time in my childhood when me and my two siblings, Allison and Chris, were all sitting on a porch swing in our backyard in Malaysia. Suddenly a swarm of ferocious bees (probably more like one bee) flew in ready to attack. Allison and Chris were quick to their feet and dodged the nasty creature(s), leaving their little sister there to fend for herself. Needless to say, I didn’t win that battle. There were some tears, and I’m sure some words exchanged with the two who betrayed me.

2. Cicaks, pronounced “cheechuck”, are small lizard/geckos that were a common sight as a kid. They roamed the inside of our house overseas at all times. They also liked to crawl up and down the walls, accidentally fall on to my bed and crawl on me while I was sleeping, then finally scamper off. I hear that they are also fond of my mother’s stove-top cooking. 🙂

the "Cicak".

3. Let’s jump forward a couple of years circa grad school. During a late night motor-speech study session, hunger quickly arose from four rather stressed out girls. Solution? The Exxon/Subway just across the street from the library. My sweet friend Lesley ordered a sandwich, while the rest of us opted for the healthier selection of popcorn, donuts, chips, and Dr. Pepper. We finally get back to the library, excited to settle our growling stomachs, when suddenly Lesley opens her nicely wrapped Subway sandwich to find that a cricket the size of Texas somehow made it in. Of course Vanessa had her camera at the ready, documenting the event, while the rest of us jet out of our seats causing a ruckus and NOT using our “library voices”. A shout-out to Rachel Martina for having the guts to remove our friend and toss him across the room on to another study group.

photo courtesy of Vanessa White. 🙂

 

Enough of this insect business. I’m starting to cringe in my seat the more I keep thinking about this.


Hello, again. :)

So… I was recently informed that I have a blog. Thank you, Vanessa White, for looking out for your friend. 🙂 Many changes have happened since the last post, but here are the highlights!

I am happy to announce that I am DONE with my graduate school coursework at Baylor! Passed my comps, and passed the Praxis exam, which means… no more tests!!! I moved to Houston over a month ago and began an internship at Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center. My first three weeks are almost done, and I am completely IN LOVE with it. I am working in the Stroke/Neuro-Rehab and Acute ICU unit, and find it so much fun and incredibly rewarding. Not quite like Grey’s Anatomy (and not like I was expecting it to be so), but I do thoroughly enjoy getting to make a difference, big or small, in the lives of patients and their families.

There is only so much school can teach you about what the “real world” is like (and I don’t claim by any means to really have a good grasp of this concept yet), but having been in various hospital rooms the past three weeks with patients who have had brain tumors, terminal cancer, strokes, who have crashed their plane, have been in car wrecks, and have completely lost their ability to communicate certainly does make one step back and assess the situation even further. I don’t feel as though I can pull out my textbook and follow step-by-step guidelines for treating a specific impairment when knowing full well that underlying emotional and psychological factors are so vividly present. I know they tell you not to let your emotions get in the way of your work, but I truly believe there is a point where empathy and a listening ear can have the greatest impact on a life.

That being said, I’m enjoying and still getting used to living in downtown Houston (or should I say, living with my brother), discovering fun new restaurants/coffee shops/etc., and LOVING the fact that I don’t have to study anymore. I take a bus to work amongst a sea of ridiculously smart and rather stressed-out medical students discussing matters foreign to me. We all match in our scrubs and coffee-in-hand, but the difference is, while they furiously study every spare second of their day, I enjoy my evenings off and weekends doing absolutely nothing if I so choose. And I do. 🙂

All in all, life is going pretty well! I miss my grad school friends so so much, but know that they are loving their internships as well and are being amazing therapists for their patients.

Aaaand, that’s it. 🙂


a mind “vacation”.

I like to take vacations. Heck, doesn’t everybody like to?? My family is quite big in to traveling (not “touring”, as my father would say). I’ve been blessed to have traveled many parts of the world and experience different cultures. Having been born and raised in Penang, Malaysia, the Southeast Asia region has and will always have a little place in my heart (and stomach). A few summers ago, my parents and I traveled all through Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bali, Indonesia. I’m not going to lie, it was a marvelous trip. Due to some really nice people at my Dad’s work, we were given a beautiful villa in Bali for a week, all expenses paid (mostly). My sister and brother-in-law were doing their bit of traveling too, all through Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore the same summer. We worked it out so they could meet us in Bali for the week. It was certainly a nice change of pace for them, as they “couch-surfed” as well as stayed in hostels. Our “Villa” was outrageous. Completely outrageous. Thus, I like to take “mind vacations” back to Bali. Granted, I don’t prefer this way of “traveling”, but hey, one week in luxury won’t do too much harm. Just the 5 of us had the whole place for a week!!

just arrived.

my room.

2nd story: beautiful view of the outdoors.

infinity pool, and one of the 4 "rooms" in the corner.

morning beach visit. love. 🙂

can't get much better than this.

All in all, quite a successful trip. And when having a stressful day, a quick vaca back to these moments relieves so much tension. God has created such a beautiful world.


Stroboscopy? Yes, please!

This week has been….interesting. But kind of fun! (did I just say grad school was fun?) Anyways, I am in a Neurology/ Advanced Instrumentation class, and on Thursday we got to learn about video stroboscopy. The “rigid scope” stoboscopy involves sticking a 1 foot long metal rod about 3/4 inch in diameter with a camera and light on the end inside the patient’s mouth almost to the point of their uvula. The patient sticks out tongue, holds it out with a piece of gauze wrapped around, and says “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” as long as they can so that the clinician can get a pretty pretty video image of their larynx and vocal folds! I got to be a client, and my lovely first-semester  friend Megan, got to be the clinician (with help of our professor). It was fun! Awkward at times, but still fun!

"hold out your tongue for 5 minutes, and don't swallow..."

say "eeeeeeeeeeeeee"

is that going in my mouth??

the "exam".

not a good shot, but my vocal folds are on the bottom!!!

Apparently, my vocal fold presented a bit of “laryngitis sicca”…. basically my professor told me to cut the caffeine and drink more water. Does he realize he provides me with free Diet Dr. Pepper every day for Camp Success?

Later that night, me and some of my other friends had to stay up at the clinic late to write lesson plans, start addendums and progress reports, and finish up some paper work that requires client files. Many “breaks” from the paperwork took place. I was freezing cold and did not have my jacket. My lovely friend, Vanessa, just took down her room decorations from “Sports Week”, which included a full baby-pink wrestling set: robe, gloves, the whole nine yards. A silk “Everlast” robe was among this collection, so I kindly asked her if I could wear it to keep from getting hypothermia. It worked! Fifteen minutes later, at approximately 10:03pm, things got a little out of hand, and a photo-shoot then commenced. My UT friend, Lesley, joined me in this epic moment:

no words.

Fun night. Long night. Early morning.