The Fin15h List

Hi friends! I have made a New Year’s Resolution for the first time in– a really long time. Maybe my whole life. You wanna know what it is?

Finish stuff.

As much as the teacher in me hates that resolution because it’s not measurable, or specific, or that other thing that goals and objectives are supposed to be (I know  think there were 3…I can only remember 2), it’s the only one I had the energy to make. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions as a rule because I never finish them. And that’s a bummer every…February. A big, fat bummer.

I’m a really good starter. I am great at getting ideas, writing out plans, and thinking about how awesome something could be. I’m terrible at finishing things.

When I finish something, I’m going to let myself write about it here to celebrate and to keep track. Then at the end of the year, I’ll be able to see how much stuff I finished.

So fart (I accidentally typed that, and I’m just gonna leave it that way, because legit.) I have actually “finished” two things already! The first is this: I took a serious look at what I had in my closet and I cleaned that baby OUT. I am in the process of developing a capsule wardrobe this year, and it has been so much fun so far. I am loving how much easier it is to get dressed and how much more focused my clothes shopping (read: $20 trip to Goodwill) is.  I would love to write some posts on it, but I also don’t want to be boring, so just let me know if you’re interested!  The second thing is this: I finally finished my final exam to become a certified childbirth educator!  I had to teach two classes before I could take the exam, and the exam was mailed to me on the day Phoebe was born, so…I just finished it.  I’m just waiting on a grade and then this process will be over! I’ll have my full certification! Then I will have a lot of thank you notes to write and little gifts to send out to my wonderful support team. This has taken a little bit longer than expected, but I’m so glad to be so close to finished!

I’m also really excited about a couple of other things on my “Fin15h List,” (see what I did there?) some of which are kind of big and exciting (and might be coming to a blog near you soon!), and others of which are small and silly like hanging up all the things I’ve been collecting for the “gallery wall” that I am supposedly going to have in my living room at some point. So far, the few things I’ve finished have given me momentum to continue following through on goals both big and small that I have set for myself in the past and then abandoned.  It’s a good feeling to look at my closet and think I wanted my wardrobe to be like this, and I did the work to get here. I’m not always so good at actually following through on things, especially when I’m not sure they’ll benefit anyone besides me.  But this year, I’m committing to doing things differently. And I’m excited to look back and see what things I’ll have finished by this time next year.  Am I alone in this? Anyone else have a “Fin15h List?”

when you kind of can’t believe it…

A week ago, I didn’t have “Bradley Conference” marked on my calendar.

A week ago, I was wondering what I was going to do with my free time.

A week ago, I downloaded an application and forgot to read the fine print.  I was thinking of how I should come up with $400 and realized I needed 4 X $400.

A week ago, I set up a crowdfunding website with shaky hands and a tummy ache.

100

A week ago, I think I started a pretty exciting adventure.

I have tried to be honest through this whole process. I hope I haven’t suggested that being a childbirth educator is something I dreamed about doing when I was 5 years old. It wasn’t. I hope I haven’t suggested that I feel like God woke me up in the middle of the night and said “Lindsey, learn to teach The Bradley Method.” He didn’t. (It’s Ellie who wakes me up in the middle of the night.)

I hope I’ve communicated that The Bradley Method had a profound impact on my life, on the way I think about birth and pregnancy and hospitals and doctors. I hope I’ve communicated that I care deeply about future mommas and daddies and their babies.  I hope I’ve made it clear that this isn’t just a job or a hobby to me–it’s an opportunity to love, care for, and serve people in one of the most important times in their lives.  I hope I’ve made it clear that this isn’t just something I thought up one day.

The thing I think I love most about this adventure is that I didn’t sit around looking for an adventure or waiting for one.  I was going along, living my life, trying to be faithful to the things I think Jesus cares about, and something just started to happen.  I was talking with a dear friend smack in the middle of this fundraising adventure, and he kept commenting on how this just seems to make so much sense for me, for David, for our family. It just seems to fit. And that’s what I love.  I love that this is like a great-big present that the Lord has said “Here, open this. I want you to be a blessing.”

You know what else I love about it? You. You people. You generous, encouraging, caring people. Who have loved me through some of the hardest parts of my life, who have prayed with me, cried with me, laughed with me, and read my blog.  The last week has brought me into contact with many of you.  Thank you. Thank you for being generous. for sharing your time. for sharing your stories. for sharing encouragement. for sharing your prayers. for sharing your money.

I am so grateful you were willing to participate in the crazy-exciting thing the Lord is doing in our lives.  Each time I hopped on my computer and another one of you had taken the time to share a story with me, each time I saw that little green bar go a little farther, each time one of you sent me a piece of encouragement, I thanked God for you. I thanked God for his faithfulness.  In addition to making it possible for me to embark on this adventure, you have been a part of the Lord’s work in my life as he heals my heart and teaches me what it actually means to obey. I am humbled by your obedience to whatever the Lord prompted each of you to do.

Thank you.

I feel like I can only end with yet another quote from Eliana’s story Bible.

“Well, Jesus did many miracles. Things people thought couldn’t happen, that weren’t natural.

But it was the most natural thing in all the world. It’s what God had been doing from the beginning, of course.  Taking the nothing and making it everything. Taking the emptiness and filling it up. Taking the darkness and making it light.”

To the praise of his glory.

Is this getting old yet?

If you’re just joining us. 

If you just missed out on yesterday. 

If you want me to shut up.

And today, I recruited my daughter to shamelessly manipulate your emotions.

See that little “P” (for Pinterest!) button at the bottom of this post? Go ahead and give it a little click.

5 days left, friends!

Gracias.

And muchas gracias to those of you who have already donated/shared/encouraged me! Seriously, I’m so encouraged by the words many of you have shared in the last few days.

seriously. srsly. for reals.

Help a Momma help other Mommas

A New Adventure: And a Request.

Giving birth was a wonderful experience for both David and me.  We’re not sure what it was like for Eliana, but it seems like she’s glad to be here.  When I was pregnant, I spent hours researching everything from diaper bags to epidurals, and I was starting to get overwhelmed. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of just throwing myself at the mercy of the doctors, but I also didn’t love the idea of hiring someone to come to my house and ordering an inflatable pool to have my baby in.

Enter Dr. Bradley and his book Husband Coached Childbirth.  I read most of this book on one of our typical dates to Barnes and Noble. I was surprised to find that, after reading, I was actually looking forward to childbirth.  Being the introspective person that I am, I asked myself why– why was I actually excited about something that is “marketed” to women as a horrible, awful, terrible experience that is only good because “you get a baby at the end”?  Here’s why I was excited:

The Bradley Method strongly advocates the role of the husband (or other support person) as necessary in the labor and delivery process.  I deeply wanted David to be an active part of the labor and delivery of our daughter.

The Bradley Method stems from the idea that birth is a natural process that our bodies were made for, but that we also need to train for.  Dr. Bradley referred to his patients as “obstetrical athletes.”  According to The Bradley Method, you train for birth like a runner trains for a marathon.

The Bradley Method isn’t unreasonable. It leaves room for medical intervention when necessary for the health of the mom or the baby.  For this reason, with the proper preparedness, it’s 100% doable in a hospital setting. Even one that isn’t natural birth friendly (like my hospital).

Because of our experience with the Bradley Method, I am eager to educate other women about childbirth and provide other couples with the information I received prior to giving birth to Eliana.  As a Christian, I only found myself agreeing more and more with what Dr. Bradley wrote because I believe that God made our bodies to have children. My birth experience was not only a rewarding experience athletically, but spiritually as well.  I would treasure the opportunity to share the Bradley Method with couples who are interested in making informed decisions regarding the birth of their child.  Birth doesn’t have to be something that women just suffer through.

I am asking you now, dear reader, if you are interested in helping me do this.  I can’t manage this alone. The Bradley Class for Childbirth Educators will prepare me not only to teach The Bradley Method, but also to assist couples in the delivery room.  I have just 7 days to reach  my $1600 goal, which will take care of the 4 day training conference in September and the rest of the 9-month academic program.  I will then be able to join the one other teacher in my city in providing Bradley Classes.  At this time, you would be making a pledge– if I do not meet my goal, your donation will not be collected.

I have been thinking of what work there might be for me to do after realizing that classroom teaching is not in the Lord’s will for me at this time.  I feel confident that this is something that he has given me both the passion and gifts to accomplish.  This will not only be a job that I will LOVE, but it will help us out financially while allowing me to care for Eliana full time.  I realize that a number of my friends are in a financial position similar to my own, so if you are able to share this, I would appreciate that as well!  You never know who might find it!  If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to share more with you!

There is Always a Way.

I recently had the opportunity to join some amazing women for a panel discussion with some college students.  One of the questions we were prepared for was this one: “If you could go back and tell your 20 year old self something, what would it be?”  Oh, the possibilities! Now, my twenty-year-old self isn’t much younger than my present-day self, but I feel like I have a lot to say.

Dear 20-year-old self,

Enjoy this time.  Enjoy being stressed out by papers and long chapters to read.  Enjoy watching LOST for 12 hours in a row and not feeling guilty.  Enjoy being able to stay up until 2 am every night.  Enjoy it.  Enjoy the fact that when people ask you what you’re doing with your life, you have a nice short, sweet answer to give them.  Enjoy no one taking you seriously.  Enjoy it.

Up until now, you’ve probably felt a lot of pressure to figure our where your life is going.  Think about the questions you’ve been asked since you were a child.  “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  “Where are you going to college?” “What are your plans for after graduation?”  All of those questions deal with the direction of your life.

Somewhere along the way, someone told you that you needed to find the magic key to your life.  They called it your dream.  They told you to live it.  To chase it.  To spend yourself in pursuit of it.  They told you not to give up on it.  To hold on to it.

So you came to college to work on your dream.  To throw yourself into everything that you hope your life will be.  Why?  So that you can give a good answer to people who ask you about your plans for after graduation?  So that everyone around you can see what a full life you’re living?  Out of obedience to God?  To meet your full potential?

Let me tell you something no one else is going to tell you.  Knowing what your life is about is so much more important than knowing where your life is going.  Where your life is going can change in an instant.  car crash.  fire.  rejection letter.  pregnancy test.  marriage. recession. cutbacks. war.  All it takes is one moment outside of your control.  Your dream flickers and the light goes out.  In an instant, the map is blank.  Your life is going nowhere.  You have no choice but panic.  You have no option but to frantically map out a new dream.

But what if you know what your life is about?  What if your life is about being faithful to a God who doesn’t need you to chart a map?  make a plan?  chase your dream?

There is always a way to be faithful to God.

Always.

When the dream flickers and dies.  When the house is gone.  When the war begins.  When the bank account is empty.  There is always a way to be faithful to God. Always.

Please, please remember that what you’re doing right now isn’t a bunch of grunt work that you have to do to get to the future on the other side.  Please remember that what you are doing right now is vital to the kind of person you are becoming.  Please read books.  Have adventures.  Serve.  Meet people.  Travel.  Work hard.  Try new things. Seek the Lord.  Not because it will look good on your resume.  Not because it will make you a better teacher. doctor. writer. scientist.   Not because you desperately need to know what to do with your life, but because you want to understand what your life is about.  Become a person who is faithful to God.  There will always be a way to be faithful to God. Always.

And finally, 20-year-old self, please get a hair cut.  Leave those edgy bangs to people who don’t go to the Hair Cuttery.  Please.  Also, clean your dorm room.  It’s a disaster area.

Love,
Lindsey