June Cleaver I am not

I’ve mentioned in this space a few times that it’s tax season and so Mr. Z works long hours. And while it’s not the ideal way to begin a marriage (four months next week!) I’ve been quite convicted about  keeping the proper perspective. I really do try my best to keep the house afloat (no we don’t live in a house boat) without Mr. Z’s help because frankly, if I was working like he is, I wouldn’t want to come home at 10:30 at night and then feel like I needed to empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, etc.  Although I do have this horrible habit of getting the mail and setting it on the counter but not opening it, so he does still have that waiting for him  (ha!).

I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in this season thus far is that my discipline, or lack thereof, doesn’t just affect me, but it also effects him. When I decide I’d rather watch TV or read a book, or spend useless hours on the Internet rather than fold clothes, change the bed sheets or prepare dinner for our usual Friday night routine, in that moment I’m wasting future time that I could be spending with him when he’s not working. I know, DUH Captain Obvious.

I wish I could say doing this, trying to be disciplined, means when I’m home doing these things I’m simply dancing around the house in delight, so happy I can serve my husband this way. You know, all June Cleaver like with a neat little apron humming sweet little songs, perhaps whistling as I work, thinking, “isn’t this just delightful?”

Nope. Definitely not. Instead there are times when I resent the IRS and want to run into an agent and simply berate him because you know it’s his fault my husband has to work so much. Or, I may conjure up images of myself barging into Mr. Z’s office and telling all his coworkers they need to step it up so I can see him (I may be just a little biased in thinking he is doing ALL the work). The best is when I consider figuring out a way to hire a cleaning lady without him ever knowing… Ah, deceit, nice one Linds.

I digress, the point: I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to sound holier than thou. I’m certainly not. And in fact, the other day I was praying “Lord, I know he appreciates all this. He tells me all the time and the look in his eyes when he comes home and finds me in bed screams I love you deeply and adore you. I know that is a HUGE blessing and I thank you Lord. But could I just get flowers? Maybe just one? Something for the hard work?”

And then, right then and there I sensed the Lord say, “Marriage is not about quid pro quo. It is about selflessness and giving yourself no matter what is given back. Keep serving your husband. You will find joy in that.”

And as always, God was right. I find joy in knowing Mr. Z is cared for and he doesn’t have to fend for himself. I find joy in knowing he can do his job better knowing Mrs. Z will be waiting for him and taking care of things. It is a joy to serve him in this way. I’m only human, and resenting the situation is normal, but I don’t need to camp out in the resentment.

Needless to say when I came home from church the other day these were waiting for me:

As well as a dozen more pink ones. I love Mr. Z and I love my God.


The Perfect Procrastinator goes for a visit

Have you ever been on a job interview and they ask you what is your greatest weakness? I have. Years ago I would answer that question with utter confidence knowing my greatest weakness could possibly be just what my future employers need. My answer: “I’m a perfectionist.”

Ahh, yes, the perfectionist answer will make them want to hire me…

I’m visiting The Block today where you can read the rest.

a picture says a thousand words

simple. beautiful. teamwork.

i took today off from work and got to spend quite a bit of time reading my Bible, praying and journaling. i’m camping out in colossians (as i mentioned yesterday) and was smacked with some awesome truth this morning. BUT, i’m still processing it. so i’m not going to try to write about that at the moment as i think it needs to marinate in my head a bit before it’s ready to serve :-)

that being said, yesterday mr. z and i got to live life like a married couple. it was such a blessing. after church we ran errands together. i dragged the poor guy to three different stores in my pursuit of organic and all natural ingredients for dinner. he was a trooper though and i loved it. it might seem silly, but with his work schedule right now, we rarely get to do the ordinary things of life together, like run errands.

the closet ;-)

when we got home we dove right into our tasks. me, cooking dinner. mr. z, cleaning out and organizing the closet under the steps. yep, i’ve been blessed with a super organized and orderly husband. i’m sure my friends, especially former roommates, are not surprised that the Lord would pair me with an orderly type.

i was hoping to help mr. z but i, as i often do, underestimated the high maintenance nature of the recipe i chose for dinner. needless to say, he didn’t need my help anyway. now, we have an organized closet and we were able to enjoy a yummy meal that provided plenty of leftovers for the week (since i HATE cooking for one).

preparation for the high maintenance meal

as wonderful as an organized closet is and the meal may have been, that’s not why i’m writing today. i’m writing because of something i was told before we got married.

when i had my bridal shower i asked that all the ladies would bring a small nugget of wisdom for me. what do they wish they had known before they got married? Or, what had they found makes a healthy marriage?

my cousin said teamwork. they have had two children in the three years they’ve been married and said one of the best things they’ve done is intentionally work together and lean on each other. no one bears more of the burdens than the other.

this concept might seem rather obvious, but having experienced it a few times already in the short time we’ve been married, i can see why teamwork is essential. ecclesiates 4 says:

9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

i’m discovering the beautiful things about marriage. and there are many. and more often than not, they are simple. like teamwork. my dad said at our wedding, marriage isn’t that hard. humans make it hard. as time goes on i’ll see how true that is. but for now, i can see the simple beauty in the God created team of marriage.

His nudging brings me back

Today is a great day. I feel satisfied. The bed has been made with new sheets, the guest room is just about ready for Mr. Z’s sister to stay the night next weekend, laundry is being done, I ran five miles, sent some emails that have been nagging at me and I dyed my hair (yep, I use hair dye from a box and yes I NEED to—I am 31 with plenty of gray hair. One day I hope to have beautiful long gray hair…although I’m not sure my hair will do that as all the grays I have now stand straight-up and are quite coarse and unruly. Oops, total rabbit trail, back to what I was typing).

But completing all those things is not the root of why I feel satisfied today. God woke me up today. Tenderly and gently like only Abba can, He nudged me and I finally allowed the nudge to draw me near to Him. He is so gracious, gentle and patient.

There is a passage of Scripture that just might become my life passage (okay, I know most people have life verses, but this girl needs a passage. One verse just ain’t enough. ;-) It’s Colossians 4:2-6—

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

In a date-to-be-determined blog post I’ll explain why I want to make this my life passage, but for now it’s just important to note that it comes from Colossians. So when it came time to be with the Lord today I landed here. I’ve read this book in the Bible before. How many times I’m not quite sure but it must be a few as I’ve marked different verses and written notes in the margins. But just as only God’s Word can do, this time around the entire book stood out to me.

Paul is lovingly informing the church in Colosse that what they need most is Jesus. Rules and legalism were overtaking their dependency and love of the Lord. They were relying more on the things man created than the saving grace of their loving Father and His Son.

And it hit me. I’ve been trying to find my inspiration, define my steps in life, and figure out how to be a blessing of a wife in the rules I’ve made up in my head rather than relying on my Savior. The more time I spend with Him the greater the blessing I can be to my husband, the better I will see inspiration when it’s right in front of me, and the steps of this life, well, they’ll be His steps, not mine and therefore they’ll be the best.

I’m eager to dive deeper in Colossians over the coming days, but for now, I’m thankful for my God who will not let me get too far into myself and my own plans before he nudges me and brings me back to Him.  (Hopefully this post makes sense to an outsider, it does in my head, but that doesn’t say much!)

creativity only comes from the Creator

I’ve been MIA a little from this sweet space. Frankly I feel like my creativity has been sapped out of me and every time I try to write a somewhat coherent thought on paper, it comes out sounding like garbage (although I guess it doesn’t really sound considering you’re reading this…looks maybe…hmm…). Nonetheless, I have some entries in the works that I hope to post soon, but right now, I’m feeling kind of dry.

I need more time with Jesus. Quiet times in prayer and reading His Word. Any creativity I possess comes from the Creator and lately its been tough since this gal has let this life sap her focus from Him. Which in turn means, there is no creativity from this little brain making it’s way to a blog entry.

Be back soon.


hope in action

You may have noticed a little section in the middle column here at ‘Life as a Z’ called Hope in Action. Right now it has three links but I’m hoping to really build out this section of the blog over time. In the coming days I’ll address each of the links already there but for now I just wanted to explain what exactly hope in action is. There are many organizations out there doing wonderful things to better peoples lives, and I’d like to help them be known by an even broader audience, even if that audience is just the faithful few who read this blog :-)

So moving forward I hope to grow the list of links you see over there with more organizations that I believe are acting on Love and bringing hope to people at home and abroad. I won’t include every organization whose path I might cross, but Lord willing there will be quite a few to come.

I want to be intentional with the content of this little space at ‘Life as a Z’ and use it in productive ways like telling the story of worthwhile organizations every so often. I hope you enjoy reading about them as I enjoy discovering them.

God’s story for us

i didn’t have time today to write an original post but i thought in honor of v-day i’d post this entry from my last blog. i wrote this on may 20, 2010. we were married less than six months later :-)

I’m overcome with wonder, awe and excitement this morning.  When I chose Jesus over anything else in this world, I wondered what my story would look like. Would I have anything “cool” to show for my life? Would my testimony speak to people? What would I do with this faith and love of God?

It was all about me.

And sometimes it still is. Tell the truth and shame the devil :-)

But something miraculous is happening around me. I get to be a part of the story and I’m completely humbled by it.  I’m tearing up again as I write this.

Seven years ago two people totally far from the Lord came together and started dating. Peter and I didn’t know Jesus. Sure we knew of Him. He was cool. Peter grew up in church so he certainly knew who the Great I Am is back then. But neither of us knew Him intimately.

We lived our lives as we wanted and we wanted each other. Time went by and I started to fall more and more in love with the Lord. I asked Peter questions about his faith and what he knew of Jesus. It was clear that we were drifting apart.

After two and a half years I distinctly heard the Lord say, “I have blessings for you and I have blessings for Peter but I cannot give them to you in this relationship.” It was one of those rare times when you know that you know that you know that the Lord just spoke to you.

We ended our relationship. I started to follow hard after Jesus and Peter started to read the Bible and ask questions. We pursued our Lord separately. One day perhaps Peter will share his journey here, but what I will say is it was a time of serious soul searching for him. He had been raised one way, but never owned his faith for himself. It was at this time that he started to explore Jesus for himself.

Time went by and my heart ached for him and his for me. It became clear that the Lord had moved in both our lives. After seven months or so we started to talk a little here and there. But we were such new/young believers that we couldn’t distinguish our own feelings and the Lord’s will very well (something we will be learning all our lives I think). We decided it was a good idea to begin dating again.

We didn’t seek the Lord on what His will was for us. We didn’t consider that perhaps God had a different plan. And we headed toward destruction. Within three months of dating again we were engaged. And five months after that, the engagement and the relationship were over.

It was devastating, heartbreaking, crushing. I’ve never felt such pain in my life. I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy. I thought our first break-up was hard, and it was, but ending our engagement took pain and hurt to a new level.

It was in this time that I met with my God in ways I never could have imagined. It was in this time that I truly learned how incapable I am and how capable my God is WITHOUT MY HELP.

Two plus years later the Lord brought us back together. And it truly was Him. One day I’ll go into the details on this blog so you can see just how God orchestrated every step.

But for today, it has become clear to me. This story is not about Peter and I as much it is about God’s glory, His everlasting love and His eternal plan for His Kingdom. Our story is a small part of the painting He has created.

When I pull back and look at the beautiful canvas set before us, I am in awe and wonder of our God. I am humbled that I am to live this life for Him. That He would choose me. That He would choose Peter. That He would choose us to be a part of His painting, His story, His work.

I praise you this morning my God. And I am humbled by your presence and your love.

girl time with a little crafting

mrs. c of the c’s i blogged about a while ago is rather crafty, as are quite a few of my other friends. so a few of us got together to have a relaxing afternoon of crafting, chatting and laughing. notice the lap top in the pic below, my craft right now is making photo books of our wedding for our parents. not quite the traditional crafter but nonetheless, i think it’s still crafting :-)

crafty ladies

a looong explanation

**warning, you may want to stand-up while reading this post so you don’t nod off in the middle of it as it breaks the “blogging rule” of short, sweet and succint pretty stinkin’ well**

The other day I read a blog post on a friend’s blog titled why blog if no one reads it and thought to myself when I finished reading, well said—rather, well written. I may have secretly envied her way with words but that’s between the Lord and me ;-)

I often ask myself why do I blog and I can’t EVER seem to articulate it properly. But I think that’s because sometimes I struggle with it myself. I wrestle with am I really blogging for the glory of the Lord in everyday life or just so I can say what’s on my mind?

Do I really care about who reads it?

Do I care too much about who reads it?

Do I really have anything of importance or significance to say?

Do I really want to grow as a writer or am I just hoping to “casually” write and one day I’ll be pricked with unimaginable creativity and suddenly I’ll be another blogger who becomes an author? Highly unlikely.

I hope to grow as a writer (and when I say grow I mean by leaps and bounds, I’m quite aware of my 5th grade writing level, which is ironic since I work in public relations…I digress) but let’s be honest; I’m fascinated with the stories of bloggers turned authors. Most of the time the blogger has simply written about her life in such a way that people engage and relate to her as if she’s sitting on the couch in their own living room talking to them directly.

There’s a part of me that wishes my life was that cool that someone would want to eavesdrop on it. Secretly I like to think it is. But frankly, I know it’s not. Not. At. All. For example, it is 9:45 on a Thursday night and what have I done?

Stayed at work late for no good reason really.

Ate a mismatched dinner of cucumber rolls and left over spinach & artichoke dip.*

Made mashed potatoes for tomorrow night’s dinner (by the way, while peeling the potatoes I remembered why I loathe making this dish).

And am deliberately “practicing” writing (I read today to become a better writer I need to write, write and write more) so I don’t have to put the clean laundry away that is neatly hanging over the end of our bed so it doesn’t get wrinkled.  Who cares that it’s been hanging there since SUNDAY.  I’m practicing writing.

Exciting stuff. Yes. I know.

Clearly my thrilling everyday life is not the reason I blog. Shortly after I read my friend’s post I took a jaunt down blogging memory lane and it was on the journey I discovered why I blog.

Check this out:

it’s a funny thing when you look back how even when you aren’t asking for it, God manages to order each and every step. in college i fell in love with the city upon first glance. i called home and said, “i’m going to live in chicago when i graduate!” it was tough finding a job but, after “tactfully stalking” the CEO of my former agency, i landed an internship and eventually was hired on full-time. thankfully i have very supportive parents who let me pack up my car and drive from connecticut to an unknown city for a less than guaranteed opportunity. when i got here i lived in a one bedroom apartment with a very gracious sorority sister of mine. little did we know, that was the beginning of an unbelievable friendship and a roommate adventure that spanned over four years! the Lord opened many doors and opportunities that just kept telling me this is where i was supposed to be. i don’t know what the next four years will bring but i do know that if when i didn’t even acknowledge my God He was taking care of me, how much more will He now- praise the Lord! 2006 was a year of amazing growth, good and tough- none of which was documented. this is my blog- a place to document my 2007.

That’s the “about” section of my very first blog the Joy is in the Journey.

And THIS is why I blog. In the last four years since I began documenting this life, my thoughts, challenges, joys, loves, hurts and such, A LOT has happened. AND I remember almost ALL of it. Even the times when I didn’t post an entry or went for periods of no posting, the absence even reminds me of what was going on—which yes, can be scary at times. I think that if I didn’t have the faith and trust in God that I do it might overwhelm me but that’s the beautiful thing about it… having it all documented never allows me to forget how He has showed-up in mighty and magnificent ways. And Lord willing, when others see/read Him working in my life it will encourage them too! Check it out, over the past four years here are some of the major highlights either documented or left out:

I got engaged

I experienced the worst heartbreak of my life to date, we ended our engagement

I worked through deep profound sadness (this took a looong time)

My best friend/roommate got married and I stood in her wedding

I lived alone for the first time in my life

I learned to climb resulting in my first alpine climb and attempted summit of Mt. Rainier where I believed for the first time there was a plan for my life

I bought a car for the first time

I fell in love with my Savior

I discovered Beth Moore (life-changing!)

I ran a half marathon or two

I visited Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colorado

I began studying the Bible and leading Bible studies

Experienced first-hand crisis communications at its best

Got engaged again :-)

Planned a wedding in three months

Got married!

Whew! And that’s just a small list. I forgot to mention the break-ins and the roomy I gained before Mr. Z came around who turned into the very best friend I could have asked for.

So that’s why I blog. To remember what God has done, show His goodness and His faithfulness and to get all those wild and crazy thoughts of mine out of my head and into something somewhat constructive—although I guess the constructive part is somewhat debatable.

If you made it to the end of this post, you deserve a medal! In the weeks to come I plan to practice my writing, which means, Lord willing there will be many more posts to come. Thanks for bearing with me, reading all this stuff and joining me on the journey!

*Disclaimer: Mr. Z is in the middle of tax season so I’m back to cooking for one and really, I HATE cooking for one. So more often than not I don’t cook and end up eating weird combination of food.