Category Archives: Life

Surprise! I moved to Kentucky!

Dear readers, you might have been wondering why this space has been so quiet as of late. It’s because I moved to Kentucky. Surprise! Now that the move is complete, I can finally share here on the blog.

Mr. Man and I dated long-distance for almost a year and a half. Some time ago, when I realized that we were actually pursuing a relationship that might lead to marriage, I had to make a decision. He has a career here in Louisville, and I did not have one in Austin, so it made more sense for me to move to his city. That meant I had to decide whether I felt more peace about moving to his city without being engaged first, or whether I wanted to get engaged without ever having lived in the same city.

It was all about that feeling of peace, really. Sometimes feelings get the short end of the stick when it comes to discernment, but it shouldn’t be that way. God speaks to us through our emotions, our conscience, and our intellect. I knew which choice brought me peace and which just didn’t feel right.

We’re not engaged. And I live in Louisville now.

kentuckylicenseplate

New license plates means this is for real.

Wise women before me have faced the same decision. Wise women have decided to move without a ring, and wise women have made the move only after receiving a proposal or taking vows. This was what made sense for me—and for us.

I am between jobs now, which is less than ideal. The details make up a long story. But these days, we should be more concerned with the greatest story ever told, so I will bring this announcement to a close.

If I missed saying goodbye to you in person in Austin, I sincerely apologize. If you’re in Louisville, drop me a line so we can say hello! Either way, Mr. Man and I appreciate your prayers for our continued discernment.

Year in Review 2016

I didn’t even plan on publishing this before 2016 was over. I was too busy vacationing with Mr. Man for that. I did, however, plan to post this before the end of January. Trying to follow that plan turned into a lesson about priorities!

My 2016 Best Nine

My “best nine” photos from Instagram, based on likes.

So yes, I’m reaching back really far at this point. One of the benefits of focusing so much on personal productivity is that I keep detailed records in order to back up my terrible, terrible memory. Those help me with my GTD Weekly Review, and they also help me publish Currently each month.

I made my first pass through my year in an attempt to order and send Christmas cards “on time.” I don’t have a family to take a photo of, and I like to celebrate as much of the Christmas season as possible, so I started sending Epiphany cards a few years ago. You can get a good discount for ordering later in the card-sending season, and they seem more like New Year cards for my secular friends.

This year, I decided to forgo the “Christmas letter” style and go for bullet points. If you didn’t get your card, here it is!

Find Your Joy in the New Year

I had the back printed with just text (and space for signing!), so here’s that part:

2016 By the Numbers

Weeks of Bible study: 22
Appliances repaired or replaced: 3
Cities visited: 2 (Chicago and Houston)
Months I have been dating my boyfriend, Mr. Man: 14
Times I auditioned for Jeopardy!: 1
Hours on retreat: 9.5
Funerals attended: 2
West Coast Swing classes: 40
West Coast Swing workshops: 2
Books read: 22
Student loans paid off: 2
Blog posts published: over 130

I was also diagnosed with morphea (MOR-fee-uh) this year. It is a rare and incurable autoimmune skin condition, but I’ll be fine. Follow me at LindsayLoves.com, and share what’s new with you! Make 2017 a great year!

I always sign and address them by hand. It breaks my heart a little when I get a card that doesn’t bear any personal signs of the sender: sender and recipient addresses on plain white labels, pre-printed cards, no signatures. Yes, customizing them takes time, but that time is part of the gift.

Here are my “most posts” of 2016, in the style of Sarah Mackenzie of Read Aloud Revival:

  • Post with the most clicks: My most popular post published last year was a review of a video about discernment by Fr. Mike Schmitz and an article about discernment by Peter Kreeft. Believe it or not, the popularity was actually due to Twitter. I tweet a link to new blog posts automatically, and for that one, I used Fr. Mike’s handle to tag him. He retweeted it, and my poor little blog never knew what hit it!

  • Post with the most comments: I try to reply to every comment I receive, so the count is undoubtedly inflated, but my essay post about making friends as an adult got the most posts of any last year.

  • Post with the best picture: I really enjoyed my illustrations last year. So many online Jeopardy! screencaps. So many tweets. Several photos with Mr. Man. A couple of household organization wins. I really like the “demons are spiritual, too” meme from one of my 7QT posts, though, so that wins for 2016.

  • Post that was hardest to write: I sat on my morphea awareness post for a long time. I spent a long time hiding the visible signs. I struggled with how much I wanted to share here on the blog, and when, and what exactly to say. Finally, I just decided to do what I’ve always done here—share my heart. The compassionate responses I’ve received have brought me so much joy.

  • Post that was your personal favorite: I was very happy to introduce everyone to Mr. Man. We dated for so long before we met in person! Facebook technically still does not know we’re dating (I prefer it that way), but I’m sure that mysterious algorithm noticed the surge of traffic to my blog when I shared my post there. I’m very grateful that he’s in my life and that he allows me to talk about him here.

Finally, my recurring themes of 2016 were:

  • West Coast Swing: A returning character from last year. I continued the passive weight loss I’d started by getting any exercise at all (as opposed to my previous zero). I made it through enough of the Level 3 syllabus to start repeating months, so I got to experience learning from a new angle. I took a workshop with Jordan & Tatiana. I didn’t participate in the annual West Coast Swing flash mob, but there’s always 2017!

  • Endings: My grandmother died. Spirit & Truth disbanded. The Not Alone Series faded away. I went to the summer shows at Zilker for the last time, missing the literal ending of Macbeth due to a storm. I stopped hiding the morphea patches on my legs.

  • Marriage: Of course. Also a returning character. It has been an enlightening experience to put more of my dating preparation, so to speak, to practical use. I attended a retreat that was focused on relationships (not just marriage), and it was excellent. I have also had an adventure navigating a long-distance relationship. I always knew that a God-centered romantic relationship would take work. I am very grateful to be working with such a wonderful partner.

What were your recurring characters of 2016? How has 2017 been going? What are your goals for the rest of the year? Every day is a good day to resolve to change your life—and then do it!

Currently: March 2017

Currently at Lindsay Loves

The scant few days of February cause March to sneak up on many people. I have a couple of birthdays in my circle in February, though, so it always feels like just the right length to me. Non-bloggable matters have kept me moving through new projects, travel, and events. This year is moving right along!

Here’s what I am currently…

Watching: The final season of Bones! It didn’t start until January, and episodes have been moving right along. I was disappointed at the resolution to the cliffhanger. They built up another good arc, but it seems to be done again. It feels strange to be starting and ending a season in just a few months. I hope the series comes to a satisfying end. The almost-series finale a few seasons ago would have been really good. Can they top it?

I’m also up to Season 4 of Merlin. Both of the leading ladies got huge appearance changes this season. I’m not a fan, but I am excited to see how Arthur’s reign, Lancelot’s return, and Guinevere’s doomed romances all play out in just two seasons.

Eating: A ton of Mexican food. I know; I live in Texas, but still! I had a chimichanga for the first time last week. It’s basically a burrito, lightly toasted and covered with queso. It was worth trying, but so decadent. I should probably stick to enchiladas and flautas.

Saying: Many things to Mr. Man, as usual. I got to see him again last weekend! I also find myself saying more often than usual around the office that you have to make the machines work for you. Technology can be a huge time waster, but it also saves time like crazy. Auto-pay bills, the Dropbox mobile app’s document scanner, anything with voice recognition: use these tools! At least use them until the machines take over.

Wearing: Summer clothes! A few weekends ago, it was legitimately too hot for jeans in the afternoon. I felt ridiculous wearing shorts in February, but the weather was appropriate! I honestly don’t know what to wear most days. I just mentally prepare for being too warm or too cold at some point every day, and I try to remember whether my ceiling fan is still on when my bedroom light is off. I hate the light switch fake-out.

Posting: Not much at all, besides sharing my Sunday Style. My aforementioned non-bloggable matters are taking up time that I might otherwise use to blog. Some of my hobbies and activities are gone, but then there is Twitter. I struggle.

Recapping: February

  • I rear-ended a minivan on Valentine’s Day. No injuries. I blame the drizzle and the stop-and-go traffic. Insurance settled everything, so I’m all set now.
  • Yesterday was Rare Disease Day, so I shared my morphea awareness post on Twitter and Facebook.
  • My delightful optometrist prescribed me some antihistamine eye drops, and my eye started watering again, so now I have figured out how to use eye drops successfully. And no one had to tackle me like on Friends!
  • A dear friend hosted her annual tea party. I enjoyed blueberry jasmine tea, a butterbeer cupcake (it was Harry Potter themed), and much girl talk.
  • I went up to Ft. Worth to see Mr. Man. Due to my car repairs, I got to drive a rental, which was good and bad.

So what’s new with you? What are you saying currently?


Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Carrie of A Stylish Fit. Won’t you join us?

I Have Morphea

I have a secret.

I have morphea.

Morphea is a rare and incurable autoimmune skin disorder, and it’s something I have been living with for the last two years. It’s pronounced MOR-fee-uh, like “metamorphosis” or the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

Morphea is rare in the sense that less than 200,000 people in the U.S. have it. I’d never even heard of it until my dermatologist mentioned it. It appears to be slightly more common among black people and women, so I won that terrible lottery.

It’s incurable in that, well, there’s no cure. There are treatments that can help with various effects, but it’s not like a cold or rash or even something that can be managed with medication. No one knows how it begins. Once it begins, it can spread quickly or slowly. It can worsen over a lifetime or stop spreading altogether. It can suddenly get worse after years of stagnation. It might be exacerbated by skin injury, some attempts at treatment (nice, huh?), or even pregnancy. It is possible to have all of one’s morphea patches disappear completely without any treatment at all.

It’s autoimmune, which means that I didn’t catch it, and you can’t catch it from me. Autoimmune disorders of all kinds are particularly hard to treat because they vary as much as individual humans do.

Autoimmune disease: because the only thing tough enough to kick my *** is me.

My Story

About two years ago now, I noticed some weird bruises on the front of my calves. I didn’t think much of it. I am tall, and I got tall fast when I hit puberty. I’m still a little bit clumsy, so it’s not entirely uncommon for me to, say, bump into a door frame and forget about it until a bruise turns up later. These spots didn’t hurt, which was weird; bruises tend to hurt at least a little. I mostly ignored whatever was happening, choosing to wear maxi skirts, pants, and leggings to cover up.

I don’t remember exactly when the not-really-bruises first appeared, but I do remember that the cold weather came fairly quickly after I noticed, because I was relieved. It’s not so obvious and not so much work to cover up my legs when it’s cold. That detail places the onset of my morphea at roughly summer 2014.

When spring 2015 came, I resumed my careful wardrobe selections. That lasted for the rest of the year. I’m good at hiding, remember? As I scroll through my What I Wore Sunday photos, I’m still surprised that you can’t really see anything.

Yet the weird discolorations remained. They still didn’t hurt, but they’d spread to the area just above my knees. I knew enough about skin to realize that the spreading was not a good sign. But I didn’t have a good enough reason to want to go through the trouble of figuring out what was wrong.

Early in 2016 is when things started to change. I found myself scheduling the first in-person visit with my long-distance boyfriend, and I realized that I couldn’t just keep hiding. He deserved to know.

When we were finally together, I decided to stop hiding. Obviously, he was concerned. I was, too. A little bit more. Finally. I made an appointment with a family practice doctor, who sent me on to my dermatologist. I was still dragging my feet, so I didn’t make it there until Memorial Day. Better late than never?

My Diagnosis

The dermatologist first suspected granuloma annulare (GA). She took two punch biopsies to send to a pathologist, hoping that if one wasn’t clear, the other would be. I left with two band-aids and one stitch.

Unfortunately, she had to take the punch biopsies from the back of my calf, so the scars are very noticeable. She did help by pointing out that the backs of my calves have much darker and more widespread patches. I hadn’t noticed. Think about it: how often do you look at the back of your calves?

In retrospect, GA might have been worse than morphea, because “granuloma annulare” is kind of a fancy medical term for “we don’t know how this happened to your skin, and we don’t know how to fix it, but it might go away.” It’s like Bell’s palsy, but for skin conditions instead of muscles.

In reality, the results came back inconclusive for GA but possibly indicative of “early morphea.” The pathologist had not examined my skin, so he couldn’t have known that, clearly, I did not have “early” anything.

So I went back to my dermatologist for another, more extensive biopsy. This was when I finally got scared. There are 3 levels of skin biopsy: shave, punch, and excisional. The punches hadn’t been clear enough for a firm diagnosis, so we needed to dig a little deeper. Literally.

I tolerate physical pain and discomfort pretty well; most women do. So I was okay as the nurse numbed two new spots on my leg (the same leg as before). I was even okay with the actual pressure and pulling I felt during the procedure. She only needed one spot. But this time, my doctor was wearing scrubs. She’d laid out sterile blankets to isolate the surgical field. It was really cold in the exam room. It felt real, and I was scared, and I was alone.

This biopsy required more stitches, and it hurt a lot more after the anesthesia wore off. I hobbled my way through work, back to hiding my legs under long skirts. I felt defeated, and I hoped desperately that this one, this time would work.

A few weeks later, the pathologist’s diagnosis came back. It was morphea; no question. I had scars, and I still had all my patches, but at least my weird skin discoloration had a name.

Treatment, and a Brief Detour

My dermatologist prescribed a topical corticosteroid and a vitamin D cream, in addition to a follow-up appointment to check their progress. I used both faithfully, although I did accidentally leave them in the trunk of my car during a hot, hot afternoon in Houston.

A few weeks after I started treatment, I noticed some red bumps all over the front of my left leg. (Same leg.) I also wondered if my mostly-healed excision was supposed to be quite that pink, and if that bump on the edge was okay. You might think that I would be more cautious about weird things on my legs post-diagnosis. You would be wrong. After one very painful leg-shaving and a couple of days of calf selfies to verify that I wasn’t seeing things when I thought the bumps were multiplying, I went to my previously-scheduled appointment.

“How’s everything going?” asked my nurse as we walked back to the exam room.

“Well, the morphea patches are basically the same, but I’ve got some new problems I was hoping you could check out for me,” I replied.

This diagnosis was much easier, although I was getting a little tired of getting things cut off my legs every time I saw my dermatologist. I had a bacterial infection called folliculitis (on both legs at that point) and a staph infection in my incision scar. So I stopped using the morphea creams and switched to antibiotics and antibacterial lotion.

I have never had so many prescriptions in such a short time.

Just over a week later, I was back to patchy business as usual. I am not currently pursuing any treatment plan. This condition is so mysterious that the basic course of treatment is not specific enough. My morphea is not nearly as bad as some of the photos I’ve seen and descriptions I’ve read, so I’m satisfied with watching and waiting. And I should probably not get a tattoo.

Life with Morphea

Once I had my diagnosis, my confidence started to return. Except for a brief detour through folliculitis and staph, I haven’t let me morphea hold me back. I spent almost two months keeping my excision scar covered with a Band-Aid whenever it would otherwise be visible, because I was not about to let it get infected again. That goal is how I discovered that you can buy a whole box of standard-sized Band-Aids.

Now, I wear whatever I want. I think people notice my morphea patches, but most of them are too polite to say anything. Or they are strangers. In over two years since onset, only one person has actually asked, and I can tell she asked because she was concerned about me. “I don’t know what’s up with my legs” was a really unsatisfying answer. This isn’t great, but it’s much better.

I also belong to a closed Facebook Group for people who have morphea, and we suspect that it might be more common than the medical definitions suggest. Mild cases are easy to mistake for birthmarks or stray skin discolorations. But no one’s really researching it, so it’s tough to tell beyond anecdotes.

This is just my life. Morphea is a part of who I am now. It’s just one of the many things that make up my crazy, beautiful life.

Additional Resources

If you Google “morphea,” you’ll notice a distinct lack of results. It doesn’t even get the special medical information box. The first reference I turned to is from the Mayo Clinic, and that’s where I would point you first. The Mayo Clinic has a great, brief, detailed overview of what morphea is and how it’s diagnosed and treated.

The Wikipedia article on morphea is pretty informative, as its articles tend to be. Notice how it is also brief. That’s the rare part shining through.

The National Institutes of Health classifies morphea as a rare disease and also as a kind of scleroderma. (Morphea is sometimes called “morphea scleroderma.”) Most forms of scleroderma are much worse than mine and can damage internal organs, though, so I’ve been reluctant to take that label.

Some scleroderma-focused resources also have information about morphea, particularly the International Scleroderma Network and this archived Scleroderma Care Foundation page.

The Journal of the American Medical Association for Dermatology (JAMA Dermatology) offers some useful and not gross illustrations of several kinds of morphea.

Michelle Liane Gerovac is a professional photographer in Canada. She also has morphea. Hers is the kind called “en coup de sabre,” which is a French term describing skin discoloration or malformation that looks like one has been hit in the head with a sword, but it’s essentially the same thing I have.

Vitiligo is kind of the opposite of morphea. Morphea tends to darken skin pigmentation in its mildest form (like mine); vitiligo removes skin pigmentation, lightening it. Michael Jackson is said to have had vitiligo. The Catholic women’s online magazine Aleteia For Her shares a story and photos of a model who has vitiligo. I can relate to her attempts to mask the reality of an incurable skin condition.

Currently: December 2016

Currently at Lindsay Loves

November is always a frustrating month. People want to try to stop doing anything useful a full week before Thanksgiving Day because “it’s almost Thanksgiving,” and then it takes several days to get back into the swing of things because “it was just Thanksgiving.” Then it’s December. So for these last six or seven weeks of the calendar year, I am happy if I manage to get anything done, really.

Here’s what I am currently…

Doing: Trying to maximize the rest of the calendar year. I’m not planning anything new for January because I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. The only thing I’ve added to my usual December schedule is sending my Christmas cards before Christmas instead of roughly at Epiphany. My goal is to figure out what can be realistically done this month and what needs to be deferred to next month. I’m trying to treat December-to-January like any other month-end transition, except that many other people will be out of the office at the same time I am.

Enjoying: My non-traditional Advent wreath. As I shared on Instagram, I finally figured out how to get two full lightings out of each tea candle. It’s an art, guys. This year, the Fourth Week of Advent is much longer than usual, so I will get to see the whole wreath lit for several days. I’m excited.

Cooking: Nothing special. Since Spirit & Truth disbanded, I have one additional night at home each week, but I haven’t established a new meal plan for that night yet. I eat, so clearly I’m figuring it out, but I like my simple solo meal planning so much that I want to include this “new” night, too.

Wrapping: A White Elephant gift. I don’t like White Elephant exchanges (or Dirty Santa, Yankee Swap, or whatever you call it), but I have a greater dislike for being called a poor sport for not participating. How is it fun to spend money I don’t want to spend on something I don’t want that no one else wants, either? So I went with my typical gift when I get sucked into these things: a cube of Post-Its. It’s easy to wrap, no one ever guesses what it is, it’s appropriate for all ages, and it perfectly straddles that line between useful and useless.

Playing: Codenames. I spent Thanksgiving with an old college friend who is now local, his wife, and an assortment of international Ph.D. students. This game was perfect since it relies on pretty broad knowledge of English (for practice) but works for fairly large teams (we had about six people each). It was even better than Werewolf/Mafia. I loved both being a spymaster and being on one of the teams. Randomly, another friend who is temporarily in the U.S. after living in Europe mentioned this exact same game at another event with completely different people. The synchronicity was awesome and slightly creepy.

Recapping: November

  • I voted.
  • I went home for my grandmother’s funeral. I’m glad we could finally, finally, lay her to rest.
  • As mentioned, I had a low-key Thanksgiving. It was excellent.
  • My favorite band, Switchfoot, live-streamed their Day After Thanksgiving concert from L.A. They put on such a good show, and I remembered why I love their music best.
  • I made plans to see Mr. Man again: I’m taking him home for Christmas. (Technically, he’s meeting me there.)

So what’s new with you? What are you playing currently?


Currently is hosted on the first Wednesday of each month by Anne of In Residence. This month’s guest co-host is Kellie of The B Hive. Won’t you join us?

Can We Be Catholic and American? (A Response to Archbishop Chaput’s Bishop’s Symposium Talk)

__Author’s note:_ Over at the full post, faithful reader DanC pointed out that I had my Chaput speeches mixed up! I have edited the text here and there to correct my error.

I spent a while learning how to teach adolescents in addition to my time being one, so I have thought a lot about identity formation. Facing a future with President Donald Trump is forcing many Americans to reconsider what the country really thinks, believes, and wants. If the election results demonstrate anything about our national culture, it is that we are divided, and the division is sharper than many of us realized. It even extends into our religious identities. I have seen more than one report that Catholics voted almost 50/50 for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Catholic vote is not as easy to pin down as it once was.

So who are we as a church and as a country? Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia offered some thoughts several weeks before the election at the USCCB’s Bishop’s Symposium. He was speaking to Catholics who are involved in the political sphere, but I think his message is helpful for all of us who seek to be both Catholic and American. I offer some of his remarks here with some commentary of my own.

America’s cultural and political elites talk a lot about equality, opportunity and justice. But they behave like a privileged class with an authority based on their connections and skills.

One of the things I’ve learned from living in so many cities, states, and countries is the true meaning of culture and the power of experience. The best definition of culture I know is “how we do things around here.” In Austin, we don’t honk our car horns out of anger in stop-and-go traffic (and boy, do we have that traffic). In other cities, people honk. It’s not a matter of rudeness or nonchalance; it’s just how we do it. Before the election, many in the media wondered who would ever vote for Donald Trump. Now we know: quite a lot of people would, and did, and most of them are residents of areas far from major media’s usual concern. A Trump presidency was a possibility from the moment he received the nomination. The many who expressed disbelief may have forgotten about all the rest, and it was those voters who secured Trump’s win.

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Consider the elitist attitudes we find…. Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

Pocket-Sized Pointers for Picking a Partner (Review: “101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person”)

Today’s review is of a short book, so this will be a short review. Following on the heels of their successful book 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage, Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes have released a guide for getting to marriage in the first place. This new title basically begged me to read it: 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do. Yes, please! In this tiny tome, I found much to support my previous thoughts about important premarital decisions and a few new points to ponder.

As the authors note, it’s much easier to have a happy marriage when you’ve married the right person in the first place. Thus, most of the book is given over to how to improve yourself as a single, how to date wisely, and what to look for when the possibility of marriage pops over the horizon. They’re definitely on the right track there. I have never been married, but I used to do marriage prep (for other couples, not for myself), and I have a personal interest in improving the way marriages begin. Starting off on the right foot sounds like a good way to set yourself up for marital bliss.

Photo by Billy Quach

Photo by Billy Quach

Some standout tips are… Read the rest at ATX Catholic.

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