Out of whack and minor victories

I don’t feel well, and if I’m honest, I haven’t in a couple of weeks.

I don’t handle not feeling well very well either. Here’s my method: I decide that rather than feel bad, I will ignore it and continue on with life until it goes away. I mean, when you think about it– I have my vision, hearing, voice, appendages, phalanges, and relative health– so why whine about some minor pains or fatigue when some people have actual health issues and/or maladies. I shrug it off and trudge forward.

That is, until I can’t.

And I hate it when I can’t.

I don’t know if I’m ill or if my blood is out of whack again. I keep trying to do things and I just don’t have the energy to do them. Sometimes my brain is affected by this fatigue as well. And then there’s the low body temperature I keep having. Ugh.

PS– Don’t plug your symptoms into WebMD… ever! That site will convince you that you’re dying. A better remedy is to seek actual medical care, which I’m doing tomorrow.

I’m frustrated and discouraged, but I need to remember that seeing the hematologist is a good thing– he made me feel better before 🙂

On a more positive note, I’ve had some minor victories in the past couple of days in spite of  not feeling well. Victory #1: I finally got every single wedding gift OUT of the dining room! No longer are there gifts in piles lining the walls. It only took me 11 months… Victory #2: I got the downstairs looking respectable for the first time in a few months– and we can potentially invite people into our home once again without being mortified! Woohoo! I know these two things don’t resonate the same way for any of you, but in this newlywed’s life– they’re pretty, stinkin’ awesome!

Here’s a peek at my favorite new thing in my dining room– so cute!!!


She’s settling in

It’s been four and a half months since our wedding day and Lindsey is finally settling into the house. We’ve had all of her stuff her for awhile, and she has been making changes around here since she moved in, but in the last week she has really been comfortable with making changes. And I love it.

Now, it may surprise you that I am so comfortable with the change. I lived alone for ten years before meeting Lindsey and getting married. I’d become accustomed to having my house and my stuff a certain way. Anyone who has visited my place would tell you that it was my perfect version of a home– for a bachelor at least. I thought it was great. So when Lindsey moved in I honestly asked myself, ‘how much could she really want to change?’ Again I found out how little I understand women.

Over the last few months I have pushed Lindsey to make changes to the house and to decorate it the way she wanted to. I told that unless she was buying anything crazy expensive or furniture to just go for it. She didn’t bite.

I think she understood that I was saying it, but I really wasn’t saying it. I was putting it all on her. When she did not like something I suggested that she, “find something to replace it.” Well, if you know my wife you probably know that just replacing out of the blue something hanging on the wall is a little to close to confrontation for her. So it didn’t happen.

But then two things happened in the last couple of days that kick-started things.  First, Lindsey picked a few of the small things she wanted to change and just did it. When I either did not notice the change or noticed it and liked it, she was encouraged. Then when I, of my own volition, took down one of her least favorite items from the wall and left a blank space she really got the message.

But let’s be honest, she really wasn’t the one who needed to “get it”. That distinction is mine. I told her that she ‘could’ change things, but offered no help or suggestions. That was my mistake. I was still treating it like my house, so why was I surprised when she treated it that way too?

We now have progress. She is kicking butt and taking names around here, but I will let her share the fun details with you herself. For my part I want to leave you with this: husbands, support your wives not just with your words but with actions. Take the first step yourself. Sacrifice something. Show her how much you love her. Don’t make my mistake.

Grilled Salmon, Roasted Potatoes and Carrot Salad

Tonight we had an amazing, quick dinner that we want to share with you.

Grilled Salmon, with a surprise
This salmon is really easy to do and has a surprising flavor twist. We use the Coffee Rub from Fire & Flavor for the salmon. They don’t even really label it for seasoning fish, but on a whim we tried a few months ago and have been sold.

So here is what we do for the salmon:

  1. Heat a grill pan (or grill, but the grill pan is quick and easy) over medium heat for a few minutes. Spray lightly in Pam or some other spray oil
  2. Take two salmon fillets, brush the flesh (not skin) side of the fillet lightly with olive oil
  3. Season the salmon fillet with a small sprinkle of kosher salt. Take a generous amount Coffee Rub and rub it onto the flesh side of each fillet. Rub on a thin, but full coverage, layer of the rub
  4. Put on the grill pan flesh side down for 3-5 minutes
  5. When the surface of the rub is dark, but not burnt, turn them over. Pay attention, this can happen quickly
  6. Cook on the skin side until desired done. You can increase the heat a little bit for faster cooking– at your own risk

Roasted New Potatoes
This is a staple in the Lundin house, and it is super simple. Our friend Lesley’s blog posted a similar recipe today that you should check out too.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Get a pound or so of new potatoes. Clean, dry and quarter them, putting them in a large bowl. Add a small amount of olive oil (this is an estimation recipe) and toss to coat. You are looking for a thin, even coat of oil on the potatoes. Add more if you need to.

Then, take a balsamic vinegar and add a small amount it to the bowl, around a half to 3/4 of the amount of olive oil, and toss to coat again. You don’t have to use really good balsamic, but don’t use the really cheap stuff. Add a few pinches of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. You can add fresh herbs, spices or we even use those really bad dried onion flakes from the spice aisle. Get creative, if it sounds good it probably is.

Put the potatoes on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or foil) and place on a middle to upper-middle rack in the oven. Switch from bake to the broiler on high. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are done.

Carrot Salad

This was outside of our wheelhouse, it was a brand new recipe, but we loved it. I found it via Rod Dreher’s great blog and just had to try it. Totally worth it and not hard at all.

You can find the carrot salad recipe at Dorie Greenspan’s blog, but to intrigue you, here are the ingredients:

  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola, grapeseed or other flavorless oil
  • Moist, plump currants or raisins, optional
  • Coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
  • Chopped parsley, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If you are skeptical, try it. It is a really great summer salad.

So there it is folks, a home cooked dinner we both tackled in less than 30 minutes. We’re starting to get the hang of this.

She makes my life better

You may be asking yourself why I have posted a photo of this bag, and what it has to do with the title above. Because it is proof. It’s proof that Lindsey makes my life better, sometimes in the smallest ways.

There is no point in beating around the bush, so here it is: I am incredibly unorganized. I’m not dirty, I’m not unclean, I’m just very not organized. In fact, if one were to describe my house before Lindsey moved in, one word would probably do the job– disheveled1.

When Lindsey walked into this little bachelor world of mine over a year ago I could see her immediately start planning how she was going to fix it. To her credit, she fought the war with small battles and tiny skirmishes and at this point has basically won. If my unkempt house was WWII France, it has been conquered and a Vichy government of cleanliness and organization has been installed2.

I should not cast this as a defeat though, because in truth it is awesome. That bag above? It’s our travel hamper. She is organizing our clean and dirty clothes on the road to make laundry easier when we get home. Brilliant! I never would have thought of that.

In truth, she makes my life better in a thousand ways, big and small. It’s not laundry and housework that I don’t like doing– it’s much more than that. She shows me how to see things differently, she helps me care for others better, and she changes the way I look at the world. But most important of all, she points me back to my faith.

Lindsey makes my life better, and while I don’t love her because of that, I certainly love her for it.

  1. Not only is this the perfect word to describe my style of housekeeping, it’s also just a great word. ‘Dis-‘ as a prefix indicates a negative or reversing force, yet nothing can be described as ‘sheveled’. The right antonym for disheveled is actually undisheveled. Crazy, right? ↑
  2. When Lindsey read this line her exact response was, “Did you just make me the Nazis? I’m not okay with being the Nazis!” ↑


What an incredible day!

Today we spent our first Easter together. Our church does Easter at The Erwin Center in order to have a venue large enough to bring all three campuses together. It was a wonderful service– powerful worship and a truth-filled message. My parents and sister joined us for the day and it was was a treat to have them with us.

After the service, we came back to the house and Brian and I prepared our first holiday meal as “the Lundins.” Brian made an incredible ham, and we whipped up some fantastic sides: crackeroni (my mac is so good it’s like crack!), creamy garlic mashed potatoes, and asparagus. I had the opportunity to play hostess and had a wonderful time doing so.

There was such joy in everything today– in the church service, in playing in the kitchen, in serving my family, and even in cleaning up. No exaggeration. It was joyful.

After my family headed back to Dripping Springs, Brian and I lounged and rested and enjoyed our first downtime since he got back into town Friday night.

It was when everything calmed down that a strange thought struck me: I am married. I am married and I have a husband and I have a house.

I know that you’re probably thinking “no duh, Lindsey,” but it struck me like a new idea strikes you. If I were a cartoon, a lightbulb or exclamation point would have shot out of my head. In fact, I then had to say the thought aloud to see if it sounded any different out in the world rather than up in my head. It made Brian look up from his book. He smiled and replied, “Yes.” I think he’s stopped thinking I’m crazy and just accepted that I’m his. It’s a wise move on his part.

Much of the passing of time in our lives is marked by holidays and special occasions. This time last year, I had not even met Brian yet, and today here we are side by side in our kitchen making a meal for our family. Sitting here tonight, I don’t even remember last Easter, but I know I’ll never forget this one.

There is a line from worship this morning that I can’t get out of my head today, so I’ll close with these words: “Oh, praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead! Oh, praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!”

Two Days

We’ve had two days of work and real life since the honeymoon. It’s been eye-opening in a few small ways.

First, we have grand plans for our life together, especially our daily life. But as we all know from the famous quote, “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy”. One of the things we talked about in the last few weeks was the idea of getting back to more traditional  rhythms of life and being together in those. Wake up around the same time, see each other in the morning, eat dinner together (at a table, no TV, etc.), spend time in the Bible each evening, then go to bed together. Repeat everyday. Or so we hoped.

Lindsey has to leave so early for school because of the drive and I am the exact opposite of a morning person. For two days in a row I woke up just enough to say good bye and then went back to sleep. So, 0 for 2.

Dinner is only a slightly different story. We had a great dinner last night… and it was only about an hour and a half later than planned. It ate up most of the evening as a result. We did our Bible study and prayer and it was great. Off to bed a bit late after one TV show and the first day was done.

Now, many of our readers who have been married for years will probably roll their eyes at this (the probability of me rolling my eyes at this in 3 months? 82%). But the truth is, we’d like to be different than the average. We want a home that is centered around us, not around our schedules. We want a home where the priority is our marriage, not external expectations. But, for now we obviously have a lot to learn. Which is good. It’s only been two days.

Change Is Moving In

While we are away on our honeymoon we have a few posts lined up and scheduled in the likely case we are too busy to post anything. So, enjoy this auto-scheduled content while we enjoy the beach, a few pina coladas, and I’m hoping enough Jimmy Buffet to drive Lindsey crazy. 🙂

I am writing this on Monday, the 5th. In 5 days I will be married, and I am just now starting to grasp the depth of the impact on my daily world (I’m a slow learner sometimes…). After a weekend of getting the house ready for Lindsey to move in, I appreciate the massive amount to change that is about to come my way.

Sitting here at this moment I have no idea of what exactly will be changing, but it is obvious that my life was missing something. I knew I needed a partner, a helpmate, someone to share love and life with. But as much as I knew I needed it, I’m not certain exactly how I need it, how that partner would fit into my life. The picture is becoming clearer though.

Lindsey is bringing her sweet spirit and heart, her love for the weak and oppressed, her desire to know God and grow and much, much more to this home and I cannot be thankful enough for it. She is changing the way I see the world and the way I see her. I’m marrying a truly remarkable woman, and I cannot wait to see the ways in which she makes my life better, and I certainly hope that I return the favor to an even larger degree.

Here is the point, I am sitting in a clean living room, the wedding gifts are sorted and stacked, there is more open closet space than there has ever been and my garage is full of donations for the Salvation Army. We spent the weekend clearing out my old stuff so she can move in. I willingly and solely did things that I hate to do around the house, and with a real sense of joy. It was a shock and surprise to be honest. I mean, let’s face it, I am lazy. But the sense of calm and clear that comes with this is surprising. Not only am I cleaning out the actual junk in my house but through our relationship so far, the premarital counseling through our church and the other things we have done to prepare I feel like I am cleaning out the junk in my mind and soul. It’s an all around housecleaning.

I think this is how it should be. This should feel exactly as it does: clean, free and optimistic. It’s a fresh start, a wiping away of an old life that often centered on selfishness and replacing it with a relationship based on loving, serving and supporting each other. It’s a radical shift in my life, but one I am more than ready for.