Friday, September 30, 2011

This Morning I Am a Wildflower

I woke up worried about money this morning. I think we’ve all had those days. The first-of-the-month bills just seemed a little daunting and the checkbook felt a little thin and I felt a lot worried so I, naturally, shook Kyle awake so he could worry with me. After about twenty minutes of listening to me go through every little miniscule detail of our finances, he murmured a reminder about this to me…

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.

– Luke 12: 22b-29 (NIV)

So this morning I am a raven, I am a wildflower. and I am putting myself back in the hands of God where I belong.

What about you? How’s your Friday going?

love, elizabeth

PS: The fall giveaway closes tonight at midnight. Have YOU entered?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Partners in PTSD

Here’s the third and final segment in our short series on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. You can read more about our experiences surviving PTSD HERE and HERE.

Kyle said he wanted me to write about my experience as the wife of a child-abuse survivor who suffers from Complex PTSD. I decided to jot down a few things I have been learning. They’re good reminders for me and maybe for other care-givers/family/partners out there.


I need to remember that…

1. I can  identify/anticipate potential anxiety triggers like certain environments, sounds, smells, topics, or situations but it’s unrealistic (and unhealthy) to think I can avoid every trigger that could possibly affect Kyle.

2. Taking care of my partner means taking care of myself. Caregivers are notoriously bad at this but Secondary Trauma Syndrome is a real thing. I need give myself time to rest and heal, too, whatever that means for me today.

3. A partner, spouse, or loved one should be a crucial part of a support system not the ENTIRE support system. I am not Kyle’s therapist or doctor or paid professional. I’m his wife. And I don’t have to figure this out alone.

4. PTSD is not an excuse or waiver for bad behavior, rudeness, aggression or abuse. I will never keep myself in a situation where I am not emotionally or physically safe. This is also something Kyle has insisted we agree on.

5. I can help “ground” or re-focus Kyle by asking simple questions that deal with the immediate space and sensations (ie. where are we right now? what day is it? what city do we live in? what does this jacket feel like? what color is my shirt?). I’ve also discovered that sometimes familiar songs sung loudly can halt the progression of a panic attack. “I’m a Little Tea Pot” works really well (I do all the motions).

6. I can rely on God to continue to heal Kyle’s heart, little by little, day by day.

love, elizabeth

PS: One more day to enter to win the coziest, softest autumn scarf you ever did meet!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dance Break

The last couple blog days have been pretty serious around here. Thought we could use a good old-fashioned dance break…

I think this one’s pretty appropriate. Also, I just kind of love it.

Be back tomorrow with the third in our series of posts on living with PTSD. Thank you, again, to the wonderful people who left such kind, supportive messages for us.

love, elizabeth

PS: If you haven’t entered to win this beautiful fall scarf yet, the giveaway is still open…

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Day in Life with PTSD

First of all, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you for sending such warm, encouraging, comforting comments our way after yesterday’s post! It was a good reminder about why blogging can be such a powerful way to connect with other human beings and I was so inspired and touched by all of your words.

If you haven’t read our first post about PTSD, check it out HERE.

The following is a timeline that I wrote from Kyle’s perspective. It’s based on the most regular/daily of our experiences with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and our many, many conversations about his feelings. My hope is that reading it will be encouraging to those who may be struggling with a variety of emotional/mental health concerns and that it might be educational/useful for the countless family and friends who want to support someone with PTSD. Again, this is one survivor’s experience of the condition, not a textbook guide by any stretch. Kyle proofed this for accuracy and thought.


*WARNING: This post may be triggering for some people. Please take care of yourself and don’t read if you are not feeling emotionally safe.

6:20 a – We take Madigan for a walk. I can hear the footsteps of people behind us on the sidewalk and my eyes immediately search for anything I might be able to use as a weapon. Just in case. The couple pass us without incident but I do not relax for another ten minutes.

9:00 a – As I walk into work, a motorcycle backfires and my hand leaps to my chest of its own accord. I force myself not to react further.

11:48 a – I smell something or I hear something and there’s that sensation again. I look down at my feet. I feel as though I am in the body of a stranger. My arms and legs don’t seem to belong to me.

12:35 p – Meet Elizabeth in a restaurant for lunch. We are seated at an open table and my back is to the door. I hate having my back to the door. Spend the better part of the meal conscious of the waiter bussing the table behind me. I count the number of exits--one, two, three—and wish we had remembered to ask for a booth.

4:31 p – In the grocery store, a guy brushes past me and I have to close my eyes and breathe deeply to keep from curling into a ball on the floor. I want to curl into myself so that nothing can touch me or see me.

6:08 p –  At a friends’ house, the room gets crowded and people are talking over each other. It is very loud. I excuse myself and head for the bathroom where I sit in the dark and quietly sing something familiar.

6:09 p –I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and though I know that it is me, I don’t recognize the person staring back. I seem distorted, misshapen.

7:45 p – Elizabeth wants to know why I was acting so weird at so-and-so’s house. We begin to argue. I snap and say something to her. I don’t actually know what I have said because everything sounds and feels very far away but she looks hurt.

7:46 p – Unbearable images, like flashes of light, are racing through my mind. I swallow and try to take deep, slow breaths.

7:47 p – My heart feels like it’s being squeezed out of my chest and I am sure that, in a moment, I will not be able to breathe.

7:48 p – It’s like I’m in a room with four walls and windows. I can see out. I can hear everything. But I can’t leave the room. Nothing can come in here. I’m safe here.

7:49 p – Outside the room, Elizabeth is still standing. I know her hands are on my knees but they aren’t my knees right now. She is crying.

7:50 p – She stomps loudly. “Kyle,” she says. “KYLE. KYLE KYLEKYLE!” she almost screams, wanting me to answer her, to flicker, to twitch, to let her know I’m still alive. My eyes are open but I might as well as be an unconscious body. She is frustrated, furious maybe.

7:51 p – I feel something. Elizabeth has pressed my fingertips to the edge of the sofa cushion. “Can you feel that?” she asks me. I nod but I cannot speak. She’s trying to ground me and later, I will tell her how much I love her. Later, when I can find my voice again.

7:52 pIt’s okay to come out, I tell myself. Just walk through the door. It’s safe. It’s safe. It’s safe. I don't move.

7:54 p – Elizabeth is begging me now. “Please come back to me. I’m right here. Sweetheart, you’re scaring me! Please come back.” I want to but I feel frozen.

8:04 p – I am talking again, reacting again, and Madigan has wormed her way onto my lap. Feeling her warm, furry body against my chest is soothing. I have left that little room inside of myself but still, I do not allow myself to feel. I nod when she asks me if it was a flashback. She is sorry, she says. She didn’t mean to trigger me. I tell her she didn’t.

10:44 p – We climb in bed and I reach for the remote. “What do you want to watch?” she asks. This is a ritual. We do not sleep in the dark, do not sleep in silence. We play movies during the night hours, cartoons mostly. They are familiar, easy. They make it harder for the nightmares to get in.

10:47 p – Elizabeth lays her head on my shoulder. “I love you,” she yawns sleepily. “I love you, too,” I whisper.


Again, thank you all for reading and continuing to be so supportive and kind. Your own stories inspire and encourage us so, so much. Next post, we’ll be talking about PTSD from the partner’s perspective.

love, elizabeth

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Monster That Should Have Ripped Us Apart

Like a lot of other blogs written by people in love, I sometimes think maybe I give off this impression that Kyle and I do nothing but go apple-picking and having picnics in the park and being super fuzzy, lovey-dovey all the time. Recently, I’ve been inspired by some of these wonderful bloggers who have been so open about their lives and relationships and I thought it was important to share some things with all of you.

I’ve alluded to this before but Kyle has some pretty serious stuff in his past, stuff that we’re still coming to grips with, working through together. If you’ve ever wondered why this blog is called “Love is an Adventure,” this is why.

Honestly, the last almost seven years together have been utterly blissful at times and at others, unbearably painful. I have questioned our decision to get married. I have longed to abandon the heartbreak and pain that we are forced to face daily. I have dreaded that soul-sorrow that stays aching in the bones.

Kyle suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD, as it is often called). Without sharing too many of the details here, I can say that it stems from early childhood abuse at the hands of a stranger.

Kyle and I have thought before about sharing some of our experiences of healing here on the blog but it has been difficult to think of how to really talk about it in a way that might be helpful for others. I have decided to spend the better part of this week highlighting some of the lessons he and I have learned as we have struggled our way through some very dark days. Maybe what we share can shed some light on his experience of PTSD.

It’s important for me to say that no two people are alike and that no two experiences of PTSD are alike so while there are some common symptoms, reactions, triggers, and treatments, every survivor’s story is unique to him or her. We have no right or wrong answer, only many questions and some moments of hope to share. We’re not experts on PTSD, just experts of our own experiences. We share this with the hope that it may offer some encouragement to someone out there struggling like we have, like we are, like we will continue to do.

PTSD is the monster that should have ripped us apart. But God is the God who has continued to hold us together when we couldn’t see past any of it, when we couldn’t even breathe.

I hope you’ll read this week.

love, elizabeth

PS: Still time to enter the First of Fall Giveaway and win a softer-than-soft scarf!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Afternoon in the Apple Orchard

We spent the afternoon hours at another one of my favorite places…Lynd’s Fruit Farm. Just north of Columbus in Pataskala, the Lynd Farm is famous for its pick-your-own orchard and its amazing vegetables, jams, jellies, baked goods, and corn maze. We took nearly a hundred pictures but thought I’d share a few of my favorites here…







That’s right. I went there. Don’t judge me.





Kyle carting around our spoils. Among them: a gigant-o bag of fresh kettle corn, three pumpkins, a jug of cider, and two jars of jam. Cause when we go Lynd’s, we go crazy.

It was an awesome Saturday and I now I have a big bag of fresh-picked apples to turn into applesauce. I’ll post the recipe if anyone would like it.

What about you? What are you doing to dive into fall? And, more importantly, do you want to win this hand-knit scarf to help you celebrate? Giveaway is open until Thursday night…

love, elizabeth

Friday, September 23, 2011

First of Fall Giveaway

Oh, my goodness, I have been WAITING for this day to come forever! I am so excited to announce this giveaway because whoever wins it will receive…

This gorgeous hand-knit scarf, made with organic cotton in a buttery rich pumpkin color, complete with gold vintage button detailing. It is so, so soft and pretty…I almost canceled the giveaway because I wanted to keep it for myself.




This gift is a really special one for me because it was made especially for this blog by my mother who is an extremely gifted knitter. I’ve been telling her for a long time that she needs to open her own Etsy shop but she says she gets more enjoyment making things for people she loves. So…count yourself among the loved! And be sure to follow her blog here for other craft projects she’s working on…


Also, in this package, a little emerald tin of imported jasmine tea.


So what, you may ask, can you do to win this cozy fall gift?

Five possible entries: (leave a comment for EACH)

- Be an official follower via Google Friend Connect (only mandatory entry)

- Mention this giveaway in a blog post and include a link

- Tweet about the giveaway and include a link

- Like Love is the Adventure on Facebook

- Follow me on Twitter here

This giveaway will close on September 30 at midnight and I will announce the winner October 1.


Happy first day of fall! Go jump in a pile of leaves for me!

love, elizabeth

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

“I’ll take care of you,” he said.

Today was a long day, a hard day, a battered and a bruised day, a sublime day, a no-time day, a have to sleep sometime day…

But I have Kyle. And that makes it all okay.

Tonight at church, I had passed him a note that said I was feeling under the weather, anxious, exhausted. He handed me back my note and in sprawling pencil below, he had scribbled, “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.”



And isn’t that kind of what God says to us? I’m so quick to forget the second the worry and the fear creeps in. But doesn’t He say that? Don’t worry. I’ll take care of you.

It is a deep relief to fall into Kyle’s arms at the end of the day and say, “Hold me, I’m not strong enough to do this alone.” And as much as I forget it, this should be my prayer to God, too. Hold me. I’m not strong enough to do this alone.

love, elizabeth

PS: Giveaway on Friday morning!! I can’t wait to finally show you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

First Day of School Jitters

Tomorrow morning is my first day back at school. We’re on the quarter system and it’s slightly medieval, so that’s why we have such a late start date.

It seriously doesn’t matter how old I get, though, because the first day of school rolls around and I get a pack of butterflies in my stomach. You’d think it was the first day of kindergarten I get so nervous (you know, I counted yesterday and realized that if the university had grades, I would be in 20th grade this year).

It’s a good kind of nervous, mostly. I love school. Never mind that I’m an adult now, never mind that I’m teaching college students, I still find myself awake the night before, asking the same questions. Will I fit in? What if I’m not pretty or popular enough? Will the other kids like me? Will my students like me? What if my classes are too hard?

I guess the lesson here is, you’re never too old to get scared. I hope I remember to tell my children that.

So in honor of the first day of school, here’s a little blast from the past…





Obviously my fashion sense came at an early age. If that elephant sweater still fit…I would still wear it to class. Especially with polka-dots.

What about you? Anyone ever have a day as a grown-up where they thought, I’m not old to be doing this! I still need someone to pack my lunch and hold my hand when I cross the street?

love, elizabeth

PS: Fall giveaway the day after TOMORROW.

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Yesterday was cool and rainy and I was definitely feeling the whole kitchen thing. I had spotted a recipe for stuffed peppers attached to a coupon in the Sunday paper a couple weeks ago and clipped it. Here’s the modified version I made for dinner last night.


  • Cooked rice (I used Basmati but it would probably be great with Jasmine or brown rice, too)
  • Large red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (1 pepper a person)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 package fully-cooked chicken sausage (I used Johnsonville Chicken Apple Sausage and it was delicious) thinly sliced/diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 package of fresh mushrooms, chopped (I used portabella but I think cremini or anything else would work well)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon, fresh sage, fresh oregano chopped

Cook rice. Preheat oven to 350 F.


Remove pepper tops and seeds.



Brush with olive oil inside and out. Lightly salt and pepper inside.


Roast peppers, open tops up in oven for 30 min.


While peppers are roasting, saute sausage, onion, mushrooms, and herbs with 1-2 T olive oil on stovetop. Add chopped apple. Cook until all tender.



Stir in rice and heat through.


Fill peppers and serve. Garnish with pepper tops, if desired.


This was a light, satisfying meal and served about 4. Will totally make this again. I think it’s a company-worthy dish and looks so pretty on the plate. I also think this would be yummy without the meat, for any of my vegetarian/vegan readers.


What about you? Anyone have a fall recipe they’ve been itching to try?

love, elizabeth

PS: I hope you’re getting excited because it’s going to be Friday very soon…in case you haven’t heard, I’ll be announcing the fall giveaway!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Next Year’s Girl

On Saturday, I met Katie Valeska, the artist for the amazing autobiographical webcomic, Next Year’s Girl. And this is one of my favorites. Katie updates every Tuesday which makes Tuesday a day to put on my calendar…


And be sure to ‘like’ Next Year’s Girl on Facebook for updates, comic news, and more. Thanks to Katie for chatting with me at Independents’ Day!

What about you? Anyone have a favorite webcomic?

love, elizabeth

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Independently Yours, Columbus

Have discovered yet another reason to love Columbus, Ohio, the self-declared “indie art capital of the world.” It’s called Independents’ Day and celebrates the many local businesses, restaurants, and artists in the area with a little one day festival.


We got to see local indie band, Necropolis, play a set. Emily (pictured right) is a friend of mine from the PhD program. That’s right. I know rock stars. No big deal.

In front of the state capitol building. Obviously, this is just cause for levitation.

While I was downtown, I met a couple really awesome business owners and I’m super excited to spotlight some local Columbus artists. Tune in for that over the next few days…

What about you? How was your Saturday?

love, elizabeth

PS: Just a few more days until the giveaway. I think you’re gonna like it.

Sign of the Times Saturday

Well, today I have no sign to share. I got a little behind in my picture-taking but I should be back with my regular link up next Saturday.

To make up for it, I thought I’d share this with you…

If Petula Clark can’t make you smile, then there’s nothing more I can do for you.

I have a jam-packed weekend planned and I can’t wait to share pictures with you so check back tomorrow!

What’s going on for YOU this weekend?

love, elizabeth

PS: 6 days ‘til the fall giveaway…are you getting excited? Cough. Fine. Lie to me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Calendar Girl

                                                           Source: via Elizabeth on Pinterest

Things are really starting to get busy here. September is flying and as our schedules get more hectic with school and work, Kyle and I have started a new wall calendar system to keep track of each other’s whereabouts. I’m pretty proud of the end result which may look like a color-coded disaster area but I assure you, is a highly sophisticated organizational system…kinda. At least I got to use all of Kyle’s different Sharpie colors. Every box color represents a different thing – school, work, church, volunteering, and if you look closely you can see our date nights penned in.

Take a peek at our week below.


I just realized that if someone on the internet wanted to stalk me, it would probably be really easy as I have just provided you with a time and location for my entire month. Um. Please don’t stalk me. Unless you really want to take Avante-Garde Solo Performance with me. There may or may not be leotards involved.


What about you? What keeps you organized on your busiest days?

love, elizabeth

PS: Thank you so much, everyone, for your wonderful feedback and advice regarding the blog title! I think I’m going to stick with Love is the Adventure for awhile. I really appreciate everyone’s opinions and it definitely helped me make a decision.

Oh, and…one week from today, the giveaway. I’m a poet in case you didn’t…hear it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Need A Blogger's Opinion

I am contemplating a name change for this blog. While Love is the Adventure is still the sentiment behind what I write, I'm wondering if maybe there is a title that's a little more unusual or stands out a little more or better conveys the overall focus of the blog.

What do you all think? Would a name change confuse you? Would you stop reading? Do you think it would be hard to make the transition to a new title? If I did, should I change the url, too?

Any thoughts/experiences you have surrounding this would be verrrrrrrrry helpful.

love, elizabeth

Why Reorganizing the Pantry Made Me Smile

Well, I can cross SOMEthing off my to-do list! I reorganized the pantry cupboards. At least now I can find everything…sometimes I get all wrapped around the axle wishing I had more storage space, a more sophisticated-looking kitchen, whatever. And then I am reminded that God has always provided EXACTLY what I need. I have never gone hungry. I have never been homeless. If nothing else, cleaning out the pantry has reminded me how faithfully I have been provided for. Again and again and AGAIN.
Here’s The Deep Steep tea I’m always raving about.
Honestly, looking at these pictures is pretty humbling. I know that right now thousands and thousands of people in the world will not have breakfast or lunch or dinner. I am a little embarrassed that I have doubted the goodness of God for even a SECOND. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, God, for my well-stocked pantry and Kyle’s job and the way you have given freely, with both hands, saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you, Elizabeth.” Wow.

What about you? What’s making you feel thankful today?

love, elizabeth

PS: Stay tuned! Our fall giveaway is just around the corner!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mozart’s Bakery and Piano Cafe

On Saturday, my friend Francesca and I stopped in at one of my favorite eating-spots in Columbus. Mozart’s is an Austrian-style bakery and cafĂ© with live piano music and a menu to die for.
Strawberry champagne cake
Fruit tart
Mozart’s specialty, the marzipan peach.
If you’re in Columbus, Mozart’s is worth stopping in for a cup of tea just to hear the music.
We sat by the Mozart statue. I think he was a little grumpy that afternoon.
Francesca holding our pastry boxes

This is probably one of my favorite Columbus spots, for atmosphere alone. But the food is good, too, and not overly-priced. Francesca and I are coming back here to have their traditional afternoon tea at some point.

What about you? Anyone have a favorite tea/coffee/bakery spot in their city?
love, elizabeth

PS: On September 23rd, in honor of the first day of fall, I will be announcing my next giveaway! You are not going to want to miss this one…I keep trying to figure out how I can enter and keep it for myself.An alias maybe?
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