Keeping Faith

One of the biggest transitions into adulthood was owning my faith. After years of sunday school, church attendance, and godly upbringing, I could choose to stay or stray.

I quickly learned upon examination and stepping away from trusting what others have said/preached, that I was forming opinions of my own. I have the Holy Spirit and scriptures to lead me. The point was not to leave it up to my personal interpretation but to validate what scripture says. I realized I had taken many people’s words and opinions as truth, and some of the opinions I formed were NOT pleasing to God.

I don’t question my faith because I don’t trust, I question my faith to build on what I know and believe.

I left the church I attended in my youth knowing that I wasn’t growing (not to say it was a place that didn’t preach the gospel) and still don’t feel totally acclimated to my new church home, but I know that I’m not leaning on my own comforts and that moving forward requires effort – hard effort.

As a quarter-lifer, I look around the church and realize that I’m a dying breed and wonder why. What is the world or the church doing that leads people my age to leave? I feel alone sometimes. The last ladies event I attended had three people in a room of 100+ women that were under 30.

I also look around and realize that the closer I creep to 30, the less I see other unmarried ladies. It’s a given most people will marry at one point in their life. Many of my friends have gotten married and started families and the couples classes and family-based sunday school, Bible study, and small group crowds tend to welcome and plug in families better than single units. I just want to say to the world of single Christian ladies, I see you. I see you as an adult and your own person. Whether you attend church with your family, or sibling, or boyfriend or just attend by yourself. I also know what it’s like, and I think it’s awesome that you’re pressing on despite possible frustrations because our “group” grows smaller. I can’t promise we’ll all get married and have families or have single ladies group to hang out with through the church. But I can promise that we’re equally important to God and we are called to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Paint Night Out!

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Has anyone done a paint event? It’s usually paired with wine or spirits to make it…um…more “upbeat.” I went to my first one this week and LOVED IT! I like the relaxed environment and how people who wouldn’t necessarily be up to making art are open to these events because they are an activity, not a class. I’m all about sharing the love of creating things and having fun.

My friend and I had a blast. There were a few ladies in the group that had quite a bit to drink and were free entertainment! We heard everything from hearty belly laughs to one mother’s rendition of “Elmo’s World”, which got funnier when other people joined her. Lots of people joked that we were doing an emo painting or work for Tim Burton as the majority of the night, we worked in monochrome. My friend had a coke and a glass of wine (I like her style…why not both!) and I had a virgin blended margarita that was very yummy. I might try wine or something next time, but this event was not in town and I prefer a DD if I’ve had anything whatsoever to drink.

I’ll definitely sign up for another one soon. What other girls night out events do you like to do?

Stress Eating Happened

This last week was a detrimental one. It was full of stress and difficult dealings and I let it get the best of me. Not only was I a grump at times, I let my feelings get a grasp on my meal choices. A burger one night, pizza the other, a night of chocolate overloading…and my body definitely felt it. I’m surprised and motivated by that fact, even though it sounds horrible. My body let me know it did not like the compulsive unwholesome choices I made and for the first time in a long time, I had gastric distress, tossing and turning, and even horrible dreams! I honestly thought I was coming down with the flu one day.

I may not have much control of what goes on around me, but I do have control of my feelings and actions. While I let myself down, I know that it’s not the end of the world, and that I can change my outlook again on food choices. In fact, in retrospect, I am proud of myself for remaining rather collected in other aspects and not resorting to anger and attitude issues. If I have moved over that hump, I can hone in better on food choices next time life gives me a heaping load of crazy.

I spent more of my weekend at my parents than my own place to try to resolve some things. Two sale site ads and two trips later, one truck borrow, hauling, bringing chairs in while it rained cats and dogs, and some higher decibel dealings and we have a couch and dining set and basic moving plan for my aunt and uncle and a solidified wedding guest list for our side of the family for my brother’s wedding. PHEW!

I’m hoping this week will bring some TLC for me. I’ve decided to hold off on Bible study until after my brother’s wedding and reunion are done for sanity. Instead I’ll be focusing on personal devotions and reading through Systematic Theology. This means I won’t have three nights back to back of rushing to events and getting home around 9pm. Yes, you read that right! This Friday and Saturday I have a ladies conference that I hope will be encouraging and motivational. And tonight, I try my hand at a wine and painting event.

Family Dynamics

You know…driving is the worst time to be emotional and it always seems to be when reflection over thinking gets to me. I was five minutes away from home, groceries in my trunk, when my eyes got glossy at a simple thought:

“In three months, Nate will be secondary family. His first family, and immediate family will be his wife…Mom, Dad, me, we’ll be secondary in priorities.”

For some reason, that thought really brought on the water works. I pulled into my parking space and wiped my eyes a few times before carrying on. I had not thought of the new family dynamics after he weds. Being my only sibling, I do lean on him quite heavily. For a go-to buddy when I don’t want to dine alone, to the person I rely on whenever I’ve gone crazy on craigslist and need his car and arm muscles to help me haul my newfound furnishings…he’s always been faithfully there at the drop of a hat. That’s not to say he’ll shoo me off and not agree to a quick bite with me or a Netflix binge, but he will have someone who holds priority, and that is his wife.

This weekend I mentioned my crazy little thoughts and he shook his head and reassured me saying, “We’ll always be family silly, I’ll always be there for ya.”

Which comforted my unnecessarily freaked out heart. <3

First hurdles – 10 pounds gone

I’d like to pretend losing the first 10 pounds is a big deal, but while 10 pounds may be half, or a quarter even, of someone’s goal, 10 pounds is a measly tenth of mine and if I’m completely honest, I’d say I have more than that to ideally lose.

10 pounds is about all I lose when I try, and so instead of feeling accomplished, I feel trepidation and worry that’s as far as I’ll get. That’s where I cap off…that’s where my focus strays as the pounds get harder to peel off.

So, I’m scared. But I’m confident even though I worry. Instead of seeing a long line of hurdles ahead of me, I’m going to see myself as a person jumping each hurdle ten pounds lighter at a time…I can do this, and each time, there’s less of me going forward.

I’m ready to prepare for leap number two. I’m ready to stop feeling stuck. The truth is I’m comfortable with my body but my health is showing me that I’ve reached a point I can’t handle. I’ve had more breathing problems as of late and know dropping as little as 25 pounds might make a big difference. Can I get past the next hurdle and halfway to third for better blood pressure and breathing? I’m going to try…

Different Strokes – Open writing

“Different Strokes”

Soft:
Too willing
Too open
Too conforming
Too emotional
Too compliant
Too humble

Hard:
Too critical
Too conscious
Too demanding
Too prideful
Too stern
Too convicted

“Women are too soft.”
They say and wag their fingers.
Yet when they are hard, the same finger wags.
So, combine both, form a spectrum
And pay no attention to waving fingers.
Being dimensional is human.
Having character is human.
Not feminine, not masculine: human.
Paint yourself not to their desires,
But as the masterpiece you are.

Milestones and Ages

Last week my painting instructor congratulated me on my birthday and added how I am “smart” and have accomplished quite a bit. She also mentioned that it was smart to hold off on being married and starting a family. She expressed how she loved that time of her life and would never feel bad for having her children early, but how she had been quick to marry her first husband.

I could tell by how she said it that she meant well, and so I politely said thank you. But I also made sure to tell her that I feel we hit milestones at different times, and shouldn’t feel like age is one of the biggest factors for life experiences and quality of life.

What I didn’t tell her is that I have never been the gal that boys made eyes at, or who pined for a relationship and plastered teen heartthrobs on my wall. I didn’t have a high school sweetheart, and I managed to get through college without a proposal. That opportunity for me to marry “young” never existed! And if it did, who’s to say I wouldn’t have changed the course of my life if I felt it was right?

I’m in a lovely relationship but while we have discussed future plans from time to time, marriage is not in our near future. My younger brother though, is months away from walking down the aisle. Should I feel jealous? Should I envy that he beat me to that milestone? Of course not!

We make our own milestones, and in our own time. That’s what makes them most memorable. If I compare my life to someone else’s I rob the joys of my personal plans and pursuits. Milestones are not mandatory objectives, they are moments we get to cherish as we go through life. :)

-Laura

Birthday Month!

Well guys, I’ve been a bit quiet because sweet people in my life are celebrating my birthday with me! This saturday my boyfriend took me to see Hearst Castle and we stopped for a lovely dinner in Morro Bay.

I’m thanking the Lord for this new year of life and for all that’s to be experienced!

Here’s a list of things I’d like to do before 28:

– Learn conversational Spanish

– Read 3 self help books

– Explore one new area

– Enjoy an Omikaze sushi meal

– Take enough hikes to build my endurance and lungs to advance to a moderate hike (5-10 miles)

– Plan a successful reunion

– Read through Systematic Theology (and pay attention this time ;) )

– Paint my first self portrait

– Learn something new for the career on lynda.com

-Laura

Communicating Hurt

I recently had a spat with a lifetime friend and we both were very wounded over what would seem petty to the world.

As an introvert and grand internalizer, I had over thought and over burdened myself with something that became a sore spot. Afraid to hurt her, I repressed previous hurts and tried to deter the course of some teasing with half-hearted blocks like “Don’t be mean…” “Oh, bug off.”

Long story short, we hashed through it and were both wrong in different areas. What I needed to learn was to be direct. Instead of fending off my wounded self, I should of told her plainly, “Stop. This bothers me.”

She expected me to see her teasing as lighthearted but the constant mockery took its toll. I had been indirect and let myself blow up after not handling her words well. Since she felt her words were innocent she was also confused and hurt. Truly, it was a simple misunderstanding.

The beauty of direct communication is not having to read between the lines. We’ve agreed upon a few things to help our relationship grow and to get past this little rut.

Me:
– I am more sensitive than she made me out to be
– I do not speak up about things when I need to so I need to work on it
– I need to watch what is done when I reach a point of anger so there is no regret
– I need to be direct and state how I feel before things go sour

Her:
– She needs to understand I’m sensitive to teasing
– She needs to understand we have very different personalities
– She needs to understand more limited forms of communication like written or typed words do not always reflect tone

I’m hoping this event has helped us prune off some dead leaves so we can flourish again. I’m thankful we’ve worked through it.