His Name is Kai

I received a very happy call yesterday from my brother with the announcement of his son’s name! They have decided to name him Kai. He explained that picking a global name with many origins in different cultures was perfect as Kai has a rich and mixed heritage of Asian, European, and some Native American descent. Kai means ocean or sea. Coupled with his middle name [which means help], his namesake is “an ocean of God’s help.”

I didn’t put this together before, but he also told me that Kai was born exactly one month after the bad car accident, one that is still causing him trouble from his brain injury. He said in that period of time he really saw God’s help and help from others as they prepared for the little guy’s birth. I later told him that phonetically, it sounded very similar to the Khmer word for “month” which is also a beautiful testament to how something beautiful can happen despite hard circumstances with time and patience.

People thought N+R were so strange to go the “traditional route” and wait to find out the sex of the baby at birth. They were further flummoxed by the fact they hadn’t picked a name on his birth date. It’s interesting to think that the first thing we possess isn’t material and is given by others; that’s quite humbling. A name carries so much meaning, whether it is after a friend, relative, or icon or was picked for the meaning or because it felt meant to be.

Something else that is quite sentimental to me is that since N+R are currently renting the old family home, baby Kai’s room was my old nursery. And so another generation of our family plants their roots in that home.❤

I Have a Nephew!

First time official auntie here! My brother and sister-in-law welcomed their little boy into the world yesterday afternoon and the family couldn’t be happier.

It’s funny because while we aren’t superstitious people, we had so many fun coincidences to add to the birth story!

First of all, the great majority of people close to us felt the baby was a boy even though the Mom and Dad wanted a surprise and never found out. People just had their heart set on it. I think I secretly wished more for a niece only because I think older sisters are awesome *ahem I know from experience*😉. My dad said the most heart-pulling thing to me and I was more open to a boy after that. He never got to meet his grandfathers, and my brother and I never got to meet ours, so my dad is the first in a few generations to experience grandchildren in their lifetime. If that didn’t make your heart melt, he also said he wished to see a boy carry on the family name before the Lord takes him home one day. When he puts it that way, how can you not melt? My SIL’s mom also said a couple weeks ago she had a dream where she had a grandson with her and was introducing him to her friends.

Second of all, I had this weird feeling my SIL would go into labor either Saturday or Wednesday. I was telling everyone this random fact, and I felt this restlessness all Saturday hoping for N to call. For lunch on Saturday, my mom went to a Chinese restaurant and her fortune said, “Someone will call with good news for you today.” Late that evening, my brother called and told my mom that his wife was indeed in labor.

R had a very long labor but delivered naturally in a birthing tub in the comfort of their home. What a trooper! And my brother, who is still dealing with brain injury from the car accident pulled through to be at her side. He said Saturday night was extremely difficult — he was tired and suffering horrible migraines from straining himself but he powered through.

And to testify to God’s goodness, the baby weighed a little over 7 pounds, which is the maximum threshold of my brother’s allowance to lifting and carrying right now as he recovers, so God planned out this detail so he could hold his boy. N says that walking while carrying him requires a lot of concentration and is very difficult, but regardless, he was thankful for this blessing.

Life is good.❤

Rushing

I feel like I’m rushing around a lot again. And I am. It’s inevitable, even though I’m trying to reduce stressors. I haven’t been practicing self care and I haven’t had time to relax. When I do make time, say, savoring my morning cup of coffee, it seems like the rest of the day still goes damned wrong.

This week particularly, for every good thing, there was a negation. It seems like I can’t win, and I know it’s not just a matter of perspective.

I wake up earlier to actually enjoy breakfast and get to work on time and still find the minutes racing by and traffic worse than usual. I gave myself EXTRA time and was still late EVERYDAY.

Then, I was going to celebrate a birthday dinner one day and went to dinner at someone’s house and I was running late both times and beating myself up for that. I was in panic mode the whole drive. My heart was pounding for 25 minutes straight.

All I want this weekend is to not have to rush anywhere. I wish to not have any guests stop by since this house is a hotel and I’m losing my mind each weekend that is filled with doorbell chimes. I wish to have all my stupid health issues (probably stress related) to go away. I want to pick out all my outfits for the next week and cook all my dinners and lunches so during the course of next week, I can actually breathe.

Letting Go and Room Logistics

Guys.

I found the craziest over the bed desk on Amazon and knew immediately this is what my small room needed. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been careful to not spend/invest in something without giving it a lot of thought and I have very cramped quarters.

My bedroom is also my office and living room since I’m “a renter”right now, so this allows me to bring the desk up on my bed and relax with netflix or work on designs and be nice and cozy. I can also wheel it off to where my old desk was, and while it takes up the majority of the wall, I can slide it as needed so now accessing my closet isn’t a hassle. My last desk only gave me enough room to slide up to the closet door and try to yank something down. So, this a big improvement.

The depth is also a huge plus. The new desk is roughly 17.5 inches deep. My previous desk was 46″ wide by 24” deep and that made it so it nearly touched the end of my bed. In the end, I have better walking clearance to my window and my closet without sacrificing too much desk space.

The downside is learning to let go. I love my old desk but it’s apparent that while it served me well at my old condo, it isn’t right for this place. I’m also letting go of my white bookshelf which means sorting through my books and letting go of some of them. I also have a beautiful wooden filing cabinet I’m bringing out of my closet. I’m not ready to let go of it, but it doesn’t work in my room. I’m scheming a way to store it but opening myself up to the possibility I might have to say goodbye. It’s hard but it’s exhilarating. I also have added a standing lamp so I no longer have to illuminate my entire room with a little ole LED study lamp and battery sucking stick on lights (that idea was a major fail!)

On Thursday my boyfriend is going to help me hang some picture ledges and move the old desk out. I can’t wait to show pictures of the new setup!

More Minimizing Musings

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve been inspired to research more about minimalism and capsule wardrobes. The ideals, while not right for me, are really helpful as I am still discovering what sparks joy in my life and how to look at my “stuff” with an honest and mindful eye.

I stumbled across a plus size capsule article that piqued my interest. Mostly because it offered so many valid points. Two stood out to me. First, as a fat gal, amen to the thighs eating pants! I know many minimalist blogs say invest in costly pieces that will last you but plus size gals know the difficulty that is rubbing the inner thigh portion of pants to a pilled or holey mess. The other point was most important. Minimalism as we see it today is a fad of living in excess and having a privileged life.

It’s easy for me to react to that and think I am not privileged, but I am. I like to think of it as being blessed and well cared for despite not making much, but it’s true. One of the reasons I’m in this pit is because I’ve allowed having a little more than enough become a consumerist issue. I’ve fallen prey to owning too much just because I can. How many hours have I wasted wandering aimlessly and getting joy from stuff I shouldn’t own? I should be considering this more carefully. It means I’ve been frivolous and have room to work on how I spend and save my money. It also means I need to be more mindful with what I keep and what I bring into my home.

Be a ruthless editor of what you bring into your home. Ask yourselves, “What does this object mean to me?” – Nate Berkus (interior designer)

Some of the things that inspire me from minimalism are:

1.  Seeking the best of the best in items.

For example, being purposeful and researching even little stuff like kitchen spoons to make sure you love using it and only need one or a few to do something well. It’s no longer about savings or quantity, the value is rather placed in form, function, and purpose. For a kitchen item, that purpose may be more utilitarian. For a necklace however, that might be form – the pendant goes with many styles, function – the chain doesn’t pull hair out and is easy to clasp, and purpose – makes me feel beautiful and put together. If I apply this what gives me joy (KonMari) it makes it easier to make decisions on what goes in my home and what I let go of.

2. Mindfully opening up your space and life.

The best minimalist blogs treat minimalism with a purpose. I found out that there are two types of minimalism. One is domestic, and that is have a system that works for an efficient home and life. The other is travel based, and that is where you see people limiting to the extreme in pursuit of fun experiences over items. I used to think minimalists were just fans of all things white and black and boring, but there is no hard rule unless you’re going for extreme. Walls don’t need to be blank, furniture doesn’t have to be modern, but everything is edited down to essentials and the idea is to only own what fits your purpose. Minimalists don’t think of themselves as limited but rather they are equipped with all that the need and don’t want to fuss with more because it’s not necessary or doesn’t fit their purpose. Less clothes means less laundry. Less furniture and nic nacs means easier and more efficient cleaning. Less buying means more financial freedom. All their minimalist choices serve a purpose.

3. Making the most of what you have.

Rather than thinking they are limited by their space or lack of extra things, they think of how to best work their space and make do with what they have. This is where I fall short the most. I am guilty of thinking “if only” quite a lot and wanting items I already have just because it’s a little nicer when what I have is fine. I need to tap into a spirit of contentedness and be grateful instead of wishful. Perhaps if I did better in the area of gratitude I’d  not be so tempted by retail therapy. When I was a kid, I didn’t have a lot of toys. I thrived on being resourceful and using some imagination to make what was around the house work. Later as a teen, I applied this concept to cooking with what ingredients were in the house and make fun meals that made me proud. Sure, it wasn’t Pinterest worthy, but it kept those items from spoiling and it was fun to experiment and not be restrained to a recipe. Making the most of what I had in those instances was really fulfilling. And it still is today.

Have you found your “a-ha” or “just right” point with belongings? If you have anything to add, please comment and let me know!

Self Harm No Longer

This blog post is really hard for me to talk about and admit, even though it’s probably been evident to people longer than it has to me because of location.

I grew up thinking self harm was inflicting horrible pain upon yourself or cutting your wrists. And I ignorantly thought that since I once attempted to cut my wrists with a knife and it scared me shitless that I didn’t self harm.

Except I have been for a majority of my life. And I’m publicly posting this as a commitment to stop.

Whenever I’m anxious, frustrated, or unable to cope with my feelings, the first thing I do is pick my arms. I will scratch with my nails until I draw blood or pinch my skin until it opens and then I will pick the scabs and not allow them to heal. Sometimes when I feel neck deep in anxiety the first sign is not how I feel (when I’m neck deep I don’t “see” it), but looking at my forearms. They will be spotted with red welts, dry flaking patches of dead skin tired of scabbing, and dark traces of where a wound has been.

Nobody has really talked to me about it. Maybe they didn’t know why or didn’t want to be rude.  I guess it may disguise itself to others looking like psoriasis that comes and goes. Or perhaps people thought they were bug bites I scratched until bleeding. But I know why.

The reason varies. Sometimes I feel nervous or overwhelmed and it gives me something to distract myself with. Sometimes I feel frustrated with myself or a situation and I feel relief with “punishing” myself. Sometimes I need to fidget and ground myself and that is what I resort to.

I cannot practice self care while still practicing self harm. I am consciously acknowledging that the pain and comfort of scabbing my arms is not acceptable and not the right response. I am forgiving myself instead of letting myself think I am despicable. I am translating that energy and relief into writing with mindfulness and fidgeting with jewelry or my fitbit.

I commit today to self harm no longer.

Just Little Bits and Pieces of Recent

1. My cousin celebrated her 75th birthday and had two pinatas at her party. That she actively participated in hitting. That made my day.

2. My brother was in a bad accident BUT he doesn’t have any permanent injury and my almost due SIL was NOT in the car. Praise God!

3. I’ve jumped aboard the Stranger Things train. Dustin looks a lot like my brother as a kid. Like, crazy similar vibes. I’m really digging the series!

4. My family has made peace with that stupid leather sectional. We are going to make it work.

5. Depending on when the baby feels like being born, I will have a nephew or niece in the next 30ish days! Ahh! So excited!

6. My foster non-prof is kicking back into gear for the 2016 planning.

7. Bible study starts next week. We will be studying 1 Corinthians.

8. I’m on a stress detox. I seriously messed up my body in the past few weeks. I’m anxious because my schedule is filling up again but actively avoiding extra stress right now.

9. I’m going to drastically cut and color my hair this weekend.

10. I’m researching bullet journaling because I think it’s a better system than a planner. I like that I can add all of my life to it. Reading lists. Weight loss/food tracking. Weekly/Monthly goals and highlights. Etc.

How is everyone doing? Have you watched/binged Stranger Things yet? Do you bullet journal?

Made Up: Realizing Skin Deep Perspectives

Confession time. There are times I get extra dressy and made up for my boyfriend. For what purpose I’m not quite sure. Some compliment fishing, if I’m honest? But mostly because I want to look special to show love and appreciation when we do something special, or to make a casual date something special.

Except that’s not how Josh ever sees it. Seriously, this guy doesn’t give me a second look over most of the time. And HE never dresses up for me unless it’s a dress code for the event. What gives? Doesn’t he know I suck at makeup and it took me a LONG time to get this put together? Doesn’t he know I fussed over what to wear today to tie to all together?
Once in a while, he’ll tell me he hasn’t seen my shirt or dress or something before and ask if it’s new. That’s pretty much the extent of it.

Do you see how fussy and huffy and full of expectations my last paragraph was? I can and have gotten flustered over it.

But it finally dawned on me after forever and a day why he doesn’t say anything, and it’s not because he doesn’t notice or isn’t a good man. It’s because he’s a good, honest, and simple man. It’s because as awful as I paint him in paragraph 2, that is just a biased perspective that isn’t being rational.

The truth is, Josh has told me multiple times I don’t need makeup, he likes me fresh faced just as much. He also compliments my physical traits at the strangest times. We’ll go on a rigorous hike or drive back to my place after the gym and he’ll glance over and say “Pretty Kitty” when I’m dripping sweat, frumpy, and could probably afford more deodorant. We’ll be three episodes into a Netflix binge and I’m in comfy clothes and day worn makeup and he’ll compliment my beauty.

That’s because, as shallow as I think of myself at times, my guy doesn’t see my beauty as conditional or situational. So why make a big fuss out of fancier clothes or extra beauty products? My lesson here is that in a relationship, dating or married, expectations are sometimes false perspectives on reality. What we expect of another person may sometimes paint them in a bad light and be a lie. That lie for me sometimes is that he doesn’t appreciate my extra efforts or doesn’t think much of my looks. But when that perspective is fully illuminated, I see that isn’t the reality of things at all.

Next outing I will dress nicely to feel nice for me, and take the extra effort to communicate verbally that I appreciate this time with him. That the two of us adventuring or enjoying everyday things are special to me.

Fail-er, Not Failure.

I’m a schemer and dreamer. I plan things and more often than not, they do not get completed or sometimes, started at all. It’s what makes me really faulty as a person. My diet stuff has fallen on the wayside and my gym routine is spotty. My bible journaling never happened. And my regular Bible study happens in a few weeks.

Where does time go? What the heck am I doing with it all?

I’m a fail-er. I fail a lot. A helluva lot. In fact, I want to stamp “FAILED” on my forehead and give up. Cease and desist, my mind tells me, just give up. Give up on everything. Give up on dreaming, give up on planning, and while I’m at it, give up on breathing.

And that’s when the tiniest voice inside me has to remind I’m not a failure if I try again. Even if my next 100 tries are just as unfruitful.

Yes, I’m lousy.
Yes, I talk big.
Yes, I am a disorganized mess.

But I am not a failure. Even when that statement feels like a lie, I think the Holy Spirit helps me hold on to that validation. Because sometimes, that’s the last bit of thread I have left when I’m unraveled. God’s purpose for my life is bigger than all my fails. I can’t see past them sometimes, but He can.