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.

Nowhere Near

Last night the volume in the house got a bit loud and heated. It was stupid, it was frustrating, and it was a situation where I just needed to get out. Given the fact it was nearly 11pm, I also didn’t have many options.

I drove slowly through neighborhoods hoping I didn’t look like I was thief scoping my next home to plunder. After a while, I parked in front of a home I was familiar with, but dared not disturb that acquaintance at that hour. Two teenage looking guys on bikes rode through the street and decided to pass awfully close to my car and I booked it out of my hiding spot.

As I went back to weaving through quiet sleeping cul-de-sacs, I realized in sadness that I DIDN’T HAVE a place to go. My boyfriend is a few towns away, and he would have been there in a heartbeat or let me come over, but I didn’t have a non-family member I could trust to bare my soul to and not hate me for crashing their place at 11pm.

I live in a good town. There is generally nothing to fear, and we are ranked one of the top safest places to raise a family. But when night falls, even our town tends to get shady. In the daytime we are family friendly residential and shopping spots, but at night you see what I assume is drug dealing and the like.

I’m longing to have that close friend again. One where I can plan weekend fun with, or chat over coffee with. I have some wonderful acquaintances here, but we just don’t fully mesh. I don’t know if I shoo people away without knowing it or if I’m just horrible at making really close friends? Either way, there’s an emptiness where a close friend should be, but I don’t know how or when that gaping hole will be filled.

I think one of the hardest parts of being a quarter-lifer is having so much change happening around you or to you. Those connections you built in your youth dissipate as people pursue careers, callings, and have families and move away.

I cling to my amazing friends states away, but sometimes, I just need someone near. An actual girl friend with a shoulder I don’t have to metaphorically lean on, because she’s right there.

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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I gobbled this book up so quickly! It surprised me, because the first time I encountered it years ago, I flipped through the pages, looked at the giant font size and all the pages with photos and thought, ‘Hmm, this is way below my reading level.’

That statement is rather odd for me to make because I gravitate towards young adult fiction. I think many people do. But anyway, this time, I felt a spark, so in my cart it went. By that evening I was already 4 chapters in.

Ransom Riggs has created a great little world through the help of vintage images he and others have collected. The story and characters are woven out of the black and white visuals and there is something powerful about reading the description of a character and then flipping to an image of him/her. Somehow, combined with the fanciful and other-worldly aspects, it grounds the idea that such humans/creatures do exist in our world.

The protagonist, Jacob, is bored with his humdrum life as a teen in a wealthy family that dwells in the suburbs of Florida. He is certain he doesn’t fit into the mold of expectations that are cut out for his future. His desire is to be displaced of an unsatisfactory future career in the family business.

His life changes in the blink of an eye when his grandfather whom he is close to calls him in a frenzy. His parents have ruled out Grandpa Abe’s antics as senility, but Jacob goes to check on him anyway. What happens next opens the door to a whole new world as Jacob pieces together clues from his Grandfather’s words.

The reader is introduced to a headmistress, Miss Peregrine, and her flock of peculiar children. They all posses special abilities which make them “peculiar” to the world around them and unfortunately make them prey to dangerous beings.

I was shocked to find a decent amount of strong language in a book targeted for the 11+ crowd. There is language that alludes to sexual references which would make me uneasy recommending it to anyone under 16 (to be clear, there is no sexual content). I also found that Riggs expects his reader to be quite knowledgeable. He references a variety of complex concepts and verbatim that pleasantly surprised me but didn’t quite seem to fit the voice of a 16 year old kid from the ‘burbs. For instance, he uses the word ‘humping’ which youth today would allude to something else entirely, but is a terms of military origins for carrying the breadth of your belongings with you. Some of the vocabulary requires seeking out definitions for – things like: homunculus, lanai, interloper, inoculate, and parapet.

Overall, it was a wonderful read and I enjoyed every page of it. It was enchanting, legitimately creepy, and engaging.

I’m very excited for the film adaptation coming out later this year, but now that I’ve read the book, I see one major change to the story and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I will, like all other movies from books, take the film as a whole different beast with creative licensing.

Here is a poster for the upcoming feature:

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And now I’m off to buy the sequel, Hollow City!

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You’re already so loved.

Part of my goals for today is spread this beautiful message by Sarah Bessey.

Please do take a moment to read it. Please take a moment to process the words. Please take a moment to consider how loved you are no matter your circumstances.

Envisioning Vs. Reality and How I finally used up an entire lip gloss.

Something I’ve learned through various relocating in the past 5 years that is still ringing true is that some practical dreams need to planned out in reality. Don’t get me wrong, there should always be some shoot for the stars type dreams in one’s arsenal, but when it deals with home decorating and living space, a true vision and careful thought process is quintessential. “Measure a ten times, cut once” – because measuring twice still hasn’t been enough.

My parents recently bought a sectional after dreaming about a new couch for ages. I helped them sell their old ones, they spoke greatly of the one to come, and then it finally came and was not ideal at all. Did you know there is a way to make microfiber look like synthetic leather? Yeah, I didn’t either. And apparently, neither did my parents. They were thinking a soft to the touch material. They also measured out the entirety of their living room only to find that while the new sectional fit, it swallowed the room whole. My tiny little mother looks like an ant on the behemoth.

Similarly, I get a bit starry eyed and hasty when it comes to home furnishings and organizational items. I’m also a magpie of a person, desiring whatever catches light to my eyes. I plotted out a closet and had it built from scratch only to find the high shelving I added on doesn’t do me much good and my super average height means I must tippy toe to hang things on the closet rods. Did I maximize space? Yes. Was it practical in the long run? Not really…

I’ve contemplated buying a smaller new/used desk to replace my current desk and I’m just a little too sobered by my not-so-successful plans to move forward with it. I also don’t want to be frivolously spending on bigger ticket items just to deal with reselling or moving things out of the way over and over.

I glance around my room and I still own too much. The too much being a weight that could prevent me from my best potential. I recently took a picture of a tinted lip gloss as a memorial to committing something and following all the way through. I used it up last friday, to the last little bit, and it made me feel good. My whole life I’ve very rarely used up my art supplies, makeup, lotions, or nail polishes to the point of them being truly empty. I leave them sitting there and occasionally grab things, sometimes finding in dismay that I’m discarding it due to an expiration date.

Maybe I preoccupy too much time and energy on the idea of newness and adding instead of finishing and fully enjoying. It’s something I’m still trying to figure out about myself as I practice mindfulness.

So in the meantime, that desk in question can wait, and I am freeing myself up from the excessive belongings, because that’s where I need to start. The farther I dig into this literal mess, the more I see how cloudy the inside of me is. I am a lot of ideas in waiting and not a lot of seeing things all the way through. But I’m working on it.

Pokemon Go and Productively Avoiding My Room

I know people may disagree but I find Pokemon Go to be an AWESOME thing and I just joined the bandwagon last week. I’ve caught over 50 pokemon and leveled up to 7 and joined Team Mystic!

I keep reading all these stories about it helping people leave their homes, socialize, and be inclusive of those society may not be as connected with. Things like how the United States alone has walked 2 million miles collectively in their poke-pursuits and stories of children with Autism and Aspergers connecting to others on the playground in ways they hadn’t before. People with depression are finding comfort in gaming, people with no motivation to exercise are moving and walking great lengths. So yeah, I’m pro Go!

In other news, I’ve Konmari’d a good 20% of the house at this point which is me productively avoiding progress in my room. Last week was a bit crazy with the living room remodel coming to a screeching halt with a sectional that is deceivingly “microfiber” but synthetic leather. Basically, there was a mix up in the definition of microfiber and my parents were duped into getting a synthetic leather couch made of microfiber material when they told the furniture people they did not want a leather type couch. Fingers crossed that is resolved today in our favor since the business they bought it from has stringent return policies.

It was an honest mistake but it also shows me my parents are getting older and while they are still very capable people, sales people and others may try to take advantage of them or they may not necessarily rationalize things correctly. To be fair, the average person wouldn’t have been so trusting and would have maybe asked the sales floor guy to do some more explaining. But, in my parent’s minds, microfiber is a soft fabric type material, they didn’t understand that a material can be transformed by heat and embossing to look much different. It’s a mess, and it’s something my brother and I have stepped up to try to help resolve. Their heart and my brother and mine, we all hope for the best and hope our attitudes reflect Christ in all of this, as we do wish to get an exchange worked out, but still wish to explain our situation fairly.

To end on a happier note, I have a theme picked out for my SIL’s baby shower, and hopefully invites will go out tomorrow!

Random Career Thought

In my heart of hearts, I know that I thrive under creative environments where I need to problem solve, bring new light, or add an aesthetic an an idea so that words and pictures cohesively communicate more than what’s there.

There are many days I shake my head and wonder why I’m not where I want to be yet, but then I see that what I do, I truly do love. I just am not ideally compensated for it yet. My career fulfills my basic financial needs AND grows me as a businesswoman, I just need to make my potential and my paycheck soar.

In that vein of thinking, there are two ways to solve this problem ; abandon what intrinsically makes you thrive for what makes you a better living, or keep finding ways to make what thrives you work to a sound income.

I’m aware now that doubting myself does not make for a better outcome in either area. I need to fuel my potential and keep my eyes open to opportunity, that’s all.

I am good enough, and if I’m not there yet, I will get there. I can’t let go of what gives me purpose in search of something else. So, how hard am I going to work to get where I want to be?

One Last Hoorah

I paused for a moment last week and thought about how blessed I am this year. If everything works out, I will see three of my closest friends that live far away.

I got to see B and her family in Arkansas.
I got to see N and her family before their long distance relocating to Connecticut.
I get to see H and our mutual friend A and have fun with them this fall.

And, hopefully, fingers crossed and heart longing, I will get to see M and his family in Massachusetts next year, and maybe make a pit stop in Connecticut to see N again.

My friend, N, just had her second child this April and I was sad that I probably wouldn’t get to meet the newest member of her family before their move from the pacific northwest to east coast. As a military family, they have been stretched so much with this moving process, and I can only imagine the difficulty of traveling across the country with a car loaded to the max, a mischievous cat, a preschooler, and 3 month old baby. They rented out their home, were ready to hit the road, and then her hubby was extended a week at their current location. Her husband never even got time off to help pack up the house, and they had to live in a hotel another week, cutting into their travel time.

Needless to say, when I found out in their crazy move they managed to plan a few days in California, I was ecstatic. I’m grateful that N and her Mom and siblings so graciously shared their limited time and let me come over and hang out with them all.

I love being honorary auntie to N’s kids and it’s so fun watching them grow. Her daughter is counting and picking up simple addition all on her own, and she is a riot to watch imaginative play as she makes the best sound effects and scenarios for her little figures and dolls. I’ve seen her go from forming basic phrases to chattering away. She’s going to be so smart and make friends easily when she gets to be school aged. The little one is the easiest baby ever, and coos more than any baby I’ve ever met. He is all smiles and so alert. He intently stares at intricate things and I think he might be attracted to art later and have an attention to detail like his Momma.

Our last hoorah included many laughs and hugs. “I’m only a couple hours from Boston and New York!,” she teased, “and we have a lot of shopping and exploring to do when you visit!”