Does Anyone Have it All Together?

You’ve heard it before: “They seem to have it all together.”

That person looks like they are the model citizen – someone to aim to be like in most if not all ways. They’re rational, inspirational, well-rounded, innovative, and just seem to have everything going in their favor. From what we can see, through our rose colored glasses, their life is envious. We examine our own lives and beat ourselves over where we think we fall short in terms of personal or societal expectations.

Does anyone have it all together?

The high school sweethearts are finally married and have a love story that would compel Nicholas Sparks to turn it into a novel. They never expected their small combined income would cause them to move thousands of miles away from where they grew up and desperately miss all their family and friends. And still, they are scraping by.

The successful businessman is at every charity, well loved, and the social media pictures of his lavish vacations with his family cause much envy. Little do they know his 80+ hour work weeks leave him worn and give little time to make memories with loved ones. He treats them all to summer vacation splendors to reconnect and thank them for understanding. Sometimes he wishes he could trade the success for time, but knows he is able to provide a future and financial legacy if he just stays the course.

The budding millionaire has three innovative patents that have enabled her to “get rich quick”.  Growing up with little, her head is spinning when thinking about investments and managing her expanding wealth. Friends and relatives she never figured would leech are pressuring her for loans and pricey gifts and dinners. She is making waves and ready to date after spending years developing her products. But now, she isn’t sure if the suitors are wanting to get to know her or more about the patents or figures.

The county’s brightest student is off to an Ivy League – but his ultimate goal is to be a minister. His family and teachers desperately want to see those smarts equal a high profile job. He wants to do what is on his heart and is passionate about his dreams.

The grace and beauty of her small town is as lovely inside as she is outside. She has looks, smarts, and heart, and is complimented all the time on all three. Even though she is praised often, some jealous individuals try to make life difficult for her just because of her beauty. They are downright rude and constantly looking for flaws to make her seem less perfect. For all the good they have to say, they jab her with remarks about nearing the end of fertility, wasting her looks not thinking about making progeny, and scratching their heads about why with all that she has going for her she can’t “get a man.” They don’t understand the personal standards she has committed to and why she is cautious. She can’t tell them about all the times men have tried to pursue her only to be a notch in their belt or for less than savory intentions, about how she has to be extra careful because her beauty sometimes means unwanted predicaments. They would think she was full of herself to say such things.

No one has it all together. For all the steps we take forward, we encounter new obstacles. Our timelines are unique. There isn’t an ideal for everyone. Our milestones are ours to make, and were never meant to be compared. Just because someone’s struggles seem smaller doesn’t mean it doesn’t takes less out of them. When we pretend others have it all together, we only take the joy out of our lives by pining for something we only see through a lens.

I can choose to look around and feel like I’ve fallen short, or I can choose to look at my own path and see how far I’ve come.

My victories are no less victorious. My struggles are no less real. My journey is mine to take. I’m not going to assume that I, or others, will ever have it all together. Life is happy, sad, joyful, messy, hard, rewarding, sweet, and stressful. Life is not multiple choice, it’s essays. I was never meant to try to glance at others #2 graphite lead filled bubbles and try to copy. I was meant to write my heart out and try my personal best. Just like school days, you finish the last sentence and turn it and sigh deeply. It was hard, but you did what you could with what you knew and the resources you were given. And that’s the same for everyone.

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Some Bedroom Decor Solved!

Things are slowly starting to fall into place. My first step to making my room my sanctuary was to work on the bed. Beds are kind of the statement pieces, aren’t they? After all, that is what the room is named for.

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Comforter Image Credit: walmart.com

I was browsing a retailer site and found the perfect comforter. It’s much like the Anthropologie one I wanted a few years back…except this one isn’t $200.00…it’s $37. I’ll post pictures once I get everything together. The comforter is scheduled for store pickup today but I have my seminar this afternoon, so I probably won’t get things washed and set up until Friday. I went with Ivory because white scares me and I’m a bit scared of owning something so light. Especially since my dog sleeps on my bed 1/3 of the time. I need to find a blanket I can drape on the end of my bed to keep her cozy and catch all the hair she sheds.

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Picture Credit: costcochasers.com

And then, yesterday, I ran to Costco for some food staples and found some huge cushions that solve both my problems – back support/big pillows for reading and watching streamed content, and believe it or not, something in place of a headboard! They are technically floor cushions, so they are behemoths. I’m keeping the receipt just in case these guys don’t work out as planned in my head.

I also bought a small potted succulent family to live on my bookshelf. Now I have some green liveliness going too.

Now to not make my bed my catchall. I am notorious for this bad habit. I’ll bring in my clean clothes, fold them nicely, get half of it put away, then get distracted, and have to share some of my bedspace that night with the jacket I took off and didn’t hang, and the clothes I didn’t put away. Pretty pathetic right? It’s only another 5-10 minutes of putting away. I just need to not get to bed when utterly exhausted. And finish things one step at a time. Multitasking and getting distracted are my downfalls.

There are some other updates I’m considering but are more down the line. I’m not sure if I want to buy a small mountable TV or just get a large 27″ monitor. The 27″ monitor sounds like the best option except that I’m a Mac user and so that means a monitor that can be plugged into my Macbook Pro or buying the huge ole 27″ iMac which comes with a grand pricetag (we’re talking 2k or more for what I need). Let’s just say the other residents are not so sensitive to space and there are times when I’m watching something and they’ll try to change channels to watch their show during commercials, or I’ll watch something on my laptop and they’ll turn the TV on in the same room like that’s not blatantly rude. Uggh. So I need SOME sort of screen in my room that is large enough to watch stuff on while I use my bed as my sofa. My other idea is to try to find a midrange monitor that connects to my macbook pro so I can use that as my “desktop” screen but have the macbook pro for everyday use. A new macbook pro still sets me back a few thousand! Eek!

So yeah, updated pictures of these items in my room are coming soon!

A Little Bit of Everything

Last week was very full!

The apologetics seminar went very well and our first speaker spent his whole time on how to speak to others that are inquisitive outside of our faith. Which is SO important! That without actually caring and having a relational connection, even the greatest orator would not persuade someone to listen. I truly appreciate that. There have been times when people who identify as Christian are so blatantly rude or criticizing I’m embarrassed to be grouped with them. Atheist and agnostic jokes and sarcastic remarks from the pulpit or general fellowship ARE NEVER OKAY. I ran like a chicken with my head cut off, heart beating fast from the moment I jetted out of work, prepped my items to eat out, and then got over there just in time to sign in and sit down! Whew! So glad that worked out well and the message was a great one to start with.

My boyfriend and I celebrated our anniversary this weekend. The day before we were gifted with tickets to a hockey game and so our celebration spanned two days! We’ve dated long enough where we didn’t need bells and whistles. Even though it’s a dating not marriage anniversary, he took time to look up the type of gift to buy and it said wood, so he bought me a limited edition book and designed a card from scratch with a wood texture on it. And treated me to a yummy sushi dinner! My gift for him was rather practical, but thought out too – a nice pair of sneakers to meet a need so he could dress it up or down. And with it, I included a big folded cardboard presentation board and wrote “Take a Walk Down Memory Lane.” For each year I made large shoe prints and dashes that led on for whatever lies ahead for us. And between each year I filled it with memories I could recall and daycations and fun things we did. Concerts, movies, new eateries, life events…

Trying to meal prep for two is not that easy. I’ve been running a couple minutes late trying to get breakfast ready and lunch prepared. My dad doesn’t quite understand my eating plan yet but is slowing reading through the book. He lost 3 pounds last week and believes that it works now. I’m very proud of him!

We had more house guests this weekend and I got to spend a full day with my youngest cousin on Saturday. She gave me the longest hug goodbye on Sunday. Being a state away, these cousin hangouts are a special treat.

Last but not least, I went to my first poetry/spoken word performance yesterday. The venue was small but the energy was powerful. Everyone had a different story to tell. Anecdotal, fanciful, romantic, ironic, or just amusing, the poems made their way through all kinds of emotions. My friend got to share her first published piece and it was a treat to be there. At poetry readings, you snap to let the performer know their piece isn’t just heard, it’s felt. I think that is beautiful.

Here’s to a great week ahead!

Creating a Safe Sanctuary

I moved months ago but I’m still slowly adjusting. The largest setback is a smaller space and some space sharing. In fact, the space sharing is a large reason why I need to make my bedroom a sanctuary for my sanity.

I made a huge resolutions list this year and de-stressing and organizing are both on that list. Both can be in harmony, right? Right?

The truth is I’m still figuring things out. So walls are empty even though I have art to hang, and accenting/styling still needs to be done. Right now, it’s more like an extended stay hotel than a room.

My bedroom needs to be functional – it’s my office, study desk, library, and place of rest. It’s also weirdly shaped so my furniture doesn’t suit it well.

I’d technically do better with a smaller bed, but then again my bed is my de-stressing zone and my couch and book nestling area. I’ve also got a desk that barely clears the side of my closet and the end of my bed. But do I keep an awesome desk or try to sell it and spend a ton on a new one that has to be so small and so wide to fit better?

Here’s my layout [not accurately proportionate in scale]:layout

Can you see my plight a little? The bed ONLY FITS in one end really…it can’t go against the window because that window lets too much chill in at night. The random cut in the wall where my bed backs against is the closet of the room next to mine. Apparently my room used to be an office at one point and the closet for this room was in the space between my door and small dresser. The owners converted it from a room to office by closing up where my door used to be, and taking out the original closet. Because the door is now there, when this was reconverted to a true bedroom, a closet was attached to the inside wall. Thus my crazy little nooks.

I’m thinking at one point I may have to downsize my desk but in the meantime there is a writing leaflet that pulls out…see the thin dashed rectangle? I’m using that as a laptop desk for quick web surfing and stuff and as a keyboard and mouse area  for the desktop…while sitting on the end of my bed. I can technically move out my chair and carefully scoot in, but I’m not little and this is quite a hassle. I also don’t have an outlet where the folding bookcase is so I can’t just go buy a tiny laptop type desk and put it there unless I want to run cords across my floor from the wall  where my bed touches on the top.

ANY TIPS ARE WELCOMED.

Here are my basic thoughts for helping it transform despite being on the tight side:

1. Add a pretty privacy film to my window so I can let the sunshine in without having the street peer in on my life.

2. Place some plants around to give it some life and pep.

3. Decorate my walls some so it looks personalized and not so renter-ly.

4. Keep busy patterns and designs to a minimum.

5. Get some nice big pillows I can pile when my bed is in book nook or couch mode.

6. Whittle down miscellaneous knick knacks.

7. Washi tape a headboard?

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My walls are a powdery green blue. Brighter than the picture above. Very baby boy nursery in color, but I chose it. I wanted something soft and not white and not neutral. Blue has been my new mood color and I think some gold/yellow and silver accents will compliment it nicely. Blue is known for being calm and restful – in fact, it’s one of the colors recommended for a nice restful sleep. I think in the back of my mind that’s why I picked it.

What do you think? Any tips or suggestions?

Fitbit Bits – Post #2

I kicked butt yesterday/last week!

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: Not established yet but going when I can
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, 70 miles, 10 floors, 25 floors – New!
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal
Weight Lost: 3 Pounds – New!


I’m not good at syncing every day but it keeps track anyway so when I synced yesterday I earned the 10 Floors that morning and went on to earn 25 Floors and 70 miles late that evening!

Take a look at my floors yesterday. The step count looks meager but that is because the stairmaster is a monster and 30 steps = 1 flight!

I’m suffering a little jello leg syndrome but my goal was to uncomfortably push my endurance. I activated some awesome leg muscles and pushed my lungs with the incline and not resting between several floors. I didn’t do 37 back to back. That WOULD be crazy. But I did about 7-10 and would rest.

I finally saw some scale victory this week – THREE pounds! I tend not to lose at all, but when I do, it’s usually a cluster and then nothing. We’ll see how it goes this week.

My dad hit a long plateau with his weight loss and I offered to help him do my eating style with him to see if it helps. That is going to keep me extra accountable and may even encourage me to try some new recipes now that it’d be for more than me! And my boyfriend went out a few weeks after I got my fitbit and bought one for himself [that was the plan all along, mwhahaha, to get him to want one] and so I have an accountability partner in a sense with us both owning trackers. He’s more active on the job than I am but less active outside of work. With his tracker he is now going out of his way to fit in walks. I love that we’re both working towards better health.

On Monday nights, my boyfriend comes over for dinner. I usually make a trim healthy mama dish and he doesn’t mind. Now we’re adding in walks and hopefully as it warms up, hikes to the mix.

I have a lot more to improve, especially in gym routine, so I’m excited to see potentially more progress as I work on my goals.

 

“It’s your body.”

I’m a people pleaser by nature and I also like getting feedback from people I trust and that know my fashion sense. The trouble with online shopping is imagining something on myself while looking at a picture of a size 12 modeling the dress – which fits her beautifully at a size 12 but may not work for my size 20 body type. Sure, I know what I look like in a mirror, but I may not notice that well how a fabric settles on me, or you know, deceive myself by unconsciously sucking it in while I try it on.

While I would never dress FOR my boyfriend [an in, exclusively to please him, or have him control what I wear], I do like asking his opinion especially for things I might wear on a date night with him. Other times, I’ll send him super ridiculous pictures of piercings, haircuts, or fashion statements, just in jest.

More often than not, his reply, first and foremost, is “It’s your body” or “That’s your choice.”

I shouldn’t be surprised by it, but I am every time. That’s the right answer, after all, even if it seems like an easy way out. It’s the best thing he could tell me. Sometimes he follows it up with a comment but sometimes he just stops there.

The only thing he really feels strongly about is my long hair. I get in moods where I want to chop it all off and when I mention a style change he says the same things above, then gently adds, “But I truly love your hair long.” or “Please don’t go too short?”

He doesn’t really identify or put labels on himself unless they are ‘Huge Wrestling Fan’ or ‘Los Angeles Kings Hockey Fan’ so I don’t think he makes it a big deal, but I see it.

I see the whisper of feminism there. Without it being formally mentioned. 

I am so appreciative of his support and love and that he wisely reminds me my decisions are mine. I try my best to likewise consider ways to lift him up and not put gender stereotypical pressures of being “manly” on him. He is a man. He is therefore, manly. He is a larger body type too, and I am working on complimenting his confidence with gifts of well-fitting apparel and appreciating his dress. He’s not a big shopper but I hope that the next time he asks for advice I can readily say as he does, “It’s your body”; “That’s your choice.”

What I’m Up To

January and February always breeze by, but this year my schedule is even crazier!

Trim Healthy Mama 30 Day Challenge – The eating lifestyle I follow is called Trim Healthy Mama (THM). I sort of apprehensively looked into it as I’m not a mother and the main rules looked like other diets I avoided like the plague because of “no sugar, no flour.”

Long story short, I found that while definitely a lot of work, THIS was something I could do and best of all, IT WORKS WHEN I FOLLOW IT! I haven’t lost much weight because of fuel crossovers too often but my health has improved greatly. No more thyroid meds. No more high blood pressure meds. My blood tests since starting are the most optimal they’ve ever been.

I admin an unofficial group of us that are not purists – meaning we aren’t afraid of convenience items to work the diet to our busy lives. We’re kicking off a 30 day challenge to get everyone on track for the new year. And as admin, I plan to lead by example. 😉 This challenge is all about faithfulness and has nothing to do with most inches and weight lost. Which is something that comforts me. I lose like a sloth and am going for a slow and steady loss.

Apologetics Series “Get a  Grip” – I feel so fortunate my church is hosting such an AWESOME series! We’ve got 6 seminars lined up with some of the best of the best speaking and it’s an area I’ve always been interested in. Reasons that back up my faith more than, “Well, I believe it and feel it…”
Five of the speakers are big names and the last one, which I’m actually most excited for, is a pastor from my church who went from being a passionate Atheist to an on-fire Christian. Greg Koukl, whom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing/reading before, is one of the headliners, as well as J. Warner Wallace. The series starts next week and wraps up at the end of February.

Birthday and Anniversary – My poor boyfriend. He’s a trooper. I’ve never liked Superbowl and football bores me, but he is a big fan. Between Christmas in Dec., our Anniversary in Jan., and my birthday in Feb., he does a lot of gifting and adoring back to back and even puts football aside to make sure I’m celebrated well. This birthday brings me closer to 30 and that is a bit intimidating!

Non-profit Things – We had a meeting this Saturday for H4K. At the butt crack of dawn. There it was on the sheet of contacts – Laura, Print Media Chair. They passed out the postcards and flyers I designed and the founders thanked me copiously for it. I wasn’t sure how to react to having that attention on me, but I was very grateful for their praise. We have a county’s worth of places to display our run and foster fair info and I signed up to do a lot of the posting in my town. When February rolls around, we’ll be meeting every other weekend and then in April, weekly before the event. Things are getting real! I can’t really share what we’re doing outside of the event, but we’re working with the courts to do some exciting things for foster youth. It’s been so neat! My maternity house jewelry project was kind of put aside for the holidays but I’ll be getting in touch soon to work with them on new pendant designs.

Painting and Photoshop Lessons – I hate to say this but there have been several times I’ve been tempted to end my lessons for the sake of freeing up more time. I’ve grown too fond of my painting instructor, however, and enjoy her friendship and chit chatting as much as my lesson. I also can’t complain about our system for payment – we skill share! She teaches me to paint, I teach her photoshop. Most lessons typically run $25-50 per session so we are both saving a lot of money by skill sharing.

Galatians Bible Study – On Tuesday nights I have Precepts bible study. The inductive studies have been wonderful for me to dig deeper but are VERY homework heavy. Kaye Arthur has not made a study book for Galatians so we are doing a smaller book that is a quick study and it couldn’t be at a better time! I need something less intensive as my plate is very full until the seminars are over.

I should have started the gym but I haven’t yet! The boyfriend and I are walking to dinner and back, though, and it’s 1.8 miles each way. That will be my workout today, and Wednesday I plan to get my butt back in the gym.

What are you up to? How’s this new year treating you so far?

Fitbit Bits – Post #1

Since this blog is a mishmash of everything in my life, I’m going to do periodic fitbit updates as it is one of my resolutions to be more mindful of how active [or lack thereof] I am.

Here’s where I’m at now:

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: None yet
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, Weight Goal set
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal

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I still haven’t added the gym into the mix. That’s on me, and I know I shouldn’t provide any excuses so I won’t.

But! I’ve been walking when weather conditions aren’t challenging on work lunch breaks. They aren’t long but they do get me a short exercise in the mix and gets everything going again after sitting for over 4 hours.

What I do is I walk from work to my farthest point and  run  fat girl jog back as far as I can, then walk the last bit back to work so people from the office don’t see me looking like an idiot.

This whole thing is only about 10 minutes total of exercise, but I feel victorious! Running…ahem…jogging…is really hard on my body and I’m impressing myself with the little stamina and good breathing I’ve had. I used to forget to breathe and have to stop to recover and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. Now, the only thing that happens is my back strains a bit after a while and my running onsets some wheezing AFTER my run/walk is over. Sounds a bit pathetic, but it is progress!

I really am more sedentary because of my career – that’s been interesting to figure out. Another reason I need the gym and stuff, for sure. On a full time work day, I clock in about 3500-5000 steps. When I was off for a week, I was consistently clocking 7000-8000 without trying, and 10,000 when I had time to do extra walking/running.

Ideally, my first fitness goal is to do 3 gym days for 45 minutes or more at a time. I’d also like to do a dvd workout on days I don’t go – either T-Tapp or a trainer led zumba routine or music-based workout.

From there, I’d like to increase it to 3 gym days with a true workout circuit and 3 days of T-tapp (I’d do it on gym days) and 2 days of harder trainer dvd workouts like my Jillian Michaels or Marissa Tomei ones.

I have some flights to plan mid year and later. On my last plane ride, I was at the end of the buckle. I have since gained about 10-15 pounds and I’m mortified of that buckle not clicking or someone complaining  that I should have ordered two seats. I AM NOT going to let that happen. I lose weight very slowly but I’m hopeful that with a good routine I’ll at least tone up a bit if not be down hopefully at least what I gained since then. That is my short term goal – to hop on that plane feeling good about myself and not feeling like I spill out of my seat.

2016 Resolutions

It’s that time again! One thing is clear – I am imperfect and often fail these goals. The reason I set them is to examine myself in areas I need to work on. It bothers me when others declare that they do not bother with resolutions at all because they’ll inevitably fail. To me, that’s not the point. It’s looking in retrospect at how far you’ve come, and giving yourself goals as you go forth.

I think we should all feel the need to invest in ourselves and our futures. As unique individuals with different strengths and talents, we have a lot to offer and learn for the betterment of ourselves and the world around us. That starts with accepting the notion that we can and do create an impact.

I have learned that lofty but precise goals don’t make me feel good.

Lose 80 pounds and go to the gym everyday.  Um, yeah right. Good luck with that. Large number to lose and no room for practical things like illness, injury, or travel.

So now my goals look more like this:

Be more conscious of how active I am daily and be more faithful to eating and logging to myfitnesspal and fitbit.  No set numbers and much more practical. I’m building a consciousness that feeds into my behavior and habits rather than doing something because I have to.

Here’s my list for 2016 in no particular order:

1. Remember KonMari tips as I shop, tidy, and discard [“Spark Joy”]
2. Be more conscious of how active I am daily [general and fitness]
3. Be more faithful to eating plans and logging it into MFP
4. Devote time to mindfully pray and update my prayer board
5. Worry less about numbers on the scale [acknowledge NSV’s]
6. Work on revamping my design skills through online courses
7. Commit to a savings plan for the courses, new software, and supplies
8. Mindfully stay in touch with long distance friends and family
9. Hone in on things that bring me relaxation and make time to unwind
10. Reconfigure long term savings and goals
11. Offer more words of encouragement
12. Dwell less on thoughts of anger, jealousy, and insufficiency
13.Discover more about my faith through reading, seminars, and prayer
14. Determine what projects to concentrate and conquer them one at a time
15. Strengthen my work relationships
16. Spend less time online
17. Offer and carryout more one-on-one activities with my family so they know their individual importance in my life.
18. Work on bettering communication and vocalizing appreciation [w/ BF]
19. Habla more phrases in Español
20. Stress less about being out of my element and accept things as they happen even when I don’t know how to handle it [depression/anxiety]