Regret on Repeat

This year so far has gone very well for mental health and well being. I feel balanced, positive, and have been good as far as being present and taking things one day at a time. Last Friday, however, I felt like I blew it.

Work has been a bit awkward lately as we tackle extra projects and everyone is waist-deep in their work. This meant less communication and a monthly meeting being delayed for nearly two months. In that period of time, I did my best to seek out and persistently take on what I could but communication was more minimal that usual. I kept telling myself this next meeting I’d finally get everything straight.

The meeting came around, my portion was rushed in about 10 minutes, and the flurry of other information caught me off guard. Anxiety crept up and I realized but couldn’t control the onslaught of nervous and not-nearly-effective questions I contributed and I felt compulsive and incompetent for the group discussion. It was just not a good meeting. In the end the moderator asked if next group some of us felt comfortable leaving figures in a small sector’s hands and I hastily volunteered to sit that meeting out. I felt like I made such a mess.

That night my head spun and the feelings of regret and replays of the meeting flooded my head. It took a lot of effort to finally fall asleep. You win some, you lose some. I’m glad the next day was filled with fun at a theme park with cousins so I could destress.

What I couldn’t take into consideration  was that at that meeting, it was pointed out that the ads I designed were top scoring for the publication. And yes, that is a team effort to put together, but also equally my merit and design work as the graphic designer. I might have felt like a failure and even seemed awkward to my peers, but the proof is in the pudding that I am able to contribute to the company and our efforts.

This evening, now that my mind is clear, I think I’ll pour myself a big cup of coffee and untangle the emotions and try to come to terms with both the positives and negatives. The positives to encourage me, the negatives to mental prepare for how I can perform better next meeting.

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DIY Advent Calendar

I mentioned in a previous post that I wanted to do something extra special for my nephews to help them remember all the reasons they celebrate Christmas. Well, here it is!

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There were a few things I had to take into consideration as I made this. The first being this would have to be shipped halfway across the country and last several years. The lesser being that Mom and Dad could hang this where curious little hands couldn’t reach or open them and try to cash in on all the treats at once, ha!

On a scale of difficulty from 1-10, this is like, a 2. Looking back, I’d ideally use coin envelopes instead of my method, but smaller packs weren’t available in stores and I needed to send this out ASAP. I’d also take more time to decorate the outside of the envelope. I’ll do that next year.

I used:

– A wooden plaque with hanging already built in from Michaels.com (Use a larger size for larger trinkets)

Craft wood clothespins from the scrapbook section. They’re shorter than regular ones.

– Wood stain

– Short Envelopes

– Assorted candy, toys, stickers, and quarters

– A printout with verses about the Christmas story. I used this one.

Step One: Stain the wood plaque

(Optional, but it wasn’t hard and adds richness)

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Step Two: Use wood glue to glue clothespins ( I laid them out and lifted as I went)

The beautiful hand model is my boyfriend. Haha.

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Step 3:  Wood glue tells you to clamp as it dries.

Instead of clamping 24 pins, I used cans. I know, I know. Genius. 😉

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Step 4: Print the verses, trim them, prep the envelopes. 

If I had enough time to order coin envelopes I would have used them. Instead I cut short envelopes in half, folded the cut edge over, taped it, and use those as my coin envelope.

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Step 5: Prep your goodies

This was a challenging part. I have three nephews which means three of something in each tiny envelope. It made some of the envelopes look really bulky and I chose to give more quarters and opt out of the second candy choice. I know my best friend is grateful for less sugar. 😉 For the last day, I wrote 24/25. Since it’s the grand finale, I gave them all a light saber light up thingy. And on the back of the envelope I wrote, ” The Light of the world is born to save us.” Quarters not pictured.

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Overall, this was a very time consuming but worthwhile project! I have to give Josh a shoutout for helping me with staining and glueing. I hope my nephews enjoy it and think of their auntie when they see it each year. Auntie thinks she’ll be sending new envelopes each year to keep them interested in new treats and bible verses.

I can’t wait to make one for Kai when he’s older. ❤

O Come Let Us Adore Him

I stood at church this Sunday and watched the light on the first advent candle [hope] flicker. Considering that I had no clue what an advent wreath was 5 years ago, I am quite thankful my church has one! The first week of advent, with three remaining. And here I am still detoxing from Thanksgiving gorging and family feels. As I see each candle lit consecutively it reminds me to reflect and shows me how short Christmas season really is.

I feel like holiday seasons pass by so much quicker as an adult. Does anyone else feel the same? And with Christmas being a time we give gifts, it can easily become more consumer focused than Christ focused.

I’m working on getting decorations up this week because they help remind me that there is more to this season, even if it’s just awe as I watch the Christmas lights sparkle and ponder Jesus taking human form (fully man, fully God) as I gaze at the nativity set.

I’m also working on an advent calendar for my nephews. I thought about my small but important part in their lives right now and how this Christmas I could make a spiritual impact rather than just giving a toy. I’ve decided to hand make an advent calendar for them with verses each day about the Christmas story with room for reflection and their parents to make it more of a devotion if they wish. I’ll also include some fun, of course. I have candies, stickers, and dollar bills to stuff in there as little gifts as they open one each day. I feel like this is the perfect year to give it now that the eldest is a great reader and the littlest is able to sit still and engage in the activity.

I need to clarify that I am doing this with their parents’ permission. I feel it very important, especially regarding spiritual things, that I get permission and that I do not overstep the parent’s spiritual instruction in their children’s lives as they are the main source and have a big responsibility before God to keep. But in this way, I can do my part this season to share Christ with them in a very special way.

Do you or your family have special traditions that help you remember the reason for the season?

Healthy Fear is Fuel for Future Fearlessness

Healthy Fear is Fuel for Future Fearlessness

Try saying that ten times fast. I’m always in my head, trying to sort things out or sometimes just babble for my sanity. Today’s lasting thought is that healthy fear helps to create future fearlessness.

If I look back on good career moves and personal growth, I see fear. I see fear of the unknown, fear of full potential, fear of knowing what to do. It made it kind of scary but also very thrilling. And as I conquered or overcame them, that became a sense of pride. Fear becomes fearlessness in the end. It becomes a reminder that we did hard things and kicked butt and can do it again. 

In examining life right now, I’ve noticed I don’t have enough fear fueling me in the right way. My fears borderline unhealthy and say stay put, don’t overdo it, don’t risk what you don’t know. Am I talking huge things like quitting my job or moving 10,000 miles away? Heck no. But I am thinking it’s time to fan those flames in my favor towards something scary and exciting.

What fearful things am I thinking?

New friendships – I need a sense of community and sisterhood locally. I need to diligently do my part to meet new people and kindle something. It needs to specifically be someone with ambitious dreams so we can feed off each other’s encouragement.

Planning for my future – Really sitting down and going over financial numbers, what I desire and need to work on in my relationship, and thinking hard about where I want to be in the next year, five years, and decade.

Ministry – Braving bigger roles and practicing some lacking faithfulness and diligence that has made me feel kind of crummy lately. Digging deeper and knowing I’m not just a volunteer.

I need to keep reminding me I’m not scared of being scared. I need some fear, good fear, to help me continue to evolve into a better person. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. And again. And again. 🙂

Vitality Corner

I’ve done a few big projects to make my room a sanctuary and here’s a project I’d like to complete next: a vitality corner of encouraging quotes and pictures and many plants.

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I would call it a vitality shrine but some would take offense to that because of the religious connotations people assume with the word ‘shrine.’ It’s not religious in an idolatrous way, but it is reflective and meditative.

I want to use green plants as a reminder of all the things I want to be: 

– I want to bloom as I prepare myself emotionally, financially, and physically for mid-life. 

– I want to reach new heights.

– I want to seek the light even if I must bend and outstretch in one direction towards it. 

– I want to nourish my body with good healthy food and kindness so that my radiant outside reflects a well fed and cared inside. 

– I want to be growing in Christ. I feel tingling in my roots and hope to know and experience even more foundational truths about my God and our relationship. I need to be reminded that what I soak up in my roots helps me react to the world around me and feeds me substance.

– I want to prune and throw away the bad parts so that I can focus on what’s important and not feel inhibited. 

– I want to remember as I’m tending them that people who love me are tending me and to love them back fiercely with that devotion. 

– Like photosynthesis, I want to use good energy to fuel me and have that process produce beneficial things for my environment. 

– My assortment of plants may all look different and need different types of tending and soil environments for best performance, but they all work together to be beautiful although they are diverse. Similarly, I want to see my strengths and weaknesses more bigger picture and know that what I have works together to do even more good collectively.  I want to remember not to judge someone for not having similar outlooks, interests, faith, or personalities, but find ways to admire them and encourage our growth and relationships.

– Like potted plants, I want to accept help when I can’t get what I need from my limited resources. Plants need fertilizer, and I need other people’s wisdom, encouragement, and experiences to help feed me. I may need coaching, programs, and therapy to help me reach my potential at different times in my life and shouldn’t be afraid of needing these resources.

I think just a few years ago I would have thought this notion was silly, but perhaps that is a sign I’ve grown. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

12 Articles for 7 Days

Look what I put together!

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My outfit combo chart

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The doodle I started with

I’m an over-packer. I wholeheartedly admit it. That’s why I’m challenging myself to 12 articles of clothing this trip. The problem with overpacking is that nothing ever packs down quite as well on the way back. I’m also plus sized, so clothes already take more space. Add souvenirs and gifts to the mix and I’m smooshing and hopefully not smashing things just to try to get them all to fit!

In preparation for a future trip, I’ve configured my own packing mix and match up. As a visual person, seeing what I have to work with is really helpful. Thanks to pinterest, I’ve also found tips to make my outfits work out better.

1. Don’t go print crazy.
2. Stick to neutrals and a color family.
3. Use layering techniques.
4. Wear your heaviest outfit on the plane (but make sure it’s comfy!)

This just makes a lot of sense and saves tons of room. I’m also bringing a travel space bag with me to roll up clothes if need be to pack something bulky into my luggage.

The purpose of this trip is not sightseeing: it’s to spend time with my bestie and her family. I can get away with shorts and leggings which I don’t usually wear out because much of the trip will be hanging out around her place. It’s very laid back. Just in case the mid-may humidity kills me or makes me a sweat monster, which it might, I have the option of laundry at their apartment facility. I may cave in and throw a pair of black pants and an extra top into the mix. We’ll see. 🙂

Creatures of the Night

Sky reflects the ebony
Of the asphalt under foot
Grab one cart and stroll
Through a grocery store
There’s no list
Just listlessness
As I’ve often brought before.

Creatures of the night
Weighing apples
Reading labels
Checking cartons full of eggs
Chucking in a loaf of bread
Hoarding sections to themselves
Walking in the dust
Of where others have tread.

Where were you
When the warm light
Was on your shoulders
Basking in the
Golden glow
Or earning pennies
For your keep
Why walk these vacant aisles
When most others are asleep?

And I wander
Alongside them
Past the yogurts
Past granola
Scanning red tags and
Sales signs
Tallying what’s
In hand

If I gave away my secret
They would scurry
On their way
If I admitted
Too many people
Would be here
In the day

Too many to wonder
Who they are
To see them as
Individuals
When I’m
Dodging my cart out of the way

But at night
We all are people
And as I pass
I wish them well
Though they only do their shopping
And have nothing to tell

Spinny Chairs, Soup Cans, and Other Splendors

On Saturday my boyfriend and I took advantage of the free admissions to some major museums. We made a day trip to two art museums: the LACMA and the Hammer Museum. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to live close enough to a major metropolitan. The work of classic and modern figures like Matisse, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Braque, Warhol, and more are just a drive away. And featured at the LACMA, works by Elaine Lustig Cohen, which made my designer heart flutter.

The Hammer Museum is always free, so on a day when you can go elsewhere for free which usually costs, it’s lax and devoid of congestion. I’ve been to the LACMA several times, but this was my first time ever at the Hammer Museum. When one usually thinks art museum, one thinks structured, grandiose, and somewhat serious. This place feels entirely different. I walked up to the front desk, got my stickers, and as the person pointed to open exhibits on the map, she added, “Don’t forget to check out our lounge and ping pong area up stairs.” We walked up and in the courtyard were these huge chairs and people laughing as they gripped the sides and spun around. Functional and playful!

Here’s a video of the functional art pieces in action:

Chairs at Hammer Museum

At the risk of admitting puerile pleasures, I will say that the spinny chairs and ping pong break really added to my experience. I also couldn’t believe my luck at their permanent collection. I feasted my eyes on art by French and European greats. Josh’s favorites were Gustave Moreau’s King David (1878) and Salomé Dancing before Herod (1876).
Talk about visual opulence. On a more contemporary note, I loved Catherine Opie’s portraiture. Her dramatic lighting is so painterly and visceral. What is not subtract by shadow is large, detailed, and impacting.

LACMA was PACKED. Like, nearly sweltering as the A/C couldn’t keep up with the droves of art amateurs and enthusiasts alike. We weaved through much of it as quickly but efficiently as possible while taking breathers outside to cool down and get away from crowds. To my dismay, the Rain Room was sold out for the day. The highlight of LACMA for me was their graphic design exhibit on Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen. And revisiting pieces I always anticipate each time. In the contemporary section, we both had to point Warhol’s iconic Campbell soup painting and the Litchenstein’s work.  Josh enjoyed the Egyptian art and lavish religious art/sculpture best. We have very different preferences in art appreciation and that worked out well for such an impressive amount of work in one museum. We both pointed out different things to each other.

I know he would have enjoyed our outing either way, but when I mentioned getting Dim Sum before tackling the sites, I think that sealed the deal. 😉

 

Fitbits and Notions!

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Can you guess what I got as an early Christmas gift? I’m really enjoying my fitbit even though I was skeptical that it was just an overpriced pedometer. Every other article is about death and heart disease and my spirit animal is a sloth. I have several loves and hobbies – none which require much movement. It doesn’t help that I work a desk job.

Yesterday I clocked in a mere 2600 steps from morning until after work. Pathetic! We’re suppose to aim for 10,000 a day, and even with walking last night to see Christmas lights I only ended up with a grand total of 6500 steps. I like that this gadget will help me stay accountable for movement.

And as far as notions – I mean sewing notions! I am floored once again about things working out at just the right timing. One of my friends has been sharing about her sewing projects and I and a couple others voiced that we would love to learn so she opened her home and taught us a bunch! I thought I’d be going empty handed and just watch but I ended up spying a very basic Singer sewing machine for $26! NEW. AT TARGET. It was meant to be.

I don’t see myself getting super adventurous but I want to get a decent understanding! My friend shared a really cool tidbit:

Pin vertically instead of sideways so the sewing machine can “jump” the needles and you can pull them out later! That way the pinhead doesn’t accidentally get in the way.

Does anyone have any fitbit or sewing tidbits for this newbie?