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

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.

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!

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?

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]

Waiting for a Congratulatory Vibration

I like my fitbit. It’s like a metaphoric little red string that tells me “Don’t forget to move around!” I need this visual reminder and instead of viewing it as a manacle for movement I see it as a helper – that red string that gently reminds.

I just synced myfitnesspal with it so now I can be more on top of my food tracking too.

As someone who gets tense easily and nervous around people, I also like that it’s a thing I can fidget with.

I haven’t had a chance to get the gym ball rolling. It’s Christmas this Friday and I have a family of four spending a few days at our house. There is no time for the gym. Excuses? Yes. Valid ones.

On a minimal activity day (aka wake, work, computer, sleep) I get as little as 2500 steps. On days where I spend some time shopping or take a  short walk with the dog, I get about 5,000.

I still have yet to obtain the IDEAL minimum – which is 10,000 steps. I heard that at this number your fitbit vibrates and tells you good job for meeting that requirement. Like a little pat on the back. I want a pat on the back. I’m still working on my congratulatory vibration. 🙂

Faithful.

God is faithful and proves Himself over and over. If only I was better at getting that. More things came by the mail. Renewals and time for servicing my car, etc.  Rent is due right after Christmas.

And then a holiday bonus. A well timed one. Our party at work was one week earlier than normal, which meant I got my bonus earlier, which meant it came at just the right time for those bills.

I never expect a bonus from my work. It’s not an expectation – it’s a blessing. And especially in a mediocre year, that extra effort of appreciation means SO much to me.

I’m truly grateful for it.

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?

Remember Remember To Adult This November

I titled this post before the date clicked. Which made me smile. Kudos if you get it.

So, two steps forward, one step back. That’s usually how life goes right?

I’m super passionate right now. I’m really digging deeper spiritually and creatively, but that has meant less attention paid to organization and weight loss/health.

I really lack a good sense of habit. My days vary A LOT and I’m finding myself tired and worn out from it. It’s something I have a horrible time with. And with few habits comes the sobering truth of too little discipline. When I step back and see all this I scratch my head and truly wonder if I’m failing adulthood. When do I tighten the reigns on bad habits and in maturity take steps to fix them once and for all, or is this two steps forward one step back part of it all? Am I too “in my head”? Either way, I need to up my game.

Since November is the month I reflect on gratitude, I also wish to enforce each point with personal discipline. Dust has settled since moving and it’s time to put more effort into things.

Gratitude #1: My finances are more solid since I moved.
Discipline Follow-up: Stay diligent with tracking expenses so I stay ahead of the game. Focus on financial and spending goals instead of falling into sporadic splurge traps. Also pray for how God wants to use the extra to bless others.

Gratitude #2: I have more time with family and relatives.
Discipline Follow-up: Make them more meaningful by being purposeful. Learn how to politely retire into my room when I need to get things done.

Gratitude #3: I have less housework in general with my smaller space.
Discipline Follow-up: Invest that time into the gym or diet planning and be extra mindful to not let things sit in shared spaces.

Gratitude #4: God is showing me big things this year in His word.
Discipline Follow-up: Make bible study homework and Bible reading the first big habit I plan for daily.

Gratitude #5: I’m learning through KonMari and introspection what my living space needs to be like.
Discipline Follow-up: Stay on top of it and don’t let clutter rule or distract. Keep making goals and defining my style.

Gratitude #6: My creativity is flourishing.
Discipline Follow-up: Keep on top of my schedule to have the time to  do creative things without a bogged down mind.