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. ūüėČ 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?

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Volunteering – Using Talents for Good

It’s been a while. There’s a lot of neat things happening and of course,¬†just living life as well. And, as incriminating as this sounds, I keep forgetting my password and getting locked out. Yep! I’m human.

Long story short, I’ve taken on some no pay volunteer positions and have kept quite busy after my 9 to 5 with helping use my career talents towards causes. The first one is a maternity home for expecting women that have no where to go and need help establishing a new life and stability for them and their child. I’ve designed some jewelry for them to sell to raise funds and offset costs for their tenants. This place is special because they do not charge for their program. They instead, ask that the moms to be SAVE what they make to put towards their future. It’s been neat seeing which jewelry ideas sell better and knowing that I’m impacting lives this way.

The second cause is a festival and run that benefits the county’s foster kids. Fostering and adoption are big on my heart and as I’ve soul-searched for ways I can get involved in that community and help, this opportunity came up. I walked into a planning meeting not knowing what exactly I could do. I’m not a big people person and I’m not a runner. Where could I be useful? I signed my name on the list and under interest wrote that I had design knowledge, specializing in print media.

As they went around the table and introduced themselves I heard how all the special chairs were calling and contacting people and companies and felt so intimidated. But as they read through their list of opening positions and needs, Graphic Design came up. So I spoke up. And I offered that I specialized primarily in print media and may not be the right fit for interactive/web stuff and the coordinator stopped me in my tracks.

“That’s exactly what we need! Print media!”

I walked up after the meeting to get some ideas started and the coordinator said to me, “We’ve been praying for you to arrive for months. You have no idea.”

The event is not religious but the founders are believers and those words comforted and encouraged me beyond belief. Sometimes we wonder how we can be useful with what talents we have and forget that God works out those details.

I’m so excited for our next meeting this Saturday. Who knew in one meeting I’d become Print Media Chair?

Why Minimalism is Not my Living Style…

So you guys know from recent posts that I am in the middle of a great purge and downsizing. The main reason is practical – not having more than I have room for. However, the secondary reason, nearly as important as the first, is, “Is this purposeful?”

Here’s why I like stuff:

1. I like stuff because it holds a memory.

The coins from my trip to Southeast Asia. The ticket stubs from some awesome concerts. The doodles from high school before I had any formal art training. The snow globe from Seaworld that encapsulated a picture of my family from 1998.

2. I like stuff because it reminds me I’m taken care of.

Extra boxes and cans in the pantry mean I can have people over for dinner on a whim or survive a bad earthquake. Extra clothes means more options to express my style. Excess in general means I’m blessed with more than enough.

3. I like stuff because I can share it.

One of my love languages is gifting people my time and treasures. Time is fickle because sometimes there’s a lot to share, and sometimes there’s not. But stuff? I tuck away items I get a good deal on or that remind me of someone so that I always have a personalized gift on hand. Something that says I took time and considered their interests.

4. I like stuff because I’m visual.

My mood can change because I walked outside and noticed the clouds were nice and fluffy and the sun highlighted the trees so that they glowed. In the same way, walking into a room with fun art and objects helps me unwind or find bliss. I feel happier with things around me rather than empty walls and few accents. Conversely I know people who find that stuff stressful and overwhelming and need a “clean” or streamlined feel. We’re all different.

5. I like stuff because it fuels creativity and can actually help me be frugal.

Art and craft supplies bought on sale or with a 40% off coupon save a lot of money. And having things around the house help me stay creative which is something I inherently crave both as a person and for my profession. The problem here is not having direction and dipping my fingers into too many pots. Scrapbooking and stamping are just not things I’m really into if I’m honest with myself and they take up a fair amount of space. So it’s better to donate those supplies and keep room for paper crafts, painting, and mixed media projects.

I think it’s important for me to note that I’m visual and not minimalist by nature to understand that is not where my heart is and not my goal at this time. I have a lot of clothes but few fit me well. That doesn’t translate¬†simply into tossing 3/4 of my closet. I need to dig further. Purposefully. The reasons are not just material. I struggle with weight. This means not letting extra clothes be my comfort blanket and not buying things just because they fit me okay. But it also means reminding myself to stay the course for weight loss plans. To feel better and fit better in what I wear. And to not forget confidence.

I have a lot of art supplies not being used. Books that are stacked in a “to-read” pile. Why am I not doing what I love? What is using up my free time? Why am I not doing things that unwind and inspire me?

I have 5 cans of tomato paste. Why? I didn’t shop intentionally, that’s why. I’m not keeping good record of what I have.

When I ask questions like this, I am considering so much more than the object. And that’s what’s important right now. Intention, purpose, and practicality.

Keeping Faith

One of the biggest transitions into adulthood was owning my faith. After years of sunday school, church attendance, and godly upbringing, I could choose to stay or stray.

I quickly learned upon examination and stepping away from trusting what others have said/preached, that I was forming opinions of my own. I have the Holy Spirit and scriptures to lead me. The point was not to leave it up to my personal interpretation but to validate what scripture says. I realized I had taken many people’s words and opinions as truth, and some of the opinions I formed were NOT pleasing to God.

I don’t question my faith because I don’t trust, I question my faith to build on what I know and believe.

I left the church I attended in my youth¬†knowing that I wasn’t growing (not to say it was a place that didn’t preach the gospel) and still don’t feel totally acclimated to my new church home, but I know that I’m not leaning on my own comforts and that moving forward requires effort – hard effort.

As a quarter-lifer, I look around the church and realize that I’m a dying breed and wonder why. What is the world or the church doing that leads people my age to leave? I feel alone sometimes. The last ladies event I attended had three people in a room of 100+ women that were under 30.

I also look around and realize that the closer I creep to 30, the less I see other unmarried ladies. It’s a given most people will marry at one point in their life. Many of my friends have gotten married and started families and the couples classes and family-based sunday school, Bible study, and small group crowds tend to welcome and plug in families better than single units. I just want to say to the world of single Christian ladies, I see you. I see you as an adult and your own person. Whether you attend church with your family, or sibling, or boyfriend or just attend by yourself. I also know what it’s like, and I think it’s awesome that you’re pressing on despite possible frustrations because our “group” grows smaller. I can’t promise we’ll all get married and have families or have single ladies group to hang out with through the church. But I can promise that we’re equally important to God and we are called to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

Birthday Month!

Well guys, I’ve been a bit quiet because sweet people in my life are celebrating my birthday with me! This saturday my boyfriend took me to see Hearst Castle and we stopped for a lovely dinner in Morro Bay.

I’m thanking the Lord for this new year of life and for all that’s to be experienced!

Here’s a list of things I’d like to do before 28:

– Learn conversational Spanish

– Read 3 self help books

– Explore one new area

РEnjoy an Omikaze sushi meal

– Take enough hikes to build my endurance and lungs to advance to a moderate hike (5-10 miles)

– Plan a successful reunion

– Read through Systematic Theology (and pay attention this time ūüėČ )

– Paint my first self portrait

– Learn something new for the career on lynda.com

-Laura

The Renaissance of Life after 25

“You’re not squirrel-y like other kids your age. You’re a sweet girl who is collected and wise for her age.”

My mom and I were chatting with an employee at Jo-Anns when I received that strange compliment at the age of ten. As a preteen, I assumed I knew what life would throw at me. I’d be dorming at a quaint college (dorming never happened, and I chose to go the economic route for school choice), work hard and graduate, get an awesome job right out of college (haha…you’re hilarious, kid), and things would just snowball into a happily ever after of sorts. Well, life is happy, but does not go according to plan.

I was wise enough to know I shouldn’t place ALL my eggs in one basket, but I did empty out most into a basket called education. As an awkward kid, at least I could be proud of my academic accomplishments and be respected for that. So, at 10, and for many years after, life revolved around being level-headed, pleasant, book smart, and scheming my awesome life as an adult.

I did very well, graduated with flying Magna Cum Laude colors, and found myself in the very difficult job market of the recession. After a summer full of attempts, I settled for a job not even in my field. Even there, I persisted to try to shine and ended with a small cinderella story of entry level sucky-ness to becoming a marketing director. Even with that beautiful transformation story, I found myself unhappy, and settled for a smaller more humble job but where I felt better.

When I turned 25, it hit me like a brick. Why am I pretending life is like clockwork? What else is there, and what is more? All those eggs I had placed in academia longed for more life application and other aspects of life. I couldn’t hide behind “school” anymore, and I realized hiding behind a career wouldn’t make me happy either.

Becoming a quarter-lifer changed my world view – it challenged me to see all the aspects of me and my purpose for being on this earth. Why do I feel certain ways? Why do I trust what I trust? Why do I do what I do? How can I be the best me?

It’s all these musings that leave the older generations scratching our head at us. We don’t just do things because it’s expected of us, we question why. We were told we could be anything we want and so we crave that – fulfillment to the best of our ability.

Reaching a quarter of a century is our rebirth. In the first two decades we learned about the world around us, and how to go out into that world. This new milestone we reach further and wonder how we affect the world, and how we represent ourselves and change it.

So, here is my blog dedicated to my musings as a 20-something gal. Still figuring herself out, and enjoying life while scratching her head at times.