Unsolicited Comments : Mark It as Spam

We’ve all gotten comments and opinions we never asked for or invited. Things like:

“Oh, you started working again? I guess your husband’s income isn’t cutting it.”

“Your body may not be ideal but at least you’ve got a beautiful face.”

“It must be exhausting having a downs child.”

“You’re so skinny. I wish I could eat anything and not gain weight.”

“I can’t believe you still use the microwave. It causes cancer.”

Think of these messages of ignorance and stupidity as flagged messages in your inbox and send them to the spam folder.

Do we open messages in our spam folder? No, because based on the subject line, we know the content may be harmful or that the message is meaningless to us.

In that same line of thinking, I’ve been relating it to the unsolicited comments I’ve received in real life. It sucks that sometimes these comments are said by people close to us, but the fact is their comment doesn’t do any good. Before letting a hurtful comment fester – giving time to internalize their words, and opening myself up to their message, I simply sort it to spam. The real life version of “unsubscribe” is to respectfully tell them that topic is off limits, what they said was rude, or brush it off by changing the subject.

Don’t open their loaded email. Don’t let their words ruin your day or get you down. Treat spam as spam: delete. Keep your inbox for what makes you feel good and builds you as a person. Don’t let messages that don’t fit that filter ruin the good stuff.

As a rule of thumb, I also sort gossip to junk mail. Bye bye, BS.

 

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Spring Cleaning

First wave of Spring cleaning: my mind!

Start here this year and I guarantee a better physical decluttering experience of your stuff. You live in your home many hours of the day but you live in your mind 24/7.

Toss out thoughts of self hate and doubt.
Organize your goals and plans for the future so you can access them daily.
Dust off personal achievements so you can see how far you’ve come.
Take care of issues that are keeping you from peace.
Last but not least, save room for good things and don’t let negative things sit in their spot.

Building Mentally Healthy Habits

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Who knew it would take my late twenties to understand the concept of self care?

I used to find purpose in myself by keeping super busy or involved in many things and that was taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I’m ashamed to admit the little time I took for me meant sloppy tooth brushing, avoiding the 2 minutes exfoliating took, and running to bed many times when I could not keep my eyes open with a face full of the day’s makeup. These are necessary little things, right? So I just raced through all that. But it’s more than necessary, it’s ways I care for myself on a practical level.

Now I’m slowing down a bit, making even those little actions more intentional. I’m pausing for a moment to realize how important it is to not always be rushing and to take note that the minuscule things like cleansing my face and applying moisturizer every night are little ways I love the body I’ve been given. And yes, those crocodile legs are worth slathering in lotion. And I’m worth 2 extra minutes of exfoliating too.

If I can intentionally acknowledge I am worth less rushing and neglecting in my daily routines, I can finally move on to bigger things.

Dad and Daughter Time

I feel like growing up, my family kind of divided stuff. I went on outings with my mom, and my brother did stuff with my dad. I was homeschooled by him for a majority of my primary education so it’s not like he wasn’t around or we weren’t close. In fact, he was the relaxed parent and so Nate and I loved spending time with Dad (and sometimes conning him into our shenanigans.) But it seems like once college hit I just kind of let our relationship coast. My brother spent a lot of time with Dad and I figured it was just like when were were growing up.

Now that Dad’s been retired for over a decade, his mannerisms are very routine and sometimes scarily robotic. Like, I could guess that this morning he had a cup of cereal mixed with a single serve container of yogurt and drank coffee black with sweetener. And that by now, he’s probably been to the weather channel to see what kind of conditions our loved ones and friends in other states are being subjected to. I can tell you that around 5pm-6pm the TV is vouched for because it’s time for him to watch the local news. I can tell you that after dinner he hunches over the computer with a pair of headphones watching an episode or two of Netflix. And sometimes, that robotic also includes his interaction or lack thereof with family members. He does his own thing almost like no one else is around. It really bothered me when I moved out. I expected my family to pay some dang attention to me when I was over and made the time to be present, but usually my mom was chatting on the phone or busy cooking and my dad would say hi and go back to his regularly scheduled program.  I know he isn’t aware of this, but for years, I just decided it wasn’t worth it to change anything. Until a few years ago when I realized time is precious. And this year, when my uncle who is only months older passed away.

I feel like this is an area I fail a lot. Sometimes I am cruel to my dad. I hate to say that but it’s true. I don’t know if I feel mentally superior or entitled or that he doesn’t understand me…but it’s not good. Just this past week, in a rush to work, I told him it was worthless for him to wake up and make coffee 15 minutes before I run to work because 70% of the time I’m already about to run out of the door and he’s in my way. What the hell. That was not okay. But it came out. And this week after I made that poor comment, he has slept in and there is no coffee made and no one to share breakfast with. He has poor hearing and sometimes replies yes or uh-huh without letting me know he didn’t hear me. Sometimes he doesn’t hear right and that causes issues too. So yeah, I am sometimes short fused and repeat things until I’m yelling.

Despite some short comings this week, I willed to spend more intentional time with him because my mom was out of town. I proposed a dad and daughter date. We went out to dinner on Wednesday and I felt like what I was able to say was just small talk and felt awkward. But I could tell like all loving parents he was so happy to have me instigate a dad and daughter date. I asked him if he wanted to grab dinner and watch something in theaters. I let him pick the restaurant and movie. By the time I opened the door that afternoon he was ready to go and reminded me several times of the time in anticipation to start our night out. Even though we only small talked it was still nice and he enjoyed both the dinner and the movie we went to see.

Yesterday we also had dinner together and watched it while his 6pm news segment was on. Plates in hand in the living room, watching channel 5 news. We didn’t say much but he enjoyed the food and complimented it several times and was smiling.

I think I’ve learned two things this week. Maybe three. First of all, this intentional relationship thing is harder than I thought and I kind of stink at it. But, two, my dad enjoyed it and saw that I was trying. I think I need to accept that I’m a complex thinker and a very different and sensitive personality type and my dad is not. He’s a very simple, enjoy life and the small things kind of guy. He’s practical and on the range of emotional empathy scores very average while I over analyze everything. If I can remember this and not try to expect too many social cues and responses I think it’ll help me. My mom is more like me, more complex, very sensitive to others reactions and emotions, and reacts more to compliments and general comments. I’ve spent a lot of time appreciating that and not enough time appreciating the benefits of my dad’s personality and personhood. It’s that personality that still got excited for a dad and daughter date the day after his daughter complained about his small act of love of getting up earlier than he likes to make coffee for both of us. The personality who said nothing in response though he has the right to as I ran out the door. The one who selflessly tried several times to let me pick the dinner spot and movie because he wanted me to enjoy it. The one who smiled ear to ear as I walked in after work on Wednesday knowing he’d be spending the whole afternoon with me. ❤

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.

plant-leaves

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.

I’m Pro-Life, but…

I’m Pro-Life, but…

1. I understand that most women are smart enough to know abortion is not a means of birth control to be performed several times and that many do not choose abortion flippantly.

2. I understand that while medical conditions are a very small percentage, abortions do happen because of things like ectopic pregnancies…where even pro-life women need to opt for an abortion.

3. I understand that one of the reasons abortion rates have dropped is because of access to birth control (sorry, I know there’s more to hormonal birth control, I won’t touch that in this entry.)

4. I understand that places like Planned Parenthood actually DO MORE than provide abortions – they provide care for several men and women who wouldn’t have access to care otherwise and provide medical and sexual health knowledge.

5. I understand that there are cases of rape and incest where the baby is a painful reminder of something traumatic that happened. (I do believe that baby is innocent, although a product of a horrible event, and abortion robs an innocent life, even in this situation.) I understand that it must be hard to have something happen and be stuck carrying a child to full term that someone may not want.

6. I understand that relationships, age, and financial situations may not always be ideal for welcoming a child and carrying a child to full term.

7. I understand that abortion is not an easy topic to discuss and that everyone has an opinion on it.

I don’t know all these things personally, but I do understand. And that’s why I cannot support the idea of making abortion illegal and defunding Planned Parenthood. 

I suppose with everything I’ve said, you are probably wondering where I personally stand. My stance is that ideally and morally, abortions would only be performed for #2: rare medical instances where aborting the baby means saving the mothers life, where the choice is to either have both die or let one live. And my heart goes out to everyone who carries a child because of rape or incest. I truly care about their hurt but cannot deny the personhood of their child and I know that is messy and others may not agree with me. I’m sorry rape and incest happen in our world. I know that the reality of foster care and adoption is that it’s not an easy thing and that children in the system do not always have a good childhood. I care about that too. But I advocate to choose adoption instead of abortion. That is my personal view.

Here is what I think are more helpful than trying to make abortion illegal or defund PP:

1. Pro-lifers should support local pregnancy centers. Volunteer, donate, fundraise. If you are religious, pray.

2. Pro-lifers should support local maternity homes for mothers who want to keep the baby but have no place to turn to or have a home life situation that puts them in danger. Volunteer, donate, fundraise. If you are religious, pray.

3. Pro-lifers should be open to more views than just public abstinence programs and should take the shame out of premarital pregnancies. Particularly in religious homes, where children may not be educated about contraceptives and sometimes not even given full education on the reproductive system and end up pregnant. A large percentage of women getting abortions identify as catholic or protestant. I personally think some may be getting them out of shame or fear. What if parents and religious communities supported those mothers first and foremost? It’s a given that not everyone who plans to be abstinent will stay abstinent. And ignorance on sexual reproductive health does not help anyone. I believe ignorance is destructive.

4. Pro-lifers should support foster care and adoption. Not everyone may have an ideal situation to adopt or foster, but for those who can, it truly shows your commitment to owning up to what one believes. How can one advocate fostering and adoption and not be open to helping these children in some way? There is always a way to help. Donations, fundraising, taking classes to get a better understanding of the process, being mentors, advocates, volunteers…the list goes on. There is SOMETHING each one of us can do to help the lives of these babies, kids, and teens.

5. Work on things on a personal, community, and state level. That has the most impact. Your voice may only be a whisper on the nationwide level, but in your own city? It can really be powerful and echo throughout the area. And on a one-to-one level? You could save a life or help support someone with a life-changing decision.

There was once a time when abortion was illegal, and when women had very little reproductive rights. I care enough about women as a whole to not want the horrors of that time repeated. I think we need to redefine what is acceptable without making abortion illegal. It’s a hot buzzword during election season – abortion and Planned Parenthood. People may not agree with my stance, but I think we can all agree seeing abortion and teen pregnancy percentages drop is something both pro-life and pro-choice can celebrate together. And we can agree that supporting pregnant women, reproductive/sexual health education, and our local community make a difference.

Heavier Than Ever. Literally.

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This has been a rough end of the year. I’ve had many good things come out of it and can’t say there hasn’t been happy times, but overall? Rough.

Moving.
New Commitments.
Depression and Anxiety.

I can’t use these things as excuses, but I can say they’ve played a part.

I have a big confession.

I’m the heaviest weight I’ve ever been my whole life. And I’ve given into emotional eating the last few months.

I’ve got to change. And not half-heartedly. This is an all time high for weight and emotionally an all time self-esteem low.

I got invited to a 10 week challenge and I can’t even do it. I can’t take a picture of my weight where it is. Even if it’s only that person knowing where I started.

I need to sit down with my household and let them know I can’t keep going on like this. I need their encouragement and accountability.  I need to schedule time to make food on the weekends and during the week. I need to define a workout schedule too.  And I need to be true to my desires and ACT on exercise and eating right rather than just acknowledging it.

First Ideal Goal: 28 pounds by my birthday in February.

That gives me 7 weeks. That means 4 pounds a week. Probably not ideal for long term loss as the aim should be 2ish pounds a week and I lose slow anyway. But I know I have some holiday and carb weight that should drop fairly easily (about 10 pounds) and will figure a tapering after that.

I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite. I don’t want to share health advice and seem like I’m doing great when I’m not. But I do know better and need to follow what I know is good for me.

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.