Bullet Journal Update No. 6

I’m not going to lie, for as many bullet journal themes on Pinterest, I am having a hard time finding themes I like (or can make look the way I want them too). So for the month of July, I decided to mix it up a little and do a black and white theme. The windows were tedious, but I enjoyed coloring in all the black.

Check it out!

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I always try to make my mood tracker page fit the theme of the month. For this City theme, I was pretty proud of my idea- a map of the subways (not the real subway maps, obviously).

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Sun, Sand, and Salty Kisses

My husband and I recently returned from our wonderful honeymoon.  8 days in beautiful Riviera Maya, Mexico, doing nothing but relaxing on the beach, in the pool with the swim-up bar, eating delicious meals, and celebrating being married (even if we’ve been married 7 months already).

It was a perfect week. This was my husband’s first time out of the country. It was a good starter trip for him, as most of the time was spent on the all-inclusive resort. We left property one day to go shopping in the city market, and it only took him a few blocks to not look like a scared little tourist. But he did it! He bartered and said, “No, gracias” like it was his favorite sentence in the whole world.

I’m a big believer in a picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than bore you with the words and then blowing them out of the water with pictures of the ACTUAL water, I’ll jump right to the part everyone wants to see.

Enjoy!

Bullet Journal Update No. 5

I’m a little late this month posting my June Bullet Journal theme. Don’t get me wrong, I made the theme at the beginning of May, because I get too excited and make the themes too soon. But here you are!

This month my husband and I are taking our belated honeymoon. We are going to MEXICO! We cannot wait! So, in honor of that trip, my theme this month was travel.
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Dear Feminism-Dismissing Women:

Yesterday, I saw an opinion piece posted on Facebook about how militant feminists are trying to ruin chivalry and manners for everyone else. If you haven’t seen it, here is the link for the article.

I had a lot of thoughts about the article, but I’ll be honest, I did not comment those thoughts on the page of the original poster. The reason I didn’t– the original poster was my mother.

I guess I decided to skip the fight, to not create drama in the family unit. So, I am taking the passive path, even if maybe the smarter choice, and I’m posting my thoughts here.

A quick summary for those who choose not to read the article:

The writer believes militant (extremist) feminist are “ruining chivalry, manners, and civility for the rest of us”. She states she appreciates the fight of women before her, and that because of them,” there’s no other place or time in history where it is better to be a woman than right now in the United States of America”. (This writer must not have seen the survey that puts the USA in the top ten most dangerous countries for women.) The writer says “I am glad I was never eligible for the draft. I appreciate when a man across the aisle of the plane lets me go first vs. the ones that jockey with me for position — or worse, hit me in the head fighting to be the first to get their luggage down.” She does mention that it is possible to fight for others around the world while appreciating the manners of a man. This is the only thing in her post I find myself agreeing with.

So here is what I have to say:

First. There are extremists for every position, and those extremists always seem to ruin it for everyone else. The only people who get attention, either by other people or in the media, are the extremists. However, just because there are extremists, doesn’t negate the movement, the position, the political party, religion, etc. They are exactly what they are, EXTREME EXAMPLES of those particular things. They aren’t the norm, so don’t try to treat everyone else like that is the base of the group.

Two. It is completely possible to be both a feminist male and chivalrous. If you aren’t sure how that is possible, get better men in your life, or ask my husband for advice. It is possible to treat women like they are equals, while still holding the door for them or paying for the first date. Would you like to know why? My husband doesn’t hold the door for me or let me order my dinner first because I am the weaker sex whom he must protect. He does it because he values me, because he respects me, BECAUSE he sees me as his equal. He holds the door for me because he loves me and treats me with kindness, but he also turns around and holds the door open for a woman pushing a stroller, an elderly couple, etc.

On the flip side, it is not un-feminist of me to allow my husband to do these things for me. Again, would you like to know why? Because I do the same for him. If I beat him to the door, I will hold it open for him, just as I hold it open for that mother with the stroller or the elderly couple. Because holding a door isn’t directly tied to equality. It is tied to kindness. You can enjoy chivalry without feeling entitled to it though. If he orders before me at dinner, it is because he knows what he wants and I haven’t decided yet or the waiter asked him first. If you feel offended by a lack of “chivalry”, you might want to make sure you aren’t trying to make yourself more important than him because of your sex, because that is a completely different problem altogether. There is a difference between manners and “treat me better because I am a female.”

Just as you don’t want the extreme feminist to “ruin chivalry” for you, the rest of us true feminists don’t want those extremists to ruin the movement or belittle the cause. We also don’t want you, the annoyed privileged women who don’t see the need for the movement, to ruin it for the rest of us who are trying to do some good.

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“Thoughts and Prayers”

As a Christian, lately, I have been struggling to reconcile how I feel and how my religion tells me I should feel. In many situations, my heart and my head disagree with what my religion tells me I should believe. I know I am not the only Christian who is feeling this way.

One thing that has been weighing heavily on me though, is the idea of sending “thoughts and prayers” during a time of hardship. Believe me, I send thoughts and prayers in all situations. When I see something terrible on the news. When I see a car accident on the side of the road. When the weather looks ominous. When a friend has an interview. When my husband is holding on to his last nerve at work. I send thoughts and prayers all the time. There is nothing wrong with it, but we have to admit, in a lot of situations, it isn’t enough. Not even close.

When you send thoughts and prayers to a mother who lost her child in a school shooting, your prayers are for God to comfort her, but they don’t really do anything to make it better.

When you send prayers to a city who has been leveled by a natural disaster, your prayers are for their safety in the waiting periods, or for comfort in the adjustment and loss periods, but they don’t really do anything else.

When an LGBTQ+ teenager commits suicide because of the treatment they receive from peers, family members, church members, community members, etc., your thoughts and prayers are for the comfort of those left behind, but they don’t really do anything.

When you send thoughts and prayers to the situation at the border, they don’t do anything.

When you send your thoughts and prayers to an eleven-year-old who gets raped and is forced to carry the pregnancy to term, your thoughts and prayers don’t do anything.

Thoughts and prayers are a nice gesture, but they don’t do anything. They do not help. They do not fix the problem or the root of the issue. Honestly, all I can see that they do is remove any weight of personal responsibility to help that you may feel.

We don’t need to look at any kind of gun control laws, because I sent thoughts and prayers.

We don’t need to go volunteer in the town not far from us that was leveled, or donate money or any of our belongings, because we sent thoughts and prayers.

We don’t need to protect the rights and dignity of the LGBTQ+ community, especially if we disagree with their “life choices”. We don’t need to change ourselves, because we sent thoughts and prayers.

We don’t need to help immigrants seeking asylum, because that’s just uncomfortable and inconvenient for me. We are “good” because I sent thoughts and prayers.

We don’t need to let women have rights to their own bodies, or stricter punishments on rape, or protect and support the funding of programs like Planned Parenthood, Food Stamps, etc. that help that mother care for the child we want to force her to have. We don’t need to do any of those things, because we sent thoughts and prayers.

Even as a Christian, I am so tired of hearing the phrase “Thoughts and Prayers”, because all I see is a way for us to excuse the fact that we do nothing else to help. It is a brushing-our-hands-of-guilt-or-responsibility move. At least, that is all it is when you do not follow it up with actions. We send thoughts and prayers, and then move on to the next disaster which is surely only a few days away.

I’ve spent a lot of my adult Christian life walking a fine line. I was careful about what I said or what I shared on my personal social media pages, mostly for the comfort of others. And honestly, I went round and round on if I should post this today due to fear of repercussions. I did not want to put myself in a position of opposition of those in my family, my community, or my church. I did not want to rock the boat.

But I can’t NOT rock the boat anymore. I cannot be quiet for the sake of comfort, mine or anyone else’s. I must speak out on the things that are important. And I understand if you need to get out of the splash-zone of my swaying boat. But I’m done only sending thoughts and prayers.

You’ll Find Me Next to the Ocean

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Nothing touches the soul like the ocean
The water on your feet
The hush of waves in your ear
The dance of light on the surface
All beautiful and unique to the ocean

I could sit for days in the sand
All my needs met
Longing for nothing
Contented and full
Surrounded in happiness and peace

Some are troubled by the ocean
Made to feel small
Alone, insignificant
Afraid of the unknown
But that is not the way for me

Though there are revelations in its presence
I feel small but whole
Not alone, but connected
Connected to it and through it
I feel a part of its magic and its story

My soul awakes when near the ocean
I feel alive
I feel accord
I feel tranquil
When I need to find myself, I find an ocean

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*My husband and I booked our honeymoon finally! We are going to Riviera Maya, Mexico in June! Get me next to that ocean ASAP!

Bullet Journal Update No. 3

I think I’ve established what these updates are going to be like, so without further ado:

March’s completed Mood Tracker

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I decided to do something different with April’s theme. Instead of focusing on drawings, I went with a different crafting approach. I used more printed pictures and tore them to suit the pattern I wanted. It was a nice change from the heavy focus on drawings the last few months.

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Looking forward to seeing what May’s theme will be!

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The Weight of “Family”

Lately, I have found myself processing the idea of family. I’ve always kind of questioned the idea. Not really on the principle of having a family, but what exactly does family mean.

I’ve always found family to be an interesting topic. Technically, a family is just a bunch of people related by blood. Some live in the same home as you your whole life and have a huge impact on who you are, and some live on the other side of the country and you maybe see them once a year, and honestly, they don’t add or subtract a single thing from your life.

There is this idea that you must respect, love, place above all others this family, regardless of how they fall on the scale or importance to your every day life. And some of you may have wonderful families and agree with this wholeheartedly, but I call bullshit. Being physically present, yet not supportive, loving, or genuine, doesn’t mean I owe you anything. I don’t owe you respect because you gave me a birthday card when I was six, especially when you’ve made it very clear you don’t even really like me since then. And don’t come at me claiming “family” to get you anywhere. You are a blood relative, you aren’t my family. There is a difference. One is something I was born into, the other is something I choose.

Take that idea further, the idea of choosing your family. There are good things and bad things to that idea as well. This is how you end up with “aunts” who aren’t actually related to you but know you better than your real aunt. This is also how you end up with a “grandma” or an “aunt” who decided it would be just as easy to marry out as it was to marry in, regardless of how long they’ve known you. A giant “peace out, bitches” with a slammed door they never bother to crack again.

For some, family is concrete. It is steady and means something. For others, like me, family is a big bubble with soft cloud edges that people can easily come in and out of. There is no tether to the bubble or to others in it. Blood isn’t a tether. Relationships aren’t a tether. We are all free floating, making the decision to stay in the bubble or to leave it. This is why, to me, the family we choose means more than the alternative (not to imply that birth family can’t fall into the bubble family). You’ve chosen me, and I have chosen you. I’ve entered your bubble and I’ve chosen to stay.  This relationship will always carry more weight, in my opinion.

All of this rambling to say that I refuse to be made to feel badly for not choosing to value my great aunt whom dislikes me as a person anyway, or my married-in “grandma” or “grandpa” who decided that I no longer am family, etc.

If you have similar experiences or ideas with “family”, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Bullet Journal Update No. 2

So I finally feel like I am getting the hang of the bullet journal thing. Two full months of filling it out, and three monthly spreads later, I feel like I have found an outlet for some creativity. I’ve done a good job in some areas with it, and some areas not so much.

One thing I really enjoy is getting to create the monthly spreads. Picking a theme and carrying the theme out through the month is exciting. My spreads are getting better! They are more creative, more fun, and most importantly, I am starting to feel more confident in them. This, and the fact that I have been tracking how often I write or draw, has really made me feel like my artistic abilities are growing and my creative need is starting to be met. Here are some of the drawings I’ve done this month.

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There are plenty of things I still need to improve in, like getting to the gym for example. But at least now I am tracking those things. Before, if I didn’t go to the gym at all in a month, I didn’t think much about it. Now, with an empty tracker staring at me, I feel guilty for slacking. So, that’s an improvement.

With all that being said, I figured I would share a completed page from February’s spread, my favorite page (the mood tracker), and I would show you the theme for the month of March. I think it turned out BEE-utiful!

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