Bullet Journal Update Month #1

So I did it!

I filled out the bullet journal all month of January.

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Some of the tasks I wanted to track I was really successful with. And others, I fell off at the back half of the month. I’m not sure if that was from a lack of effort or, honestly, it was too damn cold to go to the gym! The back half of January was so icy and frozen that my husband and I decided it wasn’t safe for us to drive after dark (we are not very good all weather drivers). So instead of going to the gym after work, we went home. I’m excited to see how the February tracker will end, seeing as we are now encouraged to start over with the tasks!

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As you’ll see, some spreads were more useful than others. Some spreads I will carry over into February and some I will change.

Also, this month, I started to feel a little more courageous and creative when it came to my bullet journal monthly spread. I am pretty proud of how February turned out!

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Did you start a bullet journal recently? Tell me about your experience! I’d love to share in it with you.

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So, the Gillette Ad Made You Angry…

A couple days ago, Gillette released the “The Best Men Can Be” ad. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the video, and honestly, though I try, I really cannot understand why.

I’ve watched the video several times. I watched it before I read any of the responses and felt that it was a nice, quick ad that reminds us that the youth are watching how we behave and it is our job to teach them the kind of adults they should be.

I read some of the comments from people who were angry or upset by it, and then I watched it again. I tried to have new eyes, to see it the way these people see it. I really tried. I don’t want to be a person who cannot understand the points of others, or a person who is so blinded by my own interpretation that I miss what really may be there. And honestly, I still really struggled to see the “bad” in this video.

For example, one of the comments that people make is that this video misrepresents men and is demeaning. They say that is shows ALL men as toxic. I don’t know how this can be true when the men who do the “bad behavior” are only ever corrected by other men. This ad doesn’t say that men suck and women must fix them. It doesn’t say that all men are awful, but in fact is does the opposite. It shows men standing up for others, or pointing it out in their friends or others.

I’ve also read that all the “bad guys” in this ad were white, but that wasn’t true either. There are clearly a mix of all in this video. So I don’t even know how to argue that one other than saying it is just not true.

Other comments I’ve heard is that the message wasn’t all bad, but it didn’t come from the right place. Where is the right place, then? Why does there have to be one right place to be reminded that we can’t expect better of our children if we don’t show them better?

“Women would be furious if there was a video showing all the crap girls do to each other in school!!” – You’re right. I would be furious. But not because I felt like I was being called out or told that I was awful. But because I KNOW the realities of the way girls and women treat each other, and THAT infuriates me. I would not be offended to see an ad about how women should be nicer to each other, or how women should step in when they see another woman attacking someone. I wouldn’t be offended because I ALREADY KNOW that is what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to stand up for others. I am supposed to treat people with kindness and respect. I would know that the ad was not attacking me, but in fact, I would take it as a reminder to always strive to be better, because I want my little sister, my friends, my future daughter to grow up and live in a kinder world than this one.

I’m really trying to understand- but I just can’t. When my husband looks at this ad, he isn’t offended. He doesn’t feel attacked. Because he knows there is always room to be better. Because he expects better of himself and the men he associates himself with. Because he respects not only women, but himself enough to not make excuses. Sure, like everyone, he slips up sometimes and says something sexist that society has made seem okay, but when I remind him that it isn’t okay, he takes a step back and tries to understand it from my point of view. Because he respects me and the way I feel. Because he respects his friends who are women, his mother, my sister, and the stranger on the street he has never met. Because he wants his future son to be better than the world around him.

If you feel offended when someone reminds you to be kind, maybe you are masking guilt in reality. When someone tells me to be nicer, I may feel angry at first, but I’m really more embarrassed at my own behavior and angry that I’ve been called out. We could all stand to be kinder, to be more aware of how our actions impact others. We all need a reminder sometimes.

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New Year, New Hobby

Happy New Year, readers!

Every new year I set a few goals for myself throughout the upcoming year. And every year, most of those goals are abandoned way earlier than I would care to admit. But I wanted this year to be different. I wanted to be more intentional with my goals, my time, and my priorities. Couple this with the fact that I always feel like I am one of those people who, when asked what my hobbies include, struggle to say that I do anything of importance or even worth mentioning as a hobby. I like to write and draw, but I don’t make a hobby of it. If you put a craft project in front of me, I’ll be excited until I screw it up less than five minutes in and then the perfectionist in me decides I better just stop there.

So this year, I think I found a way to incorporate both a new hobby, my (lightly) craft side, and my goals for the year.

Enter the Bullet Journal.

If you’ve never heard of this before, it is a mixture of a planner, a journal, a doodle pad, and about anything else you want it to be. You set up trackers and themed spreads in whatever way you choose. I decided to look at a lot of Pinterest, Instagram, and Youtube channels to find things I liked and things I didn’t. I plan to use my Buju (as they are commonly nicknamed) to track my moods and the habits I would like to acquire and stick to throughout the month. Things like exercise, writing, water intake, etc.  I also wanted to track the books I read and the movies I see in theaters during the year, as these are two things I enjoy doing.

I figured a good way to keep myself accountable, and maybe get to show off some of my creative side, I’d post my pictures of my 2019 Bullet Journal Set up and my first monthly spread. If you Bullet Journal, please leave suggestions, your thoughts on the experience, or pictures of your 2019 set up in the comments. I’d love to see your creations!  If you are interested and have any questions about bullet journaling for a beginner, leave those thoughts in the comments as well. Then google your question, because I probably won’t have the answer anyway. But I’ll try!

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Good luck with your resolutions!

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Blunt Advice from a Newlywed

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It finally happened. The long awaited day finally came and went. I’ve been a very happily married woman for a whole 11 days. I personally think my husband and I have perfected this marriage thing already. I don’t know why people say being married is so hard…. **pause for smirk and exaggerated eye roll**

Obviously, I’m kidding. Honestly, being married doesn’t feel a ton different. Granted, my husband and I already lived together. We’ve been together for 3 and a half years and this didn’t change much of our every day life together. It feels a little different, a little heavier in a good way. He isn’t my boyfriend, or my fiance, but he is my husband and I am his wife. That is still a very exciting thing. And I have started the name-change process, so seeing a new last name on my driver’s license is super fun and weird.

But now that the wedding planning is over and the wedding day has come and gone, I figured I would maybe have some advice for people who are just starting the process. But I don’t want to give you the same advice you could find on an overly-googled cutesy list, so bare with me while I try to mix it up and dig a little deeper.

#1 – My Mantra for the Wedding Planning

“If it won’t matter five months after the wedding, don’t let yourself be upset for more than five minutes now.”

This one saved my but more than a few times. If something doesn’t go right, isn’t how you would have liked, or someone in your family, future family-in-law, or bridal party is driving you crazy, let yourself be upset but only for a few minutes. If you hold your emotions in, they will just explode out at a much worse time. If you dwell on them, you forget the important parts and let it drive you mad. So feel it, vent about it to your fiance or whomever isn’t driving you crazy, and then let it go.

I promise, it won’t matter if your processional music isn’t just right. You’re so in the moment, you don’t hear it anyway!

#2 – If you want to, it is okay to make your planning (and your Pinterest Board) PRIVATE.

This is a good idea for multiple reasons. For one, everybody has an opinion. Your mom, your sister, your friends, your future in laws, your fiance’s friends, your pastor or other officiant, and the list goes on and on. And some of these opinions you will want. Some you will ask for. And some you will politely nod and let it go in one ear and out the other. The only thing that matters is what you and your fiance want, and don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t or can’t do something you want. If you can afford it on your own (don’t ask someone to pay for lobster when you are on their chicken and fish dime, that’s just rude), then do what you want no matter what. Even if it isn’t “what’s done”. Don’t want to toss garter or bouquet, don’t! Want to go dress shopping by yourself, do it! Want to ride in on camel back, I don’t recommend it depending on your dress or venue, but who am I to tell you no!

Another example of a reason to make your board private, you probably know someone who is getting married around the same time as you. If you don’t want them to take your ideas, especially if they are getting married before you, then keep the shit on lock down. It’s okay to be private about what you want. You don’t own anyone answers or explanations.

#3- Don’t compare

Literally, anything. Don’t compare anything. Don’t compare your day to someone else’s. Budgets, tastes, etc. are all different. Don’t compare your dress to someone else’s. Especially if you bought it 12 months before your wedding like I did. You have a lot of time to sit and think about if it is really the one, but trust your gut. You didn’t do that with your fiance, don’t do it with your dress. Don’t compare your body to all the brides you see in the magazines and on the internet. Your fiance loves you exactly the way you are. Your family and friends love you. And guess what, they already know what your body looks like. They don’t look at you on your wedding day having completely forgot what you ever looked like before. They don’t look at you in that moment and think, “Wow, I didn’t realize she was _______ (fat, flabby, too thin, pale, etc.)”

No one thinks that. They think you look beautiful and happy and in love. That’s it! So relax! Enjoy your day and let it be the most perfect YOUR wedding day.

#4 – You may be surprised by the emotional things you have to work through on the way to your wedding day.

There will be the obvious emotions. Wedding planning is fun, stressful, and exciting. You’ll be happy, you’ll be overwhelmed, you’ll be all sorts of emotions. But, if you are anything like me, you may find that you will experience emotions you weren’t prepared for. For me, it was complicated family dynamics that caused unexpected emotions. Dealing with your grandparents getting divorced a few months before your wedding and losing the only grandpa who was still living because he decided to leave the family and not care if he ever sees you again. Trying to balance being excited for the father/daughter dance while also feeling conflicted about playing some overly emotional and sappy song that just felt like a lie when your relationship has been rocky over your childhood. The feeling of begging your mother to be more interested and present in the planning while watching her eyes glaze over when you start to talk about it. Then top that crap sundae with some whipped cream conversations the day before the wedding about how she is just a guest at the wedding because you were too “independent” to let her help.

These things suck, and they surprise you because you didn’t think what you thought were (mostly) resolved issues would bring up emotions. But they do. And that’s okay, you’ll get through it. I mention this as advice not because it will keep this from happening, but maybe it will keep you from being so surprised if it does.

And lastly, and most importantly

#5 – Remember what the day is truly about, but more importantly, remember it is only one day.

The day will be a wonderful party of all your friends and family. It is a great time! But it isn’t about the party. It’s about marrying the person across from you during your vows. It isn’t about the ending of the dating period or the wedding planning, it is about the start of your life together. And that is what you should be most excited for. Be excited about the wedding day, but be MORE excited about seeing the look on your partner’s face the first time they see you on your wedding day. Be MOST excited about waking up the next morning married to the person you love. Be MOSTEST excited about the life you are going to build together. Because that is what the day is really about.

So enjoy your planning. Enjoy your wedding day. And then enjoy it being over! I surely am!

Good luck!

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My (less than) Glorious Return..

It’s been a while since my last post, and there has been a lot going on. Let me count the ways my life is a bit nuts at the moment.

  1. As I mentioned in my last post, like a month ago, my fiance broke his arm in five places at the beginning of October. Was he doing some adventurous, something stupid, or something crazy, you ask??? No. He wasn’t. He was walking. He tripped. Boy, do I love that disaster-prone goofball. This broken arm has resulted in nearly two months off work for him, one very long surgery, one metal plate, three different slings, eight metal screws, thirty-one staples, and a fourteen inch scar that gives Frankenstein’s monster a run for its money.  That sounded like a really messed up version of the Twelve Days of Christmas song. So, all in all, that’s been fun.
  2.  Did I mention that all of number one happened only six weeks before our wedding?? We are in the final countdown of the wedding planning. We get married in 9 days, 21 hours, give or take some minutes.  Surprisingly, that planning has been going well considering all that we have had to worry about in the meantime. And, we were able to order a new sling that should match his suit better for the wedding, which is cool but pretty much a non-issue after everything else. Pretty much nothing else matters other than I get to marry this man who makes me stupid happy in less than 10 days!

Then just other general “My job is not really a Community Services Specialist. My REAL job is to piss off the entire community one non-delivered service at a time.” I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again, there is nothing glamorous about working a Social Welfare job.

Other than that, I can’t complain. Even if it does take attention away from other things. Life is good. Love is good. God is Good.

Hope you’re good too!

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Getting Shattered Ain’t Humerus

You know how they tell you that the last month of wedding planning is both joyous and wonderful, but also stressful and filled with last minute disasters?

Well, my fiance decided to make the last minute disaster thing a reality for us… by shattering his humerus bone near the elbow and back of the arm in five places six weeks before the wedding…

Yeah….

Oh, and he shattered it on the first night of his bachelor party..

So there is that too.

Couldn’t just break it once like a normal person… Couldn’t just give 100% effort, had to give 150% instead…

Poor guy is in so much pain, and of course, they can’t get him in for the needed surgery to put in metal plates and screws for two weeks.

So in the middle of trying to plan every last detail in the last month, I am now missing work and trying to schedule surgery and driving to his parents’ house to see him every two days because he is able to be more mobile and supervised there than he is at home with me.

It’s been a rough week and a half, but surgery is Friday.

They anticipate he should be much more mobile and in less pain pretty immediately after the surgery.

If you are a praying person, or a positive vibe person, please send some our way for his surgery and healing!

And pray I don’t lose my mind balancing everything.

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The Lies of Social Service Jobs

I’ve worked in the Social Services field for about 5 years now. My first job was working with foster parents and my current job is working with a Community Action Agency. Both of these jobs required me to collect personal data and information on clients to be able to move their applications forward in the system, if you want to really simplify it. Every day I ask people about their families, their homes, their jobs, their lives.

And it still amazes me how often people lie.

Small lies, big lies, lies that don’t even matter in the scheme of things. It doesn’t matter how big or small, they all surprise me.

My first job- you are here trying to take on a foster child. You are trying to help- whether it be a family member or a complete stranger- but you still lie.

My current job- you are here trying to get help, trying to get a food voucher, a bus pass, prescription assistance, rental assistance, financial assistance of some sort. We don’t judge why you are behind on your rent. We don’t judge why you can’t afford a $6 prescription. We don’t judge that you don’t have an education, a job, or a home. My job is not to judge; my job is to help.

So that is what I do. I listen with empathy and compassion. I do whatever I can to help you and your family get through this situation, to give you a hand up to help you move forward. I try everything I can think of to help.

But when you lie, I judge. I feel played. I take it personally, (even though I shouldn’t), because I take your story personally. I take your hardship personally. I feel that stress and pain with you. So when you lie to me, when you trick me to get what you want out of me, I feel that too.

I can’t understand it.

Our situations do not separate us- because we are all a lost job, a bad accident, or some other hardship away from needing help of our own. That, I can understand.

But the lie, I can’t understand. The lies make me wonder why I bother sometimes. They make me feel more like a pawn than someone who cares and is trying to help.

The lies make these Social Welfare jobs hard to do.

So, here I vent. I release the anger of being lied to over and over again.

And I meet the next client with the same compassion I had for the last, hoping this time will be different.

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Tiny = Big Adventure

This past weekend was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had. My fiancee and I went to Indianapolis for a weekend away. The wedding is right around the corner, so it was nice to have a weekend away for just the two of us that had nothing to do with the wedding.

BUT. More Importantly. This weekend was a bucket list weekend. This weekend was TINY HOUSE WEEKEND.

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And, it was amazing!

What a cool experience! The tiny house was so cool. The loft was a little rough, but I figured it out. My fiancee, not so much! He decided to sleep on the floor instead.

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Some of the thoughts we had over the weekend:

  1. Compost toilets are odd.
  2. Tiny house showers are a lot like dorm showers, so that wasn’t too weird.
  3. It was a little weird to be sleeping and showering in a stranger’s driveway.
  4. I couldn’t do a tiny house for long, but it was super cool to get to try it out.

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Then, the second item on the bucket list was crossed off. This was one of those items that you don’t know is on your bucket list until you find out that it is something you can actually do. Rather than tell you about it, I’m just going to show you!!

This weekend was one of those weekends you know you will never forget. It was a weekend that just left me so, unbelievably happy. It was a good for the soul weekend. I’m so excited to get to share some of it with you!

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Wedding Showers Bring Pretty Flowers

The Wedding Festivities have begun! The beginning of many wedding-filled weekends started this past weekend with my first Bridal Shower. It was such a beautiful day put on by my future family. I am so blessed to be joining such a wonderful family.

I mean, just look at this place!!

My Fiance and my Future MIL

Also, not that it is what is about, but we made it out GOOD!! SO much stuff. More than half of it will be living in my in law’s basement for a little while. But we certainly will have fun playing with all of it!

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The Slap-in-the-Face That Is Social Media

page_5_social_mediaI’ve made a life-changing realization recently. This is a realization I’ve made several times before, but for some reason, needs to be rediscovered every so often. I thought I cannot possibly be the only person who needs this, so I figured I would share it with you all.

Are you ready?

Social Media representation of life is not real.

I’ll say it again, in a different way, just to help it sink in.

Don’t compare yourself or your life to people online, because no one puts all the bad stuff on Instagram. 

No one puts all the times they feel like they are failing on their inst-story. No one takes a picture of their college rejection letters proudly on their Facebook page. No one writes about all the times they feel inadequate, fat, dumb, or not enough on twitter.

Sure, some people do post these things every once in a blue moon, but if they do, it is attached to some feel good message about never giving up and, more often than not, it is followed up by some achievement they have made since this rejection. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t help remind us all that, really, we all feel like we are failing at times. We all feel like we aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, successful enough, or just enough in general sometimes.

When I look online, I see all the people who are getting promotions, buying houses, having babies, traveling the world, and a slew of other things that I wish I had. I get caught in a rut of feeling like my life isn’t enough. And the worst part, feeling this way doesn’t make my life better. Sure, some people run with this feeling and make great changes, but most of us don’t actually need to change. Because most of us aren’t there… YET. Don’t rush your life because you want something that isn’t there yet. Because you don’t hate you life the way it is, and by wishing for what you want to have in the future, you take for granted what you have now.

Sure, I want to own a home. But right now, I have a very nice two bedroom apartment that keeps me safe, dry, and whatever temperature I want to be. I am blessed.

Sure, I want to have a family. But right now, I have an amazing fiancee, who will someday be an amazing father. I am blessed.

Sure, I want to travel the world. But right now, I am saving money to marry my favorite person in the whole world and making plans for a future with him (that will definitely involve traveling eventually). I am blessed.

Sure, I want to make so much money that I don’t have to worry about things. But right now, I am growing as a professional. I am taking risks and establishing myself in my career. I make bupkis- but I help people in need. I am blessed.

There is time for all of those things I want to happen.

I have so much to be grateful for and happy about.

And all that happens when I compare my life to those around me is I lost sight of those things and forget how truly blessed I am.

I may not have everything I want, but I have enough.

I may not be everything I want to be, but, even if I never am, I am always enough.

And so are you. 

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