My Blog: Stuck at a Crossroad

crossroads-ernest-hemingway-quote

Last week, I mentioned I would share my general thoughts about this blog. I think it is important to do so before I can post about anything else. I have had a lot of time to think about my blog in the last six months.

Some of the thoughts surprised me. Some of them did not.

Like the last break I had, there were many times I was extremely thankful I did not have to worry about my blog. My last two courses were crazy busy. I simply could not add another stress on my plate.

However, in that time frame, I managed to also lose my passion for writing. I honestly and genuinely did not want to write. In fact, there were several times I seriously considered throwing in the towel on my blog completely.

There were times I considered deleting it altogether without a single last thought—much like how I stopped using Facebook.

Although it sounds extreme, it truly felt like the right choice.

In the last six months, I have deeply grappled with my privacy. Many life experiences have taught me the importance of keeping things private—not that I’ve ever been the oversharing type. In fact, I mainly wanted to be more private than I already am!

You can read more about my blogging style and privacy here.

Regardless, I honestly wondered, “What’s the point of having this blog?” Let me tell you, blog statistics and analytics can really mess with one’s head.

It is so incredibly difficult to find a purpose in the “blogging world” among all the noise. You can find a blog about anything and everything, which begs the question, “Does anyone care about my words?”

I want this blog to help people. I truly do. I firmly believe God gave me the talent of writing to spread His Gospel message. All glory to Him!

And it is because of Him I’ve always stopped myself from getting rid of this blog. For, in my time away, I had some extremely sweet comments that showed me, people care. People can resonate with my words and experiences.

But, it also forced me to reevaluate the structure of my blog.

I am an extremely Type A, routinely based person. I am all about consistency. I don’t want to be like most bloggers out there who start their platform in a moment of excitement only to never post on it.

I do not want my blog to just sit. I want people to see I am invested in this passion project.

However, I do not want to feel pressure to post every week. I want the freedom to post when I feel like it and when God is leading me to.

For, I have had many things happen recently that are certainly worth discussing if I so choose. Writing is cathartic and therapeutic for me—as it is for most creatives. It helps me make sense of my life and this world we live in. I do not want to neglect my soul of that much-needed outlet.

Unfortunately, the Type A person in me constantly fights the need to post something, to deal with it now. Otherwise, I may never deal with it.

I guess what I am trying to say is I do not know what this blog will look like from this point on. I am still trying to figure that out. I do not know if I will continue to post weekly.

So, please be patient with me. I am at a crossroad and I have yet to find my solution.

I need to find a happy medium between writing to help heal my soul and not feeling stuck or coerced. For, we do not process life in a neat routine. Life is messy and so is how we deal with it.

I am going to leave this post with no pressure. I didn’t start this to create pressure on myself. I started it to help myself and others.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

 

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Hello Again! I Graduated

GRADUATION BLOG POST

Wow! Nearly six months later, I am back!

I honestly thought I’d write at least one post in between now and my last post—when I said I needed to prioritize my school over my blog.

Alas, though, here we are—nearly six months later.

Hi! How are you all? How’ve you been?

Thank you so much for being patient with me!

I’ll explain the various thoughts I had about my blog during my hiatus in a more detailed post later. But, for now, know I experienced a gamma of emotions. Some of them surprised me. Some of them did not.

A lot has happened since I last wrote on here. Some of it is excellent. Some of it is terrible. Some of it I will divulge. Some of it I will keep to myself.

The most exciting thing that has happened is…. I GRADUATED!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have my Bachelor of Arts in Communication! Nearly three and a half LONG years later, I am done.

And! I earned my degree without debt!

I say that with much gratefulness, for I know not everyone has that luxury. Thankfully, though, by God’s grace, I did not take out any loans. It meant getting my degree would take longer, for I was only financially able to take one class at a time.

However, it sure felt wonderful to be done—financially and academically—when I earned my degree.

To tell you the truth, I officially graduated Saturday, May 4, so I have been done for a couple months now. I thought I’d write a little update in June, but the words just would not come. I wasn’t going to sit down and force words. That’s not how I operate.

Thus, a six-month break ensued. Regardless, now I am ready to share my experience.

Every single class brought a familiar freak-out session within the first week, which went a little something like this, “I don’t know if I can do this! I am so overwhelmed! There’s no way I can do this! This class will definitely be the class I get a B in.”

Lo and behold, though, I survived. My hard work and perseverance paid off.

Nevertheless, most of my college experience did not go how I thought it would. From start to finish, it took me seven years to obtain my associate’s and bachelor’s degrees.

In the beginning, I was convinced I would be the person who graduated in four years and accepted having debt until I was in my forties.

Truth be told, my time in junior college was the only part that went “according to my plan.” I had an activities scholarship that went toward my books and tuition. I had fun, I met new friends, I did well, I graduated.

Then, the rest of my college journey was quite an adventure.

I took a year off because I could not decide which school to attend. I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars when I was unsure, so I took a break.

And for those of you who’ve taken a break, no matter how studious you may be, everyone always seems to believe that by taking a break, you’ll never go back again because, well, life gets ahead of you and has a way of going differently than expected.

Granted, I don’t think taking a break is for everyone. But, I knew I could do it. I had full confidence in my skills. That isn’t to say getting back into the swing of things was easy. It was rather difficult.

After my year off, I knew I wanted to pick a fully online program, which, like taking a break, is not for everyone. The structure met my needs at the time.

Plus, I am an extremely diligent person. The rigor and commitment of an online program did not faze me. My only requirement in a program was I refused to take more math.

I ended up selecting a university in my state that only offered 8-week courses.

Let me tell you, they are not for the weary and lackluster folk. Eight-week courses are kind of insane. I frequently said, “It’s like summer school on steroids.” My aforementioned freak-out sessions were short-lived because I didn’t have time to prolong them. I had to get to work.

My course loads were fairly heavy, especially as I got further into my degree program, regardless of the condensed format.

There were some courses, professors, and assignments that caused me great angst. There were even times I felt like some of my courses were just a tool for the university to get more money out of me. Some classes felt utterly useless, which I think many students experience, unfortunately.

Honestly, I experienced so much distress during my program that there were times I genuinely wanted to give up. I wanted to quit…and I love school and learning! Through the years, I also wondered if I would ever reach the end.

I always felt like I was juggling too many priorities between my marriage, my full-time job, mine, and my husband’s debilitating health, my family, my friends, and my dog. I admire students who raise kids on top of that, which many of my classmates did!

At the time, it felt like complete chaos. However, it makes me appreciate the degree even more.

In fact, I am not typically one to frame accolades, but I fully intend to frame my bachelor’s, which I should receive in the mail any day now, as I did not walk at graduation. For, it is more than a piece of paper. It is a symbol of a long, arduous journey.

Most importantly, my educational journey makes me appreciate my husband even more, who selflessly stepped up and stepped in to care and provide for us along the way.

WE did it. I may have been the one to complete the assignment coursework for the degree. But I could not have graduated without my husband’s support.

Spouses and families deserve equal, if not more, credit for the accomplishment. It truly takes a team to get a person through school. It makes me even more grateful and appreciative of others who acknowledge all the people involved.

Honestly, though, I could not have graduated without my entire support system of individuals who cheered me on, cared for me, listened to my complaints, and loved me along the way.

Needless to say, obtaining my degree was quite the journey. It had many twists, turns, and surprises along the way.

However, I am certain it happened just as God ordained it to. I look forward to seeing how my journey toward a master’s degree unfolds, though it will be some time before I tackle that endeavor.

Until then, I am going to enjoy not having a looming deadline. I am going to enjoy going to bed early. I am going to enjoy reading books for pleasure. I am going to enjoy deepening relationships, old and new.

I am going to enjoy life and whatever it may bring. Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

My Blog: Examining My Priorities

anything-everything-david-allen-quote

As I sit here to write this blog post, my brain feels like mush. I just finished my load of homework for the day. As much as I love what I am reading, my brain is tired from reading and processing information. And my eyes are tired from staring at a computer screen practically all day.

It is days like this I wish I read faster. But, alas, reading hundreds of thousands of pages in my life thus far has taught me, I am not a fast reader. I am especially not fast when I must retain the information. I am a little bit quicker if I am reading for pleasure, but academically speaking, I am not.

Currently, I am taking the course theories of personality, which I love! I took it to possibly get an idea of the workload if I obtain a master’s degree in counseling. You can read more about my thoughts with that here.

When I signed up for the course, I knew there would be a lot of reading. Gobs of reading is practically inevitable in psychology. I knew there would be a lot of work.

I kept this in mind when deciding to take a break from my blog during Christmas time, too.

I thought I’d be refreshed, recharged, and okay when I came back. I thought I could handle the load and work full-time and maintain a marriage and operate a blog.

I honestly thought I could.

Yet, I am only two weeks into this course, and it is evident, I might be wearing myself too thin. I might be asking too much of myself.

For the second week in a row, I am scrambling to get my blog done. Granted, this week isn’t as bad as the last. Nevertheless, the pressure is still there.

I am going to be honest with you, guys, when it comes to my blog versus my school, I would much rather put my time and energy into school, especially in a course that genuinely excites me!

I really want to put my best foot forward in my class and learn as much as I can. Sometimes that means changing my priorities.

I’d rather be honest with you than try to put out inauthentic content.

So, I guess I am writing this to tell you, I don’t know what my blog will look like for the next few months.

My last two courses will require quite a bit of mental effort, time, and energy. Until I graduate in May, I think I will slightly feel like I am always scrambling from one place to another.

It breaks my heart to admit that because I love my blog, I do. I wholeheartedly do. However, I know how important self-care is.

Therefore, for the next few months, my blog very well may consist of little blurbs simply sharing how my week has gone. Perhaps, I will have deeper insights that just overflow from within. I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is you deserve to know where I am coming from. And the deeper content I want to write deserves to be written when I am not mentally exhausted.

So, maybe I do need a more extended break. Or, maybe I need to not be so hard on myself and expect something each week. Maybe, I just need to write when I have the time or the spurt of inspiration.

After all, I started this blog because I enjoy writing—not to put pressure on myself.

Well, there you have it.

This blog may not operate as smoothly and seamlessly as it usually does. I may have a post each week. I may not. I will eventually learn that is okay!

The possible inconsistency does not change my worth or value or the impact of this platform.

My only call to you is this: Examine your own life. Ask yourself if you are wearing yourself too thin. Are there any areas of your life that aren’t getting the full attention and detail they deserve? If so, why? Perhaps, you need to somewhat step back for a little bit like me.

Most importantly, do not be ashamed of self-care, in whatever form it may come.

Thank you for reading and thank you for understanding. I will see you when I see you.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

Hello Again! Highlights from My Break

vacation-robert-orben-quote

And just like that…five weeks have come and gone. Just like that, I am back in school yet again. My current course will be challenging, but in a good way, I hope!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.

I am going to be honest with you, at first, I did not want to take a break from my blog, as much as I knew I needed it. However, as the weeks went by, I am so glad I did.

Nonetheless, it took getting the stomach flu to genuinely be thankful for it. You read that right.

I spent my first week and a half of break getting, then recovering from the stomach flu. It was absolutely awful. I do not wish it on anyone. It took a solid ten days to truly feel like myself again.

I think I needed the illness to gain some perspective, though. It was my not so gentle reminder that rest is good and necessary in life. From that point on, I was grateful I did not have to stress out about my blog.

Quite frankly, though, the stomach flu was not my only bout of difficulty in the last five weeks. To be honest, I had some terribly low points in the last few weeks. Most of my difficulties were personal, but they were there, nonetheless.

To put it simply, I need to work through some things I have tried to ignore for years. The time has come to deal with them. And part of dealing with them means an overflowing supply of tears.

Regardless, the tough moments do not make me lose sight of the incredibly joyful moments I had as well.

For instance, I celebrated 19 years in America on December 21. My husband and I went on a date to celebrate, which was a lot of fun! I also got to see some dear friends multiple times! In fact, I connected with quite a few people.

Although, I always wish we could see more people in such a small, hectic window of time.

Surprisingly, I even watched a plethora of movies. I don’t typically watch many films, but this break I did. It was nice to be able to sit down and relax. I like that movies can transport people into a different world for a brief moment.

Most importantly, I relaxed a lot. I relaxed way more than I would’ve liked, but probably just the right amount my husband wanted me to. He wanted to ensure I relaxed more than normal because my school load is fairly intense until I graduate.

Speaking of graduation, that reminds me of another exciting part of this break. I turned in my graduation application! I will officially graduate May 4! Yeah!

So, there you have it. There are just a few tidbits of my break. Overall, it did not go quite as I hoped it would, but I think that is a good thing. The difficult moments were extremely, extremely difficult. Yet, the sweet moments were extremely, extremely sweet.

Again, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. I’d love to hear how your time was these last few weeks! I look forward to continuing this blogging journey with you all once more.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

 

For the First Time: Taking a Break

take-a-break-quote-ruth-wilson

I am nearly done with the last week of my current course, which means Christmas break is just around the corner. I am beyond excited about that!

Every time Christmas break rolls around, I desperately need it. This year is no different.

This Christmas break will be extra special because it will be the LAST one of my undergraduate degree. After Christmas break, only 16 weeks stand in between me and graduation. With my degree plan, this means two eight-week courses back-to-back.

I have decided I am not taking a break between my last two courses. I usually take a break between courses to destress. But, if I take a break, tuition will go up for my last course. I will do all I can to avoid that.

At my university, a course always ends on a Saturday and the next one begins the following Monday. The only prolonged break is at Christmas.

Unfortunately, this means I will only have a single day of no school until graduation. Nevertheless, I think it is worth it, especially since I will be so close to graduating.

So, with that in mind, my last day of classes should be May 4, 2019. Wow!

I plan on turning in my graduation application during Christmas break. My graduation date has been delayed numerous times. It is hard to believe I have one officially set.

Seriously, I am extremely excited!

It will be so weird to have free time again. I am sure I will find ways to fill it up, though.

But, until then, I will do all I can to enjoy my Christmas break. For me, I think that means, for the first time ever, I am going to take a break from my blog.

I can’t believe I am typing that.

I have yet to miss a week since I began over three and a half years ago.

However, I think it is best for me to just step away for a little bit. I think I need a small breather. I like the idea of not having to worry about a single deadline or scheduled task outside of my job for a solid five weeks.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I will see you next year once I am in class again. Thank you for joining me on this blogging journey. I hope you all have a wonderful next few weeks.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

Just Because: Details About My Wedding

Genesis 2-24

I wanted to share something with you all that I never have. I want to tell you about my wedding. There is no special reason doing so now versus another time. I simply want to.

My husband and I dated for a year and a half before getting engaged. We had a short engagement.

Leading up to the wedding was a little stressful, but it wasn’t too bad. I would not consider myself a bridezilla. Thankfully, nor would my husband.

I knew no matter what happened that day, I would still be married.

Most importantly, we wanted our union and ceremony to reflect God’s love for the church. Ultimately, we wanted Him to be the center of the ceremony—not us.

We got married in August. I won’t share how long we’ve been married. But I will say we got married in August. We were the last of seven weddings at our church that summer.

My husband and I got married a little over a week before I started school. We got back from our honeymoon on a Saturday. I started school the following Monday.

Our wedding colors were teal and purple. We wore those colors during a photography session and really liked the combination. Plus, blue and purple are our favorite colors.

We did not have flowers at our wedding. We almost did but then decided not to.

I wasn’t a big flowers fan back then. Granted, I think this was because I did not have a favorite flower. However, I do now!

My favorite flower is the daisy, specifically the white. I love that it is simple and dainty. It makes me so happy. Any time I search for pictures of flowers, I always gravitate toward white daisies. So, I took it as a sign that I really like them!

Maybe if I do a wedding anniversary photography session, I can have some daisies with me. That will give me the feeling of flowers at my wedding without any undue stress.

We did not have a reception either. I know, we were crazy.

I don’t think I have ever met someone who didn’t have a reception of some kind—even if he or she had a destination wedding! And no, we didn’t have a destination wedding.

We just simply didn’t want a reception.

My husband has had to work at a bunch of weddings before, so he knows just how exhausting the event can be. He didn’t want to have that kind of stress. Plus, we are both introverts. We didn’t want to be around people that long and possibly not eat.

We still made it a point to say hello to everyone before we left. Our wedding began promptly at 11am. We were out of the church by noon and on a flight for our honeymoon by 2pm.

Again, I know. We were crazy. Yet, we don’t regret the decision.

I walked down the aisle to the song “A Question and an Answer” by Tim Jones, which we heard from one of our favorite shows, Chuck. It is a soft, sweet melody.

Take a listen!

Surprisingly, I didn’t cry when I walked down the aisle either. I honestly thought I would, especially since I cry practically every time I hear “A Question and an Answer.”

Instead, I grinned from ear-to-ear as I walked down the aisle. Someone who attended the wedding said I was the most radiant bride she’d ever seen.

Our recessional music was the melody of the song “Far Away” by Junip, which we heard from the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which is another favorite. The band, especially the drummer, had a blast with the song.

You can listen to that, too!

Now, for my dress. Oh, how I loved my wedding dress.

Funnily enough, when I went to look, I said, “A little lace would be fine, but I don’t think I want all lace.” About six dresses in at a local boutique, I tried on a dress that I was convinced was the dress.

People aren’t kidding. You know when you’ve found the one.

I still had an appointment at another bridal shop that afternoon, so I decided to wait it out. I didn’t find anything that was quite like me. So, I got the dress from the previous boutique.

Lo and behold, my wedding dress was the last thing I thought it’d be—all lace. The best part was the dress was under $100!

I seriously keep trying to find another reason to wear it because I love it that much. Maybe I will have the wedding anniversary photography session I mentioned earlier. I do not know. However, I do know I felt incredibly beautiful that day.

Unfortunately, I won’t be showing you all any pictures of the day, due to privacy reasons. Nonetheless, I did want to share some details. Perhaps, I just wanted to reminisce on that day, too.

In some ways, I feel like it was yesterday. In others, I feel like it was over 25 years ago.

A lot has happened since I’ve gotten married. Some good and some bad. But a couple things remain: The love God has for me (even if I don’t always believe it) and the love my husband and I have for each other.

My call to you is this: If you are getting married, try your best to enjoy the entire experience—from engagement to “I do.”

Part of enjoying it means planning the wedding you want. So, if you don’t want to have a reception, then don’t! If you want to get married a thousand plus miles away with a few friends beside you, do it!

It is your wedding. Make it something you and your spouse will always remember and look back on fondly.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).

A Gentle Reminder: The Holiday Season

difficult-times-robert-kennedy-quote

It’s the third Thursday of November, which means today is Thanksgiving in America. For some, it is a joyous time of year. For others, it is difficult. Both parties experience said feelings for a multitude of reasons.

Unfortunately, I am among the latter. The holiday season is difficult for me. I am not comfortable divulging why. Nevertheless, the Lord is laying it on my heart to share that this season is difficult for me, which scares me.

I live in fear wondering who might read that and wonder why.

But, the truth of the matter is, no matter what anyone might believe, the holidays are, in fact, difficult for me. They bring me great anxiety and stress. The holidays are difficult for me mentally and emotionally.

As I get older, I realize more and more that I cannot change the root of my anxiety and stress in this area. All I can do is change how I react to it. I can find small ways to set boundaries if necessary.

This realization allows me to enter said situations with some peace. And it comforts me to know I am doing what I can. For, I do not generally have much sympathy for those who wallow in their difficulty without doing a little something to change how they react to the situation.

I can also use my experiences to remind people that not everyone thinks “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Granted, some may think that is cynical and grinch-like of me. But, the truth of the matter is, everyone has their battles.

People simply ought to be okay with whatever decision they make in the end. Therefore, if some decide to not attend a gathering because it is difficult, they need to be okay with that. If some decide to attend a gathering, despite the possible difficulty, they need to be okay with that, too.

I guess I am writing all this to say:

Holidays can be tough for people for a multitude of reasons.

Even though they can be tough, I strongly encourage people to analyze what their options are amid it all.

What little and/or big decisions can you make to reduce the sadness, stress, or anxiety that can come with the season?

Do not be ashamed, complain, or tear yourself down over whatever decision you make in the end. For, even in the most stressful of times, one always has at least one choice to make—even if its something as small as abiding by a time limit.

And if this post sounds harsh in any way, please forgive me.

I write this to be stern to myself and others. I think there are far too many times we let outward situations affect our inward well-being. Well, I can assure you, we have the power to choose how we react. May we not lose sight of our innate ability to overcome difficulty—one small decision at a time.

Blessings,

Renata

Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.

I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at coffee.soothes.the.soul@gmail.com.

I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).