My Style: Preferences, Go-Tos, and More

I don't know style. I know my personal style - Diane Kruger quote

At the moment, I am wearing one of the comfiest, if the not THE comfiest shirt I have ever owned. I feel like I am wearing a blanket. I had no idea it would be this soft when I placed the online order. The saying on the front is what sold me, though: I already want to nap tomorrow. Yeah, I do already want to nap tomorrow.

Comfort over style is my fashion motto, plus budget friendly. I am totally okay with splurging on an outfit here or there, or even for quality’s sake. But, I won’t be dropping hundreds of dollars for everyday wear that has holes in it.

My sense of style is simple and basic. My go-to combination is a basic, plain (usually crew or V-neck) tee with a tank top and jeans. Of course, I must have the option to wear yoga pants. I also really enjoy wearing dresses. In fact, if I wasn’t so short, I would probably LIVE in maxi dresses. I prefer breathable, comfortable clothes that are still cute or dainty. I don’t like to feel constrained by what I am wearing.

My mentality is to look like I tried without actually trying. Most of the time, it works. For instance, the other day at work, I wore a bright, colorful kimono with a black silk blouse and black leggings. I got so many compliments about the kimono.

In that outfit, I was comfortable, I felt good, and I looked professional. That’s what it is all about for me.

I have tons of tank tops. I am one of those people who can’t comfortably go a day without a tank top on. The shirt I am wearing today is one of the few exceptions. Simply, I don’t like the feeling of having my tummy uncovered in any way. Yes, it is covered by a shirt, blouse, or dress. But, it still isn’t the same coverage as a tank top.

I love to wear neutral or solid colors. I often let my accessories or layers be the pop of color or design. So, I have a yellow purse, which had to grow on me. Or, I have colorful earrings. I have a plethora of colorful scarves, too. I LOVE scarves. They are a staple in the winter, especially when I want a pop of color and an added layer of warmth.

On that same note, I practically live in cardigans during the winter and fall. Although, truthfully, I’ll even wear a cardigan in the summer because of how cold my work office can be. I think nearly any business professional can attest to the year-round ice box that is working in an office. Plus, cardigans allow me to add a layer of warmth without completely throwing off the color scheme I am trying to go for.

If I sound like a stuck-up snob about color coordination and matching, it’s because I am. I am not ashamed of it either. I have seen enough cringe-worthy combinations to stand by my pickiness. I am a stickler for color coordination. I refuse to pair brown and black. I am extremely hesitant to pair navy and black. I won’t layer two different tones of a color unless I absolutely have no option.

With color, everything must flow and go together, down to the last detail. It all comes back to comfort. I feel comfortable when I am proud of my combinations. It does not mean I spend hours getting ready. Not in the slightest. I am usually ready within twenty minutes each day. I don’t wear makeup or style my hair much.

Typically, I don’t take long to get ready because once I know an outfit combination works, I stick with it. I am a tried and true kind of gal. I don’t need the extra gunk. I need what works. If a combination does not work, I make a mental note to change it up next time I try it. It may take me a bit to find the workable combination, but once I know it works, it’s hard for me to change it.

On that note, I’d have to say, my key needs in style haven’t ever really changed. How I go about fulfilling those needs has though. For instance, I used to wear shorts and a school t-shirt quite a bit. But now, I don’t really like shorts. I go for the jeans and a basic, plain V-neck or crew neck tee.

As I have gotten older, I have been more open to going outside my usual attire, thus the bold new kimono I mentioned earlier. I don’t know where my style preferences will take me through the years.

But, one thing is for certain, I will always choose comfort over fashion. Until next time, dear friends.

Blessings,

Renata

Blog Posts: To Finish the Unfinished


I have to be honest with you, guys. I have an accumulating list of blogs posts that I have half started and I have yet to finish. I don’t know if I will ever finish them either. I don’t even know if I still have access to them. As I sift through the 100 plus posts I have made, it can extremely hard to keep track.

I am sure it does not help that I label some posts along the lines of “I don’t know,” or “Who knows?” This document name runs along that strand of thought. I am notorious for clicking save on Word documents, as soon and as much as possible. Therefore, there are definitely times when I save a blog post under a vague description, leaving my future self to wonder, what the heck was I trying to say then and why?

All this to say, I feel this nagging feeling in the back of my head as I try to remember what I named a partially done blog post that I consider finishing for this week or the next. Alas, my short search landed me nowhere.

So, I tell you, this post is not what I had hoped it would be about. And in case you were wondering, I will probably complete an extensive search before I ultimately decide if I should completely start anew with the idea I have literally been toiling with for over a year.

Each time, I want to add something to one of my partial posts, I am nowhere near my computer. I would write it on a notepad, but these thoughts usually come when I am in the middle of work. I try my best not to deal with any personal matters while I am at work.

Regardless, there is a part of me that enjoys going back to an old unfinished post. I get excited because I like to see how far I have come in one way or another. Although, part of me also gets anxiety. I usually get anxiety because most of my unfinished posts tend to deal with a lot of difficult topics.

Difficult personal topics. Topics that I know I want to one day share. But, not quite yet.

I know this seems ironic (yet seemingly fitting) considering my opening line in last week’s post was “Sometimes I am hesitant to share my heart.” If you read on, you’d learn my faith in Jesus Christ is not one of the topics I leave for unfinished blog posts.

My writing journey throughout this blog and life, in general, have deeply challenged me to put myself out there more. Both have challenged me to not live in fear of what others may say. Or, that could be the several sermons my pastor has given lately about not living in fear talking.

Regardless, I am hoping this post will challenge me to finish those unfinished blog posts. To put myself out there. To use my God-given talent to help even just one person who shares in my struggles.

May we all challenge ourselves to finish the unfinished.

Blessings,

Renata

 

 

Sharing My Heart: I Am Not Ashamed

Romans 1-16

Sometimes, I am hesitant to share my heart.

Satan likes to tempt me to believe that talking about God on this platform is not necessary. But, I refuse to let his temptations get the best of me. So, today, I am going to share my heart, even if it seems mundane, repetitive, or unnecessary.

Today, I am going to tell some of you for the first time and remind others that I have a relationship with Jesus. I am not ashamed of the gospel. I am not ashamed of what I know in my heart to be true, regardless of what the world may profess.

It is because of this lack of shame I tell you, whenever I need to calm my mind and focus at work or at home, I listen to music. I listen to Christian music that proclaims the beautiful name of Jesus. Today was one of those days I desperately needed to wind down and focus. My mind and talkative nature seemed to be everywhere but present at my job.

So, I did what I know best. I listened to music while working. Thankfully, I work at an organization that allows this. In the midst of paperwork, I found myself intimately worshiping and praising God. I found myself with tears in my eyes at the goodness and graciousness of God.

I found myself overwhelmed and in awe of God’s majesty. I found myself magnified by His power, glory, and strength all because of one song, “Strong God” by Vertical Church Band.

Father to the fatherless
Defender of the weak
Freedom for the prisoner
We sing

The opening verse brought me to a near standstill and almost flooded my face with tears. I continue to grapple with the first five years of life as an orphan. I still look back at that time. I still try to process all that it means for me, nearly seventeen and a half years later.

I still need the constant reminder, God is my Father and I am His chosen child, adopted into His Kingdom. Then, I hear the words:

With us in the wilderness
Faithful to provide
Every breath and every step
We sing

As I have touched on previously, 2016 was one of the most difficult years of life I have had thus far in my short existence. That year, I found myself in a deep pit, in a valley of depression.

Six months into 2017, I no longer find myself in a pit, but I still catch myself looking back down into the pit. I am not too far away from it either. In fact, there are times I feel inclined to crawl back in for a reason unclear to me. I still find myself looking over my shoulder wondering if it is okay to move on, to take a tiny step forward.

The above words remind me it is God who brought me out of the pit. He allowed the bad to happen. He was with me in the wilderness of life. He was with me in the pit. He provided for me in ways my heart did not know I needed. He provided and ordained every breath and every step.

He is not the God of uncertainty. He is not the God of weakness. He is Emmanuel. He is the Messiah.

I tell you, friends. Today, this is the prayer of my heart:

Sing out, lift your voice and cry out
Awesome is our strong God, mighty is our God
Sing out, raise your hands and shout out
Awesome is our strong God, mighty is our God

I will continue to sing out, lift my voice, and cry out until the good Lord Jesus Christ calls me home. For, He is in my heart. I am not ashamed.

Blessings,

Renata

Decluttering From Emotional Attachment

Matthew 6-19-21

I am one of those people who can have a tough time decluttering. I do not have a problem getting rid of the item itself. The challenge lies in letting go of what it represents. The challenge is the emotional attachment it harbors.

For instance, as I am sitting here typing this blog post, I can see a mug that says, “I love you” on the front and “With all my heart on the back.” I do not think I will ever be able to get rid of it because it is the mug my husband used to propose to me. In fact, I’ve never had coffee in the mug. It simply sits as decoration.

I know some people who think I should use the mug because of the emotional attachment behind it. But, that same emotional attachment that will not let me rid of it is the same attachment that says do not use it.

That same scenario is the exact flux of emotion I feel for people, only it is stronger. For instance, I have had a handful of jobs. Leaving each job is hard, not because I will miss what I do or where I work, but because I will desperately miss the people. I will miss the connections I made.

The longer I stay at a job, the harder it is. If I have not said so or if you have not been here long enough to figure it out, I am a deeply emotionally rooted person. I haven’t always been that way. But, once I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart, I simply have not been the same.

So, yes, the emotional person I am cannot stand goodbyes. I cannot stand even slightly severing an emotional connection, even if it for something good such as growth or a better opportunity. I do not even want to know what I will be like if and when I leave my current job. I love the people there a great amount.

But, that is for another day and another time. Nevertheless, it does not change the challenge behind the message of necessary growth and change.

We need change and growth in our lives. But, we also need consistency. Sometimes, we can welcome the change. Other times, it catches us off guard. Regardless, I am not saying this change should be as drastic as changing jobs either. It could simply be trying a new menu item or getting that shirt or outfit that completely defies one’s norms.

I’ve slowly started to realize, though, welcomed change or not, does not affect the quality of a relationship. It does not change the memories, the bond, or the experiences one shares with another. With enough intention on both ends, it only becomes stronger. But, even if life gets ahead of us, the true meaningful relationships will stick.

How do I know this? Because I experienced it recently. I recently reconnected with someone I used to work with. It was for a school assignment, nonetheless. But, we reconnected for a few short moments. In those short moments, this person taught me that no matter where God leads me in life, she will always be there. She will not forget the time we shared as colleagues.

As I look at the mug that means so much to me, I tell you this, no object, place, or job will severe the most meaningful emotional bonds you carry with others. They may slowly grow to something deeper, or they may go their own ways, but they will not entirely fade away.

They will leave an imprint. They will matter.

My challenge to you is this: Go through the clutter in your belongings. Figure out what’s keeping you from getting rid of it. If it’s not emotional attachment or absolutely necessity, then consider donating it to someone else who may find a new meaning for it.

If it is something with an emotional attachment to it, examine the attachment behind it. Is it a necessary constant reminder? Now, I am not saying you have to get rid of everything, regardless of the emotional reason behind it.

Preserving people and memories is beautiful. I value and treasure it myself.

But, I do ask you to be wary of if that item, place, or job is keeping you in a cage of your past. Is it keeping you from experiencing the wonderful future God has for you? If so, do not be afraid to talk with someone or even have someone else who loves you to come alongside you and help declutter.

Don’t live in the cage of your past. Rather, look to the open window of a bright future. God’s carrying you through, dear friend.

Blessings,

Renata

My Video Game Life: Time to Unwind

The perfect time to relax.jpg

Growing up, I owned a Gameboy and a Nintendo DS. My family also had a Wii and Game Cube. Other than that, we didn’t have many video games. I remember spending hours having a blast playing Mario Kart and Wii bowling and tennis. If I wasn’t playing the Wii or Mario Kart, I was playing with my Nintendo DS. One could either find me playing with the “take care of my dog” game or playing Brain Age.

I absolutely LOVED playing Brain Age. I probably played it more than any other video game I had. I loved the challenge the game brought. Plus, I could spend hours completing Sudoku puzzles. Needless to say, I was a bit of a nerd. Heck, I am still a bit of a nerd. I am more than okay with this.

All this to say, though, after I moved out, I didn’t really have time for video games, nor did I take any with me to college. I haven’t lived at home for a few years now. It wasn’t until this past week that my husband and I finally invested in our first video game system since getting married.

We got a Nintendo Switch.

Let me tell you, we spent weeks scoping them out. After a couple weeks of actively looking and checking in stock options online, we decided we wouldn’t pursue getting a Nintendo Switch.

We decided, yeah, it’d be cool to have one, but we aren’t going to actively look anymore. We would simply walk by the gaming section of Wal-Mart. We thought we almost found one a few weeks ago at Game Stop, but alas, it was a false alarm.

So, when we actually saw one at our local Walmart, we couldn’t believe it. We even asked an associate to make sure it was legit. Sure enough, two systems came in that morning. We were so pumped.

Now, I will say, neither of us is really a gamer. We have more educational, strategy board games than anything else. So, we wanted to get something we could play if friends came over. Or, simply so the two of us could unwind and spend time together without the strenuous effort that comes with strategy games. In fact, we try to dedicate Sunday evenings to game nights. We thought the Nintendo Switch would fit our needs and be a quality product.

So, yes, I got a Nintendo Switch. I don’t think I will play it every day, but it sure does add to my excitement of coming home after a long day at work.  And I am not one who usually gets excited about video games! But, I think—in fact, I know—this will bring me back to the good old days of playing the Wii with the bonus of having my husband alongside me.

My call to you is: Find a way to unwind that you can enjoy. Find some place, game, show, you name it, that helps you take a breather from the busyness of life and just breathe. But, don’t let it take over your life. Remind yourself of its purpose—to help you unwind.

Blessings,

Renata

God’s Graciousness: Living with Hypoglycemia

Take care of your body quote.jpg

As most of you know, I love eating food. I consider eating food to be an experience, not just a habit. Nevertheless, my body does not always like to eat the foods I would like. I have a slight allergy to all nuts, which can make finding snacks or baking difficult. Most importantly, I must watch what I eat because I am hypoglycemic. I have been for nearly four years now and from what I understand, I will be for the rest of my life.

Medically speaking, hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. It is like diabetes, but it is not. Simply put, I have to eat food every two to four hours, in order to maintain my blood sugar levels. Otherwise, I feel rather shaky, nauseous, and cannot focus well, usually due to an on-setting headache.

One has to be medically diagnosed with hypoglycemia. I remember when I first started showing symptoms of hypoglycemia, I was trying to ween myself off of coffee for a little bit. I just thought I was experiencing caffeine headaches. The physician’s assistant I saw thought it could’ve been more than that when I listed off my symptoms.

So, he had me take a sugar-glucose test. In this test, you have to fast for 12 hours. Then, have a vial of blood taken every hour for four hours. In between the first and second hour, one must drink a nasty, sugar drink that helps the body react accordingly. The drink tastes like a Sierra Mist soda has been left out overnight on the counter.

Somehow, the drink affects blood sugar levels. If someone has hypoglycemia, their sugar levels will drop further with each hour and vial of blood. And, he or she will probably experience the common symptoms I listed above. For example, my sugar levels fell nearly thirty points between hours three and four.

Needless to say, I was not feeling well at all when I left the hospital.  In fact, I felt so bad that I did not feel comfortable driving home. I ended up leaving my car at the hospital, getting a ride home, and finding food at the nearest place I could. A week later, I found out, sure enough, I had hypoglycemia.

In order to combat this shakiness, I can eat sugary foods to quickly increase my glucose levels. But, that is only a quick fix. In order to evenly maintain my sugar levels for an extended period of time, I have to eat something with protein. Therefore, I probably eat more protein than the average person. Protein is the best, longest lasting solution for me.

Sometimes, I like knowing I have to eat protein. Other times, it can make life difficult. It’s extremely tiresome when I want to enjoy a basic salad without chicken. Or, when I want to simply have some form of bread. Other times, I struggle to find something simply because I can’t eat nuts, which are full of protein.

Even though finding food and simply wanting to eat the necessary foods my body needs can be challenging, I am grateful for my diagnoses. It forced me to truly care for my body. Before, I could go an entire morning, afternoon, or even day without food simply because I didn’t think I had time.  Truthfully, though, I didn’t make time for it. I didn’t make it a priority. Now, my body, quite literally, tells me when I need to stop and take a break through the symptoms.

It is up to me if I want to listen early on or if I want to wait to eat something twenty minutes after I absolutely needed food. The longer I wait, the greater the symptoms and the worse I feel. I consider the diagnoses a form of God’s graciousness in my life. He knew the only way I’d learn that lesson was by changing my physical body first. Then, my mind would eventually realize the value of self-care.

Self-care, yes. There it is again. It is crucial that we treat our bodies with kindness, whether that means cutting out certain foods, taking vitamins, exercising, or simply taking control of our nutritional intake. I won’t say I don’t still have bad days where I don’t listen to my body, like today. But, they are far and few between compared to nearly four years ago.

My call to you is this: Learn to value self-care on your own time and with your own motivation. Don’t wait for your body to coerce you to learn. I don’t know what that may look like for you. Nevertheless, I challenge you to figure it out.

So, there you have it. I am living proof of God’s undeserved grace, in more ways than one. Now, if you don’t mind, I am going to enjoy a juicy bacon cheeseburger.

Blessings,

Renata

Social Norms and Our Changing Needs

Philippians 2-4

If you were to try to find me in a room of people, I would probably be in the corner awkwardly looking around at all the chatty people. I’d be wondering what I could be doing to make better use my time, at the moment. I’d be anxious and nervous. I’d be reclusive and probably not want to participate.

If you haven’t guessed it, I am an introvert. But, my introverted ways go much deeper than social skills and people contact. In fact, many times I consider myself an outgoing introvert. As I’ve said before, I’ve had numerous people mistake me for an extrovert. Thus why my social skills go beyond a simple personality trait–as they should.

In my current course, I recently delved into a term called the social information processing theory. This theory identifies how the social environment and coworkers often shape one’s attitudes, specifically in an organization. Of all the theories I learned about this week, I strongly identified with this one.

I most identified with it though because the “theory challenges notions that people have stable, relatively unchanging internal needs.” The moment I read this, I instantly thought of every situation I’ve had like the one mentioned in the beginning.

It made me realize how our needs can change from one minute to the next, and not in a bad way either. Even though one may find me in the corner of a party at the start. There is a strong possibility that same person could later mistake me for a social butterfly.

I could go to a gathering, a Bible study, a dinner, you name it, only with the need to be home and by myself. Not even an hour later, I could feel a strong need to feel loved and valued by my family and friends. Or, I could experience a heavy wave of compassion flood over me nudging me to meet someone on a heart level.

I think society has created a stigma for our hierarchy of needs in life. I think society has completely tarnished values. It has created this idea that we all must morph into this same mold to not feel ostracized or looked down upon. It’s all about banning together, rather than standing out. Ultimately, though, banning together is an impossible goal when our needs are, in fact, constantly changing.

The above statement may sound harsh and be abrasive. I stand by it. Right and left, and every direction in between, we experience different social pressures about social interactions. One person says this while another group says that. We need to ignore it all.

No one can tell us how to feel at any given moment or time, especially without our consent or say. Who is to say what our needs are at any given moment or time? Who is to say we are wrong for going to a gathering not having a strong desire to participate, but rather soak it all in?

In this moment, I am unaware of what my internal needs are. But, I do know they weren’t the same as when I woke up this morning. I know I am not done with my day yet either.

My challenge to you is this: Be attentive to your needs and especially be attentive to the needs of others. Do not tell people what they need. Instead, ask. The answer may surprise you. Let it. You could be the person that helps someone feel more at ease at a gathering. You could be the reason why someone leaves an event with a lighter spirit and a heavy dose of gratitude.

As for your needs, find what is motivating you in whatever it is you are doing. Identify the need you possess. Identify the root motivation. Is that motivation something YOU are proud of? Find your why in life. Make it something you are proud of and stand by it wholeheartedly, even if it means standing out among a crowd of people shouting otherwise.

Find your why.

Blessings,

Renata