My Video Game Life: Time to Unwind

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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

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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

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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

A Jumbled Line of Poetry: Moments

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I am going to be honest with you, guys. My head has been anywhere and everywhere this week.

There have been moments when I am my best encourager. There have been moments when I am my worst critic.

There have been moments when I am extremely inspired to write a blog post. There have been moments when sitting down to write is the last thing I want to do.

There have been moments when I am motivated to do schoolwork. There have been moments when I consider, what if?

There have been moments when I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing with my life. There have been moments when I am simply, completely, utterly frazzled.

There have been moments when I tell myself, yes, I am going to work out and start physically caring for my body. There have been moments when Freddy’s Frozen Custard French fries sound and taste like heaven.

There have been moments when I am consumed by one thought and want to spend the next hour divulging its facets. There have been moments when grasping for a calm mind is all I strive for.

There have been moments when spending time on YouTube is exactly what I need. There have been moments when stepping away from my phone and all time-consuming technology is a cure-all.

There have been moments when I am devoted to improving and deepening my friendships with every fiber of my being. There have been moments when simply being alone is my tranquility.

There have been moments when I have wanted to have a bigger living space. There have been moments when I have wanted to rid of everything and start completely anew.

These are my moments. In seven days. These are my moments.

If I seem frazzled, good. It means I am human. I do not take my teeter-totter moments as catastrophe. Rather, I view them as tapestry.

These moments encourage me and give me hope for my future and the days to come. I don’t know where God, my heart, or my life may lead me. But, I do know I will always have moments.

I will constantly experience waves of confidence and doubt. I will always experience times of intention and reclusiveness. I will either be my broken record or my singing choir.

The day and my perspective may change.

In the middle of it all, one thing remains the same: The perfect, triune God. The artist of my tapestry.

I am trying to paint you a picture of my heart. I am trying to show you me. There’s nothing grand about it.

It’s simply a jumbled line of poetry.

Blessings,

Renata