Tackling My Personality: Bluntness

Proverbs 29-20

I am going to be honest with you, guys. This week has been challenging. A lot of unexpected things have come up. They have impacted my ability to be myself and to be motivated. Also, I am that person who tends to have their mood impacted by their life events. As a result, I’ve been rather moody and cranky lately.

In fact, there have been several days at my job recently where I have had to hold my tongue quite a bit. I wasn’t going to blow a gasket or anything. But, I knew, in my heart, that what I wanted to say wasn’t glorifying to God. Therefore, I kept my mouth shut.

But, this issue isn’t just a rough week kind of issue.

Quite frankly, I am an extremely blunt person. I tell it how it is. Sometimes, it’s nice. Other times, it is not so nice. I am one of those people who others absolutely adore, or who others can’t stand.  There really is no gray area for me.

It depends on the day or circumstance on whether or not I view it as a blessing or a curse. However, most of the time, I view it as a blessing. From my perspective, this character trait stems from one of my treasured and enduring qualities—honesty. I am an honest person, even on the days I may not want to be. I am wired to be that way.

Yet, this has its setbacks. For instance, nearly every single person who has gotten to know me has said they were intimidated by me when they first met me. In fact, some have harped and continue to harp on it, which can hurt to hear time and time again.

My intimidating first impression is a broken record in my relationships with others. I don’t try to be intimidating. I just am, which can be quite the tough pill to swallow.

Nothing is as disheartening as knowing you tend to give off a bad first impression without intending to.

And I think part of this stems from my blunt behavior. Like I said, I tell it how it is. Or, perhaps, people think the worst of me when they hear I was born in Russia. After all, my homeland doesn’t have a positive connotation in most areas of the world, especially America. I don’t know, honestly.

Regardless, I would rather be disliked for who I am rather than be loved for being fake. I think life is too short not to be blunt. Beating around the bush takes too much time and effort. I’d rather lay it all out on the line and not leave people guessing.

Granted, in my years, I have learned there is a fine line between being blunt and being rude. It changes for every person and circumstance. I would be lying if didn’t say my bluntness has gotten me in trouble before. I’ve bruised some people. I won’t deny that.

Truthfully, I don’t know why I am writing this. If anything, I am writing this to acknowledge I know I am blunt. Believe me, I do. I know I have hurt people. Believe me, I do. I also know this world needs blunt people just as it needs those who are more careful with their words.

And to say, I am sorry. I am sorry for not being more careful with my words. Just know, I am mindful of my bluntness. It seems, with each passing day, I am more mindful of it than the last. Perhaps, it is God’s grace in my life. Or, perhaps, it is my heart on my sleeve guiding me.

If you can identify with me, you are not alone. Like I said, it can be a blessing and a curse. Most recently, it has been a curse. So, I leave you with a heavy heart longing to understand a part of me I once valued. Right now, I find myself believing in the broken record of first impressions all the more.

Regardless, my call to you is this, learn to speak the truth with love and wisdom. Just because one wants to say something doesn’t mean he or she ought. May we learn to be slower with our words and quicker with our listening ears.

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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My Adoption: A Show Brought Healing

Psalm 27-10

My husband and I recently finished watching a season of a show that I didn’t think I’d ever watch. We just finished watching Season 17 of The Bachelor. In this season, the bachelor, Sean Lowe, ultimately picks Catherine Giudici.

Before I continue, I will say, I am not a huge fan of the television show. It is not a tradition of mine to watch this.  In fact, I don’t quite understand why it is America’s guilty pleasure. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the show here and there. But, never a full season from start to finish.

Honestly, more than anything the show makes me sad and uncomfortable. There’s just something about one man or woman pursuing 25 (or more, depending on the season) others for love that seems a bit overwhelming and makes me skeptical.

Nevertheless, I did have my reasons for specifically watching season 17 of The Bachelor. I chose to watch that season because Sean Lowe is a professing, devout Christian. So, even though, I knew who he picked, I wanted to see if that particular season was different than all the others. I wanted to see how a Christian’s man journey to find love was different—if at all.

After watching the season, I firmly believe God led me to watch that season for a reason. Unbeknownst to me, I found encouragement and healing by watching it. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about how God can use anything—even a worldly, reality television show—to bring healing and restoration.

One of the contestants on the show, AshLee, was adopted. At the time of filming, she was 32. She was eliminated after the fantasy suite week. Needless to say, she made it far in the competition. Therefore, audiences got to watch her grow and share more of her life story along the way.

For those of you who may not know, I, too, was adopted. I was intrigued to see how an adopted person would handle the emotional rollercoaster journey that is The Bachelor. Before starting the season, I did not know an adopted person was one of the contenders vying for Sean’s heart. Simply put, I wasn’t prepared for what her story would do for me.

Throughout the season, she kept coming back to what it was like to be abandoned by her parents. She often struggled with letting go of control. She struggled with trusting someone fully and completely. She struggled to tear down her walls and look past her years of rejection. She struggled to fully let someone in.

Yet, she did not once struggle to love.

For, even though it may have scared the living daylights out of her to open her heart to the possibility of loving Sean, when she made the decision to take the risk, to take the plunge—AshLee gave it her all.

Guys, that floored me. That moved me in a way I never thought possible.

For the longest time, I thought I was alone in my feelings of abandonment, trust issues, difficulty to lose control, years of rejection, and building up walls. And even though I know my fair share of adopted people, I have yet to find anyone I could confide in with all those thoughts, feelings, and fears.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my husband. But, it’s a different story to find someone who knows exactly where you are coming from and who can understand your thoughts because this person, too, has gone through what you’ve gone through.

I guess, in a way, AshLee was that person for me. She was a source of affirmation. Even though I am in my 20s, AshLee’s age did not make a difference to me. In fact, if anything, it only encouraged me more. For, it showed me, even in my 30s, this will be a struggle and battle of mine.

Granted, I watched the show as a married woman. And at this time AshLee was single. Nevertheless, I did discover she is married now! Praise God! Regardless, I think the shared thoughts and feelings still make a difference.

For, I think with or without a husband, I will struggle with my feelings of abandonment, trust issues, difficulty to lose control, years of rejection, and building up walls. I think it is just a cross that adopted people carry until God calls them home.

But, I don’t think that goes without a purpose. As I mentioned, AshLee did not once struggle to love Sean. In fact, she professed her love more than anyone else. She poured her heart out to him. She immersed herself in loving him.

Watching that helped me better understand why I love the way I do. As an adopted person, I’ve realized, like AshLee, even though it may take time to let someone in, when I do, I love hard and I love deep. It’s the very reason why my heart aches for depth in relationships. I strive to build roots and remain loyal. I strive to go below the surface, even if it further increases the possibility of getting hurt.

I think when adopted people give love, we give it with all we’ve got because we know what it is like to not receive it. We know what it is like to feel abandoned by it. And because we know what that is like, we wholeheartedly and passionately strive to make sure no one else ever has to experience it.

Yet, all of that goes away when we are rejected.

When Sean sent AshLee home, she looked visibly angry. Nevertheless, during the Women Tell All portion of the season, she told the host, Chris Harrison, that she was not angry. He proceeds to say, regardless, she definitely came off that way, which she understood. Mainly, she did not know what to say to Sean, which is why she reacted the way she did.

Whether or not she was angry, she did not say a word to Sean before leaving. And the two remaining girls commented that she did not even say goodbye to them either.

To the regular viewer, AshLee may have come off cold and ruthless. But, to me, as a fellow adopted person, I understood completely. Truthfully, I probably would have done the same thing if I was in her shoes.

In my eyes, what came across to viewers as anger was a defense mechanism. For, in those moments of perceived anger, I could see it in her eyes, she was building up her wall again—just like that.

It can take years to tear down the wall but mere milliseconds to put it back up. Except, each time we have to rebuild it, the wall is stronger, making it that much harder to tear down again.

Therefore, from my perspective, I don’t think AshLee was angry that she was sent home. I think, if anything, she was upset that she let Sean in. For, she said it hurts because she let him in. Then, she proceeds to hide her face away from the camera to cry. Quite frankly, once she was sent home, it seemed as if she was completely over the production and show.

I don’t blame her.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what season 17 of The Bachelor taught me. Yes, it was wonderful to see Sean and Catherine fall in love. This past January, they celebrated their fourth anniversary and Catherine is pregnant with their second child.

I think their relationship has lasted and will last because God is at the center. So, yes, a devout, Christian man’s journey to find love on a reality television show can be different than all the others—even when the production is the same—because God is and always was at the center of the journey.

But, in the end, AshLee Frazier’s (now Williams) journey meant the most to me. It made a lasting impact on my life. For, even though she did not receive the final rose, in God’s perfect plan and timing, it served a purpose. It helped me heal. It encouraged me on a level deeper than that of finding love. More importantly, it reminded me I am not alone in my struggles as an adopted person.

Thank you, AshLee. Thank you. Praise be to God!

In case my words leave you unsure of where to go from here, my call to you is this. If you know an adopted person, please encourage them to read this. Encourage them to know they are not alone in the emotional rollercoaster that is adoption.

And if you hear an adopted person express the above thoughts, listen to them and don’t shut them down. Instead, take what they say to heart. I urge you to love them well through the difficult journey. For, they probably love you more than you will ever know, and more than words could ever express.

More importantly, may they be reminded that, regardless of all the issues and struggles that can come with being adopted, God has a plan and purpose for it. As Deuteronomy 31:8 states, “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” And as the above verse Psalm 27:10 states, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.”

God did not promise a pain-free life. But, He did promise to use all circumstances for our good and His glory. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, do not be dismayed. No, God’s everlasting promise does not make the pain caused by fallible humans go away completely. But, it brings sweet reassurance and wonderful peace.

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).

Life as a Writer: My Well Ran Dry

robert-russo-writer-wells-quote

Well, this is a first for me. In my pursuit to come up with a blog post for this week, I have run dry.

I have no sudden urge or desire to write about something. I do have a post in mind. But, each time I sit down and try to write it, it just doesn’t feel authentic. It does not feel genuine. My thoughts don’t flow. Instead, I am left staring at a screen seeking any kind of inspiration.

So, I leave that post unfinished for another day and another time. Maybe you’ll see it one day, maybe you won’t. I am slowly trying to teach myself that not everything I want to write has to make it on my blog. Nor, do I have to force a post just to have a post.

It is not fair to me or you. So, that is where you find me.

Also, I am experiencing that nagging feeling again that I mentioned to you last week. That nagging feeling that tells me you must write about this to make sense of it. Except that nagging feeling is telling me, “Renata, tell them your well has run dry. Tell them you need this week to recharge and rejuvenate. Tell them you’d rather be honest about your difficulty than force something that is ingenuine.”

I could force a post. But, I won’t, no matter how excited I may be to eventually write about it. If I don’t have the desire or call from God to write about a topic at that moment, I won’t. I firmly believe my blog platform ought to bring glory to God.

Part of that means listening to Him and His call. Part of that means taking a week to just say, “I need rest.”

I’ve consistently hesitated to post anything that says that kind of thing because of my strong desire to be present, to be consistent. It’s as if I think I have to have a grand declaration each post. That I have to have something beautifully crafted, executed, and packaged for publication. Truthfully, though, I don’t.

In fact, at the end of the day, I don’t have to post something. I could just leave my blog as it is and not nourish it. I could let it be whatever it is meant to be. However, I am not at the point in my life.

Yet, I am at a point where I need to just take a week to breathe.

Because truth be told, sometimes even the most creative people don’t have an idea. And it is not because we don’t want to or intend to make that happen. Creativity is not forced. It is born. Therefore, an accumulating list of ideas does not always mean a never-ending flow. It is a reference point, not an absolute.

I leave my list of ideas behind this week, yet again. I tell you they will come to fruition in God’s perfect timing and plan.  Until then, rest. Take a deep breath and let your well overflow.

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 Education: Tackling the Capstone

forgotten-education-albert-einstein-quote

I am experiencing a funny feeling.

Currently, I am enrolled in the capstone course for my major. This is the first class I haven’t had to do endless gobs of reading. Instead, it’s just reflection. I am writing four or five reflection pieces along with one huge research paper.

That’s weird to me. It seems too simple to me. The simplicity makes me want to believe it will be easier than my other courses. Yet, on the other hand, I am somewhat freaking out. I mean, I have heard about these types of courses.

Plus, at my school, they constantly engrain it in you to keep everything you’ve done in the major for this specific course. Yeah, that’s a little daunting. At this rate, I’d rather have gobs of reading and a paper than this easier flow.

I honestly don’t know why I am sharing this. Maybe it’s because that is what is at the forefront of my mind. Or maybe it is because I know God will teach me something in this process.

This week is another prime example of having plenty of other topics I could write about. But, what is at the forefront of my mind prevails instead. I guess that’s why I keep a list of ideas. So, unlike days like to today, when I don’t have an idea nagging in my head, I can look to the list for inspiration.

That’s one thing I have realized about this blog platform. Often times, I think I know what I am going to write about. But, then something happens. A nagging feeling occurs.

It’s an interesting part of the creative process. Sometimes, there’s this feeling deep within that is so apparent that it practically creates a headache. It protrudes into your life loudly proclaiming, “It’s time. The time is now. Let’s deal with this. Let’s face this.”

In my time as a writer, I know when it is time to face an issue when I experience the described feeling above. This feeling can be so strong that nothing else has one’s focus until it’s hashed out. So, yes, right now, I have this nagging feeling.

I have this nagging feeling about my current course. I think part of me is fearful of this new structure and format. I am a sucker for routine. So, when I have gone through the same process for 10 courses, and then it suddenly changes, I am a bit taken aback by it.

Then, there’s the other part of me that is utterly fearful that I will draw a blank on everything I’ve learned. I’ve thought, “What if I’ve just gone through the motions these past 10 courses, and I don’t remember a single thing?” Honestly, in my eyes, these capstone courses are a true testament to that possibility.

I don’t like that sinking feeling when you realize what feat lies ahead.  What lies ahead could be just as difficult as I am convincing myself it will be. Or, it will be nothing like I’ve thought.

Funnily enough, at the beginning of each course, we have to introduce ourselves. Part of introducing ourselves means listing our expectations of the course. It’s always interesting to look back and see what happened to those expectations.

Granted, this is only the first week of the course. As I am sure I’ve mentioned before, I am that student who has a freak-out session the first week of each course, then is completely fine after. In fact, I excel greatly.

But, excelling greatly doesn’t always mean one has learned, right? That brings me to my next thought. As I get closer to finishing this degree, I am reminded most people either hardly ever use what they studied, or they practically completely forget it.

In my intentional pursuit to find a basic, yet beneficial degree path, I may have found myself forgetting what I’ve learned, and I haven’t even graduated yet!

I mean, I am studying communication. I purposely chose this degree because I knew it would help me no matter my career choice. Everyone communicates. Even if they don’t do it well, they are communicating. Bad communication is still communication.

And there you have it…my nagging feeling is gone.

Like I said, the creative process is interesting. The nagging feeling only lasts for so long and then after writing one thought, it is gone. Just like that. It’s almost like the body’s way of saying, “You’ve done it. You’ve figured it.”

But, the hardest part of it all is this nagging feeling can end abruptly. It can end right in the middle of a thought. Yet, it still somewhat makes sense. But, just because it ends, doesn’t mean it won’t return again. Because that’s the viscous part of nagging. It persists when you least expect it.

But, for now, I leave the nagging be.

Perhaps, I wrote this post to tell myself, “You are going to be okay, Renata. No matter what happens, God is in control. No matter what grade you get, what material you remember, or how you actually use your degree, God is in control.”

Maybe that’s been the nagging feeling in my mind this whole time. Nothing too difficult to grasp or grand. Instead, a small, always necessary reminder that God is faithful and true in every season and every way—even if we beg to differ. For, His plans always work for our good, dear friends. What a wonderful God we serve.

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).

Small Life Updates: A Smorgasbord

life-goes-on-robert-frost

I’ve had this blog for quite a while now—nearly three years without a single missed week, which is incredible! Writing some posts have been much more difficult than others, due to the chaos and ebb and flow of life. But, at the end of the day, I am glad I have a continual online presence.

In the past nearly three years, I’ve given you all but a small glimpse of my life here and there. I still stand by each of those posts. However, consider today’s post a smorgasbord of small life updates, if you will. There are quite a few things I’d like to tell you that I personally do not think would fit into their own post or I do not want to fit into their own post. So, here goes nothing!

First, a few weeks ago, I mentioned I wanted to bake some chocolate chip brownies. Well, I got to yesterday. Yay! I set aside a few for my husband and I and had him send the rest to work. It’s always exciting to be able to accomplish something I’ve been waiting to do for a while.

A small part of me always likes to see just how long it takes me to accomplish said goals. It didn’t take me nearly as long to make them as I thought it would. Granted, I had some pressure to do so. But, it was a good pressure. Besides, it gave me an excuse to bake, which is more than fine by me.

Second, in that same regard, I have recently realized baking isn’t just an every now and then hobby for me. It is a true passion of mine! Perhaps, that’s why I’ve talked about it more on here, recently. I just didn’t know it quite yet.

Honestly, I always feared that I wouldn’t have any other passion in life besides writing. Yet, God answered my prayers! He planted a deep desire in my heart to bake, especially for others. This realization taught me that I could never live in an apartment without an oven now. This baking loving fool needs an oven. If you’d like to hear more about what made me come to this realization, comment and let me know!

Third, as of a few weeks ago, I discovered I will not be graduating until December 2018, instead of October 2018. I’d love to tell you this did not come with its fair share of tears and frustrations. But, it did. Eventually, I found peace with my decision to prolong my graduation date.

Pretty much, I made the decision to take an extra course to meet one of my requirements instead of suffering through two, higher-credit hour courses just to get done sooner. I know God has a plan and purpose for this delay, even if I may not understand it or agree with it.

I am slowly working to crush the idol of school in my life, guys. It’s a work in progress. God seems to use the things I want most to teach me He is ultimately in control, that my plan is not His plan.

Fourth, the health problems I spoke of a few weeks ago were not the typical flu that swept the nation. No, in the past month, I’ve dealt with what appears to be gallbladder issues. After countless appointments and tests, I am fairly confident what is wrong with me. Thankfully, for right now, I don’t need surgery. Although, it is not completely off the table. I’d appreciate prayers for improved health! I am sure I will give another update if my circumstances change.

Lastly, I would like to simply say welcome to all my recent followers. And to those of you who have been around since the beginning, thank you! To all of you, thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. I hope and pray that this platform, this sharing of my heart and life, encourages even just one of you. Most importantly, may this blog be a constant reminder that God deserves all glory, honor, and praise.

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).