My Blog: Examining My Priorities

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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).

 

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Hello Again! Highlights from My Break

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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 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

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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

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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).

Insane Courage: Assertiveness

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Generally speaking, I come off as intimidating when people first meet me.

Even though this may be the case, I can assure you, my intimidation is an outward representation of an inwardly guarded person. What others see as intimidation, I see as someone hiding behind walls, trying not to get hurt.

Regardless, I think the biggest reason why I can be intimidating for some people is I am a rather blunt person.

I am one of those people who may not always realize what they say before it is too late. As a result, my bluntness can get me into trouble sometimes. And I may not always be aware of it.

Other times, it can eat me up as I worry incessantly about whether I hurt someone’s feelings. But, for the most part, people don’t mind my bluntness because it contributes to my honesty.

Nevertheless, my bluntness only goes so far. In other words, I chicken out.

I may have always been blunt, but I have not always been assertive. In fact, it is only within the last couple of years, that I have truly begun to understand what it means for me to be assertive.

I’ve slowly learned this definition is different for everyone. I think that’s because we all have a different definition of what makes us comfortable.

Let me give you a bit of a backstory, first.

Growing up, I definitely had my moments of rebellion and an attitude problem. However, on a psychological level, I also submitted to others like it was second nature. I often simply did as I was told or tried my best to not be a bother.

This could have partially been because I was the typical middle-child—somewhat aloof, yet quite vocal and present when necessary. Plus, as I’ve touched on a few times before, I had a bad case of people-pleasing.

I used people-pleasing as a coping mechanism from the trauma of being an orphan. Subconsciously, I felt like I owed it those around me because I constantly feared they’d leave me if I didn’t.

Granted, my previously mentioned attitude did, in fact, cause some people to simply give up on me, which hurt tremendously.

To this day, I still find myself wanting to please others. Thankfully, I have grown immensely in that regard.

I think this is partially because I am more assertive. For me, being assertive means not accepting a situation as is and making a case for myself when necessary.

Now, I can fight for myself when necessary. I don’t give in simply because someone of authority said to.

I always try to understand why I must do something before simply doing it. So, if I don’t understand why I am doing something, I ask questions. I send emails. I seek advice from others.

I speak up for myself when something doesn’t feel right or fair. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’d rather say something and find out I really can’t change the situation than discover using my voice could have altered the outcome.

In fact, I did so only mere days ago when trying to complete a homework assignment. Instead of taking a single response as fact and the end-all, be-all, I spoke up.

And for me, speaking up usually just means saying, “I don’t understand why this happened. Do you mind explaining it to me?” Or, “I am rather confused about this problem. Here’s is how I interpret it.”

Most of the time, my efforts work in my favor, whether it be I walk away finally understanding, therefore learning. Or, sometimes, I realize I misspoke and admit my error.

All that being said, I still struggle to be assertive in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting simply because I am not a confrontational person at heart.

Therefore, I still find myself having to muster up the courage to even speak up. I still feel this knot in my gut and my hands get clammy. It’s as if my body is trying to tell me, “Leave it alone.” For, I am worried about what the recipient of my message may say.

And, to be quite honest, some people truly just intimidate me like none other. Even those who are intimidating can be intimidated! Therefore, what little bit of courage I’ve mustered up can be squandered in mere seconds.

Even though I still struggle in this capacity, I think I am more assertive because I am learning to become more confident in myself and my abilities.

I am not my greatest cheerleader, but I am slowly getting there. I am not my greatest encourager, but I am slowly getting there.

But, before I can reach that point, I have to stop being so concerned about how and if I make someone upset because of my actions. Most importantly, I have to stop overanalyzing comments or words.

As you can see, I am still growing in this area. I will not lose sight of how far I’ve come, though!

My call to you is this: May we all embrace moments that require insane courage in our lives. These 20 seconds of insane courage are different for everyone.

For me, it is all about being assertive and speaking up for myself in various settings. For others, it may be simply leaving the house or going on that stage. Or, publishing a vulnerable piece of work.

Whatever it may be for you and no matter the difficulty, may we all be grateful for those 20 second increments. For, they will slowly, but surely, add up and change us for the better if we allow.

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).

Lessons Learned: Praying for the Lost

Proverbs 15-29

This week, I have slowly begun to embrace something I’ve known to be true but chose not to accept for the longest time. True to my nature, I chose to ignore it and avoid it. I chose to diminish its seriousness and magnitude.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have finally started to accept that God is ultimately in control of how someone lives their life. I have finally started to accept that all I can do is pray for others and be a witness for Christ in a dark, sinful, fallen world.

As much as I desperately want others to know Christ and live a Christian life, it is not up to me. It is up to God. It is up to Him to draw people to Himself and change their hearts—just as He did for me years ago.

I have known people who have spent their lives earnestly praying for their loved ones and friends to know Christ. I have seen their hurts. But, I never once considered that I, too, may experience this one day.

Selfishly, I was convinced the dreams I had for certain relationships would happen exactly as I hope.

Nevertheless, it took one conversation and a few observations for me to realize, that may not be my reality after all. Instead, I may be the one who spends their life earnestly praying for her loved ones and friends to know Christ.

Then, the pile of bricks began to weigh down on me.

Oh no! My plan and desire may not be God’s plan and desire after all! As I said earlier, I knew this to be true. But, I was never so plainly confronted by it.

Yet, since I realized this, my prayer life has changed dramatically. Now, any time I think of these friends and loved ones, my heart cries out. I desperately desire for them to know and love Jesus intimately and personally.

It’s funny, you know? I always knew I should pray for the lost, hurt, and lonely. But, there is a fire inside my heart that wasn’t there a week ago. I pray like I’ve never prayed before. I desperately cling to the Lord’s promises.

Now, I must remind myself that even if God does not answer my prayers, He does hear them. May my love for those who are hurting and my faith in Him motivate me to pray even on the days I am most unsure of His goodness.

Because, believe me, those days will come. My walk with God is probably filled with more doubt than most. But, even then, it has changed in innumerable ways since I first accepted Him into my heart.

So, may I continue to let that fire burn in my heart. May I continue to pray for those around me to not only accept Christ but also live a life that is pleasing to Him.

It has always been a dream of mine to look at someone and say, “I have prayed for you daily since this moment. I have watched God transform your life. I have watched Him answer my prayers in ways I never thought possible. You are so loved.”

And even if He doesn’t answer my prayers, and this is only the beginning of a lifelong prayer journey, may I tell myself and others, He is still good.

My call to you is this: Pray for the lost, hurt, and lonely. Pray any time they cross your mind, whether it is once a day or even multiple times a day. God is listening. He may not answer our prayers the way we’d like Him to. Yet, He is still listening.

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).