To Colorado, a Past Love



Dear Colorado,

I still think about you sometimes. You weren't my forever, but you were so much more than just a good time.

You were the place I grew up. You were the place I was young, (not really but kinda) wild, and truly free.

You were the place I felt no expectations.

You were the place I could explore.

I explored your mountains, your deserts, your dunes, and your cities. I explored my own life and personality and character and desires.

You were the place I grew strong. You were the place I experienced some of the hardest days, and some of the greatest achievements.

You will always be my freedom, my building block, my touchstone, and one of my true joys.

Love,
Brittany

Add It To My List: May 2018




  • Jada Pinkett Smith's emotional interview with Will Smith's ex-wife Sheree Fletcher
    •  Saw this on Mother's Day weekend and it was wonderful to see two women acknowledge past wrongs, and have an honest and emotional talk about hard things.
  • Lil' Scrubbie Facial Cleaning Pads
    •  I have an ongoing war with cleaning my face- I know, random. But I don't want to keep using cleaning wipes, but I hate using wash clothes because they consistently stay wet which freaks me out...anyway, it's a whole big thing in my life. Which is why I LOVE these lil scrubbies. TBF, the suction cups does NOT work at all for me, but I give it a pass. I've used it with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and Neutrogena cleanser...works with them all.
  • Tomi Adeyemi Wanted ‘Children Of Blood And Bone’ To Be ‘So Good... So Black’
    • HuffPo interview with Tomi Adeyemi; found this via We Need Diverse Books and this author seems awesome and I'm totally checking those out from my library ASAP
  • Silicone Makeup Sponge
    •  I'm still getting used to this, but I think I really like it. Feels like my makeup stays on longer. The issue is that since I'm used to using sponges which soak up the makeup before putting it on your face, I sometimes use too much with this and it looks cakey once I put it on. But that is a total user error and one that I think I'm correcting. Another plus- it's super easy to rinse off and wipe off and it stays dry- see above.
  • Vikings (TV series)
    •  Story based on the legend of Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok- from what I can tell, kind of a Robin Hood/Odysseus type Norse story. Interesting- gory, and no clue how much is historically accurate, but interesting.
What are you loving this month?

Motherhood as God's Tool



Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash
 
There was recently a conversation within my church about whether it is okay for women to work outside the home. A woman was struggling with whether she should continue working or stay at home with her children. To be clear, this was not something that was ever preached against at my church- but it is something that has been controversial within the Church (aka Christian culture) overall. While I was listening to the discussion (which thankfully said- pray about it and do what you & your spouse if you have one feel is right for your family), a thought struck.

My mom always worked, and I never felt bad about it. Most of my friends had moms that worked, and it really wasn't a big deal. Of course, I was also watched by my grandma so there was still a very close familial care provided versus a daycare/etc (obviously my kid is in daycare so I'm not against it at all, just stating my experience). But pretty much once I could drive, and even somewhat before that, I was expected to handle certain things myself. I organized rides if I needed it and my parents were busy, I paid bills either by working myself or if my parents gave me the money, I ran errands to help out around the house.

I never thought of it before, but this is exactly the life I needed to live to prepare me for being a) an Army wife, and b) a first generation college student. 

If I had a family member who stayed home with me, or drove me around (my grandma didn't drive for health reasons), it would be have been really hard for me to be thrust into independence all of a sudden at age 18. I was eased into independence gradually as a teenager, and I'm so thankful for that.

Don't get me wrong- it was still hard. 

But it would have been ever harder had I not been used to asking for help, putting those answers into action myself, and being used to not knowing things. Instead of having someone do stuff for me or know all the answers, I was expected to figure them out myself. This skill and habit was invaluable to me, and is probably why I didn't end up of flunking out, getting divorce, and/or having a nervous breakdown.

All that to say, my childhood perfectly prepared me for the life God had planned for me.

I don't think my parents knew I would get married at 18 and move halfway across the country by myself. I don't think they knew I would go to college- they hadn't. Maybe they didn't even feel like not working was a choice- lots of people don't, regardless of what some say.

Anyway, it hit me that while we often try to plan our lives and struggle with our decisions...in the end, we are merely a tool of God. 

We are not God. 

We don't choose where our children end up, or who they grow to be. At best, we prepare them for the lives He has planned. It may not end up being anything we would ever choose or guess for them- but in the end, it's His will not ours, right? Thinking of these takes so much pressure off of me.

Yes, I should know it in theory already. But seeing the example in my own life was a huge lightbulb moment.

I am a Christian- I claim that title of my own free will. If it is true, if I really believe that, then I have to trust that my prayers are heard and my will is directed by the Lord. I don't have to know why things happen the way they do, I just have to trust that He is using them for His plan.

My Blogging Habits: Pines & Palmettos

I feel like I've been blogging pretty consistently lately, and thought I would share some of the tools and habits that have contributed to that consistency.

I shared this in one of my Bullet Journal posts, but I have a calendar with my blogging schedule on it.

In case you haven't noticed, I post on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Twice a week is consistent but not overwhelming, and works better for me.  I once tried to keep up with this through the Google calendar, but I'm an analog girl. I gotta see it all together on paper. This allows me to see if any given Tu/Th has a post scheduled, what that post is about, and with the notation I use also if it has been started, finished, or a topic chosen but the post not started.


It's also helpful because I can keep up with the link-ups and reoccurring topics. This way I can space those between random topics so it's not a bunch of repetitive things bunched together (ie I don't do a Current Thoughts post the last week of one month and the first week of the following month, two weeks consecutively).

Speaking of reoccurring topics, they have been great for keeping me going. 

  • Obviously I love the Show Us Your Books link-up, so that's one Tuesday every month that's an easy post I love to do. 
  • Current Thoughts was created as a way to talk about what's going on in my life without having to make full-length posts about anything specific.
  • I was considering doing something that listed random things I loved, which I basically do with the Add It To My List link-up at the end of the month.
  • Words of the Month actually started when I wanted to talk about a specific Bible verse but didn't want to do a random Christianity post (I want to eventually get back into doing my Salvation Sunday series again, where I discuss my faith and Christianity in general, but not quite up to it yet); WotM was a way to ease into that. 
  • Three Things...I'm still not sold on it, but I had some random lists and things I wanted to share so I'm giving it a try. 

Together all these things add up to about half my blog posts per month, which takes a lot of pressure off. Blogging is something I enjoy doing, but I can get overwhelmed and these reoccurring topics provide a starting point.

The other thing I keep in my BuJo, besides the blogging calendar, is a list of blogging ideas. 

This comes in super handy when I am having writer's block, because I get ideas at the most random times. I just write down the basic idea and then when I need a topic, I pick one from the list and expand on it.



I do like having images in my posts...but I hate feeling like I have to take pictures out in my real life to perfectly match a post. I've done that and I didn't enjoy it. So I looooove Unsplash because I can guilt-free grab a photo to use and edit without worrying that I will get a lawsuit later.



Once I find an image, I use Canva to edit it. Used to be all about PicMonkey, but they started charging more and one of the updates kept crashing on me and now it's all about Canva. It's super easy to add text and images so I can do it quickly.


Current Thoughts: May 2018



  • April is Babycake's birthday month, and we had two birthday parties. One in our chosen town, and one in our hometown. It was extra stressful because I basically had 2...maybe 3 weeks to plan them, because Hubby also started his new job and we didn't know his schedule until...sometime like the first week or two in April. I don't remember. It's been crazy. Anyway, it went pretty well but...next time I'm just buying cake and ice cream. I spent way too much time and energy on snacks that people didn't eat. Hopefully next time I can just buy some cake and ice cream and rent a park so the kids can go crazy. 
    • Either way, this was a big step for me- last year we didn't have a party for her in our chosen town, only in our hometown. To do that, to go through the effort, especially when Hubby was overwhelmed with his new job and could help a little but definitely not as much as I did, is a big personal step. And I hate to make my beautiful baby girl's day about me- and I didn't- but here on this blog, in my space...fuck yeah, I see a big improvement and I'm so proud of myself and genuinely happy and see this as a big milestone for me. I mean, I almost had a crying breakdown the next day when something went not according to plan, but still...it resolved quickly and it was an almost breakdown so still a personal win.
Never been sure what to call the city where we currently live, since I often feel like I need to specify that it is not our hometown. I guess I could say "my town" but since I wasn't born here it seems weird...so I am trying out "chosen town." Good? Should I get over it and say "my town?" This is the kind of thing I spend way too much time thinking about. 
  • It feels like everywhere I look there is talk about the power of positive thinking. Or the Law of Attraction, or the confirmation bias, or whatever you want to call it. And while it does feel kinda hokey sometimes...do it. Change your thinking. Even if it's by changing one little habit at a time. Compliment someone. Read good news intentionally. Let someone out in traffic because it's the nice thing to do. If you pray, pray for the jackass that just cut you off in traffic. Start a gratitude journal. I don't care what it is as long as it does not hurt another person- do something positive. 
  • This, this, this. I have an (ever growing) issue that with this, because I think- like most ultimatums- the idea that you either get friends OR love is complete and utter bullshit in so many ways.

  • We are an officially licensed foster family!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! This means the next step is...getting a call asking us to take a child into our home. We don't know when the call will come or what situation will be on the other end of the line or really anything at this point. It's exciting and scary and nerve-racking. Reading that email gave me almost the exact same feeling as when I read a positive pregnancy test several years ago.




    What's going on with you this month?

    Almost Taking Medication


    photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash, edited with Canva


    I've mentioned a few times that the first year of my daughter's life was tough for me, to the point where I almost went on anxiety medication.

    I feel the need to explain what I mean by this.

    It's not meant cavalierly. It's not just hyperbole.

    I have witnessed the struggle against anxiety and depression many many times but I have never come so close myself.

    Looking back, I am frustrated with myself for "holding out." I am frustrated with people for not realizing how much I needed something (I realize it is not their responsibility, but I wish someone had seen me clearly). I am frustrated because current me knows exactly what past me needed and deserved.

    I know the signs in loved ones. But I did not know what the signs of "too far" were for myself.

    I was in a dark place. I am out of it, but I hope that if I ever get back there I will fight for myself.

    So when I say "I almost took medication," what I should really say is that "I needed medication or therapy at that time in my life, because I was very very mentally weary to the point of being unhealthy."

    Taking Back "Girl"

     

    It's no secret that I'm a feminist. I'm an imperfect feminist, because I'm an imperfect human. But I'm a feminist nonetheless.

    Raising a girl sometimes feels very high stakes for that reason, especially after the 2016 election and what that has meant for American society. 

    I worry about people buying her only pink frilly clothes, but also about giving her the idea that something is inherently wrong with pink frilly clothes. I worry about teaching her that she can do anything, but also giving her the idea that she is therefore responsible for everything. I worry about teaching her that she can be strong and tough but also that no one person should be expected to be only strong and tough without every having doubts or worries.

    Maybe all parents have this fear. But I definitely heard many times that having a boy is just easier. I'm sure not all boy parents feel this way- but there's definitely a vocal group that seemed to breath a little sigh of relief when their baby developed a penis. There's something about girls that is just better to not deal with.

    However, something happened the other day that made me decide to reclaim the word "girl." 

    I was getting Babycakes dressed for daycare, and she didn't want to wear the outfit I picked out. She wanted "Princess, Mommy, Princess!" My MIL bought her a sweatshirt with the Shimmer & Shine princesses on it. It's pink with a tutu. Now, I personally abhor the tutu thing...it's just impractical. But for some reason she's into this particular shirt at the moment. So I somewhat reluctantly got the "Princess" shirt and put it on her.

    And she was so happy. Then we put on her grubby high-top Converse and she was also happy. And I realized something.

    She's gonna go do exactly the same thing in that princess shirt that she would in any other shirt. 

    She doesn't have any preconceived notions about what that shirt says about her. She's gonna climb those playground slides and fall  and stand back up and hit other kids and hug other kids and be exactly herself in that tutu just as she would in flannel or cotton or other damn material/style/color.

    I don't know when "girl" became diminutive and offensive (or boy, either, for that matter). Girls are friggin' awesome. They are unencumbered by culture or society or expectations. They express a wide range of emotions. They are curious and questioning and always learning.

    Girls are fucking amazing, and I hope I can live up to the label.

    BREAKING NEWS: They aren't princesses! They are genies. We've never actually watched the show and I had to turn to a mom's group online to help me even figure out where the characters were from. Sorry guys. Anyway, my kid will not stop calling them princesses anytime soon soo...you get the point anyway I hope.

     
    She also got this shirt for her birthday, and will be just as awesome and uniquely herself in it.