Mindful March

I decided to give March the word mindful because being mindful was a lesson taught to me this month.

At the start of this month, I had no idea of the change that was in store for my country and state, it’s weird looking back at how clueless my friends, family, and I were when this virus felt so far away.

IMG_0576 (1)IMG_0849IMG_0567

Happenings 

  • I had my senior photos taken, which was weird because the fact that I am now a senior seems a bit unreal.

(Get ready for a slight photo dump..)

048E8D09-548B-45C2-8726-CF2D108E59A6 (1)

IMG_1274

IMG_1283

IMG_1268IMG_1281

IMG_1293

IMG_1300

IMG_1306

 

IMG_1267
My teacher of  seventeen years and counting (we all know who I am going to call when I move out)

I don’t even look old enough to turn eighteen this December.

 

  • A lot of plans canceled 

My family was going to go to nationals for my siblings’ basketball teams, but that was canceled due to COVID-19, understandably.

-My co-op is canceled, and I doubt we’ll go back this school year, which for me as a senior means I am never going back.

-I’m off work due to working in an afternoon care program for a co-op.

-A women’s retreat my mom and I were planning on going to was also canceled, as well as other things.

I’m hoping other things are just postponed since I am a senior and a lot of things that are no longer going to happen were going to be my last time, but if not, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

 

Right now, all I can do is pray and stay healthy.

 

  • On the brighter side, we got chicks!

IMG_1263IMG_1265

IMG_1266
This one’s named Nugget.

A friend tried to pick up one by the beak because he thinks that can determine if they’re male or female, thankfully, he couldn’t get a grip, so no necks were broken.

 

  • I took bluebonnets pictures of my siblings because we’re Texan, it’s required

IMG_1201IMG_0969

My siblings are all so good looking, it’s unfair.

IMG_0950 (1)IMG_1064IMG_1190IMG_1022IMG_1095IMG_1048

 

My little brother, Shayne, asked to try to take pictures of me, and although I looked like a crackhead in half of them, he actually did a good job??

IMG_1216
the version of me that all of my friends see

IMG_1228IMG_1230

What?? Thanks, Shayne, wow.

  • My little brother turned four!

IMG_1302 (1)IMG_1296

THIS BOY.

IMG_0880

He’s my buddy, my obvious favorite (sorry, my six other siblings, but come on. Y’all can’t blame me) and probably my favorite guy to exist.

I remember the day he came, the caseworker sat him down in our living room and went to help my parents with the paperwork. We all gathered around him and stared at this tiny boy with big black eyes, and he stared right back. I tried so hard to not get close to him because we were a foster to adopt family, and we didn’t think he’d stay with us.

He stole all of our hearts and we were so afraid of losing him. Thankfully, instead, we now have him and his three siblings to call our sisters and brothers forever. ❤

IMG_1118“Hey, Grace, do you wanna sit by me and talk about dragons and stuff?”-J.J.,2020

 

IMG_0749

 

Lessons Learned 

 

  • My family is pretty awesome.

I already knew that, but being stuck with them all day every day has made me really realize that there’s no other group of crazy weirdos that I’d rather be in this boat with.

Their love for the Lord, especially my mom’s, always inspires me to try harder.

IMG_8205

  • I need to be more focused. 

Once again, I am losing focus on what’s really important. Sometimes I think that I focus so much on my relationships with others that I forget about my relationship with God, and that’s obviously not right and is a source of a lot (if not all) of my problems.

I had a dream about getting in a car wreck the other night (I’m actually going to use it in a future blog post), in the dream, I didn’t want to die a mediocre Christian.

That’s really what I’ve been, a mediocre Christian, wallowing in self-pity.

While it’s okay to be sad (which is one of the reasons I share so much on here, to show that), it’s not okay to let it keep you down or from doing the right thing.

Lately, I haven’t spent as much time in prayer as I need to, partly because I’ve never been really good at praying, but I won’t get better if I don’t work on it and being mindful while praying.

IMG_8201

let's chat

What have you been up to?
What lessons are you currently learning?

 

signature

How to Deal With Birthday Blues

My little brother’s birthday is in a few days, even though he’s just turning four, he was sad to find out that he wouldn’t be able to go to Chuck E. Cheese on his birthday like we had been talking to him about for months.

I have friends who have birthdays next month and as of now, celebrations for them might not even happen at all now due to COVID-19.

How to Deal With Birthday Blues

Birthdays can be a time of sadness for many reasons.

Some people had a traumatic thing happen on one of their birthdays that now steals the joy from future ones.

Some people are away from friends and family on their’s and feel alone.

Others simply don’t like acknowledging the passing of time, which is understandable, it can be a scary and sobering thing.

I have a hard time around my birthday since it’s right after Christmas, a time where everyone is talking about visiting their relatives when my outer family is dysfunctional and the familial love everyone speaks of is not there for me or my immediate family. By the time my birthday comes, I typically feel very isolated.

image1

What can you do when you’re feeling down about this?

 

    1. Think about how much you’ve been blessed with time

There’s so much in our lives to be thankful for, including our lives.

Jesus died for you and you can have hope and a future in Him.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”-Jeremiah 29:11

You have so many great opportunities in this life to do so much good.

If you haven’t been the Christian you need to be, or if you’ve never obeyed the Bible, I believe that everyone gets a chance to do just that and the fact that you’re still alive means that you still have that chance. Read: Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10, Mark 16:16, Romans 6:1-18

IMG_8205

 

      2. Be honest with yourself and others

It’s okay to feel sad and it’s okay to be open to others about how you are feeling. Your friends and family want to be there for you in the hard times, but you need to let them know when you are going through those times.

The phrase “Happy Birthday” doesn’t mean you’re obliged to be happy on yours, it simply means that we are happy to know you, we are happy you exist, and we are happy that even though life can be hard and painful at times that you haven’t given up and are still here with us.

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”-Psalm 30:5

Happiness fades, but in God, we can have peace and joy.

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”-Romans 15:13

IMG_8201

      3. Make a list of all you have to be thankful for

My mom use to make me do this all the time when I was down and taking my life for granted, it is a great reminder of how much we have and how much beauty there is in life.

 

    4. Focus on what you can improve this year of your life

Who says that New Years is the only time to make goals?

Taking the time on your birthday to look at yourself in the mirror and thinking about your priorities can be a productive way to make your birthday about more than just loneliness or any other negative emotion.

image1

If you’re reading this and your birthday is coming up, happy birthday! I’m sorry if you are feeling down about it, I know how hard it can be to focus on the positive instead of the negative, but you are so much stronger than you even know.

As someone who also struggles around and on their birthday, we both need to focus on being thankful in this time, it will be hard, but we are both capable of it. You are not alone.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”-1 Thessalonians 5:18

I am thankful for your life and I know so many others are as well. ❤

let's chat

Do you also have a hard time on your birthday?

How do you deal with “birthday blues”?

 

signature

Friendships: The Excluded, The Included, and Those in Between

There were once these two girls who invited another girl to go to an event with them in hopes of getting closer to her. They took her shopping, introduced her to people, and tried their best to engage her.

The girl was on her phone the entire time, even when people at the event tried to talk to her.

When they came back, someone asked them how they had enjoyed their time and the girl they had invited chimed up and spoke of how it was horrible and how no one had included her.

The other two girls were hurt to hear that because they had tried their best to include her.

Sadly, this is something that actually happened, and something that happens a lot:

People distancing themselves and then blaming others for their feelings of disconnection.

I know I have been guilty of it as well in the past.

Friendships: The Excluded, The Included, and Those in Between

On the flip side of that story, here’s another true one that I was a part of:

Our congregation hosted a ladies’ day, and since it was our church building, my friends and I showed up a bit earlier to help set up and place food out.

My friends and I were all together when the other women came in, and we stayed together through the first two lessons.

However, I noticed that while there were other girls our ages there, we weren’t really doing anything to include them.

“We should ask them if they want to sit with us,” I said to one of my friends.

“I know,” she answered, “but I don’t think there’s room on our pew, and I think they’re happy where they are.” 

I remember standing there and feeling like I was doing something wrong, and I didn’t know how I should go about fixing it. 

Lunchtime came around, and still, I realized I was standing in a group of the same friends, the ones I saw twice a week.

“Do y’all want to go be social?” I said half-jokingly, half hoping they would notice the cliquishness. “Come on, let’s go talk to people.” 

They shrugged me off, and I knew I had a choice to make.

“If you guys don’t come with me, I’ll go alone.” 

“You can do that if you want to.” one girl answered me.

As an introvert, it was scary walking away from a group of people I knew well and walking up to a group of girls I didn’t know at all, but I did it, and I sat with them during lunch and had a good time getting to know them.

When it came time for us to go to the next lesson, one of the girls I had sat with asked me where I was sitting. I told her that the pew I had been sitting on was full, but that we could just move to an empty one near the front so we all could sit together.

I walked up to my group of friends and told them that I was moving pews so I could sit with the other girls and I asked them if they wanted to come. I thought they would say yes, but they said they wanted to stay where they were.

Once again, I was alone. I went up to the other girls who I hadn’t had a chance to talk to at lunch and asked them if they wanted to sit with me and the new group of girls I had met. They said yes and even thanked me for inviting them, and I felt even worse for not taking action sooner that morning. 

IMG_0821

 As you can see, these are two stories where there were shortcomings when it came to including and reaching out to people. 

One where (while I wasn’t there) there was a problem with someone blaming others for not being included while they distanced themselves.

The other where I should have been more friendly since the start and I failed because of the lack of support from my peers.

Sometimes, it goes both ways at the same time. In the past, I have apologized to someone who expressed their feelings of loneliness to me, and she apologized to me as well because she also pulled away when she started feeling left out instead of telling me sooner.

Sometimes, both parties are in the wrong, and sometimes it’s your fault, or it’s the other person’s fault and you’re not accountable for their actions or inactions.

I’ve been forced to leave friends behind to go meet people because those friends wouldn’t come with me, only to have the same friends who simply said “no” when I asked them to meet people with me later say that I left them behind. To that, I usually answer, “No, you chose to stay behind.” 

I share these things not to point fingers, but to show that we are all guilty of these things.

I have probably been each of the people in these stories in the past and sadly will be in the future.

In Philippians 2:4 the Bible reads:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

This is so important because if we are truly looking out for and loving others more than ourselves, we won’t be leaving them out or accidentally excluding them.

And Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 speaks about how important friendships are:

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”

Don’t exclude others, but also don’t exclude yourself.

So many times, I have seen friendships fail because of bad communication, and that’s so terribly sad.
The Bible makes it clear how important friendships are (Proverbs 17:9, 27:6, Luke 15:8-9, John 15:15, etc.), but in order to have friends, we must be good friends (Psalm 18:24).

Right now, for many of us it is harder to be good friends since we are no longer going to school, events, work, etc.

But there are still so many ways to reach out and be there for others.

IMG_0811

These are scary and lonely times for a lot of us but have you… 

  • Texted, called, or emailed a friend today who might need encouragement or just a sense of normalcy right now?
  • Written thoughtful letters to the sick?
  • Prayed for your friends and loved ones?

 

These are all things that we can still do, and I’m sure, with creativity, you and I could think of so much more!

It’s so easy to feel disconnected right now, I am currently feeling that way and it isn’t fun, but this is a good reminder of how precious our friends are and right now we just need to work harder to keep them close even though we are separated by six feet, quarantine, and shelters in place.

let's chat

How are you?

How are your friendships?

What are some ways you could start being a better friend today?

signature