The Monthly Update: November

November highlight:

A big highlight from last month was competing in Summit’s Pumpkin Spice Open bouldering competition. It was my first comp since September, and even though I didn’t necessarily go HARD, it was lots of fun hanging out with friends, encouraging each other on the wall, and getting some good sends in.

November lowlights:

I experienced a COVID scare, which put me out of working/climbing, and placed me in quarantine for a couple of weeks. It was a bit scary and overwhelming, but thankfully, my results were negative. Praise!

This month, I was filled by:

  • I had my first therapy appointment with Chelsey in a long time; even though I was only touching base, it was still good for my soul to talk through life and law school and lessons with her.
  • I started attending couch church–where I watch church from my home group leader’s couch–which has been a good way to keep accountable to tuning into Northway’s services. It is also a great way to start my week!

This month, I was emptied by:

The time away from the gym during my COVID scare was tough–I missed my work friends, climbing community, and just climbing in general.

In December, I am looking forward to:

  • I began the She Reads Truth Advent devotional at the start of the month. It has already been a source of encouragement and delight, and I cannot wait to continue diving into God’s word with this resoure.
  • Dressember is here! We are nearly halfway through the month, and I am three-fourths of the way to my goal of $1250. I am thrilled to participate in this challenge again, and to continue to advocate for human trafficking victims.

Slow & Steady: On Resting Well

CommSandwichLife is different now.

Even as I go back to work at my climbing gym, my life has looked drastically different than it did just a couple months ago. And I have a feeling yours is different, too.

Remember the moral of the story about the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race? Well if life was a race right now, I would definitely be winning. And maybe you would be winning, too.

I’m not used to slow and steady.

My life is typically the opposite: fast and unpredictable, busy and spontaneous, constantly moving, constantly changing. But these days, whether I like it or not, life is slow and steady–and it probably will be for a while, even after COVID calms down.

Pre-COVID, my life was a lot of leaving the house at 8 a.m., going to my job, going to my other job, and getting home at 11 p.m. And on days when I didn’t work, it was a lot of running around, seeing people, making friends, planning trips, crashing on my bed in the wee hours of the night.

I’m learning how to rest, and how to rest well.

Rest for me can be a lot of things: emotional, physical, spiritual. When I need emotional rest, I like to talk to a friend or journal. When I need physical rest, I like to nap or simply lay down for a bit. When I need spiritual rest, I spend time alone with God and read scripture or pray.

Resting well means being intentional about seeking it out, making time for it in my everyday life. Resting well means saying “no” to phoning friends, or leaving a video call game night early. Resting well means waking early just so I can have an extra slow morning with Jesus, drinking coffee and opening up the Word.

Resting well means assessing my needs and what I am lacking, and taking steps to meet those needs. Resting well means valuing this alone time, this me-space because I know when everything goes back to normal, it will be harder to find this time to myself.

I have a few tips for resting well:

  1. Assess your needs: ask yourself what you type of rest you need–emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.
  2. Consider how to meet those needs: when you have identified what form of rest you need, then think about how to meet those needs. Is it by prayer and meditation? Is it by sleep? Is it by saying “no” to others, just to say “yes” to self-care?
  3. Follow through: it is easy to assess and consider without following through. It is easy to ignore your needs and instead pursue your wants. But when we follow through, we are giving our body, mind, and soul the nourishment and attention they need.

It’s important to rest.

It just is. Our bodies, minds, and souls need it. Our spirit craves it. Our eyes love it. Even though things are slowly starting to open up and we are beginning to have some sense of normalcy, I want to prioritize rest more than I did pre-COVID.

It’s important for me, it’s important for you. Let’s rest and rest well, friends.

 

The Monthly Update: May

It is hard to believe it’s June!

Though some days seem long, the month flew by for me, and so has 2020 in general. Let’s go ahead and hop into this month’s update.

May highlights:

  • Celebrating Mother’s Day with my family was great. I got to see my cutie-pie nephews, and sitting around the kitchen table and eating lunch with the people I love was just nice.
  • Summit, the climbing gym I work at, re-opened this month! It has been so nice reuniting with the climbing community. And I was promoted to Assistant Manager. Nervous-excited about this new opportunity.

May lowlights:

  • Now that the gym is open and I have returned to work, my pup Jack and I are trying to get used to being apart. He definitely feels some separation anxiety, but we are working through it.

This month, I was filled by:

  • Now that things are starting to open up, I have been meeting friends for park dates. They’re exactly what they sound like, usually with Jack in tow, we hang out with a friend at a park, just catching up and enjoying each other’s company.
  • My home group has been meeting virtually since social distancing started. It has been encouraging to have that solid community during such odd times.

This month, I was emptied by:

  • The news of George Floyd has been devastating and heart-wrenching for me. I opened up a bit on my Instagram about scripture that encourages me during this time, and where I am starting as I seek to support my black friends and community.

In June, I am looking forward to:

  • My nephew turns two this month! It is hard to believe Mason has been with us for two years. He is a whirlwind of joy and giggles and mischief. I am excited to celebrate him.

The Monthly Update: April

Well friends, another month has come and gone.

It is hard to believe May is upon us! Quarantine days seem to blend together, making the weeks feel slow and foggy. The entire month of social distancing was long and hard, but also good for me–or at least I’d like to think so.

Let’s hop into this month’s recap!

April highlights:

  • I started fostering a dog, Jack, and he is the cutest little thing. Being a dog mama has brought me so much joy. And the daily snuggles and walks are giving me life!
  • As of just a few days ago, I have officially heard back from all of the law schools I applied to. Now it’s time to make some decisions!

April lowlights:

  • Unfortunately I didn’t get answers that I’d like from all of the schools I applied to, but I am just trying to be thankful for what I have and the yeses I did receive.

This month, I was filled by:

  • Video calling my friends and family has kept me sane and filled my heart. Even though I can’t see them in person, it is nice to connect with them virtually.
  • Similarly, I was able to have a video call with my therapist, Chelsey. The conversation was helpful as we tried to process law school and future decisions.

This month, I was emptied by:

  • Living in quarantine has been hard for me, as I am sure it has been for all of us. Even though I’d like to think my mental and physical health is going well, this experience has still been heavy on my heart.

In May, I am looking forward to:

  • Life going back to some sense of normalcy. I feel encouraged as businesses and restaurants start to open up again, although a bit anxious as well. I am hoping the gym will open up soon, as I miss climbing and my workout buddies!

Lessons From Home: On What Social-Distancing Has Taught Me

I’ve learned a lot lately.

A lot about the world, a lot about my friends, a lot about Jesus, a lot about myself. If you’re like me–which I hope you are–you have been at home and having lots and lots more time to yourself, which also means lots and lots of more time to learn.

Let me share a few things I have learned:

  1. We take a lot of things for granted: like going to the gym or movies or out-to-eat, like going on a vacation to a far-away place, or even simply taking a bus to a neighborhood down the road.
  2. Saying “I love you” goes a long way: maybe it is because words of affirmation is one of my love languages, or maybe it is because I am mushy gushy, but I can feel my heart physically swell when my friends say, “I love you” at the end of a video call. I’m trying to say it more often, more audibly these days.
  3. We’re all in this together: even though we are not physically together, it has been encouraging to see so many emotionally supporting one another through social media, phone calls, video conferences, etc. Community is important, especially during these times.
  4. But also, take time for yourself: living alone in quarantine has obviously given me lots of opportunity to spend time by myself and practice self-care, but it is a good reminder nonetheless. In order to care for others fully, we must care for ourselves and fulfill our needs, too.
  5. Emotional safety is important, too. It is very important for us to take care of our bodies during this time, but it’s also good to check in with our thoughts and feelings. Holistic wellness is what I am always aiming for.

This is a very rare time for all of us.

This will (hopefully) never happen again in our lifetimes. Our new normal now is far different from the normal it was before this pandemic. But I want to see this phase as an opportunity for refinement, growth, renewal.

I want to utilize the time I have to myself to become a better version of me. I want to look at pre-pandemic me and see all of the ways I have developed into a more polished self during this quarantine.

Change and growth aren’t easy, and sometimes they certainly are not fun. But at times they can be necessary, rewarding, and good for the soul.

Be Kind To Yourself: On Practicing Self-Care In Quarantine

My world is upside-down at the moment.

And I bet yours is, too.

Due to the coronavirus situation, both of my jobs are on pause and I am holed up in my studio apartment alone. I have had some extra time on my hands, which has been nice but also strangely intimidating.

During this whole social distancing experience, I have made it a priority to be extra aware of my mental health and to practice self-care accordingly. Sometimes alone time can lead me to feeling isolated and down, so it is particularly important for me to check in with my thoughts and feelings, and to practice a little self-love.

Self-care for me during quarantine has looked like:

  • Sleeping in— something I rarely got to do during my regular routine, it has been nice sleeping into the morning and laying around in bed before I’m up and at ’em.
  • Going on walks— now that the sun is out, it has been so good for my soul to let Vitamin D sink into my skin and bones on walks around my neighborhood.
  • Calling Sweet Denise— mothers know best, right? Extra down time has meant extra time to talk to my sweet mama and check in with her, and let her check in with me.
  • Heck, calling everybody else— in the past couple weeks, I have caught up with old roommates, friends who have moved away, friends I rarely see even though we both live in Dallas, and it has been so life-giving to emotionally connect even during physical isolation.
  • Spending time alone with God— my quiet times pre-quarantine were looking few and far between, but social distancing has freed up more time and space and energy to reconnect with my Heavenly Father.
  • Working out— even though I can’t climb right now, I have been participating in live stream workouts like core, yoga, and bodyweight classes. It has been good to get my heart beating and blood pumping.

I asked my friends on Instagram what their self-care routine has looked like. Some of them are taking baths, reading books, napping, meditating, and doing yoga, among other things. It has been encouraging to see that others are trying to care for themselves during these strange times.

Here’s some guidance I have for you: think about your needs, write them down if it helps, and take steps to meet those needs.

Maybe you need verbal encouragement, then reach out to a loved one. Maybe you need rest, then carve out extra time to sleep in. Maybe you need physical activity, then find a workout online. Maybe you need spiritual uplifting, then reach out to your church friends.

At the end of the day, we are all living in unprecedented times that challenge us for varying reasons. At the end of the day, we are all just trying to get by. So my final encouragement for you is this:

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.

 

The Monthly Update: March

March was a hard month for me.

And it probably was for you, too. My world has turned upside-down the past couple of weeks, as both of my jobs were put on pause, and a Shelter In Place order went into effect in Dallas.

But, as promised, I am delivering you your monthly update. I have plenty on my mind and heart lately, and I am looking forward to sharing with you in the days and weeks to come.

March highlights:

  • Right before my job at Summit was put on pause, I was promoted to Event Manager at our Dallas gym (my home gym). When we re-open, this will entail me fostering community at our gym through hosting events and competitions. I am so excited to reunite with the climbing community!
  • I got my second tattoo mid-March, a simple “joyful” in script with flowers. This little ink is a reminder the Fruit of the Spirit lives in and through me. Even on my down and depressed days, joy is in my soul and bones.

March lowlights:

  • The coronavirus crisis and social distancing is affecting everyone, including myself (obviously). It has been hard to stay home alone and physically distance myself from friends and family, but I am thankful to be safe in my apartment, for video calls, and for food delivery.

This month, I was filled by:

  • While everyone has been physically distant, I have seen so many people come together during this time: supporting one another, praying for others, sending each other love in the form of flowers, cards, and treats. There is so much encouragement and love swirling around, and it brings me utter joy!
  • I was able to have a video therapy session with Chelsey, my therapist of four years(!!). I had not seen her in a couple of months and the timing could not have been better. I loved catching up with her, listening to her wisdom and advice, and left with high spirits.

This month, I was emptied by:

  • The news of having both of my jobs put on hold was tough and discouraging. It made me feel sad and down and even minorly depressed for a couple of days.

In April, I am looking forward to:

  • Time to myself that I can use for creativity, writing, playing music, and more.
  • Continuing to connect with friends via video chats and phone calls, doing my best to spread the love near and far!