Life Updates: The First of May

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I know post grad is complicated for everyone, but I feel like I’ve done a number on it these last two years. Between becoming deathly ill with Lyme Disease, changing up my bipolar medications, and trying to tackle normal post grad activities, it’s gotten a little crazy at times.

My battle with Lyme is not over, I don’t quite have it in remission yet, though I’ve been doing so well that we’ve finally started cutting back my antibiotics. I’ve been thrilled about that because being on antibiotics for a year and a half is really brutal on the body. I’m also excited because my activity level has returned to normal. I feel like I’m finally able to live my life instead of watching it fly by me while I sit unable to move on the sofa.

Health really is something you don’t truly appreciate till its gone, but I don’t think that’s a mistake I’m going to make again. After losing a year and a half to this disease and having another six months slowed by it, I can proudly say that I’m going to enjoy any health my body can manage to give me, because there is so much I want to do and see, and I didn’t realize how lucky I was because I got bit by that horse fly.

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Easter Sunday: Killing our ideals and being unwilling to sacrifice.

It’s hard not to think about sacrifice on Easter. God sacrificing his only son, Jesus sacrificing himself, all so that we may be forgiven of our sins. It’s the biggest sacrifice of all, for the innocent to die willingly for the guilty.

I was reflecting on the topic Saturday, but it started differently, without all the praise, but instead with a firm realization that I wasn’t very good at sacrifice.

I have a lot of good traits, I’ve done a lot of good things, but I like to tack on good deeds, I like when I can add them on without getting rid of other things I enjoy. The people on the receiving end never seem to mind. I still feel good about doing the good deeds. It seems like a win win, but it isn’t. You can’t only go out of your way to do the right thing or the kind thing when it’s convenient.

We all have a few people in our life that we’ll go the extra mile for, but it tends not to be a large group. This is one of the oldest problems. We think people have to earn that level of sacrifice. We’re stingy with it. I’m especially so when it gets in the way of things I enjoy, so much so that I don’t like sacrificing things for myself. I was praying about my health because I am still fighting the end of lyme disease and God helped me pray myself into a corner. I’ve been running low on effort, I’m tired of being sick, I don’t want to go the extra mile even though it would only be benifiting myself.

Now that gets you thinking. I won’t even make the long term sacrifices for my own benefit so I’m pretty positive that I’m not making enough sacrifices for others.

The goal with this life is to live as close to your ideal as possible. For Christians that ideal is Christ. We’ll never reach his level of sacrifice, but we could all stand to make more, for ourselves, for others, for humanity. It’s a tall order, and as much as we’d like to pretend we don’t understand how mankind put our savior on the cross, I think we all do. We would rather kill our ideals than try and join them. It’s less work. It’s easier.

But as it was then, it’s the wrong way. So stop listening to yourself when you’re trying to convince yourself that nobody’s perfect and it doesn’t matter if you sin one more time, sacrifice one less thing, enjoy more luxury then you should. Stop killing the ideals you would like to reach.

I’ll be here trying to do the same, failing at it, then trying again, hoping to get a few wins in between loses.

Seven Things:

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Sorry for the long time between posts everyone. Life’s been pretty crazy around here lately, but I’m starting to settle down into new routines. I have a list of brainstorming for new posts though, so hopefully another month a long break won’t happen.

Here are seven things from around the web that I love!

  • This Ted talk covers the politics of fiction. I often hear about books being political statements, but this take about how stories are told is A+.
  • These overalls are the first pair I’ve owned since I was 12. I’m in love with them.
  • Internet data mining is trending, this Twitter thread talks about what all Google has on you (it’s a lot).
  • This is J.R.R Tolkien’s essay on Fairy Stories and why they are so important.
  • I shared this article on Facebook earlier this year about the last of the iron lung machines. I know the anti-vaxx movement is unfortunately still picking up steam so here’s a reminder of why we need them. Oh, and autism? Here’s a study that suggests our rapid increase in cases is from the age of the fathers.
  • This satire article about God having all of your beliefs hits the nail on the head.
  • If you ever want to give a meal to homeless pets at no cost, all you need to do is click this link and sponsors will help you out.

On being judgemental:

 

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I’ve been thinking a lot about judgmentalness.

Those who know me well know that at times I can be fairly judgemental, those that don’t know me as well normally wouldn’t guess it, because I try my hardest not to let it affect how I treat people. But, when I’ve judged people negatively I tend to avoid them and that’s what lead me to realize this was a problem.

When am in a situation where I must spend time with those I’ve already negatively judged, I normally end up liking them despite the few things that made me pull away in the first place. I might not end up being their best friend, but I always enjoy seeing them, I always want to catch up.

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I blocked all toxic media from my feeds and its almost left them blank: A social media realization.

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The original title for this post was why I left Twitter, but I ended up not leaving it for good. So what have I done? I’ve muted all slurs, all dramatic accounts, all political buzz words, all political accounts, all accounts that spew hate. I deleted them all from my Twitter feed. I downloaded a news app called Smart News to get actual articles instead of hot and angry takes. I had already blocked this all from my Facebook and Tumblr accounts.

And it’s made them completely bare of content. The amount of posts on my feed is alarming. I didn’t realize the amount of negative and toxic hot takes I was taking in a day. It was most of my media intake. I was feeding on toxins. Posts from publications I like have been removed because of muted words. I’ve lost entire accounts. My twitter feed is so dead that I don’t feel the need to check it that often.

So, I did the same thing with my youtube account. I cleared out my watched history and liked videos. I just removed all of the angry and toxic media I was consuming.

And with it gone I find myself wanting to read and create more, because I had to find new things to consume. Trying to find accounts without toxins seems to be impossible on Twitter and Facebook. Instagram and Tumblr I’ve managed fairly well. But it’s had me thinking about what kind of content needs to be put out and along with that what kind of content should we be reading. I’ve talked about this before but the serious lack of that content is becoming disturbing.

We live in a world that thrives on differences, divides, and drama. How do we go about correcting that? How do we counter it in what we’re creating?

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Depression jokes don’t count as healthy coping mechanisms.

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The internet is terrible at normalizing extremely self-deprecating jokes and any type of depression joke. When you criticize them people are quick to call them coping mechanisms, without stopping to think if they are a healthy one or not.

I find myself making them, I made one a week or two ago on Twitter, I liked one on Tumblr two days ago. I’m as guilty as anyone. The thing is, I’m not depressed and haven’t been for a long while. They aren’t a coping mechanism for me, they’re just ingrained in my mind as normal humor and I find myself saying them both out loud and mentally.

It’s not healthy to have the voice in the back of your head scream “this is why you’re going to die alone” when you something annoying. It’s not healthy to have it say “I want to jump off a building” when you embarrass yourself.

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Goals for 2018:

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New year, same me, but I’m hopefully going to make some improvements. I had started a yearly recap post, but I decided to toss it after realizing that all I could seem to say was that this was a year of reflection and painfully slow process. It all needed to happen, though, and somehow I’ve managed to make great strides without much physical movement.

I feel more awake and aware than I have in a long time, so I figure I’ll make some goals for 2018 since I know some of these things need to start happening. I’m not going to call them resolutions, though, because those are supposed to be firm decisions, and I never seem to hold too firm to mine, so here’s to revisiting these every month and realistically trying to keep up with them.

  • More time on hobbies, less time online: Alright, I’ve only talked about this in a dozen posts (x, x, and many more) but I need to seriously cut back on social media and invest it in reading, writing, my horse, photography, friends, even this blog (just less scrolling through dozens of feeds).
  • Read the entire bible: That’s right, the entire thing- in order. The other day I picked it up for the first time in a while and I had one of my faith based questions answered right away, it made me realize how I really hadn’t covered enough of the text and always went back to my “favorite” sections.
  • Be more aware of what I’m eating: I need to be eating less sugar because I have Lyme Disease, but I’ve also recently been added snack foods that have ingredients lists I can pronounce. I realized how many chemicals I’ve been processing on a daily bases, and though I’ll never be a purest, trying to move towards more organic food would be good for me. Especially with snack brands that make it insanely easy.
  • Being a better friend: I’ve gotten so I talk to my friends less, and it wasn’t on purpose! Some of it was being sick, some of it was starting work, but none of it was okay, so I need to get better at being the friend a friend would like to have. (funny- I’ve talked about this one before too. You can tell how good my follow through is.)
  • Read more than 30 books: Last year I wrote over 400 Word pages, but I hardly read a thing. So I’m trying to find a little more of a balance. I’m starting strong, we’re on the second day of 2018 and I finished one of the books I started in December.
  • Finish writing two novels: This shouldn’t be too terrible. I finished one at the very end of November, and I have two that are 80% done, along with one that is in the beginning stages. I’d really like to finish all three of them, but I’m trying not to get too carried away.
  • Wean myself off sleeping pills: I’ve become reliant on sleeping pills to get a good night’s rest. I know what I have to do to pull back- less screen time before bed, a better diet, more exercise- but I haven’t seemed to care enough to do it. So here’s to getting my sleep on, naturally.

So here is to a new year, to a metaphorical clean slate, and here’s to you and what you’ll get done during it.