On being overdue

I’m still pregnant.

My due date, March 25th, came and passed rather uneventfully much to my dismay.

I never ever once even considered that I would be overdue.  I had always assumed that I would give birth to my daughter earlier than her due date.  After all, I was born early.  Why wouldn’t she?

Apparently, she is quite comfortable in her home and more than a little unwilling to leave, though she is beginning to run out of space.  Her latest hobby is punching my cervix, resulting in sharp twinges of pain that make me flinch.  Though I have long since given up on wondering whether or not every contraction is the beginning of early labor or just Braxton Hicks, I do have a small (and ever diminishing) hope that I will spontaneously go into labor and not have to be induced next week.  Only time will tell.  Until then, I am attempting to not be too discouraged about still being pregnant and distracting myself with the company of friends.  I must admit, having time off of work and seeing people that I love isn’t such a bad thing; in fact, it is rather delightful.

 

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What is important?

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I often worry about priorities and what is important in life.  I make to-do lists; I get frustrated with myself when I don’t accomplish what I have deemed to be reasonable (and usually isn’t); I worry about little, minute details of life; I stress about almost everything.  What does all that worry and stress and driven perfectionism accomplish?  Do I actually think that I am always doing what is important?

No.

In fact, I often feel like I have wasted my days.  For instance, I spent almost three hours in Target this morning agonizing over the purchase of some baby clothes.  Three hours!  Are those clothes that important?  Definitely not.  But I certainly acted like they were.  I spent 1/8 of my day worrying about them.  I made them that important rather than focusing on things that are truly important (not the fifty-six cents I saved by using my 10% off coupon and carefully selecting the ideal baby dress).

However, rather than beat myself up about it any more than I already have, I found this quote.

This helped me realize that while I consciously have decided that I waste time stressing and worrying and being a perfectionist, I unconsciously have decided that those activities are important because I spend my life doing them.  However, this is something that I want to change.  I want to relax and be more flexible and spontaneous.  And I want to enjoy my life more, after all, I am exchanging part of my life for everything that I do, so I should make it worthwhile.

Irish Cream Italian Sodas

I love Irish Cream Italian Sodas.  They were one of my favorite beverages at the local coffee shop, Grounds for Thought, in my college town.  Since moving to Portland, I had yet to find an Irish Cream Italian Soda (though I did stumble upon some delicious Raspberry Italian Sodas) until I was at Bipartisan Cafe a few days ago.  Simply delightful!

What do I enjoy?

Recently, I have found myself wondering what I really enjoy doing.  I have so many expectations for myself, activities I should try, places I should go, foods I should cook with, etc.  And while I do enjoy trying new things and pushing myself outside of my comfort zones, I think it is also important for me to simply enjoy life sometimes, which raises one question.

What do I enjoy?

For a while, I think that I lost sight of the little things in life I do enjoy because I was so focused on trying new things or working or just getting through and surviving.  So I’ve both spent time thinking about what I enjoy and asked a dear friend who has known me for years to remind me what activities bring me delight and joy.  To be honest, once I thought about it, the following list was not surprising since these are activities that I have enjoyed for a good long time.

  1. Exploring and traveling – I genuinely love to wander around and discover new places, which is probably why I love to travel.  I have yet to travel the world, but I hope to one day.
  2. Playing the piano – I began playing the piano when I was six and was even a piano performance major prior to injuring my wrist in college.  Playing the piano is one way that I express myself, a comfort that I can always turn to.
  3. Listening to music – Along with playing music, I love listening to music, analyzing it, or just enjoying the moods it evokes.  I love my tried and true favorite artists, but I also love learning about new artists and expanding my musical horizons.
  4. Writing – Though I am afraid of failing and therefore don’t write or blog as often as I should, I find writing to be very therapeutic and simply delightful.  Once I injured my wrist, I began to use writing as an outlet to express myself and my thoughts, even if it is simply in my journal.
  5. Reading – My punishment as a child used to be that I was forbidden from reading.  From an early age, my mother instilled a love of reading that I still maintain.  I was an English Literature major post wrist injury solely because I love to read.  I now try to read at least one new book a week.
  6. Taking pictures – Though I’m definitely the most amateur photographer ever, I find great delight in taking pictures of random objects in my life.  My most favorite way to take pictures is to just take my camera with me on a walk or exploration and photograph what I find to be interesting.
  7. Planning and organizing – I’m an organizational freak.  Organizing and planning soothes my soul.  When I’m upset, I’ll often organize; my thoughts sort themselves out as I physically sort through and organize whatever happens to be lying around.  The ability to organize and carry out a plan is so refreshing.  I love to plan, even though I know my plans will always change.  At least I figured out the puzzle of the plan and understand its components first.
  8. Cooking – This hobby is more recent than most, but I have really enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes.  I like to play with flavors and think of new recipes, as well as being able to cook a delicious meal when I’m just craving homecooked goodness.
  9. Baking – Though I don’t typically have a major sweet tooth (pregnancy has changed that a little), I enjoy baking.  Being able to create a good scone to go with my morning coffee or pie or cake for a friends’ birthday is just amazing.
  10. Conversing with friends – What can I say?  I love a good conversation with people I love.

While I will definitely continue to push myself to try new things, I think I am going to try to make time to devote to the hobbies and activities I know I love.  So far, I have greatly enjoyed playing music while I’m home cooking or cleaning or reading.  I’ve spent more time in coffee shops talking with friends, reading, and writing.  It’s been good.

What do you enjoy?

Priorities

Goals, life changes, to-do lists, and the like are all fine and dandy.  I frequently make goals, plans to change my life, and long lists of things I need to do.  I like to be organized and efficient.  But sometimes, I forget to prioritize.  I get so caught up accomplishing in my lists and achieving my goals and life changes that I forget to focus on what is truly important in life.

Recently what is important in my life has changed.  I’m 30 weeks pregnant, so rest and my health are more important now than ever.  My relationships with both my husband and my friends, the community I’m establishing, are also important.  Crossing every item off my list isn’t important.  Why do I focus so much of my attention and energy on things that don’t matter?  Why don’t I just accept who I am and where I am in life and enjoy it?

I have limitations now that I didn’t have before due to pregnancy.  Life will change.  I’ll be able to physically due more things once I recover from labor.  I have relationships to develop and maintain. My priorities must be different now than they were when I was single or living in China or just newly arrived in Portland.  With every major life change, priorities will change.  I will change.  And that is good… as long as I always recognize what my proper priorities are.

Resolved

Though I am a day late, I thought I would share my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 with you all.  Without further ado…

I am resolved…

… to get into better shape by maintaining a daily pilates or yoga practice five days a week and by walking at least four days a week.

… to read the Word of God daily.  My friend Megan and I are following a combination Old Testament and New Testament plan together.  I think (rather, I know) that the accountability will be motivating and humbling.

… to read two books a week.  Since graduating, I have sadly neglected to read as much as I should, though I do still love to read.  Any suggestions are welcome. 🙂

… to post at least weekly.  This resolution is a bit undefined at the moment since I am still attempting to realize which of the many blogs I have I should focus on and how many I can reasonably maintain.  I love this blog too much to give it up entirely, so I will probably use it to post random, personal thoughts rather than have a specific purpose… at least for now.  I’ll update you on my other blog projects as they develop.

… to listen to music daily.  Somehow, I have fallen out of my old habit of listening to music all the time.  I blame a previous addiction to TV.  However, since I am no longer watching TV and rarely watching movies (combined with the fact that I love music and hate silence), I have determined to listen to music daily while I walk, work around my house, or sit in a coffee shop writing.

… to try one new recipe or cooking idea each week.  These attempts will be blogged about over at cupcakescoffeeandcoconut.wordpress.com.  I’m excited to see what I discover!

In contrast with previous years, I have not resolved to embark on major changes, rather just to be dedicated to what I am already working on.  If I happen to learn Italian or take more pictures, then so be it.  But for now, I’m just going to live my life with more focus and intention.

What do I want to do?

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What do I want to do?  That is a question I ask myself often.  You see, I graduated with a B.A. in English in May 2010.  Did I get a job in my field?  Yes, but only for a brief time as an English as a Second Language Teacher in China.  Then I moved to Portland and began working as a barista.  So despite the fact that I have a bachelors, I make minimum wage in a physically demanding job that involves people yelling at me and being rude.

However, I know that is where I am supposed to be, simply because I am there.  If God wanted me to be somewhere else, I would be.  For a long while I disliked and kind of resented my job.  I felt like I had regressed; most of my coworkers are still pursuing degrees and/or interests and are years younger than I am.  So what was I doing there?

I was learning humility.  I was learning to be content.  I was learning to be real and deal with my own issues and personal limitations.  I was learning how to approach those in authority and ask for help.  When I finally asked God to show me all that I had to learn while I work as a barista, He showed me.  Now I am content to be where I am, learning what I can.  Who knows how valuable this experience could be later in life?

However, I do know that I don’t want to be a barista forever.  I want to be a writer.  So I must write.  I am contemplating the idea of going back to grad school for communication with an emphasis on writing to help me in this area.  We shall see what happens with that, since the programs I love are too far away at the moment.  I also want to be a godly, loving wife and eventually a mother.  And I definitely want to live abroad again, preferably in several different countries (obviously not at the same time!).  Most of all, I want to be live a vibrant, engaging life.  I don’t want to be withdrawn and apathetic.  I want to be alive and thrive.  With God’s help, I will do just that!