Changes…in Routine.

The moment you've all been waiting for…

Yes, this is me NOT starting that "Changes" series like I said I would. Wow, the first day, and already I can't keep up with it.

But maybe what happened to me today ties in with the Changes series more than I think it does. I mean, I had to change my after-work routine today, and that change caused a domino effect in how my afternoon went.

Fasten your seat belts…it's story time. And this story has a few different chapters…

Chapter 1: Road Rage in Reverse

So, most of the time after work, I go to the gym, and then head straight home. Well, I needed to stop by Walmart to pick up some things for dinner and for later in the week, so I went out of my way to do so.

I figured I'd stop at the gas station right in front of Walmart to see if they were selling this drink called Celsius. As I was walking across the parking lot, this blue SUV completely full of people whips in and passes me, and as I'm about to walk right behind it, it starts backing up towards me. My initial thought is that the driver will see me in the rearview mirror and stop. Despite the thought, I start walking a little faster so I can get out of the way.

I don't know if the driver just didn't see me, or what, but he's not slowing down at all. So what do I do? I start running. And the more I run, it seems the faster he's driving in reverse in my direction, as if he was trying to hit me on purpose.

Clearly, I'm sitting here typing this to you, so I escaped unharmed, but I was flustered. The people sitting in the back of the car saw me, and I didn't hear them say a PEEP to the driver about me running away from his driving. After my unsuccessful search for Celsius, I had to walk right by the car and the driver who could have hit me. And I just did what any young person in this day and age does…look down at my phone. No eye contact. Nope.

When I start to pull out of the gas station parking lot, I realize that I'm right behind that blue SUV, and see from their license plate that they're from New York.

I'm just going to leave it at that.

Chapter 2: Conversations with a Cook

So, my game-plan is this: get in Walmart, grab the stuff I need, get out. I don't want to have to spend more time in there than I need to.

I head to the produce area, pick up a few peaches, and am sort of day-dreaming/aimlessly looking to see what kind of vegetables I want to cook for the next couple of weeks, when this voice asks, "Can I help you find something?"

Now, normally when you hear that question, you can safely assume it's a Walmart employee wondering if you're lost and need some help. My assumption was wrong; I look up to see this heavy-set, gray-bearded man with glasses, possibly in his late 30's or early 40's, wearing a canvas bucket hat and yellow vest. I told him I didn't need any help, hoping my shock that he wasn't a Walmart employee wasn't obvious, and instead of saying, "Okay," and walking away like most people would do, this man goes on to tell me about how a Walmart employee helped him find the vegetables he needed for this chicken noodle soup recipe he was making.

And from there, he continued to tell me about several other different recipes he'd made for friends and neighbors, asked me if I'd ever tried to cook certain things, and suggested some recipes I should try for myself and even for the children I look after. This went on for maybe a good fifteen to twenty minutes.

While I was trying to be kind and receptive to what he was saying (the recipes he was sharing did sound good), in the back of my mind, I was really wanting to end the conversation and get out of Walmart. But I mean, this poor man even told me he didn't get out much, and when he did get out, he loved to just talk to people, and I felt sort of obligated to provide him with some good social interaction before he decided to retreat away from people.

I will say, I wasn't as frustrated with this situation as I probably would have been months ago. Sure, I wasn't expecting to have a full-blown twenty minute conversation about cooking with this dude. But there was just something about a stranger wanting to have a conversation with me that made me think about how these days, we don't want to talk to strangers or even have prolonged contact with them unless they are attractive to us in certain ways – appearance, status, significance, etc. We prefer to keep to ourselves, and to focus on our own agenda.

And that's not a bad thing, but when was the last time we sacrificed our time to just listen to a stranger and get to know them a little? As I was listening to this dude, I thought about how cooking was an art to him; he didn't just go by recipes, in fact, he told me that most of the time he was experimental with his cooking, and it fascinated me how he could be so passionate about food, just like I'm so passionate about my words, writing, and speaking.

I was face-to-face with an artist; not the traditional kind by any means. And it was pretty cool.

Chapter 3: "Can I Ask You a Question?"

After saying goodbye to this culinary artist, I rush up and down the aisles to grab the rest of what I need in the grocery section so I can make my final stop in the hygiene department for my contact solution (whoo-hoo, contacts! I'm living the dream, friends. I love them. Seriously.).

I reach the eye care area, and squat down to compare prices for solution, when I hear this voice behind me ask…

"Can I ask you a question?"

Without even looking up, I reply, "Sure, what's up?" And I look to see who it is, and it's this dude with dreadlocks that were tied up in like two ponytails (think of Arnold from Hey Arnold!'s hair, and that's pretty much what it looked like) with his headphones in his ears. Immediately, I recognized him; while I was talking to the cooking dude, I'd seen this guy sort of lurking in the background. I didn't think much of him until I remembered seeing him again in the background of a different aisle I'd gone to with the cooking dude, and even again in a different aisle I'd walked down for something else.

I didn't think much of it until I saw him right there before me, face-to-face, and I already knew what he wanted.

"Do you got a boyfriend?"

It took everything within me to stop a sigh from escaping my lips. I didn't even make eye contact with him when I replied…I just continued looking through all those boxes of bottles of contact solution.

"No."

I should've lied and said that I did have a boyfriend, because I already knew what was coming next…

"Oh, so, can I have your number?"

Me, being the awkward person I am, told him that I wasn't looking for anything like that, and he was like, "Oh so…you just chillin?"

"Yeah, I'm just chillin!"

He proceeded to say that he just thougtht I was pretty and, "ya know, maybe we could just hang out, and I could get your number. You know, as friends." And I proceeded to be awkward and still tell him "no."

He was a good sport about it though; laughed it off and walked away. And I finally made it out of Walmart an hour later, a little stressed that I'd had to deal with a couple of conversations I wasn't really expecting.

But hey, it's content, and I praise God for providing some interesting moments in my life to share with y'all!

I gotta go fold my laundry and sleep LOL.

#MishyWrites 🦋✨

The Divine Zero.

It was the summer of 2015, the summer right before my senior year of college.

This time was initially stressful for me because I felt the pressure of having to get a job, but also the pressure of realizing that this would be my last summer to have “play time.” The summer after my senior year of college, I’d have to have a job, not just to occupy time, but to sustain myself. There would be no more summer breaks after this one. So, I had to make it count.

I was blessed to be able to spend the entire summer with my dad and stepmom, Honey, out in California. And along with the very relaxing days, we did a whole lot of stuff. One of those things being painting at my aunt’s little pottery shop, where we could pick an item like a plate, mug, etc. and paint it. She would then put it in the kiln, and it would come out all glossy looking.

Well, during this time, my favorite alternative, punk rock band, Pierce the Veil released their first single since their last album Collide with the Sky, which was released in 2012. It was titled, “The Divine Zero.”

As soon as I found out they’d released it, I listened to it on YouTube, and right after I listened to it three times or more, I bought it on iTunes. It became one of my go-to songs that summer. So it was that I would decide to paint a mug totally dedicated to “The Divine Zero.”

Part of me thinks there was maybe some sort of contest within Pierce the Veil’s street team that asked or some artwork to promote their new single, but I can’t remember. I do remember working on it though, and being excited to post it on my Instagram, and onto the street team page.

I definitely tried not to let perfectionism get the best of me as I tried to paint the waves (which was definitely one of the hardest parts aside from trying to have a steady hand to paint the lyrics on there), but overall, I had fun doing it. And, of course, I listened to “The Divine Zero” a million times as I painted it to continue the flow of inspiration. By the end of the single’s first week of being released, I would have the lyrics memorized.

As I painted, I remember thinking of the times I’d previously been in my aunt’s paint shop, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get what I was envisioning in my head onto my piece of pottery. I would be on the verge of tears if I couldn’t get it right, disappointed that I couldn’t execute perfectly what my mind wanted to create.

But I remember feeling growth that summer. I was growing out of my perfectionism, embracing the unique way that I could create. And I feel like the increase in maturation that summer (in more ways than just creatively) has truly influenced who I am today as I continue to create with my words, and generally live my life as an adult.

I look at this mug now and I love it for what it is. I put a lot of work into creating it, and I wouldn’t want it to look any other way. I even put my favorite Jaime (pronounced “hi-may”) quote on the bottom! 🙂

 

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

A Deal’s a Deal.

I never shop at the PINK store…unless I’m buying my favorite perfume. Or unless I was with one of my co-workers Jess, who adamantly insisted we stop in. This was one of those times.

As we walked into the store with its trendy music and underwear and work out selections, one of the clerks made us aware of the deal of the day – but $30 worth of merchandise, and you get a free mug. As soon as I heard “free mug,” I knew that I was going to be spending $30 that day. And my friend would make sure that I would too.

Not only did I find my signature scent – PINK’s “Sweet and Flirty” scent – but they were having a deal on the fragrances: buy 3 for $30.

“Look! You can get the free mug if you get three fragrances!” Jess exclaimed.

After much deliberation, sniffing, and spraying, I finally chose three fragrances. My signature scent, one called “Sunkissed” that reminded me of the smell of the beach, and another titled “Cool and Bright.” I was so excited as I walked to the counter, and the woman rung up my purchases.

“So, what color mugs does she get to choose from?” Jess asked the woman.

The woman replied, “Oh, actually, she doesn’t get the free mug. It only applies to purchases that are $30 before tax.”

Jess and I looked at each other confusedly. But…the fragrance deal was 3 for $30, right? I think both of us knew the woman was wrong, but we didn’t feel like arguing the case. The woman, who could see we were a little suspicious and disappointed, tried to make the mug seem less appealing…

“I mean, it’s okay. The mug isn’t even dishwasher safe, you have to hand wash it, and honestly, that’s sort of a deal breaker for me.”

After hearing her say that, Jess agreed, and I smiled, but thought, I hand wash everything anyway, so that doesn’t make me want the mug any less.

I walked out of that PINK store without a mug, with disappointment and a little buyer’s remorse in my heart.

We went to a jewelry store where Jess would pick out her anniversary wedding rings, and we’d eventually meet up with her husband. In some frustration, Jess explained to her husband what happened with the mug, and he said that he’d be willing to go into the PINK store and inquire about it. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, but he and Jess both insisted, and off he went, my PINK shopping bag with my three fragrances in hand. Jess and I went to Great American Cookie for a couple of “double doosies” while we waited for him.

My heart sunk a little when I saw him exiting the store without a mug in his hand. But then he asked, “What color mug would you like?”

I squealed (yes, I really did), and immediately answered, “SILVER PLEASE!” And he walked back into the store, and came back out with a silver mug in a box in my PINK shopping bag, along with my fragrances.

 

Thank you, Uncle Bo and Aunt Jess.

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

#ObjectsTellTales, Mug Edition – The Introduction + Story #1

So, as some of you who follow me know, I recently moved into a new place with two new roommates. Even though it’s been a few days, I’m still trying to unpack things, and put them in their places.

Last night, I offered most of my mug collection to be used among all of us roomies, and as I was unwrapping them and looking at them, I realized that each one had a story to tell – either how I obtained the mug, who gave it to me, why it was given, why I painted certain things on certain mugs, etc. And as I told one of my roommates a story about one of my mugs, I became inspired to do yet another #ObjectsTellTales blog series. It’s been a minute since I did a series, so yay for the first one of 2017!

For those who are new to the whole #ObjectsTellTales series, I’ll explain:

Basically, last summer I realized when I looked at the things I had, like my jewelry or my mugs, I noticed how objects can have a story behind them. And I decided to write up the story for each object. The first and last time I did this, I wrote about the jewelry I had – my rings, necklaces, and I think I wrote about my nose ring.

So yeah. This is just an introduction to what will be happening. Although hmmm…I guess I could write up one of the shorter stories for you guys right now…

Matching Mugs

This mug was given to me by Erin, my Resident Assistant my freshman year of college. It was towards the end of the year, so she was creating a free pile of clothes and other items outside of her dorm room.

If I recall correctly, my roommate and I both went into her room, and she had these mugs she was giving away. They looked identical, but each had a different landscape on them. She gave one to me and one to my roommate, and I feel like before the year was up, we used them at least once to have tea together.

Truthfully, that mug hadn’t been used too often throughout my college years. If I wanted tea, but not too much, it was the perfect size to give me the boost I needed. It just brings me comfort knowing that my roommate (and one of my best friends) has the matching mug. Seeing it and using it takes me back to freshman year of college, and the transitional time it was.

#JustStartWriting #ObjectsTellTales

💙 Mishy 🦋

thoughts from the past 2 days.

I read Psalm 13 yesterday, and it reminded me of myself, and how I felt the last six to seven  months of 2016. In the Psalm, David is crying out to God, asking, “How long, O Lord?” The pain and affliction he felt can be read through his words, and I see my past self within them.

I see myself grasping onto hopes of love that weren’t there. I see myself shackled to my broken feelings. I see myself pining after someone with all the love I could give, expecting to feel loved in return, but being extremely disappointed when that love wasn’t given.

I see myself struggling to let go, despite knowing that I need to. Despite knowing that I”m making my spirit sicker and weaker by not allowing the Lord to handle it.

Verse 2 hit me like a train wreck…

How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Just, wow. This was me for so long.

Lord, please help me write words like David did. Words that can connect with humans emotionally, and bring them to You spiritually.

I remember after doing things my way for the longest time, I believe I finally got to a point that verses 5-6 express:

But I have trusted in Your steadfast Love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Being where I am now, and looking back on those six to seven months, I understand now that I needed to go through that suffering in order for me to recognize my full dependence on the Lord. I pray that verses 5 and 6 in David’s Psalm 13 are my current attitude, and my attitude during the hard days and weeks. Learning to be more aware of how reliant I am on the Lord for everything.

And this morning I read Romans 5 in which verses 3-5 continued the thoughts of yesterday…

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

I think it’s so cool how God reminds us of who we were before, when we struggled with ourselves, with the Enemy, and how much that suffering taught us about ourselves and about Him.

It’s, of course, hard to rejoice in the suffering while we’re in it. But to see what it eventually produces – endurance, character, and hope – it’s beautiful.

I’ll close with a thought from Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest. I feel like it ties together all the thoughts of yesterday and this morning –

Sometimes God puts us through the experience and discipline of darkness to teach us to hear and obey Him.

Honestly, I feel like the call to obey the Lord can’t be made any more clearer to me. Even though as a Christian it’s common knowledge, it’s good to be reminded of where I’ve been, potentially why it happened, what I learned, and the fruit that can be produced from it in my life today.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

#JustStartWriting #TruthPrevails

💙 Mishy 🦋

 

thinking.

I never thought 

My thoughts were

Worthy enough to be

Spoken. 
I was always

Intimidated

By the thoughts of other people.

I refused to think that

My thoughts mattered 

Because I didn’t wanna

Oppose or

Hurt anybody. 

I cared too much about what other people

Thought about my thoughts. 
So I stayed silent. 
But I finally realized how 

Powerful my words were. 

How powerful

My voice is. 

And I broke that silence,

Not to prove to anyone that

My voice was better

Or smarter,

But to prove that

I can think

For myself. 
#JustStartWriting

💙 Mishy 🦋

What I Learned in 2016

Happy New Year to you, dear reader! It’s crazy to believe that 2016 is over, and 2017 has begun.

Okay it’s been a little over a week since 2017 began, but still!

I did make some new year’s resolutions, but it’s funny how they were based off of a lot of things that happened at the end of the 2016 year. And there are some smaller things I want to accomplish that people at the end of 2016 suggested I do in 2017 (like watching Finding Dory for the first time ever WHICH I accomplished literally the first day into the new year!).

As I celebrated with my aunts, uncles, and cousins on New Year’s Eve, there was a moment in which I paused. That sounds cheesy, I know, but I’m so serious. I thought about where I would currently be had some things gone my way this year. I thought about the times I struggled and hurt for longer than I had anticipated, and what that taught me and where it brought me.

Here. Surrounded by friends and family, and probably the most content I’d ever been all year.

I observed my Filipino family having a great time, laughing and smiling. Taking pictures. Setting off fireworks. Enjoying each other’s company. And I thanked God for showing me a new side of family value that I was always missing. I thanked Him for reconnecting me to the people in my life who are always going to be there for me, and who have loved me even when I can’t love myself.

I saw one of my best friends among the mix of family, also having a great time, and realized just how blessed I am to have friends who are just like family to me.

I thought of all the things I hadn’t accomplished in 2016 that I told myself I would. We’re a little over a week into 2017, and to be honest with you, I haven’t done a lot on the writing aspect of things. I can’t tell you how much I’ve mentally kicked myself as I watched Christmas pass, and then New Year’s, and as I tried to settle myself back into my normal routine, there was more fumbling than there was settling. 

But I know I need to shake it off. It’s too easy to get frustrated about my lack of motivation and lack of progress, and to criticize myself for not finishing what I wanted to or being in a place I wanted to be in.

Don’t let anyone fool you – it’s hard out here. I don’t care where you are in life: being single or in a serious relationship, living alone or with a roommate, working several part time jobs or one full-time job, doing what you love or striving to do what you love – life is hard. There are some easy-going, fun moments for sure. But a lot of life is just pushing through, biting the bullet, allowing ourselves to struggle and to get out of our comfort zone so we can learn and become better versions of ourselves.

And that’s another thing I learned in 2016: processtime and having a game plan. Yes, it’s good to just dive into something you love, something that you want to do (I mean, look at how #JustStartWriting began!), but in order to perfect it, grow it, shape it, turn it into a bigger dream that you have? You have to stop and think about it. Plan out steps and have goals. Communicate with people you trust and with people who can help lead you in the right direction, and have them give you advice.

I look back at all the time I spent doing other things other than writing, and I regret none of it. Most of the time I was either spending time with my family or friends or working. And I believe that I needed all of that time to refresh myself and my mind, to gain new perspective, and to realize who and what truly matter to me, and what I’ve been missing this whole time.

There’s a lot to be done in 2017. And as much grief as 2016 gets for being a terrible year, I honestly think it was necessary. I can’t speak for everyone, but 2016 woke me UP. 

In 2016, I said “yes” to a lot of things that intimidated me. Although some of those things didn’t go where I thought they would, some led me to discover other things I love, or things that would grow in ways I never imagined. Those things also helped me learn about myself.

But here are five specific values that showed themselves as important to me in 2016 (in no specific order)…

 

Value #1: Place and Space 

I started doing Instagram posts with the hashtag #comfortingspaces because I noticed how many places brought me a sense of hope or peace. I found solace in every day places, like people’s dorm rooms or homes. And even though I didn’t continue the posts after a certain time, I still learned the value of places like my hometown and its diversity, and how much I missed out on truly loving the place I grew up in.

Currently living in the city I went to college in, I’m learning how to navigate around the different areas better, how to love the areas I frequented while I was in college, and how to embrace the places I hadn’t really known anything about.

…definitely not an expert in the navigating part, but it’s getting better for sure!

Value #2: Time

I don’t even have to express how fast time flies, I’ve said it so much before. I mean, this year is already a little over a week in now, and it feels like it just started yesterday. Time is precious; I’m trying to learn how to stop wishing away time, whether at work or during moments in my life that aren’t the greatest. Because I’ll never get those moments back.

Sure, I’d rather be in my own bed than watching other kids nap in the afternoon, but what can I learn and gain during this time that I so desperately wished was over? I tweeted a week or so ago that “Wishing away time is a waste of time,” and I want to hold onto this fact moving forward in 2017 and beyond.

Value #3: Family and Friendships

The beginning of this blog post should explain it all to you guys. Plus, I’ve already posted a few family-oriented posts about how much I need to focus on my family more, and how I’ve taken them for granted. I’m already trying to figure out how I can continue seeing my family in my spare time, how I can continue to communicate with them instead of just allowing my blog posts or social media to do all the talking. It’s going to be hard, I won’t lie; these days I’ve got a million and one things going through my mind. But I am definitely going to make a strong effort.

And I’m also going to be sure that I invest in all the friendships I have, whether they are near or far. As I said earlier, I have a lot of friends whom I consider family, which is a huge blessing. I want them to know that they are special to me, and that I value being able to call them friends. This could be through time spent or gifts or maybe even a simple text every week asking how they’re doing.

 Value #4: Loving Myself

This has always been a hard thing for me, not because I hate myself, but because I have always placed the value of others above myself. I mean, that’s what I’ve always been taught. Anyone else know the “J. O. Y” acronym? “Jesus, Others, Yourself”? Well, that’s what I go by. And unfortunately, this mindset has cost me a lot in loving myself.

This isn’t to say that placing others before yourself is a completely awful thing to do. As a Christian, I’m called to serve others. But specifically in my case, I take things to the extreme, so much so that I sacrifice my well-being emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally, and I can no longer function in the ways I used to because I’m so concerned about someone else that I care about.

It’s okay to care about people. But it’s also okay to care about myself. It’s not okay to worry or be concerned about others to the point where I can no longer function. I cannot save anyone, and others’ well-being isn’t dependent upon my level of concern. That’s why I must place those concerns on the Lord, and allow Him to work it out and to work things out in my life.

Value #5: Seeking God

Which brings me to this last value. There were so many moments this past year in which I believed I could handle life on my own. I knew that spending time with God, and actively seeking His will were important. But because I am human, there were times I just believed that I could go without doing it for a certain amount of time, and then get back to it.

But that’s not how it works. I can’t be a Christian for some seasons of my life, and then when things seem fine, stop seeking the Lord and doing my own thing. I always cringed when I heard of other Christians being like that, and my pride made me believe that I would never be one of those “lukewarm Christians,” when really, that was and sometimes is exactly who I am. 

I won’t lie, I’m currently in a phase where my spiritual life isn’t the greatest. I know I need to be in the Word daily, and constantly praying, but my motivation has been lacking. I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to get back to it, so if y’all think of me, please pray for me.

But yeah, these are the things that the Lord has made me aware of in my life. I hope that at the beginning of this year, you were able to evaluate last year and reap some of the good things you learned about yourself and your life to take into the new year. And even if you didn’t do this on December 31st or January 1st at midnight, it’s never too late to re-evaluate, and to start making changes now.

With all that being said, I hope to continue blogging every day like I did last year for three months. #JustStartWriting is going to continue, but I am working on re-vamping it and my entire blog this year. I won’t give you a specific time because I want to take my time on this to make it the best it can be, while still providing content for you guys. I just need to keep the writing juices flowing.

Can’t wait to see what 2017 holds for all of you, for #JustStartWriting, and for myself. Love y’all!

#JustStartWriting

❤ Mishy