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25 Things I Like About Myself

Praise hands for my September goals, y’all. I’ve got some time to kill, and logged into my blog dashboard for the first time in… a very long time. ๐Ÿ˜€ and then I just stared at the “Add New,” because there’s a lot going on… but I didn’t even know where to start. I opened up my September Goals and realized that I could get some stuff moving with those goals by working on this blog post.

Every so often I get these moments of really being mad at our society. I’ll flip through magazines and go “ad, ad, ad, article, ad, ad, article, ad, ad, ad, ad, ad, half page article about how to be better…” and it hits me that as women we are CONSTANTLY being told we aren’t enough. Weight loss, makeup, clothing, underwear, vacuums, snacks for kids… it turns out there’s always a better option we’ve been foolish to not pursue.

There are pounds to lose, and even if your pounds have been lost, there’s muscle to gain. Always something that makes our lives better than we’ve been settling for.

I often feel like I’m not enough – not enough for my dreams, not enough for the life I desire. I’m not ___ enough or ____ enough – it never ends.

I’m going to jump off the crazy train for a moment and do something that’s not an easy exercise for me. I’m going to make a list of things I like about myself – and make it public. It feels like it would be easier to just jot it down in my journal, but dang it I am going to be vulnerable.

Also, how absurd is it that making a list of things I like about myself feels more vulnerable than a list of things I DON’T like about myself? Messed the heck up.

 

01. I am open with others and share the story of my life without reservation.
02. If someone asks my feedback, I give an honest response.
03. I have a ย deep desire to see my friends win and succeed at everything they do.
04. I am often braver than I think, though it only comes out when it’s desperately needed.
05. Picking up the tab for coffee or lunch or a moment with my friends is a huge joy of mine.
06. I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is when I believe in some one/thing.
07. Admitting when I’m wrong has become a natural part of my relationships with people.
08. I’m not mesmerized by bigger/newer/better.
09. I possess the weird ability and love for treating lice on children.
10. I’m pretty good at finding ways to save and/or earn money and only keep the ones that are easy and breezy.
11. I can binge watch shows on Netflix like nobody else.
12. I’m a confident driver in many different forms of vehicles.
13. I try to say yes unless I have a real, solid reason to say no.
14. I’m pretty good at doing other people’s dishes and laundry.
15. Doing things by myself doesn’t scare me. Unless it’s new stuff, but that’s a different thing.
16. I have a deep well of Madeleine L’Engle words stored in my heart.
17. I can wait for things I want without growing impatient.
18. More often than not I take responsibility for my own actions/decisions and try to make new decisions and take new actions that will yield better results.
19. I know all the words to Legally Blonde the Musical. I really like that about myself.
20. I’ve been doing a really great job of not biting my nails for the past few months.
21. I can spend all day walking around malls and stores and walk out with no purchases. Window shopping fills me up.
22. Wearing the same outfit for 5 days in a row is a gift of mine. If I find something I love wearing, I just want to keep wearing it. So sue me.
23. I like that I have big financial goals for myself and Justen.
24. Food boredom rarely happens to me; I could eat the same 3 meals for a month straight and not be bothered at all.
25. All things considered, I have good intentions for almost everything I do, whether they’re seen that way or not.

Y’all, this was actually so very difficult. I thought, “no problem, 25 things I like about myself will be a cake walk.” It literally took me over a month – this was originally meant to be posted in AUGUST, but it took me that long to come up with 25 things.

So now I’m going to challenge you guys. I dare you to make a list (publicly or privately) of 25 things you like about yourself and then report back and tell me how the experience was. I expected to have some big grand new affection for myself, but mostly I spent time going “REALLY? I can’t think of ANYTHING?” Let me know what the experience is like for you! ;D

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Leaky ceilings and hurricane perspective.

A few nights ago, we bought a rug. We thought it was this big massive area rug but since we’re the kind of people who don’t look at measurements or anything, it turned out to be a rather…. ย well, medium sized area rug. We decided to move around our furniture (aka our couch and love seat) to see if we could find a better arrangement that would allow for a dining room table (which we still don’t have).

This is a picture of the rug. I saw on Pinterest that this is 100% how you are NOT supposed to put a rug but… idk, sorry Pinterest?

We were sitting on the couch in a new place we hated when I heard some drops.

Let me be honest here. When our old shower is left on the shower option, sometimes it drips. So I thought it was dripping. and I was too lazy to go take care of it so I said “What is that noise?” Justen went to investigate and we discovered that it was a drip; it was the drip from the first rain of fall crack in the ceiling above our bed onto the already soaked bedding underneath it.

Like… soaked. All the way through to the mattress.

We quickly pulled off the bedding and mattress and moved the bed out from underneath the leak. We grabbed our mop bucket and put it under the leak. Justen called the emergency maintenance number and was told we had to wait until the morning and I guess just sleep on the couch. Then we realized there was ANOTHER leak, found something to catch that water, and Justen called again to update them (we’re those people, y’all).

As we were finishing the dinner making process, kind of lamenting about the leak and having to not stay in the apartment we pay for, Justen said “well, at least you’re not having to find another place to stay because a hurricane is coming.” and I said “yeah, or at least we didn’t discover a leak while waiting for a hurricane to pass,” and then we spent some time talking about all of the ways the situation could have been much worse.

One of the best descriptions I’ve ever read about obsessive compulsive disorder is that a person with OCD hears hoof prints and thinks zebras, not horses. Like… OCD gets you to think of the most destructive and often least likely option and will not let you break free of the worry of that .0000024% option. It also feels really good when it’s stuff like a friend not calling you back or if someone says “I need to talk to you.” Literally if someone says “I need to talk to you,” I jump to the conclusion that I have wronged and disappointed them in some way and this meeting is to tell me that I should jump off a cliff. I’ve NEVER had that happen, but I still assume that every. single. time.

It’s easy – and I’ll be the first to admit I’m a pro at this – to enjoy splashing in the puddles of bitterness in our hearts. It’s actually kind of fun, if you think about it. It feels good to remind ourselves of how right we are – how entitled we are to certain reactions and responses – and how wrong other people are. Or, as someone much wiser (Frederick Beuchner) said:

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.

but it never ends well. Dwelling in that bitter puddle just leaves you wet, muddy, cold and miserable. There’s no promise of warmth or hot chocolate or coming in from the cold. It just keeps you out there beyond the quick fun. Or, as FB sums it up:

The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.

I’ve been referencing a dry, tough season I’m going through in this post and this post. I’ve been spiritually empty and it’s been producing side effects of envy, bitterness, and a weird pride. I’ve let monsters dwell in my head and my heart and I needed – more desperately than I even realized – for Justen to put that small, inconvenient leak into perspective.

You’re gonna get out of life what you’re looking for. Jonny Lang has a song called What You’re Looking for, and in it he sings these words that I’m realizing are so much more true than I’ve realized:

If you’re looking for love,ย you’re gonna find it
If you’re looking for faith,ย you’re gonna find it
If you’re looking for hope,ย you’re gonna find it
you’re gonna finally find what you’re looking for

If you’re looking for fear ,ย you’re gonna find it
if you’re looking for trouble,ย you’re gonna find it
if you’re looking for love,ย you’re finally gonna find what you’re looking for

Cause the fact is that’s there’s only one truth
And the only difference is a point of view

Time to go look for the things I want to find.

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WTF, September?!

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I KNOW these posts are supposed to be all like “Hello, September!” and all excited about the smell of pumpkin spice in the air and the chill of fall settling and the flannels whispering my name to get out from the back of my closet but WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK, IT’S ACTUALLY SEPTEMBER TODAY.

and I haven’t posted on my blog in almost an entire month.

crying face emoji

Since the last time I posted, I’ve driven across the country – up to Seattle twice, moved into an apartment, spent 2 weeks babysitting (one away from home, one in a 3 hour commute away), and started processing life without a job.

Nothing major.

I keep thinking I WANT to blog, but then I see a pile of unlisted inventory and think, “oh crap, that’s unearned money right there.” Blogging doesn’t make me actual, consistent money. Selling other people’s trash on Poshmark does.

I’ll make a separate post with my September goals, but honestly I can’t even remember any of my August ones. Life happened super fast this month and I feel like I’m lucky to have made it this far without a negative bank account balance and still getting a solid night’s sleep. Little victories, y’all.

Something cool, though. We currently don’t have a dining table, and until we do… the wall where we eventually will put one makes for really great, easy Poshmark photos. One day I’ll get a lighting kit, but until then…

Looks much better than just laid on top of a white blanket, if you ask me! Also I found all of those things at the GOODWILL OUTLET, NO JOKE. Just saying. Also, if you’ve never used Poshmark, you can use my code (BWCTE) and get $5 off your first purchase on the app! If you’re interested in something from my closet, I’ll hook you up with a discount in addition to the $5 off ;D

I thought, “it would be nice to ease into blogging with a cute little apartment tour,” and then I realized that I still haven’t even unpacked everything and that I should probably do that first, and that’s the point where I put a few things away and then walk down the street to get a coconut mocha.

In other news, on Monday we’re starting Whole 30 because I am in desperate need of a food reset. It’s so weird, after my first Whole 30 I went INSANE. I started eating EVERYTHING. A lot of it was because I had no idea what Whole 30 was really about. I’ve been (slowly) reading It Starts With Food and I recently ordered The Whole 30 and I now have such a deeper appreciation for the heart behind The Whole 30, and I am very excited.

Also we’re having a record heat wave in the Pacific Northwest and if I don’t at least get a mild, healthy tan out of it I’m going to breathe fire. Speaking of sun, why is sunscreen so expensive? Justen and I were at Walgreens and sunscreen is like $10 for a bottle! Which I obviously wasn’t going to pay so instead I spent $22 unnecessary dollars on drugstore beauty products because they had a buy 2 get the 3rd free deal going on. You know me, the poster child for discipline and self-control.ย 

One more thing. Here’s a picture of me from the farmer’s market down the street. I was really pissed at Justen for not knowing how to make me look like an Instagram Celebrity, and then I ended up killing those flowers like 2 days later and I still have no idea how I did that…. any ideas?

RIP perfect Farmer’s Market flowers. You were $15 of temporary fun. Also that shirt was $7 on clearance at H&M. I tried finding the exact one on their site but I couldn’t. So here’s a bunch of other ruffle sleeves from H&M. Some of them are dirt cheap. But that’s coming from a girl who won’t spend $10 on sunscreen but spends $22 on drugstore makeup to get one thing free, so what do I know.

Okay one actual last thing. Anybody here know Taylor Swift? I think she should read the book Boundaries. I’m always kind of lukewarm about my feelings for her, but I’m currently stuck in eye roll mode when she comes up.
I missed y’all. Let’s keep in touch. XO.

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Things I will not be taking to our apartment.

I’m really excited about this, y’all.

Justen and I have found the place we’ll live in after we’re married (AND THEY APPROVED US TO LIVE THERE). Insert that happy crying emoji RIGHT HERE.

I’ve been wanting to find a place that wasn’t cookie cutter. I didn’t want the same cream carpet and beige walls and brown cabinets. I wanted character and charm and something that was different. I’ve been trolling listings for awhile and FREAKED OUT about this one. Justen went to see the apartment, we decided to apply, and then about a week later we found out we’re approved and get the keys right after we get back.

Oh and… I haven’t ever actually seen it. Justen FaceTimed me while he walked through it, and I loved it, but still. My first time seeing the apartment is when I’m bringing stuff into it to move in (I’ll be moving in first).

But y’all. It’s located above an antique store on a cute little downtown street we’ve visited many times before. It has hardwood floors and an exposed brick wall in the kitchen and pretty white doors. I’d show you the pictures but they just don’t seem to do it justice. It’s within walking distance of a $5 theater, a coffee shop that serves Monin coconut syrup, and a bakery with the best nitro cold brew I’ve ever had. AND IT IS ABOVE AN ANTIQUE STORE.

So anyway. When I get home, I’ll be packing my stuff up to move in. and you know what I’m excited about? I’m excited about a blank slate in which to not put a bunch of crap. It’s like the ultimate act of decluttering. Do I take the crap or not?

I’ve already begun to think about what I will not be taking with me to our new home.

6 things i will not be taking to our apartment // just a little bit louder

  • More than 5 bottles of nail polish
    One of my 101 in 1001 items is to get rid of all but 5 bottles of nail polish and not buy any more until I use them all up. This seems like the absolute best time to do this. While there is something really definitively girly about having eighteen zillion shades of pink nail polish, I will never be able to use them up. They will always win. It’s a small victory over clutter and I’m going to claim it.

 

  • Bread and Milk
    If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen the post I made about being ready to do Whole30 in September. A few years ago I was 100% rocking the gluten/dairy-free lifestyle. It was my jam (on gf bread, of course). After my last Whole30, idk what happened. I went food crazy and I’ve been eating all the crap. Having empty cupboards and an empty fridge gives me the opportunity to NOT put things in there. Things like bread and milk and cheese. Instead, I can stock foods that are 100% good to put in my body and not have to worry about it.

 

  • More than 50 pens
    This was also on my 101 in 1001 list – to get rid of all but 50 pens. Justen wrote me a letter earlier this summer and in it mentioned that he didn’t have many pens and would have to get more. I freaked and told him NO WAY JOSE, because I have more pens than I should! Again, it’s that same setting myself up for a small clutter victory thing. Instead of bringing all infinityzillion (made that up) of my pens and then deciding what to keep, I’ll only bring what I’m going to keep.

 

  • Samples
    This is a big one, y’all. Today I was using up a teeny tiny bottle of cleanser I got in a Birchbox a few months ago and I realized that I need to just clean slate the samples. I’ve been trying to be more diligent with using them up, but there’s no way I’ll be able to get this under control. Honestly, I just need to go through and only bring the makeup/products I actually use, and then it will be a joy and not a burden to receive new samples in the mail each month. This one might be hard.

 

  • Trinkets I’ve kept out of sentimentality
    I’m the worst at keeping things because they were gifts. I have a really hard time getting rid of gifts, no matter how small or insignificant. Over the course of my life, I have collected quite the trinket collection. But since this will be Justen’s home too, I don’t want for him to have to be surrounded by tiny clutter-y gifts people have given me over my lifetime. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy taking care of these items and now it’s time to say goodbye to them and move on.
  • Books I’ll probably never read
    Whenever someone offers to loan me a book, I lose my mind. I have so many books, y’all. Books can be so cheap if you buy them at second hand bookstores, garage sales or thrift store 1/2 off days. Like the trinkets, I’ve accumulated a collection of books I’ll probably never read. Instead of bringing them with me to be a constant, daily reminder of how I don’t read as much as I should, I’m just going to put them back into the second hand bookstore, garage sale, thrift store cycle.

I’m sure that as I’m packing things up, I’ll find more things that aren’t worth taking with me – any suggestions? I’ll keep y’all updated. It’s like the biggest, most efficient decluttering ever. Just don’t take stuff. I love it and I’m so excited.

Plus.

This apartment, you guys.

 

I’ll take more pictures once I step into it and see it for myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Water your grass.

Social media is hard.

I’m not talking about the ever changing algorithms, shadow bans, relevant hashtags etc. (though those things are HARD). I’m talking about the whole comparison thing.

There are a few bloggers I hate follow. That’s what I call it. Hate following. These bloggers make my eyes roll from here all around the world. I look at their pictures and judge them and screenshot pictures and text other people judge-y things about them. A few months ago I admitted something about the #1 girl I hate follow. If she said “Stephanie! I’ll be in Portland! Come be my tour guide for the weekend!” I’d drop everything and go hang out with her.

The driving part of my hate following? Envy. Jealousy. Insecurity. I think this girl isn’t anything special, I think I’m nothing special, and yet somehow she is making money by being not special and I’m stuck staring at an “Add New Post” screen, trying to convince myself that any of my blog ideas are worth typing out.

Her income continues to grow. Her following and influence continues to grow.

and I’m sitting here sipping my iced coffee all alone, watching judging her Instagram stories and dreaming about one day making a consistent profit it off my blog. Healthy, right?

I made a goal to read a book of the Bible this month and since I have less than a week later, I decided I should do it. Like right now at this moment. Which meant it had to be a quick “easy” read. Easy in that there weren’t a lot of words, not that it was a light beach read. I decided… eh, how about 1 Peter. Just because I’ve read it but I can’t think of anything it says so that means it will be new to me.

This literally jumped out of the pages at me:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1)

I stopped to think about it. That envy word. I thought of this blog post. I typed in the title and then felt convicted to not get distracted from finishing the book. Then I got to this part, the words of Psalms repeated in the letter from Peter:

“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.”

U.G.H.

Those two parts weighed so heavy on my heart. As I sat thinking about them, all I could think of was the idea of watering my grass. Not literal, but you know. When I sit and sip my iced coffee, cynicism leaking out of my heart, hate following the landscaping on someone else’s yard, you know what happens to mine? IT. DIES. It gets neglected and ugly and looks even less like what I’m wishing it was.

I was reminded of a Bob Goff quote I saved on my phone a few weeks ago:

Bob Goff Quote // stephanieorefice.net

The way to battle this really ugly envy I have growing inside of me is to, like Bob Goff says, be captivated with purpose. Or, as one of my favorite musicians, Jonny Lang, sings:

Jonny Lang Lyric // stephanieorefice.net

Instead of spending all of my energy hate following other people and then finding my creative energy tank run dry when it’s time for me to pour into my own stuff, I need to just patch the hate follow holes in my heart and my soul. It’s crazy how envy can really be the poison of your soul – it’s hard to be excited about anything you do, because you’re always comparing it or wondering if it’s as good or deciding it’s better and then trying to figure out why it has less appeal than someone else’s.

Y’all it feels so good to get this off of my chest. It’s been like a quiet, secret, invisible poison that’s been stifling my creativity and my joy.

Anyway. Social media is hard because I just see all the things and it makes me feel all the things, and a lot of those things aren’t good. I’m going to scroll less and blog more. Double click less and post pics more. Just work on my own thing without worrying about what other people are doing for awhile.

Have you ever felt this? Help me out with ideas of how you’ve combatted it.

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The rearview.

Last year I shared that one of my friends was sick. Before I left for Nashville, she was finally relieved of the cancer. My friend Donna, who has been so important to me, is gone.

I’ve been praying for her to have a baby for 8 years. I have physically (and awkardly tbh) put my hands on her stomach and prayed for her insides. All I can wonder is if the cancer was already growing in her brain at that time, and why would the Holy Spirit lead me to put my hands on her stomach and pray for her if this is what was going to happen.

All of those tears. and prayers. and this is where we’re at. Well, where I’m at.

Donna was my waiting person. While she desired and longed for a baby, I desired and longed for a husband. Thinking about my wedding feels really empty these days. Not my marriage. I’m looking forward to my life with Justen, but when I think about the actual day of my wedding I just feel overwhelmed with sorrow and heartache. Eight years ago, Donna and I met in this Waiting Room of our lives and she’s gone but I’m still sitting here dreading the day I walk towards Justen and turn back and see an empty chair. All in my heart, obviously, but still. There is a huge hole in my heart. and I am not the only one. Donna was so loved, because she was such a wonderful, loving person. Loving Donna and being loved by her has changed my life.

So I dread the day I walk ahead without her.

I committed to praying for Donna so often that I even wrote her name on my rearview mirror. You can imagine how hard the drive was the day I got the news of her tumor, always seeing her name each time I glanced back.

As I’ve been processing and beginning the grieving process (what an awful rollercoaster) I keep thinking about that picture and I had this realization.

Moving forward and stepping forward isn’t just about keeping your eyes glued straight ahead.

We are actually taught that we need to keep our current position in context. Sneak a peek at your side mirrors, watch where you’re going, and check your rearview mirror to see what’s behind you. The stuff behind you is literally a part of moving forward. Donna can’t physically go forward with me anymore. No more out of the blue Facebook messages at the very moment I need them the most. No more walks around camp talking about how much waiting can suck sometimes. No more tears shared between us. No more messages seeing how she’s doing as our camp friends announce the pregnancies she’ll whole-heartedly celebrate. Those things aren’t going to happen again.

But they’re never going to have not happened. They’re never going to be erased from my life, their impact never going to be undone because they’ve ceased happening. I get to glance at them and keep steering forward.

What an absolute treasure it has been to know Donna Parkinson. May all of you know someone so wonderful and cherish them (AND TELL THEM) every single day.

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