Month: July 2017

what are you curious about?

I consider myself a passionate person. I have lots of opinions and get fired up easily. I tend towards extremes and express an expansive range of emotions on a daily basis.

Living your passion can be quite lovely. But if you can’t identify it, if you can’t identify yourself, or if you just don’t have the energy — living your passion can also be intimidating and burdensome.

I can confidently recognize activities and causes about which I care a great deal, but my life is not stripped of direction if I am not constantly engaged in them. In fact, in this season, I would prefer to not be preoccupied by passion. It sounds heavy and exhausting.

Lately, instead of: “What are you passionate about?” I prefer a question that’s more sustainable for my everyday life: “What are you curious about?”

Passion asks, “For what cause will you die? What keeps your soul awake at night? What battle will you fight until the very end?”

Curiosity asks, “What are you interested in right now? Maybe not tomorrow, but just in this moment?”

I learn a lot from watching my one-year-old discover the world. He may hate blackberries for the next month, but in this moment, he loves them and wants to devour a dozen all at once. I want to embrace life with such eagerness, and not worry if things will change tomorrow — because inevitably they will.

My toddler doesn’t need to submit to one life path now (or ever). If Atlas develops a clear passion, he will go after it, for is that not what a passion is — an extravagant conviction that compels you to follow? I want to foster his interests, but I don’t want him to be overwhelmed by the pressure to commit to them, as I felt for years.

I used to be obsessed with purpose, obsessed with passion. I wanted so badly to live right, with unwavering zeal and determination. But out of fear and disconnection with myself, I hardly lived at all.

Now, I am motivated less by ambition, and more by gratitude and wonder. I am not naturally a curious person, but staying in this moment — not tomorrow, but just in this moment — is exactly what I need.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts! Are you living your passion? How did you identify it? What motivates you? What are you curious about today? What reflective question is most helpful to you in this season?


Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

Photo credit: Taryn Kimberly Photography

 

differences between my first & second pregnancies

A lot of moms are more easygoing during their second pregnancies, but I was pretty laid-back the first time around. I didn’t follow any rules about what I shouldn’t eat, drink, or do. I listened to my body and practiced headstands well into my third trimester. I felt confident and strong and looked forward to an empowering birth experience.

This time, I feel more protective. This past winter, we lived in a basement without much privacy, without a real bedroom or a door to separate our space. I had a threatened miscarriage, which increased my feeling of vulnerability. I’ve gained more than the “recommended” weight and feel big and mama bear-like, ready to fight for my babies.

Every pregnancy is different because every relationship is different.

I’m not sure what is true about being pregnant with boys versus girls, but I know my relationship with Phoebe is different than my relationship with Atlas, and so her time in the womb is different as well. She sits lower, as most subsequent babies do, and stretches more than she kicks. Perhaps she’s already practicing yoga poses?

My relationship with myself is also different than it was in 2015. My first pregnancy taught me a lot about connecting with myself and being present, but this pregnancy shows me I still have a lot to learn. I’m not a fearful person, but the past few months I’ve felt frustrated with my body and anxious about the future.

It’s easier for me to be hopeful when lack of experience leaves room for any possibility.

With my first pregnancy, I had heard of pain-free and orgasmic births, and I believed anything was possible. Intellectually, I still believe anything could happen, but experientially, I know birth and postpartum can be hard and indeed very painful. Dealing with eczema again when I thought I was healed makes me wonder if I can trust my body.

I know my body is more prepared to birth a human this second time and it remembers what to do, but in many ways, my heart and mind are not as ready. I have to make a conscious effort to choose peace instead of stress, to choose to live in the “now” instead of jumping ahead to next week or next month.

In some ways, I am giving birth to myself.

In my last post, I wrote about becoming new. With Phoebe’s birth, I will become a new mom, again, but I feel like she is also a retelling of my own story. My birthday and her due date are just a few days apart. Thinking of her brings up thoughts of my relationship with my own mother, and all the emotions that come with it.

Though this won’t be as drastic a transformation from maidenhood to motherhood, it is still a big change from one child to two, from three family members to four, from just my boys to my boys and my girl. This pregnancy, I’m more cognizant of how nesting is not only preparing a place for a new baby, it is also preparing a place for a new me.

Noah says, “There’s always room for more love.” And so, in our hearts, and in our home, we make room.

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I would love to hear how your pregnancies and birth stories differed! As well as any tips on how to parent two under two :)

 

once upon a time, i hated my wedding

I believe history can be rewritten.

For a long time, my wedding was not a happy memory for me. Besides the fact that my father was not invited, my sister was in Taiwan, and my mother refused to attend, it wasn’t my style. If I had really known myself back then, I would have admitted it was not the kind of wedding I wanted. I’m not extravagant, but I do like to celebrate. I like parties and people and photos and public displays of merriment.

For a long time, I didn’t want to share our story. I was hurt and angry, so I told a story of hurt and anger. We never dated, we had a small, simple wedding, and then we were married. We postponed our honeymoon to start our life together. And there we were: married, poor, boring. The plan was to stay married forever. End of story. End of adventure.

But now I see it was just the beginning.

I travel less than I did when I was single, but travel is not the only kind of adventure. Love may not always be exotic and glamorous, but there is still excitement and risk when your heart is on the line. There is mystery in vulnerability and intimacy, and there is power and freedom when your heart is held with care. Five years ago, I gave my heart to Noah, and he has kept it well.

When I have a new perspective, I have a new story.

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Now when I look back on our wedding, I no longer feel hurt or angry. I feel thankful and nostalgic.

That was the day everything was new. My family was not there, but I was creating a new family. That was the day I chose love above everything else. I decided love was more important than my post-grad opportunities, more important than money, more important than a career. That was the day I started to become myself, because I finally felt safe to take down my walls. That was the day I stopped running from my pain, my insecurity, my fear. That was the day I chose home.

When I embrace the past, I allow it to bless me in the present.

We started talking on Skype. We had a long-distance friendship across 12 time zones. We were both intense, strong-willed, and a little aggressive. We were intent upon the best that life could offer and saw that life in one another. We chose each other and got married and keep choosing each other every day. We learn more about ourselves and who we want to be, we learn more about each other, and we keep falling in love.

I love our story.

I love how we choose what is right for us and follow how we believe God is leading, even when it seems crazy. I love how we prioritize relationships and community. I love how I am more attracted to Noah the longer I know him. I love how honor and unity have strengthened us in every way. I love how we support each other’s dreams, and that’s what makes them come true.

I love how each season has a new beginning.

Anniversaries are new milestones of old events. This year, it falls during my 38th week of pregnancy, on the eve of another new adventure. Phoebe is a product of our love and a reminder of how we can become new again and again. Our family can become new. I can become a new mother. We can tell new stories of old memories that have not changed — but with fresh eyes, the past can become new.

It is in reminiscing that we keep alive what time inevitably dissolves. And so our love grows and we fall in love again and again.

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