Monday, December 12, 2016

Ridiculosity Report: December 2016

Post originally published by Jennifer X on Born Jennius, 12 December 2016. 

A long, sometimes rambly post on updates and such that I would like to share. I started on this post back in September. That’s right.

Did you know? It’s December! There’s an update for me.

I’m gonna get this up, I’m gonna get this up, I’m gonna get this up….
Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst – I might post a standalone piece with more detailed thoughts on the book later. For now, I’ll say that I had high anticipation (something I rarely allow myself) for the contents of this book and it did not deliver. Even setting aside my expectations, I think it misses a great opportunity to encourage hurt people to heal through the power of the gospel of Christ. I’m working on learning how to be more discerning about spiritual matters and how to speak about such things well, but I’m not in that position currently; Terkeurst has a good heart to want to help people through sharing her experiences. My take on the book was that it treads near the surface while trying to address deep pain.

If you’re a Christian whom has been hurt through ministry experience (or anything really) and you’re not sure where to go from there, may I recommend this video [Caleb Kaltenbach: When MinistryPunches You – Talbot Chapel] as something with the potential to help you process and move forward with the call that God has placed on you. As I try to process my own pain, I’ll do my best to share how I’m doing with it and what has been useful and helpful for me. With this video, I think it addresses a certain kind of pain experience (not exactly the same one Terkeurst looks at), gives good insight as to what the Bible has to say about it (I think helpful for many situations), and helps point one in a healing direction. I hope that someone finds this helpful.

Tactics by Greg Koukl – I finished this book earlier in the year, so it’s not as fresh in my mind but I also have been listening to Koukl for some time through YouTube videos and the podcast that he hosts through the organization he helped start, Stand to Reason. I became a Strategic Partner with them at the beginning of the year because I believe in and support their mission; my contribution is small at the moment but I look forward to giving more in the future as they carry on. Much of what he talks about on the podcast and his talks are in the book, about his years of experience in engaging people in thoughtful conversation. He lays out a plan and purpose for how to go about conversations, especially over subjects with which the parties disagree, in a respectful manner. It also helps one to soundly think through the beliefs that one holds.
STR sent this music out to their Strategic Partners - sweet!
I'm enjoying it.
I don’t get into a lot of conversations with people, yet I believe I am better equipped to encounter others than I was before. I’m going to need a lot of practice with these tactics still, but I’m not as apprehensive about such situations as I was. We’ll see.

 The lettering came out extra funky, so I didn't decorate it more.

Bullet Journal
– I know, I keep mentioning it and I haven’t posted a more informational piece about it and my experiences yet. The information is out there, so if I don’t get around to my personal piece about it, here are some helpful links:

I didn’t use it that much at all in September – that’s more about what’s been going on in my life and my nature rather than the usefulness of the system, which I think is very useful. I’ve set it up for this month. What I wanted to share is that I did track my Bible read-through using the Bullet Journal and I did not miss a day. Each day in September, I read passages in the Bible. It’s a discipline that I have been building up for years, with a long way to go still, but I thought that was cool to have achieved and recorded. I’ve already missed a day in October but I’m still going.

If you are interested in trying out the bullet journal system, I’ll share some quick thoughts for you. If you look up blogs and videos on it, you’ll find that people use it in a variety of ways – no two people use it exactly alike – because it is such a flexible system. I’d say, start with the basic system as outlined in the “How to Bullet Journal” video. After a month or two, you’ll already start to get a sense of what will be useful to you or not and then you can start adjusting the system for what you need. Mistakes are okay, just keep going and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.

Makeup Posts – Last month (in September), I posted only the Week’s Peeks. I missed posting the August and September Beauty Reports. I’m still into makeup. I think I’ve just been dealing with other stuff, and writing for the BRs didn’t interest me, I’ve been using a lot of the same products as before, wearing a lot of the same brown neutral looks as before, even if I changed up products…. I’ve been having skin issues as well, so I didn’t want to do swatches to put up more inventory posts. I will likely post more makeup pieces in the future but for now, I’m giving it a general rest.
Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze
Quick thoughts – I finished up the Pixi Glow Mask: it’s okay but I did not enjoy it, I’ve liked others more. I’m giving up the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze: it’s at the point where it is dried up and beyond worth reviving any further, it was a good run. I have others to use. I really like the Nature Republic Aqua Sun Gel (SPF50+/ PA+++): it was a birthday present from Big Bro’s GF some time ago, it works as far as I can tell, and under makeup, I can’t tell when it’s about to run out though but probably soon and I plan on purchasing another one when it does run out. [Note, 1 December 2016: I did pick up another Aqua Sun Gel].

And I am still buying makeup. This face palette from Kevyn Aucoin is fantastic! I picked it up during the recent Sephora VIB sale because I’ve had the sculpting powder on my wishlist for at least a year. I am not disappointed. I’ve been using it for at least the last couple of weeks or so. The palette is limited edition, with the sculpting powder in Medium, highlight in Starlight, bronze powder in Desert Nights, and blush in Aurora. A full-size KA sculpting powder is 3 g; all four of these powders in the palette are 3 g each, for the price of about $2 more than the sculpting powder on its own (because of the VIB sale). WHAT?! If you’re interested in trying out any of these powders, I would buy this palette soon [Note, 10 December 2016: it’s currently on sale for less than what I paid for it with the discount - even better deal!].

Finances – I have been trying out ReadyForZero as another tool to help me with my finances. For a long time, I felt unable to manage my finances for several reasons but in the last few years, I’ve slowly taken more control of it. I wish I had started to manage my finances earlier, but it’s tough to do when one doesn’t have a steady income.

What I like about RFZ is that one can set goals, see progress through several means, set reminders… pretty much a lot of ways to help one pay down debt. And, it’s free! I mean, free stuff is great but on top of that, being charged for something that’s supposed to help one pay down debt doesn’t make much sense, and while free sometimes has other agendas, I haven’t had an issue with RFZ.

The other day, I got an email from RFZ, congratulating me for reaching a milestone – I have paid down a little over 25% (from when I started using RFZ) off of a student loan – yay! Granted, that SL was already at a low principle, but it feels good to hit those marks. I’m encouraged to continue and to make further adjustments in my money habits to possibly see it go down quicker.

Aside from RFZ, I hit a personal financial milestone, bigger to me than the SL one. However, I’d rather not go into detail with it here but wanted to mark this occasion for myself as a future reminder and encouragement to carry on.

Since starting work again about a year and a half ago, I’ve been working on building up savings; it has been going well so far. I haven’t officially tithed yet, but I’m also keeping track of that amount because it’s something I intend to do someday when I re-church, as a personal responsibility (it’s not something I have to do but I want to) – I am incredibly grateful to have a job and God has blessed me immensely.

[Note, 6 November 2016: Wouldn’t you know it – I was telling my friend just this week about how I’ve been doing well with finances and how RFZ has been helping when two days later I got an email saying that RFZ will be closing down its site. It seems like they are going to keep up with their blog though. Now to find another site that’ll work for what I want….]
The Week’s Peeks – I have pictures backed up for miles! I am going to attempt to get caught up with them all. I’m thinking I might do a full week WP blitz. We’ll see. I don’t know if that’s enough, might be two weeks. Ugh.

I don’t know how exciting it would be. I’ve been taking mostly shots of the sky. It’s been awesome display after awesome display of God’s glory.
Skin-sider Update – I thought I would update about my skin woes in an upcoming Healthy Go post, but who knows when I’ll get around to that. The current situation is that I have been to see the doctor and have received some medicine to help my skin heal some. The medicines have helped mostly but there are still setbacks occurring. It’s kind of frustrating, yet I am so grateful that my hands are better than they were a couple months ago. I seriously think that there is something about the water or soap at work or maybe something I eat or drink on workdays that is irritating my hands, because when I have a long weekend off, my hands are better with no new breaks in the skin while new breaks tend to happen when I’m back at work. I’m still trying to figure it out exactly so that I can possibly avoid more skin breaks. It is so weird.
Lowlights – emotionally, I am quite low. Let me try to illustrate: imagine a baseline. If there was a universal baseline for the emotional component of any human being’s life, for the sake of illustration say 1-100. For most, baseline would be at 50. My baseline is like a 35. Say that most people live within a range of 40-70, with occasional peaks of up to 90, maybe even 99. I live within a range of 30-40; this is what feels normal for me, what would be the indication of stability, of an “okay-ness” to me.

For many reasons and in some areas of life, I am currently around 17 with spike anomalies up to about 40. Mind you, this is still subjective. I am not used to such fluctuations.

I don’t want anyone to worry though. The way I see it is that… this is life. We all have our struggles. On the one hand, the struggle is what makes life worth it and has great immeasurable potential… goodness. In that respect, I welcome challenge and difficulty. On the other hand, IT SUCKS. It sucks to be in it. If all that doesn’t relieve you of worry, many years ago I did a thought exercise on suicide and the conclusion is that my life belongs to God and my responsibility is to live – does that help?

I get it, I am a living conundrum. I have often said that being uncomfortable is my comfort zone. My dad just says that I’m stubborn. Others might say ridiculous or crazy. Cool.
I’m okay, guys. I’m struggling, but God willing that I go through it. We all struggle with life and stuff. There is good reason to believe that God exists and that one can trust Him. I wish I were a better model of it – I’m trying.

IN THE END – 10 December 2016:
I am gonna get this posted! Ugh. I take breaks from everything every so often, but I didn’t plan on not posting these last couple of months. Nothing was really wrong, and it wasn’t because I was having periods of lowness either. I just… stopped posting and couldn’t get started again.

Thank you very much for staying with me or coming back. I really appreciate it. Check out the links below if you like; they’re other ways of staying in touch if it ever seems like I’m going media silent again, which is likely. 

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