Tuesday, January 10, 2017

~ Site under construction ~

Dear friends,
To the few of you that actually take the time to stop by, and read this blog, I want to thank you for all keeping up with my little misadventures. 

I'll be relaunching this blog sometime in March 2017. In my quest to be a better writer, and a better blogger, I want to focus on what I can do to get there. 

I'm taking a course on becoming a better blogger, and another course on writing. Somewhere in there, I hope to find a vision for what I hope to accomplish. In the meantime, I will not be posting until then. 

I will continue to post about book reviews, and continue to be a book tour hostess on my website - www.leilatualla.com 

See you all in Spring!

Leila Tualla ~

Monday, January 9, 2017

Getting away without "getting away."

I'm often asked how I could find the time to read. I'm not sure either, but I make the time, somewhere. 

I came up with a system to do chores on certain days. My focus would be just that one particular task, plus playing, painting, teaching, and whatever else Ellie would like to do for the day. For instance, Monday is laundry day. Tuesday, I do bathrooms and mopping the whole house. Wednesday is my 'free day,' which coincides with our 'leftover' dinner menu. Thursday, I change bedding for all three beds, plus baby's crib. Fridays, I vacuum and do a fridge check. The kitchen - dishes and counters - are cleaned on a daily basis. 

Even if we have a play date or an appointment or go out on a field trip, I can still do and finish my one task for the day. 

Some days are better at being scheduled than others. There are days that a baby, and a four year old will wear me out. Tantrums. Teething. Diaper blow outs. 

Those trying days, I try to find my escape route. 

I hand over the fussy baby to the husband. Give my four year old her activity box - mostly consisting of crayons, a safety scissors and some coloring pages, and off she goes with Daddy. 

I'm alone maybe a few minutes. It's heaven when I look at the clock and find an hour had gone by, and the four year old hasn't come looking for me. 

In those precious moments of 'me time,' I can become someone else. I could live out someone else's adventures. I could daring. I could fly on a dragon's back. I could command a room. I could be a vixen.

People. Places. 

It's a thrill. I wonder why so many people aren't readers. But, if reading isn't your cup of tea, please find something. 

Whatever it is that you could do to 'getaway' for a bit. Do it. Its good for your mental health! We all need to take small breaks. This is especially true for us stay at home mamas. Our work is never ending. Our pay is in hugs and kisses.

Here is a few things you could do:

  1. Starbucks! Or any coffee house, actually. Buy a cup of coffee, sit down, listen to music. Have a coffee date with another mama - no kids.        
  2. Take a walk around the block. Clear your head a little bit. BONUS: you're getting a mini work out in too!
  3. Speaking of working out. If you have the time and the motivation. Find a gym. Find a class and move.

If you can actually getaway, please take me with you. I'm a great road trip buddy but terrible at navigation. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Casting my anxiety on Him

Growing up, my parents wanted to know my whereabouts. DAILY. Fair enough, right?

Them: Where are you going?
Me: My friend, so and so's house.
Them: Who is going to be there? Is so and so's parents going to be there? What are you going to do when you get there?

It was me answering twenty questions, while my parents wanted to make sure they always knew what to expect. I didn't understand that growing up and like every teenager, resented the twenty questions. Over time, I learned to get over the resentment but in its place grew something. Because of the constant drilling of always knowing what was going to happen, I took up this habit.

In college, I couldn't just leave my dorm room, unless I knew in my mind where I was heading, who I was going to go see, what would happen, etc, etc. Every class I took, in my head, I came up with scenarios to get me from the first day to the last, never giving me room to deviate. I was craving a need to constantly know routines. I always took the same route to school. I always planned out my outfits for the day, and even prided myself that my Monday through Friday outfits could be switched around for "spontaneity." I have had a planner since 7th or 8th grade. And even if all it said was "math homework due," I carried my planners around me like they were a Bible. This precious used thing.

This seed of needing to know, needing to control everything, would give me anxiety when it never turned out how I planned it. Just because I wanted my day to be a certain way, doesn't mean other people did. I couldn't control the actions of other people around me. I wished they knew what I wanted, and the way I wanted it because then no one would be frustrated.

As much as I hate this part of myself - the anxious part - its the routine of mental preparation of the day that I like about myself. It's a comforting and calming mechanism. I know that that makes ZERO sense, but knowing what you're going to do for the day, the checklists, the routine, the people you'll find, it takes the edge of. I hate guessing games and thus, I'm very straightforward. I hate surprises and as lovely as going on an adventure sounds like.... I would probably freeze up and not move for awhile.

I had my first panic attack when I was 20. I think it was around the time I was sitting in microbiology class, thinking how none of what the professor was saying was interesting, and being overcome "with do I even want to be in here" thoughts.

I'm Asian. We "tend" to do what our parents tell us. My parents paid for my school and told me nursing. That was that. My future was planned. I just had to get myself from point A - college kid - to point B - BSN.

And sitting in that crowded lecture hall at Texas Women's University (TWU), I just knew I couldn't do it. I was stuck. Do I continue to be the good, dutiful daughter or do could I follow my dream? WHATEVER that was.

Suddenly, not even knowing what I'm supposed to do, who I was supposed to be when that was all decided for me, and then not being able to talk to my parents about it, started stressing me out. I sought out a counselor, and did a few sessions but I couldn't even voice outloud what was in my heart.

I felt trapped in my own life.

One of the most wonderful things happened somewhere in that darkness.....I befriended a girl at TWU. She told me to go to Jesus.

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22

In my anxiousness, I needed an anchor.

I needed a focus.

I needed a light.

Over time, I don't use His light nearly as often as I should. I found a bit of comfort in the darkness this summer......and that scared me.

My anxiety is a constant battle....but its my anxiety that also brings me to Him.

It's not that I have less faith or need more of Him. He is my light. My constant.

One day, I'd like to know what it feels like to not have to make a mental checklist, or do a breakdown of the day's even and taking account of any or all deviations. I'd like to know what it feels like to be spontaneous. I'd like to know what its like to not have to mentally prepare for anything. To be surprised and actually like not knowing.

I'd like to know what it feels like to freely love on Christ and not needing to constantly use Him to pull me out of darkness.

....but then who would I be? I like being an Anxious Christian. There's a comfort there that I can't even begin to explain.
I'm a pretty anxious person.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

I choose JOY

I usually know what my hopes are for next year by early December. I remember the mistakes made, the jokes that hit, the friends I needed to catch up with but failed to......I look through the year and try better and hope better for the following year.

I obviously failed my pray more/worry less intentions for 2016. If anything, I became consumed with anxiety.

Ronan being born early was both a highlight that came with unexpected lows. This coming year, I aim to happier. I'm praying that in the midst of what the coming year will bring, I will choose HOPE. I will choose COMMUNITY versus Isolation. PRAYERS versus Anxiety. Let me choose Jesus in 2017 instead of myself. Let me choose JOY for my one word resolution. Joy in all things.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Last day of the month musings

I completely failed NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), or NaNo, as I've discovered is the shorthand version.

I learned a few things about myself during this month; the biggest thing is that I cannot sit down and simply write a memoir about my birth experiences. Every time, I sat down, it brought back some memories that I've either forgotten about or buried somewhere. The emotional rollercoaster I was prepared for, but the realization that I am indeed a Broken Believer.....truly made me stop.

I can't write a journey into faith when my pieces are still all over the place. And where is my faith, anyway? I'm starting to feel like a hypocrite. On the occasions that I did pray, my words seem hollow and contrived.

And where is the truth behind my words?

I truly am a hypocrite. I am a daughter of a king, and I want to shout, "Listen to me! Talk to me! I can't take this anymore. These prayers are nothing but wishes, and you are nothing but a story someone made up to fool the rest of us into thinking there is something more to this life. There is nothing."

And then somewhere in my insanity, I remember, I am a Daughter of a King. "Lord, let Your will be done."

I have decided that what I need is a revival. My soul is broken. My faith, a pendulum. I need focus. I need to stop stress baking, and stress eating, and fix the root of this problem.

I need Jesus. 

I needed Him a few days ago when I couldn't stop the screaming in my head. I need Him tonight when I'm trying to formulate my thoughts. I'm going to need Him tomorrow when I'm not ready to get back up.

On a daily basis, I need Him.

I was just thankful that NaNo falls in November. My favorite month of the year. Yes, I love Christmas and every year I wish the North Pole would explode all over my living room. Oh, but November? November is a time of thankfulness, and the beginning of family togetherness, and traditions. It's the starting line to the holiday cheer. I'm always so grateful for November, and this year, I started to mostly Instagram a daily picture of my gratitude.

Those daily posts calmed me. Even when I was having a terrible day, I knew there was always something to be thankful for.

My memoir will just have to wait. I don't know when, or even if I'll ever be ready, to sit down and finish what I've started. The good news is, I started a story. I'm trying my hand at science fiction/fantasy. It's about a man who has to find 1 of 5 lost stones to save his planet before people from an unknown universe destroys the known universe. More or less.

The bad news is, I need to do a lot of digging and learning, and this could take a while. For research purposes, I am going to pour over Lewis and Tolkien. Fantasy authors who have woven faith and Christianity into their stories. I'll throw in Battlestar Galactica too because, why not?

My hope is that somewhere in this man's quest, I will find some pieces of myself. It's always startling to me to have written something, and in rereading it, I find answers to a question I didn't know I was asking. God speaks. I just don't listen. When I write with all the emotions, and want, and my whole heart is begging........I know for a fact that there are words and sentences that I can't piece together without Divine Intervention. God has a way to get to our stubbornness.

I don't quite yet know how the story begins, but I know there will be a happy ending in mine.

Grateful November:
  1. Coffee
  2. Food that delivers
  3. Quiet time
  4. Answered prayers
  5. Parenthood
  6. My small nook 
  7. Voting
  8. being a child of God
  9. Acts of kindness
  10. Sisters
  11. Veterans
  12. My husband
  13. Christmas magic in my children
  14. Mommy friends
  15. Amazon
  16. different views of how we pray
  17. NICU doctors, nurses, and staff. World Prematurity Awareness Day
  18. Ronan
  19. gearing up for Christmas
  20. Views of pine, and oak trees
  21. Cousins
  22. Country weather
  23. Tamale making time with Abuelita
  25. our first home
  26. (missed this day completely)
  27. Being home
  28. Full fridge, a roof over my head, and love within these walls. 
  29. Thankful for #givingTuesday
  30. Today, I am thankful for the realization that I am a work in progress, and that no matter how many times, I've wandered in my self imposed desert and shut Him and the people I love out, God isn't finished with me yet. I am a child of God. I am a daughter of the one true King.