it is only a snapshot, not necessarily reality

The word ‘snapshot’ came to me a few weeks ago after a new mommy friend shared with me her observations of Zane being quiet, shy, and close (distance-vise) to me. At first I brushed it off saying in due time, the real Zane will surface, which is an active, boundary-testing, firm in his wants, strong-willed, and independent toddler. Well, we’ve had many play dates since then and Zane has yet to become his true self to them. It got to the point where I felt like I was making up my trials to my new friend and erroneously saying Zane was similar to her child, who quickly became herself with us on day one. After concluding (again) that Zane takes his sweet time to warm up to people, anyone who meets him for the first time (and possibly many times afterwards), will only know him based on the snapshot he offers them. This made me think. Throughout our day and through many encounters, we only see a snapshot of something or someone. And yet it’s easy to assume it’s reality. Following are two examples to better illustrate my reflections. Snapshot of parenting: If I see a mother of three interact with her children with grace, patience, and love, I can easily think she’s got it together and desire to have those characteristics in which I fall short daily. What I need to remember is that I’m viewing a snapshot moment. She may embody those beautiful qualities and act that way all the time, or I may have caught her in a good moment that day, or she could be putting on a show to look good. Who knows? I should view the moment for what it was and not make any judgments about it. The second example has to do with couples. Couples (us included) can be really good at fabricating the snapshot they allow others to see. Just because a couple looks happy and non-combative as dinner guests does not mean that is how they are when others are not around. I have come across so many couples who have joined us for a first double date with Daniel and I following a fight, and if it weren’t for my sensitivity to people’s nonverbals and emotions, I would’ve assumed they were doing “good” and always a cheerful, loving couple. In these cases, the couples intentionally acted a certain way during the dinner date so that the snapshot we observed was different to their reality.

This realization of snapshots reminded me that I never know someone’s reality, even when I know the person well. I cannot make my judgments or give opinions based on the snapshots I see because snapshots can be tweaked by the person/ people involved.

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mixing the old with the new

Tomorrow marks six weeks here. I’d like to think we are adapting well here. Although we didn’t have to learn a new language or move to a developing country, adaptation still needs to happen, especially making this our new home. Many people ask us what we miss, and although we are forward looking people, we do miss our low cost stores in the States and how we could dry clean slacks for $5 instead of $13 here! Despite what we miss (aside from our friends), there’s so much more here. It is a very family friendly city and beautiful recreational areas are free! We also live five minutes driving from the beach! With all this said, it has been essential to me that I’ve needed to bring over my “old” (aka previous stuff and values) to my new home to help my adapting process. Since I’ve been bullet pointing everything lately, I might as well continue in this post.

A. Beauty supply: I brought over my make-up (two lots each), professional shampoo and conditional, and face wash so that my face and hair didn’t have a shock if I had to try out new products (or buy them at a high cost) in a new country.

B. Clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories: I can only nicely fit into specific sizes that a few stores carry. Therefore I went on a shopping spree for clothes I knew I’d wear a lot here (shorts, tees) so that at least I can feel comfortable and cute with what I brought over. I did the same with shoes. Handbags and accessories are an added bonus because I grabbed the items when they were on sale. ☺

C. Zane’s shoes and toddler products: I grabbed shoes for him in incremental sizes at deep discount prices and shipped them over knowing I don’t need to search for cheap quality shoes for awhile. There’s something about knowing he is wearing comfortable shoes that makes me happy. I also brought over his Thermos food and drink containers, toothbrushes, and Camelbak water bottle knowing they are daily necessities.

D. Unlocked smartphone: My little brother gave me his and it saved me at least four hundred dollars by using it, and of course the time to search for one (at a good price). 

E. Setting up communities: My life in San Diego was rich because of my communities through church, friends, and yoga. All I can bring over to replicate these same communities is use discernment when making choices in each of these realms and not settling.

F. Quality time: My cup is filled up a lot through quality time with Daniel and us having family time. Knowing this, it is a priority for us to make time for it. It may look different from how we did it in San Diego since we share a roof with his parents now, so we just need to be more creative and intentional.

I haven’t really noted anything new I’ve had to adapt to in this post, so maybe I will write that in the future… Until next time. 😁

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growing in self-discipline

P.S. I’m meant to write about my next motherhood reflections (co-sleeping), but thought I’d take a break and write about a topic that’s been more pressing on my mind. If you’ve missed my past motherhood reflections post, I’ve written one on breastfeeding and sleep training.  

It’s been one month since we’ve relocated to Gold Coast, Australia. It’s amazing how after a month, I quickly see where I fall short in self-discipline in major areas of my life. Self-discipline is defined as ‘training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal development’. I’ve known awhile that I need to grow in self-discipline, so I’m thankful that now is an essential time to put my growth into action. Here’s my areas for growth in self-discipline (I know, I know- some of it looks similar to one I wrote awhile ago on ‘putting your growth on hold‘).


1) Food: While living with Daniel’s parents, we are exposed to and eat food that is different from what we typically digest. Now our meals include more carbohydrates, processed food, sweets, and fried snacks. Self-discipline in this area means I am proactive and intentional with making meals that reflect what we used to consume and not snacking just because it’s there. It’s Day 1 and I have been successful!

2) God: It’s amazing how difficult it is to find a church fitting for us AND to be surrounded by believers! Since none of this is available to us, I find it easy to push God further and further away since I do not have others to engage in God talk with or make me accountable. Self-discipline in this area means I commit to doing a daily devotional. It’s Day 1 and I have to do my reading after this post.

3) Alcohol: It’s been a long time coming, and now is the time. Self-discipline in this area means only drinking on the weekends!! One drink daily Fri-Sun. Today is Day 1 and I am SO proud to say I have been successful!

In general, what I’ve learned so far when entering a new place, namely another persons’ home, is that I need to consciously work to maintain who I am and what I stand for. I have found it quite easy to assimilate and “forget” my disciplines when others do not subscribe to the same one. After reflecting on this area of growth for me, I look forward to regaining and bettering myself in these areas, and hopefully encourage others in the process.

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