Home Friday

Friday's are great. Friday's are supposedly my "day off" to make up for the fact that I work every Sunday. I usually end up needing to go in to the office anyway, even if it's okay for a few hours. But today! I kinda am forced to stay home because they're painting the office and putting new carpet upstairs. So I am staying home! 

Help Me Get Better!

Three things I want to be better at:

1. Drinking more water. This is the worst excuse ever, but the water fountain is really far from my office. So when I finish my first water bottle, I rarely go refill it.

2. Stop pressing snooze. This is a terrible habit that started in middle school. I always set my alarm earlier than needed, with the intention of letting myself press snooze. If I leave myself less wiggle room, maybe I'll get up.

3. Keeping clothes organized as I go. My dresser drawers need organization. My closet has very little order to it- except the stuff I rarely wear has gradually migrated to the back. It wouldn't be such a daunting task if I just kept it all neat as I go.

Any tips on how to reach any of those three things?

Girly Girl

When I was a kiddo, I thought I didn't like being "a girl." Don't get me wrong, I've always been totally fine with my body parts. I just didn't like that being called "girly" was an insult. I didn't like that girly things were pink and glittery and rhinestones and unicorns and Barbies. I just wasn't into that vibe. I liked solid color t-shirts, and brightly colored bike shorts. Yes, I actually went though a phase in which I only wore bike shorts for a year or two.

My aunt understood that being a girly girl was totally not me, so her nickname for me still is "Girly Girl" in an ironic kinda way. It didn't really bother me because she knew the real me. What bothered me is that any grown-up I was meeting for the first time would automatically assume I was girly, simply because I was a girl. Distant uncles would send me a jewelery box for my birthday. Parent's friends at church would tell me they loved my flowery dress, assuming I was enjoying wearing it- hah.

In middle school, I don't think I through of myself as a "girl" much. I didn't date. I didn't wear feminine clothes or act stereotypically girly. I wore striped shirts every day, and didn't listen to popular girly music. My backpack was a solid burgundy Jansport that I made my mom take the logo off of. (Okay Jansports became cool like three years ago but they were NOT cool twelve years ago.) I finally reached a compromise with my mom about church clothes; she wanted me to wear dresses, and I wanted jeans, so we arrived at plain black dressy pants. I was just me, not very feminine, but definitely never really masculine either.

Enter high school- I was friends with all girls who were awesome and adventurous and smart and didn't care about dating much either. We liked learning and practicing music, making stupid music videos, and being all around goobers. I am forever thankful that like 80% of my friends were single at all times in high school. Being a girl was fun, and had nothing to do with the fact that we were girls.

I then attended a women's college. Not a girls' school. I finally began to identify as a "woman," not a "girl," and it became an empowering part of my identity. "Girly" is unfortunately used as an insulting word, but "womanly" is an amazing compliment. Being a woman is strong. Being a woman is smart. Being a woman is resilient. Being a woman is powerful.

If I ever have a daughter, I want her to be proud of the fact that she's a girl, so I will never call her a girl. I will call her my little woman.

Millisecond by Millisecond

Whatever your goal is, you are making progress.

If you truly want to reach that goal, you will. You really will. Or maybe your goals will change or shift or whatever, but you WILL meet goals that are really important to you.

God already knows the exact millisecond you'll accomplish it all.

Every millisecond that passes, you're making progress. You're getting closer. You're gettin it, gurl.

Have a day when you feel like you didn't move forward? Wrong! You gave yourself breathing space. You gave yourself time to reevaluate and remotivate. It's all part of the big picture. You're moving forward. The bumps give you momentum. The setbacks give you detours. The setbacks give you new ideas. Progress is progress, even if maybe it looks backwards.

Vacation Prep

Last Week's Goals
1. Get some rest. (B) I don't really know how to score this one. I was exhausted all week, which I predicted, so I made this goal. I also slept more than usual but didn't quite have enough energy to thrive. 
2. See some friends. (A) I had TWO special outings to see friends, which is highly unusual for me. I saw my high school bestie Kelsey, and we went to a worship night at a church in Marietta. I saw my three camp Besties, Lauren, Anna, and Kelli. We loaded Anna's moving truck and went to the pool. 
3. Eat something extra yummy. (A) Brian and I made a special dinner to celebrate his birthday. Shredded chicken with garlic and Alfredo, wrapped up in crescent rolls. 

This Week's Goals
I feel like I'm copying Kelli in that my goals revolve around getting ready for vacation too! 
1. Get all work done ahead of time. 
2. Stock up some Instagram lettering posts for my calligraphy account.
3. Be smart about cooking and storing food so that we don't waste much when we leave. 

I Remember That

Once again my world is so busy and crazy I'm definitely starting to regret making this blog- oops. But here's a tiny snippet of a story for today. It's about my favorite kid Aiden whom I talk about all the time.

After church, Aiden's dad came to pick him up from Childrens Church. He was showing his dad all the dumb little craft he made, like a paper doll of Joseph and his colorful coat, and a colorful friendship bracelet he would give his little brother.

His dad asked, "Hey buddy, what was the lesson about today? What did you learn?"

Aiden said, "Joseph and his fancy coat."

His dad said, "Oh yeah I remember that!"

Aiden was shocked, "You were ALIVE for that? You KNEW him?!?!?!"

Um, no. Aiden's dad is probably like 35 years old- lolzies. Love my lil buddy Aiden.

High Heels

The first image is from PostSecret.com.
The second image is by me.


Here's a photo I took this week:

I made slime with Elmers glue and tide detergent. 

Three Weird Habits

Three weird habits I have:

1. I rub my feet together back and forth as I fall asleep. I think it's a calming thing that babies and toddlers do, like how they hold their ears. 

2. I sit curled up. At work I alternate between curling my legs to the side or curling them beneath me. I also like crouching/squatting on the ground opposed to actually sitting on the ground. 

3. I put my Deoderant on by reaching through the top of my shirt, not the bottom. I guess when I was a tween who first got Deoderant, I didn't think about it very hard, and now the habit stuck. 

What weird habits do you have? My husband always imitates noises he hears, like sirens or thuds or thunder. My dad always says fanTASTic about anything remotely good. 

Try Again Now

When I was a dummy I thought it was fine fine fine to give up and "try again later." To reschedule. To put it off. 

I'm getting better at "trying again now." And it sucks because it's hard and frustrating but then finally you get it and you're proud. 

Just Step Forward

When you make mistakes, you aren't stupid.
When you take several tries to do something, you're not a loser.
If you haven't accomplished it yet, that doesn't mean your progress is worthless.

If you're heading towards a goal, but take a few steps back, you can make up for it by just stepping forward. Value every step forward. No matter how small, progress is progress.

Giving It A Rest

Last Week was a total busy disaster. Work was extra crazy, flooding twice. And I had to help Brian with a weekend-long camp so I wasn't home for two days.  I ain't got time for this crap.

Last Week's Goals
1. Get all work done by Thursday night. (A) I practically died in the process. I worked about 200% of what I normally do in a week. But I did it.
2. Catch up on lettering challenges, even the weekend. (B) I kinda did this, but couldn't post much when I was helping Brian run a camp in the middle of nowhere. 
3. Organize my junk. (F) Didn't even attempt it. But I did just buy a 10-drawer plastic organizer. That should help when it arrives.

Next Week's Goals
1. Get some rest.
2. See some friends.
3. Eat something extra yummy.

First Bibles

This morning I taught third grade Sunday school. As is traditional in many many churches, the church gifts Bibles to all the third graders at the beginning of the school year, and today happened to be "Third Grade Bible Sunday." The kids were all dressed up in puffy dresses and clip-on ties. It was adorable. 

Anyway, the Sunday School lesson was obviously focused on getting to know the Bible. We played a ton of games using index cards with the books of the Bible (racing to sort the books into Old and New Testaments, racing to put them in order, racing to count how many total, etc.) 

We played a little bit of trivia and their answers were hilarious. 

Q: What language was the Old Testament written in originally?
A: Jewish!

Q: What language was the New Testament written in originally?
A: English or Spanish, I can't remember. 

Q: Which is bigger and longer, Old Testament or New Testament?
A: Palms (that's not a typo, they literally said Palms)

Q: When was the Old Testament written?
A: 500 years ago

Q: When was the New Testament written?
A: When Jesus was born. 

The Universe

The first image is from Postsecret.
The second image is by me.

Candy Addict

It's Friday! Woohoo! I hope this photo brings you happy feelings. There ain't nothing like getting TWO PINKS!!!!

Sweet Potato Tots

Three things I learned while making sweet potato tots tonight.

1. Sweet potatoes cook WAY faster boiled than baked. Whenever I've tried to bake them I loose patience. Boiling then took 13 minutes. 
2. Grating a sweet potato hurts. It was so well cooked that my fingers were going right against the cheese grater. I should have undercooked the potato OR used a food processor. 
3. Frying sucks. We thought we would be adventurous and fry them, even though we don't have a deep fryer. We burnt our first five tries before we finally got it right and made some bigger batches. 

Your Day

When I was a dummy, I thought that bad things make you have a bad day.
When I was a dummy, I thought you needed good things to happen to have a good day.

Your attitude determines if you perceive your day as good or bad.

Your car dies, you spill your coffee, you find out your bff is really sick... but you still have a roof over your head and you got to talk to your grandma on the phone? That can be a good day. You don't have to ignore the bad stuff but just revel in the good.

You ate a delicious lunch and your coworkers were extra friendly and traffic was extra light... but you're mad that it's Monday and you are too tired to cook dinner? You just made yourself a bad day. It coulda been a good one.

Bad stuff doesn't make bad days.

Common Side Effects

Everybody has days when they might feel tired. That's just a side effect of being productive.

Everybody has days when they feel nostalgic. That's just a side effect of having awesome past experiences.

Everybody has days when they don't feel like they don't measure up to others. That's just a side effect of being surrounded by amazing inspiring people.

Everybody has days when they make mistakes. That's just a side effect of learning and improving and trying new things.

Everybody has days when they feel anxious. That's just a side effect of being thoughtful and aware of possibilities ahead.

Everybody has days when you feel the weight of overwhelming sadness in this big world. That's just a side effect of loving your neighbor as yourself.

Too Crazy To Handle

The past two days have been absolutely crazy. Kickoff Sunday at church had twice as many children as a usual Sunday, and I came home and crashed with exhaustion. When I woke from my nap I saw several missed calls from Brian- he had been in TWO fender-benders. Neither was his fault, but it still sucks sucks sucks. Then I did the grocery shopping by myself to try to have a nice surprise ready for him when he got home... and I bought bread from the bakery instead of the regular bread section. This morning we awoke to an outrageous ant infestation, because apparently bakery bread is not sealed very well. Then I got to work, and one entire building is completely destroyed by water damage. The ceiling tiles, the carpets, tons of electronics, thousands of dollars of curriculum I'd already spent hours sorting by grade and date. I didn't cry, but... I could have. I spent the whole day playing defense against the crumbling building, and then tried to get some work done out in a classroom trailer, but without a computer so it's extremely limiting. Then I got home and spent an hour on the phone with the bank, not for an emergency but just finally changing my name and putting Brian as a joint account holder, and getting us both new debit cards. So I'm totally exhausted and I don't to make any goals for this week or rate my goals from last week. But there's power in making yourself do what you don't wanna. SO here goes:

Last Week's Goals:
1. Clean this apartment. (B-) I cleaned the bathroom thoroughly, and the kitchen pretty well. I just didn't vacuum the living spaces but we'll survive.
2. Power through the extra work. (A) Oh my gosh I'm dying at work. There's still so much to do, and I gotta keep powering through til about Labor Day. Wish me luck. 
3. Find some lettering challenged, and keep them up. (B) I found three, and I kept them up until yesterday and today. I'll try to catch up.

This Week's Goals:
1. Get all work done by Thursday night. This one's going to be tricky, but not impossible. I have SO much to do, and the work just piled on with the flooding situation this morning. But Friday and Saturday I told Brian I'd help out with a major work function he's organizing, and I want to keep that promise. 
2. Catch up on lettering challenges, even the weekend. I'm already a day behind, and I won't have my lettering gear with me on Friday and Saturday. So I need to work in advance and hold posts. 
3. Organize my junk. When we first moved into our apartment, I had nicely purged away lost of junky stuff. But it's already accumulating again! I need to get rid of more craft supplies to make room for my lettering stuff, and find a better way to organize the office. 

Burning Destinos

I was flipping though Facebook to find old photos for Storytime Sunday, and came across a little annual tradition my friends had. Pardon the terrible quality photos that were taken in low light with my 3.2 megapixel camera in 2007.

My pal Alex had a fire pit in her back yard, and every June we would grab all our old school work, burn it, and make s'mores. Our friend group was made up of all the nerdy types and we had mountains of history notes, chemistry problem sets, and Spanish tests. Well actually most of my friends took Chinese instead of Spanish but whatever. 

I came across this next photo on Facebook and DIED laughing and had to tell Brian all about it, and that sealed the deal that I needed to write about it here.

(About half the people I know call me Kay Rogers, a nickname that started in elementary school. So that make confuse some of you who know me as Kirby Rogers Darden.)
In tenth grade, Spanish class was called Culture and Speaking class, which was awesome because we had way way way less emphasis on grammar and vocab. Instead we had to memorize and perform songs and dances, cook an authentic dish for bi-weekly pot lucks, and recite speeches into microphones for the teacher to record and grade later. So honestly I really didn't take it too seriously.

There was a unit in which we spent weeks watching a soap opera called Destinos. We loved/hated it. I guess we sarcastically pretended to love it, and then the hype actually wore on us, and we would actually talk about it at lunch, like, "What do you think will happen next?" It's about some lawyer who was trying to uncover the hidden secret of a dying rich old man. I don't remember any specifics except one super intense scene when the lawyer was getting off the elevator just as the villain was stepping in, but she wasn't on his tail yet so she had no idea. 

Okay anyway. Look at that test that's burning above. I got -53 points, so my score was a 47. Then my folklore singing extra credit got me up to a 58... still majorly failing. Embarrassing that I failed a test about a soap opera, but even more embarrassing that as a tenth grader I wanted to broadcast it online for the world to see! And now I'm re-broadcasting it because about ten years have passed so I'm definitely over it. 

I, Kay Rogers, failed a Spanish test, and then I went on to become Kirby Rogers and attend a good college and pass more Spanish classes, and then graduate and become Kirby Darden. Life is good.


The first image is made by someone else, posted on PostSecret.com.
The second image is by me, inspired by the first.


Several weeks ago I wrote about wanting a niece or nephew. Well my sibling and friends still haven't come through on that for me. BUT last Saturday I got to meet my friend's nephew for the first time. Paige's nephew Geaham was the happiest baby ever, at least for the two-and-a-half hours we were chillin together. We played with a drink koozie.
*Pretending like I have my own nephew.* *Weirding out the parents, whom I'd only met once before.*

Three Things I Say Every Day

I share an office with two co-workers. We work together to make the children's ministry world go round, and sometimes we speak in our own language. Here are some things we regularly say, and what they really mean:

1. Sunday's coming. Basically our lives revolve around Sunday. It really does take our three full-time jobs and about 40 volunteers each Sunday to make Sunday happen at our big church. Whenever we're stressed out about something other than a Sunday, like vacation bible school or whatever, we say "Sunday's Coming," kinda as a way to encourage ourselves and freak out ourselves.

2 . Welcome back! Whenever we walk back in the office (even just after a restroom break) we yell "welcome back!" at each other. It's such a little thing but it really does make the office a little happier to walk in to.

3. Hot Dog, Hot Dog. This is inspired by the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme Song. We have a toy microphone that plays the song and we take frequent 20 second dance breaks. It's childish and goofy and helps up stay focused on the fact that our jobs should be joyful and centered on the kiddos.

Comfort Zones

So it's 10:15 pm and I just got in bed and said aloud, "oh crap I forgot my blog post." So this is written hastily on my phone while Brian brushes his teeth and I get snuggled in the covers. 

I've been doing a lot of thinking about comfort zones lately. It sounds like such a good thing. Comfort, cozy, happy, yay. But actually they're such a crutch. I'm finding I shouldn't live my life in the comfort zone and just sporadically venture out of it. I should live my life pushing myself to try new things, and only retreat back to the comfort zone when I really need it, like if my stress levels get up to an 8 or 9. I'm learning to make myself view moderate stress levels (6 or 7) as tolerable, regular, good for me, and not a reason to freak out. 

Yes I rate my stress levels. Subjective Units of Distress help this happy little math major turn anxiety into numbers.  Try it; it's weirdly satisfying.

When I was a dummy I arrived to retreat to my comfort zone. Now I'm challenging myself to reserve the comfort zone for the extreme occasion. It kinda sucks and it kinda rocks. 

Stay Stubborn

I'm pretty stubborn about refusing to do stuff that I don't want to do. Generally I'm not stubborn in arguments or opinions or whatever, but I am very stubborn against myself. If you can relate, this post may be some encouragement for you. 

Stay stubborn. Stuck to your guns. Decide something and then NEVER go back on it. Let that thing be something productive. 

Confession- I've been stubbornly avoiding a heck of a lot of stuff. I'm an expert procrastinator. And last week I had a little revelation about going ahead and doing the stuff instead of letting it give me anxiety. I know it seems elementary. But if you are anxious about making a certain phone call or something, the longer you wait, the longer you feel anxious. 

So stop letting yourself be stubborn about avoidance. Make yourself be stubborn about running headstrong into the challenge. Take THAT, anxiety! 

Power Through

Last Week's Goals
1. Prep for Teacher Training. (A) it went great! Now I'm swamped with paperwork to say that they're all certified and background checked. 
2. Don't go to work on Friday or Saturday. (F) I forgot I had to be at the middle school lock-in Friday night, so I went to work for about 4 hours. 
3. Clean up the office and desk. (C) I cleaned it and it looked great... and now it looks just as terrible as before. Whoops!

This Week's Goals
1. Clean this apartment. I'm getting fed up by the little dirty things I haven't had time to tidy.
2. Power through the extra work. Today was grueling at work, and I barely made a dent in the big to-do list. I don't want to get too discouraged; I just wanna power though. 
3. Find some lettering challenged, and keep them up. I am obsessed with calligraphy now, so this will be pretty fun.