Everly Wren

Everly Wren Boehlke was born Sept. 17th at 2:13pm. What a joy! What a responsibility!

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Birthing a baby is, without a doubt, the most amazing experience Jonny and I have had as a couple. Jonny was an amazing support person throughout the whole labor and delivery, and while I was pushing, his excitement was spilling over and giving me strength. With every push he was so excited to see her progress, and I wanted so badly to get this baby out, not just for me, but so Jonny could finally meet his daughter. What a feeling, to hold my baby for the first time! Part of my thoughts began soaring through all of the years ahead of us, marking this special moment as the beginning of it all. Part of my thoughts were fixated on this very present, tiny person who was crying in my arms.

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One week later, I’m still in awe. Such a tiny person, with a personality yet to be known and a future yet to be made. One one hand, she is a pool of possibility, and on the other hand, even if she was a baby forever, I would love her fervently forever.

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Not only is my love blazing hot for this baby girl, I have never loved my husband more than I do when he is holding our daughter. I’m amazed at God’s creation that He would allow us to come together to make such a beautiful being. What a divine, loving, all-knowing God! Is there a more beautifully designed system than the family, as God intended it?

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Recalling the downward spiral of my life in my early teenage years, I can only weep with gratitude that God plucked me from my sin and compelled me to follow His design for relationships, marriage, and children. I don’t mean to say we are a model family. I mean to say that without His grace and intervention in my life, I would not even have this family.

I’ve never been more excited for the next season of my life. God’s grace has blessed me this far and I know it will continue to sustain me.

 

With gratitude,

Ellie

Compare Yourself to Yourself (summary of chapter 4 of “12 Rules for Life” by Dr. Peterson)

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“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”
~ Dr. Jordan B Peterson

My blog is on its way to becoming a commentary of my life as it has been affected by Jordan Peterson. His understanding of human nature hits life’s problems right on the head. His solutions are so helpful and his reasoning and wisdom go far deeper than any general self-help book.

In his book, “12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos” Peterson writes the above quote and dedicates an entire chapter to it. Of the 12 Rules that Peterson covers (each one full of wisdom and necessity), this is one that has impacted me the most.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

Your life, your situation, is unique among the billions of people on the planet, and the trillions of lives that have been lived through history. Comparing yourself to others is not only unhelpful, it is simply unreasonable. It is unreasonable, not only because your situation is unique, but because there are so many playing fields, and while someone might surpass you in a few of those playing fields, the probability that they triumph in all playing fields is close to nil.

I’ve joked to myself that there are 3 kinds of people in the world.

a. People I admire and want to be like
b. People I admire in some specific aspects
c. and people that I like, but don’t wish to be like

(I guess it’s funny to me because I like people, and liking every stranger on a regular day is my normal, and that’s funny to me.)

I’m finding that more and more of the people that I had previously placed in category a have been moved to category b, because as I grew to know them better, I learned that not every aspect of their life was admirable or desirable. It’s amazing how almost everyone has weaknesses! And I’ve found that many people who I had placed in category b, with specific aspects that I admire, perhaps fitness or attractiveness, I have now seen what was sacrificed in other areas of their life, things I cannot or will not sacrifice, and so they are now in category c. I like them, but I don’t wish to be like them.

More productive than comparing myself to others is comparing myself to who I was yesterday. I want to be growing. I don’t believe anyone is truly stagnant. If you aren’t growing in character and maturity, you are still growing in age, and that means you are sinking in character as compared to your age and experiences. I always want to be growing in proportion to my age. I want to be a little better than who I was yesterday.

Peterson recommends 3 questions to ask every day.

1. What bothers me about my life? (Or, what needs to change?)
2. Could I do something about that?
3. Would I honestly do something about that?

We are not our own slaves. We must negotiate with ourselves as if we were valued employees; we must make it worth it to ourselves to do said task. If we set too large of a goal — it won’t get done. What can you do today, and what will you do today? What would make it worth it to you to do that? For me, just sitting on Pinterest with a cup of coffee is a great reward. If I reward myself well, pay myself for the work I put in, I’m more likely to keep working. Think: valued employee, not servant.

If the answer is “no” to any of the 3 questions, aim smaller. Once you’ve done this thing, reward yourself whatever you promised yourself. Don’t punish yourself by making yourself do more work.

As you improve, just a little every day, you will inevitably aim higher and higher. By starting small and gaining momentum, you set yourself up for success in greater things.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

 

With love,
Ellie

Married half a year – how I’m a different person

Greetings to my greatly neglected readers. I could apologize day and night for not writing, but the truth is, my life is very good right now, and all of the good has kept me very busy and preoccupied, and I’m not sorry for that.

I have been going through a lot of growth, as I suppose most newly-weds do, and I have longed to share what I’ve been through (little as it is) and also log my progress.

April 7th I married my best friend. Jonny has shown me so much grace in our 6+ months of marriage, simply by his unconditional love. I admire him so much, and seeing how he loves me is still overwhelming at times. In fact, now that we’ve been together half a year and I know he has seen these sinful sides of me, I can’t even convince myself that he’s in love with a fake version of me. He knows me better than anyone else could, and he still loves me. How amazing is that?

And I know God knows me deeper and more intimately than Jonny ever can, and yet Christ gave his life to redeem me. I can’t say enough about this, but I can’t find words to express this.

Aside from this spiritual walk, I have grown in life style changes. I’ve always been encouraged by my dad and my family to eat healthily, exercise, keep my space clean, and honestly, I didn’t follow their lead very well. But once I was married, in my own home, I realized Jonny wasn’t going to enforce this for me. Jonny is very kind and easy-going. He hasn’t asked me to change at all, and I love him for that. But I knew that I wanted to be better. I didn’t want to wake up at the last minute, throw a doughnut in my mouth, and dash out the door to work. I didn’t want to spend hours on my phone and not get my dishes done. I really didn’t want to feel tired all day, and believe me, a few months ago, I was SO tired ALL day.

1st – I cut out what was getting in my way. I wasted way too much time on my phone doing meaningless tasks. I ate foods that I didn’t really like, but they were convenient, and they didn’t give me energy or make me feel good. I examined activities, events, and habits that were hindering who I wanted to be.
(Disclaimer right here: don’t think I’m super self-willed. I still struggle with all of these things, but it did help to identify them. I haven’t made progress since last week, it’s true, but you bet I’ve made progress in the past few months! I’m in it for the long-haul, and having made this much progress, I am inspired not to lose it!)

2nd – I identified 4 areas I would especially like to work on.

  • Health and Diet
  • Time Management
  • Budgeting
  • Self-Growth

3rd – I made goals. I needed goals that were EASY, just a step ahead of what I was doing at the time. Because I know myself too well. If the goals were daunting, they would never get done. At the same time, I needed goals that would show me some progress, because I knew that would give me motivation to continue.

  1. Learn a new healthy recipe each week and make it. One of my problems with eating healthy foods was not knowing how to make it, so this helps!
  2. Exercise 10 minutes 4 days a week. 10 minutes isn’t a lot. It’s hard to make excuses for not squeezing in 10 minutes of time. And I knew I’d increase the time later on.
  3. Write down 3 things every morning and have them done at the end of the day. (Jordan Peterson says the reason you can’t follow a schedule is because you make a schedule of a bunch of things you don’t want to do. Instead, make a schedule of your perfect day and you have a much higher chance of sticking to it. This has helped me so much, you wouldn’t believe it!)
  4. Examine spending at the end of every week. That’s it. I simply wanted to be more aware.
  5. Spend 30 minutes 4 days a week on self-growth and learning.

Those were my initial goals. Since then, I’ve had a much better idea about what’s most important, what was too hard or too easy, and I’ve modified these goals and done my best to turn them into habits.

I got emeals on my phone to help with meal planning and recipe finding.

I began working out to youtube videos in our basement or living room, and now, I enjoy running more than I ever have in my life. As soon as I get up in the morning, I run for about 5 minutes in the basement, just to wake myself up and it feels AWESOME.

I started listening to podcasts on a regular basis, getting better in touch with politics, philosophy, and life style improvement.

Honestly, the budgeting goal really dropped out. I don’t review my spending much, because I really don’t buy much anymore besides groceries, and I’ve gotten better and being frugal when it comes to food.

I try to be conscious of wasted time and I actually make schedules every few days because I feel like it, and I stick to schedules and routine better than I have ever in my life – because they’re schedules and routines of things I actually want to do.

Another disclaimer: As long as I have been alive, I have been the laziest person I know. And this is still partly true. I don’t have a lot of disciple and self-will. I still don’t. I still have a lot of days (more than I’d like) where I can’t make myself do anything productive and I spend wasted time in bed on pinterest. I still eat things I know I shouldn’t and later regret it. And saddest to me, I still struggle to spend time with God in the word and prayer on a regular basis. All that said, I am improving. Another thing Jordan Peterson has said that has changed my life, was his encouragement to make every week better than your last. If last week you met 20% of your goals, meet 21% of them this week. When I first heard that, I thought, “I can do that.” And I have. I’ve been getting better. I am not where I want to be, but I’m headed in the right direction.

So that’s where I am today. Way behind where I want to be, way ahead of where I was. And I’m thanking God daily for my husband. He’s very supportive. I’ve asked him several times to tell me what area of my life I need to work on, and he won’t. He says I don’t need to change, but when I have improved, he’s praised me and made me feel great for doing it. Is he perfect? We’ve been married half a year now…..Yeah, he’s perfect, at least perfect for me.

 

With great caffeinated well-wishes,

Ellie

 

P.S. Are any of my readers doing NaNoWriMo this year. I really want to, but I’ve never won while I also had a job….And I haven’t had ANY time to plan….Sounds fun!

P.P.S. Just mentioning NaNoWriMo on my blog — I feel like I’m 18 again!

It’s enough to know the next step

“Publish Blog Post” says Google Calendar. How can I publish what I haven’t written? I’m pretty sure I deleted the last reminder though and I don’t want to skip over this one, so as I brush poptart crumbs from my keyboard, here’s your latest installment of “How long will it take for Ellie to realize the obvious?”

I take very careful mental notes of everything new, whether new people, new ideas, or new experiences. Depending on how much coffee I had that day, I can usually recall with decent clarity the day I first met someone, thought of something, or tried something. I like to live in that moment and think, “One day this will be a memory.” I’ll store up that feeling and later recall just how it felt, just what I thought, and what came out of it.

It’s a good hobby! I think it comes so naturally to me because I always expect something wonderful to come out of everything. Being on the young side, I realize that small things that happen now could lead to huge changes for the rest of my life. People I meet, places I go, they could one day mean the world to me.

But I’ve found myself lately trying to figure out exactly who that is and where that is. I want to know! I want to know exactly where God is leading me, and I want to pay special attention so one day I can think, “I remember how it all started, and how it felt.” Several times, many times, I’ve thought, “This. This is where God is leading me,” but just as often those doors have been closed, those ideas have failed, or sometimes I just decided it wasn’t for me after all.

So you can imagine the tears, the disappointment, the discouragement, when I am called just to wait and pray. I’ve been tempted to think and feel that there must not be a plan for my life at all. I think I’ve forgotten that waiting and praying isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it can be very, very good.

It also came as an epiphany (although it should have been obvious) that I don’t need see the entire plan before I take the first step. I have so many wonderful adults in my life! As I think of all the conversations I’ve had and all the advice and prayer I’ve received just in the past few weeks, I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude! Maybe I should write a blog post about seeking advice from godly adults. But for now let me paraphrase one of the many helpful people I talked to, “If you believe you want to go to college, than I’d say go ahead and start. You might get a couple semesters in and realize it’s not what you should be doing, or you might get a degree under your belt and decide to go farther. Be in such a relationship with God and be so receptive to the Holy Spirit that you know, not the whole plan, but the next step to take.”

We were talking about college, but the principle applies to the rest of my life too. I can just forget about trying to lay out the whole map of my life. If I can just be so in tune with God that I know the next step, even if the next step is waiting, His plans will come to pass. And I know His plans are wonderful!

With love,
Ellie

Darwin’s Dilemma

I held my cat for a long time tonight. I had felt a surge of panic as I thought of the day’s conversations and everything I had done wrong, and before I knew it, the cat I was in the middle of putting outside was clasped tight under my chin. I’m amazed at the gentleness in her. Most of the time she doesn’t like being held like that, probably because her old joints need specific support to be comfortable, but I must have gotten it right, because she didn’t struggle once but purred and rested against me. I hugged all the anxiety away. I know I’ve said it before, but my cat seems to know when I am sick or hurting, and I’m always amazed. Animals are amazing.

Our family also watched a documentary tonight called “Metamorphosis.” After a (rather long) exploration of the journey from caterpillar to butterfly, and then a look at the Monarch Butterfly migration, the biologists finally made the point they were coming to, two points actually.

The first has to do with metamorphosis itself. In metamorphosis, a caterpillar, inside the chrysalis, does something similar to decomposing. Its cells break down, they die, they turn into a pile of mush. Some of those cells disappear, and others are used to the reorganization of a completely different body. Wings, legs, proboscis, compound eyes, antennae, digestive tract, heart, and reproductive organs–they are all completely new and altogether different from the caterpillar. This metamorphosis poses a problem to the common-held theory of evolution which states that creatures evolved by natural selection and slowly grew in complexity over time. Because metamorphosis doesn’t work like that. First off, a creature wouldn’t (figuratively) kill itself unless there was a planned outcome. It cannot just randomly develop this habit of committing suicide inside a chrysalis and killing off most body cells without a system already put in place to rebuild itself. Secondly, it cannot slowly develop this process. So many things, tiny and huge, have to happen all at once for this to work. If the wings and eyes worked, but not the organs, the butterfly would die. If the legs and proboscis worked, but not the connecting muscles, the butterfly would die. If everything, by some happy, random chance, was put together perfectly except for one thing, the butterfly could not survive. For all of these amazing developments to happen at once is quite improbable, maybe impossible. The more logical conclusion is that it was designed.

The second point the biologists came to was that because of the art and beauty in the world that we observe, we can perceive that there must be intelligence behind it. There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world, and every single species has a different wing shape and pattern. In some cases, patterns help the butterflies to survive, but in many they are simply there. Natural selection has no reason for beauty, and no explanation for how it came about.

Look at a sunset. Look at the stars. Look at a cat. Look at a tiny butterfly. It is art. It is simply the logical response to assume that something intelligent is behind it all, and it is simply the right response to give our praise to that something.

 

In awe,
Ellie

Updates on Life, February Edition

God is very good.

To someone who succumbs to laziness daily, loses patience more than daily, neglects priorities, and can’t seem to mature He is amazingly gracious.

Sometimes I feel like Lot who wouldn’t leave behind the city (that was about to be destroyed anyway) until the angels grabbed his stubborn hands and dragged him out. Even when I’m reluctant to leave the old behind, God still drags me into the new, and the new is good!

Even though I feel like I don’t mature, I do feel this attachment to the world is constantly fading. Its opinions and ideals mean less and less. “Living life to the fullest” has certainly lost its charm. More and more I just want the joy and peace I get in God and I want the fellowship I get from the church.

And that’s just about it.

So, looking over the month of February, I’ve learned

  • Improv piano is more enjoyable than written piano
  • Walking onto a stage to stand up for half an hour while sick is not ideal
  • The book of Revelations is mainly dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem
  • The Destruction of Jerusalem is much more significant that I ever realized
  • Daniel Webster was a jerk to invent a dictionary
  • Life without math is wonderful
  • Poetry is a good writing practice, both reading and writing it
  • Glow worms are disgusting

Another new, sort of new, accurance—well, I’m umpiring again.

I hated it so much last year! Before every single game I told myself I would never umpire again. And now for my second year I’ll be expected to improve—what was I thinking?!

I HAVE NO CLUE! So don’t ask.

But it’s too late to back out now.

I do have some plans of strategy to make this a more successful year:

  1. Study my rules and know them front and back. The only way I can be confident in my calls is by being dead sure of them
  2. Do my best to stick to softball, which means talking with the Chief Umpire
  3. Practice communicating with my other umpire, even if it’s just waving “hi” after every pitch

I have a bit of time right now to come up with a poem for the test, as I did last year.

I’m not feeling the inspiration though. I can’t get anything written. So we’ll see how that goes.

I want to thank one specific person. My darling friend Alexis constantly pulls the plug on my pride and also my gloom.

She has a beautiful and simple heart to love God and love others. She insured that “Singles Awareness Day” was anything but melancholy and has inspired me to love over and over. Our ideals, interests, and theology differs, but her smile is impossible to smother.

And now to go rolling into March–

I remain,
Yours Truly,

Ellie

Beginning Writer and some team work

First, by way of introduction….

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This is Jimmy!!!!

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Alright, so now that you know Jimmy, I can tell you he’s a new writer! He is writing me a lovely story about a “dee” (bee). Today he was super excited to do it–give me a story to edit and revise for him.

He is smart you know! Today he told us, “Lighting bugs must eat the sun.” When I told him it was too cute he said, “I mean, they sit out in the sun so they can glow at night. That’s like their food.” That’s why he should be a writer. I told him so and that is where this started, but obviously he’s had this idea of the bee in his head for quite awhile, since he learned about them in school.

So here’s his story.

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Translation: “Once there was a bee, but he didn’t have wings or a pattern. He was a little worm shape. One day he woke up. He was shaped like a bee, but he did not have a pattern like a bee, so he ate furious but they….”(I’ve only received one page. He’s still working on the second.
After he proudly gave me his work–I revised it. Here’s the second draft:
“Once upon a time there was a bee, well, he was not really a bee, not to himself. To himself he saw only a little worm shape, and honestly, he really was just a little worm. No wings, no stripes.
He waited quite awhile, depressed because he never thought he would be a bee. Not now, not ever. But the day came when he found that his head was shaped very finely, and his body as well. But he was not a bee, and he knew it, because he had no stripes, no pattern.
He went on with his life, admiring his head and eyes, but not doing much else–except eat honey of course; the real bees above poured it down on his head constantly….”
Watch out Washington! Look out Times Square! Here we come to rock the nation!
Happy Writing!
Electric Bubbles