Sunday, August 3, 2014

A blog tour + my INFP ramblings

I have been too quiet on the blog lately. As it usually happens, life has been too much for me to process this past month. You know what that means for an introvert! I have to retreat to recharge and emotionally sift through what I am experiencing. I still have my blogging goals to keep to - my prayer minstrel posts being one of them - but I cannot promise myself that I will be very disciplined about them.

Recently, my friend, Kesley, invited me to take part in a blog tour. It is basically a post of answering specific questions about myself so that any readers can learn about who I am and why I write/blog. I have seen this done before, but never thought much to participate until now. Perhaps, I just want to break my terrible silence. If anything, it will help to focus me again on my passion for blogging.

So, onward to the questions!

1. What am I working on?
 So many tasks! I am currently job hunting and interviewing to become an educational assistant at local schools in this city that I currently call home. In my free time, I am brushing off my dusty guitar and mandolin, strengthening my vocals and diaphragm through daily exercises, and practicing my original compositions, some covers, and instrumentals to perform at a local market in August. My goal is to eventually play at more markets or coffee shops as I add to my repertoire. Thirdly, I am very slowly building a team of people with me in using Young Living Essential Oils. My oils blog is Ancient Essentials and I am in the process of learning even more of the history, science, and uses of essential oils for home and health. I am very passionate about essential oils and emotional support and it is something I am seeking to help others in as well. And, lastly, I am in a perpetual state of learning to live with less - purging my wardrobe, home items, books, and more. More and more, I am falling in love with simplicity and living only with what I need, use, and love. I feel as if I am in a stage of finding out who I really am, my specific tastes, and who I want to grow into being. This has required me to do intensive emotional purging, but it also manifests in the physical as well. I've been in a refining season that has not been easy or without many tears, but I sense that I am becoming who my Maker created me to be.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
 I am more of a journal and lifestyle blogger. My writing is woven together with emotions and discoveries. From what I have read of other bloggers in this genre, I would say that I do have a tendency to be more raw and emotional in my writing. Although my intention is to always be edifying and gracious in speech, I also believe in being completely honest - without throwing out all my baggage for the world to see. I am always learning the balance between discernment and honesty. I don't sugarcoat or walk cautiously around hard subjects. Yet, my aim is always to encourage and help others to better understand me or whatever topic I am writing about.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Very simply, because I feel. If you are familiar with Myers Briggs personality types, you would immediately understand that feeling and emotions are the basis for everything in my type - INFP. I spent years of my life viewing my inner emotional world as a negative and weak quality. Only recently have I come to embrace it as a unique and significant part to who I am. Second to my love for Christ, it is the drive behind everything I write or create. My emotions demand to be felt and expressed. Although I rarely express it through my mannerisms, words, or actions, I am deeply feeling about everything I am experiencing from day to day. It could be about the most mundane issue, but I have an emotion for everything. It can be self-destructive when I allow it to overtake me and shape my views on life, but when I give it a channel or medium to be expressed, I have experienced sweet times of intimacy with my Lord and personal maturity and growth in myself. In addition, I truly believe that joy and pain are my reasons for writing. In my recent personal post, I rediscovered my love of tender vulnerability in sharing my losses and griefs. Sorrow is such a fascinating experience and emotion to me because it is something we will only know on this side of eternity. In the world (and especially even in many church circles), where sadness and grief is hushed up and merely something to "fix," I feel the sacredness of it is lost for many people. Individuals will go years of not processing the sorrows and losses of their lives because they feel the need to be "strong," put on a mask, and hide from others. I do not believe we ever truly "recover" from sorrows. They change us. I want to express through my creative pursuits the absolute truth that our God does not waste our griefs and that, although they change us, He can use them to work in us more humility, gentleness, and gratitude. Our God isn't out to fix us; His aim is to transform us into who He originally designed us to be. It's a lifelong journey and, I believe, I want to tell that journey honestly, from my personal experience, and show how these raw human emotions can be a catapult to deeper joy in Christ. And it doesn't come through stomping on your emotions and trying to un-feel them or telling them who is boss by shoving Truth down your throat like the Law. No, it comes through allowing Christ to love me in my messy state and identify me with His life, goodness, and righteousness. Did I mention identity is another enormous reason why I write?

4. How does your writing/creating process work?
 My writing and creative process is usually very sporadic. I am not an organized or disciplined individual in this area. In my songwriting, blogging, or writing, I tend to do it in the rush of my emotions. One example of this is when I was courting Nolan in 2012, who is now my husband. During the butterfly stage of our relationship, I was so enamored by the freshness and newness of being in love that I sat down for an entire afternoon and wrote a personal love song to him. During our courtship, I was continually writing him little romantic poems as well. I do the same at times when I experiencing sadness and anger as well. If I can focus on getting that emotion outside of myself, I often create my most intricate pieces of art in that state. When I am not feeling intense emotions, I do have a more difficult time of putting something together. Thus why my work is unplanned and spontaneous. In addition, I often need essential oils diffusing and moody, epic, and inspirational music playing in the background when I am putting down words.

Lastly, I invite any of my readers to check out other blogs by some dear friends of mine...if you love creative and critical thinkers, artists, and poets, you will be so thankful you checked out these blogs!

Alexis (my ENFP cousin!) blogs at Out of the Ashes where she writes about her personal and spiritual growth, socially controversial subjects, her passions of reaching out to Hollywood with Christ, and more.

Jade (my INFJ blogger friend who I met through Blogger!) blogs at Blush of Dawn with short snippets of prose, poetry, the beauty and simplicity of everyday. Her writing is tender and sweet.

Danielle (my INTJ sister!) blogs at Danielle Pajak Illustrations where she posts her intricate art pieces. She is a graphic designer with a love for gothic and otherworldly concepts. Although she has done some extraordinary Biblical artwork, she is also adventurous and dabbles in creating images from movies and shows that she loves. Then, she preaches to you with lengthy posts on the deep significance and Biblical concepts to be found in certain modern films. I think her snarky side would say that she teaches you to put your shallow judgments down and use your brain and imagination to see beyond the surface. 
By the way, don't visit the blogs of my cousin or sister unless you want to be challenged. Tee hee! I will say that we all have incredibly feisty spirits. ;)


  1. HAHA! Erika I had to laugh... Are you speaking to lily-hearted people or something? LOL! just kidding. Though I guess I can't deny that Danielle and I would be considered challenging to many. :-P Loved this blog post! These are actually really good questions to ask yourself in general if you are writing. What's funny is that I have been talking to Danielle about going toe-up and redefining my blogs and giving them a full makeover. Reading your analysis of yourself has inspired me to question the same things and break it down to the most basic functions and desires. Good work. ;-)

    1. haha! Well, to be honest, you and Nelly are the ONLY people I know that think like that in regards to film. Unfortunately, you are the minority, especially among Christians. But, such is life! haha!!
      Yes, it was fun to go over these questions and summarize my blog, writing, goals, etc. You should totally do this, too! This "blog hop" thing works like this...I posted my on Sunday and you follow up with your own post, answering the questions, next Sunday. Then, you recommend blogs at the end of your post like I did. You can join in if you feel like it! hehe!

    2. Yeah that sounds like fun! I might do it after I finish my current super controversial post I have going haha and once Nelly and I work on the makeover for the look of the blogs. But thankfully Nelly and I are truly not the only ones. Leaders like Phil Cooke and James Harleman and everyone at Hollywood Prayer Network are rising up and challenging people's perspectives on a larger scale. It's only a matter of time before revival sweeps over and Nelly and I will be one of the brooms! HAHA! :-P (injoke)

  2. So glad you were able to do this with me! Thank you SO much for participating!