BRB, Out Of Office

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Be Right Back, I'm Out of Office! I miss saying this. The last time I took a break was months ago. I made a resolution to myself that for this year, I would become better at taking more breaks. Alas, that did not happen.. I found myself stuck in the same cycle, which is that I would rely on holidays only for my breaks and not file any Paid Time Offs.

It didn't occur to me to take any breaks ever since quarantine season came. I figured that since I'm at home, there's not much of a need to take one. It took me quite a while to realize how I still needed it, how it is so nice not to wake up to any alarm, and how exciting it is to spend more time doing the things I love to do. We take breaks after all not to escape our daily lives, but instead to refresh ourselves, to rest and take on the days with a renewed zest for life.

During this unique time, I realized more and more how I can be fully content with staying at home. I'm the type of person who knows how to keep herself busy, and even my weekends in the previous years were mostly spent at home too. Not that I don't like going out.. I can be flexible. But maybe I would say that so much energy was used up before in the commutes and after work dinner dates, that I felt it was right to just stay in!

I now would like to share a bit about how I spent my days off. Perhaps the more I write about the times I took days off, the more I would be encouraged and reminded about its importance, and that I should consider taking more of it.

I'll start off with a simple vlog I put together, which is of my time in the garden on a sunny Sunday morning. I finally had some time to sit down and make this :

I made this vlog with my sister in mind, because I wanted to show her how our garden has been like and how our fish are doing. To briefly share about my sister, she has been living apart from us for around seven years already, and is now currently based in Texas U.S.

I also thought it would be nice to take you with me as I do my daily tasks of watering the plants, mixing soil, and transplanting seedlings to the ground. Expect to see lots of green, and hear lots of rushing water and birds singing.

On Thursday, I spent around thirty minutes in the garden at first. Approximately thirty minutes is how long it takes for me to go around and water every plan in our garden. If I do other gardening tasks, then it might take an hour or more. Upon stepping inside the house, my mom asked me: "Why did you only spend thirty minutes in the garden?" 

Then it dawned on me, it's my day off, I can stay in the garden for as long as I want! And so I spent another forty minutes more. I positioned a chair on a sunny spot and decided to read there. Much like plants, we human beings need our daily dose of vitamin D too. After spending time just reading under the sun, I felt more energized right after, as if the sun lent me some of it's glowing power.

This is the book that I've been reading, which is pastor Max Lucado's Unshakable Hope. My parents and I have started watching his covid check-ins when they first came out on Youtube, and he eventually became a part of our days.

We decided as a family to be more mindful of the content that we consume, and so after watching some of the news and making sure we're well informed with what's going on in the world, we then tune in to grandpa (he feels so much like a grandpa to me) Max's check-ins right after to balance it out. In this way, I feel more encouraged to get through the days.

I thought of buying his book one time when my dad and I were out to buy groceries. I quickly dropped by the bookstore, looked for where his books were displayed, reached out for a copy, paid and exchanged brief pleasantries with the cashier, then headed off.

While physical food is of great importance nowadays, with food security being a priority to most, spiritual food ought to be a priority as well. It's not easy to be living in such a time as this, and our minds can be easily clouded since we're all not used to staying put in one place for such a long time.. but we can do our best to feed our faith.

In the evening, I decided to record my flute parts for our online church service for Sunday. I was thankful I didn't have to rush this, unlike before when I had to record myself right after work. These are a couple of selfies, because I would typically record with my cellphone, and it would randomly take photos while I'm not recording. It's funny how it turned out; some photos I would strike a pose, some I didn't even bother. :")

Recording myself playing the flute was a whole new experience for me ever since we started having online services. Before when we could still attend church and I could play my flute live, I had some idea with how I sounded like. But having to hear myself from start to finish, I felt like I added pressure to myself to sound perfect.

Whenever I would make a mistake in the middle of the piece, I would feel a bit frustrated, stop the recording, and do it all over again. It would take me so many tries to get it "perfect" and unknowingly, it somehow robbed me of the joy in serving.

But then again, it struck me that nothing needs to be perfect right now, or ever. Only one thing needs to be certain, and that's to make sure I'm serving with joy and gratitude. To pray first before anything else, and know that God is the one at work.

On Friday, I did lots of laundry! We finally got the washing machine fixed, plus it was sunny, so it was definitely a good day for laundry. I also hand washed a few clothing pieces. Some of the things I enjoy about washing my clothes would be how I can easily get lost in my train of thoughts, or how I can play with ideas while knowing I'm getting something done. There's also the bubbles, let's not forget the bubbles.

Whenever the sky is this blue, it's the cue for a good laundry day. I then spent the rest of the day napping, watching vlogs, watching Hyori's Bed and Breakfast (I took my sweeeeet time on this one because I don't want it to end.. yet sadly I'm down to my last two episodes), and reading.

Saturday was yet another sunny day. I took this opportunity to wear my white feathery dress which I bought online on Instagram.

You can follow me on @helloannajo for lots of blooms and greens 

I say we can still dress up even if we have nowhere to go. I still wear my dresses from time to time especially when the weather gets unbearably hot.

Speaking of online purchases, I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of online shopping.. I much prefer physically going to a store and seeing the item that I want to buy. But then I have learned (or I'm still loosening up) to adapt to the times and accept that I might have to shop online for the time being.

And so I consider buying this dress as a feat! I'm grateful I received it in one piece, that the delivery guy didn't get lost on his way to my house, or that I didn't accidentally share the wrong details to the seller. Then there's that anticipation for something that's yet to come, a gift from me to me, perhaps I should dwell more on that excitement instead of the x number of things that could go wrong? :")

Allow me to share as well, the butterflies I spotted on this morning:

I was taking selfies when this little critter decided to join in... I want them to know that they are very much welcome to be here.

The rest of the day was spent writing, reading, and gardening.

Today is Sunday, and it's my chosen time to be completely offline. I'm writing this entry on a Saturday afternoon and it's scheduled to be published for Sunday, today. One day of being offline has now become a non-negotiable for me, so I hope for your kind understanding on this scheduled arrangement, dear reader.

For this day, I plan to take it extra slow.. for it is the last day of my long weekend. It is for me the time to mentally prepare myself for another work week, and to spend more time doing activities together with my family.


Thank you for reading all the way till here! I realized yet again I can be a bit too chatty even when I write...

There was nothing overly spectacular with how I spent my days off. I used to reserve my Paid Time Offs for international and local trips. This time around however, I just knew I wanted more time for the things and people I love. And that, I'd like to think, is already spectacular on its own.

Write to you again soon, dear reader. :-)



  1. Your video is relaxing! It's nice to spend some time in the backyard and we do it too in the weekend. I've subscribed on your YT channel.

    1. Thank you for your time in watching my little vlog! Time in the garden surely is my simple joy that I look forward to every day, most especially in this year. Thank you as well for following along on my channel! :")

  2. You had such a productive week! I wish I will be like you <3

    1. Hello Sarah, now that I think about it, I was able to do lots during my time off.. but most of the time was spent on naps as well :") thank you for your time with me on here, and hope you have a great week ahead!

  3. I feel this so much. I'm a person who feels guilty when I'm not being productive, but I've been trying to remember how important it is to take breaks and rest.
    Your garden is so lovely! I've been playing with the idea of starting a garden but I'm pretty sure I would fail.
    I also love the idea of taking one day a week offline. I've tried taking weeks and months offline, but have always had situations come up when I needed to break my fast. One day a week sounds way less intimidating!
    Love this post! <3

    1. Ahh it really can be so hard sometimes.. I always try to imagine a more laid back version of myself and aspire to be exactly that haha!
      I am all for it, I encourage you to start your garden!! You can start small at first with vegetables. There are times when seeds don't grow, but it just means you can always just keep planting more. :)
      I find that one day offline is more doable; I don't trust myself if I try doing it for weeks!

      Thank you for your time with me on here, Hannah! I hope you have a lovely rest of your week :)

  4. Dear Anna Jo, sounds like we are the same kind of person as I also know how to keep me busy at home and I enjoy times at home :) Thanks for sharing how you spend your days of including the wonderful video! Your white dress is a dream btw <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    1. Hello Rena, it's nice to know we are both content with staying at home! There is much we can do and so much to keep ourselves busy with. Thank you for your time with me on here, I hope you enjoyed the video! I figured we could all use a bit calm in these turbulent times. This dress is now my staple white dress, I believe!

  5. Your garden is beautiful and I'm sure it brings you lots of happiness.
    I also did lots of laundry yesterday...hahah!
    I just followed your lovely blog! :)

    1. Hello Radi, it truly does give me so much happiness nowadays! I rarely spent time here before, since life felt so fast paced, but now I'm just grateful to have more time tending to my plants and crops. If there's one household chore that I enjoy, I think it would be laundry :") haha! Thank you so much for following along, I have followed you on Bloglovin' <3 have a lovely weekend!

  6. ahhh u just reminded me i forgot to do my laundry today! LOL

    it makes me so happy you are gardening. i hope to get my house soon and have time to garden because that is really a goal of mine <3

    i really like your idea of taking sunday off from being online!! im online pretty much every day.. my schedule really needs a fixing because im not doing good, im mostly just having fun 24/7 and not working. that's not helping me for my future. im gonna work on my schedule now instead :)

    1. Haha, time to get to it Kiki!! :D

      I'm excited for you to have your garden and to start planting lots of many beautiful plants. It's always, always a great idea and goal, so I am all for it!

      Sundays off are the best times for me, I really enjoy the much needed rest. Definitely good to have times of fun and rest. Good luck with working on your schedule!

  7. I want to honestly start a little garden but since I live in an apartment with minimal space for plants and less motivation + lack of funds. I really love the color green--any kind of green. I remember back in college my Physics teacher said when you feel stressed look to something green and you will feel relieved. I have done this ever since.

    I also play flute! ^^ glad to see another blogger same as me uWu

    The best days to be off for me is weekends. I really need two days off.


    1. Starting an indoor garden is possible even in apartments! Maybe you could try caring for one plant first then see how it goes from there? :") Your physics teacher is right, green is the most relaxing color tbh.

      Wow! It's so cool that you play the flute as well, it's so nice to know that about you. Thank you for sharing this; I only have a few flute friends!

      I encourage you to take those much needed two days off.. it does wonders for the mind and over all well-being, especially during this uncertain time. Thanks for your time with me on here, Kai. :)

  8. Sometimes, breaks are needed! I took a break from blogging last week and it was great! Take your mind off your schedule - it is healthy for you. I want to be better about how I spend my off-days. It is great that you got to spend more time in the garden. Oooh! I like that you got back to playing your flute. It has been years since I touched an instrument. I am the same about shopping. I like being able to feel the clothes, and actually knowing whether it is a good buy. Glad you had a great week overall!

    Nancy ✨

    1. Oh wow, we really do need blogging breaks too from time to time, I think :) Yes, totally agree that sometimes we just have to spend days without a specific agenda. I'm glad I'm not alone with online shopping; it still gets me on my toes most of the time, but I'm adapting.. I have to. Haha! Thank you for your time and dropping by here!!