Comfort versus Improvement

Comfort versus Improvement

We all long for comfort. 

Even more than improvement, subconsciously we want consistency.

So we put up with “less than” in favor of familiar.

When I read books, watch movies, etc, I see life change and I know the character longs for the “good ol’ days.” Because that’s what I want for myself. I imagine how peaceful life felt before the craziness of the story started.

 

But the thing about the story I watch or read: the ending is what matters.

Even if is has a tragic ending, the character grew, usually learning some important lessons in the process.

 

 

 

  

I think that’s why we watch and read–we want to know that WE will learn and grow, too. Since our lives seem to change more gradually, others’ stories give us the confidence that we’ll get there too. 

 

And then we go back to fighting the change.
Putting up with comfortable imperfection.

 To some extent we have to do that. If we got a new ____ (job/house/partner/church) every time we saw something we didn’t like, we’d be a mess. We aren’t supposed to be a potted plant: we need to put down roots. It’s an important part of life to know how to work through discomfort. Tenacity is an excellent characteristic that will take you far.

But there are so many times we feel a nudge to move on…and we ignore it. We stay in a dead-end job, telling ourselves at least it pays the bills. We go to a church we no longer feel connected to, purely because we know so many people there. 

I fluctuate between the two. Sometimes I cling to the familiar too long, and other times I jump into the next thing.  And at times I do both simultaneously. (case in point: when I married Josh, suddenly I found myself living in a new city, with a new name, a new job, and a whole new pattern of life. I held onto the junker of a car I was driving, purely because I needed something that felt familiar. After a couple months, I was ready to let go of that car, but it was my little piece of security while I made so many changes in my life). 

Do you agree? Do you tend to hold onto the familiar or jump into the new, or are you like me that it’s somewhere in the middle? Any inspiration or encouragement for people who feel like maybe it’s time to make a change, but it’s a scary prospect? Join the Facebook conversation here.

Or if you’d like to write to me directly, I’d love to hear your  thoughts! [email protected]

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Heading into the New Year

Heading into the New Year

Heading into the New Year

Just like pretty much everyone else, this year has been just a little rocky. At times it felt like all I could hope for was to survive. Even though I had been homeschooling since 2010 so in a lot of ways life didn’t change that much, at the same time nothing was the same.

…No dance classes (or running the front desk at the studio!)

…No going to church,

…The stress of wearing a mask and distancing myself from others whenever we went out in public

…No opportunity to go to Disney…

Right now, looking at 2021 with high hopes, it’s also making me look back at 2020 a little more analytically. 

It feels like this past year we were all cocoons. From what I’ve read, caterpillars become basically mush before becoming a butterfly. More than just a transformation, the middle stage is a mess. “Caterpillar soup.”

And that, more than anything else, sums up 2020. 

Looking ahead, I get a glimpse of coming alive. Like 2021 is a year of blooming. Blossoming. 

And I’m taking that idea and embracing it. 

To me, this means becoming more confident in who I am. Being less embarrassed about the things that make me different, and sharing the things that I can use to bless others.

It also means I’m going to take things that are in process, like the book I wrote 3 years ago, and put in the hard work to get it ready to publish. It does no good sitting on my computer! 

I’ve been focusing on my health since I first got the Hashimoto’s diagnosis in August 2019, and this year I’m going to continue to dig deeper into what else I need to do to get it fully into remission. 

These are all things I can do, no matter what new rules come or old rules get removed (thinking about mask requirements and the various other things we’ve seen happen this past year). 

What will you do this year? What is within your control? How will you help yourself blossom this year, no matter what curveballs 2021 throws at us? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Writing

Writing

Did you know that I write?

More than just for this blog, I have actually written a couple novels!

In 2015 I started participating in NaNoWriMo, which is a challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. (that’s 1,667 words a day). 

I’ve “won” twice and gave up on a third novel (because it was boring ME to tears). This is my fourth attempt and I’m not anywhere close to giving up on this story.

 

One of the books is actually on Amazon! You can see it here:

 

This is an affiliate link: Not only will I get royalties from the book selling, but I’ll ALSO get an affiliate commission. **happy dance** (ha! That’s like an extra three cents!)

 

 

I’m actually procrastinating from starting chapter 7 by writing this post. Shhhh don’t tell anyone!

I can’t wait to see how the story ends. This book is a Chick Lit style novel, and it’s pretty fun to write so far. 

If you’re interested in my progress, I’m tracking my daily word count here:

https://nanowrimo.org/participants/charmboxstudios

I’m on track to finish before Thanksgiving. Well, finish the 50K words, not the novel. That should be closer to 75K when it’s done, if it’s like a normal book in this genre.

Enough stalling. I’d better get back to my story now… 

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Making Marriage Work

Making Marriage Work

In September we celebrated our 17th anniversary.

I guess that means we have some idea of what makes a good marriage work. After all, I’d marry Josh all over again (in a heartbeat!), and he says the same about me.

 

  

A friend asked for advice of what makes a marriage work. We spent some time coming up with things that we’ve found to make the time together successful and enjoyable.

1. Don’t try to change your spouse. You married them for who they were, so don’t try to change it later. It will just cause frustration to both of you.

2. Make each other happy. Learn their love language and practice it as often as possible. Doing so will virtually guarantee they’ll do the same in return.

3. Marriage does take two. You can’t have a strong marriage unless you both want it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight for it if your spouse is floundering, but you can’t make it succeed all in your own.

4. Be each other’s biggest fan. Believe in your spouse even when (or especially when) they don’t believe in themselves.

5. Don’t let anyone else be more encouraging or speak words of life to them more than you do.

6. Keep a positive attitude. I’ve never considered being married to be a struggle because I’m walking through life with my best friend. In the good times or struggles, we remember that we’re better together than we ever could be apart.

7. Keep it fun. Whatever “fun” looks like to you, make sure you keep doing that. It could mean theme parks or haunted houses, building LEGO or going to the beach…fun brings you together.

I want to add a couple caveats to the above list.

1. Marriage takes two. If you’re in a marriage and doing all the work, this won’t work the same way. Your spouse has to want to have a successful relationship too.

2. We both have generations of successful marriages to build on. Our parents and grandparents were all married once, for life. That really does make a HUGE difference. Yes, we do follow the list above, but honestly we don’t have to think about it most of the time. It just happens, because that’s what we watched our parents do.

 

 What’s the best advice you ever heard for marriage? What would you add to this list? So what do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! [email protected]

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Feeling Alone

Feeling Alone

I don’t know about you…

But this year I’ve felt more alone than ever before in my life.

Which is a big deal, because I actually lived alone for a couple years, in a country where I was gradually learning to speak the language but every time I left the house I had to turn on my “concentrate hard” and be prepared for all the “but wait, you’re not a Turk” comments from people when they saw my red hair and heard me speaking their language.

2020 has been a wild ride. (I refuse to use all the adjectives we’ve heard all year, so I’ll go with a Disney reference instead) 

And in a time when a lot of my friends are living in places that are still completely shut down, or who are choosing to stay isolated to keep from getting the virus or possibly sharing it with someone else, that isolation is very, well, isolating. 

But even for people like me, who go to Disney, church, and the doctor’s office on a regular basis and see people face to face, I still find myself feeling very alone.

 

It’s not so much actually not seeing other people. It’s the feeling that I’m experiencing something, or feeling things, in a way that others just don’t get. Like I’m the only one who feels this particular way about things.

Let me tell you, though: it’s a lie. 

And it’s dangerous.

When we think we’re alone, then anxiety can start to take hold, even on people who have never felt anxious.

We start pitting ourselves against the imagined “them,” the people who make it harder for us to get back to some semblance of “normal.” No matter how we feel about…well, about anything…there’s a “them” and “they” seem to want us to fail.

What would you think if I told you we are actually all in this together?

That we all want our country and world to get back to normal, that we all want to be able to stop living in fear again? 

It’s not just wishful thinking.

I have friends on every possible side of this. People who flat-out refuse masks, those who won’t leave the house so they don’t risk exposing the vulnerable population (or themselves) to the virus, and tons somewhere in the middle. 

I know several people who have changed churches over this issue and how their (former) church handled things. 

I don’t even know how many people have changed their schooling plans over this. 

And those who have gone through the virus tend to keep quiet about it during their experience, feeling like they’re going to be ostracized for it. (I read an article yesterday that said 1 in 27 Floridians have had the virus at this point. That’s a lot more people who are in the same boat than most of us realize!)

 

But all of those are categories with multiple people in them!

No matter now small I go, I could list more than one person or family for each category. 

You. Aren’t Alone.

 

Stop believing the lie. Stop thinking you’re the only one going through it this way. 

I’m not always a fan of spending time looking for people who agree with me. I think it can get dangerous, because it makes me start thinking the “other side” is even more crazy than I already suspected. 

But in this time? I think you should find places that help you feel less alone. News articles or podcasts that discuss things the way you feel is the most accurate. Not so you can bash those who disagree with you. PLEASE don’t use them for that. But so that you can be encouraged, knowing you’re NOT the only one feeling this way. You’re NOT the only one to take this path and make these decisions. And feeling less alone is an incredibly encouraging, empowering sensation during this time.

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