My Life’s Soundtrack

My Life’s Soundtrack

Imagine your life…your most pivotal memories…what song was playing during that time?

If you can’t figure out how to start, try going about it the opposite way. When you hear certain songs, very specific scenes appear, right? Start collecting those, and then pare them down as you come up with the one that best fits that time in your life.

I’ve created mine on Spotify. It’s not a list of my favorite songs. Many of these are not what I would usually choose to listen to. But they are part of my soundtrack in the story of what made me who I am now!
I won’t describe every story: just a sample. Feel free to ask if one makes you curious!

The Muppet Show
I’m 6 again…it’s Saturday night…we have to take turns getting our hair washed, but no one wants to miss the best show of the week!

We Are The World
My neighbor friend shows me the music video of all the important musicians. I don’t know a single one of them.

Goin’ Down
Mom’s 45 records…over and over, trying (and failing) to learn the words. Root of my love of blues in rock?

Piano Man
9th grade…band room after a half-time field show. Entire band singing this song at the top of their lungs. Goes from a song I’d never heard to one I would love for the rest of my life.

Zor Kadin
This song made waves when I lived in Turkey, because a capella was a new and exciting sound.

Phenomenon
Rummy Kube on the living room floor of our house in Buffalo, pregnant with Jasmine

Float
Dropping Rebekah off in Dallas. She has a fonder memory of this song than I do!

Your turn: What would be on YOUR soundtrack? I’d love to hear! Comment on Facebook (since I have comments turned off here)

Looking Back

Looking Back

Looking Back

 We’ve all been there. 

I suspect that by the time people hit adulthood, pretty much everyone has experienced something that, in retrospect, they should have left far earlier than they did.
A friendship or relationship that wasn’t healthy.
A church where there were serious problems.
A school with verbally abusive teachers.
A doctor who didn’t listen.
A dance studio that no longer fits our needs.
A situation that got out of hand.

The list goes on and on, and the longer we live, the more of those experiences we’re likely to have.

I’m not an Enneagram 6 (a loyalist). I am fiercely loyal, but I also am willing to make a change when I see that my previous decision is no longer a good fit.
But whenever that happens, in the months and years that follow I look back and wonder how I didn’t see the signs.
Part of it is the “frog in the pot” syndrome. The gradual change that we don’t notice because it wasn’t like that when we started there. A lot of my own experiences fall into that category.
But part of it is just not seeing the true state of things when we start somewhere.

 

Example: I left a doctor’s office because I was so fed up with how bad the communication was. How hard it was to get ahold of a nurse or the doctor. How tough it was to get through to the receptionist to make an appointment.
But seriously, I hadn’t been able to get a person on the phone the first time I had tried to go to that practice. It was only when someone else got through that I was able to get an appointment made.

 

It’s really easy to look back at those situations and get angry at ourselves for not recognizing the signs. But how is that healthy? 
We don’t know what we don’t know.
You know the phrase “hindsight is 20/20.” There’s a reason for the popularity of the saying. We don’t always see the big picture in the midst of the experience. In fact, it’s almost impossible TO see the forest for the trees, when we’re standing in the middle of that forest! 
I’ve been realizing lately just how important it is to forgive my former self, and this is one huge part of that. I can’t keep lecturing old me on how stupid it was that I didn’t change _______ earlier. Because that me was doing the best she could with the information she had at that moment. 
And in all reality, we could never learn and become wiser if we hadn’t gone through those situations.
Example: In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of being at a church you felt right about connecting to, and how my parents had been through a nasty church split. If they hadn’t been through that and taught me some of the red flags they figured out after the fact, I might have hung on in a couple situations myself, and ended up witnessing the trauma of a church split (or implosion). 
So give yourself grace. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had back then. Of course, current-you would have done it differently, but in reality, a lot of the reason you WOULD do it differently is BECAUSE you went through that uncomfortable situation. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! charla@charmboxstudios.com or comment on Facebook And feel free to subscribe by going here and signing up! I blog about once a month (or as inspiration strikes), and I will never EVER do anything with your email address.

 

The stories we don’t know

The stories we don’t know

A little while ago, my husband saw a woman throw a cup of hot coffee into a garbage can near the entrance of Universal’s CityWalk. As in, throw. As in, the family near the can almost got splashed.

Pretty careless of her, wasn’t it? Why couldn’t she have taken one more step so she could have dropped it in, not risking hurting anyone?

 

She wishes you could hear about the hour leading up to said incident (how do I know? because she made sure my husband knew the full story).*

She had gone to a fast-food restaurant for dinner. The family was heading to a concert at CityWalk, and because it was late, she ordered coffee with her dinner. 

Only, the coffee was cold. Like, the pot had been off for a long time. So she asked for a new cup. Which meant the entire family sat around waiting for the new pot to be brewed. 

By the time she had her coffee in hand, they were running late. The coffee was finally cool enough to drink as they pulled into their parking spot, so she took it with her.

At the security checkpoint, she was told no outside food/drinks are allowed inside CityWalk.

Exasperated, she turned and hurled the cup into the trash, and was appalled to realize how close she came to splashing it on the family behind her.

 

How does her action strike you now?

–Yesterday, we were the minivan with a mattress strapped to the roof. No one was surprised when we accelerated gradually. But last fall, when we had 300 mini cupcakes in the trunk, no one could figure out why we took all the corners so carefully.

–My friend was ready to find a new lawn maintenance company when her lawn guy had been absent for a long time. Until, that is, she found out that his baby had been going through a series of surgeries. Maybe he wasn’t just ignoring his work after all.

–I thought another friend was mad at me, until I remembered how many intense doctor’s appointments she had scheduled this week for her daughter.

Maybe the car in front of you is being driven by someone sending a text at the red light, and that’s why he didn’t see the light change. And maybe he made you miss the arrow, but maybe it was because the text was huge and life-changing. (I know I didn’t drive my best when I found out my daughter had gotten into Joffrey Ballet’s Summer Intensive!)

So…what do we do with all of this?

My friend’s wise grandpa always taught her:

Every head is a different world.

If we intentionally start giving people the benefit of the doubt, how would our response change?

And then…how would that make us feel?

Guess what? When I choose to imagine a story that would justify someone’s erratic or annoying behavior, it lowers my blood pressure. I stop being irritated. I’m instantly more chill.

And if I actually know their story, I feel compassion instead of annoyance. Every time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Email charla@charmboxstudios.com or comment on Facebook

*by the way, the woman who threw the coffee was me. 

 

 

My Health Story

My Health Story

It all started a month or so after my father-in-law’s heart attack.
When I was up half the night with horrible heartburn that wouldn’t subside (And I started worrying was a heart attack), I got checked out.
My heart was fine, but the doctor wanted me to get to a doctor to do further testing.

Thankfully I knew my mom had thyroid issues so I asked the PA for a full thyroid panel. Because of that, I found out I had Hashimoto’s, though my thyroid was still functioning well. (Suddenly a lot of things I didn’t pay attention to made sense: the exhaustion wasn’t just my busy schedule. The brain fog wasn’t just “mom brain.” The brittle nails weren’t just what I was doing with my hands).

He took me through some crazy tests and diet adjustments. No improvement. Well, that’s not entirely true. The first two months I did make huge strides, because I was gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free. (more on that later). But the other stuff he had me go through made things worse instead of better.


I read books and followed their guidelines for my diet and supplements. I kept getting my antibodies tested and got discouraged that they stopped getting lower.

I was so frustrated with how his office functioned (or didn’t) that I started going to someone else.
He admitted that he wasn’t knowledgeable about autoimmunity, but he is anxious to learn. I’m thankful for that mindset! He gave me more tests…more work…and no change.


Josh reminded me about a group I had joined at some point maybe a year before. I looked into her again and this time everything became crystal clear.
I ended up doing two of her courses. I started with “MY Hormone Masterclass” and then decided I needed the “transform autoimmune disease naturally” course.
Both are online, and both are Dr. Maggie’s philosophy, but that’s where the similarities end.
MY Hormone Masterclass is a self-led class that teaches you a TON about how hormones affect autoimmunity. It includes a hormone test kit and a consult with Dr. Maggie. It’s amazing and turned everything around for me.
This course (made for all autoimmune conditions, diagnosed or suspected) helped me figure out that I had PCOS as well as the Hashimoto’s I knew about. I started changing how I ate and that affected how my sleeping was. (I found out that there is a strong connection between PCOS and Type I diabetes. If family members have one, it is highly likely that others will have the other, because both have their roots in blood sugar issues!)
I decided to join the full program to transform my autoimmunity.
It was an investment, but so were the various treatments I’d gotten with my two doctors. But this time instead of feeling awful while I did it (3-day vegetable juice fast?! Those last couple glasses made me gag!), this time each change I made helped me feel better and stronger. Talk about motivation to continue!
I am currently on the 9th week. (out of 10)
I have learned so much.
I now know what tests to ask for…
What the results mean…
and where to go from there.


(Spoiler alert: I am no longer getting my antibodies tested. They were sufficient to get diagnosed as having Hashi’s, but the number isn’t helpful beyond that. Other tests tell far more about how I’m actually doing)
The PCOS is completely reversed. Hashimoto’s is not causing issues now, though I wouldn’t call it “reversed” quite yet. I know now what I can and can’t eat (gluten and whey are out for life, and I have a few things to avoid for a couple months and then see if I can reintroduce them), and I know better how to diagnose where I need to go to continue seeing improvements.
I won’t say I’m completely out of the woods yet. I still forget words when I’m talking…but less than I used to. I still am dealing with anxiety…but much less than a few months ago. I have weight to lose, but it’s not something I need to focus on…it will come as I keep doing the work.
The healing is happening. And I’m ridiculously excited about that.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! charla@charmboxstudios.com or comment on Facebook And feel free to subscribe by going here and signing up! I blog about once a month (or as inspiration strikes), and I will never EVER do anything with your email address.

 

It’s All In The Past

It’s All In The Past

Stories. They’re so important, aren’t they?

Here are four I’ve heard in the past couple weeks. They are all about COVID and specifically the vaccine, but they could be about anything. 

1. Sarah*  has a child who suffers from asthma. Avoiding a virus that seems to attack the lungs, she chose to wear masks and get the vaccine as soon as it was available. After spending a year keeping her family as protected as possible, the vaccine was a welcome relief.

2. Elsie** lost her sister to cancer, due to a drug her mother took when pregnant with her (DES by Lilly Pharm, which she took after multiple miscarriages, hoping she could carry a healthy baby to term). So the thought of a vaccine still in its trial stages sounded dangerous at best: hadn’t the “experts” convinced her mother that DES was perfectly safe too?

3. Jeanne** grew up in the age of Polio and became a nurse. She saw vaccines as the most straight-forward way to rid the world of dangerous diseases. Her blood boiled at the thought of people choosing not to vaccinate,  because they were putting themselves and everyone else at risk “because someone told them the vaccines might be dangerous.”

4. Laura** has an autoimmune disease. Knowing something “triggered” her body into fighting itself, but not knowing yet what that trigger was, she’s resistant to taking a vaccine whose sole point is to attack specific cells in the body: what if it decided another part of HER body was the thing it was created to attack? It had happened once already…

*name changed because she thought it would be cool to have a code name

 **changed their names too, because it’s fun!

These stories are all real. 

They all help explain why each decides what they do about whether or not to get the COVID vaccine.

And, if they don’t know another person’s story, why they would think that it was crazy to have any other conclusion than the one they themselves came to.

 

What if we’re all right?

What if everyone you see is doing the best they can with the information they have, but more importantly, with the backstory they carry with them?

How would that change things? 

And it’s not just about the vaccine, or about COVID.

It’s also about:

-why people choose to go into debt to go to a private college…

-what makes people choose the faith they align with…

-how we approach our diet

-who we vote for (and at least as important: who we vote against!)

-and just about everything I can think of.

What does it all mean?

It means we recognize things as true because they align with our experiences. When we hear something that resonates, we are a million times more likely to add it to our arsenal. When we come across something that doesn’t match our previous experiences, we throw it out as wrong/stupid/a conspiracy theory/ignorant.

The term for this is confirmation bias, and a quick Google search shows article after article about how dangerous it is to live only listening to sources that agree with how we already think.

When we are bombarded with people saying something that doesn’t match our experiences, it’s overwhelming. It makes us angry or anxious, and it doesn’t take long scrolling through social media to see that this ends with people sharing memes confirming their beliefs and often bashing the alternatives.

I feel like we need to take a step back and recognize that we all see the world differently. Because of our different histories, our tendency is to continue to focus on the things that fit in with our views.

Pushing past our comfort zone, spending time listening respectfully to those who have a different experience and conclusion, is a difficult but powerful way to start feeling more connected. We need to feel like a community again, not fragments who barely tolerate each other.

It’s hard. Being face-to-face with someone who feels passionately the opposite way I do is super tough. But I have made meaningful connections when I have done this, and that’s a million times better than the momentary feeling of victory when I stood my ground and spoke against what the other person was saying. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! charla@charmboxstudios.com or comment on Facebook And feel free to subscribe by going here and signing up! I blog about once a month (or as inspiration strikes), and I will never EVER do anything with your email address.

But I don’t want to go there!

But I don’t want to go there!

What do we KNOW about Noah building the ark?

“Build a large boat from cypress wood,” and then God gave him some dimensions.

 

  

“So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.” (Gen 6:22 NLT)

Now imagine you’re Noah. Which of the following sounds more exciting to you?

 1. You live in the desert. You’ve never seen a boat, and probably have never visited a body of water. You have to grow the trees before you can build the  boat, which is why it took 140 years. What a faith-building experience, right?

2. You live near a large body of water and you spent years watching the ships come and go. Maybe you even watched or apprenticed under ship builders.

These are both hypotheses I’ve heard in the past. One is an amazing faith walk, so that’s gotta be what happened right?

Perhaps. But maybe, just maybe, God gives us paths that aren’t actually that big a jump from our normal interests and strengths. And, most importantly, he can birth new passions in us.

My pastor talked about being afraid as a teen to fully submit to God’s will because he was worried he’d have to go to China, where he was sure he’d be martyred. Three years later, the Lord changed his heart and he felt like James Bond, smuggling Bibles into mainland China.

I, on the other hand, have always loved the idea of other countries, and I got to spend 2 years teaching music in Istanbul. Two years doing something I was trained to do, in a place I loved with the kindest people and the best food. Getting paid to do it. 

 

Sometimes God does need to correct our thinking to use us in the ways he has planned. Sometimes it does feel like our use of the word “never” is a challenge for him to knock us down a few pegs.

But I think more often than not, he wants to use the passions, gifts, and training we have already. 

Example: this blog. I’ve enjoyed writing for…pretty much forever. (just don’t ask to see the stories I wrote as a child. They all featured Strawberry Shortcake or Donald Duck. They were good if you need something to put you to sleep.) Letting God use the writing passion in order to speak to others is a natural step. It’s still scary and a step of faith because putting things “out there” that have been on my heart is vulnerable. But it feels good because I’m hearing from others that these topics resonate with them, too.

So if you’ve been hesitant to let God’s will be done in your life, no strings attached….don’t be. Don’t worry. He’ll use you in the way he made you, and he’ll add passions or interests where needed. 

He is a GOOD father. That means he wants to see you thrive, while at the same time bring you closer to him and use you to bring others to him. But he wants to use YOU in the way he made you. He doesn’t need a million Billy Grahams or Mother Teresas. He needed both of them, and he needs you for the unique contribution you bring to the world.

 

So what do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! charla@charmboxstudios.com

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