Quarantine Emotion #7: Navigating Loneliness

Social distancing while being homebound may be a new experience for many. But for us, this quarantine has been more of the same.

Every year when the weather begins to chill, I give a half-hearted wave to the world and tuck myself in for a long winter nap. I spend the majority of cold and flu season in self-induced hibernation; maintaining distance, vigilantly washing hands, wearing masks in clinics, reluctantly canceling plans with friends. For six months out of the year, being immune-compromised means that my world mostly exists within the four walls of my home.

It can get very lonely. And maybe you’re feeling lonely right now too.   Continue reading

3 Cures for Comparison

3 Cures for Comparison how to stop Facebook envyYesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I was tired. Our summer has been full of non-stop activities, busyness, and stress.

I felt overwhelmed. My last few days were engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I also promised myself that I would accomplish my personal goals for the week. But an upcoming road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of the blues.

So naturally, I did what any of us would do. I mindlessly thumbed through Facebook.

And then I saw her life. You know the one.

Continue reading

13 Things Strong-Willed People Won’t Do

13 things strong willed people don't doStrong-willed people get a bad rap. They can be seen as stubborn, dominant, unreasonable or headstrong.

But are they, really?Dealing with a strong-willed spouse or child can be quite challenging. Our marriage is more unique in that we have not one, but two strong-willed individuals (how’d that happen?!). And odds are high we will end up with strong-willed children to boot.

If you fail to understand your strong-willed spouse or child, it can easily lead to power struggles, conflict and misunderstanding of character. Continue reading

4 Excuses That Will Keep You from Helping Others

4 excuses that keep you from helping othersDon’t do what I just did.

I was standing in the aisle at Walgreens perusing Mother’s Day cards when I heard her. A distressed, elderly woman in tears because she was lost and couldn’t find her way home.

Seeing her distress, my heart surged with compassion and concern.

But what did I do?

Nothing. Instead of lifting my voice or offering a hand, I sifted through each logical reason excuse while the entire episode played before me. Should I help? Should I say something? Should I get involved? Someone else should probably handle it.

In truth, the store clerk got involved and she likely made it home just fine. But I sure didn’t.

I saw the need. But I didn’t respond to it. And it disturbed me greatly. Continue reading

3 Cures for the Blogging Blues (and comparison)

3 cures for the blogging and comparison bluesYesterday was a down in the dumps kind of day.

I was tired. We returned earlier in the week from our travels and hit the ground running.

I felt overwhelmed. My last few days have been engulfed by piles of laundry, chores, work, errands, packing lunches, and scraping together dinners.

I also personally committed to myself (and you) that I would post at least once a week on this blog. But a crazy road trip + daily responsibilities left me with a bad case of writer’s block. I stared at a blank screen more times this week than I want to admit.

So naturally, I did what any tired and overwhelmed writer would do. Continue reading

Don’t Let Technology Disconnect You: 5 ways to engage in relationships

5 ways to engage in relationshipsThanks to technology and social media, we are now more connected than ever before.

Yet we are more isolated and alone than ever before.

Today, the average person has 300+ facebook “friends” yet the average American reports having only 2 close friends. 25% of Americans report having no close friends (Dave Sumrall, The Struggle is Real: Relationships).

Social media has made it easy for us to feel connected to others without actually requiring us to be in relationship. Continue reading

Being an Introvert was My Excuse to Disengage

why being an introvert was my excuse to disengageIf snuggling with your computer or a good book sounds like your idea of a fun evening, chances are you may be an introvert.

But that doesn’t mean you are shy. Or a party hater. Or that you prefer to live in a closet.

Contrary to popular opinion, many introverts are actually outgoing, creative, and possess a high-functioning inner world. This inner world is an introvert’s best kept secret; a treasure trove just waiting to be discovered.

But seldom will it be shared.

Too many encounters with humiliation, failure, or rejection over time will cause introverts to shut down and close up shop. Out of insecurity, we will draw the shades and remain indoors.

Over time, we will become content to disengage with our world.

I know because I’ve been there. Continue reading

The Masquerade: why you must remove your mask

why you must remove your maskAs a homeowner, I look forward to trick-or-treating every year. My husband and I carve pumpkins, grab our favorite TV show, and wait with anticipation. While I’m not a fan of Halloween, I do look forward to the doorbell ringing and greeting a cast of characters with handfuls of sweets.

Rain or shine, today we will be the ones on the sidewalk going door to door with Iron Man and Superman leading the way! And while I feel like a kid again and have eagerly packed “goodie bags” for such an occasion, the activity conjures up another mask in question.

This mask is not for kids. And it is not reserved for special occasions. In fact, it seems to be worn throughout most of the year. This mask hides flaws. It misrepresents. It is the paraphernalia of an act, one that has been performed throughout the years. This mask is worn for others. This mask is mine.

Getting me to admit my masquerade has been a long time coming. I felt the effects long before I recognized the cause. Even as these words leave my fingertips, my heart flutters a little with insecurity. But I’m going to be honest with you. Because maybe you’re like me. It all started a couple months ago with Donald Miller’s book, Scary Close (awesome read, by the way). Within the first few pages I knew I had a problem. Like the author, I have been an actor on the stage of life. Performing for others in order to receive the applause of acceptance and affirmation. I rehearse my lines so I can deliver them with ease. I disguised myself and therefore deceived myself.

Maybe you do this too. Perhaps you’re an actor on your own stage, performing for the people in your life in order to get something in return: significance, love, acceptance, forgiveness, recognition, fame, fortune, the list goes on and on. Somewhere along the line we’ve all learned that we aren’t enough. That there is something wrong with us. So we overcompensate. We carefully craft a mask to wear that we know will be pleasing to others. As Miller says, we all have an ace card that, when all else fails, we know we can play with success.

It got me thinking. What is my ace card? And what’s yours? What mask have I worn over the years that has yielded positive results? That has given me the affirmation I always wanted? And then it came to me. While yours may be intelligence, humor, money, or service, mine is Continue reading