The Best Personality Test in the World

Have you ever taken a personality test? Whether you answered yes or no to that question, I’ve got one you must take. That’s must with a capital M! A friend of mine just posted it on her Facebook wall, and even though I usually pass these things up (I’ve taken quite a few of them, including an hour-long one when I applied to grad school), I decided to take this one. Quite honestly, it was the site’s cute cartoon that drew me in. 😉 But boy, oh boy, this test is THE personality test of all personality tests. It was quick, easy and, most of all, spot-on accurate. Like creepy goosebump-inducing scary movie soundtrack good. Not only was it accurate, it was eye-opening.

For the first time in my life, I felt like someone got me. Like really, truly understood me because they must’ve been watching me 24/7 and following me around and taking notes of everything I did, felt and thought. But the best part is that I feel like I know myself better. I finally figured out why I feel so much pressure to keep all my balls juggling in the air and why maintaining a happy equilibrium in the home is so important to me. Why I have such a heavy sense of responsibility when I take on different tasks and why I strive to be perfect. How I can be a total introvert, but also value socializing. And that I actually have something in common with people like Vin Diesel, Beyonce and Kate Middleton because they have the same personality type, too! LOL

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I think the best part about knowing yourself is understanding your strengths and weaknesses and how those traits play out in the areas of your family, work and social lives (which this test thoroughly explains to you!). It’s like finding a manual about yourself that validates and affirms you and also gives you smart instructions on how to get along with other people. Because a lot of life is about learning to get along with other people who unfortunately were not blessed with the same wonderful personality as you. 😉

This test also works well in helping you understand those other people in your life. I took the test for hubby (who preferred not to take it himself because he tends to overanalyze those kind of questions, haha), and the results were amazingly accurate. Both of the munchkins also took it (with some help from me) and it was a neat experience going over the test and results with them. It gave me the opportunity to understand how they see themselves and to know how self-aware they are. Several times, C answered, “Totally not!” to a question and I had to agree with her assessment. It also gave me insight into how I can work with their strengths and weaknesses and better parent them as individuals. (Their results will likely change as they grow, so it’ll be fun to do the test again with them in the future.)

Bottom line, this is the one personality test you won’t regret taking! Go HERE to take it and comment below to tell me what type you are! 🙂 (Fun fact, hubby’s a Debater and I’m a Defender. Can we say opposites attract?!)

Here’s a sweet cover of “One Day” by Yonina that I shared on Facebook before. I love its hopeful message that one day all people will get along.

Picking Up the Slack in Marriage

As seasoned chauffeurs for our two munchkins, hubby and I have an established driving routine. He takes them to school and I pick them up. On the rare occasions when he has an early meeting at work, I’ll take over his shift. This routine has worked out pretty well for us, especially because he’s an early bird and I’m like this cat …

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There have been days however when hubby doesn’t have to go in early, but I offer to take his shift for him. Why? Usually because he had to stay up late to work or he woke up with a migraine due to stress from work (yep, his work can be a beast). Yesterday, it was because there was an issue at work that kept him on the phone till 2AM, then too wired to sleep until 4AM. 🙁 This meant he was still in bed by the time the kids had to leave the house, so I made myself semi-presentable and played morning chauffeur. I haven’t always been this accommodating though. If this scenario had happened a few years ago, I likely would’ve woken hubby up or begrudgingly dragged my pajama-clad behind out of the house. I’d moan and groan and think, Why do I have to do something he’s supposed to do? If I were to be honest, I’d admit that statement goes through my mind. A lot. 😛

I used to be a pro at keeping score in our relationship. When we were first married, I’d remember each time I took out the trash or washed the dishes or did anything of significance (which happened all the time of course, ha!). I’d also remember how many times hubby did (or didn’t do) something. For a gal who doesn’t like math much, I spent a lot of time doing mental calculations. But what did all my tallying add up to? A big fat sum of resentment. And as anyone knows, resentment is no fun. You tell ’em, Grumpy Cat.

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So how do you stop resentment in its tracks? It’s simple (kind of!). Stop thinking only about yourself.

One thing hubby taught me that’s really stuck with me through our 15+ years of marriage is the idea of teamwork. Not only the idea, but the ins and outs of how to be a team player. (He’s the youngest of 4, so he’s had plenty of opportunities to learn how to get along with people.) The most important part of being on a team is thinking like a team. It’s no longer me or you, it’s us. And when part of “us” isn’t able to do something that could lead to the success of the team, the other part of “us” picks up the slack.

The thing with picking up the slack for someone else is that it doesn’t always seem fair. You know what? It’s not. People aren’t perfect and situations aren’t always ideal. But what balances those things out is something else that isn’t fair: Love. Love is far from fair. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs or disappointments. It doesn’t keep score or compare. Love is about being the bigger woman (or man) even—and especially—when it’s not fair. And that’s a good thing. Because it means so much more when you do something for your spouse out of kindness, compassion, mercy and grace, not with a sense of obligation, guilt or resentment.

That’s what Jesus did for us. I love the part about joy in the verse below.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Now I’m pretty certain we’ll never have to pick up the slack for our spouse like Jesus did for us (whew!). But there will be plenty of opportunities when we’ll have a choice to make for our marriage: Endure something out of love or become a grumpy cat and feed on a meal of resentment? I think even Grumpy Cat would agree that resentment isn’t worth eating. But love? Love is as sweet and mind-blowing as a big bowl of your favorite ice cream stacked a bazillion scoops high with all the sprinkles, syrup, nuts (or not if you’re allergic) and whipped cream you could ever hope for (without the calories and cavities). 😉

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Yup. Our spouse is our life partner, the closest and most precious teammate we’ll ever have. And each day is a new “game” in the journey of marriage, one in which we have two choices: 1) stay in our own little corner of the playing field or 2) “take one for the team”. When you think about it, when we choose to pick up the slack for our spouse, we’re letting them know they’re worth the extra effort, that they’re worth our love (as imperfect as it is). We’re also contributing to the team’s success by fostering an environment of courtesy, kindness and perseverance. The bottom line? It’s a win for the whole team. I don’t know about you, but winning sounds good. 🙂

Just ask Grumpy Cat. (This is my last meme, I promise!) 😉

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Here’s an oldie but goodie about teamwork, Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”.

Who have you picked up the slack for on your team (ie. your marriage, work or family relationship)? Who has picked up the slack for you?

It Takes a Village (of Authors)

When I started this writing journey, I was one little person typing her thoughts and feelings away on a blog from the comfort of her home. That was back in 2011 and I had no idea—not even a small clue—of where I would be at six years later. Well, I’m still typing away in the safe bubble of my house (with a never-ending supply of tea!), but I’m no longer alone. I have a whole village of people surrounding me, all of whom I’ve never even met face-to-face, but that I communicate with on a regular basis. How is this possible? It’s called the internet!

And because of the amazing, talented, and supportive authors I’ve been able to meet online, I’ve been able to learn and grow and evolve into the writer I am today. I owe a LOT to these people. I digest their blogs and books, pick their brains for advice on anything from commas to marketing strategies, and lean on their support in sharing my work.

I’ve always been a solitary type of gal (I was an only child until age 10 and an introvert, still am!), but I’m starting to see the benefits of being part of a village. Regardless of what we do on a daily basis—whether it’s teaching, researching, programming, counseling, raising kids or writing—we need others. We need others who understand the challenges we go through and don’t fault us for having a bad day when (fill in the blank). We need folks who know just the right thing to say that will encourage and push us to do better. Most of all, we need to know we’re not on this journey alone, that we have people cheering us on every day.

I was so fortunate to find an online author village with Clean Indie Reads (if you want to join our Facebook group, let me know!). Last year, I was able to meet another group of wonderful authors when we collaborated together on a boxed set (insert shameless plug: Click HERE to get 7 stories for only 99 cents!). 🙂 And more recently, God graciously opened the doors for me to be part of an author cooperative, Sweet Romance Reads! I am beyond excited (and a bit starstruck to be among such accomplished authors!) and am looking forward to working with them to introduce you to more warm-fuzzy stories. I now feel more equipped and supported than ever as an author and ready to tackle this year.

Yay for finding my village! Have you found yours? Comment below and let me know!

Here’s a great song about supporting one another, Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up”, covered here by Jai McDowell & KHS.

Lessons Learned from the Small Things

Since the end of a year usually gets me thinking and reflecting, I asked the munchkins a question on the last day of 2016 to get them thinking and reflecting: What did you learn this year?

They answered me with blank stares and full mouths (it was dinnertime), so I tried to help them out a little.

“You guys learned to swim!” (Which was nothing short of a miracle for two kiddos who had never intentionally put their heads in the water before this summer. Now they race to see who can jump into the pool first!)

“We learned how to knit.” (Thank you, YouTube videos.)

E finally swallowed and added, “I learned algebra.” (Simple algebra in 4th grade? Craziness, I tell ya.)

I turned to C and reminded her, “You learned how to do a handstand!”, to which she enthusiastically nodded.

Wow. What a year.

These were some major milestones for the kids, milestones I wish could be captured in more than a few words or sentences.  Saying, “You guys learned to swim!” doesn’t do the experience of learning how to swim justice. Five words aren’t enough to describe the endless hours it took for E and C to overcome their fears enough to trust us to hold their hands when they gave up their swim floaties. To trust that their goggles would keep the water out of their eyes (and still go underwater even when they didn’t). And to trust that the fun of jumping into the water would be worth the butterflies they felt in their stomachs as they stood on the edge of the pool. Learning how to swim was a culmination of years and years of patience, perseverance, courage and faith for all of us, especially the patience part for hubby and me. 😉 Even though it seems like the kids accomplished this achievement in 2016, you could say they started learning how to swim 10 and 7 years ago.

Isn’t that the case with a lot, if not most, of the lessons we learn in life? Learning something new takes time—minutes, hours, days and years of time.  And the little mundane things we are learning today are necessary and important lessons we need in order to accomplish something bigger in the future.

That’s what I was thinking about the other night when C and I were wrangling some yarn. You may think the word wrangle would apply better to a herd of cattle or horses, but believe me, this yarn had a mind of its own. It was perfectly coiled when I bought it, but over the course of a few weeks, it had become a crazy tangle of a mess. And before I could use it again I had to tame the wild beast.

This beast has a cute name though: Cupcake Sprinkles. 😉

So that’s what we set out to do. I found one end and began wrapping it around my hand while C picked it apart and released its knots. She kept exclaiming, “This is going to take hours!” to which I replied through gritted teeth, “No, it won’t!” Truthfully though, it did take most of the evening to unravel. But through it all, we persevered. We cheered when we could pull more than a foot of yarn at once and booed when we encountered a knot. I was impressed with C’s patience and complimented her on it, especially when we traded tasks and I got the hard job of untangling the knots. When we traded back, she told me with confidence, “Watch and learn!” as she masterfully tamed that yarn, inch by inch. It was a wonderful sight (and a relief!) when we were all done.

Lesson learned? The task of unravelling the ball of yarn may have seemed mundane and a waste of time, but it was much needed and in preparation for something bigger. Like being able to knit this cute hat for my niece.

As you can see, I did a lot of knitting over winter break. 🙂 I also made a hat for C to match her cousin’s, as well as a bag for her stuffed chick (not pictured here).

So, yup, as we start this new year, I’m reminding myself to take baby steps as I set my goals. Sure, I’d love to be able to write more books than I did last year, but what’s important is that I just show up and write. Word by word, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph. Because all these small steps will add up and come together to form something beautiful  … just like that crazy ball of yarn did.

Here’s the song C and I listened to on repeat(!) while we were wrangling the yarn. It’s called, “Up, Up and Away” and it’s from one of the American Girl movies, Grace Stirs Up Success. The main character in the film also learned the importance of taking small steps (ie. cracking an egg with one hand) in her quest to become a Masterchef Junior baker.

What small steps are you learning today that will help you to accomplish bigger things in the future?