Challenge yourself to grow and learn can be enlightening and a bit scary

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blackberry bushes bloom

Do you ever look back at notes or journal entries or letters from the past and become encouraged by your younger self? That is exactly what happened when I reread the post below…

Continuing to grow as a person and in knowledge is always something I have tried to address.  This usually comes out in the form of trying new things or striving to improve upon something I am already doing.

  • Starting a blog
  • Adding fruit plants and bushes to my garden (some success, some failure)
  • Adding fruit trees to my garden (failed)
  • Cold calling potential employers, when we moved to a new area and I had no professional network nearby (success)
  • Becoming fluent in a new language (failed, but it turns out enough stuck and I began to pick up a different language easier because of it)
  • Seek out ladies at MOPS who seemed to be getting left out from conversations, even though I was the ‘new’ one to town, the ‘new’ one in the planning group, and am introverted (success and I have a great friend because of it)
  • Fix our leaky washer (success)

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.  Most of the challenges I gave myself were ones that were extremely uncomfortable, making me step out of my box and tackle something new or emotionally hard.

Front Flower bed day 27 3

However, some challenges are not so hard:

These challenges were easier, yet had a big impact on my day.

I always encourage people to challenge themselves to new things, to try something different, to step out of their comfort zone and see if there is something else they might enjoy.  Even if it is a ‘failure’ you can learn from it.  Even if you learn to appreciate what you had before.

As for 2020…before any more experienced apiarist point it out, or even gardeners who are paying attention, I am aware that the weeds need to be pulled in this area. What you can not see is that they are cleared almost up to the edge of this picture. Instead of giving myself a hard time about what I have not done this summer I am celebrating what has been accomplished – LOOK! Two thriving bee hives! AND right next to them a beautiful fig tree.

… as for 2020 the term “challenge” has taken on a new meaning. I am pretty sure we all have had a challenge or two this year, likely ones not of our choosing. I know I have, ones I would rather not repeat. Perhaps you are in the middle of one right now.

While reading through chapter 19 of Charlotte Mason’s 3rd volume I came across a portion where she talks about comrades, being deeper with people (and thoughts) than we may accomplish by attending parties and teas together. During the weekly book discussion, virtually with some other moms, I brought up this point both in regards to our kids’ learning but also friendships. Closely following was the question, “what are we doing to model deeper friendships, something more than ‘likes’ on social media?” Why is it important? Why do we form the friendships we do? What is their basis?

These were more questions to ponder rather than trying to solve all the world’s problems. As we tend to be more practical thinkers than theoretical ones we actually talked about ways to do so. One point I brought up was having shared some challenges I had been going through this year. While it felt like complaining I also knew that my family was surely not the only ones going through similar experiences. But no one was talking about it! Once I or one of the other moms mentioned something, though, an interesting thing happened… condemnation was not poured down upon them, instead understanding and support. A step into changing from acquaintences to friends.

If you are going through a challenging time, you are not alone. Tell someone. You might just find you are surrounded by others in exactly the same spot, all thinking you were in this alone.

The challenge of being real, opening up, talking about things society normally ignores can be uncomfortable. It must be done though if we hope to grow from this instead of breaking under the weight.