Real Life/Living Abroad

Hello, October and hello, 24! An update

Um, it certainly doesn’t feel like I should be 24 years old. 24 is the age you start thinking about babies and mortgages and entertaining the idea of buying family members Christmas presents for the first time in your life. Twenty four feels like a different class of age. If you think about it, I am officially in the top tier of the 18-24 “young adult” class. Weird, but exciting. I’m eager to enter the next season of my life.

It also doesn’t feel like it should be October. Let me set the scene for you a bit (seeing as it is October and I have made absolutely no fall Instagram posts yet because I’m terrible at social media even though it is my dream job). I’m sitting at a wooden kitchen table and it is facing the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the garden. The garden is wet and green as rain pours down, sliding across the windows as it goes. There are soggy red and orange leaves spotting the bright green grass. The sky is a wonderful pregnant grey color. I’m sipping on my black americano with my non-beats light pink headphones and I am listening to a soft coffeehouse jazz mix on Youtube. I’m also wearing an oversized pink t-shirt repping the University of Iowa and leggings. Also, my fuzzy house slippers.


Okay, now that I have set the scene and made you feel as cozy as I feel right now…

I’ve been meaning to write for months. I’ve been radio silent on my Instagram for the last month, and on here even longer. I fall into little writing grooves from time to time and then I will lose inspiration and motivation for a period. In the meantime I’ve been working a lot, working out and reading loads. I’m prone to cycles; I’m a creative person and invariably I rotate what gives me daily inspiration. I wish I could be disciplined and write at least twice a month on my blog but when my heart ain’t in it, there’s nothing to be said worth reading.

Anyway, I wanted to come on here and just write for once. A lot of the time perfectionism holds me back; I want to write with a topic in mind, have a message to wrap up the post, and tie an action oriented goal into it as well… It’s a lot. On top of that there is SEO and creating/having high quality images to think about. Then there is marketing the post on Facebook, Instagram, etc not to mention creating the images for those posts as well. I love doing all of that, but working full time makes it difficult, especially when it is not ideal for me to put out something that doesn’t feel “perfect” or polished. Then there is the small matter of feeling creatively inspired when writing. On top of that I never want to put out a post that isn’t JC approved if you’re catching my drift. Insincerity would be my worst nightmare; I could never put something out because I needed to meet a deadline. Anyway, woe is me. Social media is hard. Cry, cry, cry. Just kidding 😉

On a personal level, I’ve started a new job working at an insurance company as a broker. There is a part of me that feels like yeah, this isn’t my dream job, but it is still an answer to one of my prayers that I’d been pestering God about for what felt like ages. I’m grateful for the experience, which without I may not have the means to find a steady office job back in the States when Stuart and I move back next year. The money is nearly double what I would make in a month at the pub and in terms of saving for our future, it seems a miracle. There are opportunities for bonuses, the people are lovely, and it is an easy commute for me. All in all, it is a perfect job for me for the next year of my life. It seems too that the opportunity fell from the sky; the Lord delivered me even when I doubted He could. It goes to show that He is bigger than the situations we place before him. There is no mountain He can’t move. The biggest mountain we will face is our doubt that He can do great things and fix situations that seem unfixable or impossible.

I’ve been thinking about gratitude today actually. I remember reading a blog post about a woman who would constantly pester her husband about picking up after himself, especially his clothes on the floor. One day her husband passed unexpectedly. All she wanted when she came home was to find his clothes freshly strewn on the floor.

Yesterday Stuart and I were watching a documentary about the Vietnam war and a mother was being interviewed about her son who had been killed. He was only 19. The interviewer asked her, “How do you answer when someone asks you how you can believe in God after losing someone like that, to war?” to which her response was something along the lines of, “I know God is real because we had Mogi — even if it was for only a little bit of time.”

That really hit home for me and took me back to that blog post that I read. Lord knows that life can be messy and stressful; we are currently going through the visa process to head back to the States when my visa for the UK expires. We have already hit a blip that will set us back. We have less than a year now to get this sorted. I’ve been upset so many times over the idea that we may not have our affairs in order by the time I have to go back to the States. I’m terrified we will be separated, even for a short period of time.

With stress comes irritability and strain, but I’ve been focusing on pouring my focus into all of the wonderful ways God has blessed us over the past few years. I’ve noticed that I may have missed the point of that blog post that I read ages ago about the woman who had lost her husband; at the time my takeaway was that we should put up with the little blips life has to offer, as there is a bigger picture to think about. That isn’t untrue.

However, the more I focus on gratitude and all of the wonderful blessings in life the more I have noticed it is so much easier to feel joy and love. Joy flows from my heart when I look at the mess around me and laugh. That sounds like a damn cliche but it couldn’t be closer to the truth. Gratitude isn’t about swallowing the annoyance we feel; it is about learning to find joy in it. That seems like an impossible thing to do and it certainly could be without God’s help. But like I said earlier, nothing is outside of God’s ability. He can take a terrible situation and turn it into a masterpiece or a miracle. Sometimes it is in ways we don’t expect, so we aren’t immediately aware.

I’ve been missing home a lot as well which, in combination with visa stuff, hasn’t been super fun. October and fall in general is my favorite time of year back at home; I love going apple picking, pumpkin patching, having coffee dates with my Mom and having breakfast in a diner with my Dad. I love the atmosphere of Iowa in the fall. It has been nearly two years I’ve been away from home now. I’m loving England, but my heart is definitely at home in Iowa during this time of year for sure. But I know that this is a season of life and in 5 years I will look back with nostalgia and miss England along with its drizzly fall days and mild weather.

Anyway, I have had a lot of fun just pouring what is on my heart onto the page – perfectionism and point to it all be damned. It is immensely more satisfying to write a big glob of mush and word vomit rather than still be thinking about all of this and worrying about never being able to put it into the perfect algorithm of a post. Does that make sense?

If you’re still reading, God bless. If you aren’t, God bless you still. I’d love to start making more personal posts like this because in a few years time I want to be able to look back on my old blog posts and remember details I would have otherwise forgotten. Do you like this style of blog post? Let me know in the comments what you think. 

About Rachel Chamberlayne

4 thoughts on “Hello, October and hello, 24! An update

  1. Staying motivated can be hard! Keep working when you have time and keep praying! And congratulations on the new job!

  2. I know the perfectionism feeling. I was just thinking the same thing yesterday. I’m too worried about putting out a perfect product with a perfect look. This post really reminded me of what God needs from me. Not SEO. Not Pinterest perfect pictures and bullets. Sometimes He just needs me to do what He called me to do. (The post came out beautifully by the way.)

    1. Thank you so much! Exactly – sometimes it is about pouring your heart out only to find so many women feel the same. And to me that is so much more satisfying than having a perfectly polished post. 🙂

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