The Price of Dreams

I’m going back to Ohio tomorrow. Just for the weekend.

Honestly, I’ve been counting down until this day for the last five weeks now.

I just need to see my family. See how my mom is doing. For those who may be new to the blog, she had a stroke about ten months ago, and only in the last two months have I moved back to my life in NYC after spending 8 months at home in Ohio, being her sidekick in her recovery.

Since coming back, I’ve never really been so aware of how time alters things. My friend group has completely changed, with people going off in all different directions. People have coupled off, moved to different boroughs of NYC, found other friends…eight months is a long time. A lot of life can happen.

And I’m going to be really honest…I’ve spent many nights falling asleep, asking myself, “What am I chasing here?

I mean, my two best friends are here – which is frankly the biggest draw – and I’m pursuing an acting career, but I think about the life I’m giving up back in Ohio with my family, and it quite literally keeps me up at night.

I’ve got my mom, who, though she is strong and doing great in her recovery…I want to be there for her. She’s navigating life with a new set of wings, and I want to be there to support my best friend. I want to be there to support my father who is the rock of our family. I’ve got my bother and his wife who are going to be adopting soon. I’ve got my other brother and his wife and their darling children who are growing up and starting preschool and playing soccer. And all of these things, I’m missing. And it kills me inside.

Ohio and I have a difficult history. The shadow of my past anorexia darkens my existence there. I feel as though I walk around with a scarlet letter on my chest.

That’s why NYC has been so good for me. For almost six years now, I’ve been building a life – free from all the stigma and pain that I carry around in Ohio. I’ve carved out a life here with people I care about, and who care about and accept me.

But I keep finding myself asking, “Is it worth it?” Is the price I’m willing to pay for this life worth giving up a life with my family?

To be completely honest, I’ve avoided making any decision, instead, just letting time pass, being in limbo. But as it turns out, when it comes to time, a non-decision is still a decision. And I’m learning that pretty quickly here.


I think there’s also a part of me that feels that by leaving NYC, I’ve failed. That I’ve abandoned my dream. Accepted a life of mediocracy and “settled.” Life in the fast lane is over, time to get a run down apartment behind a dated fast food joint and have to exist in a world that has a permanent odor of burnt frying oil and greasy hamburger meat.

OK, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic, but honestly, the lights in my apartment are dim, I’ve got the candles and the spa music going, so I’m feeling that ~mood~ right now.


I think I need to turn on the lights, bust out a little High School Musical dance party, and snap out of it.


This weekend will tell me a lot. It will be really interesting to see how my heart feels to be back there.

And in the meantime, pray for guidance. Ask to be nudged in the direction I’m supposed to go. Who knows, maybe this unrest in my heart is that nudge, but I’m too stubborn to accept it. Maybe that’s what I really should be praying about.

Ugh. Life is weird.

Question: How do you sort out which path in life you’re supposed to take? How do you make important life decisions?

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349 thoughts on “The Price of Dreams

  1. I pray for an answer, and start thanking God for that answer until it happens, or until what He wants to happen, happens. hahaha It’s the best I’ve got for you because when I just say ok I’m doing this or that, without doing the above process, then it turns into a huge mess. I also have to make sure to “listen” and “look” for everything. The Lord can crack you over the head with something, those times it’s easy to see the answer 😉 Sometimes it’s a gentle nudging, that frankly I might not want to hear 😉 soooo I don’t hear it, or I give it the old, “Lord is that You?” If you know what I mean. I’ve gotten better but I still fall into that mode, here and there. I’m praying God shows you, clearly, what He wants you to do. God Bless you 🙂

  2. The balance is to find & make your dreams of who you want to be where you want to be. Sometimes our reticence stems from uncertainty within us? About what we really want? If you really want to act, NYC is a good place to be. Your parents & fam & friends who love you want to see you be all you can be – so be free to be!

  3. I’ve lived on the west coast, east coast, sun, sand, rain, earthquakes, and now back in Ohio. Dayton. But my wife and I have a place. There aren’t as many nice places to go to eat, there isn’t as much to do – perhaps – but its home. And to call it that, when we could be in Australia, well, I guess that’s something. To us, home is what you make of it. Good people are everywhere, when you look, and happiness isn’t a place, its a state of mind – whether driven by ambition, love, family, and friends. Don’t regret decisions, don’t second guess then, and just don’t be afraid to make them.

    Cheers, and all the best.

    S.

    1. It’s true bigred. Home is where you hang your pictures. I’m from Ohio and well (grew up in Cincy and the last 13 years in Mansfield area). Yeah you don’t see the sun as much as where I reside presently (KC) but it’s home.

  4. I think you’re right – you need to pay attention to how you feel when you’re there this weekend and then compare it to how you feel when you’re in NYC. Sometimes being an adult and having to make these decisions sucks!

  5. I will offer this wee bit o’verbiage here. I think God gives us a deep sense of Peace when we’re going down the right path. The problem is for us, sometimes it’s not a matter of this is right, or this is wrong – these are both good decisions. In the world in which I’m immersed work wise I struggle with staying because eating, and having a roof over my head are important. The thought of not being in this work begins to give me the “ugly cry” right from the gut. So picking up my feet and taking steps to move forward seems the best course of action.
    I will say that from reading your posts I really thought you’d make that move a while ago. It’s not settling, or giving up on your dreams it’s honoring where God is calling you here, and now. Perhaps there’s more Life and Healing there.
    You have my prayers Caralyn. <3

    teri

    1. Oh my gosh thank you so much Teri for your kind words and prayers. You’re so right – I have to honor where God is calling me. Lots of powerful food for thought. I appreciate it. Hugs and love xox

  6. Question: How do you sort out which path in life you’re supposed to take? How do you make important life decisions?

    Pray and ask God to open the doors he wants me to go through and give me peace about my decision. Sometimes God sends us into areas to confront our fears and learn to trust him. Overall, it is where you heart is. If life in NYC is existing and home has opportunity maybe depends on your goals. NYC is not the only place for aspiring actors.

  7. For what it’s worth, I left my dreams behind in Japan to move back to America and be closer to my family. In the end, I had to move to a different city to find work anyway. My birth family still isn’t a replacement for having a family of my own, nor are they interested in being that. And I still need to figure out what to do with my life, which is harder now that I’ve crossed my first choice off the list. Looking back, I wonder if I was too harsh on myself. God gives us a desire to do the things He created us to do. Don’t be afraid to go where your dreams take you–it’s meant to be an adventure! 🙂

  8. I pray for God to “make a way.” I just started a new job this week, and I’ve been praying for it (to get out of my old job), for a long time. There were some obstacles involved with taking the position, but I prayed to God that if He wanted me to have the job, and if that’s where I was suppose to be, that he would make a way for the details to work out. And He did. I think you can be equally content, even thrive, whether you’re in Ohio or NYC. If He wants you to be in Ohio (or NYC) He will make a way. Pray for opportunities and then lay it at His feet. Let Him do the work. From what I can tell, you’re a different woman than that scared girl that you once left in Ohio. You carry that strength with you no matter where you are. NY and Ohio are just locations, they aren’t “who you are.” Maybe God put space between you and NY for a reason. Just my two cents. Blessings!

  9. I hope and will be praying that God gives you clarity, and hope the answer will somehow ease your unrest my dear friend, you’re awesome ❤️🔥🙌🏽😀

  10. The quiet voice is always the one I listen too. It is usually the Voice of Truth. Distractions from what matters is loud; that loud voice makes us feel like choosing what is important is failure when really it is what life is about. It looks like youve done some pretty remarkable things; doesnt look like failure to me and I bet not to that quiet voice either. Good luck in your decision and enjoy your weekend!

  11. Looks like you’re beginning to listen. I believe that our deepest feelings are the language of Gods. Those inklings that grow…the questions that keep repeating until we DO…the melting sensation of “Yes” that fills our hearts…this may be a whole new chapter. After all, the goal of life is fulfillement and evolution, yes? Enjoy yourself love, and be easy with the process. The journey will let you know. Excited to see your move.

  12. I usualy do the first thing I think about. I trust my “sixth” sence and if I feel uncomfortable with somethinf or the idea of something, I don’t do it.
    Hope it helps

    1. haha thanks Jeff, i look forward to reading it tomorrow on the plane! gotta hit the sack here in a minute! hope you’re having a great thursday night! Hugs and love to you and Julie! xox

  13. I think we all go through this – questioning what we are doing and why. Some of us multiple times through our lives. Age sorta has done that for me – through the different phases of life I’ve had to readjust and straighten my path. It’s painful at times. I have 5 kids, have moved 44 times and am only 33. I’m starting full time school to finish my degree (finally!) and have a plan to own my own business by age 40.
    Hope you find your answers (but part of me thinks you already know part of it in your heart). ❤️

  14. I am reading about Henry David Thoreau and his attempt at literary success in NYC and failed in 13 months returned to Concord, where he was considered the town oddball. He embraced his inner weirdo and contemplated and wrote about life on Walden he did not see the fruits of his love in his lifetime. We are enjoying the fruit of your Spirit-filled life through sharing it here with us. I feel you know what the right thing to do is. Thank you Caralyn, we all have doubt and are not sure. I just need to keep moving in the direction of helping others, living for God and I will be blessed

  15. I try to pray with several people when I am at a major crossroad. The group can sometimes hear for me from God when I am too caught up in my own thoughts. Quakers call this a “Meeting for Clearness,” and when I have participated in them, I am always amazed that God really does speak with one voice.

  16. Sometimes our dreams are for a season. They don’t always last for a lifetime. My advice is to not be so hard on yourself. If you do go back home, that’s not giving up, you’re just moving forward in a different way than you thought. And maybe (I’m just thinking out loud) maybe you need to reconcile with your past. Have you forgiven yourself? That’s just a question, not a judgment. But yes pray, and what do your two friends think? Blessings to you.

    1. our dreams are for a season – that’s a very powerful thought. thanks for sharing that. i really appreciate this great advice. lots of powerful food for thought. Hugs and love xox

  17. If you’re in the Cleveland area, look me up and let’s hang out. I’d be happy to help alleviate some of your stress showing you around town—if you don’t mind taking the bus, ha ha!

  18. I am so pleased to see so many great responses for you here. I especially “liked” Elizabeth’s recommendation of a clearness committee. You are such a spiritual person I know God’s Spirit is speaking with you and looking for the opening to make it clear what God wants for you. God may be fine with Ohio or New York as long as you claim something deeper in your true self — the self that God calls you to be. As a spiritual director myself it seems kind of self=promoting to suggest you might look for a spiritual director to help guide you in listening for God in this –but I guess I’ll just be self promoting then. I have made so many wonderful changes in my life, opening more and more to God’s will as I have walked with a spiritual director the past three years. I call myself an “executive coach for the soul” when I try to describe spiritual directors for those who are unfamiliar with the process. It’s a person who will listen to you and listen through you to help hear what God might be saying. There are probably some wonderful directors in NYC or Ohio — you can look at http://www.sdiworld.org for more information and for a worldwide search for directors. And my website has information too http://www.letthespiritin.com. I do spiritual direction online for people from anywhere, but to say that probably does cross the boundary of self-promotion. I will pray for your discernment and am certain from the little bit I know from your blog that the Spirit is at work in you!

    1. yeah i liked the clearness committee too! 🙂 thanks for this great advice and encouragement. it really means a lot. i look forward to checking out those great resources! thank you for your prayers x Hugs and love xox

  19. I’m reading a book at the moment, and I came across some good advice about feeling that sense of unrest. Feeling restless, or that something is missing, is God trying to tell you something. So my advice would be to tap into that uncomfy feeling, and listen out for what God might be trying to whisper to you. 😀
    Incidently, the book is Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly, and I recommend reading it!
    Have a nice day, Caralyn! ❤

  20. I believe the most important thing to remember when chasing a dream, is knowing that once you have accomplished your dream, there will still be more to come. Change is inevitable, and finds everybody regardless of what an individual is going through. Being in New York City from Ohio, that is major kudos–especially, being able to live in a big city for the six years that you have. It takes a strong person to do what you did just in leaving home, regardless of the past flaws that you left behind–you left them behind for a reason. I send much prayers towards your Mother’s recovery. As for your dream, stay focused, take chances, and be fearless and keep doing what your doing. It’s inspiring to people like me in little old Indiana. Kudos and best of luck!

    1. thanks so much Michael! I really appreciate your kind words and advice. you’re right – change is inevitable. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement. means a lot 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  21. I wish I had an answer that went beyond the “obvious” aka prayer. (And prayer is a good thing, as is seeking wise advice, which is also what I do). The funny thing is, I’m facing a similar decision in that I’ve decided I AM moving back to the good old Buckeye state—back home and for the immediate future back in my old house. And while I feel peace that this is the right decision for this season, I’m afraid of settling, of feeling suffocated by the small town atmosphere that sometimes hits a little TOO hard after living on your own in a bigger city. I definitely empathize, because this stage is a tough one to be in. 🙂

  22. I’ve started to comment on this, like 5 times already, and the words aren’t coming to me in such a great way tonight. I mention it often on my own blog, but I don’t actually see eye-to-eye with God, but having followed your blog for so long, I know your relationship with Him is paramount.

    So, when asking yourself and praying what you think He wants for you, I would maybe pose it slightly differently – What path takes you to where you are doing the most good for others? Your entire blog speaking about your struggles, your book, your entire message is geared towards being an example for other people? Is your vocation as an actress focused the same way?

    The bottom line, and I think you know it, deep down, is that you have to be in the place where you can do the most good. And the stories you’ve mentioned about your family, indicates that they would support that decision, regardless of where it takes you.

  23. Which life is better for Caralynn? That’s the bottom line, I think. And only you can answer that. What does NYC offer, and what does Ohio offer and how does that impact who God wants you to be? Peace, dear.

  24. I completely understand. Right now I am contemplating a potential career change and I’m not sure if the Lord wants me to stay where I am, or go find a different job. I understand that he’s not saying, “No, child, don’t move,” but I kind of get the feeling that He’s gauging my trust for His provision with my employment. It’s almost like He’s waiting for me to get tired enough if my circumstances to change them and then trust that He has a better plan than I do. That might not make much sense 🙂

    1. thank you so much Calista, i really appreciate this kindness. i will definitely keep you and your career in my prayers. you’re right – trust is where it’s at! Hugs and love xox

  25. Question: How do you sort out which path in life you’re supposed to take? How do you make important life decisions?
    you don’t. As for the first part…follow your gut. It may not know the right move but it knows the wrong one. As for the second part…you make important life decisions based on your situation at that time, but focused on the right reason and all of the available wisdom at your disposal. And don’t think that your history has planted a scarlet letter on you, they won’t get lower than your smile

  26. Man! What a writer you are. The only thing i could chime in is this.
    No matter what….being who you are trumps being where you are.
    Add to that this one thing I’ve learned: God does speak to us circumstantilly. I’ve read your blogs and finally “met You from the YT vids you did a year ago and conclude you are about as well balanced person I’ve ever known. Go with your gut. You’ll shine forth WHEREVER you are. That much I promise you.
    Have and will continue to pray for you.

  27. When I have to make a major decision, I pray about it, get quiet and focused on God and listen. He speaks and helps with the decision. Caralyn, you have major unrest due to being torn about what decision to make. Sometimes, just taking the time to quiet yourself and listen will help you make the right decision. The right decision will come to you. Don’t rush and listen.

  28. How do I make important life decisions? Not very well, might I say…lol

    On a serious note, I have literally been guilt tripped into talking to my parish priest. Have you considered making an appointment and seeing if he can offer some advice?

    What if you, simply, asked your mom what she thought? Or your dad? Or your brothers? Your friends in NYC? Sometimes, the people we know best are also the people who know us best and their insight is powerful – almost like God’s voice at times.

  29. I am 61 years old now and I’m still searching for guidance. I had my dreams and in my own strength I pushed relentlessly for that fulfillment in direct conflict for perhaps what was best for others. I have had miraculous interaction with God, our Lord Jesus Christ but still I moved forward with my own plans and dreams even though they were not necessarily dreams to glorify the Kingdom of God. Jesus did intercede and made it all good for the Glory of the Kingdom of God despite me and I have been drawn closer to Him. Despite the pain of the lessons, I have learned and matured a little more. Now when faced with conflict about a dream or question as to what path to take, I ask, is this for me or for Your glory. I pray that I be shown the heart of Jesus who gave His life and shed His blood to pay for my sins, past, present and future. I pray to have revelation about what is in my heart that needs to change – those things inside that are so hard to face but need to change if I am to have the same heart and love as Jesus has. He has never not answered me and answered me more abundantly than I would have expected. The answer often does not come immediately but it does come. I try to live not to please mankind but to please my God and my Savior Jesus Christ. That new attitude has been the most life changing. I had to make a decision about whether or not to walk out of 30 year marriage when it was not financially feasible and risk the hurt of two sons just entering young adulthood with serious maturity issues. I prayed and considered the matter for nine months— in deep turmoil over the decision every day. My emotions hindered my ability to hear the Lord’s answer. Gradually, I looked at the situation more objectively and made the decision to leave the marriage home but not file for divorce. Once I made the choice, doors that previously were closed were opened and new paths opened up and with in a very short time frame, I was out of that house and established in a new home. From there the journey has continued beyond anything I ever could have predicted. My advice is pray, ask for guidance, listen for the answer and ask yourself are you living to please man or God? Are your uncertainties rooted in love or fear? Good luck and thank you for the blog and for allowing me to comment. God Bless you! I will pray for you to have the guidance and strength you need.

    1. thank you so much for sharing your story. this is some great advice. i need to really examine my heart and listen for God’s answer. i will keep you in my prayers! Hugs and love xox

  30. Usually when I am in the life mode of “do I” or “don’t I,” I DON’T! The reason for this is, because God will never ever bring us into confusion. These are the moments in my life that I “stay still and know God is God.”

    The one thing you do not want to do is to do something in haste. It seems to me from reading this, you have good things and bad things in both places.

    What you need to realize is, no matter where you are at, it is never going to be that “perfect life” we all desire so badly. No matter where we live in life, it is never going to bring us total satisfaction. This is because “life” is going to hit us wherever we are.

    We move, and create new memories, good and bad. We move, we leave some behind but meet others. We move again and we still leave others behind. It is the same situation, just in different places.

    I think your Mom’s situation is pulling on you more than anything. If I were you, I would discuss this with her, and get her view points on it. Ask her and your Dad, “How much do you really need me?” “Do you feel I have abandoned you?”

    Do your siblings live close to her? If so while you are there, give them 100% break, along with your Dad. Be the total caregiver for your Mom. Sometimes all they need is a break.

    You know my Mom was sick for many years. I had to give up a lot of my life during those years. In fact I had no life outside of Mom, Dad, and Church. I was taking care of Mom, at times Daddy when he became ill, their home, my home, and the nursing home.

    Yesterday we went to her grave to place her fall flowers on it, as I always change her flowers for the change in seasons. When I go there, I always have peace that I did the very best I could do for her.

    So your main thing is, whatever you do, make sure you will never have regrets, be it NYC or Ohio. Let God and that be your deciding point. Hug your Mom for me. Love you and God Bless, SR

    1. God will never bring us into confusion. i like that. thanks for this awesome advice and encouragement. it really means a lot. you gave your parents such a beautiful gift. so inspiring. Hugs and love xox

  31. I think you have the answers already, you just need to be in a quiet place, listen, and be ready to accept the answer. Don’t let guilt confuse you, we all feel guilty about growing up, and carrying on with our life, without our family. As a mother I have enjoyed seeing my kids come into their own, and I’m sure your parents wish the same for you. Sure, I would love it if all of my kids still lived at home, or just down the street, but that’s not healthy, they need to make their own family, and traditions, and find their own way. I’m just a sounding board, and support when they need it. Take care!

  32. I feel for you. I’ve always had difficulty with decisions like this. If you don’t mind my saying, I’ve seen you go through this before and here’s some observations. It seems like when you’re in New York, eventually, you want to be in Ohio. When you’re in Ohio, eventually, you want to be in New York. No matter what you choose, there are going to be trade-offs. If your family needs you there, that’s one thing. If you want to be there for every milestone of your niece and nephew, you’ll have to stay in Ohio. If you want an acting career, freedom, culture, and night life, you’ll have to live in New York. Is there any theater you could join with in your hometown? Maybe that could satisfy your acting bug. One more thing I’m wondering. You seem to assume you have to choose one or the other. I get that you love New York. I get that you love Ohio. Who ever said you can’t have both?

    1. thanks so much David, I really appreciate this. yeah it’s really nice to hear this perspective – you’ve been a great friend through all of this, and so i think you have some great insight. i would love to have both!! Hugs and love xox

  33. How to make important life decisions indeed! I know what I would tell so many others, yet for myself even though I’ve felt a nudge to leave I let fear block my path while I tell myself “it’s not quite time yet.” Sometimes trusting in God means staying where you’re at, sometimes it means packing up and running as fast as you can. How can you tell which one? I don’t know, but we all need prayer, advice and ultimately faith enough to either power through the trials where we are or faith enough to move on.

  34. Wow. Caralyn, I’ll be praying and agreeing with you that you’ll have the peace and wisdom to sense what God is speaking to you about. I know it’s much easier said than done, but just be open to which direction He may be leading you. It’s good to ask other people for their two cents on what He’s spoken to you, and their discernment and perspective can help, but ultimately what you choose is between you and God. I certainly don’t want to sway you, but you never know, He may have an amazing opportunity for you in Ohio. I don’t know. Just be open and listen to Him. You have a lot of people who support you, myself included. And thanks for the reminder about non-decisions still being a decision. I struggle with that! Be well and enjoy your weekend.

  35. I can understand your feelings… a lot. I came to the United States almost 17 years ago. Like you, I have an “Ohio” of my own. I came to this country with a one-way ticket, that determine I was to make it work and never look back. There was nothing for me left back home. But then I grew up and so did my cousins, who are the siblings I never had. We started to get married, have children… We don’t see each other. It took over 10 years for us to get all together again. That’s when it hit me, how much I had missed and how much more I will miss. It is a dilemma. I don’t feel my country of origin is my home anymore. My life is here, in the upper Midwest. I have friends here. I have a life I built for myself here. But I’m not going to lie. I sometimes wonder if it’s worth the price, especially after my failed marriage. That’s when I started to ask myself the “Do I go back?” question. And I did it a lot, especially when I was going through the resentful / anger phase of acceptance of what had happened. I am not that young anymore. I came to this country in my 20s. I was on my way to accomplish everything that I had come here for and even more. The divorce has set me back 17 years, a price I cannot and couldn’t afford. I can’t go back and it will be very hard for me to rebuild, especially at my age.

    With all that said, I can’t help but wonder if I did the right thing and if I’m still doing the right thing by staying. And the answer is yes. I need to stay here. I cannot go back. For me, it comes down to whether I can provide for my family and I know I cannot do so by going back where I came from.

    When I finally went back to my country of origin, I kept on thinking about that saying, “You can take the girl out of high school, but you cannot take high school out of the girl.” I think that’s how it goes, isn’t it? I kept on thinking that for myself. “Did I leave, but I didn’t? Is my country still in me and I am not really over what happened to me back there while growing up?”

    Those thoughts haunted me like crazy during my 2-week visit. I was surprised. In some aspects, I had completely left my country. In some other ones, I am just now, and thanks to my on-going divorce, realizing that “they couldn’t take the country out of me.”

    What I’m trying to say is that I still need to do a lot of healing. I had always told myself that I left my country because I couldn’t build a future for myself and I couldn’t provide for myself and my loved ones. And while that’s the truth, I was actually escaping from my past, wanting to start all over and where nobody knew me. I wanted a clean slate to just be me.

    Guess what: Our past haunts us down no matter where we go and until we have learnt to deal with it and accept it. Only then we will be truly free.

    My divorce and custody battle have forced me to accept that and start to do something about it. Do I want to go back to where I came from, even for a short visit? Yes and no. On the one hand, I want to see my family. On the other hand, I still feel insecure, I dread the encounters that will remind me of the person I once was and whom I didn’t like, and I am afraid that it will open past wounds. But I know it is something that I will have to face and confront one day if I truly want to heal, be me, and reach my full potential.

    I realized when I went back that some of the people I had problems with had changed, too. I wasn’t the only one to change. People who used to be rude to me were so much different. I realized that they had grown themselves. Meanwhile, I could see how other people who I used to admire and wanted to be like actually were. I felt sorry for them. Pitiful human beings.

    But I think the one thing with which I struggle the most is forgiveness of oneself. Ultimately, the other people back there don’t matter. Life carried on for them as it did for me. But I struggle forgiving that person I was back then and there. The mistakes I made. The wasted time in trying to please all those people and be accepted by them. The wasted time in not loving myself, not accepting myself, and wanting to be what I was not and what I thought they wanted me to be. The hate I had for myself for being me and not what I thought it was the ideal.

    You see, I didn’t suffer from anorexia like you did. But I did struggle with a body image (and I still do) because I was not what was considered beautiful or attractive. Even though I was not overweight, I was bullied as if I had been. And to this day, I have a love-hate relationship with food. I am doing a lot better, but I know I do not have a normal relationship with food. In many ways, I can somewhat relate to what you went through. So I can understand, to some degree, why you feel the way you do about Ohio. I have an Ohio of my own.

    You and I will have to face our Ohio’s eventually. Until we do so, we won’t be able to move on.

    I can’t tell you what to do. I can only offer my understanding and tell you that you are not alone. You are going to have to weigh the pros and cons of leaving or staying. But I have a feeling that until you face your “Ohio,” you will not find fulfillment in either Ohio, or NYC. Those ghosts, same as my ghosts with me, will haunt you until you have dealt with them.

    I wish I could say that prayer will help. But we don’t always get an answer or the one we want. Life seems to be a lot about trial and error and trying again. I wish it wouldn’t go by so fast, though. Life is short and we can’t afford to delay certain things or continue trying and trying. By the time we get results, life might have passed us by, leaving us behind. I certainly do not want that to happen to me and I already kind of feel like it has, even when I hope I have another 40 years to live ahead of me. At least for my daughter’s sake.

    I apologize for such a long comment. I just felt compelled to share everything that was in my mind because I can certainly relate.

    I do pray you find the answers you are looking for, even when God’s time are not our own understanding or expectations of time.

    1. Hi Maria, wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so touched, thank you. you’re right – we can’t let our past haunt us, and we’ve got to learn and grow from it. Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words. you’re right – God’s timing often doesn’t match up with our “timeline” but ultimately His is the best. Hugs and love xox

  36. Many years ago (too many to mention) I took a look at my life too. I was working my way up in a CPA firm and had a bright future ahead. My family were there, my friends were there, my lifestyle was work and a constant round of social entertainment. The business world is not a nice one and its on the fringe of the political world which is even less nice. Then one day when my mind was a little clearer than usual I took stock of where I was at and where I was going. I came to the conclusion that position, wealth and power didn’t really make me happy. So I went back to school to think things through. It was a profitable time. At the end of those studies I turned my mind to the world we live in and the tremendous need out there for someone to care and help. So that’s what I chose to do. Great decision because while I didn’t make much money in the next forty years I had a wealth of experiences I’d never have received in my previous narrow little selfish world. Now to your situation. The books you’ve written have been and will in future be a blessing to a segment of society who need courage and hope. You should feel a sense of accomplishment in that. It’s sad to leave family but eventually they’ll pass to rest and you will need to have a rock to cling to after they’re gone. So visit with them as often as you can, but make sure you are established in a place that will provide you stability, comfort and support when they’re gone. I think Ohio has too many ghosts for you that you need to be clear of.

    1. thanks for sharing this, Ian. I really appreciate you sharing your story and for your encouraging words. This is a powerful perspective – much to think about. Hugs and love xox

  37. Your question is too deep and personal for me to diminish by attempting any suggestion. However, I sincerely believe you could make a very nice income as a serious writer of your life stories, Caralyn. I think you have many books in you that many serious publishers would be very interested in. Your writing in your blogs alone keep me coming back for more like no other blog I have experienced. Truth.

  38. Hey!
    I was going to post a youtube video on following a “plan”….. but couldn’t find it anyway. The video was like screw the plan you had and follow what you really want, and it is also on her choice to travel around the USA but then really ended being back in bostin and loving it. I think it’s important to know nothing is really permanent if you decide to go back home that’s good if you decide to stay in NYC that’s good also just don’t be stuck to one place and decide that’s the finality of it, people figure out stuff as they go and I hope you do the same.

  39. Caralyn, I’ve been there and gotten the T-shirt. Life is full of crossroads, twists, and turns. It sounds like you are approaching and or nearing a crossroads. I have prayed for discernment. God always answers our prayers. However, he reveals the answers to us in his time, not ours. Our Lord has plans for you like he has plans for all of us. I don’t know what they are, but I like where he’s taking me. Sometimes I don’t like the paths he puts me through to get to where I want and he wants me to go, but that is how it is at times.

    You are right. The weekend will let you know where things stand. But, I would not base your entire choice on a single weekend. Take an inventory of what you want. Get it off your mind and put it on God’s. I will pray for your discernment. He will show you the way. Keep yourself connected to him, study his word, and continue to be the shining light you are to so many on your blog, and outside of cyberspace. I’m thinking of you and I’m praying for you, Caralyn. God will grant you his wisdom like he has done for so many. God loves you, Caralyn, and may he bless you richly. Life is full of miracles I know he’ll work miracles for you and me.

    -Brandon

    1. Hey Brandon, thank you so much for your encouragement. you’re right – He has a plan, I just have to stay connected to Him and try my best to listen. Thank you with all my heart for your prayers. means a lot 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  40. God is always at work and still speaks to His children.
    “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left (Isaiah 30:21). Prayer, Scripture, Meditation… being in the Word. Most times the answer come out of personal devotions opposed to staying solely focused on the specific question. It is important to seek God’s will, plan, purposes and not your own. The visual would be a contract with no words at the top but does have your signature at the bottom and you saying to God, Your will, Father, fill it in. Help me be on page with you. God does have a plan. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Seek the Lord, He will get you there.😊

  41. I can empathize with you “beautiybeyondbones” I have been in somewhat similar situation. Several years ago I moved from Georgia to Napa, CA. Three weeks in I began to get panic attacks which turned into a depression. As I was getting better, one morning I woke and the first thing there was this whisper deep inside which said “you need to go back!” This happened every morning. I kept asking “God, why?”
    I had moved there believing it was the right place to be, and very happy about it. After a good month of this same message I finally decided to move back, and since my house in Georgia had not sold I told the realtor to take it off the market as I was going to move back; which I did two months later.
    I knew I did not want to stay in Georgia as I never felt at home there, but knew there had to be a reason.
    Eventually I finally found the place that felt like home, but it took another seven years before I could sell the house and move to Greenville, South Carolina.
    I know God will guide you. Keep your mind and heart open.

    1. Hi Ann, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that you were battling depression. I’m glad that you were able to follow God’s promtings and found a sense of home 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      1. It was humbling going through the experience of depression. However, I a blessed that it was a “situational” depression not chemical. I a grateful for God’s love and blessings that helped me out of it.

  42. Choosing between cities is so hard. I had to decide whether to stay in my home city where I was comfortable with my family and best friends or move to where by boyfriend (now husband) lived so that we wouldn’t have to do long distance anymore. I had no idea which way to go, I really didn’t want to move and it broke my heart to have to leave my family but I did it and now I know why God wanted me to take this path. It was hard to begin with but I have had so many opportunities in this new city that I wouldn’t have otherwise had and am so much happier here than I ever would have imagined. Praying is definitely the key. God bless you (and direct you) in making your decision!

  43. I think this is definitely the thing you should be praying about. If you are not, then I think you are afraid of the answer from God. You don’t want to give up control of you life and future. The thing you may not realize is that if you choose the way God wants you to go, you will look back on your life with satisfaction and joy.

    My husband and I lived in the big city of Vancouver, BC, Canada. We had moved there because he was offered a job, in the same company, and my oldest daughter needed me to babysit her two boys. When we moved there, I was pretty scared of such a big place. But I grew to love it and loved my life there.

    5 years later, my husband was offered an even better paying job. He was going to take it, but my other daughter in Kelowna, BC needed us. Her youngest girl was very ill with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. My daughter needed to work because they couldn’t make it with just her husband’s job. She wanted us to move back to Kelowna.

    Well, the boys didn’t need me any longer. They were 13 and 14 yrs. old. But my husband would have to give up the job offer and take one that made a lot less money. Also, there were no job openings in Kelowna because they had shut the warehouse down.

    I asked the Lord for a sign, so we would know what to do. He did tell us what to do. He gave me a dream. I was in an airplane and it was landing at Kelowna. I said, “I’m home.” We took that as the sign, so I moved first before my husband got a job or even knew when one could come.

    He joined me a year later. The company had opened a meter shop in Penticton, which is 45 min. from Kelowna. Dan got a job there and moved here. I took care of my granddaughter until she was 14 and didn’t need me anymore. She still has OCD, but is much better than when she was a child. She is 20 and lives with her parents. She had a job working for a family friend and that worked out, but then she worked at a mall and her anxiety was too much for her to continue. I know one day she will be able to work again.

    Long response! Sorry. I look back and thank God we were there for our family. My granddaughters are close to me. I went to some of their school functions. I helped with homework and baking. We had a wonderful time together. My other daughter moved back too. Family is forever. No one will ever love you like family. God loves the idea of family because that is what he has created for us. We are now in his family.

  44. My heart goes out to you. I believe you will know what you need to do. The challenge is to quiet the mind, pay attention to the wisdom of your body and the emotions of your heart. In the end you need to do what is right for you.❤ My thoughts and prayers are with you. Blessings Roland

  45. “When it comes to time, a non-decision is still a decision.” I got this. Thanks.

    Do you use the Youversion bible app? I’m at similar crossroads with you, I just stumbled on a devotional plan – Right People, Right Place, Right Plan, which I think may be beneficial to you alongside praying about your decision, just as I hope it would be to me, too.

  46. Oh man! This one really spoke to me because of our recent move. I debated whether or not to chime in. My wife and I have been asking ourselves these very same questions even AFTER the move. How do you know when it’s God’s will or really just our desires? It’d be nice if God still dealt in burning bushes or neon signs. Spoiler Alert – my explanation is going to be a jumble of thoughts that doesn’t give you a clear answer. What can I say, I’m a therapist. You’re welcome 😝 First is the understanding that there really is no wrong answer. If we were capable of messing up God’s plans for our lives with a single decision we make…then we would have all been screwed back at the Garden of Eden. For me personally, I felt we needed to move. You can’t put a pricetag on family and with my brother’s prognosis of only having a few months to live it seemed to be a no brainer to go from 4 1/2 hrs away to 1 1/2. But just because we felt it was the right call, doesn’t mean it’s been easy. You don’t get a free pass just cuz your on the God Squad. Obviously, our circumstances are different. I agree though, the ones that truly love you and know you will understand whichever decision you make. I always say, “somebody else can pack your bags for the guilt trip. But, you’re the one who has to go on it. ” I was going to say it; but, you beat me to it…Not to decide is to decide. I’ve heard it said that God gives one of three answers – Yes, No and Grow. It sounds like this trip will be good for you. I hope it brings the clarity you’re searching and praying for. Thanks for the thought provoking post! 😃

    1. thank you so much for this awesome perspective. you’re right – there’s no wrong answer. that’s a comforting thought. Yes, no and grow – i love that so much. thanks for the kindness and encouragement. really means a lot. loved this! Hugs and love xox

  47. Hey Caralyn!
    First of all thanks for sharing! I think a feeling of belonging is very fundamental to call a place “home”. This feeling normally is much more triggered by people than by actual places. I think it’s a fundamental misconception to call a place “home” but it’s much more people we care about and who care about us who make us feel “home”. Over the years I’ve changed the place I’m living a couple of times – some places I stayed just for a few months or year, some places a couple of years – so what I realised is that it’s not so much the place (surroundings, infrastructure, …) but much more the people I came to call friends I’m missing. Technology makes staying in touch very very easy but somewhere along the way you have to decide who you wanna see every day and who you wanna stay in touch via social media. Caralyn, I know it’s not easy but nobody can make that decision for you, because as you mentioned not to decide is a decision too, normally not the best one 🙁 . For the weekend with you family I wish you a blessed and great time. I just wouldn’t make the decision there but go to a different (third) place for a couple of days just by myself and write down everything that goes through my head. At the end of those days I’d go through my notes and maybe I see a clear direction and I trust that God was and is with me on the path I’m taking.
    Take care and God bless!!

  48. You’re mother is healed in Jesus Name! She’s in my prayers. I think you need to pray and fast about the direction you wanna move forward in. Only God knows where he wants to lead you to next and you shouldn’t suggest the path you wanna go by yourself but wait on the Lord be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart in Jesus Name! God bless and thanks for sharing❤

  49. Another powerful and thought provoking post! I’m right there with you. I’m at a point in my life where I’m asking the same questions: what’s important to me, and how do I want my life to be. It seems to me that you are asking the types of questions that will bring you closer to the answers you seek. And you are aware of what’s holding you back–the fear of failure or not following through on your dream. But I’m curious, what would your life be like if you moved back to Ohio and lived closer to your family? What would it be like if you stayed in New York and continued to work on your acting career? More questions, I know! I believe you will get there. You have created such an amazing life for yourself so far. You’ve got this!

  50. Forgive me for stating the obvious or repeating what others might have already said… but it sounds like either way you choose, you’re going to have to confront something unpleasant.

    It might help to take just that kind of mindset – confrontational yourself. To drum up some aggression and oomph and a victory mindset towards whatever God wants you to defeat. I know that is so so so much easier to write than to do, especially given your scars, and I feel pretty crummy honestly that I cannot do it better justice with this short comment.

  51. Caralyn, I know full well what this feels like – and I still have yearnings for the snow country from time to tome.
    Remember this:
    Firstly, you need to make your decision out of your heart, and not out of your mind. The mind plays all kinds of tricks and is very much open to attack and to persuasion by the wrong values.
    God speaks during the moments of silence between your thoughts, and He speaks to your heart. We need to quieten the mind and give Him space to touch our hearts with His solution to our problems. This is not always as easy as it sounds – often we are too busy praying incessantly.!
    Whatever you finally decide to do, be sure that there will be times when you will wonder about the alternative option, and what it might have brought to you. We all do this, and it’s no good getting sentimental about it. We can have only very limited perception of the outcome of other options, so the ‘what if’ scenario is not really helpful. Listen long and carefully for the Lord’s voice, then move forward in faith – and don’t keep looking back!

  52. One way that I find out whether a choice is from my whole being in integrity or a mind driven ‘should’ is to muscle test it. If your muscles stay strong, your body and heart agree with the question. If they are weak, then the question is not supported by your body and heart.
    I hope that you find the path to craft your most fulfilled life, whatever that entails.

  53. I’ve never been through quite what you’re describing, but I’ve had lots of similar experiences of wondering if I’m in the right place geographically.

    Thirty miles away from here is Davis, a college town where I moved as a freshman at age 18 and lived until a few weeks before my 25th birthday, a few years after I was done with school. I still visit fairly often for football and basketball games, and I have a few other friends who live in Davis now. Every time I’m there, I start to get nostalgic and wonder what it would be like to move back. Five days ago, I found myself in Davis for a reunion-type event (I’ll probably be writing about this on my own blog soon) in which I got to see and catch up with many of my friends from the late 90s when I lived there. In talking to one of them, I mentioned that I still visit Davis fairly often, and I’ve thought about moving back… and all of a sudden, the perfect words came to me to describe why I haven’t moved back, even though twice I was thinking about it to the point of sending job applications. It’s because the feeling isn’t so much wanting to move back to Davis as it is wanting my old life from 20 years ago back, when things were simpler, I didn’t feel out of place at church, and I was surrounded by other people in the same place in life as me. That’s never going to happen again, and the way of dealing with it isn’t by turning back to the past and pretending I’m in my early 20s again.

    I have been wondering again if it’s time to move farther away, to leave California entirely, because the dominant culture in California seems to be moving more and more aggressively away from my values and beliefs, plus my difficulty finding friends and a romantic partner here. Sometimes it feels like I’ve exhausted all my options here. I came close to leaving in 2005, but ultimately decided on a short move instead of a long move, since I didn’t have anything definite that I was running to, I just needed to run away and make a fresh start somewhere. But part of me feels like I should have left when I had the chance. And I have more to lose now than I did then, since I’m in a good place when it comes to work, and I have a house.

    So I guess I don’t really have much advice except to pray about it and watch for signs, and make sure you understand all of your feelings and motivations. That’s what I’m doing. Good luck. <3

    1. Hey friend, thanks for sharing your story. Yeah it’s such an interesting feeling to go back, isn’t it? Yeah pray for sure. Thanks for this encouragement. I’ll definitely keep you in my prayers 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  54. Ohio is just a state. No state created your “stigma and pain”. Your family needs you and you need them. You need to be there, both for them and for yourself. Read your own words again. It’s time to go home. Hugs & Love xoxo 😃💛

  55. Again, a wonderful, heartfelt post. I urge you to look for the signs, the wonderful synchronicity of life. You will know them. That random call that’s the missing piece of your puzzle, the eerily accurate song playing in the background. You’re intuitive to recognise. It’s great that your mother has your support and that you, too, are supported. And loved, hey, let’s not forget that. So I hope you danced it off till the fog cleared.

  56. Sometimes the sorting out happens only by stepping in a direction. Paul and his missionary team had big plans for Asia, but were prevented – and then redirected by God to head for Macedonia. Moses returned to Egypt full of questions. Abraham traveled to a new land without many details provided in advance. Mary “treasured and pondered” things in her heart. God sorts things along the way.

  57. To answer your question, I talk to my mentor (AA sponsor) and my therapist, who encourage me to be real and true to myself. And I pray, meditate, and I go with my gut. This happened for me recently, and that’s what I did. Hugs and prayers for you!

  58. Enjoy the time with your family, but don’t make any decisions based on the weekend. One thing I know, is that it’s really easy to really like a place when you know you’re going to be leaving in a day, a week or two. Day to day life can’t be judged by a ‘vacation trip’.

    People in this country act as if altering your plans or pursuing different goals is ‘giving up on a dream’. That’s ridiculous. Dreams are dreams and reality is reality. You can turn your dreams into your reality… but (tautology alert) your dream is then your reality. I’m not suggesting your dream isn’t worth pursuing — but feeling like a failure for changing your goals is silly. That’s what growing up does and means. The purpose of your blog won’t be invalidated if it’s published from New York, Ohio, Uganda or Timbuktu.

    No one but you will know what decision to make; but you will learn and grow from choices you ultimately wish you hadn’t made… and you know this, you’re no stranger to that concept! 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend.

  59. There are several stories in the Bible about people who, I think, felt the way you do right now. Abraham – who waited 100 years for a child with Sarah. Moses – who had a couple of starts-and-stops early on, then waited 40 years before he started his ultimate calling. Paul – who got his calling early, but then waited another 15 years or so to really get started. Even Jesus didn’t get going until he was 30 or so!

    I know this sounds like like a cliched platitude but Hang. In. There.

    Keep praying and keep reading the Bible.

    And remember, God is never late and rarely early.

  60. Hi Caralyn: I try to understand what it must be like living so far from your parents, especially with what your Mom has been through. I really can’t say I know the feeling because I lived in the same city as my parents through their entire life. Even though there were differences at times, it sure was nice having them close by.

    Please don’t consider this to be preaching, but there are a few verses below that may be worth considering as you think, pray, wonder about your future.

    —Caralyn, you are a special, unique creation of God. He has planned good things for you to do, as well as preparing you for those special things to be done.

    Ephesians 2:10
    For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    —The Lord’s plans are so much better than anything we could think of. Lean on Jesus, Caralyn, submit to Him, and you will walk the path He has prepared.

    Proverbs 3:5-6
    5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    6 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

    —Sometimes we are given a rest we need, even if we don’t feel like we want a rest.
    As the Holy Spirit guides us down God’s path of life for us, remember He does it all for the sake of the Holy Name of God, never for ourselves.

    Psalms 23:2-3
    2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
    he leads me beside quiet waters,
    3 he refreshes my soul.
    He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.

    You mentioned about your previous relationship with your time in Ohio, you are a different person now, than you were back then. When people from previous years see you now, and hear what Jesus Christ has done in your life, they will all be pleased for you, and Jesus will get all the Glory.

    As you seek God’s will and way, He will guide you. Continuing to pray for you Caralyn, knowing you will hear the voice of the Spirit of God.

    Even though they do not know me, please give your Mom and Dad a hug for me. They are special people with a fantabulous daughter.

    God’s Blessings,
    Luv, ❤️❤️
    George.

    1. Hey George, thanks so much for this incredible encouragement. I really appreciate your insight and advice and for sharing those verses. You’re so right, God has a plan I just have to seek His will through prayer and then patience. I will definitely pass along that hug. Thanks again for your kind words. My heart is warm 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  61. Be present, be contemplative (as in have a meditative practice such as Centering Prayer, expect signs and nudges, and go with the flow of what feels right. Prayers for your trip. Enjoy each moment 🙂

  62. Crossroads, which path to take? I have been there many times so prayer has been my best method of navigating through the decision making process. So I aligned my choices based on what I knew my overall purpose in life is. My purpose to help others heal from their wounds of abuse by showing them Gods love. My ultimate goal is to open up our own restorative housing shelters. All that requires money and I had 3 choices to make, continue in my career which would only pay for my bills but not extra, start a business that would help me earn the funds I need to open up the shelters or go back to school? what I found out was that I can stay in my current career while I take a class one night a week to hep me build on the skills I need to run a business that will help me fund my non-profit. All with the guidance of God to give me strength though it all. Don’t limit your possibilities based on earths time frame and natural laws, remember your Heavenly father can shift mountains and give you the big break you need. I recommend 2 books Breakout by Joel Osteen and Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince. Best of luck and blessings to you!

  63. It is not a failure to chase a different dream. You have admitted to yourself that you don’t think you will find the kind of guy you can settle down with in NY. Memory books are filled with family and friends, kids and life events. If you want to be in OH for mom and family and a different life, GO FOR IT! do it before it is too late. time is relentless. Another year will go by. Will you really be happy where you are at the end of that year or will you still be longing for OH? Maybe on this trip you look around quietly for employment and a place to live. Kind of under the radar so as not to get anyone too excited if things should change. You are young and single. Stay as fluid as possible. Do I sound too bossy? Please forgive me if I do!

    1. P.S. that scarlet letter thing is BS. that’s just the enemy trying to psych you out and keep you from living the live you really want to live. Kick him in the nuts and do what you want. The people who love you will forget and those who do not do not love you and you don’t need those bitties in your life anyway.

  64. I understand where you are coming from regarding listening for that nudge and then not sure if you’re ignoring it. Have safe travels this weekend. I hope you find the answers or at least some insight as to the next steps you should take. And I have to agree with a previous commentator – don’t let the “scarlet letter” thing psych you out. You have grown and moved past your past. You have all the power to toss that old stigma into the trash and never let it out again. As the saying goes – don’t let your past define who you are today. Good luck!

  65. Watch and listen carefully … God will provide direction and guidance in the midst of your prayerful request and you’ll have peace when you have God’s answer.

  66. I’m from somewhere in Ohio originally too. I understand your words. I’m trying to make decisions too and I like that you mentioned not making a decision is making a decision. Limbo is not a fun place to be but if you get stuck there it is going to feel like you’ll never get out. No decision is perfect but you’ll have to make one. You just might pick the best path for you. Everything happens for a reason if we allow ourselves to pay attention and sort those reasons out.

    I wish you the best with your decision making. I’m there now myself so I understand your drama. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst but do not put yourself down over mistakes made. The past is history so let it go and live in your present in order to make your future the happy place you crave. Never give up on your dreams, your goals or your life.

  67. “Beware of destination happiness: the belief that happiness resides in the next job, the next place, the next relationship. Unless you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.”

  68. This year, I have also been diving deeper into how to pursue the purpose God has for me. The book Wide Awake by Erwin McManus (pastor of Mosaic Church in Los Angeles) is an eye-opening book about how to maximize your potential to dream and how to engage in the creative process of finding your inner hero…in one chapter, the book references the parable of the talents and focuses on the question, “What are you doing with what God gave you?” He points out that it’s interesting that the master doesn’t tell the servants what to do with what he gave them but rather returns to see whether they used it wisely or not. “It’s responsibility to maximize your capacity, to take an inventory of who you are and to understand how God has designed you, to harness all the talent and skills God has placed in you, and to recognize that you will not be measured against anyone else’s life but your own. Then you are ready to embrace your role in human history to create a better world.” I’m learning that life is about discovering my purpose and using it to create something beautiful to bring God glory. Do that, in whatever capacity and in whatever location, and God will still say, “Well done.” Grateful for your journey!

    1. Thanks for sharing this, friend. I will definitely have to check out that book. Thanks for the recco. I really appreciate your encouragement. Yes! In all things, glory to Him. Big hugs to you xox

    2. Erwin McManus is one of my favourite authors. Also, I love his teaching and have listened to many podcasts, as well as watching on yu-tube when I get a chance, and think of it.

      1. Yes! So glad you like him. I listen to his podcast whenever I get a chance. I think he is an excellent communicator, very passionate. He also speaks a lot about pursuing the abundant life that God intended us to live, so all of his stuff is so motivational!

  69. First off, WHY are you second guessing yourself??? Look what YOU on your own have accomplished – I know all with Gods’ guidance but still – all on your own! Look what you have overcome in the early stages. Look at the person that you have become and then to be able to go back out into the world and always try to be the difference that we need in this country. C’mon really? Just stop for a minute and breathe. IF you decide to move back to Ohio – it is your decision to make with NO REGRETS – You will always be able to hold your head high because so many people in this world do not make it back from such a dark place. You Did! You came back stronger than ever and ready to help others learn and know what it’s all about. You make a difference – plain and simple and you have your Mom and Dad to attest to that fact. Please do not take it that I am being blunt but I have been a faithful follower of your blog for some time now and I look forward to reading your posts and articles. Your insights give me comfort and surety, among other things that I am on the right path with my own family. Follow your heart because the mind tends to play tricks!!! God is always on time and will be close wherever you are!!! You Got This!

    1. Oh my gosh thank you so much for this amazing encouragement. It seriously means so much and my heart is so warm after reading it. I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my blog. You are a blessing to me! Sending massive hugs and love xox

  70. It’s actually crazy that you always write what I’m currently going through lol I don’t know how you do it! I lived in New England last year and fell in love but recently moved back home in the Midwest. And I want to move back out to New England but a part of me doesn’t want to miss out on my family in the Midwest. Hopefully I get some answers! Praying for guidance for you!

    1. Aww thanks Caitlin! I’m so glad this hit home with you. Yeah figuring out where to live is such a tough one. Thanks for your prayers. Know that you’re in mine too! Big big hugs xox

  71. First of all, there is no more “Scarlett Letter” of shame. That was crucified with Christ and you are brand new, (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17) And second, as for knowing where you need to be, I know the feeling. Seven and a half years ago I quit my job to go back to school to become a paramedic (EMT) After I graduated school and became licenced to become one, I tried for two years to get a job. It was hard. In the meantime I was working as a patient transfer attendant, a stepping stone job, while I tried getting the paramedic job. After the two years of trying, I “gave up” and stayed with patient transfer. I liked the job and working with patients. I also had the opportunity to work with neonatal transport nurses, who helped little babies in need. But after five years, for of those being night shift, I left that job to work at a plant nursery. I started here at this job just after Canadian Thanksgiving. Is been fun so far, but did I make the right choice. As far as my family is concerned, yes. My wife and my kids missed me a lot at night and it is so good to sleep in my own bed at night.

    After telling you all that, my point is that you aren’t the only one facing this question, “Where should I be, what should I do?” Seek God, seek godly counsel. And if it’s worth anything, you look and sound like you would be a great actress.

    Think about it.
    KEEP THE LIGHT ON!

  72. How do you sort it out? This is gonna sound WAY too business-like but it at least helps to do a pro-con list. But make sure you list the “soft” points too, like the vulnerability you have and how it can in fact save and restore lives.

    I get that Ohio carries pain for you. And only you can answer the question about whether you’re running away from a real fight with a destructive, shaming culture or in fact building a life of love and redemption in NYC.

    Your acting, writing and sharing life gifts will port anywhere. You just need to define what your goals are in using them, knowing you’re already a hero to hundreds.

    That scared girl you were still walks a lonely walk and you have a lot to say and love to help her out. And that’s not even broadening your message to shame in general. If you haven’t, get to listen to Brene Brown. She’s done some stellar TED talks. You’d both love what she says and line up with her battle.

    No matter what – you will be loved, supported and prayed for. Just the way it is.

  73. This was a great post Caralyn! Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. Life is full of important decisions and sometimes we know for sure what we are supposed to do. Then there are other times when we are torn. I have been in both situations and as I am growing older and wiser I have come to realize that listening is the key. Quieting the chatterbox of a mind, stilling my mind for as long as I have to, and listening for God’s prompting always help me discern the answer.
    You know my brother committed suicide in April and he was my only sibling. He was the only one that had my childhood stories because we did everything together when we were kids. Now he is gone and I wish I would have more time with him. I did not spend nearly enough time with him. If it was me I would move back just to be with my family because we don’t know how much time we have left with them. But you can’t make your decision based on fear or guilt. You have to make your decision for healthy reasons. The mere fact that you are questioning your decision about your move to NYC is a good indication that something probably needs to change – because you are changing, growing, getting healthier!
    Have you ever heard of the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle? He has written a phenomenal book called “The Power of Now” and it has changed my life. It is a very interesting read and it is only 229 pages. The book has revolutionized how I make decisions and live my life now. If you are interested and have the time you might look into getting this book. I know it could help you a lot.
    I wish you all the best as you journey forward. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you have a great time in Ohio! Blessings to you Caralyn!

    1. Thanks so much Tammy! I really appreciate your encouraging words and for your prayers. That seriously means so much. I haven’t heard of Tolle but I’ll definitely have to look him up! Thanks for the recco! Hugs and love xox

  74. 8 months can change a lot of things. That’s so true. Things change in your life before you realise, sometimes.

    God always speaks often the trick is in picking up the clues.

    I am sure you will make the right choice. I have no idea what it is from over here.

  75. So, I am not a decision maker. Check that. I don’t like to be a decision maker when it comes to me and my life. It takes me forever to decide what I want to eat at restaurants. I’m always telling the waiter, “Uhm. Come back to me last, please. I still haven’t decided.” Frustrates my family completely. 😉 And when it comes to major decisions, well, can you imagine how bad I am if I can’t even pick something to eat? I just want God to do the whole handwriting on the wall thing like he did for the King in Daniel chapter 5 (unless it’s a message of my doom like God gave the king – then I’d rather not know! 😉 ) Though God may not choose to be so conspicuous with His direction, I’ve learned that He still speaks very clearly through His Word, through our communion with Him in prayer and through the NUDGINGS of the Holy Spirit. Yep, those nudgings are nothing to be ignored. In fact, I have just made a huge decision in my life to leave the church that I am serving as Children’s Minister after four years of service. It was an excruciating decision-making process and even entailed a little fight between me and God. I love the ministry. I love working with the kids and their families. I love the event planning, Vacation Bible School, games, praise and worship, etc. But through subtle urgings of His Spirit, through staff changes, through situations unfolding in the church, God has been telling me it’s time to go. I can’t point to a sign or anything concrete that said, “KJ, you gotta GO. Love, God” but I can’t deny the message. Funny thing is, though, He hasn’t told me where I’m going. I simply have to be faithful to follow which is what I’m doing.

    Though I’m not sure any of this will help you in your decision making and I’m not too sure why I shared, I think I mainly wanted to encourage you to listen to the nudgings. They mean something. But remember to bathe whatever you do in prayer and dive into His Word. He’ll direct your path and His Word will help you determine if those nudgings are just feelings of doubt and uncertainty whispered to you by the Deceiver meant to keep you from something great God has in store for you or if those urgings actually line up with God’s plan for you. Yep. This decision making thing is no walk in the park! But always trust the Good Shepherd to lead you and always follow. I’ll be praying with you as you consider your future and ask that you pray with me, as well.

  76. Keep praying. Open your heart and ears to find the way you’re supposed to go, regardless of which way you think is the correct way. With God’s guidance, you will find the decision which gives you the peace of knowing it’s the right decision.

  77. “As it turns out, you can go home again,” according to Robin Davis, food editor at the Columbus Dispatch. She was charmed by the cosmopolitan environs of San Francisco, and left family and home in Ohio. When her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer she had to make a decision. Caralyn, I pray that Robin’s story will help you make the right decision for your life.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/19/living/going-home-robin-davis/index.html

      1. Robin Davis presents an engaging testimony in her book, “Recipe for Joy: A Stepmom’s Story of Finding Faith, Following Love, and Feeding a Family”.

        https://www.amazon.com/Recipe-Joy-Stepmoms-Finding-Following/dp/0829437959

        The prologue reads:

        “There were three things food writer Robin Davis promised she would never do: she would never move back to Ohio, she would never get married, and she would never join an organized religion.”

        Her father’s illness was the impetus to return to her home and family in Ohio. While it was difficult to leave San Francisco, Davis was able to transfer her skills to the Columbus Dispatch; and she became wife and mother to a hometown widower and his three children.

        Most importantly, she was able to rediscover the importance of faith and family; and reconnect to God through the Catholic Church — a very different outcome than if she had remained in California which represented the world.

        I understand you did stage work in Ohio. Patrick Stewart, when asked about his film roles, said:

        “I feel incredibly fortunate because aspects of my career, not only did I never anticipate any of it, they weren’t looked for. I was a stage actor and the fact that somebody would employ me to work on the stage was enough for me.”

        Caralyn, I see great opportunity for you such as writing a screenplay of your book and playing yourself in the lead role. Crowd funding could finance the project, and who knows …

        David P. (AKA Eternal Christ)

      2. This is awesome! Oh my gosh, David – what an incredible idea. I am humbled that you would think of this! I will definitely pray about it 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  78. Dear Caralyn. You have a wonderful acting career right back there where you left it in Ohio Don’t denigrate stage and quit trying to get someone to pick you for their game ( movie ) Do Your Own Thing with your family at your back. You have the personality writing skills. Business skills connections and oh yeah. GOD
    Please I actually beg for the sake of the kingdom. Seriously consider this

  79. Hi BBB – I can relate to your story or wanting to be with family that is – especially a mother. After loosing my mom, 5 days after thanksgiving on last year – I felt so lost, actually lost isn’t even the word to describe such loneliness. Now that my mom has been gone, I think about her everyday….single….day. I have to say, the thing that gets me over a bad hump is the fact that I was by her side the whole time. I moved to NC in 2005 because I wanted to be closer to her, at the time of moving there I had begun to have regrets and wondered if even the move was a productive one, but while I can say I had my ups and downs now the thought of me being there with my mom for all those years, by her side when she needed me the most are my greatest and treasured thoughts. I probably wouldn’t have that peace right now had I had not moved – I would be full of regrets right now. You’re a praying and believing young lady and I know in the end, you’ll do what is best. Pray about it as I know you already have and leave it in God’s hands, you’ll be surprised at how the answer you need and/or are looking for will just come to you. I knew it was the right choice for me to be with my mom because my heart and spirit was at ease when I came to visit and when I left, that peace and tranquility I felt with being around my mom, left as well. There’s no sure answer to it, sometimes you just know because you know……you’ll feel it, it’s one of those feelings that are different than the rest. I’ll be praying for you…

    1. Hi Roshonda, thank you so much for sharing your story. Gosh I am so sorry for your loss. That’s so hard. My heart just goes out to you. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. Know that you are in my prayers. Hugs and love xox

  80. A decision you make now won’t be for the rest of your life. I can see from the outside what you want to do and why, but the real question to ask yourself is: which of these decisions is being driven by guilt? Normally being torn between possibilities carries a certain amount of guilt, pride etc. I think we need to make decisions that lead to our growth. I don’t think a wise decision can be made if guilt or obligation/duty is the foundation. To me it sounds like you can always go back home. And any parent that feels a healthy parental love will be happy to let their kid go and build her/his own life elsewhere regardless of the circumstances they’re in.

      1. Yeah, I’m sure you’ll make the right decision for you, even if it might not be easy either way!

  81. Oh good ol Ohio. When I left Ohio, I joined my husband who was in the Air Force, I became a wife. I had no friends where I was living for about 8 months. I didn’t think I could prosper, but I did. God helped me grow in Arkansas. In Ohio, there was a lot of pain leading up to when I got married, but yet, God used it for growth, and most of it was because I needed my own form of independence. Then Florida happened, no friends, till like the last day I was there lol. But even then I was growing! Seriously! God helped me grow in places and in darkness I didn’t think possible. Ohio was always in the back of my head though when I lived away. It always had a major piece of my heart.

    God has taught me take the good from the bad, and keep moving forward. When I returned to Ohio, the parts of Ohio I liked that is what defined me. When I went through my depression in Ohio, while in college, it was not the depression I remember with pain, but the overwhelming love and guidance He gave me through it. I’m in the same state, another new place, not close to friends and family.

    And God continues to teach me, love me, provide me with what I need even when I think, “God, I don’t know how this is going to work out. But I know You are with me.”

    And girl, He’s with you too! Ohio has a darkness for you, but there is abounding light from Christ that sprouted out of that darkness. As for where you are now, it isn’t defeat. It isn’t failure. Failure would be to not look around you, which I remember you writing about awhile ago. Embrace the moment. Think about what is going on.

    Live.

    Sometimes, God prepares us in one place or one situation so we can venture to an old place or a new one and be able to handle the situation better because of our past experience. You are never alone. Ever! 🙂 <3

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You’re right – we’ve got to take the good from the bad. And amen! There cannot be any darkness when we are in Christ’s light. Thanks for this incredible encouragement, TR. you are a blessing to me 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  82. I also left my hometown where all my friends and family stay to move to a bigger city where everything happens for us actors. It is still a slow start on my start only recently moved here.

    All those questions you asked , I also thought about it… it’s scary but also please remember, If you hadn’t made that move to pursue your acting career, you would have wondered about it all the time. I’m happy you made that move.

    I’m also happy for making the move, and I know God will bless both our ventures!

    Hope I will see you on a TV series or Movie being one of the lead actors!

  83. Hello Mello Yellow! Ohhh…snap, a new one! How are you doing my friend? Its been a while and as usual, its good to catch up. Just finished reading your blogging tips. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Isn’t it just scary how time flies? The changes terrified me for a while. So, how do I make important decisions? Hmm…what can I share with Mello Yellow? I often pray about it. Mine is a continuous conversation with big brother J.C. If I have peace about a certain decision, I go with it. That peace (or non-peace) is like a faint nudge deep deep deep down beneath my heart or kidney or tummy. Other times, its in a dream. Also, I follow those “God” signs which He drops every where. Pretty much, this is my take. “All things are yes and amen in Christ Jesus.” That is, God has given us the green light to do what we need to for the dreams and callings He put in us. And we have the green light until HE says (nudges, warns) to stop. If He doesn’t, keep going and in the midst of the process, HE will engineer circumstances to help shift me one way or the other. That’s where my faith comes in. I just trust that He would. Even if I got the nudge wrong, fail, or die. I’m okay with it. But, HE has never failed me yet. Its how my tuition got paid, how I went to Wisconsin with nothing (no money, knew no one…) and ended up staying with a family, serving them, their church, and taking care of their disabled son (turns out, they had been praying for God to send someone to help him since all others failed. It was a success). But you know Caralyn, you are Jesus’s sheep and you hear his voice (his sweet still small voice, his nudge, counsel…). You do!

  84. I’m sending my prayers and positive vibes your way. Your writing is so raw and honest and from the heart.
    I believe that you will figure out in your heart what is right. Your heart and mind will work together to lead you towards your path. And God will be there too.
    Again, prayers for you.
    You are a wonderful person, and I wish you the best in all your endeavors!

    Lots of Love,

    Maria

  85. Oh I completely understand! I live a life of professional baseball with my husband and we’ve been living this life for over thirty years. Well, last year it just hit me that I am tired. Our home is in Chattanooga, but someone else stays in our house for more months than we do. (We rent to the coach that comes here for the Spring/Summer and coaches the Farm Team here for the MN Twins) Every February we pack a few things, head to Spring Training and then to wherever the head of the organization he works for sends him to coach one of their Farm Teams. We live in an apartment for 6 months, then back home again. My mother lives in South Carolina and isn’t it the best of health. I see her maybe 3 times while we are at home. Now our daughter is pregnant with our first grandchild (a girl) and I’m sure my husband and I will miss seeing that baby girl while we are gone. On the other hand, I love that his job allows me to meet new people from all walks of life. We have friends all over the country.It is fun going to Spring Training, the ballpark, and watching my husband do what he loves…..but now we both seem to be at a crossroads. My husband is getting tired of the business side which is rapidly getting worse.It’s very cut throat and ugly because now there are people running baseball who never played and don’t understand that they are dealing with young men, not just a number. They have never experienced what these young men go through. There is a lot of money involved, and don’t we see that many times in life that money ruins things? Yep,it does. There may be another opportunity for him in baseball that could keep us at home, but it will be a life changing thing. We are just going to have to pray and see where God guides us. It would mean no more Spring Training, my husband I know would miss the camaraderie with other coaches and especially the ballplayers, I would miss a lot of things about pro-ball, too, but then I could do more things with family, remodel our home instead of watching HGTV and wishing I was back home remodeling. I could stop having to pack and unpack every few months, go on a real vacation to the beach, and just be with family and friends. Maybe it all boils down to that I’m older now (54) and just want to settle. Just keep praying about what you need to do and you will get a sign. Usually it comes from out of the blue and if the sign seems a little odd to you, it’s usually God doing some work. xoxo

    1. Thanks so much M, for sharing your story. It sounds like a fascinating life from the outside but I’m sure living it is a different story. Congratulations to your daughter! I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers. Sending the biggest hugs xox

  86. Always follow your heart. Your heart knows the way; run in that direction. Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. The kingdom of heaven is within you here and now so listen and you will hear.

  87. I hope you have a great weekend back home. You have to follow your dream. I’m sure your parents would want that. I’m not sure how the acting is going but you seem passionate about it; and your writing & blogging careers are going well. Can your book be purchased on Kindle? You were one of the first people to follow us when we started the blog back in May and I’d like to read more of your story.

    1. Thanks so much friend. I really appreciate it. Aw thanks!so right now the book is only hard copy, but I do have an ebook out on blogging tips, which can be read on kindle. If that changes, I’ll definitely let you know! Thanks again! Hugs and love xox

  88. I enjoyed reading your post. You asked the questions “How do you sort out which path in life you’re supposed to take? How do you make important life decisions?” Very good questions.

    “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt 6:33) King Solomon speaking of wisdom said, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Pro 3:17-18) Seek after godly wisdom of which comes from applying the Word of God. There is a way to seek for this kind of wisdom. “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.” (Pro 2:1-9) “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” (James 1:5-7)

    As concerning your past it is your testimony. The Apostle Paul, who had previously persecuted the Church of God, said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” (Phil 3:13-15)

    This is the path and direction that the Bible teaches us to follow after.

  89. Oh man did this post hit home. I am moving from Chicago, IL to Aalesund, Norway. My family lives in the US and I’ll be leaving them. Everyone is scared for me and it makes me feel like no one has any faith in me to succeed. Everyone has to give me their 2 cents on why I shouldn’t move and that I’m crazy. I move in three months. My decision to move was biased on what I felt my heart tell me to do and what was best for me. I pray all the time about it, if God wants something different for me, but I haven’t heard anything different.For you, it should be the same. What does God tell you? What does you heart say? No one’s opinion will matter but your own and the Lord’s.

  90. Sweet girl…I love your blog…and your words of growth and love and yes wisdom in one so young. The grandmother in me wants to remind that whatever path your heart leads you to, you are not a failure, nor are you giving up on your dreams. Keep praying, seek His guidance, and enjoy your time home. sending prayers Baby girl!

  91. This might sound cheesy, but open your mind and heart up to any possibility that could happen! And when the time is right you’ll get a gut feeling on which path to take! 🙂 goodluck! And dont worry, everything will work out 🙂

  92. I was going to say “follow your heart”, but the heart is so affected by the past and the emotions of successes and failures. I think the bottom line is to do what YOU want.
    Guilt can overtake us (I’m the youngest of 5 to an Italian mother, I know guilt), but it all comes down to priorities, or as my wife says, “Opportunity costs”.
    What will you gain by pursuing your dream? What will you give up by pursuing your dream? Then it comes down to what you can live with. By that, I mean can you live on moving back and not giving more time for your career? Or can you live with the possibility that you don’t have time with your mom while in NY?
    Pray! Listen for that “still small voice”, do what you think is best. Bottom line is, what do you want? What does God want for you?
    Love your blog and I’ve wanted to comment on more but haven’t taken the time. You’re a remarkable woman with a great story that needs heard.

  93. In 2015 I wanted to move back home but was not sure I could make it work. Someone asked me two questions: What will happen if you leave? What will happen if you stay? I wrote everything down that I felt in my heart, and the answer was there.

  94. Nothing mars decent to good writing like errors so please accept this in the spirit of improving your writing. The word is “melodramatic,” not “mellow dramatic” (though that did elicit a chuckle, thank you!). A good command of basic words and grammar is a fundamental starting point in all writing in all languages!

    1. Oh gosh seriously though how did I miss that egregious error??!! Hahaha it made me laugh too!! Haha thanks text dictation! 🤣 Wow thanks for letting me know! Going to fix it right now! Hugs and love xox

  95. I love your honesty in your struggle. Keep praying and asking. I find he always answers but I don’t always see or hear the signs. That happened to me this weekend. It’s time for me to ramp it up. But I’m scared to try. I received a clear direction but it took me until today to look back and see all the “signs” to go forward. Sometimes God has to hit me with a lot before I get the message LOL! I had to slow down and look at all the little signs from when I started praying this summer to this morning.
    Look back and check those coincidences, actions, words of encouragement, scriptures that popped up, and see what you find. Remember Psalms 37:4 – Since you take delight in the Lord, he will give you the desires of your heart. Look deep. That’s when I find him. I’ve also found he is usually way ahead of me because the desires of my heart do change! LOL! He is so good. I’m praying you get the guidance and peace you need. Love Milly.

  96. My girlfriend and I got pregnant so I left NYC, moved back to TX, got married, now 3 children a divorce a second wife 30 years later I wonder “what if I had never left NYC?” I’m happy now. Life has happened. I have no regrets. But I wonder, “what if…”. I really wonder what that “me” would look like?

  97. A part of me has always wanted to live somewhere else. It doesn’t matter where, or in what season of life, I’ve been in. I’m 40 and in my 31st dwelling. We moved around a lot when I was growing up and I have continued the trend.

    I like options and I get bored easily. One issue I’ve seen come up in my own life is the inability of being really known by someone or a group of someones. Once I get figured out it’s (I’m) not special anymore.

    I can’t help but think that all the moving fashioned me to adapt to change quickly and actually prefer it.

    What and where is that exactly? I don’t think I’m the most qualified to answer but IMHO…

    “Home is where you hang your pictures.” “Home is where the heart is.” “Home is where you fart” (said the pillow on a friends couch). Home is predictable. Vacation (not home) is exciting due to its mystery, change of landscape, different cuisine, funny accents, etc.

    G.K. Chesterton said “As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. – Orthodoxy

    Do wanderers like myself mistake what is mysterious and untried as “home”? Am I there (home) now, and is every other place I dream about only meant to supply my daydreaming more kindling? Is “home” just another frontier?

    One thing’s certain that conquering all local discovery leads to predictability which is not the enemy. Based on who you are that can either mean warm assurance or a death sentence. Before you move again, ask yourself why you’re moving.

    Is it..

    – family/friends
    – better amenities/salary
    – homesickness
    – winning football teams

    …or do you just need a vacation?

    Where is your home? What makes your home “home”?

    Home is where your inner wanderer takes his shoes off and stays awhile past breakfast with no clear plan on departing. Home is not geographically based. Home can be anywhere really. Peace with God makes a heart God’s dwelling. No Cracker Barrel can compete with that.

  98. I always go with the direction that gives me the most peace, but sometimes that’s a copout. I know that doesn’t help. I feel your agony. I pray the Lord will give you that nudge you seek.

      1. Thanks. Yep! Just sitting here watching the news with my mama! 😁😁😁 ((the comments come in as text messages on my phone so it makes it really convenient and efficient!))

  99. Whatever just feels right is the right thing to do. No matter the outcome. You’re supposed to make yourself happy ❤ If you think Ohio makes you feel happier. If it feels right, you should be there. Not because it’s something you’re supposed to do

  100. Lovely post. I have been in your position a few times, facing big life decisions. It is OK to let your mind rest for a while. Your subconscious will continue to work on the problem. Then, one day it will hit you that you have made your decision; and you’ll feel confident to move forward.

  101. Forgive me if I seem harsh I must say that this blog seems like one of perspective. In response to your perspective blog you’re getting a lot of opinions. Opinions are like grapes some of them are good and some of them are bad. But just like grapes we sometimes have to measure how strong they can become. So rather than give you my opinion let me share with you a thought. I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this. However I do think it is needful. And I think it is time you need to know the truth. You have a lot of decisions to make and you’re right we can’t run from decisions they catch up with us. Just ask Jonah. Now if you’re thinking about coming home. I advise you to read Genesis chapter 39 right on through. Read the complete story of Joseph. God will guide your steps has spoken of by the Prophet Jeremiah chapter 10 verse 23. Now on to the bit of Insider information I have for you. I do have a long history with Ohio. I’m not going to tell you how. But it is not good. 8 years after I had the Calamity happened to me God send me back to Ohio. Not the search of my old life but start a new one. A Godly one. However up until recently I still had a Benjamin that I was unable to give up. I stress the important words of up until recently. Meaning I gave that Benjamin up. I had a lot of scars more scars than I can ever go into detail how about. Your scars are your eating disorder and your Benjamin is acting. You made love to pursue of acting but you must First Love The Pursuit Of God. After I give up my Benjamin I was able to look at Ohio a different way. Even though I am Canadian I look at Ohio as my home. And look at living in Canada is being in Egypt because even though I’m Canadian everything is so foreign to me now since I’ve joined God hand in hand. And I if you’re looking to adopt anybody it should be me. Just joking… the point of it is don’t let your past dictate your present and avoid stepping into the future. Don’t look to the Future live in the present but I always keep moving forward. Sometimes before you can move forward you have to go home again. PS I like big cities but I hate New York. But for some reason I love Ohio. Jubilee Donuts are something special. Remember this if nothing else from this post of a comment. You are special to God and you are special to me.

  102. Hey there friend. Just saw your post. A lesson I’m in the midst of learning is to submit every choice to Jesus and ask for Him to make the right decision clear to you. I dealt with this same kind of question in giving up teaching to go into full time ministry. I’ll be praying that you get peace in this matter. I used to live near Bluffton, OH, and know that area, especially with family there, has a certain pull. Looking forward to seeing what you hear.

  103. While I have never left my hometown I do very much understand what its like to be labeled by other people for things you went through. I made a lot of mistakes in my young life and I live in a pretty small town where most people know all about them. I get a lot of dirty looks and awkward silences when i come across people who know about that chapter in my life. But i can tell you this, I wear those mistakes, I seek out those moments because I use it as an opprotunity to show people how God has changed me and my life. I walk through my town knowing that the Lord has forgiven me for those mistakes and I make amends with myself by using that period in my life to serve Him.

    Also whenever I am faced with huge decisions and I can’t seem to make out in the chaos what the Lord wants me to do, I pray that the Lord makes it so obvious that I can’t not know. I ask him to slam doors shut that lead to the wrong choice so feircly that I can’t walk through it. And then I trust the Lord that He is leading my life. Just know that the Lord will always lead and guide you when you ask Him to and fully submit yourself to His will.

    I hope this helps with what your going through. You are in my prayers!

    1. thanks so much for this reflection and for sharing your story. amen to that – God changes us and makes us new 🙂 His forgiveness is amazing. thanks for sharing this encouragement. sending big big hugs xox

  104. Yes, beauty, I think you recognize the nudge. Which location gives you a better possibility for your growth in the Lord? In which location would you want to settle if you fall in love and marry and your husband would want to stay? In which location would you want to raise your children? Is the dream you set for yourself six years ago still your dream for today? You will not have failed to fulfill your dream if it has changed. When you formed your dream six years ago were you more knowledgeable about “who you are” then than “who you are” today? God promised to give you the desires of your heart. So dream his desire for you, precious girl. But don’t overly fear making a mistake. God has pulled all of out of “mistakes” over and over again! This time you have spent in NY was probably good for the completion of your book. Maybe it is time for a new book! Oh, God has so much in store for you!

  105. I’m sure you’ve put an awful lot of thought and prayer into where you are and where you want to be, or where you think you “should” be, or any number of combinations of the choices between Ohio and NYC. I can’t offer much real advice other than saying you’ll know it when you know it—which sounds completely lame and made up, lol, but is valid advice. I think sometimes we know the answer and aren’t ready to accept it (and this could be either way . . . that you’re supposed to stay put or that you’re supposed to move back). When you’re ready to accept all that goes along with the right path, you’ll have peace with it. Hugs. –Lynda

  106. Thank you for reading my blog and liking it. I appreciate it. Your last post where you mentioned your mother was flying “with new wings” was beautiful. Thank you. I think you are right the nudge could be the wondering and the uneasiness. I say, trust your heart, my experience is that is where God speaks to us. Good luck.

  107. Right after graduation I moved from my village to one of the bigger cities in Canada. I failed in a lot of ways. My faith didn’t waiver but my morals did. I became a shell of the confident, helpful, and happy person I used to be. I came back in the second year for 9 months and ended up spending 6 months helping care for my mom who had been in a major horse accident. Eventually after 3 years total spent in that big city, I spent one more year getting back on track of who I really was in Christ.
    Then I felt God calling me very strongly back to a city near where I grew up. God put me in a job I was terrified of but also in which I excelled. It was NOT what I would have guessed for myself. But as I stayed and worked hard, I realized it was in the field I had been drawn to on a larger scale all along. After I was back for 9 months I started dating someone. Praying hard, we realized at 3 months we were supposed to get married. At 6 months we were engaged. At 1 year we were married. 3 years later we’ve just had a son.
    All this to say God knows you’re listening and he has MUCH better opportunities for you than what you are imagining for yourself. That apartment probably doesn’t even exist 😉 When has He left you in the lurch before?? I hope my story can inspire you that God has mystery but that also means fantastic surprises when we just trust that he has quite the long game.

  108. I had a friend, much older than me, who once told me to just make the “decision” or just do “it”. If it feels good, it’s the right decision. If not, then change the decision. I guess it should not be a decision that cannot be unchanged or replaced with another. What’s the worst thing that can happen as a consequence of the decision? If it’s fine, or at least bearable, it doesn’t hurt or harm you, then the worst thing that would happen is you get to have an adventure. 😃 All the best. Hugs. 🤗💖

  109. When I was little I wanted to be an astronaut and my backup plan was, ninja. 😳😂😂 I like how open you are with your decisions or, lack of. I’ve, I don’t know. I’ve not had many dreams. I think, what you’re doing is great. From reading your blog, there was some bumps along the way but, you came out of it. That’s good. I read the Nor’easter is gonna be bad, be careful.

      1. When I was six I lived between a Middle East kebob place and a Chinese food one. I didn’t feel deprived like you mentioned. At fourteen I lived in a hockey shop at a pro hockey arena with a half dozen other guys. It felt like an upgrade. I can understand how it might feel for you if you’ve always had everything.

      2. I see sparks of good writing from you but, your view of poor and minorities really turns me off. Take care of yourself and that’s from a poor minority person.

      3. You do not write that way. You just compared yourself giving up on your dreams to my upbringing. Previously, you could not understand protests in your city interfering with your night at the Opera. These are your words. I’m done. I really am.

      4. When you get older. You’ll know how words are, how they make you feel. I don’t need to be the butt of your jokes. I don’t need friends like that. Not anymore.

  110. I keep relating to your posts! I was in your shoes once. I had been living in London for several years, and went to my home country to visit, and boom! Even though I’d seen my parents the year before, they seemed to have aged a decade. My mum had had heart surgery and needed naps every afternoon, and my dad had developed a knee problem and was hobbling around like he was 80 instead of 60. I went back to the UK and was very unsettled. I didn’t *want* to go home as I had plans, man! I had places to go, things to see and do, my list was looooong. Going home felt like sacrificing my dreams.

    I prayed about it a LOT, and then finally one day I said, ‘Please God, just give me a HUGE sign because I know I’m a bit thick at getting the hint from you’, and the. next. second. my phone rang. It was my Dad calling to say he and my mum couldn’t come to the UK to visit me at Christmas as they’d planned, as my mum just wasn’t up to it. I knew then it was time to go home. I simply couldn’t take the stress and worry about what was going on at home any longer, and wanted to be nearby to help.

    Going home was the best decision I was ever led into making. I landed a great job, met my husband, and we’ve got our two kiddos. I may not have yet made it to see the pyramids at Egypt, but I have zero regrets, and am sure I’ll get there one day.

    All the best as you discern what to do!

  111. So I’m catching up on blog reading this AM so this comment may seem a little delayed. But as I read this post I thought about a line from today’s gospel “woman you are set free of your infirmity” and “little girl I say to you arise” also comes to mind. God has healed you from your anorexia. It will always always be a part of your story but He has indeed healed you and wants you to choose the freedom He is offering you from it. I don’t know if you’re supposed to stay in NYC or move back to OH and sometimes the only way we can really know an answer is to make a choice and ask God to bless it. But if it’s your past, your history, the stain of your anorexia that holds you back from moving closer to your family – think about the 8 mos that you were living at home. You lived in OH for 8 mos anorexia free and people saw you for you. It’s so easy to label ourselves and other people by their diseases but really you are a person, a woman, a daughter of God with anorexia, you are not your disease. I think we often see our own struggles and brokenness and past way more heavily than the rest of the world.
    I guess what I’m saying you are so much more than your disease and than your past, don’t forget that.

  112. I have a Spiritual Director who helps me with important discernments in my life, (along with other wonderful life lessons/evaluations.) He never tells me ‘what to do,’ but he helps me to ‘stay honest’ with myself, which keeps me accountable to REALLY what God is telling me. On my own I could pretty much ‘sway’ the Lord’s instructions to to be what I would like/what is easiest/avoid the tuff stuff/or worst yet ignore the discernment all together! Perhaps this feeling of being in the ‘balance’ of things, not being clear which way you are being called to go, is a call for yourself to seek out a Spiritual Director of your own. Even the Pope’s have one!! 😉

    1. Hey again Dawn! you’re on a reading roll! thank you so much!! that’s awesome that you have such a person in your life. yeah, accountability to His will is so important. something i feel like i am always having to work on. that’s a great idea! thanks again Dawn, have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  113. Gosh I’m so glad to have found your blog! I’m in Indiana – not far from Cincinnati. Born and raised here. Moved away for 12 years to Wisconsin. Came back in 2014. I’m at a crossroads as well. Feeling the restlessness and nudging in my heart to chase my dreams in my heart home of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and honestly just to create a life that is free of the baggage I’ve left in the past. My friends there are ones I’ve chosen. The life I can have there is one that looks and feels like what I’ve always dreamed I’d have. But….my family is here. I missed 12 years already and it’s hard to imagine not being here for nieces and nephews birthdays and lives. I’ve got two little girls who adore my parents and vice-versa. My pastor said to seek Godly counsel, listen for messages, read scripture and of course pray and listen. I’ve done all and it’s clear I’m to go. So difficult and I’m thankful to read this from someone else who gets it. Blessings, wisdom and courage to you dear.

    1. Oh my gosh thank you so much! And thank you for sharing your story. Yeah there is definitely a pull on the heart when you’re torn between family and dreams. That was great advice from your pastor. Hang in there. Know that you’re in my prayers. Hugs and love xox

  114. It’s tricky, isn’t it? When there’s not necessarily a right or wrong and the path branches in so many directions. I like to analyze and plan my own steps, but I find that my plans are often hijacked for His. My biggest clue that I’m straying from Him is when I feel like I’m pushing too hard. Through prayer and meditation, I find that the Holy Spirit provides perspective on the constant chatter of my own thoughts. It’s like His voice hovers over my own voice and helps me to see the error of my ways with such loving guidance – always wanting the best for me! Learning to rest in that leading can be both terrifying and tremendously freeing.

  115. Hi there,

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart. When I find myself in similar situations, I rely on Proverbs 3:5-6:

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
    In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct your paths.

    We are all striving to be in the Will of God (the safest place in the whole wide world): Here is a poem that reveals why we long to abide in God’s Will:

    The Will of God
    Author: Unknown

    The will of God will never take you,
    Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
    Where the arms of God cannot support you,
    Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
    Where the power of God cannot endow you.

    The will of God will never take you,
    Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
    Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
    Where the army of God cannot protect you,
    Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

    The will of God will never take you,
    Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
    Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
    Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
    Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

    The will of God will never take you,
    Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
    Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
    Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
    Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

    I am praying with you that you will find yourself in the perfect place God has designed for you to be.

    Thanks so much for the recent likes posted on my blog. I appreciate so much your encouragement.

  116. Caralyn, you are one of the sweetest, caring, talented people, I’m yet to meet, but I feel so blessed and connected to you for so long, and without any hesitation you’ve helped me when I felt I was lost.

    Whether you choose to stay in New York or return home to Ohio, or even come and visit me in the UK 🇬🇧 ha, it truly doesn’t come down to success and failure.

    Because you’re already achieving as far as I can see.

    Keep going after your dreams and career as an actor, but your already on top of your biggest challenge and that is taking control of your life, your way.

    With me, going back a little over 12 months when I first stumbled across you, I was so lost and going through depression, I had lost my way, I had lost my identity, and 12 months on, I’m fully aware of my illness, but I’m in control of it too, when once I couldn’t even imagine getting my life back.

    What I’m saying is we are both achieving and have achieved, because even though our demons will always be there as a reminder, we have fought back and of a word recovered, and continue daily to take strength from this.

    So again it makes no difference on what you do or where you live, but one thing you will never be is a failure if you choose to leave New York.

    No matter where you choose to live you will always remain a true inspiration to me and many, many others too.

    Kind Regards,

    Andrew x

    1. Oh my gosh you are seriously the best, thank you for this incredibly generous and kind comment. I’m so glad to hear that my blog has resonated with you. That truly makes my heart so happy. And thank you for sharing your story. You’re so right, Andrew – we’re both reclaiming our lives and achieving freedom! Woo! Big big hugs xox

  117. Hi Caralyn, you’re a great communicator and do a wonderful job of writing from the heart. From my way of thinking, the good news is that each of us gets to live out this adventure called “Life” and make our decisions (and choose our responses to the decisions of others) along the way. When I finally learned not to seek my approval from others and to instead discover (and trust) the blended counsel of my heart and my mind, that “Life” became sweeter than ever before. Here’s to your blended counsel! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Hutch. What a kind thing to say. I like that! – blended counsel! Hugs and love xox

  118. “When it comes to decisions, a non decision is still a decisions.” Love it. Gonna have to review my past for how many times I chose this path forward, or backward!!!
    Thanks

  119. Once I believe and trust in myself, — I can.
    Then I say “thank you, I love you” to myself.

    It cannot but happen for you.

    Thank you for reading my post ‘It’s chaos, be kind’ on nothingcluelesslost.com

  120. Hi Caralyn,

    I don’t comment on a lot of blogs, and if I do, I usually read the threads of an article, but I confess tonight I’m fried. Work, various family issues, home (work), helping with homework and college apps, volunteer work, life, church, poor sleep habits- they are taking a toll and I am rambling even now.

    I just want to say, I did read your article and appreciate your situation, and empathize with you. Recently my mother-in-law passed away and we are all still in the grieving process. Any change brings kinds of grief. But don’t let fear of how others will perceive you, or the fear of how *you think* others will perceive you, get in the way of the you that you need to be right now. If you need to be home with mom and dad, go home. You’ve seen how friendships and people and relational dynamics change over a short time, but you in the middle of changing seem to be trying to deny yourself the right to change. But life is change. As a Christ-follower, you need to trust, difficult as I know it to be, that the “lucky break” you want will find you if it is what God wants for you.

    You’re an absolutely lovely person and I admire your strength to pursue positive goals and your commitment to good things: to family, to friends, and to spreading encouragement to others through your blogs.

    Bust out the HS Musical songbook, let loose and let out those feelings. And I will pray for God to guide your life’s path, and guard you against the stress of the ordinary, if that’s where you need to be for now. I think I need the same prayer over my own life.

    Deon M (your neighbor from the Hoosier side)

    1. Hi Deon, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. Gosh I’m so sorry about your mother in law. Sending you a big hug and know that you and your family are in my prayers. You’re so right , life is change. And I️ have to also trust in God’s good plan for my life. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement and for your prayers. Hope you can find some time to relax and recharge this week! Hugs and love xox

  121. I enjoy your writing, your honesty, your intelligence. To me a telling sign of this post is the comments on how in just 8 months so much changed there in NYC while you were gone. NYC is the kind of life environment/life where you are just a drop of water in a big lake, few notice you are not there when you leave and you are very soon forgotten in the hustle of others trying to ‘make it’ in their own lives. Do you really have peace when you are in NYC? Is the fast pace and high dollar cost of basically everything really worth chasing? How about the high violent crime rates and the filth that surrounds you on the sidewalks and the filthy air, are they worthy of you, your time, your life? You have talent, you have brains, you have beauty, you can make it in Cities in or near Ohio and your family if you so choose to do so. Let you yourself rule, not the city. If your past in your home town holds to much bad baggage, choose one of the cities that are an easy drive back to your family in which to settle down in. I wish you well in what ever you decide to do.—ted
    P.S.—I am going to reblog your article so that a few others may be able to help you with their insight and knowledge but remember, don’t listen to people who have a venom filled tongue.

    1. Hi Ted, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I️ truly appreciate you concern and for your encouraging words. It really means a lot. Powerful food for thought. Hugs and love xox

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