Life: Toddler Edition

The older I get, it seems like time goes by faster and faster.

I don’t know whether it’s the fact that I feel like most weeks I’m holding my breath until the weekend, or whether my days are too booked to the brim, but I swear, it’s as though you blink and another year has passed.

Case in point: my beautiful little niece is turning three this coming week.

I mean, where did the little baby go? We’ve got a full fledged toddler on our hands!?

But I don’t know if I’m just feeling extra sentimental as I sit here with the candles going by my Christmas tree, or what – but I got to thinking about what I would want to tell my sweet niece, as she grows up and faces the world.

And of course, my mind flooded with things about boys, and beauty, and following dreams, and never giving up. You know — the cliche’s that you can find written on the side of a mug at Hallmark.

So I really thought about it for a while. And if there was one thing, it would be this: Strive not for perfection, but for authenticity.

Growing up, I had this self-inflicted standard of perfection. It traced all the way back to my days on stage as a child actor. I equated my worth and my value with my ability to deliver a perfect performance. I needed to look perfect. Dress perfect. Behave perfect. Be perfect.

And it became a drug to me. One that nearly destroyed me. Because fast forward then to high school, and that desire for perfection spiraled into a full fledged case of anorexia that nearly destroyed me. And praise God, it didn’t.

Perfection is something we need to simply let go of. I was chasing and chasing after this unattainable vision of who I thought I should be: the girl with the perfect clothes, and hair, and body, and behavior, and social group — and it’s ironic. Because as I was chasing perfect, thinking that there would be so much joy and fulfillment once I attained it, the fact of the matter was that during my pursuit, those things were getting sucked out of my life, as the bar kept proving more and more out of reach.

Authenticity is what I really should have been after.

Authenticity — seeking to be fully me, fully alive, fully at peace in who I am, but importantly: in whose I amthat is where that true joy and fulfillment actually lie.

Knowing and loving the unique, beautifully imperfect, creation of God that I am — the authentic Caralyn — that is a life-affirming journey that I will be on for the rest of my life, as God’s plan unfolds for me, and I evolve into the person He’s forming me to be.

And that is what I wish for my niece.

The desire for authenticity.

Because, I don’t need to tell you, there are so many outside forces that try to influence our idea of who we should be. We’re told what is beautiful, what is successful, what is valuable, what is worth our attention — when the fact is, those are all fleeting notions, crafted by society with agendas meant to sell, sell, sell.

Our authentic self can only be found through the whispers from the Holy Spirit. From finding where our heart is fully alive, and I’ll give you a hint: you can’t buy that on Amazon. Nope.

I wish for my niece that peace in knowing and loving her authentic self as a daughter of the King.

Because when we know who we authentically are, it shapes our choices, how we think, our “self-talk,” our relationships. It is the foundation from which a beautiful flower can bloom.

And thankfully, my niece has super amazing parents who are already fostering that beautiful journey with Christ, even as a toddler. God is good πŸ™‚

So now, I’m super curious: What would be one thing you would tell the coming generation?

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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123 responses to “Life: Toddler Edition”

  1. “Strive not for perfection but for authenticity.” I love this!! I cannot echo enough the importance of knowing that our value lies in WHOSE we are, not what others think of us (or what we think of ourselves even). I have enjoyed reading about your journey, and even though I don’t know you, your authentic heart comes out in your writing. Thank you for sharing and being a Light!

    • Thank you so much!! Oh I’m so glad this resonated with you πŸ™‚ yes!! Whose! Oh my gosh thank you for such kind words. You made my day! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much – wow you are too kind! You should meet her mama – I mean wow I am so grateful for that soul beautiful woman! πŸ™‚ glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  2. We have a saying in military planning: perfection is the enemy of progress. I wanted to share that given the sentiment you express so well in this post.

  3. I love the photo of you and your niece! So adorable, and I agree that time seems to slide along a bit faster these days. ❀️

  4. β€œStrive not for perfection, but for authenticity.” Someone told me recently – and I’m a type β€œA” guy, by the way – the C+ people are happier than A+ people. C+ people aren’t driven by the unattainable. I couldn’t say what they’re driven by, but if it isn’t authenticity, they at least have time for it, if they choose.

    What to tell the next generation? Work for yourself. Invest your time and money in yourself. I was another lemming running off the 401K cliff. I should’ve invested in my own projects. It’s a coin flip whether my savings will last long enough. If I had my own business(es), income would continue. I could be taking more time for family, friends, blogging, and generally trying to serve God better. But I’m still tied to a full-speed company treadmill instead of retiring early.

    This is what I’ve started telling my daughters, my own β€œnext generation.” It’s what I’d explain in depth to anyone who would be willing to listen.

    • Hi Jeff! hahah C + people, oh my gosh that made me laugh! but there’s so much truth in that! thank you for sharing that! and i love thta — invest in yourself — so wise. you’re a great dad!!! so glad you stopped by πŸ™‚ hope your week is off to a great start πŸ™‚ hugs to you and your girls xox


    β™‘ One of the Most Empowering Acts of Service is to Give WithOut Thought of Reward; unfortunately We ARE Conditioned to Earn thus making it Virtually Impossible to Accept Gifts except at Parentally Imposed Times (PIT) like Christmas and Birthdays



    β™‘ GrandChildren ARE a Another Chance at Raising Kids; though it does mean Keeping Secrets from Your Kids aka Your GrandChildrens Parents Dead Intent on Being Your Parents πŸ˜†πŸ˜…πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ˜€πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š sure is Funny and Ironic and I Have No Idea WHY!!! πŸ€” ?



    β—‡ – Diamond Hard – β—‡

    β—‡ Divorce and Breakups ARE Amongst The Most Traumatic Experiences; yet that’s ALL They ARE, Experiences…because if You ARE UnAble to Live Alone but NOT!!! Lonely You ARE Already Dead, a Zombie Feeding on The Brains of Others via Energy Vampirism; so THINK!!! about that, huh πŸ€” ?…if You Research Osho You WILL!!! Discover that He States a Paraprosdokian; “The Capacity to be Alone is The Capacity to Love.”…ergo Love is like a Volume Button; it is at a Comfortable Level when We ARE Warmly and Comfortably Alone yet NOT!!! Lonely…when We ‘Fall In Love’ The Volume is Ramped Up Considerably; if We or They ARE UnAble to Deal with Increased Volume Levels We Break Up and then Return to Our Previous Comfortable State and Say “NEXT!!!” πŸ˜†πŸ˜…πŸ˜„πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ˜€πŸ˜‰πŸ˜Š

    β—‡ – Diamond Hard – β—‡



    β—‡ – Diamond Hard – β—‡

    β—‡ Seriously EveryOne, AM I Really The Only One that Doesn’t Give a Fuck about Hundreds, Thousands, Millions, Billions ad nauseum and Focuses Solely on Being The Best Person I AM and Truly AT PEACE!!! I AM Sharing with EveryOne having Returned to The Purity of My Childlike State; here is My Rock, My Sea Shell, My Sprig, Valuable Assets and You Tell Me it’s WORTH TOTALLY NOTHING!!! to You as I Hand My Assets to You as My Gift For You πŸ€” ?

    β—‡ – Diamond Hard – β—‡



    β™‘ Selfishness and Generosity are Perfect Examples of 3DDuality, some of Us Give with NO THOUGHT!!! of Return, some of Us Steal, Grasping Greedily, Feeling Entitled to TAKING!!! WhatEver We Want and some of Us Accept Gifts Graciously then Pay It Forward or Pay It Back; so, where ARE You in ALL of This πŸ€” ?



    β™‘ My Messenger is FUCKED UP!!! EveryOne so DM (Direct Message) Me on or Keep it Public; there are No Secrets except Those Secrets that We Create


  6. Oh my Caralyn, you are so right! Beauty is defined by society from an external point of view – and we know it is an internal condition. Your niece appears to be off to a beautiful internal start with all that spiritual guidance from her parents and her aunt.

    • Thank you so much Jan! you’re so right! it’s an internal condition. i love that πŸ™‚ yes! she has amazing parents πŸ™‚ thanks for stopping by! hugs xo

  7. Perfection is not even a realistic standard and is a promoted by the world and satan. Many battlewith this unattainable concept in this world. I too have come to this very unhealthy reality the last few years while in the pursuit of my own healing.

    • Thanks for sharing that. You’re right – there was only one perfect human and His name was Jesus! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  8. You seem super happy in the photo of you and the little one. By the way, for the generation inheriting the world, I’d want to say folks did a few things right in the old days

  9. Love the photo of you and your niece. πŸ™‚ Seriously, life is starting to zoom; Im very much with you there. At the same time, I’m exhausted and can’t wait for heaven. Ha. I think my advice would be to do your best to live for Christ. Use the Bible as your guide and bask in the glory of his grace and forgiveness. God is so good! ❀️ I always look forward to your posts. Thanks for keeping up with it.

    • Thank you so much Hannah! She’s my little buddy! And yes! ZOOM by!! Live for Christ – love that πŸ™‚ Hugs and love xox

  10. Thank you for your authenticity BBB, your words and sharings are so treasured. I think I want my advice to be something along the lines of…no matter how hard things get, God is with you always and you WILL make it through

    • Thank you so much!! Oh my gosh you’re kind to say that πŸ™‚ amen – He’s always with us! Hugs and love xox

  11. I’m a recovering perfectionist too. So I deliberately leave small flaws, like using a glass with a scratch in the red coloring…trying not to let it drive me crazy… Lovely photo of you and your daughter. She will benefit greatly by your insights.

  12. I understand perfectly, the feeling you described in the beginning of your article, of time slipping away, like you’re fast losing track of it, running a losing race against time. I love your statement of choosing to strive for authenticity over perfection. That’s the realest thing I’ve heard this year. It’s like a breath of fresh air. We burn out all too easily striving to be perfect, an idealistic version of who we think we should be based on standards set by others. When really, all we should be after is becoming better versions of ourselves. I daily strive to be better today than I was yesterday.

    • Thank you so much Zizi! Oh wow I’m so glad it resonated with you! You’re so right – striving for perfection leads to burn out for sure! Hugs and love xox

  13. Wow! I loved this post. Something I’ve been reflecting on as well. My niece is about to turn 4 and I could agree.

    I believe that I would tell the next generation to breathe. We are so quick to jump into the future and dream that we forget about the present. No need to rush. Enjoy life and don’t always invest in lists, life is meant to be experienced with patience. Marriage, love, kids, house, job, it can take time and wisdom to go through it all.

  14. Two things popped into my head. First, don’t compare yourself to others; your journey is your own. Second, what’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right….. Mike

    • Oh my gosh Mike those are two powerhouse pieces of advice! Thanks for sharing that!! Hugs and love xox

  15. I just finished reading an article called Instagram Face from The New Yorker and it made me profoundly sad. We have become a society obsessed with celebrity culture and unattainable physical beauty. My wish for this generation is for social media to go bust. Authenticity is what we all need to strive for. Well said, Caralyn. Your niece is a so sweet.

    • Hi Mary! Oh interesting! I’m going to google that article!! I love that – go bust!! And thank you so much πŸ™‚ yeah she’s a little sweetheart i love her so much πŸ™‚ Hugs and love xox

  16. β€œPerfection is stupid.” You nailed it! It’s fine to dream about boys and sappy Hallmark cards, however, it’s also easy to get trapped in the perfectionism mindset. For example, when finding a potential life partner, it’s easy to expect him to be Prince Charming. We set these high standards for ourselves only to be disappointed. Hoping he’s price charming is like expecting ourselves to be princesses, but all of us are flawed. No human on this planet is perfect, so it’s a hugs waste of time trying to be perfect. Much of this mindset is subconscious and these patterns are easier to spot in other people than in ourselves.

    • You’re so right about that!! All of us are flawed. I was just talking my gal pals about this over brunch last weekend β€” when discussing guys!! Haha no one is perfect and there’s beauty in accepting and loving one another flaws and all. Hugs and love xox

  17. I shared such a positive post to my stepdaughter for her anorexic daughter πŸ’• thank you πŸ™
    (And please delete prior unrelated messages @thebook)
    Have a blessed Christmas!

  18. This post is so beautiful! I want to tell you how i have enjoyed reading your blog since finding it maybe 18 months ago. You had just finished the camino with your mom and i as well with. My daughter.
    All of your posts are well written, you have a talent for simoly stating what is in your heart. Keep them coming , keep being authentic!

    • Oh my gosh this is so touching! Thank you!! I’m so glad our paths crossed πŸ’› and that’s so awesome you did the Camino too!! Wasn’t it such a powerful experience?! Buen Camino πŸ’› Hugs and love xox

  19. I have different beliefs but the same values. β€œPerfection is the enemy of the good” is a top saying of mine. Happy Birthday to your adorable niece! πŸ’–

    • Thanks Paula! I love that!! It really is the enemy of good! And thanks, I’ll pass that along! πŸ’› have a great night! Hugs and love xox

  20. Yes, time does seem to go faster the older we get! In another minute(!) your niece will be old enough to read this post. And I can’t think of a better goal for your her (or anyone else) than to aim for authenticity–to allow God to mold her into the best, one-of-a-kind girl he’s created her to be. That’s where satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy will be found. Beautifully expressed, Caralyn!

    • You’re right about that! Gosh what a thought! Thanks for this kind reflection, Nancy!! Big hugs to you! Xox

  21. You have a gift for writing and I enjoy reading your thoughts…. kinda like a daughter I had always hoped for…. happy birthday to your darling niece! You’ve already given the best advice, but I guess I’d add text less and call more. Xo Merry Christmas!πŸŽ„

    • Hi Mary!! Oh my goodness thank you for saying that πŸ’› and I love that advice – text less and call more! There’s nothing like hearing an actual voice on the other end of the line! Thanks for taking the time to read this!! and I hope our paths cross over Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  22. Caralyn, great observations and it does! To me it has a lot to do with seeing the stark reality that we are now closer to an end point here as we advance in years, it sinks in that we aren’t going to be young indefinitely, but when we are so young and carefree we naturally feel exuberant and like the sky is the limit! Then both feet become rooted or firmly planted, even aching on this side of reality; and we mature! Peace and harmony to you!

    • Thank you so much Lawrence! I think you’re right about that – firmly planted feet! hugs xo

      • You’re welcome Caralyn. Firmly planted strong trees; metaphorically speaking. Blessings, and why not a hug back! I love trees and all the good they do.
        So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it? “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and THE BIRDS OF THE AIR NESTED IN ITS BRANCHES.” Luke 13:18-19

    • thank you so much William! And I appreciate you passing that along. i look forward to checking it out! hugs ox

    • Hi Terese! Aw, thank you so much!! I so agree! it’s that authenticity that really bonds us together πŸ™‚ hugs xo

  23. Caralyn, I love, “Our authentic self can only be found through the whispers from the Holy Spirit. From finding where our heart is fully alive, and I’ll give you a hint: you can’t buy that on Amazon. Nope.

    I wish for my niece that peace in knowing and loving her authentic self as a daughter of the King.”

    Thank you! The more I know the King, the more I discover that which grants me my greatest fulfillment.

    As I consider your question, I would want the younger generation to know that knowing God isn’t religion, it’s a relationship that takes effort and time, but is the most inspiring, fulfilling, redeeming thing they could ever spend their time pursuing. Taking the time to build that one relationship affects all others. Because restoration to relationship with our heavenly Father and Creator through Christ transforms every aspect of our being and grants us the power by the Holy Spirit to live life to the fullest. And such a transformed life transforms everything and everyone around them in some way or another because that’s what God’s presence does.

    • Hi there! oh thank you so much! i’m so glad this hit home with you! and you’re right – He really does grant us our greatest fulfillment. He is a good good Father! so glad you stopped by! big hugs xo

    • Hi Penny! oh gosh thank you so much πŸ™‚ my niece stole my heart! haha thank you for your prayers! i hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year as well!! big big hugs xox

  24. I would tell the next generation stop trying to meet everyone else’s Twitter standards, and meet your own instead. By the way, golf (and other pursuits) has been dubbed “the unattainable pursuit of perfection.” As a former perfectionist, my motto these days is “strive not for perfection, but for excellence.” As a former Catholic Altar Boy, Cub Scout, City of Hampton Bowling Singles Champion and Virginia Team State Champion, local spelling bee champion, local chess tournament champion, York County Schools Math Champion, and poor sport who would throw a Monopoly board against the wall when he lost, I know where that path toward perceived perfection and winning trophies can lead. I was a nerdy kid but fairly happy, but when women wouldn’t date me in high school, I started lifting weights, got a tan, contact lenses, better clothes, and a new haircut. It led to drinking and partying and dating around, and then I wasn’t really that happy anymore. These days I have been clean and sober for 25 years, and back to being my nerdy self. I even cut my own hair now (which doesn’t look so good, as you can see in my Youtube videos, but is cheaper.) By the way, if you think time goes by fast at your age, wait until you turn 56 like me (ha ha.) I swear it was just Halloween last week. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings to you and your family in 2019.

    • Oh what great advice is that, John! You’re right – don’t try to keep up with social media’s standards! haha remind me not to take up golf! thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your heart. have a beautiful Christmas! hugs ox

  25. This is a beautiful post!! And I totally agree, time passes faster as we get older. The ladies I serve in children’s ministry with were just talking about that very thing last Sunday!

    • Thank you so much!!! Isn’t it wild how time just flies?!?! Reminds me to stop and smell the roses! haha glad you stopped by! big hugs xox

  26. The future generation needs to know God β€” something the current generation increasingly doesn’t know. Wishing you a very blessed Christmas and the best of the New Year, Caralyn! Ted

    • i think you’re right about that, Ted! Thanks so much for stopping by! i hope you have a beautiful Christmas as well! hugs xox

    • I love that advice so much!! Wow!!! Thanks for sharing that William! Hope you’re having a great night! Hugs and love xox

  27. Loved this post, Caralyn, especially the statement, “I wish for my niece that peace in knowing and loving her authentic self as a daughter of the King.” So many yesses!!! Being an aunt to precious, impressionable souls is such a priviledge! I recently was given a preview copy of Jeana Gladstone’s new book, Daughter of the King. Your niece would love it!

    • Thanks so much Mary! You’re right – being an aunt is my favorite job and yes! Such a privilege! Awesome. Thanks for passing the info along! Hugs and love xox

  28. Dear Caralyn,
    This is beautiful and I really needed to see this today! I sought out perfection when I was younger and, at times, still do seek perfection. It is a silly notion and I know that, but the old me sneaks out and tries to do everything her way. Failure will happen and I will sigh and pray and get back on the path God wants me on!
    I pray you are well and that Christmas is wonderful for you and your family <3

    • Thank you so much Jackie! Oh I’m so glad it resonated with you!! You’re so right about that- we can always always get back on the path πŸ™‚ so glad you dropped by! I hope you have a blessed Christmas as well! Hugs and love xox

  29. You are an awesome aunt Caralyn. You have been blessed with crisp clear truth, and the skill to share it. Merry Christmas my friend, and my prayer’s for you are to be blessed with your hearts true desires. By our standards they may not be perfect, but they are authentic precious gifts paid in full, at a great cost.

    • Aw thank you Dan! What a kind thing to say! And I so appreciate your prayers πŸ™‚ big big hugs to you xox

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