Monday, January 7, 2013

Publishing, Love It or List It, and Gratitude



Okay, so my family has watched enough episodes now for me to properly formulate an opinion. The couples on Love It or List It come across generally ungrateful. During the transformation of their home. When the renovations are complete, they can’t help but fawn over what Hilary has done or the stunning house David has found for them.

If you’re wondering what the heck I’m referring to I’ll give you the two second spiel. Couple debates whether to fix up home or sell it. In moves Hilary with her magical visionary thinking and hearty team to do wonders. In moves David, real estate agent extraordinaire to convince them to list by showing the couple spotless properties that curiously are often priced above their budget. They ultimately must choose whether they love the changes or they’ll list their house and move on to “greener” pastures.

Hint: Hilary is always slammed with some unexpected (and of course expensive) structural or plumbing problem.

Therein is the telling word—unexpected.

When Hilary broaches the couple midway through the process with the hiccups, they’re often rude and disgruntled, fast to lose trust in her vision. They become nicer to David, more open-minded on the next house hunt. The psychology is enchanting.

And every single time it comes down to expectations.

No one likes to be thrown a curveball. But our expectations say a lot about us.

I can get sidetracked by materialism with the best of them, but it might be fun to shed light on my first rental. I lived in the downstairs of a colonial. Beautiful hardwood floors. High ceilings. Now for my furniture: mattress on the floor, light on the floor, papasan, toaster oven-sized TV, stacks of books cropping up like anthills, and I’m having trouble remembering anything else. I lived this way until my boyfriend (now husband) took pity on me and began hauling in furniture his parents had given him. Here’s the thing…I was perfectly content that way.

My expectations and neediness (or lack thereof) shaped my outlook. I was full.

I try to remember this whenever I zap into “mine all mine” mode, whenever I start drooling over the next ___________. Sure, nice things are nice. They’re fun. But they won’t better us. A new house or even an improved house for that matter won’t add to who we are.

I made the connection the other day between Love It or List It and the publishing process. We’re constantly poised to feel like we need more. More validation, more readers, more reviews, more stars, more fans on Facebook, more than one book published, etc. We struggle to feel full. We fight to keep trusting when we’re thrown a curveball. Enchanting psychology.

Here’s where it’s at…We are wise to cling to a spirit of gratitude. Whether it’s our homes being gutted or our souls, we’re constantly given opportunities to rise to resiliency when we’re sideswiped with the unexpected. It’s all on loan. Temporary.

What reminds you to be grateful?

Now off to watch Property Brothers. ;-)

*I will say I have no idea how I’d react if a budgeted plan got majorly altered. What comes across as the couples acting ungrateful could be a natural response.
**photo by stock.XCHNG

27 comments:

  1. I love Love It or List It! (And Property Brothers, too!) What is interesting to me is that usually the couple ends up liking the home they are in after the renovation, even if it doesn't quite match their wish list. (So many more love it than list it.) So if I take that trend and apply it to other areas of life, including publishing, I guess the whole point it is if I'm unhappy with where I am, there might be just a few things I can do in or to that situation to make me see it differently. A little change can make all the difference (though in life, that's usually an inner change instead of an outer makeover!) I needed that perspective this morning as I've been a bit grumbly about some things lately, so thank you for making that connection!

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    1. My husband and I noticed that exact same observation about PB & LIoLI. Love your point about changing perspective too. I can always use encouragement with that.

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  2. I try to remember that this isn't our home. Not really. Eternity kind of puts my thoughts into perspective. I've never seen this show but it sounds fun to watch!

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    1. Think you might like it. HGTV Mondays at 9:00, I believe. Remembering this isn't our home helps with so much.

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  3. Sometimes its hard to be grateful when you compare yourself to others, so that's a habit I hope to break, because you either come out ahead or behind and both are bad.

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  4. When we moved into our home 15 years ago, it had sat empty for a couple of years, but it hadn't seen a makeover for a couple of decades. Even now, my house borders on retro at times. We added paint and did some remodeling. The to-do list for the house continues to grow, but it's still nice for us. However, my expectations border on house envy at times when I watch shows on HGTV that show these gorgeous houses. After seeing homes in Haiti or Swaziland, I'm very grateful for what I do have.

    In the publishing world, I'm so grateful when a reader shares her story with me or tells me how my words have touched her life. I'm so grateful God has allowed me to live out my dream. I try to leave the numbers to Him while striving to build those important relationships with my tribes.

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    1. It's so cool to hear you talk about being grateful about being able to live out your dream. I imagine it could be tempting to feel like "okay now on to the next thing' or that more mentality I mentioned in the post.

      Oh, and our house is one big fat to-do list.

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  5. Oh Wendy-girl - we are on the same page. My one-word summary for 2012 was gratitude. It could have been so many other words, but this is the one I wanted to remember 2012 as!

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    1. As I wrote on your blog, I love this about you, Katie!

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  6. (Just lost my entire comment ... sheesh.)
    I love watching Love it or List It with my 12-year-old daughter. And I hate how Hilary gets dissed when she can't come through with everything on a couple's wish list because of unexpected repairs. You mean you can't give me a fourth bedroom because you had to repair my leaking ceiling? GASP!!!
    What helps me be more grateful?
    Well, besides a post like this, and hanging around people who ooze gratitude ... it helps to just stop thinking ,"I need this, I want that ... " and look at what I do have. And I don't mean material things, although I have much to be thankful for there.
    And one of the best things to do is go beyond thinking about what I have ... and to actually write it down in black and white so I see the reasons to be thankful.

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    1. I think Hilary does an awesome job reacting to some of the couples--keeps her cool, stands her ground, and tells them like it is. Yeah, I love chillin with those who ooze gratitude too...prob why I gravitate toward you.

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  7. I'm SO judgmental about Love It or List It! I told my husband they might as well call it, "We'd Get a Divorce But No One Else Would Take Us." The couples seem so dysfunctional and mean!! Who acts like that? They are just rude and mean--every time.

    Sorry. I'll hop off my high horse now. :)

    Great post. I get ungrateful about where I'm at with publishing. Not just now and then, either. It's regular! I'm working on it!!

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    1. I felt myself quick to judge these couples. But then I got to thinking, man, I'm not so sure I'd wanted to be filmed right after I found out some jarring news. I think it just reflects what people care about and I've never put that much stock in where I live and material stuff (even though I do get swept away on a whim by stuff and have to bring myself back to earthly realities).

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    2. Jill, I know what you mean. I have said more than once that these couples need marriage counseling (or hording therapy) more than a home renovation. I remember us doing a kitchen remodel (ourselves) with two babies (washing bottles in the bathtub). Afterwards we said, "Well, if we can get through that without major arguments, we're probably good for the long haul!" Stress does bring out the worst in people, so I'd like to think they don't act like that toward each other or that they are encouraged to act that way for the ratings.

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  8. Ooo, lovely post, Wendy. I'm sure I'm ungrateful, even when I don't mean to be. It's a mentality, isn't it? We always want more, more, more. We think SUCH AND SUCH will make us happy, and it does once we get it--for awhile, until that becomes our new normal and we start looking ahead to something else.

    It reminds me we'll only ever be truly happy if we're content with where God has us. No matter where that is.

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    1. It's a seductive process too--the thinking 'huh that would be nice' to the 'gotta have it.' Contentment is really worth striving for.

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  9. Love that show! Hate the childish way the couples react to the issues that come up. Great analogy, Wendy! -- it's all a matter of expectations and perspective.

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    1. Cool you watch it, too. It keeps coming back to those things in my life. I write these posts because of my own convictions. Glad it resonated.

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  10. I've never watched that show, but it sounds like one I'd enjoy. Home improvement shows are always fascinating. (but make me envious)

    Your post reminded me of a discussion I had with my husband last week, along the lines of: "Wouldn't it be nice to have . . ." But after adding a few items to our mental wish lists, we both looked at each other and said, "Wait a minute. We can't start WANTING things." Because of course, once we start wanting, there's no end in sight!

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    1. Maybe it's that some of those shows are so far from reality I don't get envious as much as inspired. I'm a DIY wannabe and I love how they spark ideas.

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  11. Great post, Wendy. Blogger gobbled up my last comment, so I'm trying again. :) Anyway, yes, I know the sin of ingratitude all too well, and the only way I can fight it is with the discipline of thanksgiving. It does come down to expectations--do I truly believe I DESERVE something or have the RIGHT to something? If I do, than I'm going to be one ungrateful person. However, when I view everything as a gift, I'm overwhelmed.

    Okay, I need to hop over to Facebook and talk Germany with you! :)

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    1. You are at least the 3rd or 4th person who had difficulty commenting today...(that I know of). So sorry. Silly Blogger! Was a bit tricky to actually get it to publish today, wonder if that had something to do with it.

      Gift vs. entitlement. You nailed it!

      Excited to FB chat about Germany.

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  12. I love HGTV!! Love it or List it is ok. I'm a Property Brothers and Kitchen Cousins kind of person. LOL

    I know all about wanting more and more. Our women's Ministry did a program on Thankfulness in Sept. It's really stuck in my mind and has helped me to take a step outside myself and look how God has worked in my life with joy.

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    1. I try to wrap my head around when saying thank you went out of style. Thankfulness has the power to change just about everything about my day.

      And I'm getting into Property Brothers. It's so fun to see how joyful the people are when the renovation is done.

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  13. You are so right about publishing being all about more, more, more - it's so easy to slip into that mentality. Even when I accomplish something, I hardly take the time for gratitude before I'm off and running to check off the next goal on my to-do list.

    Thanks for the much-needed reality check, Wendy.

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    1. Human nature. Feel like I'm constantly fighting against it.

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