Friday, August 26, 2016

Change and Cherish has Moved On

Change and Cherish will no longer be receiving updates.

You can continue to read my writings over at Veritable Fountain, which picks up where Change and Cherish left off.

Thanks for reading!

Yes, I'm Ending This Blog Forever

Yep. Change and Cherish Blog is over. I'll do one more post after this, and then it's over.

Before you ask "But why?" hold up.

Change and Cherish Blog's successor, Veritable Fountain (located at is now live! If you'd like to see the response to this week's Thinkjoust Tuesday, as well as the other introductory posts, click the links below!

Welcome from Change and Cherish!

About Zachary James

Why I Hate War (And Why I Love It, Too)

How I Feel When I Ask People to Follow Me

So if more posts is all you're looking for, check it out!

If you'd like to know why I'm ending the blog, stick around.

When I first started writing this blog, I named it Change and Cherish to reflect the structure of the original posts. The first half would describe a mistake I made in the say, and the second half would describe something for which I was grateful in the day.

The blog is, today, unrecognizable. The purpose of my posts--to be introspective and spiritual--has evolved into a platform where I basically talk about anything and everything I want to. The thoughts I wouldn't reserve for my novels are blasted into the blogosphere on a schedule, complete with artwork and occasionally videos.

That last paragraph basically described why I'm ending the blog.

1.) Need for a re-brand

Change and Cherish stands for something different than it originally did. Instead of a pure focus on uplifting others, my posts can wander along topics from writing to politics to camels. The reason for this is because I started writing what I wanted to write, without much concern for what anybody else wanted to read.

This caused problems. Many people became hard-pressed to tell others what my blog was really about. It used to be the thoughts of a returned missionary; now it's the thoughts of an opinionated loudmouth who's aware and proud of it. In order to represent this change, once and for all, the re-brand had to take place.

2.) Too much time

Remember when Change and Cherish was a daily blog? I stopped doing that in part because my other responsibilities were too great for me to handle. I couldn't keep producing quality material every single day without needing a break somewhere in there, and so I used what became unpopular features (like Thursday Throwbacks and Sunday Snapshots) to give myself that rest.

Eventually, I realized that I just needed to give up on the 'daily' thing. I cut four days of the week, leaving only my most popular features. I stopped with the actual photography and made art from my computer. I only had to write one day, and draw the next.

But even that takes time. I spend an average of nine hours a week on this blog, nine hours I could be spending with friends, family, or even other pursuits. If I didn't hold myself to a schedule, this might have been manageable. I could have let a few posts here or there slide. But no. I couldn't do that.

3.) Too restrictive

Even before my new full-time job at Future House Publishing, having to work on a scheduled blog post every day became too much to handle. Sometimes, I had to run errands or spend time with loved ones or resolve a crisis, and the blog couldn't be a priority. But then I'd feel guilty, like I was letting you guys down, and stay up way too late to finish what should have already been done.

The thing was, the quality of these late-night posts would suffer, leaving a less-than-enviable product for you guys to read. This lowered your trust in me as a blogger, which explains the diminishing views over the past couple of months.

So, I'm done.

In order to give you a quality product, I'm moving my blogging to Veritable Fountain. There, I won't worry about artwork or scheduling. I'll actually write what I'm thinking, not worrying about pictures to say words for me. I'll only blog when I have something to say, which means you'll always know my posts are quality. And you will be able to tell people what the heck this thing is you keep reading.

So, if this is devastating to you, I really am sorry. But I really do think you'll like Veritable Fountain if you give it the chance.

After all, it is Change and Cherish's baby.

I'll see you over on the other site!

I love you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Are You Pro-War, or Anti-War? - Thinkjoust Tuesday #61

I don't really know how to precede this thinkjoust, because I'm really not trying to sway you one way or the other. As it is, I'll just offer one simple question.

What do you think?

Be sure to leave a comment below, and I'll respond with my own opinions this Saturday. See you then!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I Might Kill Two Thousand People - Response Saturday #29

The main comment I received on Tuesday's post informed me of a new philosophical problem (of which I was not aware).

The thing is, both my problem (the second one, at least) and the boat problem have hidden third choices. "Take a third option," if you will.

But let's talk about the first problem, the one that initiated last Tuesday's post.

I honestly don't think there is a third option here. Your inaction leads to the death of five people; your action leads to the death of one person. If all of these individuals are strangers to me, then I think I would pull the lever. Someone would die, but at least five individuals would have a greater chance of doing good in the world.

Of course, there's a chance the five people tied to the tracks are the modern equivalents of Hitler, Caligula, Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, and Vlad the Impaler, while the one person could be the modern equivalent to Nelson Mandela. The SMART move would be to not pull the lever, thus killing the five monsters, but what if my decision to save them prompted them to turn their lives around and become forces for good? There's just no way to tell.

And what if everyone was a stranger except for one of the five, who just so happens to be my worst mortal enemy? Would I stay true to my initial decision to save as many people as possible, or would my hatred for my worst enemy come out on top?

I thought this question was easier to handle.

So the trolley is coming, and I have the choice to throw the fat man over the side of the bridge to stop the trolley and save the rest of the people.

The thing is, the 'heavy weight' described in the initial problem is a pretty ambiguous term. Maybe the fat man is heavier than me, but I'm 200 pounds. I can't even bench that much, so I would consider myself a heavy weight.

And let's be honest. It's not easy to just push a fat guy over. If I grabbed this dude and tried to throw him overboard, he'd probably resist, and then what? Now nobody gets saved.

So why not just jump off the bridge myself?

Now, on to the boat problem presented via the text of a picture at the beginning of the post.

For one thing, I think the problem contains a logical error. If one boat breaking down can be turned into two smaller boats that can contain the same amount of people (which I'm not sure is possible on the high seas), why can't two boats breaking down be turned into four smaller boats? In addition, if everyone on the boat is using up supplies, then the boats would actually gain more space as time went on. As it is, for the sake of this blog post, I'm not going to explore the problem beyond the initial prompt.

It seems obvious to me that, as the boat's engineer, I am the extra person described. In that case, it doesn't matter which boat I fixed, I'm always going to be included in the group of 2001 people. The question then becomes, should I sacrifice my spot on the boat for someone else on the other boat, or do I stay with the original boat to keep finding ways to fix it as more issues crop up?

I think I could do the greatest amount of good by staying with the boat to possibly save more people, but let's be honest. I'm a writer, not an engineer. They'd probably throw me on the sinking ship, and I wouldn't blame them.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What Makes a Pickle? - Thursday Thought #15

Let's examine pickles.

What makes a pickle? Is it the word? The name? If pickles were called something else, would its chemical and physical makeup be changed? I think not. Therefore, for the sake of this blog post, let's call pickles blorbnacks.

Now, blorbnacks are green and have bumps on them. In addition, they taste very good. I love sinking my teeth into a heap of blorbnacks.

Therefore, we see that blorbnacks are actually toads.

The thing is, blorbnacks are hard to catch. They hop around all over the place and hide in the tall grass. It takes a lot of skill, determination, and fortitude to catch a blorbnack,

Therefore, we see that blorbnacks are actually Pokemon.

Your average blorbnack is actually fairly easy to recognize. If you've spent a lot of time with blorbnacks, you can probably name them on sight.

Therefore, we see that blorbnacks are actually your coworkers.

Some blorbnacks are all right to be around, but others are just insufferable. You always have to avoid that one blorbnack who smells awful all the time, and has that strange habit of spitting everywhere.

Therefore, we see that blorbnacks are actually camels.

And I am a camel.


And you thought the header image was anything but dead serious.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How Many People Would You Let Die? - Thinkjoust Tuesday #60

One day, this philosopher lady was all like, "I want everyone to feel terrible about themselves!" So he created what's now known as the Trolley problem, which you've probably heard of.

I'd heard of the most basic Trolley problem. The scenario here is usually presented as follows.

"A trolley is speeding down a track, to which five people are tied. You could pull a lever and divert the trolley onto a different track, but this alternate track one person tied to it. Do you pull the lever?"

Some people make the question more difficult by revealing that the one person is a beloved family member or close friend. Other times, the five people are family members or close friends, and the one person is a total stranger. Let's ignore these extra details for now.

NOW STOP. Decide how you'd act in this situation.


Some other philosopher dude responded to the Trolley problem with a similar situation.

This time, you're standing on top of a bridge next to a fat person. The runaway trolley will soon pass underneath the bridge upon which you're standing. Five people are again tied to the end of the tracks, in danger of being squashed by the trolley. In this scenario, you are aware that this particular brand of trolley is easily stopped by a heavy weight. Do you push the fat man off the bridge?

NOW STOP. Decide how you'd act in this situation.


How did you react to the first situation? The second situation? How many people did you save in each scenario? Did you save the same amount of people both times? Be sure to leave your comments below, and I'll discuss your general trend, along with how I'd react in the scenario, this next Saturday.

See ya soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What Do You Want To Talk About? - Response Saturday #28

I didn't end up getting any responses!

Now, maybe it was a bad question, in which case, that was my fault, and I apologize (Hey? See what I did there?). If it was a bad question, you may wonder, "Come on, James, I've seen you do better. Get with the program!"

You're right, you're right. But first, let me explain how I come up with blog post ideas.

Usually, I'll be sitting around, minding my own business, when something just ... happens. I may see a video talking about how to improve your sense of humor. I may get into a debate regarding the effectiveness of compliments. I may be asked to give dating advice.

I'm not always thinking, "Oh man, this is a great idea for a blog post!" But then, after everything calms down, I may jot some relevant notes on a draft and come back to it later. If the thing that just happened still has relevance and importance in my mind, then I get to writing 'write' away. You, of course, may recognize some problems with this technique.

After all, I inevitably end up writing about the things I want to write about, instead of necessarily thinking about my audience. It seems I've tilted in the opposite direction from earlier in the year, when I was so dragged down by writing things I thought new readers would like that I ended up burning myself out and changing the schedule from a daily to a thrice-weekly schedule.

So even after two years of blogging, I'm still trying to figure out how to be a good blogger. Some days, I focus too much on writing for myself; some days, I don't write for myself at all (which then becomes a chore).

So as I continue to write (I have no intention of stopping C&C anytime soon), don't be afraid to let me know what you guys think I should write about next. It could be political. It could be religious. It could be personal. It could be anything. As long as it fits in my brand (and there are few things that don't fit into my brand), I'll say something on it.

So go ahead.

I'm waiting. ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to Find Happiness - Thursday Thought #14

You know, I don't think my life is all that grand. I have to live with trials and, most unbearable, my mistakes. At the same time, I consider myself a happy person.

"WHAT?!?" you say. "IMPOSSIBLE!"

No, really. Let me explain.

Millions of voices try every day to bring outsiders to their way of thinking. Religions clash over doctrines and lifestyles. Political parties tear each other down. Even athletes tug on the arms of those living the sedentary lifestyle. Everyone wants everyone to know that the way they live is the best, the ultimate, the pathway most likely to lead to happiness.

Then there's you. (Ok, maybe it's just me). I don't always know the happiest path to take, and as such, engage in frequent trial and error. Sometimes, I find something that makes me genuinely happy. Other times, I really regret my experimentation.

The thing is, I think that's how anyone finds out what makes them happy. People join groups and engage in certain lifestyles because that is the best of what they've discovered up to that point. People keep what matters to them in their life, and discard the things they decide don't matter.

There comes a point in everyone's life where something they originally thought sweet turns sour. An example of this includes moments when individuals remove TV or their smart phones from their lives in favor of simpler, less obtrusive activities and tools. In the same way, happy people do the same, taking time to evaluate what aspects of their lives make them happy, and what aspects of their lives keep them from being as such.

So, in summary, a happy person is someone who constantly determines what is best for them and then brings more of that into their lives, while removing the things that prove a hindrance to their happiness, even if it's a train of thought, a mindset, or a personality trait.

I'm still trying to figure out what makes me happy, but I do know that I've seen the happiness in my life grow as I hold on to the things that truly make me happy, and then shun the rest.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

How Do You Apologize? - Thinkjoust Tuesday #59

Last week, we talked all about the five love languages. Let's keep going!

So now we know that there are different ways to express love. I would go so far as to say that there are also different ways to apologize.

For example, I am someone who easily gives and easily accepts verbal apologies. If you seem sincere, I'll probably forgive you for anything.* At the same time, in order to make up for my particularly egregious errors, I might also try to offer the affected party some service (like cleaning something for them) or give them a gift (probably a meal).

In essence, my apologies have connections to my three weakest love languages (words of affirmation, service, and gifts). My theory is that I subconsciously think my apologies are more effective when I'm doing something for the other person that I don't typically like to do.

Does this extend to everyone?

So how about you? Do you apologize with your top love language, or do you tend to apologize using languages you're not as strong in? Be sure to leave your comments, and I'll respond to them this Saturday!

*And you'll get bonus points if you apologize for something I didn't even bring up.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Why Quality Time is the BEST Love Language - Response Saturday #27

Last Tuesday, I asked y'all to tell me your love language! This is what I got back!

So despite my best guesses, I guess the majority of people who commented on this last post are not words of affirmation types of people. Oh well! Maybe you reading my blog is a way of spending quality time with me, perhaps?

Either way, that didn't offer much in the way of stuff to talk about, so I guess I'd better take that quiz myself and let you know what I got. Give me just a minute! In the meantime, think about kittens or something.



Anyway, my scores surprised me, but only a little.

See, I would have thought Words of Affirmation would have beat out Quality Time? But I guess not. I think I guessed wrong because when I'm with someone, and they compliment me it's a specific event I can pinpoint and recall and even quote. I must subconsciously enjoy the presence of others more than I consciously do.

When it came to the quiz itself, I felt like the beginning could have easily been manipulated. Since I was familiar with the love languages already, it wasn't too hard to guess which of the two choices would give me which love language. The longer the quiz went on, however, the harder it was to tell.

For example, I was surprised that I got a point in 'receiving gifts' at all, but I did remember which question gave me the one point. I was asked to choose between a.) someone going way out of their way to do something for me, or b.) giving me a small present on their way home. I definitely am not much for gifts, but if you're spending an inordinate amount of time on me (I consider time my most precious resource), then I'm going to feel super guilty and probably start itching (yes, literally). I'd much prefer a 'here you go' to a 'let me sacrifice five hours for you for no good reason!' 

Anyway, so I learned something about myself today! I hope you take the chance to learn something about yourself, too.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why I'm Glad I'm Horrible - Thursday Thought #13

For a commentary on this header image, follow the asterisk.*

There is no one person more aware of my inadequacies than myself.

I could go into all the reasons why I'm the worst, why I hate many of the actions and choices I find myself making, but that's not the point of this post. Instead, I want to talk about why I'm glad I'm the worst.

I've imagined a world where I didn't make mistakes. I say everything right the first time. I know exactly what to do in every situation. I stick to my principles, living my beliefs exactly the way I think they should be lived. Nobody finds flaws in my lifestyle.

The thing is, such a world would never encourage me to improve myself.

In the world we live in now, I make the same mistakes over and over again and then recognize I have things I need to work on. Because of this, I'm more forgiving of my fellows and their mistakes. My own pride is kept to a minimum. And if I wasn't prone to error, then I would never find reason to turn to God and keep Him in my life.

If I somehow remained at a peak internal strength my entire life, that alternate self might die a better person than I will at the rate I'm currently going. However, I will have learned how to deal with trial and heartache--even if those are mostly self-imposed--and will be able to claim I did my very best.

When I make a mistake, I remind myself of a better me.

*I have a hard time making these header images sometimes. For example, looked for visual references illustrating a 'mistake,' and the most common image seemed to revolve around blindfolded people accidentally walking off cliffs.I tried to capture this image, but found it impossible to draw a blindfold on a light bulb without it looking childish or stupid. So now I worry it looks like the light bulb is committing suicide, which was not my intention at all. By the time I worried the image would be misconstrued, I'd already spent far too much time on it. I hope the lackluster 'shrug' the light bulb offers helps add some clarification, but either way, it didn't mean to fall off the cliff! I swear!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

What's YOUR Love Language? - Thinkjoust Tuesday #58

I made an active decision last year to not write this sort of thinkjoust. After all, everyone talks about this stuff, right?

Then I remembered that the world doesn't revolve around me or my group of friends. "Huh," I thought. "Maybe other people will appreciate this sort of post!" So here it is.

Love languages are the ways individuals with different personalities express their appreciation for the people around them. Not everyone offers or responds to acts of love in the same way, and sometimes, this can cause friction and tension between two individuals who otherwise love each other very much.

Just as an example, I had a friend who loved to do things for me. He'd make my bed, make me breakfast, and even do my dishes. Rather than be thankful for his acts of service, I felt somewhat irritated. After all, he was giving his time and effort on things I could do for myself, and I felt extremely lazy and unproductive around him. I told him I was feeling guilty, and he just laughed me off.

At the same time, he felt unappreciated by me because I wasn't expressing love in the ways he did. I wasn't about to do his dishes, but I loved to hug him and offer him compliments.

The thing was, neither of us really felt appreciated by the other person because we were expressing love in ways that the other person didn't respond to well. The thing was, we were both expressing love, and that is the most important part.

Once we learn how other people express love, we can learn to respond to them in kind. For example, once my friend and I realized we were just having a love language disconnect, we worked at serving/complimenting each other, respectively (he still wasn't super into hugs, but I give them out like candy, so it balanced out).

Anyway, the point is, if you don't know your love languages, why not find them out?

I recommend this link here, which takes you to a test that analyzes your love language profile. Give it a shot, and then post your results in the comments! I'll be sure to be back this Saturday to talk about your results and what it means for the future of Change and Cherish.

See you then!