R,S,T – Remember [to] Say Thanks

For the month of April I’m blogging alphabetically about quick, easy, and practical ways to relieve stress. To see the other posts in this series, click here.

2014-08-24 11.00.39Everyone knows that it’s well-mannered to say, “Thank you.” when someone is kind or helpful. I do really well at thanking most people in my life, but I don’t do such a good job with my husband. I’ve been purposing to thank him more often for all of the wonderful things he does for me and for our family.

As I’ve been saying thank you more (although still not enough) I’ve discovered something interesting. Saying thank you often makes me feel really good.

I’m always appreciative of what my husband does for me, but, when I thank him out loud, something happens. First of all, I can see he really appreciates that I took the time to acknowledge his effort, and that alone is enough reason to do it, but something happens to me. It makes me feel happier and closer to him. Somehow, thanking him out loud makes me feel more connected to him.

You know what happens when I feel connected to my husband? My stress levels go down. The more connected I feel, the more supported I feel. The more supported I feel, the less stressed I feel.

The fact is, my husband always has my back, but, when I take the time to thank him out loud, I can feel that more. It’s amazing that the small effort involved in saying thanks makes me feel better, and it makes him feel more appreciated. I never realized the power of those two little words until recently. I’m so glad I did. I’m going to keep working to make those two words a very regular part of my vocabulary.

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Girlfriends are the Best!

Yesterday, a girlfriend texted me and told me that she was praying for me. No particular reason; she was just moved to do so during Eucharistic Adoration. Her text brought tears to my eyes. I thanked her and let her know that she always has a way of sending me a message like that at just the right time. And it’s true. Many times when I feel like I’m drowning, she comes to my rescue. Even if it’s just in the form of a quick text message. It means so much to me.

She was concerned by my response and I explained that I’m fine, just perpetually overwhelmed. Having an infant, a baby, and three wild boys is a lot to get used to. Not to mention we school year round. Life is busy. It’s wonderful, but overwhelming. These days, consuming is a better word. I’m not trying to throw a pity party; I love my life. I really, truly do. This is just a difficult season. I’m grateful for the lessons I’m learning and all the many ways I’m growing as a person, but it’s still tough. Really, really tough.

We made plans to go out for drinks next week so we can catch up, I can unwind, and we can both have a good excuse to wear earrings. I never get to wear earrings these days; the babies just pull them right out. She’s already warned her husband “not to wait up,” but I’m sure we’ll be home by 10. Mornings come quite early at my house.

Our little conversation really brightened my day. And making plans to get out for a couple hours gives me something out of the ordinary to look forward to. I felt so much better, so relieved after that brief little chat. Not because we are going out next week, even though that is really exciting, but because I felt connected. Like I wasn’t alone anymore. Someone else was there for me. I’ve said this many times before, so I don’t know when this lesson will penetrate my thick skull, but I really have to reach out more often when I need to blow off some steam.

Then, as if all of that weren’t enough, this morning, I went out to feed the cat and found this on my front porch.

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Isn’t it cute?!? I looked around hoping to catch the giver, but no one was around. It was early and everything was still calm and quiet.  I looked closer and saw the sweet little post-it note attached. It was a gift from my girlfriend.

2014-07-31 08.40.24She is seriously the sweetest! I was grinning from ear to ear and giggling. I couldn’t wait to see what was in the bag. Truthfully, the bag could have been totally empty and it still would have been great. That unexpected pop of color on my front porch and her sweet little note had already made my day. But the bag was heavy, so it certainly wasn’t empty. What was inside was the best “happy” I’ve ever received. (The group of girls I ran around with in high school would buy little tokens for each other – a bracelet, candy, something related to an inside joke, etc. We called them “happys” because it made you happy to be on either the giving or receiving end.)

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Breakfast for my kiddos and holy water. Seriously – best idea ever!! I can’t think of a sweeter package to drop off on an overwhelmed mom’s porch.

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My kiddos were pretty thrilled about her thoughtful gesture, too. They call sweet breads of any kind “breakfast cake.” When they saw me pull a foil-wrapped rectangle out of the bag, they just knew it had to be “breakfast cake.” They were jumping and squealing and ate most of it in one sitting.

Thank you, thank you, Kathy!! You have been such an extra special gift to me in the last 24 hours and I am so very grateful for our friendship! I look forward to the day I am able to return the gift to you!

Shake Them Haters Off

keep-calm-and-shake-the-haters-offI was just reading Simcha Fisher’s newest post at the Register. She was talking about the Royal Baby, a topic I care nothing about, so I’m slightly surprised I was even reading. I’m so grateful I was reading because in the middle of a bunch of nothing I stumbled upon something I desperately needed to hear.

“When I trundled up with a giant belly and someone asked if it was my first, and I said, ‘No, it’s actually my ninth’ — they assumed I was having a baby at them.  They assumed that I was trying to make a statement, or start a movement, or drive home a point, or turn the tide, or cause a ruckus, or reform the culture, or put them to shame, or something. When in fact, all I was trying to do is have a baby.  Because I like babies, and they like me.”

This statement was not her intended highlight, but it definitely was for me. The reason people attack me in public is because they have already assumed I’m attacking them.

For whatever reason, I take the nasty things they say so personally. I’m so relieved to realize it’s really not about me at all. It’s about them and their own faulty assumptions. Maybe even their own guilty consciences. Whatever it’s about, it’s not about me or my sweet children.

I’m not sure that this knowledge will make it any easier to bear their insulting remarks, especially the ones that hurt my children, but I think it will make it easier for me to respond with charity. It will make it easier for me to pray for them when I walk away. And it will certainly make it easier for me to let go of their nasty remarks. I won’t have to wrestle with their words, because their words were never really about me in the first place.

Thank you, Simcha Fisher, for that brief statement about your life and your understanding of those run-ins with the bagger at the grocery store. Your words have provided me with a liberation I desperately needed! Thank you!

 

update

So it’s been a minute since I posted a blog.What have I been up to lately? Hmm…

San Antonio was amazing! It was seriously one of the best trips of my life. I’m thinking it was probably number 2. After all, it would be insanely hard to top Key West! We stayed with my sister and spent the entire trip downtown on the river or at the Alamodome. It was a super short trip, but it was seriously amazing. If you ever look at my pictures, you know I took about a million. Josh and I are planning to go back sometime in the very near future.

After San Antonio, we had to come back and finish packing the house. We left the boys with my parents for a week, so I was able to get a lot done. And, yes, I mean I got a lot done. Josh literally packed like 3 boxes. Really those don’t even count because Michelle helped him! By the way, I sincerely want to thank the amazing people that helped us move. Michelle, thank you so much for helping us pack and for putting up with Josh’s poor packing skills!! :) Brian and Emily, you two are amazing! Thank you so much for all of your help loading and unloading and cleaning. You two made the move so much fun and you definitely helped keep Josh and me from killing each other during all the stress! Lastly, Logan, thank you for your help loading and unloading and running miscellaneous errands for us over those two days! The move went really well. The only big problems came from Comcast. It literally took 3 weeks to get everything taken care of, but I worked with several very nice people. Note to anyone who cares: You know how comcast runs those commercials about transferring service to your new address online?? DON’T EVER USE THAT SERVICE!! That’s where all our problems stemmed from. It was a disaster. All the phone reps I talked to said they hear that all the time.

We’re currently living in a temporary apartment. We moved into a brand new complex (which is absolutely amazing!!) and because of all the rain, our 3 bedroom apartment wasn’t ready yet. They moved us into a brand new 2 bedroom, where we will be living for FREE until our 3 bedroom is ready. It’s inconvenient not being able to unpack (well I could unpack, but I’m not going to since I know we’ll be moving again in like a month) but it’s not like I can complain. I mean come on. How often do you get to live in a beautiful place for free?!

Aside from our fabulous apartment, which, mind you, is WAY less expensive than our apartment in Cordova and MUCH nicer, I love love love Marion. This is seriously the perfect place to raise a family. No crime. Decent schools. Super friendly people. Plus, we’re literally 10 minutes from downtown. It’s so cool to hop in the car and be walking on Beale Street in 15 minutes tops. If Josh and I didn’t have kids, we would totally live downtown, so this is perfect: close to downtown but in a nice, family-oriented community.  I love riding around, looking at all the different neighborhoods and thinking about where we’ll buy/build one day.

Speaking of which, we’re slowly on our way to accomplishing that goal. We’re doing really well with paying off our debt. If all goes as planned, we should have everything paid off by December 2009. That means we’ll own both our cars (Well, we already paid off the civic. How awesome is that?!) and have no credit card debt. We’re not so worried about paying off our student loans. They don’t hurt your credit. The only way they’ll effect us in terms of buying a house is by reducing our debt-to-income ratio. That totally won’t be a big deal since that’s all we’ll have being factored into that ratio. We’ve weighed all of our options and decided to forgo the “starter home.” We’re going to wait until we can buy or build the home we want to raise our family in. Our plan is to avoid incurring any debt in the future, with the exception of our mortgage, so we really want to save a 20% down payment. That will keep us from paying PMI, and we’ll have equity in our house from day one. However, being fiscally smart unfortunately requires delayed gratification. It could take up to five years for us to be ready to buy/build. That makes me sad because I’m ready for our house NOW. I know it’s what’s best for our financial future though. Despite having to wait for what I want, which is something I’ve never been good at, I’m really proud of us. I feel like we’re making good, solid decisions for our family and our future.

So, I guess that’s about it for now. I love my blog. I think it’s fun to talk about myself. This way, I don’t have to worry about boring the person I’m talking to. If anyone reading this gets bored, they can just stop. It’s perfect. I can ramble on and on and only interested parties have to pay attention to me. Haha. Yeah, I pretty much love my blog!