On Affirmation

To J. S.

When I was in junior high and high school, at various camps and church events and retreats, we did what was called affirmations.

Most of the time this was written down. Your name on a card passed around the room for everyone to write something positive about you.

Mine always listed things about happiness and joy, a megawatt smile and humor.

I loved these cards. I treasured these cards. As a teenage girl there was something so special about having it in writing these qualities that others admired and affirmed about me. They boosted my confidence and reminded me when I needed that reminder of just who I was.

When was the last time you shared with someone just what it is you love about them? Affirming them and building them up? Or when was the last time someone affirmed you?

This past week I met an old friend for lunch. I hadn’t seen her since H was little enough to be in a carrier so 8, maybe 9 years or so now. We’ve kept in touch on Facebook, she has the gift of encouragement and love. So full of love.

Strangely enough we met at my first post college job downtown. It wasn’t a good fit for me. I’m a creative and a people girl and the ho-hum all business all day life was not for me. And so in June 2005, I turned in my badge, gave up my healthy salary and benefits, the travel, the business cards and the professional life and came home.

“You weren’t made for that world,” she tells me in between bites of lunch and we both know she’s right. Later with tears at the brim of both of our eyelids she tells me face to face how sad she is my mom is gone.

People don’t talk about this. People skip over this. People are afraid to say and ask and do because we’re all afraid of what lies beneath the surface so to me, it is truly a gift to have someone scoop right below the surface and say it. And mean it. With love.

We talked about her job and her grown up daughters and we talked about what I’m doing now, a much better fit, and my littles and my bigs, who were littles when we last got together. And she filled my cup, my soul with affirming words.

Like honey she reminded me that I am a good mom, even on the day I rush out the door downtown and end up late at after school pick up. She reminded me that I listen to my kids about school and sports and let them grow into who they were made to be. She reminded me that I am living the life I imagined and not taking a moment for granted.

She reminded me of the gift I’ve been given. Not once ever in the last 10 years that I’ve been mostly home with my kids has J ever squashed my ideas or my desires. “He let you grow,” she said.

And I pictured myself as this little seed with a sack of education and a whole bunch of what I thought I’d do’s that turned me into who I am today.

I left lunch feeling so satisfied.

Affirming words mean something, friends. Whatever you do, do not use them sparingly. Affirm someone today. Tell them they are a good mom or that they are really great at their job or that they do such a nice job with running this or that or the other thing. Use your words for good.

You have no idea the impact your words may have.

On Quiet.

Hello?

Is this thing on?

The blog’s been rather quiet these last few weeks. It’s crossed my mind a few times and I’ve dreamt of words I’d like to throw into this space but the clock ticks on and I climb into bed only to awake hours later already reeling.

It’s the middle of January end of February already and I’m still not used to writing 2015 and the days are going by too quickly. Talking about resolutions and words seems so two weeks ago.

Yet.

I can’t ignore it.

It’s common round the internet world to choose a word to focus on for the year and I’ve done well with this and poorly with this in the past. My word is not flashy or trendy or hip. It will likely not inspire others or create some internet movement.

But that’s quite alright with me because my word for 2015 is Quiet.

Quiet.

As in the sound of my house on nights like tonight when the littles are asleep and J and I tap on the keys of our laptops for a bit. Finishing up emails and lists and trying to coordinate our schedules.

Quiet.

As in the sound when I sit and rock Miss F. Her head on my chest, blanket wrapped tight and her hand reaching for mine and placing it on her sweet, soft face.

Quiet.

As in those moments when the world is loud about terror and race and politics and religion and there are so many swirling opinions and ideas and we all just want to be heard but we stop. It’s ok to be passionate but sometimes it’s also ok to be quiet. I need work on this, friends.

I’m not naturally quiet, I’m naturally loud and obnoxious and opinionated and did I say loud? Quiet is hard for me but quiet is important because it is in the quiet I realize and remember what matters most.

In the quiet of the evening, I am filled with gratitude for my family, my home, my life. When it is loud and bustling and my kids are moving in every, which direction and I can’t even hear myself think, gratitude isn’t quite the first word that comes to mind.

In the quiet of the bedroom when I am rocking Miss F, my heart bursts with love. I am astonished at her growing body, her voice as she sings a song or makes simple demands of me. In the quiet of the car ride to school, I can hear Miss E’s stories and see her, truly see her. And just tonight with the winds outside howling, I could sit smooshed with my 8 year old sports lover just listening to the cracks and the howls and the wind.

When I am quiet, I have time to decide what I want to say yes to and what I want to say no to because I’m learning that when I say yes to something in my life, I’m saying no to something else. Every yes equals a no somewhere else.

And perhaps that’s why the word quiet has stuck out to me the most as we transition into a new year. I need quiet as I sort it all out.

For ten years I have spent many an evening sitting pouring words into this blog. Writing sponsored posts and sharing recipes, uploading photos and sharing adventures. I’ve often wondered will there be a day when I awake and say, “the jig is up” and move along or will it be a gradual slide?

I’m still not sure.

So this is what I’m sure of. I don’t want to write in this space out of obligation so I’m being choosy with requests for time and space right here. I don’t want to write just to write because it’s been three days or three weeks because the world is noisy enough without another voice just chattering to chatter.

I’m practicing quiet because quiet helps me decide what matters most.

quiet

 

 

Vaccinations and MSNBC.

Last week I wrote a little bit about how I feel about vaccinations especially in light of the fact that there is now a confirmed case of Measles in Minnesota. The post over on Star Tribune took off, the comments ON BOTH SIDES, went a little crazy and then MSNBC called me. So Wednesday morning, […]

[Continue reading...]

Mommy, I Need You.

need

In the after dinner bustle of cleaning up the kitchen and getting homework done and backpacks checked and baths and lunches and just all that school night chaos, Miss F grabbed my legs and said, “Mommy, I need you!”  Clear as a bell. “Mommy, I need you.” “You need me?” I asked surprised. My only […]

[Continue reading...]

Ice Castles in Eden Prairie {Giveaway!!}

ice

I was kind of skeptical of the whole ice castle thing having never gone before but with weather in the 30′s this past weekend I thought it’d be such a simple, fun thing to do. Plus I had heard rumors there might be some Frozen infused fun happening. We made the jaunt to the Eden […]

[Continue reading...]

My Fourth Stitch Fix.

stitch

My 4th Stitch Fix arrived over the weekend and I couldn’t wait to rip open the box. As you know I really enjoyed my first and second boxes but my third one majorly missed the mark. I had high hopes that with some more notes and direction in my profile this one would be a […]

[Continue reading...]

Paddington

paddington

From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all […]

[Continue reading...]

Four Reasons to Go See The New Annie Movie!

annie2

Miss E and I went to see the prescreening of the new Annie Movie last weekend and here’s four reasons we think you should go see it now that’s it open in theaters too: 1. You’ll get those Frozen songs OUT OF YOUR HEAD and replace them with a new-old soundtrack. We weren’t out of […]

[Continue reading...]

Citrus Lane #2 {Great Last Minute/Long Lasting Gift Idea!}

So you probably remember back in October when I tried out Citrus Lane . I wasn’t super impressed but promised I would try it once more and just “see” if it got better. I actually totally forgot about it until I got an email that my checking account was charged the subscription fee and a box was […]

[Continue reading...]

Lost My Name Personalized Book Giveaway

book

I’m pretty much a sucker for anything personalized. Initials, monograms, names. I will take them all, please. So I really was excited about this new Lost My Name book that Miss E was recently sent. The book was started as a DIY project by three dads and an uncle in the UK and is spreading […]

[Continue reading...]