Two years! It’s been two years since I started my How Are You Monday emails! Thank you for reading. And thank you for all your support and kind words. I have been blessed in so many ways through these emails. I hope you have been also.
I started How Are You Monday not knowing what the response would be. I was so nervous sending out that first email. But I sent it anyway knowing there was someone who might need it. Maybe that someone is just me, but either way I will keep on writing.
I’ve had good days over the past two years and a lot of bad days too. I sometimes wonder from day to day what type of day it will be. Will I be able to get up and be productive or will it take all my energy just to make it until bedtime?
I know so many of you struggle too. We all have our challenges. Life isn’t easy. I hope these emails help you get through each week. I hope you know how important you are. How needed you are.
I heard a story yesterday about a man who was outside cleaning windows on a tall building when he fell. He was able to grab onto a rope but the rope ripped through his gloves and tore up his hands. The pain was so bad he didn’t think he could hold on. If he let go he knew he would die. But then he thought of his family and realized he could hold on for them. He held on and broke several bones but he lived.
You might feel like you can’t hang on. There are times when I can’t hang on for myself. But then I think of my family and I know I have to. Hang on friends. You are so loved. Remember that.
Hello and happy December.
I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon today. I love them because I ordered some Christmas gifts yesterday and received them today. I hate them because when being delivered the door bell was rung and woke up my sleeping toddler. I’m just going to ignore him and hope he goes back to sleep.
A few years ago Lucy saved up her money to buy a new toy. The day came when she had a whole $30 to be spent on whatever she wanted. I took her to Walmart and let her wander the toy isles. She found something she wanted but it was more than she could afford. I was tempted to pay the difference then decided if she really wanted it she could save her money for a little while longer and buy it herself. I was explaining that she didn’t have enough for that particular toy when another shopper interrupted us. “Excuse me.” I looked up to see a woman holding a $10 bill. She asked me if I would please buy a toy for my child. She went on to explain how she has little ones and knows what it’s like to not be able to buy a toy for your child. With tears in my eyes I thanked her for her generosity and refused the gift. I told her how Lucy had $30 she had saved herself and that was plenty to buy a toy. However, thank you so very much.
People are amazing. How kind was that woman in Walmart? She was in the other isle, overheard our conversation, and took money out of her own wallet and time out of her day to offer kindness to a child. What goodness!
In this crazy world, during the busiest time of the year, amidst the hustle and bustle I am going to encourage each of us to look for the goodness in others. How many cool experiences do you think we can encounter in the next week? The next month? Maybe it’s just looking someone in the eye and smiling. Maybe it’s witnessing somebody receiving service. Maybe it’s giving service. Whatever it is, it will involve us slowing down and observing. What cool things can we see other awesome people doing? I want to hear your stories over the month. I would love to be able to share some of them. I will be looking for goodness and kindness in other people and hope to have some cool experiences of my own to share.
I hope we can all take the time to notice the good around us.
Did you have a good Thanksgiving? I did. We spent a few days at my in law’s cabin with all the family. It was so fun to see cousins running around, playing outside together. They seemed impervious to the cold. My two-year-old especially loved being outside. Any chance he got he opened the door and took off running, even in the rain. It was great, but now I’m trying to get my house back in order. It’s a disaster. Instead of doing anything to diminish the disaster that my house is, I ignored it and let my toddler have his run of the house. I made it to the store and I cooked dinner and that was my contribution for the day.
Some days are like that, when the smallest accomplishment takes all the effort you have. When just getting up and trying is hard work.
I read a quote by Rachel Hollis that said, “Maybe the hardest part of life is just having the courage to try.”
I find this so true. Having the courage to try is always the hardest step. Having the courage to get out of bed. Having the courage to go to the gym. Having the courage to stand up for what you believe. Having the courage to correct your child. Having the courage to say hello. Having the courage to say no. Having the courage to say yes. Trying is always the hardest part. Taking that first step. I pray for courage. Otherwise I withdraw inside myself and I never get anywhere. Having the courage to try at least gets me out of myself. Sometimes that’s as far as I can go, but that’s better than not going anywhere.
I pray that we can all be courageous.
I did the unthinkable, I went to Costco on the Monday before Thanksgiving. There were lines of people waiting to get in when they opened. But there I was anyway. Along with my dog food and chicken I bought myself and my children some new clothes. We are going north for Thanksgiving and I worry that we will be cold. So, nice cozy pajamas for all along with some pants and jackets thrown in there. When I got home I unloaded, put Calvin down for a nap, then I started thinking. What came to mind was an overwhelming sense of humility. Over my life time I have never had to go without. I haven’t always had what I wanted, but I have always had more than I need. This is miraculous to me. There are so many people in this world who are hungry or cold or lonely or sad, so many people. I am not among them. Of course I have felt hunger, sadness, loneliness but never more than a few moments. My needs have always been met. And I feel humbled. Who am I to have a beautiful home? Who am I to have a healthy family? Who am I to go to Costco and buy whatever I chose to put in my cart? Who am I to have all of this? I think there is something that goes hand in hand with the word “humble” that is gratitude. I don’t think one can be humble without also feeling gratitude. To me gratitude is an action word. To me it means giving thanks, literally giving. Giving a hug, giving a helping hand, giving a smile.
In this state of feeling humbled and grateful I want to truly give thanks this week. Not just eating a big dinner and listing what I’m thankful for. But actually doing something. Showing my gratitude. The question lies in “how?” How do I truly give thanks? What can I do for someone this week, this holiday season? I am really searching for some answers. Please, please, please pass on any ideas, thoughts, or inspiration that you might have. What have you done in the past to give back? What plans do you have? How can I and my family reach out beyond our comfort zone and truly give back? What are your ideas?
I just realized today is Monday! With my kids not having school because of Veteran’s day it has felt more like a Saturday.
So, thank you to our veterans. I don’t think there is anything we could ever say that would come close to the gratitude you deserve. Thank you for fighting for our country.
My Dad served two tours in Vietnam. He never talked about it when I was growing up. I just know it was a hard time for him and my mom. I can’t imagine raising babies on my own with my husband in a war. But so many have done it and do it now. My heart goes out to them.
Years ago I went to visit my grandparents. My grandma wasn’t home so I sat and visited with my grandpa. He was always very quiet, my grandma did all the talking, but this time, with just me and him, he opened up. He told me about World War II. He told me how his first assignment out of training was to go to Pearl Harbor and help with clean up. He said it was something nobody, especially a 19 year old boy, should ever have to see. He told me how he was a gunner on a ship. Another ship launched a bomb so close it threw him back against the ship, making him hit his head and giving him injuries that lasted his lifetime. He told me about the men he saw in the water and how there was nothing he could do for them. He told me so much. I had never heard him say so many words. It was my privilege to sit and listen. I’m sure those were memories that he relived the rest of his life. I hope that in sharing with me it gave him a rest from them.
I’m always happy to listen. I have found rest from my struggles when I share them with someone else. I hope that when I listen it gives someone else a much needed rest. So, my friends, if you ever need a listening ear I am here for you. You don’t have to carry it all alone.
P.S. My baby, Calvin, was named after this grandpa!
Lately I’ve been making goals for myself. Some of my goals are big, like publishing a book. Some of my goals are small, like getting dressed for the day. I recently read a book that counseled me to set big goals. The author’s advice was to dream big, write it down, and even find pictures of your goals and hang them up. I didn’t have very many goals so I sat and let my mind wander. I discovered there are a few things in life that I want. I want a clean, organized house. I want a vintage car. I want to help children who have dyslexia. I want to do something great.
That last one hung in the air. It is definitely not a SMART goal, it is not specific in any way. The other goals I can actually set a time frame and make a plan for. Just “doing something great” is too vague, it’s unmeasurable. So I let my mind wander some more. I imagined myself as a nationally known author. I imagined myself graduating college. I imagined the car I will drive to my graduation. I imagined that I felt really great about myself.
And then it hit me. Why do I have to wait to do something great? I published a book. Isn’t that great? I’m going to school. Isn’t that great? I made dinner for my family. Isn’t that great. Why do I have to wait to do something great? The answer is, you don’t. You don’t have to wait.
You can find something great you did in everyday. Whether it’s small, like I brushed my teeth today. Or something bigger, like I surprised my kids with lunch at school (I haven’t done that one yet, but it’s a goal of mine). Or something even bigger like getting that promotion at work (I’m still waiting for that one). What it comes down to is this:
Stop waiting for something great to happen and make great things happen.
Everyday you can do something that is great for that specific day. It might not be grand like the day before. It might be only something you notice. But there is greatness inside of us. Who are we to say we aren’t great? We are. Plain and simple. We are great. And we can make great things happen.
He would have been 48 yesterday. This picture was taken on our last birthday with him. He was so happy. He was in his element, helping all the kids carve their pumpkins. I miss him the most on his birthday. It’s the one day I’m supposed to be able to celebrate his life. We celebrate anyway. We send him balloons every year. The kids look forward to writing a message on their balloon, then letting them go, sending them off to heaven.
Luke had just turned 37 when he died. I will be 37 on my next birthday. I can’t imagine leaving life now. There is too much I want to do, too much I would hate to miss. Man, I miss my brother. As much as I miss him, I have to recognize that he isn’t completely gone. He is my angel, watching over me and my family. I have felt his presence in my life, I know he is near.
I hope you know that you are not alone. I am here for you. I’m cheering you on. I love you.