The baby is not here yet, but soon…!

Dear Readers,

Well, she is ALMOST here.. 39 weeks and 6 days…in the making!!!  WOW! We get to meet our daughter soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo soon.. but definitely not soon enough for this mama! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.. I can’t wait to open this “present”! I want to capture all the feelings before I am so tired I barely know my own name… or am in pain or any of the things I am told are coming my way.

In part, I did that by giving this speech on Tuesday night- I wanted to talk about the evolution of going from “never ever ever ever ever do I want to be a parent” to where I am now, 39 weeks pregnant and DYING to meet my child!!  (here is that speech)

 

I feel a little like I JUST told all of you I was pregnant, and now it’s hard to move without thinking about how pregnant I really am, there is no denying, every time I get up, it’s like “oh hey that was not super comfortable”.. as I promised when I started this blog.. *4 years ago, to be honest) I am trying to be real with you.. I woke up 5 times, and had a VERY hard time getting up out of bed.

Today has been the hardest day thus far but honestly, if this is as bad as it gets the final week, I think I can handle it and be grateful for the other many days that have come before that were not like this. The itching of my entire body has been the MOST difficult symptom.. and when you consider all the other things that can be at play with pregnancy and complications, I feel very blessed. Thank you God! I also recommend that if you have any back problems, make sure you see your chiropractor because I definitely credit him with keeping me aligned and OUT of pain during the last 39 weeks!

If you are pregnant, you may want to take this piece of advice.. Control the flow of information and don’t be afraid to say, You know I think I want to find out on my own.. I didn’t let anyone tell me horror stories of their labor or delivery, .. they would start and I would hold up my hand and say, “Let’s compare notes when I have something to share”.. Say November? They would smile usually and change the topic .. all about the boundaries people.. Speaking of those boundaries.. here are some of the more common questions I get and for your amusement I will answer them.. (some of these may or may not be things I have thought but not actually said out loud.. I will let you be the judge!

“Are you ready”?

.. gosh that is a good one.. I don’t think you ever really get ready for something as big as this.. Yes we have a nursery, diapers, clothes.. and some baby thing…but don’t really feel ready…. some of my favourite speakers and writers talk about doing things BEFORE you are ready and that was true of my first paid speaking engagement so I guess it will be true of this as well.

“Are you tired of being pregnant?”

Well, yes and no. I waited so long to be pregnant that I am doing my best to “live in the moment” and enjoy every bit of everything that is happening. I am not saying “GET THIS BABY OUT OF ME”.. but it helps that I know an end date is not far away. Am I ready to meet my daughter? YOU BET! ^^^^ SEE ABOVE!

“Are you just miserable?” 

No. Overall I am (as my mom put it) “the happiest pregnant lady ever” — I am happy but it changes.. I won’t lie.. It can be uncomfortable at times, but it’s like anything else. You get used to the condition you are in and adapt.. or you are miserable and will complain to anyone who will listen — (anywhere in the middle is where one might fall) from what I am hearing from other ladies I know in this state.

“How do you feel?”

This one is hard because I know people are coming from a well-meaning place but this one seems to rankle me the most..No one seems satisfied with any answer I give. My mom’s favourite is, “with every nerve ending”…  If am not tired, they say oh really, that is odd, “My sister, aunt, cousin… etc didn’t experience that”.. anyway..

In truth, the way I feel varies from minute to minute — kind of the way I felt BEFORE I was pregnant..🙂 So I have some photos from the pregnancy, so highlights if you will as I take some time to reflect on the last 9 months, the thing I have been so grateful for is the love I feel and have been shown which has helped me to truly “live in the moment” and allow for things to “happen to me”.

So many people have said to Jeremy and I, you are going to be great parents and have been NOTHING but encouraging about the process for us, which helps us to feel as ready as we are going to, though wisdom does suggest “we have no idea what is on the way”… That is okay, we have each other, we love this baby and we don’t even know what she looks like yet, and we will as we always say to each other “Figure it out”.. we ALWAYS do.

Think about it…..!minimaccollage39weeks

It’s my womb, please don’t ask…

wombpicture

Dear Readers,

I know, that seems an odd headline for a woman who has been sharing her fertility with you lo these many months now– but I read this the other day and I can’t shake the notion that everyone needs to read it. I wish to God, I had written it, but i did not.. here is the article.. https://nadirahangail.com/2016/05/25/mind-your-own-womb/

Here is the excerpt that really got me..

“Another woman: 40, one child. People say to her, “Only one? You never wanted any more?”

“I’m happy with my one,” she says calmly, a rehearsed response she’s given more times than she can count. Quite believable. No one would ever suspect that alone, she cries…

Cries because her one pregnancy was a miracle. Cries because her son still asks for a brother or sister. Cries because she always wanted at least three. Cries because her second pregnancy had to be terminated to save her life. Cries because her doctor says it would be “high-risk.” Cries because she’s struggling to care for the one she has. Cries because sometimes one feels like two. Cries because her husband won’t even entertain the thought of another. Cries because her husband died and she hasn’t found love again. Cries because her family thinks one is enough. Cries because she’s deep into her career and can’t step away. Cries because she feels selfish. Cries because she still hasn’t lost the weight from her from her first pregnancy. Cries because her postpartum depression was so intense. Cries because she can’t imagine going through that again. Cries because she has body issues and pregnancy only exacerbates it. Cries because she still battles bulimia. Cries because she had to have a hysterectomy. Cries because she wants another baby, but can’t have it.

These women are everywhere. They are our neighbors, our friends, our sisters, our co-workers, our cousins. They have no use for our advice or opinions. Their wombs are their own. Let’s respect that.”

I can’t tell you how many times that I heard the question, “when are you and Jeremy going to have kids?” after we were married and deflecting it with a smile and a ‘not sure’, or a shrug.. but really it came down to.. we weren’t ready to start trying yet.

I am older so it’s a factor to be considered.. in fact when we were engaged, smart man that he is, we even discussed that we might have to adopt and that was on the table too. My age turned out to be a bigger factor than I thought when I miscarried last year in March. I wish I could say that because I am days away from delivering our little girl that the pain of losing that first child isn’t still with me.. but I can’t. I am sad every time I think of what might have been and mourn the loss of that child. It’s extremely painful that it happened but in going through it, I have knowledge that I wish I didn’t.. and as a result I would never ask a question that made someone else feel pressured to reveal their own status (whatever it may be)

I am overjoyed that we have a child coming and fully aware that there are many women who would love to be in my shoes so I try to be sensitive to that before asking someone a careless question like, “no kids yet? or “only one?” “wow, five? how do you manage that?”

That is all to say that really at the end of the day, it’s no one’s business UNLESS We (the women in question) make it your business. As women, we worry far too much about being rude or hurting someone’s feelings at the expense of our own.. so much so, that I HESITATED to share this post…

If I CHOOSE to share with you that I am having a child (which by the way has tons of forms too) adopting, fostering, step-mothering, the list goes on) that is my business I choose to share.. It’s not your place to ask no matter how much you might think it will help. Trust me, if a woman wants to share, she will share and that is your opportunity to listen and offer hugs or a shoulder.

THINK ABOUT IT!

Progress Not Perfection!

Dear Rprogressnotperfectioneaders,

Today, I started thinking about what I was going to post about and I was originally going to call this post “Choices” but that seemed really nebulous given the specificity I was going to talk about.

So I set myself 4 major goals for this month (and last month) and the month before.

  1. Walk steps or exercise at least three times a week.
  2. Work on my French every day (tous les jours)
  3. Do less drive thru and generally avoid the junk food.
  4. Give myself grace for the fact that being pregnant means it takes me longer to do things.

So in three months I have gained ground on these goals but by no means am I doing them all every day…. and it reminds me that “progress not perfection” is the goal.

What does that look like, you ask? Well, this morning, I got up and got coffee but instead of getting a donut I had a banana. (less junk)

When I had my break, instead of doing Facebook, I did my French homework.

When asked to do something I would normally be able to do “no sweat” pre-pregnancy, I said no this time because it’s a little hard for me to move around easily right now.

This morning when I came in to work, I said hello to my team and then walked  down and then up 5 flights of stairs. Yep, I am bragging but it’s also important to note that each one of these things I did, I THOUGHT about it, before I did it. It required intentional thought.

This all boils down to choices. I got here early enough to be able to do those things. If I had been late, I would have been rushing to “get here” and not had the “time” to THINK about my choices before I made them.

My mom told me a few months back when I was struggling to not eat Taco Bell all the time to look at WHY I wanted it.. was it satisfying? was it tasty? or was it just THERE. In looking at it, I had to admit it was mostly there and convenient.

By no means do I have this wired, but days like this when I feel like a genuine amazeballs person (because I accomplished some goals) help me understand why those things are important to me.

How about you? What “perfection” do you need to let go of and maybe focus on the “progress” — One more thing.. before I go.. if you only make a little progress.. that is STILL further than you were before.. don’t bemoan the result, keep moving forward!

THINK ABOUT IT!

 

 

 

31 days of kindness, what have you taught me?

Dear Readers,

Today is the end of the 31 days of kindness but not really.

There was one task set for each day to remind us to be kind. I think we are in general pretty kind people but some of my favourite exercises were the simplest.

“Be kind to yourself”

“Write a thank you note”

“Tip 100%”

No, you can’t do it all the time, but you can “smile at strangers” or “say hi to someone you don’t know” or “pay for someone behind you in the drive thru” ..

In this upcoming season of motherhood, I am patently aware my entire life is about to change (every single person who sees my expanding belly tells me this) and that is scaring the you know what out of me. I have a lot of help, thank God, my community of friends and family of choice is standing by to help and the offers are continuing to be stated for babysitting “if you want me to watch her so you can shower” I will do it. I find my temper shorter these days (with sincere apologies to jeremy, since he is taking the brunt of it) and the normality of it doesn’t change that I regret it. Yes, it’s normal to be irritable but that doesn’t mean it’s okay or acceptable for me to not be “kind” to my spouse or anyone else who is in my path.

So long story short, I am going to do my best to be kind, even when I don’t feel like it (which is pretty often these days)  I am going to do my level best to embrace the fact that I am pregnant and we will have a little bundle of joy very soon. For now, I am going to embrace any last minute date nights we can squeeze in before we are no longer two but in fact, three.

Time is pretty fleeting and we only get the one life.. so I am doing my best to live in the present moment and really take in all that is around me.

What about you?

Think About It….

 

Fan the flames of someone else’s passion!

 

RUmiDear Readers, Today, I had a chance to be someone’s sunshine and I did not take it. I was the rain. I regret it but it was too late to take it back. I tried to ameliorate things but it was too late. My goal is to always fan the flames of someone’s passion, not be the rain shower that says.. “you can’t”.. there are way too many people who delight in that.. so I try HARD to not be one of them, but I stumble and wanting to be honest, I am telling you about it.

I could tell that the light of enthusiasm was dimmed because I decided that “the rules” were more important than the “game”.. I regret this because you truly never get the chance to make a second impression so now this person likely feels slighted or conversely, I am far more obsessed what did or did not go on in this particular interaction.

Last night, I watched my husband win first place in Toastmasters Tall Tales contest and I am so proud of him, and yes I am bragging on him, because I love him but what I love more about him is not that he won, but that he was happier about the reaction his speech caused (moving people) than winning. I strive to be like him in that sense because I struggle with my constant need for recognition. It’s not enough that I did this super great thing. oh, no, I need to get applause and acknowledgment…. Human, yes.. but a flaw nonetheless.. Think about how much more power we have if we simply do amazing things for the pure joy and don’t care about the accolades?  I am reminded of a story of two men in a hospital bed, one near the window who described beautiful scenes of a park with trees and birds and a wonderful panorama of the busy activity outside. The second man delighted in all these descriptions and was heartened by them and looked forward to it every day. Then one day the man in the bed next to the window died and when he did the other man was moved to the bed near the window and as he slowly, painfully raised himself up to see the wonderful sights depicted, he found that the window faced a blank wall. The nurse told him, the man who died was blind. That really makes you think doesn’t it. The first man gave life to strong imagination and likely prolonged his own life as well as his neighbor’s with his vivid imagery.

So will you be the one to paint a pretty picture for someone or will you say, “oh, yeah, there a wall out there.. nothing to see here”

Think About It-

 

You make a difference, don’t doubt it

Dear Readers,thankful

I was talking to a good friend over lunch today and she gave me the most unexpected compliment. “Thanks, you made me feel so much better!”

It made me feel good, valued and most importantly appreciated.. so it made me think about the fact that we are able to spread joy and light or sadness and darkness and it’s a constant choice. Daily, Hourly, and Minute to minute.. you get to choose what wolf you will feed.. the white wolf or the dark wolf (referenced in this parable)

If you want to know more about that- Here is the story-

Two Wolves – A Cherokee Parable

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”

 

I got to thinking about that.. and thought not only the one you feed.. (which you choose daily).. but also you surround yourself with people who are feeding the good wolf and you are sure to win at life. We have all experienced that before.. right? You are hanging out happy and hustling and then all of a sudden someone shows up who isn’t having a good day (definitely happens.. and you can’t be happy all the time, life can deal some pretty harsh blows) and not only refused to be cheered up but actively try to bring you down.

Do your best to focus on all the things YOU have to be grateful for and if you can’t change their mind or help them smile.. move on with your day!

You never know what seeds you are planting with your words, so plant/speak carefully.. You don’t always get to see what comes of it, but you might be REALLY surprised by how much you matter. So trust me when I say, YOU DO!

Think about it!

 

 

We really don’t know…

 

ThePlanisnotthething

 

Dear Readers,

I have had a few conversations recently with people about life/work balance and the need to NOT plan everything. Then last night, one of my favourite Toastmasters gave a speech about “keeping your edge and losing the stress”.. a very interesting topic to be sure.

I gave a speech on the topic of “not planning” not too long ago.

To be completely honest, I am still struggling with this as we head into impending parenthood. I fully realize that having a baby means we can plan all we like, but likely the plan is not going to hold.. things are going to go by the wayside or get forgotten but I think as long as I stay true to myself and be who I truly am.. which is an encouraging, positive, realistic person who is always trying to learn… things will be okay.. in fact, not just okay, but pretty  great.

Yes, I have questions about what this next chapter of our lives will yield, but I can’t answer them. No one can. I came face to face with this reality sitting in the prenatal class where medical professionals who have spent YEARS studying the female anatomy and the process of childbirth and they can’t answer any questions which is maddening to me because I have been “question girl” for ALL my life and I revel in it. I have to report that it has stood me in good stead in my career, in my life, and in my relationships. Allow me to state for the record, saying you don’t know is NOT the worst thing you can say.. Sometimes you really don’t, but someone else does.. *usually* and they are equipped to share that knowledge, all that one needs to do is ask… REALLY.

However, I am finding.. the more questions I ask regarding the blessed event to come on September 28, 2016, the less people who I feel “should” know the answers.. just really don’t. They say it with a whimsical smile and shrug of shoulders “we really don’t know” and it’s almost as if they do know but won’t tell me..(paranoia during pregnancy I hear is VERY commond)  but then again, I have to be realistic.. they likely do NOT know.. and don’t want to mislead me.. which I get.. it remains frustrating but understandable.

So when it comes right down to it, I guess I get to wait and see….

Think about it….

32 Weeks Pregnant!!!!!

Dear Readers,

baby32weeks

A picture is truly worth a thousand words.. right?

You know how you know something is true.. but you don’t really “know” it till you ‘KNOW’ it? Well, on Saturday I had that day.. I have been (along with my husband, my mom and some very thoughtful friends, you know who you are!!) collecting toys and clothes and all the other things MiniMac (I am JMac at work.. so my team named her MiniMac which I love)  will be needing and it was only when I got home and started putting things away into her closet and turning off the light and shutting the door to HER room that I bumped into reality..

I AM HAVING A BABY!

Not just an idea of a baby or a dream of a baby or a hope of a baby.. but a real, live, flesh and blood, crying, needs to eat and sleep and cry, talking (eventually) baby! It boggles the mind that Jeremy and I have made a person and she is developing inside my stomach (moving at this precise second, actually, hi little girl!)

It seems ridiculous to type this out and make this realization after 32 weeks of doctor’s appointments, sonograms and other clues.. (you know weight gain despite exercise) the swollen ankles and the cravings..having some trouble sleeping..  to name but a few.. but it’s where I am.

I am excited and terrified (in equal measure) for this next chapter of my life.. as a woman, as a mother, (new title) — and how I will juggle work and motherhood and maintain my sense of self.. It’s a whole new world come September 28, 2016 and I am really excited to meet our daughter, so weird still to type that and think that, I am about to be someone’s MOM!

I can hear her now.. years from now – when she reads this.. going.. wow.. you were really excited to meet me.. Yes, little one we are! We are so excited to be your parents!

So I turn my eyes to you, dear reader! What exciting chapter has just started or is starting in your life? Is your child about to turn 3 years old, are you about to start trying to have a baby? Are you buying a house? Whatever it is, embrace the experience because it’s the life you live and every second it is moving faster and faster.. ENJOY IT!

Think About It…..

 

31 days of kindness, who is in?

Optimus

 

Dear Readers,

Last year in efforts to keep my attitude of gratitude I did a 100 day happy challenge.. Some of you may remember it, and some of you may not.. It was taking pictures and posting what made YOU happy.

For those who need a refresher– here is that post

https://jenniferhastonsays.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/can-you-be-happy-for-100-days/

Well I am at it again, this time with slightly shorter span of time.. can you be in with me? 31 days of kindness. There is no denying that a little kindness goes pretty far… so will join me in this 31 days of thinking of others? doing things that bring joy to other people? Let this be starting off point for you.. their ideas are great.. but the more personal you make it, the better. Here is the list…

DAY 1 (August 1st) – Write a handwritten thank you letter
The hardest part about this act of kindness might be to remember where your stamps are or to drive to the post office to get them. Take time to get a letter written and sent out to someone in your circle of friends, family or community who you can encourage, inspire or thank! 

DAY 2 – Pick up a piece of trash
There is always trash on the ground and we can do something about it! Think what would happen if everyone picked up one piece of trash everyday? Let’s keep our eyes peeled for what piece of trash we can pick up to clean up our streets, sidewalks or neighborhood!

DAY 3 – Buy someone coffee/tea or a drink
Most of us take time out of our day to go and grab a drink of coffee, tea or late night drink. Take the time to buy the person’s coffee behind you. If you don’t drink coffee or tea, pull through a drive though coffee shop pay $3 for the person behind you and drive away! See how good you feel!

DAY 4 – Compliment a stranger
Walk by and complement a stranger on what they are wearing, their hair or smile. Bonus points if you give them a high-five when you walk by!

DAY 5 –Donate an item of your choosing
Most of us can agree we have more than we need. What is in your closet that you can donate to a local shelter or Goodwill and have someone else get benefit from your amazing fashion sense? What about kitchen goods or toys?

DAY 6 – Pick something up that has fallen down
If you are walking down the street and see one of those fallen sandwich boards or you are in the grocery store and see something that fell off the shelf, find a way to put it back up! This might encourage others to do the same when they see you going out of your way to do something kind for others!

DAY 7 – Treat Yo’ Self!
We had this idea brought to our attention from a participant of #31DaysofKindess! He reminded us that many of us often need to be kinder to ourselves – so true! Treat yo’ self to a pedicure, a new book, leaving work 30 minutes earlier or fine leather goods. If you need more ideas, see where this idea stems from.

DAY 8 –  Donate at least $5 to an organization you have never donated to before
Research a cause you believe in and donate at least $5 to their mission. It might not sound like a lot but those little donations add up for organizations and can be a big benefit if a lot of people do this. When 100+ of us do this, we will have given more than $500 collectively today to good causes around the world! 

DAY 9 – Give/send someone a small, anonymous gift
Of course receiving gifts on birthdays and holidays are fun but even better is a random gift for no reason! You could look up someone’s ‘wishlist’ on Amazon and send them something. You could leave a coffee gift card on your coworkers desk. You could also buy a small something, leave it in a park with a note saying “For you!”

DAY 10 –Recycle something
It blows my mind how many people still do not recycle! This is one of the easiest ways to give back and be kind to our environment. Take time to recycle and if you don’t have recycling at your office or home, what can you do today to help make that a reality in your area? 

DAY 11 – Bring snacks to work to share
Oh this is my favorite because my wife is my only co-worker and she is participating in this challenge with us! I hope she bakes something good! Take time to make something homemade or go to the store and grab something for your fellow co-workers. If you are unemployed at the time, go and bring a snack to a friend or a nearby office (shoot, even deliver snacks to the office where you want to work!)

DAY 12 – Support local
Instead of grabbing a bite at Subway or getting a few items at your local Target, stop by a local shop and support your community entrepreneurs by eating at a local restaurant or buying what you need at a local shop. 

31 days of kindness

DAY 13 – Create a care package for a soldier
I invite you to take time and invite others to join in especially your family or friends to help you with this one. You don’t need to spend a lot of money (you don’t even need to spend money at all). You can write letters, send candy or books and so much more. Here is a good site to use called Any Soldier. If you are outside of the USA, see what your government allows and how you can support your troops. Give thanks to those who provide us with our everyday freedoms. 

DAY 14 – Leave a $2 bill on the ground and watch them pick it up
This is one of the best and most interesting acts of kindness we will do. First off, go to your local bank and ask for a $2 (they will love you for taking those off their hands). Then go and place it somewhere a random person will see it and pick it up. You might be surprised by how many people walk by it before one person notices it!

DAY 15 – Lend your skills/services for free (answer questions)
There are several ways you can do this. Use the #question on Twitter or Facebook. Post on your social media that you can help <BLANK> with <BLANK> and the first person to reach out gets <BLANK> minutes of support. Go and volunteer for an hour or put your skills to the test. This one will make you think and question, what value can I add to others and who can use my skills/services? 

DAY 16 – Promote a cause you believe in
There are so many great causes and organizations working hard to create positive change in our world. Talk about one of these causes that is important to you either in person with people and/or social media.

DAY 17 – Send a nice email to a company
We might take the time to send a complaint to a company who did us wrong but how often do we send an email or letter to a company who we appreciate is doing the right thing or treating their customers with respect? Send a nice email thanking that company for what they do, the products they offer and services they provide! 

DAY 18 – Let someone go in front of you in line
Whether this is at the grocery store, at the coffee shop or waiting to pick up your burrito, this is a kind gesture to extend to someone!

DAY 19 – Share an uplifting quote
You never know what kind of day someone is having and often when we see positive or uplifting quotes, it can help reset our minds. Share an uplifting quote with a friend or via social media.

DAY 20 – Hold the door for someone
This one is another tricky one because we have to be on the look out all day for this opportunity. Take the time to look around for when someone might need the door opened for them. Smile, maybe give them a high-five and do it as many times as you can! 

DAY 21 – Treat yo’ self and someone else
Reference day 7 for what this means except this time, include someone else! Treat your mom to a pedicure, your dad to lunch or your friend to that delicious cupcake in addition to yourself! Throw kindness around like confetti! 

DAY 22 – Donate a used book to the library
Your local library could really enjoy some of your old childhood books or best-sellers that you never read anymore. Children, adults and teens can really benefit from those books we don’t use so select some off the shelf, drive by your local library and donate them!

DAY 23 – Introduce yourself to a stranger
Say “hi” to someone you walk by. Sit next to someone else at lunch. I bet there might be people at your office you don’t know fully, say hi and introduce yourself.  A hi can go a long way!

DAY 24 – Share an article to a friend who could benefit from it
Have you read a great article recently that you know could benefit a close friend, peer or family member? Take time to show you care by sending them an article with an email to say “Hey, saw this and was thinking about you. Thought you would enjoy it.” Please don’t send one of those obnoxious FWDs. Send an article that adds real value to their life. 

DAY 25 – Leave a 100% tip
This one will make your day! It does not have to be on a $50 meal. It can be on a $2 coffee you buy or $8 lunch you purchase. Leave that 100% tip and talk about doing a HUGE act of kindness. Those waiters will be talking about that for a while and you spread more kindness that way because they in turn go and talk about what just happened to their friends and family! 

DAY 26 – Leave a fun treat for your mail carrier in your mail box
I would recommend nothing that can melt in the southern states this summer but pick something that is fun, sweet and says thank you! You can even write a note letting them know how much you appreciate always delivering your mail. 

DAY 27 – Send a love letter to someone
There is something magical about receiving a letter in the mail and something extra magical when it’s a love letter! While we recommend sending one to your significant other if you have one, there are plenty of other family and friends you love in your life!

DAY 28 – Forgive Someone 
This one is tough but we never said this challenge would be easy. Let’s be kind today by forgiving someone that hurt us, let us down or disappointed us. This will make room in your heart and mind for more kindness when you release resentment. You could let this person know they are forgiven by a letter, phone call or meeting. Another option would be to write a letter forgiving them and put it away without mailing it because the action is more important for you.

DAY 29 – Give thanks to one community servant you don’t personally know
Is there a firefighter, police office, civic servant or someone in your community who is adding value to your community that you need to thank? Go to their office, write them a letter or give them a call to say thank you for all they do to make our community safe!

DAY 30 – Smile at 10 people throughout the day
You know that feeling when you randomly lock eyes with a stranger and he or she flashes you a pleasant smile, which you hopefully return? Now it’s your turn to be the one intentional about putting on a literal happy face and smiling to at least 10 people throughout the day!

DAY 31 – Leave behind a note of kindness
Get your sticky notes or a piece of paper ready and leave a note (or notes!) of kindness somewhere along your day. This could be on a bathroom mirror at a restaurant, on a bookshelf in a library or even on someone’s windshield. To get your creative juices flowing, here are a few examples:

“You matter and you are important!”

“The world needs your specific creativity and energy!”

“Have a marvelous day!”

make sure you launder your kindness pants and put them on starting  monday 8/1/2016 because #31DaysofKindness is going to be a great one this year!

 

If you are in.. go here to sign up with Chelsea and Ryan !

https://jd218.infusionsoft.com/app/form/e372888381d6db6d4b7d03befbdf1a0f

I am planning to add a picture a day.. don’t forget that hashtag y’all!

#31DaysofKindness

Think about it… what difference could you make to JUST one person!

 

 

Married Five years… what have we learned?

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Dear Readers, My husband and I celebrated our five year anniversary on Sunday (hard to believe this picture is from five years ago!) so much has happened since then! It got me thinking about milestones and where we were 5 years ago and where we are now and the lessons learned and things that I have taken away from the experience of being married.

So without further ado, here is a list of 10 things I have learned in 5 years.

  1. Go to bed angry. This is contrary to a lot of advice I got over the years– I think it’s best noted in this quote “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” In five years, I have discovered “hashing it out RIGHT NOW” can actually do a lot more harm than good. Sometimes tabling it, and waiting till you have both calmed down can lead to a better result for the conflict.
  2. Connect every day. Yeah, I know seems simple.. but I am amazed at how many times I or he will come in and we launch right into “how was your day?” and don’t immediately kiss each other or hug each other or say, “I love you”- There is a great exercise I learned from Chelsea and Ryan Avery  (here is her blog post about it)
  3. http://thenewwifestyle.com/4-ways-to-fall-asleep-more-in-love/But here is the gist, you provide 4 statements we would share with each other.

    1. today, my favorite thing about you was…

    2. today, my favorite thing about myself was…

    3. today, i gave back by…

    4. today, i am thankful for…

  4. Making each other laugh is important. There is nothing I enjoy more than knowing I “got” Jeremy and the reward is that belly laugh of his that comes from such a sincerely silly place that I cherish that NO one else gets to see him share.
  5. Make date night a real thing.. It doesn’t have to be lavish.. We do pizza and netflix a lot (but then again, we have been pinching pennies to get out of debt and now save for le petite bebe) but it’s time we set aside to say “Date night” a few have included but not limited to– “taking a walk around the block with the dog”, “Painting with a Twist”, “going to the movies and pretending it’s a first date” (that was a fun one.. (see this blog post for more details) https://jenniferhastonsays.wordpress.com//?s=date+night+with+a+stranger&search=Go
  6. No Name Calling or attacking the other person- I am an Irish woman with a temper and passions certainly flare.. but knowing how important it is to protect our relationship even when I am angry , we don’t name call even at our angriest.
  7. Be willing to try what the other person likes even if you DON’T. For example, wrestling.. I still don’t get it but watch it here and there so I can occasionally surprise my husband with the snippets I have gleaned and this lets him know I take an interest in what he likes. He, in turn, while not in love with theatre, will go see it and give it a chance. In addition, he came to a few Toastmasters Meetings (to learn about the world I love there) and wound up really enjoying it and excelling at it himself..
  8. Be nice to each other. Do things just because you know they like it.. For instance, I love it when he makes the bed. He hates it but knows how much I love it, and most days he gets up after I do so it makes sense for him to make it but he doesn’t always.. so when he does I love it.
  9. Surprise each other! * (this is one you can skip if you don’t like surprises) We happen to love them so it’s a great way to show how much we care. One of my love languages is small gifts so “surprising me with one” is a great way to show love.
  10. You are on the same team! Any time you are saying to yourself, “they don’t understand and they never will” stop yourself and say.. you know what, I married my partner and we are in this together.. I need to change my thinking and my approach! Something we say always is “We will always figure it out”! and we do.
  11. I know, I said 10.. but you know us folks from Louisiana, we love our lagniappe (something extra) – Work on your marriage/relationship/partnership- It’s a labor of love, but it is work.

No two relationships are the same, but I invite you to look at your relationship and see if there is anything that you might adopt from my list. The fun thing about that is you would be adding to your own existing awesome way of doing things.. There is no one way to have a great marriage, the fun is YOU BOTH get to design the relationship you want!

Think about it!