Archive | November 2013

Thank You Notes – Are They Necessary?

Many months ago, I promised an acquaintance of mine that I would cover the topic of thank you notes. She was frustrated because she had given a gift to a friend or relative and didn’t ever receive a thank you note or an acknowledgement that the gift had been received. 

Emily Post addresses thank you notes here: http://www.emilypost.com/communication-and-technology/notes-and-letters/99-thank-you-notes-to-send-or-not-to-send

It’s time for me to confess. I have a stack of thank you notes sitting here. They are written out and ready to go, yet I haven’t sent them. They are notes, thanking others for the gifts they gave me at my baby shower. 11 months ago. According to Emily Post, the notes should still be sent, even if you had a chance to thank the gift giver at the party. UGH. The best gift I got at the shower was a card. It said, in part “Please don’t send me a thank you. Just enjoy your gift”.

I am very good about sending a thank you note or card when a friend or relative or anyone sends me a gift through the mail, or I receive something unexpected. I immediately sit down and write out a short note thanking them for their thoughtfulness and I mail it. I also send random notes through out the year to thank someone for their friendship or to let them know I am praying for them. I honestly have a hard time giving sincere thanks at a party and then feeling required to turn around and send a thank you note through the mail. 

Personally, when I give a gift, I give it with no strings attached. I don’t expect a thank you note and I don’t expect an acknowledgement, although I would be thrilled if I received either of those. Since my own baby shower, I have told gift recipients that I do not expect a thank you. I just want them to enjoy their gift. 

I do, however, think that you should acknowledge and thank a person for a gift received, if they were not there at the time of receipt. I choose to send cards through the snail mail, but in these days of social media, before the card is even received, I am likely to get a Facebook message asking if I have received said gift. So now, I feel like I have to jump on Facebook to acknowledge and thank for a gift AND send out a card. It’s a bit redundant, so I usually leave out the Facebook acknowledgement. 🙂 It drives my friends crazy. 

How about you? What is your opinion on this? Do you expect thank you cards or is a quick phone call, text, or social media thank you acceptable? Do you think gift recipients should send a thank you note even after a verbal thank you, in person has been given? 

Thankful for Much

This is the time of year for thankfulness. Friends and acquaintances are posting what they are thankful for each and every day in November. Total strangers are asking “What are you thankful for?” Then there’s me, staring back at them, with a blank look on my face.

“What? Am I thankful for? Huh?”

“Everything” seems so broad. “My Ipad” seems so trivial. “Health and family” seems so obvious. 

I really am thankful for all of it. The little things, the big things, the things that don’t matter and the things that do. Every day, what I am most thankful for changes. Some days it’s coffee and nap time, other days I am overwhelmed with gratitude that my entire family surrounds me. 

We are told to be thankful in all things. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

This means that during the good, the bad and the ugly, we should be thankful. I am not thankful once a year. I am thankful for (most) all things every day of the year. 

I am blessed and thankful. 

 

Little Monkey Fairy Tales

I entertained a tired little girl with my horrible singing today. It went something like this:

5 little monkeys, jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head. 

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said 

“No more monkeys jumping on the bed”

4 Little monkeys jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said 

“What did I tell you last time? NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED!”

3 Little monkeys jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said 

“What? Were you playing on Facebook or Farmville or something? PAY ATTENTION!”

2 Little monkeys jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said 

“That’s it! If you call me again, I’m reporting you to Child services and they will take ALL your monkeys away!”

One little monkey jumping on the bed

He fell off and bumped his head

Mama said

“I’m not calling the doctor, he hasn’t done jack squat all the other times”.

As I finished, I realized I am my father. He used to tell me crooked fairy tales, before crooked fairy tales was a book. We could never get a straight, as it was written, story out of him. 

That little, tired girl giggled and giggled though, just as I used to do. 🙂 I see a tradition here.

 

Knowing it All

Growing up, I was convinced that my mom knew everything. She was a natural at parenting. She had an answer for every question, a solution for every problem, a band aid for every hurt. She knew peculiar facts. I can remember her asking store clerks”Do you know why stores charge 99 cents for things, rather than a dollar?”. She would go on to explain that it was to keep cashiers honest. They had to open the till to retrieve a penny for change, which minimized the risk of them pocketing a dollar. (Remember, this was before computers!)

So she knew a whole lot. 

Even as an adult, I call my mom whenever I have a question about things. Recipes, ailments, marital issues, financial problems, politics. She is my own personal Google. 

I can’t recall the issue, but I do remember the first time she said “I don’t know, Amy. I really don’t know what you should do”. I was crestfallen, dumbfounded, taken aback and in disbelief. This woman I had relied on for years had no answer for me. It was on a scale slightly less than devastating. 

It’s been many years since that incident, and I am sure that I eventually came up with a solution, but the memory stays fresh in my mind. It was the moment I saw my mom as a real, true, bona fide human. Not just my mom. She was someone who had answers because she had lived life, but she was and is still learning. There are some things she doesn’t know, there are some things she has never experienced. 

I am the mom of 5 kids, ranging in age from 10 months to 20 years. I have been parenting for 17 years, married for 15 years. I am a wife, mother, daughter,sister, friend, aunt, niece, granddaughter and cousin. I have experienced life. I have lived and learned. Yet, I do not feel like I have anything figured out, except what time I go to bed. I have failed at so much that I don’t keep track any longer. Sometimes my confidence waivers. I not only don’t have ALL the answers, I don’t have MOST of the answers. I am as human as a human comes. 

I imagine that my mom isn’t much different. I presume that she inwardly feels as if she has lived so long, but knows so little. That is not the woman I see though. It causes me to wonder what kind of woman my children see when they look at me? Do they come to me with all their questions because they think I know all the answers? Sometimes they say “We should ask grandpa (or grandma)”. Maybe they are on to me? I certainly don’t want to disappoint them when they are grown when they discover that I actually don’t know as much as they thought I knew. 

Perhaps the knowledge that our parents know so much when we are children is for our comfort and safety. I never felt like I had to worry as a child, because I was safe in the knowledge that my mom had it. She knew what was going on and she knew how to solve it. 

I know it’s not a comfort that everyone grew up with, but it’s one I am extremely grateful for. 

In love, in friendship, in Him,

Amy

A Real Blogger

I have been following the journey of the Jone’s at http://gavincarrie.blogspot.com/ for a little over a year now. They welcomed FIVE babies into their lives, when I was having anxiety over one. 🙂 

Carrie recently blogged about the birth experience. It brought tears to my eyes. I felt like I was there in that room. I told her this in the comments. In her reply to me, she mentioned that she had checked out my blog and that I was a real blogger. She only blogs about her family, but I blog about life. 

I do? 

In the past year, I’ve barely blogged about anything. It’s not that I don’t think about it, because it crosses my mind quite a bit. I’ve just been wishing for the time when my words flowed easily and the things I wrote about seemed to have meaning and made sense. When that doesn’t get in the way, it’s homeschooling, laundry, dishes, breastfeeding, dinner, feed the baby again, grocery shopping, you know, real life. 

To tell the truth, I’ve spent equal amounts of time in the past year overjoyed at the change in our life, and mourning the past. In the past, I had a lot of freedom. The kids were older, they were all in school, I could do a whole lot of what I wanted to do. That rarely happens anymore. Most of my time is sucked up by the wants and needs of others. That’s not to say that I don’t try to meet my wants or needs or that someone else doesn’t meet them for me, it’s just a little more difficult these days. 

When I look at Charlee, though, I think “WOW!” I could have never, in a million years, predicted this wonderful addition to our lives. Even though she makes things trickier, she adds a dimension to our lives that I didn’t know I wanted. She has completely changed the hearts of my kids. Or perhaps, I am just now noticing their hearts in action? 

So while I am happy, I mourn a little for what once was. I definitely do not regret her joining our family though. For that, we are blessed. 🙂 

Another reason for my lack of blogging over the past year, I just don’t want to tell my story. Correction, I don’t want to tell God’s story. I’ve seen his hand in my life, but there is a little trepidation about sharing. I don’t want to appear crazy. Since when did that matter to me, huh? I used to share, in the hopes of encouraging others, no worries about the naysayers. I had a small following of readers from many walks of life. Some were believers, many weren’t. Even when I talked about God, they still read what I wrote. So what stops me now, right? 

My goal is to be the blogger Carrie thinks I am. Again. Some stories need to be told for history’s sake, preservation’s sake or for His sake. I may never know the whys or the results, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s not what matters most. 

For those of you wondering why I haven’t been on Facebook in over a week. I quit. I didn’t cancel my account, because I do need it for some of the apps I use, I am just choosing to not spend my time there. There’s some real life I need to attend to. 

I hope you are well. How can I pray for you today? 

Love, 

Me

Hey, Hey, Hey

Yesterday was my birth day, day, day!

As per usual, oodles of my “friends” on Facebook left me a Happy Birthday message on my wall. Which means at the end of the day, I leave the standard “Thanks for the birthday wishes! It was a great day! Life is so good to me” Blah, blah, blah. 

Except it wasn’t. 

As a matter of fact, yesterday was a whole lot of the usual. You know, dishes, laundry, dog poop, diaper changing and dog food buying. I was annoyed with my husband for part of the day, my kids bickered with each other. I didn’t get my free Dutch Brothers coffee. Balloons didn’t shower down on me as soon as I woke up. 

I mean, it was REAL LIFE, man. 🙂

However, my mom and dad treated me to breakfast, my family bought me a German Chocolate Ice Cream Cake, I received some moola and gift cards. I watched 3/4 of a movie before I tuckered out. 

My point? Don’t believe that EVERYTHING is hunky dory, even if it sounds that way in a status update. Status updates are a snippet of life, not it’s entirety. 

So, yes, my birthday was good, but it was real. It was a whole lot of normal, with a birthday thrown in there. 

I just like knowing that I lived to see another one. We all should. 🙂

39 Years and Random Facts

On this day in history…

I was born. 

Riveting? No? Too much? Too soon?

A friend of mine does a list of goals equal to her age each year. I  don’t have enough time to meet 39 goals in a year. That’s like almost one a week. 🙂 To shake things up a bit, I will give you a list of 39 facts about me and my life. Some of them you probably know. Others may surprise you. This is blogging, drive-by style. 

  1. On the day I was born, the local Thriftway store burned down.
  2. My parents named me “Amy”, because my brother had a speech impediment and Amy was easy to say. 
  3. I only have one sibling, my brother. He passed away last year. 
  4. I wanted a sister so bad, I “adopted” my cousin when she was born. 
  5. When I was a kid, I never wanted to grow up and have kids. 
  6. I have 5 kids. 
  7. I have been married for 15 years. This is the 19th birthday of mine that I have spent with my husband. 
  8. I used to color my hair so much that I wasn’t sure what color my hair really was. 
  9. My husband is the first, and only, person I have ever, ahem, you know. 😉
  10. I love Dutch Brothers’ Coffee.
  11. I love to travel. I love road trips. 
  12. I was born partially deaf. I wear hearing aids in both ears.
  13. I participated in the school, district and state spelling bee two years in a row. 
  14. I cried when I was eliminated at the school level in the 7th grade. 
  15. I don’t remember what word I misspelled. 
  16. I have four Compassion International kids. I need to write them more. 
  17. I have a hard time buying stuff for myself, but no problems buying for other people. 
  18. I sleep with socks on, but sometime during the night, I take them off. When my husband can’t find his socks, he strips the bed. 
  19. I married a single father and ex-drug user who was living with his mom (in his 30’s) when I met him. 
  20. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. ❤
  21. I didn’t know how to cook when I got married. I taught myself and now I love all things cooking!
  22. I used to type the chicken peck style, but when I got a job at Leatherman Tool Group, I taught myself how to type properly. My supervisor thought I typed fast  enough chicken peck style and begged me not to change. 
  23. I rarely ever forget a number or a date. 
  24. I can hold a grudge for a super long time. 
  25. I spent much of the past year panicked about death. 
  26. I think inappropriately. A lot. I  don’t remember where Piper got it from. 
  27. I used to have a special love for Almond Joys, but after I started buying good dark chocolate, I rarely eat AJ’s. I have a bag of them from Halloween that I haven’t touched. 
  28. I had a birthmark when I was born. I’m not telling you where it was. 
  29. I haven’t always liked football. I started watching to impress my husband. It was a trick! 
  30. My husband married Mrs. Wright. I may be a Dixon now, but I will always be Wright. 
  31. I had a baby “late” in life. I was 38. I’d have one at 40 if I could get all parties to agree. 
  32. I love my in-laws. I feel extremely blessed to have the extended family that I do!
  33. I have a favorite kid. It changes depending on which one of them I am talking to. 😉
  34. My favorite meal is breakfast. 
  35. I love to coupon. I love to save money. 
  36. I’m wearing my winter boots with my summer skirt. Why? Because it’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want!
  37. My dad had me convinced that airplanes fly straight at night by flying between the red and green lights on the tips of the wings. I believed it until I was 16. I realized how stupid that was when I explained it to a friend of mine. Guess I had never said it out loud. 
  38. I am a good friend. I keep my friends for life. I feel like my friends from my younger years understand me more than my friends from my adult years. 
  39. I say the words “Damn it” a lot. I probably shouldn’t. 

Happy Birthday to me! I can’t wait to see what another year brings. With me in it, it’s got to be good!