All posts by Amy

13 Things I Learned Not Speaking: Day 7 (Church Edition)

Yesterday was a little easier than I expected. It was nice to get out of the house especially to be at my church with lots of friendly faces and hugs. Some moments were hard, but for the most part, it was a really good day!

1. Jared thinks it’s funny to ask me if I’m sure I’m okay to drive since I can’t talk. Really?

2. My throat gets dry even just lip synching!

3. Not talking at is difficult at church but equally as comical as it can be at home.

4. A dry erase board is good to send messages to your friends on stage. It may have been Tim‘s idea but caught Fawn‘s attention 

5. Thinking back to #1, he may be right. I do talk to other drivers sometimes. Of course, I only educate them on safe driving tips 

6. You can’t talk back to the woman in the next stall.

7. People at church take on the same traits as my family members knowing that I can’t speak…they lean in, talk louder, nod or gesture as if they’re the ones who can’t speak. It’s quite funny!

8. You can “yell” SURPRISE on a dry erase board.

9. My friend Robin is really easy to have a conversation with on a white board. Not to mention, she does not use any of the gestures mentioned in #7 either.

10. It’s going to be a long six weeks of not singing 

11. My family (and my church family) really love me 

12. Every time I lean over to give Jared a kiss in church, he thought I was trying to whisper to him. It made us both laugh.

13. It was nice to sneak in some words to my two loves and a few friends.

13 things I’ve Learned Not Speaking: Day 6

Of course all of this applies to yesterday but I’m posting on what is considered DAY 6!! That means only TWO more full days. Technically I CAN talk today but because the doc said it would be great if I could hold off until my appointment, I’m going to keep going. Praying for a FULL recovery and then some!

Yesterday was tough early on as you’ll see but it didn’t take long for it to look up. You learn to adapt to the situation and continue to laugh (without sound).

In no particular order…

1. It gets frustrating for me when people say they understand when there is no way they can unless they were in my shoes. Same thing goes for other situations. We tend to say the two words that may sting the most for someone who is going through something – I understand. Whether it is difficult in your eyes or not, it is something to them.

2. I have resorted to texting inside my house or using a word document on my computer. I type fastest but anything is faster than me trying to write legibly, quickly.

3. I over enunciate when I’m trying to get people to read lips. Apparently, it makes it more difficult.

4. Crying starts early on a day that everyone is home. Like I said, it’s just harder.

5. At one point, I typed into my phone, “God, please fix this feeling of frustration for us all. I feel helpless.” I’ve thought more often during this experience about those who are not able to verbally express something they need to say or how they feel.

6. I knew this before but had a reminder today that “It’s the simple, common-sense acts of love that make the difference.”

7. My tongue is sore and glands swollen. Guess that’s part of recovery?

8. Yes and No questions are sometimes best. This is true even for the day-to-day. Think about who you’re asking, why and if a lengthy answer is really required. We should always try to consider if a simple Yes or No is sufficient or if further explanation is needed.

9. I just now realized that I don’t remember getting dressed after surgery. I had to ask Jared if I dressed myself. He said I came out dressed. Hmmmm. I seriously don’t remember any part of getting dressed!

10. My husband thinks it’s comical to make up what I’m trying to say (even though in reality he’s already figured it out).

11. You can’t hear me by scooting closer (Aubrey).

12. Sometimes you forget you aren’t supposed to talk.

13. When you realize that you can talk, you do start sneaking in a few words here and there.

13 Things I Learned Not Speaking: Day 5

For the most part, today was productive and funny.  I guess we’re getting as used to this as we can.  As of this morning, 3 full days left and a few hours beyond.  I’m on the down slope now 🙂

And again, in no particular order…

  1.  You can’t think on negative thoughts for too long simply because most of them require action on our part to “feed” the thoughts.
  2. When everyone’s not home, it is a lot easier but when they are home and none of us are talking, it makes me feel more alone.  Guess I prefer that everyone sound like they’re having a conversation with themselves 😀
  3. You can scare someone without sound.
  4. Watching your husband imitate a crab walking WILL make you laugh out loud.
  5. Adaptations have to be made during situations you would normally speak.  You have to think outside of the box for sure.
  6. People send you funny texts which makes you try really hard not to laugh out loud.
  7. Tears happen again but only because I needed my husband to say to me what I wanted so badly to say to him.
  8. Letters are still a meaningful form of communication.
  9. Apparently I’m awful at charades and if we ever play a game, my husband is not going to be on my team!
  10. If someone crosses your mind, if you do anything at all, send them a random text.  You don’t know how much just that small gesture might mean.
  11. I’m not so rushed.  Not sure if it’s only because I have no where to go or if I’m really just feeling kind of at peace.
  12. My husband misses my laugh.
  13. I read a quote yesterday that said something so profound. It describes how I’m feeling during this whole thing thus far:
    "We do not need extraordinary moments for God to show up."

13 Things I Learned Not Speaking: Day 4

Even on Day 4, I can’t honestly say that I could ever get used to this. I feel like I’m in a better spot mentally and in some ways, emotionally, but at the same time it takes nothing at all to make me tear up when my two loves come home. I said “I love you” to both of them tonight. I saved up all I could and just used those three words twice before bed because I needed to, which brings me to…

(in no particular order)

1. I feel more philosophical in this current predicament. I am forced to really evaluate what I want to say vs. what needs to be said. However, sometimes it literally feels like I NEED to say something.

2. Those of us who don’t work physically or outside of the home tend to appreciate lists that we can mark off to show that we’ve actually done something. This is even more true when you can’t speak. Don’t ask me why, but it is.

**SIDE NOTE**
Writing takes a different kind of something out of you. Writers may not be physically exhausted but mentally, it just wears you out. Never underestimate how much effort it takes, no matter how small [or light] the task may seem.

3. The animals are starting to get confused. When Levi stares at me and I can’t tell him to get his ball or I want Rango to come to me and I bang on the wall and motion with my hand — they just look confused. But for the most part, these boys are listening to my cues very well!

4. I still like not interrupting.

5. I like to talk to people so much that I am choosing to stay home with the exception of church on Sunday. That means I have not been outside of my house except to take the dogs out since Monday. Good thing I like my home! It does go to show how much I love Jared and Aubrey though because I’m quite content seeing just the two of them every day 

6. I must talk to my animals more than I realize on a normal basis.

7. It doesn’t matter that I can only snap with one hand.

8. Flirting with your husband is kind of fun when you can’t talk 

9. You have a shift in perspective. Letting go of certain things is easier. You have a clearer picture of how well everyone operates on their own, without you feeling like you need to be in control. It’s almost like you’re on the outside look in.

10. Mouthed words and signs can be misinterpreted and cause frustration on both ends but no one REALLY understands how frustrating it is to not be able to quickly say what you want to.

11. I really lose track when counting in my head vs. counting out loud.

12. Verbal communication is a staple in our household. I am realizing that more every day.

13. I miss laughing out loud.

13 Things I’ve Learned Not Speaking: Day 3

In a little over 2 hours, it will have been 3 days since I’ve talked. Well, except by accident or an intentional “I love you”. In total, less than two dozen words have been said. When my doctor appointment is finally here next Tuesday, it will have been a total of EIGHT days and something I will not elect to do again. As much as I am learning throughout this process, it’s also eyeopening as to how much many of us don’t value conversation anymore. That is, until it’s gone. Maybe my lessons for Day 3 will explain…

(in no particular order)

1. Thinking before speaking IS POSSIBLE. It just requires actual thought (and a little restraint). It amazes me the things that just don’t need to be said simply because they don’t matter. And although my opinion matters, it isn’t always necessary.

2. My family is very quickly seeing and understanding why I sometimes try to appear like the duck analogy with my feet furiously paddling underneath while I try to glide along the surface. There’s much to be said about how many people I actually talk to in a day.

3. At first I wanted to leave, to go away so it would be easier and I wouldn’t be so tempted to talk. but isn’t it such a victory to be in a place of great temptation and have the strength to make it through. Oh the empowering feeling this can give. And the convictions on the heart for all the times you’ve said things you shouldn’t that now you simply couldn’t!

4. I CAN talk, I’m just not supposed to. The restraint — strength, whatever you want to call it — just means better chance at a full recovery and I feel like recovery has taken on more meanings that the one intended.

5. I count out loud and read what I need to type more often than I realize.

6. You don’t need a voice to exercise.

7. JUST DO IT – rewash dishes, refold towels, etc. – rather than complaining if it wasn’t done well or to your standards. So what if the dishes are a little dirty still or the towels don’t fit right in the drawer because they’re folded differently than you do it. At least they’re making an effort to do it. There is a different between educating and tolerating although this is easier said than done!

8. Talking louder does NOT make you better understand someone who can’t talk.

9. I need to learn more sign language.

10. After a couple days, family members who can speak tend to mimic the behaviors of those who cannot and simply need a gentle reminder, “Don’t forget, YOU can talk!”

11. I tend to cry only when everyone comes home. Being alone is definitely easier because I already know all I need to say to me 

12. The next time I fast, I may choose to give up talking. It’s harder than giving up any piece of pie (which incidentally I had today thanks to my friend Tabitha who is apparently a very good baker ).

13. Sometimes God doesn’t give us a big awakening but tiny whispers from short naps (for all you non-poetic folks, that was a metaphor! LOL). Take, for example, the verse of the day which popped up when I started writing down things that I was learning yesterday.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Have you ever really thought about why you say the things you do? How about eliminating the things that really aren’t necessary? There really is so much to consider if you want the best to come out of your mouth for those around you. It takes a lot more thought than most of us ever give it.

Time to start another day 

13 Things I’ve Learned Not Speaking: Day 2

It hasn’t even been a full 48-hours yet but it certainly feels like a week. For someone who feels a deep desire to have the last word, I’m really feeling defeated right now! There’s more funny mixed with a few serious — you have to laugh in situations like this. For me, you just have to laugh without noise 

(In no particular order)

1. I use more emojis than ever before (incidentally I’m not a fan of much more than a few faces and hearts but I’m learning to expand based on an underlying tone to my texts/posts. I learned from a friend Fawn awhile back, emojis aren’t the same on every phone. Texters beware!)

2. When you feel like you have a temperature and your thermometer is broke, you may or may not want to listen to your husband when he suggests using a meat thermometer. It may or may not work and he may or may not have been joking. I just wouldn’t recommend it. #nuffsaid

3. Even though vocal chords are located in a different tube (getting technical here for all you medical folks!), it’s okay to enjoy popsicles and ice cream as if you’ve had your tonsils taken out!

4. You use a lot of thumbs up 

5. Day 2 SUCKS — had my first set of tears stream down my face when I couldn’t SAY what I needed to say and it caused some frustration.

6. My husband says he misses my voice (no jokes allowed, he really does love me) — All I could think was SEVEN. MORE. DAYS. Que the tears again…

7. Comfort foods sound AND taste good even when you’re not actually sick.

8. When a friend offers something, accept and don’t be afraid to ask!

9. Don’t assume someone will check on you or get upset if they don’t. Just know that you never know how their day is or what they’re going through.

10. I still like not being able to interrupt.

11. You don’t realize how much not talking causes you to think until you can’t talk!

12. It’s really hard for me to not say “Bless You” when someone sneezes.

13. My dogs behave surprisingly well without me speaking.

P.S. I’ve been warned that whispering is worse so I said “I love you” to both of my loves last night. It didn’t sound pretty but it was worth it 

13 Things I’ve Learned in Less than 24-Hours of Not Speaking

1. I can’t write as fast as I can talk
2. My husband and daughter can’t read lips very well
3. The bell that my husband gave me annoyed him the first time I rang it
4. So far, my daughter likes the bell but made me come up with a ring to signify “yes” and “no”
5. My family can talk a LOT
6. It’s nice to not be able to interrupt
7. One on one conversations sound like they’re talking to themselves (Aubrey pointed this out when Jared was talking to me)
8. Text conversations are a little longer than normal (sorry if you’re on the other end)
9. Writing will never replace talking but writing the words down and having the other person read them takes on its intended tone, not the tone we sometimes unconsciously insert
10. I don’t really want to leave the house or visit with anyone but my two favorites until I can talk again. I feel like my nod and smile looks like a smirk. Plus they get my attitude face.
11. We’re using a little sign language of our own
12. We laugh at each other a lot when trying to be patient

And finally, only because 13 is my favorite number…I have to whisper “I love you” before bed 

Why Are We Never Happy?

It’s a Monday, we wish it were Friday.
It’s summer, we wish it were fall.
It’s chilly, we wish it were warmer.
It’s rainy, we wish it were sunny.
It seems as though, no matter what the situation, we always have something to complain about.

If our only hope is for the perfect amount of sun at just the right temperature on our favorite day of the week, what are we doing with the rest?

Life’s too short for a “throwaway” day.
There will never be enough hours to get it all done.
You’ll always have “something come up”.

When you slip and fall, what matters is that you get back up.
When you try and fail, you just have to try again.
When you wake up grumpy, you just have to surround yourself with things that will bring YOU back again.

If you’re always waiting for someone to cheer you up then you’ll always feel like someone is letting you down.

Today, it’s about you. It’s about YOUR choices. It’s about sacrifices, decisions, and movement. CHOOSE to be someone who doesn’t use the word “busy” or “tired” to answer the question, “How are you doing?” Because in all honesty, we’re all tired and busy. We all have good days mixed with the bad. There will always be circumstances beyond our control but we will always, always, always have the chance to choose our outlook on them. Our responses, our demeanor, our actions are a direct reflection of our heart.

Be sure your head knows how big your heart is and that your heart knows how powerful your mind can be. Learn to balance the two and live in the moment. Be thankful. Be joyful. Be sentimental. Be YOU.

This mismotch (I just made that up) of words is brought to you today by someone who isn’t perfect. Who experiences some of these same feelings. Whose mind can be all over the place but stationary at the same time. I want to show more appreciation, I want to love bigger, I want my actions to match my heart but sometimes, sometimes I just want to feel less, think less and let go. I’m a work in progress and I’m sure you are too.

#choosehappy

Today is a new day (a short poem)

Today is a new day. What you did, how you felt, where you were yesterday, it’s all a part of the past. Time to live now, not look too far ahead and be right where you are with all your might. Some moments might be tough, others a little brighter, but with God by your side, things will get a little lighter. Let Him help carry the load, lead you down the road, calm your fears and dry your tears. Today is a new day.

The “What If’s” of Marriage (for Couples)

Husband. Wife. Read. Please. This IS for you BOTH.

If you’ve ever spent any time away, you have a small idea of what it would be like without your other half in your life. How did it feel? You don’t have to be honest with me, but be honest with yourself at least.

We can all admit that every now and then, no matter how much we love our significant other, time alone is nice. Some like it more than others but regardless of who we are, time to ourselves is essential to truly BEING ourselves.

How is it then, that when our spouse wants to enjoy time alone, we ponder their reasoning? This is more than likely a thing us women experience, but it can be just as much something for the men as well.

Then there’s the ever present edginess that comes with being in close proximity to someone on those days when you really wish you had that above mentioned “alone time”. Few and far between are the moments of reflection, insignificant are the thoughts causing you to begin feeling lost in the daily grind.

You “practice” life together as if you’re going to get another shot at it. You constantly wonder why he doesn’t do things your way and men, you wonder why she she cares SO much.

Passion isn’t a word that rolls easily off the tongue unless we’re talking about something that really helps us to be ourselves — that something which isn’t your marriage right now.

Or is it?

Short-tempered and long-haired (because you haven’t had time to shave), you sit there day in and day out doing the daily tasks that call for your attention and surviving the rough moments strewn throughout.

If there’s excitement, you haven’t found it in the mundane, although you known it once was there. You look beyond the moments and fast-forward to tomorrow, which is the very reason you don’t remember what you did yesterday at all.

What did you have to eat?
What was your dinner conversation last night?
Did you put your phone down long enough to even have one?

So far, I may not be speaking to everyone, but I know this is reaching someone. But for this writer’s sake (and yours), please read on…

What if…

you started each day with a kiss?
you acknowledge each other every time you were in a room together?
you said something positive before sharing something negative?
you encouraged one another more?
you talked about your dreams?
you made time for “alone” time together?
you made time for alone time for one another?
you asked one another about your day(s)?
you made a conscious effort to spend more time together?
you ate dinner, at home, together?
you put the phones down and talked?
you held hands more?
you sent each other random texts throughout the day?
you helped each other around the house?
you appreciate the things each of you brings to your home?
you ended each day with a kiss?

So many questions…but only one answer. The immediate outcome doesn’t matter. Things aren’t going to change overnight. You’re not going to suddenly have an epiphany or ignore every mistake.

But you will…

begin to look beyond the flaws.
see the person you love for who they are.
remember that person you fell in love with.
feel more encouraged by being an encourager to whom you were made one [with].
notice the little things a little more.
learn to focus on what’s important.
learn that many things you get concerned with, don’t matter.
feel better about feeling better.

There’s an enemy out there trying to do damage to marriages. He knows what buttons to push. He knows when to start and how not to stop. He knows what people don’t need to hear and stops with what they do. Day in and day out, relationships are strained because the focus went from what if to what is. People forgot to shift their minds from what’s wrong to what could be right.

The relationships we have in our lives are so important but aside from your relationship with God, your relationship with your spouse is the most important. Your kids, your family, friends, co-workers…they take notice when you are loving, encouraging and respectful. This is part of the foundation on which they will build their future relationships. Show them the important things aren’t the silly things you tend to dwell on but the big things that brought you both together in the first place.

We’re wired differently. Men and women don’t think the same way so how can we expect them to act the same way? We have different personalities, different learning styles, different ways to cope or deal with things that come our way. When did these things become things that pull us apart instead of the ties that bind?

Read this:

"It took effort, intentionality, sweat equity, and determination. The it took time and commitment before he ever saw any fruit from his labor."

She [Lysa TurKeurst] goes on to say,

"But eventually, there was a bloom...and then another...and then another."

Immediate change may be what we want but it isn’t what we’re going to get. It’s going to take work. More effort on our part. While we’re hoping for change in another, God will be changing us.

Marriage is both ways men. It takes effort on your part, just as much as it does hers. You can’t make changes for her and she can’t make them for you and you can NOT wish them on one another. Sometimes the best thing you can do is try to understand her. Even though you probably never will completely, you’ll see what makes her tick — what makes her smile, what makes her cringe, what makes her cry, and what truly makes her heart sing. I guarantee the right combination of “What if’s” is out there, waiting to do their job in making your wife smile.

What if you tried to do things a little different ladies? What if you put a little more effort into things he liked? What if you chose to think good thoughts? What if you didn’t point out his flaws to others, but embraced his strengths? What if you encouraged him? What if you rediscovered why you fell in love with him to begin with? What if you chose to realize that it isn’t always about how you feel because maybe, just maybe, he’s feeling the same way.

She needs you. As many times as she acts like she doesn’t and even on the days she makes you feel like she can do it on her own…she needs you. But can I be honest with you? She needs you at your best, even when you feel your worst. The one who puts whatever he’s fidgeting with down to look at her when she talks. To get engaged in something she’s passionate about and show that you care. She longs for that embrace that is simply about the embrace — nothing more, nothing less — just the touch of your two hearts close together.

He needs you. As many times as he acts like he doesn’t and even on the days he makes you feel like he can do it on his own…he needs you. But can I be honest with you? He needs you at your best, even when you feel your worst. The one who puts whatever she’s looking at down to focus on him when he talks. To get engaged in something he’s passionate about and show that you care. He longs for that ear to listen — just listen — to him from time to time. It means more than you know.

It really is the little things for men and women. The little things do matter. If you make every effort to do a few little things each day, I guarantee that, one day, they’ll turn into the big things.

Read The “What If’s” of Marriage for her
Read The “What If’s” of Marriage for him