All posts by Amy

Finding Peace In A Crazy World

It never fails.  The day you want to start something, the enemy comes to distract you.  Whether he succeeds or not really lies with you but in those moments, we feel that he has total power.  The title Finding Peace In A Crazy World is about slaying the demons that demand our attention and focus when it should be elsewhere.

Let’s face it — we live in a crazy world where the unexplainable, unimaginable happens EVERY SINGLE DAY.  What can we possibly do to get through the days when the crazy seems just a little over the top?  Well I’m going to tell you but FIRST, I have to share a little bit about what I heard on the radio this morning.

I had decided (after procrastinating the past few days) that today would be the day I wrote this blog entry.  After doing a poll on social media on the title that people wanted to read most, it was clear that most people are looking for peace in this crazy world of ours.  I started with my routine — got my coffee, warm compress for my dog (he has back issues), journal entry, bible reading, morning devotional and that’s where it stopped so that I could start writing.  I had put on my headphones this morning so I could really concentrate and because I don’t pay for a streaming service, I have to listen to an occasional news story or commercial.  One, in particular, stood out to me today.  It was about a new class* offered at Yale University on finding happiness.  Who would have ever thought that people would need to be taught how to be happy!?!?

I’m not sure if there’s been a study done or not but I’d venture to say that our society as a whole has become increasingly unhappy for a number of reasons.  Distractions take us away from the natural ways we once found to release stress and we find ourselves encapsulated within a virtual world where we can hide from just about everything.  But at what point do people face reality again?

In the 316 years of Yale University, this has quickly become the most popular class with nearly 1/4 of all undergraduates currently enrolled.  The class, entitled Psychology and the Good Life, “tries to teach students to lead a happier, more satisfying life in two-weekly lectures.”  With close to 1200 students, the 42-year old teacher [Laurie Santos] has quite the task ahead of her.  Enrollment in a class like this at a school like Yale only reinforces my assumption that we aren’t happy.

Students are asked to do things like sleep 8 hours each day and write 5 things they are grateful for, just as a start.  I think it’s funny how the ideas I was going to share about how you can find peace in this crazy world are along the same lines as the principles Santos is teaching in her class.   In 2006, Harvard offered a similar class with attendance around 900.  The difference in the classes — this class incorporates behavorial change.

I think that’s where I’ll start my blog…

Finding Peace In A Crazy World isn’t something you think about often.  I mean the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?  I think we often get caught up in the crazy and assume we just have to stay there.  What if I told you that you don’t have to?  That amidst the daily struggles, you CAN find peace — BUT it won’t come easy.  It will require some thought, action and quite possibly, behavioral change.

You can be in the best mood, having a great day and then BAM!  Someone poops in your Cheerios! Don’t like that analogy?
Okay, so say a bird poops on your head…
You leave your wallet at home, you need gas and you’re already late.
You have somewhere to be and all the forces of the world seem to be keeping you from getting there.  It doesn’t matter whether you have prepared dinner in advance, packed the car ahead of time and stayed on track ALL DAY.  Up until the last minute when the craziness began, you were going to be one time.

What about the times when it isn’t about time at all?  Maybe you set aside a day, or just a few hours, to yourself.  You strategically planned a certain amount of time where you could do something that would help you recover from the daily grind or maybe you carved out just enough time to do nothing at all.  No one is going to be home so it will be perfect, right?  Then a threatening snow storm that we all know will end up being 1/2″ of wetness cancels the meeting your spouse was going to and events the kids were to be at this evening.  Suddenly what was going to be your time has turned into a mad dash to the bath tub where you blow out the candles, let out the water and just get into bed.  I mean, your relaxation is over now anyway — or is it?

Here’s where we go wrong folks — we allow circumstances outside of our control, control us.  We fall into the trap that the enemy has set to take the very thing that will help us get back on our feet.  Our time to ourselves, that schedule we hold so dear, those things we’ve looked forward to.  Instead of pushing through to make those things happen, we so easily cave into the feelings we took on in the middle of a stupid mishap of things that we have no control over.

What if when those things happen we start to think of a 5-letter word that will help us keep our sanity and incidentally on the right path?

PEACE

Think it’s possible?  It is!  You just may have to work for it…

You’ve got the music going, the day is going great and your mind, well it’s in a really good spot.  Your heart is full because life is just spectacular or maybe you’re simply feeling an abundance of gratitude despite any minor complications.

The news comes on and shows a situation that takes your attention.  What is going on in this world.  You turn to social media to see if you can find out more information or even better — what do your friends think about it?  When you get there, you’re caught in the trap.  Story after story, post after post, thought after thought.  You’re caught and find yourself feeling differently than you did before.  You start to take on the feelings of those you’re following and stories start affecting you that you would have never known about had it not been for the news.

Let’s stay on the topic of social media for a second.  It’s a great tool to connect and get information out, I won’t say otherwise.  But for those who are so easily distracted, who take on the emotions of others, who tend to care a little too much what other people are doing, well it can be a trap that you almost can’t get out of.  I talked to youth about this recently at a weekend retreat we went on.  Whether you’re 16 or 36, people easily find themselves feeling discouraged when looking at social media for one simple reason — they’re not doing what everyone else is doing.  It’s so easy to get caught up in wishing we were doing what someone else was doing, that we were invited somewhere that our friends went, that we had little baby or a new puppy, or that we were able to go on a vacation with our spouse.  What happens when we get caught in someone else’s life is that we forget about our own.  We fail to see the beautiful things going on in our own life and start wishing we were living someone else’s.  It’s not intentional so if this is you, don’t feel bad.  I can’t say that this personally describes me but on occasion, it can if I let it.  We have to be careful with how much we believe about what we see.  For the most part, people aren’t going to post a photo of the argument they got in right after they posted that perfect selfie on the beach.  Nope.  And they’re not going to show you the closet floor full of clothes that they had to try on for hours to look as good as they do in that new outfit they had to put on the credit card for that special occasion — that outfit that they couldn’t afford and will probably never wear again.  That friend won’t tell you how much they cried before actually going out the door to that party or that they don’t really belong in that crowd of people — that they’re only going so they don’t have to be alone.  That church friend who seems to know and be loved by everyone, they’re not going to share that they struggle every day to keep their focus, that they have to pray to pray and IT. IS. HARD. on most days to be an encourager.

People aren’t going to put all of those things on social media, they’re going to put what looks best…what looks like they are living their best life.  The problem with that is it isn’t life.  THAT isn’t life.  Life is full of good days, bad days, tragedies and triumphs.  There is not one person in this world that has it all together.  If they try to tell you they do, they’re probably one who has a messy closet they go cry in on a daily basis.

Can I tell you something?  You aren’t failing when you have a bad day.  you aren’t failing when you have to fake your smile or fight past feelings causing you to struggle.  You aren’t failing when you realize you really need to think about the reasons you should be happy.  You’re just at a point when the crazy world is starting to get to you.

Let this be the start of something.  I PROMISE that I will post Part 2 of Finding Peace In A Crazy World but first, you have to admit that it’s possible.  Stay tuned…

*Read the full story here.

Two Words

I’ve really wanted to share about my experience this past weekend at Winter (youth) Retreat but the words weren’t there. Then one morning a few days ago, I woke up very early with two words on my mind – STOREHOUSE and WHEELHOUSE. It was probably only about 2a and I wasn’t prepared to wake up so I said a little prayer that I would remember them again when I woke up for the day in a couple hours. I did, and decided I needed to write them down before I forgot them. I’m not sure where they came from but I’ve been thinking about them ever since.
 
When I first thought of STOREHOUSE, I was immediately given the thought of having something to use later when we need it. I looked up the definition and one stood out:
 
STOREHOUSE: a large supply of something
 
I even googled STOREHOUSE in the bible to see what came up. What I found was that it is interchangeably used with the word TREASURES, most specifically, God’s treasures. Without going much deeper, I decided to rest on it…knowing good and well the time would come when I would feel an urgency to write about it.
 
The whole time, I thought WHEELHOUSE was just an overthought in my head that came from hearing the first one so I just brushed it off. Until this morning, that is.
 
As I finished my devotions, I got on my phone to make a few notes on things I needed to remember to do today and saw those words again. This time, I decided to look up WHEELHOUSE and the definition caught me off guard:
 
WHEELHOUSE: a part of a boat or ship serving as a shelter for the person at the wheel
 
My first thought was, God is MY shelter! This is what He was trying to share with me. But then it all came together. Stick with me for this one friends…
 
Let’s say that WE are the STOREHOUSE. We are God’s treasure, a STOREHOUSE full of HIS words and wisdom; best lived when we are open, when we dig deeper, and when we use the skills He’s given us for good — to bless others.
 
But WE are also the WHEELHOUSE…completely opposite from my initial thought. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in me, whom I have received from God (Read 2 Corinthians 6:19-20). It is the WHEELHOUSE to protect the person at the wheel — God — who should be at the center of my life, guiding the direction in which I will go.
 
I would have never thought those two words would have actually come together, nor would I have ever guessed how. But it makes sense now. How quickly we come to think something is one way or should be but in fact, it should be another. If I am the STOREHOUSE I should be full of the things that will help me to be a better WHEELHOUSE. The wisdom God gives me to get through situations is how I protect His being at the wheel, making sure HE stays there and that I don’t take over. You see, often times we get caught up with trying to fix a situation on our own but He is the one who should be in control. We need to read His Word, go deeper to find meanings, take those pieces of wisdom He gives us to heart so that, when we need them, the answers will be right there.
 
In order to be the best at who GOD, not this world, has called us to be, we have to make sure that our STOREHOUSE remains full and that the WHEELHOUSE is in working order. Aligning ourselves with God’s vision for our lives, not someone else’s. Too often people look at social media and, unknowingly, are being fed lies that they will not know how to fight off on their own. They start to think about someone else’s vision as their own, wish they had what one had or did what someone else did. God wants you to be YOU and in order to do that, you have to put your focus on HIM not those around you. If you want to live the life you were called to live you simply have to get your eyes off of everyone else’s calling and back on your own. Direction will come when the time is right. It may not be as quickly as you would hope or in the manner in which you requested it, but keep on pursuing and He’ll keep on answering — in HIS time.
 
Not sure who this was for today, but if it’s you, I’ll be praying 

*Winter Retreat is a weekend getaway where students and leaders come to get closer to God and make lasting connections with one another.

Morning Journal Entry: Day 24

I keep waiting for this feeling to come over me but God gave me a gentle reminder just now that faith isn’t a feeling. I think sometimes I get caught up in remembering the moments when I did “feel” something. They’re so powerful that they have the potential to carry me through to the next BIG THING -or- they can fizzle just as quickly as they came.

I’m tired of waiting for a feeling, for hoping something or someOne will pick me up when I’m struggling and completely worn out from not fighting the battles in my head hard enough. You see, when I fight to stay focused, to not let negative thoughts stay in my head, to be who God has called me to be, those “feelings” aren’t far behind. The saying goes, “Fake it ’til you make it” but what if we were to FIGHT until we make it? What if, instead of giving up when we’re tired and things aren’t easy, we get up and start fighting?

Things are coming from every angle and just when you feel like you’re finally breaking through, the enemy comes at you again. he knows your weaknesses, where you struggle and exactly when you’re at your breaking point. This is when you realize there’s no rest for the weary. If you give up now, what was the fight even for?

I want to be in the muck because that’s where people are hurting but I can only survive there if I have the STRENGTH to. Not strength that’s my own, but the God given, Holy Spirit driven, never going to give up kinda STRENGTH. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I’m giving it to God today so He can use me His way. I’m not waiting on a feeling, I’m fighting for one and along the way, I’ll be creating one.

I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way, feels this way. If this is you today, time to put on those big girl/boy pants, a pair of boxing gloves and fight the enemy who’s working hard to get in your corner. You have too much up ahead to give up now. It won’t be easy and it’s going to take work but trust me, it’ll be worth all the effort you’re putting in.

9 Things I Learned Not Speaking: Day 8 (THE FINAL HOURS)

TODAY’S THE DAY!!!

It’s hard to post today because I decided to start talking since it was Day 7. So on Day 8, I’m going to finish up my posts with less than 13 things but something even more important…

1. My bell still works.

2. As much as people have been joking about it, my two loves really do miss my voice. It was nice to hear that from them both 

3. You cannot be in a room full of friends you haven’t seen in a long time and not talk.

4. Once you start talking again, there’s no going back.

5. My dog really appreciates hearing my voice again.

6. Mother-Daughter conversations were much overdue.

7. I want to protect my voice more than ever now.

8. I will fast talking one day. It was one of the hardest things to give up.

9. Now that the day is FINALLY here, I am a bit concerned with what’s next. But I know God has me.

Over this time period, I may have shared 100 things I’ve learned but one thing stands out above them all.

#101 — I am surrounded by people who truly love and care for me, each in their own special way. Some I heard from daily, others several times in the week, some not at all but I felt their prayers. I received texts, flowers, meals, cards, messages, a pie, a necklace, songs, hugs, kisses and a whole lot of love! There are days when I feel disconnect or sad, not because I have anything specifically wrong in life but simply because it happens to many of us from time to time. However, during this past week of my life, I have felt all of the love that I would have l paid to feel during those lonely times. And you know what God told me before surgery even happened? He told me to take notes. So I did. From the first encouraging message to the last kind gesture, I have written down every name of every person and what they did throughout this process that made me feel special. And you know what? The next time I feel sad or disconnected, I’m going to get that list back out so that I can remember how many people showed me they loved me and that they care. You see, those little gestures mean so much for someone. Something as simple as a text to let someone know you’re thinking about them can lift them up on a bad day. A meal, a card, a BIG hug can quite possibly carry them through a really tough time. We each have our own special way to love and more specifically, our own way to love specific people. Don’t ever think it’s going to be the same for one as it will for another. You don’t necessarily have to consider their love language before you reach out, but really make it personal. And whatever you do, be sincere in telling them that you love them.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out throughout this process. I am certainly a blessed woman! Love you all 

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