I’m on a big Shauna Niequist kick right now. After so many people told me to read her books, listen to her podcast, and cook her recipes I finally gave in and I was instantly enamored. I want to be her when I grow up. She’s so inspiring but in a way that’s attainable…does that make sense? I feel like I could be Shauna, or I could put her faith and love of people into practice in my everyday life. I love her honesty, her transparency and how when I read her words I can actually FEEL them.
In her book “Bittersweet” (which I devoured in a day and a half) she talks about the things she believes in with such passion that I felt inspired to write one of my own. This is one of those practices I’m hoping will get me back in the writing groove.
I believe in coffee as a love language. Sometimes life hands us things we can’t control or can’t explain in words and in those situations the only prescription is a cup of coffee. Coffee, to me, is a conversation starter, a way to say “I love you”; “I’m sorry” or “you’ve so got this”. Sometimes I send Starbucks gift cards to my friends for no reason, because sometimes we need an extra cup of coffee to get us through the day. Sometimes, when there are no words, there is coffee and that says it all.
I believe there’s no wrong way to pray. I think it’s okay if your prayer is the same prayer every morning while you’re sitting in godawful traffic and that prayer is “God please keep me from wanting to physically harm everyone on the road this morning”. Sometimes I think churches “pray shame” us into thinking we’re doing it wrong, and honestly it’s okay to pray however you want to pray if praying is your thing…..as long as you do it when it feels right.
I believe in the power of the “home team”. Shauna believes in this too, so I know it’s legit. A “home team” is made up of your people: the ones who can walk into your house without knocking; the ones who know everything about you but love you anyway; the ones who are “Auntie” and “Uncle” to your children even though they aren’t blood; the ones who cry when you cry and the ones who would show up to your child’s holiday performance at school. I believe in the power of the “home team”. I believe in putting them first, in investing so deeply into those relationships that the lines between friend and family get blurred. I believe you don’t have to talk to your “home team” every day for them but I believe in showing up for them always. I have a damn good home team and I hope you do too.
I believe in heartfelt apologies and admitting when you’re wrong. I am not always good at this. Sometimes being wrong or apologizing makes my chest burn and my body feel oily and uncomfortable and all I want to do is scream “IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE I’M RIGHT!” even when I’m clearly wrong. But, instead of digging in my heels I succumb to the oiliness and with as much empathy I can muster I say “I am so sorry. I was wrong, and I hope you can forgive me.” And then I send a Starbucks card.
I believe in carrying pens with you wherever you go. You never know when you’ll need one after a dinner with your “home team” because the waitress didn’t have enough on her or sign a random autograph (ha, in my dreams). Want to feel prepared? Have a pen on hand for the person in the meeting who forgot one. Never underestimate the power of having a pen. I also love pens so I have a stash of multicolored ones in my purse.
I believe in writing thank you notes and sending snail mail. There is nothing that can brighten a day like a handwritten note or reaffirm gratitude like a handwritten thank you note. I believe in stockpiling stationary and cards so you can send a note anytime. I also love stationary and cards, so I will take any excuse to hit the stationary section of any store. I had a pen pal from 3rd grade on and getting her letters were a highlight of my childhood. Never underestimate the power of receiving something in the mail that isn’t a bill. I refuse to let the art of writing letters and thank you notes die.
I believe in supporting local businesses and friends who have businesses. I believe in shouting from the rooftops about how amazing your friend’s businesses are and buying their products whenever you can. I believe in sharing your favorite local businesses with your community and encouraging people to check them out. I believe that when you support local you support someone’s dream and who doesn’t love supporting dreams?
I believe in communication. I believe in saying how you feel, in being an efficient and direct communicator. Nothing ever gets accomplished when you beat around the bush and you never get what you don’t have the courage to ask for. (I think Brene Brown said this) You can learn a lot about people from what they say and what they don’t say: we are always communicating, whether we are talking or sitting in silence. I don’t boast about being good at many things (or anything for that matter), but I will say that I am a very good communicator and I’m very proud of that.
There really is no easy way to end this post, but I will say that if you want to learn about yourself and remind yourself about what’s important to you, try making a list like this and then refer back to it whenever you need to. Put this list in your journal, in your car, on your fridge or write it down in a blog post. I promise it will help you and encourage you daily.