What you say matters. What you don't say matters.

I recently finished up two albums I put together from our wedding for our parents. I had only included photos, and it wasn't until my husband asked about putting in vows or songs, did I dig and dig to find the vows we wrote for our wedding day.

As I rewrote each of our vows to put in the album, did I realize how beautiful those words still are. We wrote from the heart, something that isn't shared often enough. One of the things that attracted me to Jeremy was his way with words. Both him and his brother have a talent there. Anyway, re-reading my own words, they sunk in, in a way I hadn't really thought about since that day. Promises we made, honoring, committing, and things we wanted to offer one another for the rest of our lives.

But honestly, who keeps up with that after the wedding? Or at least, once the honeymoon phase fades. It happens to the best of us, no sense in beating yourself up over it. But there were simple things; promising to listen, to always say I love you, to forgive, and to be kind. These simple things, these simple words are often the most overlooked. Not to say we don't do these things, but there is always room for improvement as well.

These things shouldn't be last on the priority list to your spouse. It really hit me that I haven't been the best at the things I promised him, being the best I can is one of those promises. I instantly felt shame. We get so caught up in our lives, taking time to slow down takes a back seat, and we're left feeling a need for more than we're getting. Of course, we don't vocalize those little things, we often don't even realize what we're not getting from the other person. It's still there though. Those things brought you together, made you fall in love over and over again. We just get comfortable.

So as I talked about in the previous post, I'm still being ever so mindful and challenging myself to find gratitude. To be grateful for the simple things. To allow myself to be happy - just because, to laugh, to smile, to offer kindness when I'm too tired. A great example of this, today as I was walking into the store, Kate and I hand in hand. We walked behind a gentleman backing up his car. We saw him and went around, he didn't see us. No big deal. BUT, as he finished backing up and saw us, he made the effort to roll down his window and say, "Sorry ma'am, I didn't see you there." I let him know it was okay, I noticed him. No big deal. I smiled. How thoughtful for this stranger to pause and to actually voice his apology. It seems so rare these days that someone takes the time to not only do the right thing, but to give it a VOICE. I felt empowered.

And then it struck me, when was the last time I offered my kindness? When did I last praise or encourage someone to [maybe] brighten their day when our paths crossed? I had a talk last night with my son, as him and his sister are practicing using only kind words with one another, the value he holds in being able to service other people, to help someone else have a good day, to make someone else smile - just because. Just because we have the power to. It can be life changing to make these things a habit. When people start to feel good around you, because you have a positive attitude, use kind words, and tell them of your simple joys and feelings of gratitude - they want to be around you. It's empowering. I hope to continue this lesson in not just my life, but for my whole family. To encourage one another, and to bring forth the positive of every day, not the negative that so easily comes up. It's no doubt a challenge, but it's possible. The more you practice kindness and positive speaking, the easier it will become. It has such an impact on those around you. And that's what matters.