Categories
Learning Mindset Self-improvement

Intentions

I have some thoughts on intentions that I wanted to share!

One evening, about six years ago, I took dinner to my friend and her family. They had just welcomed a new baby into their family. I really wanted to help in some way, and bringing dinner seemed just the thing. Now picture this: a pregnant Jacquie walking up the stairs to their house, carrying a heavy tray filled with homemade spaghetti sauce, meatballs, pasta, veggies and dessert. 

Did I mention I was pregnant and emotional and stressed? Making dinner was something I wanted to do for others, but it was always a stressful to-do. I would worry if the dinner would be tasty, or if I made enough. And at this stage of my life six years ago, I’d worry about the timing of dinner delivery because I had a one year old boy who had an inconvenient tendency to fall asleep on drives in the evenings. If he slept for even five minutes, it would affect his bedtime and he wouldn’t fall asleep until close to 10 pm. Thus, affecting my quiet time in the evenings, and I think we all understand the sacred nature of adult time sans children. Plus, I knew the mess that was awaiting me in the kitchen. I didn’t clean up as I went, like I do now. All these little worries added up and I wouldn’t be the kindest or calmest person to my family. But I digress.

Somehow, while walking with a tray in hand,  I tripped up the stairs, fell down, causing the food to go flying. The spaghetti and meatballs painted my neighbour’s light coloured stairs and their gray stucco exterior. Did I mention they  lived in a newly built home? It was a disaster! I felt awful, both physically and emotionally and I started to cry. Like really. I tried to do something nice for this family and I ended up not only ruining the dinner, but I was convinced I ruined their house, too. Plus, I still needed to feed my kids. And I had that worry that my baby fell asleep amidst this “quick” meal delivery. 

I don’t have many photos for this blog post. So, here is one of my baby, Bennett. He’s the one I worried would fall asleep in the van ride to deliver. Oh, how this makes me miss my babies!

My friend came out because she heard the ruckus. She was so gracious, and even found the humour in it all. I sure didn’t.  I profusely apologized about the mess and for the lack of dirt-free dinner. Between tears, I was able to call my husband Keegan and tell him what happened. I was a hot mess and wasn’t thinking clearly. Keegan was also gracious to his irrational wife and said he’d leave work early and grab some pizzas on the way home. Could I have ordered pizza from a restaurant in the town I live and have them deliver? Absolutely. Did I see that as an option amidst my whole world crashing down around me? Nope. I was trapped in a glass case of emotion. (Name that quote.)

The end result wasn’t what any of us expected, but I knew my friend still felt of my love. She knew of my intentions. However, even with my good intentions, the whole ordeal was an inconvenience for all parties involved, especially for my friend’s husband, who insisted he’d clean off the mess instead of me or Keegan doing it. And before it all froze. I’m so grateful for people being able to see what’s in my heart and not necessarily what’s in the finished product.

Now onto the next story. I went to Costco last week and saw the Lite Brite toy on sale. I loved that toy when I was a kid! Seeing it transported me back to when I bought the Lite Brite for my nephew Jack when he was around 5. (He is now 21.) I was so excited to give it as a gift! I loved it, so I assumed he would, too. Jim, who is Jack’s dad and my brother, told me years later the truth about that gift. At the time of this particular gift-giving, Jack was at the age where commercials were still a thing. None of this streaming or PVR business where you can bypass commercials. You had to watch them the old fashioned way.  Apparently, every time Jack saw a toy commercial during the Christmas season, he’d mention how he wanted that advertised toy for Christmas. But when the Lite Brite commercial came on, he didn’t make a sound. Not a peep. It was pretty much the one toy he didn’t have interest in. My intentions were good; I wanted to give a gift to my nephew.  After learning the truth about my beloved Lite Brite, I felt disappointed and a tad embarrassed. I can laugh about it now, and see how my good intentions didn’t have the outcome I thought they would. But hopefully, my nephew still felt of my love!

When I saw a whole pallet of Lite Brites at Costco last week, I was still drawn to them. I wanted one. Surprisingly, my kids did, too. I didn’t end up buying one, but maybe they’ll get one for Christmas. Then I’ll be able to relive more glory days!

And they were even on sale!

There will be instances in our lives when we have good intentions but do not act on them. I’ve been trying harder than ever to act on my first impression to do something. (Read about that HERE.) But I’m not perfect. I really missed the boat in this next story I’ll share. It’s a tender topic, but I still want to share.

Henry (not his real name) was a senior gentleman in my town who walked miles every day. He fascinated me. No matter the weather, he was walking. Throughout the duration of a few years, I got to know him a little better. Whenever I’d see him around town, we’d chat a little. I learned that he was a widower and walked so much to fill up his days.

 I felt the impression quite a few times to invite Henry over to our house for dinner. I finally decided to take action and called my sister to get his number. He was in her ward (a church congregation). I was ready to invite him over. I got excited thinking about where we’d go from there. Would he be receptive to our invitation? Would he eventually become like an adoptive grandpa? I didn’t expect my sister’s response at all. She told me that Henry had died just a few days earlier. My heart was so sad for lots of reasons. One reason was for the missed opportunity. I put those nudges to the back burner for years. And now it was too late. I had a good cry for his family, our community and for me and my family. For the “what ifs”. I eventually realized that he was reunited with his sweetheart and that he wasn’t alone anymore. That offered me some comfort, but didn’t take away my guilt. This experience taught a valuable lesson: act on those good intentions. Even if the end result isn’t what you intended! In this case, even if the end result wasn’t what I wanted, and he didn’t accept my invitation, at least Henry would have known that he mattered to me. 

I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom with this last story. I just wanted to share this hard lesson I learned. Sometimes there are expiration dates to our opportunities. The good news is that, for the most part, regardless of the end result, people can see the intentions of our heart. I’m so grateful for that. Thank heavens, literally, for a loving father in heaven who ALWAYS sees our intentions, no matter the finished product. Sometimes I feel so misunderstood, but God always gets me. (I have some stories to share about that HERE.) Hopefully, we can all give a little more grace to ourselves and to those people in our lives when our/their end result leaves much to be desired.

P.S. I still enjoy taking dinner to people when it’s helpful, but I started to realize the stress it sometimes puts on me, and inadvertently my family. When I am mindful and know that a homemade meal wouldn’t be conducive to a peaceful evening, I’ll buy dinner for the family. Gasp! You read that right. Rotisserie chicken, buns, bagged salad and a treat. Boom. Done. Everyone wins. I’ve also been on a chicken pot pie kick lately because of how symbolic it is to me. Read about that HERE.)

Categories
Learning Spiritual Uncategorized

First and Second Impressions: Learning to Recognize and Take Action

Going to see a therapist used to be taboo. That is no longer the case and I am forever grateful for that. Well, maybe it might still be, but it doesn’t play a role in my decision making like it may have in the past. I’ve learned to honour that we don’t have to figure things out on our own. Part of my wellness journey has been embracing different forms of therapy. I’ve done talk therapy, tapping, energy and spiritual work. I’ve also been going to see Daryn, a doctor of natural medicine. Each form of therapy has been so beneficial. Therapy has changed over the years and I think we can all find a good fit with all the options available! (You don’t want to/can’t leave your house? You don’t have to. All of these forms of therapy are flexible! And you don’t even need to put on pants.)

I have felt unburdened and empowered as a result of therapy. Have I felt uncomfortable and extremely vulnerable? Did I sometimes want to quit? Yes, yes and yes, but the journey to self love and self improvement has been worth it. The journey is ongoing, and will never end, but I feel freer than I can remember. I feel like I am not only peeling my layers, but I am shedding them, too. The toxic thoughts, limiting beliefs, the hurt, the unhealthy. I have shed many cleansing and releasing tears. (And I have also released a lot of mucous. This photo was taken after one tapping session. I let so much go!)

Please email me if you want any contact information for the people who have been instrumental in helping me on my journey to wellness.

Kleenex Mountain

I could write about many enlightening experiences from my different therapies, but I want to focus on one experience, in particular. It was during a session with Daryn that I learned something that has changed my life. I’m not saying this flippantly, either. Daryn shared something he learned while visiting a ward (church congregation) in Calgary. The gist of it was that the good thoughts that pop into your head, ones that urge you to follow through and take action, are called “first impressions”. Maybe you have an initial thought to reach out to someone you don’t know super well. Or maybe right before you’re leaving the house to run a quick errand with your kids, you have a thought to take water bottles and snacks with you. Often following a good thought, you may get another thought; one that discourages or discounts the first thought. It causes you to doubt yourself. That is what you would call a “second impression”. So, that thought to reach out to someone you don’t know super well has you questioning yourself and has you assuming the person would think you’re a weirdo. And the thought to take water bottles and snacks? You want to push that thought away, rationalizing that you’ll only be gone for 20 minutes.

I had never really heard of these conflicting thoughts as being called a first or second impression, but it makes complete sense. Don’t you just love being given the words that can perfectly sum things up? Giving them words helps create a deeper meaning, yet helps simplify, too. First and second impressions can be seen as a good thought being potentially thwarted by our self-doubt and insecurities. Or you can think of it as a prompting from God, through the Holy Ghost, being potentially thwarted by Satan’s desire to stop the goodness from happening. Either way, I am seeing through a different lens. That person who you thought to reach out to? You questioned the doubt and followed through. The card you mailed made her feel remembered. She felt seen. She felt loved. In fact, she had said a specific prayer to feel Heavenly Father’s love. Your simple act helped remind her that He is mindful of her. That nudge you felt to grab water bottles and snacks? You decided to grab them, even though you were anxious to get going. You were delighted you brought them because your preparation allowed for a spontaneous playdate at the park! (Both of these examples really happened to me.)

I am a believer that good things come from God. God is good! So good! And first impressions come from Him, no matter how big or small. Satan is the opposite. He thrives in our self-doubt, our guilt and in our insecurities. I have tried to become more astute at recognizing that second impressions come from Satan’s influence. He doesn’t want us to connect with one another. He doesn’t want us to be instruments in the Lord’s hands. He doesn’t want us to have joy. He wants us to be miserable like him. And Satan is sneaky. He tries to bring us down by the littlest actions. I am trying harder than ever to recognize those attempts. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. It just takes practice and patience with yourself.

‘Practice makes perfect’, has been replaced somewhere along the line with ‘practice makes progress’. I like that much better. I know I am not perfect, but I am making progress with recognizing when I am prompted by the Holy Ghost. The more I listen, the easier it becomes. But make no mistake; I still listen to the ‘second impression’. Case in point. I am a creature of habit. For example, I almost always put our laundry baskets by our bed. Notice I said almost always? One day, I put our laundry basket in a different location; against the wall between our bedroom door and our bathroom door. I had a thought to move that basket to the usual place, but I ignored that thought. I was woken up early the next morning to a loud noise followed by “OUCH!” and maybe a substitute swear or two. Keegan was getting ready to go to work. It was dark out. He wasn’t expecting the laundry basket to be where it was and he walked right into it. Did I mention that we have wire laundry baskets? He stubbed his toes so hard! What a way to wake up. If I would’ve followed that first impression, I could’ve toe-tally prevented that from happening.

The culprit.

On a previous blog post, I shared my chicken pot pie story. If you don’t want to read it, I’ll sum it up. After my mom died, I had a craving for chicken pot pie. I wasn’t up to making food, so I knew my craving would not be satisfied. Within a day of each other, two friends brought by chicken pot pies. What a beautiful reminder that I was loved. That God was mindful of me, even when I was so angry at him. These two women followed through with the impression to bring me a chicken pot pie. God used them as instruments in His hands. I will forever cherish this memory.

I have something else to share that I will forever cherish. My friend, who we shall call Jess, texted and reached out to me about two years after my mom passed away. This beautiful friend told me that the day after my mom died, she had the strongest feeling to bring me a chicken pot pie. She told me she second guessed herself, though, thinking that the prompting must’ve been wrong. She questioned her cooking abilities. Jess knew that I had plenty of people bringing tasty food, and thought I wouldn’t actually want a meal from her. So, she didn’t bring the chicken pot pie over. Months after my mom died, I wrote and shared my chicken pot pie story and she read it. Even though Jess regretted not following through with the prompting, she embraced this as a learning experience. She told me she is now able to better recognize and follow through with those ‘first impressions.’ Jess’ text meant so much to me because it was another reminder that Heavenly Father is mindful of me. He sent a chicken pot pie prompting to three people! He will send you those angels, or He will send you a message, one way or another.

One message I was sent didn’t make sense. The kids had been sleeping soundly for a few hours and I was laying in bed about to fall asleep. I had an impression to go check on the kids. I didn’t want to because Keegan had just checked on them a while before. And I was so cozy in my comfy bed. The air purifier was drowning out noise and lulling me to sleep. I was tired and my knees hurt. But, I decided to listen to the prompting anyway. On my way up the stairs, I heard a beeping sound. I couldn’t hear it from my room because of the white noise from the purifier. Upon investigating, the beeping was coming from the deep freeze in the basement. The freezer door wasn’t shut all the way and the temperatures were rising. I think Heavenly Father knew that there was a chance I’d ignore a prompting about the freezer, but I would not ignore a prompting about my kids. He cared enough about the repercussions that a freezer full of thawed Costco groceries would bring. It’s so humbling that God is so intricately woven into our lives.

I have another story to share. This one is extremely hard to talk about, but I’ll be brave.

I was packing up our rental house so we could move boxes into our new home. I was in a rush to get my kids out the door so my mom could watch them while I worked. Earlier that day, I had moved all of my household cleaners to my pantry so I could pack them together. I had a thought to move my cleaners to a higher shelf, but I dismissed I because I was going to pack them up after my kids were gone. I felt that it was just one extra and unnecessary step for me.

I gathered the kids so we could go to my mom’s, and had just finished putting Lachlan in his carseat when I heard the most alarming sound come from Bennett. I can’t even describe it. It was a shocked, scared and painful cry that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Bennett had grabbed the oven cleaner and sprayed it on himself. I think he wanted to squeeze the handle, as all kids love to do, but he had pointed the nozzle at his face. The oven cleaner got in his mouth and all over his face. I have never been so scared in my life. I rushed him across the street to the hospital. The staff were so efficient and amazing.

I was dealing with some huge emotions. Mine, not Bennett’s. He was a champ through it all. He just snuggled with me and let the nurses and doctor do their thing. He even managed to smile and be his sweet, darling self. Meanwhile, I was spiralling. I had no idea how much cleaner he ingested. I had no idea if he was going to be okay. I had no idea what damage the toxic cleaner caused to my sweet two-year old’s body. All I did know was that I didn’t heed the thought to move the cleaner. All I know is that I could’ve prevented this from happening. I have never felt that kind of guilt before.

My amazing and resilient little boy. This photo is still so hard for me to look at.

Fast forward almost 4 years. I am happy to say that Bennett is now six years old and thriving. There seems to be no lasting effects on Bennett, either physically or emotionally. I am forever grateful for the hospital staff. They helped Bennett and were so good to him. They helped me, too. I was spiralling and felt that I was the worst mom in the world. I had a sweet nurse share her own ‘worst mom’ story. She didn’t need to do that, but she did. And I really needed to hear it. Angels come in many forms. My family’s angel was wearing scrubs that day.

Another angel in my family’s life comes in the form of a professional baker. Through the years, we have formed a relationship with the owners of Grandma’s Oven. They are truly heaven sent. If you know them, you know exactly what I’m talking about. After my mom died, we found out Evie was allergic to eggs and was lactose intolerant. That was really hard on her, as so many things have eggs in them. That also meant she couldn’t have any amazing baked goods from Grandma’s Oven. One day, out of nowhere, we got a knock on the door. There, holding two pans of egg-free cinnamon buns, was the Grandma of all grandmas. She fiddled around with egg-free cinnamon bun recipes and made Evie her own batch. She told me, “I needed to do this for Evie because her grandma would’ve done it if she were here.”

Never has a pan of cinnamon buns tasted so delicious. This was another chicken pot pie moment for my family.

You could taste the love in those cinnamon buns.

I am so grateful to have learned more about what kind of impressions we receive. I am also grateful for all the times I can recall where I have been a recipient of people’s first impressions. I want to be the kind of person who recognizes and follows through. We really never know the impact that our words or deeds might have! I want to remember that recognizing the promptings takes practice, and to give myself grace when I forget to listen to the still small voice. Practice makes progress, not perfect.