Embracing Positivity

Some practical advice for a Complaint Fast.

Embrace positivity.

That’s right – go just a little Chris Traeger on your day.








Sidenote: Just watched the last episode with Chris and Ann on Hulu last night. :::tear::: He was *such* a great character. That’s really going to leave a hole.

Chris Traeger jokes aside, Andy and I have talked about whether this no complaints thing is just going to be a means of burying feelings (super unhealthy) and being artificial (I have zero tolerance for that). I think it could be either, but I think it can also be neither. I have no intention of ever burying feelings. It’s pretty subjective, I admit, but I do think there’s a difference between saying, “I’m so frustrated and sad,” and “OMG I hate snow.” For instance, Andy (noted: not taking the complaining fast), looked out the window yesterday morning at the snow coming down in droves and said, “It’ll be spring soon, guys.” He could’ve complained and just… went the other way.

He had no issues talking about how much he hated the Frozen song, “Let it Go” about 10 minutes later however. 😉

My former boss was the most positive person I know [and may ever know]. She could refer to a person who was seriously enraging their co-workers with certain behaviors, giggle, and say, “They are so silly, because…”

Another thing she did that she encouraged her whole team to do was, instead of talking about all the things something didn’t have (so, say… “I’m not buying that car because it doesn’t have AWD or heated seats,”), turn it into a wish. (So, “I wish that car had AWD and heated seats. That would really make me want to buy it. Not today.”) See the difference? Try it sometime. It is a POWERFUL dialogue tool. It makes you feel totally differently about a situation. Less negative. More wistful. Clear about what’s lacking. (Also, in practical business terms, entices the other person to work with you toward a common goal instead of putting them on the defensive.)

Much better. Go forth and Traeger, y’all.


My Complaint Fast

I’ve been ruminating a lot on the Book of Job lately. 2014 has not been, shall we say, easy for our family or our friends.

Let me start by saying that Andy, the boys and I are doing well. We are praying for endurance of optimism in Andy’s hunt for a job, but things have been generally good there. He’s been working hard at applications and networking, and it’s paying off through several callbacks and interviews right now. I have faith that it won’t be too much longer before he finds something. Beyond that, the boys are in a good school situation, work is going well for me, and we have a lovely home.

Life is good.

Worries have been abundant too, however, just outside our front door.

  • Andy’s mom continues her chemotherapy. She’s in the beginning of the journey, and reports from her are fair so far. She’s been tolerating the treatment better than she’d expected, so we hope that this continues and that the drugs are also doing what they’re supposed to be: eradicating the hell out of that cancer. Period.
  • Michael and Rose’s baby girl, Grace, had surgery last month for a laryngeal abnormality that was causing eating, breathing & growth difficulties. Last word I had from my brother after the surgery was that it was like they “had woken up from a nightmare.” Literally. Things must be going well, because they seem to be quietly nestled in down there in Illinois with not much word. No news is great news. :)
  • Our friends, Ben and Beth, delivered their baby boy at 22 weeks and had to say goodbye almost immediately. Sometimes it can feel like too much just to take your next breath, and all the “why” questions come like a tidal wave.
  • Tony and Erin start a thorough evaluation next month to better understand what Carsten’s needs are for the short and the long term. Potential diagnoses are just scary, scary stuff, but understanding what tools and approaches others have found useful come on the heels of a diagnosis. As does access to support. Easy for me to write when it’s not my kid, but I have hope that this will mean easier days for them soon.
  • More on that front, Erin – my sweet, sweet sister-in-law – has been having headaches and other neurological episodes that have doctors concerned. She goes to a bigger, regional hospital with a fantastic neurology department to figure out what’s going on. She’s scared. Tony’s scared. We’re all trying to give them strength in this scary time. If you pray, pray for strength for them.

I realize that I probably sound annoyingly objective. I feel like it’s not really fair for me to take on the distress as my own, although I worry and pray and impatiently wait for updates as you expect I might.

All this said, it’s a great time to zip my lips on petty complaints and open my eyes to all the things I *do* have. I’ve basically chosen to practice what I’ve been preaching to 4-year-old Graham. “You have a closet full of toys, why are you throwing a fit that you can’t have the one toy that Reid is playing with?!” To stop wishing to have more when I have so much already.

Yep, it snowed again. But I have a house to keep me warm.

I had to wipe poop up off the bathroom floor before work this morning. But I’ve got a healthy kid running around the house.

I got the kids to bed and the dinner dishes are still dirty. But I had undivided playtime with my kids – who I hadn’t seen all day.

I miss my friends back in Texas. But I’ve got Facebook and phone numbers to keep up with everybody.


It’s Ash Wednesday, so I’m eschewing the traditional fast of giving up chocolate, coffee or wine for a 40-day Complaint Fast. For 40-days, I’m going to keep a journal of things I’m grateful for. For my blessings. And I’m putting a stopper on the rest. Doesn’t mean I can’t worry, can’t make requests for things to get better. But the whining is stopping. Now.