7 Everythings I’ve Learned When I Finally Got What I Wanted

theYou guys.  I’m super excited about my first guest post.  I couldn’t think of a better person to write it than:  

<– Holly. 

Holly is seriously the sweetest person you could ever encounter, and I am lucky to call her one of my best friends. She has also become one of my favorite writers.   You can check her out at Cartwheels Down the Hall.  She’s hilarious, and I’m pretty sure we could create an entire book from out text messages and Facebook posts that would have you rolling.on.the.floor.laughing. {Wait . . . file that under “First Book Idea”}

Holls and I met in college our freshmen year and ended up being inseparable.  We now live nearly 700 miles apart, but make a point to see each other at least every summer. The two of us have a special friendship where we can talk about all the everythings and all the nothings—which usually take place during sporadic phone conversations that last an hour . . . or two.  

Over the past several years, she chose to let me in to a dark period of her life when her heart crumble as she and her husband struggled to get pregnant.  One of the worst feelings in the world is having your BFF cry on your shoulder and there is nothing you can do to fix the problem—just listen.  {Let it be noted though that I did offer to be a surrogate for that baby!}.

Finally the day came when I received a special call—the call where she told me she was “with child.” {I really like that phrase}.  

She got what she wanted after all these years.  And that is exactly what she chose to write about for this segment of “7 Everythings I’ve Learned.”  

Enjoy. 

HOLLY: 

 When Courtney approached me about writing a guest post, I was thrilled with the theme. I tossed around all kinds of ideas, but every one pertained to something I felt like I’d already “survived.”  The call to write about a more current “life topic” was strong.
     My husband and I tried for exactly two years to conceive our first child. (As I write this, I’m feeling all kinds of flips and flops in my tummy as I’m currently 29 weeks pregnant.  Yippee)!
     Struggling to conceive was hard, guys.  I need another word for “hard.”  Awful?  Traumatic?  We are fortunate in that we didn’t have to go through any complicated treatments or the expense and heartbreak of failed medical procedures.  One day, the plus sign just showed up.  Hallelujah.  I could write an entire post on that topic, alone (and almost did).
     Maybe you are waiting on a baby, too.  Maybe you are on the hunt for a new house or working towards a new promotion.  The list of new life events we wait for is endless, so here’s a list of things you may find helpful when the wait is finally over.
When you get what you want, remember this…
1. It will not fix “all the everythings.”  (Thank you, Courtney, for that sweet, new catchphrase)!  Your dog will still pee on the floor.  Your husband will still put un-rinsed chocolate milk glasses in the sink.  Ain’t enough lotto-winnings or job promotions in the world to fix all that mess.  Do not be disappointed.
2.  It will fix things you didn’t even know were broken. While we were in the trenches of trying to conceive, I was doing a lot of “crying in the car.”  For me, that is always a red flag.  A sign that something needs to be “fixed.”  In short, I think I was really, really struggling with my emotions.  Depression.  Jealousy.  Blinding rage. You know the drill. I remember crying to my husband and saying, “I don’t want to “just get pregnant”…I want to FIX this.”  And he looked me in the eye and said,
“Baby.  Getting pregnant IS going to fix this.”
And that was a hard truth, but one I needed to hear.
     In some ways, my sweet husband was right.  This pregnancy “fixed” many, many emotional issues.  It has brought about a lot of healing, especially in my marriage. Imagine my relief to find that “getting what I wanted” made all these sweet life experiences that much sweeter and filled holes in my heart I didn’t even know existed.
3. Your “want” will likely bring about change, new obstacles, and also a truckload of chaos.   Perhaps number 3 needs no explanation.  Celebrate, and hold on tight.
4. It might not always “feel” right.  And now, it’s time for my favorite John Steinbeck quote.   “And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”  
 
Don’t panic if, after you’ve reached your goal, you’re still feeling unsettled.  It doesn’t mean your new position in life isn’t “right.”  It just means that Numbers 1 and 3 hold true.  Don’t give up.  
5. People will be really, really good and also really, really weird.  Humans are strange animals.  Chances are, the people you encounter are going to want to talk to you about your outstanding, new accomplishment.
How was graduation? 
When do you close on your house? 
Do you like your new co-workers?
People will come out of the woodwork to love and serve you well.  It’s fantastic.  Really.
And then come the weirdos.  I had two people publicly ask me if my pregnancy was planned. That calls for an enthusiastic “yes”…but why even ask such a personal question in a room full of people?  It was awkward!
Be prepared to have a few odd encounters as you share your news.
How much was your raise?  
Is your boss single?  
Has anyone ever died in your new house?  
Try to approach these situations with as much humility and grace as possible.
6. Don’t get distracted by the question, “Why?”  
Why did it take so long for me to find a spouse?  
Why didn’t we get the first house we made an offer on?  
Why was I overlooked for the promotion the first time?  
You  might find out the answer in the near future…or you might not ever know. Try not to let the mystery that is “the past” distract you from the joy you’re surely experiencing now!
7. I hate to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be ok.
If you’re dealing with a nasty case of “Number 4,” again, don’t panic.  Maybe your new boss is being standoffish.  Maybe there’s more traffic in your new neighborhood than you initially realized.  There are a million different reasons to be nervous or disappointed when change comes about.  Stay the course.  
 
The best advice I ever received came from my sister (via Dr. Phil, haha).  
 
“Always play the ‘what if’ game until the end.” 
 
What if…
 
I’m unhappy at my new job?  Be professional.  Give it a chance, but keep in mind, you can always find another one!  
 
We didn’t choose the right neighborhood? Live with it for a while.  If you’re still unhappy, move on to greener pastures.   
 
Are you currently in the waiting season, or have you seen your way out of it?  What did you learn?  We wanna hear all about it!  
 
I wish you the best of luck in all your new endeavors.   
 
Love and nothing good gets away, 
 
Holly 

Seven Everythings I’ve Learned from My Dad

Eating ice cream. Circa 1984.

Eating ice cream with my dad. Circa 1984.

I’m starting a series called “Seven Everythings I’ve Learned.”  Here I’ll feature seven “everythings” {because . . . blog name}  I’ve learned from various people and experiences.  I’ll also feature guests posts from people I find intriguing.   I figured since Father’s Day is today, it was only fitting for my first post in this category to be what I’ve learned from my dad.

I don’t remember my father ever sitting me down and saying, “Courtney, when you grow up, you need to do X, Y, and Z.”  Rachel Cruze teaches when it comes to parenting, “more is caught than taught,” and that is exactly how it’s been with Papa Jack.  He never had to sit me down and have such talks—he was teaching me by my observations.

1. Live Below Your Means

Daddy/Daughter dance at my wedding.

Daddy/Daughter dance at my wedding . . . that he paid for.

My dad is cheap frugal.  Every trip to the grocery store results in him asking for rain checks on discounted sold out items.  He will politely argue with cashier if he was shorted even a penny.   And I was mortified whenever he would make me scalp tickets at KU basketball games so we could get better seats on the cheap.   We never drove new cars, rarely went on vacations (other than visiting family), and the only beverage I was allowed to order at a restaurant was water.

But because my dad was a penny pincher, he was able to pay for my college and my wedding.  He has freedom to be incredibly generous.  He could buy more expensive items if he wanted, and he’d pay cash instead of going into debt. His frugal ways have definitely rubbed off on me as I now see myself putting his tightwad techniques into practice; they pay off in the long run.

2. Work Hard

My pops has always worked, and he’s worked hard.  When I was younger, he had numerous paper routes to put himself through college.   After an MBA, he became a business man and the head of the purchasing department at his job.   I worked in the factory at his business to make extra money in college.  I’ll never forget when an employee pulled me aside one day and said, “You know, if your father ever left this company, it would completely fall to pieces.”  I swelled up with pride at this comment—that was my daddy he was talking about.  His work had become invaluable, and when your work becomes invaluable, you gain purpose and security for you and your family.

Like father, like daughter.  At my graduation for my master's.

Like father, like daughter. At my graduation for my master’s.

3. Education is Important

I was expected to do well in school and go to college.  I wasn’t even allowed to take an easy load my senior year of high school. Before I turned in my proposed schedule, my dad made me switch everything around to take all the harder classes, dang it! Because of his high expectations, I went on to get my bachelor’s, and one of my proudest moments in life was finally being on par with my pops in degrees by attaining a master’s.  Education has stamped out the ignorance in my life and heavily molded me into the person I am today.

It wasn’t just formal education my father emphasized—it was a love for learning.  Before Google, my dad had “The Red Dictionary”–a tattered old thing that seemed to always be within arm’s reach of him.  Whenever we were uncertain about anything, we’d consult said lexicon.   Even though I am now a teacher by profession, my dad has taught me to forever be a student.

4.  Be Cool

If you surveyed 100 people who know my dad well and asked them to describe Jack in just one word, I’d bet “cool” would be used more than any other.  He’s seriously just a cool guy and I’ve never met a soul who doesn’t like him.   So . . . Be Cool = People Like You.

5. Quality Time Matters

Catching a Boston Red Sox game in Boston

Catching a Red Sox game together in Boston

Some of my favorite memories with my dad are taking road trips, attending ball games, and playing euchre.  Now that he has grandchildren, he makes it a point to spend quality time with them, too. I guarantee those memories will be more significant to them than any gift they ever receive.

6. Invest in Others

My dad was a part of a bus ministry back in the 1970s where he picked up kids for church. Through this ministry he was able to build relationships with numerous boys and become a fatherly figure.  Over the years he’d hire them to deliver newspapers, took them to Royals games, and mentored them spiritually.   He still has a close relationship with many of them, and one in particular says he wouldn’t be the man he is today if it weren’t specifically for my dad in his life. Watching this as an adolescent majorly influenced my decision to become a teacher, a teen leader at my church, and a volunteer.

7. Eat Ice Cream

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Passing on the art of eating ice cream to my kids.

I’m pretty sure there is a direct correlation between ice cream and happiness.  If my dad is visiting, you can bet there will be ice cream in our fridge.  He may even splurge and we’ll go out for some.  You don’t want to live a life full of regrets—a life without ice cream is sure to be regretful.

And . . . Mmmmmmm.  Ice cream sounds #sogood right now.  I think I’m gonna stop typing and fill a bowl.

I love you, Dad.   Thanks for the lessons.

Happy Father’s Day.

Love,

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