My friend Sarah was talking about the book The Hidden Messages in Water
(strange and fascinating book!) and it got me thinking again about how what we say, hear, and see affects us in such a profound way and that we rarely even notice when it happens. The gist of the book (the book says it much better) is that these scientists discovered that when they would talk sweetly to vials of water as they froze, the ice crystals turned out beautiful, symmetrical, and balanced. When they talked down to the water, the ice crystals turned out ugly and misshapen. When you consider that we are 70% water, think of how words must affect us! Negative self talk, road rage, and discouraging words hurt us deeply in ways we don't realize, and every word of affection, respect, and kindness helps to build us up. If we could just think before we speak and turn criticism into focused encouragement, silence mean spirited teasing, and shut the door on nasty thoughts, think of the effect we'd have on ourselves, our loved ones, and, most importantly, the new generation we are growing and parenting now! Ever since I saw this book last year I've been trying to listen to music with positive, respectful lyrics (harder to find than you'd think!), and I did work on speaking respectfully as well, but it just slipped out of my mind for a while. This year I want to really focus on giving kind, helpful, positive words, especially to those I love. So, I'll start by listing my best friends and close family and what is most wonderful about them.
And so, in alphabetical order (so I don't have to determine importance), here we go:
Abigail: My loveysweet newest niece, at three months old, was still keeping her personality mostly a secret when I saw her two months ago. I imagine she will be friendly and outgoing like her mom and sister, and will light up a room.
Dad: Unconditionally loving, focused on family, supportive, protective. Children adore him. Always driven to show his children all that he can and to teach and experience as much as possible. His motto is "Today is the best day ever, and tomorrow will be twice as good." Everyone (especially me) needs that motto.
Dan: My father in law is always concerned about the comfort and happiness of those around him.
Dani: Fearless, dives in head first into everything. Self-professed information junkie and marvelous mother. My best friend, platonic soulmate, and "twin" of 22 years succeeds at everything she does, and inspires me to go for it whenever I'm scared. She sends me encouraging text messages telling me she's proud of me and misses me and makes me feel great. She also laughs at my dumb jokes. ;-) Constantly changing, and, strangely, always changing the same way I am! We have stupid amounts of fun no matter what we're doing.
Elijah: My 8 month old nephew is the happiest child on the planet. His big beautiful smile will steal your heart. He's already friendly, intelligent, and musically inclined, and I am so thrilled that I get to watch him grow into an amazing adult!
Eric: My stepbrother's warm smile makes you feel right at home. The first thing he said to me was, "So you're my sister now!" He really does make me feel that way, and I wish he and his marvelous wife Lettie lived near us! It will be fun to see the two of them and their eventual children throughout the years and to be able to grow as a big family together.
Evey: Joy! My confident 2 year old niece will talk to anyone and I'm sure as she grows she will be surrounded by friends (and boys - she's a knockout!)
Jake: Eli's loving father and a thoughtful fiance to my dear Dani. Very intelligent and a "seeker".
Kristi: My mother in law gets excited about everything, and will strike up a conversation with anyone she comes across. Has a gift for staying in touch with people, and has many wonderful friends.
Lettie: Vibrant and fun, my sister in law is all around great. I love that she realizes how important it is to spend time with your husband and really grow your marriage before you add baby to the equation. Very down to earth.
Lindsey: Sweet and friendly, my sister in law is dedicated to being the best mother she can possibly be, which is the most noble thing I can imagine.
Matt: Thoughtful, supportive, encouraging, affectionate, my husband is never embarrassed to say I love you in front of a bunch of construction workers. An amazing nurturer, promising fledgling cook, lightning speed cleaner, and fully understands and appreciates that I will never fit the traditional "wife" mold. Patient with my constant change. Playful and silly. Does the things that everyone else wants to do but is too afraid to (direct quote from his cousin Derik). Talented artist and exceptional craftsman. Will someday be the greatest dad the world's ever known.
Mom: Oh, my mom is amazing, where do I start? Astounding mother, encouraging, always ready to help any way she can, thoughtful, anticipates the needs of others, always actively working to better herself, beautiful decorator, psychic I swear (how does she always know everything?!), hardest worker I know, strong and flexible, daring, funny, always fun to be around, intelligent deep thinker.
Nick: ENTHUSIASM!!! To my brother, everything is THE. COOLEST. THING. EVER. I love it. Amazing musical talent, wild imagination, exceedingly polite and kind.
Phil: Wholehearted interest and enthusiasm in his hobbies. My stepdad is mellow and open.
Sarah G.: Sweet sweet Sarah will do anything to help out the ones she loves. My "sister by association" is an open and warm soul with so many friends!
Sarah M.: Her joie de vivre. My glammest friend radiates excitement and fun and draws people in. The best dancer I've seen, with real star potential. An artistic soul.
Sherry: Big hearted and protective, my stepmom attracts animals and children the way sweet people seem to do.
I love you all!!!