Words have always been very important to me. I love to hear spoken words, but I also love them in writing – whether they appear on a sticky note, in a book, on a card in the mail, a list on my counter or even a good hashtag! The bible talks a lot about using our words wisely – writing them down and speaking blessings over others. Words matter.
Years ago, when our kids were still young and living at home, Tom and I talked about writing up our family values and placing them somewhere in our home. We didn’t want to just pick up a random wall hanging from Hobby Lobby with words that we agreed with (but were not our own). We wanted to come up with our core values and be intentional about them. Randomly, as the years went by, we would say “We really need to do that “Family Values” thing.” and we would start the process – but it just never was completed.
Two years ago, on New Year’s Day, our daughter and son-in-law were hosting a “New Year’s Day Pancake Breakfast” – a tradition they took from some of our dear friends who opened their home (and served a LOT of pancakes) each New Year’s for FORTY years. Breanna and Jeremy were offering it, for the first time, and we wanted to be supportive. Since they happen to live in Oklahoma City (3 & ½ hours away), we hit the road by 6:30am to SURPRISE them with our attendance.
To kill time, on the road, we had the “OK – let’s get serious about making this “family values” thing a reality” discussion and spent the good part of the trip (there and back) brainstorming about WHO we are and what we want to be known for.
It really was the perfect timing for this discussion…it was the start of a new year and, quite honestly, we had had a rough year or two. Looking back, I think this list came about to remind ourselves who we really were/are and what we believe and value. I think our identity, our DNA, had taken a hit and we needed to focus on truth about what makes our family “us”. Brittney and Luke were with us in the car and so we brainstormed together for several hours. When we got stuck on a phrase or the “right word”, we moved on and came back to it. I found scraps of paper in my purse and took lots of notes.
Once we arrived home, I typed up what we had and sent it to the rest of the family. Everyone offered input – we changed wording, added and deleted. We turned sentences (and some PARAGRAPHS…I told you, I LIKE WORDS!) to bullet points and FINALLY, weeks later, we all “signed off” on it!
Then came the fun part…
I had this vision in my head and I needed Tom to get on board! I wanted it HUGE…like CRAZY BIG. I wanted it to be the first thing you saw when you entered our home and something that maybe you would even see walking by! I wanted Tom to build it and for us to (somehow) add the words.
So…he did…we did…and I LOVE IT.
Even though it was years in the making – I love that we took our time and when we were finished I stepped back and used the words “I LOVE IT” and “IT’S PERFECT” a million times!
A few weeks later, Breanna was in town and it was her first time to see it hanging. I will never forget being in the kitchen and seeing her out of the corner of my eye standing in front of it for quite a while, then she took a picture and starting typing. I remember thinking, “Oh, she must be posting on Instagram about how cool it is or sending a pic to a friend!”. NOPE.
As I approached her she gently said,
“Ummmm…do you want to know about the TYPO?”
(She had actually sent a picture of the TYPO to her sisters and was asking them “Should I say something?”)
Obviously, I thought, she was kidding. We had ALL signed off on it…we had ALL looked at it as we attached the words…Tom had read it/looked at it (over, and over, and over) as he put about 100 coats of poly on it to make sure it never faded or the words came off!
But – there it was…”Neigbors” – with NO STINKIN “H” ANYWHERE.
I thought I was about to cry…then maybe throw-up…and we were SICK telling Tom about it. I was so sad thinking about how many hours we had put into it and how hard everyone had worked. We stood around talking about how we could fix it (knowing it really meant starting completely over) and debated about if anyone would notice or care?!?
But then laughter came and we all just agreed,
“PEOPLE…this IS us! A family that tries REALLY hard but is also jacked up and certainly NOT PERFECT!”
Honestly, somehow it makes it even more “perfect”. I love it even more!
If the house catches on fire someday – I’ve told Tom to add this to the top of the list of things to GRAB as we run out the door. It’s truly one of my favorite things.
Something that we believe at our core.
Something we worked on as a family.
Something that Tom built.
Something that contains meaningful and important reminders in for the form of WORDS. 😊
What are your core values/DNA? Have you ever discussed it as a couple/family?
#words <-and yes, actions need to follow!