Friday, November 4, 2016

Saying Thank You

With all of the events leading up to our wedding, I have had a lot of opportunity to write thank you notes recently. With more than one shower and a bachelorette party, we have received so many generous gifts, and we of course wanted to extend our gratitude. This has led me to realize that I have a bit of an obsession with thank you notes and stationery. There are so many cute options out there, and there is something about book and stationery stores that could keep me browsing for hours on end.

I have found that events surrounding a wedding have a bit more of a generous timeline. You still want to keep it within a month or so, but you have a little extra time.
What is your opinion on thank you notes? Where do you like to shop for them? Any particular favourites? I'm always looking to add more to the ones I have on hand!

I had never really sent a thank you note until I went on a summer mission that required asking for financial support. I sent a thank you to everyone who supported me, either financially or those who committed to supporting me through prayer. I've honed my skills a little bit and feel little less awkward writing down my thanks now, so I thought I'd share a bit here!

What to Say
I actually really like to focus on something other than the gift first. If the gift was given at or in relation to an event, thank them for attending, or if they weren’t able to attend, still mention how lovely the event was and that you wish they could have been there (nicely – don’t make them feel bad for not being there!).

Of course there are some instances where you’re really just thanking them for the gift (or service), in that case go straight to thanking them for the gift/service but then add in something else about your relationship. You could tell them how you appreciate their friendship, say you would like to get together soon, let them know you'll send an update soon, or mention that you hope you can return the favour in the near future.

When mentioning the gift, there are a few ways to go about it. You can be a little more general and just say thank you for their gift or you can actually name the item. If there were multiple items, I find it is best to keep it general. In the case of monetary gifts, I always keep it general and refer to it as their “generous gift.” For gifts that are things, I like to mention how we’ll use it or what I’m excited for about it. If it was a service, I like to mention how it helped us out, and if it was a monetary gift, I like to mention what we’re thinking of putting it towards or how it will help us in a slightly more specific way.

First of all, being prompt is best. For birthday, anniversary, special events, or random gifts, I would say that writing and sending your thank you within a week is the timeline I like to stick to. However, you can gauge the situation best. There isn’t actually a rule here, so you can choose! Just think about if you were on the receiving end, when would you like to receive it?

Weddings are also a little different, there is a larger socially acceptable time period for a thank you card. This may have something to do with the sheer volume of thank yous usually coming after a wedding, and also the whole settling into life as a newly married couple, maybe even coming back from a honeymoon too. Even still, some websites say that as long as you get the thank you out within the next year you’re good, but I’d say that’s still pushing it. Stick to as soon as you can after the wedding, and try not to exceed three or four months.

Other Tips
- Spell names correctly
- Keep your audience in mind (maybe save that funny and slightly vulgar thank you card for someone other than your conservative aunt).
- Sometimes it’s even sweet to include a picture of the gift being used (a toy for your child, an outfit for your dog, flowers in a vase).
- Even if you don’t like the gift, send a thank you! And don’t let your opinion of the gift show in your thank you (no one likes rudeness in the form of passive aggressive thank yous).
- Don’t OVER thank. There is such a thing as overkill and you don't want to get caught in a revolving thank you door.

Other Ways of Saying Thank You
Sometimes a thank you card might be a bit of an overkill (see above), or the person you’re wanting to thank doesn’t have a permanent address. Whatever the reason, sometimes you just don’t want to send a thank you card, but you still want your gratitude to be known. You can send a text, an e-mail, give the person a call, or set up a coffee date where you treat… Thank you cards are not the be-all-end-all, they’re just a nice gesture! And on that note, not everyone feels the same way as you, so if someone else doesn’t say thank you in any way, try your best not to take offense – more likely than not it just didn’t cross their mind. (It is best to assume innocence).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Letting Yourself Slow Down

My favourite way to slow down and relax: a lovely scented bath.

I wrote this post back at the beginning of October, saved it as a draft with the intention of choosing a photo for it, and then never came back to it. Instead of scrapping it, here you go!

So, we've been back from Ottawa for a little while now. I had all of these ideas of posting all about what we did while we were there, possibly multiple posts, because it would just be that interesting. But then when we came back I had a couple of days at work and then I got sick, really really sick. A fever of almost 103 degrees Fahrenheit sick. And it just wasn't fun.

The day after I became ill, my bridesmaids threw me a bridal shower, which I toughed out because I didn't want to have to cancel the morning of. It was absolutely beautiful and they did a wonderful job, but I was switching between sweating and chills and could barely lift my own gifts into my lap. So, needless to say, I don't really have any pictures to share of that day. I will say, though, that I am absolutely overwhelmed by the love and support shown to me by all the women that attended. Their generosity was equally overwhelming and I do not deserve to be showered in so many gifts!

I spent the next week essentially in bed. And then, this past weekend, we had two weddings to attend in Regina. One was my cousin's wedding and the other was for two of our friends. I did makeup for our friends' wedding, and it worked out that we were able to attend both weddings, because the receptions were literally across the street from each other. So we wedding hopped! We of course spent the most time at my cousin's wedding, because family is wonderful and we wouldn't want to miss out on that experience at all, but it was so nice that we could join for some of our friends' celebration as well.

I probably could have just done a little recap here without mentioning that I was ill, but I felt it necessary to mention. I have had quite a bit on my plate the last couple of months. We had a wedding to attend out of province at the end of August. Work was absolutely crazy at the end of August, and only slowed down slightly at the beginning of September before we were off to Ottawa for my cousin's wedding. Then came my bridal shower, and then two weddings in the same day (one of which I was technically working at, and up at 6:30am for). Yesterday was two months until our wedding, and while all the absolutely necessary things are all in place, there are so many little things that still have to be dealt with. I knew I was heading in to a busy season, but I really didn't prepare myself for it. I was actually quite aware that something was going to have to give, but I really had no clue where to make a cut. My body decided to make that decision for me. As much as taking a week off from life can somewhat suck when you have to get back into it again, it was exactly what I needed.

I am a big fan of taking the necessary time to make sure you are in a good place before pouring yourself out into all of the important things. Sometimes it's easier said than done, though. And right now I am just trying to remind myself to slow down. It's okay if I don't do much beyond wedding stuff for the next two months. It's not to say that life will magically become much less hectic once we are married, but it will change. It will be a new season and we can make other priorities.

Slowing down for me means being ok with spending an evening at home even though I would love to see some friends I haven't seen in awhile. Right now it means choosing 2 or 3 things to accomplish outside of work in a given week, and being happy with myself for that, instead of pushing for 5 or 6. It means letting go of projects or tasks that don't add value or that are just not necessary at this time.

It was great coming back and reading this almost a whole month later. We are now a month away from our wedding, work isn't slowing down, we're looking for a place to live, and we're still finishing up some details for the wedding. I keep having to remind myself daily to slow down and let myself be. Rest is important, and usually more so when you don't feel you have the time for it.

What is your favourite way to take some time for relaxation? Lately I've been enjoying stealing a bit of time for a bath. You can't really get stuff done from the bath tub, and that's a good thing.
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