One of Hugh's hockey teammates, Ryan, recently welcomed a daughter into the world. I wanted to pick up a gift for her and emailed Ryan's wife, Heather, for their mailing address - it is too long to wait until we see their family at the rink.

Heather immediately sent me a heartfelt response which included:
 "Tripp and Calder are so lucky to have you as a mother-and even though Tripp is not here, earthside, he is still receiving and benefiting from all of your love and strength!"

"I can't even imagine what you and your family are dealing with on a daily basis but you and Tripp have taught me to enjoy every moment of my children, no matter how stressful or exhausting"

In closing she wrote,"Please don't think you need to send anything for Nya or any other reason-I know you have more important things on your plate!!" and did not include their address.

Heather is one of the kindest, thoughtful, nice people I have ever met. She is putting me first - like so many of you have. 

Right after I got this email yesterday I read THIS BLOG. In it author, Kelle Hampton, talks about how she wants to build confidence in her daughters, so she constantly praises them for their accomplishments. She is filling their tanks with good which Hampton calls "input." Hampton then goes on to talk about an even better way to build her daughter's confidence is to encourage them- inspire them - to fill someone else's tank. Hampton calls this, "output."

'In praising the things I love about my girls, I know I am helping build their confidence—constructing bumper pads that will soften the blows of insults and insecurity. They no doubt will know they are loved, they are uniquely wonderful, they are talented and capable. But rather than focusing so much on protecting my kids from insults, I want to teach them to proactively BE the good. To search out ways to make their friends happy, to let them know they’re special too. Compliment their humor, send them cards, tell them their purple jelly shoes are really awesome. This is such a powerful component of confidence. Output. " - Kelle Hampton

So here's the thing. In order for me to feel better, I need to continue to try and fill other people's tanks. I need to be the output. While Tripp was in the hospital, one of the nurses explained to us that we had to let people do things for us - like vacuum or make meals - because they needed to help us. She said that they knew they couldn't heal our hearts, but they would want to do something. As hard as it was at first, Hugh and I made a pact not say "no" to anything. We would let people help us. And as it turned out, we needed people to give us all that they did. It feels good to be on the receiving end of some output, but from my experience with The Kindness Project I know it also feels good to be the output. 

Heather will be helping me heal by letting me give something to her.

Today I am going to email a friend and tell her some things I have wanted to tell her for a while. And hopefully spread a little more good. Output.


  1. I think that's a great way to put it - input & output. Brennan & I talk all the time about how Will is never going to be in need of anything, that he already has a leg up in the world, and that it will be important to teach him about volunteering his time and making charitable donations in order to help others who are not as fortunate. We believe that there can never be too many caring, friendly & genuine people in this world and we hope that we can teach this to Will and have it stick with him far into his adulthood.

  2. FILL TANKS!! I've never heard anyone else use this phrase. It's my favourite line ever... and encompasses so much power! :)

    I love the input and output phrases too. They work so well.. I know that I need the output part, to make me feel alive, or to balance out a rough day. Thank you for so eloquently putting words to what I love most about life!

  3. Great thoughts for nurturing and teaching your kids! I am so impressed at what thoughtful young moms there are out there. You are one of them Jordan :)
    At school this year we used the picture book "How full is your bucket?" by Tom Rath, as the bigger theme to guide some of our instruction. I imagine you would like the message.
    Love Auntie Pat


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