Our Stories

ASKING FOR WHAT WE WANT PART 1: After the Tree is Gone

January 23, 2017

“Then Mary did a strange thing.

She leaned forward

and ASKED him a question

she had never dreamed

of asking any one before.”

The Secret Garden

I LOVE Christmas lights. The glow of the tree is like a big warm hug at the end of a long day.  I drag my feet every year in an attempt to hold on to that yummy feeling. Daily, I say to myself,  “I’ll just keep it up for one more day,” knowing my heart’s plan is to keep it up forever.

As I sat, well after the New Year, sipping my hot tea by the glow of the tree, I began thinking back to the Christmas lists our kids would make. They were ambitious to say the least, some times pages long. Lawsin and Rylan were NOT AFRAID to reach for the moon in order to ask for anything and everything their hearts desired.  And why not? They had yet to develop the filter that explained to them all the reasons why they couldn’t get something they wanted:

  • Not enough Time…
  • It’s too much Money…
  • We don’t have the Space…
  • It hasn’t been invented yet…
  • It might blow the house up…

…the list goes on.

After reading through them, giggling at some, while admiring the boldness of others, we did our best each year to have at least one item waiting under the tree from their carefully curated lists of dreams.

Did you make a Christmas list this year? What was on it?

Did you get what you asked for?

One year, my sweet husband spent countless hours talking with friends and doing research to find the perfect camera for me for Christmas. It was a big investment, one of those cameras with all of the bells and whistles with which you could start your own photography business or simply take a million amazing photos of your kids. He was almost giddy as he watched me opening it that Christmas morning..until he saw my face of sheer disappointment.

What on earth was he thinking? Why would he assume I would even want this? Does he even know me?  I don’t even use the camera we have! 

I was an exhausted, overworked mother of two and all I could see, as I stared down at the camera, were all the items that had just been added to my already busting To Do List…given to me in the form of a “gift”.

  1. Learn how to use this camera…perhaps take a class or something.
  2. Read the manual multiple times….because it has like a million buttons and I will never be able to remember which one is for what.
  3. Take professional quality pictures of the kids at every major event, birthdays, and more…because planning these events isn’t enough to do…
  4. Print the pictures…which meant at that time a trip to the store to drop them off and pick them up.
  5. And in order to fulfill my fantasy of being a super-mom…put them all in an album with stickers and such.

I started to cry, surrounded by the piles of wadded up candy-cane wrapping paper, with my mind emotionally locked in a circle of “Nope, Nope, Nope….I can’t do one more thing!”

I was in desperate need of a nap, time alone with my husband, and clothes that didn’t have juice stains on them….but I didn’t ask for any of that.

When he asked what I wanted for Christmas, I gave him the adult slough-off answer of, “Oh Honey, anything is fine….you don’t have to get me anything,” while inside I was screaming for help with laundry, desperate for time with my friends, and perhaps in need of some serious therapy.

After a long nap, a box of Kleenex, and a 1/2 bottle of wine, I was finally able to explain to my very confused husband, why I reacted the way I did to his very thoughtful gift.

It wasn’t him…it was me.

This “Fancy-Nancy” camera EXPOSED me in full color, capturing what I already knew…I was drowning in my own To Do Lists. And in my gusto to do everything for everyone else, I was AFRAID to ASK for what I wanted…for what I needed really, to live a life in FULL BLOOM.


Perhaps we are past the age of asking for things to go under the tree, but it is time we finally give ourselves the gift of asking for what we need throughout the year.

Are you good at being intentional and actually asking for what you want or need in order to be your best self?

I really struggle with this…my gut even turns a bit just thinking about it. And Frances knew exactly what it felt like when she wrote that, “Mary did a STRANGE thing” when she asked.

And since quick search on Amazon yielded over 1,660 books with “How to ASK” in the title, I am betting she and I are not the only ones who feel strange inside about it.

My prayer list even reflects this struggle, as it always contains the needs of others…but rarely my own. I feel selfish listing my dreams or needs besides theirs.

Why is asking for what WE want so hard?

I think Amanda Palmer, a talented musician who only uses crowdfunding to make her albums, nails it on the head in her Ted Talk called The Art of Asking. 

She points out that asking, means being vulnerable with another other person, requiring a deep trust…which many of us, frankly, are short on these days.

To ask is scary because you are basically saying:

“I trust you enough to ask for your help with…_______(my dream, my sanity, my future).”

For me, asking can also feel like I’m raising a GIANT white flag, admitting that I alone am not enough…and that perhaps I can’t do it all by myself.

MY TRUTH BOMB: I do need help.  I can’t do it all. I’ve tried, and it led to big crocodile tears that Christmas morning. And who wants to cry under the lights of the Christmas tree? Not this girl. Not anymore.

So this year, I am ready to risk being vulnerable and plan to trust others with my ASK in order to live a life in FULL BLOOM. Who’s with me?

You are?

 Thank Goodness..

because we are not supposed to do this life by ourselves!

We are surrounded by people who have special gifts and talents, who are ready and willing to say YES…if we would just ASK!

I love this quote from Mother Teresa:

“You can do what I cannot do.

And I can do what you cannot do.

Together we can do GREAT THINGS.”

So this year, just like Mary from The Secret Garden:

Don’t just DREAM about it, LEAN forward, TRUST the goodness of others and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to ASK for a life lived in FULL BLOOM.

Let’s do “great things” together,

FHB and Especially Me

P.S. Stay tuned for PART 2 of ASKING FOR WHAT WE WANT: Plan On It