I can remember the day clearly. I was sitting on my living room couch, reading Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkevy's newest book Living Forward on my iPhone. I had just finished writing one of the exercises in the book and I could not believe the words I was reading back on my screen. The tears were flowing and I was a crumpled mess.
The exercise the writers ask the reader to complete is to write your own obituary. Sounds morbid, I know. But it is an incredible exercise in reflecting upon your ideal life – meaning, ideally, at the end of your life, how do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave? What impact do you hope to have on the world? What do you hope people say about you as a wife, mother, friend, and world changer after your time here on earth?
Staring at my screen I had written hopeful things. Hopeful things about how I help families thrive at home through strategic interior design. Hopeful things on helping mothers embrace motherhood, and discover what is possible in their lives. And hopeful things about my passion for my Catholic faith and the way I share it with others.
As I sat there on my couch with my iPhone in my hand, tears blurring my vision and my chest heavy with emotion, I realized something huge. I realized there were a ton of areas in my life where I was simply not living in congruence with the words I wrote. I realized that if I wanted to actually hear the words I wrote spoken at my funeral, I would have to actually live those things out authentically. And doing that terrified me.
There are reasons I think everyone should write their own obituary:
1. It's a wake-up call
I did not realize there were things about my life that did not feel "complete" until I stared at what I wrote that day. Writing your aspirational obituary can reveal gaping holes in your lifestyle, values and habits, and prompt you to change. Just read what happened to television character Dr. Frasier Crane when his obituary was mistakenly printed in the local newspaper.
2. It can prompt immediate change
After I dried my tears and faced the facts that I was a little disappointed with areas in my life that weren't really lining up with how I wanted to be remembered, I got to work examining those areas. This is where the book Living Forward was very helpful to me. The book helped me to develop attainable goals to get me closer to where I wanted my life to be. And it was interesting how it did not feel like pressure- simple just realizations of my authentic self.
3. It helps you be the unique person you were always meant to be
I used to (OK I still do) struggle a lot with comparison – comparing myself to others and benchmarking myself against what others have going on in their lives. Experience has shown me that this is no way to live. It is exhausting and doesn't get you anywhere. Being uniquely you, and setting the world ablaze by being uniquely you is what I believe we are meant to do on this earth. Figuring out who we uniquely are is a whole other endeavor- and I think the exercise of writing your own obituary can help reveal some of that.
If you were to write your own obituary- what would it say? What do you want your legacy to be? I would love to know in the comments below.
Renovating is hard. Part of the reason renovating is so hard is the sheer number of decisions that need to be made – many of them costly ones. So to help you navigate one part of the decision making process and hopefully make renovating a little easier on you, I have partnered with Maytag to give a little insight into how to pick the best appliances for your family.
With almost 6 children (baby #6 is due in January!) my appliances need to be dependable. So when Maytag approached me to help another large family depend on Maytag, the Di Fonzo family, – a family with 6 grown sons living at home – I was thrilled. Fun fact: I grew up with the Di Fonzos! So it was even more meaningful for me to work on this project.
Rachel and Joe Di Fonzo and their 6 sons!
So whether your family is large or small, if you're in the market for new appliances here are a few things for you to consider to make sure you make the right choice for your family:
1. Appliance size
Size is the first thing I would consider when selecting your appliances. Before getting her new extra-large capacity top load washer and extra-large capacity dryer, Rachel was doing laundry every single day. With the increase in size of the appliances (Rachel and Joe owned front load machines before), Rachel has cut her laundry time to every other day due to the increased load size. The extra-large capacity dryer has the space to dry 26 towels at once (!!!) to save precious energy and time. In some cases, where space might be an issue, stackable front loader units might be the best choice for a family. But hands down, the efficiency and time saved an extra-large capacity set will bring a family is pretty incredible.
2. Look for features that will make your family's life easier
There are a ton of fun features available today with increased technology in appliances- but navigating them can be overwhelming. Look for features that will save you time and make your family's life easier. For example, my favourite feature in Rachel's new dryer is the Steam Refresh, which reduces wrinkles by using a fine mist in the heated dryer drum to refresh clothes with steam as they tumble. This saves time going to the dry cleaner, or standing there with a hand steamer and steaming clothing manually. Another example is Rachel's new fridge from the new fingerprint-resistant stainless steel kitchen line that resists streaks, smears or fingerprints. I have tested this myself personally- and it is pretty impressive how resilient the exterior of the appliances are, saving time cleaning up pesky fingerprints typically associated with stainless steel appliances. Look for the features that will make your life easier, based on your unique needs.
Price is a major factor to consider when selecting your kitchen or laundry room appliances. I don't have a formula or percentage of your overall budget that your appliances should take up- but my best advice is to spend as much as your budget will allow on appliances. Appliances are items that will work hard for your family, and do a lot of work for you. And when things do go wrong, look for a company that is willing to stand behind their product with a warranty and efficient service care.
I recently hosted an event for Maytag where we introduced key media and influencers to the new lines of products. I wanted the space to feel as if you were sitting at Rachel's dining table- complete with lasagna and delicious Italian inspired treats:
And to learn more about Maytag's brand new product lines and my approach to helping family's thrive at home, check out some recent television interviews I've completed- click on the image to watch the clip.
Special thanks to Maytag for partnering with me on this post.