What I Should Have Said

Dr. PepperIf you look under my bed, besides dust bunnies and possibly a cat, you’ll see two wooden Dr. Pepper crates. (Yes, I’m a Pepper. Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too? If you don’t get that–good news–you haven’t reached middle age!)

Stacked in the crates are my happiness, my escape, my strategy for letting my brain shut down and my heart fluff up. It’s my collection of rom-coms arranged in alphabetical order. Funny girls and cute boys and happy endings. Let’s see…there’s The Holiday, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Proposal, Sweet Home Alabama, Valentine’s DayThe Wedding Date

And in the M’s, you’ll find My Best Friend’s Wedding. Being a Julia Roberts fan since before Pretty Woman (anyone remember Mystic Pizza?), My Best Friend’s Wedding is one of my favorites. And in that movie is a great line.

Julia’s best friend Michael O’Neal tells her character, Julianne “…if you love someone, you say it, you say it right then, out loud. Otherwise, the moment just…”

There’s a lot in that line. A lot. And I wonder how our relationships would change if we just said it, right then, out loud? Whatever “it” may be? To whomever might need to hear it?

What if….

  • You have confidence in your child , and you say it, right then, out loud
  • You appreciate a co-worker, and you say it, right then, out loud
  • You forgive your hubby, and you say it, right then, out loud

Just fill in the blank: If you _______________ someone, tell them. This list could go on and on and on. 

And the people we say those things to? Wow. And our relationships? Wow. Can you imagine what our words could change? Good relationships would become better. Wounded relationships could heal. Wow.

Maybe you’re like me, pretty good at saying some things…sorta. Like thank you. I try to be intentional about saying it, but sometimes saying thank you isn’t enough. Because it’s not what I should have said. Because it’s not really what I meant. Let me show you:

While Kelli has been home from college for the summer, she has taken it upon herself to do some household chores without being asked. My response: Thank you, Kelli. And one morning when I left for town, my kitchen was cluttered (seriously cluttered) after a bunch of kiddos spent a late evening at our house. But when I returned loaded down with groceries, my kitchen was pristine. Kelli smiled as she swiped the counter one final time. My response: Thank you so much, Kelli. I appreciate that!

And in both instances, I’m sure Kelli appreciated my appreciation.

But here’s what I should have said:

I’ve seen such a change in you over this past year. You’re striving to be independent and to figure out your place in this grown up world. I know you’re ready for me to see you as a capable young adult, not just as my little girl. It’s hard for me to remember that sometimes, but I do see it. And you’re doing great, honey. You really are. And I’m so proud of you.

That says a lot more than thank you could ever say, doesn’t it? Here’s another example of when I don’t say enough.

When Randi asks, “When’s Kelli coming home?” or “What time does Dad get off work?” I may answer, “This weekend” or “3:00 a.m.” And when she insists everyone eat together at the table with the TV off, or gets upset at a restaurant if Kelli or her dad is on their cell phone (because her mom never is…eyes shift downward), I reinforce her and say, “Put the phone away.” 

But here’s what I should say:

Thank you, Randi, for reminding me how important it is for our family to spend time together, to set aside distractions, to look at each other’s eyes and talk to each other. Thank you for valuing family so much, and for pulling us together, especially at an age when many teens are pulling away. The love you have for your family makes my heart swell. Our family is important, and YOU are an important part of our family.

And when I look at the laundry list of projects Hubby checked off this summer…from cleaning gutters and clearing out the garage to staining the pool deck and spending hours on the mower to fixing things and building other things…and when he would come into the house to refill his ice water, dripping sweat, and I would tell him, “You’re really getting a lot done”–I meant to say more.

Here’s what I should have said:

You take such good care of this family. You’re our protector, our provider, and you take pride in our home–not just the structure but the thing inside it that truly makes this our home. And that takes hard work, work that you are willing to do without complaint, without being asked, because protecting and providing keeps your heart beating–for our family.

If you _______________ someone, you say it, you say it right then, out loud. What needs to go in your blank? Who do you need to say it to? Will you say it? I’m going to try…because three people in my house need to hear it.

And when you say it…are you prepared for the funny looks you might get? Or the hugs? Or maybe even the tears?

Because people aren’t used to hearing these things, are they? And we’re not used to saying them…because most of the time phrases like thank you seem like enough…but even love you might say less than we really mean. Because phrases are easy to say…maybe a little cliche’. They take less thought, require less expression, and may even feel a little less awkward than opening our hearts up all the way.

Or maybe it’s just a time thing…because time gets in the way of a lot of important stuff, doesn’t it?

But if you _____________ someone, say it. 

Otherwise, the moment will just…



I apologize…I really do…for asking. But can I have a “humble-brag” mom moment? And give a shout out to Ignite campus ministry? This is a promo video Ignite just released. And that’s my girl (I mean, my young adult) speaking. As a mom, I’m so blessed my daughter has plugged into campus ministry and so grateful Ignite is investing in the next generation of believers.

The MOM Journey News

AUGUST GIVE-AWAY!!! A new school year is here, so you know what that means. Everybody will be sharing germs. That calls for a bottle of Thieves essential oil. Everybody who loves Thieves, raise your hand! Share, share, share…not your germs…your comments, this post on FB and Twitter, your email to follow The MOM Journey…and you’ll be entered in the drawing August 31! THANKS to Anna-Marie, Young Living Distributor, for donating this month’s give-away! For all things oil, email A-M.beard@outlook.com.




  1. Tina Sutton says:

    Love this part of The Mom Journey. I have been able to connect to what you share in your writings. I’m going to share the IFAM video with Mike as he is heading that way Thursday. Again, thank you!

    • Karen says:

      I’ll make sure Kelli knows Michael will be there, so she can give him a special invite and introduce him to the guys!

  2. Sandy Slusher says:

    Such great advice. We all need to take the time to recognize and appreciate each other more.

  3. linda wilson says:

    I love your Mom journey and love Kelli’s part you are so talented and I’m so proud of you for writing this Mom’s Journey and can’t wait for the book. you know I love you and your family . Linda Babe

  4. Catana West says:

    Love this sooooo true!

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