The Trouble Tree

Hi friends. First, thank you so much for all of the well wishes after I shared our test results. Each of put a big smile on my face and truly brightened my day. You know that I’ll keep you in the loop with more developments – because… well, I like to overshare like that.

Remember how I told you about my one word motto for 2013? I’ve been working hard to focus on the important things in life, focus on putting the husband first, and focus on making our health a priority. I haven’t been perfect with this – that’s for sure. Sometimes I still say things that I don’t mean and act before completely thinking through what the outcome may be. I’ve still been grumpy every now and then, but the important thing is that I’m working on it. You can’t expect that behaviors and habits can change overnight, no matter how hard you will them to in your mind. It all takes time!

One night last week I got home from work, dragged all my bags into the house, was met by two rowdy dogs eager to say hello and unloaded all my crap. Doesn’t it seem like the first few minutes home can be the most stressful? Kiss hello, tell the dogs to stop jumping up on you while your hands are full, empty your lunch bag, go to the bathroom (anyone else had to pee the minute they walk into the house without fail?), sort out my nasty gym clothes from the morning, get changed, and start planning dinner. Even though they seem like such miniscule tasks, all of the crammed into a couple minutes can be overwhelming.

In an effort to focus on the positives (see how that all tied together?), I’ve been trying not to let a stressful drive home, or a deadline at work impact my nights at home. Easier said than done though, am I right?

On this particular night, a few minutes after I had been home and unpacked Alex brought me a piece of paper. All he said was that, “this is what I’m going to try to live by.” Consider my interests officially perked. On the paper was a single story that I’d love to share with you all. Maybe you’ve heard it before; I hadn’t – so I figured it would be new to at least some of you.

Trouble Tree – Author Unknown

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and then his old pickup truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward, he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing is for sure, troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”

“The funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”


We’ve since cut the story out and have it posted securely on the fridge. Isn’t it great? It’s so true – you never can help having problems arise throughout the day. A long and dreadful morning commute, not feeling well all day, impossible deadlines, angry conference calls, running out of coffee, forgetting your lunch at home, an accident on your way home… these are all events that are bound to happen from time to time. And I imagine as our life changes so will our list of stressful events… sick kids, up all night, screaming toddlers, teenagers who won’t listen… the list goes on and on.

All we can control is how we react to these events and the extent that they impact the rest of our lives. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t talk about your day or even vent for a minute, but it shouldn’t control the rest of your day. About six months ago we started this rule. On our drive home every day, we each get a chance to vent to one another about what happened through the day. We talk one at a time for about 2-3 minutes each (careful not to cut one another off), confirm – “yeah, that would be annoying!” or whatever the case may be…. And then we just move on. That’s that. No more stressing about it all night long. No more talking about it for hours on end. Get it off your chest… and move on.

I love that Alex read this, consciously thought about how he could use this to improve upon our life and shared it with me. It’s always comforting to know that you’re in it together, ya know?


Do you guys have any de-stressing tips? Calming music? A good book? A relaxing bath? How do you wind down from a long day and re-align your focus to your family? I’d love to know! I think this is something that we all could work on!

 Source: tree picture taken from here.


6 thoughts on “The Trouble Tree

  1. I am the same way about the bathroom break as soon as you get home! One way I relax is to crank up the music in the car or at home and sing to the top of my lungs and dance around. Unless I am at a stoplight, that is…still not brave enough to do it then. 🙂

  2. Life will never be free of troubles, it is all about how you handle difficulties that come your way. Love the tree in the picture, we saw those in the New Orleans Garden District.

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