Chivalrous Acts

Congrats!

I’m a modern girl. I’m independent and I’m single. I have built a career from the ground up, read everyone from C.S. Lewis to Suzanne Collins, can navigate social media with relative ease, and watch New Girl every week like it’s my job.

And? I know I can take care of myself. But hey, call me old-fashioned, too. It’s fine. I can appreciate aspects of feminism, but I prefer gender roles. I like when a guy volunteers to kill a massive spider without complaint, or lift a heavy box in my stead.

I find chivalry to be a gorgeous thing. 

Most women I know are a little like that. We love our modern independence in life and in love, but deep down, we want guys to treat us like ladies. As most women will attest, it’s become increasingly rare. Gentlemanly behavior sets our hearts aflutter. We want to see it, and many of us are waiting on it.

Some men make us question why chivalrous acts have died out. However, other men prove that sweetness still exists. I want a guy to court me a bit. In fact, I’m sort of holding out for that. Someone to sweep me off my feet? No, gosh no. Grand gestures are wholly unnecessary. I just want someone I can count on. I just want him to do little things to make me sure he’s the real deal.

Dating today is tough, and we women always seem to have doubts about the guys that roll into our lives. Does he like me? Are his motives genuine? Can I trust him completely? Guessing means you usually can’t, and confusion isn’t a good thing.

Most women would like to erase that. So if he puts in the time and does the little things, it’s like a screening process for us. He’s more likely to be into us as human beings, not hookups. He’s more likely to be Mr. Right when we’re over dealing with all those Mr. Wrongs. That’s why chivalry is as important now as it ever was.

Here’s to all the women who are looking for that chivalrous, good-hearted guy. He’s out there. These are the things he does to make us swoon. (And to all those chivalrous, good-hearted guys, keep doing what you’re doing. We love you for it.)

Here are a few of the cutest ones that would make any girl swoon:

1. Call. It would be nice to receive a phone call instead of text messages. While a text shows you were on his mind, a phone call is more personal. Call, don’t text a date invitation. Just the fact that you would take the time to actually call a woman to ask her out on a date will put you light years ahead of your competition (of which there is a lot).

2. Offer you his jacket. When the weather turns colder, and you have on light clothing, it’s cute when he offers you his jacket. It’s a sweet gesture.

3. Put your hand on the small of her back when introducing her to someone. This is something I read a long time ago and it stuck with me for some reason. This is a passive sign of affection and isn’t inappropriate in a public setting, but it bonds the two of you together and helps her feel more comfortable.

4. Open the door for her. The door to the restaurant, the car door, the door to the car picking you up. Whatever door is relevant to you both walking through, please do not lose sight of this simple but often overlooked act of kindness.

5. Suffering through a girly movie. When a man volunteers to endure a girly show or movie because he knows you’ll enjoy it, he earns major bonus points. (Even more if he does so without complaining or expecting something in return.)

Women in turn should respect the act of chivalry. I know many women out there who do not want the door opened for them because it makes them feel like their power or independence is somehow being taken away from them. They are aggressive and headstrong in society. It may not be because they want to be, but because to make it in the world, they have to be. This is true. However, can you imagine a world where chivalry didn’t exist at all? Would you want your daughter marrying a man that didn’t show her this appreciation for being the amazing, strong, supporting, dynamic woman that she is?

In short, that’s what chivalry is — a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.

XOXO
April McManus

50 THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY

I know that being happy can sometimes feel quite temporary and the little joys can easily get lost when you’ve had a bad day at work or been sat in traffic for two hours, so it’s great to remind ourselves of those little quirks that make us happy every now and again.

Without further ado, here are fifty of the things that make me happy (in no particular order).

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XOXO –

April

WISE TALK

I’ve been told, ‘Don’t burn your bridges you many have to cross later.’ I say ‘I don’t mind swimming if the bridges were messed up to begin with!’Light The Way

That is a statement of fear and insecurity of your actions, fear of both future events and the need to rely on others in the future, particularly others in powerful positions.  Those in powerful positions are more often that not weak.  I say, the weak always crumble in the presence of the strong of head and heart.  I say, walk with fire at your heels and only the wooden bridges will burn.  The stone will stand.  If I am not afraid to blaze my path with fire, the fire of strength, the oaks and mountains will be left standing, the weeds and shrubs ashed.  Strength is painful, and the weak run from it or try to put it to death, such that the strong woman soon knows her friends, for only they are left standing when she has passed.  And her friends will also be fiery of heart, for like attracts like, and therefore the path they burn together will only be stronger.

In the past and into the present, I have often felt like a flame in a weed patch, and all have tried to put me out.  At more tender ages, my core was nearly cooled so that I might have joined the weed patch, but it was not to be.  Now I feel the flame rising up within me, still tender and fearful of water but growing stronger daily, weekly, monthly.  I hope one day to become the forest fire that levels dying forests and resets the clock to allow for fertile regrowth, that jumps mighty streams and rivers, that knows few boundaries, that rushes madly forward, unchecked, and dies in the process.

I know that if I am to survive and thrive that I will have to look deep inside myself and know who I am, what I stand for, and where I am going.  And so I write, channeling the truth that was pouring out of me.  This gem, as I see it in hindsight, is one of my first clear expressions of that.  Give me the strength.

XOXO,
April

WE’RE (I’M) BUYING A HOUSE

WE’RE (I’M) BUYING A HOUSE.

We’re buying a house.  Well, to be more accurate, I’m buying a house.

I knew where I wanted to purchase. I knew how much I wanted to spend.  I knew the “must haves” in any potential Casa de #SuperHeroMomHouse.  However, that isn’t enough detail for me.  I printed maps of the area, highlighted my “preferred zones,” overlaid school districts and their respective scores, and finished that up with additional maps of crime rates and average home prices.  Finally, I created a report card for each house so I could create a quantifiable score of each home. I had the research. I had a process. I had a plan. I was ready to go.

Then I started to look at houses.  The report card was busted after the first property. It scored a 9 out of 10.  It was a perfect candidate for my first home…but it wasn’t my forever home.  There was no quantifiable, scientific, rationale.  I could just tell it wasn’t it.  So could my kids.  By the third house, my whole procedure was out the door.  There was simply no standardized procedure for buying a house.

I will cut to the chase here. Ok, I have a contract on a house.  It is outside of my preferred zone, above the initial budget, and at best scores a 7 on my report card. It is, however, perfect. There is no way for me to explain why. There is no rational reason for it to be perfect.  It has things that were never on my initial must have list and is missing things that were “required.” With all of that, I knew it would be my home when I stepped into the backyard.

The home buying process reminded me that sometimes the best-made plans are cast asunder simply by the nature of things. Regardless of the plan, the established process, or the procedural strategy, we all need to react to what actually happens—to the real environment. I was not planning to buy a home that weekend.  In fact, I was suppose to be moving to Florida. That is not what ended up occurring.  I reacted. I adapted. I bought a house.

You may not be buying a house but the lesson is the same. When plans go awry, the most important thing to do is recognize what is happening, analyze your realistic options, and refocus your energy on the reality of the situation at hand.

There is still a lot of work to do in the home buying process.  I will inevitably develop checklists and procedures for each step, and this will inevitably drive my kiddo’s crazy and keep me sane.  It is a delicate balancing act but it’s all part of life through the eyes of an operations professional.

Best Regards,

April McManus
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Slow Down – Pause – Stay Calm

So, with this idea of spreading a message of abundance to you this season — not through coupon codes or special holiday deals — I offer you the only gifts I really want to give to any really busy, hard-working family this year.

The gift of hours.

The gift of laughter.

The gift of smiles.

The gift of big hugs.

The gift of sweet, sloppy kisses.

The gift of breathing.

The gift of being understood.

The gift of feeling heard.

The gift of the sun rising.

The gift of the moon shining.

And the gift of simply being able to wake up even if for just one moment and notice all the gifts in front of us — the real ones that you won’t find under the tree this year but the ones that are already filling your heart.  Image