It’s Not the Thought that Counts

I am the Queen of Good Intentions.

There are 35 baby thank yous in my “project” bag; signed, sealed, but not addressed, even after I made the cutest stamps for them.

Our Christmas cards, the ones I was thrilled to have made for $4.90, are still sitting at the end of my bed… along with cards from 2009 and 2008.  (Anybody still want one?  😉 )

Just today when my sister brought my girls home from an outing, she asked if I found the tape runners.  Oh, yes… the tape runners!  The ones I told her I would mail over a week ago so she could work on her son’s scrapbook album.

I won’t tell you how long it’s been since we wrote to Imon.

Sympathy cards, unsent.

Wooden letters (to spell out their names) for my children’s walls, unpainted.

Let’s not even discuss the kids’ scrapbooks!

I’m good with ideas.  I usually know what needs to be done.  It’s the execution that gets me every. single. time.

A couple weeks ago I was handed a great reminder.  A little kick in the seat of the pants that reminded me it’s not the thought that counts. One day that week I saw a friend hurting.  Never mind that I didn’t really see her, as she lives in another state, but I felt her pain via the amazing make-the-world-smaller tech tool that is skype.  She was seriously sick with the flu.  Her family, including her husband and all four children, were sick with the flu.  They needed some help!

And so I did something.  We did something.

We were unable to do for her exactly what we wanted to, but we did something. We weren’t able to “fix the problem” but we did something. We couldn’t make all her worries disappear, but we did something.

You know what?  It felt good to do something, and not just think about it!

If I want to live intentionally this year, and oh, I really do, then I need to stop it with the thinking, planning, and list making and do something! I’m ready to resign my role as The Queen of Good Intentions, because really, it’s not the thought that counts.

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.
~John Burroughs~

Have you been sitting on a great idea or kind thought?  Consider this your gentle push to do something.


  1. OUCH! I felt that kick in the butt. I use to not be that way, I was always on top of the game but within the last 2-3 years the game has been playing me. That quote by John Burroughs is good and I’m going to have to recycle that. I guess I better get to it…thanks!

  2. I am with you as the queen of good intentions, and I think I will work harder on my followthrough!

  3. Are you in my head? I could have written this. Except for the reminder part – I needed that. 🙂

  4. Oh goodness Amy, I loved this. It made me chuckle a bit, I too have the unsent handmade Christmas cards (3 years here too!), and the unpainted wooden letters and countless thank you and sympathy, congratulations and “thinking of you” cards. I often wonder what on earth is wrong with me, it’s kind of a comfort to see that highly organized people do this too. Maybe we should all start addressing and stamping the Christmas cards NOW. 😉

  5. Can I just tell you how many cards there are sitting in our closet? Cards for mother’s day to friends, sympathy cards, thank you card, and more that I bought with good intentions. Some how those intentions never make it to action. Thanks for the reminder that we need to put action behind our intentions, or they don’t mean anything.

    • I picked up a whole stack of cards at a garage sale years (like 12+ years!) ago, thinking it would be nice to have them handy for when I need to send them. Where are they now? Taking up space in my desk drawer! grrrrr

  6. Wow. I needed that. I am horrible with execution. I have a gazillion projects and plans left undone. I’m afraid it’s made me a very very bad friend. This week I’ll definitely be trying harder to just do SOMETHING!

  7. Excellent post, Amy! Thanks so much for sharing it. I often have great ideas and just don’t follow through. Thanks for the reminder to follow through more often.

  8. I still smile when I think of the package you sent Miss S last year when she was struggling with breastfeeding. You do follow through and I, for one, appreciate you!

  9. Oh you don’t even know how much I needed this right now. Through our craziness, I’ve really, really let things slide. DH and I just had this conversation the other day, how I intended to do this, and that for this person and that person–but I never got around to it. Done with it! Must.Live.Intentionally and Purposefully! Thanks so much, friend!

  10. This is a great post. I have SO many good intentions. Calls never made, cards never sent. I waste untold hours “thinking” about what to put on my list. lol! The time it takes to make the list could be better spent actually doing something. Thank you for the reminder!!!! And for a new quote to meditate on for a while. 🙂

  11. I really needed this reminder.

    I have alot of good intentions as well, but never seem to follow through with them. Ideas, as you said, are easy to come up with, it’s the going ahead with it that gets me too.

    It’s nice to know, though, that I’m not the only person who has these problems! I will be sure to try to get things done!

  12. I sneaked over to Springs Bargains and read the story. What a great idea! Makes me think of Disney’s song, “It’s a Small World”. Small-town neighborliness meets modern technology. Makes me laugh.

  13. Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one with cards unsent, phone calls to make, projects to do more than think about. Years ago I read somewhere in regard to having good intentions– You may have a heart of gold, but so does a hard boiled egg! Have a wonderful day everyone. Blessings to y’all as we work to accomplish more than good intentions.

  14. I only managed to do two days of my Bible study last week (cringe) but one day was on acting on nudges of the Holy Spirit TODAY ( based on Hebrews 3:15). I loved the reminder.

    I have a running head tally of baby thank-you notes. I don’t think they’re doing any good in my head, huh?

  15. I have our 100 Christmas cards from Sam’s from 2007 that never got sent. I’ll trade one of mine for one of yours! 🙂 I never even bothered with 2008 or 2009, but finally got a poor excuse for one out LATE in 2010.

  16. I, too, have good intentions, but poor follow through. I DID figure out the Christmas card thing, though. After a few years of making them and never sending them, I started keeping the addresses on labels in my word processing program. I can add to or change them easily throughout the year and when the craziness of December rolls around all I have to do is insert label pages in the printer and click “print”. It may not be quite as personal as hand writing them, but it gets the job done!

  17. Thanks for the kick in the pants! I just got around to buying and shipping a funny book to my cousin-in-law, who is pregnant and on bed rest with twins, her first babies. When I realized “heck, this will probably make her day”, it was a whole lot easier to get moving. And I will add that having received some lovely sympathy cards myself over the years, I’m very careful to send them promptly because I know I really appreciated the gesture during a difficult time.

    • Yes, the sympathy cards definitely need to be made high priority. I know when my brother was killed in an accident, we truly appreciated everyone who reached out in any way.

  18. Thanks for the kick in the pants! I am so there with you, especially the Christmas cards! I have a long list of great projects that I need to get cracking on too.

  19. I’m there with you…. Christmas is officially 2 months past and hardly any of the thank you notes have been written.
    I remind myself of my childhood, all the projects /activities promised to me and never done.

    I tell myself that done is better than perfect. If I tell myself I’ll do something with my kids..I’d better do it. Not following through is as good as lying to them. Not exactly a good family relation.

    • “I tell myself that done is better than perfect.” So true! And I definitely want my kids to have memories of FUN times with mom, not just spinning our wheels trying to put out fires.

  20. Thanks so much for that “gentle push.” Taking action is so important – in relationships, in business, in blogging, in LIFE.

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