The Power of Living a Yes/And Life


Today was a yes/and day.

You know the ones. The days, weeks, months, seasons.

I first grabbed onto the yes/and idea after hearing it explained by Annie F Downs, a writer, speaker, and podcast host I’d love to be friends with in real life. Annie describes how two things can be true at a time. The yes/and.

As military spouses, and moms, I think we know this balance well.

Yes, I adore my children, AND it was a hard day.

Yes, I know we must move, AND I am feeling unsure about it.

Yes, I have anxiety, AND today was a good day.

Yes, I am a caterpillar, AND I will turn into a butterfly.

There are many areas of our lives and our children’s lives where we can apply this concept to shine a light where there may be darkness or to recognize that if you’re a generally positive person, it’s okay to have times of despair.

Annie shared a personal family story on her social media accounts about YES her family experienced a grieving loss of her infant nephew AND she had a summer bucket list of fun activities she wanted to do. She held both.

Annie F Downs wrote, “My friends and I talk a lot about the YES AND of life. We try to limit the use of the word BUT in our conversations, and invite YES AND instead. So YES, I grieve the dreams in my life that don’t look the way I thought they would, AND God has exceeded my expectations of what I thought life could look like.”

I think of a friend I have. YES, she is in chemotherapy, losing her hair, and hates it AND she is still out moving her body, hiking, and doing what she can when she feels well.

I think of my youngest who, YES, is a ball of energy and struggles at bedtime AND just wants me to stay in his room and cuddle.

Yes, I want my quiet time AND he won’t ask for these moments forever.

Yes, I want to see my spouse be successful in their career, AND I want to excel in mine as well.

I think we can see our dreams come true when we broaden our definitions and embrace our disappointments.” -Annie F. Downs

There’s space for the yes/and in our lives. There must be.

What are your yes/and moments?

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Ellen Kehs
Ellen Kehs was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois where she met and later married her high school sweetheart, Mason. Together they’ve traveled the world, most recently touching down in Florida in June 2022. She’s a mom to three little boys, Theodore (eleven), Woodrow (nine) and Maximus (six). Life is never boring with her boys! Ellen loves being a military spouse and she embodies the “bloom where you are planted” mentality. In addition to soaking up whatever current city she’s living in, she is passionate about reading and getting books in the hands of children, as well as helping other mamas connect with each other. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education, a master’s degree in adolescent literacy and technology, and she teaches full-time online, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom. Her hobbies include, exploring, reading, swimming, napping, snapping pictures, playing games, baking, and loving on the little men in her life.