31. Don’t Poke the Dragon
In life, there will be many things you want to do but shouldn’t do either ever, or for a time. My advice on these things is to not poke the dragon. What I mean by this is, if you want to try something out of curiosity (insert your own mother’s worst nightmare), ignorance is better than knowing that you enjoy something you don’t want/need to do etc. Don’t create for yourself a dragon to fight because you poked him awake with interest. I would rather not know what something was like over knowing, liking it, and creating a struggle and constant temptation for myself. Experimenting will not ease the desire, but awaken the beast. Ignorance is bliss rarely in my book but in the book of experimentation, better to not wake the dragon and be inexperienced than to fight with a known desire.
32. Ask Questions
Learn about your grandparents, aunts/uncles, and your own parents before they’re gone. Learn the stories, sentimental things, details about their love stories or how they came to do what they do or how they became who they are. How did your grandparents meet and fall in love? What did they do for jobs growing up?
When people age and pass, with them passes the history of your family. Don’t miss out on the story of all the things that built everything and everyone before you. After all, it’s ultimately an incredibly detailed story of how you came to be.
33. Don’t Compare Time Lines
As you grow up, people will hit certain milestones before you: children, marriage, graduation, landing certain jobs and life accomplishments or successes you might desire. Be careful to compare your life to theirs and say, “It’s never going to happen for me.” or “Why haven’t I had that chance or met that person?” You start to feel behind or like you are missing out when compare your life to someone else’s or when you compare where you are to where you hoped you would be. Your life was designed on God’s timeline for YOU. He didn’t create you for your purposes in comparison to what He was doing for anyone else so don’t take into consideration what God didn’t. Because of that, you aren’t truly behind or off course but rather on your own distinct timeline that has nothing to do with anyone else or any other “social norm” you may feel like you are racing against. God doesn’t adhere to social norms. He adheres to what He has for you. The struggle for all of us is to find contentment in where we are and you can never be content if you can’t accept and love where you are and failing to accept and love where you are currently planted means you’ll never experience the goodness of the stage you’re in. There is a time and season for everything under the sun. In sweet time my dear babies….
34. Neck Love
There are no such things as neck Botox or neck lifts so moisturize that baby, too. SPF it while we’re at it. Necks and hands both tell your age so either be proactive or wear lots of mittens and turtlenecks. I’m not encouraging you to be vain but I am saying there is no shame in taking care of your body while you age. When you’re greasing your face and keeping it fresh, don’t let your neck turn into a dinosaur. That’s all.
Be smart with your money while you are young. Don’t wait until you are married or in your profession to make good financial decisions. Mistakes can be forgiven but poor financial mistakes can follow you a long time. If you get bad credit while you are young, that credit will follow you into the first time you want to apply for a loan for a house. Several late payments on your light bill? No problem, until you move and have your lights turned on again and have to pay a bunch of fees because of your past payment history. People who accumulate debts and poor credit are haunted by those choices even in to the years where they have since become smart, responsible adults. Money isn’t everything but how you handle it will effect you. Be a good steward of what you’ve been given and make good choices for you and future you. I made good choices because my dad instilled this type of responsibility in me. You don’t have to rich to be financially free from the burden of debt and bad credit. Whether you are rich or poor, both individuals should choose wisely.
36. Don’t Sacrifice for Having Money
There may be a time in your life where you are faced with job choices either for yourself or for your husband and money should not only be the only factor. Be wise, make sure you and your families needs are met but happiness, time with your family, freedom, and purpose are more important than more money and less time for the things that matter in life. If you have a chance to do something you’ve always dreamed of trying or doing, don’t let money be the only factor. Sometimes in order to live and do, we have to step out on faith and make choices and take chances. Be cautious but by all means, don’t be restricted.
37. Write it Down
When you are a mom, write down what your children say and do and take pictures. When you are growing up, journal and take pictures. As much as you think you will remember every little thing about your children and every period in your life, every relationship, milestones, etc. memory fades…even of the best days. One day when you are older and I’m gone, you will have at this point…hmmmmm….600 blogs to remember me by. A record of your life will serve you, your children, and those that love you once you’re pushing daisies.
38. Baby Steps
I hope I’m around to help you through many difficult and hard times in your life but when I can’t be or when I’m gone, let me tell you what I tell people when they are asking for advice on how to get through tough days or experiences: set small goals. Take baby steps. When you wake up with a broken heart, anxiety, or are facing a really hard day, give yourself baby steps all day long to help you make it through the next hour. Example: I only have to work 2 hours and then my mom said she will call me. After the phone call, I only have to work one more hour until I get lunch and can sit alone or with a friend (whatever you need). Then I only have 3 hours until I can be home and then I can rest, cry, see a friend, etc. It sounds so simple but sometimes in life, we hurt so much that we are just trying to survive. You can survive by not trying to survive the month, but by surviving an hour at a time. It gives you a sense of control because you have a plan and you have little goals or reliefs for yourself set up along the way. I did this for myself when I had postpartum depression on my bad days as it was going away and I’ve helped many people with depression get through a day this way. I wish you no heartbreak but if you are, this is some of the most practical advice in how to with the structure of a hard day.
More than you need baby steps in life, you need PRAYER. The older I get, the more I see the stronger my prayer life is, the stronger my walk is. Pray out loud in front of your kids while they are young so that it becomes instilled in them. I love to pray for people when an ambulance or fire truck passes while I have you guys in the car. It’s something you both can understand and it’s a way that I’m teaching you that it’s part of a day. I hope that every time you have worries, that it’s quickly followed by prayer. I hope you saw me live this.
So often, especially when you are young, you carry guilt or shame for things that you’ve done. Remember that you aren’t defined by your mistakes. They aren’t WHO you are. They are WHAT you did. A mistake is only who you are when you do it with no remorse. You are your mistakes when you live in them un-apologetically. Patterns with no repentance is a person. Mistakes with repentance is something much greater than a poor choice….it’s a human with character. Remember that this applies to other people when you are struggling to forgive someone else.
41. Future You
Another piece of advice that your mom has given out to many a person….
When you are worried about how something will go in the future (example: What if I see the love of my life, aka ex boyfriend, out with another girl? I won’t survive!) remember this dang good advice from a simple mom:
When people worry about the future, they make one crucial mistake. They assume that they will be in the same place in the future emotionally as they are today. It’s putting a current you, feelings, fears, and all, in a future situation. By that time, any number of variables have occurred and you won’t be the same person in the future when and IF it ever comes time to confront that fear. Yes, you may see your ex in public but you can’t assume that when and if that happens that you will feel the same way you do in the moment of loss. You may have moved on or realized that you weren’t in love, etc. Basically, don’t put present you in a future situation where you allow the situation to have changed but not your feelings and ability to cope. You aren’t today who you will be then so the situation you fear now, will not be the same situation. I hope that makes sense because it is some dang good practical, logical advice. High five, mom.
42. Getting Clean
If you insist on taking baths then take a shower first and then a bath. If you just jump right in the tub, your nasty will float around and you’ll just splash it all over you and become imaginary clean.
When you can, purchase quality things when you are buying things you will need long term. Don’t skimp on mattresses, pots and pans, and luggage to name a few. Better to buy quality up front than to replace the item 10 times and spend more in replacement than you would have if you bought a quality purchase first.
I don’t do elephants in the room and in your personal relationships using respect and good timing, I recommend that you don’t either. In professor Randy Pausch’s famous last lecture he said, “When an elephant is in the room, introduce him.” The only way to truly communicate is to talk about the real issues. Get to them.
Thoughts turn to feelings, feelings to action. Don’t dwell on anything you don’t want to do or become.
You are beautiful whether you’ve had three children, have acne, feel too skinny, feel too fat, have crooked teeth, or don’t like your clothes. You were made with intention by a creator who doesn’t read fashion magazines or define what he’s made by a social preference. No matter what the culture says or how you feel about yourself, you were made with perfect intention. You are beautiful and the world never needs to validate that. It’s true. God says so.
If you value you car (and you better), park next to other nice cars that won’t dink your door with theirs. Don’t park next to an old junky car. Those cars have nothing left to lose.
Nothing breaks my heart like hearing someone say they don’t have or didn’t have any friends growing up. Be actively compassionate. Don’t let that ever be able to said by someone who lived their life around you.
49. My Best
I want you to know that I did my best with you. Best from a human means sometimes I failed but know that ultimately, my heart, my hard choices, my shortcomings, all came from the place where a mother wants nothing more than the utmost of themselves for their child. I want you to know that I gave raising you the best parts of myself that I could have. I hope you’ve felt abundantly loved, that your life was celebrated, and that we did it together.
No matter how old, how far, how difficult, you can always come home. We are always your parents and we always love you as you are, dearly and deeply. It doesn’t matter how old we get or if we have families of our own, there is always something about home and we will always be yours. We are proud of you. Thankful for your every day. Blessed to be your parents. Better that we were.