Holy Crap! You’re TWENTY!

Holy crap! YOU ARE TWENTY YEARS OLD! How did that happen? WHEN did it happen? Wasn’t it just the other day we were getting you ready for your first dance recital?

 

You have always been more mature and wiser than your years so there isn’t a whole lot for me to tell you. If I remember correctly, at this time I was telling the boys not to get too ahead of themselves, to slow down and enjoy the view, not to drink too much; you know, typical college student stuff. But that isn’t you at all. A part of me thanks GOD every single day for this and the other part wonders where the heck you came from because that clearly isn’t anything you learned from me or dad.

And yes, I desperately tried to refrain from sharing my annual Words of Wisdom but I failed miserably so the tradition continues…

MOM’S WORDS OF WISDOM ON YOUR 20TH BIRTHDAY

*Quality over quantity

Just like your brother you are so blessed to have a great group of friends that have been there through it all. Cherish them, love them, tolerate the growing pains you may all be suffering and get through them together; just like you have gotten through everything else.

*Self-care is key

Always make time for yourself. You can’t take care of all of your very important school obligations if you don’t take care of yourself first. This will apply when you get a job, have a husband and a house to run, have kids…. Whatever stage you may be in life ALWAYS make sure you leave a little “me time” in there and don’t EVER feel bad about it. EVER.

*Counting calories isn’t worth it

Being healthy is important but counting calories is just a waste of time and energy. Try and eat right, stay active, and you will be fine.. you managed to get through your first year and a half of college without adding an ounce; I think you’re safe..

*Makeup isn’t always necessary, but sometimes it is

You are beautiful inside and out (of course, I’m your mother so I’m sorta biased but whatever, it counts). You don’t always have to wear a ton of makeup. It’s ok to be natural.. SOMETIMES! There are times when you do. When you feel your best, you reflect the very best. Just make sure you take care of your skin.. don’t wait till your 40’s to figure that out like I did.

*Take risks

We never regret the risks we take, only the ones we didn’t. Sure, it could turn out to be a mistake of ginormous proportions, but oh well… life will go on… I promise.

*Follow your passions

You’re going to be in the workforce for quite a while so find something you’re passionate about. Go into a field you love no matter what the pay is. If you enjoy what you do, money won’t matter. I still believe you would LOVE the world of plastic surgery – just saying.

*Be open minded

We live in a diverse, ever-changing, always evolving world. Be open-minded about everything. Learn as much as you can from the people around you, especially the ones who think differently than you do. Appreciate the differences, don’t judge them.

*Pay attention to the political issues

Please don’t become one of those people who can speak of nothing other than politics but pay enough attention to the issues so that if/when you enter into that sort of conversation, you give an educated, well-informed opinion. And if you should come across someone who’s opinions are in complete contrast to yours (and you will) don’t be ugly about it… listen to their views, try and understand where they may be coming from, stand your ground, and vote your conscience. You don’t always have to agree with everyone’s opinions in order to remain friends but you do have to respect them.

While we may not be there to celebrate with you physically, know that our hearts are with you every second of every day; especially today.

Have an amazing day, my baby! Mom and Dad love you to the moon and back!

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Words of Wisdom as you prepare for your 2nd year as a Longhorn

So this is it…. Year two… feels like just yesterday I was dropping you off at Pre-K…. I can see the excitement and anticipation on your face (and don’t think that look of frustration hasn’t gone unnoticed either). I’m sure you can see the pain in mine; but what you can’t see is the swelling of pride in my heart as I look at the amazing young woman you have become.

I know the last thing in the world you want to hear right now is yet more advice from a woman who’s been offering it your ENTIRE life. But if there is anything I have ever taught you is that you are to never, ever stop learning and that all it really is.. is advice. You don’t have to take it – though keep in mind I will “gently remind” you that I told you so..

So in my usual fashion; here goes; Words of Wisdom as you prepare for your 2nd year as a Longhorn:

You are officially moved in to your new “big girl” apartment; all ready to learn new things (like how to cook) know that not all of the lessons are going to be good ones. I do believe this world is a good and beautiful place but there are places and situations that are not. Be attentive to your surroundings but don’t let it get so overwhelming it affects you to your core. Be vigilant, but not paranoid. Try never to get so wound up in what “could happen” that you fail to see the beauty that’s all around you.

The same goes for people. When you meet someone new, make sure you look them in the eye. Remember to never judge someone based on appearances. The true measure of a person is taken over time and should be based more on their actions rather than their appearance or words. We all say stupid things on bad days; words hurt but actions leave scars…. Keep that in mind.

Our hope is that you’ll come across more kindness and compassion than anything else. We pray that you’ll surround yourself with people who bring out the best in each other, who support each other, who lift each other up.. But should you come across people that don’t fall in that category, just turn around and walk away. It sounds simple, but trust me, it’s not. It could be one of the hardest things you may ever have to do.

Your dad and I have done our best to teach you how to be strong, to know who you are and never doubt yourself. Stand firm in what you know is right, even if you find yourself standing alone.

Lastly, remember that life is meant to be lived. Yes, you are here for a purpose and that is school but part of getting a proper education is learning to LIVE. So whenever you see the possibility for adventure – take it! You only get one chance at this – make it count..

That’s it! You got this; I am sure of it. But if you need me; this week’s 5-hour mad dash to you should prove that I will be here – all you have to do is call. OR text. Snap. Tweet… smoke signals..

Love you to the moon and back, my baby! Hook em!

Words of Wisdom for my 19 year old daughter

19! I can’t even believe it! I remember the day you were born as if it were yesterday.
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Labor was induced and scheduled so there are no dramatic stories to tell.. having you was fairly quick, in relation to your brothers anyway, and, sort of easy- as easy as childbirth can be …not sure but feels like that sort of set the tone for you – you’ve always been a no frills, no drama, “I got this” kinda girl. The complete opposite of me.
And while you’re probably still more mature than I am, it wouldn’t be right if I let this day start without my WORDS of WISDOM- not that you need them.. but here goes anyway..
1. Be nice. Especially when you don’t want to.
2. Watch a sun rise and set any chance you get. Then thank God for that amazing opportunity.
3. Never refuse chocolate. Ever.
4. Think BIG but always, always, always enjoy and appreciate the little things.
5. Return anything you borrow. Preferably in better condition than you got it
6. Handwritten thank you notes, birthday cards, and RSVP’s will ALWAYS be better than any text. Doesn’t matter who it is or what the occasion may be.
7. Go places you don’t want to go. Remember any moment can turn into an adventure with the right mind set.
8. Make time for friends and family – Even if it means getting up at 6 am and driving over 300 miles.
9. Use a planner, keep a journal, and WRITE THINGS DOWN. I know you’ll think you’ll remember (and knowing you, you probably will) but do it just in case.. and most importantly,
10. Don’t be afraid to stray from that planner and just go with the flow… there’s a great big world out there, sweetheart, and if any opportunity arises for you to see it- drop what you’re doing and go.
The day you were born you completed our family, you completed my heart, and you completed ME. Dad and I love you to the moon and back. And we are so, so proud to be your parents…
Now go back and read #8 and be ready. I’m on my way!

I Hope You Dance

Tomorrow is my baby’s last “official” day in high school. Of course, such a momentous day wouldn’t be complete without my usual “words of wisdom”.. so here goes…

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Life is one grand, sweet song so start the music and dance. Dance to the songs in your head, to the rhythm in your heart, and to the beat you can only feel deep down in your soul. 💃❤️💃

Always remember that although its time for me to take a few steps back and let you take the lead on this particular song, I’ll never be so far away that you can’t call me up and let me join in on a verse or two… 🎶❤️🎶

Love you to the moon and back..

#ihopeyoudance. #seniors17. #hookem

Turning 18 – WOW for my daughter

So here we are… the big “18”.. in a few short months you will be off in this big world all on your own and there is nothing I can do about it..
Your dad and I have spent many years trying really hard to instill morals and values and impart all the little bits of knowledge that we think you and your brothers will need to survive in this crazy world, and although our time here is almost up.. it’s not over yet.. so here goes.. “Moms Words of Advice On Your 18th Birthday..
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1. Money does not buy happiness.

As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Your dad and I have never been blessed with an excessive amount of money but we have been blessed with so much more. We have you and your brothers and are surrounded with an enormous amount of friends and family. Don’t ever sacrifice those special relationships for money, for those relationships are priceless. I pray you are financially secure as you head out on your own. But, I promise you; all the riches of the world will not replace the love and happiness you get from living your life to the fullest surrounded with people you love. Even through the tough times, try and find the joy in people, not in possessions.

2. Trust your gut.

Pray about big decisions. Life is a journey with many forks in the road. Each and every turn is a new adventure. Be grateful for the opportunities that come your way and patient with the ones that don’t.

3. Love deeply.

If your dad and I ever wanted to show you all anything, it was how to love. I pray we have taught you that. Love with all you have. There is no greater feeling than to love and be loved.
That’s it! First and foremost, Love God, trust in yourself, and, I promise, everything else will fall into place. .. we have all the faith in the world in you..
With all I have… I love you to the moon and much further beyond..
P. S. You and your brothers will most likely never understand why I chose the lessons that I did for each and every one of you until you have your own 18, 21, & 23 year old child (Not anytime soon, I hope) . But know that your dad and I want nothing less but the very best for all of you. And that is for you each of you to be happy and loved and enjoy this journey of life. ❤️😊❤️

Words of Wisdom for my (then) 16 Year Old Daughter

Where did the years go? It seems like just yesterday your dad and I were waiting to meet you; Anxious to know what you looked like, whose eyes you would have… We had so many questions.

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Now here we are,  you’re 16!… In two short years you’ll be packing your bags for college, work, or wherever God has you going next. You’ll be voting and driving. Thinking about adult topics like careers and marriage.

But before that happens, I’d like to pass …on a few thoughts:

1. Don’t Neglect Your Most Important Relationship

I’m not talking about your relationship with me, or your relationship with your dad. Not even the relationship you’ll have with your future husband. I’m talking about your relationship with God. Always make time for Him.
Life won’t be perfect, but with HIM you will have all the wisdom, assurance, and comfort you need.

2. Try Your Best and Don’t Worry About the Rest.

You do not have to be perfect. None of us are perfect. You just continue putting out the effort and Trust God for the results.

3. Education Doesn’t End at 18 {or 22}

I know this isn’t what you want to hear, but learning is a lifelong process. I’m WAY older than you and I still learn something new every day. Whatever you do, don’t ever stop learning.. about the little things and about yourself.

4. Risky Business is OK {Within Reason}

Risks. I know you hate them. I don’t think it’s so much the risk that is scary but the fear of failure. Most people are wrong about failure, though. Failure is not bad. It is merely a chance to learn from our mistakes (see point #3).

5. You  Are a “Masterpiece”.

I love that word. You are God’s masterpiece…a beautiful work of art. Treasured by me and by your dad and everyone who knows and loves you.
I know you have exciting times ahead! Life is never boring when you live it with your whole heart….
Love you to the moon and back!

 

 

Table for Three

I was on a flight recently when I began to overhear a conversation between two men. One man told the other that he had two daughters, both older. The other man said he had one son, 14 months old.  The first man proceeds to tell him that he HAD to have another child and growing up an only child was the worst thing he could do to him. UH, HELLO… I grew up an only child and I happen to think it wasn’t so bad. On the contrary, for the most part, it was pretty darn great. Sure, being an only child can SOMETIMES be a bit boring, but sometimes, a little alone time goes a long way. Being an only child, in my opinion, helped me to become as independent as I am today. I can travel the world alone, though not my preference, but I am perfectly capable of doing so. While the people I know that grew up with siblings, esp around the same age, can’t go to the grocery store alone. My children included. IMG_6926

Growing up an only child wasn’t as lonely as everyone thinks it is.. Aside from having a TON of friends, I had myself. I learned who I was by a very early age and I learned to be true to myself, a conviction that still guides me today.
 
Sure, I may never fully understand the bond between a brother and a sister or have that bond that sisters usually do, but then people with siblings will never understand the sheer joy of never having to share your parents’ attention or deal with a younger sibling break your favorite toy or worry that your parents would chose going to your kid sisters ballet recital over your game..
 
As an adult, the lack of siblings makes things less complicated. My kids get all of grandmas attention and there is virtually no discussion on who gets what when it’s all over.
Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way promoting having only one child, nor am I promoting having ten. But if you should chose to or circumstances make it so, know that you have not done a disservice to your child. Know that your child will be a well adjusted, contributing member of society and that he/she will be just fine..

 

Words of Wisdom for my RETURNING College Freshman

These two crazies are headed back to school for their second semester away… I wish you loads of fun, amazing success, and leave you both with an abundance of love… and, of course, my Words of Wisdom (the ones you all thought I was done with). 😊🤷🏼‍♀️
So here goes… IMG_0031

Be open to new people.

I can hardly count how many incredible people I met throughout my first year away (like your dad/uncle and others who are to remain nameless) But I never would have met them if I thought the same way I did when I first got there. I wasn’t very keen on talking to people I didn’t really know or who liked different things than I did, who had different plans on the weekends, or who majored in subjects I didn’t understand. Whatever you do, DON’T BE THIS WAY. You’ll miss out on some pretty outstanding individuals. And our lives would have been ENTIRELY different if I had.

Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

This is something we’ve all heard before, but I can’t stress it enough. Figure out who YOU are first, and then be THAT. Introduce yourself as much as possible. It may feel awkward and you may scare them off, but who knows! You could introduce yourself to your new best friend or someone taking the same terrible astronomy class as you.

Don’t feel pressured.

Now I know I say to try new things, but feeling pressured to do something you’re completely uncomfortable with is a whole different ball game. If you don’t want to drink at a party, don’t drink. Carry around a Solo cup full of orange juice. If you want to study or go to sleep instead of staying up to watch 8 episodes of Catfish, go study. You can always do what you want, and anybody that has a problem with that can shove it.

Include people.

Nobody wants to be that person left out of weekend plans or a Starbucks run, so send out invites like UPS sends packages to our door. Knock on doors, talk to people in the bathroom, check your common room – the more the merrier! You’ll meet more people this way and you might just make someone’s day.
 

Do as much as possible.

Before you know it (and trust me on this one) you’ll be a senior applying to jobs, and you’ll realize you never got to try that one cool taco place or that you never checked out that history museum 5 blocks away, literally, or you never went to that bar that had Trivia Tuesdays. Do it now, experience it, and invite your friends. The last thing you want to say after you graduate is, “I never got to try that cool taco place.”
 

Sit and take it in.

This one might sound weird, but the moments I cherish most from freshman year are the ones that I stopped, looked around, and remembered to appreciate every element. Like one night, when your dad/uncle Donny and Donald “fun, lots of fun” and my roommate all took off to the valley at the last minute and had a great night out (ok, scratch that- that was very unsafe and a bad idea)- but you get the idea. That one moment will always stay with me. Be sure to take in the ones that will stay with you.
 
And most importantly, Stop being embarrassed when your family calls or comes over. We just love you a lot – show us some love back. I promise, It won’t hurt. And when you’re all grown up and visiting your own children – you’ll understand how we feel.

Words of Wisdom For My (then) 17 Year Old Daughter

17! Almost an adult in the eyes of the world; forever a baby in my mind. It doesn’t matter how tall you get, how grown up you look, or how smart you become, you will forever be my baby. Although I say I will always be there, by your side, protecting you from well, everything, we all know that isn’t practical and eventually I will have to let you go out (somewhat) on your own. Unfortunately, the world is tough and things will not always be as easy as they may seem right now so there are a few more things I still need to tell you before you go.. (somewhat of a continuation of years past)

 

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Relationships Matter

First, relationships matter. I cannot stress that enough! Not the trivial friendships or acquaintances you may stumble upon… but the ones that touch your heart. Your family. Your friends. Those relationships are important and you will need them throughout your life. These bonds will carry you when you need lifting and celebrate with you when you rejoice. We were made for relationships and your heart will ache without them. Build strong ones. Protect them.

Making Mistakes

Second, Be prepared to make mistakes. That’s inevitable. And when you do, move on and make more. As hard as it will be for me to watch you fall, the greatest gift a mother can give is to let you.. just know that I will never be more than a phone call away.. we can always talk about it.. cry about it.. and when you’re old enough – even drink about it (thats always fun) Life is a learning process and you need to experience ALL of it in order to truly live it. I cant promise you that I will always sit back and just observe, I am your mother and you know how I can be, but know that I will try my best to do so. Try and learn from my mistakes, Lord knows, I have made more than my share. No one wants you to be perfect, just reasonable..

Faith

Last and most importantly, Never lose your faith. Hold strong to it. There will be times when you have nothing else. Cultivate this relationship above all others and everything else will fall into place. Happy Happy Birthday, my baby! Mom and dad love you to the moon and back!
(originally posted Dec 3, 2015)