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)