#25 Remember What Counts

It is very easy to get wrapped up in material things. Trust me — I love coats and tennis shoes–they make me happy, they bring me a level of joy, but in the end that joy never compares to the happiness I get from things not easily seen.

Learn to take joy in friendship. My shoes will get holes in them and I will have to get a new pair. A good friend, I never have to replace so long as I take care in my relationship.

Learn to love kind words. It is EASY to be critical and rude–much harder to be kind. Appreciate the kind words others give to you and use kind words with others. The smile that spreads across someone’s face can keep you warmer than the heaviest of coats.

Find comfort in hugs, excitement in the count down to your last days of school, happy anticipation of reading your favorite bed time story. Live every day knowing that you have tons of people who love you. Place your glory in heaven and not on earth.

Yes, darling I want you to enjoy your favorite pair of jeans or your latest amazing toy. I just always want you to remember that things of value often can not be touched–only felt with the heart.

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#24 Try New Foods

As a baby you are starting to eat so many different things. Yesterday I gave you black beans. I don’t like them but you tried them fearlessly…and loved them.

I hope you always try new foods as you continue to grow. Eating a variety of foods is good for you. Also, trying new foods is generally a safe way to let yourself live “on the wild side” for a bit. You can use food to learn about different cultures and spark conversation. The next time someone offers you escargot or a SuperDawg in Ames go ahead and taste it.. You might just find your new favorite dish.

#23 Unplug

Yes I know it is a bit ironic that I am typing this blog post to you on a computer and telling you to unplug. I’m serious though, do it. At the very minimum pick two weekends a year where you turn off all of your electronics. That is right, unplug all of your electronic “extras”. You need to realize that while these things can make life easier or more entertaining (sometimes), it still goes on without them.

Use your unplugged weekend to:
– Go for a walk–listening to nature not your music.
– Sing a song–a camp song that doesn’t require a booming base.
– Have a conversation — in person instead of over the phone.
– Send a letter — in the real mail instead of speedy un-personal electronic mail.
– Play a board game — as opposed to a video game.
– See a play — did you know that actors can perform RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU? Not just on a screen?
– Take a nap — You probably don’t get enough sleep anyways.

These are obviously just a few ideas. I just always want you to take time away from this buzzing electric world of ours and simplify, prioritize, and enjoy the things that are quickly becoming beautiful reminders of lives once lived to the maximum.