This Momma Has Been Slacking…Kind Of.

My dearest daughter..it has been a while since I’ve posted and I have not forgotten you. I’ve simply been distracted by work, by you, by life. The thing I thought would keep me motivated in my advice to you rather back fired. Turns out I liked my advice being “original” or as I thought of it. You win some you lose some.

Tomorrow I will be back to my old agenda of giving you the advice as it comes from my heart, to my mind, to my finger tips.

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#53 Make Peace With Your Past So It Won’t Screw Up The Present

Basically I take this as–tie up your loose ends, forgive yourself for mistakes, and don’t be afraid to apologize–all wrapped into one.

Little girl your future is so very bright. Along the way you are going to make great decisions and have good days. Unfortunately, you will also probably make bad ones and have some not so amazing times. It is at the times we realize we have strayed from making good choices, whether of ourself, our family, or our friends that we have a vital decision to make. My suggestion in these instances is to pray. Some people doubt the power of prayer–but I don’t know how someone who prays often and with sincerity could, as I truly feel I have seen amazing things come from my quiet times of prayer.

From there you need to take steps to correct your mistakes. Perhaps you need to ask others for forgiveness for unkind actions. Usually though I find, that you need to forgive yourself. You can’t move on past regrettable decisions until you forgive yourself, knowing that you are going to learn from your mistakes and give yourself the present and future times you deserve.

Pray, learn from your mistakes, don’t burn your bridges, follow through on your word even if it’s difficult, ask for forgiveness and give it too — these things will help your past build up your future instead of let it haunt you. Just note, I never said they were easy. Look it’s some random pictures of me as a kid with the best dog a girl could ever know…..

This post is an elaboration on an article containing advice from Regina Brett..the article can be read here.

#52 Save For Retirement Starting With Your First Pay Check

Saving. Our world has a problem with always living in the now. Why do you think the internet is so successful? Everyone can get things they want..Right Now. With money though, please think into the “later” part of things. Putting away a little money now leads to happiness later. Don’t rely on social security–it will be long gone before you are old enough to collect. Don’t think someone else is going to save for you. Chances are they aren’t. Starting with that first dollar you make designate yourself some savings.

Your dad and I aren’t rich but we know the importance of securing our own future. Some day we would love to spend our time baby sitting our grand children, watching sunsets fall, and yelling at kids we don’t know to get off our perfectly manicured lawn. That will never happen if we don’t put aside our dollars now. There is a reason we don’t have car payments or credit card debt. There is a reason we aren’t currently in a $200,000 house. We want to be able to enjoy our old age and we are able to enjoy our life now with our simple but sweet life.

When you have your first “real job” pay your bills, put aside for retirement, put aside for God, and then see what you have left. As you grow we will be covering this again. Your future self will thank you for it.

(Due to a mix of writers block, business, and life I have skipped a couple pieces of advice from Regina Brett’s article..upon which this post is an elaboration. You may read her article full of great advice here.)

#51 You Don’t Have To Win Every Argument — Agree to Disagree

This is a lesson your mom is still working on. I can’t lie–I like to have the last word.

Truth of the matter is that you will never make everyone agree with you. Sometimes that can be frustrating and other times it can be beautiful. Sometimes someone who has a different view point than yourself can really open your eyes. Especially when as humans we tend to have tunnel vision at times–seeing only what we want to see.

One thing that has helped me with this piece of advice is you. Your dad and I definitely have different opinions on parenting at times–from what you should eat to what you should wear. Being able to disagree but still find a solution that has enough common ground for us both to be happy has helped you survive your first year of life! The gentle give and take of our parenting styles has worked to make you a pretty well rounded kid this far.

Also as a new parent everyone has advice for how best to do–well just about EVERYTHING! I quickly had to learn to take the advice with a smile and nod and not spend hours futilely defending my point. Being a parent has really made me realize that sometimes people just do things differently.  Not wrong, just different.

If you have my personality I’m sure you will find yourself fighting for the last word like I always do. I just hope you will know that sometimes its best just to agree to disagree.

However when it comes to Justin Bieber (Yes this may be a long running inside joke)..

This post is an elaboration on an article written by Regina Brett which inspired the start of this blog. You may read her article in full here.

#50 Pay Off Your Credit Cards Every Month

We are skipping advice #4 in the column because I covered it in a very similar fashion in advice #9 Laugh Every Day.

Number 5 is “Pay off your credit cards every month.”

Better yet kid, pay with cash. Living within your means is just that–spending what you have. Of course when you do things like go to college or buy a house some long term loans will most likely be involved. However, if you max out your credit card in the first month you get it–you won’t be paying it off soon unless you waited until you were a doctor to get a credit card.

Credit cards can be used to serve a purpose. In college I charged my gas each month to a credit card so that I essentially got my fuel bill in one monthly statement. What I didn’t do was buy the latest designer purse or dinner for myself and 20 friends because at the end of the month I knew that I would never be able to pay it off.

When you don’t manage to pay your card off–the credit company starts making money in the form of interest. They can charge you a percentage of what you owe and tack that amount on top of your balance for the next month. This is how you quickly get into a hole.

I am proud to say that your father and I have no credit card debt. We both have credit cards which we use occasionally. However it is usually a planned expense or a complete emergency (and not a hunger craving emergency). We do pay off our card EVERY month if we even have a balance. Until you have enough self control to spend your CASH responsibly you have no need for a credit card. Get a budget, live on cash, and then get yourself a credit card (having a credit history when you are a responsible card user can be in your favor). Pay off your card every month!! If you can’t pay off your card every month then get rid of it.

I do acknowledge that their are exceptions to every rule–however I thoroughly believe in this piece of advice when applied to a typical life scenario.

(This post is an elaboration on an article written by Regina Brett which can be read in here.)

#49 Life Is Too Short To Waste Time Hating Anyone

Dislike? Sure. Not love? Sure. Hate? Let’s try to leave that out.

However I will give you a few exceptions to this advice:

1. Justin Bieber

2. The Green Bay Packers

3. The Iowa Hawkeyes

That would be your family’s three exceptions to this rule..because to sneak in another piece of advice–There is an exception to every rule!

Don’t waste your energy on hate–because it just won’t get you anywhere.

This post is an elaboration on advice given in an article by Regina Brett. The original article can be read in its entirety here.

#48 When in doubt, Just Take the Next Small Step

I think this is advice you have already learned in a literal sense. I think learning to walk freaked you out a bit. Which is understandable. At first you would only walk with your right foot..this made you do a lot of pivoting in one place. Finally you shuffled. Now you walk..and sometimes you wobble like a drunken frat boy but you still manage to sneak in the next small step. Eventually you reach your destination which much to my joy, tends to be my arms—or the volume knob on the surround sound.

It is easy to get caught up in the “big moments” in life and forget all the very tiny steps that got you there. Someday you will be running and climbing and will have long forgotten just how hard it was to take those first tiny steps. Sometimes life throws us curve balls. Sometimes you get the wind knocked straight out of you. Those are the times you might find yourself doubting.

Someday your father and I want to move out of our nice but small starter home. We have a lot of doubts about this process. However I know that if we take the small step of fixing up a few aesthetic details, we are one step closer to selling our home. Saving pennies means dollars in the long run and eventually a down payment on something else. When I look at the big picture of what will need to happen in our life to get where we want to be it can be overwhelming. When I take the time to pray and ask what is the next SMALL step to take, I can often clarify where to go and what I can handle.

Don’t discount the small things because they all add up to something.

This post is an elaboration on an article containing advice from Regina Brett which can be read here.

#47 Life Isn’t Fair, But It’s Still Good

(Note: The next 45 days or there about are pieces of advice from an article by Regina Brett. The Article can be read here. I first heard her advice over 2 years ago and it was a base inspiration for this blog. I am simply taking her advice and applying it. Thanks for the good advice Regina–I’m glad you aren’t really 90.)

Life Isn’t Fair, But It’s Still Good.

Could that be any more true? You will probably hear me say “Life isn’t fair..” plenty of times in the coming years. I just hope I always remember to add on the “But it’s still good” part.

Life isn’t fair when you get sick with a horrible cold two days before your wedding–but it’s still good when you get married to your best friend.

Life isn’t fair when you total your car on your way to a volunteer project — but it’s still good when you realize you were able to walk away.

Life isn’t fair when your dog and best friend since the third grade dies unexpectedly — but it’s still good when you have more than one shoulder to cry on.

Life isn’t fair when your friends get to do something that your parent’s make you stay home from — but it’s still good when your best friend stays back with you ..because that is what best friends do.

Life isn’t fair when you have to work three part time jobs to help cover the basic expenses while still making time for family — but it’s still good when your sweet little girl gets to wrap her arms around you whenever she wants and plants sweet wet kisses all over your cheeks.

Please understand that life isn’t fair (or always ideal) but if you look at things just right..you will see that it is still good and let me tell you something girl–you’ve got it really good.