#65 Use More Than Dollar Signs To Assess Value

This past year your father and I have had to consistently ask ourselves what things in our life have the most value. We certainly aren’t made of money and when bills pile up, namely those student loans that allowed us to experience some great years that helped to shape who we would become–both in and out of the classroom–it is often easy to start adding $ signs to find value in the things around us. If that wasn’t enough, the media, internet, advertising, and just about every piece of printed material out there is in one way or another telling us to place value in life’s monetary gains and “status symbols”.

I won’t lie, a Corvette would be nice, and probably have at least some temporary value to me. However, every time we sit down and really talk about it, your father and I consistently find that the most valuable things–the things WE want to invest in– have no dollar value attached to them. The things we find most valuable to us always tends to be our faith in God, our positive relationship with each other, YOU and being active participants in your life our pets (and yes they DO require a dollar commitment), satisfaction withour jobs, and also our relationship with friends and family.

Before I start sounding like a feel-good family TV show (or maybe I’m too late for that), let me tell you that keeping the VERY valuable things the center of our focus isn’t always easy. THey aren’t valuable in a measurable way that perhaps an expensive piece of jewelry or set of new top of the line golf clubs are. However, their value is measured in the way these things make us feel, the way they keep our hearts living passionately, the way that they give us constant peace of mind.

Whenever I contemplate getting a higher paying job — that would allow us some “valuable”items – I realize that it would take me away form you and also away from a job that I have now that I really love. No amount of money could make me feel as good as spending a day with you–and working at a job where I feel I really have a chance to make a difference in the world.

My rambling is about done. What I’m trying to say is to always make sure when you consider what is valuable to you — look deeper than the attached % sign. WE all love new “things” — and I’m not telling you to never splurge. Just always remember that value can be measured in laughter, hugs, kisses, hear warming (and a few heart-wrenching) moments — it can be measured in time with a good companion and in so many ways that dollar signs can never add up to.



#54 Do Things You Aren’t Good At

I want you to find things that you enjoy and are good at–and I want you to have a blast doing them. With that said, I also hope that you will challenge yourself to reach new heights, to not be afraid to challenge yourself, to not fear the fact that you may very well fail at something. It’s okay.

Those things that we aren’t good at–have a lot to teach us. They teach us about humility, they help us to expand our skills and knowledge, they help us become better than we were the day before.

This is coming from someone who hates being bad at things. I don’t have to be the best–but I want to at least be proficient at everything I do. It took me a long time to accept that sometimes that would mean having to work for it. I’m a horrible cook–but I’ve been working on it and while I’ll never be on “Top Chef” I can at least provide for my family now. It wasn’t always like that, and I still do things like burn rice, mix ingredients wrong, and make several other entertaining mistakes..but I’m getting better!

Young daughter, don’t fear the edge of your comfort zone. Stretch yourself, push yourself, allow others to teach you, and don’t be afraid of not being “good enough” because for every thing you will struggle with you will find something else you rock at.


#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.)

#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.

#46 Be Open For Advice From Unexpected Places

Over the next 45 days (or there about) I am going to be elaborating on advice I wish I could say was entirely my own. However it is not. It is indeed the advice that inspired me to write this blog and it came to my work inbox almost 2 years ago now. It is advice from an article by Regina Brett from Cleaveland, Ohio. She once wrote in an article 45 pieces of advice. Following that advice has already started changing my life. Some of it was advice that I already followed, without really knowing I did. Other parts of it were new revelations to me that changed my thinking on many aspects of my life.

Over the next 45 days I will be elaborating on her advice. If I skip a piece of it–I will note that too along with the reason.

I want you to remember that advice comes from many sources. Your parents, your friends, your grandparents, the Bible, and from yourself. Be open to it. Sift through it. Apply some–and throw some (ok a lot) of it out.

Listen to the world and people around you. They will give you insight and guidance to making the most of your life.

One last thing, listen to children. I can’t wait to hear your insight and vision for life as you hit three and four. Children have given me some of the best perspective in life. Even when you are ninety — listen to children.



#34 Chase Those Dreams

This advice is so…cliche. “Chase your dreams..” “Follow your heart..” ETC ETC ETC. However, I mean it. Run at your dreams head on and when you come to a wall in the way smash through it. If you don’t smash through it at least land on your back side (if you are at all like your  mom it has plenty of cushion) and bounce back up.

I battle with this piece of advice because sometimes I feel like I have let things get between me and my dreams. Usually it is a lack of confidence that gets in my way and then I logic myself out of taking the risk that is naturally involved with any dream chasing. However, before I sell myself short on this, I must say I reached my dreams of traveling abroad, going to college, finding the love of my life, and becoming a mom. However, part of me still feels hypocritical in this advice until I reach one major personal goal which involves my career. Thankfully I’m taking steps towards that goal and while I can’t go into a lot of details now, it has left me realizing how much I want you to achieve your dreams.

Dreams are bigger than goals. Dreams are the things you do because they make your heart and soul happy. Fulfilling dreams can give you elation beyond words.

You can have different dreams throughout your life. When I was younger my dream was simply to raise my very own puppy–which I did! Now it’s bigger things. I hope that you will share your dreams and aspirations with me as you grow. I hope you know that while I will support you in them, I cannot obtain them for you. You have to have the will and determination to reach your goals.

I promise that I will chase my dreams as long as I live, as long as you vow to do the same. This was me the day your father and I got engaged however I had no idea what was coming! I’m working hard right now to chase some dreams baby girl that involve kids laughing, hard work, and thundering hooves. I’m lucky to have support from your dad and a smile from you every step of the way!