#68 Know That It Is Okay To Say “No!”

In three days you will be two, but if you ask me — you have been two for a while now. Part of being a two year old is exerting your independence, and right now you really love to do that by professing just exactly what it is you won’t do. The word NO is common from you and while at times I have to bite my tongue to keep my thoughts on your independent mind in check – I hope you always know that sometimes it is okay to say No.

It is okay to say no when you’re tummy is full and you don’t want to eat anymore.

It is okay to say no to the dog who won’t stop licking your face.

It is okay to say no when tempted to make fun of the outcast in class.

It is okay to say no when you are sad or mad and someone asks if you feel alright.

It is okay to say no when you feel pressured by friends to dress in a way that doesn’t suit your style.

It is okay to say no to alcohol, cigarettes, or other physical and mind altering substances that are offered to you by people posing as your friends, coworkers, or role models.

It is okay to say no to a social invitation if you don’t feel comfortable with the location, you need some alone time, or you have a test to study for.

It is okay to say no to joining a new club, being in the school play, or joining a sports team when you feel your schedule is already full enough.

It is okay to say no to boys, girls, or any adults who ask to see or touch parts of your body that makes you feel queazy, insecure, or unsafe.

In a world where people have so much pressure to say yes to all of the above things and more. I just want you to always remember that sometimes it is okay to say no.

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#67 Don’t Ask A Question If You Aren’t Ready For The Answer

You aren’t four years old yet — but my experience with four year olds is that they ask a LOT of questions. You know what I like about them though? They ask all those questions and they truly want the real nitty gritty answer. It is often the parents or adults who feel awkward about the question asked, and skirt their way around answers when most four year olds I know could more than handle the truth. I wish I could say the same for adults.

Life is full of questions- tough questions at that. Where do babies come from? Where does my dog go when it dies? Am I proud of the person I am becoming? Why did I not get the job I applied for? Now that I have this job WHY did I apply for it? Does he love me? Do I love him? How are you? No REALLY how are you? Do I go to college? Where? Is it time to put mom in a nursing home? Will I be able to retire one day?

You get the point.

I’m making you a promise right now that as you begin to face life’s questions –simple and complex– I will always do my best to be honest with you. To give you the straight answer, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll help you find it. Please be prepared though, because I do not promise to give you the answer you would like, hope for, or desire to hear — if it would be telling you a lie. Don’t think you want an honest answer? Then don’t ask.

I want you to always inquire, to desire to know more about the world around you and yourself. However, the world doesn’t need any more people asking questions who don’t have a thick enough skin to handle the truth. I’m not saying that the answer to every question is something bad or grotesque or discouraging, I just want you to be prepared incase you find out something you weren’t expecting. Ask questions–learn–be pleased with the good and struggle your way through the bad. Just make sure that when you ask, you have your ears and heart ready for the answer.

#66 On a day-to-day basis..keep the makeup simple!

Though I don’t even come close to wearing it every day — I love makeup. I think it is fun to apply and play with. As you grow I’m sure you will discover it to some extent as well.  My number one advice to you is that no matter how much makeup you have on, keep it simple. I understand that there are times where you might get a bit “edgier” — with purpose — but looking like this:

Photo from fork.com

Is rarely conducive to one’s professional development or every day life in general. You are young and you are beautiful. Use your make up to accent the features you have that you already love. Never use it as a way to cover up the beauty God gave you naturally. You won’t be wearing makeup for quite some time but when you do, make sure to take a moment to look in the mirror. Make sure that under that layer of lipstick or eye shadow that you still see YOU. If you ever come to me looking like a clown instead of my beautiful and fresh faced kid/young lady — I will be the first to let you know! Leave the clowns at the circus.

 

#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.

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#64 Be Thankful MORE Than One Day Per Year

It is Thanksgiving and wow do we have a lot to be thankful for this year! I love that our nation has a day that is designed to remind us to be thankful–for friends, family, and everything else we are so blessed with. With that in mind, I want to remind you to live every day thankfully. Be thankful you are alive, be thankful your parents love you, be thankful you aren’t an NFL referee–wait, I got distracted.

As Thanksgivings come and go I hope you will use them to reflect upon all the wonderful things in your life. I also hope that you will remember there are 364 other days in a year to give thanks for as well.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Here is a Thanksgiving throwback from last year..since I haven’t really taken any this year yet!

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#63 When it comes to Children (or children at heart), Painting Your Nails, and Baking–Practice Patience.

I am not a patient person by nature. I crave instant gratification. That’s probably why I enjoyed being a waitress so much–going home cash in hand every day. Enough about me, this blog was designed to be about you.

I have learned that for at LEAST three things in life you must have patience.

1. Doing anything with children. In all reality this should say when doing anything with other people, however it is especially true when you are involved with people younger than yourself. Children think and analyze a lot more than we give them credit for. We shouldn’t be worried about rushing them to meet our point of view, speed of step, or sense of humor. Everything to a young child is new and they will make mistakes. Patience in these situations is critical. if you ever have children of your own or spend time with someone else’s children please be patient with them. Trust me, all of those things that you can do so quick and easily now–like reading this blog–you are only able to do because someone once took TIME and used PATIENCE to teach you when you were a slow beginner.

2. Painting your nails requires patience. Since having you, I have made an effort to be more “girly”. I didn’t want to risk having a daughter who was a girly-girl and having no connection to her simply because I was a tom-boy. It may sound silly but it’s true. One thing I have learned is that when painting your nails you MUST have patience. It might seem like that polish is taking 2 hours to dry (when really it is only 20 minutes) but if you don’t just sit and wait you will find yourself with a smudged goopy mess in no time. Besides, wet nails are a great excuse to just take some deep breaths and enjoy the day. Have patience..they will dry..and your blog will wait ’til they do.

3. Be a patient baker. Karrigan, you are already really good at eating under cooked cookies. My  impatience continually gets the best of me in my baking endeavors. I jump the gun on pulling the pan from the oven EVERY time. Images of burnt edges dance in my mind as I stare into the oven begging the item to finish. Sure enough, I remove the goodies from the oven and proudly call them done–only to find a not so done center. Using a timer doesn’t work, especially when I already know our oven takes longer than average to cook things–but still swear by the time suggestion on the box. When baking sweet one, be patient..let the dough rise, let the oven bake, let the cookies cool or suffer the wrath of a burnt tongue.

Really the point of this post is to remind you that sometimes the best thing you can do is sit back and wait. Let the world slide by, give things time, don’t rush what refuses to move faster anyways. Be patient with your youth, and be patient with me as I grow old and become more like a child once again.

Getting big and playing patty-cake.

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#62 Go Ahead, Wear White After Labor Day

First things first–summer is drawing to a close which means that I have free time (kind of) again and can update my blogs! Yippee.

Now on to my always so serious (yeah right) advice..and I apologize because today’s is a bit of a rant!

All modesty thrown aside, you look amazing in white. Something to do with your skin tone and that splash of curly red hair makes white look stunning on you. Therefore I give you express permission to wear it well beyond Labor Day. I’m guessing you have already figured out that there is something deeper going on here and as a matter of fact there is. What I want you to know is that sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) it is more than OK to break the “rules”. Life has a lot of rules, both as a child and as an adult. Some of the rules are there to keep you safe. Some are there to help you succeed. Others, much like the “no white after Labor Day” rule can be tossed out a window.

At the end of the day you get to decide what guidelines you will live your life by. Pay attention to whose rules of life you are following. Are they God’s rules? The Laws? Your Parents? Some clothing magazine? Your Friends? Keep an idea of what rules you abide by, and live by those that truly have your best interest at heart. Know the rules, evaluate the rules, and sure (some day I will rue the day I wrote this post) go ahead and test them a little–it may be the only way you ever find out why they exist.Image

You really can rock the white clothing!!

#61 Don’t be Afraid to Throw Things Away

Some things in life you will hold on to forever. You will treasure and cherish them at every age. However, as Americans and as people we tend to fall prey to the urge to hoard things. This is such a big issue that there is a TV show about people who hoard so badly they really can’t live their life. 

Today as you were throwing away your stuffed animals (again) as well as anything else you could get your hands on I got to thinking that maybe your idea wasn’t such a bad thing. I know that there are plenty of physical as well as emotional things that my life would be perfectly content with if I just threw them away. Do I really need those dead batteries that were just too far from the trash can to make it in? Do I really need to hang on to anger at someone I never see or deal with any more? Probably not. 

I want you to cherish things–memories, people, and the things placed close to your heart. Never get rid of those things. Just make sure that from time to time you open your eyes, take a look around, and throw away those things in your life that are just taking up space, building dust, and slowing you down.

 

#60 Say You Are Sorry–Then Back It Up With Actions

I hear it on play grounds everywhere from parents of kids of all ages “Say you’re sorry” and I thoroughly believe that saying you are sorry is a skill everyone needs to practice. I also believe that the words can only take you so far. If you push a child down on the play ground, say you are sorry, then three minutes later purposely do it again–the words you used to apologize aren’t worth the breath they were spoken with.

Sorry is a powerful word when used correctly and you don’t need to feel guilty for your actions for your entire life. However, you do need to know that the more words you speak without actions to back them up–the less value your words and apologies will ever have. If you push a kid on the play ground and he falls, you should say you are are sorry, and then don’t do it again. As a matter of fact, if the kid falls down later you should offer him a hand to get back up with. Your actions just backed up your apology. In short, your actions give meaning to your words.

For the most part, people will forgive you when you say you are sorry–but it doesn’t mean they forget what you did. Sorry means that you realize you made a mistake and you don’t intend to do it again. I’m tired of a world of empty apologies and empty words. Pick your words carefully, admit your mistakes, and use your actions to give your words value and power—it will take you far!

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