#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.

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#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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#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.

 

#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.

#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.

#42 Don’t Be Afraid To Get Excited

One thing that I find positively infectious about young children is their ability to get excited over everything. When you think about it, it makes sense. Every experience is fresh and new. Most kids (sadly, not all) haven’t experienced much disappointment or let down yet from life. Life IS exciting.

As an adult I come across less and less excitement from those around me. Everything has to be shaded with areas of doubt, fears of let down, or boredom with the “same old-same old”. This fact really bothers me. Why shouldn’t adults be able to get as excited about an ice cream sundae as a five year old? Because they fear that it will land squarely on their hips and then they might be a size seven instead of a six?

I suppose adults do too much analyzing. I’m asking you not too. I’m asking you to let yourself get excited over going to the circus–both as a child and as an adult with your own children. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and show your excitement over landing a new job, not burning dinner, and not driving on the grass as you back out of your driveway. Don’t worry about so many things that you can’t ever get excited. Don’t worry that people may stare at you because you have a grin the size of the Grand Canyon on your face. If anything you might brighten someone’s day.

Right now you get excited over the best stuff. You get excited when the dogs lick your face, when you walk on your own, and when you successfully paint the wall by throwing your dinner against it. You aren’t afraid to laugh and shout or clap your hands. You ARE the definition of excited. Please stay that way.

#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!