Being a Mama is something I always dreamed of and our girls are truly the light of our lives. The past 3 years of motherhood have taught me so much more than I could have ever imagined -- about life, myself, my marriage, our daughters and more. It has been a whirlwind of good days & hard days, laughter & tears, overwhelming happiness, overflowing emotions and most of all, gratitude. Gratitude that Olivia and Penelope are who they are and that I have the gift of being their Mama. So I wanted to write a list for them filled with all the little & big life lessons that I believe are important for each of them to grow up knowing.
1. You are never too old to act like a kid again.
2. Seek beauty in all things.
3. Find your identity in Christ.
4. Give and love generously.
5. Walk with your head held high.
6. Crying is not a sign of weakness. And a good cry is great therapy.
7. Never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary.
8. Class is more important than popularity.
9. Stand up for yourself. And for others. Speak out for those who can’t do so for themselves.
10. Depend on Jesus for strength and joy.
11. Never be afraid to ask questions.
12. Start each day like it’s your birthday.
13. Sometimes, a bubble bath is all you need to set the world right again.
14. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Fear can keep you up all night but faith makes a wonderful pillow.
15. You must love yourself before you can love another.
16. In everything, give 100%, even when you could get by with less.
17. Nothing that happens to you is a surprise to God.
18. If you can’t pour your whole heart into it, it is probably not worth doing.
19. If you can only have one beauty accessory, choose mascara. And splurge on it because it is always worth the investment.
20. Don’t be afraid to be bold and speak your mind. But have discernment when you do so.
21. Write letters to stay in touch with loved ones, even when technology allows you to connect instantly.
22. Embrace messy hair and wild curls.
23. Do your best to cherish each season of your life, even those that are challenging.
24. Exercise regularly to be strong and healthy; a beautiful soul needs a sturdy vessel.
25. Know that no matter what, people will let you down because they are human. Put your hope in God, not people or things.
26. Never go to bed wearing makeup. Wash your face every night.
27. Baking is the best cure for heartache.
28. Challenge yourself to be present in every moment.
29. Travel and have adventures. But know you always have a home to come back to.
30. Never stop learning.
31. Remember that sometimes you just need to take a nap and get over it.
32. Order dessert. It’s worth it.
33. If something is worth fighting for, fight fiercely. If it isn’t, let it go.
34. Stand on God’s Word above all human opinion.
35. Independence and self-awareness are good things; know who you are and be who you are, not who others think you are or who others want you to be.
36. In relationships, choose your battles.
37. Drink water -- and a lot of it -- every day.
38. Stand up for what you believe in and don’t waver based on popular opinion.
39. Every part of you -- every characteristic, feature and quality you possess was chosen perfectly by a mighty God. You are a daughter of the King and have a great purpose on this Earth.
40. A flower doesn't think of competing with the flower next to it; it just blooms.
41. Don’t ever go tanning.
42. Always look people in the eye when you’re talking to them.
43. Don't gossip.
44. When people talk to you, listen attentively to them.
45. Read lots of books.
46. Smile when it’s raining.
47. Before you speak, picture whatever it is that you want to say written in public with your name underneath it. Would you still want to say it?
48. Be playful and silly...Free-spirited with a true love of life that is undeniably contagious.
49. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.
50. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of body. It starts in the heart, not the mirror.
51. Take responsibility for your actions and apologize when you are wrong.
52. Food should be a joy. People who love to eat are always the best people.
53. Home is not where we live, but who we love.
54. Marriage is an an act of commitment and sacrifice. It is designed to make you holy, rather than happy. And it is also the most fun you’ll ever have with your best friend.
55. Use conditioner every day. Only shampoo once a week.
56. Remember that you will reap what you sow, so always sow kindness, grace, mercy and love.
57. Don't try to build yourself up by tearing others down.
58. Always love your sister; she is a gift to you for a lifetime.
59. Be wild at heart.
60. Hold yourself to a standard of grace, not perfection.
61. You can do anything, but not everything.
62. Challenge yourself. In big and small ways.
63. Forgive them even if they are not sorry.
64. Learn at least one foreign language, and speak it for the rest of your life.
65. An ugly truth is always better than a pretty lie. Be honest.
66. Dress for your body, not your size.
67. Follow your heart; the heart always knows.
68. Eat fresh and whole foods, straight from the earth.
69. People may not remember what you did or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel; value others and love them sincerely.
70. Organization will save you so much time and stress.
71. Things do not make life worth living. People do, so always put people first.
72. Hugs are completely underrated. Hug longer and more often.
73. Be yourself. Don’t try to impress others. If they like you for who you are, you’ll know it.
74. Learn to enjoy your own company.
75. God has a plan for your life that he set into action before the world was created. Even when life feels like chaos, remember that God’s plan is always good, to give you hope and a future.
76. Open your mouth only if what you are going to say is more beautiful than silence.
77. Your heart might be broken once or twice, but there is life (and love) after a broken heart. Your heart expands when it's broken.
78. Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
79. If you spend money once, you can’t spend it again. Spend, save and share money wisely.
80. Seek to be worth knowing, rather than well known.
81. Believe in miracles.
82. Be polite. Please and Thank You go a long way.
83. Happy girls are the prettiest girls.
84. Never chase love, affection or attention; if it isn’t freely given, it isn’t worth having.
85. Be kind to others. Even when they are unkind to you.
86. Sometimes there is no right answer. And that's ok.
87. Read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It was a gift from your Daddy when we got engaged; I read it on our honeymoon. It's one of my favorite books ever written.
88. Laugh often. And laugh hard. Laughter is good for the soul.
89. Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.
90. Don’t be afraid to try new things. And if you don’t like something the first time, try it again.
91. Forgive. Not for others, but for yourself. Holding on to something will only hurt you deeper.
92. Seek first the Kingdom of God.
93. Class is knowing what to say, when to say it, and when to stop.
94. You will become like the people you spend the most time with; choose your friends wisely.
95. If you don’t know something, ask someone who does know.
96. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love.
97. You’ll know when a relationship is right for you; it will enhance your life rather than complicate it.
98. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
99. Fresh flowers are always the right choice.
100. You can never be overdressed or overeducated.
101. Each day is a new day. The sun always rises and it is always beautiful.
102. Trust your instincts.
103. If you are your authentic self, you will have no competition.
104. There is a difference between inspiration and copying. We create because we are inspired. Find out what inspires you and create something all your own.
105. Find a healthy escape for the stresses of daily life that will help you recharge.
106. Celebrate the little things.
107. Comparison is the thief of joy.
108. Sleep in when you can. It is one of life's most simple pleasures.
109. Always write Thank You cards.
110. Patience is a virtue, albeit somtimes a difficult one to achieve.
111. There is power of life and death in the tongue; let your words speak life and truth.
112. Don’t wait for things to happen; make them happen.
113. Choose a career you love, not just one that you can tolerate or that pays well.
114. Jealousy is not worth your time or emotions.
115. You will never influence the world while trying to be like it.
116. Find something to be grateful for every single day.
117. Never cheat. On anything. Or anyone. Doing things honestly is always the way to go.
118. Learn to love cooking if you can. If you can’t, find a few simple dishes that you can prepare well and enjoy.
119. Read the bible every day, even if just a verse or two.
120. Never reply when you are angry, never make a promise when you are happy and never make a decision when you are sad.
121. Be curious, not judgmental.
122. Wear red lipstick because you can.
123. Anyone can hold a grudge, but it takes a person of character to forgive.
124. No prayer is too big or too small; pray boldly and fervently.
125. Slow down. Don’t live your life in a rush.
126. Chivalry is not dead. Marry a gentleman.
127. Love is a choice.
128. The grass is greener where you water it.
129. Learn and practice empathy.
130. Bloom where you are planted.
131. No one has ever become poor by giving.
132. Take risks.
133. Do not aim to please people; aim to please God.
134. Learn to adjust and adapt; flexibility in life will get you far.
135. Never settle.
136. Passion changes everything.
137. Pursue more than just the things you are good at. While your talents will come through, attempt something you might not immediately excel at because you might uncover a skill or strength you didn’t know you had.
138. Discipline in your mind; extravagance in your heart. It's okay to be practical but don’t ever forget to take the time to dream.
139. The measure of your goodness is not the amount of love you receive; it is the quality of love you give to others.
140. If your dreams don't scare you, they aren't big enough.
141. If you are going to be late, call or send notice. But always try to be on time.
142. If you love someone, tell them. And tell them often.
143. The thing about makeup is that you want to look like you aren't wearing any.
144. You will lose some things and you will find some things. Some will be trivial, some will be substantial. Try your best to always make peace with it.
145. Learn to say no without explaining yourself.
146. Do not allow your education to separate you from doing what you love.
147. You will always learn more by talking less.
148. No matter what is in front of you, walk toward it with confidence.
149. Remember that to me, you are the most beautiful souls and the most precious gems I have ever laid eyes on.
150. I will love you forever. Even when I am gone, I will always be with you.