October 6, 2016

Dear Children: 25 Things I Think You Need to Know


My Dearest Daughters,

Yesterday, you were babies, but today you are young women. When or how that happened, I have no idea, but it did, which means there is a very real possibility you will be out on your own in fewer years than you've been living in this house. 

I am far from being the wisest mom you could have ended up with, but I have tried to impart some sage advice to you while I've had the chance. And by "impart some sage advice," I mean, "I've told you such-and-such a bunch of times in the hopes you were paying attention at least one of those times so that you might remember such-and-such when I'm not on hand to say it again."

Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I've told you...for easy future reference should you need a refresher course. (If not for yourselves, then for my grandchildren. Many, many years from now. Many.)

1. Just because something is good to do doesn't mean it's good to do right now. A season for everything, my sweets...a season for everything.

2. On a math test, make sure you've answered the question that's actually being asked, in the right format. If there are five steps to solving a problem, don't finish four of them and get all excited and move on to the next question. And if your answer is supposed to be in feet or in a fraction, don't scrawl 5cm or 0.25 and call it good.

3. Stain removal 101: cold water for blood and chocolate. Also, Dawn dish soap is great for getting out grease.

4. When baking, check for doneness early. You can always add time, but you can't take it away. And you just simply have to pull brownies out while your brain is screaming, "These cannot possibly be done!" They're not. Which is how they should be.

5. God isn't going to hold you responsible for the actions or decisions of other people. You just worry about what He wants you to do in a given situation, and that will keep you plenty busy. For, oh, EVER.

6. Grammar round-up: 1)Affect=verb, effect=noun. Such as, "That movie affected me deeply, and the effect was that I cried for an hour." 2)Apostrophes show contraction or possession. If you want the grammar police's approval and you're not showing contraction or possession, don't use an apostrophe. 3) You lay something else down, but you lie down yourself...as in, "I'm going to lay this boring book on the table and then I'm going to lie down and take a nap." 

7. When buying lemons or limes or oranges or grapefruit, pick heavy over light. More weight means more juice. Which you want.

8. If God wants you to do it, He will help you to do it. But/and, if God isn't in it, you need to get out of it.

9. When buying chocolate, the following words are good: cocoa butter and cocoa liquor (which has nothing to do with alcohol). The following words are bad: hydrogenated oil. Bad chocolate is sad, whereas good chocolate will change your life for the better.

10. When you are tired, make yourself breath deeply, drink more water, and get natural light into your eyes.

11. The best gifts show the person you're giving them to that you've paid attention when that person has mentioned what they like and don't like. Bonus points if those gifts don't require maintenance, storage, or dusting.

12. "Right is right though all condemn, and wrong is wrong though all approve" (Charles Spurgeon). Or, put another way, right is right even if no one else is doing it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone else is doing it. 

13. Hand sanitizer will get ink and Christmas tree sap off your hands (along with, purportedly, 99.9% of germs...yes, Anna, our little germophobe, I know you dispute this).

14. When you're cooking pasta, don't forget to save some of the cooking liquid to use later if you need to unstick your noodles or thin a sauce or do any number of other pasta-y things.

15. Always buy unsalted butter. That way, you have a say in how much salt ends up in whatever you're making.

16. Practice rarely makes perfect, but it often makes possible. And preparation can be stronger than nerves. 

17. Don't be afraid of being a little nervous before you perform or do something else you don't do every day. Your nerves are just telling you that you're getting ready to do something amazing and out-of-the ordinary--which is why you don't get nervous before you brush your teeth. Remember: "anxiety is just a glimpse of your own daring" (Maria Shriver). Dare to be daring, my darlings.

18. As often as possible, try to "disrupt the world with grace" (Shane Claiborne).

19. If you're thinking something nice about someone, tell them! Don't let the thought stay stuck in your head. The world needs more encouragers.

20. I've borrowed a bunch of my mom advice from Ma Ingalls. The darkest hour is just before dawn? There's no great loss without some small gain? See "Ma(Ma) Always Said."

21. If you're making a recipe that tells you to beat egg whites to stiff peaks, make sure there isn't a single drop of egg yolk or any oil in the bowl or on the beaters. Egg whites and fat do not play nicely together. When in doubt, wipe down the bowl and beaters with a paper towel dowsed with white vinegar.

22. There is no substitute for homemade frosting

23. Don't settle for God as a spoke on your life's wheel. Make Him the hub.

24. Life is not about perfection. It's about process and progress.



25. I like you. I love you. And being your mom has been one of the greatest joys and privileges of my entire life.

xoxoxo,
Mom


What's one thing you want your children to know, mama? 
Share it in a comment or over on Facebook.


**This post may have been shared at some of these blog bashes.**

44 comments:

  1. You have such an interesting blog. thanks for sharing. I've become a regular reader of your blog.

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    1. Aw, thank you so much...that's so kind of you! Thank you for taking time to stop by and read my ramblings! ;)

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  2. Ooh, I like that hand sanitizer tip! And the one about practice making possible! visiting you from Grace and Truth today.

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    1. Right, Betsy?! It's quite handy (er, no pun intended). ;) Thanks so much for stopping by from Grace and Truth!

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  3. This is beautiful and wise at the same time! I did something similar for my daughter in a scrap book for her 18th, some advice was the same but I included things like "just occasionally it's ok to have cereal for dinner" and "never forget, if you have running water, a flushing toilet and a warm bed you are luckier than a lot of people in the world" . There was more but I can't remember now (I just remember feeling very wise at the time!)

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    1. Aw, thank you, Julia! What a precious gift you gave your daughter, and I think you WERE (and, no doubt, still are) very wise! I love those pieces of wisdom. In fact, I need to remember that second one every day. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your good advice! :)

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  4. Love these! I think we learn as much or more from our kids as they do from us. I wrote a blog of my own a couple years ago on what I've learned and hopefully have taught my kids through our years of homeschooling. linked here if you want to take a look... http://www.switchbacks.org/2015/05/13/25-life-lessons/
    thanks for your post!

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    1. Oh my word, Karen...I'm at your post now. I'm so glad you found me today and left that link, because I myself need that list. My heart is in my throat just at #1, on account of some "stuff" we're going through around here. Thank you so much.

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  5. I love this, Elizabeth! Witty, practical, and profound- it's all there.

    I'm going to think of you from now one when I shop for lemons. I had no idea!

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. I'm going to attempt to disrupt the world with grace as soon as I have opportunity.

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    1. Nicole, thank you so much! I'm glad the lemon tip made sense, because really it will change your life...or at least your life so far as it concerns buying citrus is concerned. ;) Now I won't be the only one at the grocery store with a lemon in each hand, weighing them back and forth like they're on a scale! And I love that you picked up on that grace quote, because it pretty much gets me every time, too. Blessings to you!

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  6. I love them all (of course), but I'm so excited you included #19 - the other day I woke up thinking of a friend I haven't seen in several years and I made myself stop and check in on her - turns out she'd just had a hysterectomy a few days earlier and was at home, alone, and my little text, "how's it going?" was just what she needed! I had, of course, wanted to completely hermit it out (since it had been so long since we'd talked so A) she might think I was weird for checking on her after a dream like that or B) we'd get stuck chatting all day and I'd never get to my "list.") But of course it was the best thing ever, because not only did I cheer HER up, but I felt so happy afterwards, as well. So, yeah, #19. All the way. :)

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    1. Oh, my friend, you are THE BEST. I cannot tell you how much I love this story and can hardly pick a favorite thing about it. "Hermit it out" has to be near the top of the list, both because that is ME, too, and also because that term is just brilliant. But I love the rest of it even more...the dream, your response to it, the all-day chat, her appreciation, your happiness. Love it. Thank you so much for taking time to share this sweet testimony to the power of #19. xoxo

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    2. See, I knew you'd appreciate that story! Stopping here again from WFMW because I can't see a post from you and not come visit and also, because your comment to Mary's post had me cracking up! Hope you have a wonderful day, my friend!

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    3. Aw, a double dip of comments from you is better than an double scoop of triple chocolate gelato! :) Thank you, sweet friend. I am now going to the store to buy candy corn. ;)

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  7. Love these tips. Thank you for linking up with us at #HomeMattersParty. See you again next week.

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    1. Thank you, Sahana! And thank you for hosting #HomeMattersParty. Looking forward to this week!

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  8. There's a lot of great advice here, Elizabeth. Of course, it doesn't hurt that several references to chocolate are included. ;-)
    I would add an additional point about the fact that our society doesn't know a thing about beauty. Clothes, makeup, dieting, etc. don't make a woman (or man) beautiful. It's truly the inside that matters.

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    1. Well, Shannon, I must stay true to my chocoholic calling. ;) I LOVE your addition. So true, and another thing I think my daughters need to know. Thanks so much for taking time to stop by!

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  9. Sorry I'm late to the commenting section - Hurricane Matthew's kept us a little busy! ;)

    I'm going to steal number 17 for my girls! With ministry opportunities and fine arts performances, my girls often face a case of the nerves. I love this perspective and want them to feel the "amazing and out-of-the-ordinary" that they have the chance to do.

    I still need the lessons of number one - to every season... And number four?? I've learned the hard way about those brownies, so that I almost (!) always pull them out at the right time! As for lie and lay, despite being an English minor in college, that one still throws me for a loop when you move out of the present tense!

    Thanks for letting us read these pieces of advice for your daughters!!

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    1. Mercy, Tracey...are you okay? I'm honored you even thought about reading this with all that going on! As for #17, you and I are kindred spirits here again with our girls and their various ministry/performance opportunities. I'm usually handing out this piece of advice right before my daughter sticks her clarinet in her mouth in front of some judge. ;) And lie and lay? Well, you notice I stuck to the present tense. HA! Blessing--and perfectly underdone brownies--to you, my friend.

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  10. What a great list Elizabeth! One of my favorites is "if you think something nice about someone, tell them!" I agree! What a blessing to your daughters and a great list for the rest of us, too!

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    1. Thank you, Deb! I like that particular item quite well myself, because I have been blessed to be on the receiving end of such comments and know how they can change the mood of a whole day or longer. Thanks for much for stopping by and for hosting Faith 'n' Friends!

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  11. This is beautiful! I do try hard to tell people when I think something nice about them. Sometimes it's hard to do out loud! I know it totally makes my day when someone says they like my earrings, or my hair looks good that day!

    #ALittleBitOfEverything
    ~Jess

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    1. Thank you, Jess! You are so right about the day-transforming power of a sincere compliment. I want my girls to practice this...and, admittedly, to receive it. Thanks so much for stopping by from #ALittleBitOfEverything...it's so nice to hear from you again! :)

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  12. Absolutely love numbers 1, 10, 19 and 24. You have offered some heartwarming advice. I have learnt from number 3 most definitely. And number 7? Seems so obvious now I have read it. I will keep that in mind. I don't know about your daughters but you've given me some fantastic advice and words I needed to read today. They are blessed to have you. #ALittleBitOfEverything

    Lex
    PS. Sorry if I have commented twice, it seems to be messing up!

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    1. Aw, thank you, Lex! Aren't you a sweetie? (And I truly apologize if Blogger was giving you a hassle about leaving a comment...thank you for persevering!) I'm so honored if some of this "mom wisdom" I've tried to pass along to my daughters (primarily by repeating all these over and over) resonates with someone else. This is surely just a starting point, but I guess if my girls know how to get out stains and buy citrus fruit and otherwise keep focused on what really matters in life, I'll call that a mom win! :) Thank you for stopping by!

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  13. Not what I first expected when I saw the title -- and I love it! I love that you have taken time to write down some of those small tidbits of wisdom for your daughters. And I love that some of them have bigger meanings behind them.
    The grammar one had me (former teacher), and I love the one about practice not making perfect. Something we all must remember in life.

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    1. Well, good, Christina...I'm glad it was a pleasant surprise! ;) Thank you so much for taking time to read my little list...just a starting point, really, but these were, I suppose, foremost on my heart when I wrote it. Bless you!

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  14. This is amazing. Really. Love it. Every one of these is perfect and wonderful advice for your girls.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Barrie...you're so sweet! Of course, I'm sure my girls hang on my every word and already have these committed to memory, but just in case... ;) Thank you for taking time to drop by!

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  15. I really love that quote 'disrupt the world with grace'. So easy to forget but actually one of the most important things to do. Really interesting varied post! #alittlebitofeverything

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    1. Right, Meg?! Doesn't that grace quote just get you? It sure gets me every time. And I love and appreciate your observation on the "varied" nature of this list! ;) Even when I was putting it together, I was thinking, "Well, this is a little random, but you can only have so much "big" stuff (e.g., 'disrupt the world with grace') before you need some balance, like when to take brownies out of the oven!" Thanks so much for stopping by...#alittlebitofeverything has been SUCH a fabulous party!

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  16. I love 17 and 19n in particular and your teaching on affect and effect are required not just for kids but for me who still finds this one tough. thanks for sharing your lovely eclectic list. #shinebloghop

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    1. Hi, Kirsten! It's lovely to "meet" you today. I'm glad if my little grammar lesson helped. ;) I need it, too...and going much beyond what I said here still leaves me looking for a different word altogether! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your kind words!

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  17. I love this! It will be so nice for our kids to use the heartfelt words we write as a resource to them later.
    Thanks!

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    1. Thank you so much, Nicole! I must admit that I AM hoping someday to hear something from my children along the lines of "you were right, mom" about some of these. Even if it's just about how to buy a lemon! ;) Thank you for stopping by!

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  18. Aw, I got all teary reading this. It's such a lovely list - I especially loved #5. It's so true that; just doing the best you can is a full time thing!

    Thanks so much for sharing over at Friday Frivolity this week too. :)

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    1. Well, bless your heart, Jessica, thank you! I got a little teary writing it! And I am SO with you on #5. I could spend every day the rest of my life just working on that one and be plenty busy. Thanks so much for visiting...I love me some Friday Frivolity! xoxo

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  19. What a great list! I love #2! I'm sharing on social media, for sure. Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth.

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    1. Thank you, Aimee! As for #2, my daughters--alas--inherited my brain, which means math is not their friend. They have to squeeze every point they can out of a test; hence, that oft-repeated advice! Thank you SO much for sharing and for being one of the lovely Grace & Truth hostesses!

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  20. #23: we often day 'big rocks first,' meaning that if you have a jar to fill up with rocks, pebbles, and sand, you should put the biggest/most important (God) first and let the pebbles and sand fit in around it. If you try the sand and pebbles first, you'll run out of room.
    #SHINEbloghop

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    1. YES, Jenny...I love that analogy/object lesson. I saw Beth Moore use it in one of her video Bible study sessions, but she put in small objects (toy cars, money, etc.) that represented things we can "fill up" our lives with instead of/ahead of God, with the same result you mentioned. I also LOVE your shorthand/code phrase for keeping this on your radar. I hope you don't mind if I borrow it and start wandering through my life muttering, "Big rocks first...big rocks first." If someone hears me and asks, I promise to give you all the credit! Thank you so much for sharing this! :)

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  21. Ummm, these tips could be for me too. I din't know about the weight of the fruit meaning more juice. SO AWESOME!

    I love Dawn dish detergent. I'm not one for being stuck on a brand but when it comes to my dish soap... I will not budge. lol

    Thanks for sharing your wise insights!
    xoxo

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    1. Right, Jennifer (about the weight/juice thing?)?! Do you suppose I could get some sort of endorsement deal from the National Citrus Fruit Association for my little PSA on their behalf? ;) And I am totally with you on limited brand loyalty. Usually, I don't care, but don't mess with my Dawn! :) Thanks so much for taking time to drop by!

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I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to tell me what you really think. Years ago, I explained to my then-two-year that my appointment with a counselor was "sort of like going to a doctor who will help me be a better mommy." Without blinking, she replied, "You'd better go every day." All of which is just to say I've spent some time in the school of brutal honesty!