Posted in Dear Diary

Love is…..

Today I’m eating crow.

As you all know, it is Valentine’s Day.  Yesterday, the facebook statuses started trickling into my news feed.  You know the ones, posting what their sweetheart got them.  I don’t really know what came over me, because I’m not against love or the designated day of love, but I just got a little nauseated thinking of what everyone would be saying about their lovers.  So I put as my facebook status,

Gag. I think I’m staying off fb tomorrow. I can only handle so much lovey dovey crap and I’m pretty sure I’ve already reached my limit. Bah humbug.
This is me.  I’m not a romantic.  Big surprise.  I’m not really fond of physical affection (Please insert sympathy for my husband here).  I don’t think you should tell your 900 followers how great your spouse is and how much you love them on facebook when you should walk into the next room and tell them to their face, if in fact you really do feel that way.  Nor do I like the bragging, the pictures of all the candy, flowers, diamonds, tickets to Hawaii etc.  Sidenote: I do however enjoy seeing the pictures of kids dressed in their valentine attire holding their little valentine boxes they worked hard on.  
So I had a few people like what I had to say, surprisingly they weren’t all single, and I got a little teasing from it as well, along with some comments of commiseration.  It was all in fun of course.

When I woke up this morning, February 14, my husband was gone.  I knew he’d made a run to The Walmarts before they crazy crowd hit.  I was expecting the usual, but what I got was not the usual and it truly made my day.  I have to share it.  And I’m not bragging.

It’s not going to mean a thing in the world to anyone else.  It is not a fancy diamond or a sports car with a red bow.  It is not a new puppy or a day at the spa.
What I got…………drumrolll please………….is………..
……..a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.
And rolos.  Because, duh?
Now some of you may be furrowing your brow and looking puzzled, but I am smiling.  I can’t help but smile.  When he handed that to me, I laughed and laughed and laughed.
It is quite frankly, my favorite line from one of my favorite movies You’ve Got Mail, where Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan,

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

I love fall, school supplies, that movie, Meg Ryan, and newly sharpened pencils.  The smell of them, the way they sound scratching on paper, all of it.One time in our life, I told Jason that I loved that line, that idea.  Whether it was last year or 9 years ago, who knows.  But he remembered my attraction to that silly notion, how I too would love to receive a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.So, that’s what I have.I love it.  I’m not ever  going to use them for it will mess up the meaningful arrangement that he constructed.  My gift?   It is thoughtful.  It is unique.  It is creative and meaningful.  It is an inside joke.  It is one of the most romantic things he could have done.Love is not about a day, friends.  It’s not about a feeling you get in your stomach when you see a certain someone.  It’s not about how much money you spend.  Love is about the everyday things you do for one another.  It’s about consciously putting other’s needs above your own.  It’s about sacrifice and never giving up.  Love is our greatest commandment from Jesus to love one another, to love your neighbor as yourself.Love is patient. Love is kind.Love is a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.20140214-102110.jpg
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Posted in Children, Family

2 Years Old

Emma Kate Darling,

Happy, Happy 2nd Birthday to you!!!

Oh I hope you know how much you are loved. But I’m sure you don’t. Of all the thousands upon thousands of words I have to use, there aren’t enough to convey it.

And not to boast or anything, (well maybe just a little), but you love your mommy right back. I mean a whole lot. Me and you? We’re like peanut butter and jelly. Or milk and cookies. Like hot chocolate and marshmallows or strawberries and cream. The two are better than one. Of the two years of your life, so far we have only been away from one another for a few hours at a time. 24/7 that’s me and you.

I keep thinking back to this day two years ago when you came screaming and crying into our world. People said my life would never be the same, and boy is that the truth. It is all the more enjoyable because of you.

So what does a 2 year old like you like? Right now, you really love Cinderella and you sing a lot. You pick up items to use as your microphone, and sing into it. You like to play dress up in your plastic, clompy heels and have tea parties with your daddy. You really love the playground and don’t like leaving once we’re done. There’s so many other things. Your dogs: Drew, Grace and Ozzie, your chickens, and your new fish Snowman. You make sure we wait for you to get your purse and put it on your shoulder when we take out the trash. You like to drive your daddy’s truck, so for Christmas you received a pink Barbie jeep but you barely push it to make it go one inch, then stop it.

People think you are timid and shy, but I think you are cautious. And that is a smart thing to be. You like to stay close to your people when we’re in a new place or around a lot of people and you don’t really talk to strangers or even look them in the eye. And that’s just fine for now. There’s not an impulsive bone in your body. You are an observer and a thinker. You wait and watch rather than jumping right in. And even though others might think they can boss you around, you know how to stand up for yourself. You have a strong voice and an opinion and you aren’t afraid to use it. Some of your favorite things to say right now sound very oppositional if you know what I mean.

But you also say so many sweet, kind things too. You are learning your manners very well and say thank you so much, please, excuse me and you tell people bless you when they sneeze. You say “I love you much” and if we’re really lucky we get hugs and kisses. You like to give long kisses until we start to laugh and our teeth bump. You give love pats and like to snuggle up in bed. You have a tender little heart at times and are learning compassion. You crawled into my lap and placed your hands on my face and asked me what’s wrong the other day when I was frustrated with something. Just last night you made me laugh when you fell upon the ground with your head resting on your forearms repeating, “It’s no use. It’s no use.” (learned from Cinderella) when you didn’t get your way. It is very obvious that you are a result of your environment and your daddy and I are trying our very best to show you the right way and give you strong examples to follow.

Of course books are still one of your favorite things but you’re pretty fond of movies as well. We take a weekly outing to the library for a story time and we take a weekly outing to a play group where you have lots of friends. Right now we’re working on learning to share and not be a Bossy Bessie!

Of course you’re smart. You have been from day one when you looked at us with those big alert eyes and understood everything we said to you. You are a talker with a big vocabulary, but you get a little frustrated at times when we don’t know what you’re trying to tell us. You have things memorized already like songs and the previews to Cinderella. You found this Youtube video months ago called egg surprise that you watch over and over and can recite verbatim. You are fully potty trained right now and are showing your independence with wanting to dress yourself and put your shoes and socks on.

You are a small, petite child. And healthy!!! Fortunately, we haven’t had to see a doctor in quite some time, so by our calculations you are about 32 inches tall and weigh about 22.5 pounds. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made and uniquely you. There is no one else like you sweet Emma. I must say I believe I won the jackpot with you.

Two years ago, you came into our world and settled right into our hearts. I have a very special place for you in mine. You will always be my little baby no matter how old or tall or heavy you grow and my desire is for you to have the best possible childhood available to you. I want you to know you are loved. I want you to remember good times with your family. I want you to understand that spending time with you is more important to us than spending money on you. I want you to be kind and generous and compassionate to others. I hope you read this letter when you’re sixteen and you think I hate you. I want you to know that always and forever our love for you is full, unlimited, and unconditional. That nothing you could/would/should ever do will change that. Ever. You are my joy, my love, my sunshine, my hope, my wealth, my legacy.

You are my love.

Happy Birthday, cupcake.

XOXO,

MomMEE ( how you say it, with emphasis on the second syllable)

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Posted in Faith, Family

The Reason I Cried on Christmas

We left Christmas day, loaded up the family and the dogs and drove to my mom’s house, 6 hours away.

I wanted to have Christmas morning at home, open the presents with just the few of us, then leave.  But after opening presents, we had to take down the tree, because I didn’t want to come home to a dry, crusty tree with needles littering the floor.  And then I needed to clean out the fridge, because I didn’t want to come home two weeks later to green, fuzzy mac and cheese.   Because obviously, the mac and cheese has been in the fridge for two weeks already.

Of course, then I wanted to get all the laundry done because I didn’t want to come home with suitcases full of dirty clothes to add to Mount Washalot that has erected itself in my laundry room.

We all know when you’ve been away from your house for nearly two weeks, what you want to come home to is not laundry, your dead Christmas tree, or month old leftovers, but what you want to come home to is your bed and your shower.  I was being proactive, longing for the day I would return before I ever left.

After arriving at my mom’s house, we opened presents.  Now there are families who have organized Christmas present opening, and then there are families who don’t.  I would belong to the latter.  Paper is flying, kids are screaming, you practically need ear plugs for all the shouting and people talking at once.  It is sheer chaos.  Someone inevitably opens someone else’s underwear and looks quizzically at it until someone shouts out “that belongs to uncle herbert” or something like it.  Also there is usually a lone, leftover present buried under the wrappings that is discovered during clean up, which the recipient grabs with glee.

I got towels.  Which is not the reason I cried on Christmas.

The reason I cried on Christmas is because tucked inside the box with the towels was an envelope addressed to me, written in my dad’s printed hand,  with my mom’s address (I haven’t lived there in more than 20 years).  No matter how many years he’s been gone, I doubt I’ll ever forget his handwriting.   I held the card and studied it curiously, much like the kid with someone else’s underwear in hand.  The room shouted and carried on around me, but I was alone with this envelope.

I turned it over.  My uncle, my dad’s only brother, had written on the back.  He had found it and decided to send it on to me.  You see, my parents separated when I was about 12 years old, and my dad moved to Oklahoma.  It was still the age of letter writing so it wasn’t uncommon to receive his cards and letters, usually with a little cash tucked inside.  While we were growing up, we talked on the phone every Sunday after church.  That’s when he knew he could reach my sister and I together, along with the rest of the family, because we all met together at my grandmother’s house,( the very house I sit in while typing this), for Sunday dinner that always, without fail, consisted of roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and rolls.

I held the card in both of my hands and with a bit of a nervous nature I opened it carefully, trying not to tear off any of the writing, the post mark, or any part of the envelope.  It had instantly become precious to me.  A message from my dad, nearly three years after he died.

Inside was a card.  A Valentine’s card for a little girl.   With hearts, a rainbow, and a teddy bear on the front.  I didn’t bother reading the message inside the card, but instead my eyes fell to the blue ink underneath the commercial greeting, where my dad had written, “I love and miss you daily—- DAD”

And that’s why I cried on Christmas.

Tears began to fall uncontrollably.  You see, I expected to receive the towels.  (My mom’s been harping on me for years about my towels.)  I expected the sweater, the oil and vinegar bottle, all the things I had told people I wanted.  But this card, this was an unexpected surprise.  A Valentine’s Day card on Christmas Day.

And the message he gave me, although he meant it years ago and it was intended to be read in the past, was more than fitting for the present.  Because now, our situation has changed and he’s the one who is loved and missed daily.

I wiped my tears away quickly with the palm of my hand to no avail.  More fell just as swiftly as I wiped.  I then showed the card to my family.  I don’t think any of them understood, until I face timed my sister.

She got it.  She understood.

My dad was with me for Christmas this year.

It was the best gift I have ever received.

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Uncle Leon, Thank you so much for sending it on.

Posted in Children, Family

18 months old

Dear Emma Kate,

Today you are 18 months old.  One and a half.  You are a delight to this world.  You make it a better place to live already, in just 18 short months you’ve truly made a difference in many people’s lives.  Remember to always strive to add beauty and make this world a better place.

Let’s see……there is so much to say about you.  First off, you are talker!  You aren’t easily understood except by those close to you, but you talk up a storm, and I don’t just mean you babble.

You like to pray, and that makes my heart so happy.  When we sit down to eat, you remind us to “pay” and you reach for our hands.  You bow your little head, but still peek out from under your hair (we know that because we’re peeking at you too).  When we’re finished, you say Amen and squeeze three times.  It is so precious.

You love books as always and want us to read to you all the time.

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You are so smart.  I know I’ve told you that since you were born, but you were born smarter than most adults ever manage to become!  You love to write your letters.  You call them all E, A, and O’s.

You sing songs.  Your favorite is Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and you have these sweet hand motions that go with it that you learned from play group.  You also sing If You’re Happy and You Know it, B-I-N-G-O, You are my sunshine and lots more!

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If you had a choice, you’d be outside!  You are not a prissy pants, although you do like dressing up in necklaces and grown up shoes and calling yourself “toot” (cute), but you also eat dog food, waller in dirt, and don’t mind a little grit under your fingernails.

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You love our dogs Drew and Grace and it is so funny to hear you talk to them.  If you’re not giving them hugs and kisses, then you’re telling them “Go, Move, and No”!  You also love the chickens and you hug their butts all the time.

You are just a little thing.  We’ll be going to the doctor soon for a check up but I bet you weigh just barely over twenty pounds.  You can still wear 12 month clothes and the 18 months are just a little roomy for you.  You are super healthy and have never been too sick!!!  I’m so happy about that.

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As far as your personality goes, you are adorable!  You like familiar people, and it takes you a good while to warm up to others that you aren’t around much.  It hurts their feelings sometimes I think, but they’re grown ups and can deal with it.  So you keep on being careful around others and be choosy in your friends.  You are a watcher and an observer.  You don’t just jump in and do things, but you analyze situations and sit back rather than dive right in.

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You are a mommy’s girl!  And you’ve even started being jealous if someone else touches me or tries to love on me.  You yell “no no no” and wring your little hands.  It’s so cute.  I know you won’t always be a mommy’s girl, and there will be times that you, dare I say, will even think you hate me.  But I will love you no matter what.  Through all the highs and lows and ups and downs.  You are my baby girl.  You’re growing up and I am so proud to have you!  Always know how much you are loved!

I love you!!!!!

xoxo

Mommy

Posted in Family

Summer twenty thirteen

I’m such a slacker and I make myself so mad when I don’t blog regularly.  My thoughts and words are a bumbling rambling mess in my head which means the best approach to empty out  is with a list.

  • Today is the first official day of summer.  Here in Ruidoso, the weather is a dream come true to us.  We don’t even have air conditioning in our house and the highs are in the 80’s right now.  It gets a bit warm in the afternoon but not unbearable.  Especially if you’re laying around, which is pretty much what I do.  Despite the cooler temps, I still hate cooking in summer.  Blah!  Heck, I hate cooking in winter, spring, and fall too.  Who am I kidding.
  • My baby is a week away from 17 months old.  It doesn’t seem possible.  We did a practice run at potty training the other day, and well, let’s just say we need a lot more practice.  Within 45 minutes, we’d been through 5 pairs of training panties and a pair of sheets.  Laundry, laundry, laundry.
  • I lost a chicken the other day.  Another mystery in the art of poultry ranching.  My last black chicken was lying dead in the yard.  It could’ve been the dogs, but they’ve lived with the chickens for more than 2 years without killing one.  It could’ve been another chicken, it could’ve been a stroke.  It remains unexplainable.  Nevertheless, I’m down to only 4 chickens but still plenty of eggs and noone to give them too. You may be hearing me describe all the ways I can prepare eggs soon:  fried eggs, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, boiled eggs…..
  • EK talks like nobody’s business.  It’s not always decipherable by most, but me and daddy have it down pretty good.  Yesterday she woke up from her nap.  I asked her if she’d like a snack.  She ran to the pantry and said “m&m’s, chocolate, donuts”  in that order.  No worries that we’re raising a health nut here.
  • I’ve had a lot of people tell me over the years that I should write a book.  That is such a huge undertaking, but not out of the question.  I’d love to, but I’m not there yet.  So, I’ve taken a direction with my writing that comes as a bit of a surprise as I’ve been hired to write a little romance novella.  I’m actually going to get paid a small pence.  Haha!  It’s a bit ironic as I have as much romance in me as a white boy’s got dance moves, but with a little help from wine, I’m hoping to unleash my inner love starved heroine.
  • egg florentine, egg drop soup…….
  • We’ve finally found a church here that we’re enjoying and meeting new people.  I think the hardest part of moving is losing the familiarity of people.  But all in good time, all in good time.
  • J-Dub and I had an anniversary this month.  We celebrated 8 wonderful years and one really bad one.  Nah, I’m just kidding.   It’s not an easy thing, but it’s a good thing.   I hope to grow old with him and watch our grandchildren play in our front yard, feeling satisfied that we did our best.
  • egg custard, eggs benedict, egg salad…..
  • I’m currently reading 4 books, yes 4.  What the heck is wrong with me?  I’ve got a romance, because obviously I need some research in that department.  A book club book by Jodi Picoult, and Remember Ben Clayton.  Also Captivating another book club discussion.  So many books, so little time.
  • Currently I’m in love with a rack of dresses at Walmart.  Economically priced at $9.94 and in a myriad of colors, I am the proud owner of 3 so far.  I’m not usually a dress person, but you know what?  These don’t bind me up.  They flow, they’re loose, and airy.  It’s almost like wearing a gown all day and who can go wrong with that.
  • Life is good.  It really is.  I’m happy in this season of my life.  God is good to me, and His love is indescribable.   Sometimes I’m filled with so much love, I don’t know what to do.  I only hope that it overflows out of me and splashes onto others a little.

I enjoyed writing this little love letter to you, but supper doesn’t stop because it’s summer.

So I’m off to cook steak.

And eggs.

 

Love,

Angel

Posted in Family

My Happily Ever After

I’ve known my husband since I was eleven years old and he was twelve, that’s how it is in a small town.  My family ran onto some hard times and had to move to the po’ side o’ town.  That’s the poor side of town for those who aren’t from there.  You’ve heard the joke…..we were so po we couldn’t afford the ‘or’.  Jason lived 2 blocks away to the right.  We did not have a love at first sight experience.  Actually, he was crushing on my sister instead and would bring her roses he’d stolen from somebody’s flowerbed.  They were outside sitting on the porch and I could be found next door watching Golden Girls and Cagney and Lacey with my Grannie, not giving two thoughts to boys.

We went to Middle School and High School together where he was a year older than me.  We hung out in different crowds, but said hello in passing.

I was in my early adulthood when I figured out that I knew everyone in both the police record and the wedding announcements.  Small town stuff.  Early adulthood is when society dictates that you should get married.  I wasn’t married, nor was I anywhere close.  There’s a sort of panic that sets in when you figure out that you aren’t on the same time frame as the rest of the world.

Being a single girl in a small town is not an easy thing to do.  Up until I found and married Jason, I was constantly being asked who I was dating, why wasn’t I dating, or someone was trying to fix me up.  Eventually the well meaning townsfolk decided I was probably a lesbian and left me alone.

One day in 1998 I went to the grocery store to buy Fruity Pebbles and Ramen Noodles, staples in my single-girl diet.  As I was walking out, a girl I knew stopped me in the parking lot and told me someone’s truck had just rolled into my car.   In small towns everyone knows what everyone else drives.  I rolled my eyes and groaned. This turned out to be my third wreck in a parking lot!  In my experience, you’re pretty much out of luck.  The police won’t do much because it’s considered private property.  You just have to hope the other guy has insurance and is a respectable dude who will take care of it.  When I got into eye shot, I saw this empty, avocado green,  beat up Ford pickup had knocked out of gear and rolled about fifty feet before slamming his taillights into my headlights.

It belonged to Jason.  I knew that the minute I saw it.  Small town stuff.  Neither of us were in our vehicles at the time.  It was almost as if  this old, green, beat up Ford truck  saw this fancy, new, bluish purple Mustang and said, “Hey there, wild thang with the 4 cylinder.   I think you need a better look at my rear end.”   I leaned against the side of my car and waited for him to meander out of the store.  He was all apologies, promised he’d take care of it.  And he did.  He called me up and asked me to take it to a certain body shop, the car got fixed and life went on.  And that was that.

For five more years.
Dates with crazies came and went.
Then I became a recluse.
I would never go out. People would tell me I needed to be out meeting people. But I had met people, and they turned out to be daddy’s boys or killer cops and I’d rather stay home and watch Survivor alone. If somebody wanted to date me, they were going to have to knock on my door. And that was that.

Then one day I came home from work to find Jason’s name on my caller ID.  That was curious, but I assumed it was a wrong number.  He called back two days later and asked me out.  We talked for three hours.    I was teaching school and a parent of one of my students, that happened to be a friend of his, had suggested he ask me out.  He remarked that I was too sweet for him, which is true.  But a few days later, we passed each other on the main road in town and waved, and prompted him to call.  I’d had my experiences with cowboys, not to mention their dads, and didn’t figure it would go anywhere, but I agreed.  Eating Ramen Noodles was getting pretty old by this time.

It worked out pretty good.
He wore a yellow shirt.
I ordered chicken.

We had a second date.
He took me horseback riding.

I needed a boost on the butt.

He happily obliged.
I was petrified.

We had a third date.
At a comedy club.
His truck started breaking down on the way home.

A few months later he proposed to me on bended knee.
We got married.
He still has to give me a boost on the butt.
A much bigger boost on a much larger butt.

Sometimes, when I get nostalgic, I’ll think about the wreck we had in the parking lot both in unmanned vehicles.  I learned later that of course that po’ boy didn’t have any car insurance  but knew a guy who could fix my car.  They did a little bartering and Jason broke a horse for the body shop man in exchange for payment. Small town stuff.

It’s a funny story I guess.  Maybe even a coincidence.

Perhaps it was Fate.
Or Destiny.
Or the cosmos aligning perfectly with Mercury in the Sixth House.

But if you really want to know the truth, I believe it was God.
I believe that he intended for that collision of two unmanned vehicles to be the beginning of Jason and Angel.  A collision of love.
And we just weren’t listening.

That was a move on His part to create His will for two dumb pilgrims down here, and we missed it.  So he went to Plan B.    He works around our goofs.
Because He’s cool like that.

This entry is #15 on a list of 30 things.  How I fell in love.

Posted in Faith, Family

List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could

This is question number 4 on my list of 30 things my kids should know about me.

What 10 things would I tell my 16 year old self.  Oh my.   I wish I could visit her.  Deep down I think she was sweet, but she was flirting much too often with rebellion, sowing wild oats, trying desperately to figure out her place in the world in which she lived and using way too much hairspray.

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I would sit her down if I could and somehow I would snap her out of her “I know all” attitude, and the idea that grown ups were dopes and I would tell her a thing or two.  1.  Starting off I’d tell her that doing bad things doesn’t make you look cool.  That smoking cigarettes, drinking, drugs, going to parties, breaking curfew, sneaking out, and hooking up with boys is not the way to make friends.  People don’t think good of you, and if they do, they’re not the people to be hanging around with.  Instead, it actually tarnishes you, steals from you, and makes you not like yourself either.  The people you are associating with now, you won’t be associating with in 10, 20 years, so stop trying to impress them.  Instead find a hobby.  Pick up a camera and capture the world and people around you, write a story—you have a beautiful imagination, do a good deed for your grandmother without her having to ask you.  That is what is cool.

2.  Then I’d let her know that she doesn’t know a thimbleful of what she thinks she does.  And the idea of needing to be pretty is from the world, which just so happens to have it all wrong.  But that the word of God says beauty fades and charm is deceiving but a woman who fears the Lord, she is to be praised, the Bible also says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.  So love the Lord, and gain wisdom for it is not  fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful.   No, your beauty should come from within you — the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.  Work on that instead.  How awesome would it be instead of having “you’re so pretty, to a gorgeous girl, stay cool” written in your yearbook, what if instead it said, “you have a beautiful spirit, I appreciate your gentle soul”.

3.  Along with the world having it all wrong about how we look on the outside, don’t let society pressure you into the status quo.  In a couple of years, you’ll be reading the Lifestyle section of the local paper, and you’ll notice that your classmates will all be getting married, or so it will seem.  Then they will start families, and you’ll read the birth announcements.  You’ll feel jealousy.  You’ll feel disappointment.  And it doesn’t come from inside you, but only because you think that’s what the world expects from you:  to get married and have children.  But you are not in a competition with anyone.  This isn’t a race to see who can get married and have babies fastest.  Go at your own pace.  Don’t feel pressure to do what every other girl you’re age is doing.  Because, you know what?  A lot of those marriages won’t last, and so settle down about that and discover who you are and what you love to do, not who you need to be with.

4.  And while you’re out looking for a life mate, stay away from the bad boys.  I know you have a tendency to be attracted to them, but it’s merely physical.  Remember beauty fades, and charm is deceiving.  See those nerdy, geeky guys?  The ones you’ve rejected?  The ones you think aren’t “cool”?  Well, Angel baby they have their heads screwed on straight.  Find yourself a Jesus follower too.  Someone who will love you and be devoted to you in the way that Jesus loves you.  The long hair and tattoos may appeal to you now, but don’t be a fool for the long run.  Look past the outward appearance and look to the heart.  This will save you much heartbreak.

5.  You haven’t been many places away from your hometown and your daddy’s hometown.  But know this….there is a great big world out there.  Yes, it’s good to be close to family, but go explore the world while you’re young and able.  There are people to meet, cultures to experience, food to try, places to see.  Go do it.  Don’t think you need to be tied down to your hometown.  You can rise above your circumstances.  You can do all things with Christ.

6.  But while you’re out there seeing the world, don’t forget to appreciate the people in your life.  Spend time with your parents.  This time will pass quickly, and they really are remarkable people you’ll learn someday.  Write down your grandmother’s stories.  Write down your parents’ stories.  Write down your own stories.  I know you think you are young and you won’t forget, but you will.  Have your picture made with you parents and your grandmothers, your brothers and your sister.  Get to know them.  They are the ones who love you the most.  They are the ones who will help you when you need it.  They are who will support you in your dreams.  Tell them you love them, and it wouldn’t hurt to tell them thanks as well.

7.  Quit mooching and learn to do things for yourself.  You know, like your laundry!  And make your own bed!  Fix your own breakfast, stuff like that.  You aren’t a princess and you’re going to need to know how to do that kind of stuff very soon.  Quit taking advantage of other’s kindness.  Learn how to clean house.  Learn how to cook good food.  Spend some time in the kitchen, cook for others, make your grandmother’s bed instead of the other way around.  Ask people to show you things, learn from them, then you will have confidence in your abilities.   Learn from your elders and treat them right.  They know much more than you.

8.  Right now, Angel, you are young, you are pretty, you are resilient, and flexible, but you won’t always be young forever.  It will happen….your body will age.  Your knees will hurt, your joints will ache, your hair will gray, you’re going to get a real severe wrinkle right between your eyes from frowning so often.  So take care of your body while you still can and smile!  You only get one body, and it needs to last.  Treat it right.  Only put good things into it.  Give it rest, but work it hard so it doesn’t grow lazy.  Find a balance, strive to be healthy.

9.  It’s always good to have a nest egg.  Save money.  But don’t be greedy.  Again, find a balance.  No, that’s the world talking.  On second thought, be more generous.  You’re too stingy as it is.  If you see someone in need, help them.  You’ll reap what you sow.  It’s better to give than receive.  You’ll probably never be rich in wealth, but you’ll have what you need.  And it’s just money anyway.

10.  There will be hard times in your life.  At the time, you will think they are terrible times.  But you will look back on them years down the road, and they won’t seem so hard anymore.  Time passes quickly sister, so do good in the world.  Don’t be self-centered.  Don’t always think of yourself, how you can get ahead, how situations are going to affect you.   It’s hard not to, but truth is, it’s not about you.  The world doesn’t revolve around you.  Look around, see others, see their hardships, see their pain,  love them and I mean really love them…. with actions, not merely words.  Put others before yourself.  You won’t be a door mat if you do, you’ll be Christ-like and by doing so, you’ll not only bring Glory to God, but you’ll bring others to God through your actions.  For these three remain, faith,hope, and love and the greatest of these is love.

It’s a sweet life you live, Angel.  You have great rewards ahead of you, just you wait and see.  Enjoy it.  It’s much too short not to.