A Letter To My Daughters

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blogDear Girls,

As we begin another school year, I want to take this opportunity to impart some advice, thank you both, and surround you with love. This is another big year, for both of you, in so many ways. The future awaits you and is ready for the dreams, skills, talents, and plans you will bring to it. May you never lose your desire to learn. There is so much out there and so much to be discovered, read, and shared. Follow your dreams and never let another discourage, belittle, or alter those dreams. You are in the driver’s seat. Your future awaits! It is okay for you to change the dream a bit or to come up with a completely new one. As long as YOU are the one who decides. Explore your interests! Join a club or two. It is alright if your friends do not join the same clubs. Varied interests can keep a friendship fresh and renewed.

Take time to be silly or to have a really good belly laugh! It clears the “cobwebs” in the mind and helps with a fresh perspective. Find your own path but know that those that love and support you will be there along the way. Remember to reach out and grab onto one of them periodically. We become stronger when we reach out to others. It is better to do that than to become overwhelmed and frustrated. When you make decisions, that effect your future, be sure to do them after careful consideration and consultation. Never make a decision based solely on what someone else thinks or feels. You will only let yourself down if you do that.

We have always used the expression, “Be true to who you are” in our house and this quote sums up the central beliefs that this letter sprang out of today. If you both stay strong and positive and grow from each learning experience, there will be no stopping the goals you both hope to accomplish.

Thank you for all you continue to teach me. I love you both and I am incredibly proud of all that you have accomplished thus far.

The best is yet to come! I am so excited to see what the future holds for you, my lovely daughters!

Love,

Mom

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What I Know For Sure

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“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson” Author unknown.

I came across this quote in a  magazine this week. I immediately stopped and spent some time thinking about it. It is appropriate,for this time of year of new beginnings, as people begin prepping for a return to school. When I looked at this quote, I also thought of it as a backwards approach. This can be a more difficult approach to grasping life’s lessons. When you are taught a lesson, in school, you are instructed several times, receive notes to study from and quiz yourself on, and you may also have a practice test or two to check on how much material you have grasped. If there is a lack of understanding, then there are other opportunities for strengthening areas of weakness and possibly retesting.

In life, as I mentioned, we start backwards. The tests are presented without any prior background knowledge, note taking, or quizzing. There are no opportunities for a retest. This is a difficult concept to grasp and to embrace. It also takes time to reflect upon each test and to see them for the gifts that they are in each of our lives. Tests can have a tendency to overwhelm and keep us down or to stagnate us. These are all the results of not comprehending why these tests happened upon us. Close proximity, to the test, can cloud us from seeing the “big picture” or the intended lesson. Distance and time can be key factors in removing the clouds so that the lessons are finally evident to us. I believe this skill of understanding comes from a heightened awareness, a living in the moment approach, and an attitude of gratitude. Goals to aspire to in all of our lives.

I have had many tests, in the last few years, and some lessons have come easier than others. But, I know one thing for sure and that is I will keep looking and learning for the lessons in each test.

What Happens When We Do Not Assign Labels?

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I have been reflecting on the idea of assigning labels and putting everything, including people, under a specific label umbrella if you will. In another entry, some time ago, I touched upon this topic but I would like to revisit it again and expand upon it a bit.

I recently, within the last 5 weeks, became part of a group of women who encourage and support one another when it comes to fitness goals, nutrition, and motivation. We believe in one another and build one another up. No questions asked. It is simply one of the philosophies of the group. How inspiring is that? The woman whose “dream child” this is, is a childhood friend and, in fact, our mothers have been best friends for over 60 years. This new group serves as a source of encouragement and these new found friends serve as a wonderful support system. I have tried 3 new types of exercise classes and participated in 2 exercise challenges. Not bad for someone who was never labeled and “athlete” or a “gym rat.!” I did not feel intimidated, without these labels, only empowered as I tried new things and succeeded.

Just think if children did not impose labels upon one another. Would they be more accepting of one another? How about labels such as “meek”, “shy”, or “reserved?” An individual who is of this nature should be valued and and not penalized. I am speaking from personal experience and I have seen it in action. Everyone has gifts and talents. It is time to let them shine! As an educator, I have seen students thrive when they know they are not constrained by labels in regards to intelligence or talent. The student who is good at sports can also be good at art or the more reserved student can deliver an empowered speech in favor of the music program at a school board meeting.

This idea of no labeling can be applied to all areas of life. When people do mislabeling it is simply a matter of over generalization

We need to rid labeling as a practice. Who knows it may just put a smile on someone’s face when they feel encouraged. What a great thing!

Fool Proof Advice For Surviving Life’s Milestones–To My Daughters

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The topic of milestones has been on my mind through out this past summer. As parents we experience many milestones. So many parents are closing out this week with surviving a child’s first move to college or a return trip. I’m already stocking up on tissues for when it is our turn to do that trip!

In our family, that milestone is a few years away yet but nevertheless there is a milestone headed our way. Our “babies” are entering high school. As parents of twins each milestone is a little more sentimental because we don’t get to do it again : (    Wait!! Who gave permission for this to happen?? All joking aside, we could not be prouder of what our children have accomplished thus far and we are looking forward to this next chapter. In light of this, here is some advice I will give to our daughters and hope this serves as a guide for them.

10 Pieces of Advice:

1) Work hard.

2) Look for opportunities to join clubs or organizations to spark your interests. Use this time, in high school, to develop these interests which could lead to a future endeavor.

3) Time management–May the skills, in this area, that were developed in middle school continue into your high school career.

4) Some of the best friendships that you will have start in high school. Some will also fade away with the memories of graduation day but remember to be open to meeting new people. Remember everyone, who comes into your life, has something to teach you even if they are only in your life for a short time.

5) Be true to who you are—Never feel like you have to change, who you are, to simply fit in with others.

6) Always project an image of confidence and believe in yourself. (Apply this in all situations even if you are shaking inside and about to give a big presentation in a class).

7) You will always have a strong support system here–AKA your family.

8) Know you are loved more than anything in this world!!

9) Your heart may get broken a time or two but you will get over it and be stronger for it.

10) Only you can decide your future! Your education is what you make of it! Listen to your heart.

Well, these are my pieces of advice dear daughters. Get ready to open that door to your future and the next chapter! It is going to be the best one yet. Learn something new each day and be open to all the world has to offer.

I love you both!!