29 things I learned from my 20’s

1) I’m stronger then I thought. Often times resilient to things I thought would break me. 

2) Don’t just survive. Learn to thrive. In all things, and through even trials. 

3) “Impossible” is almost never an accurate statement. Never be afraid to fall. Because it’s likely I will soar. 

4) Trust my gut always. It never has been wrong. 

5) Dream big. Expect to crush the dreams and go beyond. 

6) Peoples oppinions of me are not what defines me, or my worth. Choosing  freedom over living life to please others, is life changing.

7) To know the difference between extending grace and enabling those I love. But always forgive fully. 

8) Put my own air mask on before assisting others. Putting my self first allows me to be at 100% full so I can give 100% of my self toward being the best friend, spouse, parent possible. 

9) Don’t be afraid of change. Change is often good. 

10) Joy is a state of mind. What I thought would bring me joy actually brought me pain. Yet where I never wanted to be in life, is where I am now, with the most joy I’ve ever had in my heart. 

11) The worst pain is a needle in the palm of the hand or sole of ones foot.  Get cute, fashionable shoes and wear them. protect  your feet from glass. It’s a win win then. 

12) Believing you can do something is half the battle. Once you believe you can you’ve done half the work. “She believed she could so she did.” 

13) Never say never. You just might change your mind one day. I sure did. 

14) Sleep is overrated. Between college and motherhood, I learned this well. 

15) Best mend to a broken heart: loving your self, knowing your eternal worth, and finding peace in the journey. 

16) Inadequacy, and doubt, only sneak in when one looks at others around them instead of focusing up word. 

17) Planning and looking ahead is important. But embracing the present is just as important. Each moment is a gift. Find contentment. 

18) Tough times don’t make you stronger. They just show you the strength you’ve always had, but never realized till you were forced to exercise it. 

19) Sometimes plan B is better then plan A. You just couldn’t see it till you were there in its light. Be open to life’s detours, it might lead you to an adventure of a life time. 

20) God is so real. More real then I ever knew. His thoughts are good for His children. He’s the constant source of life. My Strength. Redeemer. Provider. Healer. The Rock.

21) People are human. They will fail you. But that isn’t a reflection of you, or your worth.

22) Travel, it’s nectar to the soul. If you have the means, do it! Push your comfort level, explore, seize the oppertunity to experience new places. New cultures. It’s worth it every time. Find who you travel well with, and travel often. 

23) Save money. Plan ahead financially. Yet learn the right balance between saving, and treating your self with nice things from time to time.

24) Always choose love. Let love be the main driver of life. Tell actions driven by fear to get lost. 

25) Never give up on ever lasting love with a special someone. Tell your heart to always beat again. Dont let past hurt scare you from embracing love the next time. 

26) The power of a positive word. It has the ability to change you, and others the same. Always be kind and affirming with the words you speak to yourself, hot body. The positive impact of a compliment to a stranger can make someone’s day. Negotive words can kill a soul. Uplifting words speak life back into the soul though. 

27) Family extends beyond your blood. Build a village with friends who love you. Never be too prideful to seek help from that village. People are made for community. Allow others to be of help when you are in need.

28) Vulnrability and transparency are key components to a life of growth. Not just for your own growth. But for those who hear your story. Inspire others through your testimony. 

29) You have a voice. It’s not small. Use it. Be brave, stand up for truth. 

Open Letter to My Mom

As Mother’s Day approaches, here’s a letter to my mom, and all the moms out there. A big thank you! For the impact they have had on us.

Dear mom,

I remember when I was 16 I sang the song “Wind Beneith My Wings” to you. Every word, is even more true today. You are my hero.

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero. And everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle. For you are the wind beneath my wings “

But here’s why.

Thank you for showing me what strength in a women looks like. Being real, raw and authentic in who you are. The trials you’ve gone through. The inner battles you’ve faced. You showed me a strong women is one who isn’t afraid to show moments of weakness. The importance of being vulnerable and the encouragement to others it is.

Thank you for demonstrating the importance of being a fighter. For your self, for your health, for your family, for your children. You showed me no fight worth fighting is ever too big! The ability to rise above. You showed me that even if winning the fight takes years, it just is that much sweeter when the victory arrives.

Thank you for showing me what drive looks like. To take initiative, go after what you want. The drive that keeps any set backs from stopping you. To see a wall as just another obstacle that requires a plan B, C, or D, but never means impossible.

Thank you for being a defender of the weak. Defender of the weary, and help those you can’t carry on. Thank you for showing me the blessing of helping and standing up for those who need it most.

Thank you for your dedication as a mom. Assuring you provided us with the best opportunities, experiences, education, and most of all you were dedicated to make sure we were nurtured and loved. Your dedication in doing all that took more mental strength, physical energy, and sacrifice in ways Im just beginin to grasp. You took your job as a mother seriously, and didn’t follow the trends with out doing research (the reason I research everything in my own life).

Your dedication was selfless, and I’m forever grateful for that.

Thank you for putting your self first. For showing me the importance of making sure I care for myself before I help others. I saw you prioritize time for your self, your hobbies, your passions, and your sanity (and lord knows I know you needed it raising me LOL). I grew up thinking it was normal, every mom took time to rejuvenate, to continue their hobbies, while still knowing how to prioritize kids. What I realized is very few people from that generation knew how to take time away to focus on growing who they were aside from motherhood. I’m so grateful that growing up I saw this demonstrated daily.

That brings me to this point. Thank you for showing me that motherhood doesn’t define a women and take away from who she is at her core. I saw you as mom, my mom. But I also saw you as a creative, passionate women, who loved many different hobbies, history, art, and had a passion for her home state of course! Motherhood was a part of you, of your calling, of your passions.

But you were not just a mother. To me, you were a incredible well rounded, educated women who continued to follow her passions along side being a mother.

Thank you for creating an environment of security where I could come to you with any questions I had. Thanks for always making time to answer the tough questions, and have the tough talks. For cultivating a place where I could feel safe, be vulnerable to disclose secrets, fears, joys, failures, successes, and dreams.

Thank you for knowing me better then I knew myself at times when I needed it most. For the times I tried to be strong but you could tell I was hurting. The time in college with mono symptoms and I told you I’d be fine. But you knew better. You dropped everything and drove up to be there for support, because, I did need you.

Thank you for all the many sacrifices you made. The countless sleepless nights. The vacations put on hold to instead take vacations us kids would enjoy. The financial sacrifice of quitting your business to school us kids full time at home. Countless hours you put in to volunteer at the Ice Rink so we could figure skate competitively. The weekends dedicated to drive us to those competitions. Financial sacrifice you made to allow us kids to pursue sports we took so much pride and joy in. The sacrifice of peaceful quiet home, because the world now probably knows raising me was not in anyway what would be called “quiet”. The sacrifice of sanity haha… Just kidding. But for real, thanks for all the emotions you poured into being a mom that empathized with us in trials, hurt, and in victories. For your time. Energy.

Thank you for believing in me. Being my cheer leader for me in times that just down right sucked. By believing in me, you instilled confidence. I believed in myself. My abilities. My dreams.

 Thanks for seeing my potential, for speaking truth to me that I could do anything I wanted to do.

Thank you for reminding me always to be true to my self. My convictions. My faith. To NOT be engulfed by the judgment of others. But to stand firm in being me.

Thank you for taking joy in motherhood and in me. The joy on your face when I reached a goal. The radiance your face displayed when I was young and couldn’t wait to show off a project I was proud of.

Thank you for demonstrating unconditional love for my father. Displaying love and respect for him as your husband. The dedication to and priority your marriage is. The manor in that you speek about him as your husband, our father in an honorable, uplifting way.

Thank you for demonstrating how to love, and what love looks like. Loving with out limits, with out discriminating, with out fear. Fully and selflessly. For showing me the importance of having love be the motivator to everything we do.

Thank you for the hugs. The kisses. The positive display of physical touch. The healing ability a hug has when the heart is weary. The tender touch of a mother of reassurance.

Thank you for extending grace to me, and others. Showing me what grace looks like. The importance of second chances. The gift of a fresh start, with out shame and guilt. The source of our Grace, the Jesus who gave everything for it.

Thank you for showing me forgiveness, the power of it. How holding on to others wrong doings is toxic and debilitating to one’s journey and relationships. For showing me how essential it is to ask for forgiveness, the humility to admit ones wrongs. The act of repentance. Making amends.

Thank you for holding me to a high standard when it came to manors, respect for others, and those in authority. For teaching me the importance of being respectful to others, even if I don’t agree with them.

Thank you for demonstrating a solid work ethic. The key to taking self initiative in a job, and in life. Being flexible. Accommodating. Teachable. and the importance of open communication.

Thank you so for teaching me life at times is just not fair. That being entitled isn’t an option in life.

Thank you for teaching me how to see life through a positive lens. The positives above the negatives in life circumstances; through trials that arise. Whether it be people or situations that are outside my control.

Thank you for providing me with the opportunities to travel different places as a child. Introducing me to different cultures, different experiences all over the US. Encouraging a love of travel, the desire for adventure. And of course how to navigate through any airport system. šŸ™‚

Thank you for sharing your love of history, the beauty in different cultures from all different times. Thank you for introducing me to the beauty of music, the art of theater, the love of performing. I love that we share in these interests today.

Most of all, thank you for displaying the heart of Christ to me. The importance of having faith, a relationship with God.

As an adult, I’m thankful for our relationship. How it’s adapted, changed, and grown to what it is today. Thank you for your friendship. Sharing in both laughter and tears. For your encouragement. Words of affirmation. Still believing in me. The random sweet letters. Your continued unconditional love for me; but also now shown through unconditional love for my son, your grandson.

My goal. Desire. What I strive for. Is to be a mother like you. Who loves. Teaches. Equips. Guides. A steady presence of strength that holds a family together in love that conquers all things.

I love you, forever and always I’m proud to call you My Mom!

-Love from me! Your one and only oldest, strong willed, spirited, energetic daughter
(Image by: Steven Brandt)