Sunday, June 17, 2012

How to live a joy-filled life

Today, my daughter turns 19. She has taught me a lot in her nineteen years.  In her honor, I've come up with the top 10 things that I've learned from her. Here goes.

1. Be yourself. She isn't afraid to just be herself, in whatever situation she's in. She lives carefree, and that is something to be admired. I tend to get bogged down in who I think others want me to be and stop being my real self.

2.  Believe you have something to say.  She started a book review vlog a year and a half ago. She has gotten some negative, and some downright nasty feedback at times. That does not stop her from just putting her two cents out there. 

3.  Don't take life too seriously. She started her freshman year at Iowa State this past fall. She met a lot of great friends from her dorm floor and at the campus ministry. Thankfully, she was very faithful to post pictures of her shenanigans all year on Facebook. From funny videos in the dining center to doing planking on campus, they had fun. My synopsis is that she had more fun in her first year of college than I had in all four years of mine.

4.  Enjoy the simple things. Trying on clothes as a four year old was an event for her. After slipping on each outfit, she would do a little dance in front of the mirror, kicking up her heels, or hand on her hip. This was an event worth celebrating! A week ago, she tried on a fancy dress, took a pic and posted it on Facebook. When she tried it on at home, she twirled in it to show her dad. Simply, joy!

5.  Don't let other people's opinions stop you. Even just to do a blog post, I have to push past the fear of what other people might think of my writing. Or my style. Or just me. There are so many things that Kara has done, or tried, that I admire. Recently, she took out her grade school water color set after seeing an idea on Pinterest. Next thing I know, she comes out of her room having water colored the Iron Man and Captain America emblems. And they are GOOD. Yes, she water colored OUTSIDE THE LINES, but it looks great. She doesn't let that bother her.  I would berate myself for coloring outside the lines and throw the thing away. I mean it. 

6.  Be hospitable. I tend to worry about the tidiness of my home. I use that as a gauge on whether or not I would accept for anyone to see it. Not Kara. She has had her two best friends over several times this summer. Our house is not Better Homes and Gardens perfect. Kara just says, "Mom, they don't care. Their houses aren't perfect either." You know what? I've really enjoyed having them in our home, and I'm learning that other people really do not judge me for having a few things out on the kitchen table that don't belong there. 

7.  Watch movies, especially Sci-Fi. You just might connect on a cool level with your dad and two older brothers. :)

8.  Hang out with people. Relationships are important to Kara. She cares about people, and it shows in how many people really like to spend time with her. She attracts people because of her kindness and her humor. I want to be like that. 

9.  Be a learner. Need a new keyboard installed on your laptop? If you are Kara, you watch a youtube video and teach yourself. She taught herself how to play a ukulele, and how to water color. She has gotten several viruses off of her computer by herself. She has written a novel during National Novel Writing Month. I don't want to shy away from learning new things.

10.  Love God enough to get uncomfortable. At Iowa State she took a class in prep to be a small group leader in her campus ministry. It was called Theology of the Gospel, and it was pretty hard core. They had to memorize a verse a week. They also had to find two people a week to give a questionnaire of the Gospel to. This made Kara very uncomfortable, but she did it. She approached a classmate to ask questions about their belief in Jesus. What an example 
to me! 

Thanks Kara, for what you have taught me in your nineteen years. Thanks also, that even at nineteen you have not forgotten how to live with a carefree and joyful heart. Don't ever let that slip away from you!

Love, Mom

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