Advice To My Youngest On Turning 13

Dearest Cayley,

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I can never say I Love You enough nor will I stop ;-) It’s crazy you are now thirteen. What would I be doing once your sisters left home if you had not come along? How blessed I am to be given a second chance at mothering. In some ways I have grown and often times I feel green.  You are very unique and so different from your sisters.  A decade later I have found that technology has changed the parenting dilemma.  Regardless, I know God choose to bless us with you for such a time as this.  Together we sharpen one another. So I complied 10 thoughts I desire for you to remember as you continue your life journey.

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1) Never forget you are fearfully and wonderfully made, yes made in the imagine of Christ who delights over you as He is a masterful creator.   (Psalm 139:13-16Ephesians 2:10 ) Comparison is the joy killer of being content with your many beautiful features. Never allow the media or others to dictate what true beauty should look like.

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2) Love the Lord with all your heart and get into the habit of beginning your days by putting Him first. You will often feel that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Time is something we all treasure, something we wish we had more of, but it just seems to slip so quickly through our fingers. We think if only I had more time I would spend it praying or reading the Bible, helping people, or making a difference.  (Proverbs 16:3; Luke 4:42, Matthew 14:13)  The poem The Difference is a good reminder of keeping God first.

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3) Remember to love and listen to your sisters as they are two of the wisest women I know.  Support one another. Talk to one another regularly by being the initiator as you have more free time. Be there when they need you and they’ll be there for you. They really do love you that is why they both flew in to surprise you for your 13th birthday. Sisters are forever friends.P1050675

4) Be bold, take chances as those who don’t take chances don’t make advances. Dream big because you serve a BIG God. Strive to reach the full potential of your calling in life. (Jeremiah 29:11).   Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to everyone through your speech,  by the way you live your life, in your authentic love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)

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5) Continue to travel while you are young. We hope that through our various family excursions we have given you a love for adventure, exposed you to various cultures, taken you out of your comfort zone, and shown you how big and yet small the world is. May you bring the good news to those wherever you go in the future. Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15

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6) Enjoy life! Gather often with your friends, have fun, laugh a lot and enjoy the relationships God has given you. Also your best friends will be those who bring out the best in you. Never substitute face-to-face interaction with that of the internet or social media. According to a study, people are happier and laugh 50% more when talking face-to-face with friends or via webcam than when they use social networking sites.

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Cari, Cayley, & Laurena

7) Cherish your human connections with friends and mentors who invest deeply into your life and you will grow wiser and richer.  Appreciate and remember those who have poured richly into your life (your sisters, grandparents, teachers, Sarah T. Danielle A., Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Teresa, Ritz, Mrs. Cheryl D., Grandma Coleen). Allow them to speak truth into your life so you can learn something new. Proverbs 13:20

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8) We love you unconditionally, always, and forever. No one will ever love you like your dad and I love you.

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9) Be humble, teachable, and enjoy the learning process. Be a lover of learning as you gain the education needed to carry out the tasks for which God has designed you.  (Proverbs 9:9; 12:15; 11:14; 19:20-21; 15:22; Psalm 1:1-5).

Some of my greatest lessons have been learned through the pages of books. I have gained incredible insight, knowledge, and experience of various authors.  Reading exposes you to a world of imagination, showing you nothing is impossible.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” Charles William Eliot

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10) Smile a lot and keep singing God’s praises. A smile draws others to you. The joy and love of the Lord are yours – so smile! Aim for joy found when putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last which creates true JOY. Being happy and enthusiastic is always a good choice and the joy of the Lord is your strength.   (Psalm 28:7; Nehemiah 8:10)

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In conclusion, do all things with Love. Love is so important to God that is is mentioned hundreds of times in the Bible. Love is referred to as the greatest commandment of all. Christ is love. John 13: 34-35 As we learn to love God’s way we provide the world with a tangible picture of Christ to the world.

I look forward to finishing the book Love As A Way of Life by Dr. Gary Chapman who writes, “Love is an attitude, that says, “I choose to focus my life on helping others.”  I appreciate those who use the following seven characteristics to define a loving person providing so much room to grow:

  • Kindness: Discovering the Joy of Helping Others
  • Patience: Accepting the Imperfections of Others
  • Forgiveness: Finding Freedom from the Grip of Anger. Life’s way too short to constantly be mad at someone.
  • Courtesy: Treating Others as Friends
  • Humility: Stepping Down So Someone Else Can Step Up
  • Generosity: Giving Yourself to Others
  • Honesty: Revealing Who You Really Are

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Happy 24th Birthday Caryn

Today I thank God for my precious, beautiful daughter Caryn, who is now twenty-four.

Where was I when I turned 24? Spiritually your dad and I had just accepted Christ four month prior to me turning 24.  Your dad and I would have been celebrating two years of marriage and I had no desire to have children yet as God had a lot of cleaning up to do in my life ;-) We were living in an apartment in Arlington, VA off Columbia Pike Rd and in the process of buying our first home in Clifton, VA. Dad was working at Trident and I was employed at TRW.

This is you just a few hours old. There is nothing like meeting and holding your child for the first time especially your first child.

This is you at your first birthday party. When it came time to blow out your candle you grabbed a handful of cake. Your look says, “I didn’t do it.”

You are 4 and smiling big back then

Still 4 but a month later. Remember why you have such short hair? You decided during nap time to cut your hair, clothes in the closet, the curtains and bedding. This happened the day before Mother’s Day.

You and your sweet friends celebrating your birthday this weekend. As a mom I am so thankful Caryn has a community that loves her well and I am so happy they threw her a surprise birthday celebration as she is such a giver.

My tall and beautiful daughter.

The artistic side of Caryn the photographer. Not only does she love to smile but she enjoys making others smile :-)

Caryn. the red head? Why not, both grandmothers have red hair. Yes, she pulls it off with confidence and beauty.

 

Caryn, may you alway have…

Love in your life and be known as one who loves others well. Thanks for teaching me what love looks like. 1Corinthians 13

Peace that comes from within for your life belongs to Him.  Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  

Faith to encourage and inspire you; to comfort and heal your hurts. Faith to follow Him, where He leads you with complete trust and obedience. Colossians 1:23 continue in your faith, be established and firm, not moved from your hope in the gospel.

Laughter to bring you happiness and joy.

Beauty to fill your eyes with all that He has created and that you see through the “lens” of your camera.

Confidence to do all the things that you desire.

Perseverance to follow your calling in life keeping your eyes on Jesus. 2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

Friendships that are lasting and true. May you have friends that build you up and make you a better you.

Memories that you can reflect on and smile about. Memories that warm your heart and bring you comfort.  Memories of being our daughter and times we have shared together.  Memories of God’s goodness and abundant blessings in your life, knowing you have been cherished and loved by many especially your dad and I.  We are so proud of you. Wishing your 24th year to be full of love and joy.