Carpe Diem. She taught me this through her actions.
My mother, somehow, managed to do it all and do it all with style. As I reflect on my childhood and the lessons she taught me, my mind floods with memories. One lesson stands above the others and I see now, more than ever, how it has become a way of life for me.
A little background- Mom was the principal of the public kindergarten in Ozark. Somehow she pulled off a full day of managing 300 five year old kids plus employees, and a hot dinner each night, not to mention killer birthday parties. Everything she did, and continues to do is above and beyond. If you’re wondering what the word “maximize” means… spend a day with Debby. She’ll show you ways to maximize an hour, a closet, a trip and a meal in ways you never thought possible. It’s really quite impressive.
Example of a 1950's double birthday party with Caroline Carroll Flowers:
It’s strange how I can hear her voice in my head when faced with a situation. If it’s a rough patch “this too shall pass,” if I feel as though I’ve been wronged “kill ‘em with kindness,” if I use a coupon “a penny saved is a penny earned,” and the list goes on. The big lesson of living life to its fullest came from a bundle of other lessons and a childhood full of endless encouragement.
The lessons she taught me began at an early age. I am going to attempt to share with you this “bundle” of lessons that have helped me to seize the day each day and lessons that are a part of my core being thanks to mommy dearest.
Be positive- Your attitude affects your outcome.
It’s a big world- Thinking big will lead you to incredible opportunities. Don’t settle.
Life’s more interesting if you never meet a stranger- My mother NEVER meets a stranger. She’ll tell you to talk to people. You never know what you might learn.
Take pride in your work and prepare- Your work is a reflection of you.
You never know until you ask- what’s the worst that will happen if you do ask? Usually it’s not all that bad and worth the risk.
You can do anything you set your mind to- Have goals and create your path.
Don’t let fear slow you down- We all have doubts, but you can’t let them rule your life.
I can remember my mother by my side, teaching me these lessons through high school and college as the opportunity to share was presented. She knew that experience was the best teacher and encouraged me to take part in an array of activities and to seize each opportunity. Some opportunities come to you. Others, you have to hunt down. Each one will add to your life, even the failures. Take from them, learn from them and keep the faith. That is living.
When John and I were faced with the opportunity to turn our lives upside-down, move from Mobile, live homeless for three months unsure of what we would next call home, this mentality, like clockwork, sprang into action. The risk and the intense unknown could not hold down my desire to take on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I jumped on board with John, who happens to share this mentality.
Thanks to mom’s lessons, adapting to life as a Texan has been quite exciting. I’m not sure I knew how to handle all the opportunities that seemed to be at my fingertips, besides embracing them. Take a look-
1. ICE SKATING
About half a mile down the road is an ice skating rink. I checked it out online and found adult classes. I was immediately intrigued. For nine weeks John and I would attend our ice skating class. (He's quite the team player!) It was very challenging, but very fun! Watch out Kristi Yamaguchi.
2. THE ROCK WALL
I joined the most tremendous and amazing gym here in Sugar Land. Since they had a rock wall, I felt it was my duty to try it out.
I know this sounds like the most random thing ever. That's probably because it is... Austin is home to two Trapez facilities offering lessons to anyone who is interested and crazy enough to give it a try. I couldn't resist.
John and I attended one of the largest Rodeo's in the world with our good friends the Pratkas. We were overly excited about this event since the second attraction was a concert by ALABAMA. (Our home's in Alabama!)
5. TOUGH COUNTRY OUTDOOR CONFERENCE
Tough Country is the company with the sawmill that makes the cutting boards and the machine shop that manufactures truck bumpers owned by our good friends the Pratkas. They host an outdoor conference each year inviting people to come and race their trucks in the mud. Since it flooded the day before, mud was in abundance! Each night featured a country band in the Saloon they built. It was amazing to see!
This is Kurt Pratka- cutting board maker. In the short time I've known them, they realized that I am sometimes a bit apprehensive to get dirty... against my own will I ended up with mud on my face!
6. TEXAS WINE COUNTRY
We are super excited to have some Auburn friends up the road in Austin- Chris and Haley Delvizis. Haley and I cheered together at Auburn University and stood by one another in our weddings. It's been great to reconnect, especially over great wine!
7. THE PECAN FESTIVAL
Tin Roof set up it's first booth at the Old Pecan Street Festival in Austin Texas a couple of weekends ago. It was a great experience and lots of work!
John and I have started attending the First Baptist Church of Houston on Sundays we are in town. Each time is an experience. Praise and worship with a room full of believers is just impossible for me to describe. I feel blessed to be able to attend!
9. BUBBA'S BURGER SHACK- HOME OF THE BUFFALO BURGER
Shack is no understatement. My first buffalo burger experience happened here and we've been back twice. It taste good and it's better for you. :)
10. TEXAS FASHION
The flowey arm shirts, belts, bedazzles, boots, and denim shorts are all new wardrobe items since living in Texas. Bloom where you're planted!
These are my cowgirl boots made of Python. Serious stuff!!
Bedazzled blue jeans are a must here. Did I miss this trend in Alabama or is it mainly a Texas thing?
All of this to say THANK YOU MOM!! Thanks for teaching me to roll with the punches and experience life for all the amazing things it has to offer. I am grateful to you for the endless amounts of support and encouragement along the way. You're an inspiration and I love you.