Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a first birthday

My niece, Dilynn, is turning one on Friday.

I have gotten to watch this little girl grow from the moment we knew she existed.

From my friend's pregnancy, to Dilynn's birth, and now a year later, I can't believe how amazing it is to see a child grow. It is such an honor to get to be a part of her life, it makes me want to always do and be the best person I can.

For her first birthday, I wrote her a book of my wishes for her throughout her life. I hope one day when she's old enough it'll be a source of comfort, a reminder of where to turn when the road of life gets bumpy, and a testament to how loved she is.

If there is one thing I never want her to feel that I have felt at various times in life is that she is alone. I realize, too, this is most likely a feeling I can't protect her from forever. But I do want her to know that though she may feel that way, alone is something she will never be.

A Promise to My Darling Dilynn:

You are never alone. Even when the people you love most in this life disappoint you, remember first and foremost that you have God. And He will never disappoint you. But you also always have me. No matter where life takes us, I will either be a room away, a phone call away or a plane ride away. Whenever you need me, for whatever you need me, I will be there. Whatever you are going through at any point in your life, there is no need to go it alone. We will do it together for I am always by your side.

Below is the copy of the book, Wishes for Dilynn. Enjoy!

For Dilynn Cole.

May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health,
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth.
May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true,
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.
-Old Irish Blessing

I love you more than you will ever know. Happy 1st birthday.

Love Always & Forever,

Aunt Jena


Sooner or later someone will tell you that you can be anything when you grow up. You will believe it for a long time. When you go to college, you will start to worry that maybe you were told wrong. When you are in your first job, you will really start to worry that you were told wrong.

You weren't told wrong. You can be anything you want to be. You just can't be afraid of failure. It's okay to fail. It's not okay to never try.

Dream big. Change the world. Believe you can do it. You can.

"There is nothing to fear but fear itself."
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."
- Mother Teresa

This one I'm not the best to give advice on. I've had luck in love and I've had bad luck in love. But one thing I do know is let yourself love.

He may be the wrong guy or he may be the right guy or he may be somewhere in between. It doesn't matter. Fall in love anyway. With each relationship you will learn a world of things that will prepare you for when mister right comes strolling into your life. Don't love based on a checklist either. Just make sure he has a good heart and holds yours with care, even if at some point he gives it back.

"I have learned not to worry about love; But to honor its coming with all my heart."
- Alice Walker

"A man is not where he lives, but where he loves."
- Latin Proverb

"Loving is never a waste of time."
- Astrid Alauda

Forgiveness isn't easy, but it's essential to growing as a person. There will be times in your life where you will need to forgive someone and times in your life when you will need to be forgiven. Go about forgiveness with humility. We are all human and we all make mistakes. 

Even when someone has really wronged you, and I mean, really, really hurt you, forgive them anyway. Forgiving them, though, doesn't mean allowing them to wrong you again.  Letting someone continually hurt you does you both a great disservice; it tells them their behavior is okay, and tells you that is what you deserve. So, forgive, but draw boundaries.

"When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive." 
- Alan Paton
Be Kind

Be kind to everyone. To the kid who has no friends. To the girl who is mean to you. (Who, by the way, I will want to desperately hurt. Remind me to be kind.) To your teachers. To your parents. To your grandparents. To every person that comes into your life. Show kindness. Always. Even when you don't want to or someone doesn't deserve it. Never let the bad behavior of another affect your character.

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile." 
- Mother Teresa
Be Honest

This one will be tough when you are a teenager. Your parents will have rules you don't want to follow and you will probably break them from time to time. 

But never, ever, ever lie to them about it. Your word is all you have. Trust is sacred. Never abuse it. When you do wrong, admit it. We all make the wrong decisions in life, and that's okay, but never let any consequence force you to lie. Integrity is everything. 

Remember, too, that your parents have rules for a reason. Rules you may not understand. But, I promise you, your parents are two of the most wonderful people I know and they love you so, so, so much. They want to protect you and raise you to be a good person. So, make mistakes and learn the lessons. Because of your parents, you will be exceptional.

"When in doubt, tell the truth."
- Mark Twain

"No legacy is so rich as honesty."
- William Shakespeare

My point is this. Don't always do what you are told. If you really, really, really feel what's being asked of you is unfair, say so. Learn to voice your opinion (politely). 

Take a stance for what you find to be true. If it weren't for people throughout history challenging social norms, breaking rules and questioning authority, slavery may not have ended and women wouldn't have equal rights. Remember that every human being, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or age are all children of God, and deserved to be treated as such.

"There are two kinds of [people] who never amount to much: Those who cannot do what they are told, and those who can do nothing else."
- Cyrus H. Curtis

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
- Albert Einstein
Be Silly

Singing is not a strong suit of mine. However, I love to do it. So I belt it out in the shower or in the car. And when your mom and dad aren't around, I sing to you. You love it. And you will probably always love it. So even if you aren't good at it, please sing anyway. Dancing I do have a knack for. Since I was a little girl.  So do you. You already like to "shake your booty" any time you hear music.  Whenever I'm having an awful day, dancing makes me feel like me again. (When your mom and dad aren't around, I also tend to dance in the upstairs hallway with my iPod blaring.) So dance whenever you are having a bad day. It will make you feel all sorts of alive.

Laugh, sing, dance; Be silly. Never take yourself too seriously.

"He who sings scares away his woes." 
- Cervantes

"There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good." 
- Edwin Denby

Words to always live by:

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway." - Mother Teresa

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