Turning 40 came and went like any other day in the life of a work-at-home, homeschooling mama. I got up, did my thing, and went for dinner.
Age has always just been a number to me. I've always felt older than I am, but in a good way. Those I worked with and hang out with are almost all older than I am. I don't know why God arranged it that way.
This year I feel….alive. I feel ready to go and see what God has in store. With my birthday so close to the new year it feels like one and the same yet it's less about those and more about what God has been speaking to me.
I told my friend Katie, feel like I have some street cred now that I'm 40. I've been around the block, over the hill, in the valley, and on the mountain – and I survive it all thus far.
So here are 40 things I've learned. I hope they encourage you, pique your curiosity, or make you smile.
- You are not the sum of your past mistakes. Trust me, Jesus is bigger.
- If you cut a grape almost in half, put it under a glass bowl and microwave it, you can see plasma, the 4th state of matter.
- Debt does not have to be a way of life. And being debt-free is possible.
- Have a boy? Say “penis” and get used to it. They love their little member and you'll say it often. (They are love nakedness.)
- It isn't, “if God speaks”. It's “God IS speaking, are you listening”?
- You don't need friends your own age. Young ones keep you young and give you someone to mentor. Older ones mentor you and give you someone to look up to.
- Speaking of friends, the ones from high school – most of them won't last. It's okay. That's the way it goes. But the one or two that do will be with you for life, even miles away. Make some time for them.
- Be willing to talk about the hard stuff you've been through. Others need to know it will be okay.
- You only need 6 pairs of shoes…and snow boots.
- You can lose everything you own (or close to it) and you're family will still be a family.
- Christians hurt you. Decide now that you'll love Jesus more than their behavior.
- With sex, timing is everything: before marriage a nightmare of emotional and mental baggage. After marriage, a God-ordained beautiful connection.
- Your Grandpa is going to die, you'll be okay. He'll be better.
- The Instant Pot is an amazing appliance. Goodbye microwave, hello 7-in-1 Instant Pot.
- Mr. Anderson was right, that boy from down the road was not the guy for me. Mr. Right would eventually come along.
- Natural remedies work. Give them a try.
- A basket of Norwex cloths will hold a full batter's worth of pee from a sleep-walking 6-year-old.
- Clutter is a bigger problem then you realize. Let that stuff go and live!
- You don't realize what you couldn't hear until you could hear it. Upgrade your hearing aids sooner rather than later.
- Coffee is wonderful.
- Caramel lattes are better.
- Following God means being peculiar – even to your family. Trust Him, not their opinions.
- It's okay to set boundaries – even with family.
- You will see the present through the lens of past hurts if you don't give them God and live as a new creation.
- Lists are wonderful. Makes lots of them (just don't stress about completing them all).
- When your son says he'll marry you burn that memory in your head. You'll need it later when he hates you for making broccoli with dinner.
- Marriage takes work and a lot of it. Not 50-50, 100-100 every day.
- You have to frolic to catch butterflies.
- Sourdough English muffins are amazing.
- Kale chips, not so much.
- Little boys like to be naked.
- Small steps of growth every day lead to big changes over time.
- The Roku app on your phone means you can turn down the TV when your husband falls asleep with it blaring. You're welcome.
- Dance in the rain, act goofy, stomp in the creek – your kids will remember those things.
- If you only drink one soda between 9am to 2pm and then you stand in a bridal party you'll probably come close to fainting during your friend's wedding (and the old people will think you're pregnant when you're not).
- Choose praise every day. Declare daily the truths you need to hear.
- Don't talk too much, you'll eat your words (still working on this one).
- Marriages end. We live in a fallen world. Breaking of vows happens long before the divorce is final. Sometimes there is other way. To think otherwise only hurts those enduring abuse and neglect.
- Traditional foods are the way to go. Too much sugar, too much dye – it really does affect their mood & personally.
- Homeschooling is the hardest thing I have ever done.