Valerie here. I’m compelled to share a little something with you. It’s about about my mom. One evening, many year ago, she just up and passed away. It was like a brilliant candle had been snuffed out and we were left with nothing but a smoke filled room and darkness.

One thing I’m proud of is that, for the last 5 years of her life, I never failed to tell her how much she meant to me. I knew how lucky I was to have her in my life and I told her as much. She was my sherpa through all things in life and my best friend. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t check myself by her example.

Lessons From My Mom - Insect hiding in a lily.
Two of my mother’s favorite things: An expressive insect and a macro of a flower.
Copyright © 2018 by Valerie Spencer

Be simple.

One’s happiness and love of life has no direct correlation to how much money you make. Most people need to work to feed themselves. That doesn’t mean you have to be doctor, lawyer, or CEO.

Does having money make life easier? Sure, but… if you get so wrapped up in making money for a garden, you’ll never have the chance to watch it grow. Bagging groceries—paper or plastic?—is a plenty fine job. You have money to pay the bills. Your work stays at work. Plus, you still have the time and energy to spend on things that are more important.

Whenever I find myself getting wrapped up in some stressful thing and I remember how she used to recount her day at the dinner table. Eventually her story would end up with her rolling her eyes and wistfully chanting “Paper or plastic?” like some spell to summon the hope and energy from a simpler life. While my mom never got that chance, her words echo in my head on a daily basis.

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Stay curious.

Whatever “it” is that you’re curious about—look it up. Education doesn’t stop when you leave school. You don’t always have to rely on someone else to know the answer. As a matter of fact, after researching a topic, you’ll often find some people who think they have the answers, don’t. Knowing how to look up information will give you access to anything your heart or mind desires.

Growing up, the only response I ever got from my mom about all of my random curiosities was “look it up.” She’d bring me to the library, get me access to the internet (which wasn’t easy back or entirely useful back then), and even help me find and register for classes. My mom never stopped learning and I always admired that.

Lessons From My Mom - Bumble bee on my mother's echinacea flowers.
Bumblebee on my mother’s Echinacea flowers.
©2018 by Valerie Spencer

Get motivated.

Decide what you want and motivate yourself. People have a tendency to put off the things the things they want most in life until “tomorrow.” Well, what will you do if tomorrow doesn’t come? What will you have done? Life has a way of closing doors for you—whether you like it or not. There isn’t always a tomorrow.

I’ve spent a lot of my life with a hazy notion of what I wanted. My 10 year plan was more like a 10 day plan. I was too late to become the person that I wanted her to see me become. But here I am and everyday my vision is gets clearer. I’d like to think at the end of it all, she’d go “Wow Val, that’s neat!”

Happy Mother’s Day.

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