Life Lessons from Linda, Part 1

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Did you really think I could let Mother’s Day come and go without a tribute to my mother?

My Mom at Biggby Coffee in Jackson Michigan

My delightful, hilarious, lying, Crisco-loving mother?

No – no I cannot.

Several years ago – before I thought I could be a writer, before blogs even existed, before I even met Even Steven – I wrote my mom a little book for Mother’s Day – called Lessons from Mom. Allow me to share a few with you now…

My mom won the Internet

Life Lesson #1 – Count Deer

Always be aware of your surroundings. Notice the flowers, see the sunset, smell the air.

This does not necessarily mean that you need to slow down to do these things. My mom can be flying down the highway at 75 miles per hour and spot deer in the woods two miles away.


When you spot something as exciting as deer, it is important to count them out loud so everyone that can’t see them can appreciate how “many” they are missing. It’s even better if you count slowly…




This ties in with another important life lesson – find something you’re good at, and DO NOT APOLOGIZE. If this means that you’re an expert deer spotter – and no one else can see them – just count louder.

Mom at 33

Life Lesson #2 – Stock Up

Part of the joy of family life is never knowing when someone is going to stop in to say hello. In order to anticipate random guests and impromptu get togethers, it is vital to have a large stock of food on hand.

This may mean turning one room of your basement into a pantry to store extra canned goods and Crisco.

It certainly means that you will not get by with only one refrigerator. You may need an extra one downstairs as well as one in the garage – because you just never know how many people are going to be stopping by and what they might be in the mood to drink.

Be prepared.

Mom and Anna

Life Lesson #3 – Shop at Tag Sales

If you love to shop – as most women do – pull out your weekend paper and go garage-saling. You will have the same feeling as shopping, you will be able to load up your car with new goodies, and you will not spend half as much as you would in a regular store.

Find treasures for 10 cents, buy new furniture for your porch for 10 bucks. You can redecorate your entire house with garage sale finds (and my mom has – several times).

And you’ll soon find that there is nothing quite as enjoyable as walking into someone else’s garage with a cup of coffee in your hand and offering a nickel for something they had marked a dime.

You will feel clever.

Mom's Favorite

Life Lesson #4 – Be Productive

If you find yourself worried or anxious – do something productive. In fact, you need to do something that will produce definite results within 2 – 3 hours. For some women, this is cleaning out a junk drawer, sorting through closets – or going for a nice, long run.

For my mom – it is baking cookies.

As soon as I heard her KitchenAid mixer revving up while I was growing up, I knew that she was stressed or worried about something. But a few hundred cookies later, she would be calm as can be.

When my brother got married and moved to Hawaii, she baked a 3-year supply of cookies. In fact, I think she still has some in her freezer in the garage.

My Mom in Bed with Coffee

Life Lesson #5 – Be a Hostess

Whenever you are hosting a party or event, make it wonderful. Use your best china and turn the table into a work of art.

Be gracious and generous – giving your guests all of your attention.

But this doesn’t mean that you have to be a gracious host before your guests arrive. In fact, my mom is known for this.

Two or three hours before a party, you will find her stressed out and baking cookies in the kitchen (see Life Lesson #4).

Then she will spend the last hour trying to get everything ready and getting angry at everyone that is not following her every order. But it never fails – she can be in the middle of yelling at someone, hear a car pull up in the driveway, and stop mid-sentence.

From the time when the first guest arrives, she is in her happiest mood and ready to have a great time. (Side note – it’s also smart to call your relatives and ask them to come over early to put an end to the pre-party tantrums.)

Click here to read 5 MORE life lessons from my mother.


  1. Anna's Mom

    May 8, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Oh dear – happy Mother’s Day to you too dear daughter! Thank you for the Mother’s Day Tribute. I wondered where my little book was – didn’t want to tell you I couldn’t find it. 🙂 Okay, I do count deer and I do bake cookies and I do have a stash of canned goods in the basement and I do like company – but I was never grouchy or mean before they arrived. I MAY have had to raise my voice a tad to get you and your brother moving and motivated – but seriously I’m sure I wasn’t a hag……and by the way….whose bed do you have me photo shopped into?? You could have at least stuck Robert Redford in there with me!

  2. My Special Kind of Crazy

    May 8, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Deer spotting! Oh, I love that game and am EXCELLENT at it. I am teaching my daughter how to deer spot and I gloat every time I win.
    I would love to have a deer spot challenge with Anna’s Mom…

  3. Michelle

    May 8, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    You’ve pretty much described my mother-in-law, minus the deer spotting. 🙂

  4. Jenni

    May 9, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I can vouch for all of these-since your mom and I share a lot of these wonderful qualities! The deer spotting thing, though, she’s the champ! I am still in awe of the time she was flying down the road, and she pointed out a deer. “Did you see that?! That deer was squatting! I’ve never seen THAT before!”

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