20 Rules to Live By

For myself and my daughters.

1. Enjoy life. It’s too short not to.
2. Set goals for yourself. Put them in writing so you’ll follow through.
3. Choose your dreams wisely.
4. Motherhood is the most important job in the world. Remember that when your kids have been bickering all day and you just want to shove them in front of the TV.
5. Be open-minded. Accept people for who they are and don’t waste your time trying to change them.
6. Eat healthily, but enjoy treats. Life needs a bit of sweetness.
7. Make time for yourself and your personal pleasures no matter how much else you have to do.
8. Honesty is always best. Two-faced behavior is atrocious.
9. Exercise regularly. You might not get sick all winter. Or all year.
10. Be a leader for the next generation.
11. Protect the earth. It’s the only one we have.
12. Give your time and money and clothing to charity. And not for tax purposes.
13. Sleep at least seven hours every night.
14. Reflect on your mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. Change who you are because of them.
15. A good marriage can keep your life on the right track. A bad one will shove you off into the ditch. Marry the right person.
16. Don’t force other people to believe what you believe. Just listen. And share.
17. Education is never ending and is the best way to keep your mind open.
18. Love should be the focus of all you do.
19. Travel. It will open your eyes to more than you could ever imagine.
20. Keep your friends close and be for them everything that you want them to be for you.

Rays of Light

It doesn’t matter to me what you believe
as long as you don’t try to make me believe it
because I am from my own hollow in the world
already formed like the giant maple of my youth,
my limbs outstretched and searching for my own answers
and your stinging, howling wind
will only make my leaves fall too soon,
leaving me barren,
unable to create the saplings of my convictions
that could grow thick and strong
in the rays of light between my branches.