Welcome to December’s installment of Mel’s Favorite Things. ?

I’m dedicating the last email of each month to share some of my faves, from books to recipes to life hacks and beyond. Basically, if I love it (and think you might, too,) I’m gonna share it here.

This month’s Favorite Things is particularly special to me. If she were still alive, today would’ve been my mother’s birthday. Although she’s been dead for many years now, I still feel her influence in my life and I like to think that she is looking down from heaven—along with any of your loved ones who have joined her there—and cheering us on.

Therefore, my Favorite Things this month is in honor of three of the important life lessons she taught me.

While there are many I could choose from, these are particularly important ones (to me.)

Three Important Life Lessons that I Learned from My Mother:

  1. Have a weekly Sabbath—we aren’t Jewish, but when I was a young child, we used to observe a 24 hour Sabbath from Friday night to Saturday night. I don’t remember how many years we did this for, and because my mom died while I was still quite young, it wasn’t something we carried on after she’d passed. In fact, I barely thought of having a Sabbath at all until 2-3 years ago when I came across some books and podcasts that advocated for incorporating a weekly Sabbath into one’s schedule to rest, recharge, and connect with God and others. As I read these books, I had a flashback to childhood and the excitement I would feel as we prepared for our Sabbath each week and realized how much I used to look forward to them when I was growing up. I’ve since taken steps (although imperfectly) to add this to my current family life. I’ll plan to dedicate an entire future email one week to sharing the benefits of a weekly Sabbath, but for now, let’s just say it’s marked me significantly. (A couple of good books I’ve read on the topic include Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero and The Power of Ritual by Casper ter Kuile.)
  2. Without exception, every person has unique talents and is born for a purpose—I have a letter from my mom that I keep in my Bible. In it, she reminds me of my gifts, that I’m special, and that God has made me for a purpose. I’ve often read it to encourage myself when I’ve felt sad or when I’m missing her. Today, I want to say the same thing to you: “You are born for a purpose, you have gifts that are uniquely yours, and you are special!”
  3. Steward your gifts with excellence and generosity, and more will be given to you.—My mom was an exceptional musician and teacher and I watched her cultivate her gifts with excellence and dedication. As a result, many doors of favor opened for her where she was able to influence people from all walks of life. Proverbs 18:16 really is true: “A person’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great people.”
I learned many other things from her, but these are three important lessons that are never far from my mind.
Are there any significant life lessons you’ve learned from your mother? Or, if she wasn’t present or able to be who you needed her to be, are there any other women who’ve acted as ‘mothers’ and taught you important skills that have helped shape who you’ve become?

Take a moment now to remember them, and if they’re still alive, why not send them a quick message or, better yet, pick up the phone and give them a call? Let’s let the people who’ve impacted you know what they mean to you while they’re still here on earth.

Happy Birthday, Mommy! And Happy New Year to you, friends!
Cheering you on,