20 Things I’d Tell Myself at 18

  1. Hug your parents every chance you get.  Life is short, shorter than you think.
  2. Keep writing letters to your grandma.  Someday you’ll treasure every word she took time to write to you.
  3. Keep checking in with your Wedding day, age 19siblings after you move out, even if your new life is busy.  You matter to them, and it would be good for you to think of others.
  4. Skip that basement apartment;  it floods every spring. (Yup, that’s why the floor tiles are loose.)
  5. You’ll regret every car you ever bought on payments.  Go cash or go home.  Really.  I mean it.
  6. Treasure and build up your husband;  he starts out great, but he becomes an even more amazing man over the years. John, age 19, and groomsmen, at our wedding
  7. Don’t fight over where to keep the cereal. I promise, it doesn’t affect your salvation.
  8. Get better at gently expressing your feelings and ask others about theirs.  Really.  Even if sometimes the honesty is hard to hear.
  9. Don’t worry about how clean your house is;  have people over anyway.
  10. Don’t buy the Kirby vacuum.
  11. When you have kids, sew for them less and talk to them more, about everything.  They won’t care about all the cute things you made them, but they will care that you talked to them.
  12. Skip the gift basket business.  It won’t fly.
  13. Go ahead and get a good camera.  You’ll treasure good pictures of your kids.
  14. While you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to part with just a little more cash for your wedding photos.
  15. Less house is better.  It gives you more freedom for what you really want to do.
  16. Start a savings account and keep adding to it.
  17. Approach motherhood with humility.  There are lots of ways to be a great momma.
  18. Become a runner sooner.  It’ll be a great blessing to you, and you’re stronger than you think you are.
  19. Whenever there’s a question of how to spend your time, invest in your family first and most of all.
  20. Love God with your heart, soul and mind.  He’s got a fabulous life for you, and even in the tough moments He’s going to grow and bless you in amazing ways.  Have faith!

PS– And you know how you say you’re only having four kids?  God’s smiling, because He’s got way bigger plans for you, girl!  And it’s going to be great.  🙂


  1. One of your best posts ever!

  2. I love this list, Mary! I’m turning 40 tomorrow and it all speaks to me. It’s sad and encouraging all at the same time. Thanks for posting.

  3. Love this!

  4. You’ve done such a good job of keeping your priorities straight, Mary. I think this is a wonderful list for all my granddaughters, coming up, and the grandsons too! I’m very thankful for you.

  5. Oh, yes!

  6. Ooh, this got me thinking! What a great list. 🙂

  7. #1 – yes, yes, yes. You do not realize how much you will miss them when they are gone.

  8. If I were to formalize such a list, several of yours would remain on mine. 🙂 The “Don’t fight over XYZ. I promise, it doesn’t affect your salvation.” cracked me up. Isn’t it funny how petty things can seem so enormously important sometimes?