Today is my mom’s birthday. In her honor (even though I doubt she reads this or knows how to find it … but maybe dad will see it and share), here are some things I’ve learned from my mother:

Never stop challenging yourself.
My mom has been an RN for 37 years. She earned her Masters in Nursing in the 1990s, and taught nursing classes. A few years ago, she became a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant. Then, despite needing step-by-step directions for how to send an email, she earned a certificate in online teaching this year. Now she’s semi-retired from nursing, still doing legal nurse consulting and will start teaching an online class next month. She never slows down. When she sets a goal, she goes after it.

Live life. 
She’s gone skydiving (in the 1970s, when you didn’t have to jump tandem your first time). She’s been scuba-diving multiple times. (Meanwhile I get nervous in the deep end of the pool at the gym … and I used to be a lifeguard.) When we were on a family vacation in 1998, and she saw my brother scale a rocky wall to jump off a waterfall, she didn’t say “what the heck are you doing!” She said, “hey I want to do that too,” and she did. The woman isn’t one to shy away from adventure. Related, even when it comes to non-adventurous stuff, she doesn’t take life too seriously. She loves a good joke, especially when she’s the one who came up with it. Like one year when we were on vacation in Michigan, and she thought it’d be funny to pretend she was skinny dipping while everyone else is water-skiing.

Speak up for yourself. 
My mom is definitely the poster child for “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” and “you have to toot your own horn.” She’s not afraid to speak up, or ask a question. And you know what, she often gets what she asks for. Sometimes you just have to have the courage to ask, or the courage to point out your own achievements.

Wear sunscreen.
My mom is 61 in the photo above (she turned 62 today). She’s always taken care of her skin. I think it’s worked! I would much rather look like her when I’m 60 than have a tan today. (Besides, I’m a redhead, we don’t tan … I come in pasty and burn, that’s about it.)

Shop clearance and resale, and then hoard clothes. 
My husband looks at my closet and complains that I have too much stuff. Then I point out that my mom has clothing and shoes in almost every single closet in our house (not mine obviously … there’s no room). She has amassed quite a wardrobe, and I’m pretty sure 100 percent of it is from clearance racks and resale stores.


Don’t forget: Give me $5 before 12/12/11 and I might just give you a FuelBelt. (Raising money for the American Cancer Society – in honor of my mom, in an indirect way. Raffle info here.)