86 Years of Wisdom from Lenis

March 25, 2015

  Things I've learned from Lenis... You Only Live Once.

Last week was my Grandmother's 86th birthday!  It is so difficult for me to believe, because in my mind she is 44 and rocking a bikini in a way that I could never do right now at 43.  She is one of the smartest people that I have ever known, and she continues to get even wiser as she gets older- as you would naturally expect.  

In honour of her this month, I thought that I would share some things that I have learned from her over the course of my life, and maybe they will help you as well.

1.  Read to your children and surround them with books.  My Grandmother took me to far away places when new books came in the mail for me to devour every month.  I read the books on her shelves and taught myself about the solar system, typing, creative writing; there was a whole world at my fingertips on the shelves of her library.  Every summer we would learn something new together.

Reading to me and bringing the story alive!
She still enjoys reading and finished this one by Kellie Coates Gilbert in a day.

2.  "Never marry a man that you wouldn't consider marrying.  If you want to hang out with rednecks, then marry a redneck, but if you want to get invited to good parties and wear fine clothes, marry a professional. 

If you date a redneck, you could surely fall in love with him, and then where are you going to be?  If a man can't afford to buy you at least a one carat diamond, then keep moving on down the line, because he can't afford you- no matter how much you might think you love him.

Make sure you marry someone with whom you have things in common- things to talk about together, shared interests.  And if you don't want to get married, that's okay too, because you can be anything you want to be in this world.  And just because a man sends you flowers, that doesn't mean that you have to go out with him, understand?"  

She got a flower from the Knight at Medieval Times.

3.  How to love and burp a baby...I'm not sure where it starts, but she puts a magical spell on little children and they all fall in love with her.  Maybe because she will let you eat ice cream for breakfast and lunch if that's what you want while you are at her house?

Holding me when i was a newborn baby.

Holding my grandson (her great, great, grandson) when he was a newborn baby.

4.  "Be kind and loving to animals and they will always love you back.  Animals aren't like people, they don't hold grudges."

Grandmother and Willie at Christmas

Grandmother and Major on the farm around 1975

5.  "My brother and sister were my best friends.  I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the love and friendship we shared.  You stay tight with your sisters and brothers that are close to you, because you are all going to need each other one day."

Immediate family of Julian and Betty Henley- Christmas 1980.  I'm in the kid in the burgundy Chinos and the pink Izod sweater.  I was pretty stoked about that outfit.

6.  Sometimes your family will act like this and be loving and kind to one another, having fun and actually enjoying being together...  and other times you might have one child that acts like Gollum.  Sometimes you just have to ignore Gollum, because Gollum has momentarily forgotten that he or she  is really Smeagol.

"Y'all are soooo funny."

"I want the precious!!!"

7.  You learn that you just have to roll with the flow, like Aunt Joyce would have done. "Be grateful for what you have, and don't complain about what you don't have.  Just learn to improvise and be thankful for your blessings."

First selfie and we had a photo bomber in the background!

"I cannot believe that I am having to wear this Minnie Mouse shirt."

How to make a fireplace in Florida and improvise.

8.  Don't live your life full of regrets.  You can't change the past, just keep moving forward until something better comes along.  If we all stayed mired down in the past, the whole world would be crazy!

9.  You have to take some chances in this life if you are going to get ahead. Sometimes you might fail, but if you don't take the chance, you will never know what you could have done.  Don't miss any opportunity to better yourself or get ahead.

10.  Treat people like you would want to be treated, and try not to harbor resentment.  It just eats you up,  and the other person doesn't usually care.  Don't let someone who doesn't love you destroy you.  

11.  MOISTURIZE.  MOISTURIZE.  MOISTURIZE.  Good skin care is very important.   Neck creme is probably the most important.  And never let your hair go gray, you will regret it, I'll clue you.  

12.  Never be afraid of plastic surgery.  It is the best thing a woman can do for herself if she needs it.  And always wear good foundation garments to support your body.

13.  Always have an account with your own money in it and don't let anyone know about it.  That way, if you ever have an emergency, you can take care of yourself.

14.  I will never forget this one as long as I live.  I think she told me this when I was about 18 and about to get married for the first time. "Don't kid yourself, when the money goes out the front door and there is none left, love will go running out the back door faster than you can say boo!"

15.  Always treat your employees like family and they will always be there when you need them.  If you are expecting someone to clean your toilet or do your taxes, the least you can do is honor their birthday and holidays and never forget that they have families too.

Love y'all,

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