We spent last weekend cleaning out the craft room.

It was an almost overwhelming task.  The pipe cleaners had invited a few of their friends over and the bottles of glitter had decided to throw a party and the tiny pieces of paper had pulled up tiny houses and started a craft fair.

And of course…

…there was the art.

Pages and pages of rainbows and smiling faces and hearts and quotes and suns that danced across the sky.

I saved every one.

I couldn’t help it.

Somehow I blinked and the twins are going to high school next year and I’m clinging to every piece of single glittered starry sky art and telling it to wait.  But time doesn’t slow down even for moms with teary eyes and handfuls of crayons.

So instead, I wrote a roadmap for the next four years.

Here are seven lessons I want to teach my daughters for the road ahead.

Dear daughters of mine,

I am so incredibly blessed to be your mother.

It seems like yesterday you arrived into the world full of tiny ballerina toes and wisps of blonde hair and wistful blue eyes that spoke directly to my heart.

And now?

Now you are full of giggles and big opinions and personality and ranch salad dressing and blue eyes that roll.

And you don’t know this, but as you run through this summer with your bare feet dancing across the green grass and playing games of capture the flag while the fireflies watch and eating marshmallows with chocolate under the stars…

…the next chapters of your life are about to unfold.

Now is the time to pass on some very important information.

1.  You are beautiful

Inside and out.

I know you think I’m supposed to say that because I’m your mother.

At this minute I can feel your eyes roll.

But one day the world will tell you that you aren’t.  They will tell you that you need to be skinnier or blonder or taller or more of this or less of that.  They will try to convince you that you need to change.

Don’t listen.

They have no idea what they are talking about.  They don’t know.

But I do.

And I know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are perfect and incredible and beautiful….

….just like you are.

2.  Be kind

You have been given many gifts my sweet twinkly-eyed girls.

Use them wisely.

Never, ever make fun of someone else.

In your life you will encounter many people who won’t return that kindness.

Don’t worry.

Be kind anyway.

Until you have walked a mile in their shoes, you never know that battle that someone else is fighting.

3.  Don’t take yourself too seriously

Life is full of rules and things you should do and things you shouldn’t do.

I know you think you know this already.  You go to school.  You raise your hand.  You try not to talk in class.  You even eat your carrots at lunch.

I get it.

But there are so many more responsibilities and rules and regulations heading your way.

Don’t get overwhelmed.  You can do this.

Just remember to smile and dance in the aisles of the grocery store and don’t forget how to hula hoop and eat dessert first….

….and always call your sister if you need a giggle.

4.  Know how to rock a bad hair day

One high school day you are going to stay up too late studying or talking on the phone or discussing what you’re wearing tomorrow and you’ll wake up late and run to school and halfway through first period you’ll discover your hair isn’t cooperating.

None of that matters.

Just grab a sparkly bobby pin, put a smile on your face, remember your hair doesn’t ever define who you are and that….

…true beauty comes from within.

5.  Don’t let others define who you are

Along your journey you will meet others out there waiting to tell you how to be.

What to wear.

How to dress.

How to decorate your dorm room.

Listen to me.  You know yourself better than they do.  If you want to wear sparkly shoes and purple toenail polish and a pair of Eiffel Tower earrings. Wear it.  If you want to decorate your room with clouds and stars and rainbows that never end.  Decorate it.

Lead and the world will follow.

6.  You can accomplish anything

Don’t be afraid of failure.

Don’t be afraid to try.

Nothing in this world is accomplished by someone sitting on the sidelines.

Life is about the doing.

The hardest part will be deciding what you want to do.  There are so many choices and so many turns and bends and twists in the road.  Deciding what you want to accomplish can be challenging.

Talk to me.  I have a few suggestions.

7.  Marry a man who sings to you

One day you will find someone special.

Don’t rush.

Don’t worry.

Don’t settle.

One day you will meet someone special who sees the beauty and wonder and joy in you just the way you are.  Someone who won’t try and change you.  Someone who will treasure you and love you for exactly who you are….

….and sings you his heart.

Love, Mom

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Vicki Vicki

    What wonderful life lessons. Already, you have given your foursome the gift of a strong foundation built on unwavering love. They will SOAR!!

  2. Image for Brenda Brenda

    Excellent advice, not just for your daughters, but for all of us! Have a beautiful day! P.S. Keep saying it! After all, they are teenagers. ;)

  3. Image for J J

    Thank you for sharing that with us.My mother never told me all of those truths and I have struggled as a result.I am now over 50 and finally have learned to listen to what God says about who I am.....what a bittersweet life lesson . Keep on making me cry and laugh...lots of laughs....and for sharing what true beauty is....within

  4. Image for Wendelin Wendelin

    Oh, KariAnne, I love this! These are great lessons! I have two daughters, 22 and 6, and raising girls is quite a challenge. The best part, though, is when I look at my eldest and think, "You're not only my daughter, you've become one of my best friends!" That makes all the time, energy, and tears worthwhile.

  5. Image for laura {not a trophy wife} laura {not a trophy wife}

    I love this list. I tell my kids, "Eat lunch with the kid who is eating alone." Bring your friends. I told (suggested) a math tutor for my daughter who struggled through a math class. She is an accounting major now. Own the bad hair day girls! you got this!

  6. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Awe-that is so special and a great gift to your daughters. You are the best gift they will ever get! Hardest part is letting go.

  7. Image for Stephanie ray brown Stephanie ray brown

    Oh my truly bawling!!! Yes ugly cry! As I know these years will fly. The Diet Dr Pepper ad did make me smile once more. Don't blink sweet friend. Next book needs to be a daughter book. I am so amazed by you. You see I lost myself when raising my two..Truly did not know who is was and what I needed to do next. But slowly and surely ( truly part turtle. You my friend are part cheetah!) Listening and following what God places on my heart. But you ,y friend listened amd are going after all God wants and needs you to do in this lovely life. Hugs from this Hometown girl.

  8. Image for Rosalie McCreary Rosalie McCreary

    Well done, Karianne! I could have used these beautiful words of wisdom when I was young! Thank you for sharing! I trust the girls are listening without too much eye rolling!?

  9. Image for june june

    I LOVE THIS❤️❤️❤️ I don't have daughters...but shared your post with several nieces thst do. Always a great message.

  10. Image for Heidi @cloverlycottage Heidi @cloverlycottage

    Such sage advice!! I'm in the exact same season of life with my daughter, who will head off the high school in the fall!! I feel like I blinked and suddenly she's almost as tall as me. I'm going to save this post, share it with her and pull it out regularly as a reminder to remember what the important things are in life!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us!!

  11. Image for Linda Linda

    Beautiful! Your daughters will someday realize how intelligent you are about life lessons and that day you will smile and nod your head.

  12. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    ... I was much older than a teen when I overheard my mom tell my sister who was 20 years younger, "If everyone looked and thought alike, what would be the point?" Exactly! I wish I'd heard that sentiment when I was younger. But what I really wonder is if she said it and I didn't hear her.... that's why you have to get in your good stuff before they stop listening! There's an old quote attributed to Mark Twain, but I don't know who really said it.... but it is dead on true.... "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."


    Wonderful Mother! Precious daughters! Fabulous advice! God Bless you three! You are all so special!

  14. Image for Marian at CMShawStudios Marian at CMShawStudios

    It's a pay the bills, wash dishes with dried on gravy, and PMS kind of day. Thanks for helping me remember these things. I do a much better job telling my kids these things than telling myself. So thanks for being my Fairy God Mother on this dreary, rainy, chore-filled day. I feel cuter already. Smooches. The Other Marian

  15. Image for Carol@blueskykitchen Carol@blueskykitchen

    KariAnne, having raised 2 daughter, I can totally relate to your 7 pieces of advice. So thoughtful. In each of my girls' senior pages in the their annuals, I wrote similar things plus I told them "I Hope You Dance" (Trisha McBride) and to put forth the effort in something they love and the results will come. I also included Romans 8:38-39 to remind them that they are always loved.

  16. Image for Rhonda Franckhauser Rhonda Franckhauser

    Beautifully said! Even at 49 it resignates. You have given them truth that gives them such freedom to be who they were created to be! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  17. Image for Myra Freshwater Myra Freshwater

    Wonderful! As always! Before you know it you'll have a granddaughter and her mama will be teaching the same lessons! Your thoughts remind me of the hopes and dreams I expressed on my blog for our first grandchild :) tranquiliving.com/blog "Dreams for my Granddaughter"

  18. Image for Mary Mary

    So I'm reading along with your words of wisdom... and I come to the one about the bad hair day!!! You know just what to say so we don't start to get too serious. Your kids are blessed to have you KariAnne!!

  19. Image for Marie davis Marie davis

    Beautifully written! You are such a talented writer! I have been following you for years. When I read your blog I feel like we are friends and we are visiting! Thank you!

  20. Image for Celeste Celeste

    "Lead and they will follow." Every girl needs to hear about the freedom to be herself and choose her path and wait for someone who really treasures her. Such good loving advice.

  21. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    What wonderful advice! A dream to have every Mom love in this way. You are rocking it, sweet friend!! And that room is still incredible!!! Glad you got the glitter and craft fair under control!! ;)

  22. Image for Lanita Anderson Lanita Anderson

    Wonderful advice!! That is not only beautiful, but so true.... Thank you for sharing and challenging each of us to remember these things. Blessings to you, friend!

  23. Image for Renee Renee

    Karianne, Thistlewoodfarms is my absolute favorite blog! Not only are your pictures and decorating idea as wonderful, but the way you put words together is phenomenal and inspiring! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    KariAnne, all of your children are truly blessed to have such a loving and wise mom. Thank you for sharing this post today. So true for all of us to hear and to remember!! In this world, it's easy to forget that God created each one of us special and has a unique plan and purpose for each of us.

  25. Image for PJ PJ

    Beautiful advice! Karianne, there is nothing more wonderful than watching your daughter grow into a strong, smart, confident woman. One of my favorite quotes is, "Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them." Your girls are blessed to have you as their mama.

  26. Image for Merrawyn Merrawyn

    pass me the tissues!! You are such an amazing mom; want to be mine?! I totally felt the immense love you have for your girls in your post!! I love the lessons that you have for your daughters because they simply inspire me to be a better mom to teach my own daughters! Thank you!

  27. Image for Michael @ Crafty Dad . com Michael @ Crafty Dad . com

    Hey Rock Star! These are beautiful life lessons. Funny thing: they apply as much to high-school kids as they do to 55-year old people. Thanks for sharing your rock-star-mom-ness with the world. You're the best! Hugs, Michael

  28. Image for Marie Marie

    This is hard to read. I'm with you until we get to #7. I agree with the don't rush and don't settle part but the assurance that you WILL meet the right person can set kids up. I can't tell you how many times I was told by adults I was going to make someone such a such a talented, wonderful spouse. I am well educated, accomplished, artistic and talented by all accounts. I have a fine life and abundant resources but things have not turned out as I was raised to expect. I am now 67. In retirement I volunteer, have travelled, garden and decorate. I have friends but really no family. While never experiencing the trauma of unhappy marriage/divorce I do sometimes wonder.... While our gender has benefited from huge social change being a never married woman does carry its stigma. I am glad you and others find yourselves in happy relationships but don't assume it happens for everyone who may have wished that it had. I think it would be beneficial if we de-emphasized the old "some day your prince will come" or "there IS someone out there for you" fairytale.

  29. Image for Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?"

    This is truly beautiful, and truly...TRUE! All of it. They grow up so fast and there is always something else we want to tell them, isn't there? My daughter graduates from college this year, and I'm still wrtiing to her. :) And oh, how I miss the days of dancing in the grocery store aisle!

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