Life Lessons Learned

Today this cute little baby turns 51.


Yes, today is my birthday.  I am more than half a century old.  That could really be depressing!

But I am trying to look on the positive side of things.  That whole older and wiser thing.

You would hope that after 50 years a person would have learned a thing or two.  Maybe just a little bit smarter, a little bit wiser.

So today, in celebration of my birthday, I thought I would share with you some of the wisdom I have learned over the last 51 years.

So here they are, in no particular order….

Life is not fair. My children have heard me say this so many times they have threatened to have it put on my headstone.  But it’s true – life isn’t fair.  Life is what it is and you just need to embrace it and make the best of it.

You always have a choice. We may not always choose what happens to us in life but we can always choose how we react to things – that is always a choice!

Kill them with Kindness.  Not only have I used this one with my children many times when they have come home with their feelings hurt or mad at a friend but I have employed it myself many times.  It really does work.

Do it First, Do it Now.  This line was one I liked to use in regards to homework. Just get it done.  Don’t put things off because when you wait until the last minute there is always something better or more fun that comes up that you can’t do because you didn’t get your work done first!!

The only person you can change is yourself. This is so true – whether it is a friend, a boss or a spouse.  You can’t change people.  You can only change yourself.  Really, don’t even try.

Nothing good ever happens after twelve o’clock at night.  My kids heard this a lot.  Especially when they complained that ALL their friends had later curfews then they did.

Just Ask! So many wonderful and amazing things have happened to me in my life just because I asked.

Keep Calm and Carry on. This is a constant, daily chant of mine.

Choose your Battles. If you are a parent you will understand this one.  When I was a new parent, a very wise, “older” man gave me this advice.  You can’t make everything a battle, especially when it comes to teenagers.  Choose wisely.

There is always something to be glad about! Pollyanna taught me this lesson.  No matter how bad things are, things could always be worse!

It doesn’t get any easier, it just gets different. I always thought when my children were young that life would be so much easier when they were older.  Guess what, I was wrong.  It’s not easier, it’s just different.

Do the right thing. Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if everyone just did the right thing?

Is it kind? Is it necessary? Before you speak or do, ask yourself this question.

Sometimes it is easier to ask forgiveness than permission. So I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to ask forgiveness……

It’s all in the presentation. You can get just about anything you want if you just ask the right way :)

Another person’s behavior is never an excuse. “It’s his fault!”  Heard that one a time or two?  If we all just took responsibility for ourselves and quiet blaming everything and everyone else for our problems we’d all be a lot better off.

We’re not talking about them, we’re talking about you! I say this all the time when my kids bring up someone else that has done the same thing that they are getting in trouble for.

So there you have it – a little wisdom from this old lady.

Wilkes 2010-18

photo by Megan Elle Photography

These are just a few of the life lessons I have learned in the last 51 years.  Just hang around and I may have few more to share in another 50 years!

How about a little birthday gift to me?  Leave me a comment and share a life lesson you have learned or just say Happy Birthday.  Sometimes the best gift you can give a blogger is a comment.


  1. 101
    Dawn says:

    Leigh Anne:

    Happy birthday!

    You are just reaching the best time of your life! Enjoy and find humor in everything. I love your blog and look forward to your comments. You have done a great service to all of us in teaching us to find the beauty in everything and to fill our tummies with great food. If we are happy, others will be happy too!

  2. 102
    Robyn says:

    So many that I had in my mind were listed by others – here is one from my mom…the worst they can say is NO and we’ve all heard that before.

  3. 103
    Debbie O. says:

    Happy Birthday Leigh Anne!! Let’s have lunch next week to celebrate.

  4. 104
    Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday! and 51 more!

  5. 105
    Courtney Moore says:

    Happy birthday Leigh Anne! Your blog always adds a little sunshine to my day. Thanks for all of your wisdom, whimsical crafts, and yummy recipes.

  6. 106
    Denise says:

    Happy Birthday, Leigh Anne! You are such an inspiration. I hope you had a wonderful day!

  7. 107
    Shelly says:

    Happy Birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day! God bless.

  8. 108
    Dawn says:

    Happy Birthday! You look fifty-one-derful!
    I always tell my kindergartners the same thing Kirstie said “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset!” I always try to “make a difference” even if it is small.

  9. 109

    Happy Birthday!! I don’t have any life lessons, but I’m a firm believer in karma, i.e. what goes around comes around!
    Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) recently posted..Strawberry Cupcakes

  10. 110
    Janette says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for the wonderful words of wisdom.

  11. 111
    Annagirl says:

    Printed out your words of wisdom…so good and so true. Thank you for all that you share. Happy Birthday lady!

  12. 112
    Melanie says:

    Happy Birthday, Leigh Anne! As a sidenote I lost all my subscriptions in Google Reader last month and have been sick about it – slowly trying to get them all back in. Anyway, I woke up with a jolt last night realizing I hadn’t seen an update from you in a while and hoping nothing was wrong. Come to find out I just needed to readd you to my Google Reader. I’m so glad to get caught back up here. I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

  13. 113
    Gabrielle says:

    Happy Birthday and lets not forget…. Be careful of what you wish for…. you just might get it. One of my favorites.

  14. 114
    Paula says:

    I share so many of these life lessons and have repeated them to my children dozens of times too.
    You and my beautiful oldest daughter have the same birthday.
    I hope your day was fabulous.
    Paula recently posted..Project 365!

  15. 115
    Jessica H says:

    I think I’m a little bit late but . . . .


    I hope it was a great birthday! Thanks for sharing your life lessons learned. I may not be very old, but something I’ve been learning is that there is no such thing as “finding time” to do something. You hear it all the time: “I just gotta find the time to do _____.” It never happens. You can’t find time, but you can make it. If you really want something to happen, you’ll make the time for it.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing and may you have a great year! :D

  16. 116
    t gowans says:

    HapPy BiRtHdAy!!!! I discovered your blog a few months ago and feel like we are friends! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  17. 117
    Michelle says:

    Happy Birthday! I have no wisdom to add, I think you got it all!

  18. 118
    Kristen says:

    Happy Happy Birthday!!!!

    I am only 24 but I have a motto or life lesson that I have to live by being a military spouse.

    Home is not a physical place, home is being with your family, the ones you love.

  19. 119
    Jill says:

    Happy Birthday! A lesson I’ve learned: Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

  20. 120
    Patti says:

    I used to tell my teenage kids (who are all grown now) when they were leaving to go out with friends, “all the mom stuff.” That meant to remember who they were and to act accordingly, and to remember I loved them and wanted them to make good decisions.
    On “choose your battles,” when my oldest son was a teenager he dyed his hair green for awhile. I figured if that was the worst he could come up with, I could live with that. He served his mission in the Philippines and now has three adorable little girls.
    Enough about me—your pearls of wisdom are priceless! I hope your birthday was too!

  21. 121
    Jacqueline says:

    Happy Birthday! …. I’ve learned so much from following your blog! You really are an inspiration to mothers, and woman. Ü

  22. 122
    Carole Lee says:

    Happy Birthday, Leanne! I am so grateful that I found your blog and get to read your words of wisdom, taste many of your recipes and enjoy your photos. Thanks for all you do to make life more pleasant for me.

  23. 123

    I have always loved your blog, Leigh Anne!! Hope you had a VERY happy birthday.

    I found 2 new vinyl quotes at an etsy shop (design divas, I think they’re called) that I loved & purchased for my MK office. Not really advice, per se, but cute and I wanted to share:

    “Happy girls are the prettiest- Audrey Hepburn”
    “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness… didn’t know where to go shopping.” ;o)

  24. 124
    Cynthia says:

    Happy birthday and many, many more. I love reading your blog and I always learn a thing or two!

  25. 125

    Aww, happy birthday! You look great of course:)

    One thing I’ve learned in my short life is that you can’t fully love someone until you are content with who you are.

  26. 126
    Country Mama says:

    Happy Birthday! You’ve become another “mother” and “friend” to many of us (even though we’ve never met!) through your insight and your wisdom you share each day. I only hope to be like you when I’m 50! You have such a beautiful family and such a great outlook on life that I strive to follow in your footsteps!

  27. 127
    Karen says:

    Happy Birthday! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I love your blog!!

    The one phrase I find myself saying most often to my 3 kids when I hear “She got more than me! or That’s not fair!’ is “You are not equal, you are unique!”

  28. 128
    Jody says:

    Leigh Anne, I just have to tell you that you’re my inspiration! I have five little ones, 9 and under, and I don’t have a lot of time to come up with “pretty”, but I look to your website for food and decorating ideas and you help me put some “pretty” in our lives. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  29. 129
    Catherine says:

    Leigh Anne,

    Sorry I missed your birthday, but I hope you had a great one!

    Even though I work in a high school, so the kids constantly remind me how old I am (often unintentionally!), I am happy to be 38. I figure every year I get older is just another year I get to do it all better!! Last year I tried to become an even better cook (you and Ree gave me a lot of inspiration!), got into shape, and lost 40 lbs. I can’t wait to see what being 39 will bring!
    You know, Kelli Ripa spent her 39th year doing all the things she wished she had done, like learning to ride a bike. So for my birthday in a month, I am going to try to come up with a list of things that I have always wanted to try and never had the guts (or time) to do. I think making a list like that is a whole lot more fun than New Year’s resolutions!

    Here’s wishing you have a great year and accomplish more this year than you ever dreamed!

  30. 130
    Theresa says:

    Happy Birthday Leigh Anne…you are an inspiration to so many. Love your honesty and how you approach life “with a sense of humor”.

    2011 will be a GREAT year for you.

  31. 131
    Glennda@Satellite TV says:

    Awww cutie Leigh Anne, love your baby photo. Nothing changed, lol…

  32. 132
    Mar Schaeffer says:

    Happy Birthday Leigh Anne.
    May life be good and gentle to you as you travel toward your golden years.
    Wrinkle = Wisdom
    Wisdom = Living
    Live well with wrinkles for the wisdom gotten will show all that you are living a complete balanced life with the benefit of love along the way. Have a completely awesome day that celebrates the day of your birth!

  33. 133

    Happy 51st Leigh Anne! You make 50 look incredibly good, girlfriend! I admire you so much. Thank you for all these “pearls of wisdom” – I agree with them all. My piece of advice to add is that “LIFE IS SHORT”. I’m 50 also & time seems to go quicker all the time.I am learning to enjoy the right here & now – even with it’s imperfections. I may never pass this way again. Like you said, life is constantly changing.

    Warmly, Michelle
    Michelle at Faith, Trust, & Pixie Dust recently posted..Glass Tile Charm Tutorial

  34. 134
    Christina says:

    Happy Birthday! You look terrific (jealous). Newest follower from Ducks in a Row hop! Following you on all your Social Media sites. Check out my website:

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