For my birthday last year I posted a list of things I would NO LONGER do now that I’d turned 50. This year I decided to go with the thought of listing some things that I’m really GLAD I DID, now that I’m 51:

1. Graduated college – I wrote my first tuition check for $249 which was graciously paid for by a scholarship from the American Business Women’s Association of Terrebonne Parish. Dave Ramsey states, “You will finish college in 4 years if you are paying for it.” A drive-through bank teller by day. A mall branch teller by evening. An A&P grocery checker on nights and weekends. A few trips to the blood bank to pay for my books. I lived by the mantra of “Educate a man, you educate one. Educate a woman (remember this was the 80’s), you educate a family and everyone who follows her.” Geaux tigers!

2. Give people the benefit of the doubt – People do the best they can with what they know. When you know Jesus, you can’t help but want to see people through His eyes. Releasing others from meeting my needs lets me live life with few expectations. Fewer expectations make for fewer disappointments. Living without the fear of disappointment allows one to celebrate the gifts and graces of everyone. Forgiveness makes everyone look mah-velous!

3. Learned to cook like a Cajun – I moved to South Louisiana when I was 16. I learned to shell shrimp one-handed, chop onions with a paring knife, cook outside, and make a roux. When someone asks where I can find the best Cajun food in the Atlanta area, I tell them, “My kitchen.”

4. Moved north of Interstate 10 for a time – Born a southerner, I had no idea what the world looked like for those who must buy clothes for each of the 4 seasons. A season without Rotel tomatoes, Dukes Mayonnaise, Red beans from Harahan, and Jimmy Dean Sausage opened my heart and my stomach to the creativity of God and His people like nothing else.

5. Let my picture be taken when I was younger even when I thought I didn’t look good – When I look at these photos now, I see a beautiful young woman who just didn’t know she was at the time.

6. Built a relationship with my Mother In Law – It wasn’t easy and we are two different people from different eras and different locations of the country. We are as opposite as they come. Yet, after 27 years there is much to be said for not having to explain everything. And my man says, “Thank you.”

7. Wore shoes that fit my feet no matter what the number was – My wedding shoes were a size 8, had Baby Girl and grew to a size 9. After #1 son, I started wearing a size 10 and they felt so good after I turned 40 that I just went ahead and began wearing size 11. The only problem I have with my feet is finding pretty, flashy shoes with a low heel in a size that reminds me of a canoe…there is a lovely Shoe Town between Canton & Griffin, Georgia that caters to chicks just like me.