To My Mom, My Hero

To My Mom, My Hero

I don't tell her this enough, but I am so lucky to have my mom.

This is the first Mother's Day I have missed in twenty years - this summer, I'm living in Columbus, working hard and taking classes (switching your major three times WILL set you back to graduating on time). The first Mother's Day I've missed - and so, here is the best gift I can give from 800 miles from home.

I have been blessed with a mother who is strong, funny, relentlessly defensive of her family, especially her children. My mom is the definition of "forever young" - she acts like she's still in college sometimes, and being around her is always, always, ALWAYS an adventure.

But more than that - my mother has taught me more about life than anyone I have ever known. My mom has lived through some tough times, and rather than coming out the other side bitter or resentful, she has come out the other side full of light, love, and a sense of optimism that is, frankly, sometimes quite annoying. I've never met anyone who, upon hearing I'm Debne's daughter, doesn't say, "Oh my gosh, I just love your mom." And damn right.

My mom has taught me the importance of optimism, of choosing to laugh about your embarrassments and sorrows rather than wallow in them, and that there is absolutely no reason to do anything less than your best. Most important in that lesson is that as long as you did your best, there's no reason to get down on yourself.

My mom also taught me the importance of sticking up for yourself and asking for help. This lesson was primarily taught in the fierce and unrelenting way she defended my brother and me - hell hath no fury like a Debne scorned. There is no reason to let people walk all over you or the people you love.

She taught us the importance of hard work, and how hard work, more than right place right time and knowing people, will get you farther. With that lesson, of course, is knowing the services available to you, and taking advantage of those always.

My mom also taught me the importance of being a good friend, and what that means. She was always there for advice, for problem-solving, and occasionally to say "screw them" (especially when I needed it), and to say "you're being an asshole" (ALWAYS when I needed it).

My mom is fun loving, strong, confident, and the most amazing mother a girl with self-esteem (among other) issues could ask for. I could sit here and keep telling you how lucky I am to have my mom, how incredible she is (which I could never do justice in writing), but the important thing to remember this Mother's Day is this: you probably don't tell your mom how lucky you are to have her enough. You probably don't let her know how incredible, smart, beautiful, inspirational, or any adjective you feel best describes her, enough. So in addition to breakfast in bed, and flowers, tell your mom how much she means to you.

If I grow up to be half the woman my mom is, I'd be pretty damn lucky.

Cover Image Credit: Kate Marlette

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Acts 1:8 Ministry Explains How To Teach Your Child To Be Charitable And Compassionate

Acts 1:8 Ministry, a non-profit organization based out of Wisconsin, believes in building strong community foundations with integrity and humility.


There have been many natural disasters that have wreaked havoc in the United States and around the world such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last few decades, the generosity of Americans has become well-known, and it's vital to inspire this charitable and compassionate concern for others down to future generations.

Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped enrich the lives of others around the globe through the support of generous donors and volunteers who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and improve communities. To pay it forward, Acts 1:8 Ministry explains below how parents can instill charitable and compassionate qualities in their children through word, action and leading by example.

Start At Home

If you have more than one child, you know there are those times they don't want to share toys, snacks, or even friends. Teaching siblings to share is less complicated when you teach your children why the love for each other is so important. In a family unit, each member depends on all the others. Parents provide shelter, food, clothing, and different needs. Children contribute by helping with chores, obeying house rules, and doing their homework. Mutual love and respect are what strengthens the family unit. Working and giving together teaches invaluable lessons to children and builds a secure family unit.

Working Together For Others

Donating time at a food pantry, shelter, or meal distribution center for low-income families or homeless folks in your local area teaches your children the importance of caring for those who are less fortunate. Explain why it is wrong to judge people who need free services to survive. Your children may encounter people who are dirty and wearing smelly clothes, and they need to know not to say anything that would hurt their feelings or embarrass them.

Giving Together For Others

If your state has a beverage deposit on soda, juice, and alcoholic beverages, you and your children can collect discarded cans and bottles. The money you receive from their redemption can be donated to a variety of charitable causes including animal shelters, food banks, clothing distribution centers, or a local charity you support. There is always a need for cash at all of these facilities. Plan annual family fundraisers, such as yard, craft, bake, and plant sales. Donate the money earned to one or more charitable projects the family chooses together.

Establish Charitable Habits

Establish habits and family routines to encourage charitable acts. Choose things that fit your family's lifestyle. Keep a large "charity" jar and place a dollar amount in it every time the family does something special such as going to the movies, spending a day at a water park, eating out, or taking a vacation. Whenever the family spends money on a fun adventure or outing, setting a little money aside to be used for those who don't have the same opportunities helps children understand the need for caring about other people. Other things you can do as a family include:

• Reduce the amount of clothing in your closets, and donate clean and undamaged items to a charity that distributes clothing to low-income families.

• Clean out the toys. Donate unbroken toys and games to homeless shelters that take in families or to a home for battered women and their children.

• Donate your time to visit a nursing home, and talk to different residents. Encourage your children to ask the older folks to tell stories about their childhood.

• Bake cookies or bread together and distribute to older people that live in your neighborhood. Have your children make a card to give with the food gift.

• Help a neighbor who has been sick with yard work, taking out the trash, or other chores he or she is not able to do.

Children love making others happy and will continue to feel the same way as adults if you help them establish the habits of caring, sympathy, helping, and compassion when they are young. By teaching children the core values of caring and compassion, future generations of Americans will continue to be the world's most generous and compassionate people.

About Acts 1:8 Ministry:

Acts 1:8 Ministry is a non-profit organization that equips Christians to care, share and connect people to Christ through Christian kindness. The Planned Acts of Christian Kindness® Program has touched thousands of lives in the US and over 100 countries worldwide. Through the Water Project, over 130 water wells drilled, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water.

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To The Dad Who Works Out Of Town, Thank You For All You Do

Thank you for everything you do, I wouldn't have the things I do if it wasn't for you.


I want to say Thank you. Thank you for sleeping in hotel beds every night. Thank you for eating sandwiches some days for lunch while I ate my pizza Lunchables in my brand new Hello Kitty lunchbox.

Thank you for taking your truck with no cruise control some weeks for work because I wanted to drive your car. I'm sure driving for four hours straight with your foot on the pedal was pretty boring. Thank you for filling up the car before you let me drive it as well.

Thank you for waking up at 3 and 4 a.m. to head out of town to work and being so quiet while doing so. Thank you for adding lunch money to my account while you're over 100 miles away. Thank you for working sometimes 10-14 days straight without a day off. I can never thank you enough for what you do.

Thank you for filling my truck up in high school every Sunday night before you left for work. Thank you for spending your lunch breaks calling and making orthodontist appointments for me. Thank you for taking days off work to take me to some of these appointments. Thank you for always fitting me in.

While being out of town can make you feel like an absent parent, I promise you are not that. You always make sure to call me during the week. If I'm sick and didn't go to class, you call and check on me. You even call and remind me of things I need to get done like returning my rental book.

If it wasn't for you working out of town, I wouldn't have the luxuries I do now. I want you to know I am thankful for you.

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