This is 40!

This is 40.  I recently celebrated a milestone birthday.  One, I’m pretty sure people thought would send me into a frenzy, I can assure you, it did not.  In fact, this might have been my best birthday yet.

I’m sorry I’ve had an absence from celebrating awesome over here…I’ve been celebrating in private I promise.

However, I miss this and its time to get back to work.  As many of you know I think we live in a world where we tear each other down rather than build each other up and I believe strongly that we must change that. In a society where the suicide rate is rapidly climbing and the age at which people attempt it gets lower…let’s all take time to focus on what really matters…goodness in ourselves and in each other.

So, in that spirit I am kicking off my first post in a long while with a list of my favorite life lessons to live by.  Let me give the disclaimer that these are in no particular order.  Let me also tell you that I actually really do try to live by all of these.  Enjoy!

  1. Truer words have never been spoken…”LORD I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” My favorite part of mass.
  2. Find something to be grateful for every day…even in your worst moment because there is always something there.
  3. Always make sure people know where they stand with you, especially when it’s positive! Tell the important people in your life you care about them and why.  You never know when you may no longer have that opportunity.
  4. Words have power…be careful what you say because it can leave a lasting impact on someone for better or worse. Also…the reality is harsh words may be forgiven but they aren’t forgotten.
  5. When someone does something nice for you, go out of your way to say thank you! Do it in writing so they can open mail that doesn’t suck every now and again and they can have that thank you forever.
  6. Put your phones down when you are with family or friends. When you are with someone actually be with them! Signal space when you are alone.  Doing otherwise sends your loved ones a message that they aren’t really that important.
  7. Always stop at Lemonade Stands and buy whatever the little kids are selling. You were that little girl or boy one day and someday it may be your own children. Plus… it’s just bad karma to not stop!
  8. Say an Our Father and Hail Mary every time you see an ambulance or a fire truck, the people inside those vehicles need your prayers! As a person who has been in one with a loved on on multiple occasions I can’t tell you how true this is.  I can remember driving to Children’s Mercy hoping people who saw us pass said a silent prayer, I believe many did.
  9. Likewise, say an Our Father and Hail Mary every time you see a cross on the side of the road indicating a fatal accident. That cross signifies someone’s darkest day, they lost someone they love and that cross is a constant reminder of that.  All those who died and those who survived need your prayers as well!
  10. SMILE! It cost you nothing, it opens doors (because everyone is nicer to people who smile) and it can make someone’s day!  Your face may be the only friendly one someone sees in a day.
  11. Sing in the car like no one is watching. Come on admit it…when you drive by someone and you see them jamming out, it makes you smile and improves your day.  You could do that for someone else.
  12. Have the courage to do what matters! Don’t be afraid of who you are and don’t let anyone else make you feel like you should be.
  13. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” (Mark Twain) My all time favorite quote…don’t ever underestimate yourself and don’t let anyone else do it either!
  14. When you walk down a hallway, an aisle at a store, through a parking lot, at a concert, onto a soccer field make eye contact with the people you pass, smile at them and say hello. Yes, even people you don’t know, especially people you don’t know.  Our world could use a little more kindness.
  15. Work really hard to find good in everyone. For some people this will prove really difficult…try anyways.
  16. Respect your parents, always. They have already been where you are, literally at every stage of your life…they know what they are talking about and we can learn so much from them.
  17. You have NO idea how much your own parents love you, until you hold your own child. Thank your parents for all the sacrifices (big and small) they made to give you the life you have.
  18. Have high expectations, especially of the people in your life. If you set the bar high, people will work to meet those expectations. If you set the bar low, well…same thing!  You get what you expect.
  19. Exercise is the BEST form of stress relief.
  20. Wear sunscreen every damn day. Even if you “tan” and even in the winter.
  21. Believe that there is NOTHING in this entire world that if you put your mind to it you could NOT do.
  22. Don’t talk when other people are talking. You may as well just flip that person the bird. It’s pretty much what you are saying.
  23. Don’t text and drive. The lives of the people you are taking into your hands are just too damn important.
  24. Persistence pays off. Work at what you want…in time, it will happen.
  25. This too shall pass. My mom always said that to us as kids and it annoyed me…but it’s so true.  Everything passes and we see the reason for it eventually.
  26. Be kind. Always. EVERY single human being carries a cross we know nothing about, so just be nice.
  27. Help raise money for a charitable organization. You don’t have to be rich to make a difference and helping others makes you feel good too!
  28. Save money (for a house, for a college fund, for retirement). Save, save, save.
  29. Take the damn trip. Life is always busy, but take the time to spend special moments with your special people.
  30. Give experiences rather than gifts. Take your loved ones or kids to the movies, miniature golfing, fishing, or even on a trip…but show them the value of time over possessions.  Our time is the greatest gift we can give someone.
  31. Don’t ever say the following to someone of child bearing age “we didn’t even try to get pregnant”, because you have no idea what their experience is and there is a good chance that upon hearing those words they will want to stab you in the throat. And yes, I speak from personal experience.
  32. Don’t tell someone else you are too busy, what that translates to mean is you aren’t important enough to me to make time (even if that’s not your intent).
  33. Music heals the soul. Think about it, if you are having a bad day and you hear your-go-to jam…BAM, immediately in a better mood.  Use music to heal your soul when it is hurting.
  34. Trust your intuition. It’s there for a reason.
  35. When you have a friend struggling (illness, divorce, depression, loss of job) and you ask if they need help and they say no. What they are really saying is, I don’t want to ask for your help…make the food, buy the drinks, give the hugs, show up. They need you and most people aren’t vulnerable enough to ask for help.
  36. When you worry it is an insult to GOD. Try not to worry about what we cannot control (this is one I need to work on…I’ll keep you posted on how that’s going.
  37. Don’t assume people know how important you are to them. TELL THEM. A lot. Most people really like to hear what they do well.  Wouldn’t everyone be happier if we all got more compliments.
  38. Be confident. Confidence is attractive.
  39. You absolutely cannot please everyone. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you.  Don’t seek validation in other people, only one person can give you that…AND IT IS YOU!
  40. There is absolutely no better medicine than the laughter of a child.

And in true Bell family fashion…we get one extra candle on our birthday’s for good luck…so I’ll leave you with this final lesson to live by.

  1. In the words of the amazing Mother Teresa, “if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”


Nanbirthday1 The mister and I.  My favorite man alive!  Nanbirthday3

The many notes I received on my special day…the best way to celebrate me…because hand written notes are my favorite!Nanbirthday4

Good friends and good times had by all!Nanbirthday5 Some of the beautiful, smart, talented and sweet young women who have played for us over the years.  They are such an important part of our story and life.  Love them to pieces!

Until next time my friends…


3 thoughts on “This is 40!

  1. Margaret says:

    I love you and this blog! I needed a reminder today of #36! Thank you. As someone who has celebrated even more birthdays my dear cousin so much of what you have written is so very, very true! Thank you for this wonderful reminder…hugs and kisses to you, Bryan and your babies 😘❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


  2. Patti Alex says:

    Nancy you are an inspiration. Your smile, faith, and family are such an example for others. Many of the things you listed I was surprised I also do, but I’ve got several new ideas to add to my life list!! Enjoy your 40’s they were my favorite decade!


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