In my post yesterday when I recalled some first day of school memories from my childhood on up through college, I also remembered some of the harsher moments of going back to school.

Seventh grade was brutal.  You couldn’t pay me enough money in the world to go back to junior high.  No.amount.

And then I read Tina’s post about what lesson you learned in school that you will never forget.

She mentioned that learning the lesson of treating others the way you want to be treated was a lesson that has stuck with her.  We all could use a reminder on that lesson from time to time.

Then, I was watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season premier on my DVR and I did not know that Taylor’s husband, Russel Armstrong, committed suicide two weeks ago.


I don’t care what you think of her, him, the show, or anyone for that matter, whom you only know from afar. 

We cannot possibly sit in judgment of another person’s lifestyle, choices, or the problems, pressures, or realities of their life.

Normally I joke about loving my mindless TV but this was not mindless.

It has really effected me and has made me ponder and wonder what happened; what went so terribly wrong that this seemed like the answer.

From afar, we will never know and it’s really not our business.  We can only offer our empathy and compassion for his family and his three children.

As we live our daily lives and go about our business, remember to be kind and compassionate to others.

My amazing friend Marla just posted about the 10 year anniversary of 9-11 coming up.

She posted about remembrance and about love.  Such important lessons.

She’s encouraged us all to make a cake.   Marla said any kind of cake will do. If it has a crumb go ahead and share it. With love.


1. What lessons have you learned in school, in life, in the past, or more recently?  What words do you live by?

Lessons learned & words I live by:

If it is up to be, it is up to me

Don’t wait for someone to do it for you

I don’t believe in Luck.  I believe in hard work and preparation which can coincide with opportunities.

Don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes

Forgive easily and often

Don’t hold grudges

Live with an open heart

Words can be like bullets from a gun: powerful and deadly.  Choose them carefully.

Live joyfully

Work like you don’t need the money.  Love like you’ve never been hurt.  And dance like nobody’s watching

Give people the benefit of the doubt.  You have no idea what’s going on in their life.

Fake it til you make it

Turn that frown upside down: Smile!

And so many more.

2. Are there any lessons that you are trying to learn and are struggling with?

I posted this in December in this post (along with some stellar beach pictures; wish I were there right now!) but will re-post these lessons here:

The Rules of Life (author unknown)

    You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period you’re around.
    You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.
    Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The “Failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works”.
    A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.
    There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.
    When your “There” has become a “Here”, you will simply obtain another “There” that will, again, look better than “Here”.
    You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
    You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
    The answers to life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.
    Unless you consistently stay focused on the goals you have set for yourself, everything you’ve just read won’t mean a thing.

I recently posted that one thing you can come to expect from my blog is The Unexpected

Not sure where this post came from, but lessons and these topics, they are important and I would like to hear your thoughts.

Have a beautiful day and go hug someone and tell them you love them while you think about your life and lessons.

32 comments on “Lessons”

  1. That’s funny…I posted a little bit about middle school today, too!
    I definitely agree with the statement that we all need to try our best to be as compassionate as we can. It’s easy to judge…especially people on reality television…but the truth is that we are all people and we all have feelings!

  2. Averie this is a beautiful post!!

    very sad about Russell Armstrong – I tuned in the other night just to see how they would handle it. I thought it was a fitting addition to the beginning of the show, and a way to announce that everything in this season was already “in the can” prior to his death. They cannot win, though – there are (unfortunately) people who are complaining and judging – but there would be NO MATTER what they do! It’s unfortunate.

    I also saw Marla’s post about the Cakes… I’m hoping to find time to make one, I just got chills typing that. The anniversary of that horrific day is a very somber one for me.

    I always try to hug my loved ones and let them know what they mean to me, and it’s always a good reminder to do so.

    (( hugs! ))

  3. Avery, your post is so dead on. Really, most of what you said can be summed up in the one thing I try to remember every day.

    This is not a dress rehearsal.

    Basically, we have one shot at this life thing. Do it, go for it, make your life what you want it to be. Thanks for the reminder on all these important life lessons!

  4. What a great post. When I find myself getting upset at something a stranger/acquaintance has said or done I try to stop and take a breath and remind myself that I have no idea what’s going on in their lives. Maybe they’re a warm and gentle and nice person 99.9% of the time but for some reason today they’re just having a tough one. We’ve all been there.

    The life lesson I’m having the hardest time with and one I’m trying to remember is that life isn’t fair. I remember being told this by my parents when I was younger. Usually it was in response to my whining about something. After being confronted with an unimaginable tragedy a few years ago someone told it to me again and boy, it’s the truth. I also love ‘life is short but sweet for certain’ -DMB. Something I remind myself of all the time.

  5. This I’d beautiful Averie! I don’t think I would want to go back to those dreadful middle school/highschool years ever! But I def wouldn’t be the person I am today with out them

  6. averie, this post just makes my heart ache – it’s really touching.
    thank you for sharing your life lessons and reminders about what is important.
    suicide has affected my family, and it truly is the saddest of situations. so many people are affected.
    just this week, my yoga instructor shared a thought from david swenson (i’m paraphrasing) – “leave each place and each person you encounter better than when you met.” that is one of my goals for this month. other philosophies: everything happens for a reason, what goes around comes around, and yes, don’t judge by outward appearances.
    hope you get lots of skylar time in today – complete with hugs!

  7. I have learned a lot of lessons in my 28 years so far … a couple of them being:

    1) Don’t hold grudges. It is just not worth it. Forgive.
    2) Take NOTHING for granted.

  8. I love those life lessons. I need to remember the “there” not “here” part right now– it’s something I’m struggling with!

  9. I’m always humbled when I hear that someone has tried to or has successfully committed suicide. I, too, wonder what has gone so terribly wrong that makes them think death is the only way out. I love life so much that I cannot fathom ending mine or someone else’s. It truly drives home the fact that everything is not as it seems.

    Things like this make me realize that my favorite lesson learned so far is that nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and it could always be worse. Whenever I complain, I always try to take a step back and remember that. Thanks for sharing the life lessons, all ring true!

  10. I love your Rules of Life — I remember reading that on your blog before too!

    Lessons I’m working on learning — acknowledge the past, but move on. There is no point in dwelling on things that I have/had no control over.

    I read about Taylor’s husband — very sad no matter the circumstances (like you mentioned).

  11. I have learned that life is way too short and unpredictable. Never take someone for granted. I’ve also learned that you can indeed have true friendships with people you’ve never met in person.

  12. The ability for one to even look at situations in their life via school, work, family, friends, etc. and learn valuable life lessons shows a lot of the emotional and psychological maturity of a person. Right now i am nearing the end of my driver training (which i have put off for far too long) and my instructor is a “driving therapist”.. which i never had heard of before. she really applies yogic practice and therapeutic lessons to get into the “zen of driving” haha it is so cool, but more importantly, it has opened my mind up to how much the driving applies to how i think and how i feel and how i react in my everyday life. it is really invaluable!

    ps. i am making your CHEEZY VEGGIE BAKE tonight. in fact it’s in the oven right now. mmm and it smells divine :)

    xoxo <3

  13. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. The 10th anniversary coming up as an opportunity to remind of joy–so great.

    My biggest recent ‘aha’ lesson is: pay attention to how I’m feeling/what’s going on inside.
    If I don’t, especially with my tendency to be doing a zillion things at a time, it’s like running the vitamix with the lid off!

  14. What a wonderful post Averie!

    The biggest lesson I have learned, “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar”!

  15. Oh that photo of Skylar is stunning Averie. One of the best portraits you have taken so far! You must add that to your portfolio. Thanks for spreading the word about baking tribute cakes. We must remember, love and live life to it’s fullest. I know you do that :) xxoo

  16. So sad about Russel, that’s aweful! And too real! Agreed on treating people well, I try to remind myself that everyone is fighting their own battles.

    1. That people can be mean and treating people with respect and dignity will go much farther than judging them.
    2. To constantly be a positive infulence or force in someone’s life rather than negative and venting my own stresses. Besides, that’s what a blog is for. :-)

  17. Love this post. You are so right, it is so easy to judge, when really we need to understand one another. Here are my thoughts!

  18. No amount of money would be enough to make me relive any part of school, especially sixth grade. Middle school is the worst!

    I’m still working on the lessons I am meant to learn. I am a bit slower than others ;)

  19. Averie- I haven’t commented in forever due to life’s business but I’ve been reading faithfully!

    I love this post.
    Funny thing about being a young girl- I did a few “mean girl” things myself in school to people that were my “friends.” It went both ways, but in the past few years I had been feeling really guilty for things I did in 2nd grade, 8th grade, etc.
    I was still acquaintances with those people, especially because of facebook, and I tortured myself for years wondering if I should come out and apoligize or just pretend it hadn’t happened.
    FINALLY, I went ahead and emailed the people involved in the two events that stood out and apoligized, explained, etc. Funny thing- they both hardly remembered what I had done. But they had done things to me that I had forgotten about, and they had been waiting for an opportunity to apologize. I mean, we’re 20 year old adults, and not only did we still worry about events from more than 10 years ago, but we were afraid to say sorry!

    Anyway, my point is to not be proud and apoligize! Not only did it make me feel so much better, but if I had waited a few more years I might have missed my chance.

    • I think it’s great that you apologized and then opened the door for them to apologize to you…you can “breathe easier” and not worry about it and in doing so realized in their mind it was a small thing and you could get that weight off your chest. Great story!

  20. Beautiful post. Just might print it out for a content reminder of some great life mantras to live by. This is one of the main reasons I enjoy your blog so much! Another favorite quote of mine is, “You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.” -Jimmy Carter.

  21. Love the lessons. That list is posted in the bathroom of Chakra 4 Herb and Tea House in Phoenix. :)

  22. It saddens me that this information just passes over the head of ignorant people who think they have the right to mock, belittle and say what they want about anyone. And use the excuse that “that’s the way the world works, deal with it”. That’s pathetic and lame and disgusting. And they think THEY are the smart, witty, cunning ones. A-holes. That’s all they are. Spreading hate. Spreading judgment…it’s exactly people like them that lead to increasing suicide rates in teenagers – and adults – committing suicide and feeling like worthless crap. Having no belief in themselves. Not being given a chance to change or amend their own life mistakes. Being bullied, feeling ashamed of who they are, what they are or what they want in their OWN lives. They aren’t hurting anyone else – why can’t those haters and idiots leave them alone…

    We are all capable of hurting ourselves, beating our own selves up…we, I, don’t need some outside stranger doing it to me as well.

    Thanks for these lessons Averie. I only wish they could get through to some people – instead of them simply laughing at it. It’s the ones who need it the most that think they don’t need and think they have the right to spread hatred and lies.

    • Yes I know. The people who need the lessons and certain messages the most (not just these but pick anything) are often the ones who never see it, or who may see it, but are too thick-headed or callous or cynical or whatever the word may be…to fully accept and receive the message.

      The ole “you’re preaching to the choir” expression comes to mind…but hey, you never know. Maybe certain messages DO finally hit some people and they take it to heart. One can hope :)

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