Saturday, October 31, 2015

Favorite Biblical Lessons From "The Lion King"

It took almost two years, but last night
my children and I finally saw

"The Lion King" Musical! 

So imagine my surprise when I read today's verse of the day... 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about,
seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same
afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

1 Peter 5:8-9

and I had to smile that this would be today's selected verse
and have decided to also share my favorite Biblical takeaways from "The Lion King"...

5. Turn your back on the world (1 John 2:15-17)

I grew up hearing...

"We are in the world, but not of the world
because this world is not our home"

we are only


traveling through here

marching toward a greater


and turning signifies

a repentance
a refocus
a change of heart

as we turn from the world... and turn towards "home"

4. He Lives In You (Romans 8:16)

Simba ran from a problem
and had been away from home so long

that he had forgotten who he was

because being son of the king
makes you

an heir
a descendent

Then one day his very own reflection
reminded him

that his father still lived in him

teaching that

when you run
if you run
after you've run

you will eventually have to face your mistakes


remember who you are

drop pride and
return to the rock

(did you get all that?)

3. Everything the light touches is our kingdom (Ephesians 5:8)

Jesus is the light
and everything He touches belongs to us


(He gives that)

(He brings that)

(He is that)

So everything we need is found in Jesus

and we must walk in the Light
and avoid the darkness

knowing the destructive


when we venture out into that "shadowy place"
which is why He had to

give us His life
to give us ours

2. We Each Matter (1 Corinthians 12:14)

because on the drive home I couldn't stop thinking about

all of the work that went into the production 
all of the people behind the scenes who we did not see

the stagers and choreographers
the costume and set designers
the orchestra and lighting crew

and I realize that we will not each have the opportunity

to play the lead role
and sing our song
on stage

but with Jesus
we are

each important
each matter 
each play a part

in the final production

1. Hakuna Matata (Matthew 6:25-26)

Surprised, right? 

My favorite and number one takeaway from "The Lion King"
is the Swahili phrase "Hakuna Matata"

it means "no worries"
from literally translated...

Hakuna (there is not here)
Matata (problem)

and so since

we know
we've learned
we've found

"The Lion King of Judah"

we just can't stop singing...

"It means no worries for the rest of your days. 
It's our problem-free, philosophy... Hakuna Matata!"

Click to read... Student Driver

Day 31... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

It's almost over...

Today is the last day

and I want to thank you for "revisiting" with me!

and maybe you missed it
in case you missed it
if you almost missed it

I've done the best I can to leave a trail for you...

so that you can

find the way
find a way
find your way

to gratitude and grace
(at your own pace)


"Leave Your Mark"
originally posted 9/2/13

He appeared small and insignificant
and we would have missed him altogether had he not left a mark;

a mark signifying the impression of his presence

It was early morning, and perhaps

no one had noticed
no one could see
no one even cared

But his mark was undeniable...

and even though we almost missed Him

He left a mark

an undeniable impression on our souls
(signifying His ever-presence)

His mark is undeniable
and reminded us as we left our house that morning (and saw this mark)

that no matter

how big
how small
how insignificant

we may appear to be

to this world...
in this world...

we should always... always... always remember to leave a mark

Friday, October 30, 2015

Day 30... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

Last night my hubby and I sat watching television
and talking

about what

those shows
those situations
those outcomes

were really all about

He had some ideas...
I had others...

and we agreed that the main objective 
is to overcome

the challenges we face in our lives

You know the ones?

You know the ones...
that are enemies

to our lives and ultimate well-being

things that intend to destroy us
are intended to destroy us

And as we talked

I wasn't exactly sure how to explain

my thought
my opinion
my point

until today when I saw the prompt... bacon
and it became a little clearer

as I remembered
the reason we are encouraged to limit our consumption of sugar

is because they say that 

ingesting sugar causes our brains to react
the same way as if we were ingesting heroin

and it is 7 times more addicting
and it is in almost all of the foods we love
and it is legal

so that things like cake...

and chips...
and donuts...
and bacon...

feel like friends in the moment
but really seek our destruction

(and this took me much longer than five minutes to write)

I'm not exactly sure how to explain

my thought
my opinion
my point

that our greatest enemy
is not in the things that

frighten us
scare us
cause us pause

Our greatest enemy most likely


right there

in the things that we enjoy

the most...


"The Enemy You Feed" (Part 3)
originally posted 6/24/13

I've been absorbing Part 1 and Part 2  of this lesson for the past few weeks now

Then the other night I was in the bathroom right outside of my daughter's room
when a noise from another room startled her 

She called out... "Mommy?"
and when I answered, she was relieved to hear the closeness of my voice

She simply responded "oh", and drifted off to sleep

I marveled that she didn't even ask about the noise
or show any further concern about what had caused the noise

I guess to her it didn't matter because she knew that I was near

Well I am still like that child in so many ways...

Sometimes life tries to "make noises"

that seem


but I've found that when I call out... "Father?"

He always answers

and it is when I

hear how near He is
feel how near He is
know how near He is

that I can respond to the noise
with a

simple and

"oh" and find rest,

But I've been thinking about the enemies we feed

the ones we

go searching for
allow to grow

What about the ones we entertain
even though we know

that as an enemy its main intent is

to hurt
to force
to fill

us with more


What about that enemy?

What if that were the only true enemy after all?
What if the only enemy with enough power to ever defeat you, is the one that you still feed?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 29... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

"Discovering Destiny... in the Dead Sea"
originally posted 9/9/13

When our younger cousin Destiny shared her experiences from Israel, I was enthralled

I remember when she was still a child
with that same beautiful smile

and seeing her now
hearing her now

appreciating the beautiful woman

she has become
will become
is becoming

wells up more feelings of gratitude

Only God could travel with someone to the "lowest point on earth"
to show them the highness of the position to which He has called them

What an amazing work He

has done
will do
is doing

and it makes me smile at the irony of

finding purpose and
discovering destiny in the Dead Sea 

She writes...

Out of all the things I’ve seen in my lifetime, the Dead Sea has got to be one of the most beautiful sites I have ever encountered. At its first glance I doubted it as a reality, but the more I gazed at it, the heavier my heart was.

All I could think of was how amazing of a creator our God is.

The Dead Sea is the lowest part of the earth;
a little over 1,300 feet below sea level and is a sea full of salt that allows you to literally float without effort. As I floated in the water I asked God, “Why me Lord?”

Little old me: Destiny Dixon.

All I am is a mere testimony who acknowledges that it is only by God’s grace that my “Why me Lord?” question is not one conceived in confusion, depression, agony, or hatred.

Although it once was,

it now flows from sincere gratitude.

Why do you continue to bless me?

In such a vast world, God thought enough about me to wipe away every tear, remove doubt, break chains and strongholds, erase bitterness, and then bless me exceedingly and abundantly. In his grand creation, he looked past my imperfections, and decided to show me how much he loves me; this he does every single day.

Little old me.

The lowest point on earth may be ordinary to some,
but it is extraordinary to me.

Why you ask?


When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?”  –Psalms 8:3-4

(post reprinted with permission)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day 28... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

"I Still Believe"
originally posted 3/10/14

When I was in first grade my teacher painted a surprise for us on St. Patrick's Day...

small green footprints
leading up the wall and
into the vent near the ceiling

As soon as we entered the classroom,

we all


and many of us also believed...

Then after lunch recess
we came back to our desks to find

hand-written notes

to each of us (from Patrick) the leprechaun who claimed to be visiting only for the day...

and yet

he stayed with us for years

as many of us would return to her class each year to witness
the "new" believers receive their letters

And no matter how big we had gotten, each year she would let us back in to see...

Her only rule?

You still had to believe

Well I get it now...

As Early Childhood Educators it is our job to plant seeds of

hope and

in something


We provoke

thought and wonder
curiosity in the unknown and
give permission to believe in that which cannot even be seen

Then we protect those newly planted seedlings
by not allowing anyone to

trample them
destroy them
impede their growth

Yes, I get it now...

and I am grateful for all of the people who God has used
to cultivate the seeds He's planted within me

So, to Mrs. Sammons (and so many others along the way)

Thank you...

for teaching me

to notice
to hope
to dream

I am looking up
and yes...

I still believe!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Day 27... Revisiting Our Gratitiude For His Grace

For mothers...

"Perhaps the real purpose of delivery
is to deliver you"


Get Naked (A Mature Thought)
originally posted 4/4/14

I had gone to the mall alone with my two babies...

one in pull-ups
one in diapers

one with a sippy-cup
one with a bottle

both asleep

and strapped safely into their double-stroller

My dilemma?

I had to use the bathroom...
and it could NOT wait until I got home

So I did what I had to do...

I pushed my double stroller into the restroom
entered the stall
pulled my sleeping babies in as close as possible

and proceeded to use the bathroom

...with the door wide open!

Complete strangers walked by, noticing, and no one said a word

I had never imagined that becoming a mother would change my perspective so much, but in that moment, my children's safety was more important than my pride

Mothers do what they have to do...

and several years later, as my cousin prepared for the birth of her first child
I remembered that day

and shared with her my thought,
that for mothers,

perhaps the real purpose of delivery
is to deliver you

from the burden of what other people


because once you're a parent, you can't let those things move you

Your body

stretches beyond recognition

and then

just when you think you've had enough you must find new strength to

push and

that which has grown

And so using the bathroom with the door open is brought into perspective, because after all,

Nobody gives birth fully clothed...

you have to first get naked!

Once to conceive
and again
to deliver

And in that very act
of getting naked

lies the vulnerability
the humility
the gracefulness

that opens the door to intimacy

Our Lord showed us that as He allowed them to

strip Him
torture Him
mock Him

as He willingly bore the shame

to deliver me
to rescue me

because in that moment my safety was more important than His pride

His act of


opened the door to our intimacy...

And when we fully realize this

we have no other choice but to come to Him

repent fully

and allow our hearts to get naked before Him

knowing that He

sees it all
flaws and all

and loves us anyway
and has taken away all of that shame

since He...
when He...

decided to first
get naked

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 26... Revisting Our Gratitude For His Grace

The whisper is


and requires that you be

close enough...

to hear

"On Stage With The Father"
originally posted 06/19/15

You stand there on stage

gripping the mic

with small hands
trembling knees

But you're ready...


new suit
fresh cut

father standing by your side

as we all watch

Then you hesitate...

look up at him
and motion for him to lean down

so that you may whisper something into his ear

and after he has heard you

he leans down to whisper something back into yours

And those of us watching

then understand

because we are all standing on

some sort of stage
some sort of platform

facing an audience

with small hands and trembling knees

But we are ready...


sporting new suits
and fresh cuts

simply waiting

for Father to lean down

and whisper...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Day 25... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

I can hardly stand to watch anymore
all you hear is...


war and


People we suspect are unhappy
proving us right

People we expect to be happy
proving us wrong

and the media carefully packaging it up and delivering it to us daily

playing us

the same report



So I put down the remote
because I can hardly stand to watch anymore

and instead close my eyes


onto Him


"Student Driver... A Lesson in Grace"
originally posted on 10/03/12

Ever notice how differently we treat student drivers?

Think about it...

we slow down for them
we leave a respectable distance between "us" and "them"
we let them merge into the lane the moment they put their blinker on

we bear with them
we treat them differently.
we make accommodations for them because of what we know about them.

They are... still learning

They have... taken the initiative to learn

They will... with time, get better

So we don't honk
or yell
or get too frustrated with them

because we know that those actions would probably

do more harm than good
stunt their growth
cause them to crash

So instead

we exercise
and empathy

as we recall that the black lettering spelling out the words


used to refer to us as well.

But what if we all were still adorned with black lettering
letting people know where we are in our journey?

What if our invisible scars were suddenly made visible?

Would it matter?
Would it make a difference how we treat one another?

If you could see that the coworker who irritates you...
"Is Lonely and Feels Empty Inside"

The difficult child in your class is suffering because... 
"Nobody Hugs Me at Home"

or if you knew that...

The stranger who is rude for no reason may be... 
"Coping With a Loss"

What if we could all see that?  How differently would we treat one another?

I'm just wondering...

How much more patient you would be (with me)
if you knew that some days I still feel like... a "Student Driver"?

John 15:12

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Day 24... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

I wake early

to study
to pray
to enjoy

the day's gift...

morning silence

(click here for the song)


"Hide Me"
originally posted 7/20/13

Watching my son and his younger cousin play "hide and seek" this morning was hilarious

The younger...
(who has yet to understand the concept of the game)

could not stay still/quiet long enough to conceal his hiding place

while the elder...
(played along, pretending to be surprised, upon "finding" the restless younger)

I could hear them roaming throughout the house, and when they found their way into my room

I tried to help...
wanted to help...

the younger
learn how to find and keep his position a secret from the seeker

But I realized a lesson like that only comes with


And that it is two lessons really...

Learning to find a valid hiding space


Learning to be quiet while in that space

It is impossible to teach 37 years worth of hiding knowledge
to a 3-year old in a moment

But if he only knew that there is a perfect hiding place
My first trip to "The Grand Canyon"

A place within a place...

that can be hidden inside of

a word
a song
a moment of quiet reflection

And I'm glad that I've found that place

A place in plain view
where I can remain hidden

while learning to be...

in the moment

not anticipating

which direction He will show up
which direction He will take me next,

but just learning to

go with the flow


hide in the beauty of His presence

Psalm 91 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Day 23... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

This may be a spoiler alert of sorts

to those of you who haven't seen it, but today's prompt (Joy)
made me immediately think of the movie "Inside Out" by Pixar

and my favorite scene...

when Joy and imaginary friend Bing Bong
get stuck in the pit of forgotten memories

and Bing Bong realizes

they are fading
and will not both make it out

so he sacrifices himself
(because a life with no Joy will do Riley no good)

and right there...

in my seat
in the movie theatre
in that moment

I cried

because I understood that sometimes in order to "get your joy back"

you will need to let go of some things
(that usually only exist in your mind anyway)

look up,
and sing your way out!


"APFLH" Children's Art Studio-
Flavors of Fall (Collages)
originally posted 11/18/13

I love how Autumn has a way of awakening the senses with
the coolness
the crispness
the colors and smells

the rich flavors that all seem to bring back a flood of childhood memories...

My favorite part is being reminded to

slow down
give thanks
and spread joy
spending time with the ones that I love

This November we opened the Children's art studio and invited friends to share their favorites with...

Gratitude Collage Art

Child Friendly Magazines

Children were prompted with... "what are you thankful for?"
and glued magazine cutouts to create their "Gratitude Collage Art"

I have experienced

so many blessings
so many lessons
that it was impossible to fit them all onto one collage board, but I started with

"I'm thankful for..."

restorative gifts
the smell of fresh brewed coffee
the gift of humor
music and singing
believing the Bible
my friend. my rock
bare feet

and thanks to "the teachers" 
I couldn't forget to also add that I'm thankful for me!

What are you thankful for?

(Join us next time as Flavors of Fall continues with... Mosaics)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Day 22... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

Last month

I stood in a room full of Early Childhood Educators
at the California Science Center


Children and Early Educators at Play!
Learning Activities that Naturally Emerge

(sharing ways to take)

a mishap
a mistake
a memory

learn to see it's value
and use it as an opportunity for growth

And that afternoon as I stood there, I realized that I am

still grateful
to be still
to still be


this bag of opportunities
(sharing this today)

"A Bag of Opportunities"
originally posted 8/17/12

I'm wondering how many would look at this and see a bag of opportunities

Not many, I'm guessing

In fact, I will venture to say that most people would look,
and just see a bag of trash ready to be discarded

(But I see more...)

As I prepare to enter this next phase in my life and career, I can't help but smile as I realize that the more that I'd spent so much time searching for, is actually less.

God has been busy, and while it appeared to me that He wouldn't move, I didn't realize that He was actually repositioning ME!  Now I've looked up and I notice that even though I am still standing in the same spot, everything looks...different. 

Now instead of problems, I see (value)... potential.  How did I get here?

For instance, like the night that I was preparing to fry fish for dinner, and I accidently dropped the cornmeal.  My daughter Moriah shrieked as cornmeal spilled incredulously onto the kitchen floor.

I looked down at the container and smiled realizing that I hadn't manage to lose it all. 
"That's alright Moriah, God still left us enough to fry the fish".

Then I would see more...

I went to get the broom and dustpan, and returned to sweep up the mess that I had made.  That's when I saw it.

"This is not trash, Moriah".

I decided to get my camera instead so that I could document the more that I was seeing.


"Just because we can't eat this, doesn't mean that we can't still use it. 
What if we put this in the red sensory table for the kids tomorrow?"

Then she saw more...

The smile in her eyes showed me that she saw it as she proclaimed,

"Ooh, yeah!  That will be so much fun,  I can hardly wait".

As I scooped up the cornmeal and bagged it up, my mind began to flood itself with thoughts of redemption and restoration.  Although cornmeal is supposed to be used for food, I could immediately think of several developmentally appropriate activities the children would enjoy, along with the Preschool Learning Foundations that each activity would meet.

This cornmeal would NOT go to waste! 

And so it is with God.  He has an awesome way of using people that many of us would just bag up and set to the side.

(But He sees more...)

Running a daycare for the past eight years has helped me in more ways than I had realized.  Now that we are counting down the days until our child care program closes, people have begun asking me "what are you gonna do now?"

There are too many ways that I could answer that question, so I just smile and graciously reply, "I am holding a bag of opportunities".

And I see more...

(Click here to see the first three days of cornmeal activities)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 21... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

I am exhausted

I wanted to write today, but I don't have much to say...
(its been 21 days of)

saying too much
saying too little
saying nothing

so today all I can do is wave

just as if a carload of friends have just pulled up in front of my house
beckoning me to come along, but

I have chores
I have responsibilities
I am exhausted

and all I can do is stand on the sidewalk
and wave saying...

"maybe next time, friends, maybe next time"


"A Lesson in Love...
Don't Miss the Bus"
originally posted 2/13/14

He ran with a limp

It looked
quite painful to be honest
quite odd

until I actually saw the object of his affection...

the city bus

And he would have to cross two lanes of traffic to get there
with no guarantee that the bus driver would even wait for him

but he was

willing to risk it
willing to run

with arms waving and a noticeable limp, not caring who saw his desperation because...

his purpose was greater than his pride

And amazingly enough the world around him stopped moving
as drivers and street pedestrians alike paused

silently cheering

"C'mon, you can make it.  You can make it"

and when he finally did
there was a collective sigh of relief because

he had conquered what so many of us often


and that is allowing others to see

our limp
our vulnerability
our weakness

We would much rather just wait for the next bus
than to put ourselves out there like that

But in life we must be willing to... 

say it
show it
give it
live it


we cannot truly live, unless we are willing to love, and
we cannot truly love, unless we are willing to run

across lanes of traffic in the middle of the day

arms waving
limping awkwardly toward our goal

eyes filled with desperation...

and hope

as others stop to

or maybe even laugh and point

We cannot truly celebrate love
unless we are willing to put ourselves out there like that

Today I was reminded by a total stranger that...

It's okay to run with a limp as long as you also
run with a purpose!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Day 20... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

He (became) what we needed

an eternal Father
an only begotten Son

not another
but the same wrapped in flesh

for there is only One God

We needed to be renewed as sons
so He (became) a Son

We needed peace
so He (became) the Prince of Peace

We needed life
so He came to give us life

and everyday
He (becomes) what we need

(while having always been that)

as He takes our

temporary pain and suffering
and juxtaposes it against His

Eternal weight of glory

allowing us to

look upon Him
look to Him
look for Him

with gratitude

while waiting for Him

to translate our temporary moment
into His eternal one


"Moment in Your Life"
originally posted 9/15/14

My daughter has listened to this cd every night for over a year


And each night she asks me to sit on the edge of her bed,
and remind her again...

why we sing Him
how we know Him

and just when His song became

the actual soundtrack for our lives

And I do remind her...

that because He endured
that moment

we can endure
this (temporary) one...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Day 19... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

Honor today...for tomorrow is not promised

"Freedom Ain't Free"
originally posted 11/7/13

I walked into the room as my son sat typing his first History report. 

I smiled as I saw the telephone propped up next to the keyboard,
and heard that familiar voice coming out of the speaker

He had called his Papa, my dad, to interview him for his paper on the Vietnam war

I looked over his shoulder and read what he was typing

"...he turned 21 in Vietnam, so his mom sent a cake to the jungle."

I stopped and remembered the story that I have heard many times before...

about how our great aunt, the woman who had raised him, "Mom"
asked our Aunt Gladys to make a German chocolate cake for his 21st birthday

He continued typing and for the first time I stopped to think about
how strong a woman must have to be

to send her child to war
ask her sister to bake his favorite cake
to send to him on the other side of the world

...for his birthday

Breathe, Tondra

I remember hearing her talk of how before he left

she had prayed
asking God to get him out of it...

but God answered that he still had

to go
to learn
to fight

I remember hearing her talk of how once he was gone

she prayed
asking God to bring him home...

and God answered by bringing him back

to her
safe and

I have heard these stories before, but as my son sits typing, for the first time I realize

that even though she never left home...
she fought in the war too!

Which immediately reminded me of the words
embroidered on a blanket in my parent's family room...

"Freedom is not Free"

And as I think about it
I realize that freedom definitely costs...


and freedom ain't cheap

because its costs often lead all the way up

to loss

of life
and limb

And if we are to truly enjoy freedom
it will cost a life of...


God sacrificed the life and limb of His own Son
in order to gain my freedom

and even now

as I rest free in Christ
I acknowledge that if I am to remain free

I will have to

give something too
sacrifice something too

because He expects nothing less than the same in return

which is

the surrender

of life
and limb
dedicated to His service

So today I peacefully surrender


the "freeness" of freedom...
(while also fully aware)

that freedom

ain't free!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Day 18... Revisiting Our Gratitude For His Grace

Every now and then a song comes along to


remind us of our worth


"Good Good Father"
by Chris Tomlin

You're a good good Father...

It's who you are
It's who you are
It's who you are

And I'm loved by You...

it's who I am
it's who I am
it's who I am


"The Brown Boots Live On" (Part 1)
originally posted 01/03/14

Just as my daughter and I got out of the car, it began to rain
so we hurried through the parking lot and quickly ducked inside

The mall was empty
and as we walked a mysterious sound followed us


It echoed

and each time
we heard the clink

I also felt the clink


Maybe I had just been too busy to notice sooner,
or maybe it was the empty mall that brought it to my attention

but for whatever reason

I could no longer ignore it
could no longer avoid it

and had no choice but to go in for the lesson.

"Moriah, listen... do you hear that sound?'

I watched as she tuned in and tried to follow the sound
it escaping her
as it bounced through the empty corridor


I stopped walking and lifted my foot to show her the heel of my right boot

"It seems that I've worn the heel off of these boots.  I need to take them to the shoe repair..."

and then as I looked
as I really looked

I noticed for the first time just how bad my favorite brown boots actually looked

and found myself saying the unthinkable...

"These are not even worth repairing.  Look, they're all torn up"

Those words echoed through the halls of the empty mall and
I realized that I was guilty of not practicing what I preach...

"Don't forget to put yourself on the list"

is the sermon I often rehearse with

close friends and family...
the women that I work with...

and even
sisters at church...

"You gotta put yourself on the list because
if you don't (know your worth), who will?"

But it appeared that I hadn't even been heeding my own advice

I guess sometimes life can get so busy

working with others
taking care of others
worrying about others

that it becomes easy to forget to stop and check your own boots!

Once we had made it back home, I took an even closer look at my brown boots
and began to think of a way that I could

save those boots
salvage those boots

And then it came to me...

I measured
I cut
I pulled a needle and thread

while praying
and channeling my inner Renegade Seamstress

and once I was satisfied with the results...

I got the heels replaced!

I am so happy that I found a way to let my favorite brown boots live to see
another season and that I was able to teach my daughter three lessons in one...

1.)  Use what you have and be creative
2.)  Never give up on what you love
3.)  Don't forget to stop and check your own boots!

(Wanna see what I did with "the tops" of my brown boots? Click here!)