As July 4th approaches, my patriotism is rising up. Oh how blessed I feel to be an American, free to pursue my God-given dreams and practice my faith without fear. (May that always be the case, Lord Jesus!)
But my ancestors came from all over the globe. And I’m super proud of that heritage as well.
One country that I’ve always felt a kinship to was France, where my father’s family came from. As a little girl, I fell in love with the language, the beauty of the landscape (one of my lifetime goals is to own property in Provence), gorgeous French scripty fonts and – of course – the city of light, Paris! (I visited France on a high school trip . . . look forward to going back and experiencing it ‘as an adult’)
All around my home today you’ll find nods to my French ‘homeland’, whether decorative wall art, books on French style and fashion, distressed-looking décor accents and, yes, some Louis Vuitton pieces (confession: all knock offs…but they work just fine for me; and besides, I personally couldn’t justify spending thousands on a handbag no matter who designed it).
Yep, I find France and the various ‘frenchy’ things in my home inspiring. I guess in a way it helps me feel connected with my French grandparents, great grandparents, etc. And, most importantly, my Dad.
While Jesus Christ is my all-time hero (as my Lord & Savior), Dad was my earthly hero. He honorably served in the Army. And, most importantly to me, he honorably served the role of Jesus-loving & God-fearing father.
Everybody that knew him, loved him. (I know people say that but it’s really true for my Dad.) It seemed that whether at the local diner, shopping mall or downtown, we would always bump into someone he knew. And they always, without fail, greeted him with a warm smile and a handshake, and would brag on him to me about just how lucky I was to have him as my father (and yes, I feel absolutely blessed to be his daughter)!
He served as an amazing role model for me. Though he had little formal education (having to leave school by 7th grade to help support his family after the Great Depression), I saw, once I became an adult, how very wise & super smart he was. Whenever I would have a problem, he always had a helpful good word for me. Forever the encourager (like me…wonder where I got that from??), Dad made me feel that I could literally do ANYTHING. He made clear that he believed in me and his words helped me believe in myself. What an invaluable life skill he imparted to me. (A skill particularly useful to an entrepreneur!)
Both my parents taught me to have a solid work ethic, to give everything I had to whatever I was doing. Looking back I’m astounded at how very little my Dad complained. His circumstances were certainly not ideal – having to work 2 (and sometimes 3) jobs in order to provide for 6 kids on a factory worker’s salary. In later years, I asked him how he did it. How he worked so much and ‘just kept going’ with a smile on his face. His answer was the very same as the one my mom gave me: “I didn’t think about things too much. I just did what I had to do. And try to make the best of it.”
I cherish those wise words. Advice that seems so basic, so simple. And yet so very powerful. Words to live by!
– Don’t overthink things too much. (How often do we, as entrepreneurs, get in our own way by over-analyzing? By wanting to get things ‘perfect’ before putting it out there?)
– Do what you have to do, even if you don’t feel like it. (This is the practical, every day mantra of the thriving entrepreneur!)
– Stay positive and make the best out of every situation. (Um, yeahhhh!!! When challenges arise, we need to: not panic, stay positive, get creative about possible solutions and move forward decisively)
Listen, I don’t know if all my French ancestors had as much wisdom as my father. But I’m beyond grateful for the wisdom my Dad imparted to me through the unconditional love he displayed every single day. I pray that I fulfill his legacy of sage Godly advice being passed down to my sons for generations to come!