Mom (and Dad) were right…yikes.

Growing up, one of my mother’s favorite sayings was “I am not paying for your therapy when you grow up.” And she has stayed true to her word. And I have been gracious and even shared my wine therapy with her at times. Joking aside, my childhood was not perfect by any means. I have my complaints, as I am sure most people do. But I am grateful for so much of what my parents gave me.

I was raised in a home where Jesus was a constant. My joy, my strength, my foundation for my standard of right and wrong is buried in my firm foundation of Jesus Christ. I am grateful that not going to church was not an option. I am grateful that my mother had us involved in AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed-a “club” for kids) where we memorized scripture. To this day, when I am scared, I repeat over and over to myself “What time I am afraid I will trust in Him.” (Psalm 56:3).

I am grateful that my parents had rules. I bucked at them and fought them and tested every line drawn in the sand, but I am grateful that they existed and were enforced. I am grateful that I had a curfew and that I got grounded when the curfew was broken. I am grateful that I had chores and knew how to do laundry and wash dishes, sweep, mop, dust, etc. I am grateful that Saturdays at home were mandatory and that manual labor was expected.

Going to college was expected, but I had to pay for it. And I did. Every penny. With ZERO debt. I am grateful that my parents expected great things from me. And by great, I mean that they expected me to get a job and work for what I wanted. I wanted an apartment and gas and college. And so I got those things because I got a job and paid for those things. I also paid taxes. And put gas in my car and had my own cellphone plan.

Retail therapy is a weakness of mine, but to carry out that for the last almost 8 years, I have had to have a job. And I have always had a job. Sometimes it was watching children and sometimes it playing secretary to real estate agents or attorneys. But I have always worked. And I was never embarrassed by the job because my bills were being paid. I am grateful that my parents taught me work ethic and instilled in me the knowledge that a job worth doing was worth doing right. And that I am to do all of my work to the Glory of God and not as unto men.

I always had transportation from highschool into my adulthood. And I took horrific care of that car. Yeah, the oil was always changed and the tires were fine, but it was always dirty, especially once I moved out. And I regret that I did not honor my parents better with taking care of something that was so vital to my livelihood by just keeping my car clean. However, I always knew and recognized that I had a car because of the grace of my parents and that they could take the car away at any time if I messed up.

I am grateful that my parents raised me to be independent. I am grateful that they raised me with an understanding that my name is all I have and that having people respect that name is something that I had to work on. I never wanted to disappoint or embarrass my parents by disgracing our name. To this day, it gives me great pride when someone says “You’re a Garcia, aren’t you?”. And I can’t remember a time I felt more loved by my dad then the day he told me that he felt like all of us kids had carried on the Garcia name with dignity and grace. He and his brothers had been well-behaved and Dad worked hard to pass that on to us.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

I am so grateful that my parents taught me how to fish.

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