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It’s official.  Junior-Senior Banquet is behind us.  As much of a celebration as it is, the event is also a bittersweet reminder of the finite number of days remaining in which to cherish this tenuous reality.  In less than four weeks, it will all be over.

I’d like to mark this milestone—this beginning of the end—by leaving “my” seniors with a short (but not exhaustive) list of some of “Miss Phiphi’s Rules for Living.”  Granted, there are still a few weeks ahead in which I’ll be able to hit you over the head with these, but time tends to sprout wings and break sound barriers in the final days of each school year, so just in case—just in case—I don’t get to preach at you in person, here they are.  And if you can think of any more to add, please do!

  • Say “please,” “thank you,” and “how may I help you?” as often as humanly possible.
  • When in doubt, wash your hands.  Seriously!
  • The hardest choice is usually the right choice.
  • Don’t blame God.
  • Nobody else is going to guess or meet your needs–pursue wholeness yourself.
  • Friendship is a gift to be valued, not an exercise to be judged.
  • When someone shows you their true colors, believe them.
  • Reserve your trust for those who have earned it.
  • Toilet brush–’nuff said.
  • Everything you do at home should not necessarily be done in public.
  • Always, always, always seek reasons to be grateful.
  • Life is a masquerade–take time to look beneath the masks.
  • Treat yourself as you would want your child treated.
  • Part of guarding your heart is keeping it at a safe distance from anything that might harm it…don’t venture into unsafe territory and gamble that you’ll be able to resist the undertow.
  • Head & Shoulders, Speed Stick, Dr. Scholl’s Foot Deodorant.  Really.
  • Jealousy is possibly the most destructive of emotions—it destroys relationships and it ultimately destroys you.  Don’t let it take hold!
  • Whatever you might be plotting, take a moment to consider the effect it will have on others, then decide whether it’s worth doing or not.
  • Don’t let honesty be a weapon you wield.  Let it be the carefully spoken evidence that you care.
  • Accept the mystery of God.
  • Dust bunnies are not lethal.  And they make cheap pets.  Pick your battles.

  • The only person you can change is yourself.
  • Kindness, genuineness, selflessness and loyalty?  Me likey.
  • Expect little from others.  Demand much from yourself.
  • “Freckles aren’t flaws, freckles aren’t flaws, freckles aren’t flaws…”  Sigh.
  • In general, people aren’t weird or dumb or stupid.  They’re just different than you.  And that’s okay.
  • Dieting is of the devil.  Sadly, so are multiple chins.
  • French Fries, however, are a gift from God.
  • You start each day with a limited amount of energy available to you.  Use it wisely.
  • If something bothers you and there’s something you can do about it, do it.
  • If something bothers you and there’s nothing you can do about it, don’t waste your valuable energy fretting over it.
  • Exercising can cause heart attacks.  But it’s safe to eat cheesecake.
  • “&#
    8217;tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
  • Love.  Love those who deserve it and those who don’t.  Love the lovable and the unlovable.  Love when you feel like it and when you don’t.  Love friends and love strangers.  Love yourself.  Love your enemies.  Love life.  Love God.
  • Cling to hope with all your might.
  • Most importantly:  If you feel that God is hurting you, ignoring you, rejecting you, or neglecting you, question your conclusions—not Him.

That’s it for now…though I’m pretty sure I could come up with a hundred or so more!   Just so you know, I have cherished every moment I’ve been able to spend with you, beloved seniors, and I’m looking forward to every second still ahead!


And all you beloved non-seniors? I can’t wait for next year!


  1. i commented on your pictures on facebook, but it was lovely to see them again and to see the moments that you guys have. i think some of my fav pictures have been the last two years of the Junior Senior party. what beautiful kids..although not perfect, i’m sure that they have each left indelible marks on your heart especially those who have weaved their way sooo deeply into the very inner part of your life…i know that the time ahead will be tough to see them move forward and into the brave new world..i know that they know however that you will ALWAYS be there to support, to encourage, to welcome into your home when they visit, to spend time chatting with them online…i am so thankful for the ministry that you have, not only as a teacher to this kids to inspire and guide but also as a friend. i think that is one of the greatest callings in life..to love and show love.

  2. Another life lesson I learned from you, Michele, is “You do better when you don’t try so hard.” I remember freaking out about having to sing tenor in D’un Meme Accord when you encouraged/challenged me with this. And it worked. Unfortunately, I’m still repeatedly learning this lesson.

  3. You’ve written a fun list…I thought, hmm, wonder what I’d add…

    Love God/love people.
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
    Brush your teeth.
    Use sunscreen.
    Pray without ceasing.
    Be grateful.
    Tell your friends/family you love them.

    I Love you Michele!

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