From Mother to Daughter: Advice and Lessons for a Good Life

From Mother to Daughter: Advice and Lessons for a Good Life

by Sherry Conway Appel

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When Sherry Appel asked hundreds of women to recall the most memorable and valuable words their mothers had told them, there came an outpouring of things practical and indispensable, some familiar and many surprising.

From Mother to Daughter celebrates the special relationship between mothers and daughters and captures the wisdom and common sense that comes from many lifetimes of experience. It is a gift that no one can give without remembering something her own mother said. Advice like: “If you don’t love it in the store you’ll never wear it;” “Make friends with people who encourage and inspire you;” and “When you fall, pick up something while you’re down there!”

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250096326
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 128
File size: 11 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

SHERRY APPEL is a writer of parenting books, including Thanks, Mom and Wisdom from the Kitchen. She and her husband, Allen, live in a small town outside in North Carolina.
SHERRY APPEL is a writer of parenting books, including Thanks, Mom and Wisdom from the Kitchen. She and her husband, Allen, live in a small town in North Carolina.

Read an Excerpt

From Mother to Daughter

Advice and Lessons for a Good Life

By Sherry Appel

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2017 Sherry Appel
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-09631-9



Mother knows best.

When in doubt, ask your momma.

Trust yourself.

Always treat people as if they may someday be on your jury.

Remember that you are known by the company you keep; so always surround yourself with people of good character.

There is absolutely nothing you can't do. (But you may have to give up something else to do it.)

My mother, Momma J, believes in mercy. Her life has been full of it, giving and receiving. A friend of mine got me a pillow last year that has "Mercy" on it. The word has many meanings but to me, it will always be my mother's greatest gift — her mercy and goodness. Her love of life, her faith, her toughness, and her softness. I'll never be as good as she is, but I aspire to always be better.

Terri Johnson

Offering kindness and showing gratitude to others can get you through your toughest times.

Let the light inside be light outside.

Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

Growing up, my mom always told me that "a candle loses no light by lighting another." Through this image and the way she lived her life, she ingrained in me that it is always the right thing to do to help others feel good and do well in life — it does not take away from your own success at all.

Tawney Chritton

My mother taught me the importance of devotion to family. She taught me to believe that I could do anything I put my mind to. When her friends asked, "Lillian, did you teach Lee to cook?" she would reply, "Hell no, I taught her to read."

She lived her life in such a way that I knew clearly what was valuable and what was not. While bedridden — unable to read or walk — she would say, "Honey, growing old ain't for sissies."

Lee Lacy

Plan ahead.

Try to think of all sides of a question. Intelligence without understanding is jade without the carving — just a rock.

If you don't like the results, change the game. If you can't be Miss Universe, try to be the smartest nuclear physicist — it's all the category you choose to compete in.

Failure is not falling down; failure is not getting up.

If you tried, you didn't fail.

When you fall, pick up something while you're down there.

Don't get so big you forget where you come from.

You pass this way but once. Any good you can do, do it now.

No one will believe in you if you don't believe in yourself first.

My mother was a gem. She always told us not to be quitters. In seventh grade, our school was holding cheerleading tryouts, so a friend and I practiced and practiced. The morning of the tryouts, my friend called to say that she thought we didn't have a chance, so she was not going to try. My mother said, "If you don't try out, you will never know." I did our routine solo and made cheerleader. Her encouragement meant the difference.

Susan Conway Himes

Don't say no very often, but when you do, mean it.

Be tolerant. Everyone has talent. Everyone is different.

If you believe something is impossible, it will be.

If something needs to be done, do it as soon as you notice it.

If you are always getting ready to do something, it will never get done.

Nothing is taken from you that you cannot learn to live without. (This was Mom's comment when we broke or lost something.)

If you need the rain, you've got to put up with all the thunder and lightning that comes with it.

Don't forget that you're in charge of your life. If you have a problem, deal with it right away. Never hide from your problems; they won't disappear all by themselves.

A smile and a thank-you won't cost you a dime. But not doing either may cost you later.

My mother, Ho Po-Lan, taught by telling anecdotes and stories that tied us to our Chinese heritage. The message was that to be Chinese, female, and intelligent was often painful. Despite this, all my mother's women friends seemed to have titanium cores. There was always laughter overlaying their sadness.

Terry Jones

Be brave. Timid people never amount to very much.

It's just as bad to doubt everything as it is to believe it.

Be careful what you ask for, you may get it.

Be your own woman. Don't waste your time comparing yourself to others.

Be with, be for — but not against.

Always carry a book.

Don't believe everything you read online or in the newspaper.

Don't ask other people to do things for you that you can do for yourself.

If you don't ask questions, you're never going to learn.

The first hundred years and the first million dollars are the hardest.

Facebook lasts forever.

If you want people to think you're smart, learn to listen.

Don't listen to other people's secrets. They always expect you to tell them yours in return.

Learn to do things for yourself (sew on a button, change the oil) but always appreciate someone's offer to do it for you.

Problems always look smaller after a warm meal (and a glass of wine) and a good night's sleep.

Slow down; don't be in such a hurry. It doesn't do any good to run if you're headed down the wrong road.

Don't spend time worrying about things you can do nothing about.

Make up your mind. If you try to sit between two seats, you're going to end up on the ground.

One good way to end up looking foolish is to pretend you know something you don't.

First impressions go a long way and last a long time.

If you don't make mistakes, you don't make anything.

Shoot for the moon.

Never use the truth to hurt someone.

Don't say that something isn't good, say you don't like it or it just doesn't work for you. There's an important difference.

If you're going to have trouble, better to have it at the beginning than at the end.

Wait until nightfall before saying it's been a good day.

If you want something more than anything, be prepared to stake everything.

If you learn things when you're young, you'll remember them when you're old.

I remember my Aunty Gwen teaching me how to take eggs from under a sitting hen. I used to undertake the task with trepidation since the hens would always peck me to bits. The lesson, basically, consisted of setting your sights on where you thought the eggs would be, taking a deep breath, and shoving your hand quickly and firmly under the hen. Finding that I could do this — after a bit of practice — without any painful retaliation, made me very proud of myself. And even today if I am faced with a prickly problem, I plan my attack, take a deep breath, and plunge forward to reach my goal.

Penny Cooper

Don't think about the cost of doing something; think about the cost of doing nothing.

If you're lonely or discouraged or unhappy, do something for someone else.

Always try to be a good sport.

If you're not good at one thing, keep trying. You're bound to be good at something, even if you haven't figured it out yet.

Finish what you start.

Keep your eye on the ball.

My mother taught me that we are not in the world alone, that we are responsible for more than ourselves.

When we plant marigolds in the backyard, we are obliged to care for them, to water them, and to weed them so they have enough space and air and light to grow.

I learned that love entails obligation, that respect must be earned, and that "please" and "thank you" are not simply words to be mumbled at birthday parties.

My mother taught me to be a person.

Margot J. Fromer

Every question doesn't necessarily deserve an answer. And some questions don't have any good answers.

Being a woman should never stop you from anything you want.



Keep your elbows off the table.

Save room for dinner.

Learn to use a finger bowl, just in case.

Don't have different sets of manners for different people. Treat everyone the same.

Growing up, the advice I hated most from my mother was, "See the other person's point of view — try to understand." I got this if someone was mean to me, hit me, or was just nasty in general.

A few days ago, I called my daughter Carrie and asked her what advice of mine she remembers. She said she always hated being told always to try to see the other person's side of things.

I guess that proves what goes around comes around.

Sunday Wynkoop

"Thank you" and "please" are the keys to everyone's heart.

Always introduce a young person to an older one, a man to a woman, and a boy to a girl.

If an older person gets on a crowded bus, stand up and give her or him your seat.

Always write thank-you notes, but never send store-bought sympathy cards.

Never say, "Remember me?" to a person. If you have to ask, they usually don't.

Don't put your glass on a table unless there's a coaster. Or use a napkin.

With dips, remember — only one dip per chip.

Have a firm handshake, look people in the eye when you speak to them, and give them your full attention.

Learn to tolerate others' differences: they're not different from you; you're different from them.


Children and Family

Treat your children like plants — with lots of sunshine and room to grow.

Read to your children every night and they'll be readers for life.

Eat with your children. It's the best way to learn what's going on in their lives.

Always see that your children have something to look forward to.

Two children is a perfect number, but it would be terribly hard to stop unless you had a daughter.

Try to make each child feel special. Whenever a baby is born into a family, be sure to bring a little gift for the other siblings.

You don't always have to like your siblings, but you must always love them.

I would always ask my children to call when they arrived home. Now they insist I call them on my arrival home.

Don't let your toddlers spend too much time with digital games; they need face time and talk time with you.

Hug and kiss your baby every day.

If you don't know right from wrong by the time you're fourteen, then I haven't done my job.

(To my kids when they are skiing): If you don't fall, you're not trying hard enough.

As a teenager, if I ever started to say to my father, "I don't mean to be disrespectful, but ..." my mother would stop me in my tracks and say, "Then don't be." It's a lesson I used with my own children, and now with my grandchildren.

Dawn Ackerman

My mom, Lillian Alexander, taught me the importance of the family meal. Every day, no matter what, there was dinner on the table — the only time of day we would all come together. Simple or elaborate, gourmet or basic, we would sit, eat together, talk together, and bond together. Her mother did this for her, my mother did it for me, and I do it for my family. Food indeed can be love.

When I was four, my mother wrote me a note:

My Dear:

Don't hurry so; There's ample time. Why must you rush? At four, your little legs can scarcely make the pace you set for them. Start now to temper life, while yet a child.

Ruth Rice Crone

Put baby oil on Band-Aids and let them sit for ten minutes. They come off without an "ouch."

Buy children's clothes big.

Be sure you count the Easter eggs before you hide them.

Write down the funny things your kids say as soon as they say them. Otherwise you'll forget.

Start exposing your kids to culture (theater, elegant restaurants, New York City) at a very young age.

Don't name your child something too unusual; they'll probably get a nickname you'll hate. But don't pick a name from the top ten either or there'll be hard times in kindergarten.

"Try a little taste of everything." My mother was a trained dietitian, so our diet was healthy. We had to eat at least one bite of everything. I still enjoy the tasting....

Kit Kowalke

When making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, always put peanut butter on both sides of the bread and the jelly in the middle. That way the sandwich doesn't get soggy.

If you can't be there when your teenagers come home from school, keep the lights on, and leave a note and an interesting snack.

You're never too old to sit on your mother's lap.

Family comes first.

Never discuss family problems with the neighbors.

Always stick up for your brothers and sisters.

No matter where you go or what you do, home is always there for you to come back to.

One of the best Halloween costumes my mother ever made was turning my older brother into a tube of toothpaste. Today this seems almost prophetic since he ultimately chose dentistry as a profession!

Beth Della-Bella

Children want limits: limits make them feel safe.

There is no greater love than that of a mother for her child.

Having a daughter is a wonderful treasure; mothers and daughters can be best friends.



For an upset stomach, ginger ale and saltine crackers in small doses are hard to beat.

As a child, my mother instilled in me a love of reading. In the eighth grade, I remember being home sick and reading Exodus by Leon Uris. She told me she was going to send a note to school saying I was home "sick in bed with Exodus."

Anne F. Ridgely

Exercise every day. If you don't have time to work out, run the sweeper to the Rolling Stones.

Every once in a while you may need to take a mental health day: call in sick to work, skip class, get a sitter for the kids, and take off — it doesn't matter whether you go to the beach or just drive around listening to your favorite radio station. The important thing is to get time to yourself.

Drink a lot of water, it makes your skin glow and keeps you healthy.

If your doctor prescribes a medicine and you take it for two days and don't feel any better, it's probably the wrong medicine.

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors every January, whether they need it or not.

A woman can greatly reduce her incidence of heart attacks and strokes by eating carrots, spinach, and apricots.

Turning off the cell phone for one hour will actually reduce your stress.

Even if you don't love the taste, eat fruits and vegetables every day. Your body will thank you in twenty years.

Don't forget to put sunscreen on the backs of your hands.

When my mom turned eighty, I presented her with a list of the ten lessons she taught me. When she turned ninety-two, I gave it to her again. She has dementia and is in an assisted-living home. She rarely speaks but can read when prompted, so I asked her to read it to me. She didn't miss a word. When I asked her to skip a few, she asked, "Don't you want me to read all of it?" Her mind and heart and smile are still working, but her brain doesn't connect to her ability to speak on her own. This special moment, however, proved that with the right inspiration and love and stimulation, anything and everything is possible. A moment I will cherish forever. God is good.

Debbie Shellenback

My mother was more complex than I was. Any woman who would get a divorce during the Depression with two children to raise must have wanted it badly.

She had no hobbies or time for anything but work. She used to insist, "You are not to smoke." And of course I did.

Irene T. Appel

Eat all your vegetables.

Always wear a big hat at the beach. It protects your skin and makes you feel very seductive.


Fashion and Clothing

Always shop at the sales rack first.

If you can afford only one good evening dress, get it in black, and buy five pairs of really stunning earrings to change the look.

When you get dressed up, put on everything you want, just the way you want it. Then take off one thing. (Preferably not the dress.)

My mother was one of nine daughters born to Polish immigrants. She married young and lost her husband at a very young age. She raised three daughters on her own. The most descriptive word I can think of to describe her is "generous." Just retired, she recently complained that she was having trouble finding the six-inch red heels for dancing the polka.

Patricia Meronoff

When you get home at night, always change your shoes. It will give you extra energy and make the shoes last longer.

Never wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row.

A smile is one of the best things a girl can put on.

Trends come and go, but your style can last forever if you carry it with confidence.

A black turtleneck, black jeans, and a nice piece of jewelry can almost take you anywhere — high heels or boots, your choice.

Just because something is in fashion does not mean it works for you. Be confident in your own style.

If you don't love it in the store, you'll never wear it.

Mom jeans were never cool and they still aren't.

If you ever find the perfect bra, buy six.

Make sure there's a cotton crotch.

The power of my mother's words became very obvious to me ten years ago when I was involved in a very serious car crash. As I lay in the car bleeding, with several broken limbs and in severe shock, my first conscious thought was, "My God, what underwear did I wear?"

The first EMS technician ran up, and, to see how badly I was injured, asked me what my name was.

I replied, "Underwear."

The poor man thought I was in a lot worse shape than I really was.

Pam Beer

Masking tape can work wonders for an errant hem.

Make sure you know what you look like from the back.

When you pack a bag for a trip, put in everything that you want. Then take two things out before you close it.

Wearing black always makes you look thinner.

Get the setting of your rings checked every year.


Excerpted from From Mother to Daughter by Sherry Appel. Copyright © 2017 Sherry Appel. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Children and Family,
Fashion and Clothing,
Cooking and Entertaining,
Keeping Up Appearances,
Love, Men, Relationships,
Work and Education,
Special Thanks,
About the Author,

Customer Reviews