My mom.

I stopped the paragraph after the word mom because she’s so amazing, she warrants her own paragraph. She’s so incredible, any words that come after that name are bland by comparison. My mom is this beautiful, complicated blend of cotton-candy squish and brick-wall slam. She’s safe. She’s strong. And she always smells nice.

If I could take every significant, soul-shaping moment I’ve lived with my mom and bottle it, and then sell it, I’d be set for this life and several more to come. But if I had a bottle like that, I’d never sell it.

I will, however, share a list of the gold bricks of wisdom she’s used to build a sturdy foundation for the lives of everyone she loves. Take it, invest it in your own life, and hold onto it, because this is the kind of currency you can’t buy at a bank.

Here are my top ten gold nuggets from Mom:

10. Always keep a tube of lipstick close at hand. The right color can do wonders for your face.

9. Play dumb. If someone doesn’t like you, pretend you don’t know it. Treat them like they’re your best friends. It’s always the right thing to show kindness and respect, and it will drive the other guy crazy.

8. Always remember CBS. Chin up. Boobs out. Smile.

7. Don’t gossip. Period. If you get caught in a gossip-fest, say three kind things about the person being discussed. It will usually stop the beast in its tracks.

6. If you don’t know what in the heck you’re doing, fake it. Google is your best friend.

5. If you don’t know what in the heck you’re doing, ask someone who does, and thank them for their help.

4. When others hurt you, don’t hurt them back. Forgive them instead. Revenge is like a donut; it’s sweet, but it has zero nutritional value.

3. Buy your clothes at thrift stores, but only buy classic, quality, name-brand pieces. You’ll always look great and you’ll still have money to get your nails done.

2. Look in the mirror and tell yourself, “You’re as good as the best and better than the rest.” Then look at everyone around you and say it to them.

1. The toughest, most rugged quality we can have is love. Know the definition of love, and be a tough girl.

 I could write an entire leather-bound volume of wisdom from my mom, and maybe someday I will. Until then, this list will have to do, because I’m nearing the end of my word count, and my editor doesn’t like it when I take up too much space. And another one of Mom’s rules is this: Aim to please. Especially if you’re talking about the person who signs your paycheck.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails,” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly-perfect children, and far too many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com.