The Network

verzion network

Verizon boasts to have one of the largest 3G cell phone networks available.  The cellular provider claims that no matter where you go in the United States, you will have coverage and, therefore, be able to both receive and make phone calls from your cellular device.  It’s a pretty grand offering.  Since my primary place of residence is somewhere between John’s barnyard and Mary’s farmhouse, I play “chase the signal” a few times a day as I move skittish throughout my house shouting, “Can you hear me?  Hello?  You there?  Can you hear now?  Hello?  Hello?  Wait, I can hear you!  Wait, don’t hang up!  Helloooooo!!”  :0/  Yea.  Oh what fun.  Clearly I don’t have the Verizon network.  But, it got me thinking about another network.

This weekend Huni had the great fortune of visiting his alma mater, North Carolina State University, to participate in a leadership panel.  On a whim and at the very last minute he convinced the girls and me to join him.  Whilst there, I had the great, good fortune of talking to and spending some time with family and friends.  During one conversation, I had a friend describe the latest happenings in her marvelous life (she wouldn’t describe it that way, but hey, that’s what friends are for!).   She told me that she and her roommates, three single ladies, are doing a study on purity together.  The other night one of the roommates led the time and it was phenomenal.  She told me about how she prays with a different friend in the mornings either before or after going to the gym.  The day that we were chatting she was tired after having a sleepover with a friend/colleague in support of two women who are currently raising financial support and preparing to go into full time ministry.  And there it was that she and I were talking, laughing, crying and reflecting together.  She does have a marvelous life, right!?!?

Since I live quite a distance away from all of my Frans, I was feeling quite sad after our conversation. I was like, man, how lucky you are to have all of these great connections and great women in your life.  And most of them are at your fingertips!  Comparison and self-pity are two venomous arrows in satan’s quiver.  He aims them right into your eyes, blinding you from the glory that surrounds you and somehow simultaneously highlighting someone else’s.

Sunday we went to our church.  I missed my favorite part of the service, praise and worship, I was tired from a restless night of tossing and turning and although I was happy to be there, I just wasn’t feeling it.  Honestly, I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed.  After service was over, I talked to a Fran from undergrad.  She’s so fabulous and always greets me with such a warm reception.  This time we were able to talk a little while longer than usual and she was just as sweet, gracious, funny and cool as ever.  As I finished my conversation with her, I looked up and saw a dear sister who I’ve intimately studied the word with over the past few years.  I was only able to give her a quick squeeze before a big sister in the faith came and squeezed the tears out of me.  Literally.  Just the sight of her brought a flood of tears.  Her prophetic wisdom knew that my tears were more than just the sight of her, so immediately she inquired for the real story, wiped away my tears and prayed for me.  Once we were done, I looked to the row directly below and there was yet another sister in the faith, looking at me compassionately, embracing me with her eyes, saying more than words could say as she offered me her home as a homebase for me and my girls whenever we came to town and wanted a change of scenery.  Later that night I hopped on OoVoo with Huni and we goofed, teased and chatted with some couples, the wives of which are more of my sisters  in the faith.  Together we shared some of the latest news in our lives and talked intently about how we saw the Lord calling us and directing our lives.  And this doesn’t include all of my Frans.  Only a handful.  Only a handful.

These women keep me grounded.  They know my heart, they know my hurts, they get my humor.  They love me, they enjoy me and they want me . . . just as I am yet they actively participate in my growth; they pour into me and root for me.  Even when I cannot wrap my arms around them, lay my eyes on them, or hear their sweet voices, I know that they are for me, thinking of me, praying for me.  I too have a marvelous life.  Not because of the things I have but, in part, because of my network.   All of these women are a way that God shows His love, concern and compassion for me.  They remind me that He sees me and He knows me.  No matter how lonely I feel, the truth is I have a network.  And it is sweet-potato-pie-with-whipped-cream-on-top-amazing.

What about you?  Who’s in your network?  How about showing them some love this week either via text, phone call, lunch date, good ole snail mail, or something free and simple like a stroll through your local Target?  The moment you start reaching out to each of them, you’ll receive an instant reminder of just how big and bountiful is your life.  And you’ll smile.  And your heart will feel all warm and fuzzy.  And it’ll be better than a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day.

Support Staff

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It was a beautiful, bright, winter Saturday.  The kind where the air is crisp and wet, thick with the anticipation of some wintry mix threatening to keep everyone inside, fireside bound for the whole of the day.  Except the bright boldness of the sun dared anyone to mention inclement weather, as she spread all her rays out over the earth like a mama’s proud arms, welcoming her babies in to the warmth, love and comfort that only a mama can assure.  Yes, the sun was working her magic and wooing all of the women as they excitedly dressed and prepared to go and wish well another Darling, preparing herself to take on a new last name and a basket full of responsibilities to go along with it.  They were all so excited that though aware of the blue temperatures outside, they were motivated to be with her, share with her, celebrate her and tell her exactly how to be the best wife possible to this lucky man.  So excited they were, in fact, and having done this several times before for a friend, a niece, sister, cousin, that they got caught up in the excitement and familiarity of it all and forgot to consult with their their editor and manager about what they should say.  Surely He cares that much about us, to inform us on how to inform others about how to do His will?!?!  Yet they sauntered out there, laughing, playing happy games, conversing amongst themselves, sipping the sweet, inviting nectar of joy and eating the tenderly baked, enticing confections of comfort and started talking out of turn.  Their guards were down–which can be one of the worse times to speak aloud at all, especially in a group setting and especially when you haven’t spoken with your manager.

No, they weren’t rude or harsh, but they spoke more from their own heartaches and past mistakes rather than from truth.  And Darling, so eager to please and be the wife she felt her lover deserved, took it all in without a sieve.  She swallowed it all whole thinking that it’d be better to receive it all now, soak up the moment and try it out later to see for herself if these platters of advice from the kind, well-meaning women in her community, would lay softly on the palate of her intended.

Seeing that she was a hungry girl, and wanting her to do well in this call, they talked more and more and became braver in their offerings, leaving no room in the house untouched.  From the Kitchen to the laundry room to the bedroom, Darling was told exactly what her man would like and wouldn’t like, and how she should conduct herself if she wanted to stay married. Shucks, it got so good in there that even the younger, unmarried school girls started placing their offerings before her, as if they knew anything about this scared calling for themselves except for what they had been warned against or had seen played out in some version the Housewives franchise.  They meant well. . .

No one seemed to notice that Darling’s once bright, anxious, joyful eyes had now dropped to a half moon, wandering, listless stare.  And those that did notice figured that she was probably just getting tired and wanted to open gifts.

Not all of the talk was unproductive and unedited but one of the comments that I think dimmed her light a bit came from the back of the room, an auntie, older, respected, and thought to be wiser than most of them said,

 “Don’t tell your business.  If anything happens in your marriage, keep that between you and your husband.  Don’t tell people what’s going in your relationship because you’ll choose to forgive him and they won’t.”

If I were a betting woman, I would bet you that all across the world, there is some version of this same bit of advice being told to women all over the world.  But is it biblical?

It just doesn’t make a great deal of sense to me.

Darling finds herself in the position of being recognized as that “good thing” that the gentleman has been searching for.  She is so excited about being with this man and so she sets out to plan her wedding, for some, the day of her dreams.  As she plans, she chooses the women who will stand closest to her on that day.  They smile, cry, tilt heads to the side, clutch hearts and prepare for months of sentimentality and love, anxious for the big day.  Then, after the day has come, they have all celebrated, eaten cake and burned it off with the Cupid Shuffle and the Electric Slide, the couple drives off into the sunset to live happily ever after . . . and the supporting cast members are supposed to just walk away and stay out of their business?

No.  I think we’ve got this all wrong.

I don’t believe that you should share your business with just anybody just as much as I believe that you shouldn’t have just anybody in your wedding.  Marriage is sacred and we should treat it as such from the moment we start dating.

The bible speaks often about community and how we are to conduct ourselves as we live in community with each other.  One example is in Galatians 6:2 encouraging us to: Carry each others burdens…”

I should be able to talk to a select few women in my life, or perhaps one woman, who is close to me, loves me, sincerely cares about me and my marriage when I am happy and when I am struggling to be the wife who respects her husband as I am called to do in Ephesians.  I should be able to go to her and trust that she will keep my confidence and lead me to the throne to receive help and healing for my heart, mind and marriage.

Now, to be clear, I do believe that our first move should always be toward the Lord, in prayer.  We shouldn’t ever get into the habit of running to friends and family for help when our God has already set Himself up as everything that we need.  But the place where most people get mixed up is in forgetting that God places people in our lives who we are to grow with.  He will often use people to show us His love for us, to show us His hand of provision, and even His hand of correction can come down through the people in our lives.  Don’t shut people out because you have been told to cover your relationship like a newborn child in the middle of a war zone.  Be wise about the people you have in your life, and trust God to use them to lead you into His call for you, which is holiness.

I have some of the most amazing women in my life.   Truly.  They love me.  They like me.  They applaud me but they also challenge me.  They know who I am and they know that I aspire to be pleasing to God, so they never let me compromise that. I am free to pitch a 60 second fit but they are are there, one (and sometimes two) at a time, to gently get my head back in the game and get back on point.  They are consistent as I parent, in my friendships, my work, relationships, goals, and yes, my marriage.

I think that we should talk more about this and unravel it a bit more.  We’ve got to debunk this myth and see what the Lord has to say about it.  While it has some value for keeping the sanctity of your marriage, I believe that it has taken a turn and put more of us in bondage than anything else.  I believe that there is a reader who needs to be free and know that she just may have someone in her life that she can be completely transparent with about her marriage, to the glory of God and the edification of her and her husband.  I also believe that for some of us, it runs a little deeper and we need to clean house and get some new Frans ’cause the ones we have on staff have taken an extended, paid vacation.

Assured

Today I went to visit an old Fran from college.  Kim Morrisette is not just any old Fran.  She’s the woman that God used to water and point toward the Son, the seeds that my mama had sewn into me, raising me in Christ Jesus, knowing Him as my Lord and savior.  I was so broken, so sad and yet I was searching for something big and deep and real and although I was confused about many things, I knew that what I needed and wanted was only going to be satisfied by God.  So Kim led me and a group of girls in our dorm, Greene Hall, through bible study.  Our friendship deepened and she went on to disciple me and train me to do the same thing for other women on campus.  She poured into me and facilitated further training with my roomie and me as we helped to lead a new, small campus ministry.

I didn’t get to spend a very long time with her– I teased her about living out in John’s barnyard (she lives quite a distance from me in a beautiful farmhouse “out in the sticks”) and that took a bit of our time away because good ole me left a little later than I intended and then I made it all the way to her street and got lost–but the time I was able to just be around her and meet her children and see her face and see what her life is like now, was so good.  I missed Kim and I am so glad that during this season of my life, the Lord is making a way for us to connect again.

Within the past week I’ve been in close connection with people who have lost loved ones.  Some have been traumatic and the other quiet but all have been hard and sad.  I almost feel like times are very uncertain right now; you can’t know if the last time you see someone will be the last time. . . how much will change with people between now and the next time you see them, if you are so fortunate to see them again?  So much fear and uncertainty.  And although it’s reasonable for me to feel and think this way, it’s not the way of truth.  It’s not Philippians 4:8-9 and it won’t draw me closer to my savior, it’ll just keep me questioning Him, and doubting Him.  

I enjoyed spending time with Kim so much today because it was a reminder for me that there have been other times when I thought that God had left me, forgotten about me, wasn’t working on my behalf, didn’t have a plan for my life except to repeat what had been done in my family generations past or just plain old didn’t care.  But Kim came to me at the most crucial time in my undergraduate career.  I was on the brink of utter hopelessness and I needed to know that all that mama taught me about God was real and that there was more.  As I look back to then and see what my life is now, in those times when I felt so shaky and uncovered, God, in fact, did have a plan and He was working it out for my good, even when I didn’t always sense it.  Seeing Kim was such a sweet reminder of His grace.  God is so good.  In times of tragedy, pain, sorrow, loss and confusion it’s good to have a blessed assurance– that firm, sure, sweet reminder that He is in control, He knows what He’s doing, His word is still true, He is trustworthy, He’s got me and my whole world in the palm of His hands.  I am safe there.

I’m sure that there is someone out there reading this who just needs a reminder that He is good and that He is a loving Father.  Please, be of good service to yourself and think about your life–what it was, what it is, and what it could be.  He’s there.  And He’s been there the whole time.  If your waters are smooth right now or if they are rough, this is a good time to know the God you serve and His characteristics.  Do yourself a favor.  Remind yourself of all that He’s done.  And rest.  Assured.

Mommy Goodness!

A big, fat, hearty Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers of the world!!!! :0)  No matter how you are called upon daily to serve as a mom, it’s hard work being us, for reals and it is my sincere pleasure to wish you a happy day today and also to pray prayers of strength, love, courage, and deep relationship with God through Christ Jesus as you walk this walk of selflessness and service.  As glorious and as sweet as days like today can be, I have learned that you’ll need Him every step of the way!

I have had a great day so far.  I was greeted by mother’s day wishes starting around 6ish.  Phone calls and texts galore!  Ok.  People.  Thank you, but for reals??!!??  That early in the morn??!!  I’m a mom!  I needs my sleep!!  :0)  joking. . . kinda . . .  ;0)

My Huni’s alarm slapped my ears at 6:30, like it does relentlessly morning after morning and so resigning that I wouldn’t be sleeping in on this Mother’s Day, I hopped on my laptop and found some wonderfully encouraging words for any mama’s soul in my inbox and on the Gypsy Mama’s site.

I love (in)courage and receive emails from the site fresh and hot to my inbox daily.   This one: http://www.incourage.me/2012/05/what-we-wish-we-could-tell-you-mamas.html was waiting for me this morning and was a wonderful way to start my Mother’s Day, thinking of all moms, not just those like me.  So good.  Please do check it out.  Guaranteed blessings there.

The Gypsy Mama offered up something different but it was just. what. I. needed.  For reals.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there’s a giveaway!!  For free!!  Check it out:  http://thegypsymama.com/2012/05/and-then-i-broke-up-with-myself-six-years-ago/

Went to church service this morning.  I love the body of believers that we worship with here.  Really, truly, our lives have been changed in ways that we could never have imagined ever since our first Sunday worshiping there.  And today was no different.  Love, love, love it when my pastor’s wife speaks.  She speaks truth and spoke it this morning like always.  However just before she did, our worship leader Pastor Jon Owens and his wife Kelley shared a bit of themselves with us.  I do not know them personally, but I really wish I did.  Especially after this. They have an amazing testimony and have been used by God to help inspire some movement in our lives without even knowing it.  Oh, this video . . . it hints to none of that.  Just how amazingly talented  and . . .  fun they are.  How can I describe this . . . .hmmmm . . . I don’t even know.  You know what, just watch it.  You’ll never be the same . . .  :0)


So, for the rest of the day I will eat and rest.  A dear friend has made plans to drop by later.  I expect we’ll laugh and talk the evening away.

I asked for a book called Mother Letters as a gift for today.

 I cannot wait to dig in.  Check it out for yourself or gift it to someone else.  Find out more here:  http://motherletters.com/ebook/

Now, for my mama:  I love you mommy.  I know that a great part of who I am, God used your hands and heart to mold.  I miss you so much.  I wish I could see your face everyday and be closer to you, to take care of you and nurture you into your destiny the way that you did with me.  But I trust God with you because before you were mine, you were so sweetly and securely His.   May He ever love you and use you until He calls you.  You’ve been a great mother–no matter the outcome of me and my sister’s lives.  Now I get to have you as my friend.  Thank you for being willing to stick around as my friend.  In my absence, I send you my heart, my love, and this gap-toothed smile that you so generously shared with  me.

I love you mommy!!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxo!!

Never Will a Rock Cry Out In My Place!

 37-38Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!

39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”

40But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” (Luke 19:37-40, The Message)

Move over rocks!!  I got this one!  :0)

171.  Kool Moe Va

172.  biggest cheeeeeeeeeese from the littlest

173.  penny wishes

174.  granddaddies

175.  birthday cupcakes . . .scrumdillyum!!

176.  DQ surprise!

177.  TBP intern class of 2012 . . . love, love, love those girls

178.  my first trip to the crepe truck courtesy of Precious, accompanied by Jamaica Swagu

179.  all gone  :0)

180.  excitedly watching Grandma and Granddaddy unload their car

181.  Dragonfly Jones VaVa

182.  watching her be happiest

183.  late night cuddles and cosby show

. . . and I’m only just getting started . . . check the list and join me:  https://pamelluce.com/my-one-thousand/

Wednesdays with Beth

Beth Moore was back on Life Today, today, with part six of the series Family Calamity and Restoration (http://lifetoday.org/video/family-calamity-and-restoration-part-6).  Point 6:  God can add to your family.  Point 7:  Christ can bring honor back to the family.  The overall message that she gave was something that was on my heart last night, laid with me and slept heavy on my mind even through my dreams and greeted me as soon my eyes opened this morning.

Once a month, the second Tuesday of each month to be exact, I slide out of my home after the girls are quietly lying in bed pondering their day, the way little people do, to meet with other moms.  Together we gather, tired and excited to be together, yearning for fellowship, connection, answers, hope.  We share little bits of our lives, we laugh, we cry.  We each slip in and out of vulnerability, easily, and, I believe, we walk away fuller just for having gathered together.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25)

Each time we gather we have a topic to discuss.  Last night it was how do we, amidst starting families, ministering, having careers, raising families,  make time to spend with the Lord.  I shared about how I am in this season of life where it seems like everything is hard.  It’s hard to get up in the morning, hard to get out of bed, hard to lay down at night.  Hard.  Everything.  And, because of this, how necessary it is for me to connect with my Savior daily, and best first thing in the morning, before I step foot out of the bed as a reminder that He is there with me, in that moment, and that He will continue to be with me throughout my day, moment by moment.

After I said this, I went on talking with some of the women throughout the night and I heard my words echoed back to me.  Either they were in agreement, could feel where I was coming from because they had been there, were currently there, or they simply couldn’t relate.  I thought about the ones that couldn’t relate.  I thought about the ones who said they knew and had been there.  I thought about myself and how I have been singing this song of desperation for some time now.  This having a hard time song.  And why am I still singing it?  Why have I not overcome and passed over from hard times to good times?  What’s going on, Lord?  I’m so, so thankful for the gathering because without them, it would have taken me just a little while longer to come to this:  I have not surrendered my hard time to the Lord.  I have not embraced my hard time as weakness, have not cherished the opportunity for a 2 Corinthians 12:9 moment each day, moment by moment.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

I writhe and wiggle and struggle to produce a good day, each day, and each day I get frustrated and come up unsatisfied because I have not surrendered, truly surrendered to my Psalm 46:1 God

 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Selah.  And I need to Selah my way through my day, moment by moment by moment to give my God a chance to rescue me, instead of me rushing in to figure all of this out by myself.  I need to push, but I need to push in a Psalm 121 sort of way.  I need to adjust my vision and really see.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Beth Moore spoke today about other forms of family.  Perhaps you need to tap into the family that God has provided for you that is right in front of you.  It may be your family of origin.  It may be a community of people outside of your family.  It may be both.  It be several forms of both.  Surely He desires for you to be connected through community.  Figure out who and what that is and get plugged in.  You may be missing life and, due to your absence, so may they.

Thank you, Lord, for the community of moms who help me see you more clearly.

Love Letter to the Women Who Mean So Much to Me

I think that the term best friend has lost some of its flavor.  Back in the day-day, best friends were as distinguishable as the smell of curry in the hallway of a diverse apartment building in D.C.  If a girl said that someone was her best friend, you could best believe that the two of them would be melded together like the sweet, sticky syrup to the dough on a cherry pastry.  And consistently so–no matter what!  They’d take on each other’s personalities, look out for each other, and fight (of course), but they would essentially create a world made just for the two of them, through which they would freely and creatively express themselves and in which they would endeavor to live for the rest of their lives.

But now it seems like a BFF has been reduced to a fad, the latest trend.  And as her ability to accessorize with your life changes, so do the ideals of friendship.  For some people, that term-BFF needs to be amended to BFFN–Best Friend For Now!  And I am so sad to report that there are even some of us who can’t say that we have very many friends at all–much less a best friend.  I hear so many women proudly say, “I don’t do women.  I prefer to deal with men, ’cause women are just too much.”  And I think that’s just a shame.  I really believe that we are a reflection of each other and if we refuse to unite then what side of ourselves are we giving each other to reflect upon?  And why are we okay with that?

Well, I have come as the BF Fairy to restore your faith in friendship!  (get excited) One fateful day (some years ago today, in fact), the giver of all good and perfect gifts opened up the windows of heaven and poured me out a blessing , and even now, this woman is my ride or die, tried and true homie. I am so grateful that I get to call my mom one of my dearest, bestest, good friends.  I’ve shared my whole, whole, life with her.  She’s seen me inside and out, ugly and beautiful and yet she still loves me.  And she still chooses me, day after day.  She calls me, just to talk, just to know what’s going on with me and to share what’s going on in her life, with me.  She trusts me.  She was careful not to befriend me too soon.  She did me the honor of making sure that I had her love as my mommy before she ever thought of me as a friend.  And it’s because of her that I can dream impossible dreams and pray with faith that the Lord will sift through them and give me what He deems best for me.  She is one of  the most sweet-hearted women I’ll ever know.  I’ve never seen strength and vulnerability contained so beautifully in a person as with my mom.  She’s my shoulder to cry on, laughing buddy, prayer partner, my biggest fan.  And I would not be who I am today if it were not for her.  There is no tribute effective enough to do her justice.  You’d have to meet her to know that these few words were a meager attempt and only hint at the wonder of God’s goodness that she personifies.  She’s inspiration and aspiration to all things higher and greater.  My mommy.

I have a friend who, over the years, has transcended as more than my friend–she is my sister.  I can try to minimize our relationship to words just so that I can tell you exactly how and why it’s been as sweet as it is and still the best that I can say is that in her heart, there I sit–along with her mother, her family, the greatest loves of her life and her darling baby girls.  Her actions toward me have been the spokesperson for these sentiments.  She’s always wanted me to be a part of her life and she has done her share of the work to make it happen.  She tells me all the time that she is going to be the Gayle to my Oprah and this is not because she is settling for being a Gayle until she finds her inner Oprah but because she believes in me wholeheartedly and she gives me the strength, courage and wisdom to pitch my tent among the stars while I rest and dream on a cloud.  I can see the beauty of who I am, and who I aspire to be, naturally reflected in the light of her essence.  She’s been like a mother’s love–comforting, correcting, and sacrificing so that I can be, me.  Of course we’ve had our fights and our friendship has suffered some turmoil.  I’ve wanted to slam and suplex her but I honestly cannot imagine my life without her.  She’s my BFF.

But here’s the real doozy:  I have so many wonderfully incredible women in my life who, through the years and even right now, have deeply effected who I am.  In some cases they have been better to me than I to them.  There is so much grace in that.  I am a big ole mess and if anyone were to decide to give up on me, I couldn’t hold an argument worthy of making them change their mind.  But I’ve got some sit-ins-at-the-lunch-counter-during-the-civil-rights-movement kind of women in my life!  They shall not be moved!!  Each woman who I have the privilege of calling mine in any capacity is a representation of the truth I seek as I grow and develop as a woman of integrity, a woman of grace, a woman of standard, a woman of God.  They not only are friends, they are goals, for if I can but strive to attain the beauty of self and character that these women possess I just may become the first real-life superwoman.  Yes, I love my best friend and her light shines brightly in my life but the evolution of my refinement is continued in the summer, spring, winter and fall that are all of my friends and some of the women in my family and church as well.

Through my life I celebrate you all–a beautyFULL, spring bouquet in the center of an elegant table setting.  You allow me to adorn myself in the petals of your love and grace and in so doing you have given me the confidence to sashay about with confidence in this harsh, judgemental, mean world.  As my stilettos leave holes in the ground, I continue your legacy, inviting those who come behind me to plant a seed in fertile soil–the results of which will be deep, strong roots and the rich, succulent fruit of God’s productivity yielded through me from you.

And all of this– not simply because of me but because God loved me so much that he specifically and thoughtfully placed all of you in my life.