I did. And I will.

I remember the first time I walked in. She was wearing red lipstick, khaki shorts and a mickey mouse t-shirt. “Hop in,” she said. And I did.

Somewhat lost and yet somehow at home, I spent 3 hours that first day playing alongside God’s greatest gifts. We laughed, I guessed, we played and made new friends. “How can I help?” I said at the end of the club…. “Lead music next month” she said. And I did.

A year of volunteering eased the frequent Atlanta doctors appointments, struggling nerves and nights of pain. The year turned to warm summer camp months and she asked for me to join the team. And I did.

That summer I fell in love with a world in celebration of people’s abilities. No longer asking the question “how will they navigate the world?” Instead the conviction became that the world needs them to navigate. Camp had a strict attendance commitment. In between bowling, swimming and the smiles she allowed me to slip away for my appointments and return. She understood. We bonded through it. She was slipping away for them too. She told me it would be okay. And for me, it was.

Mid-summer she handed me a paper. Said, “do not read it until you get home”. I wish I could say I did. But I did not. I read it in the car. “You’re a great leader” it read, “A natural.” An opportunity in black and white to lead for the rest of the weeks. She believed in me. She gave me a chance. And I did.

At summer’s end, amidst tears from the broken hearts leaving their favorite place, camp, she sat us down and told us that she was sick. And she was.

October 9th, 2004. Only a few months later, she gave her last breath, her heavy legacy lingering. And then the months that followed. We stepped up. Many more than others. But it was a team. We needed it to carry on, for her, for them, for us. And it did.

The letter I wrote to her 5 days before she left this world

The letter I wrote to her 5 days before she left this world

And then it was the call that December day when I was 19, “will you take the reins” to lead an organization, her memoir. Not knowing how to and also not know how not to. And so I did.

The years have passed as if they were months. Hardly believing it has been 14 years. I still see her in the decisions I make and hear her voice in the ups and downs. Everyday working to carefully carry her treasure. October 9th is a reminder every year that one day it will be me, with her and then there will be another to carry it on. I hope that she is proud. I hope to leave this place as beautiful as it is now. I hope to inspire and invest in others as she did in me. I hope to see it one day much better than I left it. And I will.

  The painted sky last night over the building she built next to the building we built. A perfect pair in fulfilling the mission.

 The painted sky last night over the building she built next to the building we built. A perfect pair in fulfilling the mission.

Only ONE for 2018.

I have a confession...

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I am typically a goals person and by nature futuristic, a big dreamer. But I am Terrible (notice the capital T) at New Years Resolutions. Great intention — lack of follow through. Because let’s be honest in this time of life working full time, trying to stay alive and keep everyone else alive raising kids, I can barely remember to take them to the dentist twice a year, let alone remember five resolutions and change five different habits.

So, I had to find something that worked for me and in 2017 I started something NEW: I choose one. Not one resolution, one word. I prayed about it for a few days, talked to a few friends and wrestled with the word that was revealed to me: content.

Little did I know what that would bring. 2017 was a year full of an effort to get pregnant, difficult physical pregnancy and new delegated responsibilities. Even into the last few days of 2017, I had an emergency surgery that put a damper on our 11th wedding anniversary. Nonetheless, when I asked to learn contentment, I was given the opportunities to be refined.  

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This year, I took it a step further and began to talk to my kids and my friends about the one word.

It can be scary picking a word because there is so much commitment behind it. (It's even more frightening to share it publicly!) Nonetheless, I believe it’s an extra layer of accountability and anything worth doing requires courage.  

My word for 2018 is Present. As our life and family grows, I want to make an effort to learn how to be less “one step ahead” and more “just in step” —  aware of the needs around me, my family’s needs and aware of my own needs. Most importantly, I want to be more present in His presence.

I sat down with my kids today and we talked through the opportunity to choose their word. I shared with them my word, what it meant and asked for them to help me with it. Finley exclaimed, “Present! Oh, you should totally be the first girl president!” We all laughed and agreed that the goal for president would totally “trump”  the goal of being present.

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In true birth order fashion, Owen sat contemplative. Finley quickly and confidently shared her word, “Bold!” Owen needed much more discussion and a lot more suggestion giving before he settled on Joy. They both decided Tate’s word would be Milk. Fitting.

So, the question is, have you avoided New Year’s resolutions? It’s not too late to start the first full week of the year by meditating to find your one. Simply one word for 12 months, 365 days. One word that calls your name, that challenges you, that will lead you to different places and help transform you by this time next year.

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3 Things to Do Today to Pick Your One:

• Meditate. Deep down inside, you probably already know your word.

• Ask those around you that know you best. I was teetering between two words, and my husband and two best friends all agreed “present” was the better choice.

•  Say your word out loud. Share your word with others. Let them into this season. Who knows, you may inspire them to find one word, too.

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 ** Last year a dear friend bought me a “content” piece of jewelry- Check out  Stamped & Finch or Ann Peden Jewelry to personalize your word to wear for an everyday reminder!

***if you decide to join along & pick a word, please let me know so I can pray for you!