What is a LOVE RIPPLE?

As a child I had a vivid imagination. I was blessed (?) with a dramatic flair fueled by a steady diet of books that transformed ordinary words into epic tales of good vs. evil, love, betrayal and adventure. I was SO hooked.

I believed anything was possible, wasn’t MY life a book ready to be written? Options seemed limitless until the day I told a friend my secret…I wanted to go to the moon! The MOON? she shouted. Who wants to go to the moon, and don’t you actually have to be smart?

I realized it’s not always wise to share your dreams with someone who will not hold them gently.

If going to the moon was out, “Plan B” was an excellent option as well…to Egypt I would travel and become an archaeologist. Unfortunately you had to be good in school to do that kind of work as well. Epic.Fail.

As I got older there were other things…marine biologist, travel agent, detective (thank you Nancy Drew), poet, novelist (as in a female version of Wilbur Smith) etc etc. What I realized is this:

The less important we feel, the harder we try to find purpose and meaning in order to validate our existence.

I never understood that I was important JUST BECAUSE! I didn’t know that simply living out my story would itself bring purpose and meaning to me and to others. No fancy job description, no plaques on my wall, no suits in my closet.

Just life.

Just sharing.

Just struggling.

Just at peace.

How did I learn this? I remember her every day.

I came across her blog through a friend of a friend on FB. She was struggling with stage 4 stomach cancer and was in Mexico receiving treatment. Her colorful f-bombs and contagious enthusiasm were smattered across each daily entry. At the end of every post she had a disclaimer that read:

“I DO NOT HAVE A F@#($*G EXPIRATION DATE MARKED ON THE BOTTOM OF MY FOOT”

I scanned her blog every day for almost 3 months willing her to be healthy, praying for her kids and husband, her parents and friends.

Then there was silence. Nothing to sound any alarms, she was just going home after being in Mexico for treatment. Except that wasn’t it. She passed away on Mother’s Day, less than a week after returning home to her two babies and extended family.

I was seriously gob-smacked by the impact this woman had on my life. Somehow I had been encouraged to face my own hardship with grace, humor and an unparalleled use of f-bombs from a voice I had never heard.

That’s when it hit me. It will be enough to live each day by God’s grace so that I can share my journey with you. It will be enough to be honest about what life throws at me as long as I have empowered you to do the same with your circle of friends.

So go on…stop hiding behind fear. A ripple starts when an oar moves deeper into the waters. Let’s call it a love ripple.

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Why I Think You’re Beautiful

I have been meaning to tell you this for a long time. Seriously.

Why did it take so long to get written? I guess I was struggling with the honesty of it…is it too raw?  Maybe.

The crazy thing is that I haven’t been able to get it out of my head so I figured it was a sign, minus the booming voice from above, flashes of lightning and angelic song. Just a small, soft nudge in my gut that I needed to tell you why I think you’re beautiful.

The longer I tread this earth with my un-pedicured toes the more I value friendship. When I look back over the course of life I realize there are seasons of friendship. I smile thinking of those who ran along railroad tracks with me as we searched for a swimming hole, those who climbed trees with me and scaled to the rooftops of school buildings.

Those who taught me how to dance and dream.

Those who climbed mountains with me and raised children alongside my own. Those who are finding their way as empty-nesters just like us. Those who helped me navigate the often treacherous waters of the working world.

It is to each of you that I write this: You are loved.

You are unique…not in some weird miss-matched, un-kept way…more like a gem. Beautiful. Brilliant. Rare. I find myself staring at you and thinking deep thoughts about grace and purpose, forgiveness. Healing.

You know I love you, right? From the moment we met your light has warmed my heart. Your gifting’s have graced my life and I am fuller, richer for it.

Yet sometimes you ache over the lack in your life, the unfairness of it all. How your contribution to the world has gone unnoticed and unappreciated.

Don’t you see? You HAVE changed the world – you’ve changed me! Each raindrop of you that has soaked into my skin has nourished me in some way, encouraging me to be strong.

Your beauty shines. I was drawn to your passionate heart immediately. Strength was in your resolve, a willingness to bare your soul and yet afraid of rejection…common heartbeats between us. Camaraderie, friendship, validation.

You think that hardship has stolen your light. It feels like the ugly, rotten things have won. I am here to tell you that is a lie! Every day that you get up and decide to LIVE has created a depth of beauty no plastic surgeon could ever duplicate.

The impact of your life is powerful. It doesn’t come from dressing in monochromatic colors to hide the few pounds you hate. It doesn’t come from carefully applied make-up to shield the world from the pain underneath. Advertisers are wrong! The power of your life is in being YOU. How can it come from a boob job or lypo?

Beauty is in your voice. Not the timbre or tone but in the sweetness of trials, loss, love, joy that have been etched into your story. I thank you for sharing it with me.

xo