Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 45. At first blush this seemed like a big number. It thought it would feel different than 40 did. I loved 40 and thought that 45 would be harder.
The day yesterday was full of the people I love, places I adore and moments of joy! Throughout the day I found myself being overwhelmed with the feeling of being blessed........
The morning started at the early hour of 5:45 when the alarm rang. This is unusually early for me in the summer.....and especially on a Sunday. But this was a special day. One of my dearest friends (pictured below) was going to be doing the message at our church. It was her first time doing so and she was a bit (well more than a bit!) nervous. Since we all know that a good hair day does wonders for our confidence I put on my ex-hair designer hat to help out. She crept quietly in at 6:15am......with arms full with a vase of flowers, gift and card for my birthday!
Here she was.... about to speak in front of thousands of people over the course of the day full of services, and she was thinking of me!!! Wow....am I blessed to have her in my life!
After she left I was using the alone time in the hushed house to work on a custom layout for a buyer. While sitting at the computer, listening to the birds chirp outside, a "ding" went off on the computer. It was an email Facebook notification. My daughter, Taylor (pictured above with my friend) , was sending me a private message all the way from Romania! It said "log into Skype". Yay! I got to see her smiling face on a sunny day in Craiova, Romania...wishing me Happy Birthday!
Here she was... across the earth, working with a team to help orphan teens/young adults make a transition into the real world and she was thinking of me!! Holy cow....am I blessed to have her in my life!
Then off to church. It was Next Gen Sunday at our church. It is the annual day where the youth of our church serve on the worship teams, greeters, ushers, venue pastors and more. To walk into the service and see one of my home group high school gals up leading/singing was amazing! To see a good friend of my daughter's welcoming people and do announcements and the benediction during service was so fun! To sit with a dear friend who was visiting our church for the first time and my husband, son and mom was very special. To listen to my dear friend deliver an inspiring message about devoting our time and love to the many children and teens of the church community was fantastic!
Here I was... at one of my favorite places, surrounded by people that love each other but love others more....and nothing was about me and my birthday. Just the way I want it....I am so blessed to have the community of Blackhawk Church in my life!
Back at home..... It was a quiet afternoon. I got to spend a quick moment with a sweet neighbor who brought a handmade card, done in my favorite colors. I was able to spend some time painting in the new studio with the sun shining through the windows. I got to chat on the phone with a few loved ones. I sat down on a couch and cuddled with my two little dudes, Luke and Noah.
Here I was... at home with family, nothing big happening. Just the way I like it...... I am so blessed to have this home and family and not need any hoopla!
For dinner we headed to my aunt and uncle's house for a family picnic on the lake. The family "shorelines" are one of my favorite parts of the summer. So far, whenever there has been one, we have not been able to go. So, I was thrilled when there was one scheduled for yesterday! There is lots of laughter, catching up, grilling out and eating. The lake was quite still and quiet....with just a faint noise in the distance of a band playing. At the end of the evening a surprise homemade key lime pie came out with a single candle in it! My aunt had learned that key lime pie was my favorite and made one for the first time to celebrate my birthday!
Here I was... with family that I love dearly, on a lake that holds many special memories, sitting around a fire pit laughing......I am so blessed to have moments like this in my life!
We got home from the shoreline and sat down at the table to play the priorly promised game of Apples to Apples. It was Craig and myself, our college son Zack, his girlfriend, Luke and Noah. We were interrupted for a quick moment by a special surprise. In walked (without knocking because they know this is their home too!) 3 of my favorite high school gals! They are my daughter's friends, but they have become my daughters as well. They came with a card and cute monkey cupcake for me!
Here I was... with a college kid and girlfriend choosing to spend their night with us boring adults...and a gaggle of high schoolers on their way to a hangout night, stopping by to give me a hug...... I am so blessed by these young people and am so grateful for them!
Throughout the whole day I was side by side with my husband. We don't need big stuff, celebrations or gifts. We just are lucky to like being together. He does so much for me and our kids. He spent part of the afternoon mowing the lawn and trimming bushes and trees...one of his least favorite things to do.
Here he was... could have chosen to sit and watch the last bit of the Olympics, but instead was doing something that he knew would make me happy. I am so blessed to share my life with this man!
So, that was my day. I went to bed thinking of all of this...and more. Many people think about what they "were born to do". This thought is what I fell asleep to......
Some are born to heal people.
Some are born to invent things.
Some are born to raise children.
Some are born to teach.
Some are born to lead people.
Some are born to follow.
What was I born to do?
And do so fully aware of how blessed that life is....and grateful for it.
That is what I born to do.
And do so fully aware of how blessed that life is....and grateful for it.
That is what I born to do.
May you find yourself on your day of birth feeling abundantly blessed.
May you know what you were born to do.
May you live that purpose out well.
Being laid off from a job.
Having a marriage end.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Losing a child.
These are all things that, when I hear about them, I think "I don't know if I could handle that". I bet you have thought the same thing....
The last one is the hardest for me. As a mom who fiercely loves her 4 children, the thought of losing one brings me to tears. How could I survive that? How could I ever be a happy gal again? How would I ever be able to go on?
Here is the thing. I know moms who have had to find answers to these questions. They have had to struggle through the heart breaking grief. They have had to go on.
I marvel at them.
I admire them.
I pray for them.
I learn from them.
A few story snapshots...
Recently a family within our church suffered an incredible loss. Their family of 4 were having a picnic at a local park when a car lost control on the nearby street and hit them. They lost their 7 year old, precocious, sweet little boy in that moment. How do you get past that loss?
A special woman in our family got the call that 2 of her 4 daughters were in a car accident. Inexplicably, she lost a daughter that night. How can you smile again after that unfairness?
A young woman from our town was abducted and killed. Her mom is what has prompted me to write this blog entry.
I have been thinking about these questions for a few months now. In each of these situations the parent have shown grace, perseverance, and illustrated that there is a way to "get through". I have wanted to write about it. But I didn't have any good answers to the "how" questions...........
Until the other day.
I was grocery shopping. I had finished and got in line to check out. Who was my check out gal? The mom of the murdered girl.
I love this woman. I don't know her at all, but I love her. She is a shiny bright light every time I see her. She is always smiling. She is kind and personable. She is amazing to me.
So what happened the other day to bring an answer? Glad you asked. :)
She was talking about something that was a hard time for someone else....a job loss. She said, "sometimes you just have to get through by laying one brick on top of the last one....till you have a big strong wall".
I have not stopped thinking about this since.
Bricks and Mortar.
What are the bricks?
I think that the bricks can be:
Each brick in our life's "wall" symbolizes something that make us who we are.
Each wall is unique.
They can be laid in different patterns.
They can be different shapes.
They can be forming different size walls.
What is mortar?
Mortar is the the workable paste that binds the bricks together. Mortar is usually made up of limestone, sand and a cement.
The mortar is the glue.
The mortar is what helps to build a strong wall that can withstand many things.
The mortar creates a mighty structure that can endure an impact.
It forms a sturdy barrier that can survive a storm.
I live in the midwest. Tornados can appear in a blink of an eye and wipe out a town, village or neighborhood. I am always amazed at the home that is vanished....except for the brick fireplace.
Except for the built-to-last-with-steadfast-mortar brick fireplace.
I wonder what makes up the mortar of the parents of the 7 year old boy?
I wonder what ingredients are in the mortar of the woman who lost one of her 4 beautiful daughters.
I wonder what is in the mortar blend of my favorite grocery store check out woman?
Everyone's mortar will look different. But what does mine look like?
What makes up my mortar? What do I have in my life that will is helping to build my life's wall? Will it stand strong if, or when, I need it to?
For me there are a few ingredients.
Faith, Family and Friendship....and in that order.
My faith in God is the ever growing foundation for who I am and who I want to be. He is the ingredient that can endure any impact, sustain any storm wind and remain standing at the end of it all. I can hold strong to my life's wall and survive anything.
Would it be bearable? No.
Would it be easy? Not a chance.
Would I do it with grace? Probably not every day.
But...could I do it...and still shine a bright light? Yes, with the help of my mortar.
May your life's wall be built strongly.
May your life's wall endure the storms.
May you know what makes up your mortar.
Everyone has a metaphorical road map of their journey through life. Each person's life path would look different if it were mapped out. Some of those maps have detours and rest stops....some have merging traffic areas and cross walks..... some show slower country roads and speedy interstates...some have pit stops and others have complete u-turns! Each of us has a map that we can look back on that has a route that we didn't see ahead. The sign posts along the way were blank and vague.
Don't you wish that the sign post would be clearly marked? Don't you long for the clearly labeled map? Don't you want the destination to be transparent and highlighted?
What is funny, when given perspective, is how more alike some of our paths are than previously thought.
My example of that is my brother and I and our maps.
Matthew is 15 months younger than me. He and I were very different growing up...and still are in many ways. Matthew went to college, got his bachelor's and masters. I went to college and failed to get a degree. I got married after college and started a family soon there after. Matthew dove head first into the business world after school and waited for marriage. Matthew loves to work out. Ummm......let's just say I would prefer to poke a fork in my eye than go running. ;) We are quite different.
But we are also very similar. Matthew and I are both incrediblely passionate about what we believe in. We are both intelligent in differing areas. We both were given the DNA gifts of drive, creativity, entrepreneurship...and stubborness.
If we were to both take out our maps and look at them, our lives' paths look very different
as well........but similar too.
This past month I have done just that..... taken the maps out and pondered about how much we have flip flopped...or traded... our maps.
My map........ up until a short time ago.....
~went to college
~failed out of college
~"merged" with Craig, got married at 21
~took the detour of expectedness and went to cosmetology school
~had my first of 4 children at 24
~had 3 more children over the next 13 years
~established great clienteles in a few different salons...but longed to be a real
~changed thousands of diapers, wiped hundreds of runny noses, said
"because I said so" more times than I can remember.
(and I said I would never say it!)
~moved with my family many times.
Matthew's map....up until a short time ago....
~went to college and graduated
~went for his masters in business and graduated
~took the on ramp to the entreprenureial world with passion
~sped down the interstate by launching several incredible start ups
~owned..and still does...several businesses
~"merged" with Shana, got married and desired to be a dad
~shares his passion for networking with the communities he has his life in
Very different maps. But the thing that stands out to me is that he had a desire to be a parent and I had a desire to be a legitimate business person. Neither of those longings negates the importance of what we had been doing...it just was a need.
So, about a month ago our maps did a flip flop. Within three days of each other our desires became real for us both........
On April 27th Matthew and his sweet, beautiful wife, Shana, gave birth to their first child! Gavin arrived safely much to the delight of family and friends...but mostly to 2 people who had yearned for him for a long time! My brother finally became a dad.
On April 30th, our family broke ground in our backyard to make way for a studio addition for my business. Cellar Designs' legitimate studio was born that day. I had (for myself), finally become a real business woman.
While Matthew was delighting at the sight of amazingly tiny kissable feet,
I was rejoicing at the sight of strong concrete footings being poured.
While Matthew was building a foundation of fatherhood by reading to Gavin, I was watching the foundation of a business being built up for Cellar Designs.
I believe it is so that we can, as adults, learn from each other's map. I am constantly wanting to (figuratively) take out Matthew's map and get guidance from it. I talk to him and glean knowledge about the business world from him. And I am pretty sure that my map of mothering 4 kiddos might be a great resource for him in the years to come. We can share our map (life) lessons with each other and, hopefully, succeed in what our hearts' have desired for many years.
April of 2012 will always be about birth for both of us.
A chance at something always hoped for.
A destination that had been on the map....but not found...until April.
For that...and for both of us...I am grateful.
May you be open to the detours, speed bumps and pit stops of your life's map.
May you know that your longings and desires can happen...if you are patient.
May you be wise enough to look over the shoulder onto someone else's map.....
May you love the journey.
What is a fair wage? What amount of money is an appropriate compensation? What exactly do you see as a good income number? Am I making enough? Do I deserve more for the hours of work I put in? Does my boss value me? How come that person makes more than I do? Should I ask for a raise? If only I made more I could afford that new outfit. If only I was paid more I could go on trips. If only I had more money I would be happy.
These are all questions that we have all asked ourselves at one point and time or another. I know that, for me, I had these thoughts many times when working I was 12 hour days in a salon....or when I am up painting till midnight in the quiet of our house. We all think these things. We all do. Even you. It is natural.
The only problem with this is that, for me, my job that holds the most responsibility doesn't have easy answers. That job, of course, is my position as CMO.
Chief Momma-ing Officer!
Being a mom is the hardest, most challenging, frustrating, joy-producing, exhausting, exhilerating, tear-your-hair-out, worry-generating, humbling and amazing job I will ever hold. There are days (and nights when they are babies...and teens!) that I would like to throw the towel in, give up or trade with someone else. Anyone else. :)
But...there are days when I wouldn't change jobs for anything. Any one thing.
So, how do we get compensated for this job? What is the pay off? Why won't the government offer a tax deduction for CMOs? What is a fair wage for this position? Where are the rewards?
These questions rarely get answered.....in a practical way.
But, if you choose to look in the right places you will find the answers.
For me, they come by way of notes, letters... and texts.
The other morning my youngest, Noah, dug deep down into his backpack. He was looking for something. He said, "Momma, I made you something the other day but it isn't in my Thursday folder. It has to be in here somewhere." I couldn't see any of his carrot red hair as his whole noggin was inside his backpack trying to find this thing he had made! Then the red hair emerged and his freckled face arose from the abyss with a huge grin and raised his hand in the air. In his hand was a crumpled piece of white paper.
"Here it is Momma! I found it!". I carefully uncrumpled it and found.......a paycheck.
A big, fat paycheck!!
I mes you today. I'll love forever and ever. I can't wat to see you after scool today.
A precious note from a 1st grader is just one paycheck. Others are a treasured letter, from our son, found back at home after Craig and I returned from moving him into his dorm room freshman year of college...... a clump of flowering weeds, held by a sweet little dude, picked for his momma....or a high school English assignment that is written about me, given as a gift for Christmas, by my amazing daughter.........or a text that says "loveya momma"..............
Sigh. There are the answers. These are appropriate compensation. That income number is enough....in fact it is plenty. My boss values me. I couldn't possibly want more. Paid in full.
I have my answers. I just need to remind myself of them...sometimes .
May you love your job.
May you receive the compensation that you need.
May you look for the answers in the right areas.
May you feel valued for what you do.
May you be grateful for the answers.
I recently was in Boston. It was not my first visit to the city but it was the first time that I really was able to take in the sites and get a good feel for it. I loved it! It had an energy to it that was palpable. Some of that, I am sure, was due to the fact that the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds were being played there. I had gone to watch my Badgers...and saw them play their best game of the year only to lost to the #1 seed by ONE point. Sigh.....
Oh my, sorry, I digress. The Badgers and Packers have a way of doing that to me... Back to the story.
The energy in Boston was amazing. That city oozed intelligence (over 300,000 college students) and overflowed with the "salt of the earth" quality of the people. I love that combo! As we toured around on our trolley bus I took lots of pictures. I kept noticing that many of the buldings, entryways, churches and gates to the different universities and colleges had quotes or mottos engraved on them.
This one was at one of the entrances to Harvard University.
"Enter to grow in wisdom"
I am sure that the many who are admitted into Harvard already are quite intelligent. But there is a difference between being smart and having wisdom. Wisdom is gained with maturity....exactly what will happen to those students who cross that threshold and experience college for 4 (or more!) years.
This one was on the side of a beautiful historic church.
"Behold I have set before thee an open door."
I love the power of these words. An open door. For me...this is a beautiful image of God. He is an open door. We can walk in or out through it. It is each person's choice to make. God's open invitation. This choice we have is a right that I am grateful that we all have.
These 2 photos started me thinking. The words that companies, teams, organizations and homes use to mark their thresholds can be so powerful, encouraging and set a tone for all. Some examples are.....
This is on the threshold of a library.
(notice the "open door" again...)
These words are what you would read when entering the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
These simple 3 words greet people at a exquisite church.
This banner adorns the tunnel entrance for the Green Bay Packers!!!
And, (humor me one more time here folks!),
this plaque is hung on the wall of that entrance for all players to see
and feel the pride that history of this team brings.
I am not sure where this one was taken but there are signs like it all over the world....
in the halls of locker rooms everywhere.
Players touch these words before they leave for the field, court or rink.
The words are a last minute "pep talk" to help them focus on why they play the game.
So this led me to think about what kind of motto or statement would hang in other people's homes. Shouldn't we all have a motto or touchpoint that makes a clear statement for our lives and how we want to live them? Shouldn't we all have words hung on our threshold that send us off out into the world with a sense of purpose and who we are?
I thought about what words I would want to hang above the threshold for our home....
Silly me... we have some!! Many years ago I painted my first "typography" project. It was on an old, weathered piece of barnwood. I wanted it to be words that defined our family and what was important to us. It hangs in our kitchen, above the door to our patio and backyard. I know it isn't above the main threshold of our home but our kitchen seems to be the heart of the home anyways.
It says SIMPLE GIFTS, and is flanked by words that represent
what we see has the gifts that we have been blessed with in our lives...
LOVE, LIFE, LAUGHTER and FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS.
This is a beautiful handpainted ceramic tile piece of art that is at our front door.
It has been in Craig's family for many years hanging in his grandparents home.
We are honored to have it in our home.
And this is by our back door to the garage. It is the last thing we see before we leave our home.
It is a license plate that was owned by Craig's grandparents.
His family says it means "God's Blessings" in Dutch.
Other translations I found say it means "named best".
It can be like that touchpoint for the athlete going out on the field for our family.
When we see it, as we go out into our days, we can focus on the blessings and
what we are named for..... and live that out.
May you encounter many open doors in your life.
May you have gained wisdom through maturity.
May you have used that wisdom to discover what your motto for life is.
May you use those words to focus your eyes on your purpose.
May you find a way to have those words grace the threshold of your abode.
May you live them out well, fully and with passion.
Have you ever been driving on a perfectly sunny day and suddenly you see a rainbow in the bright blue sky? How many times have you had a big rain storm pass over and seen a vivid rainbow as the rain ceases? Have you seen a rainbow in the middle of a storm cloud? Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by the beauty of those rainbows? Have they ever taken your breath away? Have you thought about why they were there?
I have. Literally....and figuratively.
This is one of the most beautiful photos I think I have ever seen! A rare complete rainbow. A double rainbow. The inspiring single tree. The brilliant light. The road. The small glimpses of a blue sky in the background. The incredible symemetry of the colors.
I am so inspired by rainbows! This blog is about the inspirations and life lessons that shape me...and Cellar Designs. So I just want to share with you some of my thoughts, musings and lessons that I take from rainbows.
In the photo above I am so intrigued by the light that seems to be concentrated under the rainbow. I love the gorgeous light that is cast on the tops of the trees branches. The rest of the sky is dark but under the rainbow it is bright. The road is also dark until it reaches the light of the rainbow. I also fascinated by the fact that the red in the first rainbow is on the outside but the red on the second is on the inside. I think it is incredible that this beautiful natural phenomenon is right in the midst of stormy clouds.
For some of you this peaks your scientific yearnings. Me too... But, for me more than science, this touches my spiritual core. I look at a rainbow and see God. I see the things He wants me to learn, see, realize and know.
I feel like that tree sometimes. Alone, isolated, yet strong and enduring with numerous branches outstretched toward the warmth of light. I see the wonders of the reflective colors and think that it is God's way of saying "I am the first rainbow and you are a reflection of me." I think that sometimes things in life seem like a bit of a storm but the gift of a rainbow is the assurance of safety and the hope that is ahead.
I had an unexpected rainbow in my life. His name is Noah.
It was late April of 2004. I was 37 years old. I had 3 great kids. Zack was turning the corner to teenage years, Taylor was 9 and Luke was almost 3. It had not been easy conceiving Luke and needed a bit of assistance from great docs. I had been told we were done having children and I was fine with that! We were done with diapers. We had given away our baby stuff...the crib, strollers, carseats and clothes. I was starting to dream of going back to school. I was wanting to get my degree...finally. I was leaning toward something that would land me, one day, a job as a high school guidance counselor.
Then I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor, leaning up against island... crying and holding a pregnancy test. I was pregnant. Are you kidding me? Really? How could I be pregnant? It is medically impossible! My body wasn't equipped and able to concieve any more. We were done. I had plans. 4 kids?! What is Craig going to say? Oh my.........
Those feelings lasted just a few days. I had a choice. I could continue to be bummed by this unplanned pregnancy. I could keep on crying. OR..... I could embrace it. I could be thankful for the gift. I could try to find the lesson in it. I could be grateful.
Fast forward to today....
It is late March 2012. I am 44 years old. I have 4 perfectly imperfect children that drive me crazy, make me beam with pride and humble me daily. Zack is 20, Taylor is 16, Luke is almost 11 and Noah is 7. We have, once again, given away all the baby stuff. I didn't go back to school. I am content with my Master's degree in Mothering! (some of my grades were not the best, but I learned alot!) The new dream that replaced the old one, of a business, has been realized. I didn't need to find a job as a high school guidance counselor because I have found more joy and purpose in serving and leading in our church's high school ministry. Every Wednesday night a large group of the most amazing teens come to our house and hang out.
I am very grateful. Noah Scott was that unexpected rainbow.
I felt like I was in the midst of a big storm that spring day in 2004. As those storm clouds lifted I found strength in the light.... faith in the mirror image of the rainbow's colors..... and the promise that the road ahead would be illuminated.
Rarely do I get to make a sign in rainbow colors...but here are two of my favorites.
Noah is an unexpected rainbow...every day! A few weeks ago he made a necklace at school. They were "friendship necklaces". Each color bead meant a different thing and then they got to pick the animal for the center. Each animal had a different meaning. Noah picked the dolphin but said he was torn between that and the elephant or turtle. The dolphin represents "playfulness, kindess, & friendship". He loves his necklace. It is perfect for him... he is a spirited playful guy who has a sweet, kind heart and has not met a person he wouldn't become friends with!
Thank God he was born.
May you happen upon a rainbow one day soon.
May you stand in awe at its beauty.
May it stop you in your tracks and make you think about big stuff.
May it provide a warmth and a light for your life.
I have a teenage daughter. I have the privilege to lead a small group of teenage girls weekly.
I didn't like being a teenager. I have a heart for teenage young women.....
That very heart breaks when I see my daughther, her friends and other teenage girls(and guys for that matter) look at themselves and their lives and do not see what I do, or others do. That heart breaks when I remember back to when I felt the same way. Being a teenager is tough. At times it feels like it is the "best time of my life"...and others it just plain old sucks. (I hate that word but it is applicable in few cases, this being one) Being a teenage girl was not the best time of my life. I wasn't confident, didn't think anyone would ever choose me and was confused on who I really was.
I wish someone could have told me, when I was 16, exactly what my life was going to look like at 40. I wish I could have had a sneak peek into the future. I would have loved to see who I was going to become so that I could have a picture in my mind of what to work toward. If only someone........had show me the future.....
If someone could have told me that I would be content, happy, loved, confident, worthy, fun, deserving....
If someone would have disclosed to me that I would still have fears, doubts,
If someone could have shown me a photo of what I would look like...
If someone would have shared with me the stories of troubles that I was going to have.....
If someone could have said "don't worry about that boy who broke your heart...
.......a better man is around the corner"!
If someone would have divulged to me the secrets of true friendship....
If someone could have revealed to me that my faith would get me through everything.
If someone would have shown me a mirror that didn't tell me my own lies about my beauty.
If someone could have mentioned to me that one day, even though I couldn't finish college,
that I would own my own thriving business.
If someone would have shown me that one day I would know what my greatest purpose was.
If someone could have communicated to me the fact that I had a light that I was not seeing.
But if someone had....then none of the above would have been true.
I really believe that if I had been given the chance to see what was ahead then it would have altered the end result. Who I am today is because of all the junk and joy that has happened over the years.. It is because I had the courage (and somedays there was NO courage found on my own!) and a quiet faith, that I grew up, learned many hard lessons and became who I am today. I love this quote.....
You can never cross the ocean
unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
If I had been given the chance to see the shore I wouldn't have learned to let go of things and trust God in my life. I wouldn't have seen that God had put a light inside of me that was to guide me on my path. I believe that we have all been given this gift of a light within.
Sometimes it seems like it has extinguished itself. Sometimes it feels like it is flickering. Sometimes it is difficult to see. But it is there. It has been handed to us gently to use. It can shine in how we treat others, how we love, what we do in life.....but also, how we look at ourselves. If we use this light for good it can be amazing to see how many other lights begin to shine around us.
What a beautiful sight this is!
If only someone would tell all of us that this is possible if we
all just let our own lights shine bright.
If only I could state to my incredible daughter that she is beautiful
and she would instantly believe it.
If only we could use our lights to show all teenage girls(and boys!) their inherent value and
then they embrace it.
If only they could see that one day they will be one of those exquisite floating lanterns...
soaring to new heights and illuminating the way for others to follow.
May you believe the truth about who you are.
May you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
May you let your light shine.
May your light be like a flashlight on someone else's path....helping them to see the road ahead.