Sunday, August 31, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: 10

10. (ten, oh my goodness! Hooray!)
Today I am thankful for the gift of presence. (not to be misread as the gift of presents). But presence is a present. An increasingly difficult gift to receive or to give in our rude, interrupted society. Rude seems a harsh term, but our children demand our attention, our computers demand our attention, our cell phones (texts, phone calls, social media updates) demand our attention, even my microwave demands my attention. In all this chaos, there is a sweet serenity of undistracted intentional attention. A gift, when given and received, that creates such closeness between friends.
Today I was gifted with such sweet time with a friend who has moved away to a different town. We have not been able to visit for over a year in person, she with a new baby, I with new commitments and two of my three young ones in school.
And? Our children played for the most part without needing our attention and we could be attentive and speak and listen and it was so wonderful!
The time flew by, and we edified and enriched and encouraged and empathized and all of this without checking our phones or the clock or the computer.
We were able to just "be" with each other in the comfort of my living room and catch up and share thoughts and ideas and dreams.
Truly, this is a gift that our older generations still represent much better than we do and we must must MUST not let it go. We need to model the gift of presence to this next generation or it will be lost in the demanding model of society today.
I am blessed to have several friends that are gifted in presence. My husband is well gifted as he does not have the habit of interrupting nor does he have a smart phone and he best expresses love in "Quality Time" (5 Love Languages).
I hope the next time I see you, I can present you with the gift of presence as well.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #11

11. Today I am thankful for well-child checkups. My daughter had her "7 year old" well-child exam yesterday. She's growing and staying to the same growth course she's been on for the past few years. 50th for height and weight. For many of us, we take these milestones for granted.
I have friends who have been through so much medically with their children and we have prayed with them, rejoiced with them, cried with them, and at the end of the day, you hug your kids a little tighter, knowing that life is a gift.
I am thankful that though we have had some medical reasons to visit the doctor apart from the normal schedule, that we have been spared anything major. Most of the time, our ailing is a virus that needs rest and fluids and perhaps a little fever-breaking intervention.
I also want to take this time for you still reading to lift up those children you do know that need extra care. Prayer for their parents who sometimes feel helpless to help them, prayer for the doctors to be wise in their treatments, prayer for the little bodies to respond well. Peace for the parents that they will not be exhausted trying to control the uncontrollable circumstances.
Prayer that those little boys and girls will grow up to be leaders, kind and compassionate, making the most of their lives.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #12

12. Today I am thankful for friendship. Dave and I were blessed to have some good friends over for dinner tonight. Their kids and our kids don't get to play together too often as we live on opposite sides of town and attend different churches, but every time we DO get together, it's wonderful!
We had the pleasure of two couples tonight as her parents also joined us. How wonderful to have multigenerational fellowship! We gain so much from each other!
Truly, just as "man was not meant to be alone", we, even as couples, need and long for friendship and fellowship. It was great to eat good food and just enjoy each others' company without need for any other entertainment.
Though Facebook is very helpful to me to ask for props for teaching or to organize an event, it does very little to help me feel filled.
Interacting over the internet does not satisfy my longing for company.
I prefer faces to facebooks.
And that is why I am thankful for friendship.
And recipes online.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #13

13. Today I am thankful for confidence. Not the confidence of secrecy, though that kind of confidence can be good as well. No, the confidence that allows for action. The "sureness" or resolution that says "I'm going to try!"
The ability to attempt success even if the certainty is not there.
Confidence is freedom. Freedom to move beyond the shackles of fear. Freedom to stand and say, "I'm challenged but I'm not giving up!"
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." (2 Cor 4:8-9)
My Dad, Ronald, took me and my siblings along with him on service calls in his early days as an appliance repairman. He would explain to us what he was doing as he took things apart, diagnosed, repaired, and reassembled. He encouraged us to try to do things for ourselves. My husband is also teaching our daughters this. He seems less bothered by the wailing and fussing of little girls who are challenged with doing tasks for themselves and will stand strong, knowing that they need to struggle in order to succeed.
Today I was able to go to a friend's house and take apart her dishwasher and remove a part, she's got it ordered, and next week I get to put in the new one! Hoorah! (She had already taken some of it apart herself, lest you think I am going to get her a steeper repair bill!)
Confidence can come through the knowing that you will not be destroyed, though you may be scarred. Past successes grow our confidence.
The question is, in whom do you trust?
For appliance repairs, I'm starting to trust a parts warehouse website with video tutorials and fast shipping. I'm just the laborer, not the "doctor".
For life's overwhelming challenges, my hope is in Jesus Christ.
And that's why I'm thankful for confidence.

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #14

14. Today I am thankful for protection.
I don't like feeling stuck or trapped. After bringing lunch to our school for the teachers in inservice today, a sheriff's deputy was shot and the suspect went on the run. The principal told us we were in lockdown-nobody could leave or enter.
I was with my three daughters and a friend who had also brought lunch had her sons there. We sorted through donated uniforms for our school for the better part of two hours until we were finally given permission to leave.
Though I felt trapped, I felt safe. All the teachers were at the school and I had time for a pre-conference with one. It was not how I'd foreseen my day, but it was time well spent.
Please pray for the deputy who was shot twice at close range.


The deputy is in stable but critical condition at the hospital in Portland, Oregon. The suspect was captured early this morning.
(And that is why this post was on my Facebook yesterday but I didn't get around to putting it on here. I promise I am posting these daily!!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #15

15. Today I am thankful for answered prayers.
Now, let's be honest, sometimes I haven't been very happy with the answer to some of my prayers. I prayed for a woman to either be healed or mercifully taken to heaven and the next morning she left the earth. That was not the answer I wanted. I wanted her to be healed, but she was eternally healed versus temporarily healed with death still looming as her exit from earth.
Today, a fierce battle had ensued at my home. A child was upset over a toy being taken away and a very loud assault on my ears had ensued. After she kicked my shin, she was in her room with the door shut, still ear-splitting shrieking.
Her younger sister came back into the house and said her sister "is screaming at me." I said "No, she's screaming at Mommy because she's upset."
That child then said, "Mommy can I pray?" (I thought she was going to ask a blessing on her breakfast) "Sure"
"Dear God, please help *my sister* to stop screaming at Mama."
(sister had been at it for over 5 minutes in that bedroom by now)
Within a minute, instant calm and quiet in the house.
*notices* "Mama, *sister* stop screaming."
"Yes, God answered your prayer."
*child sits there, letting it soak in*
I think there are times where we pray and the wanted answer is in line with scripture, and God gives us that quick answer to strengthen our faith in Him. There are other times we don't get that quick answer because He's working inside us and in our faith. Depending on ourselves is exhausting, and sometimes an unanswered prayer leads to desperation to complete surrender to absolute peace in His ability to handle overwhelming circumstances.
And the answer today? "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10a
That is why I am thankful for answered prayer.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown #16

16. Today I am thankful for life-saving skills. For centuries, people have had healing abilities and have trained others so that more lives could be saved. From proper hand-washing techniques, to covering our coughs and sneezes, to formal medical training, all these skills are taught and improved upon.
I had First Aid/CPR training today and learned a couple new things, but as we went through some of the emergency scenarios, I was reminded of each of my children and the life-savers that have kept my children alive.
My pain relief during labor and delivery was causing my daughter's heart rate to decline, and the doctors and nurses got her out of my body in a faster manner to save her life. My youngest was breathing 60 breaths per minute and the doctors and nurses in the ER were able to help stabilize her, administer medicines, and after a good 12 hours, we were finally at normal oxygen saturation for her. My second-born cut the top of her foot open while camping this summer, and we were able to get the bleeding stopped, drive her back into town and get her wound cleaned, stitched, and now she's back to her normal five year-old self with just a small mark on her skin.
For all my friends who are in the medical profession, I am thankful for your selflessness to serve others. It is not an easy line of work, but a noble one.
And, my husband has had many wounds and stitches in his life, so for each of these life-saving skills that somebody taught and somebody learned, I am thankful.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness:A Countdown: #17

17. Today I am thankful for teamwork.
It was our last outdoor worship service for the summer. There were 4 musicians working as one today and our combined talents made for such a pleasant offering.
Alone, music can be good, but harmony comes from working together: both musically and in general.
My husband is such a great team player when it comes to parenting. If not for him, I would be unable to serve musically on Sundays. He and I work together so well, that our 10 years have been very enjoyable. Our goals and values are similar, so our few conflicts rarely last more than a few hours.
Other than keeping a colicky infant away from him, we've not had to sleep "on the couch" as we long for that peace. He is my best friend and partner. Can't wait for our celebration!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: A Countdown #18

18. Today I am thankful for thoughtfulness. I'll candidly tell you that though it was a fun summer and that it flew by, it was a different summer. I am a homebody at heart and enjoy routine and seeing good friends regularly.
This summer had a lot of traveling and short trips and seeing friends I hadn't seen in years. (honestly-over 4 years for two of them!)
It meant that when we were home, however, we were fairly isolated.
Still, I have had friends recently that have sought me out and made time for me and made me feel welcome. That means more than I can say. To feel wanted, to be made to feel valuable-that you have something to offer in friendship and these people feel you are worth the time and energy and effort it takes to maintain a friendship. Well, I hope that I reciprocate and initiate and cause others to feel valued as well.
It can sometimes take just one sentence to make a week's difference for a friend. So, if you really like their photograph or statement on Facebook, would you take the time to comment and actually tell them?
Thank you for taking time for me. Your thoughtfulness has filled my heart with worth and value!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #19

19. (eeek! in the teens already! yaaay!)
Today I am thankful for truth.
It is easier to be bombarded by opinions now than ever before, as we have made ourselves accessible through phones and computers and the internet to all sorts of voices. Some of the voices are positive, some are negative, some are all true, some are not true at all.
But, in the din, the noisy din, (Phantom Tollbooth, anyone?)
there is still room for that still small voice of truth.
"You are fearfully and wonderfully made."
I wrote a post on BraveGirl Community today that was difficult to write. I didn't want to put myself out there like this, but it's not about me. It's about God and His Holy Spirit is working in my heart and in the world today to spread the truth. The glory goes to Him and Him alone. If my words touch you, know that it's not me, but my God who loves you and enables me to love you too.
Many are capable of lying, but it takes strength to speak the truth.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #20

20. I am thankful for failure. I am glad that we have to work at things and are not instantly successful at all things. For the mastery of skill comes out of multiple attempts. A piano piece committed to memory can be lost if not kept in practice-as can a foreign language.
Trained muscles lose their tone when not kept in training.
Few things will be "always", but working at something until you get it brings a deep satisfaction that has no external value. It's not available on Amazon. I am helping my husband on our Project Touring Barracuda, and our brake system is still working out its bubbles.
I am getting time with him while we tackle the challenge together. We have understanding of a shared foe.
Our teamwork is part of our success. We have to problem-solve our many parenting challenges/failures, and our bond is deeper because of it.
This is why I am thankful for failure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #21

21. Today I am thankful for independence. This is funny as I like to be in control, but as my three daughters grow and become more independent, I find our relationship changing from one of dependence to one of balance.
Today I got out of bed hastily when I heard the beep of our toaster announcing the hot contents were ready to be removed. What I discovered was my responsible seven year old with both halves of the bagel already on the saucer, preparing to butter them. "Mom, these ones are for you and me. I already made Jaelle and Naomi's."
They can all open the refrigerator now and grab a yogurt (and know how to open them carefully). The oldest will also open yogurt for her sisters if they have trouble.
So, beyond independence, I am thankful to see fruit of our labor beginning to appear.

This also gives me hope that we'll be more punctual this school year. A challenge as all three are in school for three of the five weekdays, but knowing they can do some of the breakfast work themselves gives me more time to help the youngest if she needs it!
I am thankful they can all work their own seat belts, toileting, clothing, and well, I'm just enjoying their independence.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown #22

22. Today I am thankful for separation.
I really don't like good-byes. Not in the least bit. I don't like being apart from those I love. But that is why I am thankful for separation. Because it's in those times of being apart that you realize what you have. What you miss. What you may have taken for granted when you were overwhelmed with the stress of being in the same space for long periods of time.
Truly, I miss and appreciate my parents and siblings so much more today than I did when I was a self-absorbed high school student! I would love to live in the same town with them, but the separation causes our intentional reunions to be that much richer and fuller, and we value quick resolve to conflicts as our time always seems too short.
Though I may never get the privilege of having all my family live in the same town (again) until heaven, I cherish the time we are together and use it more meaningfully than I used to.
I also love the weekends because we get my husband at home all the day instead of those brief three hours between dinner and bedtime (for the kids). During the week, we eagerly await his arrival after work because we feel his absence during the day. And, David has something to look forward to when he's done with work. His own personal fan club!
And all of this is why I am thankful for separation.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown to my 10th Wedding Anniversary: #23

23. Today I am thankful for perseverance/not giving up.
I am organized and really get bothered when the kids receive a toy and we're missing a piece. We've been able, due to my quirkiness, to keep track of basically every part to every toy they've received for the last seven years.
You can imagine, then, my dismay when the summer began and one of my daughter's flip flops lost its mate. We went to the ocean in May, and after that trip, I could not find the twin. Last summer we'd spent "more than $5" on pairs of flip flops for the older two in hopes they'd last another summer.
I thoroughly searched their bedroom as the solo "sole" was found under their bed.
Today, after three MONTHS and the purchase of a larger pair (that will last next summer as well), guess what turned up in an odd place?
I told my friend JoAnn that God is a great finder of lost things. Here is just another example.
I debated many times if I should just throw away the shoe, but I did not want to admit defeat. "What if it shows up and I threw away the mate?"
I believe God also does not give up on us, though many times others choose to throw us away, not willing that our second chance should ever manifest.
And, we can similarly choose to keep holding on to that promise, that hope we've clung to, though it seems we'll never see it in our lifetime.
He'll never give up on me. " And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A countdown. #24

24. Today I am thankful for teaching. One of my first piano students dropped by before leaving town for college. She was nine and received lessons for Christmas/her birthday.
I have learned so much through teaching and love the mentoring I've had one-on-one with so many bright young people!
Group teaching is rewarding and challenging in different ways and I enjoy it as well.
I love being able to affirm people and to help them see value in themselves and their abilities. To be able to solve problems and the satisfaction of grasping a difficult concept or skill--and the reward of perseverance and mastery!
Oh how rewarding to see parents at a Christmas recital or concert and show them what their student was capable of!
And that is why I am thankful for teaching

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown: #25

25. I am thankful for change. I actually do not enjoy change much at all. I feel safe when I have a plan, a routine, something marked out on my calendar three months from now. But, I am THANKFUL for change. I cannot remain the same. I must grow and change to become more like Christ and less like the selfish, helpless infant I was when I entered the world.
It was so hard eleven years ago to drive cross-country without a plan and arrive in a tiny town in Oregon, with one friend from grade school waiting for me.
But, the result of that choice and change is that I am about to celebrate my 10th Wedding Anniversary with my best friend.
Having children has changed my life and it is so much more challenging than I could ever have imagined, but I am learning about grace and about how God sees me and there are things I'm letting go of that have needed to be gone for years and He's prying them out of my hands and I'm getting freedom!
Getting braces caused a gap in my smile the size of a front tooth as they were spreading my jaw....I had a definite "ugly duckling" period and yet at my heaviest, with a full mouth of braces, my sweet Dave saw the beauty inside me that won't change when my body is deteriorating!
So, though I detest the process and feel so unstable when change is happening, I look back and I am thankful for change.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown to my 10th Wedding Anniversary #26

26. Today I am thankful for help. I often want to be independent and find it difficult to ask for help, but I really enjoy helping others. I believe others enjoy helping me and slowly I've been able to accept help when I'm desperate.
I also feel that God is trying to get me to give up control-especially things I could not control but want to-and so I am at a point where I have asked for and am receiving help in a great void of control in my life.
It is through helping others that we receive intrinsic rewards-the kind that will not be taken away from us when we die.
I hope that I help others when they need it, instead of shrugging my shoulders and walking away. That I will always be available if someone should need help. That Dave and I will manage our resources of time, energy, money, in a reasonable manner so that we can help to the best of our abilities. Others have been at that point and have helped us.
So yes, I am thankful for help.
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-A Countdown. #27

27. I am thankful for dreams. Last night I had a dream that I was at a conference and people were praying and I began spontaneously singing a new song.
One of the overhead lights became brighter and more intense than anything in the room and almost blinded me as I sang. I had such awareness of God's presence!
The Bible speaks of old men having visions and young men dreaming dreams.
Though my bad dreams are also vivid, I have received great peace in my sleep and am thankful He communicates this way!

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-Day 28

28. Today I am thankful for people. I was delighted to wake to sounds of laughter and helpfulness (vs quarreling) amongst my 3 girls.
I crave relationship and fellowship and am so glad not to be alone on an island, though I do appreciate times of quiet.
And, if you are reading this, I am thankful for you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-a countdown. #29

Thirty Days of Thankfulness-countdown to my 10th Wedding Anniversary

29. I am thankful for pain. Not that I enjoy pain. Quite the opposite, but I am thankful that there is something out there to teach me. That I can continue to grow. In light of pain, then I am ever more aware of its opposite: pleasure.
If you have ever tasted fruit that is not ripe, and then you get a good piece, well, you know what I am getting at. I am grateful that we can learn from small amounts of pain and be prevented some of the larger amounts out there.
It is during times of pain that I have also received great comfort and love from others, and had I no pain, I would not have the depth of appreciation from those persons.
Once we have experienced pain, we are better at reaching out to those in similar pain.
To me, pain causes us (if we allow it to) to become more compassionate and caring and appreciative in life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

30 Days of Thankfulness

Many of my friends on Facebook are posting challenges and tagging names to encourage us to spend our time reflecting on the good in our lives. This is a great exercise, but I really don't like guilt and obligation in general. Much like chain letters of the past, you feel negativity overwhelming the good that is trying to be accomplished.

So, I will be instead counting down to my tenth wedding anniversary.
These will be short posts, but I am going to post for the next 30 days one thing that I am thankful for as I count down to the celebration of one of the best changes of my life-from fiance to wife.

30. I am thankful for life. I will be turning 33 this October and truly, my thirties have been so full and rewarding (and not without challenge, of course.) Just before my 30th birthday, we welcomed our 3rd daughter. Just before her pregnancy, I was pregnant for a week before losing the pregnancy. Life will always become more precious after the experience of loss.
Each girl we have been given has been a joy and a blessing and a challenge and an opportunity to be less selfish.
So ultimately, I begin my thankfulness with life.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Color of Light
I've been educating myself on the primary colors lately.
If you research the primary colors of light, they are related to what our eyes see. The primary light colors are red, green, and blue. They are called primary additive colors.
When they are mixed, they produce the primary colors of pigment.
Pigment colors are called primary subtractive colors.
Here's a link with a more scientific explanation:
I chose not to quote the three initial paragraphs, but they are well-written and informed me well.

It had recently occurred to me that the Holy Trinity could be like the Primary Additive colors. You need all three to make light, but they are each unique. Red is very different from green, which is also different from blue. These colors all stir different feelings within me.

And, how different to have additive colors than subtractive colors.
In our world, we cannot live without the sun. We cannot create the sun, though we have artificial light.
We can mix paints and try to capture the beauty of the colors of light with the colors of pigment.

However, our palette is not true to light. When you mix all the subtractive (pigment) primary colors? You get black. We cannot artificially mix the colors and create the original colors of light.

So, in our counterfeit world, we try to replicate what God has created, but our best efforts are dark, whereas His mix of colors produces pure white light!

I don't know that I can really explain the way the Trinity functions, but I can point to the Father, the Son and the Spirit using the colors of light.

And? In pigment, we create green from yellow and blue. In light, green exists with blue and red. You cannot create it for yourself. Yellow is only a color of light with the absence of blue from the mix.
If we were to equate God the Father with Red, Jesus with Green, and the Holy Spirit with Blue, how could we tie this to the counterfeit colors of pigment versus light?

Man wants to believe that salvation is something to be had by all of our own effort, not depending on Jesus.
So in light, with the absence of the Holy Spirit, we can see yellow for the first time.
In paint, Yellow becomes our source of salvation. We mix it with what we think is the Holy Spirit and we get our self-reliant form of salvation (green).

We create our own Jesus in our pigmented world, because our color wheel is counterfeit and not true.
Our eyes have cones and when all three colors are balanced and present equally, we can see the true white light. If there is an imbalance, the light will be tinted to whichever side is out of balance.
In paint, we take out whichever colors we want until we attain the color we desire.

Also, if you try to lighten a color with black or white paint, it alters the color. Warm red becomes cool pink and loses its warmth and vibrancy. Black creates murkiness rather than simply darkening a color.

As followers of Christ, let us not look to ourselves for salvation, but to our Father who art in Heaven who sent His Son who lived, died, and rose again, and ultimately the Holy Spirit within us. With the three in balance in our lives, we will have a clear perspective of what is important, rather than trying to save ourselves with our own perfection (which is unattainable).


Friday, August 1, 2014

"Let's All Be Brave" Book Review

I'm sure that other bloggers are much more together than I am. That they take a book, receive an entire media promotion kit online and are savvy at all that beautiful photography that I admire.

Instead, this is an arm's length shot from my cell phone that I took to tell others I had received the book! :D

I'll be sincere and tell you that I did not get paid to read this book (which made the experience all the more of a pleasure!), but I did receive the book for free. I am a part of the Brave Girl Community and we were given the opportunity to receive this book electronically or in paperback if we'd be kind enough to read and review it.

Anytime I can hold a book in my hands and turn the pages, I make a deeper connection. Something about that ink on the paper that is permanent is more easily seared in my mind than simple pixels on a screen.

Enough about paper books and on to the contents!

If you are wondering why a book on being brave would appeal to you, just keep reading. You see, Annie, in her memoir-style writing, invites you into an intimate setting. She speaks so easily from her own experiences that afterward, you feel as though you were there for each of them.

Each chapter deals with a different aspect of bravery, whether it's the courage to say yes or the exact opposite, the courage to say no. Although each chapter left me with a great thought and a stirring in my heart, it was her chapter on "the why" that really spoke to me most.

She speaks about our purpose in our exact position.
"You know why we have to be brave? Because courage changes lives. And eternity."
I have never felt that staying-at-home with our three daughters was an act of bravery. Surely my mission field of junior high and high school teens was a greater cause?! Yet, she spoke to me from this book and said,
"You, my friend, married or single, female or male, you are blazing a trail with your life for the younger women and men behind you. They will have their own overgrowth to challenge them, and they will lead the way for others.
Because you are making a way for them, saving them some pain that your bloodied arms prove is real, and honoring their footsteps by providing a clear path.
Never forget as you step forward with your life that you are a trailblazer.
Someone is watching...

...seeing you be brave may be all they need to be brave. That may be all it takes."

So, this is just a taste of the many chapters of encouragement and life that will stir your Spirit and cause you to break free from the dullness and drudgery and dissatisfaction that you have been currently struggling against.

By the time you finish this book, those dreams that were once your greatest passion will no longer be distant regrets and memories, but the fires will once again be lit. You will again feel stirrings of greatness within you, for God has numbered your days and has set you in this exact time and place and town for a reason.

If I ever have the pleasure of meeting her in person, I hope only that I am as transparent and sincere as she has been and that I'll have the depth of friendship I've already experienced in reading this book.

I hope you will take the time to read this book. It is so easy to read that you could take it chapter-by-chapter, or read it in its entirety as I did.