Today. One day, set aside to lift up, recognize and celebrate women around the world. This is a big topic in my life right now, not just because I am one or because I have been blessed by 100’s of women all over the world through friendship, mentorship and sisterhood. But also because of some big ideas that I’m wrestling and working on…I’m taken by the reality of where we’ve come (we’ve come so far!), and how much we still have to go.
As I think about a day just to say how amazing women are, I think about the women in my life…
I think about my mom, who became a first-time mom at 19 year olds, to an imperfect baby that required extra care and resources like a boss. She has taught me the importance of fighting for your family, the beauty of creating lovely spaces and how to power through tough things.
I think about my grandmothers, who I thought we’re the best, made the best cookies, had the prettiest fingernails and who’s laughter still fills my being with happiness. Both of these women taught me to enjoy every moment, try new things and celebrate everyday moments.
I think about my sister, who I don’t get to see as much as I’d like, but when we do we always end up laughing until one of us screams, “stop”, because the pee is about to flow without end. My sister has taught me the power of perseverance and steady devotion. She is one of the smartest women I know.
I think about my precious daughter, who has from her first day on this planet, filled me with a kind of love that is different than “son” love, but no less powerful. She is thoughtful, passionate, creative, adventurous, kind, empathic and has amazing hair, which she did not get from me. She fills me with joy and continues to teach me how to love unconditionally, make kombucha and enjoy the simple things in life.
I think about my daughter-in-love and what a joy and gift she is to our son. She is exactly who he needed. She is a momma who loves and leads with passion. She is a powerhouse of expression and opinion and I love her gusto for what she believes in. She has taught me to celebrate every kind of person, she does this really well and I’m so glad for her influence in my life.
I think about my granddaughters who are blossoming into little ladies in front of our eyes. They are smart, full of all the feels, sass, curiosity and cuteness. They are beautiful future women who teach me new things about 2019 and remind me that there really isn’t anything new under the sun all at the same time. At our core, we all want to be known and needed. I’m so excited to watch and continue learning from them. I hope they’ll want to spend time me when I’m old(er), so I can stay young and see the world through their eyes.
I think about my other “mom”, you and I are connected because of the amazing man that God blessed with me as a husband. You are a gem and a shining star. You have taught me what it means to have grit and rise above the storm, to honor each family member and include everybody.
I think about my sister-in-loves, you are each a gift in my life. You all have taught me how to be generous and how to shower others with gifts (I’m still learning, y’all are much better at this than I am). You have taught me the virtue of hard work and walking through challenge with grace.I’m thankful that when I married your brother and you married my brother, I got you too!
I think about my nieces… you are powerhouses of brains, beauty and strength. I want to be just like you when I grow up!
I think about my friends… you know who you are. You are the women who pray for me, hold me accountable, laugh with me, dream with me and challenge me. You’ve taught me how to be who God created me to be and how to lead and laugh, how to make a quilt and teach myself how to knit. You inspire me to keep running even when I don’t feel like it and really just want to make cookies and eat the dough (well, we’ve done that together too). You don’t judge me or talk about me behind my back, you are face-forward friends that speak truth with grace into and over my life. I’ve learned so much from you and will continue to until you tire of me.
I think about my sisters in Uganda. Florence, Natalie, Catherine, Martha, Agnes ,Salome, Flavia and so many more… each time I think of you a smile stretches my cheeks and the ruts of smile lines deepen. You fill my heart to overflowing. You have taught me how to love, really love and be loved. How is it possible to meet people on the other side of the world for just a week or two and leave feeling like you’re leaving family behind? Hopefully soon, but definitely heaven!
I think about the women I’ve had the honor to lead over the years… you, you have taught me so much. What a privilege and honor to lead such incredible women. I can only pray that I have blessed you, a fraction of how you have blessed me.
To each of you… Thank you for your patience with me. Some of you have walked some really dark and rough roads with me, some of you sacrificed in significant ways for me, and some of you have wondered what in the world I was doing.
But all of you have loved me, challenged me, encouraged me and have shaped me into the women I am today. Your influence is bigger than you will ever know. You are each smart, gifted, talented, gritty, able, and beautiful.
The bottom line for a day like today is… you are, because of the people around you.
Make a difference in a woman’s life today. Give a woman a leg-up. Encourage each other and pour into the generation coming up behind you.
Don’t be jealous or envious. Celebrate every little girl, every female student and every woman young and old. Make a difference by being a difference.
Happy International Women’s Day to all my sisters out there.