I am like a giddy child today! Last year my one word for the year was “brave” and several of my blog friends introduced me to author Annie F. Downs and her book “Let’s All Be Brave.” I even wrote about how this book was wrecking my soul…in a good way. I immediately became a huge fan of this sweet author.
Today Annie’s new book “Looking for Lovely” released. I applied to be on her launch team but unfortunately did not make the team so I am patiently waiting for the book I pre-ordered to arrive in my mailbox. As part of the pre-orders, Annie has been giving goodies to those who pre-order the book. So this afternoon, I signed onto my email account to see some of those goodies which included some phone lock screens. One of the quotes on the lock screens jumped out at me and now I am even more excited for my book to arrive.
The quote from the book is as follows “Your people remind you of the goodness of God and remind you what it means to finish.” Yes, I find so much lovely in the awesome relationships that God has blessed me with over the course of my 37 years on this Earth. There are times I wonder how I got so lucky…but then I am reminded….only God! Only God can bless these relationships in my life.
Growing up, I was blessed to have neighborhood friends that only lived a block away from my family. Between their family and my family, there were four girls all within the span of four years. We grew up together. And even now, we are separated by the miles, but I am so thankful for the time we shared together. I see lovely in the times we spent on their front porch playing Miss America and riding our bikes around the neighborhood.
Besides these neighborhood friendships, my best friend growing up was my friend Mandy. Mandy was a few years older than me, but was held back due to a kidney transplant she had in 1st grade. Mandy had her difficulties. Yet despite her health issues, Mandy was a lovely individual. We loved spending time together. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. During my seminary days, I saw lovely when she would call me out of the blue to chat. Unfortunately Mandy passed away at a young age. I was so sad to say goodbye to her. But I am thankful that God brought her into my life.
But these are only a few of the friendships I have been blessed with over the years. There were my classmates who I did theater with in high school and college. I saw lovely in them when I lost my voice and they made sure I didn’t speak until our state performance. There were those I got to meet and know by being a part of the campus ministry team at my college. I saw lovely in how we learned to embrace our denominational differences. There were those that I got to meet at Super Awesome Bible Camp. I saw lovely when they taught me that it was okay to share my family’s journey with mental illness. I also saw lovely in the amazing kids I got to counsel. They taught me more about God then I could ever teach them. There are the dear souls I was blessed with during my seminary journey and who made me buy my own Birthday cake! And yes, I even saw lovely in them when they made me buy my own birthday cake. Years later, this is still one of my most favorite, lovely moments of seminary. There are the dear colleagues and friends I shared life with as we served together in the Fargo-Moorhead community. (I miss them dearly!) I can honestly say that these are some of my best friends! I saw lovely in how we shared in each other’s joys and sorrows.
Two years ago, when I moved to Minot, I was so scared about making new friends. God had provided for me and blessed me with amazing friendships. Would God do the same again?
My friend Mel surprised me with flowers the day she found out I was moving..”just because we love you flowers” as she called them. I was scared about leaving her and so many of my friends behind. They had taught me so much about finding the lovely in each other. The first few months in Minot, I found myself lonely and yearning for new friendships.
I should have never doubted God, because God has blessed me one hundred fold in these days, weeks, and years following. I remember meeting my friend CT for the first time. We chatted over coffee for almost two hours and we only quit because she had to pick up her daughter. CT has become one of my best friends over these last two years. But God did not only provide me with CT, he provided me with KW and MJ (who have both since moved away), with EG (a lovely woman who sat with me and my mom in the emergence room one hot summer day) and KG (another lovely soul who God has blessed my life with) and so many others. I wonder how I got to be so lucky, but the thing is these friendships are pure gift. These are indeed my people!
And there are all of you who I have been blessed with as part of the blogging world. I cannot even begin to name you all by name, because I am bound to forget someone and I do not want to do that at all. You have read my words. You have shared your heart with me. You have allowed me to hear your story and you to hear mine. You are my writing sisters—my survivor sisterhood. You are all lovely!
To all of you, thank you for being my people! Thank You for continually showing me what the goodness of God looks like and teaching me what it means to finish because I have no doubt you are my biggest cheerleaders and will cheer me on until I cross that finish line. And know that I will do the same for you!
I am linking up with these lovely ladies today: Holly and Testimony Tuesday; Kelly and the RaRa linkup; Jennifer and Tell His Story; Holley and Coffee for your Heart; and Kristin and Three Word Wednesday!
I love that you are already writing from the book and you haven't even started it yet! (It's that good!) lol! Great post, my friend! xoxo
My book has shipped! I am excited to start it but I need to finish Love Does first. xoxo
Great post, dear friend. And you are LOVELY! Sounds like a great book. Will have to pick it up. Thanks for being a wonderful blogging friend. I'm thankful for you today!
Thanks Julie! You will definitely have to pick it up. I love Annie's books. I am thankful for you today too friend!
Beautiful post, Tara!
great post tara:) i love your description of all the lovelies GOD has placed in your life:) when Scripture talks about GOD placing the solitary in families, it's not a joke is it? we have moved plenty in our marriage, but even our solitary family that was far from other families has always found other families and single friends to enjoy wherever He placed us. He is good that way isn't He?
Thanks Martha. Yes God is indeed good like that.
Well, you know how I feel about Looking for Lovely. 🙂 I'm going to read her other books, hopefully soon. I'm so glad God gives us people to send just-because flowers, to help us through transitions, and share the everyday-ness of life. And I'm glad you linked up at #ThreeWordWednesday!
I loved Lets All Be Brave! I too am so glad God gives us people to send just because flowers to help us through those times of transition. Glad I could link up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
I love that God has placed so many lovely people in your life! Counting those lovelies is always an encouraging thing. Enjoy the book when it comes. 🙂
Thanks Jeanne. Me too!
I can relate to this so much. I have lifetime friends, and I'm a lot older than you! I also have new friends from all walks of my life. I is such a blessing, thanks for reminding me of that. This was lovely!!
I am so glad you can relate Myrna. Thank You!
What a lovely post, Tara! So thankful this special book will soon be in your hands! Thank you for your precious comment left at my blog. I so appreciated the encouragement. God bless you abundantly!
Thanks Cheryl! I am so glad you enjoyed the comment I left at your blog. God bless you abundantly too!
Nothing better than a favorite author publishing their next book! Your friendship tales took me down memory lane too. Thanks!
Traci, nope nothing better! I am glad that my friendship tales took you down memory lane. They did for me too!
You are lovely my friend! I have read a number of reviews of Annie's new book and as you know "Let's All Be Brave" rocked my world. Thank you for sharing the quote above…"Your people remind you of the goodness of God and remind you what it means to finish." My people have done this for me and I am glad you are one of my people!
I'm glad you are one of my people too!