To All The Women In My Life….

You have all taught me (and continue to teach me) so much and have helped mold me into the person I am today. Still imperfect, but loved and supported and very, very blessed.Granny, thank you for being who you are. You are strong-willed and determined. You have lived a long life, full of its ups and downs and in doing so you have taught all of us the values we now cherish. Faith, strength, love, honesty, gracefulness. I will always remember you quietly nodding as one spoke. I will always remember you telling me my afghan was way too large and making me shorten it against my will (it’s still too big, but I didn’t want to listen). You are simplicity. Things are as they are and with you what we see is what we get. You gave me the ability to speak my mind when I saw fit and although some would agree that this is not always an admirable trait, but I beleive it is one of our best.

GG Spooner, words cannot express the love and admiration I have for you. You are a silent strength and a voice of light in the darkness. You have a grace about you that any women would envy. You show us all what it means to be a wife, mother and grandmother. Your quiet, gentle spirit envelops me with comfort. Your guidance, gentle but brutally true, is always appreciated. You’re so engrained in my heart and I only hope my life will someday echo yours. Thank you for your loving kindness, your grace and faith, your time and patience, your hand when needed and most importantly, your wisdom.

My Great Aunt Lois, also such an exemplary soul, modeling faith and love, patience and kindness. Thank you for your acceptance, your kind words, your gentleness. You too have been a shining example of a mother and wife. You are a dear wonderful women and I am proud to call you my “Great” aunt.

Mom, I have seen you struggle through the years and pull through it all. You have always been a source of strength and humor through difficulties. Your acceptance has saved me from many situations. Your love and grace drew me closer when I expected to be pushed away. Your faith, strong and unwavering, brought us through it all. You taught us all to live with integrity, honesty and strength. A strength unmatched by any other. You taught me to value life and all that God has given me. You taught me to pray and stand firm. You supported my uniqueness and gave me my own will. You encouraged me to swim upstream,makes waves when neccessary and stand up for myself, those around me and what I beleive in. I know you struggle now, but I also know you will overcome. That’s just what we do.

Aunt Toni, you also have the same strength. Enduring trials, heartache and abuse but coming out of it with humor and hope. You represent hope to me. I have never seen you give up or give in. You love and give when you have nothing left. You see the best in everyone and accept them with faith. You are simple and beautiful, inside and out.

Aunt Teddi, there is no one like you and I’m sure you know that. You represent independence. You are never afraid to speak your mind and stand firm in your own convictions. You are a strong individual, with a strong sense of self. You conquer the world head-on and with laughter. I love your honesty and your humor. Your fun nature can always be counted on, as can your support, love and acceptance.

Leah, you are not just my big sister, but my best friend. You are a light in a dark room. The self-proclaimed “Prodigal Sister”. Your laughter and love are contagious. You too have endured many trials and have almost lost yourself inside of them. But you emerged, more beautiful and endearing then before. You are a piece of me, my biggest support, my strongest ally. When you leave, this town will grow a little dimmer, as will our lives. But we love you and do want you to be happy, even if we won’t be able to see it every day. You do have my support, although I may never admit it aloud.

Tracy, you are a strong woman to put up with my brother. You are a good mother, as evident in your girls. And a good wife, supporting your husband. You have always put such a priority in family and children with a patience I envy. You are a quiet soul and I feel like the best is yet to come in your life and in yourself.

Autumn, you have such a gentle spirit. You love and accept without waver. You have a quiet hope and I admire that. Your faith is steady and enduring and you have always maintained a positive outlook on yourself and those around you. Yet you are always able to see and speak the truth, a trait much needed. You have a wisdom uncommon and a strong sense of morality. You are not just the “Pedestal Sister” but a pillar in our family.

Carley, I know and understand you more than you realize. I know you are trying hard to find yourself and I wish that I could carry your burden or accomplish your msision, but I can’t. But I can tell you what I see in you that you may not see in yourself. You are a source of laughter and fun. A beautiful women with intelligence and creativity that outshines all else. You have never been afraid to speak your mind. And you have not, until now, been a person who wavers. I know you have hurt and are hurting. I know how vulnerable you feel, although you let on to be stronger (which I know you are or can be again). We all have our struggles, things that may haunt us or hurt us. We have all felt void. And at some point, you will return to the one thing that can fill that void. Until then, I will continue to love you and be your sister. You will always be the “Baby Sister”.

Arianne, how can I possible express the admiration I hold for you? You are beautiful, intelligent, quick-witted, funny. (No wonder we’re friends!) I see such independence and strength in you. I admire your tenacity, your will, your beliefs, your constant drive to better youself, to learn and discover. You are such an awesome, beautiful person, in every way and I am honored to call you my friend.

Maggie, yet another wonderful friend I am priveleged to know. It is awesome to have a friend that not only understands my soap-boxes but supports them wholeheartedly. You are who you are and are unapologetic about it. You see only the postive in every situation and put an upbeat spin on all of it. I have rarely heard you speak a word of anger or frustration without you following it up by saying it’s a blessing. I especially admire the way you have grasped on to what God has called you to do without doubt or fear. Your faith is amazing and I thank God for our friendship.

Kristin, my “oldest” friend. It’s so wonderful to have you back in my life. It is strange to have known someone for so long and yet need to get to know them all over again. What I have seen in you thus far is amazing. You are obviously a very strong women, in your life and your faith. So few people have the courage to do what you have done and are wanting to do. So many proclaim the need for change and then become idle in the thought of what is necessary. But you have taken God calling on your life with excitement. I admire who you’ve become and I thank God that He has given us another chance at friendship.