All the dynamics of the physical overhaul of my life have been at play this week. I would love to simply report my compliance to my running schedule, because I am highly skilled at hiding a mountain of sin behind how well I comply. Yet, the truth remains that a person can truly go off the rails internally while appearing to be right on track externally, and that, in a nutshell, sums up the last few weeks of my physical health.
Therefore, in an effort to bring my internal and external world more in line with each other, I’m going to lay the truth out there. First, I fell off the food tracking wagon about 3 weeks ago. My life got really busy, and I would legitimately forget to check in. I was still losing weight, so I felt no need to change my behavior even after my life slowed down. Thus began the slippery slope…
Next, the short morning exercise routines started to become less consistent. It is no surprise that I began to gain weight back at this point. Unfazed, I continued to be lax about my food intake and my exercise routine. When I was well enough to get back to my running schedule, the consistent running allowed me to justify increasing my food intake, i.e. allowed me to justify eating large quantities of junk food.
For 3 weeks, I have gained weight back. Not only that, I have experienced the aches and pains and physical complaints that had just resolved when I started consistently eating well and exercising. I ignored all the evidence and justified carrying on in my old patterns. To wrap this neatly in a bow, the old habits still live, and I still have work to do on my mental and emotional game to really care for my health the way I am called to care for my health.
The plan for week 4 is to shift my course to get back on track, which means once again going through the painful process of killing the sugar monster. That beast is my greatest nemesis. It also means finding a way to increase my personal accountability and taking a deeper look at this pattern of self-sabotage I have going on. Ironically enough, I had a video in my email this week about that very issue, so it seems like a good idea to unbury from the mountain of emails and actually watch it. Finally, I’m going to let myself feel the victory of recognizing I was off course and taking the initiative to make a change after 3 weeks rather than letting it go for 3 months or 3 years!
That last piece is crucially important. Overhauls of any sort do not occur in big pieces or in short durations of time. It is all about the long game. It is about incremental change over a long period of time to reach an ultimate goal. As much as I rail against our culture of immediate gratification, I’m lying to myself when I believe that I am somehow above that particular struggle and that the greater culture hasn’t affected me in that way. It is that lie that keeps me incrementally sliding down the slippery slope of my bad habits.
This week, I make the turn to begin the climb back up. If you have any personal experience with this struggle, I’d love to hear your experience, your victories, your struggles, your strategies, and most of all, your heart change through the process.
If you happened to catch the first presidential debate, then I’m sure you had some thoughts and opinions about it. Even if you didn’t watch the debate, I’m still quite positive that you have some thoughts and opinions related to the presidential campaign, because the thoughts, opinions, and feelings surrounding it have been tossed about like lawn furniture in a category 5 hurricane. Some of us have felt more free to participate in the larger storm, I mean conversation, with the general public. Thank you, social media, for allowing us to put our first thoughts out there into the world with little to no contemplation. What. a. blessing. I feel like some of us would be well served to coat our fingers in peanut butter or maybe bubble wrap before typing, so that by the end of the typing process, our thoughts may have had time to reach a more refined and well-thought out response. Just a thought.
Others of us have simply opted out of the conversation at large. We may share a thought or two with a close confidant, but by no means will we actually participate in this circus. That nonsense is for crazy people! We find ourselves in corners, whispering secretly to people who we know share our political viewpoint. This is what I tend to do, which is how I know that those of us who to tend to opt out still have all the strong feelings, we just internalize them. The same hurricane still rages, but rather than being “out there”, it rages on the inside.
Like everyone else, I can get caught up in my strong reactions to the current political climate, but the whole “no good choices” rhetoric is no longer holding water for me in my journey to wrap my head about what is going on with this election. Please realize that I used to be front and center on this way of thinking, declaring that my write-in vote for president would be Buddy Stax, the Large and Yellow. I fancied a large presidential portrait of my 80 pound labrador in the Oval Office, perhaps answering a large red phone while looking very serious but highly eager. Through prayer and an ongoing refining process of some of my thoughts and attitudes, I have been deeply convicted about some of the double-standards that I hold. Since conviction, owning personal responsibility, and the process of growth tend to be somewhat painful, this was not a pleasant process for me.
After one morning of intense prayer about the level of distress I was feeling about this election and the general state of trauma that our country is in, a couple of my commonly repeated catch-phrases about the election and the candidates came to my mind. These thoughts were immediately followed with the question “Where in your life are you like these candidates?”. Well, let me tell you, that is not only a sobering thought, but it will make a body want to punch someone. Uh-uh, no way, no sir, I AM NOT LIKE “THOSE PEOPLE”. By saying this, of course, means that I am exactly like “those people” in some way or I would not feel so defensive.
As the weeks went by, every thought, comment, or attitude that came up inside of me about this election season was met with the question of “where in my life do I do the same thing, have the same attitude, or hold the same bias?” It has been quite the spiritually, mentally, and emotionally cleansing experience, and two major ideas have come out of the process. The first being, for those of us crying out for greater personal responsibility from our fellow citizens, shouldn’t we be leading that movement by our example of going through a personal refining process of our own personal biases, attitudes, and behaviors towards others? Shouldn’t we be leading the charge by taking our own personal moral inventories, identifying the areas that are lacking, and working on strengthening our own hearts and houses as living proof of personal responsibility rather than just shouting personal responsibility as an intangible theory that can really be very hard to find in actual practice in our culture?
The second thought I had was what if it is more important to God that I follow his guidance through the process of picking my candidate rather than who I actually vote for? Stick with me. I know some of you just got all prickly, but hang in there. It occurs to me that from the dawn of time as recorded all throughout the Bible, new and old testament, that God already knows who will be leading this country and all of the other countries of the world from today through the end of time. The outcome of this election is completely under His will. He has known who would win this contest from the day He created the earth, along with the plans He has to use this and all leaders to bring about His purposes. To put it simply: He’s got this. And if He’s got this, then doesn’t that make it my job to walk and talk with Him about the choices I make when it comes to voting for the leadership of my country and about getting my heart right with Him about the way I make those decisions?
I’ve been reading through the book of Isaiah, and the constant theme of Isaiah, as well as so many other books, is God’s people straying away from him, God’s people failing to heed the warnings of his messengers, God sending an enemy to rule his people for a period of time, and God’s redemption of his people when that time has passed. So it seems that since the dawn of time, God has used changes in leadership for the purposes of correction, deeper connection, and redemption. I think if we stay focused on the lower story of Hillary and Donald, we miss the higher story of God’s corrective and redemptive process for His people, individually and collectively. For me, these two major thoughts and walking through this refining process with God have brought something into my heart that I believe precious few are feeling during this election season: peace. There is a peace in my soul that comes only from surrendering something to God. I no longer feel the need to defend and protect my opinion, to share my opinion with people who are reactive rather than responsive, or to hide my opinion from those who disagree in a reasonable and respectful way. I also understand that a person may go through the same refining process with the Lord that I went through, and the Lord may lead them to vote for the candidate that He led me not to vote for. It may seem like quite the paradox, and well, it is. But when the spirit of God is at work in individuals, real conversations happen even in the differences. Especially in the differences. Iron sharpens iron, and conversations about differences that are spirit-led create a forum for balance, for growth on both sides, and for opportunities to entertain ideas that you may not have thought of and experiences that you may have never experienced. And from that, real connection can grow. From real connection, unity becomes a reality.
If I had remained married, today would have been my anniversary. This day has become like the New Year’s holiday to me, because I tend to reflect deeply about the time that has passed and the time that lies before me. I do not set goals like I may choose to do for a New Year, and I guess this is where my holiday analogy would move toward Thanksgiving. On this day, I find myself so very, very thankful and deeply humbled at the redemption the Lord has brought to my life, which leads to a story that I haven’t shared with many people until this moment.
When my marriage reached the pinnacle of insanity, I dug into my Bible looking for answers. At least, I thought I was looking for answers, but I was really looking for justifications. I was using what I was reading in the Bible to prop up my own insane thinking and to justify continued efforts to ignore all the very obvious evidence that my child and I were in very real danger. I would pray for protection, for 10,000 angels to form a protective perimeter around my house, but I would not leave. I would not leave, because “God hates divorce”, “the husband is the head of the wife”, and “wives obey your husbands” (that was my ex-husband’s favorite) and all those other scriptures, not to mention all the Christian judgments that have become so deeply ingrained in some sectors of Christian culture that they are mistaken as scriptures, were perpetuating the same cycle of shame as the abuse I was enduring. I was trapped by “my faith”. My ex-husband knew it and I knew, and he exploited it for all that he could.
It was not long until I reached a place of such deep mental and emotional anguish that I cried out to God from a place so deep in my soul that I never knew it existed. And you know what, He answered me. Clear as day, He answered me with, “If you will trust me to lead you out of this, I will give it all back to you. Family, friends, everything that you’ve lost will be restored to you”. In that moment, scenes from the last year of my life flashed across my mind, and I recognized them as opportunities God had put before me to escape that I hadn’t taken.
You might think that I packed us up and hit the road right then, but I did not. Trust was not something I was in possession of at that time. My head was all messed up, and I had a long history of poor judgment to prove it. Trusting God to lead me out of that deep hole was out of the question at that time, but like Gideon and so many others, I kept asking for confirmation. I bought a little notebook at the dollar store and carried it around in my bag everywhere I went. All day long for months and months, I would write my prayers and questions for God in my notebook, and when those answers came, I wrote them in my notebook too. In this way, I started building trust with God. He started giving me small successes that helped me begin to trust my judgment again.
That process played out for a year or so, and I finally did leave. And you know what? Only 2 people threw the whole “God hates divorce” thing up at me. One of them was my ex-husband and one of them was another man who had chosen to exit my life for the entire 8 months of my divorce process, and therefore knew next to nothing about what was going on but chose to levy his opinion against me the week that my divorce was final. It makes me wonder what those 2 men have in common that out of all the people who knew the scenario, from professional counselors to preachers to close friends and family, that only those 2 men expressed eerily similar opinions that had I followed them would have kept me in danger. It begs the question: what compels us to use the Bible the way we do, much like a shield to hide our secret sins? But this I know without a doubt: everyone’s secret sin will be exposed at one point or another. All houses built on sand eventually fall. I’ve spent years crawling out of my own collapsed house of sand, learning what true repentance means, trying to show my family and friends that I understand and take full responsibility for the ways that I went wrong, and that I intend to spend every day of the rest of my life following the path that God has laid out for me.
With that being said, let’s go back to the promise God gave me the day that I stood in the bedroom of my beach duplex, face to the ceiling, crying out for relief. The best part of today is looking back and counting the ways He has been faithful to that promise over the years. The first year, I won the right to move out of state from the Florida Court. The next year, I accepted a job that would allow me to support my little family. This year, May Lee and I moved into our very own home. And that is just the “big” stuff! I see His promise answered in some small way just about every week, whether its rekindling relationships that were lost to the chaos of my marriage and divorce, new relationships that have come into my life, advances at work, being able to enjoy experiences that I never thought I would be able to have again, and being able to dust off and reignite talents that have been dormant under the heavy frost of trauma for so long.
All of those things are so very awesome, and I will admit that I am amazed and deeply humbled every time I recognize a new layer of His promise coming to fruition. But I think the best part is yet to come. Some day, when someone else’s sandcastle collapses and all their secret sin is revealed to what feels like the entire world, I’ll be there to help them dig out the way only someone who has had the same experience can. One day, my story is going to help someone else see the light at the end of the tunnel, as well as the light of the One who wants to restore everything they have lost. That will be a great day, my friends. Who knows, maybe that will be one of the experiences I’ll be sharing with you a year from today. Either way, today I trust in His promise fully. I trust the instincts and ability to use good judgment that He has restored to health within me, and I know that goodness and adventure lie ahead.
This week has continued to be insanely busy with to-do lists that are never-ending. My ability to multi-task has grown substantially, and I think that is due in part to the fact that I’m sitting down and planning my week. I’m not getting it all done, but the structure is helping me use my time more efficiently. I’m working errands and tasks into the margins, so to speak, and I feel like I was rewarded handsomely for my efforts when I set out on my Monday lunch break to run an errand that would end up killing 3 birds with one stone.
A while ago- we’re talking a couple of months, maybe longer- a FedEx package was mistakenly delivered to my house. After a couple of futile attempts to get the package to its rightful owner, I queried the FedEx guys who delivers to my job about what to do with it. He suggested taking it to Mr. Postman.
Monday, I finally pulled into the parking lot of Mr. Postman with the mystery package, my Stitch Fix items to return, and a bill to mail. Friends, let me tell you, when I opened those doors and crossed that threshold, I was in heaven. I was so bumfuzzled by the divine aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the sight of cafe tables and chairs, and the dazzling collection of adorable home decor and gift items that I must have looked like Dorothy taking her first steps into the land of Oz. Somehow I communicated to the barista the nature of my shipping needs, and she took care of me well. Once that errand was complete, I eagerly chatted with her about their selection of coffees, ordered a snickerdoodle latte, and perused the many treasures in the shop while my coffee was being made. I have to say, this sweet little find may have been the highlight of my week
The next morning presented a challenge, as it was Stax’s surgery day. After his escape from the backyard last week, it seemed clear that I could no longer delay getting him neutered. He was also due for some vaccinations, so my excuses for delaying the inevitable were running out. To get him ready for the vet is no small thing. I legitimately need the skills of a rodeo cowboy to get Big Yellow into his harness, but we managed to get to the vet where he promptly marked his territory 3 times. Bless that staff. One of them even helped me get him into the car after the surgery. On the way out of the clinic, we were talking about how confused Stax must be, to which the staff person remarked “Yep, he came in with a full purse and is leaving with an empty one”. I don’t know why, but that cracked me up.
As for my growing girl, it has been another great week. I can no longer escape the fact that May Lee is growing and maturing in leaps and bounds. Last week at her soccer game, she performed the chicken dance and numerous somersaults but gave very little effort to playing the game or following the coach’s directions. During one of the breaks, we had the following talk:
Me: May Lee, I want you to go out there and make a WHOLE BUNCH of mistakes. Like, hundreds of them.
May Lee: Huh?
Me: Yes, I want you to go out there and make a whole bunch of mistakes. I’d rather you make a whole bunch of mistakes than not try at all. And listen to your coach and do what she says.
May Lee ran out of the field and continued on in the same fashion as before. However, during soccer practice this week, I could tell a difference. She was “in it” and not so hesitant. She was trying instead of letting herself get intimidated by her own fears. I was a proud mama. This was quickly followed by another proud moment when we got home and she read 3 little books to me that she had made at school. She’s really growing and coming into her own.
May Lee is also pumped for the upcoming holiday season. She celebrated the first day of fall then immediately asked how many days until Christmas. She cannot decide what she would like to be for Halloween or whether she would like to dress as a pilgrim or a Native American for her school’s Thanksgiving Feast, but she does know what she would like for Christmas. Her Christmas list is as follows: horse, pony, unicorn, kitten, puppy, turtle, an Octonaut set, and toys of all our friends and family. When I heard that last one, I immediately pictured all of our friends and family members as little bobble-head dolls, then I giggled a little bit and wondered if I could actually make that happen.
As for the health journey, I’ve been doing pretty well, but I’ve been really hungry the last couple of days. Plus, I’ve been a little stressed. Therefore, I have indulged, but I don’t really feel guilty about it. I’ve come a long way with being mindful about whether I am eating out of true hunger versus eating because I’m stressed. What I am bummed about is not doing my new morning exercise routine the last couple of mornings. I think I feel more bummed about the missed exercise, because I can tell the biggest difference in my body from the exercise and not the diet change. I haven’t been doing that routine for very long, but just stretching and doing some crunches in the morning has really relieved my aches and pains and my brain fog. So, I’m thinking missing these last couple of days has set in stone my resolve to incorporate exercise of any kind into a lifelong, daily routine. The weekend ahead looks like it is going to be just as full as our week, with soccer, lots of school assignments, and pulling together a donation for the silent auction at May Lee’s school. But we are going to make time for fun as well as business and hit up a local festival. Maybe a $5 pony ride will satisfy the pony craving and remove said animal from the Christmas list. One can always hope.
We are two weeks into the school year, and I’ve come to accept some things about my daughter and myself. We are not highly structured women. Our free-spirited, gypsy souls thrive in the loose structure of summer days where schedules are flexible and planned activities are minimal. I am completely sincere when I say that it took the entirety of last year to feel halfway adjusted to the school schedule, but even during drop off of the last day I was thinking, “There has to be a better way to do this school thing”.
I was determined to have a better morning routine this school year, so I did some prep work during the weeks leading up to school starting. The long days of summer camp in the heat index of 110 concluded with my child losing her mind in the evenings; therefore, she slept in my bed quite a bit as it was a guarantee for a relatively peaceful going-to-bed process. Before school started, we worked on transitioning her back to her bed. We also did a little shopping on Amazon and purchased a Disney princess alarm clock that came with an impressive strobe light display. She loved it. She was excited about it. She popped out of bed like a Pop-Tart and cooed loving words to it.
We are now in the 2nd week of school, and the shine is off the apple. Twice this week, she has slept right through the alarm clock. I have let the infernal beeping go on for 7 minutes and 10 minutes, in hopes that it would eventually result in a child that was awake. It did not. Yesterday, I heard the alarm go off for 3 beeps and then it went silent. I waited and listened for the sound of child size 12 feet to hit the floor, but no such sound came to my ear. No child emerged from the bedroom with bed head and grumpy face. The battle of the morning time routine is rearing its ugly head yet again, my friends. Back to the drawing board!
I did try to get us in the habit of picking out her clothes the night before, and that worked great for all of 5 days. This week has been chock full of activities after work, and the outfit pre-planning has fallen to the wayside. The morning debates surrounding picture pants, princess dresses, P.E. worthy shoes and the appropriateness of wearing tiaras to school have added a considerable amount of time to our morning routine and created some less than stellar moments to start the day with.
Needless to say, the struggle with adjusting to a new school routine for May Lee and a new work routine for me has resulted in a consumption of all things Oreo that is unparalleled by all of my previous Oreo binges. It is a thing of wonder, really. It was during one such Oreo errand that I learned that I really might have lost my touch with the menfolk over the years. I ordered 2 Oreo milkshakes at a local drive-through, and please let me assure you that I did not eat both milkshakes. I had a partner in crime on this particular day. As I pulled to the window to pay for my order, a guy leaned out of the drive through window and gave me what I can only describe as his best Flynn Rider impression. You know the scene where he turns on the charm with Rapunzel? “You broke my smolder”? Yes, that is the scene I’m referring to, and like Rapunzel, my face must have reacted and betrayed my inner thoughts of “what are you doing? Is that, like, flirting? Because it’s kind of creepy…” I believe that my face must have betrayed me, because after he returned my change to me, he tossed a milkshake at me that did not have the delightful whipped topping that I had requested, nor did he provide me with a straw with which to enjoy my delicious treat.
I could have easily written off the neglected whipped cream and straw as a simple oversight. However, a young lady appeared with the 2nd milkshake, and the whipped topping was tall and proud and the straw was riding shotgun. The abrupt shift from the initial over-attentiveness to the curtness of the money exchange, the sloppy milkshake, and the young woman with the perfect milkshake had me convinced that Flynn Rider was a little upset that I found his awkward drive-through window overtures creepy. Also, can we discuss what a weird little power trip that is over some Oreo milkshakes? A girl doesn’t respond the way a guy wants her to, so he withholds small but noticeable portions of her order?
Maybe that’s just my trauma talking. Like my therapist said, maybe that is just my unhealed “wounds from being a woman” showing up, but it also wouldn’t be the first time that I would have experienced backlash from a male who didn’t get the kind of reaction that he was wanting from me. I’ve noticed that the more I accept the truth that this kind of thing has less to do with me and a whole lot more to do with what’s going on in them, the more likely I am to raise the situation to my standards. This means that I’m getting better at making sure that I don’t leave the interaction without what I entered the interaction to receive or what is due to me. I used to just run and hide and think awful things about myself and my worthiness, like I must somehow be messed up for someone to treat me that way. Now, I am much more likely to ask for what I need, to request that something be redone, and to expect respect in all interactions.
I’m far from perfect at this newfound boundary-setting skill, but I’m getting better every day. And no, I did not park my car, walk into the restaurant, and demand my whipped cream and a straw. That day, I didn’t have the mental or emotional energy to engage one more thing without completely losing my cool. But you know what, I know down to the bottom of my soul that if my daughter had been in the car with me, I would have done exactly that. It is really important to me that she is much better equipped to deal these situations than I was. I don’t want her to be in her late 30’s trying to recover her self-esteem like her mother is doing. I want her to be able to recognize when she is experiencing undeserved backlash and to be able to respond to it head on with a cool composure rather than reacting to it out of heated emotion. I want her to have enough insight into herself to be confident in her behavior when she is in the right and compassionate enough to extend grace to herself and others when their behavior falls short. Brene Brown discovered in her work, The Gift of Imperfection, that the most compassionate people were the most boundaried people, and that really sums up my goal for my daughter and myself quite nicely. Especially since we have a Rapunzel face that gives us away every time.
For a period of several months during my morning quiet time, the itch to get back into writing tickled the back of my mind. God really uses that morning quiet time to put things on my heart, and He’d been pressing the writing issue quite a bit while I, in turn, was faithfully ignoring Him. All the standard objections were levied: I haven’t written in years, I have nothing to say, I don’t have the time…and so on.
In the middle of this cosmic volley of divine requests and pathetic excuses, I received an e-mail invitation to fill out a form and potentially be a part of a book launch team for Sophie Hudson’s new book, Giddy Up Eunice. I was delighted by the thought, because I love her books and it was kind of like a Gideon-and-the-fleece moment for me. “Ok Lord, you say you want me to write, so I’ll know you’re serious if I get selected for this thing.” So, I filled out the form and almost immediately forgot about the launch team, because I fill out lots of these types of forms and I have yet to win any of Dave Ramsey’s money. I did, however, make a mental note of the release date for the book, because I wasn’t missing out on that action.
Let me tell you a little bit about my journey with Sophie Hudson’s books. I cannot remember the where, when, or how of my discovery of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, but it was shortly after I relocated from Florida to Arkansas. May Lee and I were living in my parents’ house while recovering from divorce and the insanity that led to the divorce. I was back home but didn’t really know how to be back home. A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet brought wave after nostalgic wave of home and family history, and it really helped break the ice of being back home after a very long ordeal. It also made me laugh until I had to put the book down and wipe the tears from my eyes so that I could see to continue reading. Straight up, uncontrollable belly laughs, my friends.
If A Little Salty broke the ice around my heart while also turning my giggle box upside down, Home is Where My People Are took the thawing out to the next level. Sophie’s stories felt so familiar to me that they took me back to a time and place before all the heartache and helped me remember what having true friends and family was like, how much I was missing out on by sitting on the sidelines, and how deeply I wanted those kinds of relationships back in my life. It really renewed my motivation to start bringing down some of those emotional walls and try to genuinely engage in relationships again. And like before, Sophie had me crying both tears of laughter and tears of genuine heartfelt emotion.
Then the day arrived that I opened my e-mail and received the notice that I had in fact been chosen for the Giddy Up, Eunice launch team. At this point, God had put a name for a blog on my heart, and now He had responded to my Gideon-esque launch team fleece. So naturally, I immediately obeyed. Just kidding, I have a hard head, so what I really did was take it to my spiritual running partner who tried not to knock me over the head as she kindly stated, “I think you need to write a blog”.
Eunice arrived at my doorstep soon thereafter, and I read that thing like my life depended on it. I usually read slowly, only reading small sections at a time so that my mind can digest the content. Not so with Eunice. I couldn’t seem to put it down, and when I hit the pages where Sophie hops on her soapbox and demands that we not discount our importance and STAY IN IT, I was ugly crying. Honestly, I’m getting a little misty-eyed right now just telling you about it. Powerful stuff, ladies.
But it didn’t stop there. Oh no, the hits just kept on coming. I came to the pages where Sophie recounts all of her doubts about writing and they happened to be pretty much identical to my own fears: “what if people don’t read it? Or worse, what if people read it?! I feel icky about sharing my feelings!!!” But then Sophie’s wise friend asks her if she believes God gave her the words. When Sophie says yes, the friend lovingly commands her to trust Him with it. “YOU TRUST HIM WITH IT.” Deeply convicted doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings after reading that passage.
If A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet and Home is Where My People Are were gentle icebreakers and sweet reminders of the joys of living life, Giddy Up, Eunice was the swift kick in the rear that I needed to actually get going and make a move. The next day, I started this blog. While reading Eunice, I participated in a women’s walking/running group that ended with a 5K, I started working with my running partner to generate ideas about how to serve the women of this community, and I finally got involved with my church by volunteering in the 2nd grade.
Like all of the other books, Eunice came just when I needed her. I’ve started reading the book again and in small sections so my brain can really digest the content. This time, not only did I get a great reading experience, I got the wonderful fellowship of the ladies on the launch team. It has been a joy, and I am truly grateful for the whole experience. Now, I highly encourage each and every one of you to Giddy Up!