Successful Self Care

I recently watched Ann Lamott’s Ted Talk: 12 truths I learned from life and writing.  She had many good lessons to share but one that stuck out was the importance of self care.  Yes, we know we should care for ourselves for lots of reasons- physical, emotional and mental reasons- but her point was that it helps others.  In fact, she calls self care “a huge gift to the world”.

Many times we may feel selfish about our self care.  That sentence makes me laugh a bit… that’s kind of the point, right?  But, when we stop and think about how our lack of self care can be a drain on those around us, it makes me realize that it’s more than just caring for ourselves but also caring for others.  I am reminded of what I hear everytime I am on a plane… secure your oxygen mask first before helping others. I have wanted to scream, but what about my baby boy? He needs oxygen just as badly and fast as I do!?  But then I remember, I can’t do any good for him if I’m suffocating.

Like most things, I had some preconceived notions about what self car looks like.  So, I did some research among my friends to find out what they find successful in feeling rejuvenated throughout life.  It’s important to remember that self care doesn’t have to be financially expensive.

1. Exercise.  This was a very popular response for many of my friends.  One said that “its a huge stress reliever to physically exhaust myself while building strength.”  Others preferred a more low key workout like yoga which also involves meditation too. Ideas:

  • Tennis
  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Fitness Classes

2. Solitude.  This is a big one for many moms.  We often share most of our life with others- even if we don’t want to (ie: a toddler busting in the bathroom while showering).  So, taking a break from those we love to be able to focus on ourselves and doing things that we love is a great thing to recharge.  Some examples from others:

  • Solo walk
  • A nap
  • Taking a bath
  • Driving in silence
  • Being still

3.  Personal appearance.  This was one I had never really considered before as I am super low maintenance in my appearance.  But, I can definitely understand how it can help with your confidence and mood. If you feel blah about your appearance, than spending some time and energy on it can improve your outlook and interactions with others.  

  • Facial
  • Manicure
  • Botox
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Make Up

4.  Protecting your commitments.  One of my friends said she has to say no to opportunities as a form of self care.  At first hearing, it didn’t make sense to me, but as she went on I realized that protecting her calendar/schedule was a major form of self care as it prevents over-scheduling and extra stress.  For every yes we say, it’s a no to something else.  Feeling guilty?  I’ll be your No Cheerleader 🙂

5.  Do something fun.  This may look different for many t people because we all find fun in a variety of ways.  A girl’s night out, going on a guy’s camping trip, or exploring a new part of your city could all be fun. The key is to do something fun with other people is make sure they are fun and that you enjoy being with them. Doing something out of the norm gives us something to look forward and gets us out of the normal daily rut.

  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Visit a brewery with  neighbors
  • Picnic at a new park

I’d love to hear how you practice self care!

xoxo, brooke

Ode to Jack Jack

Jacqueline Elizabeth Cadle was born February 11, 1988 and she was my first shot at being a big sister. Because we grew up in the south, we always had to wear matching dresses, hairbows, and shoes. We didn’t look much alike with my straight hair and her super curly hair but those outfits would have made you look twice.

As we grew up, Jackie and I often did not get along. We were constantly bickering and my mom had had enough. We were at a neighbor’s house with lots of sporting equipment. We were fighting over who could use the plastic baseball bat. Finally, mom was so frustrated with refereeing us, mom let Jackie and I take our frustrations out on one another with those baseball bats. And boy did we go to town hitting each other, screaming and shouting. We were all shocked- even mom. That’s what big sisters do…. beat the crap out of her little sister with a plastic baseball bat.

One time, Jackie went to visit our neighbor, Leonna Printup, at her home. I was out riding my bike and noticed a long snake draped over the railing of Leonna’s house with its head resting on her front porch mat. I raced home to tell my mom so she could call Leonna’s house and warn Jackie of the snake. Otherwise, she may have been bitten when leaving Leonna’s house. That’s what big sisters do… keep their little sister from being bit by a snake.

As Jackie got older, she often followed in the footsteps of me, her older sister. We served as FCCLA state officers together. But after I went to college, Jackie set a new Cadle sister record by becoming the FCCLA state President. I was super proud! That’s what big sisters do… cheer on their little sister to new accomplishments.

On one of the best days of my life, Jackie was standing next to me as my maid of honor while I married Peck. I had chosen sunflowers for all of our bouquets. Mine was especially large and it was HEAVY. It weighed so much, that my arms were shaking while the preacher rambled on through his “short” homily. I made the decision to hand the bouquet to Jackie who gracefully took it with a smile. That’s what big sisters do… get their little sister to help when things get too heavy.

Jackie was at the hospital when I had JB and she was in love with him from that moment on. Although JB doesn’t get to see her much, she has a special place in his heart. He loves reading the inscriptions of the many books that she and Ryan have given him as gifts. He likes to see photos of his “cousin puppy”, Sadie, as she travels all over the country. But what he loves most of all is her love and affection when we visit. She offers the perfect balance of love and discipline that each little boy needs. He loves playing in the yard with Jackie and Sadie. They all laugh hysterically as they throw the frisbee and run around together. That’s what good aunts do… they make great memories with their nephew.

On Jackie’s big day, I got to stand beside her as her Matron of Honor as she married her prince, Ryan Padilla. Everyone knows that I love my husband and Sam, but Ryan was the best addition to our family. He balances Jackie out so much. He has a never ending love for her and gives her so much love, affection and affirmation. Jackie blossomed when She became Mrs Padilla and we were all thrilled to see her so happy.

Jackie and I have spent lots of time together outside of our home state of Georgia including London and Seattle. But my favorite trip was to visit her and Ryan in Alaska. Jackie and I spent several days together exploring the scenic beauty of Alaska, catching up, laughing as we experienced new things, taking tons of photos, and rocking out to Taylor Swift driving through the Turnagain. It was fun to see a snapshot of Alaska life- her gym/social club, eating lots of fresh crab meat, hearing about her job, and seeing where she had spent a previous summer doing missions work. It was a fantastic trip for many reasons. That’s what sisters do… have fun together.

So today, on Jackie’s 30th birthday, I wrote these words full of love and memory. I’m proud of the woman you’ve become. You are a loving wife, kind sister and wonderful aunt. Cheers to you, the most STRIKING Cadle sister, today and everyday!

love, brookie

Experiences Over Stuff

I have been thinking a lot about Christmas gifts this year.  Most of you know that I try to declutter, clean out and donate as frequently as possible.  In an effort to buy less stuff and experience more in life, I did some deep thinking about what experiences mean the most to me in hopes of being able to focus on those things more in 2018.

Quality time. When I think back to some of my favorite memories this year, I think of trips with friends, game nights, dance parties with my son, girls night out, tailgates, football games, celebrating birthdays, time with family, and being in a small group.  All of these times together have strengthened relationships, built memories and brought so much joy to my life!

Travels.  Some of the coolest places I have stayed while traveling are at airbnbs.  I stayed in someone’s basement in Alaska… doesn’t sound fancy… but you could see the Northern Lights from its window.  Pretty damn cool.  Or the house that we spent 4 days with good friends in Ireland… that was built over 200 years ago and every inch of architecture was amazing.  Traveling makes me have a greater appreciation of others, how small we all are in this big world, and a better understanding of geography/cultures/food/etc.

Sunsets.  Anyone who knows me well, knows I love a sunset.  You can watch a sunset every day for a week and none of them would look the same.  My favorite part is once the sun is down seeing all the colors reflecting off the clouds.  The best.  And if I can watch a sunset over next to a body of water, even better.

Fishing.  This experience is one that I don’t do nearly enough.  I love the feel of the sun and the wind blowing as I cast out my line and anxiously wait to see what I may bring in.  Fishing at low tide is my favorite.  You get to see so much in the water- blue crabs, sharks feeding, stingrays, and occasionally dolphins will swim by.  

Tennis. I can’t believe I am this old… but I have been playing tennis for over 25 years.  I love the competition, the sweat, the strategy, and the fun.  Plus, this year my baby sis has been my partner- so QT too!  I love that you can play 42 deuce points in one game and then when the next game 40-0.  I love that you might lose today but beat the same opponent tomorrow.  And the best part is it’s a lifetime sport- from young to old.

What experiences mean the most to you?  How can you fill your life with more of those and focus on less stuff?

love, brooke

Half a Decade

My sweet, itty bitty baby boy turns five years old today and he is no longer a baby boy.  Instead, he is over 4 feet tall and it pains me to say/realize that I can’t pick him up much longer. He has grown physically, mentally, and emotionally so much in his short life.

When I think about myself in those terms… I have also grown and changed so much in five years. Physically, I’m way smaller than I was after I had him (thank goodness 😳😂) and I’m stronger (probably from trying to pick up a 50lb+ kid). Mentally, I’m much more laid back and go with the flow.  I think having a boy chilled me out a bit. I still have anxiety but very rarely is it about being a mom. Sometimes I suffer from mom guilt but I try to keep things in perspective and know that extra screen time isn’t going to hurt him (I hope).  Emotionally, well, it depends on the day. Some days I feel confident and happy and others I feel incompetent and worried. I guess some things may never change.  

Over the last five years, I’ve been blessed to make many mom friends. We have banded together to love each other’s children and support one another. The hundreds of weekly texts checking in with one another, praying for one another, cracking jokes and offering support are invaluable. It truly takes a village to raise a child and I’m grateful for such a solid one.  I’m also grateful to have a wonderful husband who happens to also be a fantastic father. He picks up the pieces where I’m unable. He rounds out JB’s life in so many ways. When I want to helicopter parent, he nudges me to let JB’s independence shine. For the most part, we make a good duo.

Motherhood definitely changes you. It makes you patient, crazy, happy, sad, calm, and stressed… often at the same time. You learn to be flexible. You can’t control nap times, illness, diaper blow outs, or separation anxiety. But, life is more fun having this precious little boy in our lives to keep us on our toes… even if there is less sleep than before.

Today, I’m grateful for the little boy who made me a mom, his dad who loves us both so much, our families who are always cheering us on, and our friends who are full of nothing but love and support.  

love, brooke

Ode to Claire

Claire’s love for texting and my never ending texting skills became an instant match.  I’d estimate that we text 100 times back and forth each day.  My husband would say that is a low estimate.  

I officially met her while she was six months pregnant with her second son and working the check out at our church consignment sale.  She and Scott had visited our Sunday school class before but if not yet had a conversation with them.  Fast forward to the Sunday before Christmas, and I saw them at the 8:30am service.  After the service, I asked if they were coming to Sunday School and was informed that Claire wasn’t feeling well and didn’t think she could sit through the class.  I later learned that she was in labor and Cabell was born two days later.

It took me 4 months to finally take Claire a meal after having Cabell.  I was so embarrassed it took me that long.  Claire was so appreciative because Scott was traveling and she didn’t have to cook while solo parenting.  That’s when I realized that she was also a stay at home mom.  We started hanging out more through church and play dates and slowly became good friends.  

claire4Claire and I have so much in common.  We are both the oldest of three girls and raised outdoors- fishing, playing in the woods, and working in the garden.  Both of our fathers are outdoorsmen who were lucky enough to end up with three daughters.  They taught us to fish, get dirty, and love being outside.  We both love cold beer, good food, Jesus, the ocean, and spending time with our family and friends.  

claire2Claire’s house was being remodeled for a tv show in July 2015 and she had to move her family out for two weeks.  I invited her and the boys to join JB and I at my family’s C shack on the GA coast.  I thought I knew her pretty well, but vacationing with someone makes you get to know them really well.  Thankfully, in this case, that was a good thing.  I had expected Claire to be like most of my friends; to have never seen a crab trap before, tossed a cast net nor know much about fishing.  Instead, she could identify many more fish than me and can throw an 8 foot cast net (I can only throw a 5 footer).  I learned that many of her childhood vacations were to south Florida for fishing and crabbing.  Her love of crabs became apparent that week with her help in not only catching them but also in cleaning them (aka the dirty work).  The night we ate the crabs, we both sat at the table for an hour drinking beer and raving about how good the crabs were.  Our boys were running all around us like crazy but we could not lose focus until all the crabs were eaten.  That would have been a total sin.  

claire6Claire is a runner.  And she is fast.  We “trained” together for my second half marathon.  She’d run pushing a stroller (I didn’t have one) and was still kind enough to slow down and allow me to keep up.  We’ve done numerous races “together”.  Claire is always standing at the finish line waiting on me and cheering me on.  It always feels good to have someone at the finish but Claire makes you feel like you were the best runner there- even if 15,000 people have already finished before you (this is true for my races).

Claire is a cheerleader.  Literally, she was a high school cheerleader, but figuratively, she is now a cheerleader of life.  She is an original encourager of my blog.  Recently, she read a book and said, “Brooke- you could write this better than the author did.”  This is very kind of her since I have never written a book.  She was one of the first Luma testers and immediately wrote a 5 star review.  If you tell Claire that you want to do something, she will help you do it.  She encouraged me to go to Alaska to visit my sister and then watched JB two afternoons while I was gone so Peck wouldn’t miss work.  Everyone needs a friend like Claire.

claire10Claire is an encourager.  As we all know, life has its ups and downs.  Claire always sees the glass as half full.  When you are feeling down, she helps lift you up.  When you want to talk or vent, she is always ready and able to listen.  The year or so around Luma starting was very difficult for me.  Lots of transitions and loneliness with my husband needing to work so much.  Claire provided so much encouragement during this time and wisdom.  She has been a big part of helping me through the start-up widow life.

claire7Claire loves my son like another child.  She gives him so much encouragement, love and direction.  He loves play dates at her house and she always has the best snacks.  Since JB was gluten free most of his life, she always made sure he had a special sweet treat at her boys’ birthday parties or other events.  Making sure he didn’t feel left out was always so sweet of Claire.  

Claire is a lover.  She loves her family mightily and her friends too.  She is constantly checking on others and providing support when she can.  When I lost my grandmother, Claire was the first one to bring us a meal.  When someone in our family is sick, she is the first to drop off groceries or cupcakes.  She takes a meal to every family she knows as soon as they have a baby.  Even people she doesn’t even know.  Anything she can do to help or show love to others, she is happy to do.

Claire is a prayer warrior.  It doesn’t matter the size or concern- she is happy to lift it up in prayer.  She prays for you even when you don’t ask or know it.  I challenged her to do a prayer journal during Lent.  She did it everyday and has continued to.  I wish her consistency and diligence will rub off on me!

claire3Claire is a busy bee.  She goes hard from the (early) moment she wakes up until the end.  She is her own housekeeper and has a well executed plan of cleaning the same part of her house on the same day each week to keep up with things.  She will push a double stroller with two boys in it on a 4 mile trek to drop one off at preschool.  At 37.5 weeks pregnant with twins, Claire was out walking the 4th of July neighborhood parade.  Later, she went home to “rest” but still ended up making a homemade flag cookie cake.  That pretty much sums it up.

IMG_2658Claire is so humble.  She does what she is called to do without wanting any attention.  She was a VBS co-director this year and didn’t want any public attention for her hard work.  If you give her a compliment, she is a bit hesitant to accept it and likely to respond with “you are sweet.”  If I had to guess, she is probably a bit embarrassed to be reading this post about herself.

claire5Claire is the most amazing mom.  She always has some fun outing planned for her boys and makes fun out of the most mundane tasks- like grocery shopping.  Her patience (especially as a mom of two little guys) runs deep and she rebounds quickly.  I envy her resilience and out pouring of love in situations where I’d probably just give up and walk away.  On another family vacation, my husband admired her patience.  It’s this amount of love and grace that made God know she’d be the perfect mom to not only two boys but twin girls too.  Of all my friends, I truly believe that Claire has the positivity and strength to not only “get by” as a mom of four children aged 5 and under- but to also thrive.  

Claire, we are all raising our glasses to you and Scott in the coming months. We are here to help any way you will let us.  So proud of you and thankful to have you as my BFFL.  Can’t wait to meet your beautiful girls.  Scott is in big trouble if they are as pretty, smart and sweet as you and your sisters!

love, brooke

$h*t Happens

The reality is our brains are often in a million places not including where they really should be- here, in the moment.  Because of this, groceries get left in the car overnight, pumped milk gets left on the counter, and keys get locked in the car.  In the grand scheme of life, these issues are pretty minor but nonetheless very frustrating.

One of my friends couldn’t find her keys this morning- so she had to Uber to work.  After I heard about her rough morning, I started thinking about all the other things that have happened to me, family members and friends.  Most of these memories are unfortunate when they happened, but now in hindsight, are pretty dang funny.

  1. whoopsOne year for Christmas, we got a lot of fun sporting equipment- roller skates, a ping pong table, and a basketball goal.  My dad set up the basketball goal on the edge of our driveway.  The next day, he backed into it with his truck and the pole was bent pretty badly.
  2. A family member once left one of his two children at a McDonald’s.  Big whoops.  Thankfully, the child was fine… and the dad too, eventually.
  3. At some point in my childhood, I thought there was a mouse in my room because I kept hearing strange noises that were unpredictable.  Four days later, I realized my mom’s pager was in my dresser.  She had only been missing it for a week.
  4. Several years ago, my dad decided to move the mailbox from one side of the driveway to the other.  The next day, he promptly ran over his new mailbox and then put another one back on the original side. (Notice any trends?)
  5. When I was in high school, I was pretty good about losing my keys.  My dad got tired of rescuing me, so he had a spare key made and managed to rig it up underneath my car for emergency situations.  His only caveat was that as soon as I got my original key back, the spare had to be re-rigged underneath the car.  It worked well… more times than I care to count.
  6. In a three year span, I managed to drop two cell phones into toilets.  That’s enough of that expensive memory.
  7. Post college, I had gone to a bar with a friend for a few drinks in Athens, GA.  When we got back to her car, she decided she wanted to wait a while longer before driving and drink some more water.  We sat in her car listening to music and talking.  All of the sudden her car turned off and we couldn’t get it to turn back on.  It was 1AM and her car battery was dead.  Whoops.  Wish I could say I learned my lesson this first time, but this happened to me again in November while there for a football game.  The third time is the charm, right?!
  8. A year ago, I lost my purse and couldn’t find it anywhere.  I had convinced myself I left it on the roof on my car while loading JB into his carseat, then drove off with it on the roof.  I visited the businesses in the shopping center, combed through my house/car many times, and called the on duty security company for the shopping center.  Two days later, I walked into the bathroom in our basement and found it sitting on the kitchen counter.  Ever since that, we are the proud owner of dozens of tiles. (https://www.thetileapp.com/)
  9. Last week, I tried to crack some (older) eggs to cook breakfast.  They weren’t cracking, so I decided they were frozen from being in the back of our fridge for so long.  A few hours later, my husband called and wanted to know why I threw his hard boiled eggs in the trash.  Whoops.
  10. On Monday, I left our front door wide open for 4 hours while we went to the zoo.  When I got home, our dog came walking out on the front porch.  And no, he wasn’t wearing his collar that day.  Thankfully, he didn’t realize the door was open til I got home.

I don’t really have lots of advice to give on this topic- just try to realize when you are in the thick of it, realize you will probably look back on this time and laugh.  It’s much more fun than crying.

laugh, brooke

Embracing Emotions

When I hear the word emotional- I immediately think of it in a negative way. We use it to generally categorize the un-happy feelings- sadness, grief, anger, or frustration. But, if I’m happy- I usually just say that I’m happy instead of calling it emotional- even though happiness is an emotion too.  

Today was an emotional rollercoaster.  I started the day at church surrounded by our village of close friends. JB and all of his buddies were up on the altar singing and dancing their little hearts out to their VBS songs. I was so happy to see him praising God while having so much fun. I was so happy to be among my friends who worked so hard to make VBS so wonderful for all of our children.  My friends have mad skills- decorating, baking, organizing, planning, leading, and preparing.  I was grateful to be a part of a church that invests in its children through a wonderful week of VBS. As VBS missions coordinator, I was blown away by the faithful donations brought in every single day by VBS campers to support others in our community. Just so much happiness and gratitude at one moment that it hit me hard. I just couldn’t physically contain my emotions anymore and the tears started to come down.  

This afternoon, I was thinking about my dad and my love for him. Of course I started crying again as I thought of this love and gratitude for the effect he has had on my life. Tearfully, I sent him this text:

“Happy Father’s Day daddy. I enjoyed working with you around c shack and crabbing/drinking beer for hours a few weeks ago. Thanks for teaching me the value of hard work. And how to fish. Love you so much!!”

I’ve been trying to embrace my emotions recently. In the past, I’d try to hide them or was ashamed by them. “Come on Brooke, get it together!” But now, I’m realizing that they are a natural part of being self aware. Happy tears can’t flow if I’m not searching for gratitude. Sadness for others is also a gift as I’m able to help carry their burdens. Being sentimental can’t happen if I’m not reflecting on what others mean to me. Writing my “Odes” can be very emotional as I reflect on what someone means to me. But, I’m thankful I’m able to let them know what an affect they have on me and it makes me even more grateful for their presence in my life.

How do you embrace your emotions?

love, brooke

It’s OK to Say No

I get asked to volunteer my time to a worthy cause on an almost weekly basis.  Can you be room parent?  Can you lead a Bible study?  Can you be on the membership committee?  Can you bring a weekly snack?  Will you teach Sunday School?

Maybe your requests are different:  Can you captain our softball team?  Can you take on this extra work project?  Can you use your vacation for an extended family wedding?  Can you be HOA President?  Can you host a baby shower?

Many people would agree that these are all wonderful opportunities.  It feels good that people think enough of you to be able to handle these duties.  But, at some point- you can’t say yes to everything.  It breaks my heart to say no to great opportunities.  

Over the last few years, God has been revealing to me that new yes commitment is a no to something else.  Being aware of your current commitments is important before adding anything new.  A yes to serving on a charity committee is a wonderful thing- but it’s a no to dinner with my family each week during the meeting time.  A yes to teaching my son’s Sunday School class is great but it means I’m saying no to attending my own class at the same time.  

I feel awful letting the asker down.  I know they need help and they think I am a good fit for the task.  Plus, I want that person to still like me.  Like many people, I equate letting someone down as them losing respect for me.  But what I’ve learned is if they can’t respect my no, then they aren’t really someone I want to be friends with any way.  Friends value one another’s happiness and support decisions to make that happen.

I’ve slowly been learning that saying no is ok.  Life goes on.  I am realizing that some people may respect you for not taking on more than you can handle.  Plus, if you volunteer a lot, this encourages the asker to recruit new volunteers and allow others to be involved.  New volunteers and ideas can be a good thing.

FullSizeRender (8)It’s still hard to feel like you let someone down or can’t “do it all”.  I’ve decided to become a NO Cheerleader.  If you say no to something, I will clap for you and stand proudly for you saying yes to other wonderful things like your family, health and/or sanity.  You may feel bad or someone may make you feel bad- but know that I have your back!  Congrats on taking control of your calendar and resources!  You have figured out how to treasure your time, money and family.  Job well done!

Now, I encourage you to also become a NO Cheerleader.  Support your spouse, friends and neighbors if they have to say no to good things.  Cheer them on for protecting what’s most important in their life. In the process, I promise you will build your relationship to allow more vulnerability and support!

Also keep these thoughts in mind when you are the asker.  Be sure to respond to a no in the way you would want to be responded to in the same situation.  Allow a no to build bridges not cause division.

Together we can all support one another by celebrating the no that allows more time for the yes!

learn & love, brooke

Ode to SAG

My least favorite thing about the United Methodist church is our pastor merry go round.  Every 4-8 years, a pastor leaves a church and a new one usually takes his/her place.  In theory, this is great for the growth and transition of churches but in practice is a sad time for the congregation.  I am especially struggling with it now as our beloved, SAG, Susan Allen Grady, is leaving my church and going to another.

Since we were on spring break when the announcement was made that she was leaving our church, I found out on Facebook.  I just couldn’t believe it- I never expected her to be leaving us this summer.  I still haven’t found it in me to “like” that Facebook post.

SAG and I started at our church around the same time.  I first met her at a low country boil at our senior pastor’s home.  She seemed reserved but very friendly.  I had no idea that she would become one of my biggest mentors over the coming years.

The first time I was able to work with her it was to help plan a church picnic.  It was during the planning meetings that I begin to appreciate SAG’s honesty and diplomatic processing.  Her witty sense of humor also started to shine.  She has no problem poking fun at herself either.

As the years went by, she asked me to help plan several other events and I had the joy of continuing to work with her.  I got to see her in action as a preacher and a young mother to a high spirited daughter.  On top of that, her husband is also a preacher.  That is a lot to balance and she always does it with a smile and plenty of grace.

She works to make everyone feel special by being generous with her time.  She never rushes a conversation and always makes her office open to whomever needs to chat.  SAG has been a cheerleader for my writing by encouraging me to share it publicly and by helping review/edit a small group study discussion I wrote.

She also has been instrumental in me completing two Disciple classes over the last few years.  Because of her encouragement, my Bible knowledge has grown exponentially.  She has also helped gently push me in starting and leading two small groups.  As a result, my spiritual friendships have deep roots now and my faith has grown deeper as well.

In my mind, the biggest effect SAG has had on me is through establishing a weekly communion service.  Last week, I was able to say a few words during one of her last communion visits.  Here is what I shared (through lots of tears):

FullSizeRender (7)“At this stage in motherhood life, getting to Sunday School and “big church” is difficult with a loud, rambunctious 4 year old son.  Thankfully, this communion service has helped me fill this church void each week.  Susan has consistently filled it with uplifting and thought provoking homilies.  Her commitment to recruiting others to serve and involving attendees in participating does not go unnoticed.  I feel this weekly service is one of the most intimate opportunities at our church.  I’m grateful for her leadership in starting the service and continuing to make it a priority.

Susan is an encourager.  Between my writing, calling to share at communion last year, and forming small groups- Susan is always there to help and cheer me along.  She makes herself available for mentoring and encouragement whenever needed.  I appreciate your investment in me and my faith.

As a fellow lifelong Methodist, I’m going to miss the strong, female leadership that Susan brings to our church.  But, at the same time- I’m proudly cheering you on as you assume your new senior pastor position.  We love you and will miss you.”

Obviously, I am sad to see her leave for so many personal reasons.  I am going to miss her smile, leadership, sense of humor, and encouragement.  But, at the same time, I am so proud of her to be moving into a senior pastor role.  I know that God has big things in store for her and her new church.  She is a lover of people and relationships and I know that will carry her far in life.  I am just proud to be on her cheerleader squad during life’s journey.

On a positive note, she said I can still text her even though she isn’t my official pastor anymore.  I am glad to still call her my friend.

Best wishes SAG!

love, brooke

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