So, last fall I was really humbled to be part of an intimate retreat weekend in Austin, Texas.  I relished in hearing the stories of the women I had never met, as well as cherished the opportunity to reconnect with the girls I knew from various times in my life.  To be honest, just be away from everything and have girl time was what the Doctor ordered.

I love girl time.  (Written language is inadequate a tool for me to convey how much I love time with girlfriends…)

Kristin Armstrong shared some of her own story during our weekend, with authenticity and vulnerability.  She’s a fan of Brene Brown, queen of vulnerability, but not only that, she’s a fan of girlfriends and especially a fan of when we as women come together and thrive in our uniqueness. 

I still carry many treasures from that weekend, but one I keep coming back to is how Kristin asked each of us to think for a while, to remember way back when, to our first memory of really feeling alive doing what we loved to do.  Like, “when you were a kid, what was your favorite thing to do?” type of question. 

And then, basically, what your first memory of your favorite thing was is how you were designed/wired/created…how God made you…”what you would thrive in being when you ‘grow up’.”

My memory of when I first felt alive was on the playground in elementary school.  I could picture it clear as day, and I could see myself, gathering girls.

Photo: “Portland Park Series”

I wanted everyone to belong.  My heart hurt when other girls felt left out.  I still remember the names of some of my classmates…the ones other kids made fun of for different clothes, different ticks, different skin color.

I felt most alive and the deepest joy when swinging on the monkey bars or climbing the Rocket Slide with all the girls.  It made my heart happy when we ALL played Chinese jump rope or Double Dutch, taking turns.  Even though only two could go at a time, I loved taking turns on Wall Ball, Tether Ball, and on the swings.

The 80’s were good on the playground.  Photo:

For me it wasn’t hard to believe we could all just get along.  Even if we had disagreements, I knew deep down in my heart the playground was for everyone…Krissy, Swati, Kari S, all of us.

It wasn’t just for the whoevertheheckdecideswhoispopular kids.

And so, even if some days I sit on my floor and cry because I’m stuck and not in love with myself, because of your encouragement and God’s love for me, I woke up to this reminder this morning.

Here are 10 Things I Love About Me and I have even gone to my counseling appointment, wink, wink:

  1. I am a peacemaker.  “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.  That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”
  2. I love to build bridges between women.
  3. I actually do love to play on the playground.
  4. I love listening to the stories of other women.
  5. I love to see a woman living in complete freedom…to me, it’s one of the most beautiful sights to behold.  There’s nothing she can’t do…
  6. I love how much my heart is capable of loving my husband and kids.
  7. I love time with girlfriends.
  8. I’m really good at making soup from scratch.
  9. I love to sew and design and create clothes and jewelry and decor.
  10. I will always believe the best about you, because we all have a story…

*I won’t lie, writing this list took me a lot longer than my “hate” list.

I challenge you, not just to do this exercise, but because it will encourage others, as well:  in the comments, write 10 Things You Love About Yourself.

Ready, go…


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