I spent more days on the road speaking than at home last August. I am grateful for each place I've visited. A few moments have stood out for me:
Pennsylvania: The District Attorney hosted a dinner for his friends and colleagues where he praised Thistle Farms and our sister community, Bloom, saying this was what every city needed!
Dallas: Standing before 650 international forensic nurses who are loving and brave women, cheering for us and buying all the products from Kristina and Kristin in 30 minutes.
West Texas: The joy of collective laughter when I told 300 people of a love letter I found, written when my husband and I were married six months. It said, "we've been through so much."
Milwaukee: The Dean of the Cathedral said they are coming for a Thistle Farms education and training workshop and will explore opening a residence as a sister community someday.
Each city has such rewarding moments. I share a few to offer a reminder: We grow a movement one house, one candle, one woman at a time.
The flip side to these experiences is that they come at a cost. I often end up celebrating milestones for friends and family, alone.
Last week was a big ‘first’ for our family: the engagement of our son, Caney, and his girlfriend, Katherine.
The event was meticulously planned as a surprise for Katherine. After a private moment with Caney offering a ring on bended knee, they were to come down the steps and Katherine would be surprised by family and close friends.
I was sitting alone in a hotel room having finished the sessions I was leading for the day. My sweet family held up the phone so that I could still feel present, and I listened as everyone toasted and cheered.
I wept tears of joy for the happy couple who were beside themselves with the dizzying wonder of love!
As I sat there after I hung up, I didn't feel sorry for myself, but I felt like it was a holy way to experience motherhood.
We become mothers alone.
There are all kinds of people helping us, but no one can know what we feel when we push our own babies out into the world. Since that initial moment, part of the path of motherhood is learning to let go and watch your child fly on their own. Sitting in the room, a silent witness on the phone, I could see my child flying beautifully with no help from me needed.
God knows if I had been there I would have been making changes!
While sitting in silence, I felt connected to every mother in the whole wide world who tries to work hard and love her family and live in balance.
Life on the road changes people as we move from standing in front of people dreaming of a movement, to sitting alone in a room and missing our kids. I think the key is not to be swept up by either sensation.
While we work to help more women find their way home, here are my hopes for all of us:
Find the good and celebrate it.
Stay focused on what love means and do not get distracted by shiny objects.
Let go of heavy burdens that make us question our own value or that of anyone else.
Cast off the fear that makes us weary.