Update: Congratulations to Mandy (the winner chosen by the random number generator)!
A few weeks ago I mentioned The Noticer Project. It’s a movement based on Andy Andrews’ new book called The Noticer. Andy is challenging all of us to publicly “notice” five influential people in our lives. You can do that in a variety of ways as described on The Noticer Project site. As Mother’s Day approaches, I’m taking this opportunity to do some “noticing” of a few influential women right here on this blog and give away a copy of the book…
My Mom (Lyn Armstrong) – The first image that comes to my mind when I think of my mom are small, round bluebirds made of homemade play-dough. She sat on the floor and shaped them for my brother and I every time we asked.”Please,” we’d beg, “Make us a bluebird family!” So she would.
She did a lot of shaping, my mom–shaping of hearts, minds, and faith. Each night when she tucked me in she would tell me a story she made up. One of my favorites was about Dainty Doodlebug who was too prissy to get dirty and almost got eaten by a bird. Moral of the story: Get dirty, live life, play.
Thank, mom, for your creativity and kindness. I appreciate how you shaped my gifts, just like you did that play-dough, with tenderness so that God could use them for His purposes.
My Grandma (Eula Armstrong) – Married at fifteen and a mother at sixteen, my Grandma has always been taking care of someone. She dropped out of high school and later went back to get not only her GED but also a masters degree.
When I think of her, I think first of the apartment she lived in at the Children’s Home where she worked for many years. I can see the table in her dining room where everyone gathered each Thanksgiving. She is a gatherer, my Grandma, of hearts, souls, and lives. She took in her brothers’ children and raised them as her sons. She takes in neighbors who need a meal, visitors who need a church, and hurting hearts who just need an encouraging word.
Thank you, Granny Eula, for always taking me in too–into your arms, your heart, and your prayers.
My Grandma (Frances Brookshire) – “Nana” went home to heaven almost ten years ago but she still influences me every day. When I think of her, I picture the back room of a bookstore. She’s at her desk, coffee close by, and then she turns to me and asks, “What are you reading?” I peer up from the stack of books I’ve gathered from the shelves and answer. She asks questions about my relationship with God, what’s happening in my heart, and my dreams for the future. She teases me, rolls up close in the wheelchair neither of us notice, and makes me believe that one day I can write a book like the ones I’m holding.
And I did, Nana, I did!
Thank you–I couldn’t have done it without your love.
My Mentor (Ragan Morales) – I can still see a group of girls scattered in Ragan’s living room eating brownies while she nourished our souls with something far more substantial. My college Bible study was called “The Huddle” and there I learned to live out both grace and truth.
Ragan chased me down with phone calls until I finally agreed to meet with her as a freshman. It was after my rebellious first semester of college and little did she know how much I needed her. We talked on park benches, in her living room, in her car, at my sorority house.
Now she’s overseas doing the work God has called her to do. I don’t get to physically hear her voice often anymore but I still hear it often in my heart. Thank you, Ragan, for investing in me.
My Readers (You!) – When I think of you, I imagine so many different moments. I see you at your keyboards, typing comments and e-mails. I picture your smiling faces at conferences. I envision you curled up on your couch with a book in your hand.
Even more than seeing you–I feel you. I sense your prayers. I hold onto your encouragement. It seems odd to say I love ya because most of us have never met, but I do. Because when I think of you, pray for you, write for you, I feel God’s love for you within me. He loves you deeply, fiercely. More than you know. More than you imagine.
You’re the reason I’m here on these pages. Thank you, sweet readers, for sharing this journey with me.
Now it’s your turn! I’d love for you to kick off your “noticing” here by leaving a comment about someone who has influenced you. (No need to go on and on like me, a sentence or two will work.) If you do, you’ll be entered to win a copy of The Noticer. Contest closes at midnight on Friday and the winner will be announced Saturday.