My friend Annie…

…not to be confused with my furkid also named Annie.

Today I am guest blogging on my friend Annie’s blog. (Click here to check it out my post.) When she asked me to write a guest post she had no idea that I had a draft post titled “Annie” in my queue that I was working on all about her. Surprise!

In my life I have had the privilege to work with many students and watch them grow and develop. It’s quite an amazing vantage point and one that I cherish deeply. Some of these students have since become life long friends and the privilege of watching them grow continues as they navigate life, have families, and become adults (not necessarily in that order).

I remember much about my friend Annie and the time we spent together in Paris while I was working for Young Life. She was an American college student who wanted to study art and decided to go study the originals instead of just looking at pictures in a book or on slides. In fact I remember a phone call from her after I had returned to the US (long before cell phone companies figured out how to charge long distance for international calling) where she described to me what it was like for her to go to Rome and see some of the masterpieces in person. I can still remember the excitement in her voice and the emotion it evoked for her. I also remember celebrating her birthday in my 1 piece appartement. I had not used the right amount of something and so when the cake started falling apart Rachel and I spackled it back together with frosting. There were lots of walks along the Champs Elysees, movies with subtitles, cafe chats and lots of laughs.

Our time in Paris was part of the reason why I went back to school to study higher education. The talks about life, faith, purpose and vocation helped point me in the direction of my masters program–something I had contemplated as an undergraduate but put it off for some adventures first.

When Annie sent me the email a couple weeks ago asking if I would write a guest post for this series, it was perfect timing. Lately, I have been thinking about the fact that we as women tend to be critical of each other as opposed to supportive. Yes, that was a sweeping general statement, but I know you see it, too, in your life. I am a part of a couple of women only groups on facebook and it is interesting to watch how quickly a conversation on a post can become argumentative and unsupportive. I think some of this is because we don’t practice affirming each other. So how do we get women to practice affirming one another? Encourage women who blog to devote a day during the month/week to feature women who inspire them and having a place to share all these posts. My hope is that as we practice affirming other women it becomes our natural inclination.

A few years ago, Annie was looking for a way to celebrate Lent in a way that made meaning for her. She sent letters to women that had somehow made an impact on her life. Today I sent an email to a friend that recently persuaded me to get involved on a committee that has turned out to be a great experience. It tool me all of 5 minutes to write and send the heartfelt email. The response I received back (not that I sent it to get a response, just wanted her to know I was thankful for her help and direction) was so sweet and just as affirming to me. Just makes me think about the ripple effect that Annie’s lent experience left on those in her life…as you can see years later I am still thinking about it and I’m sure not the only one!

So here’s to Annie and the mark she has left and continues to leave on my life. I hope you will go check out her blog and read the stories of the other women she has been featuring this month. Thank you, Annie, for being you, for your friendship, and for the memories we have made together in the past and those we have yet to make in the future! Looking forward to meeting the girls the next time I’m in Colorado!