I hope you have people in your life like this.  I hope you have people who cry with you, help you carry burdens that are too heavy for you, who really love you.  I hope you have friends who make you laugh and remind you to have courage.  I hope they help you remember that God is real and that He loves you when it doesn’t feel like it.  Because, in case no one’s told you lately, you’re worthy of that kind of love and care.  And you matter.

One thing is for sure—I surely don’t deserve all the people in my life who love me so well.  But I am awfully thankful for them.

On the one-year anniversary of the fire that burned our home and turned our lives upside down, I was presented with a hope chest full of love, prayers, and small gifts.  I love that Torey, as she was working and praying and sweating it up at Aggieland’s Impact, was covered with a similar flood of notes and prayers.

Here is just a taste of what I was given.

One woman actually gave me her grandmother’s brooch.  She said I reminded her of her grandmother—how she was full of strength and faith and loved getting fancy.  I’ve given it some thought and I truly can’t think of nicer compliment.  For now, the brooch graces a white straw hat.  I can’t wait to wear it on blazers and knit berets in the fall.

Another gave me a real live message in a bottle.  A message that has, so far, gone unread because, let me tell you, it’s harder than you’d think to get the paper back out!!  I have tried using my fingers, tweezers, and chop sticks all to no avail.  Kyle has tried.  I’m hoping someone reading this is a lot smarter than me and can tell me how to get it out.  Otherwise, a hammer is in that bottle’s future.

Someone else gave me a beautiful bracelet adorned with a swallow to remind me that if God takes care of every tiny swallow, He will surely take care of my family and me, too.

My mom gave me the crown from my first ballet costume.  I assure you I was the least graceful ballerina on that stage but I loved my gold and white costume with the tiny gold crown for our buns.  It seemed so magical.  And my mom saved it all these years because she never throws anything away ever.  She gave it back to me to remind me that I’m the daughter of a King and that I’m loved and that she thinks I’m lovely.  All of which makes me laugh and cry again at the thought.

And these are only a few of the words I won’t forget and the reminders of grace that now fill nooks and crannies around the apartment.  Thanks for walking with me, everyone.  Thanks for showing me what faithful friendship looks like.  I hope I have lots of chances to return what I’ve been given.