Christmas Day is almost gone, mine was terrific. It’s my hope yours was too.

I’d been holding my breath for this, my second holiday day without any family. Narrowed down before my Mother died, to just Mother and me. She/We always wanted our entire family here to celebrate, they were unable to be with her, with us.

We did okay, through these times we became closer than I would ever have imagined possible. When she died she was to me Mother, Sister and Best-Friend. Nothing will ever be the same.

Now it is time for new traditions, new journeys.

This year I have gained new friends and managed to keep many great life long friends.  One called me today as we were leaving for the movies – I was so excited to see this film – when I told Stacey what we were seeing, “JOY” she buoyed me further with the reminder  my ‘outside’ the box thinking is why NBC’s Today Show began “Music on the Plaza”.  Forgotten that my pitch to have the legendary “Cathedrals” sing and outside, on the Plaza that early September morning marked a first for the show.  A smashing success, they were booked again for Christmas six hours later.


Stacey – Thank you for your 15 + Years of true friendship and encouragement to me.  Stacey and Virginia and and and.  I am a blessed girl.  Going to be telling about why I love each of them so in upcoming posts.  Today?  Today is about the “JOY” of new traditions.

Melissa Batey long-time friend (and former personal assistant from my Nashville years) is relocating to Conway.  We are rearranging my house to make room for her tomorrow, it was Christmas. We did exactly as we desired! She made a wreath for my front door we went to the movies and made a favorite meal of Pasta with Marinara.

BEST of this holiday, unbeknownst to anyone, received my very first invitation from a family from church to join them for a Holiday Dinner.  The Eppersons. This Family, Ruth Ann Epperson will always have a special place in my heart for thinking of me.

New friends, new traditions. I am happy and filled with JOY.

For many of my friends, and those who actually read my blog posts 🙂 — I want to encourage you that things will be better.  Different, but better.

For today, put some “JOY” in your life. “JOY” is a MUST. SEE. If you have ever had an idea (who hasn’t really?) and own your own voice, you will be encouraged, uplifted and motivated to own your dreams too.

THIS my wish and prayer for each of you this day.

***disclaimer PLEASE forgive any grammar or other mistakes.  I wanted this post to be as authentic as possible so I’m forgoing edits.  It was such a great day & don’t wish to be tied up in what is minutia for me.

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Rule #5 Be Loyal

Joan Rivers once said “Loyalty” when asked the most important characteristic of friends and family.  I’ve loved her since that day.  Thanks to Bill Reardin, I’ve had the privilege of working with her.  My company, Still Talking is named for her fabulous book.

Joan Rivers

Struggling with how to write about loyalty — knowing — just as with every other post about Authentic Grace that I, too fail.  Writing about my personal journey with Authentic Loyalty will continue another time.  This morning I realized it was the one year anniversary of the death of Diane Reed, Mrs. Wayne Reed.

Wayne and Diane Reed

How does one person/couple elicit such loyalty?  I attended the same church as the Reeds during my time in Nashville, TN.  I knew them for their good works with low-income children.


If not from Tennessee, you may have heard of Diane.  Diane Reed was the third person in Tennessee to fall victim to an outbreak of fungal meningitis after receiving a contaminated steroid injection.

Diane Reed

The Nashville, Tennessean described Diane as someone with unwavering love. Their headline on October 7, 2012 read:

Meningitis outbreak: Victim Diana Reed cared for husband with ALS, helped poor kids read

With her husband, Wayne, Reed helped start a day care in Nashville dedicated to helping low-income children learn to read before they get to school. That center, the Wayne Reed Christian Childcare Center, carries his name. She, meanwhile, was given a permanent seat on the board.

After the 2010 flood, Reed jumped in to help the homeless. That effort morphed into Open Table Nashville, an advocacy group that exists today.

“She was at the center a great deal,” said Steve Grizzle, chairman of the board at Wayne Reed Christian Childcare Center. “She knew the kids by name and by face.”

That type of quiet heroism was a part of their daily lives, even in the privacy of their home in southern Davidson County near the Richland Country Club. Some 20 years ago, Reed’s husband was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Each morning she spent several hours readying him for the day. Everything they did together took planning AND patience.

Pat Ward, a friend of Reed’s for more than two decades, said life was often a struggle for Diana and Wayne, but never a labor.

“This has been a long 20 years together, of watching her husband suffer,” Ward said. “She has had her ups and downs, but her love for Wayne never wavered and her love for God never wavered.”

They made it to church more often than not, said Ward, and for years they worked three days a week, side by side, at an office dedicated to affordable housing.

Those close to Wayne and Diana have long worried about his declining health and have considered how they might try to fill her life when he dies, Ward said. But no one really contemplated the scenario that has unfolded.

“She knew she was sick, but we all were thinking she was just sick and would get better,” Ward said.

Sandra Collins wrote this morning:

One year ago today, Diana Reed died.  Wayne was the only person in the world who knew he could keep on keeping on without her by his side.  And he was right.
But he is fully aware that hundreds of people have been holding up his hands–bringing meals, making repairs, walking the dog, helping with housecleaning, helping with finances, launching a lawsuit, helping with financial reports for the WRCCC, taking off and putting on his stockings, some times spending the nights, being his life group, transporting him to church and to the hospital, sitting by his bedside before and after surgeries, visiting in the rehabs, dressing his wounds, creating a book about Diana, emptying closets and cupboards to make spaces more accessible, building ramps, cutting up trees that have fallen, pulling weeds and spreading mulch, and dozens of other things I do not even know about. He knows and he is extremely grateful.  Though his  gratitude does not “roll trippingly from his tongue,” it can be read in his eyes and his smile.

Thank you, Sandra.

Can I ever be THAT loyal?  Can you?

Loyalty is sometimes difficult. Our loyalty is tested daily.  What will we do?  We must practice loyalty every day.  We can work, day-in-and-day-out to be loyal even when it hurts.   Some day, I’ll tell you how I’ve hurt myself by failing to be loyal, or even being loyal to the wrong idea or person.   For today, I want to bask in the memory of what real loyalty can and will do for each of us.   Thank you Wayne and Diane Reed.

Authentic Loyalty WILL make the difference.

Knowing people like Diane and Wayne Reed exist is buoying to me.  I will tell you of Marilyn Switzer and her loyalty soon.  Just another example of what we can do together.






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