Our Summer back South started off with an opportunity to share my story at a fabulous ladies' luncheon hosted by the lovely Beth Phelps and her lovely daughter, Chanler (remember the beautiful letterpress invitation here).  Beth came to know our story through a mutual friend named Brittany Wood Bolemon, who was the president of my college sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, at Samford, and babysat Beth's kids through the years.  My story seemed to be a particular encouragement to Beth and her family as they went through some hard times of their own.

Funny enough, some of the Phelps family's dearest friends are Jeff and Gregg Foxworthy.  Jeff Foxworthy played a particularly important role in God's provision for us during the early days of my stroke.  Remember this?

(Youtube video here)

(BTW, Jeff has a great new show called The American Bible Challenge)

I was the first pregnant contestant on "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?", got half of the questions wrong (I'll blame the pregnancy brain--thank goodness for those 5th grade geniuses who saved me!), and somehow still walked away with $50,000.  Talk about a miracle.  The check came after my stroke when I was in Neuro-Acute Rehab at UCLA, by the way.  [Side note, months before I was even asked to be on the show, Jay and I pledged $5,000 more to our church than we were likely going to make that year.  GOD WINK!]

The night before the luncheon, the DeMoss family, Mark (check out his great book on wisdom) and Allison and daughters Georgia (who made above-mentioned invitation) and Madison, hosted several families, including the Phelps and Foxworthys for an extremely special dinner to break bread with new friends.  I can't express how neat it was to get to know such wonderful folks who have been cheering me on for a long time now, while also getting to be with the Foxworthys in such a different time and place from our last meeting; it was truly a "coming full circle" feeling.

The next day's luncheon was so sweet.  Beth opened her beautiful home to nearly 100 women, for a time of sharing, then fellowship over a wonderful lunch.  I do love being able to express the grace of God through the story of my life with new friends, and this time was no exception.

As my hosts are a family of home builders, my talk was appropriately centered around embracing your lot (Numbers 33 and Psalms 16).  Despite the circumstances, the lot we are each given is good because it is given from God who is good.  Focusing on gratitude for where we are and what we have been given is the key.  Embracing that lot, nurturing it, and even building something great on it is God's hope for us.  It encouraged me to share, and I hope it encouraged the ladies there that day.  I look forward to seeing how we all connect again in the future.  Thanks new friends, especially, the Phelps, the DeMosses, the Capes, and the Foxworthys.

[PS - I am so glad to be at a place physically where I can share in different contexts, even in someone's home.  While I can't do it all, especially since I can't drive and need someone to come with me to these types of things, if you are interested in having me speak to your group, email me via the "Contact" button at the top of the page].