My friend Kelly lived 50 years. Today I will join with her friends and family to say goodbye, to celebrate her life and mourn because she no longer walks this earth. I’ll miss her enthusiasm, her creativity, her million dollar smile, her genuine love for all people, and her fierce love for her family and friends. She had a deep and abiding love for the Lord. She had a passion for life which was contagious.
I remember the day she told me she had cancer. The day is etched in my memory.
I was volunteering at a retreat for the ministry, Spreading Sunshine, at a beautiful home in Arkansas. Very early on a Saturday morning, while it was still dark I called Kelly. As we talked, I sat on the porch overlooking a creek. Kelly and I talked while the sun was rising. She shared her diagnosis story with me. She also shared plans for her treatment. In the midst of this conversation she shared what God had been doing in her life. She was upbeat and positive. I remember laughing and crying. She expressed her concern for others, especially her husband Kevin and their three daughters.
At the time I had no idea it would be the last significant conversation we would have. I’m truly thankful for that conversation. For the rest of my life I’ll remember that conversation and how Kelly let her light shine, even in a very dark moment.
Only God knows how many days I have left on this earth. My desire is to live each day to the fullest, to be who God made me to be and do what God has called me to do.
Speaking of living life to the fullest….I’m celebrating my upcoming 50th birthday all year long and am planning volunteer projects to do with friends each month to raise awareness for families facing childhood illness and to honor my friends who lived brief but beautiful lives.
You may be reading this and wondering where this idea came from.
- My friend Virginia did several acts of kindness leading up to her 50th birthday and I really just want to be like Virginia when I grow up.
- There’s an incredible organization in Memphis called Volunteer Odyssey whose mission is to connect volunteers with their ideal volunteer experience and to tell their stories. Around the holidays Volunteer Odyssey encouraged people to pledge time to volunteer sometime during the year and I agreed to volunteer for my birthday.
That’s how this idea was born.
Birthday Project #1 – Served dinner with a team of Spreading Sunshine volunteers to families at LeBonheur. If you live in Memphis and are looking for an incredible way to volunteer with a few of your friends or family, comment and I’ll get the details to you.
Birthday Project #2 – I plan to put together thank you sunshine baskets for the nurses stations at LeBonheur to show them how much their work matters. My friend Kelly was a nurse and I want to honor her with this project. She would have loved the idea and would been cheering me on in this project.
Thank you for reading and allowing me to share my heart and life with you. Today is a Gift. Today is going to be a difficult day for myself as well as the many people who loved Kelly. Prayers would be appreciated.