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    Who made you this beautiful?

    Who made you this beautiful?

    I truly enjoyed this day for many reasons. First of all, I just finished several commitments that were taking much of my energy and all my focus in the last month. Second of all, I have family visiting from out of town and it was refreshing to be able to take a day to enjoy their company, catch up on life and rest. As I was laying by the pool, I reflected on all the great things that happened over the last few weeks and remembering the answers my group of 30 pre-schoolers gave me when I asked “Who made you beautiful?”, brought many smiles and warm memories.

    I remember the day I asked them, it was 2 days before the program was ending and I had won the right to ask pretty much anything I wanted. We had created a fun environment where they felt loved and cared for. They would come into class with the expectation that it was going to be a fun time! Some them would run to me and hug me while saying “I love you”. They were all lined up and ready to start our session when I asked each “who made you this beautiful?”, nearly everyone answered the same thing “my mom”. I wish I had taken a picture of each one of them while they said it one by one. They had a big smile and the certainty that, if this was a contest, they would win! Moms have that effect on little ones.

    I remember “knowing” my mom made me, helped me, loved me, protected me…there wasn’t anything I didn’t think my mom would be able to handle or do for me. She was my hero and I could tell these little ones felt the same way about their mom. To be fair, a couple of kids answered “my dad made me beautiful” and one actually said “my brother made me beautiful”.

    When it was my turn, I shared with them the fact that when I was young like them, I didn’t think I was beautiful. My mom always told me I was and I never believed her. As you know I always blamed my insecurities on my dad…but the day I realized God loved me unconditionally and I accepted this love, I felt the most beautiful and loved woman on earth! I had finally felt I belonged and someone cared about me and ever since then, I believed I was a person with a purpose and that made me feel beautiful. The next day was our last day together and when I asked “Do you remember who made me beautiful?” some quickly raised their hands and said “God did and He made me beautiful too!”. Deep down inside, in their innocence, they believe their moms did and I agreed with them because God gave me the privilege to be one of the daughters of the most amazing moms ever.

    I wish I was much younger when I learned this truth. Sometimes, even in casual conversations, we are influencing those we encounter, work with, counsel or simply talk to. Let’s be intentional to influence everyone we meet in a positive way no matter how old or young they are. Always aiming to live a life of significance!

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    Celebrating Life!

    I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since we took this picture! I remember trying to fit everyone in the small living room of a home that represented so many memories to each of us. These are my siblings from my mom’s side. Even though as young kids we all lived the same circumstances of a dysfunctional home, the memories were different for each one. Fortunately, there was always one constant thing that did not change, my mother. We grew up learning from her actions how to be caring, forgiving, friendly, hard working, how to serve others, how to go the extra mile to help, how to do everything in excellence and to love unconditionally.

    We were happy to be together but sad it was her funeral. Behind the smiles you see at first glance in this picture, there are feelings of disbelief and unfulfilled promises. Promises I made to her that I could no longer accomplish. Trips we didn’t take, visits we didn’t make, recipes we didn’t cook. Knowing her, these “unfulfilled promises” would have meant nothing to her in comparison to more important things she would want me to do. She’d want me to be an extension of her. She’d want me to reach out to people in need and not only talk about God’s love for them but show them in action what that means for them and somehow, even if in a small way, add value to their lives.

    Why disbelieve? I thought she’d live forever! Okay, I hoped she’d live forever. I would have never suspected she’d died at 67 and so suddenly. Her prayer was always “Lord, when it’s your will to take me, let it be fast”. Within a few days of getting an aneurism, she took her last breath of life. Yes, she was highly favored and God answered even that prayer for her.

    My mom was an amazing woman, deeply rooted and spiritually strong. A woman that persevered until she conquered unimaginable victories. Her faith still sustains me and fills me with the hope to know her prayers are still answered.

    If you knew my mom, you were impacted by her and I’d give anything to hear from those that would take a moment to leave a phrase, a comment or a memory of her on this day in which I celebrate her life. For me, writing about her and sharing it with you is the best way I can thank her for all she meant to me. Norma