We are getting closer to the end—whether it is of life or of this world as we know it, I don’t know. I just feel it in my bones. It is not just because I recently celebrated another birthday. Or that death has hit some of those around me—hard. Or that there are more tornadoes and earthquakes in densely populated regions of this world. Or that inflation is still a looming problem that began about two years ago.
More recently than, let’s say five years ago, God has sparked in me more of an urgency at various times of my life to not only live with eternity in mind, but also to live a legacy that He would want me to leave.
Through both the events of my life and of this world, I see a desperation in people for joy, hope, love and purpose in their lives. When these people experience the death of a loved one, they may ask themselves why they should go on living and what legacy of that loved one do they want to continue to carry—or not. When these peoples’ lives are broken or shattered, they wonder how they can ever pick up the pieces and flourish again. If they only knew the love, joy, hope, peace and purpose Christ offers them!
I want people to know the love that I am convinced Jesus has for them. No, this Love does not just love them when it is convenient or easy, but also when it is most difficult or trying. There have been plenty of times in my life where I felt like giving up not only on Jesus, but more so myself. If it were not for the love of Christ permeating from godly people to me, I don’t know where I’d be today, but probably not in a very good place. This love affirmed me, restored me, included me, persevered with me when was on my last rope.
I want people to know to be able to let go. Let go of bitterness and resentment. Let go of past failures and past rejections limiting oneself from embarking on new adventures or trusting someone that can and should be trusted. Let go of the junk that weighs them down, whether it be material or immaterial.
How can we know what should be let go? Well, I have learned, using an eternal lens, that if the baggage we are carrying will not matter in eternity, then we shouldn’t obsesses over it like it does. Also, the baggage we are carrying hinders us from living the legacy God wants us to live, we need to give it over to Him and/or let Him carry it for us. We are not meant to carry overbearing burdens alone. We are meant, however, to carry our daily, lighter burdens (ie taking up one’s cross).
I also want people to know to be prepared for the days ahead. If you are a believer in Christ, this means we are urged to minister to and share the gospel with others and live a life that will glorify our Lord and Savior, as we wait expectantly for His return. For everyone, I want people to be prepared for turbulent and troubled days ahead, while still living with purpose and love for others. How do we do that? We think about how we want to be remembered by future generations and those that we care about after we pass away, and with passion and purpose resolve to leave a lasting and positive legacy by the way we live our lives today.
Imagine working your normal shift, and having a regularly scheduled meeting in the breakroom. Except there was nothing ordinary about it. One of your managers announces the start of the meeting. Then, your other manager comes up, seemingly out of nowhere, with a menacing blank stare on his face…and starts shooting at people—intending to murder them.
This is the trauma the overnight workers in Chesapeake endured Tuesday evening.
The saddest thing is that this tragedy could have been prevented, and the six lives that were cut short by the shooter could have been spared.
One thing that needs to happen in all workplaces, no matter what the company or how small or large the workforce, is zero tolerance for a toxic work environment. No, a toxic work environment is NO excuse for murder, but it can create lifelong trauma for those around it and is also bad for productivity and eventually the bottom line of a company. I have seen it firsthand. Symptoms of a toxic work environment that I have personally witnessed are pervasive gossiping, tension between colleagues, and an attitude of apathy about work performance and work related issues.
Upper management, including corporate officials, of a company need to create a culture where people are not terrified of or hesitant to bringing up concerns to them. For instance, my store director always tries to listen empathetically to our concerns and helps bring about a viable and helpful solution to them. I also think that there should be mandatory training for all workers on how to listen empathetically to others without interrupting, invalidating, or verbally assaulting them. Not only that, but time should be set aside regularly (i.e…at least every month) where people can voice their concerns about serious workplace issues to management without being interrupted or invalidated.
If these measures were put in place in Chesapeake, I believe the tensions there and the resulting tragedy could have been prevented. Again, I am not trying to place blame on anyone. I am just pointing out what could be done to promote a more positive work environment in all companies.
Another thing that I learned from this tragedy is that we should value everyone and not take loved ones for granted, because we never know when they may be taken away from us. We can do this by taking note of those co-workers and others around us who are hurting or broken, and give them extra grace instead of condemnation and judgment. Look for ways to minister to them and make them feel worthy. For instance, a coworker asked me if I was going to be OK when she found out I was spending this past Thanksgiving alone. If a coworker is fallen on hard financial times and cannot pay for their groceries, we should offer to help them out if we can. We should also find ways to compliment people on genuinely good work. If someone works hard to get things done efficiently and correctly, we should tell them we appreciate all they have done to do so.
Also, we should strive to forgive those who hurt us, so that a root of bitterness does not spring up and cause undue harm to us and others. If the shooter forgave those that he alleged hurt him emotionally, this tragedy would have never happened. Yes, maybe certain people do not “deserve” forgiveness, but how much do we deserve the forgiveness of God? That is why it cost God His Son, because we don’t deserve forgiveness at all.
Let us normalize quitting jobs that foster a toxic work environment, where stress levels are too high and tensions get the best of us to protect our mental and emotional health. And let us pray for the families of the victims of this shooting, and pray that tragedies like this will never happen again.
I am no stranger to rejection, having been first rejected by the world at the tender age of two. As a result of my neurodivergence and other differences, I was not only rejected, but mercilessly teased and ridiculed as well. In my early teen years, I realized that I would not be bullied as much if I tried to please others and “mask” the parts of me that were considered “unacceptable.” By the time I was an adult, I was so adept as masking, that, several years ago, it resulted in me being involved in a psychologically and emotionally abusive friendship.
Only very recently (as in the past few days), have I begun to realize that I do not need to mask any part of me to be truly loved and accepted for who I am. I also am beginning to learn that if people do not accept me for who God made me to be, then they can stay very far away from me because I won’t tolerate their disrespect and manipulative tactics to try to recreate me into their image of who they think I should be.
I do not mean that if I am doing something sinful that I will resist being corrected and pointed in the right direction. However, if people try to attack who God created me to be at my core and give unsolicited advice about how I should change just to please them or society, I will not budge. And neither should you.
I have learned that the people who truly love and care for you, accept all of you, even your quirks and flaws. They help you become the best version of yourself. They don’t put you down for who God created you to be, or ridicule you for your quirks or differences.
Do not accept anything less than that in your life. Do not get into relationships where you are not valued for who you are at the core. If someone hangs out or is in a relationship with you only when you do something desirable for them, and not when you need help or fall apart, they are not your friend or confidant. They are users. Get out as soon as possible.
The best relationships and friendships are those where you can be completely yourself without apology and with whom you can be completely honest. Thank you to those friends who have done just that for me.
Let me be real here.–The world as we know it is not getting better. I have observed more division and cruelty than ever before. Despite this, I am learning to sift through the madness and the stress of daily life, and treasure what is really important. However, I also learned that in order to be able to treasure life’s precious moments, we need to avoid these and other life-wasters:
Bitterness–I admit I still struggle with this at times. However, I found that if I focus too much on how someone hurt me, I have no room to love the people that have not offended me at all. Also, I find that my capacity for having empathy with the person that hurt me is greatly diminished. In order to let go of bitterness, I would try to pray good things for the person that offended me and, if the person who hurt me is still actively in my life, to do something good for them out of the kindness of my heart, even if I did not feel like doing that good deed at the time. This will, in the long run, soften your offender’s heart towards you, and also soften your heart towards him or her.
Drama–Drama is a life waster because it creates unnecessary strife and stress in interpersonal relationships. Drama, especially coupled with gossip, does not allow one to see the unadulterated truth about a person or people. Only authenticity and love will do that. Drama only creates tension and temporary relief from boredom. I do not like to hear about or participate in drama because I never get a completely accurate view of a person or situation. Also, being involved in drama hinders me from really making a positive difference in others’ lives without hypocrisy and ulterior motives.
Greed–Greed, of all forms, but particularly of money and material things, greatly wastes your life. Greed for money can drive a person to work long hours at a job that one does not enjoy in order to enjoy the “finer” things of life. Greed for material things can lead one to never really savor or appreciate what they already have. Also, when one is too greedy, and they lose everything they have been greedy for, they will be in agony of life because they did not think to spend their life on what really matters. One way to avoid being trapped by monetary greed and materialism is to intentionally share some of your wealth, whether it be monetary or material (or both) with others, knowing you cannot take any of it with you when you die. Also, focus on things that will last long after your life is over—like the impact you make on others’ lives and what you did to glorify God.
Jealousy–Jealousy is a major life waster because it does nothing to improve yourself or others, it only tears down. For instance, in the past I was jealous of my brother because I thought his life was easy–both in his interpersonal relationships and his achievements at school (when he was still in school). When I was jealous of him, I did not think of ways to improve myself in those areas where I envied my brother. Moreover, my attitude of resentment not only drove us apart at the time, but also did not allow me to understand him or learn from him. In order to avoid jealousy, we should seek to appreciate what God has given us and to constantly have a thirst to learn and to improve oneself.
Worry–Worry is a life waster because of the time spent on anxieties out of one’s control and/or not doing anything productive to remedy them. Growing up, I was a major worrier. I would spend hours in bed thinking about what would happen if I got in trouble for doing x, y, z, my grades on a test in school, or any number of things. Recently (as in the past week!), something from one of my former pastor’s sermons about worry struck me—He emphasized that God is in control. I always knew that, but I didn’t really internalize that fact until then. He explained that because God is in control, even if the bad things that I had worried about do come true, that God would a.) give me the strength that I need to endure the trial and b) make something good out of the trial. A good way to combat worry, he said, was to turn your “what-ifs” into “even ifs.” For example, if I am worried that we may not get picks done on time at work, I could say, “Even if we do not get picks done on time at work, it will be done by the end of the evening crew’s shift.”
When we get rid of the bitterness, drama, greed, jealousy, and worry in our lives, we can live healthier, more joyous and productive lives. Also, we will be able to really treasure what is important in our lives without distraction or hindrance.
I wrote on April 9, 1999, when I was still in high school:
“I wish I could be more […] effervescent (lively). I feel dead without being
physically killed. I hope I don’t die emotionally, but I am dying. If I could
only find that zest, that greatness life is supposed to hold. But where is it,
at least in me?” I had no hope. I was
fine physically, but I was slowly dying inside.
I’m thankful that I didn’t die or take my own life. Though I didn’t know it on April 9, about one
year later, I would find Hope. Hope that helped me through the storms, and come
out on the other side being greeted with a beaming joy and confidence that I
had only dreamed of years before. Hope has also given me drive to persevere,
even when I thought I could never make it. Hope has redeemed relationships that
I thought were forever shattered. Hope
has taken the junk in my life, and made it a treasure.
Hope was, and always is, Jesus.
Hope has given me purpose to live. Before I became a follower of Christ, I was
living aimlessly, for myself. I had adequate material things, but I never
really thought about blessing others with it.
I wanted to excel academically, but that was getting more and more
difficult, and my limitations were becoming more apparent.
With Jesus, I have realized that the world is so much bigger
than me. With Jesus, I am able to partner with Him to share His great love and
hope for a world that is looking for something bigger than the pain and the
drudgery that life often brings.
Hope has given me a light at the end of the tunnel. I still
struggle with depression occasionally, but now even in it, I have hope that God
will bring good out of even that. I have
hope, because God’s strength and light will help me overcome a depressive
episode. I have hope because God has
surrounded me with a group of people who love and care for me.
Hope has given me renewed confidence and joy that I had
never known before. Since I found Hope,
He has provided me with several communities of believers who have had my back
and who care for one another. This
support network I have had has helped me through some of the toughest times of
my life, and even helped deliver me from some really bad situations.
Hope has provided me with my current job and some great
managers, including several that believed in me enough to help me learn new
things. I want to give a shout out to my
now-former manager Elizabeth* who believed in me enough to allow me to train to
be a back-up cashier and learn some managerial tasks as well. I want to give a shout out to my now former
manager Chris* who took the chance and first hired me.
Hope has provided me a great mentor, in J, who always
believed in my abilities and was God’s message to me that He would use me to
accomplish His great will in my life.
Hope has provided me countless wonderful friends who have
put up with my depressive episodes and have helped cheer me on.
Hope has given me much hope for the future. Hope has given
me freedom from the shackles that held me back in my past.
stops and starts with blogging, having written about twenty posts and then
promptly deleting my blog, God led me to start “God’s Whisperings” on December
23, 2015. Since then, God has graciously
provided for me so much in my life! I
never thought anyone would be interested in reading my blog or that I would be
able to write over 200 posts in just over three years! Thank you so much to all
my readers and supporters of this blog. Without you, I wouldn’t have ever made
it this far! God continues to “whisper” important wisdom and inspiration into
my life through the people, places, and circumstances I encounter in my life
I am excited to announce that I am in the process of writing a memoir about how God brought me out of the darkest period of my life and helped me grow into who I am today. It will be called, Becoming a Butterfly: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness. My goals in writing this are: a.) To give those who are going through similar struggles I went through hope that they, too, can conquer their demons and find joy in their lives. b.) to give God glory and appreciation for all He has done for me thus far in my life c.) to express gratitude to those in my life who have helped me become who I am today. d.) to inspire others to find joy and purpose in their lives through interacting with my story.
Yes, I will still be writing in this blog, and yes, I still
plan to work full-time at my day job. However, I will focus more of my time to
write this memoir, and will share it with you when it is complete. If any one
of you would like to guest post on my blog, please email me at: email@example.com. Thank you so much for being part of my writing
journey, and I hope you will continue to find something of value in what I
share with you.
On April 9, 1999, I wrote in my journal that I was dying
inside. Nine days later, on April 20, one of my now-beloved faith heroes,
Rachel Joy Scott, was shot and killed by one of her classmates. Her legacy and
impact, however, will live on for many, many years. One of the lives that she
has touched is mine. I have been so inspired by what I learned about how she
lived her life! The three major things I learned about life from how she lived
is 1) how to appreciate people and things in one’s life more. 2.) how to be
amazing— and strive for more than “average” or the status quo. 3.) how to be
First of all, Rachel was known by others as being
appreciative of what she had. In fact, according to the book, Rachel’s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell
Scott, she always stopped on her walks to look at the flowers and to engage
with babies and small children when she went to the mall in her area ( Nimmo
and Scott, 69). She also had the reputation of really engaging with the people
she encountered on a regular basis and helping them when needed. Because of
what I learned about how Rachel lived her life, I also aim to be an encouraging
presence in others’ lives, instead of being a whiner or Debby downer. In order
to do this, like Rachel, I must be willing to sacrifice my time in order to
really be able to engage and invest in others.
In fact, in his book, “Chain
Reaction,” Darrell Scott reiterates this fact. He says, “Many people are
too busy, but if we want to be helpful, we will need to take the time.(Scott, 115).
Secondly, Rachel once wrote, according to multiple sources,
that she wouldn’t “ be labeled as average.” In all the books and articles I had
ever read about her, I sensed that Rachel Scott wasn’t one of those people who
just lived to “get by”. She wanted to try her best in order to impact as many
people as she could, for positive. She constantly strived to improve herself
after she sensed that she fell short, both in her relationships with others and
things like her job and work at school. She didn’t care if the people she
encountered were outcasts or in any way different from her or perceived
societal norms. She interacted with the people that needed her encouragement
and love the most, even if it cost her reputation. I also aim to be so much
more than “average” or the “status quo”. Like Rachel, I aim to upset the apple
cart when necessary. I also aim to impact as many people as possible with the
love Jesus Christ and countless others have graciously shown me. How much more
satisfying life is when we strive to do our best everyday and not just do
Finally, another lesson I learned from how Rachel lived her
life is how to be authentic. From all that I have read and heard about Rachel,
I gathered that she was honest about her feelings and struggles, and therefore
was able to be more relatable to others. It bothers me, however, when people
act like they are perfect and don’t have any struggles, because I know they
are hiding something from me and probably aren’t trustworthy either. Rachel, in what I have gathered about her, was
almost never, if ever, like this! I learned from her life to be open about my
personal struggles, not so others will pity me, but to be more trustworthy and
honest about who I really am, and to comfort and encourage those going through
similar issues. I also learned that if one is honest about their struggles, it
opens up the opportunity for others to open up as well, with less fear of being
judged or condemned for their problems. This is where healing begins!
I have never personally met Rachel Scott, but am very
excited to be able to meet her in paradise someday. To me, she is almost
everything I would love to be–appreciative of others, amazing (or at least
more than average), and most of all, authentic. This is why she remains one of
my “faith heroes” today.
Nimmo, Beth and Darrell Scott. (2000). Rachel’s Tears. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Scott, Darrell, with Steve Rabey. (2001). Chain
Reaction. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
It was a cold, wintry February day, right after my birthday when I got interviewed for my current job. I sensed in my spirit to ask about the status of my resume. I honestly did not think anything would happen, but when the HR coordinator told me to come back for an interview, a couple hours later, I knew there was hope.
Since I didn’t have time to go home, I couldn’t adequately
plan for the interview. When I came back to my current workplace, another
interviewee, Anastasia * was already there, and we made some small talk, as we
waited to be interviewed. Anastasia was
interviewed first, and after she came out, I was interviewed. The interviewer,
I found out later, was also going to be my manager, Chris*! I was very nervous
during the interview. All Chris asked me was, “How did you go above and beyond
for a customer.” Nervously stuttering, I answered how I made sure the
customer’s questions were answered, and how I would pray for them if they
wanted me to.
I didn’t think I was going to get the job because I was so
nervous, but to my surprise. Anastasia and I both got job offers! Anastasia
accepted immediately, but I waited until the next day to accept after seeking
counsel from my family.
During orientation, Chris kindly sat down with me to give me
my schedule for the next couple weeks. It was many more hours than I got at my
previous job. The only time I had ever worked that much, was during the
Christmas season! I was very pleased. But then Chris went on vacation for two
weeks, and everything changed….
Because I didn’t take the time to get to know Chris as a
manager or a person initially, we had many conflicts. There was always a period
where things were good again, but then there would be more conflict, that grew
more intense, as time went on. This cycle repeated itself for one and a half
years! During the worst of the conflicts, I flirted with the idea of switching
departments or even quitting my job! However, God, in His sovereignty, didn’t
allow me to follow through on these options
When the conflicts got really bad, I had also tried avoiding Chris completely, as I had dreaded seeing him every day, but that only lasted a few days. However, I knew I had a serious problem when, on my day off from work, I came to church still very upset about the situation with Chris. I was not only dreading possibly having to see him again the next day at work, but I also became consumed with thoughts of how much he had hurt me and so on. The bitterness and anger inside my heart, at the time, was like a whale about to consume its food whole!
I saw my pastor, John, and immediately sensed that I had to
seek counsel about my situation with Chris, because I was afraid if I didn’t
get help soon, I would eventually blow up at Chris, get myself disciplined and
even lose my job!
these concerns to my pastor, John*. I also told him, “I tried to be nice to my
manager, but I don’t think anything is happening.” In retrospect, I wasn’t even really working
hard in being that nice to Chris. That
is when Pastor John told me to turn to Romans 12:12-20, and Matthew
5:44-48. The particular verse, Romans
12:20, struck me. It said, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he
thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his
Then, Pastor John said, “How do
you know God is not working in Chris? Patricia, you have to trust God’s
timing. God may not bring about the
changes now, but how do you know he won’t make the changes later, in His own
perfect timing.” The verses in Matthew
5:44-48, about loving your enemy, and Romans 12:15-20, about serving someone
who you view to be the enemy, as to soften him or her, and what Pastor John
said about God’s timing, made all the difference. I had renewed hope that
things could change for the better between Chris and me. And it did!
That night, I sensed God telling
me that I should apologize to Chris for the anger and bitterness I had against
him, so I typed up an apology note to Chris for the anger and bitterness I had
held. The next day, I wanted to give it to Chris but the department manager
ended up doing it for me since another manager wanted me to straighten some
aisles in the store right that second! After my break, I caught Chris doing
freight, and asked him if he had read the note. He said he had. There, we
worked things out, and that day, things really started to become better.
After that next day, I felt so
much better and so hopeful that things would get better for us. The barrier and slime of hatred and
bitterness that I had for Chris melted away within days, if not hours, of me
talking to Pastor John. I started to be
able to look at Chris with eyes of love and compassion, and not the revulsion
and disgust that I had earlier.
However, several months later,
Chris was moved to a different area of the store altogether. I would no longer
have the opportunity to show the love and respect to him in the same capacity I
did when things were tough between us. I
was sad, but now I know having Elizabeth* come on as my new manager was part of
God’s good plan for me.
Several weeks after that, Chris
switched areas again to cover for someone else, who worked nights. However, since Chris did such a good job
covering for this other manager, the store manager kept him in that position
for almost a year.
One wintry day in February of
last year, I wanted to work overnight for Chris because many people had called
in, due to a severe blizzard ensuing outside. I felt really bad for him that he
had to do all of this work with only a few people to help him. However, when
Chris realized that I lived more than a few minutes from work and I had already
worked since two in the afternoon, he told me that working overnight that day
for him wouldn’t be a good idea. He, in essence, said “I care about my
associates. I would rather have you safely home, than to worry about getting
all this work done.” That care he had for me contributed to me being physically
safe that day. I listened to him and
went on my way, at a decent time. The
next day, the storm was so bad that I called in. Had he not cared about my safety and just let
me work for him, I don’t think I would be alive today.
After that, Chris and I got
along much better.
Then, a few months ago,
Elizabeth told me she had accepted another opportunity at another company. I
cried, as I never thought she would leave that soon, and besides that, I
considered her one of the best managers I have ever had! I was also anxious because I didn’t know who
would replace her or what would happen to our department.
Some people who know me well may think to themselves why I didn’t just quit when I felt Chris was hurting me, because when most people feel as hurt as I was, they will make sure that they never have to face that person again. They won’t take time to think about how they may have contributed to the conflict, or even think that things could ever be redeemed between them and the person who they have harbored anger and bitterness against. I confess that though I had prayed for one and a half years for things to be improved between Chris and me and for God to take away my anger and bitterness away from me, I never really thought anything would happen. God, however, in His grace,proved me wrong.
What people don’t understand is how the power of forgiveness and redemption changes you and allows you to see the light in someone you may have once hated. Upon seeing the light, you know you can never give up on that person again. You start to see beauty in that person, and the anger and revulsion will start melting away. That is how I saw Chris was worth the fight.
Epilogue: Chris is no longer with my company, but I will always remember him as someone who always worked hard and believed in me and my potential. I will never forget him. I wish him years of joy and success in wherever he ends up next in his life.
On December 20, 2018, I said goodbye to one of the best
managers I have ever had the privilege of working under. When I first met her, I never thought I would
learn so much from her, or that she would be a picture of the type of person I
aspire to be. She taught me so much
about not only the work I was doing, but also the type of person I should
aspire to become.
Here is some of what my former manager taught me, both
through her words and actions, and how I have applied her lessons to my life:
She taught me to never give up.—When I was having a really bad day and was so stressed out that I considered quitting my job, my now-former manager, Elizabeth*, reminded me that I had done so much to encourage her and others, and not to give it all up just because I was so stressed that day. She told me that she thought I was amazing (though I think that she is more amazing than me!), and that I should not worry so much about my circumstances or what other people thought about me. “Just care about your family and God,” she had said. When I remember this instruction, it has actually led me to worry less about my circumstances and people’s judgments and thoughts about me, and be more able to persevere through the difficulties at my job and throughout the rest of my life.
She taught me to always do my best.— When I was so overwhelmed by having to do so many things that I failed to do my best work, Elizabeth admonished me for that, but at the same time did not insult my character. By admonishing my specific action (not working my best because I was so stressed) and encouraging me to slow down so I could do better, she instilled the confidence she had for me in my heart, so that I would be more careful to do my best and not get too overworked and anxious in my spirit. So many other people in my past had tried to admonish me by attacking my character as well as the action, so I would change. However, this only made me feel despondent and defensive. By only admonishing my action and not my character, as Christ has done with me, I was more willing to change for the better and not get so defensive. By encouraging me to do my best by also not being overbearing and micromanaging, I was forced to look for solutions to my own problems without always going to a manager. This helped me gain confidence in my own abilities and grow as an associate and as a person.
She taught me to not take the time, with those I love, for granted.—A week before her last day at my job, she told me that she was going to leave. I was really sad and devastated at first, but I quickly realized one of her unspoken lessons to me—not to take the time with those I love for granted. One of the reasons why she left us, was to spend more time with her family, and I really respect that because it shows me that she is not willing to take the time she has left with her loved ones for granted. I strive to also spend more time with my family and friends, because I know that people in my life will come and go, and that I don’t really know how much time I will have left with any of them. So, I will treasure them all the more, when I keep this lesson in mind.
These lessons that Elizabeth taught me has helped me not only cope with life better but continue persevering in the midst of life’s trials and challenges. I hope that Elizabeth’s new associates will also learn these and other important life lessons too, and that she will know why she is still a sparkling light in my life.