For Rani

The day settles gently on the third coast, finally the western wind brings a hint of warmth. After thirty years in the desert, we are attempting to grow vegetables and perennials in an effort to reinvigorate the neglected garden that was my father in law’s joy. I’m not much of a gardener. If you met me—in all my graying paunchy middle management glory—you’d struggle to see a nurturer, a creator. To the common man, I’m a bad ass. Occasionally, the real me effervesces. A few people truly know me.

Today, my heart is with one of those people, even as my physical being is a thousand miles from her side.

The moment I met Rani, she put a draw on my little girl soul. This svelte, eclectic college chick was one of a handful of writers who showed up for a small group I was facilitating. I had no expectations of brilliance from the attendees—until Rani read her work. As I surveyed the room, I knew the other writers were even more blown away than I was. From that moment until now, I have been in awe of her skill as a storyteller.

Beyond that, she’s also a bad ass business woman herself. A year or so later, Rani approached me to assist her in building Rad Writing. In reality, I’m just along for the ride. Rani is a consummate editor, marketer, and networker. We’ve grown from ideas to published authors, a semi-annual magazine, and a core of supporters in just a few short years.

And we’ve done it living in different time zones!

If the depth of our affiliation ended at writer/business professional—it would be an affiliation I’d jealousy guard. But all that stuff is simply window dressing. I live daily in a world of opportunists, of sharks and wolves and vampires. I have many associates, a couple of enemies, and only a few friends.

To me, Rani is one of those rare friends.

We’ve laughed over tea. We’ve broken bread together. She’s encouraged and admonished me regarding my own writing. She’s listened while I blubbered and fumed about everything from our shared acquaintances' dating habits to my secret parental terrors. She’s heard me snore and she’s never teased me about it. She’s opened her home, shared her dreams and her family with me. And now, in these moments when I read her words, I find both her grief and her grace palpable. I simply want my dear friend to know the depth of love and admiration I have for her. She is a gift from God in my life.

When she asked me to guest blog so she had a bit more time to help her family without letting down her readers, I was honored. I had some topics chosen, but right now I just want to encourage her, and perhaps you. Treasure your friends. God will work his miracles through them. He will make your dreams brighter, your goals easier, and your days warmer. Be present for them. Make sure you take every opportunity to give to them, to pour into their lives. Trust me. It comes back greater than you can imagine.

Rani, you’re my hero. As you walk this chapter in your life out, know that I’ve taken steps on this same path. I see the grace and the light in you. I’m both proud and humbled to call you friend. I am here if you need me.

Much love!