Monday, June 7, 2010


My dad is the baby of 4, the oldest being my Aunt Pamela. She was a flower child in the 60's--I'm talkin', TARGET AUDIENCE of the hippie wave. She didn't marry until she was about 40 (I was the superstar flower girl at her wedding), and when she did it was to a blessing of a man. Nick (who I always have and always will call Prince Nick) is a retired cardiologist and a quiet, joyful, pensive man who loves C. S. Lewis and American history. They have a quiet study in their house that is FULL of books on such subjects (it's my favorite room in that house).

When I was about ten or eleven, and in the most awkward of awkward stages, I got to visit Pamela and Prince Nick in the summertime (this is now known as Lady Lessons). Now, certainly, I got to see them at traditional family gatherings (big fun Christmas and Thanksgiving events), but these summer trips--they happened about 3 summers in a row--were divine. We would shop (possibly the only time in the history of the world that I have enjoyed shopping anywhere that isn't Anthropologie) and go to museums... We would have lunch with her fun adult lady friends who were just like her... She would play the piano and I would have peaches in my cereal (a novel idea)... I would sit in Prince Nick's study and read or just sit and enjoy the feel of that wonderful room...

In junior high Pamela gave me a book-- Bright Legacy-- which is a collection of essays about 10 outstanding Christian women written by Christian women authors. At the time I was reading retellings of fairy tales and historical fiction mystery novels. I had basically NO interest in anything nonfiction, but I didn't want to hurt her feelings so I kept it. It lived happily on my shelf next to some other books that looked impressive to have that I didn't have any interest in reading until I was looking through my bookshelf to determine which of my well-loved friends would travel with me to Texas. For some reason, I put Bright Legacy in the college box. It continued to travel with me to different dorms and apartments until I landed in my current location. As I was unpacking and organizing books, I pulled that one out and started reading.

About 55 pages later, I realized that Pamela had very deliberately given me a book full of inspiration and direction for young women telling how to focus not just one's spirituality but one's entire life on serving God. I NEEDED this! I needed this kind of guidance! I needed these examples! I didn't know who any of the women were at the time, except for Mother Teresa, but one of the essays is about Amy Carmichael and it is written by Elisabeth Elliot. Amy Carmichael, who lived her life as a missionary in India, and Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband (Jim Elliot) was killed while they were both missionaries (her whole life story is amazing--check it out).

My aunt is NOT just one of those "I'm a Christian because it's in the water and my neighbors will judge me if I don't go to church" kind of folks. No. Aunt Pamela loves Christ with every fiber of her being, and that has amazed me--whether I knew what it was or not--my whole life. I just got off the phone with her (why don't we talk more often??) and she has offered to help me find a way to get to India. A very different reaction than what I have grown used to (and grown to fear/expect).

This is a picture of Pamela her senior year of high school. She was selected as Most Beautiful by some stud muffin movie star of that day and age. They sent in pictures of 6 or 8 girls from her high school to him and he voted her the fairest of them all.

I totally agree with that--inside and out.

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