Every month I get together with a group of writers called Our Spirited Pens. Martha, a member of our group, has been telling us for some time about her talented daughter-in-law who writes and illustrates children’s books. We were thrilled this past month when Lorie Ann Grover said she’d come to speak to our little group at the church where we meet.
I looked her up and felt extra wowed that she started a blog that I admire called readergirlz full of local writers I have met at book signings and who have written books I’ve loved.
Even as I got excited about meeting Lorie Ann in person, Martha warned me that Lorie Ann was having a flare up of Lupus. There was a good chance she would not be able to attend our meeting even though she did want to and would make every effort.
So I started preparing for her visit, announcing her in church and putting out her books while I also tapped my forehead on my fingers, trying to come up with a backup plan. As I walked toward Wright’s Park and the Seymour Conservatory on a lunch break, I kept asking myself what I could do that would be new and different for the group should Lorie Ann not be able to come. In an answer to my prayer, I remembered the videos I had just watched on TED the other day. Isabelle Allende, I thought, just as I passed the leafless trees and opened the doors to the conservatory full of fragrant flowers in the heated greenhouse. Her video on her writing from passion and the causes she believed would likely inspire us all.
And as I thought about Allende, it occurred to me that I would also include a small project for us in answer to Allende’s descriptions of the plight of many women around the globe. Melody Ross with the Brave Girls Club had just been to the Philippines on a mission with Full Circle Exchange to help young women escape and rise above sex trafficking. My small little writing group could make truth cards to send to Melody’s cause or to others they knew needed extra messages of hope and encouragement.
Thinking about this plan, I knew that, as much as I wanted Lorie Ann to come, my backup plan would also bring us inspiration.
As it turned out Lorie Ann could not come. She tried valiantly. Martha told me she had dressed but could not get up off the chair to make it out the door.
Our group watched Allende and then made cards for Lorie Ann and others in our lives. Since then, I have watched the idea of creating cards spread from our meeting to others. One person decided to write a card to a friend who had lost her husband to cancer. Another person wrote a book of cards for his father, also struggling with the loss of his spouse. My friend Ruth has told other groups about the cards and created a box she can use to collect beautiful pictures and store the card kit for when she needs it.
I still hope to meet Lorie Ann and wish like anything that she did not have to struggle with illness. I don’t for a moment think that the Divine struck her down just so I could pass on the good word of truth cards. But it amazes me what blessings can come from a heartfelt prayer in the face of our troubles – even the relatively insignificant trouble of what to do with a writing group meeting when the agenda must change.
If you’d like to make your own, here is a link to the truth card information and free kits. And if you’d like to make a difference for those young women in the Philippines, Melody is now raising money for the Dahlia House, a place where the young ladies can feel safe and rebuild their lives. A donation to the cause would be a lovely way to celebrate the sometimes forgotten International Women’s Day that just passed on March 8th.