Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

Dear Pauline,

I remember when I first met you. It was a warm spring day back in college. You were my best friend’s mom. You took us to dinner and insisted on paying. You sat across the table with wise, open eyes. You listened. You gave a few helpful hints. But you prayed more than you spoke. 

I came to know that every conversation with you would be like that, would leave me longing to know Jesus more. Like you knew Him.

You knew Him, and you drew us to Him. You saw the lost and the lonely, and you didn’t pull back—you reached out. You saw the part of my heart that was like a lost little puppy and instead of running away from that need, you rushed toward it. 

Then when your husband was diagnosed with a devastating illness, we grieved for you both, prayed for you–and I assumed you’d be too busy to talk. I was just a newlywed with problems that were small compared to yours . . . who could expect you to find the time?

But you did find the time. You found the time to ask, “How can I pray for you?” when, really, you were the one who deserved that question. You found the time to say, “Thank you for visiting,” when we were the ones who were honored you opened your door. You found the time to end every email with the words, “Love, Pauline” and those two words made us stronger, braver.

Best of all, you found time to be thankful.

When you asked for prayers for your husband’s health, you wrote: We are thankful that he has had a period of relative stability for over a year now.

When you wrote to tell us you had been to the hospital to deal with your own health issues, you made sure we knew: I am thankful for people who helped me with rides.

When you visited your daughter and her family, not only were you over-the-moon thankful to see your grandchildren, but you also wrote: I am thankful [my husband] has good care, and that it is possible for me to leave him without being concerned for his welfare.

When the deer and the birds came to your backyard garden, you were thankful to see the hand of God in these friendly visitors. When getting the house handicap-ready didn’t go as smoothly as planned, you were thankful the workers were diligent and respectful. When your husband was finally able to swallow again, you were thankful. When you saw snow falling outside your window, you were thankful.

Like a practiced drummer who keeps his beat, you were thankful. You would laugh at that, at the idea that I can imagine you pounding on a drum. But you know what, my friend? Your thankfulness kept the beat for everyone around you. It’s not that you just went on humming, clueless to danger. You were fully aware and fully trusting at the same time.

You obeyed as Jesus obeyed. Before He fed the five thousand, Jesus thanked His Father for what He’d been given, too. “Jesus took the loaves, and after giving thanks he distributed them to those who were seated . . .” (John 6:11).

Thanking God for your loaves and your fishes was the daily rhythm of your life. But it wasn’t easy.

Choosing thankfulness in a place where so many of us would choose to complain was an act of courage. Light that shines in the darkness is the bravest light of all. 

Your courage shone on the faces of all the loved ones gathered at your funeral just this July. We weren’t ready to let you go, but you were ready to go to Jesus and He was ready to bring you home. Just three days after your diagnosis, you were gone. It was no surprise to those who knew you best that you didn’t dawdle on your way to Jesus–you ran. 

Thank you for writing down everything. I can still learn from you by re-reading emails like this one:

“I love November and think of it as Thanksgiving month. I prayed for many years and asked that I would learn to be more thankful. I have a long ways to go but I am so glad it is no longer an exercise which I try to practice but more a habit and an awareness of all we have been given.”

And I wonder . . . maybe it wasn’t thankfulness that came so naturally to you. Maybe it was trust because you knew Him so well—like a little lamb who knows her Shepherd’s voice.

If you can trust Him enough to be thankful every day, we can, too.

When the kids are sick, I’ll practice: I’m thankful I get to be here, taking care of them.

When my husband’s work hours get cut, I’ll practice: I’m thankful he has a job.

When my 7-year-old and I weep together because we were counting on visiting Auntie Pauline, I’ll practice: I’m thankful for the time we did have with you. We’ll step out in our back garden and visit the flower border, the one re-named for you.

You were always planting something.

In your honor, we’ll plant seeds of thankfulness, too.


You may also like: 
She Lived To Be 105—This Mantra Got Her Through

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Laura Costea

Laura Costea is the author of "The Inheritance," a novel about faith, family, and small-town life. She is passionate about Jesus, the outdoors, and strong cups of coffee. Laura is blessed to live in Idaho with her husband and four young children. You can find her online at

Hey Friend, Meet Me in the Mess

In: Friendship, Living
Friends smiling

If you come to our home, you’ll likely see a basket of folded or unfolded laundry waiting to be put away. You may even see a pile of dirty clothes hanging out by the washer. If you come to our home, you’ll likely find spitty bits in the sink from where little kids brushed their teeth in a hurry and forgot to rinse. Despite my best efforts, they always seem to find their way back. If you come to our home, there’s a 50-50 chance the beds will be made. If they were made, there’s a high chance they were...

Keep Reading

Your Husband Needs Friendship Too

In: Faith, Friendship, Marriage
3 men smiling outside

As the clock inches closer to 7:00 on a Monday evening, I pull out whatever dessert I had prepared that week and set it out on the kitchen counter. This particular week it’s a trifle, but other weeks it may be brownies, pound cake, or cookies of some kind. My eyes do one last sweep to make sure there isn’t a tripping hazard disguised as a dog toy on the floor and that the leftover dinner is put away. Then, my kids and I make ourselves scarce. Sometimes that involves library runs or gym visits, but it mostly looks like...

Keep Reading

When You Need a Friend, Be a Friend

In: Friendship, Living
Two friends having coffee

We have all seen them—the posts about the door always open, the coffee always on, telling us someone is always there when we need support. I have lived with depression my entire life. From being a nervous child with a couple of ticks to a middle-aged woman with recurrent major depressive and generalized Anxiety disorder diagnoses. Antidepressants, therapy, writing, and friends are my treatments. The first three are easy, my doctor prescribes antidepressants, I make appointments with a therapist, and I write when I feel the need. RELATED: Happy People Can Be Depressed, Too The fourth is hard. As I...

Keep Reading

Give Me Friends to Do Everyday Life With

In: Friendship
Two women at a sporting stadium, color photo

She sees me coming. A small wave from her house window and a silent invitation to come on over for our morning coffee. An unsaid invitation to connect with someone who gets the joys and challenges of being a mother. A quick, small, and valued break from life and stress and my house messes has become the perfect way to start the morning. A neighbor who has become a dear friend. Prior to this encounter, alarm clocks were ringing, breakfast was made, backpacks were packed, and shoes were missing. School mornings are rough. Motherhood is rough. The world around us...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendship Is Tested

In: Friendship
Two women friends hugging

Sometimes our own experiences can be hard on our friends, especially when those experiences have to do with fertility and pregnancy. My friend and I met when our children were six months old at a mom’s group Christmas party. She was the only other mom there without a partner, her husband having refused to attend in favor of playing video games in the silence of an empty home just like mine. Her son was a day younger than my daughter. Although she was almost 10 years older than me, we became fast friends, bonding over the loneliness that is staying...

Keep Reading

Give Me Friends Who Aren’t Keeping Up with the Joneses

In: Friendship, Living
Woman standing outside, color photo

Following trends is nothing new. Long before Kitsch curls and Lululemon belt bags, there were perms and, well, the original fanny packs. There’s been a constant, circulating rotation of must-buys for us to feel cool or relevant. And we women have been especially pressured to think we need these things to be accepted and part of the elusive village. Keeping up with the Joneses (or Kardashians for that matter) has just never been my thing. There are plenty of reasons why I’ll never be called a trendy girl: I can’t afford to be one. I lack the stylish eye required....

Keep Reading

Lifelong Friends Are Golden

In: Friendship, Living
Smiling group of women friends

They know all your secrets. They can name your old elementary and high school crushes, your most embarrassing moments, your biggest regrets. They know the one you love and the ones that got away. They celebrate your greatest achievements and empathize with your wish-you-could-do-overs. You don’t have to be wordy in texts, phone calls, or conversations—you get one another. Weeks, months, and sometimes even years may pass, and you pick up right where you left off. Laughter with your crew is like none other—unrefined, unrestrained, childhood bliss relived. RELATED: Good, Long Distance Friendship is Hard But So Worth it You’ve...

Keep Reading

Thank You for Being a Friend Who Grieves Beside Me

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends with arms around each other photographed from behind

My loss has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure, and I honestly don’t know if I would be here without you and your love and support. To cry with you and to you. To sit with you in silence or filled with so many words. To feel you holding me literally and emotionally with your gentle and loving arms. RELATED: I’m the Friend With the Dead Mom To understand and witness that my loss is a loss to you too, and to feel that importance of my friendship and life to you. To randomly break...

Keep Reading

As Our Children Get Older, Friends with Young Kids Are Such a Beautiful Gift

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Woman with two young girls, color photo

When I walk into our neighborhood pool these days, I’m often greeted by a small, usually wet, 4-year-old. Her face lights up and she runs toward me, wrapping her arms around my legs, and looking up at me from behind turquoise goggles. We bonded a few months ago when I decorated her wrist with an assortment of rainbow-colored, rubber bracelets and filled her a plate of marshmallows and strawberries. Now she draws pictures for me, jumps to me in the shallow end, and runs toward me if she spots me somewhere.   Sometimes her mom, who is a dear friend...

Keep Reading

Friend, It’s Okay to Say No

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Woman holding coffee cup sitting by window and relaxing

Last week I hosted a sleepover birthday party for six girls. Six 5-year-olds descended on our house, invited by me in a weak moment of expansiveness and generosity to my 5-year-old’s birthday wishes. I fed them pizza and ice cream cake. They demanded candy. They staged a disco party. They stayed awake past midnight. Almost everyone cried at some point. The next morning—after serving six waffles with whipped cream, not with butter, why don’t you have strawberries?—I felt exhausted and annoyed at myself for taking this on. It was unequivocally a terrible idea. I should’ve known it was too much....

Keep Reading