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My heart has been broken a thousand times along the way, like everyone. It is unavoidable, and when it happens, we try to make sense of it, to give it meaning, to name it. We consider what we might have learned possibly something worth sharing. Strength rose out of weakness as the young woman of my past stumbled over insecurities and uncertainties until I learned one of life's most valuable lessons. Of course, there was a price and loss, but mostly, I think, there was the gain. Being true to one's self-takes courage, but we must insist upon it. There will be frightening unknowns, and that turns out to be the big test. My girlish dreams of love and marriage didn't pan out according to folklore and fairytale, but it did afford my greatest blessing. Motherhood would be my most ardent teacher. It would take me closer to heaven than I ever expect to get, and it would drop me firmly to my knees. I stood humbled at the doors of a university and wore out a pocket dictionary in the first year. I made bread and did stacks of laundry, tested the strength of marriage, and felt old at thirty-five in a lecture hall of twenty-year old's. I gazed at a poster outside a classroom "Teaching abroad." There were dreams that never came true and those I hadn't dreamed of, that did. In all, I discovered the length and breadth of the "I" that defines me. Some stepped onto the pages of my writing that I'd lost track of, the daring carefree little red-haired girl, the daughter, and sister, the friend, the sweetheart. Should we meet here on the pages of this book and laugh and cry as memories step forth, yours and mine, we might find hope in the face of loss and grief, stumble upon snippets of wisdom, feel more gratitude maybe even reach toward new resolve, or if for a short while, we simply feel less alone . . .