Beautiful Strength

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Tonight I am blissfully tired and my living room smells of peonies. It has been a crazy week full of much hard work and punctuated by good food and time among friends.

On Friday night a few of us threw a baby shower for a good friend of ours. We sat around the back yard, surrounded by paper lanterns and candlelight falling on mismatched china, filling ourselves with sweet cake and nourishing conversation. At the end of the night, everyone pitched in to carry in the dishes, fold up the tablecloths and blow out the candles.

There is something so powerful about a group of women working together to accomplish something, no matter how common. As I watched one of my good friends at the end of a very long day, I was inspired by her inner strength, by the way she just does things, all the time. It doesn’t matter if it is hard, or if it is something she doesn’t want to do or something she doesn’t think she is good at. She does it. She makes things happen.

Nora Ephron died this week. Her films are among my favorites, classics each to their own decades and beautifully quotable. I have never read her essays, but after reading the remarkable obituary in The New York Times I feel I must.

I especially love the quote from Meryl Streep, who said, “She was an expert in all the departments of living well.” I get the feeling that Ms. Ephron—like my friend—was not one to just let things happen to her. She did things. She wrote and directed films because she knew she could tell her stories better than a man could interpret them. She wrote about women who did things, who stood up to the competition, who took on impossible tasks, who lived amazing stories.

I am surrounded by women living amazing stories. I cannot begin to list the ways that they lift one another up, nurture one another and love their families and friends to the nth degree. They are my inspiration, my go-to “experts” when I need a boost. Through them I realize how much I could do, and I want to go and do it. It’s an understated strength, and a wholly beautiful one.

P.S.: I also agree with Nora on the pie.

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