In yesterday’s Children’s Moment I showed the children a picture of my Dad in full Coast Guard regalia. Sharing a picture of someone who had done so many things for me, it was a call to the children to remember special people who are no longer living. These special people are friends, loved ones, and soldiers who have given their lives for our country.

My Dad taught me to tie my shoes and to ride a bike. My Dad introduced me to Jesus and taught me how to love like Him. Daddy is in heaven now and I am so grateful for the lessons he taught me.  It’s probably the first time I spoke of Daddy in public without getting the chin quiver.

Then I got an email early in the afternoon.

My colleague and my greatest Weekday Preschool mentor passed way earlier on Sunday morning. The fact that her Assistant Director saw fit to notify me and so many others so soon after her passing reminded me of just how much we all meant to her.

She was 5’4 with an 8′ personality. She challenged me in so many ways: to honor and protect my staff at all costs, to be creative in showing love and faith in the character of every little person (especially those sent to my office), to never stop learning, and to include as many people as possible on the journey of our personal and professional calling.

My heart is breaking at her passing for the many up and coming preschool professionals who will never have known the road she prepared for us all. Her reputation was impeccable, her resolve for the underdog sure, and her encouragement to me was priceless.

As a certified preschool program of excellence through the North Ga UMC Conference, we are subject to on-site inspection.  She was part of the inspection team at every preschool I served.  She engaged in a conversation with a 3 year old at our last inspection as the preschooler asked, “Are you an old lady?”  She replied, “Yes.”  His face lit up and responded with glee, “Then, you must be a Grandma.”

She authored the letter commending us for our efforts and achievement at applying for certification through the North Ga UMC Conference.  I ripped open the envelope to find that we had earned that precious designation, only after enduring an opening paragraph where she took liberties to keep me on the edge of my seat since it was dated April Fool’s Day.  Along the bottom of such a serious letter, she handwrote, “Hang the banners, you’ve earned it!”

We had lunch just a few short weeks ago. She had called this luncheon for several of us to specifically address the safety of our staff and children. The guest of honor was the architect of Safe Sanctuary. I sat to her left and heard this great woman grumble that she couldn’t eat fresh fruit because of the medication she was on. She laughed. I smiled.

May that banquet table she is sitting at this morning with our Jesus be filled with the freshest of fruit. Linda, you will be missed and your legacy will continue until we join you at that table.