Lights frame the large mirror in the makeup room, and in the center of it, she glows. I gaze at my new friend, in her late sixties now. Like me, she models every week, and together we’re grateful for the sudden and steady work—work that came to us, instead of the other way around. But she goes beyond where I’m standing.

“God is right there, his hands open, ready to put you center stage.” She presses her lips together for a moment, then smiles, her ruby lip color as brilliant as her words. “Just step forward and grab hold. I did it, and it works.”

She says it like it’s easy. Grab hold. I imagine opening my hands to receive more. But something’s filling them. What is it? What am I already holding?


Back at home, the garden calls. Husband stands on the bed of his Ford F150, extending a box of plants to me.

“Give me a second,” I say, nodding at the bag of mulch in my arms, “and I’ll get that from you.”

I haul my load to the pile of bags we already stacked in the corner of the patio and drop it there. I return to him, arms empty now, and receive the box of pansies, fuchsia, bleeding heart, euphorbia, and astilbe he hands me.

And in that small action of emptying my arms first, then accepting the box of flowers, it all makes sense.

I know I can’t receive more—I can’t grab hold—until I release what I’m clinging to. But I finally see what that is: I’m gripping the desire to be grateful at all times—the need to be satisfied with exactly what I have now.

And there’s no more room to receive gifts.

But isn’t it good to be grateful? Isn’t it better to give than to receive? That kind of teaching rings out from pulpits and platforms everywhere, doesn’t it?

And so I give. We all do. Until it gets easy. And it feels so good to us that it becomes our everything.

But what about receiving? Ask and you shall receive.

Over the soil now, I think of my friend, blossoming in her modeling career, and I think of my own hands, full of contentment goals, my fingers so tight on the concept I can’t unfurl them.

Good gifts are limitless, though; there are enough to go around.

I set down my trowel and practice opening my hands for a change.

Let’s see what happens now.


*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.