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I never expected to outgrow the shame and insecurity developed during my tween and teen years. A shame that had latched on to me like an insatiable tick- sucking any ounce of self-assurance that dared to manifest.

The only happy childhood memories I have are of pageants. My mother dressing me up in bows and lace. And memories of her taking me to Church. Especially when she permitted to sleep over at the youth lock-ins.

Soon after that, though, things weren’t so good.

I don’t want to bore you with a tired ol’ tale of growing up in poverty. Residing in a singlewide, being fed on food stamps, playing with donated toys, and wondering why my mother couldn’t do any better than 2 minimum wage jobs.

Embarrassment followed when I realized my family was different from my friends’ families. The only thing my mother had to her name was unrelenting faith.

She could barely pay rent, but opened our home to anyone in need of shelter. She couldn’t pay for food without EBT, but would feed anyone who was hungry.

A lot has changed since those days.

rae's mother and daughter.

My daughter (left) and my mother (right).

Due to God’s abundent blessings, I can give my daughter all the material luxuries I never had. Instead, I’m going to bequeth to her treasures that moths and vermin cannot destroy, that theives cannot steal. My mother’s treasures:

  • Love
  • Faith
  • Time

My daughter has her very first pageant in a few weeks and I look forward to continuing the traditions of my mother. And to live so deeply in faith that my daughter cannot help but get saturated.