It's been one week, one week exactly since the Big Birthday Bash for my 60th and Lily's Baptism by the sea.

It's been one week, one week exactly since the most horrific car crash on the Taconic highway claimed the lives of two beautiful women, Ledell and Kat Mulvaney, and critically injuring Ledell's husband, Don.  They too had been celebrating that weekend, the 38th year of God Show at Silver Lake Conference Center.  I imagine they were quarterbacking in the car on the way home, recapping the final production the night before and praising the creative energy of the teens as they developed the theme throughout the week.  They were headed home, exhausted, but in a good way.

Amie was in charge of the fruit kabobs, for which she solicited help from 4 year old Truett.  Being obsessed with "patterns"- it was the perfect job for him....blueberry, grape, pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberry...repeat.  Page, Edgar and Jason were busy stringing lights and decorating while Brooke and Frank shared the countertops and cutting boards preparing appetizers and dinner.  My job was to keep Grand Nanee out of the kitchen and to play with Lily.  No problem there.  There was lots of chatter and catching up among the cousins.
Family - the whole night was about Family.  I found myself feeling overwhelmed, appreciated, loved, but most of all, grateful for my husband and my children, and those dearest to me. Amie and Frank had chosen the theme for this Birthday Bash - A Flip Flop Kinda Girl in a Flip Flop Kinda World.  They were right on target and we partied well into the night, celebrating 60 years of life, laughter and love.

Unlike most at FCC on the Green, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been around the Mulvaneys.  There was the God Show two years ago, a Silver Lake GALA and auction around the table one evening, and on April 6, 2014 at the Opening and Affirming vote at church.  I guess that is why it is so odd to be mourning the loss of people I hardly know.  Perhaps it was my first impressions of the Mulvaneys;  Ledell's larger than life personality, Don's humbleness of character and natural music ability, and Kat's style, a unique vintage look that drew me to YouTube to listen to her music.  I knew then that her songwriting and vocals were a special gift.  They were a family - a good family who loved all of humanity - who never stopped giving to it or standing up for it.  Perhaps that's why I mourn.

Two families, miles apart, one hot summer day in August.....and God is in our presence, surrounding us in our circumstance.  No matter where we are on life's journey, God is there with us - Emmanuel - blessing our children in Baptism, celebrating our good works, and giving us hope to carry us through.

Thank you Kat and Ledell for challenging us to think, to imagine, and to take risks that will better this world.  We will do our best to do likewise.
Peace and Light forever,
Jill Newsome