When I wrote the Mama Lecture Series in Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), I never really thought I’d be scripting my own lectures. But here I am, telling (lecturing) my kids that nothing really matters in life except for friends and family. (This, I’m sure, will come back to haunt me when it’s back to school time and the kiddos are slacking off: But, Mom, you said nothing mattered more than friends. I want to hang out with my new ones in China!)

How important friends are has become so clear now that we’re down to our last week in the U.S. LAST WEEK! LAST 7 DAYS!!
In between getting our final shots–who knew that there’d be a run on the rabies vaccinations in the U.S.?–we’ve been saying our last goodbyes to dear friends.

(Note: The Japanese encephalitis shot hurts.)
Readergirlz diva Lorie Ann Grover has been a great sport, going geocaching with me in the HOT, DRY heat in Winthrop where I love to write.
Then, she and Dia Calhoun sent me off with the most gorgeous readergirlz yearbook, filled with photos of everything our group did in the last 18 months! 31 Flavorite Authors! Operation Teen Book Drop! Books for Your BFF! And all the authors we’ve brought to teen readers over the year.
Dia also created a geocache in honor of North of Beautiful!

Here we are, sneakily hiding the cache together in a super secret location for other treasure hunters to find.

Two nights ago, my StrataGem group–the fabulous women who worked with me to help women and children–threw a party for me. It was the first time in 2 years when all of us were able to get together on the same night (except for Birgit who lives in Vienna). It was a miracle, I tell you. They created a charm bracelet for me with each of the charms symbolizing a special moment together. Like the Christmas box for the boxes we created for kids in third world countries. And the snowflake for our retreat at the Sleeping Lady Lodge where we figured out how to fix the world! (Of course, fixing our own worlds–how on earth do you balance family with career with philanthropy?!–was and is a conundrum.)

And then the readergirlz of Seattle went (what else?) geocaching with me for one final time as we filmed footage for a future North of Beautiful video.

Pictured here: Dia Calhoun, Jackie Parker (Interactive Reader & postergirlz), Holly Cupala, Sara Easterly (rgz publicist), me, Lorie Ann Grover, Janet Lee Carey, and Nancy Pearl (honorary readergirlz).

Friends, I tell you. They make up a charmed life.

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