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Stretch Out to Finish Strong

“Surround yourself with only people

who are going to lift you higher.”

I am thinking about womanhood and motherhood today.

I am reflecting on the women in my life and reading this note, who deserve to be celebrated, honored, and publicly acknowledged, every day. A special shout out to my sister, my aunts and Godmothers.

If today is not a celebratory day for you, I hope that you will breathe in love and exhale peace. I understand how you feel. As I lean into the memories of my mom, mother in love and grandmothers, I was reminded of a lesson I learned from my Grandma.

I had the honor and privilege of living with both of my grandmothers at different stages of my young adult life. Both of them taught me invaluable lessons. Grandma Dear, my maternal grandmother taught me about how to stretch out my faith, my time, talent and treasure to help others.

Living with my maternal grandmother before I got married, I learned how to literally stretch out. Every night before bed, Grandma would sit in her recliner chair and watch television. After Jeopardy, her routine was to rock back in her chair, stand up slowly and announce to me, “Alright, I’m going to stretch out.” For Grandma, stretching out meant changing into her night clothes, getting into her bed, saying her prayers, opening her arms, legs, and mind, and relaxing.

It was a ritual, believe me.

Over the years while growing into myself as a woman and a mother, I have developed my own definition of what it means to stretch out:

Stretch Out

the full extent of being made stronger or wider without breaking

I combined the meaning of the two words into one:


the capability of something to be made stronger or wider without breaking


to the full extent

In order to stretch out, one must understand what they need to stay empowered and courageous. This is where I believe an Unpluckable Faith Community can be helpful. This group of people which often includes our Grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunts, mother figures and others we hold dear, is a village of people who love and lift us. These are the people in our lives who will not allow us to give up on ourselves.

I think our Unpluckable Faith Village should include the following:

  • Someone who will hold space for us.

  • Someone to cheer when we are striving hard to succeed.

  • Someone to share a hearty meal that satisfies our physical hunger and provides strength for our soul.

  • A mentor to offer spiritual advice and support when the weight of hard decisions presses on our shoulders.

  • A mentee to pour what we have learned into what we know to help others.

  • People to make us laugh from our belly.

  • Good prayers marinated in faith.


Today while many of you are celebrating your mothers, wives, sisters, and other family members, take time to listen to them. If you can, capture their stories of faith, hope, love, and resilience. I promise you, if you record them (with permission) and write down what they say, this is a great way to inscribe the legacy of your loved ones.

It will also be a great tool to help you stretch out your thoughts, boundaries, expectations, and dreams.

We cannot survive in this world alone.

“No matter what accomplishments you make,

somebody helped you.”

–Althea Gibson

Let me know how I can help you capture your stories. Stretching out to finish strong, Penda

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