Beloved girlfriends. Intimates. Bosom friends. Sisters from another mister. If you have them, you are blessed beyond measure.

In this crazy, hectic world of mothering, marriage, work and struggle, the love of another woman unrelated to you who understands you and truly cares about you? That is rare.

I have such a friend in the beautiful, inside and out, Kathryn Ferguson of Pilgrimage Gal. On this uplifting and soul-feeding blog, Kathryn shares herself completely. She is a devoted mom of two to son, Ian, and daughter, Norah, who are the same ages as Charlie and Eve — the parallel that brought us together when these four were in school together. Our spirited boys were such a match for each other and their kindergarten teacher that Kathryn and I knew we had to be friends. That year we cracked up as we called each other many days after school, laughing through the tears as one or the other of us apologized for our son’s behavior. Those afternoon calls became morning check-ins and a treasure of a friendship was born.

This golden friendship is more valuable than any material possession.

We came to know each other. Kathryn shared with me her battle with chronic diseases, some of which she was newly confronting and working with her medical specialists to diagnose during that dawn of our friendship. I shared with her my hopes to have another child, my worries about my children, and other anxieties. She was one of the first people I told I was expecting Alice, and Kathryn brought Alice a fancy, plush pink blanket the very day after the girl-determining ultrasound. That blanket is now Alice’s lovey and will probably accompany her to college.

In addition to loving my babies, Kathryn cheered me on in my writing and social media work with the strongest and purest support. She gave me gentle spiritual direction. She prayed for me.

In fact, Kathryn’s guidance and insights on the struggles of modern life, spirituality and womanhood were so incredible that I encouraged her to write them down and begin a blog, a sentiment loudly echoed by her gem of a husband, Jeff, and the dozens of friends who were also the daily recipients of her ministering. (For although Kathryn makes me feel very special, I am simply one of many who receive her golden friendship gifts.) Pilgrimage Gal was born four years ago (happy blogiversary!) and we are all the better for reading her words.

Kathryn’s words have helped soothe, heal and inspire the hearts of so many as she shares her own journey. She ministers to other people suffering from chronic disease, people struggling to find God in their lives, members of the motherhood army, parents working towards finding the best ways to nurture their kids’ unique gifts, women taking on new roles, and all of us who have had our lives take turns that we were not expecting. Kathryn’s insights and reflections assist us all in finding joy and peace in life’s new paths.

Of course, such a power for good cannot be contained! After moving from my adopted state of Maryland to my home state of California (oh the irony), Kathryn’s health improved in the milder weather and in tandem with new treatment regimes. Her writing was steadily recognized by more organizations and media appearances, her schedule began to fill with speaking engagements and coordinating faith groups. In addition to all this, she was asked to take on the role of head of religious education of her Catholic church…which just happens to be, oh, the parish of Santa Barbara, located at the historic Mission of Santa Barbara. With every extra ounce of energy Kathryn gains, she gives two more in service to others.

But do not be thinking that this woman is walking around in a veil, patting hands and offering blessings. Kathryn is a table (or fireplace) dancing, champagne glass overfilling, bear hugging, Rolling Stones-rocking party on wheels. She’s the mom on the phone who your kids beg to talk to when she calls you. She’s the first to remember your birthday and gift you with a slightly NSFKids present. She’s the one to make hilarious jokes about your getaway with your husband. She makes a new friend about every two minutes in a social setting, and every person in the room is drawn to her laugh. She’s one heck of a girls’ weekend roommate.

Kathryn Ferguson, Pilgrimage Gal, is my living icon of Living Unlimited.

Hey, I’m not greedy, I’ll share!:

Follow Pilgrimage Gal on Facebook

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This post was inspired by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)‘s #LiveUnlimited campaign. Live Unlimited is all about transforming our perceived limits into unlimited possibilities to live life to the fullest; the campaign is inspired by the strength and courage of MDA families who do remarkable things every day despite the physical and societal limits diseases like muscular dystrophy and ALS often create. 

Kathryn and I both received one of Endorphin Warrior‘s special limited edition Live Unlimited bracelets in which $6 of each sale goes directly to MDA. 

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