For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about women. I thought of the women with whom I attended seminary. Strong, smart, insightful women — Diane and Mary and Barbara and Patricia and Joanne and Rene. I thought of Joan Bennett, an associate minister with whom I served in Indianapolis. I thought of Kathy, a ministerial colleague and Yale Divinity School graduate I hired at Beargrass Christian Church. I thought of Cyndy and Nita and Katie and Betty and Kristin, all amazing, wonderful, strong clergy colleagues I enjoyed at University Christian Church. I thought of Joan and Linda and Pat at The Riverside Church in New York City. Again, great colleagues who taught me to be a better person. I thought of Susan and Darice and Mona and Kim and Karina and Arta and Shanna and Laura and Sammi and Kate and Heather and Julianne and on and on the list goes, strong, caring, insightful colleagues, the kind of women that make First Congregational Church a better place. I woke up this morning thinking of past and current board chairs of the churches I’ve served — Geneva and Maryann and Becky and Julie — all talented and insightful leaders, each bringing to leadership a viewpoint that makes the whole organization better. I woke up this morning thinking of my daughter, Katie, who works for the YMCA in New York City, and someone who has faced male chauvinism in the workplace again and again. I think of my immensely talented daughters-in-law, Laurie and Marta, both so smart and caring and accomplished. I thought of my granddaughter this morning — my sweet Caroline — going into first grade this fall and so full of promise. I thought of my grandmother, Agnes, who worked side by side my grandfather to make a little grocery store successful. I woke this morning on this holiday weekend thinking that one thing that makes America great are the women of our nation, women who serve on boards and create companies and make art and movies and write stories, women who take care of children and volunteer in their community, women who bring their love for education to fruition in such important and essential ways. I woke this morning thinking about the women who serve in Congress and on the Supreme Court. I woke thinking about women who serve in our armed forces and who risk their lives in service to our country. I woke this morning thinking about women journalists, like Barbara Walters and Connie Chung and Jane Pauley, women like Andrea Mitchell and Robin Roberts. I woke this morning thinking that women don’t need men to take care of them, but to respect them and be honest with them and treat them in ways that are fair and kind and loving, in other words, like we all want to be treated. And should be treated. And must be treated. I woke thinking about Jesus, and how he had the courage to love women and welcome them into the inner circle of his spiritual life, and how he affirmed their worth and value as human beings. Yes, I woke early this morning, which I do most mornings, and for some reason today — Take a Breath — I woke thinking of Mika Brzezinski.