From time to time, as my writing career grew, Mama would say, “I built you, little girl. Don’t ever forget that.” She’d say it with a smile and twinkle in her eye and full sincerity in her voice. The truth is that she pretty much did. She didn’t write the words, she didn’t drive the thousands of miles for speaking engagements, she didn’t haul books in from the car and set up signing tables, she didn’t chase the opportunities, and she didn’t have to discipline herself to sit down to write when the words had called in sick. But she did inspire. She was my muse, providing an endless amount of stories and wisdom. She was packed full of common sense and know-how and never hesitated to tell anyone just how they should live or make a decision.