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Last week at my company’s national convention, I had the privilege of hearing our President’s wife share her story. Peggy Horner is one of those women we all envy just a little, and if you’re like me, she intimidates you, too. Somewhere in her 50s (I’m guessing here!), she is petite, polished, and poised. Her smile is perfect and perfectly warm. Her tailored clothes are stylish and work as a perfect backdrop to her entire person and, of course, our jewelry.Peggy Horner

In a nutshell, to my eyes Peggy Horner is everything I am not.

As I walked past Peggy in the Ft. Worth Convention Center Wednesday afternoon, I glanced at her in amazement. While I had spent the better part of a day traveling by both air and train and fully looked it, she was perfectly coiffed and taking part in a warm conversation.

Every hair in place.

Perfect posture.

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Sometime either Wednesday or Thursday I made the remark that every Texas woman must go to finishing school. Where else do you come up with such poise and confidence? Suddenly I regretted my east coast heritage.

But when Peggy spoke Friday evening, she was that painfully honest woman we all want to have for a friend. It had taken her over six years to summon the courage to share her story, because when she looked out into the crowd of Premier Jewelers, she perceived only confidence while she felt insecurity. Peggy’s story included elements of abandonment at a young age, hurtful personal compulsions, and much loss. She shared how in her forties out of necessity she entered the workforce with no experience and filled with fear. The Horner family chose to invest in her and mentor her, both in her career and her personal life. And, of course, our President Tim Horner fell in love with and married her.

Hearing Peggy’s story hit me hard and keeps coming to mind. It’s not so much the exact events of her life; it’s the fact that I never have any right to judge another person. I do not know your story. And even if you share it, I’ll never know the exact impact each piece of the puzzle has made.

Most of our judgments stem from our insecurities. And our insecurities stem from where we have not embraced our own stories. Rather than shake my head in irritation at that outrageously annoying woman or envying the perfect ones, I need to take a step back and address the broken parts of myself. And if I get the chance, I should listen to their stories and share mine. Our honesty will make us safer, more gracious, more understanding women.