Remnants of love


attic treasures

Please excuse me as I have had yet another epiphany of sorts. I know that I tend to use that word a lot and so actually looked it up because I wanted to make sure that I was using it correctly today and I was. The definition I was looking for was: A moment of sudden revelation or insight. 

I spent the afternoon with my mother in law the other day. She is in a place in her life of wanting to minimize her “stuff” and is getting rid of a ton of  “treasures”  she has accumulated throughout her lifetime. It has come at an opportune time for me because I have just begun to learn about antiques and vintage items through my daughter who has recently introduced milk glass and bone china to me because the next show I am in called, Remnants. So it has been a kind of rushed course in all things vintage, shabby chic and collectible.

In the end, it wasn’t just about picking up boxes. Or about just going through  “stuff” but more about reliving with my mother in law the history behind each piece.

hour glassIt seems as if I am always feeling pinched for time. (In my last post, I talked about how I feel as if time is rushing by.) But this particular afternoon I stopped to really listen to all the stories attached to each thing. Even the remnants of material had stories of what she made from them and where she purchased them (several things in Europe.)  I could envision her as a young wife and mother  choosing these things for her perfect home. And because she invested a lot of time and money in these items I have had to research them all. There was one vintage piece that is worth well over $500.00 that I might have put a $40 price on! So I guess I have to really slow way down and educate myself a lot more than I figured. And have since realized that I may have to take even more time than I figured on and find markets other than a remnants show for some of her more valuable treasures!

Ever since I met her, I could see that she painstakingly cared for everything. Her family, her home, all sooo cared for by her. Though… When I was younger I reluctantly am ashamed to say that I may have judged her a little for having or “needing” all the “finer things.” But as I’ve grown to know her, I have grown to love her and realize that all she has ever wanted is the best, not for herself necessarily but for her loved ones and suddenly on that day, I realized I was blessed enough to be one of them. All of her choices, whether in planning a meal, setting a table or planning a vacation has always been with us in mind. Wanting to create a special memory. And so as we sat through the remnants of her life, I realized that it’s not about the money, or the “stuff” it’s always just been about the love.

 

It Really Does Start At Home


I actually began blogging around this time of year, almost a decade ago when I had a harder time than I expected dealing with my empty nest. It blind-sided me so much that I felt as if I was slowly drowning in a montage of feelings I didn’t understand. I mean, I’d gone through all of the firsts. Leaving  both of my babies on their first day of school and all of the milestones that came after.  Before I experienced it, I’d read a few articles about empty nest syndromes and kind of felt a little judgie when I read about how immobilized some of these parents found themselves and surprised that it was both mother’s and fathers.

I think that in reading the stories of other people’s experiences, I realized that it helped to know that others felt the same way and to learn how they dealt with things. And as I began to find my own ground again, I realized that sharing our hearts in several different circumstances  really helped. And so I began writing about “LIFE” and in turn, started getting messages from people I’d never met, thanking me for making them not feel so alone. I figured that if I could help one person feel better about what they were going through, I would share my stories. I tried several different forums before I landed here on WordPress and when I created this blog, I totally felt at home, almost as if the readers and writers that found their way to my doorstep were like a little family.

I have written about love and heartbreak, faith and depression, appreciation and kids, friends and family, life and death, living in the past, pushing forward to the future, disappointments and blessings and today because it is this time of year that prompted me to start writing, I wanted to write to the parents as they send their kids off to school. There is a saying that I have grown to love:

Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to accept nothing less.

hugging kids

As a parent of adult children I have really reflected on what this means. Some of us feel that they have succeeded at this, some of us feel that we have failed. Some of us feel that we may have gotten it right with one or a couple of our kids and have a hard time understanding what happened to the other (s). Today I would like to encourage the young moms with kids just starting out and starting new years to really talk to their kids about kindness. Because it really does start at home.

When my daughter was in first grade at a Christian School. The program was amazing. I shake my head at how amazing. The Director of her pre-school and the Principal of her Elementary school as well as staff and some of the moms are still my good friends. Life changing friends. I love them. I think that we were all praying moms with a strong faith and yet, I watched the clicks and the gossiping among the little girls and realized that though we needed to set them free as moms, we also needed to guide and teach them to pray for things together.

It  touched my heart when we moved and my daughter came home from her first day of 4th grade in a public school and said in a horrified voice. “Mom, they DON’T even pray before they eat!”  It brings tears to my eyes now because I liked it when she was protected in that sweet little cocoon at Harbor Church School. But I knew that even there, Though the staff watched out for it as much as they could… there were little bullies. And no matter what, we can’t protect our kids from them.

But we can teach them to be kind and aware. To not judge because someone is not like them or doesn’t have the same clothes or backpacks or whatever the differences are. If they see someone sitting alone or hear someone else not being nice, to try to invite that person to be part of their group. I think we need to teach our kids at a very early age, that it is not okay to leave someone out, or laugh at them or to talk about someone or make fun of them. We need to get to know their stories and where they come from. To look out for the underdogs and be their hero. You never know whose life you may change by being kind.

If every parent and every teacher would make a point of teaching our kids why bullying is wrong. And encouraging their acts of KINDNESS and making it a fun project in every elementary school, just think how different the world would be if the adults took the responsibility of the kids and taught them the true golden rule. Because you know, in the end… Bullies grow up to either be angry adults or gentlemen.

Forever Connected That YaYa Sisterhood Kind of Thing…


 (Lynn is the blonde on the left)

I am getting ready to meet a handful of some friends from my past, way in my past… ones I called my best friends back then. The ones that  I met in my teens, and that I have a YaYa sisterhood kind of weekend planned with. We met in a time when every kitchen and usually every master bedroom had an attached phone. If you were lucky, you also had one in your own room, but with the same phone number. In a time when answering machines had not yet been invented and if you weren’t home to receive an important phone call, (unless someone was there to take a message) you missed it. Finding long-lost people in your past was through the mercy of a phonebook. If we had a report due, we would go to the library and look up our topics by going through the Subject Catalog in a bunch of long drawers that would give us enough information to go find the book with the information we needed. If we wanted a copy of something, we would pay ten cents and make copies on their copy machine. If we wanted to take a picture we did it with a camera and then had to wait for it to get developed and pick it up a week later.  And oh yes, there were Polaroid cameras back then too. and getting a semi permanent photo in a few minutes was the newest thing. (you can still make out most of mine but a lot are faded!) And if we wanted to send a message to a friend we would tear off a scrap of paper and write a note and pass it to them or if we wanted to write a letter to a friend or loved one that lived far away, we would  put a stamp on it and maybe a little sealing wax and the recipient would receive it in a few days.

 

Now days kids can follow each other on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and who knows what else. Our cell phone is our answering machine, our stereo, our library, our phonebook, our camera and our computer. We can email our letters and pass notes anywhere in the world by a thing called texting.  If any of those people that we are looking for are connected to a social media account, we can usually find them. And that is how this particular handful of friends reconnected. It is kind of funny. Two of them are sisters, Lynn is two years younger than me and Cindy is a little more than three years younger. And for a few years, I hung out at their house during my teens as if I was just another sister. Their parents were the coolest and their little sister Tracy, was like my little sister. I have a ton of sweet memories and I can’t wait to remember them all with them. Lynn was in my first wedding and, I actually saw Cindy more recently, (though several years ago)  when we ran into each other in a nearby town and discovered that we didn’t live too far away from each other and connected a few times until she moved and we lost touch. That is, until this thing called Facebook popped up into our lives. The other friend Amanda, was more a friend of Lynn & Cindy’s, but the funny thing is… I feel almost closer to her now, as we have reconnected a lot through writing back and forth with a kind of honesty and admiration that sometimes comes only from really taking the time to sit down and get to know each other all over again through the written word.

Now I’m going to be very honest and perhaps a little shallow. In a way, I don’t want to ruin it. The magic of creating or rekindling friendships on-line is just that. A little magical. I was always one of the thinnest kids back before becoming a mom and now grandma and well, just before life set in. And funny, I hated it. I wanted a little more meat on my bones and to have the kind of shape that would fill that bikini top a little more. Not even appreciating for a minute, that hard, tan, flat stomach! That I would kill to have now! Why aren’t we ever happy with who we are? Now I’m probably the heaviest. Lets face it. We don’t post the most unflattering pictures of ourselves on our pages, without make up etc… now lines and all POOF it’s me! But seriously, I think that every one of these girls (including me) will only see each other’s hearts at this stage in our lives. And I know that in a few weeks, seeing  these particular friends are truly another very important thing on my Bucket List that I need to fulfill. And you know what I have figured out? Bucket Lists take us out of our comfort zones but in the end, they make the best memories, not really to replace the ones that came before, but to add to them, to understand that we were all meant to be forever connected in this thing called life.

If I Let You In… Please Don’t Break Anything


..

terri-scott-and-i In San Mateo… in my front yard… I wonder if I never moved who I’d be today… ?

At a very early age, I learned how to put up walls. Probably because… when I was younger, I was always the “new kid.” My dad was up and coming. A Mattel Executive, right when they were introducing Barbie and Hot Wheels. He rode the wave  and then in the 70s he seemed to settle into a computer Company called CSC in El Segundo and remained there for several years as one of their Vice Presidents. When I was nine, we finally landed in a Southern CA Community called;  Palos Verdes Peninsula, where other up and coming daddies also brought their families.

Being a Mattel tester kid was fun. During our first move I met Terri. My first best friend, who ended up being the best thing about all of my dad’s transfers,  (& remained my best friend until she died a few years ago) admitted that she was jealous of me. She told me once, “Your dad went on all of these business trips and always brought you something back.” Little did she know, I was jealous of her. Her dad came home every night and she lived in the same town all of her life.

palos-verdes-peninsulaPalos Verdes Peninsula

 

Maybe it takes a kid with a better backbone to go to four elementary schools before nine, but I never really mastered the art of making friends back then, basically it was just plain awkward, coming in the middle of each school year. And kids can reeeally be mean. In turn, I tried to teach my kids to seek out the underdogs and welcome them into their group. Kids learn how to be bullies at an early age and I feel that if more parents would take the initiative and teach their kids to be more aware of the friendless kids, I think they’d ALL have a head start on becoming amazing adults.

The thing that saved me is that I loved to read and write and I always had Terri.We bought funny stationery and sealing wax and wrote to each other often. And where ever I went, I knew I had a best friend “somewhere.” Who knows if I’d remained across the street, if we’d have stayed best friends or even traveled in the same crowd. But there was something magical for both of us…  To her, I was the girl across the street that traveled all over and for me…  well, she didn’t even know. She just made me not feel so alone in those times of being the new kid and arriving after everyone had already made their friends for that school year.

Looking back as an adult, I see that every circumstance and experience made me into who I am today. And I am grateful for them. But back then it just seemed to suck. I think that is why I only need a few good friends now. And perhaps why I love my blog friends so much. It is a safe place and in my neighborhood here, I rarely have run into a bully. Most show up as the kind of friends I wish I could have found in my elementary school days. And for a magical moment it is just you and me. When I read yours and you read mine.

vallonVallon Drive… Street I grew up on since Junior High…

Today, I wonder who I’d be if I’d always lived across the street from Terri, and we never moved. I wonder if my kids would be the same kids, or if I might have had a totally different life. All I know is that  I over think things. I scrutinize the whys and try to figure out what makes others tick. I know now that as a kid, when I’d feel as if I wanted to disappear, I really wanted to be found. Though, over the years,  where I used to care, I have learned to not trust that many people. I appreciate people who are honest, those who keep their word, are not judgmental and especially are not bullies. When I was younger, I used to wonder how the bullies would turn out. As an adult, I’ve realized that a lot of people just end up being mean adults. Though a few have surprised me and had the depth to change and we have become good friends. I think that knowing where people came from helps and I don’t think that I could ever not accept an apology.

Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the adult perspective and move past my insecurities. And I am still a work in progress. An “I LOVE LUCY” episode comes to mind where Lucy thinks that everyone has forgotten her birthday, while in reality Ricky and her friends are waiting at a surprise party for her as she goes out and joins “Friends of The Friendless.” As adults we see the irony in the humor of LUCY. And I think I have grown from that little awkward NEW KID into embracing my friendships…

But…. If I do let you in, please don’t break anything.

broken-heart

Part One – From The Mother Of The Bride’s Perspective


This is going to be a two-part thank you. Because I know I'd lose your    interest if I tried to fit this all in one post. And because when I     began blogging, I once read that you lose your readers if you go too far past 700 words. But so many have asked about the wedding I wanted to try to share with you and to thank everyone for everything!

Brookie's first headshotBrookie’s first headshot

When I was a young mom, I was invited to a bridal shower that my friend was throwing for her  soon to be daughter in law. I sold my paintings and cards in her Bible Book Store and we became good friends. I remember her telling us all a story at the shower; she said “When the doctors placed my new baby boy in my arms, I began to pray for his wife.” And she continued,  “every year I continued to pray for you, and now here you sit.” She said to her daughter in-law to be. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room that day. And it stuck with me for all of these years.

This woman taught me many things in our friendship and that day she taught me how to pray for my kids. So when the nurse placed my new little baby girl in my arms a few years later, I prayed for her husband to be. Not many boys had come and gone before him. But no one that she brought home, ever felt like Chase did. From the moment I met him. I knew he was the one I’d been praying for all those years.

God is so good. He tends to answer me in detail. I rarely doubt that it is just a coincidence anymore. He probably does that for me (answers me in detail) because I am a doubter. Though there is no doubt that Chase is that little boy and then man who I’d been praying for. I prayed for a man who would love my baby, and have integrity and be honorable and that he would love God and my daughter with an everlasting kind of love. That he would be funny and patient and slow to anger. He is every one of those things and more. And when I listened to their vows this weekend, it was good.

Brooke and Chase Engaged

The days leading up to the wedding since they were engaged have felt like a whirlwind. Though we had 18 months to plan, we were on a tight budget & Brooke & Chase paid for a lot themselves, we were blessed with everyone that contributed generously, their own friends from the industry, family and life long friends all were so amazing.

And from the very beginning my boss & sweet friend, rolled up her sleeves & out of the blue would nudge me to create action plans for the shower and wedding and the day after wedding brunch, creating lists & sharing menus for the shower & then brunch that I was in charge of. Not to mention generously gifting them with their honeymoon! (she’d kill me if I posted  her pic – so just imagine an Angel!)       angel

jody and usAuntie Jodyflower crownBrookie and her pre wedding flower after a day of flower shopping with Jody

My bff Jody, “Auntie” to Brooke,partnered hosting  the shower with me at her house,  (because she lives near where Brooke lives and I live 4 hours away). She made all of the flowers, both at her shower & the wedding! Gifting it all!  Though now retired, she opened up her shop again (metaphorically speaking) & created everything! from the the corsages, bountonniers, flower girl & bridal party & bride’s bouquet & head wreaths, all the center piece garlands & hoop, working to the very last-minute. And her husband allowing all of it, driving the drive to and from a very destionationy destination spot! Brooke had a vision in her head and they worked together to create it like magic.

 

Brookie and DanielleThe other Ring Bearer and maker of the wedding gown! Her sweet cuz and nephew! (Ring Bearer #2!)more changescousin lovethe making of the bridal gowndanielle helpingBrookie in her first role as flower girl - a few more followed after that!

Cousins (sisters and besties) Forever!

And her girls were Amazing! Her cousin (Matron of Honor) Danielle, made her dress! I mean she MADE her wedding dress! Seriously! When they were little they spent many hours in my mom’s sewing room as Grandma would set them free to snip and sew and create their own creations. It was so sweet watching an actual wedding gown being born as they worked tirelessly together, Danielle trying to decode the vision in her cousin’s head! As they changed the pattern several times to create the perfect dress. I watched as she patiently re-created it to perfection! Patient and loving and generous and oh my her husband? Well he has been dubbed “FAVORITE Cousin -in law!  To be continued in part two.

Bestiescrafters oh excuse me artists!silly girls Wedding dress shopping

And Rachel! Who could have ever imagined a better Maid of Honor? But like I said…            (I didn’t know there was going to be a Part Two when I started this. But just had to go back up and re-title this post to Part One!)

And Part Two is going to have

 

typed to be continued

My half of friendship


A Michele's Latte

Friendship is a funny thing as you get older. You understand more. You tolerate more and you cherish more. Hopefully because of what we learn in the end, we give more.  Recently  (all my loyal readers know) that I lost my childhood bestfriend of over a half a century. It has made me reflect on a lot of things this last year, especially since her birthday just passed. A few years earlier, we’d had a silly falling out. In all of the years we’d known each other, that had never happened. Not to say we hadn’t been annoyed with one another in all those years. Probably, no absolutely, her with me and me and at times me, with her. We’d just weathered our feelings silently and moved on and never had so much as a cross word with one another.

This one had to do with one of her friends repeating a conversation she’d overheard me having with my husband. I’d been annoyed at something she’d said to me and was venting in private. This gossip she shared with my best friend was very silly and yet damaging and it took a good month for us to repair, and get through it. Though it probably made our friendship stronger in the end. NOT what this other friend was hoping I am sure. Later, at her funeral, this friend of hers came up to me, pretty drunk and apologized. My daughter said that “liquid apologies” don’t count. But it did for me, because I am all about validation, and sometimes the “liquid” provokes more honesty than anything ever could, and it told me that this woman knew what she’d done. I forgave her. But I do regret that she was allowed to steal even a month of my friendship with my best friend. Something, I must take partial responsibility for allowing.

In all the things I have learned from my friendships, I have learned to embrace every minute. March Madness is a good way to describe the birthdays I have to remember in March. Having one less, made me realize that I am blessed to celebrate the birthdays that I do, and one less is not better!

The other day one of my friends who has recently lost her husband to ALS (one of my husband’s best friends) messaged me to tell me that she’d be in town  and asked if I “had time” to meet. My first reaction to a question like that, usually always is me scrambling to make excuses. And it’s a bummer for me that I have that automatic attitude. In my head, I have so little spare time, that I am selfish with it.  Over the years, I have never been one to have many friends. I hone the ones that I hold dear and for me that is enough. Though there are those few friends I will drop everything to be with and Michele is one of those friends.

I went through a particularly hard time a few years ago. One that I couldn’t share with a lot of friends and Michele didn’t judge me or even nudge me, she just listened. No advice, no opinons, just prayed with me and continued to be my friend through the worst of it. As I was driving to our destination, I felt blessed. A feeling that I usually feel after I’ve met and am glad I ended up saying yes. But this particular morning I was so happy to be going and excited to see my friend who I’d not seen for a while. And it made me think about all of the other times I missed out on by feeling I didn’t have time and saying no to other friend’s invitations.

This special woman that has taught me so much about friendship, who comes to town and seeks “me” out and wants to share “her” time with me. And our time was so special, I kept pushing back the minutes, not wanting to leave.

A Michele

Our place to meet -At Spearhead Coffee in Paso

It made me think… Of all the special women in my life. The ones who have evolved. The ones I would do anything for. The ones that you realize are worth the time. The ones who feel you are worth the time. The ones who you have known for decades, the ones who you work with and suddenly realize that they are one of those ones you include in that small handful, the ones who come through for you in ways you never could imagine, and make you want to do the same. It really is all about the blessing of being the other half of something pretty special called friendship.

A Michele and me

Michele insisted on this selfie!

 

 

“Funny How Things Change”


 

marineland

I grew up in Palos Verdes, a small town South of Los Angeles. My bedroom window overlooked Marineland and the ocean. (Now a resort – so sad it is no longer there!) When I was younger I was a Mattel toy tester kid. Not officially, but my dad would bring home random tester toys for me. He was a Marketing VP in Sales there, in El Segundo. I wish I still had some of those toys, I bet they’d be worth gold now.

shrinking violet Shrinking Violet – one of my Tester Toys!

We were not rich, but I was blessed. My dad grew up with a single mom and they struggled. A lot. He had to sell magazines to buy his school shoes. I know that my dad worked hard to climb up the ladder. Always making it to Vice President in all his jobs. Transferring us all over the country as he climbed.

Street I grew up onvallon

My friend Terri once told me that she’d been jealous of me  when we were growing up. I had the dad who went on business trips and came home with surprises for me, while her dad was a Cal-Trans guy who stayed home. I kind of thought it might have been nice to have a dad that was home more. I guess everything is relative. “I used to get lost in your house, I thought it was so big.” she’d told me once. (It really wasn’t that big.) “Funny how things change.” she said.

daddy

My dad and me in the living room of the house we rented across the street from Terri’s in San Mateo. So funny, he doesn’t look real happy about having his picture taken.

My best friend was four when we met in San Mateo where we were renting a house across the street from hers. A few years later, we moved. And moved, and moved, until we settled in Palos Verdes.  Things got given away or lost in our moves, hence why I don’t have my first Barbie, or most of the tester toys any longer. Terri had all her firsts. She lived in the same house she always did until she got married and moved out. Her mom saved everything. Though Terri doesn’t have them any longer. She died last summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that comment, she made so many years ago. “Funny how things change.” It kind of hurt. She was referring to her wealth. She’d made some good choices along the way. I did not. She worked hard and completed college. I went, I still have my units all in a nice little bundle. I know, because I checked a few years ago. (Imagine they still have my records all of these years later!) She became an Interior Designer and was very talented. She married a guy that  ended up grandfathering into his dad’s business and making it very successful. In the end, they probably had more money than both of our parents put together. And though it makes me a little sad to say it, I know that was important to her.

Terri fought cancer for the last twenty years. Not only that, she fought stage four cancer! Having money has its perks, you can design your own medical team as well as try alternatives and it may keep you alive longer than most. And that was truly a blessing. But the comment; “Funny how things change.” Always bothered me. What did she mean by that? I know exactly what she meant. She had a lot of money and I didn’t. I have to admit that I was surprised that she’d always harbored that competitive bone, and hadn’t realized it until she’d made that comment.

I didn’t not have money. I just didn’t have as much as she did. Between her right choices and hard work, and a little dumb luck, marrying a guy that would someday inherit a business that would be very successful, she never wanted nor worried about paying a bill in her adult life, like I have. Don’t get me wrong. I am blessed. I was just never motivated to need more. Maybe because I was a little privileged as a kid, and stupidly, a little embarrassed by it. Maybe the ones who feel they don’t have a lot at an early age seek for more later. I just know that Terri died with a closet full of clothes with price tags still on them and a drawer full of jewelry with some pieces, equaling a whole year of my salary. That being said, she was also one of the most generous people I know.

Losing my best friend and reflecting on our friendship of over a half a century has made me realize what is important and what is not.  That material things really are just so unimportant. But then, She probably knows that now.

I miss her terribly. I am glad that she is not suffering anymore. Her sister gave me one of her leather jackets. Though a material thing of hers, it makes me feel closer to her when I wear it. Losing Terri has taught me one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Even if that windfall never comes for me. I don’t need fancy cars, or big houses, I am happy to just be able to pay my bills on time.  And I know that I am blessed. I have a husband that loves me in spite of myself. I have amazing kids and a great family and wonderful friends. And now I even have a job I like going to and a boss I love!

I will always miss Terri. But I am glad she is not suffering anymore. I know now that she is in a place that holds the kind of joy she was always seeking from her “things” here on this earth. She is free from pain and has a new body. I think a lot about her everyday. She has left a gaping hole in my life. I miss the places I would find her, an early morning email waiting for me to open,  a phone call on the way home from work, summer get aways, the way she loved my daughter so much, her quirky  sense of humor,  and laughing at the dumbest things. Sharing things you can only tell your best friend without being judged. (Well probably judged, but that’s okay. Smile.)  I guess now, I just think a lot more about what is important and what is not. And you know she was right It really is Funny how things change.

01p091 One more of me and my dad

Today Was A Bad Day


crying with head down

I smile and life goes on,

I even laughed today,

but something that would normally just annoy me

ruins my whole day.

My feelings are all muddled

and yet I have to face my life.

I have to go to work,

be a mom, a friend a wife.

Things that normally wouldn’t hurt me

fill me with so much pain,

I lash out in anger,

needing someone else to blame.

I want to cry and yell,

to fall into a heap

to make the world go away,

to make it stop, so I can sleep.

I want to ask you why..

you think that I should be okay?

When I just lost my best friend

only yesterday?

My laughter isn’t real

my smile is purely fake

My heart is aching

the whole time I’m awake

The hole is gaping, I can’t forget,

as all day the memories weave

How does anyone do it right?

When there is no perfect way to grieve?

Diane Reed

2015©

Dear Terri


terri, scott and i

We met when we were four years old and from that moment on we were a part of each other’s lives. It all started with a moving box that our new frigidaire came in. Her sister was two years older, and my dad loved to describe the memory… They knocked at the door, eyeing the big old empty box in our front yard and asked, “You got any kids?”

We quickly became buddies and she even shared the little boy next door to me without a problem. We caught frogs in coffee cans, shared the first day of school a few times together, played barbies and learned how to ride two wheelers and stayed out till the street lights came on. I will always treasure those memories those few years we got to live across the street from each other.

When I was growing up, I moved a lot due to my dad’s job. It’s not that easy always having to be the new kid but it’s really not easy being the new kid four times in the middle of a school year when you are in elementary school. I made friends, but there were times when I felt left out or was tired of always being dubbed the “new kid” and just knowing I had Terri was a kind of redeeming grace that carried me through those times.

Through the years we’ve probably written each other a million letters and shared more with each other than someone in our daily lives. There is just something about being able to talk it out in a letter that creates a deeper kind of conversation and a different trust than with someone sitting across the table from you. We’d both find stationey and sealing wax for the occassion and then later, emailed daily for years and years and years!

There was just something about knowing that though she was a thousand of miles away at times, she was also just a letter or a phone call away always. We were in each other’s weddings, had our babies around the same time and emailed each other every single day for years and years. We vacationed with our kids and visited each other as often as our lives permitted. She was my bff.

sealing wax

We had an inside joke about emailing each other…. When we were little, we used to look across the street to see if each other’s garage doors were opened. We knew then that it was okay to knock at each other’s doors and that everyone was up. (No one shut their garage doors back in those days unless they weren’t home or not up yet.) So when we would see an email from each other, we would refer to it as… “I was so glad to come on and see that your garage door was already up!” I have missed that opened garage door for a while now. It has been a funny feeling to want to tell her something and know it will never be opened again.

running through the field2

Today she has been released from this life, from her body, from all the hurts and disappointments this life has held for her to go and celebrate her life and be with our Lord. She lived a wonderful life, had so many people in it that she loved and loved her back. Even in the last two decades of illnesses she managed to weave around it all and embrace life with a passion and energy that few who are gifted with good health, ever manage. We may be missing her but she is in a better place.

I have no doubt that she is enjoying the party being thrown for her right now and will perhaps be in charge of some of the future parties up there in the future! (She always threw a great party!) And I have no doubt that she is preparing amazing places for us all who believe in that better place and in the Lord who has ALREADY embraced her!! Perhaps someday, I will get to live next door to her again! But for today… I am just going to take the time to really miss my very first bff. In these last few months, I have adjusted to the fact that our garage doors will never be opened again, but today it takes my breath away. I guess I always believed in another miracle. God gave her many in her lifetime. I know now the miracle is happening on the other side.

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to perpare a place for you. John 14:2

clouds of joy

Still The One


friends two little girls with braids

“Love doesn’t keep track of wrong doings.”

It took me over a half a lifetime to understand what that one piece of wisdom that God  has tucked in HIS WORD over and over again, really means. I’m not sure  why it took me so long to truly understand just how simple this message was. For years, it seems as if I’ve been angry at something or someone. My dad used to say that I had a Forest going, with all of the leaves I turned over. I wasn’t always like that. I was a happy little girl. For the most part. But people hurt me and I let it get to me.

peaceful forest

A few years ago, I had a falling out with my childhood Best friend. We’d lasted for over a half a century without so much as a cross exchange. Well, at least on my part. She was the “alpha” in our relationship and pretty sharped tongued at times, and said it like it was. I’d accepted that part of her personality and though she hurt my feelings at times, I’d dealt with it. And then in one stupid afternoon, I used my words to retaliate and let her know that it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t that they were fighting words, or even that they ended our visit on  the spot. It was just that I’d had it and I stood up to her for the first time and it surprised us both and for the most part, changed  the future of our friendship. I am not saying that it is not good to be honest with your feelings, nor to stand up for yourself when the occasion calls. I am just saying that for me, it was not worth it. And it kind of changed the dynamics of a life long friendship. Though we’ve shared a thousand phone calls and texts and emails, and have confided and laughed and cried and laughed again since that last time, I hadn’t been back for a visit since that fateful confrontation. Until…  this last weekend, my daughter and I went to visit her. And she was still the one who I walked to kindergarten with, and failed my driver’s license test in front of… TWICE. She was still the one who was in both of my weddings and I in hers. She was still the one who let me drag her around as I searched for the perfect “first dance” song. She was still the one who ironed my wedding dress twice! We were even both pregnant with our daughters at the same time. She is two months older than me and her daughter is two months older than Brooke! And she is still the one who invested in my daughter’s dream, helping her pay for her first year of school.  She is still the one who my dad sent for when I went through a bad break up, and still the one who was my friend when I sometimes felt that I had no one else. And she was the first one I called when my dad died. She is still the one who has beat this damn cancer over and over again for the last twenty years. We’d planned a visit for her birthday this year, but then she canceled saying that her treatments were taking a toll on her and we should wait until later. But her sister (also my dear friend) called and said not to wait. So my sweet daughter piled in the car with me and we took that six-hour round trip laughing and crying both ways. door ajar The house was still the house she’d designed with loving care. The scent of her home still enveloped us as we walked through her door that I hadn’t walked through for a few years. And there she was. They’d gotten her a hospital bed. We covered her with the blanket we brought her for her birthday. She was able to get up and eat some lunch. I fed her soup. The next day she went on hospice. On the way home, my daughter begged me to get a mammogram. I got one the next day. I guess I am sharing this because I have learned that we don’t always have to make it about us. We don’t always have to be so offended. I mean after all, it worked for over fifty years the way it was. I do have regrets. I wish that I’d just “let it go” because we were best friends forever, we wrote to each other on stationery we picked out especially for the other  and used sealing wax to make it even more special.

sealing wax

Our friendship was one of the greats, the way we loved each other, and the history we shared would be hard to duplicate. But I still regret that one month where we didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. Last night, I read all of our emails since 2007 And you know what? God really has it right…. “Love doesn’t even notice when it’s done wrong.” 1 Corinthian 13:5

friends crying hugging

I Miss You Lucy


You know that one house and that one friend’s mom that you remember from your childhood? It was the one place you always felt welcome by that one mom who was not yours. You felt special because you knew she really wanted you around and it wasn’t because you were her kid and she had to feel that way. It was your first experience of knowing your worth and feeling valued because of who you were and not because of who you belonged to. Sure, I knew my mom loved me and that mattered to me, a lot. But there is a time in your life when you feel funny and interesting and likable because you are who you are, and only because of that. And someone else enjoys you and wants you around.

I grew up in Palos Verdes California, down the street from Lucy. She was that mom in my memory and always in my heart. I was about eleven when I met her. My mom was an artist when I was growing up and Lucy was always decorating something. I am not sure what ever came of the meeting or if my mom ever painted the mural she inquired about, but I do know that her oldest daughter, Kathy and I became fast friends along with all of Lucy’s daughters. She had four. It was like I hit the Jack Pot meeting them. They all went to a local Catholic School and because they didn’t go to our public school, the neighborhood kids were small minded and slow to embrace them. Well, all I can say is… their loss was surely my gain!

I took turns being good friends with each of her daughters during different stages of my life. And then a few years later, Lucy went through a divorce and met a man named Bob, who she married, bringing two more kids into the fold. It was a wonderful family and I loved each one of them in different ways throughout my life. But Lucy ended up being my friend that I’d go visit years later. I remember staying up late at night for hours at a time talking to Lucy. I loved spending the night at their house and when they moved, I think I went into a small depression. Until, we reunited when my mom discovered a phone number that had gotten “misplaced.” That summer, I promptly moved in with them in Orange County where they’d moved and spent several weeks hanging out with Lucy as she picked out new wallpaper and tile for the 6000 foot home she was building in Fallbrook overlooking their several acres of avocados that Bob was going to manage.

The plan was for me to find a job somewhere in Fallbrook and join them. But between getting very engrossed in a serious relationship and missing my own mom a little more than I thought I would, I didn’t follow through with the final plans to move there with them. Though, I did get a job offer after I’d moved back home. And always kind of regretted not getting to live in that amazing house that my sweet Lucy built for her family and included me in that plan. Even though I never lived there, I visited several times a year for many years until I got caught up in having my own family. Slowly, the visits became less frequent. Though Lucy and  Kathy, attended my dad’s funeral and Bob and Lucy attended my second wedding, and Lucy even came to stay at my house a time or two, I regret letting life interfere with our visits and I often wonder how different my life might have been if I’d moved into that wonderful home.

A few years before Lucy died, I took my daughter to visit her and we had such a neat visit. I wanted to share a piece of Lucy with her and I really feel she “GOT” who Lucy was to me. I will always be grateful that she agreed to go and that we have that memory.

Tonight, while I was driving home, I drove past a house with a long driveway filled with cars and it reminded me of that house in Fallbrook. It always looked as if it was having a party, because of all the cars parked there. But they all just belonged to her family, each in their own rooms or in different parts of the house just living there. And it gave me this warm melancholy feeling. And it made me think. Legacy isn’t just something physical that you leave, it’s not a building or a fortune, but something intangible. Something far more valuable. It might leave a hole when it’s gone that takes your breath away, but even more, it gives you that place in your heart to fall, the one person, or place you remember when no other place works quite as well.

 

It’s been over a year since she has left this world

and yet, sometimes knowing that she’s not just a phone call away any longer,

takes my breath away.

lucy

winnie goodbye quote

 

My Other Ex by Jessica Smock & Stephanie Sprenger A book review among other thoughts


I am at a place in my life, teetering at the edge, where I am just finding my voice, and am at the very early stages of feeling comfortable in my own skin. Defining me and who I really want to be. And you know what? It’s not really what others say about you. It is about what you think of yourself. I think I have finally grasped that. Took a half a century but better late than never, right?

I have a hard time trusting people enough, to really make the friendship effort at this stage in the game. And yet even though I have tons of friends, and several really good ones, I never really felt as if I fit in to any one place perfectly. Today, I just read a great line from a book I am about to share with you guys (below) where the writer said; She refused to make the hard choices, to fight the waves”. Wow! How profound is that?? I related to that sentence so much that it brought tears to my eyes. I never belonged anywhere because I never wanted to fight the waves. I have ridden most of them in to shore. Not that my life has been a picnic but when it comes to making the harder choice, well, lets just say that, THAT line took my breath away!

I was at a shower recently with a bunch of church friends and someone who I would consider more a friend than an acquaintance genuinely hugged me “hello” and told me that they were happy to see me. After a bit of catching up and other small talk, I confided in her that I really felt that I was “faking it”  and “not just here, but really at any of these church things.” And…. Without missing a beat, she leaned over and whispered, “Diane, we are all faking it!” At that moment, I think I loved her more than I had the moment before!

friends talking at table

And I know what she meant, not that we are faking what we believe and that our faith is not real, but that the veil is pulled down a bit further at parties like these. We share just enough. We only know parts of each other. The other half is covered for only the very few to see. The smiles are real, well they are NOT, not real, if you know what I mean. But I want more. I think we all do. And, I always feel glad I made the effort to go, and yet a little empty when leaving. And yet the little affirmation about faking it, about perhaps I’m not the only one that feels that way was like a little unexpected party favor that I got to take home that day.

I just finished reading My Other Ex by Jessica Smock & Stephanie Prenger and I have to tell you that I know what my Christmas gifts for my friends are going to be this year! I am in love with this book! I originally purchased it because a great friend and fellow writer, Leah Vidal was a contributing author. So I knew that I would not be disappointed. But I literally, could not put this book down! It capsulized my friend’s statement; “Diane we are all faking it!” Each story makes you nod and cry and connect and feel as if we are not alone And in someway, I could relate to each and every story and friendship. The twist here… is these stories are of  great friendships, best friend friendships that went awry.

friends two little girls with braids

Some as far back as childhood, some from college, some from business, or through kids or other chance meetings.  All compiled in a format that reminds me a little of the Chicken Soup for the Soul style, and yet the stories here aren’t contrived nor always healing with a happy ending. It is real and heart wrenching and makes you cry and laugh and like I said, nod, a lot!

I have taken away something from every story. No faking it here. No sugar-coating the facts. Just honesty pure and simple and sometimes painful to read. In my lifetime I have had some great friendships. Some that I have shared about here in this blog. But there have also been a few that fell through the cracks, for reasons of their own. Ones I never thought about writing about. So that makes this book even more interesting.

 

It is the first book in a long time, that I haven’t just skimmed over to get to the next page when it got a little tedious. There is no tediousness here. The women sharing are all obviously top-notch writers, hand-picked from the authors and you know from their other projects (see their website) http://www.herstoriesproject.com      that each story was chosen with the utmost care. This one is a no brainer. Ya gotta read it…. If you are a woman and you ever let go of a friendship that still haunts you a little today, this book will help you realize that we all have a lot of the same feelings. kind of like the way I felt… when my friend said to me… “We are all faking it a little Diane!” We really aren’t alone. This book just put it in print!

Note to the authors*  (Would love to buy the audio of each woman sharing their own story!)

my other ex book cover

Through The Papered Windows


paper over windows

When we were in the process of  opening up our store Rose In The Woods This nice man with kind eyes started stopping in pretty regularly just to chat. He began showing up even when there was still paper on the windows and we were still setting up. I remember him peeking in one day, he seemed so interested so I invited him in.

peeking through windows

Even though it was pretty much more of a female type store, he said he was sure his wife would love it. I remember him being one of our first customers, buying his wife some little mice figurines.

store

When he was getting his wallet out he mentioned his hands. I don’t think that at that point, that I would have ever noticed them, if he hadn’t pointed them out but he shared that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease a few years earlier. He also shared how his wife Michele, was  helping to counteract it’s onset by being pro-active with her own research in nutrition and vitamins along with their strong faith in God. We began talking about where he attended church and I remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind going where he went.

micheld and chris

He told me that his name was Chris Pickens and I couldn’t explain it then, but as I look back now, I know he was planting seeds. There was just something different about him. It was as if I’d gone to church and been refreshed each time he visited. He would share a little something more about his life and his walk with God everytime we met and I was hooked without even realizing it.  Once my husband had been behind the counter at his desk working while I’d been talking. I knew he was trying to get a print order out but I was annoyed that he had not gotten up to meet Chris.

frustrated man behind desk

knew he’d like him.  And later told him that next time I wanted him to get up to meet him when he came in if he happened to be sitting at his desk. I also mentioned that if we ever went to church again, I wouldn’t mind going to his. Which I think perked up my husband’s interest because at that point in my life,  he was definitely more interested in finding a church than I was, because I was so busy getting the gift side of the store set up. But Chris told me that they had a great youth group at his church and since we both benefited from youth groups growing up, we wanted our daughter to experience it.

I’d met my husband at his church when a friend of mine invited me and my kids to hers when I was going through a divorce. But when we’d moved to our town where we currently lived, we just never got around to finding one. But we’d recently talked about wanting to find a good youth group for our daughter who’d just gone into Junior High. So the next time he came in, I encouraged my husband to get up and  meet Chris. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to meet him, it just had never been a good time. They hit it off right away. Just as I thought that they would! And that next Sunday, we all showed up for church and it turned out to be the one that my parents had sent my daughter and her cousin to snow camp from the year before, so she knew some people and felt right at home.

A few weeks later, we were invited to a friend’s 40th  surprise birthday party who we’d met at that church and we sat at Chris and Michele’s table and never looked back! We became fast friends. And Chris and my husband became the best of friends and so did Michele and I. They are those kind of friends that you feel you have known forever  and through them we met Art and Pam! Two more best of the best! The guys went to Promise Keepers weekends together several times over the years and served together  as leaders of the church. Until Michele and Chris moved to Southern California to be closer to family and medical facilities for Chris’s condition and Pam and Art later followed to help care for Chris, I was spoiled by being able to just pick up the phone and know that we could get together on a whim. I have a joke about the friends that I especially let into my heart… they eventually always move away! But I understand. And I am in awe of the friendship that the four of them have and that is why they are all my friends too.

art and pam

And  as I look back at our friendship and how it evolved, it amazes me… that we still question and prod God… begging Him to do this and that… not realizng that HE really DOES have it all planned out… all of these Divine appointments… if like Chris… we just listen and look through those paper windows when HE tells us to!!!!

lighthouse

 

Now I know that his life is just naturally Chris’s own mission field. He is like a lighthouse in this world. Regardless of his own storms he has always faithfully served His Lord!  Some of us may choose to go to third world countries, some may do it from the pulpit and some may do it one seed at a time…touching lives as we go! That goes for all four of my friends that I mentioned here! They have all been on their own mission fields! I love you guys and MISS YOU!

jim art and chris

Good Friends!!!!! (Because one listening heart kept peeking through those papered windows!)

 wizard of oz heart quote

*SIDE NOTE:

Please pray for my friends… for Chris and his healing for Michele and her strength and for Pam and Art as they support Chris and Michele and now for Pam as she has recently learned that cancer has returned yet again. We know God is a God of miracles and that He has answered our prayers before! Please join us as we pray for this wonderful couple. I am a firm believer in this verse:

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20 RSV)

Thank you!

 

Our Blogging Neighborhood


I know that I’ve written about this before. But I just can’t get over the connection I have with some of you.  When I started blogging, I was pretty much doing it for me. A place to store my rambilings and perhaps share some of it with my close friends. But then… Oh and then…  something magical happened.

You guys did!

Thank you for happening to me!

neighborhood at the bridge neighborhood at dusk

I used to pick up my pen to write

when I was there, at my desk alone.

I would write and then re-read

and my feedback was  my own.

WRITER BLACK AND WHITEmy storywriting in the windowseattypewriterwriter

But somehow through the scheme of things

I opened another door

door

and all at once you guys came in

and I was not alone there anymore!

followers on blog

Somehow we’ve formed a village,

a neighborhood of those who understand.

neighborhood

Some of you are not too far away,

and some are in other lands.

But somehow through our passion,

through our need to feel heard;

we all have connected

through our love of the written word!

Diane Reed

2013

This was my reply to the first comment that came in…

(It fit perfectly for the way that I feel about many of you… I thought I’d cut and paste it and add it in the actual post so you understand just how important you have all become to me and how much I appreciate you!) 😉

I am so glad to have met you as well! YOU were one of the ones that inspired this. Some come and go and then come back into each of our lives. No guilt trips or expectations. Just glad to see ya when you’re here and miss you when your not. But thrilled to reconnect with those who haven’t been around a while and excited to make new friends here each day, who I might find that connection with… and when it happens… it is like magic!
I don’t need to ask anyone to read my blog or what they think… I have you all who do that for me. I loved one of the pictures here with the lights all on at night. I can just see us all inside one of those lit windows blogging away or writing our words. Regardless of where we are, in what town, in what country…. our hearts are strung together with our understanding of how important our words are!

                                                                                    Thank you!

If we said a thousand goodbyes…


QUOTE WINNIE THE POOH PRING

The messages attached to “Good bye” mean different things at different times in our lives. To some it means see you later when to others it holds the sting of finality. And then there are those who though they may have said it a thousand times … they are the ones who will never completely ever be gone. They are the ones whose “goodbyes ” have as much strength as a feather.

And then…. there are the ones who are completely gone. They have left this world. Their ashes have been scattered and we will never hear their voices (at least not on this earth) again. In a way it really makes me resent the game playing in the frivilous goodbyes. I mean after all, life is so fragile. It should mean so much more than it seems to. We are not game pieces that can be moved by the toss of a dice. We are human beings with lives that are already hanging from the most fragile of threads. We can only play with the hand we are given but it makes how we play so much more important.

Inside the memory of a thousand good byes

my grieving heart sees through it’s lies

past the dreams we gave away

wondering now… what if we’d stayed?

so tell me again go ahead

beat the horse until it’s dead

Explain it to me, please just try

What should I do with your goodbyes?

Diane Reed

2013

winnie... if the comes a time

Through Rose Colored Glasses


footprints picture

I have been reflecting on friendships this week. No doubt due to losing Lucy. It has made me re-evaluate so many things in my life. My heart is full and yet my brain has kind of kicked in. I have been going down a very revealing journey of self discovery the last few days and the familiar saying: Some people touch your lives for a little while and others leave footprints on your heart forever…  comes to mind. But currently I am in kind of a dark place where I feel like twisting that sentiment around a bit and adding…. There are also the friends that trudge all over your heart.

bruised heart

Some things are comforting because they never change. Like Lucy, she was who she was. She was always my soft place to fall. I never came to her to have her always agree with me, but to get the truth. It was a refreshing friendship because no matter what, she could tell me like it was and I could tell her and it was just a safe place. I never worried about her sharing my secrets or divulging my mistakes. She was my Fortress of unconditional love. It didn’t matter if I was in a horrible place in my life. She loved me through it. Like a mother loves a child. Like the best in best friend.

In my life I think I expected that from everyone. I think that I really had blinders on when I chose different people in my life, at work and historically in my own personal life, and it baffles me now what I didn’t see. There was a time in my life where I put one particular friend on a pedestal while I kind of let another one tread water waiting for me to see the truth.

cartoon standing on a pedestal

As I look back I wonder why I was so blinded by admiration. Another couple of friends at work made me believe that they were friends. They gossiped behind the backs of others there, just as much as any of the REAL HOUSEWIVES! In fact, they could give them a run for their money! The thing I don’t get is why was I so blown away when I finally discovered that they were talking about me as well, when I wasn’t in their presence?

Friends have come and gone. Some are there because I’ve chosen them (adult made friendships). Some historically (childhood friendships) are still there because we’ve chosen to work on them to nurture them. Those are the most difficult when you realize you have outgrown them. A while back, I met a friend I hadn’t seen in years. She was a part of my everyday life as a teenager. In just our short lunch together, she had proceeded to insult a homeless boy begging and said such hateful things to him and then tried to justify it to me, that I felt I was with a stranger and yet in that moment, I realized I was seeing things about her that I’d overlooked all our lives. I have really been reflecting on many of my friendships lately and it has been an eye opener. As I have also reflected on my own junk that I bring. There are more sayings such as…. You will always be my best friend… you know too much…. Or…  Best friends know everything about you and love you anyway…

I want to be that kind of friend… I want to be the one that doesn’t want to point out the bad in my friends, the one who accepts them where they are. But at times when something huge happens like it did for me this week, you get reflective and perhaps a little cynical. For today… I think I let the cynicism win out. I’ve written about friends before on my blog, even given them their very own post of the day.

Currently, I am just in reflection mode. I have so many lifetime friends that I am thankful for! So many readers who have made me look past my own doorstep and embrace the friendships not even made yet. Funny how once upon a time, I thought I had enough friends. What a horrible thought! Never to be open to the possibility of more. A kind of friendship suicide. Cutting myself off from the opportunity of the joy I have recently experienced in new friendships in my life here and in my own little corner of the world. I also realize that I am just in a bit of a depression and rightly so. Nothing organic going on here! I just lost one of my best friends and I’ve woken up each day realizing she is gone. It is the first thing I think of every day since. But I know that time heals all wounds and though I will miss her, the pain will ease. As in the things bothering me today. And so I will not close the book, I will keep reading, finish the chapter and move on to the next.

But for now just humor me please as I share my poem about being disillusioned over certain friendships. A bit of purging here. Not my usual uplifting stanzas (that was a joke!) But I really do…. I promise I will have a better outlook tomorrow!

**********************************************

Through Rose Colored Glasses

You see it your way with rose colored glasses

the world is all wrong and we are all asses!

rose colored broken glasses

It couldn’t be you, in all your perfection

no, not a flaw in your perfect perception!

We are just sensitive when we judge your approach

you never see the way you jump down our throats

girls telling secrets

 you talk behind all your friends clueless backs

discussing all the things you feel that they lack

 what made me think when you were talking about them…

that I was above the ones you called your good friends

gossipers

Why was I blinded, why couldn’t I see?

while you were talking about them, you were also talking about me!

Diane Reed ’13

page quote

Saying Goodbye to Best Friends…


When I was a little girl you became my second mom

I’d spend the night at your house and we’d talk till well past dawn

Your daughters were my best friends I was friends with them all

but later in life, when we grew up, it was “you” who I’d call…

Oh Lucy, how I dreaded the call I got today. So many memories flood my heart as I write this. You were always my soft place to fall, my advisor, my confidant, my constant. So consistent in my life. Always just a phone call away. Opening up your home for me to live with you guys when I was younger and then for visits whenever I could get away. I grew to love you like my own family. I smile as I think about our late night chats as Bob would call down “Lucille!” And you would tell him you’d be right up and then two hours would have passed as you stayed to chat some more. I loved your stories. Some of them were life changing for me. Some molded my life in ways that made me into who I am today.

When you found the Lord, you were so on fire. And that fire never went out. I could come for a visit or pick up the phone and you were just as in love with your Lord as you were on the first day you really found HIM. Even our last phone call was all about HIM. And I am so confident that in my own selfish sadness (please bear with me while I catch my breath realizing that you won’t be here for me anymore) I know you are so happy, free from pain in your wonderful Savior’s arms. But in the meantime I need to adjust knowing that I won’t ever hear again your wonderful voice and the joy you always seemed to have in it when you would hear it was me on the other end….

I’d hear…. “Oh helloooo baby, or Diane-eeee or Darling” You always made me feel that you were soooo happy to hear from me in a way I don’t think anyone ever has before. And I’ll miss that.

I am so glad that I got to bring my baby for a visit a couple of years ago. She remembered visiting you as a little girl but it had been too long. It was quite an adventure getting to your wonderful *mansion* in the dark up on the hill in Fallbrook…. *funny the memories little kids have*… I remember as you were building it and going with you to pick out wallpapers for ALL those  bathrooms and the tile for the pool. I will always cherish memories of that wonderful house you made into a home. It looked so much the same as I remember the last time we visited… another constant in my life.       Sooo much more than just that house, you were the one who never changed. And on the way home from our visit Brookie said; “Thank you Mama for making me go with you. I love her too.”

Oh Lucy, what am I going to do without you as my soft place to fall? You have left quite a legacy in your path… so many lives you have touched. You will be missed. But you are home now. Heaven must be so wonderful for you. So many people who you have touched, waiting in line to greet and thank you! Save a place for me! I love you!

 LUCY

Click on the song below to understand WHO Lucy has been in this lifetime to me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6j_YpZQi-I4

Happy 25th Birthday To My Brookie Baby!


Brookie's shower

Can it be twenty five years ago that you came into this world,

My sweet little blue eyed precious baby girl?

You captured my heart from the moment we met!

The first time I held you… well, I will never forget.

Brookie Baby pointing

You overwhelmed me with love at the very start

and through the years you have captured my heart

You have made me laugh and entertained us from the beginning

With you in our lives we were constantly grinning

Brookie Baby snorting

You’ve taken on life with all of your might

When you take on a project you fight the good fight

You finish it through to the very end

And then you get up to do it all over again

Brookie played till she dropped!

You have a way of holding our hearts in the palm of your  hand

And when you believe in something, you take a firm stand

Your beauty has been evident from the very start

But what I am most proud of… is what’s in your heart!

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As a mama I could count all the things you have done,

counting to a thousand naming them each, one by one~

but it’s not just your talents  or the way that you shine,

even though I’m constantly  boasting;   the fact that you’re mine…

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It’s inside your heart and the faith that we share,

it’s the way that your joy makes you cry when you care~

It’s your kindness and love that you have towards others,

That makes me so proud that I am your mother!

Brookie and Jas

And so as I sift  through the memories today,

trying to wish you Happy Birthday in “our” own little way~

I marvel at it all, for I know, in the end,

Twenty five years ago, I made my very own Best Friend!

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Happy Birthday Brookie Baby!

Yore Mama Loves You!!!!

Brookie and PapaBrookie Blue eyesimg050Brookie Baby bathtimePUB 1img071Brookie & Britney on the swings

Brookie at her Daddy's company picnic01p019Brookester and ChadlyBROOKIE IN APPLE DRESS BEING A GOOD SPORT... SHE HATED THIS DRESS!

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img234img065Brookie and her mamaBrookie fishing with Dad and GrandpaBrookie and her daddy with baby JasFile0025Copy of brooke and danielle1BROOKIE SENIOR PIC6flags! 006DSCN0854img2175-1-20106-47-46PMbrookieeee05401p099Brookie and her dadbrookie's indiebrookie

Hey, Brookie,

I just wanted to thank you for being my kid, my hero, my advisor and my very best friend.

You inspire me. You make me want to be better. I am so proud of your accomplishments!

Today, I just have to stop and breathe and realize that God protected you on that day of the earthquake so many years ago, (can it be almost ten?)  as

angels gathered around the place where you stood as our store was crunched  along with the car where you asked to wait in.

We can’t not believe! He has great things in store for you! I BELIEVE that you are going to change the world! Perhaps just one by one in the people

near you or in a much bigger way than we can even imagine. It was so hard to let you go, five years ago when you left our little town to go find your

dream. But you are doing it! Just like that little girl who I would find asleep ON her pile of toys…. you do everything with a ghusto! And I can’t wait to

see what you do next!

May God bless your life and may this year bring answered prayers and dreams come true.

I love you my sweet girl and very best friend~

Happy Birthday!

Mama

.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TERRI!


Hey Terri,

I know that this is a day before your birthday but I wanted to make sure that you got this because I knew you would not be home and didn’t know if or when you’d be on line.  I just wanted to catch you in time so that you would truly  know that you were  loved and remembered!

May this be the year of Answered Prayer!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I love you~

Di

Dippity Doo

How many years has it really been

since you and I became best friends?

We met back in the days of dippity doo

Has it really been fifty two?

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You were there for my first day of school

we thought our velvet  shoes were too cool!

bosco 2

Days of summer, Bosco and bactine

you were a part of everything!

Bactine

playing ball at dusk  till the lights turned on

reminds me of a a favorite song

night play

We both loved the little kid nextdoor

You won out! He loved you more!

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I found a picture with all our grins

Sorry I couldn’t cut out the twins!

ROSSI WAY KIDS

They were both right in the middle

but then I changed it up a little!

Terri & me Rossi Way

Ahh I remember  all the times we shared

And when I moved how much we cared

terri pam me

We did not want to ever lose touch

even then, our friendship meant so much~

Our moms were friends who loved each other

and so we kept in touch through our mothers.

sealing wax

Until you wrote me a letter and I wrote back

then… we kept in touch with notes and sealing wax!

Sometimes we visited on occassion

When my dad gave us a Terri vacation!

airplane

As years went by I always knew

That where ever I went I could count on you

Whatever happened you were my friend

You have been my circle without an end.

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We’ve been there through each other’s broken hearts

and supported all of each other’s starts!

1 wedding Terri walking down the aisleWedding Terri

Once we played with dolls and then had ones of our own

And had even more fun than we had ever known!

Brookie & Britney on the swingsBrookie and Brit swinging

The years have been good. You have made them better

through our love and our bond and a million letters!

letters with ribbon

we have weathered some storms and celebrated others

And we have even become grandmas and mothers!

Terri & Brookie

And the “Auntie” to my baby that you have been~

Well, I just love how “she” loves my very Best friend!

 Terri and meTerri's mom Alice and meimg196

So many memories no one but us have shared

I’m just so glad that you’ve always been there!

Now as we celebrate YOUR DAY I wished I lived near

Cuzzz I’m celebrating  you in my heart

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 At my party right here!

Where ever we happen to be, we can make a difference


cartoon

Some days as I walk around I feel scattered. My mother in law, the psychologist (no, seriously, by profession she actually really is one, okay, okay, I know all the jokes coming… how perfect for me… etc.. lol.) and more recently one of my most valued friends… might call it compartmentalizing. But in a way, it is even more than that. Not just in a way of different feelings I am feeling and from what aspects of my life, they are coming from but a little more abstract than those different places where I find love and sadness and hope and joy…

I don’t know, maybe I am finally going crazy but sometimes I feel as if I am just the carrier of my soul. I mean, I get that my heart and liver and brain… and every other important organ come along for the ride… but there have been days that I have been so disconnected from “me” that I have felt like I am air traffic control, looking out as my eyes kind of navigate “me” around as I go on my daily journey.

I am tired. So very tired. And I know that though, this is not true at all, I sometimes, feel that there is not much more to my life than working a job to just pay the bills. Yesterday, I took two cold pills. One had broken, so I took another. So all in all I took two and a half and it knocked me for a loop. I had to leave early, and go to bed. I slept for seven hours I was down for the count.. Though this was not planned, it made me more aware of the way I kind of just check out in my life. (And pleeease, NO lectures, I learned my lesson!)

Today, I feel drugged and wiped out but a little better. Cold-wise.  I am sure I needed the rest. I guess my point is that I miss a lot of the joy when I just let my life go on auto-pilot.  I think that I have been doing that a lot lately. But yesterday, before my self induced drugged coma happened… I learned an amazing thing and almost missed out on it….

There is a young boy that I work with. He has an incredible story. (And by now you know, that I am all about everyone’s “story.”)  He was an orphan from Russia. He is quiet and I guess if I had to describe him in one word, it would be gracious. He is grateful for everything he has and it is humbling to be around somebody who never complains or talks bad about others, who always has a smile and is patient and kind to even the most frustrating customers. And over the months I have grown to know him. I have not found a glitch in the grace he exemplifies. And to make the story even better,  he is by no means spoiled, but lives a privileged live in comparism to where he came from and remembers it all and so he is grateful for everything and his attitutude is refreshing.

I think that the kids I work with truly like me. At least I hope they do.  I know that they don’t forget me. I most likely, am a character in their memory that will remain and hopefully they will smile when they are my age… remembering me. I ask a lot of questions. They know it is because I am a writer and I am genuinely interested and care, so they all have slowly opened up. And I have been blessed by their trust.

This young man has been different. His story is different. The questions I have asked have been much more sensitive. I have been more careful and respectful in waiting and letting him share rather than barging in and asking. And the most amazing friendship has formed. I told him that he has a wonderful story. I never truly knew if he heard me when I said that because he just smiles a lot. I told him that everyone has at least one “book” inside of them but he has something even more valuable in his memories, an amazing story many others would be interested in hearing and that writing it all down might even be a kind of therapy for him.

writing in a notebook

Yesterday, I noticed in my haze,  that he was seriously writing and writing in a notebook during the slower times at work. Finally I had to ask. “What are you writing?” Never dreaming he had even really listened to what I said in our conversations many weeks earlier. Until…. he turned to me and said… “I am taking your advice and writing it all down.” Perhaps it was something he had heard on the news recently about Americans not being allowed to adopt from the Russian Orphanages any longer that prompted him to consider my advice but it made me realize that no matter where I am, I can still make a difference.

“I am taking your advice” Five little words that changed my day. And my outlook on how I view each new one….

Each day is an opportunity  to make a difference where ever God has me… and whatever job I might be doing.

Merry Christmas To ALL my friends here!


Christmas Typewriter2

Somehow in a corner of my world

I found you

or maybe….

you found me.

All I know is that…

 we have found each other

You…

The one who actually reads my words,

 who shares my passions

and takes the time

to find me

each time I write something new

to LIKE and to comment

and then share your words,

and your time

clock stained

and in the connection

we have found magic.

Thank you to all of my readers

and now my friends.

May the true meaning of Christmas fill your soul

all year long!

Baby Jesus2

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Typewriter

With Love,

Diane

Terri


boxes in the yard

The refrigerator box lay sideways in our front lawn. I was four years old and we had just moved in to our new house. My dad answered the door as two little girls looked up at him. The oldest one asked “You got any kids?” I peeked around his legs. And that is how I met her. My BFF.

My dad always loved re-telling that story over the years, whenever she would come for a visit. She was two months older than me, the younger of the two sisters who had knocked at my door on moving day. Refrigerator boxes were so magical back in those days and had such bonding powers, I rarely look at an empty one without remembeing the powers that, THAT one seemed to possess.  I have often teased them both over the years, that they only wanted me for my boxes.

Now over a half a century later, I think I got the better end of the deal.  She has been in two of my weddings. (And has warned me that two is her limit!) She is Auntie Terri to my daughter and my BFF for over five decades! I think she must have followed me around to five record stores while I tried to find a song I wanted to play at my reception and must have  ironed my wedding dress about four times the day of my wedding and stood up for me as my Maid of Honor.

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She is the reason that my daughter has experienced Hawaii. And it is because of “Auntie Terri’s”  generosity that she got to go to the school of her choice without the financial hardship there would have been without her heart. She drops everything to play hostess to my baby or will drive for hours to see her in a play.

From playing dolls to having our own babies two months apart, we have come full circle.

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(Our babies… mine is on the right though I claim them both!)

We have gone through births and deaths, illnesses and more births, we have gone through weddings and heart breaks and falling in love and out of love, a dozen times over the years. We even got past the idea we were both going to marry the same boy! (Scott lived nextdoor to me and across the street from her!)

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We can say exactly what we are thinking without feeling judged and vent and snap and know that none of it will change our love for each other. Life may throw us curve balls but nothing can rock our friendship.  Not even miles….

From the time we were little girls, we made the effort to keep in touch. Through letter writing and special note cards, sealing wax and phone calls, visits and later, emails and texting… we have ridden the wave and found that our love is built on solid ground.

letters with ribbon

My daughter is up there this weekend doing an Art Show and staying with her Auntie Terri and it warms my heart that they have found their own friendship in each other. Their own interests and  memories all of their own.

girls gossiping

And my heart is full as I share my best friend with my best friend.

A thing of Beauty in an unexpected place


I like the concept of finding happy surprises. The best things are unexpected, like a gift for no reason. My mother in law came up with the name of our store that we lost in the earthquake. It was Rose In The Woods. Later on Good Morning America, I told Charles Gibons that it had turned out to be a Rose In The Rubble. When he was interviewing my daughter and I, the morning after.  I still remember the feeling of finding something beautiful in all that followed.

One huge one was that my daughter had survived it. If you follow this blog at all, you have read about her wanting to wait in our new Explorer that had been flattened by the roof that slid down on all the parked cars below…. I remember thinking stuff can be replaced but thank you Lord for saving my baby!

Life is not easy. People are not always kind and sometimes we don’t stop to consider where the other guy came from or why they are who they are. I have been pretty hurt by a few people in my own life. It is the times when I have stopped to make the effort to get to know their history that I have been rewarded with a thing of unexpected beauty so beyond my expectations. To understand their hurts from the ground up! Lately, I have taken the time to understand some major people in my past and it has been the most freeing experience I have ever gone through. Forgiveness and understanding have amazing medicinal powers and the miracles that follow are intoxicating.

As I grow older, I find blessings in the most unexpected places. This blog is one of them! In my time of need for prayer or friendship, a soft place to fall, support for my writing or just  a lot of encourgment…. I never dreamt that I would find it here… the place I go to store my ramblings!

After I lost my store, the spa where I work hired me as an Event Coordinator and when the economy took that turn we all are so aware of, my position along with my boss was removed from my place of employment. Though I am grateful they found another position  for me and kept me on, I had to take a pay cut and learn how to become financially creative. Which is how I began to be the retail “Buyer” for the spa. It gave me my “retail fix” and provided us with the extra income I had lost. It is kind of a win/win situation for us both. I do all the work, buying, displaying and they get a $$ cut. It has been a blessing because I know the area and the clientelle and what they like from owning my store, in turn, I have been successful at creating a revenue for myself and the spa.

I have a co-worker at work…  Who in the beginning, I have to admit that I missed her good points. TOTALLY overlooked them!!! Smile~ I only saw the annoying ones coming head on in front of me like a Mac Truck.  She is sometimes abrupt and opinionated and loud and  sometimes a little defensive when you remind her to use her “inside voice.” She is a bit  controlling…. and can be a know it all at times….

Anywaaay…

I have been working on trying to see the good in everyone, slowing down and finding beauty in a very unexpected place, and really taking time to understand others. I have learned in my efforts that she is just a very insecure young woman. Since I have befriended her, she has shared with me that she doesn’t feel very many people at work like her and she has dealt with those feelings pretty much, all of her life. I have found that…. she has a  big heart and that she is funny and sweet, a very hard worker when appreciated, helpful and very talented, especially at displaying all the retail I have brought in. It is funny, just a few months ago… I might have been annoyed that she just barreled in and “took over” without asking me if I would like her assistance. I came in one day and everything I had brought in the day before was all rearranged.

I was kind of fit to be tied until….. The Lord grabbed my shirt tails and reeled me in a bit!!! I could almost hear Him tell me to slow down and look at her heart. And you know what I saw? Not a busy body thinking she could do a better job than me. But a loving friend that had true talent in displaying the things I brought in, and willing to do it for me. And you know another thing?  God has a sense of humor! He made me see that she is better than me at doing it!

And then HE gave me a gift. A friend. Someone who cares about the details… sure maybe the details she thinks are important, but she does care. And maybe some of those annoying thing that  I saw were things I have seen in myself… Because… I know that sometimes when I get really excited I can be known to talk a little loud too… and you know, I have learned she does  know a little about a lot of things and when I gave her the time of day she has taught me a lot….

Mostly about being a friend….because she is a good one.

I love it when I find friends like that. So unexpectedly. It makes me realize how much I miss by being judgmental rather than compasionate. But when I let God open the door to my heart just a little bit… he opens the floodgates of joy and gives me a littley tiny glimpse of what heaven will be like!

Understanding a perosn’s thoughts is as hard as getting water from a deep well. But someone with understanding can find wisdom there.         Proverbs 21:5

Jody


It all started with a phone call. We were young little skinny things. I was 26 and she was 35. We both had boys. And went to the same church. We happened to be cutting up fruit in a mutual friend’s kitchen who was hosting a friend of ours surprise birthday party who we both knew. We had individually offered to come early to help out.

We chatted shyly, not really knowing each other too well, asking all the “get to know you” basic questions back and forth. When the phone rang, she was closest to it, so she answered it.

I didn’t mean to eaves drop but I couldn’t help but overhear her side of the conversation. When she hung up, I was dumbfounded. “Was that your husband?” I inquired. She smiled and nodded. “Did he just call you to apologiiiiize?” I marveled.

“Yeah, she answered looking kind of embarrassed. “My husband would NEVER do that!” I said.  (And he wouldn’t have. Apologizing was not something he did easily. Let alone call me to do it!!! At that very minute, I wanted a husband like that!) It was a funny thing that caused us to really start talking.  Somehow it broke the ice. We started chattering and laughing and found out that we had a lot in common. And that is how our 29 year friendship began.

I have since had a daughter and changed husbands who by the way is the kind that apologizes and has called me many times to do it over the years. Our friendship has taken us on a path filled with many twists and turns caused by life, but the journey we have gone on together is one that I would never trade in a million years.

We have had a billion shopping trips, and learned to stretch many a dollar!

and have had some of the greatest “foodie” moments together ever!

We have gone through births and deaths,  and have become mamas and grandmas all  through the years we have shared.

We have been there for each other in the happy

and sad times and have prayed and cried together a thousand times over the years.She was in my wedding and did all the flowers, lugging them an hour away and not missing a beat, attending the rehearsal dinner and standing up for me. She has been a wonderful Auntie and Best Friend and I can’t imagine having gone through any of my life without her Having her share the journey has made my life better and I don’t doubt just how different it would have been without her.

Recently my daughter who is 24, and I were talking about friendships and she was kind of reflective and envying my relationship with Jody. And I told her that I hadn’t even met Jody for two more years when I was her age….and she thought about it. And I have no doubt that she will have a Jody in her life too! They just come along when you least expect them to, and you pretty much know it the moment you meet them.

 I have some amazing friends. I have been very blessed in my life.  But Jody really knows me and doesn’t judge me even when I am pretty stupid or grouchy. She knows all of my secrets and still loves me.  I love her like a sister.

 

I look back and remember that first talk in that kitchen long ago and realize that it was not by chance that we were there that afternoon almost 30 years ago, it was a Divine Appointment. And oh yeah,  that guy who called her? I love him too! A lot!

Just a few weeks ago…          “Auntie” Jody with me and my baby ~ who wasn’t even born when we met…

Garage Sale For My Soul


We tend to hang out with people who make us feel good about ourselves. Recently, I have been very reflective and quite choosey where I spend my time. Lately, work has  been a place that consumes most of that time and I have spent more time than I would like to admit after work, complaining or frustrated about the things that happened while I was there. I know people who are constantly gossiping about other people. Did it never dawn on me that those very people “sharing” with me were not out there “sharing about me” behind my back soon after they left me? What ever would make me believe that I was above being talked about? I guess because I trusted them with my frustrations and thought that I could be REAL.

I have come to the decision that I will not participate in listening or commenting on negative things. I know that it will be a habit that may be hard to break and I may fail until it becomes a habit to just walk away… but I have realized lately, just how much of my time I allow to be consumed with negative things that suck the joy out of my life and then wonder why I am so depressed. I want to begin to see the glass not only half full but spilling over!

I love a good metaphor, and I see it all as a little neighborhood. When you look across the street what do you see?

When someone looks across the street at where you live, what do they see? Do you have pride in ownership in the place where you live?

And I really encourage you to look at yourself rather than thinking this is for someone else.  There is a cute cartoon out where Jesus is explaining about the footprints where he says; “Where there is only one set of foot prints… that is where I carried you, that long groove, that is where I dragged you a while.

I love it! Though I am sad to say I most likely have more grooves than one set of footprints, let alone two!

   I have decided that it is time to be proactive in all areas of my life…..

 time for me to clean out the garage of my soul and try to figure out what I am actually going to put back on the shelves. I want people to see me differently when my garage door is open and everything is all cleaned out!

I want them to pull up a chair and come sit on my porch and know that they are safe there and maybe after sitting there for a spell, they will look out from where they sit and see a different view! And hopefully the guy across the street will too!

I’ve learned that people will forget what you
said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made
them feel.

― Maya
Angelou

The Gift We Almost Missed


When you found me, I was tired and weary. I had forgotten how to dream and I had walls up all around me. Some you helped build long ago, the same ones you helped me take down in our times together. You gave me back something that I had lost…  you gave me the gift of my youth.

The memories we shared were like the best tasting honey ever, and I remembered with an old weary heart, soaking up all of it until there were no memories left to remember. Every day was better than the last, we danced the dance of getting to know each other all over again… the one I once knew so well, had memorized and then tried to forget with the exact same passion I had loved you with.  And yet, we worked through it, all the painful memories. You asked for my forgiveness and in giving it, my heart healed and my world seemed to somehow feel more aligned with everything around it.

I began looking forward to your words, to your affirmations. Your words were like salve upon a wound, they had healing powers and I was lost in a world so rare, so right and yet so wrong.  And so… …..   all in the click of a key, my life changed. It all started quite innocently, the catching up, the remembering… so innocently…

But you wanted something  more, something that I could not give… In-between the youth that you offered and the life that had happened in-between the past and the present, the path had changed. I had changed. You had changed, yet we hadn’t changed enough. Slowly I tried to back away and even though you would say that you knew you weren’t entitled to be angry about any of it, you still were. And even though I wanted to go back and make it alright for you, I could not change the past. Though I was not sure what to do. I did not want to abandoned our newfound friendship, I continued to reach back through the distance but we knew nothing was going to make it right.

And you must have seen the writing on the wall because all of a sudden you weren’t there anymore. It wasn’t me this time. It was you.  I waited for your reply and wondered if you were okay.  But then I realized, you nor I were ever going to be okay when we weren’t in touch or when we were. Even though it felt so right sometimes, we knew the truth.  I had taken a thousand opportunities to just stop over and over again, and something always would happen that seemed to make it impossible to stay away. Neither one of us could “just” stop. And so the Merry Go Round kept turning.  Both of us, in our own way, would try to stop riding for a while but in the beginning,  the pain was so raw, the sting was so painful that a new  panic would set in. I remember feeling so wild with grief one time, that I felt a little  like Hellen Keller must have felt  in the Miracle Worker, floundering in my blindness, seeking to understand. And the thing that gives me hope is that Hellen Keller later, actually became one of the wisest souls to live. She literally gives us new meaning to: “I was blind and now I see.” (Hopefully in the places that I was blind in my life… I will see things with the same clarity that Hellen did.)

But slowly, as we began to play the game of jumping on and off, over and over again it suddenly got very old. And we realized it wasn’t fun anymore, but we kept riding, until one day, one of us just quietly got off. And this time it was you. Who woulda thought? There were no words of anger or tears cried, there wasn’t even a goodbye. The door closed just as quickly as it had opened.

And we were okay.

We still could breathe and we even  lived through each day, one at a time~ Though some were harder than others…  And we still looked in the places we used to go to find each other. Recently, I even caught myself looking at a star and “willing” you to look at the same one. Or found myself listening to the same radio station and wondering if you had just heard the same song.

And I can’t say that I haven’t wanted to reach out to you again, sometimes many times a day. To make sure you are really okay, to ask you what made you finally strong enough… But I know that it would hurt us more than it would help me and so I remain silent… remembering…

The love will never go away. The places you once were ~  still feel pretty empty when I look and you aren’t there, and  just perhaps, they always will.    I just know that I will never look at them the same way again…

You are still in my daily thoughts and prayers and I hope I will always be in yours… not so much as a possibility of anything more but a sweet memory of a gift we were given. One that few ever get to experience. I am not sorry for the time we shared nor am I sorry for our unspoken goodbye because it was all meant to be…..to remind us of God’s love. The perfect Gift. The one we almost missed.

Blown Dandilions


You came back, not to interrupt my life, not to hurt me, but to ask for my forgiveness. I thought that I hated you. I spent decades trying to forget you. I couldn’t even say your name for months after you left me. I spent hours writing really good poetry because of you. I spent years trying to overcome my pain, trying to prove I was better than you said I was when you left.

When you found me, I was trying to figure out where God figured into all of this, I was on a journey with Him. A journey that had been a long time coming. And I was finally there. Right smack in the midst of finding HIM again! You found me in a state of grace and confusion and somehow you found that part of my heart, way back in the dungeons of my pain that I didn’t even know existed. And between the grace that I was learning about and that part of my heart that found it’s way out, I forgave you and it felt so good.

When you release something like that, the relief is overwhelming. In my imagination, I was seventeen again and you were twenty. But your voice was rich with age, of life lived, that did not include me. It was weird to feel a kind of jealousy of not getting to be a part of that life and yet perhaps in a way, relieved that I wasn’t. From the things you shared, I’m not sure we would have survived it and found the forgiveness we have today. The few friends who I shared our story with cautioned me to be careful, I was treading into un marked territory or even more, territory that was “marked” out of bounds. I went anyway, in a way, I felt entitled, empowered, this time I was going to be in charge. And yet I forgot one thing, to take the ONE who had opened my heart up to forgive in the beginning, and I pretty much entered alone.

You let me talk about my memories, about my pain. And then you began to share about yours. The things I never knew, the things I had forgotten and through the wisdom gathered over the decades that had passed, I understood your pain better. Hate changed to love, and anger to forgiveness. And I forgive you, I really do but you did interrupt my life. There is a huge place inside of it where you just don’t fit in anymore and I am not sure what to do with it.  Somehow that feeling, is lost in the world I live in and I know it doesn’t belong there. And yet, I can’t seem to let go. And I don’t know if it is you or my youth or just the feeling of connecting with my past that I don’t want to lose again. I try to stop wanting you in my life. I try to stop needing that connection…But….

Like a dandilion,  I try to  blow you AWAAAAY, and I blow over and over again, but the seeds scatter and take root and it is like an endless question that has no true answer.

A Friend Is Some Who Looks Past Your Broken Down Gate and Admires Your Beautiful Garden


Friendship is an interesting relationship. My husband, my daughter, my mom, my cousin, have all had the title of best friend in my life pretty consistently. But family, ahhh family, they are the people we don’t choose. Friendship in family is just the cherry on top if it happens that way.

Friends are the people we don’t have to have in our lives that we choose to keep.  We have friends from our childhood, friends from our youth, friends who we have lots of things in common with and other times not too much. I have friends my mom’s age and friends my kid’s age. Friends of different gender, I have gay friends and straight friends, and friends of different races and with different political views. Some who I have known for a life time… and some I am just getting to know… Some who I have never even met but somehow, cyberly we have connected and they are all special in their own way.  I have co-workers who have slipped into the friendship status as well as acquaintances who slowly have found their place in my heart. And I have friends who have quietly slipped from that place and other who have fallen out with a bang for various reasons.

Yes, friendship is many things. It is that comfortable place where you can fall and say anything you want to. Or can you? I think over the years, I have taken a lot for granted. Everyone has their boundaries, even family. I mean we just need to censor some things. I look at my handful of friendships that I would fight for and  I am fascinated at the different layers, the history, the love that has brought us to where we are today in each other’s lives.

I realize that if I could have the kind of relationship with everyone else that my daughter and I have, my world would be a better place. The mutual love, respect and admiration we have for one another seems so natural and yet, is it? I just take our love for granted but it is as tough as nails and yet as fragile as a butterfly. I know my boundaries, I have learned to not ask so many questions, to not offer so much advice, to be patient and proud and unselfish and it is so easy in the name of love.

Unfortunately, I know that I’m not so forthcoming in any of my other friendships the way I am with ours. They all have their own level of love in my heart but if only I could bottle the formula my daughter and I have cultivated I think that I would be a lot happier. I have begun to realize that it really is what you contribute to anything that makes it worthwhile.

Any relationship is great in the beginning, especially friendships. A new friendship is a bit like courting… That feeling of excitement that comes with finding someone who you connect with is powerful. I remember falling in love. If we could all inject those first few months of getting to know each other into our stale marriages, we would never need marriage counseling. But too often the “water under the bridge” feeling of life happening contaminates our thought process and we want to feel the charge that new beginnings bring.

Bottom line is, friendships worth working on are more valuable than anything money can buy, they are the ones who know everything about you and decide to hang around anyway, they are the ones who look past your broken down gate and the overgrown wild flowers and can see that beautiful garden just beyond the weeds.

And then there is the ONE on the other side of the gate, always there. My very best Friend. Who never notices the weeds or mistakes in my life and loves me anyway.

Back Spacing


How much honesty can anyone truly handle? I mean, when you ask someone if something makes you look fat, do you really expect the truth or really want it from a spouse, bff, family member or just a stranger in the next dressing room? The question is, do we really want to know? Well, if I ask. I really do. The problem is, when I don’t ask or when others don’t ask. Sometimes our familiarity truly does breed a bit of contempt.

I know that sometimes, I offer my kids unsolicited advice.  And I am really beginning to try to back off lately. I am not breaking down any doors to give it anymore. Recently I have been in a state of what I might define as “observation Mode” I have seen myself in the proverbial reflection of my disdain and can’t stand it. I can tap out a text of what I may feel is a profound revelation in two minutes and push SEND and then re-read it and think WHO exactly do I think I am?! Somehow, the brilliance of my profound thought is totally lost in it’s unedited version. I have spent a lot of time deleting entire threads full of my own opinions,  that I am not especially proud of. Unfortunately, we can’t always back pedal and delete the memory of the words once they are out there. How nice it would be if we could back-space certain conversations we’ve had. Ya know?

At other times I truly feel that the truth needs to be said and when I don’t say it, I feel as if I have missed some pretty obvious and important opportunities by remaining silent. I’m sure that we all can relate to those conversations that we re-play in our heads as we are lying there on the edge of falling asleep,  long after they have happened and we SO want to insert paragraphs we imagine saying after the opportunity has presented it’s self.

I absolutely kick myself sometimes for not saying things that just needed to be said and so sometimes, even if it comes off as a little abrupt, you had better watch out because I am going to say it, no holding back! Sometimes things just need to be said and put out there for the receiving one to ponder! For too long  I have allowed some things to go unsaid and now at this stage of my life,  I refuse to just sit there and not say anything anymore. And then at other times, you just have to choose your battles and what hill you truly want to die on, and decide if the fight is worth it.

But when all is “said and done” or as the case may be not “said” writing is my way of getting to walk through the rooms of my thoughts and try to make sense of an argument or a conflict or just a missed opportunity to validate a genuine feeling. WORDS are the tool I use to find the missing pieces and connect the puzzle, to find the part of me that is filled with words worth trying on and then to shop for just the perfect fit.

Writing is my soft place to fall, like a whispered prayer, when I own what I write, when all the editing and tailoring is completed.  THAT is when I have reached the perfect moment where I absolutely don’t need anyone else’s opinions. I can look in the mirror of my soul and have something that I KNOW  looks good enough for me, that fits just right and doesn’t make me look too fat!

When A Friend Walks In


I have a co-worker who always says “Good bye my friend” when she or they are leaving. It has always been a very endearing comment and at times, when it has been directed towards me, I have felt very blessed. Not only because I am the receiver of such a comment but because over the years of getting to know the one who has called me “her friend”  I have also grown to know and admire and value the one giving me that title.

Recently, I have evaluated the definition of friend and have realized that if loosely used, it loses a lot of its translation. Over the years I have given many people the benefit of the doubt when calling them my friend and I am sorry to say that I really regret how loosely I have used such an esteemed name for some who were only acquaintances passing through.

A friend is someone you invest two things in, time and love. Some of my friendships have a history attached to them and I used to think that they had card Blanche in receiving a gratis of sorts in the title attached to what would ultimately give them the label of their being a friend in my life. And now I have realized that friendship is not always a “given” if just for the mere sake of being a character chronicled in my life’s story.

A couple of weeks ago, I re connected with a friend from High School. We had been inseparable once upon a time, always together, for most of the years during High School and a few after. I met many key people in my life when I was with her. One of them was a boy I was engaged to and another, my children’s father. We played off of each other. Sometimes she was the voice of reason and other times I was. She actually was more than me but you get the jest of our friendship. We had a great one. Don’t get me wrong, she is still a great person but during our last get together I realized how we are so different. And I am not sure I saw that as clearly back then as when we met that afternoon a few weeks ago.   I saw a side of her I had somehow missed for all those years. And while, I love our memories, I have to give myself permission to move on and not try to pursue a friendship that clearly has outlived it’s time. That may sound harsh but I am on a friendship journey right now and this insight into what is and what never really was, has to be a part of it.

Some people have come in and out of my life quickly and yet as the saying goes… have left footprints on my heart forever, and even in the shortest of times have gained that title as friend. As has the ones who will always have a place in my heart and yet perhaps not in my life and that is okay. There are others who we share time with, make memories with, even good ones, and  grow to love them and then something happens and we realize that it was all a lie. Maybe not all of it, But at the time, we feel like all of it! When we are suddenly hit by the disloyalty and lies that blindside us. It is so unexpected, that we find it hard to trust again. Co workers, who we spend a majority of our time with usually are the ones who we tend to trust more quickly than maybe we should. Some have proven to be diamonds in the rough who have turned into some of the greatest of friends who I am sure will last a lifetime, while others not so much.

So if I call you “Friend” I have sidestepped my past hurts and I truly believe you are who you are. The one I call FriendThey are the ones I would drive four hours to hang out with. The ones who I can share a bottle of champagne with till two in the morning as they just let me cry and talk out my latest heart break. They are the ones who have shopped with me and bought our size five skinny jeans and bikinis and also our not so skinny jeans and cover ups! They have nursed my sick kids back to health when I could not, gone and picked them up when I couldn’t and listened patiently to my writings and encouraged me to write more.

They are the ones who I cry with at the sappy parts in movies and the ones who I share history with that no one else has. They are the ones who love my kids like family and are generous with beyond generous. They will deliver care packages to a sick kid from miles away on a Sunday when I can’t get to them and they will move them as many times as it takes. They are the ones who travel seven hours to see an hour show and make them feel as if they have just walked the red carpet together!  We have spent a lifetime making memories and through it all, I have formed a wonderful friendship template because of them.  I use it to measure all my frienships with.

And even  through the bad times, the times when I have been hurt by the ones I thought were my friends, it is okay, because of the true friends I have, the great ones, the forever ones… the ones who are endlessly loyal and  help me to trust, it is because of them… that I can open my heart for the new ones yet to touch my heart and I trust one more time. Because there is something great that happens when you open up your heart just a pinch and a friend walks in!