friendship

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After a week, it was time to take dear Gracie back to college.  We didn’t have the adventures we thought we would have, but she was a comfort and a companion to me when her Dad was away and I was sick for days.  We headed back to Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon.

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Always with a stop at Starbucks.  It’s a must for a road trip.

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On Sunday morning I got dressed up and went to church.  I had forgotten a Bible so I took the Gideon one out of the hotel room and I will cherish it forever as I had already read it the night before, and that morning as I ate breakfast in my room by myself.

“No good tree bears bad fruit.”  (that’s me!)

“The good person out of the good treasure of her heart produces good.” (that’s me by the grace of God!)

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“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be the daughter of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”

We hear a lot about the wrath of God, it was a “brought me to my knees” reminder that He is also good to the ungrateful and evil……….HE IS GOOD……

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My dear daughter.  So proud of her.

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Gracie between Mom 2 and Mom 1.  With moms like these she’s in a good place.  Always.

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Joanna and I left church together and went to lunch at a new place.  It was busy, exciting, alive, and bright, AND THEY SERVED ON FIESTAWARE!

We had to wait for a table but that was okay….we just walked back to the car and sat for a while talking like two soul-sisters do.

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My beautiful friend.  I love her so.

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she had chai, I had matcha

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The food was amazing!  Just the best.  And to sit and spend time together alone just the two of us was a gift from God.  I felt so very blessed.  And while we ate, I had a text from my dear mom wanting me to stop there on my way home….I felt even more wanted and loved….and texted Michael who said a quick and cheerful *YES* to helping me get the kids on the bus the next morning so I could stay a night at home*sweet*home with my parents.

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She pointed out the church she went to as a child.

Back at her house, she gave me a kitchen-tour and showed me her amazing new pantry.

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I got to linger over the pages of her Dawn-Journal.  Always inspired.

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And then, we went to a favorite antique store where I found a dear Periwinkle disc pitcher to take home with me!

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We were in the land of “The Office” and loved this quote which was up on the wall for our amusement.

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So thankful for a Jo in my life.

It’s one of the blessings that I will be forever humbled and grateful for.

Friendship.

 

i just love a good story (but not this one)

The strangest thing happened yesterday.

One of my perfect children came home from school with a funny story to tell me.  It began this way:  “Mom.  Do you remember a while ago when I had you sign that form for Science?”  

Okay, so……I sign A LOT of forms.  And when I sign them I promptly forget about them.  Unless of course there is something I have to remember like a field trip, which in that case I run to my calendar right away and write it down because if I don’t I WILL forget about it promptly.

So I said to this child, “I think so?”  And he continued on with this amazing story about how he had the form in his backpack for a while and then when the day came that it was due to be handed in he couldn’t find it.  So the teacher said, “You’ll have to stay after school with me today.”  (in another word:  detention).

So then my perfect child went off to his next class and (he told me this) when he took out his folder for that class, out fell the missing form!  As soon as he could, he ran back to his teacher to hand it in.  Wow, that was close!  He almost got a detention!

I just love a great story, I laughed through the whole thing, believing every single word with my whole heart!

Later on, the perfect child told his dad the same story in the kitchen but my mean husband didn’t believe the story like I had!!  He was suspicious!  I jumped to my perfect child’s defense!  This child would NEVERRRRRRRRRR lie like this!  He wouldn’t even THINK of forging my signature!  Never!

Then, true to my nature, I promptly forgot the whole thing until this morning when I got the following email from his teacher:

Good Afternoon,

Last Monday students were given a form explaining some exciting STEAM work we have the opportunity to partake in over the next 2 months. Parents/students were asked to read and sign the form that they were informed of what this opportunity was all about, it was not a permission slip.  Students were asked to return the form on Friday, Dec 7.  ***** didn’t have his in on Friday.  ***** also didn’t have his form Monday or today.  He mentioned you had signed it but he couldn’t find it.  He came to me after 6th period with the form signed.  There is a copy attached.  It doesn’t appear to be your signature, but I thought I’d check with you.
I dearly wish I could show you the photo of the form with “my” signature written on it but the perfect child had the wherewithal to include our last name, so I cannot.  Suffice it to say it looked NOTHING like my beautiful signature!  It looked sort of the way I would have written it…….. when I was a little kid!
I could NOT believe it!  This child told me a story and I believed every word!  My mom instincts failed dreadfully.  I can usually determine truth from fiction just from a child’s face!  Honestly, there is still part of me deep in my heart that still believes him, so stay tuned!!
I contacted the teacher and my husband, both of whom have consequences to deliver.
Rich didn’t think any of it was funny, which is very ironic because he forged his Father’s signature all the time when he was growing up.  ALL the time.  Which actually gives me hope because if that little signature forger can grow up to be such a good man, I guess his son can, too.
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This past weekend Grace and Brittnee had their holiday concerts at college and Rich and I were not able to attend.  So I was delighted to receive some music clips, videos, and photos from Joanna AND my brother David!
Happy is the heart that can rely on family and friends to stand in the gap!

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I love this one of Joanna’s husband Steve with my brother, both with their amazing beards!!!!!

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My daughter Grace,  Brittnee (my son’s beautiful girlfriend & Grace’s BFF) and my BFF Joanna (who is also Grace’s second mother while she’s away at college!)  God is SO good.
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My beloved brother Dave, with dear sweet Grace.
One more thing before I go:
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Happy Birthday (yesterday) to Brittnee!
I’m so glad you’re in our lives.  You are a blessing.

friends together

Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts.  It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.  ~Thomas Hughes

Joanna graciously brought our daughter Grace home from college on Friday night and was able to stay for a weekend visit.  We had such a lovely time.  My husband took care of the children so I could be completely free all day Saturday and Sunday.  Jo and I began the day chatting in the guest bedroom upstairs (which is David’s room when there is no guest) and listening to the birds through the window, which was slightly difficult what with all our nonstop talking.  We admired a brilliantly red cardinal up in the treetop.

For breakfast, we went to the diner just a couple miles away.  In fact, we spent all of our time in town so that we wouldn’t have to use up time in driving.

******* what does it mean to be a friend? *******
a helping hand to the journey’s end;
a loyal heart and a loving, too,
no task too great for a friend to do!
Anne Campbell

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We had our nails done in the salon the same exact color as a green trunk we both admired as we ducked into several different shops around town…….a festive green for St. Patrick’s day.

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The green trunk was spied in the type of place in which there are piles of things EVERYWHERE……this particular shop downtown specializes in cleaning out estates for re-sale.  It’s almost too full.  Jo and I both love old things and the feeling that there are treasures to be found underneath all that other stuff.  We spent a long time rummaging around the rooms.

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My friend has such a good eye for the perfect items, we didn’t buy much, but what we did was meaningful.  Photos, weights for my coo-coo clock, a few old papers for our scrapbooks.

Most of the fun was in the prowl.

It is good to pause and rest awhile
From life’s demanding pace…
To leave the loud,
Chaotic crowd (our children, ha ha)
And find a quiet place,
To put on the cloak of quietness
With heart and mind at ease,
To sit with a friend
At the long day’s end
And recall fond memories.
And whether we talk or whether we dream,
You’ll find that in the end,
No treasure, though rare,
Could ever compare
With the quiet hours spent with a friend.
Barbara Burrow

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The little quotes and poems in this post are from a book Joanna gave me for Christmas, a 1971 Hallmark gift book titled, Friends Together.

Tomorrow I will blog about the rest of our visit.

Happy Wednesday!

..we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good..

DSC_0325“I am anxious, and it soothes me to express myself here. It is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” —Mina Murray in her journal

Sunday morning.  I had considered going to my parent’s house for the day as it was only an hour and a half drive from where we were in Pennsylvania.  But I was suffering with a cold and we decided to stay where we were.  Grace showed us a nice coffee shop and the three of us had breakfast together there.

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We spent the rest of the morning at a bookstore and Grace bought a journalling Bible with a beautiful cover and nice wide margins for her thoughts.

She was craving macaroni and cheese for lunch and we went to Ruby Tuesdays.

By this time, Joanna’s family was back from church and she was able to meet us with her daughter.

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I love her.

Joanna took Sarah along home with her.  Grace and I went to the hotel to get her things so she could do homework at Aunt Joanna’s house.  And then we spent the rest of the afternoon until bedtime with them.  It was as cozy as could be with all the family and me and my two girls all together in the cozy kitchen, dining room, and living room.  We had delicious Dominoes pizza for dinner.

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We love to exchange our big journals and look through them as we visit.  Joanna’s journal is big and heavy and full of quotes, pictures, found papers, and art.  Coco stayed by us and was inspired enough to get up and find things to glue into her first journal.

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((red shoe))

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Inspiration, Idea, Execution (the top corner of her journal shows a picture of how she came up with the art on the wall—her own photography))

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(green page)

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(brown)

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(old recipe)

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(photo by Jo)

“Some may say [journal keeping] is a great deal of trouble. But we should not call anything trouble which brings to pass good. I consider that portion of my life which has been spent in keeping journals and writing history to have been very profitably spent. If there was no other motive in view [except] to have the privilege of reading over our journals and for our children to read, it would pay for the time spent in writing it.” —Wilford Woodruff

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“Never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things — childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves — that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.” —Salman Rushdie

18th for Grace

Beautiful Grace turned 18 on November 4th.  Her dear Caleb gave her a lovely piece of jewelry as a gift but she was the most thankful for the gift of time the two of them spent together.  They had the whole day together and then met us at Steve & Joanna’s house for dinner and cake.

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“I look like I belong,” she said when she saw this photo.

Joanna’s family has welcomed her into the circle.

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They were looking forward to meeting Caleb.  Now he’s in the circle, too.

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Dear Birthday Girl;

Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

I Corinthians 1:7-9

 

yes

It’s Friday, and I pick up my little travel companion from school early.  She’s so excited that she can’t stop talking.  We are going to see her best friend and her sister.  She’s holding my hand and skipping to the car.  Her joy is contagious.

We stop at Starbucks which is our tradition before every road trip.

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The drive takes us all afternoon.

At one point we go from sun to rain and I see a rainbow in the sky.

I listen to podcasts; she watches Shrek for the 10,000th time.

We stop at TJ Maxx for a curling iron because I forgot mine at home.  We leave with little presents for all five of Joanna’s kids…..and no curling iron.

Eventually we reach our hotel.  It’s getting dark and it’s cold.  But we settle into our room and get back into the car to meet sister Grace and her boyfriend Caleb for dinner at a Greek place just a few minutes away.  We can’t wait to see them.

At the restaurant, we order macaroni and cheese for Sarah, a pork chop dinner for Grace, and gyros for Caleb and me.  The food is delicious and filling and gives us energy.

After we eat, we go next door and visit puppies in a shop.

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It’s Saturday and Grace’s 18th birthday.

She has plans for the day with Caleb so I take Sarah to see her best friend and pick up Joanna for a women’s Bible conference.  She’s speaking and I can’t wait to hear her.

We drive to the church early and then sit in the car and talk while I put on make up.

It’s been a year since our last visit but it feels like we were never apart.

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We go into the church and find seats.  The tables are decorated with pretty lanterns and pumpkins and doilies.  There is cold water and coffee or tea to drink and miniature bagels and clementines to snack on.

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While she is away saying hello to some of the other ladies, I take a photo of our Bibles on the table and feel my heart bursting with gratitude for the moment.

The talks with other women are just what we need, the songs we sing help us to praise Him with the center of our being, and we pray together and learn more about Him.

We learn to say “Yes, Lord”;  yes, and amen.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 1:20

I am astounded once again, that He has said Yes to me.

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Joanna and I go into a little classroom after the conference and both of us take photos of an amazing mobile that has caught our attention; it is made out of a tree branch, and used for the church’s preschool ministry.  We both decide we want to make one, too.

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After the conference, we go to the hotel so I can change and then go back to her house to check on the girls.  Grace and Caleb will be joining us for dinner later and we have the whole evening to look forward to.

friend

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N A T U R E   W A L K; God gave us 60 degree weather and we wore our boots.  We smelled pine needles, picked up birch bark, peered down into deep springtime puddles and streams.  The best part?  Sitting for a while on the same big boulder in the middle of a rushing stream.

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J O U R N A L S; hers is HUGE and full of the best magazine clips, quotes, photos, art, and words.

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A B A N D O N E D   H O U S E   A D V E N T U R E; there is an old house nearby that is empty of people but full of stuff of every kind.  The teenagers came with us and we explored to our hearts content.

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A N T H R O P O L O G I E; one of our mutual favorite stores… and we had the best time looking at everything and getting inspiration from the walls, bedding, clothes, books, stationary, etc.

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B A R N E S and N O B L E; in which we chose a huge stack of books and magazines, & talked, while looking through everything.  We drank a chai latte.

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We found a picture of us as children in a magazine! (dreams)

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P A N E R A   B R E A D; for an early dinner.

And so many other things seen and heart-noticed but unphotographed.

We’ve been friends for over 20 years beginning when we first met at Bible college in upstate New York.  Like with all my soul mates, I remember the exact moment I first saw her.  After college we each got married and started our families while keeping in touch using lovely handwritten snail mail letters (nice and fat) because there were no computers or email back then.  When we did get our first computers we emailed almost daily.  Now and then we would enjoy a nice chat on the phone.

We had visits when we could.  She drove to my mom’s house once when our Grace and Jeff were babies (they are 17 now).  Rich and I stopped at her family’s place on the way to amish country a few times.

EVERY visit was ALWAYS photographed.  Pictures have been a huge part of keeping in touch.  I have a whole album of photos she has sent me through the years.

Now we use FB messenger to text and send (miraculous!) *instant* photos of what we are doing that day…the kids, books we read, food, selfies.  Yes indeedy, it’s such fun.

The snail mail has slowed down but we still spoil each other with a letter now and then, oh and boxes of gifts at christmas and birthdays, too.

She drove to my house on Friday afternoon for a long awaited visit (three years!),  I had already been to the doctors that day and was put on antibiotics for strep but that did not put a damper on our visit which lasted until Sunday morning.

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

Joanna has soul depth and wisdom.  She has strength with an endearing touch of vulnerability.  She is a forever friend.

She’s also at the doctor’s today, getting checked for strep throat.