Get up and Dance

20150902_185808Once in a while a friend says something or does something that teaches you a lesson you never let go of.

My friend Debbie. (yes, her real name, no I did not get permission).

Her home, decorated so beautifully.  Stunning vignettes in places here and there.  Some, so high up on a ledge, I found myself asking, how did you manage that?

She laughed.  She said, oh, Larry does that for me.  How?  I ask.

She says, she gathers what she wants, already has a picture in her mind and then he climbs up and she tells him where to put what.

I actually saw her do this once.

She never raised her voice.  She calmly explained, “That looks fine, however, would you mind moving it 3 inches to your left?” “Oh dear, you are doing such a nice job, maybe you could drape that ribbon over the last branch on your right?” “I appreciate your help, do you think you could remove the dust jacket from that one book?” “Oh, you did such a good job, it looks great”.

She never seemed to run out of patience.   She seemed to have a way about asking politely for help and then being gracious and waiting.

We met at the church.  Working together on something or other.  Most likely the yearly art show.  However, she was always chairman of the Missions committee, so there is a good chance we met while volunteering for some project.  She helped me with Vacation Bible School.  We gabbed about living in Germany.  Her just returning, me just about to move there.  We traded recipes.  I still have 3 recipe cards in her handwriting.

Side story:  When we lived in Oklahoma, their son Jimmy was 15.  He was my LIFESAVER. 

While, Mr. Right was “invited” by the US Army to work in another country for 9 months, I needed, craved, wanted to go to my once a week quilting group.  Monday Night Quilters.  I would drive across town, pick up Jimmy and bring him over to babysit.  Although at the time, we didn’t call it “babysitting”.  We said, “Yippee, Jimmy gets to come over to play cars and board games!”

Jimmy wasn’t old enough to drive or date.  He had a bottomless stomach and for some reason LOVED to play cars with my boys and board games and hide and seek and you know, just be around boys.  I left snacks and went off to quilt.  Then I would come home. No snacks left and a house that had been played in.  Toys, games, cars everywhere.  The furniture moved slightly,  as only a mom knows, they were hiding behind things while playing hide and seek. 

It was all okay with me.  The pay off was huge.  I got to go to quilting with adults.  Jimmy got to play with younger kids toys.  Debbie and Larry would call to check in a couple of times during the 2 hours of “babysitting” but never tell me they checked in.  

While Bruce was away, they graciously invited the boys and I to join them for Thanksgiving.  It was the one and only time we had been included in another family’s holiday.  They made us feel so welcome.  It wasn’t weird, it was just so nice.

Debbie and Larry have 7 yes, SEVEN granddaughters!  Then recently, they finally got their first grand son.  Oh boy!

One night, while having dinner at our home, (she went on and on about how beautiful my grandchild clock was), when they were leaving I said, “Larry would you mind taking that clock off the wall for me?  He was eager to help, we were about to move, so he didn’t think anything about it.  Then I said, could you please help me wrap it in towels and take it home?  I told Debbie you love that clock more than I will ever love it.  Oh the usual, “I couldn’t”, “no, really.”……… finally, thank you.  I will take good care of it.  And she has.

Last night, I found out my friend, only 60 years old, passed away.

I am still sort of numb.  I can’t really believe we won’t be getting her 5 page, single spaced, typed in red ink (I am not kidding) Christmas letter.  It was really long, every year.  Some years, I would joke with her.  Seriously?  Who has that much to say?   She would just laugh. As per Southern hospitality and charm, she gave me an ornament from her Christmas tree.  I always hang it up.  This year, I think I will hang it in the front of our tree. A blue painted heart.

Today, her husband Larry is sitting in their home, stunned.  Surrounded by his ridiculously large John Wayne collection, seriously, the biggest I have ever seen.  Just sitting there quiet.

Her little dogs are sitting waiting for her to wake up.

As I type this, I am sitting.  Trying to be gracious and grateful for our friendship.

Her grands are sitting in school.

Her sister and family are sitting on an airplane, headed back to Oklahoma.

Debbie is not sitting.

Debbie is no longer in her wheel chair.

She is dancing in Heaven.

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful my side hurts.  mustachesThat is from belly laughing so much. 20150709_121749

FullSizeRenderI am thankful I am plum tuckered out.  That is from having way too much fun.

I am thankful our favorite pasta restaurant was closed on Monday. Had a lovely meal near the water instead.

I am thankful to do so much laundry.  That is from ignoring it for days. 20150713_174844-1

I am thankful to dead head and fuss over my deck flowers.  Again, that is from ignoring them for days.

20150712_152355-1Perfect days spent with a friend.

We met 24 some years ago, still tickling each others funny bone.  Picking each others brains.  Still chatting about children and quilting.  Trying to figure out this thing called life.

We help each other.

She came to visit. She filled my pitcher to overflowing with pure goodness, creativity, belly laughs and adventure.

I am Thankful & Grateful.

Friends are the people who help balance your spirit.

I wish all of you have a friend that lifts your spirit and brings you back into beautiful balance.

My smile is better.  My heart is full.  My soul is in balance. 20150712_193046 (1)

pure chance, pure happy, pure grateful

police carBefore I was born and throughout my toddler years, my father was a policeman.  I used to love hearing his stories about that time of his life.  No, I don’t remember being an infant and sleeping in the back of his patrol car.  My mother had reached her limit and apparently I would “sleep like a baby” in a moving car.  So every once in a while, that was their solution.  Good thing they lived in a quiet tiny town and he didn’t have many high-speed chases or arrests.  Really?  I want to be all high and mighty and say, gee, that wasn’t very good parenting and yet, who among us has  not sat with a baby in a car seat on the dryer to imitate that car sound and movement?  I know for a fact that if I knew a policeman when one of our boys was an infant, I would have wrapped up that noisy bundle of joy and gladly handed him over for a ride in the patrol car.

On slow days he would stop every 7th car that went by that was red.  He said, he just picked a color (usually red or blue if that means anything to any of you embarking on buying a new car) at the beginning of his shift and that was the color he counted.  It was a border town, so all he had to do was wait for the cars to stream by.  He needed to meet a quota.  He chose his color, began counting and usually he could find a tail light out, a speeder or some other infraction on red car number seven.

I have been told a story of my brother-in-law choosing their first cat.  The story goes, a box full of fuzzy adorable kittens, he taps each one gently on the head.  Only one looks up.  Hello, Mittens!  Would you like to come home with me and live happily ever after?

One day, a couple of months ago, I was meandering through a jaunty quilt shop.  I saw their bulletin board and curiosity moved me in that direction. They had several business cards to choose from.   People offering their sewing skills, quilting and repair skills.  I was looking for a machine quilting lady in my neck of the woods.  I looked at several of the cards.  Only ONE had writing on the back as well as the front of the card.  done.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting a new friend.  The instant her door opened, I knew.  Friendly greeting, kind eyes, sweet happy dog, charming home, decor well-chosen and so clean and homey, I either wanted to sit and stay awhile or race home and run the vacuum around our home.  I found the end of the Rainbow.  Yes,that good.

First of all she called me by name and said it correctly.  Oh my goodness, music to my ears.  I knew the moment I walked into her studio, I had chosen wisely.  I had stepped into a place of passion and goodness.  My new quilting friend is one smart cookie.  Intelligent, obviously craves order, neatness and a splash of creative magic all swirled together.  All those traits and a warm personality with style and a dash of humor, seamlessly blended, so much so, that I got that  “good egg”  giddy feeling instantly.

DSCN1757She got me talking and smiling and asking all sorts of questions.  Yes, I was there to discuss a modern cross wall hanging in oranges, cream and a dash of aqua.  Somehow, it almost seemed secondary.   Her kind and warm spirit drew me in and encircled me with more than enough.  Within a couple of minutes I fell in love with her goodness, her uplifting spirit.  You know those kind of people? You feel better just by being in their circle.   They bring out the best in us.  In a flash, you know she is one of those people you want to add to your Christmas card list.

In this day and age of pairing down and deleting a name here and there, what a lovely, charming thought to want to add a name to your address book.

This chance (some would call fate, luck or good karma)  encounter has happy, blessed, thankful, grateful written all over it.

Yesterday morning, I wrote about looking  for happy.  I looked for happy. My eyes and heart were open and willing.  Last night, I wanted to take a HUGE red-letter stamp and mark the word THANKFUL over the whole day’s events.

I found it.   It came in the form of a hug from a new friend.  It came in the form of pure goodness.  It came in the package of a charming, intelligent, talented, lovely lady.

Last night, I slept like a baby. thankful