Friends Who Are Family

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I have spent all of my adult life living more than eight hours from where I grew up.   This means that my family has never been able to bop over to chat.    It means I have never made a Sunday family dinner, or the monthly family birthday party. It means that my friends have stepped in when when tradition would say it would be your family.    I have been blessed with friends who are family for me.

As we approach Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to and for my friends.

To my lifetime friend, who no matter how long it is between phone calls, and even longer times between when we get together you are there. It is like we just connected last week, time seems to not matter for us.   You get me.   You make me laugh  when I don’t know I need it. You provide insight about myself sometimes I don’t recognize.   You challenge me and make me a better person.    I hope I have been as good of friend to you as you have been to me.

To my little sister friend, who is all grown up now.  Who’d have imagined when as a college student and you decided to rent a room from me that this would result in a friendship that was more like sisterhood. You never cease to amaze me with your drive.   Knowing you has helped me to realize it is never too late, or you are never too old to explore new things and dream a new dream.

To all my Thanksgiving family friends.   RangerSir and I have never been alone on my favorite holiday of the year.    Thanks to all my friends in Minnesota, Colorado, Michigan, and Montana who have be part of the the many dinners we have shared with you.

Thanks to all my creative friends who have been with me for all my creative endeavors.   Your support and encouragement have meant the world to me when I was full of doubt.

Thanks to my family who are not only friends but also family.   I am lucky that I have brothers who rock and never let me forget who I am or where I came from.

Thanks to RangerSir, who is not only my husband, but my best friend.

This holiday season I just want everyone to know I am thankful for having you in my life.

 

 

 

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Dumb Luck

When you make emotional decisions, they generally are flawed and this one was no different.  I was heading to town after my lifetime friend and her husband left after spending some time with us.   It was nothing short of a great time and like always we reconnected as though we had been together last week rather than two years ago.   I was sad to see them go as I  know that we won’t see one another for at least a year.    Though I was heading to town I wasn’t ready for people and so impulsively decided to head to a forest trail I had always wanted to try.

I parked my rig a the trail head, pulled out a photo copy map from the kiosk and headed out.   I enjoyed the sounds of nature and got myself grounded again.    I was about three miles out when I had an ah ha moment.  I had taken this hike without thinking  first and I was now the realization was hitting me what I had done.

  • I had thrown out my drink glass in a bear proof container and I had not thought about bear spray, something I usually walk with.
  • l found  a great rock formation in the sun to photograph.   It seemed like a great spot to sit and soak in the sun.    Then I realized that rattlesnakes were not unheard of in this area and for the first time I was not hiking in boots, but rather I was  where was wearing my sandels!
  • I had taken off with out water at noon at August.   Fortunately I had done enough training that this did not put me under, and I was not in the full sun.   The distance and the temperature dictated I had water with me.
  • I had originally taken a rails to trails, but when I went back I took a forest trail.  The grade there turned out to be pretty intense.   I would have sold my soul for my hiking poles.  They really help take so much of the stress off of your knees when are faced with steep climbs.
  •  I had gone out into the woods and not told a single person where I had gone.  No one had a time that I was due back.   If you do nothing else when you head out into the woods that is the most critical thing you need to do.   It is your safety net.

Dumb luck was with me and it all worked out.  It was a reminder that emotional decisions can be full of flaws due to the impulsive nature.   It would have only take an few minutes to call home and leave message where I was going and when I should be home.    I keep all the other supplies I should have taken in a crate in my rig at all times.   There were all there for me.   I should have taken them them with me.   There are no walks or hikes that are too short to take your safety supplies.    This all worked out fine, and it serve as a great reminder of what I already know.    THINK.    It could be live saving.

Holes in Our Hearts

I seems the holiday season always reminds of the holes in our hearts left by those who have gone before us.  Those members of our family and friends who made our time her special.

My Aunt Linda and Aunt Nancy were sisters and best friends.   One of the things that the did was make Christmas candy together.   My Aunt Linda is gone now, but my Aunt Nancy still carries on the tradition of making sure that Christmas candy gets made and shared.   Her husband has turned in to her “master candy dipper.”  In spite of his support it isn’t the same.   Sister’s make you laugh in special ways that no one else can.

My Grandma Virtue and her best friend “Aunt” Hermine,  both gone, were a crafty couple of ladies.  Grandma was always thinking of things to make for Christmas and “Aunt” Hermine was her trusty sidekick.  One year they attached clear medicine cups with glitter on the rim to a Styrofoam ball and hung as a Christmas decoration.   Even  now I am not sure what made them think that was festive, but I can see them with their enthusiasm making them.   Another year they made tree decorations using left over flash cubes and jewelry the bought at  rummage sales.   I still have mine left, and it still hangs on my tree.  It sounds a little odd, but it was one of their better ideas.

My friend, Barb, lost her battle to ovarian cancer this spring, and I miss her when working  a design for my Christmas cards this year.   We always crafted with paper together.  Barb loved glitter and I wasn’t so sure ( I think it was those medicine cups).  She had an uncanny ability to know what what odd obscure thing to add to make it just a little better.     Her collection of ephemera was mind-boggling and she could find another used for it when we started brainstorming when working on altered art, cards, and even scrapbooks.

Vince Gill has a song on one of his Christmas albums about his brother who passed away called “It wont be the same this year.”  I really do like it because it a great song that is a tribute to all those who can’t be with us during this holiday season.

An Unexpected Gift

Yesterday was a terrible day!  I am not going to go into the details, but I went from rage, to indignation, and finally to just plain hurt that someone could be so mean.   In the process I went from reactionary, to trying to justify their behavior but though my rational brain said it wasn’t about me, it still made me sad.

Last evening as I was perking on all that had happened my husband came in with a box that had come in the mail.   I was an unexpected gift from a friend in Michigan.  A perfectly timed gift. My friend, LaNette,  had discovered a new tea and decided she had to share it with me.  She carefully crafted a box with goodies that would make the perfect relaxing moment with a cup of tea.    It had a can of Comfort  & Joy tea, a limited edition tea, I had not had a cup of in years, but is a personal favorite.  Cardinals are a bird we don’t have where I live in Montana, but the box included a tea bag caddie with beautiful red cardinals in winter. There was a tea mat, to put my warm cup and enjoy the scent released by the warm tea.  There would be a ball of frosted fruit that will hang in my studio space to be added to the collection that surrounds me with the love and thoughtfulness of those who have touched my life.  Lastly there was a CD with relaxing music and nature sounds.

An unexpected gift from a friend turned my day from terrible to great.  Thanks to LaNette your kindness and friendship mean so much to me.

By Diana who is Playing Without Limits. Posted in Friendship Tagged

Embrace the Moment

One of my dearest friends is struggling in her fight against cancer.  Up until now her fight has been going as smooth as this fight can go for someone with her amazing resiliency, belief in the positive and dogged determination in spite of the trials of surgery and chemotherapy.   Today it took a wicked twist, and she is headed across the state for another surgery that we are not sure if it is caused by the  disease or all the drugs used to fight it.

All of this made me reflect on my last blog about loosing myself, not taking time for myself,  not taking care of myself or my life.   My friend, Barb, is one of those friends who always makes me more grounded and more balanced.  When we get together we don’t talk about her disease.  We laugh about our childhoods and families.  We count the blessings of our spouses and the lives we live with them.   We encourage one another to pursue our  creative dreams; write, draw, paint, cook, create, blog and more.  Our critters always visit during our time together to remind us that they are one of part of our crazy lives. We share risks we want to take but haven’t yet and  encourage one another to take that first step.

Barb and I stayed connected while I let my work take over my life, a phone call here, an email there, and an occasional  Facebook post.  All the while promising the week after the conference we would make time to get together in person.   While I am not sure if I will see my friend this week, like always she is making me grow, reminding me to embrace the moment.  Praying for a speedy recovery for my friend, Barb.

Pivotal Moments

In everyone’s life there are days that become pivotal moments. Pivotal moments are those things that change your perspective on life.

I am sure that many of  life’s pivotal moments happen and you don’t even know that they happened. They are subtle and they change your destiny without you even knowing it. Others are “Ah-ha” and you know that something just smacked you in the face, and life is never going to look the same.

I had one when my lifetime friend’s pacemaker replacement went from the routine to the life and death.   Another pivotal moment happened when a dear friend found she had ovarian cancer.  My most recent pivotal moment happened my younger brother had surgery and they were unable to complete it due to unplanned health complications.

Each of these made me reflect on my life and theirs.  Each of these events altered my life course. I hope that each pivotal moment made me a better person, not to just myself but also to others. I hope I will not waste the moment of clarity they provided.

Thanks to All Who Contributed to My Support System

I choose to share my quest for a half-marathon here as an accountability for myself. They say when we tell others we are more likely to finish or complete that task. I was hoping that would be true for me. This task seemed an impossibility for someone of my size.

Sharing my goal here has not only been an accountability, but also given me a support system. I have empowered myself by “saying it out loud.” I have received encouragement from strangers to keep it up. Phone calls from friends who read my blog and saw between the lines it was a good time to call with that personal encouragement.  Other friends and family members who tells me that they have been following me along in the half-marathon quest, though they never posted so I didn’t know they were watching me.

I only have 5 days until the day of truth comes, but I say thanks to all of you who have supported me in this. You many not know or feel you did much, but each an everyone of you has made a difference.