Monthly Archives: June 2013

Friends

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“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked.  “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”  “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”  E.B. WhiteCharlotte’s Web

We were a sight in high school.  One hundred pounds soaking wet, curly perms, braces and polo shirts.  We were girls of the eighties, and yes, we thought we were mighty hot.  We adored Rick Springfield and Rick James, Prince and Janet Jackson.  Laughter was a constant, drama was never far behind – boy drama, girl drama, parent drama.  Trouble visited from time to time, but through it all, we were friends.

This week, I met an old friend from high school for lunch.  Over the years, we have lived far apart at times, closer at others, but no matter the distance, we’ve kept in touch.  The strange thing is sometimes it may be a year between the ‘touches’.  We send Christmas cards, call every now and then, but seeing each other face to face is sometimes hard to do.  We live in different cities, we’re raising families, and time has a way of slipping by.

Strangely and wonderfully enough, time doesn’t seem to matter when we finally meet again.  Within minutes, a deep recognition occurs.  Even though we’re different, somewhere in our hearts or souls, we recognize each other and the friendship we had as girls.  We are blessed to still have a connection all these years later.

Seeing my friend again made me appreciate the true friends I have in my life.  They are few but they are special.  They may be rare but they’re priceless.  The people who have hung by me, through the worst and the best, those friends are gems indeed.

Only real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.” Sicilian Proverb

Lilacs in Bloom

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My travel itch has been scratched, re-scratched, and has now rolled over and begged for mercy.  As of last night at 8:00, we have traveled around 2,800 hundred miles this month.  My husband and I arrived home last night from a five-day trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan.  It took us 13 hours each way (by car), but my oh my, it was worth it!

We arrived on the island Saturday night and were instantly greeted by the sweet blend of lilacs blooming all over the island.  Living in Tennessee, we don’t see many lilac bushes and never have we seen such an abundance of lilacs in one place.

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There was something about the lilacs…something beyond their sweetness.  They were delicate and serene, bold and sure.  One bush on the island is said to be at least 150 years old.  An incredible strength must live in its roots and limbs if it can survive cold Michigan winters, one after the other.

The Grand Hotel is peeking out from behind this lilac bush.

The Grand Hotel is peeking out from behind this lilac bush.

I fell in love with Mackinac Island the first time I visited thirteen years ago, and this visit only solidified my love for this unique patch of earth.  Another visitor on the island put it into words – “You either get it or you don’t.”  You either love it or you leave it with respect.  Others may love the beach and yearn to visit yearly, others may yearn for the desert of the southwest, while others may only need the mountains.  For me, this island calls to me like no other place ever has or ever will.  It whispers to me, pulls on my soul, as if it’s welcoming me home each time I’m there.  In some strange way, I feel home when I’m there.  Explain that one to me…

Soaking in the sun on the highest point of the island - Fort Holmes.

Soaking in the sun on the highest point of the island – Fort Holmes.

What makes Mackinac Island so-o-o special is my hubby loves it as much as I do.  When I become obsessed with need to visit the island, he may roll his eyes but in the end, he always comes through.  When we’re there together, we get it.  ‘You either get it or you don’t’ – well, we get it.  We love it and we love it together.  There’s nothing more special than being able to share that love.

Another joy of the trip was getting to meet one my favorite bloggers.  Bree blogs about the island twice a week and keeps us island lovers connected and happy.

Another joy of the trip was getting to meet one of my favorite bloggers. Bree blogs about the island twice a week and keeps us island lovers connected and happy.

And yes, I got to see the beautiful red geraniums on the porch of the Grand while I was there!

And yes, I got to see the beautiful red geraniums on the porch of the Grand while I was there!

My heart is full and thankful.  I pray that every person has a special place they can escape to, wherever the place may be.  I pray that everyone has a chance to connect to the earth and hear it calling to you.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

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Does everything hinge on love?

If you have it all – a beautiful home, nice cars, fancy clothes – does it make you whole?  Complete?

Even as you secretly yearn for your neighbors new phone or the expensive boots they’re wearing, will getting them make you full?

And how about your actions?  If you force yourself to do and say the right things in and out each day, are you satisfied?  What if you go to church every Sunday and earnestly listen, claiming to be devout but still find yourself empty, what then?

What if none of it mattered?  Not the things you have or the things you do if behind it all, there’s no love or compassion?

What if everything we are is simply defined by love?

Love manifests itself in many ways – affection towards another, in our words and actions.  And if there is no love in any of our actions or any of our words, then what?

Love isn’t simply the passion between a man and a woman.  It isn’t simply the devotion between parents and their children.  Maybe it is most commonly identified in those situations but love goes way beyond the obvious.  It is in our movements when we greet strangers, in our words when we encounter people we don’t know.  It identifies us when we look at someone completely opposite than ourselves and decide whether or not to show kindness.  It shows itself through compassion, through understanding, patience, and by putting our own wants away.

What if everything we are, everything we are going to be, and what lies just beyond this realm, is all based on love?

Are you living with it,

are you giving it,

or are you simply waiting on it to find you?

To the Mountains

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Well, my first travel itch has been scratched!  For the past six days, I’ve been on a long overdue vacation with my family in the Smoky Mountains.  For the first time ever, all 14 of us were under the same roof for one night.  Luckily, we were staying in a cabin large enough to house the Tennessee Titans so personal space wasn’t a problem.

Four individual families, three children, two teenagers, a twenty-six year old readying to head to Israel to enter a master’s program, two coffee pots, one tea maker, endless board games and toys, spread out through the cabin.  The writer in me studies people and how they mesh, and I must say we meshed well!  We all carved out our own little niches throughout the cabin and settled in like we’d lived their all our lives.  (And having five bathrooms helped too, I must say!)

Smokey Mountains - Wears Valley, TN

Smoky Mountains – Wears Valley, TN

The view from our bedroom was incredible.  On the last morning, fog had settled in the valley below, and I awoke to the image above.  I’ve seen the mountains before on many occasions but never do they cease to amaze me.  Their beauty is exquisite, their charm intoxicating.  Our cabin was on the edge of the state park and behind us was nothing but hundreds of miles of wilderness.

On our third morning, a visitor from the park stopped by.

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We all were talking, which couldn’t have been a quiet thing, and this bear leisurely strolled across our deck in search of a morning snack.  Glass walls separated the bear from us which gave us time to snap pictures…but still, he was a little too close for comfort!

I hope this wasn’t a once in a lifetime trip.  I hope we all do this again soon…but if it was, I’m thankful for the time we had together.  Riding through the mountains, stuffing our bellies with too much food, laughing as the children played, and simply being together was a priceless gift.  Family is a gift…one I think we all take for granted way too often.  Life spins us in many directions all at once but stopping to simply be together has to become important, too.  We may never all be together under the same roof again for longer than a few hours, but this trip pulled us together for a snatch of time.  For a few special days, we were able to simply be.

The Crew

The Crew