This post is two weeks late, and for that: I apologize.
Week 7 ushered in the day of love……Valentine’s Day.
I have written several essays dismissing this holiday as a ploy to get consumers to spend outrageous amounts of money on greeting cards, flowers and chocolates. While I still believe that we spend way too much money in the name of “love”, I’m certainly not as cynical about Feb 14th as I have been in the past.
Perhaps it’s Dave (the ultimate romantic hero in my life)…..perhaps it’s growing older and more sentimental……perhaps it’s a combination of this and so much more.
I am profoundly aware that love takes a seat in each of our lives in a variety of ways. Love is present as lovers & spouses, children, family, and friends. So in honor of love, I would like to share a snippet about each of the remarkable people that bring their own personal brand of love into my life each and every day. They enrich my path, fill my heart, and remind me that the greatest treasure we possess on earth, is the relationships we have while we are here together.
‘Love one another’ is the greatest of all commandments from Christ. When I consider all of the loves in my life….I am the richest person in the world.
Ours is a story that still amazes me. We met in 2012. He wasn’t looking and I wasn’t available. Yet, the meeting was pure magic and as so often happens in these cases, the Universe conspired to bring us together. We married in 2014. He is as opposite from me as possible. He smooths out my rough edges. He makes me laugh. He challenges every platform I stand on. He has influenced my thinking and heart in ways that I never thought possible. He took on an instant family that included 2 teenage girls, 2 dogs, 1 cat and a turtle. To say that he has the patience of Job is an understatement. Most importantly, he knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about me and yet, he chooses to love me anyway. He is my lobster.
Grace & Anna
These two…oh, how my heart loves them. They are the reflections of all that is good in my world. They are the most opposite of creatures; a mixture of their father and me – the good and the bad. I am amazed at them both. Their existence reminds me that my heart lives outside of my body at all times. They have made me a better human being. They have shown me the closest thing to God’s unconditional love that a mere human can experience. They are my heartbeats.
My father, Jim, and stepmom, Margaret. Margaret cultivated my love of reading and flowers. Everything that I know about growing things, came from her. My father cultivated a love of building stuff and having a strong work ethic. They both make me proud – they are good and kind people, serve those less fortunate, and embody the love of Christ towards others.
Also in this picture are my Uncle Marty and Aunt Carol. Carol is my mother’s younger sister. She is all I have left of my mom. She was 14 when I was born and serves more as a sister to me than an aunt. Her husband, Marty, is one of the funniest guys I know. He is a good man – plain and simple. (Pictured here: Grace, Margaret, Anna, me, Carol, my dad, and Marty 2015)
Pictured here are my stepfather, Mac and my mom, Barbara. Both have made the journey home to Heaven; yet, the love they gave me lives on in me today.
Miranda is both family and one of my closest friends. For many years, I was married to her father which made her my stepdaughter. Yet, she has managed to transcend that role over the years so that even when her father and I divorced, she remained an unwavering friend and half-sister to Grace and Anna. There are simply no words to describe what she means to me. Truly….words fail me and I am silent when I think of what she means to my life. She is pictured here in 2014, giving me away at my wedding to Dave. That gesture alone….
Since 1990, as students at Milligan College, she has been my best friend. She is, by far, one of the smartest people I know. We have seen our marriages fall apart, raised our children, vacationed together as family, and even traveled to Italy in 2012. She is the girlfriend that you snuggle with and watch your favorite movie. She is the one who listens, asks the questions that make you cringe, and doesn’t hesitate to say the things that you don’t want to hear. She is a straight shooter. We “get” each other. We remind one another quite often, how lucky we are to have had this friendship for 27 years.
We met at church, almost 14 years ago. I was pregnant with my second daughter and she was pregnant with her first child, Ava. We just hit it off. She is sharp-tongued and quick witted. We haven’t always agreed or seen eye-to-eye; but, there is an acceptance between us, a friendship unlike any other. Our friendship is the living example of forgiveness and unconditional love. We have struggled through motherhood together…..marriage….divorce…dating after divorce….heartbreak…love. We went almost a year and didn’t speak. I’m not sure why now. I do know that we were both at turning points in our lives and neither could cultivate a common ground to stand together on. Until one day…we did. The ground appeared. I suspect it will remain for many years to come.
We met at work about 12 years ago. If I recall correctly, we didn’t like one another very much in the beginning. But as with all magical things, the Universe found ground for us to stand on. She is funny. She is loving. She is a great mom. She is so much wrapped up into a small bundle of fiery personality. I’m not sure that a cross word has ever been spoken between us. In fact, I’m positive of it. I also know that she would do anything for me – and she has. She is the best at being a co-conspirator. I just love her.
And these sassy ladies? Well, they are special to me as well. On the left are: Lindsay, Marla, Meredith, Jaclyn, Rachel; and, not pictured: Jenny and Pam.
On the right is Renee. She is Grace and Anna’s godmother and Anna’s namesake. Our friendship? Well, I couldn’t write about it here and do it justice. All that we have shared and the times that are still ahead for us once our lives settle down a bit.
All of these ladies make me laugh. They are beautiful ,smart, and have made me a better person. Our paths have crossed and the rest is history. It is more difficult for me to see them these days, but we manage to talk all the time. I just love them all.
The words I have written here don’t do each of them or the relationships I have with them: justice. They are too precious and special to have only a paragraph written about them. I could write a book about each. So, during this past week of celebrating Valentine’s Day, I was reminded of the many love stories that exist in my life. I offered a prayer of thanks for each one. I have been fortunate enough to work with and socialize with some amazing ladies. Many pictured here and more that I just don’t have pictures of – but that doesn’t make them any less special. People like: Susan, Tammy, Jennifer, Ashley and Carol; my cousin Jenny. I love them all.
Love’s the thing, you know……