Here’s To Us!

Friends help complete my life. I am so grateful that I am surrounded with diverse friends and friendships. Each one shines with their own personality and reminds me of the uniqueness we all possess. And so now I raise my glass…

Here’s to you…dear friend who knows how to share laughter and wit. You remind me to enjoy each moment and fill with a lightness of spirit. You unharness the bridle of maturity, if just for a bit, so that I remember what it is to be a kid at heart again. The laughter, a medicine for my soul.

Here’s to you…dear friend who knows how to listen and let me vent my mundane issues. You do so without judgement and without the need to fix my problems…you simply listen. I appreciate your attentive nature. I hope that I can and do provide the same for you. Sometimes just listening can be the best a friend can offer.

Here’s to you…dear friend who can share a hug, stand by me at my worst and even help me be my best. Your willingness to provide a safe haven for another is truly a gesture of friendship. Not running away, but having my back in the storm. I will never forget. May you find me there for you as well.

Here’s to you…dear friend who can easily share in the joys and triumphs of another without a shred of contempt. Your ability to join in with the success of others and not make one feel unworthy of any accomplishment is unselfish in spirit and above what many may ever achieve. I hope you will grab my extended hand, if ever needed. I thank you for extending yours as well.

Here’s to you…dear friend who can open up in your heart and share some of your deepest troubles and painful times. You trust me with your openness as you seek my time and counsel. I am beyond flattered with your frankness as I desire for better days ahead…including this day. I see you, and I understand that we all carry baggage. We need to sometimes stop and help another pull the packed suitcase along.

Here’s to you…dear friend who sits by my side at the campfire or around the table. Our sharing of memories, discussions of life and issues pressing, as well as quiet moments of reflection. You ground me as well as remind me of how the depths of living are awash with yesterdays captured in my head, tasks of today, and hopes for tomorrow. You are my kindred spirit. May we talk and seek and wonder…together for hours.

Here’s to you…dear friend who lets me be me. Acceptance for being who we are is the real measure of friendship.  Life is a give and take and a yin and yang. Friendship is loving one another and seeing their gift to the circle. May you fight for that friend and never give up on nurturing the friendship. Such worthy gifts need effort and patience and respect to be maintained.

Some friends share early childhood then are gone…some friends share the turbulent years into school and then are gone…some friends only meet as adults…and some are gone. Some friends may not see us but briefly once a year and even though much is not heard aloud, much is spoken within and between.

I share this with you now…because I truly believe we should acknowledge our friends while they are here to hear us and we are here to be heard. Tributes are beautiful…but knowing your mark on the life of another, the value of your friendship no matter how short the time spent…that is an aspiration of mine. In some fashion, I want you to know that you have made a difference in my life. Our passing and sharing of time, was meant to be and is not fleeting in the make up of who we are. So my friends…Here’s to us!

My Little Love Note

images (2)Capturing the right words to express my pure love and gratitude for you…well it is much like trying to take hold of the sweet summer breeze that gently brushes my face. A daunting task as I cherish you beyond description.

Life can bring many storms upon my door. I find that you unselfishly provide me with a shelter of warmth, compassion, respect, safety and stability…when the clouds have gathered and the thunder roars.

Life can bring darkness, despair and a chill to my heart. Your love is my sunshine that chases away the bitter cold and brightens my soul.

Life can bring many challenges and obstacles. Difficult days yet with you I feel hope, encouragement and a precious peace. I look towards tomorrow and dare to dream with you by my side.

But not to forget, life can bring laughter, celebration and exquisite joy. This I have found with you. I absolutely could not imagine life any other way. I believe that I have known you forever and a day and I will love you every bit as long…or longer.

Fine Wines

Lake Erie weekend, 2012

     I have just spent a very nice three days with gals I love, tripping through wineries around Sandusky, Ohio. This is the 18th year of our annual excursion which has definitely evolved over time. This year I have determined that true friendship is like a fine wine. But before I go on, let me clarify what I mean by “fine.” I don’t pick my wine (or friends) by the monetary value- it is the character that I appreciate and find pleasing.

     True friendship warms my heart and instills me with a sense of well-being. You know, like that comfortable warmth that fills you after a sip of your favorite wine. My moments shared with good friends can be light-hearted and sweet like a fruity  strawberry wine. Times when laughter turns to tears and your belly aches and its hard to catch your breath. Enjoying the merriment of life. Yet times with true friends can also be a bit more complex, deep in spirit and a touch dry. These semisweet to dry moments provide me a companion with my thoughts (which tend to travel into deep thinking all too often). The Merlot moments when we explore the world together with our thoughts and beliefs. Or the full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon times- when we provide support and strength to another with hugs, a cry or even just a listen.

     True friends and wine need to be accepted for who they are and not what you wish them to be. Some imperfections exist in the relationship but the overall experience is wonderful. So here I raise a glass and say “cheers” to my true friends, all individuals and unique. All with a different taste for life… yet all a rather fine wine indeed.

Ike and Leo

     I have two friends that I miss dearly. They were very different from each other as their personalities and responsibilities dictated. But I loved them both deeply. One was a handsome blonde who lived with me for 12 years and the other a beautiful white haired giant that only shared my time for 5 years. But even though they came at different times in my life, they both gave me so much. Like they knew what I needed from them and provided such for me unselfishly.

     Our Pal Eisenhower- affectionately called Ike was a gorgeous and rather lanky yellow lab. He joined us as a puppy and if you ever had a lab puppy you know what that means- books, tv remotes, shoes, socks and actually just about anything his teeth could dig into bore his mark and became his. Yet he grew up to be an absolutely wonderful pal. For years he shared my bed until he took up almost the whole queen mattress. I would actually hear him head upstairs to claim his space, silently slipping away before me. Somewhere along the road we came to an agreement and he began to sleep in his own bed next to mine. We have walked many miles through our home town and he was always a well behaved gentleman, content just to be with me. Ike was my house mate and while I was busy keeping myself busy with some remodeling or decorating, he would lie down nearby (usually on my drop cloths) and observe this crazy lady. We also had many conversations about life, kids, and learning to love yourself for who you are- to name a few. I think he agreed with me on every topic because he never stated differently. But as we both got older, life for Ike got harder too. I had to put Ike to sleep 3 years ago. I held him as his big eyes looked back at me and we both knew it was time for him to go. He was in pain and his days were not what they were meant to be. So I hugged him and thanked my friend for being just what he needed to be for me.  
He seemed to know I would be ok as I had met my future husband and I was very happy with my life. His job was done.

     Leo- a lion of a guy, actually resembled a polar bear when he first came to our farm. He joined us as a great pyrenees puppy. Yet from early on, Leo was on duty. He came to protect our animals from coyotes and took his job seriously. He did not live in our home but in the barn. Leo had the run of the pastures and at night he roamed the fence lines. You could hear his roar to tell the creatures of the night that he was king. Such a gentle giant, Leo was filled with patience for children and he loved visitors and welcomed many. Leo never tried to leave the barn area…that would be irresponsible. Our conversations shared were of new babies as we watched them born ( and sometimes assisted), or the chickens ( those ladies were pesky), or maybe both of us just sitting on a hill in the pastures watching the others graze and enjoying the breeze. He would slowly roll over and ask for a belly rub. Just about the only thing he ever asked for. Leo became lame quickly and out of the blue this vibrant, beautiful boy could hardly walk. I knew what had to be done, but my work schedule was so crazy I could not take off time. I could not wait  and asked my husband to call the vet. So I was not there to tell him thank you and hold him while the pain left and he drifted off. We said our goodbyes early that morning before I went to work. So fitting, he taught me that I had to take my job seriously.

     I miss them both. They were so different yet gave me so much at just the right times in my life.  And they both taught me to enjoy the present. Take time to relax and watch the world…and to love the wind in my face. 

The Tides of Friendship

 Dilworth_047  I believe true friendship and life are much like the beauty of the ocean waters. The first introduction may even be a little cool to the touch but after some time we find ourselves warming in its wake. We play in the waves of laughter and tears and eventually we may gulp the salty taste of disappointment and grief. But that does not deter true friends from swimming in this vast sea of emotion with each other. For all the days of trying to stay afloat during rough times, there are many more filled with blue skies and calm waters.

Today was a day filled with emotional pain and  deep sorrow for a dear friend who buried her mother after a long illness. As I sat in the church with my friends to support her in this grief, I thought much of this pact of true friendship and the beauty of sharing our very difficult as well as good times with each other. People who are not related by blood, but connected by our hearts. So we band together and help her stay afloat …it is a rough time, and deep water below. She is strong.  Someday she will find the calm water again. The kind that lulls her heart and steadies her breath believing that tomorrow will be better. I just so wanted her to believe this today.