Tag Archives: friends

These Are The Days

My grandma was a wise old soul, took me by the hand not long ago
Said, “Son what’s your hurry? Boy, slow it down
Taste the wild honey, listen to the sound
of the wind that’s blowin’ through the trees, rivers flowin’ to the sea…
Life’s for livin’, child, can’t you see?”

These are the days that we’ll remember
These are the times that won’t come again
The highest of flames becomes an ember
And you gotta live ’em while you can

So take ’em by the hand, they’re yours and mine
Take ’em by the hand and live your life
Take ’em by the hand and don’t let them all fly by
—These Are the Days by Keith Urban

We had a reminder of the brevity of life last week.

My kids play in a band called New Horizons through their music school. It is a national organization, dedicated to providing the opportunity for people who have always dreamed of playing an instrument to make that dream a reality. Most participants are 55+, but exceptions have been made for Josh and Julia. Their experiences have been invaluable and the people involved are absolutely wonderful.

The sad and unwelcome news came on Tuesday that one of the band members had died suddenly. Her named was Lyndel and she was only 54 years old.

Just the week before, the band had played a lakefront concert on a beautiful summer evening. Lyndel’s ever-present smile was captured on photos as she played her French horn.

She had no way of knowing that would be her last concert.

One of her mourners made this comment: “Lyndel was always a giver of light. Her beautiful smile, her kind words, her laughter always brought brightness to every situation.”

Another said, “My heart dropped when I heard you were gone. Even though its been many years since I knew you, I remember that you were always kind to a geeky freshman. May God hold you always in the palm of His hand.”

Hers was obviously a life very well lived. I especially loved that an act of kindness to this self-described “geeky freshman” was remembered nearly 40 decades later. Our lives have the potential to powerfully influence those around us. Let’s take every opportunity to speak words of life.

On Friday night,  my family and I were visiting with friends at their lakefront home. One of our friends stopped by after Lyndel’s memorial and told us about the service.  She related that although there were certainly sadness and tears, there was also much laughter as Lyndel’s friends and family shared funny stories from her life.

As I sat around the table, surrounded by friends and the sound of the summer rain falling outside, I was reminded anew of life’s fragility.

I became fully present to the moment. My eyes lingered on each face…fellow travelers who are all on a pilgrimage to Jesus. We attend the same church and do life together. We share laughter (lots of laughter 🙂 ), heartache, struggles, victories, and stories.

Our children…most of whom are teenagers…could be seen in the next room playing video games, talking, and eating burgers and chips. Fresh faces, full of hope and promise and life.  Outbursts of laughter and silliness were frequent.

An ordinary Friday night…and yet not.

There are no ordinary days.

Each day is precious. There will never be another one like it. We dare not take a single second for granted.

Early tomorrow morning, my family and I are headed back to my hometown for a visit. I will treasure every moment.. I will  fully enter in to each day. I will leave no kind word of appreciation or admiration unsaid. I will laugh. I will fully relax with those who have known me my entire life. I will most likely gain five pounds as we eat at all our favorite places…and it will all be worth it. I will revel in being back “home” for a little while…where memories fill my mind and heart at nearly every turn.

But most importantly, I will celebrate the dear ones who have graced my life in such rich ways.

These are the days that I’ll remember.



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Scattered Pictures…

“…scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind…”  —from The Way We Were

I have been blessed with so many special people in my life. Here are just a few:

This is my mom, Mabel:

She is a wonderful mother. She always told my brother and me that we could tell her anything. She warned us that she might cry (and she did!) but she was true to her word. What an incredible gift to bestow upon your children…we knew that our voices would be heard.

She is also a prayer warrior. One of the greatest gifts she gave me was to begin praying for my future spouse when I was still a little girl. Once I got to know Doug and he told me his story, we could both see God’s hand upon his life, guarding and guiding him…in response to the  faithful prayers of a woman he had never met from a small Pennsylvania town.

I am giving my two children this same priceless gift.

These are my dad’s last remaining siblings: my Aunt Dot (who you read about here) and my Uncle Duane:

Uncle Duane is an WWII Army veteran who enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an accountant in downtown Pittsburgh. He owned a beach house in Myrtle Beach, SC, which provided our family and friends with years of fun in the sun. He is one of the most selfless, kind, giving people I have ever known and has been the greatest cheerleader of his nieces and nephews.

Aunt Dot is a delightful enigma. On one hand, she is a very classy, refined lady. And on the other, she will do such things as spontaneously hop on the backseat of my cousin Kenny’s motorcycle for a quick spin around the block—when she was 80; tear up the dance floor at family weddings; and cheer passionately for her beloved Steelers. She also makes no secret of her love for bald men, jeeps, and the super- tight pants of pro football players.  🙂

This is my Aunt Evelyn:

To this day, she remains the most beautiful person I have ever seen in real life.

I struggled terribly with the “ugly duckling” image when I was young. I adored Aunt Evelyn. Not only was she  funny and kind to me but she was so glamorous. All I wanted was to wake up one day and look just like her. Since that obviously wasn’t going to happen, I tried to imitate her as much as I could.  I especially loved the scents she chose and prevailed upon my parents to buy them for me. How my mom must have smiled when I went off to school in a cloud of either Angel Fire or Celadon, feeling oh-so-sophisticated. 🙂

Here is a photo of my friend Tracy on her wedding day in 1989. Tracy was the subject of my first post:

That’s me on the right and our friend Amy on the left. Tracy and I were best friends since we were five years old. We spent countless hours together. She was an only child and I didn’t have a sister, so we decided that we would be sisters to each other. It was only natural that I would be her maid of honor when she got married. She would only live seven more months after this day, which was a gloriously joyous one for her. I am so happy that she got to know what it was like to be a bride. I still miss her to this day.

Below is a photo of my family and my second parents…Carolyn and Dale:

I have literally known them all my life. They lived next door to us and their kids, Rob and Linda, are my oldest friends. Most of my childhood memories involve them one way or another. Our families were there for each other through the good times, as well as the heartbreaks. We even took vacations together. We were truly family.

In August of 2008, we had gone back to PA for a hometown visit.  This photo marked the last time my family and I saw Carolyn. She died  suddenly eight months  later. I miss hearing her cheerful, “Hi Suz!” when she would call to update me on what was going on in the neighborhood or with my former high school classmates.  Dale was one of my dad’s best friends and he posesses a quiet and dry sense of humor.  My life is richer because this special family has been such a big part of it.

“Friends are relatives you make for yourself.”–Deschamps

And lastly, but certainly not least, this is my brother Jeff (with a 6 year old Josh):

Jeff is four years younger than me and for most of the time when we were growing up, we really didn’t have too much in common. Fortunately, that changed when we became adults. However, Doug and I moved away after we got married, so we only saw each other sporadically. It wasn’t until he decided to move to Florida with us after our dad died that we truly became friends.

I absolutely adore him. As anyone who knows him will attest, he is one of the funniest people ever. He can make me smile on even my roughest day.  He and I amuse ourselves endlessly by quoting obscure lines from movies we have seen ages ago. He loves to sing “Cause I’m A Blond” to me every time I say something a little ditzy (which, unfortunately is often!). He is a wonderful uncle to my kids and a fiercely loyal friend. We have been there for each other through thick and thin. I am doubly blessed to have a brother who is also one of my very best friends.

Good thing too…he knows too much! 🙂

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life.”–Albert Einstein


Filed under Friends and Family

46 Years

I turned 46 years old yesterday.

It was the sweetest of days…a celebration of the beautiful God who gave me this life,  family, friends, laughter, quiet moments, and simple joys:

*receiving lavender roses (my very favorite!) from my beloved husband

*beginning the day in prayer for our precious children at the weekly Moms In Touch meeting

*lingering over a cup of coffee with a dear friend, sharing hearts and faith and laughter

*hearing my aunt and two uncles sing “Happy Birthday” to me over the phone from Pennsylvania, as they have done every year of my life

*smiling at the sight of one of my all-time favorite birthday presents from Ida Mae: my laughing moose:

With a simple turn of a switch, he  emits huge belly laughs  while rolling all around. It is perfectly fitting since laughter defines our relationship.

*catching a glimpse of my sweet girl from the window as she stood outside on the deck, drenched in the spring sunshine, strawberry-blonde hair blowing freely in the wind, smiling for the camera as she took a self-portrait

*picking my son up from track practice; face flushed from a good workout, chatting excitedly about all he is learning from his coaches and looking forward to the upcoming season

“How long do I really have to figure out how to live full of grace, full of joy…before these beautiful children fly the coop and my mothering days fold up quiet?”–Ann Voskamp

*a fresh new journal from my dear friend-who-is-like-a-sister, Destiny…a place to record treasured moments from my life…as well as the myriad of ways that Jesus makes Himself known and visible to me every single day

*having a sweet conversation with the wonderful woman who gave birth to me all those years ago and found herself suddenly cast as the parent to one of the strongest-willed children ever to walk this earth…and has the gray hairs and battle scars to prove it! 🙂

*enjoyed a delicious dinner with Doug (who happily served as cook!), the kids, and my brother Jeff

*and speaking of Jeff, he wins the Best Brother of the Year award because he gave me one of these as a birthday gift:

For a bookaholic like me, this is a perfect gift! I initially resisted because I love the feel of a solid book in my hands but I am told that I will love this new technology. I can’t wait to download my first book! Any suggestions?

I am a blessed woman who is rich in all the ways that truly matter.

Life is good. 🙂

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”–Kafka














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