Saturday, November 22, 2008

We celebrated my birthday this past week and I mean just that. Monday was the actual day, but something special happened everyday right through yesterday when four special friends from Mississippi came and brought a deliecious feast for lunch, along with caramel cake decorated with fresh camellias. It's at least a four hour drive up here, they stayed four hours, then drove home again. Only real friends will give a day like that--but that only scratches the surface of the depth of our friendship! I cannot count the ways that their friendship has been woven into our lives over the years. I can only praise God for them and cherish the memories.

During the week I received phone calls, e-cards, cards with notes and packages and I loved hearing from each person! Many heard from this week are newer friends--those we grew to love in California and some we have only known since coming here. I am amazed when I stop to think how God blesses us with the people He puts into our lives--and I mean that seriously. Friends are gifts, God's gifts who enrich life with love and that indescribable, yet rich, thing we call friendship!

Of course, we celebrated with family. Marty and I had a good visit on the phone and it was almost as if she was curled up on the sofa having a cup of coffee with me. Tommy cooked dinner using a little of this and that he found in his freezer. All I told him I wanted was cheese grits, so he started with that. Being with family was the best thing of all!

It has been really cold here this week. When the TV weatherman spoke of temperatures in the teens last night and cautioned people going to high school football play-off games to wrap up, I was feeling especially smug that I had no children or grandchildren involved. I remember those days of short majorette skirts during my own high school days and faithfully following the band to games all the years Tommy and Marty were in band, both in high school, and for Tommy when he was in the Mississippi State marching band. It wasn't quite as cold in Mississippi as it is here or where I grew up, but we did have some cold nights, some wet ones and the opposite extreme in September when the State band marched in heavy wool uniforms. Tommy would be absolutely drenched after a game--fortunately the band paid to clean uniforms because it was required weekly. It's funny the way the mind works. A few cautionary words from the weatherman brought a flood of memories.

I wish I could report that Tom has improved, but he hasn't. He has spent a lot of time on the bed, sometimes sleeping, sometimes just resting. He was glad to see friends yesterday, but didn't feel like being with us all the time they were here. Seeing the grandchildren does more for him than anything. The sparkle in his eyes come out of hiding when the children are around. Our sweet helper came an extra day this week so I could get to the grocery and do some cooking that needed to be done. She is such a help!

Never underestimate the power of your words and actions on other people. What you might think of as "nothing," a greeting you might send, a quick call across town or across many mile, may be just what another needs at that moment. All those who reached out to me as I celebrated another year of life, have given me strength and renewed determination in this journey.

Pastor Margaret

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