Saturday, July 24, 2010

Face to Face...Again...A Tribute to Special Friends.

What a month it has been!  Like a roller coaster ride of emotions,  I have been saddened by the loss of friends and exhilarated by the reuniting of old friends, accepted and rejected, dismissed and included, recognized and ignored, discovered the lost and forgotten and hugged and squeezed the brand new!  Well, isn't that just a picture of life itself?   Sharing today, a definite climb up, a reunion of many school friends. 

All Class Reunion

Last Saturday, our 7th annual all class reunion was held in the local park in the city where we grew up.  The weather the week before was delightful, beachy and pleasant.  The weather this week...the same. So why did our reunion have to be over 100 degrees in the shade? was hot! 

The night before, Ted and I enjoyed a quick get away time while waiting for my one of my best friend's plane to come in from Boston.  We left a little early from the stifling inland and headed towards the Coast, Long Beach to be specific. I was expecting a great crowd of people and to our surprise, we parked in Sea Port Village, walked over to a nice, quaint little grill and got a table overlooking the harbor while sharing a meal.  Ted was already making plans to come down again as soon as possible.  We (Ted and I) get so caught up sometimes in the day to day routines. I really think this is good therapy for us to be more spontaneous despite our lack of funds.   Sometimes a "break" is only a few miles down to the beach or up a hill over-looking a valley.  That is one reason I love California, we have a lot to offer very close by and it can be refreshing.

Our view from our table
Well, back to the Class Reunion.  It was a  marvelous turnout despite the heat; the air  filled with "oldies and rock and roll."  (I am talking about music here).  Name tags and crazy stories, tons of laughter and inspiration, group photos and  surprises captured the spirit of the day.   The most familiar quote?  "Wow, you haven't changed at all!"  After thinking on that one for awhile, speaking for myself, I have changed.  Physically for sure, but I am  more than anxious to share that my life continues to be transformed.  Some change is very hard, while other change I embrace. My friends these last few years of my life have meant more to me than at any other time and I forsee that this special gift God gives us in our later years, the transparency and the deepness of friendships serve to  enrich each other's lives.  This bond  will carry us through the next 10 to 20 years.
Left of me is Annie Kay, as she now wants to be called.  We didn't know each other that well in High School, but she has a great way of reconnecting and establishing a friendship on-line. We have shared many things.  Annie, you are still so beautiful and young!  Thank you for all your support these last few years, my newest BFF.   
  To  the right of me is Lynn.  I think I would need a whole new blog to post what she means to me.  We became tennis partners in PE at 14 years young our freshman year and our friendship has never taken a break since.  We stood up in each others weddings, and served together in YFC.  We held each other's newborns, and comforted each other at our parent's funerals. We  have gone crazy at concerts and had one too many beers at Dodger games. We have laughed until we have cried and cried together until we have laughed.    The Lord has been our Solid Rock throughout our individual walks.  I recently came across this picture of us taken in 1979...a few years after graduation.  Check out my perm!  Thank you my forever and Eternal BFF!
Below me is Joyce.  If you look up positive attitude in the dictionary, you will see Joyce's picture. Joyce is full of wisdom and understanding, she is passionate and perserveres.  Her MS has not sidelined her personality or dignity and she continues to reach out to others.  Joyce has a great sence of humor which is one thing I love most about her. She is very down to earth.  We used to  "double date" a lot back in those days and I talked to her a lot about "boys."  (Will we ever understand them?)  Thanks my smart, big-hearted BFF!

Last but not least for sure is my BFF, Diane.  Diane and I share the love of art; creative souls bound by  a special understanding.  We both went to college at CSU Fullerton, majoring in fine arts.  Those were the days of gas lines so  we car-pooled to school.  A very  special friendship formed in those college years.  Diane is a gifted artist and a great communicator.  She gives fully of her gifts and her heart is in everything she does. She has bounds and bounds of energy and I wish we could all bottle it sometime and keep it in our pantry.  Diane as an artist, appreciates beauty and the beauty within us all.  She encourages me always and I adore her.  She has recently moved back to Boston, (after being there earlier in life as her husband finished his schooling at Harvard), but I feel our relationship is as close as it has ever been.  I cannot wait until Ted and I can go visit the East Coast.  I wouldn't want any other tour guide; no detail will be left out.  Thank you Diane, my BFF for all your words...every one of them,  for they make me smile!

One day, an even better reunion will take place in the Heavenly realms where God plans out our blessings.  I know for sure, the weather will be perfect, our spiritual bodies will be pain free and jumping for joy, the music will be glorious and  the conversations?...Well, I just might finally understand boys...

1 Corinthians 13:12 (New International Version)

12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Brent, my neighbor as well as school mate, another special connection. Thank you again for always letting me tag along.   Rick, thank you for sharing and reflecting the Lord's Grace and forgiveness. Candace, your story is one all should hear and learn from,  for your ability way outshines your disability.  I love you all. 

Have you had any great reunions this summer? 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Postcards from "America the Beautiful"

Happy Fourth of July eveyone!

My Dad and Mom planned out the best vacations when I was a kid.  We looked forward to August.  There was no pool growing up and no one on our block had one either, so swimming in a pool at a roadside motel was one of the highlights of my summers.  Driving through all those state highways and stopping at every historical spot, scenic drive and lookout...well that was my Dad.  Somehow for the most part, we always managed to get to a motel at a reasonable hour, enough time  for my sister and I to do a few cannonballs into the deep end.

  I have fantastic pictures...well "slides" of my sister and I with our short sets on peering over ledges, dwarfed in front of massive redwoods,  holding our noses at sulpher pits, and yes...swimming in motel pools.  One summer before my 7th grade year, my dad helped me collect different insects while on vacation, for I knew Ms. McGowan, the best science teacher ever, would be giving us that assignment..."The Bug Collection" 

 A Rhinocerous Beetle... yep,  I displayed one in my collection!

Last summer I started to organize by "vacation year" these slides and one day hope to get them on a CD.  Just imagine us two girls in the following  internet images of some of these great places we visited as kids.  It was easier back then I guess to pack up the car and go, and I am sure glad my parents felt this was important because these memories are still so precious to me. 

This is the closest picture of our Oldsmoblie wagon I could find. 

I learned to read a map, and know direction, learned about weather changes and geology, Buffalo Bill Cody and Indian customs. We saw beautiful gardens and state of the art and historical buildings, graveyards and battle fields.   That little blue station wagon took us far far away from the suburbs of LA. I have yet to visit the East Coast and I hope someday to be able to travel an explore the 13 original colonies where this beautiful nation began to carve itself out. My visit to Michigan last summer was  the farthest East I've traveled.  I am thankful for the FW Conference and my friend Charlene for sharing their beautiful state.   

So Celebrate "America the Beautiful" with me today as I post a few pictures of  some cool (but sometimes really hot) places my family visited.  Thanks Dad and Mom, for these are great memories and Lauren and I truly treasure these in our hearts. 

Houston Astrodome, we were there at it's debut, a covered stadium with air conditioning! 
A tour of the beer factory in Olympia, WA.  I learned about "hopps and fermentation". 
Beautiful Bryce Canyon, Utah

Butchart Gardens, Vancouver, Canada

Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

The Sea Wall in Galveston, Texas
The California Redwoods

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

A Moose in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Seals on the Oregon Coast

A real Western Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming

"Sleepless in Seattle"

My parents considered moving to Sedona, Arizona;  they loved it so much. 
The Skunk Train in Willits, California

The sulpher geysers at Mt. Lassen Volcano National Park.

We learned a lot about Native American traditions

The Texas State Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JFK., Dallas, TX.

The last great vacation I took with my Dad was to Hawaii in 1978.  Together with Ted, my husband, we visited Pearl Harbor, learned of whaling ships in Lahaina and Captain Cook.

US Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

It was  fun to be a  summertime  "visual -vacation learner"; totally hands-on!  What's the difference between a stalagtite and a stalagmite?  What makes a geyser and how often does it spew out? What carved out the beautiful canyons in the desert like Bryce, Zion and the Grand Canyon?  Can there still be some Gold in them thar hills?  How old is a California Redwood tree?  Why does sulpher smell like rotten eggs? What is petrified wood?
Are we there yet?  (the motel pool that is...)

O beautiful for spacious skies,  

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee,

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!