Five Minute Friday – Friend

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Friday!  For Today’s Five Minute Friday, the word is Friend. This when we write for five minutes on a subject.

On your mark, get set, GO!!!!

At a recent Writing Seminar dinner, the keynote speaker asked us who our favorite imaginary friend is.  This is a great question and certainly lends itself to some great answers.  Many people responded with characters that we all heard about growing up.

I have two answers for this question — the girl in The Secret Garden whose name I still can’t remember, and Willie, the sweet elf in my grandfather’s stories.

As my regular readers know, Willie was always on a quest to find out where rainbows come from.  Inevitably, he’d get into trouble and need his friends to help him.  They were always there for him.

Looking back as an adult on this story that my grandpa created, I think he had some great life lessons to teach us — being real friends, setting and sticking to your goals, being kind to others, and mainly perseverance.

For my real friends, I am fortunate to have quite a few.  Some of them I have known for many, many years.  Even though we don’t see each other much, we often pick up right where we left off.  That is a blessing.  And, I have some newer friends who I have clicked with and am so thankful for them as well.

This photo is of a few years ago of Ian with two of his stuffed friends.  He has quite a collection of them.  And, he, too is making real friends. For that, Kirk and I are very grateful.

Okay. Stop. 5minutefridayIn case you wanted to know, the rules for 5 Minute Friday are:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Here are a few quotes on friendship that I looked up after my time was up:

  • “A friend loveth at all times.” — Proverbs 17:17
  • “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” — Douglas Pagels
  • “Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.” — Sicilian Proverb
  • “Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things.” — Author Unknown
  • “The friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.” — Elbert Hubbard

To read more thoughts on Friend from the Five Minute Friday community, please see http://lisajobaker.com/2014/04/five-minute-friday-friend-2/

A Taste of Winter / Monday’s Musings

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday!  It is hard to believe that it’s already the last week of January.  Seems like the new year just started.

Saturday’s photo challenge was A Taste of Winter.  Here is a photo that I took a few weeks ago when we had a little bit of snow.  I like this holly bush in my yard. I meant to post this then but then got busy on a few things. You know how that goes, I am sure.

Part of this weekend was cold but then it was warmer than it’s been.  However, a cold snap is coming later today for the next few.  A much colder winter this year than we have had in a while. We still haven’t had much snow though, which is probably just as well.  I know of several people who have been dealing with a lot of it.

—————————–

Mondays’ Musings is something I may start on Monday mornings if I have a variety of items to write about.  I may not be using the word musings quite right but it sounds fun.

**This weekend was a good one and we had some down time, some time with friends, and then some time to play and get out of the house.

We went to dinner on Saturday night with one of my best friends.  We hadn’t seen her in months and it was so great to catch up.  She had been quite sick and thankfully, she is feeling better.

It was fun to hang out and visit and just be together.  I had truly missed seeing her and was so glad we were able to work it out.  Thank goodness for dear friends!

**On Sunday, we went to church and heard a great sermon about love and living like you are dying.  The pastor was talking about what true love is and that not only is it important to tell people we love them but also show to them.  He also wanted us to remember to be really and truly thankful for each and every day.  He mentioned that we are never promised tomorrow.  It was a thought-provoking sermon and one that was really well given.

I hadn’t realized how closely Ian was listening until he gave me a note just before bed.  He had asked me to write a few words down for him, but I didn’t know what he was working on.  It was the note, which states, “To Mommy From Ian.  Mommy, I will love you forever.”  Wow, how amazing and sweet is that.  I have to say I teared up and told him “I will love you forever too.”  He then kissed my hand and gave me a hug.

The love of a child — there is nothing like it.  So pure, and honest, and unconditional.  It is given just as Pastor was saying love is supposed to be. I was truly moved and was amazed at my son.  He truly is a blessing!

**Last night was the Grammy awards telecast.  I had seen some ads about it but then when the time came for it to come on, I was interested in other shows.  Two of them I watched were Downton Abbey and Sherlock, both on PBS.  Both of these are amazingly well written, clever, and full of amazing and rich characters.  Just like a favorite character in a great book, these are so rich and well-drawn that you almost wish you could meet them.  Well, at least I do.

The writing, dialogue, and acting are wonderful.  As a writer, I am inspired and in awe of the talents of the people who bring us these shows.  I laughed, cried, and laughed some more.  One of the funniest lines I have heard in a long time was, “He’s clueing for looks.”  I don’t want to mess up the plot if you haven’t seen it, but it was perfect for the situation and oh so funny!

***Those are a few of my musings for this morning.  Do you have any musings you’d like to share?  Please do! Hope you have a great day!

Happy Birthday Tammy!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Thursday.  Today is the birthday of my best friend from elementary school — Tammy.   Happy Birthday to you dear Tammy.

It is amazing to think how long we have known each other — for many, many years.  We have been through a lot and I love that we still stay in regular touch with each other.  That is so rare and I am so blessed to have her as my dear friend.

This photo is from the summer of 2012 when we were together with our families at the beach.  Our sons had fun playing together, which is so cool.

She recently reminded me of an incident when we got trouble in school – in Mr. Toler’s class.  We were giggling as we often did and he sent us to the coat closet.  His idea is that we were supposed to be quiet.  Needless to say, we weren’t.  Instead we just kept talking and laughing.

I remember when we were in junior high, she and her family moved away.  I was so upset and truly missed her for a long time.  The fact that we have kept in touch and still have a great time when we see each other is amazingly special to me.

When Kirk and I got married, she surprised me and showed up for the weekend.  I was totally blown away and touched. If I’d known she was coming, I would have asked her to be in the wedding as one of my bridesmaids.  But the surprise was such fun.

Tammy is an amazing woman, a strong Christian with a cool hubby and four great kids, and one of the best math teachers I know. She loves her family and friends and loves to laugh — something we loved to do together and still do.

I wish I could see her in person and give her a birthday hug.  But, that is not possible this year.  So instead I will wish her a very Happy Birthday!  Love you Tammy!  From one giggle gal pal to another, AGADKTGA!!!!!!!!!!

Birthday Blessings

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy 1st day of December.

Today is the first day of Advent — our season before Christmas.  They will light a candle at church and we will hear part of the Christmas story. And each Wednesday between now and Christmas, we will have a dinner and short service.  The time of year helps us remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

It is also the day after the birthday of five of my friends — Laura, Karla, Phyllis, Becky, and Donna.  Hope all of you had wonderful birthdays!  I got to see two of these ladies last week during a fun girls night out.  The others I keep in touch with mainly through Facebook and do see around town some.

This is the day that some of my friends have to move out of their homes.  I am going to do my best not to cry today when I think of these changes.  Instead I want to smile and focus on knowing them and being excited for a new chapter in their lives. You can read more about these changes in “An Ode to SRP.”

Today is the first day that I am truly going to work on my weight loss journey again.  I saw a recent photo of myself and didn’t like how I looked at all.  My face has gotten much heavier than I realized — as has all of me.  I know what to do, I just have to do it.

December 1st is the first day of the last month of the year.  It is hard to believe that it has gone as quickly as it has.  It seems like we just started 2013 and now are nearly into 2014.

It is also my birthday.  Normally I don’t write about my own birthday but today I wanted to share my blessings with you and some of my thoughts over this last year.  Here is a picture of me from 2010 with my birthday cake.

It has been quite a year.  There have been losses but also several new people have come into my life.  It is so hard to say goodbye to people who mean so much to you but unfortunately this is a hard and sad part of life.  New friendships are fabulous, as is seeing your son make a new friend who he has a ball with.

We didn’t have a real vacation anywhere this year so Ian’s Christmas break from school will be our time off.  There are a few museums in our town that I hope to visit, we’ll be sure to go to the library, the park if it isn’t too cold, as well as other fun things that we will be doing.  Perhaps a road trip or two but mainly time at home and with friends and family.

Ian started kindergarten this year.  At the beginning, I had a very hard time and missed him like crazy.  But, over the weeks, I have come to like going to the store by myself, being able to run out quickly and do something, read a book without interruption, and go to the bathroom by myself.  The fact he loves school makes this so much easier.

Last night at my birthday party with family and friends, my grandmother was there.  I feel so fortunate at my age to still have a living grandparent.  For most of my life I knew three of them and always felt very fortunate for that fact.  This year is something that was another treasure for me.

Some of my blessings and things I am thankful for:

  • A man who loves me no matter my size or mood.
  • A son who comes to me when he is hurt and asks questions and who wants me to put him to bed each night.
  • Parents who taught me about love and family.
  • My brother and sister and their spouses for showing love and kindness to me.
  • My nieces and nephews for being the fun and amazing kids they are.
  • In-laws who have welcomed me and all my quirks.
  • Friends who I have known for many, many years and still can talk so easily to and have such fun with.
  • A feisty grandmother who enjoys being with her family.
  • Aunts and Uncles and Cousins who are so fun and special and important to who I am.
  • New friends who I am still developing a relationship with.
  • Ian’s teachers who watch over him and teach him so much.
  • Ian’s friends that he is making and having fun with.
  • Our house and neighborhood where we love to be.
  • Our church where we met and got married and continue to enjoy services.
  • Our city’s library where we check out so many great books and go on great adventures.
  • A computer where I can write and keep in touch with others.
  • A journal where I take sermon notes and write down inspirational ideas and quotes.
  • A piano where I am re-learning music and trying to practice more.
  • Our neighborhood where I can walk and Ian can ride his bike.
  • The ability to sing and the fun of singing with family and friends.

I am so thrilled to have made another journey around the sun.  Hope you have a wonderful 1st day of December!

An Ode To SRP

SRP.5They say all good things must come to an end.  Sadly for SRP, that time is now.

For residents of two of the homes on this small street, major changes are coming since they have to move out for renovations to be done.  New tenants will then move in when that is finished.

One house has been full of amazing and handsome guys.  These are some of the best looking men I have ever seen and they are also some of the nicest, funniest, and most loyal to their friends.  This is an amazing fraternity.

The other house is full of gals – including three sisters and other friends as well.  These amazing Christian gals are fun and love to learn, be at the beach, and make new friends, as well as sing and play guitar.  This sisterhood has been a pleasure to see.

In addition to these two homes are a few that are full of families – parents and their kids who have decided to make this beach community their home.  That is what my grandparents also did for several years with their family. Despite these changes, these people will stay and continue to raise their families here.  There are also several apartments of friends who will remain.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAOne piece of jewelry that I wear often is a necklace that says SRP LUV.  I made it at the beach bead store the last time I was there.  It celebrates my love for this place and these people.  SRP is full of love and laughter, friendship, hugs, kisses, tears, dances, parties, and marriages and families – all the great and amazing things of life.   These are the things in life that truly matter.

The homes are nothing fancy but you can’t judge a home by the way it looks, just like you can’t judge a book by its cover.  These houses have been made into homes by those who have lived there since 2006.  My grandparents knew the woman who owned them before this current landlord bought the houses.

The walls of one of the homes are covered with art by friends and family, photos of a fun group of people, a refinished wooden floor that was worked on with love and lots of sweat, a new paint job, and a deck perfect for a bonfire and late night chat.  The walls of the other home hold pictures of friends, surfboards, and there are bunkbeads and comfy seats for late-night girl talk.

SRP.2These are magical places. This entire neighborhood on this small beach street is magical and has been very special to me for years.  My family has a beach house that I have enjoyed both as a child and growing up.  And, for the last five years, I have had the pleasure to take my son and see our house and these two homes.

These two homes next to ours are filled with friends who have embraced each other and us as family. It means the world to have been included in this family of friends and neighbors.  The people of SRP truly get the concept of a great neighborhood and that friends can become your family. I have been honored to be one of them.

I wish these friends well in whatever the next chapters in their lives will be.  I hope to stay in touch with them and see them again.  But more importantly, I hope they stay in touch with each other and can still get together.  I hope that even though they may no longer physically be near each other, that they can still plan to see one another.

Over the last year, several of them have already moved away or moved to a nearby house, some have gotten married and had children and others have gone off to school.  The change had already started before the news of having to move out.  Yet now, it is only too real that big changes are coming.

SRP.4A sad and selfish part for me is the date when they have to move out – December 1 – my birthday.  My normally fun day will be full of melancholy.

But, I won’t be dealing with as much as they will —being displaced and finding other digs to live in.  On that day, I will remember them fondly and thank the Lord for bringing all of them into my life.  And celebrate our friendship.

I just wish I’d had the chance for one last laugh or bonfire, story, dance, or hug and kiss.  Alas, that wasn’t to be. I plan to keep in touch and hope to see them again when circumstances allow.  To all of you, if you are ever in the southeast or Tennessee, please let us know.  We’d love to show you our neighborhood.POD_July.30_Friendship

The song Friends Forever by Michael W. Smith certainly applies to this amazing group of students, small business owners, entrepreneurs, photographers, doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, actors, colorists, hairdressers, waiters, teachers, musicians, missionaries, and the list goes on.

“Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
I can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter of your life is through

But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAnd friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends.”

SRP.1There are few places in life that are magical.  SRP is one of those places.  It has meant so much to me over the years – first as a child, teenager, young adult, and now wife and mother.  I have had many great and amazing times with my own family and have watched many changes with them over the years.

Even though we can’t be together as often as I have liked, this neighborhood has been an amazing gathering place.  And, I am so thankful that the first 5 years of my sons’ life we have been able to spend time in the summer on SRP and get to know so many friends who are like family.

Several dear friends, including some with children will remain in the neighborhood and for that I am very thankful.  It won’t be totally different, so that is good.  I just don’t like change and this is a big change.

This is my Brigadoon – a place of magic that I am honored to be a part of for only a short time.  For those who have lived there, may you take that magic with you as you move to another home.  May you make that new place as much a home as SRP has been.

SRP.34_Mairy.Patti.Artha.1968God bless you in your new endeavors.  For those who remain, may you continue to enjoy it!! Hope to see you again soon.  SRP LUV always!!! SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA Ocean waves

July 30 – Friendship

“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” –– I have posted this quote twice this week.  I wanted to include it today since it’s about friendship.

“Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them.  And a friend will not say never cause the welcome will not end…” — words from a great song.

POD_July.30_FriendshipToday’s photo challenge is Friendship.

There are so many types of friends and friendship.  How do you capture this in a photo?

I decided to post a photo I took in 2006 at the beach of my niece and nephew.  They were sharing popsicles at sunset.

This is one of my favorite pictures I took that summer.  I think this shows the element of sharing and fun that friends have with each other.

I have friends from elementary school days, high school, as well as college, and I have newer friends who I worked with, who also write, and moms of Ian’s preschool buddies.

There is a saying that you can’t choose your family but can choose your friends.  I have been blessed to have a wonderful family and fabulous friends.

Here are a few quotes about friendship:

  • “A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” — Douglas Pagels
  • Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with.” – Robert Brault
  • “Friendship isn’t a big thing — it’s a million little things.” — Author Unknown
  • “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.” — Arnold H. Glasgow
  • “True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable.” — Dave Tyson
  • “A friend accepts us we are yet helps us to be what we should.” — Author Unknown

I wonder if we can be the kind of friend that we’d like to have.  Here’s hoping we can!!

Love and Birthday Wishes

birthday_KarenHi and Happy Friday!

Today is the birthday of one of my dearest friends — Karen.  Happy Birthday to you dear Karen!!!!

The two of us met at work and have remained friends.  She and her husband Rich are a blessing to me and I am very grateful to know them!

And, before Kirk and I sold our first house, Rich and Karen helped us paint it.  This was a big project and I was pregnant with Ian at the time.  He enjoys hearing the stories about that project.

When Ian was baptized, they were there with us to celebrate.  We have enjoyed many milestones together and laughed and cried about many things through the years.

We don’t see each other as much as we’d like but always have fun when we do get together.  I hope that she and her hubby have a great birthday celebration planned for her!

Karen, may you be blessed and have another fantastic year!  Hope to see you again soon.  I miss you my friend.

—————————

POD_Challenge_July_5_LoveToday’s Photo-A-Day Challenge is Love.

The picture that I chose for today is of my grandparents on their honeymoon in 1930.

It clearly is a photo that I didn’t take but is one that I have always loved of the two of them.

They taught me a lot about love, friendship, fun, and the importance of family.  They also helped teach a few generations of the importance of gathering together at a special place.

Grandma and Grandpa loved one another, their children, their grandchildren, friends, and other family members.  They also loved their careers and were both amazing teachers.  And, Grandpa was a brilliant writer.

I like to think that my siblings, cousins, and I inherited a lot of their talents and compassion.

Before my grandpa died, they were married for 66 years.

I am thankful to them for teaching me that love is more than just a word.  It is a way to live and an action to take.

My Gal Friends Rock!

girls 2Yes, I’ll say again, my gal friends or girl friends rock!

They are so very precious to me, yet I don’t get to see most of them very often.

For a while now, we have been splitting our time in two places — one of which includes me with a house full of guys.  It is fun to travel and see another place, but I must admit that after a while, I really miss talking to other women.

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with these guys — including my hubby and son — but there is nothing like talking over something with a girl friend.  Gals, you know what I mean, right?!

Here I am pictured with (from left) my cousin Pam, my sister Cindy, and my sister-in-law Beckie.  I am at far left.  We had such a fun visit that summer!!

This week and next are the birthdays of two of my girl friends who I have known the longest.  Jennifer I have known since high school and Dawn since our freshman year in college.  I have written about both of them in other blogs, such as https://patticates247.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/happy-birthday-dawn-jennifer/.

I love that we are still close and can pick up where we left off with one another!  We can look at each other and laugh about some inside secret or read a posting and instantly have a connection or a shared memory.

A few gals who I have known longer than these two are my dear friends Tammy, a friend since elementary school, and my cousin Pam who I have been close to for as long as I remember, and my sister Cindy who I have known since she was born.

Again, I wish I could be with them more but they all understand and lead their own busy lives.  I just love that we can pick up where we have left off when we talk or see one another.

And, a few dear friends that I worked with through the years are also very special — Karen, Gaye, Michele, DiAnn, Linda, Phyllis, Deborah, Brenda, Angela, and a few others as well.  I have fond memories of each of them.  The cool thing is that I am friends with all of them on Facebook so I can keep up with them!

I am fortunate to also be close to two of my sisters-in-law, Beckie and Diane, and getting to better know another three others — Linda Hope, Linda, and Anne.  They have been fabulous additions to my life and I so enjoy time with this as well.

My wonderful cousins also rock (Val, Chris, Sue, Jen, Marit, Sarah, Robbi, Trish, Tanya and Dawn).  And, I am blessed to have friends from high school who I have planned reunions with and friends from college who I keep in touch with.  All of these great women are so important to me.  I won’t name everyone since I am afraid that I will leave someone out and I don’t want to do that.  In fact, I may already have.  I am sorry!

Just last year I met a few amazing women at a writer’s conference.  Among them, I immediately hit it off with Ann and Vicki.  I saw them this spring again and we had a great visit.  They both have self-published books and inspire me.

There is nothing like spending time at having tea, shopping, going to a movie, dessert, or a restaurant with my girl friends!  Talking and laughing or commiserating and crying are what we can do together.  Each of these moments is truly special.

When thinking about girl friends, I thought of television shows and movies which highlight female friendship.  My two favorites are Golden Girls and Designing Women.  Both of these had four amazing women who were strong, funny, and tightly knit.   And, they cracked me up.

A few more recent favorites are Hot In Cleveland and Sex In the City.  Again four close-knit women — isn’t that interesting?  These shows also make me laugh and I enjoy watching the dynamic of these friends.

Some other shows and movies that I thought of are:

  • Girlfriends
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Army Wives
  • Cagney and Lacey
  • Friends
  • The Facts of Life
  • Gilmore Girls
  • I Love Lucy
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Rhoda
  • Steel Magnolias
  • Thelma and Louise

What can you think of?  Are there other shows that I didn’t include?  Please let me and our readers know!!!

What do you like to do with your girl friends?  I also would love to hear from you on this.

May your life be blessed and rich with friendship and dear friends!

I wonder what fun and new things I will be able to do with my girl friends?  Can’t wait to discover!   I also wonder how soon I will see them.  Very soon I hope!

The Gift of Friendship

5minutefriday5 Minute Friday Word for April 25 is Friend

Today’s topic for 5 Minute Friday is Friend.  Here the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community…

Now GO …

Friends are a gift from God!  We chose our friends and make an effort to spend time with them, so they are extra special.

I have been blessed in my life to have several lifelong friends.  A few of these gals I have known for 30 years.  That is amazing!  It doesn’t seem possible.

There is a great song that I remember singing …

  • Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of Them
  • And a friend will not say never cause the welcome will not end
  • Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know
  • That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

That to me sums up real friendship!!

I also love that my friends and I can go for years not seeing each other but when we do, it’s like no time has passed.  We pick up right where we left off.

A friend loveth at all times!  This is a great piece of scripture.

Whether a friend from childhood, from my work life, from meeting while pregnant, attending a writing seminar, or hanging out at the beach, I have been blessed to meet and know many awesome people.  I thank the Lord for each and every one of them!  I hope that you too have such friends.

There is so much more to say, but it’s time to say STOP!!

One last thing to add about friends.  This is a rhyme I remember from my childhood and still applies, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

May you be blessed with a friend-filled life!!

Read more thoughts on “friend” at Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday link-up today.

Happy Birthday Rich!

candlesToday is my friend Rich’s birthday!

Happy Birthday to you dear Rich!  I hope that you have a great day!

Rich is a great guy and has his own business.  He can fix about anything and is smart.  He loves Nascar, his wife, family, and friends, and to tinker around with a variety of things at his house.  He is a lot of fun to be around too!!

Many years ago, before I met Kirk, Rich nicknamed me Patti Cakes, and used to call me that for a while.  Little did he know that my name eventually could be Patti Cates.  Notice just one letter is different — the K which starts Kirk’s name. Interesting, wouldn’t you say?

I have known Rich and his wife Karen for almost 20 years.  Karen and I worked together in the same office for four years.  During that time, we got together a lot.  I was single at the time and the two of them always made me feel welcome and not like I was a third wheel.  I have always appreciate that about them.

One time we went to their beach house and had so much fun.  We talked the entire way in the car since it was a road trip, and then continued when we got there.  It is nice to not run out of things to discuss.  For a time, Rich was the big brother that I never had.

After I met Kirk, the four of us would get together and have a blast.  It was great that all of us got along well with each other and liked each other. That is rare and I so appreciate it!

Rich also tells great stories and jokes.  He is always fun to talk to.  I haven’t seen him or Karen in a while and miss them both.  We now live in different states so it is more of a challenge to get together.

We do, however, keep in touch, so that is great.  Hopefully we can plan a get together soon!!

Happy Birthday to you Rich!  May you have as fun a day as you are!  Love you both!!!