Sunday, December 5, 2010

Go Often To The House of a Friend

About two weeks ago, my good friend Jeanie sent me a message on Facebook offering to come over and help me decorate my Christmas tree.  Jeanie and I met about 16 or 17 years ago in a syntax class.  We were both 'non-traditional' students who were going back to school to get a degree.  She was working on a degree in Spanish while I was working on a degree in English.  Syntax, a required course for both degrees, brought us together.  I think Jeanie was the one who reached out to me first, but soon, we were study buddies.  That was the beginning a very long standing and dear friendship.

When I first met Jeanie, she was not planning on teaching.  Then, after getting her degree,  she decided to go back to school to get endorsed to teach Spanish.  Once she was in the classroom teaching, I kept after her to get her ESL endorsement.  Now, she teaches ESL, has her masters in ESL and is working on a second masters in History.  I am very proud of Jeanie.  She has quite a story to tell about her life.  As a young child, she worked in the fields in California.  Now she is a teacher who is working on her second masters degree.  Jeanie is a great role model for me.

Jeanie and I have kept our friendship strong over the years by going to dinner on a regular basis or by getting together whenever there was a teaching conference we were both attending.  About four or five years ago, she came over and spent the day helping me decorate for Christmas just because she missed doing that for an old friend of hers who had passed away.

The day Jeanie came to decorate, my calendar had this quote, "Go often to the house of a friend.  For weeds soon cover the path."  Unfortunately, the path from her house to mine had become a bit overgrown.  It had been much longer since our last meeting than either of us would have liked.

After taking a while to catch up on news and other developments in our lives and in the lives of our children, we got down to business.  Since I have an artificial tree that needed some fluffing up, Jeanie suggested that we wear gardening gloves.  Great idea!

Once the tree was all fluffed out, we started hauling up boxes from the basement.  My goal was just to get the tree decorated.

Jeanie thought I should decorate the windows in the family room as well as the mantle.  So, once we got the tree done, she went to work on her next project.

After about three hours of chatting, decorating, laughing, and crying a bit, our job for the day was done.  My tree was up and decorated.  The family room had a garland over the window and a garland on the fireplace mantle.  I was famished, so once we had posed in front of the newly decorated tree for a photo to record our day together, we were off for pizza.

Holidays are rough when one has lost a loved one.  Jeanie lost her brother this year, and I lost my daughter.  Being with friends who care and understand, is very healing.  Decorating for the holidays can be a bit daunting after a loss of major significance.  Thanks Jeanie for being my friend, for helping me get started with decorating, and for being there for so many.


  1. What a wonderful post. I'm so glad you and Jeanie have trod down the weeds on the path between your houses. It helps so much to have friends around to get us through the days, let alone the holidays. Those first holidays after losing a loved one can be so hard. Now .... keep the friendship fresh!

  2. I love from the calendar. I went to a freinds house that I had not been at in a very long time tonight and there were alot of weeds in the path and it was nice to have them cleared.

    My tree is not up and I am not sure that it will be this year but I am so glad that you had someone help you bring in some holiday cheer.

  3. You are very lucky to have such a caring friend. How wonderful that you can support each other through the holidays. Do you have a special ornament on your tree for Julie? It would be nice to have an angel that you can hang every year. After my mother died at Christmas almost four years ago, I kept a few of her ornaments when I cleaned out her house. I think of her every year when I hang them on the tree.
    Thank you for your kind comments on my post today. Your blog was one of the first blogs I followed because we seemed to have much in common...and we were both new to the blogosphere. Look how far we've come!

  4. Your tree looks beautiful and so is your friendship. I'm truly glad for you that you have a friend nearby who understands your pain. You are both amazing people!

  5. I feel devastated that you have lost your daughter. Whenever one comes across this sort of thing, it feels as if it has happened to oneself, so precious are one's children. You have put up your tree nice and early - I'll do mine next week. Friends are so wonderful, aren't they. I treasure mine.

  6. I love that quote and it is so true. Often we get caught up in our lives and do not tread the paths to a friends house.
    How neat that you and Jeanie knocked down the weeds. That day was a win/win for you both.

  7. That sounds like a wonderful day. The story became especially touching with the revelation of your respective losses--life changing indeed. You are fortunate to have this thoughtful friend.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. seems that that word should be longer, bigger, wider bolder somehow- to describe the loss of a child. I am glad that you have a friend who can understand and be with you. Your tree looks beautiful. Blessings, Joanne

  9. I'm so glad you have each other. It was wonderful to see these pictures. Blessings to you both.

  10. What wonderful friends you are to each other! I have been blessed, too, with some very dear friends, a few of whom are still in my life (some have passed away). That is such a lovely tree, which of course means much more than just a tree. It's the symbol of your friendship with each other!
    Ann Best, Long Journey Home

  11. "Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal." ~Author Unknown

    "What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” Eleanor Powell

    Sally, thank you for mentoring me over the years. God truly used you to direct my path in my calling to ESL. You bless me. jeanie

  12. Sorry to hear about your losses. Earthly goodbyes are so hard to say...but thinking often on the heavenly hellos helps ease the pain.

    I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for a while now and would like to invite you to visit and perhaps follow me back. Sorry I took so long for the invitation.

  13. What a wonderful quote. It's great that you two friends reconnected in this way. And I'm sorry to learn of the loss of your daughter. I went back and read your posts from that time. Clearly she was very special. Holidays are difficult after such a loss; I wish you the best and hope you can find a meaningful way to remember her sweetness.


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