Monday, March 30, 2015

Triple A to The Rescue ~ To Whom Do You Call When You Need A Friend?

Today was one of those mornings that began with a startled awakening.
The cell phone next to my bed rang at 5:30.
Even though the phone I.D. was not one I recognized, my heart was racing so fast, I could barely say “Hello.”
It was the substitute teacher line calling to see if I would accept a job for the day.

Thankful that the call was not from a loved one in crisis needing help, I hung up the phone and went back to sleep.

Those calls for help that come at unexpected times can be so unsettling.
I’ve had my share of them.
I’ve made my share of them.

It seems at one time or another, we all must make one those calls for help.

To Whom Do You Call When You Need Help?

Later in the day, my resident techie, AKA my husband, went out to my car to sync my new phone to the wireless system in the car.
It was then that he discovered that the car battery would not turn over.
Since he was leaving for work in a short time, he told me to call Triple A.
“The battery is still under warranty, and it is an AAA battery, so everything should be ok,” he said as he handed me a credit card to be used just in case I had to put in a new battery.

Triple A,
You saved the day again.
Thank goodness I could call you when I needed you.
I owe you a lot, Triple A.

A Short Story About Triple A
Back in late ’80s or early ‘90s, I was a single mom living in Colorado Springs.  One day, I had one of those mornings that had a very bad start.  I was supposed to leave for the hospital for an outpatient surgical appointment when I discovered that my car had a flat tire.  A friend was scheduled to bring me home from the hospital, but that friend was at work and would not be able to help me with the flat tire.  I had no idea whom I should call.  Everyone I knew was working.  So, knowing full well there was absolutely nothing he could do about the situation, I called my dad.  He lived over three hundred miles away.  But, he was the one I called and cried into the phone, “Daddy, my tire is flat and I have to be at the hospital in half an hour.  I don’t know what to do.”  Daddy knew just what to do.  He called Triple A, signed me up for a membership, and sent them out to the house to fix my tire.  He then paid my membership for the next year because he didn’t want me stranded with no one to help me.  It was good to have someone to call when I had trouble with that old car of mine. 

In 1991, I was shocked one day when I received a telephone call at work from my old high school sweetheart.  He said he had recently gone through a divorce and wondered if I’d like to go to lunch.  It had been thirty years since we had dated, but he had always held a special place in my heart because he was such a dear, kind, and giving friend and sweetheart. In the thirty years since we had dated, we both had married others, but through friends, we always knew something of each other’s lives.  

Back in 1991, I had been single for ten years and was quite independent, but I also still drove that very old Ford Fairmont, so I always kept up my trusty Triple A membership.  Jim, newly divorced, driving the old car that he was left with after his divorce, drove forty miles from Pueblo to Colorado Springs to take me, his old love from back in the early 60’s, to lunch.  I guess he was pretty nervous about the trip, and about taking me out again after all those years, so he drove up the highway with his lights on even though it was was the middle of the day.  
Jim picked me up at my house and off we went for lunch at the Olive Garden.  We had a delightful time at lunch catching up on the past thirty years.  He hadn’t changed a bit.  He was still that kind, loving, giving, successful, funny, and charming person I had adored as a teenager.
After a long lunch, we headed out to his car so he could take me back home.  That is when he discovered the battery was dead.  He’d neglected to turn off his car lights and they had remained on during our long lunch.  The poor guy looked like he was going to die when he realized his car battery was totally dead on his first date with a woman he hadn’t seen for thirty years.  “No problem,” I said.  “I have Triple A.”  We’ll just go over to the mall and find a phone and call them to come and help.”  (Those were the days before cell phones!)  So, that’s what we did.  Triple A came to the rescue. 

Later, Jim, with that twinkle in his eye,  would always tell everyone that was when he decided for sure he was going to marry me.  “She had Triple A.  I thought that would be a good thing to have.”  

Thanks Triple A for always coming to the rescue, and for landing me a man! 

Jim and Sally

To Whom Do You Call When You Need A Friend?

Today, as I reminisced about how our courtship began with Triple A, I also started thinking of my dear daddy and how he was always there for me for so many years when I needed him. 

My father and I
I then thought about the time thirteen years ago, when I got the call that he needed me.  In 2001 and 2002 for about six months, from June or July until the next March, my father had really gone down hill physically once shingles attacked his aging body the summer before his death.  I had gone over that summer and had to have that talk with him.  You know the talk that takes place between adult children and their parents when suddenly one feels like the parent instead of the child.  Daddy was in so much pain from the shingles.  He had diabetes, and he wouldn’t eat.  He was miserable. My poor mother was getting nowhere with him.  He was stubborn, and he was not being cooperative.  Finally, I told him I was taking him to the hospital if he didn’t eat.   He must have believed me because he started drinking his Ensure.  He knew I was as stubborn as he was.  I’d learned that trait from the best of them.  He knew I’d take him to the hospital if I felt it was necessary, and he didn’t want to go.  

When my husband and I went over for Christmas later that year, I was shocked at how frail he had become since my last visit that had occurred just before school had started that fall. When we left for home at Christmas, I said I’d try to be back over during Spring Break. In March of 2002, my mother called on a Thursday and asked, “Are you on Spring Break?”  “No, Mother, not until next week.”  “She said, “The doctor just put your father in the hospital and he’s asking for you.  He wants you to come.  You’re the one he’s asking for.”

Needless to say, as soon as I could wrap up the finals I was grading, I made my way to his bedside which was six hours away.  He passed away on the next Monday, which happened to be the first day of Spring Break.  I always believed that my father hung on as his life was slipping away so that I wouldn’t have to take off from work to be at his bedside. 

He was like that. He had a heart that looked out for others He was one of the most giving persons I ever knew.  I always knew I could count on my father.  He could be generous to a fault when he saw a need.  I remember as he was dying in the hospital that he heard one of the nurses telling how she had cancer and was working because she needed the insurance.  We thought he was asleep while she talked to us about hospice.  When she left the room, he spoke to my mother, “Mother, make sure you find out that nurse’s name and write her a check.” 

I think the self confidence that others have always said I have comes from my father’s influence in my life.  He taught me so much about life.  I think it was his love and knowing he would be there for me and that he was very proud of me that caused me to have the confidence to accomplish whatever goals I have reached in my life.  
My father, mother, and I at my graduation when I earned my first college degree.
BS in Business Administration
Later I would earn a BA in English and a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language

Life isn’t fair, but it was from my dad that I learned that I should “keep my head together.”  He taught me to be tough when I needed to be.  He taught me, as the song, You’ve Got A Friend, says, 
People can be so cold,
They’ll hurt and desert you.  Well they’ll take your soul if you let them,
Yeah, but don’t you let them.

He always encouraged me to be my own person and to think for myself.  He challenged us to be thinkers and not followers.  He taught me not to let others treat me with disrespect.
He was that one that I knew would be there for me no matter what.  He believed in me.  He wasn’t one to rescue me.  He didn’t open up his checkbook and help me out of tight spots.  He was a generous man, but also was a wise man that knew I would figure out how to make it on my own and would be stronger and better for it.  His belief in me was the impetus that gave me confidence throughout the entire time he was on this earth.  His belief in me is still carried in that special place in my heart that is reserved for a daughter's love for her daddy.  I knew he was proud of me, and that meant the world to me.  I think he would be one of my best blog readers.  He loved to write.  He loved a good story.  He was a great storyteller.  I learned to love reading and writing from him.  I wish I had told him more often how much he meant to me. I recently was given all the cards I’d sent him over the years.  He’d kept them all.  I miss my father so much.

Now, I have my dear husband to call.  Jim, my dear high school sweetheart from long ago, has always shown me a special kind of love.  This poor man gets so many calls from me.  Whenever, I need him, I call.  He is always there.  Always.  In the past five years, my once strong self-confidence was rocked to the core after the death of my daughter.  Suffering from PTSD that is common to survivors of suicide, I have sometimes been racked by anxiety.  Only my husband knows how much I suffer, and only my husband can calm me down when I need calming down the most.  He is the one I call out to in the middle of the night, or when I am driving down the road, or sitting next to him in the living room.  He is the one I call when I need him to talk me through my times of anxiety and stress.  No one knows how many times he has sat with me in the middle of the night when I have had an anxiety attack or when my heart has gone into wild arrhythmia and is racing at 150 beats a minutes and won’t slow down.  He is always there when I call.  I don’t know what I would do without his kindness, his wisdom, his support, his love.  I don’t know what I’d do if he weren’t there for me.  He is the friend that knows me better than anyone knows me.  He is the one that is straight with me in a firm and loving way.  He is the one to whom I call, and he has never let me down.  Thank you Jim for being there.  I love you.  And, thank you Daddy, for being there for me too, and for getting me that first Triple A card.

To whom do you call when you need a friend?  

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Remembrance ~ Reflections on the Passing of a Great Woman of Faith - Kara Tippetts

Last night, incredibly sad and unsettled after hearing of the death of Kara Tippets I picked up my journal to write through my jumbled thoughts and jarred emotions.  As I wrote, some clarity came to me about what I was feeling.  I'm sharing them here with you.

A Response to Feelings of Grief

At first, I felt I was just incredibly sad when I heard of Kara’s passing.  After all, I didn’t really know her; I’d only met her once.  I only knew her through her writing.  Despite this fact, I doubt if I’ve ever been as deeply moved by one’s writing as I have been by the words that flowed from Kara’s heart and soul onto the medium she first used which was her blog Mundane Faithfulness.  I bought her book, The Hardest Peace, and knew immediately I was reading the work of a dear saint, one born the same year as my daughter, one whom could speak to her generation and to mine with an authentic voice like one we seldom hear today.  Her voice, though representative a young woman from her generation, was also timeless.  When she “went home to be with Jesus after a long battle with breast cancer,” I was not shocked by her passing.  I knew it could come at any time.  Reading on Facebook that she had left us, I wanted to sit and feel the feelings and think the thoughts that I knew I would feel at her death, but I pressed on with my evening.  I read posts about her on Facebook.  I looked at her beautiful face on a picture that was posted.  I tried to read, then I finally picked up my journal and wrote.  

I know grief must be experienced for one to heal, but quite frankly, I didn’t want to grieve.  I didn’t want to go there.  I wrote in my journal, I have not completely allowed myself to feel the sorrow welling up inside because grief just doesn’t seem to be something I want to experience right now.  Grieving is hard work and it drains.  I’m already drained, so I’ll compose myself while my heart skips beats and bottle up my sorrow.  I’ll cry tomorrow - when I’m not so tired, so drained, when I can work grieving into that schedule that I don’t even have.  

Sometimes, grief is too hard, and sometimes we fear going to that place of feeling grief.  It can be very overwhelming.  Let’s face it.  I just didn’t want to go there.  Yet, I knew I need to feel a sense of acceptance about the passing of one I loved dearly and allow grief to do its work of healing in my heart and soul.
Why Was Kara So Loved by So Many?

She Was A Prodigal Saved by Grace

I, like thousands of others, loved Kara Tippetts.  She lived just blocks from my home, was a part of my church denomination, and I almost attended the church she and her husband were planting.  She was a very close friend of one of my dearest nieces.  When I wrote a blog post (Click to read the post) about Kara in January, I had over 11, 800 hits to my blog post in one day.  I was astounded by the numbers.  She literally had thousands of followers on her blog.

Kara & Cristy
Kara & Cristy at Kara's home, recent photo of Kara & Cristy, Cristy ministering to Kara by rubbing her feet with essential oils during chemotherapy to help prevent nausea.

I think that her readers loved Kara because her authenticity.  There was nothing opaque about Kara.  She was transparent in her brokenness, her struggle to find grace in the midst of her “hard.”  Her most cynical reader was wooed by her genuine acknowledgement that she endeavored to love the life she had with a grace that came from some source beyond Kara herself.  She drew the unbeliever in Christ or the one disappointed by life to her own dear heart which was owned by Jesus because she never preached or judged.  Instead, she pointed to the One that gave her the Grace to tell her story to whomever would read it.

I think Kara drew us because she was, like the rest of us, a prodigal.  She had once been very far from God.  She had been the flippant young teenager whom liked to party.  She drank, she used pot, she was rebellious.  She stood out in a crowd because of her stunning looks and personality.  I think there was always an authenticity to her even as a young rebellious teenager, and as a young believer in Christ.    When she heard about Jesus, she saw herself as she was: a sinner.  She turned and walked a new walk; one with Jesus pointing the way. She didn’t try to fit herself into some mold.  

She was humble.  She never tried to use good works to get to God.  No, not her.  She saw her sin and accepted God’s grace for it.  From then on, she sought grace with an expectant heart.  She was by her own words messy, broken, and in need of love and acceptance.  She found that in Jesus.  She never forgot her daily need for grace.

She Loved Life and Didn’t Want to Leave Her Loves

I can only imagine how Kara must have grieved over leaving Jason and her children and the work she and Jason had been called to do.  I think that is one reason I am so sad.  She wrote of how she loved just touching her feet against her husband’s feet while she was in bed.  She was young.  She should have had many more years of marital pleasure and companionship.  She was her husband’s perfect helpmate.  Why should he lose his vibrant, beautiful wife?

Then there is the matter of her littles - her loves, her four young children.  As I wrote this, I could not stop the tears.  My heart breaks for them.  As I thought about their loss, I want to shout the question, “Really, God?" 

We Are Not People of Despair
We Are People of Hope

As a Christian, I have questioned God before.  He can handle my questions, my doubts, my unbelief.  When my head has questions, I am grateful to know that deep in my soul, in my heart, in that place where God’s spirit speaks to mine, I have never doubted God and His Word.  I know beyond any shadow of doubt that my God is Sovereign. That belief has always given me comfort.  It has sustained me through everything I have experienced in my life.  My faith rests in a Sovereign God and His will for my life and for the lives of those I love.  

We, as Christians, are not a despairing people even as we look at the realities of life in this broken world in which we live, even when we lose a daughter to suicide, even when we lose a young mother to cancer.  We do not despair.  We are a people of hope.  We hope in the promises of God which were fulfilled in the Messiah, Jesus our Savior.  He is our Hope.  He is our Salvation.  When we come to Him knowing we are totally undone and lost without Him, He forgives our human failings and gives us love and acceptance.

Yesterday, in church, our pastor preached on the “grace of prayer.”  He said that most of us live our lives as practical atheists.  Sadly, he is right.  He made his point by saying, As Christians, many of us go through life as if we believed “Apart from God we can do most things,” rather than living a life that gives witness to our expressed belief that “Apart from God we can do nothing.”  

Kara, a prodigal saved by grace, lived her life fully demonstrating her belief in a Sovereign God upon Whom she was utterly dependent.  We loved her because she was faithful to trust in Jesus for the mundane.  Because of her faith, He in turn trusted her to do a mighty work in the lives of others. 
He broke her body and fed the multitudes with her words of praise for Jesus, the one that gave her grace in her brokenness.  Many were hungry for this message of hope, of grace, of peace, of trusting Jesus even in the hardest places of life.  Many tasted of the goodness of God while reading of the hard God was taking her through.  She wrote words that conveyed her life’s message:  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8 ESV)

Yesterday, on March 22, 2015, this dear one, Kara Tippetts, stepped out of this world and entered heaven.  I can just see her taking heaven by storm.  Her tears have already been wiped away by Jesus.  Her purpose on this life is complete, but she leaves such a great legacy of faith.  She has been claimed, her life redeemed, and she has been healed.  May it be so for all who loved her and took her words to heart.  May they also come to know the Jesus she loved.
Below, is a documentary trailer about her journey of faith. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

On Seventy ~ Reflections on Becoming a Septuagenarian

Last year about this time, a dear friend and I met to write.  We spoke of our upcoming seventieth birthdays.  We thought we should take the year to reflect on the milestone event that would soon be upon us.  What lessons would we learn as we approached the eighth decade of our lives?  What, if anything, could we learn about life before we became septuagenarians?

Having read many of May Sarton's journals over the years, I went in search of her book At Seventy: A Journal.  I knew I had read it before, but found I had gotten rid of it when we moved.  So, off to the library I went to find it for a re-reading.  Interestingly, I found little insight in this particular journal.  She did determine that during her seventieth year, she would journal for one entire year.  I thought I might try to do better than that.  I toyed with the idea of writing fifteen minutes a day for one year.  

We are now twenty-one days since my seventieth birthday.  Needless to say, I have not written everyday.  I have however had some reflections on reaching this milestone in life.

In At Seventy: A Journal,Sarton wrote, 
How is seventy different from sixty-five?  I don't see much difference, except that time accelerates.  The days go past with frightening rapidity, and so do the years.  It is plain that I am not ready for old age!  But then time does not stand still for old age I fear.  On the contrary, from all reports, it simply flies away, and that is what I am beginning to notice.  

Did her words ring true?
Is seventy different than sixty-five?
I thought I might take a look back.
What was my sixtieth birthday like?
Wow, talk about time accelerating.
My grandchildren were not teenagers when I was sixty.
Time simply flies away...
Mason was six and Hannah and Atticus were two.
I could hold the two younger ones in my arms.  Now they are all taller than I am.
I ventured up on the trampoline the day I turned sixty, just to see if I could still jump.
I could.
It is plain that I am not ready for old age! 
60th birthday
I was excited to turn sixty-five.
Having officially retired at age sixty-one, I was still working until sixty-five for insurance benefits.
At sixty-five, my medicare coverage kicked in and I was thrilled.
I felt good.
I was healthy.
True retirement was something I was looking forward to with great anticipation.
I had much I wanted to accomplish.
On the day of my sixty-fifth birthday, my high school girl friends gathered at my home.
It was a planned gathering that happened to occur on my birthday.
Here are some photos from that day.

The group photo, my photo at age sixty-five, and a few of the girls.

One cannot reflect upon reaching the eighth decade of life without remembering that dear ones have been lost along the way.
On that day of my sixty-fifth birthday, we could not know that
before the year was out, my girlfriends and I would lose Judy, our dearly loved classmate.
She had been fighting cancer, but she was well and looked so good that day.
In the photos above, she is sitting in the place of honor, the gold chair. 
Sadly, she did not reach the milestone the rest of reach this year of becoming

I also lost my dear daughter during my sixty-fith year.
She died three months after my birthday.
For half a decade, I have learned the meaning of bereavement.

At seventy, I am much different than I was at sixty-five. 

Mark Twain shared his wisdom at seventy:

I have achieved my seventy years in the usual way, by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else....I will offer here, as a sound maxim, this: That we can't reach old age by another man's road.
Mark Twain

My life was pretty simple in many ways until I hit sixty-five.
It was filled with some sorrow and disappointments, but mostly, I was quite pleased with the path my life had taken.
My children were grown and it seemed they had launched successfully.
I had just retired from a profession for which I still held great passion.
I thought I would continue to teach some, write some, travel some, and garden a lot.
Grief took away many of those plans.
In the past five years, I think I have come to think more deeply about what is most important in my life.
Also, I refuse to believe that just because I am seventy, I am old.

I prefer the following quote over Mark Twain's.

The first forty years of our life give the text, the next thirty furnish the commentary upon it, which enables us rightly to understand the true meaning and connection of the text with its moral and its beauties. 

The commentary on my first forty years won't be recorded here. 
(Let out a sigh of relief for that!)

At forty, would I ever believe I would be where I am today?
No, never in my wildest dreams would I have known what was in my future.
That is a good thing.
Along with the loss that I have suffered, I've know great joy.
I have been richly blessed.

As I reach seventy, I've learned I have treasures I always longed for when I was younger.

Today, I will touch on several treasures that only get better with age.

The Treasure of Friendship

There is great beauty in sharing the lives of those I knew before I knew much about life.
I made wonderful friends when I was a young, very naive teenager.
Now, the great gift of life is that I get to enter the eighth decade of my life with these dear women.
They gathered at my home last weekend.

Every time we get together, we hug on each other like long lost friends.
We laugh.
We share our stories.
We poke fun.
We encourage.
We know what we have is precious and rare.
We celebrate each other and the group.

This time we had several with us whom either have never joined us before, or live far away.
We have 50 years to catch up on with these few.
Kathy and Elaine, seen over the ham I cooked,
came early to sweep my doorway, 
set up tables,
keep me calm and focused,
and show me they are there to remember what I forgot.
We held a planning meeting so we could plan our big
Seventieth Birthday Party
that will be held in September.
We will go to Glenwood Springs, Colorado for three days of celebration.
I call our trip that we are planning 
Our Senior Trip.
The ladies heard of room rates, things to do, and dinner plans as we held our
Senior Meeting
in my living room.
Did I hear someone is bringing a case of white wine?
Someone else is bringing a case of red wine?
Watch out.
The true golden girls are getting ready to celebrate.

The Treasure of a Loving Husband

When my milestone birthday was drawing near, I knew I wanted to celebrate it in a special way.
I didn't want a party.
Who wants to clean the house?
My birthday falls on February 28, so it is not a good time for the children to come from out of state.
They have jobs and kids that keep them busy in February.
The weather is unpredictable.
Instead of a party, we decided we would go to Florida to celebrate my birthday.

I've known my husband as long as I've known the girlfriends whom I just wrote about.
Just like the laughter and the memories that I share with them, I share such wonderful memories of days gone by with my husband.
He has been that one that has always been there for me.
Even when I was a young woman, I knew the young man I first dated fifty-four years ago this week would make me laugh.
I knew he would always show me respect.
I knew he was one I could easily honor and respect.
I knew he would be a gentle, kind, understanding companion.
I knew he would give me a good life.
I just didn't marry this dear man until I was forty-seven years old.
Sometimes, youth makes one stupid.
Sometimes we get wiser with age.
At least, this man, the one I love, and I got together in the end.

Never would I have believed back in those days that at 70 Jim would be at my side.
Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that.
Thankfully, he is here with me.
At sixty-five, when my life turned upside down, he was there.

At seventy, we acted like a couple of kids at Disney's Magic Kingdom.
We walked around wide eyed and forgot that our bodies were aging.
We laughed ourselves silly on rides that we maybe shouldn't have ridden.
Thankfully, neither of us had a heart attack.
Jim took a selfie of us just before we went for one of those crazy rides.

On Valentine's Day, two weeks before I turned seventy, my love and I walked on Daytona Beach. 
Now here's something to celebrate:
We both are septuagenarians,
but we still love to have those romantic moments on the beach.

We met as teenagers, and we get to enter the last years of our lives together.
Life doesn't get any better than this.
A Valentine's Day Kiss
I'm learning this at seventy:

The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.
Irish Saying

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Amy ~ Beloved

my third child,
second daughter,
born right smack in the middle of my five children,
and forever will be,

Amy's name means
dearly loved.
The name is derived from the Latin amatus which means loved.

Amy was born five days after my twenty-ninth birthday.  She arrived via a frank breech birth three weeks after her expected birthdate which was February 14.  She recently said that I must not have enjoyed that twenty-ninth birthday much since I was long past my expected due date when her birth finally took place.  I don't remember not enjoying that birthday.  I only remember the joy I felt with the gift I was given five days later:  a beautiful baby girl.  That is why I chose the name for her that I did.

Amy, the one in the middle, had a hard role to play as a child. Born five and half years after her older brother, and four years after her older sister Keicha, she spent much of her younger years striving to be a part of the established sibling relationship between her two older siblings.  

She was the oldest of the three youngest.  There is less than a five year span between the three younger siblings.  Much of the time, Amy did not want to be in this group.  She wanted to be in the older group.  Since Amy, Julie and Jonathan were born in that span of a bit less than five years, Amy didn't get to be the baby very long.  She was the middle child from her earliest days.  

This dynamic in the birth order helped to create the woman that is Amy.  

She is a people person.
People love her.
That thousand watt smile of her's lights up every room she enters.

She is able to bring people together.
As I went through family photos, I was surprised to find how few photos I have of just Amy.
That is because she is always in the midst of her siblings, her cousins, her children.
(Well that, and she won't let me take her picture.)

Amy is easy to love.
She laughs easily.

I love this photo I snapped years ago when her daughter Hannah was just a baby because it captures Amy's love of whimsy, her easy laugh, and her joy at being a mom.

She cries just as easily as she laughs when things touch her heart.
Her heart is easily touched.
She can be tough,
but she also has the tenderest of hearts.

I'll be honest, it is not easy for me to write about Amy.
Too many people have called her my mini me.
She isn't really like me in many, many ways, but people say we look alike.  (I don't see it.)

Amy in the coat I wore when she was a baby.
Believe me, I never looked this good!
We have the same mannerisms, and she hates it.  
We sometimes see mirror images of ourselves in the other in the way we speak our body language.
That drives her crazy!
It makes me laugh with joy.
It is never a good thing to remind people of your mom.
That is a hard burden to put on any woman.

It is hard for me to write about Amy because of the deep bond we share.
We've had our share of very difficult mother/daughter conflicts.
Amy knows her own mind.
I know my own mind.
Amy is strong willed.
I am strong willed.
That combination made the teenage years difficult.

Just as I knew she would,
Amy successfully launched herself by supporting herself since she was just a teenager.
She married her high school sweetheart in her early twenties.
Together, they launched a successful restaurant.
Amy worked hard during those years waiting tables, keeping the books, and lending great insight into creating a restaurant that was was a success.
I hope Amy never forgets the key role she paid in the successes this couple had together before their marriage ended a few years ago.

Amy is a private person.
I respect that in her so much.
She is not one to display her trials and griefs for others to see.

There was a time, it doesn't really seem like that long ago, when our birthdays,
Amy and mine, were celebrated with Julie in our midst.

Celebrating our birthdays
Denver, Colorado
Amy and Julie were as close as any two sisters could be.

I can't imagine the heartache that Amy has suffered since Julie has been gone.
As I write a tribute to Amy on her birthday, I want to leave out the part that speaks of pain and loss.
I want us to all go to dinner again and celebrate our birthdays.

A tribute to Amy would be missing a key element if I did not acknowledge what a 
she was to Julie.
She took care of Julie during her hard times more than I will ever know.
Thank you Amy for being there for Julie.
I know she was there for you too.
Together, you two made an awesome sister team.

In many ways, Amy was born to be a mom.
She loves Mason her sixteen year old son as deeply as any mom can love a son.
She has supported him in all of his endeavors and has been that mom cheering in stands for him since his earliest days when he began playing hockey.

Amy & Mason with Buster
Where did those early childhood days go?

It seems Hannah was learning to read with her mom's help just a few years ago.
Now, Hannah at age twelve is taller than her mother and into make-up and making sure her mascara is applied just right.
Amy now gets to experience the trials of being a mom to teenagers.
Warning to her children:
She knows about the teenage years.

Amy, now a single mom, works hard to provide for herself and her children.
I worry and pray as she drive to her job in downtown Denver over icy roads in winter.
I try not to bug her about checking in when she gets home so I won't worry.
She is a valued employee in the human resources department of the company for which she works.
She is again working on her running after an ACL injury.
She bought herself a bike and is biking when she can.
Amy is an overcomer.
Her toughness comes through when it has to.


Amy, I hope you will always be my sounding board.
I know that isn't always fair to you to be in that position, but honestly, some the best advice I've ever gotten in my life, I gotten from you.
I guess many times I am also your sounding board.

As I wrote in your card this year,
You are much loved.

Together, we have been down roads we never wished we had to go down.
You have been by my side through much that life has thrown at me.
I've been at your side also.
I don't remember the sad and hard times when I think of you.
I remember that smile of yours.
I remember how it brightens my days and lightens my load.
I remember the gift that you have always been to me.

Did you know what your name is in the Urban Dictionary?
It means:
To take, hold, or steal your heart.
You did that on the day you were born.
You stole my heart.
The Urban Dictionary would say,
She pulled an amy on my heart.
My heart was amyied.

If you have the opportunity to meet my daughter,
watch out,
she will amy your heart
(Urban Dictionary phrase)

Amy, my beloved,
thank you for being my daughter.
My life is richly blessed because you are in it.
I love you dearly.
I hope you have a happy birthday.