Good morning! Thank you so much for your sweet comments about Melody. It is amazing to me how people relate to each other through common experiences even though they may not know each other personally.
Katherine at Yellow Rose Arbor, asked about the story behind the "twin blouses" in the blog posting from July 13. I love stories and connections. For those of you who may be interested, I will answer that question at the end of this.
With respect to sweet Melody and the family and friends who love her so dearly, I feel the need to say a few more things. Melody lived a life of influence, and I would never ever want to lower her or lead anyone to believe that I was her one and only true friend. Actually I have pondered across the time I've known her, if our paths would have intertwined had it not been for our son's friendship. Because of them I have been immensely blessed.
Melody still lived near her childhood home in the house that she and her husband purchased to update when they were married. They made a wonderful home full of memories. Melody was loved by her neighbors. She still had friends from her childhood. She'd been friends with dear Becky, a nurse, since the age of 2. Becky was able to accompany her to most of her treatments and appointments. Becky was a tremendous support to Melody and her family through all of this. I could go on and on about her sweet friend Becky.
Melody's family loved and supported her. Her parents and older brother and her in laws all live near by. Melody had remained in close contact with her 3 college roommates. They all lived out of state, but came back often to visit. Her next door neighbor from childhood called her almost daily. She had so many friends.
She and her husband had been part of a large Sunday School class since they were first married. This great group of loving support among many other things, provided meals almost daily through this past year and purchased a freezer for frozen meals too.
Work associates came and helped with house work and laundry. This was hard for someone who was always giving to others.
Melody loved to give gifts and do things for others. Traditions were extremely important to her.
She had a great PART TIME job with Rolls Royce and traveled internationally for them. This year was her 25th year of employment with them. She went on mission trips and taught 4-5 year old Sunday School. She sang in her church choir (approx 80 of them sang at her service...her robe and music was draped over her chair). She was the President of the Parent Teacher organization for the large High School from which she graduated and her teenagers attend. She volunteered in many capacities in her children's elementary schools. Her children were involved in sports and marching band. She never missed an event. Her husband recently finished a degree...she stayed up nights working on things while he studied so he wouldn't be up by himself.
She did not live her life to herself. You always knew how she stood on an issue. It was always black or white...never gray. She was a great public speaker. She spoke on Father's Day. Portions of that DVD were used at her funeral as her final message to all who would listen. It was captivating...inspirational.
It is estimated that 900 people attended her funeral. She was loved by those who were touched by her...family, neighbors, church associates, work associates, school volunteers, and the list goes on.
I truly meant it when I told her, "Thanks for being my friend."
So here is the story of the twin blouses: May 2008 our oldest children graduated high school. We (Melody and I) both showed up at Senior Awards night, wearing black and white. My blouse was solid white. Her blouse was beautiful. In jest I said, "Melody, if I'd have seen that blouse, I would have bought it first." She said, "Here you can have it." Of course I was kidding, and refused the offer to actually take her blouse though I did think it was very pretty. A couple of weeks later the day after her "actual diagnosis", she called me and said she'd been shopping. The store still had a blouse like hers and she'd bought one for me. She wore her blouse when she came to our son's graduation party that we had for his friends and she brought the one she'd purchased for me. Of course I put it on! Of course we had our picture taken! Of course I would show you! And so that's the story of the "twin blouses"!
If you've stayed with me to the end of this very long posting, thank you thank you so much. Those of you who read my blog that I know personally and those of you who read that I've become friends with through cyber world I just want you to know that the intent of this posting is so you could have a tiny glimpse into who Melody was. I don't want to weigh her down to just myself. She has friends who read this blog and I want them to know that I am thankful that they have touched my life too. I am so very very blessed to know you.
My life is richer for every experience the good and bad. My life is richer for every person I meet or know. I try to learn from every moment. I learned from Melody.
Many times, life is hard. But I hope through anything that I may have said today or before that I believe from the depths of who I am that if we seek it, we can find joy, we can find peace and we can have a thankful appreciative heart. Our heart may be broken, but we can have joy, peace and appreciation. Melody would agree!
And so life continues...the routine...the traditions...the experiences, both good and bad. And I seek in all I do to make a difference...to live a life of purpose and intent. When my life is over I don't want to look back with regret.
About 3 weeks ago Melody and her family had a group in their home to celebrate a couple of their children's birthdays. Our two sons along with another young man have been best friends for 10 years now.
That evening she pulled me into her bedroom and said she had something for me. Opening her closet she took out a box and said, "Here this is for you." I was thrilled and touched with her gesture of kindness. In the box was the plaque shown in the photo above. I find great joy in lighting the candles. It is a beautiful reminder as we come and go through the back door.
Melody loved to give gifts.
It was the last gift she gave me.
I hugged her and blinking back tears said,
"Thanks for being my friend too."
She hugged me back and then looking me straight in the eyes whispered,
"I will always." Melody had saved fabric from her bridesmaid's dresses 23 years ago, planning to have a special outfit made for their 25th wedding anniversary.
A few weeks ago she mentioned getting the fabric to me so I could make her funeral dress. Saturday, July 11, she told her husband to get the fabric from her hope chest and give it to me. They asked me to come up with a design. On Sunday when we talked about the dress, I promised her it would be perfect. On Wednesday, a beautiful round silver rhinestone necklace with the letters "MOM" lay right in this spot on the bodice. And so, that is all I could do for my friend, the last gift I will give her. As I have matured in life I have learned that when losses come like this, our friends and loved ones who are prepared move from our present to our future. I will see her again. Yes Melody, "I will always." Love, Rachel
One of our sons loves random trivia. He has several long lists of things that he has memorized such as the Periodic Table of Elements and all of the men who have won the Indianapolis 500 each year since the race began.
Today is his birthday. So he was quite pleased to inform me that...
...two times today the time and date will be 123456789. 12(hour) 34 (minutes) 56 (seconds) 7 (month) 8 (day) 9 (year)
I was thrilled for him that his birthday would have such randomness or trivial significance (*wink*) OR perfect order. He said it will never occur again. I'm sure he knows!
I'm just overjoyed that he's celebrating another birthday.
So however you spend your day, whether it's memorizing random trivia or weeding your garden or blowing out birthday candles, I hope it is wonderful!
P.S. Yes, I know none of the clocks in the office have the same time. There are 6 clocks in this room (we like clocks) and the only one with the correct time is the computer!
Are you enjoying fresh goodies from the garden yet? Yum! Crisp juicy green beans are so delicious! Can you believe how fast zucchini grows? It seems like it can grow inches per day. We had it in stir fry last night. Well and of course we had to eat one of them raw. Yes sirree, just munched it from top to bottom. It was a cool crisp summer blessing. What is your favorite way to cook or eat zucchini?
I hope y'all had a fun, safe and happy 4th of July. We enjoyed spectacular fireworks two nights in a row!
I wanted to participate in a worthy cause for abandoned animals. Kelee brought this to our attention a few weeks ago. She was sending out scarves with her adorable pooch's photo on it to those who requested to participate. All you had to do once you received the scarf, was decorate it and then take a photo of your dog or cat wearing it and send the photo to her. If she received 150 photos by today, then a sponsor would donate $2,000.00 to Design Gives Back. We don't have a dog or cat. She said that was fine. So I attempted to make a "hoody" complete with faux zebra stripes around the hood, for our son's pet ferret, Ivory. As you can see, I fell miserably short in this statement of fashion! I did not prepare myself for the fact that Ivory would pull her arms and legs and head all into a ball and enjoy a cozy little snuggle under her "tent"! I have some really funny photos of her walking around under the scarf or wiggling free from it. In an attempt to get a picture of her wearing it, I just had to pick her up and hold her like this. I think she enjoyed modeling for the photo shoot! Hey have a happy Monday and go visit Kelee at the link above and see some of the darling scarves made by other participants! Love, Rachel P.S. Just so I don't leave the wrong impression, I wanted you to know that the beautiful home with a romantic porch in the blog posting below belongs to a neighbor. I just love her red flowers and flag...so I used that picture for the 4th of July! *smile* Thanks for your warm wishes on the 4th !
Some neighbors are restoring an old house down the street. Isn't this staircase fabulous!
I think of something Henry David Thoreau once said, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success in unexpected ...in common hours."
Yes, that is it. Advancing one step at a time. Sometimes the circumstances of life seem impossible to overcome, but if we don't take another step, we will never achieve anything!
Do you relate to this?
P.S. Thank you for all the sweet comments about Stella's porch and water features.
Ah, here it is July 1st and I am almost panicked with the way summer is flying along. But I love the warm months of the year, so I am trying to slow down and savor each moment. Today I would like you to meet Stella and visit her sweet blog. She has a beautiful romantic porch loaded with flowers and water features. After a visit with her, I'm sure you would agree to sit and linger and savor the moments of the warm summer months too. Hey come along, maybe Stella would have us over for a little watermelon on July 4th. This is what she has to say about her lovely outdoor space.
" Although our front porch is where we greet our family and guests our back porch is where we live from early spring until the first frost sends us fleeing. The back porch is really two separate units connected by a walk. The first part is a covered patio and the second part is a wooden deck. By using similar colors on both they flow to together as one unit. This enables us to use the space in any weather because part of it is protected from the elements. My husband and I often have coffee there early in the morning and watch the sun touch the tops of the trees. In the evening we often have a drink and snack together while we feed the goldfish. Our family pets Max and Anne are always close at hand hoping we might drop a crumb or two. One of our greatest enjoyments are the two water features we constructed. One is a simple teakettle that drops its' stream into a small gravel basin. The second was made by stair stepping two barrels that feed into a pond where we have goldfish. Yes, the goldfish do have names. We also enjoy having our family and friends over for BBQ, lemonade and cookies, or something as simple as a watermelon feast.
I hope you enjoy our porch as much as we do."
Stella, thank you so much for taking time to share your lovely porch with all of us. Maybe we can take the chance to drop by your blog to see more! Your porch is beautiful and lush with all of your gorgeous flowers. It is truly a romantic porch! I really think your hanging "candle chandy" is quite stunning and romantic also!
P.S. Thank you sweet friends for your sweet anniversary comments and sharing your wedding memories too. I'm trying to get around to each one of you to thank you personally. I appreciated it so much.