I had a visit this week from a lady that has been a major influence in my life as long as I have known her. My mother loved her, and they had a special relationship. Mom always thought she was the epitome of good taste and decorum. I can hear her saying, “JK says that this is the way to do it.” Or, “I asked JK, and she said it was perfectly alright!” She left details of my wedding up to her, because she trusted her so. I feel sure she did Joy’s also, but I don’t remember that…I had moved away by then.

She used to have a very elegant gift shop and bridal registry in our town. It was always a pleasure to shop there. I remember once, when we had moved into the home we lived in for 30 years, I had a fireplace for the first time. I went to her, and she helped me figure out just what I could do to decorate the mantle. I bought 2 paper mache carollers to put on one end, and she told me just how to fix the other end with candles and some garland. It was Christmas, and she was very busy, and I was certainly not a shopper who could spend much money. No matter…she saw to it that I knew exactly what to do to fix up my mantle! She knew it was important to me, and therefore, it was important to her. My tastes have changed over the years, and as I aged, I became more confident in my own choices. I still have these, though…and they are among my treasures. I have never forgotten her kindness to me then…and through the years, it would come back to me. Only later did I begin to learn the lesson that it taught. And, I have tried to do the same for younger women I come in contact with. It is all about finding out what is important to someone, and helping to meet that need. It may not always be material things, it may just be time. Or it may be cleaning house, though that is not an area I excel in…I can still do it! Or helping someone plan a party, or helping them decide how to decorate their house. If we have talents in certain areas…it is because they are God-given. We didn’t create them…they are a gift. Now we can certainly improve our talents, but to not use them at all is not an option. That could make an excellent parable, don’t you think? Hmmmmmm…At that time for me, it was about decorating a pretty mantle in my new home. She met my need. I still have the carollers…and I still have the memory…and I still try to follow that example.

She became very instrumental in my boy’s lives and Adam, especially, has always looked to her as being full of wisdom and a wise and Godly council. Alex and Ian think her very dear as well. She has always been a person I could count on as a strength and support thru whatever crisis I was in at the time. At this point in my life, especially since losing Mom, her friendship means even more. She was part of our ‘family’ at Mom’s funeral.

SO…she came to see me last week, along with her SIL, and brought me a house warming gift. I think she had to do some ‘sweet talking’ to be able to purchase these. But, I do not know who could resist her sweet smile. Here is a picture of the ornaments she brought me.

Aren’t they beautiful? I can hardly wait to put them in a special place on my tree. But, I didn’t want to put them away, so I looked for a place to hang them in the mean time. AHA! My eyes lit upon my manzanita branches. Now, I have been told by several ‘friends’ and family to “Please, get rid of those spiky trees!” Don’t plan to, though, I love the structure and architecture of them. I have, however, found a place for them in the library, that is out of the way. So, if they bother anyone where they are now…it’s your own fault! I took my acorn ornaments and hung them on these branches. And, I love to see them hanging there. Looking out the window, it is evident that fall is here, and inside, these little acorns carry that theme as well. However, as soon as I get a tree, they will move over and grace it with their beauty.

Because I did not ask permission, I will not use her name. But, she knows who I am talking about…and she knows she is loved by this family. She has been blessed with many gifts that she shares selflessly. Her gift of encouragement has blessed me more times than I can count.

Friends. There is no greater blessing, or joy. Thank you, my friend, for your visit, for the beautiful ornaments…but, most of all, for your friendship. I treasure you and the love you have always shown to me and my family.