Yesterday Tina posted the following on Facebook.
“Today, I met the most beautiful and happy baby named Sophie. She is 1 and super friendly. Her mom was talking to Rob and Sonya and explained to them that her baby has Down Syndrome too. The mom was smiling and wiping back tears. It was an awesome interaction and you couldn’t help but smile. We are truly blessed to spend our lives with all 3 of our girls. I know Sophie will bless many lives too!”
People often times will tell Tina and I how lucky they think the girls are to have us. I’m not sure if people realize how blessed we are to have the girls in our lives.
I like to think when young moms, like the one Tina met yesterday, meet Sonya and Robyn or simply observe them in the world, they feel hopeful for the young child with down syndrome that they are raising.
Robyn & Sonya
All 3 of the ladies that live with us bring joy into this world that is unique to them. I can’t imagine what our lives or the planet would be like without them and without their uniqueness.
Every person has something to offer. Every person gives and receives love. Every person leaves their own special imprint on this world. As for Billie, Robyn and Sonya, they have left unique imprints on mine and Tina’s hearts. We will both be forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of their lives.
L – R Billie, Tina, me, Sonya, Robyn
As many of you know I began participating in the Susan G Komen 3 Day as a walker. And I did this in memory of my favorite Aunt…Kathleen Coffman. I walked for 3 years.
Sadly due to knees that could no longer handle the miles of training I had to stop…I thought my time of actively participating in this awesome event was over.
However, last year someone suggested I sign up for “Crew” as a member of Route Safety. I could ride my bike, and be involved. I followed that suggestion and this past weekend I (once again) felt like I was part of the solution.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to help others, make new friends, laugh, cry and sleep in a pink tent…As a member of the route safety team I got to be an important cog in the wheel of the 60 miles in 3 days
Route Safety…some of the crew
I captured many memories…but one moment stands out.
Day 3, after lunch, less than 4 miles to the finish, in pouring rain. I stood at the intersection of Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas…working with Chuck Kelley….helping walkers navigate an extremely busy intersection.
As I stood there in the shadow (metaphorically speaking) of the Texas School Book Depository and steps away from the site where President John F. Kennedy was shot, I thought of my Aunt Kathleen. The woman I loved so much…and still miss everyday. The first time she visited me in Texas, a visit to the Sixth Floor Museum was at the top of her to do list.
I stood there, cold, soaking wet, tired, and dreading the next several hours I would spend in wet clothes….when I remembered the fight my aunt waged against breast cancer, never giving up and always remaining positive…and I thought….this moment of discomfort will pass, my soreness will fade away and my feet will dry. But the fight so many women (and men) face, after being diagnosed with breast cancer…well that is serious and that is important…for them I need to stand in the rain, keep smiling and appreciate my opportunity to serve.
Sometimes in life we are lucky to meet people that bring nothing but sunshine into our lives. Tina and I have been blessed to know a person that fits this description perfectly. DJ was full of life. Her smile lit up every room she entered and her energy bounced off every wall.
When Tina was finishing up her degree as an RN, DJ (also an RN) encouraged her and cheered her on right through her nursing boards. And when Tina graduated DJ sent her an RN pendent.
DJ and her partner Monica are those people you want to spend more time with and every time Tina and I visited San Antonio we would make sure to meet up with them for dinner. Sadly the distance between us made it hard to spend more time together…but we still considered both of them some of our dearest friends.
Unfortunately that light that shined so brightly has now faded. We learned a few days ago that DJ was very ill and this afternoon we learned DJ lost a short but fierce battle with cancer. We are in shock. A person with so much life, so much love, so much energy…gone. It’s hard to understand how this is possible.
Our hearts are broken because we lost a dear friend and our hearts are so terribly broken for her partner Monica and the devastating loss she has experienced. Although we are saddened by this shocking loss, we are grateful that we will always be able to call DJ our friend and certainly grateful that we were given the opportunity to know such a good and loving person.
We will also choose to remember her smile and share with others the love she so freely gave to us.
Monica and DJ
Each year we have a Christmas party for the girls before they head home to visit with their families over the holiday. One of the girls will be leaving early this year for her family visit…so we celebrated Christmas a bit early.
Last year we started a “Christmas cookie baking” tradition with our friends Corey and Billy.
Robyn and Sonya supervise Corey
Billy, trying to decide which tool to use for smashing peppermint
Today we combined the events….cookie baking and decorating
Sonya, cookie decorator
Robyn, cookie decorator
as well as, Christmas party.
Robyn, Sonya and Billie enjoying gifts from their friend Ron
Sonya, Robyn, Corey and Billie
It was a full day of celebration!
Several years ago my friend Tom died…I still miss him.
Today his wife (Thanet) attended our Christmas party at work and participated in the white elephant gift exchange. I was first to select a gift and I happened to pick the gift Thanet brought.
Inside the gift bag was a monkey puppet.
First I was excited because I got a monkey puppet (Yes…I am a bit unusual!). Then, Thanet told me the monkey had belonged to Tom.
Tom volunteered as a clown at the local children’s hospital. When one of the other clowns retired she gave her “clown tools” to the other clowns. Tom got the monkey puppet.
I decided to name my new monkey puppet after my friend Tom (still deciding on a middle name)
Before Thanet left the office I asked if she was sure she wanted to give “Tom” away. She said that Tom (the monkey and her husband) had brought smiles to many faces and she thought Tom (the monkey) and I could bring smiles to many more. I think Tom (the monkey) and I have big shoes to fill.
I love my friend Thanet and miss my friend Tom.
I participated in an organized bike ride today with a couple of my friends. I completed my longest ride yet (60 miles). This ride was quite challenging….many, many hills. But the scenery was beautiful and I made it!!
Kelly, Me and Rachael
I took this “selfie” of me and Sonya this afternoon….right after she said “We are special together!”
Her profound statement made be smile!!
Me and Sonya
“Well, let me put that on your heart.” This comment came after a brief conversation about writing. I was visiting the founder and former Executive Director of GSI (my place of employment) at a local Hospice center.
As soon as I entered the room she introduced me to a few ladies I did not know and immediately started telling them about my blog. She mentioned that I post photos on one blog and I write on the other….”but you haven’t been writing much lately…you should start writing again.”
I explained that I had been thinking the same thing. I told her I missed writing and felt I needed to start focusing on it again. And she said…”Well, let me put that on your heart.”
And she did. All the way home I thought about writing.
I also thought about Colleen’s strength and the journey she is currently following.
In our field she is a very well known and well thought of person. She spent her career helping some of the most vulnerable people in our society. She protected the elderly from exploitive families and she assured each client was cared for with dignity and respect.
She is blessed to be surrounded by many people that care for her and love her. It is obvious that her visitor list fills up daily. It is also obvious that she is now in a vulnerable position. Yet I can’t help but think because of the goodness she shared in this world prior to her illness, she is now blanketed with love and kindness.
From the beginning of both my blogs I have felt honored that Colleen was an active follower. Today I learned she looks at Conversations Around the Tree every night. I’m not sure how to explain it, but there is a sense of comfort knowing that someone I respect and admire is out there carefully looking over my work and finding joy in what I post.
Knowing you will read this Colleen made it difficult yet fulfilling to write. Thank you for all you have done for this community, you have made it a better place.
And thank you for your ongoing support….I hope you realize your encouragement means the world to me. I will start writing again…and I will do it in your honor!
My Friend Billy
A Selfie – Me and My Buddy Corey
Sugar – Fresh From the Lake
Cee’s Black and White Challenge: Heads or Facial Features. Visit Cee’s page and see how others have interpreted this challenge.
How I spent my morning. I rode 30 miles with my friends. It was a pleasant morning and the rain held off until we finished.
Honey Tour 2015