Flickr
Subscribe to our RSS Feeds
Blog Index
Navigation
Thursday
Aug112011

Goodbye My Funny Forever Friend

One of the greatest joys of living a full life is having terrific,  loving,  long time friends.   The flip side of that is there comes a day when we have to say goodbye.   This week I have experienced that for the first time,  with a Forever friend.   I will tell you honestly....it sucks.   She taught me to say it like that....
Each friend brings a different quality to your life.   Each friend is a gift in their own unique way.   The friendship grows and because so comfortable,  like a down quilt on a winter’s day.    Jeannette brought so many gifts to my life.
Strange because I would not have thought we would have become friends at all.   We came from similar backgrounds but over our lives we move forward in different directions.  That was never a problem for us.   We loved because we never saw our differences.   All we saw was the good times,  the caring and the sharing.   Mostly we shared laughter and a common goal of weight loss.   
I first meet Jeannette almost 30 years ago.   She became my inspiration as I struggled with my weight.   She had lost 190 pounds to become an International Queen in an organization called Tops.   I was new,  just starting my weight loss journey and she became my mentor.   Then I became a Queen with  my weight loss.   This is a unique group we were in.  Both losing over 100 pounds joined us at the hip and we never looked back.  Years later when Jeannette suffered health problems she lost her title of Queen in the Tops world but never in my World.   She never stopped encouraging me and she was my champion all these many years.   Never jealous or envious just always supportive and genuinely gleeful for every year that I kept my status.   A few years ago Jeannette started to fail and she became wheel chair bound and it was not only difficult for her to get out but very painful.  But as I received my 25th year Medallion for maintaining my weight loss....I looked out as I stood on that stage and their was my most loving friend sitting in front of me,  in her wheelchair,  beaming for me.   I know what it took her to get herself there.
That’s a big piece of my World with Jeannette.   It’s does not define her though.
If your lucky enough in your life time you will come across someone who is so genuine and  honest that they make you a better person just by being in their presence.  That was Jeannette.  I don’t know of another person who gave from the heart,  even though she had nothing,  told it like it was,  even when you didn’t want to hear it, and blessed you with kind and loving words so often that you believed they were true.   That also was a big piece of my world with Jeannette, but that did not define her.
For me,  what defined her,  what brought me to her in the beginning and what I will miss most is her laughter and her gift for teaching me how to get in trouble and get away with it.   No one on this planet has made me laugh until tears were streaming down our faces and we were both  holding on so we wouldn’t pee our pants (and sometimes we did).   This was not a rare occurrence,  it was a daily occurrence.   We have gotten in more trouble,  gotten away with more crap and people still shake their heads at what we would do.   It’s amazing we never got arrested although  we came close a few times.  We would set each other up and so as not to look bad in each other’s eyes....we would be off and running.   We were a team,  the two of us.   Funny though,  everybody wanted to be where we were.   That is what defines my friend.   That is what my World was with Jeannette.   I will miss her laughter most of all.   I think she is laughing now as I write this and I’m sure she has turned Heaven upside down.  Sweet Jesus,  I told you to get ready for her.
It’s at times like this and with a friend like this,  that I realize that life is never about the mundane or the social status one dwells in.   We were as different as could be in so many ways but in more ways, we were alike.   Each time we saw each other,  even on that very last day,  when I entered her hospital room,  she lifted her poor tired face for a kiss.   Even on that last day we shared stories,  made promises to each other, whispered I love you over and over and one last time we laughed.
Rest in peace my Funny Forever Friend.   No longer will I push you in your chair...but I will forever carry you in heart.
 
August 11, 2011
11 Comments :
Darlene
That is so sad and yet you both had such a great life as friends and loved each other so much. The kind of friendship you had is something a lot of people never ever have, and for that you were greatly blessed. I am so sorry for your loss.
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 04:41 PM
Anonymous
How blessed you both were to have each other as friends for such a long time, but that must make the parting that much more painful. I am so sorry to hear of Jeannette's passing GF; she will always be in your heart but how you will miss her. I love this pic of the two of you & your description of your relationship over the years - what a pair of hooligans... wonderful! I hope that the love of your other friends, family & grandchild will help ease the loss.
Loveya! Gxx
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 05:10 PM
Chris AKA Broken Ankle (my native name;)
This is a tribute of a loveing friend. Sisters of the heart. I am not alone knowing you are among the BPOE. Now make your friend proud and go get in trouble. 
Love you girl.
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 05:51 PM
mary your friend
sweetie I am sure you were a light in her life as you are mine..don't know what I would do without you..you will miss her and she will be watching over you..memories are all we have sometime and they are what keeps us going and makes us smile,,and you will smile when ever you think of her...
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 07:33 PM
Ken Yuel
What a beautiful story Cheryl, I can't help but think of the joy and happiness you brought to Jeannette, yes she is now gone but the memories you have will last a lifetime.  It is always sad when you have to say goodbye to a loved one and cherished friend, but rest easy knowing Jeannette left you with a smile on her face, that is the effect you have on so many, I should know because you have always made me smile......
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 08:06 PM
A Shared Light
Cheryl,
I am so honored that you were a part of my mom's life. She was very fortunate to have such a wonderful friend. I know you meant the world to her and you personally told me that she was a bright light in yours and this picture and story is proof. 
She talked about you constantly and I have only heard a small number of stories and I am sure it was because I would say "Maaa you two are nuts" or " I am glad I wasn't there I would have been mortified"..and that would make her laugh even harder and louder. Probably because it was reassuring proof that she pulled off another one yet again, on the edge ever so close to crossing it and getting away with it. She would be proud of the two of you and what you did. 
I must admit I was crying my eyes out at the beginning when I started reading this wonderful tribute and ending up smiling. 
Thank you Cheryl for all your love and support and all that you did for her spirit, light and life.
Love you always,
Regina
Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 09:37 PM
Jeannette's neice
Hi Cheryl,
That is such a great write up - so real.  Remember YOU were a very big light in Auntie's world as well.  Thank you so much for this great rememberence.
Even though I could never love Fudruckers as much as you two - I did really enjoy going with Auntie because SHE enjoyed it so much.  All the while I was there she would talk about how you two loved this place.  Let's you and I go one of these days in memory of Auntie.
Love and appreciation,
Joyce
Monday, August 15, 2011 - 07:54 PM
Cheryl
You name the day Joyce and we will go.   Thanks for visiting and thanks for your wonderful comment.   She would have loved your "wonderful" true story.   It was "priceless".   xoxo
Monday, August 15, 2011 - 08:59 PM
Cheryl
To all of you,   my wonderful loving friends and contacts,  I send thanks for your kind words,  your understanding of my sadness and your ability to reach out when I needed you most.  
You all make the difficult times bearable and make the moving on easier.
I am blessed in the love of all of you and I return it to you fully.
Monday, August 15, 2011 - 09:01 PM
Esther
Cheryl, what a beautiful tribute to an obviously fabulous friend and person.  I wish I had known her but I'm very glad to have you for a friend.  You have a wonderful gift with words.  Keep it up.
Friday, August 19, 2011 - 08:39 PM
Cheryl
Thank you Esther for visiting and for your kind words   It's friends like you and Jeannette that make my life a joy everyday.
xoxo
Friday, August 19, 2011 - 09:45 PM
Add a Comment 
 
 

 

Tuesday
Aug092011

Maine...Our favorite place to be. Peace and joy always

I sit in Maine with the sun shinning and the heat bug singing to me and I write.   I have been wanting to do this blog for some time and have just never stopped to learn how and then to post.   This year I said that I would learn several new things and now here I am working on my blog.   Maine seems like the right place to be doing this.   The sounds of summer are out my bedroom door yet it is quiet and peaceful.   A good place for learning and of executing the lessons.
I did start this last year.   It was at the end of Jenna’s pregnancy with Liam and as I started again I was going to erase that only entry.   Then I read it and it seemed right to leave it as I didn’t want to forget about that very special time so I’ve left it on the Blog.  After all,   a blog for me,  is about my history and about my life as I move forward.   They can be mixed together and so it’s not really a new start,  just the moving forward start.   I can actually use the time since that event to my advantage and say that this is just now evolving because I was so busy loving Liam to work on it.   Maybe that is partly true but not entirely.
So for me I will post to this when something really exciting happens or when nothing exciting at all is happening.   I will share whatever stirs me at the moment with all who want to read about my life.   I will also be posting photo's here to share and inspire,   I hope.   Inspire you to pick up a camera and look at the world a bit closer and with greater appreciation for what we are blessed to have in our world.   A world worth saving.   
Travel events will also show up here.   It will be so much easier to blog than to write a travel journal and I’ll be able to post those photo’s right away.   I’m excited about this part of my blog.   
And of course over the years I will blog and brag about Liam and hopefully those that come behind him.   Right now he has taken over our lives with love and happiness.   We are fortunate to have him 3 days a week and we have bonded into a nice trio, Liam, Papa and Nana.   Everyday he makes us smiles and sometimes outright giggle.   What a gift he is.
And maybe if Jenna and Chris don’t mind I’ll even share a bit of what they are up to.   I could not ask for better kids EVER.   The loves of my life.   I am never happier than when all my chicks are home.   We are unique in a way that we love each other and work for the common good of our family.   We know how precious this life is and we don’t take that for granted so for the most part we don’t do “petty”.   None of us are perfect but we are moving through this life together.   That is blessing.
So pull up a chair,  grab a cup of tea and come on over.   My house/blog is always open and if you hit it just right you might find something new here.   I’ll be posting all about my favorite things.
It is summer,  the best one in years.   I am in Maine with Jim and so I will leave you now in favor of lunch on the deck,  facing Mt.  Washington,  with my favorite girl on my lap.  I’m assuming you have all meet Gracie
Wishing you all the sights and sounds of summer as you travel 
through your day.

I sit in Maine with the sun shinning and the heat bug singing to me and I write.   I have been wanting to do this blog for some time and have just never stopped to learn how and then to post.   This year I said that I would learn several new things and now here I am working on my blog.   Maine seems like the right place to be doing this.   The sounds of summer are out my bedroom door yet it is quiet and peaceful.   A good place for learning and of executing the lessons.
I did start this last year.   It was at the end of Jenna’s pregnancy with Liam and as I started again I was going to erase that only entry.   Then I read it and it seemed right to leave it as I didn’t want to forget about that very special time so I’ve left it on the Blog.  After all,   a blog for me,  is about my history and about my life as I move forward.   They can be mixed together and so it’s not really a new start,  just the moving forward start.   I can actually use the time since that event to my advantage and say that this is just now evolving because I was so busy loving Liam to work on it.   Maybe that is partly true but not entirely.
So for me I will post to this when something really exciting happens or when nothing exciting at all is happening.   I will share whatever stirs me at the moment with all who want to read about my life.   I will also be posting photo's here to share and inspire,   I hope.   Inspire you to pick up a camera and look at the world a bit closer and with greater appreciation for what we are blessed to have in our world.   A world worth saving.   
Travel events will also show up here.   It will be so much easier to blog than to write a travel journal and I’ll be able to post those photo’s right away.   I’m excited about this part of my blog.   
And of course over the years I will blog and brag about Liam and hopefully those that come behind him.   Right now he has taken over our lives with love and happiness.   We are fortunate to have him 3 days a week and we have bonded into a nice trio, Liam, Papa and Nana.   Everyday he makes us smiles and sometimes outright giggle.   What a gift he is.
And maybe if Jenna and Chris don’t mind I’ll even share a bit of what they are up to.   I could not ask for better kids EVER.   The loves of my life.   I am never happier than when all my chicks are home.   We are unique in a way that we love each other and work for the common good of our family.   We know how precious this life is and we don’t take that for granted so for the most part we don’t do “petty”.   None of us are perfect but we are moving through this life together.   That is blessing.
So pull up a chair,  grab a cup of tea and come on over.   My house/blog is always open and if you hit it just right you might find something new here.   I’ll be posting all about my favorite things.
It is summer,  the best one in years.   I am in Maine with Jim and so I will leave you now in favor of lunch on the deck,  facing Mt.  Washington,  with my favorite girl on my lap.  I’m assuming you have all meet GracieWishing you all the sights and sounds of summer as you travel through your day.

Monday
May302011

Tea With Liam


A few weeks back Liam had a particularly bad day,  which turned into several bad days.   He got sick quite suddenly and had to go to the hospital for a bit of time and have some nasty old tests.   He was such a brave boy and I think all of us adults felt equally as bad as Liam did.
A week after he came back to my house for his regular routine,   I was trying to think of something fun and exciting for him to do.   Something that might cheer him up as he still had a yukky cold and had not been out much so I knew that we should take a walk and get a bit of fresh air.   Then it hit me,  what makes everything all better.  What lifts the spirit of all who are tired,  troubled or just plain bored.   Why a good cup of tea.
Initially,   I thought he might not like that as he would have to sit still and behave properly so my first thought was to just venture on down to the tea shop and play it by ear.
It was a gorgeous day out and Liam was quite happy to be in his carriage just enjoying the sights and the fresh air.   We stopped to look at the squirrels running in circles very fast.   Then we stopped to smell the flowers.   Lilacs were our favorite and Liam picked a stem to bring home to his Mommy.   It was  a really pleasant walk down and we chatted all the way.
Liam was feeling more like his old self,  happy to go into the tea shop and have a little look around.   As you can see from the photo on the top of the page he checked out a few items,  which were pretty fragile but he was careful and I, along with one of the shop keepers were keeping a good eye out on him.   She was actually driving me nuts.   I think she had to much time on her hands.   
Then I said “what the heck”,  it’s Liam’s snack time and of course I was dying for a cuppa so I thought I would take my chances and I brought him into the tea room.   They gave him a nice chair and we took a seat by the window,  which afforded us a view of the yard with birds in the trees and they absolutely delighted Liam.   Now Liam does love tea,  he has his own mug at my house you know,  but since he was still not 100% I thought he might have his juice,  which we brought with us.   I ordered us a scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam and Lil Man got the sugar cookies in the shape of a tea pot.   When it all came to the table it looked lovely and the tea was just perfect.   Let me tell you when you want to be uplifted,  nourished to your soul and just simply feel civilized have yourself a cup of real  tea.  Oh not one of those tea bags dipped in hot water,  you need loose tea with boiling water from a tea pot, with milk and don’t make it skimmed.  
Of course the scones were wonderful,  cranberry ginger this day and there is nothing nicer than cream and jam in the middle.   I’m always amazed that some folks don’t really know how to eat a scones.   Once a year I have a big tea party at Christmas for all my girlfriends and every year I have to teach one of them (again) how to prepare their scones.   Most of them have the technique down by now.   Liam enjoyed his cookie and had a tiny piece of the scones.   What a wonderful mid-week treat for the two of us.   
Our time at the tea house was well spent.   Liam was the perfect gentleman,  as I knew he would be.   He loved it,  as did I and I am in love with my new tea partner.   Take a date to tea,  you never know,  you might fall in love also.
Here’s to tea and great company.   I’m sure Lil Man and I will be visiting the Wenham Tea House again soon and hopefully for many years to come.   I have taken his Uncle and his Mom here many times.   This is where Jenna had here wedding shower.   It is nice to be able to do this again for another generation.   The tradition continues.
Oh and speaking of falling in love and great company be sure to check out the “Babe” that was at the next table.   Liam was quite interested in her as well as she was in him.......only at the tea house.   Just saying...
Have a pleasant week my friends.
 

 

Thursday
Apr212011

This is George...We met in England


Moving through life we all have days when we walk into the world not knowing exactly where we are going or how we are going to get there.  Along the way we cross paths with many people and sometimes small furry things.
Not always having been treated with kindness myself,  I have, over the years tried my best to be Kind to all living things.   Not to say that I have always been successful in that endeavor but more and more as I age I realized that Kindness really matters.   You never know how your words,  actions and deeds can affect someone or even something.   So it’s always important to try your best.
When I started taking photographs,   I kept that thought in mind.   I would take what pleased me,  hoping in some way that an image,  when seen by another,  would strike a feeling in them of joy or peace.   Maybe a bit of nostalgia.   Whatever.   The main thing is I always wanted to express the good and the beauty in what I was shooting.  Through the lens I have been blessed with so much beauty that for years I had not noticed.    Over the years many people have commented on my good work and some have even honored me with purchasing some of my prints.   And each time there was the story of what that particular image did for them.     It always tickled me when a purchase was made and I felt like a kid in a candy shop just thinking that “they liked my work”.   Maybe I was getting to  where I wanted to go.   Hopefully I was making a difference in someone’s life.  
The other day I got a letter from England...I thought it was from a friend that I have there.   It wasn’t.   It was a letter that set my heart to fluttering.   A letter that I will keep forever.   It was a note to me from a lady that I had meet in 2001.   We had stayed at her Bed and Breakfast,  The May Cottage, in Thruxton England that June.   My Mom had died in Feb.  and my brother the year before.   When you are grieving, England is a wonderful retreat.  Such beauty abounds,  especially in this tiny,  thatched roof village.  Straight out of a Dickens novel.
So this is where I meet George,  the family cat.   Usually I am not a cat person but George had a way of presenting himself that was hard to resist.   I think he had a very high opinion of himself and thought that everyone should not only tolerate him but love him.   He would come to our room each day  and sit on the window sill.   Quite nice window sills in the cottage,  perfect for cat sitting.   It was raining on this particular day and George decided to come and stay with us.   So as he sat in the window,  being all Princely,   I took his photo.   He was very pretty,  orange in color,  with big green eyes and such a straight back.   He sat straight up,   just as all Royals do.   He posed for me better than most people would.   So when I returned home, I had the film developed and their was George,  sassy as could be.   I sent a thank you  to our host for such a wonderful stay at the B&B and then I included a photo of George.  Not long after that note went out I got a call from Fiona, George’s owner,  telling me how much she loved George’s photo.   It was the best she had ever seen of him and of course I was  just thrilled to bits with the compliment.   
Well, I thought,  that’s really  nice and stored that memory away..  Ten years later. through the Royal Post,  another letter comes and it goes like this:
Dear Cheryl,
You may remember that you stayed with us in June of 2001.  You took, and sent to us,  the most wonderful photo of George,  our ginger tom cat.  
Sadly he joined his feline cousins in the sky last July aged almost 15 years.  We have had a commemorative oak plaque made up, with the image from your photo etched into the wood.  He is resting in a sunny corner of our back yard where he keeps a beady on the feathered and human population alike!!!
We have always treasured that photograph and wanted to let you know. 
She goes on with news of her husband who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s but yet in her trying times she takes a moment to remember me and my photo and then she writes me.    In the end,  she says they would love it if I could drop them an email with our news if we have a spare moment.  
To say I was surprised by my letter is an understatement. To not only have someone remember me from 10 years ago, but to also be moved and to  love my photo enough to have it engraved on a plaque for  eternity in memory of their beloved cat just makes me so humble.   It also reaffirms for me that Kindness really does matter.    A simple photo on a rainy day made a lasting and loving impressive on this kitty’s parents.    
There is a saying that goes like this..”.people won’t always remember what you say but they will always  remember how you made them feel.”   In return you always get back way more than you gave.
So my friends,   when you go out on your own path,  try in every word,  jester, smile, hug and deed,  to make someone feel special.   That’s really all any of us need or want.   Just to be validated.
In the meantime,   I’ll just keep taking photo’s of all the beauty that surrounds me each day.   Maybe the next capture will win me a spot in National Geographic.   
Love what you do and do what you love.....Blessings and Happy Easter.
 

 

Friday
Dec242010

The Magic of Christmas 

It has started.  It always starts the same way.   Mid afternoon on a Christmas eve day Magic creeps into my house like a shy little mouse.   Creeping along slowly but surely and I pause to listen and to feel.   Yes, it’s true it’s happening again.  Only this year the feeling is stronger than it has been for many years.   It has started and it will continue to grow with a sweet calling,  a calling to me to give thanks,  once again, for the Magic that is Christmas.
It has always been this way for me.   Ever since I was a tiny little girl,  first realizing what Christmas was all about.   I remember being in the play at church and always being some animal.   I never got to be Mary.   I wondered about that then,  now I know why that roll was never given to me.   But still,  just to be a part of that scene was really all I cared about.   Actually,  I liked the cookies and the candy canes we got after the service was over.   
Then I remember walking home through the Salem Common,  in the cold and snow,  we didn’t have a car and knowing that when I got home the magic would have already started.   I knew it instantly when I walked through the door of my Nani’s apartment.   The smells were palatable.   Pumpkin,  spices and all the ingredients of her famous Tomato Soup cake.   You only got it at Christmas and it had real Cream Cheese frosting.  I couldn’t wait to get a taste of that.   My favorite Christmas treat.   But not tonight.....tomorrow.  And if you even dared to try and touch it,  she would crack your hands.
It was the only night of the year that I didn’t  mind bedtime.   I figured the quicker I got to bed the quicker tomorrow would come.   I could feel that magic feeling getting stronger by the minute.   The darker it got the stronger and more excited I got.   I would lay in my bed,  happy as could be,  knowing that good things were going to happen.  You see,  we didn’t get things all year long,  my Mom didn’t have the money,  but some how,  she performed a miracle each Christmas morning.   The four of us would wake up,  run into the den,  no living room then,  and there on the chair, would be my Christmas gifts.   Two items of clothing and two toys.   My world was complete.  Oh and I should tell you about my stocking.   It always had an orange and something from Avon in it.   I thought that was so special.   
As I grew older and had my own house and children the magic never went away.   As a matter of fact it intensified.   All month long I would decorate,  cook,  shop and enjoy my children,  thinking of the excitement once again of a Christmas morning.   But how could it compete with the joy of being a kid in my Mom’s house.  Of the one waiting for Santa and getting the toys and smelling that Tomato soup cake.   How could it ever be That good again.   But it was even more magical and special.   You see this is when I learned the real lessons of giving.   It wasn’t about me and Santa and my Mom anymore,  it was about me and Santa and my kids.   It was about the real joy.  The joy of giving to my kids.  The magic now came in their little faces on Christmas morning.   It was watching them go through the season full of excitement and 
expectation.   It was about the lesson of love each year,  when after all the gifts were wrapped,  all the food was cooked and  both of the kids were in bed ,  dreaming of sugar plums that I would feel the Magic in my house.
I would sit on my couch,  in my living room.  Peaceful and quiet and a fire in the fireplace.   The air changed,  spirits entered and I knew,   Christmas was here for sure.   It surrounded me,  this Magic.   I was a believer and I knew deep in my soul that the Gift was arriving.  It was here,  in my heart.   I felt joy like at no other time.   And a tradition was started.     For more than 25 years, every Christmas eve after the kids are gone to bed,  to this very day,  when the Magic enters , Jim and I dance.   We dance to Kenny Rogers Greatest Gift of All.   That is my magic and my gift.   The words express everything I feel and to me it is the true spirit of Christmas.   
Now,  we have the Magic and the Miracle of Liam.   He brings a renewed joy to our house.  He brings the magic back in a different form.   He is love and that is  what this season is all about.   It’s what every day should be about.   I hope as he moves through his life,  with his Mom and Dad,  that he to,  will feel the magic of Christmas in the air on Christmas eve as it slowly builds and then culminates on Christmas Day.   I hope that he will take a moment to sit and be still and to listen to the joy that is in his heart,  because you see,  that is really where the Magic comes from.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a very Magical Goodnight.   
 
December 24, 2010
2 Comments 
Holly
Your writings are beautiful, and I want to thank you for the joy you bring to my heart each time I read one. I am so blessed to have you as a friend in my life. Merry, Merry Christmas...xo
Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 08:49 PM
Cheryl
Thanks Holly.   You are a most favorite and faithful friend.   I hope your day was perfect.  I love you and will see you soon.
Sunday, December 26, 2010 - 07:02 PM