Friends taking a look at the blog!


Answering Machine a blessing? Mona’s story.

         I had a best friend named Mona whom I lived one door down when I lived in New York. We lived on the end of the building and Mona and her kids lived one door down. This made for great times. Looking back, I truly felt for our next door neighbor that dealt with us screaming over the fences to one another.  In my late teens/early twenties, I would often go over to her house and just talk. She has two boys and one girl (which would happen to me years later,) that I was in awe of how she was raising them. Their father was in their lives but I spent more time with her and the kids. She loved to barbecue. My mother would say, as the screen door was open, “there they go again, barbecuing!” I would quickly run over with hotdogs or whatever I would want to barbecue as we really didn’t do that much barbequing until I met Billy. Yes, in the dead of winter, snow piled three feet high, she was barbecuing! She would scream over the fence for me to come over. And I did, every time. We started a friendship that I loved. When Billy and I got married, we of course, invited the whole clan. 

    I loved that red dress. That was her. We all had the best time at the wedding. At the end of the wedding, Billy and I were saying goodbye to our guests and then we looked at each other and said - um, how are we getting back to the house? We never made “those” arrangements. Thank God, Mona forgot something in the hall and saw us and said she would take us back to my mom’s house before we left on our honeymoon. Big dress and all, we all squeezed into the van. She also graciously offered to take us to the airport in Queens, New York. No short ride. As we were getting near the airport, she missed the exit and yes, she backed up on the highway and got off the right exit. Thought I was going to die before the honeymoon even started! 

    Fast forward to when I thought I was pregnant with my first born. I went to the doctors office to make sure I was pregnant, and got the news that I was indeed expecting my first born. Got  home to run over to her house to tell her first. She stood there with tears and we hugged and cried. Didn’t even tell Billy or my mom yet. That was the special relationship we had.

    Then it was time for us to move to Missouri. Days leading up to us leaving were awful. We would see each other on the sidewalk and just cry. The night before we left, we hugged so long and wouldn’t let go. The next day we were off  to Missouri to start a new life.

     I would send “snail mail” to her as I did not have a computer, pictures of the kids or at Christmas time that Christmas photo card with the kids in their Christmas outfits. I loved that she told me the picture was up on their refrigerator. Made me feel that she wasn’t going to forget us.

        We went back a couple of times but then there was a longer break between visits. I had Maria during the summer of 1996 and going back to New York proved harder with three little ones. It was May of the following year when I got a package from  Federal Express, from Mona. I was so excited to open it up and see she had gotten me an outfit for Maria, along with a hand written stationary card. The outfit was adorable and she also included pictures from her daughters college graduation the weekend prior. Looking at the photo, you are looking at it from her eyes as she took the picture.

    Still makes me smile that you know how proud she must have been to see all three of her children graduate from top schools as in Michigan State, Duke and University of North Carolina. Remember there was no applying to colleges online. I remember seeing all the stacks, upon stacks of papers, applications on the kitchen table. She was the super mom who did it all. Drove them with the rental truck to their college dorms, dropped them off and called to tell me how sad, yet proud she was of them.

    In her card she said that she will try not to let so much time go by before I hear back from her. I totally understood. Having three children now - I get it. I called around 6 o’clock that Friday evening and left her a message that said, I got her package and loved the outfit and card and how I loved the picture of the kids. I went on to say, not to worry about not getting back sooner and as I was ending my message, I said to her “I love you so much my friend, and we’ll talk soon!”

                 The next day, my sister called me at one in the afternoon with news that Mona had passed away last night.   I told her that was impossible as I got this gift and card and left her a message last night. My world stopped.    I was blessed to have gotten the chance to attend her funeral a few days later and my heart was crushed to see her children.              

        I was hugging her daughter and told her of the day I got the package and how I left her that message. She didn’t know what message I was talking about as their answering machine light was not on and there was no new messages. It was at that point, we had figured out that Mona had listened to my message  before she passed away. How blessed, how blessed was I that my friend heard the words “I love you my friend and we’ll talk soon” before she left this earth. Don’t you see, you never know when you do something that will affect your life forever. I take that blessing with me everyday. Every day I look at my two boys and one girl and think, would Mona say that or do that for her kids. 

     I love you Mona and miss you more everyday. You would be so proud of the way your children are now as adults. I know we will see each other again and I hope you are proud of the mom that I have become. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.


Friends that are LIKE family - wait - they ARE family!

     Over Memorial Day weekend, Billy, Maria and I went to the west coast of Florida to my cousin’s son’s wedding. Now, that would make us second cousins, I’m sure, but we don’t think of it that way as we ALL are just family. With that said, the days/weeks leading up to the wedding have been, to say the least, stressful. Truly nice to have something to look forward to attending. I truly believe that God puts those not so nice times whether it is regarding work, family, events before you go away as to make you stop and appreciate the time that was given you, to enjoy.  
     We were to arrive Friday and meet up with family at the hotel. Even that Friday morning we were running around packing the van, finishing laundry, buying food for the boys who stayed at home (and not to worry, they apparently had a good time while we were away!) Going over to the west coast via Highway 75 north - there is nothing to do but go straight. I mean really straight. As in, go ahead, put the car on autopilot and take a stinking nap because you seriously do not turn the wheel for 98 miles. It was at that time that Billy, Maria and I just started to relax, get excited about seeing everyone. God bless Facebook as we (family and friends that were attending the wedding) would leave posts on each other’s wall just saying how exciting and fun the weekend will be. Now unfortunately for most people, they would be afraid that the expectations would fall short. Not this group.

     The wedding was schedule for Sunday night so we had the whole weekend to spend with family and friends. We did so by hanging out on the beach, my cousin gave anyone who wanted a ride in his new boat and the rest hung out at the pool area. If you heard laughing, I guarantee it was coming from my family. It was so nice to just take that step back and enjoy each other’s company. We got to catch up on what is going on and it really did feel like we just saw each other last week when it had been probably been a year or two since we’ve seen each other. That’s what makes this family special to me. There’s no negativity that we’ve hadn’t seen each other or nasty shots at one another, it’s taking the situation and making the best out of it. And we did. Apparently there is a video out there of me “making the best out of the situation a bit too much!” 

My cousin, the groom, around one in the morning!

     Talk about letting your hair down. It was Saturday night and we all were around the pool area just laughing and having a good time when I talked to my other cousin’s wife and realized that I hadn’t really talked to her in the past. Now, that could have been uncomfortable but we didn’t skip a beat. Got into great conversations that lead myself and three other women to really letting down our hair. Stress, problems, worries - not here. The fact that my cousin who was getting married had his friends laughing and partying with us made it so much fun. Oh why not. I’ve said it before, you are in charge of your feelings, emotions and actions. I chose to have a good time and I sure did (well, maybe too good of a time……)

     Sunday comes (which we were still up when Sunday came apparently two thirty in the morning,) and God had given us another glorious day. Along the lines of you can’t make this stuff up, the wedding was to begin at six thirty in the evening. It was sunny all day but at six o’clock, it started to drizzle and the sky became dark. Being a faithful person, I started to pray and ask God, please don’t let it rain on their ceremony (which was outside of course, on the beach!) Now I would love to think it was MY prayer that worked but I’m sure there were a ton of people doing the same thing as when the clock hit six thirty and the groomsmen and bridesmaids came out, so the rain stopped and it was cool. No steamy sun or hot humid weather but perfect weather during the whole ceremony.

     As you can see the weather cleared up and the ceremony was beautiful. Cried like a baby. Looking around you could feel the warmth (no pun intended) of love and friendship all around. I truly felt that there was no difference between friends or family. The great part, it was mostly family that just had the best time as friends. Isn’t that what it’s all about? 

       Congrats Emily and Jeremy - may God continue to bless you now and forever. Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.