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Monday, January 25, 2016

intentions and reality



I had every intention of starting the year off by posting more often. Your suggestions in the comment section of my last post have been wonderful, inspiring and some, very funny ;) I thank you so much for every one.  You have given me some great ideas for things to "talk" about with you.  
Thank you. 

But, as life is known to do, even with the best of intentions things do not always work out as planned.  A dear friend of ours died suddenly several weeks ago.  Myself along with two other women have helped her husband plan her memorial, her reception, and a private celebration for 75 close friends and family at their home .
She and her husband moved into the neighborhood several years ago; they hired me to help them renovate their kitchen/gathering room and sun room in their gorgeous 18th century home.  During this process which has been going on for almost a year now they have both become very dear friends of ours.  

My friend was a joy in my life, as a friend and as a client.  She never missed an opportunity to tell me how much she loved her new kitchen and about all the compliments that she received on it and she never missed an opportunity to tell me she loved me.  
I can still hear her saying "Joan will make it beautiful" which she said many times over the course of the renovation whenever there was an issue or a problem.  It was always such a gift to me to hear as it meant she trusted me and knew I would fight hard to make it right and make her house her dream which only made me want to work that much harder.  It was my honor and truly my pleasure to turn her vision into a space that she loved.  Her husbands response to all final decisions was "Whatever makes my wife happy!"  I had the honor of planning the private reception at her home in the kitchen that we designed together using my antique and vintage hotel silver, vintage cake stands, antique white English ironstone along with gorgeous flowers brought from the church reception.  I desperately wanted to make it beautiful, one last time, for my dear friend who trusted me so much.  Her husband and several lovely people have told me that she would have loved the reception, so my heart is full.
She was a very special person and I am grateful to have called her my friend.  I will carry the joy that she gave to me in my heart forever.  Love you Marcie...

Her memorial was the past weekend and I wanted to write this post so you would know the reason for my absence here and also to remind you (as we all need the reminder sometimes) to tell your wife/husband/partner just how much you love and appreciate them.  And to contact a friend, maybe a lost friend, and let them know how much you love them and how much they have meant in your life. 
Life is short and getting shorter with each passing day, so don't miss an opportunity to tell those you love how much they mean to you.

Last night one of the other two women and I were back in our friend's beautiful kitchen to deconstruct several of the large flower arrangements from the church/reception into smaller bouquets.  Several large arrangements were left at the church, many others were taken to a nursing home, but two large arrangements remained.  While our husbands and her husband watched the Patriots play in the sun room my friend and I stood in the kitchen drinking wine, making individual arrangements (the husband did not want the flowers.)  We both decided it was such a special, therapeutic gift of time together as we quietly talked about our friend and the events of the past several days and all the new people we had met from their past. We each took several arrangements home.  I wanted to share the idea with you-  it was so nice to see none of the flowers go to waste and to see them remade into smaller, yet meaningful displays that will allow us to hold her in celebration for a few more days.  


For those in the area, the flowers were done by Apotheca in Goffstown, New Hampshire.  
Apotheca was wonderful to work with and all the arrangements were stunning.  











Thank you sweet Dan.... I could not have done this without all of your help, love and support.
Thank you and love to my dear friend Sara and my new bff ;) Sorrell- 
you are both, quite simply, amazing.  xxo




130 comments:

  1. I think I speak for many of your readers by saying thanks to you for a meaningful, beautiful blog space that means a lot to us, too. It is a joy to read your posts and an honor that you share your happiness and sadness with us. Sometimes I know I neglect to share those sentiments with the blogs that I most appreciate, as the screen can sometimes seem like there isn't a real person behind it -- but that's really never the case with yours. So thanks for your generosity, in so many ways. -Lisa

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    1. Thank you Lisa for your beautiful comment. I so appreciate it.

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  2. ...God love and keep you sweet friend...blessings...laney

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  3. What a heart wrenching story. My sympathies and prayers to her husband, family, and to you, her dear friend for the loss. Best, Beth C.

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  4. Hello Joan, What a tragic story you are telling us, especially since your friend was able to experience your friendship and the beauty you created for her for so short a time. The decor, soft marble, antiques and floral arrangements are just the opposite of superficial. These are the warm things that connect our lives as humans with our surroundings and with each other. The extreme pleasure she took with your results was a symbol of this, it not only created a bond with you, and certainly was directly transmitted to her husband. I need not add that it is the same comfort and warmth you create in your own home that is similarly transmitted to your readers.
    --Jim

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    1. Thank you for your beautiful words Jim. You always leave me the most lovely, touching comments, thank you.

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  5. What a beautiful post...and a wonderful tribute to your dear friend...
    I am so sorry for the great loss of your friend - our women friends are just as close, and sometimes closer, than family members.

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    1. Patricia, as you said our women friends are so special and important.

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  6. Thank you for sharing, and for the reminder that we should hold our dear ones close and let them know how much they mean to us. I am so, so sorry for your loss.
    Love and blessings to you....
    Stephanie

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  7. What sweet arrangements! Losing friends is difficult. I am so sorry to hear this.

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  8. So sorry for your loss. She was lucky to have a wonderful friend like you.

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  9. Just so you know - there is an organization called Random Acts of Flowers that takes flowers from events (weddings, parties, etc.) and re-purposes them for people in hospitals. They may go to a children's ward, to mothers who just had babies, or to veterans in a veterans home. You can also volunteer time to make the arrangements with them. Just thought I would share.

    http://randomactsofflowers.org/

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    1. I had no idea. That is wonderful. Thank you for sharing the link Nicole.

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  10. What a beautiful tribute to your friend in your words, design, flowers, and food. I am so sorry you have experienced another great loss so soon. Friends and flowers are such a comfort. Each week after the services at my church, the flower guild rearranges the large arrangements into smaller ones which are taken to those in the hospital or in nursing homes. I think of them as emissaries of our love and comfort.

    I am such a huge fan of your tremendous talent, so please allow me the temerity to make one tiny English-teacher correction to your lovely words. "Myself" shouldn't be used as the subject of a sentence unless it is a modifier to "I". I'll be quiet and go away now!

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    1. Please do not be quiet and go away Catherine! I need all the help I can get and thank you for doing it so politely. I hope I corrected it properly. Thank you for letting me know, I really appreciate it.

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  11. Thank you for sharing, and for the reminder to hold our dear ones close and to let them know how much they mean to us. I am so, so sorry for your loss.
    Love and blessings....
    Stephanie

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  12. Oh, I'm sorry .. My condolences on your loss. Losing a good friend is indeed a true loss.
    Love, C

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  13. So very sorry about the loss of your friend Joan. She, and you both, were very fortunate to find each other. The flowers are beautiful.

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  14. I'm very sorry to hear about the passing of your friend, but so glad that she had time to enjoy her "new" kitchen and sun room! If you did it, then I know the work is stunning! Her reception sounds simply beautiful! What a wonderful way to honor her; I can envision you working carefully and painstakingly, making each detail perfect. You were a very special friend to her -- how fortunate for you both!

    I always enjoy your blog whenever you have a chance to write!

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  15. Joan, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear friend. It really is such a sad time when we lose someone we love. The older I get the more I realize and am thankful for my quiet and " ordinary" life. Even though I love to travel and see new things, it is always home- near my children and all the ones I love the most- that I feel most at peace. How lovely of you to make her home beautiful for her and to know , from her own lips, how much she loved it! What a gift to have that! I hope her memories comfort you! Sending you hugs!

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  16. Joan, I am so sorry about your friend and your loss. What a wonderful thing to do for her and her husband. She was very lucky to have found a true friend in you.

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  17. I'm so sorry about your friend. What a good reminder to take care of who and what is important in life and to be the kind of person that is remembered in the way you remembered Marcie.

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  18. And you, my friend, continue to be a blessing, a true friend and a true love. Can't believe in such a rural area how we have so many wonderful, close, supportive folks around us. We are blessed with each other and our community. And, we were truly blessed by Marcie, who will make me a better person by living the example of a kind, unassuming, generous person. Glad to be waking this journey holding your hand along the way. I love you.

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    1. We are and were indeed blessed, and I love having your hand to hold too. xxo my friend.

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  19. So sorry for your loss. I think it's wonderful how you divided up the flowers into smaller arrangements. Your thoughts and remembrance of her is touching. We just went through this in December after my brother in-law passed and now we're left with the memories. You are so right about letting others know how you feel. It's important since we just never know when that moment will arrive when someone will leave us. Take care and God Bless. Liz

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    1. I'm sorry for your loss Liz. I know how hard it is to lose a beloved brother-in-law.

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  20. So sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. It is a good reminder to hold precious each day and each person we know. Prayers for you and her family.

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  21. A beautiful tribute to your dearly beloved friend. You gave her much joy with your amazing talents.

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    1. That is very sweet of you to say Sandy, thank you.

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  22. Marcie sounds like a person who will live forever in the hearts of those who knew her. You and Dan have my condolences.

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  23. Dear Joan: I'm so sorry you had to go through the loss of your friend. It seems you've had a bit of a rough ride since Amelia passed away. The memories we make with those we love (our humans and our animals) are all we really have left once they are gone so it is so important to make good memories. You are so right about telling people, while you still can, how much they mean to you. I recently read something (I don't remember where) about the importance of words of affirmation. I've always tried to be a polite person, but I've made an extra effort to affirm everyone I come across, from the garbage man to the grocery clerk, to my grand kids, and my husband. The reaction I've received, especially from strangers, is truly astounding - people so appreciate a word of appreciation and recognition. It sounds as though your friend was one of those people who was openly appreciative, and what a gift to you it was!

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    1. She was indeed a gift. You sound like one yourself! Thank you for your comment

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  24. Joan, So sorry for the loss of your dear friend. But your heartfelt post is exactly why we have missed you ... your writing is evocative and sweet and loving, and underscores what so many of us realize are our lives' most important treasures: friends and family.

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    1. Thank you for your condolences, and thank you for your very sweet words.

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  25. I am so very sorry about your friend. We're just not promised another minute and we need to live with that thought in mind. Psalm 90 comes to mind. Just one section, "Teach us to number our days." How special to be able to be so hands on panning the memorial. I'm sure it was a comfort to her husband. Now, you've had two episodes as a reminder to love your husband. thanks for sharing as I will pass on the love for mine!!

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    1. Gina, it was special indeed. And you are so right about loving and appreciating my sweet husband. I could not have executed the party without all of his help.

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  26. Hi,
    Soooo glad to see ya post. Sorry to hear
    about your neighbor. The flower arrangements
    are soooo pretty.
    Hope all finds ya'll well.
    Hi to the "Sisters"
    from Tank n Tanner.

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  27. This is heartbreaking! May God bless and keep you all! No doubt your friend is smiling down from Heaven and holding all of you close!

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  28. I am so very sorry for your loss, Joan. May you find comfort every day in her precious memory. Thank you for encouraging to love others today. We need more of you in the world. Hugs, Emily

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  29. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Hopefully special memories will keep her close in your heart. Friends are indeed our chosen family.
    Fondly,
    Betty B.

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  30. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your friend. You wrote such a beautiful post. Thank you for the gentle reminder to hold our dear ones close...and let them know how precious they are! ;)

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  31. Sorry for your loss and how lucky your were to be her friend!

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  32. Life is so fragile and precious. Thanks for sharing fro your heart. I immediately called a friend whom I had been thinking of today, and who has had some heart issued lately. Too often we let get side tracked and don't reach out when we should. Needed the reminder today.

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    1. That is absolutely the sweetest thing Mary. Thank you for telling me.

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  33. much older sister susanJanuary 25, 2016 at 7:11 PM

    Proud of you Joanie. She is smiling down from heaven.

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    1. Have I told you lately I love you? I do! xxo

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    2. much older sister susanJanuary 25, 2016 at 8:50 PM

      I know you do my baby sister.

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    3. I am so sorry for your loss. Your gracious tribute is especially meaningful to all your followers. Gently reminding us to express our love to those we hold dear. You were a wonderful friend to her.

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  34. Oh Joan,
    I'm so sorry for your loss. Friend's are such a treasure and when they're gone, unexpectedly or not, there is a hole in our hearts. I'm so happy you and your friends helped with the memorial. I would wish for the same (a good friend that knows me well) thing.
    xo,
    Karen

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  35. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. It sounds like you made her very happy with your design choices, and were (are a wonderful friend. I hope her husband finds comfort amongst all of you.

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  36. I am so very sorry for your loss, Joan. It must be such a shock to suddenly lose a dear friend like that. Thank you for sharing the gift of your friendship with her. I love the idea of deconstructing the arrangements into smaller bouquets. I wish more people would do this. It breaks my heart when flowers are just thrown on a grave to die. Sending big hugs to you. XO, Pinky

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    1. Pinky, In a comment above someone mentioned an organization that de-constructs flowers for hospitals, nursing homes, etc. It is a wonderful idea don't you think?!

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  37. Love you, sweet internet friend! May the beautiful memories that you have of Marcie continue to comfort you in the days to come.

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    1. That is so sweet dear Jane. Love to you and Leo.

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  38. Hugs! There really are no words, except you made your friend happy. Take joy in that. donna

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  39. What a lovely tribute to what was obviously a lovely friendship.

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  40. I'm sorry for your loss. Please pet the "girls" for me!

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    1. Thank you. Yes, the girls have been getting lots of love and kisses!

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  41. I'm so sorry for your loss, Joan. Your post is a beautiful tribute to your friend. She was lucky to have known you, as I'm sure you were to have known her. Praying that you, Marcie's husband and all those who loved her will find peace in the happy memories of happy times you spent together.
    Claudia

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  42. Your friend is smiling down on you, Joan...so sorry for your loss.

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  43. I'm so sorry for your loss. Friends are important. And, I think, that in today's modern, hectic, world, we tend to overlook that importance. Something tells me that your friend was lucky to have you. And your post is a beautiful tribute. I appreciate that you reminded us to tell our loved ones how much we care for them. Thank you for that!

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    1. Michelle, I agree with your comment about in today's modern world...
      Thank you.

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  44. It's always so devastating to lose a close friend. You are so right , our time here on earth is short. We really do need to tell those we love that we appreciate and care deeply for them. So sorry for your loss.

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  45. Hello Joan: My sincerest condolences for the loss of yours and Dan's friend. I echo Lisa, the very first comment, that sometimes it seems hard to remember that there really is someone behind this screen, but that never seems to be the case when it comes to you and your writing. You share your life with us, the happy and the sad, which makes you so real to everyone here. You are real, Joan. Please take care of yourself at this difficult time. I offer my sincerest condolences to you and Dan on your loss.
    Bev in Vermont

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  46. So sorry for the loss of your sweet friend, Joan ~ what a gift you have in her words! They will sustain you in your hours of sadness. She is loving that you're enjoying those beautiful blooms and thinking of her. Blessings ~ xo Heidi

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  47. Life, can change on a dime. And I applaud and thank you for taking a moment to share this piece of real life with us. This is something we all have in common...for if you love...you will lose. And the more you love, the more you lose...and I am so very sorry for your loss. She sounds like a remarkable person and I know you will miss her very much. I am sending you a big warm hug. xo

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  48. Dear Joan, Friendship is a true gift and you've been blessed with many. Sending love and hugs xo Catherine

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  49. Joan, I am so sorry for your loss. Our friends are so important and I am glad you have reminded us all to tell our friends we love them. Marcie sounds like a wonderful person. Your heartfelt tribute brought tears to my eyes. God bless you, her husband and family. I am sorry and send you my sympathy. Donna

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  50. I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend. The way you wrote about her even made me cry. Friendship is a special gift. Sending best wishes. Warmest regards, Wenda

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  51. What a soulful tribute to your friend! You not only are a talented designer/decorator,you also express yourself beautifully. It is always a good day when you have a post and there is a peek into your kitchen. Now I will close my computer and clean my kitchen!! Hope Dan has recovered and give the dogs a hug from Annette in Northern CA

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Annette. Dan is doing great- almost 100%, so grateful. The pups will love another hug!!

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  52. Joan, what a lovely, thoughtful post! Your thoughts on treasuring our friendships are an important reminder to all of us to be more mindful of the ones we love and to live each day with intention. I am terribly sorry for your loss and grateful for the nudge to tell my BFF how important she is in my life.

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  53. Joan, I am so sorry for your loss. Your description of dividing the flowers and talking of your friend brought tears to my eyes. xxxx

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  54. dear Joan, I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your faith,family and friends can help you through this tough time. Lisa

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  55. So sorry for your neighbor and you for the lose of a dear friend, wife and neighbor. Whenever I lose someone dear to me I always plant a tree or bush in their memory, and I select it so has some meaning to me to remember them by. When my grandfather passed I planted a red maple as his nickname was "red" and when my uncle passed I planted a smoke bush because he always told the story of my father smoking up the house when he put a damp log on the fire. Just my way of remembering a loved one.

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    1. That is such a beautiful thing to do Nathan. Love the stories and how you chose the perfect tree/plant.

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  56. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your friend had a lovely relationship, and I am sure you will miss her. While it was good of you to help her husband with all the arrangements, I have a feeling that you are the one feeling as though you'd been helped through the difficult days by the gift of an important role to fulfill.

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  57. So very sorry for the loss of your friend and neighbor. Precious neighbors can be rare. So wonderful that you all are helping her husband during this terrible time.

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    1. Precious neighbors are indeed rare. I've been very lucky in my life to have had some amazing neighbors.

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  58. Well after reading pages and pages, thinking this question has already been answered, I decided to go ahead and ask anyway. I was wondering please? the dimensions of your kitchen. I'm trying to decide if an island like yours will fit into my space

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    1. Wendy, I appreciate that you looked- many people just ask;)
      Look at this post- the commentary above the third photo from the bottom....
      http://fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com/2011/01/kitchen-details.html

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  59. Oh Dear Joan you have certainly gone through a lot these past few months, bless your heart... I'm sure your friend was touched by your thoughtfulness and looking down on you with a smile... I love the idea of the small bouquets 💕 God Bless.... Kathy

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  60. Today is the 3rd anniversary of the death of my bestie best friend. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. Your post, your loss, reminded me so poignantly to NEVER let a day go by without telling SOMEONE you love them...to welcome beauty and light and good things EVERYDAY!! As usual, your post connected with me when I needed it to! (Was reeling from the loss of my precious Paddy-dog when you posted about Amelia...fighting with the hubby when Dan fell...gulp....decided I'd better go hug that man and kiss-n-make up!!) Now I'm gonna go call my momma, hug my darling husband and send my usual kiss to my friend, with extra joy and appreciation for all she gave me. And by the way, here in Colorado, the Broncos played!! ;->

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    1. Oh my goodness, what connections we have had. I love that the posts have come when you needed them. I am so sorry about the lost of your best friend, and of your precious Paddy.
      Who were the Broncos playing?!!!!!! ;) ;)

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    2. They were playing some New England team, forgot the name already...(insert nudge and a wink... since I know you love Colorado, Go Broncos!!) Paddy was a darling little labradoodle rescue. So stinkin' cute.

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  61. What a poignant story Joan.... It touches us even more, I think, because we are at that age when losing our friends happens more frequently than ever before. Your blog is one of the first ones I followed and I find a privilege and consider myself very lucky for having met you and have been able to in a way, walk with you through your path here on earth. So wonderful that your sweet friend and yourself found each other before her journey ended here and started somewhere else, I know you brightened her days and life as much as you brighten ours through this magic world, and I am so positive you brightened her... much love
    Maria Teresa

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    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful, beautiful comment Marie Teresa. xxo

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  62. Such a poignant story dear Joan, I already wrote to you but didn't show up in here... I was trying to tell you that I had follow you for a while already and that you are such a gift for many of us as I'm sure you were a gift to your friend as much she was a gift to you. I'm glad you both met and had the opportunity to share warmth, light and inspiration on each other's lives. There are some things in life I wasn't counting on at this time of my life, and definitely I'm not taking those for granted and those things are the opportunity to connect with such wonderful people with special spirits that I would have never met if it wasn't for this crazy, sometimes cold and superficial thing called the internet. Sending lots of love and prayers your way and your friend Marcie's way xx

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    1. Marie Teresa, I am sorry for the confusion- I had comment modification turned on. I posted both of your beautiful comments because I loved each one. xxo

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  63. This really touched me because it's part of our lives too. A dear friend of ours who is very ill told me recently that we're all just walking each other home. The memorial you planned sounds like a beautiful expression of love and friendship.

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    1. I am so sorry that your friend is ill. What she said is one of the most beautiful, poignant things I have ever heard. Thank you so much for sharing it here. xxo

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  64. So sorry for your loss, Joan. I, too, always loved bringing the flowers from the funeral home back to repurpose and add joy and thoughtfulness to others' offices, homes, churches and even retirement homes nearby. Leaving them in their original large arrangements (how to fit them in car? where will they go?) just never really fit after the service was over. Funny how, just slightly altered from their original state, they're such a wonderful reminder of life and beauty to those who receive them.

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