Thursday, May 26, 2011

The L Word ♥

Take away love and our earth
is a tomb.
~ Robert Browning

Last year I had the very
good luck to attend the spring
Na-Da Farm Barn Sale with
one of my BFFs, Kathleen. 
It was a beautiful weekend
and we soaked up the Illinois
countryside, the new friends we
made and our time together.

May 2010
Six weeks later, she met me in
Savannah, GA, where my daughter
was attending a college workshop
for highschoolers.  On the second
day of the trip, Kathleen received
one of those telephone calls that
changes your life forever.

It was her doctor. 

You have an agressive
form of breast cancer.

One of the many things that
amazes me when I think back on
 Kathleen's experience with cancer
is her gratitude that we were
together when she got the call.
She's mentioned that many,
many times.

Some would dub it serendipitous
that we were side by side that day.
We live 350 miles apart and usually
only see each other a couple of
times a year.  Some years, those
busy toddler and early elementary
years, we never saw each
other at all.

Kathleen completed her cancer
therapies ~ chemo and radiation ~
at the end of March.  It seemed
fitting to meet again at the
Na-Da Barn Sale to celebrate....



As luck or serendipity would have
it, the stars aligned {meaning
wonderful husbands who were able to
manage multiple kid activities in our
absence} and I was able to drive
 to Illinois for our Na-Da Farm
girls getaway weekend.

To take advantage of six hours by myself
in the car, I listened to one of my favorite
motivational audio books on the way.

The gist of the book?
The most
powerful force
in the universe
 is love.

And that force
was literally pulling
me back to Illinois.

When I make this drive, there is
a spot in Wisconsin approximately
halfway, and that is usually where
I stop to stretch and fill up my gas
tank.  But this time, that exit was
under construction.  So, I got off
at the next exit, turning into the first
gas station that I came to.

As I jumped out of the car, preparing
to run my credit card at the pump,
the name of the station caught my eye.

Love's Truck Stop.

I kid you not.

I smiled to myself
and said a little prayer....

I'm listening, God!

This year, the Na-Da sale felt
 more like a homecoming
than an unknown adventure.
We were welcomed with hugs
from many bloggers who we'd
 met for the first time last year at
this event. 

Loved seeing all these
talented blogger friends!

Anne Marie/ Kathleen {Charm Bracelet Diva}/ Jill {Gypsy Brocante}
 Fifi O'Neill/ Jen Rizzo
Beth Quinn/ Jeanne Oliver/ Traci Thorson

 Bravely sporting her
 post-chemo hairdo, Kathleen
was radiant. She'd journeyed
with cancer through summer,
fall and winter and I couldn't
think of a more perfect way
to celebrate the new spring of
her life than being there that weekend.

Love you, girl!


It was evident in all of the sweetly
displayed vendor booths both
inside and outside the barn.  It was
 joyfully displayed by the hostess
of the sale, Anne Marie, whose own
face glowed as she talked to those
attending, little baby Daniel cradled
in her arms.


The next day our dear friend Fiona
joined us for Art on The Farm,
taught by blogger Jeanne Oliver.
Using mixed media and guided
by Jeanne, we spent three special
hours immersed in the creative
process. The last step was choosing
words for our pieces.  I'm betting you
know one of them that I chose : )


Here is Kathleen's art work:

She was stronger than she thought she was.


I can't wait to go back to Na-da
Farm and celebrate another year
of friendship and life next year.
Until then, I will I will take those
moments of serendipity.....
of God.....of love.....wherever I can
find them, each and every day.

Wishing you all of that
and much, much more.

Enjoy this long weekend!



Kat said...

Wow. Tears in my eyes over this sweet post! So happy that your dear friend fought and won! God is so good! xo

Julie said...

Awwww...just saw this pop up and got to read it before I turn in...Such a moving post...yes! LOVE!
It will outlast everything else. I believe since God is eternal , and He IS love, nothing can truly destroy this powerful emotion. IT can only come from the heart. It might be stifled, but not destroyed. IT is TOO strong :-)
OH to think that maybe I might come to a Na-Da FArm event if I am in Iowa this time next year...what fun and I could meet YOU! :-) Sounds like you and Kathleen experienced BFF Bliss. So glad she could come and you girls could do that again this year, with a happy ending. RAH FOR HER...COURAGE is her middle name! Happy post. ENJOYED!!! LOVE ya.xoxo

Jennifer Rizzo said...

SHe looked great and we were so glad you could come! It was wonderful to see you again! Jen

Alicia said...

oh my gosh, this post is just beautiful. you have such a way with words. praising God for your friend's recovery and so glad you got to celebrate life together this past weekend.


Anne Marie... said...

oh have no idea how beautiful this story is to me...I just found out the day before the event my aunt's cancer has retuned...

love is all she needs, and it is all I have to give her means prayer,sacrifice,struggle,comfort & so much more

for you to come here...well...I feel loved

so much xo+blessings,
Anne Marie

A Vintage Chic said...

Oh, so beautiful, Suzanne...I wish I could have been there with you, too! One of these days I'm going to head off to one of these wonderful events full of beautiful blog friends that I keep reading about...I really am!

So glad to see your lovely friend--she really IS lovely...I love the quote she chose for her painting--"She is stronger than she thought she was"...isn't that just perfect...

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, dear friend...I'm hoping my comment will work this time!


Happy Homemaker UK said...

Surprise trip down memory lane - I knew the Love family of those gas stops (I don't know if they still own them).

Wow, so much can happen in a year! What a beautiful, touching post. I kept your inspiring music on for a while as I did a few tasks around the house. Thank you for the soundtrack! XOL

Linda said...

OH, this post gave me goose bumps, beautiful! Kathleen looks wonderful~ I am SO glad you were able to spend some time together again, having fun, being creative, and most of all enjoying your special friendship!

Marie said...

What a wonderful experience for you Suzanne. I love these little signatures that God leaves for us all through our lives, showing us His presence in our being. I am glad that your friend is recovering well. What a blessing that you are able to spend such beautiful and meaningful times together. That is truly a gift from above! xxoo

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

I totally agree. There is nothing that will outlast love, nothing that will last BUT love. We were created in love, for love, BY LOVE HIMSELF...God. How blessed we are to have given existence, a soul. Kathleen looks absolutely GORGEOUS with her new "do" and she is the living testimony that neither cancer, no the threat of death or any other TEMPORARY thing can separate her from the LOVE of friends and the LOVE of GOD. AMEN!!!!! Much love to you beautiful, Anita

Blondie's Journal said...

Your trip was filled with love from beginning to shows on your face and in your words. I am sending many prayers out to Kathleen for a gentle recovery. I admire her spirit.

We were out of town or I would have been at the farm. Definitely the next time and I hope to meet you!


Style Attic said...

Dear Suzanne,

Once you believe in the power of God and that every person he made is an intended masterpiece, then we really start to know that nothing is by chance. I love how you touched on that moment and knew that it was not just luck :) The meaning of it all, so bone chilling amazing and to your dear friend who has survived...well your friendship played no small part in that either! Enjoy those drives and bravo to the husbands who make it possible Xo, Kelly

Hartwood Roses said...

Love is all around us ... we have to do is accept it. We must, in turn, love our family, our friends-who-are-like-family, and (most importantly) OURSELVES with our whole heart. If we can do this, life is incredibly rich ... and we are blessed.

This is particularly appropriate for me right now, because we are in the thick of preparations for our daughter's wedding next month. I'm working myself into a froth to finish the preparations. It's one of MY ways to express my love for her. When she marries, her new last name will be LOVE. How great is that!

LibbiesHome said...

I love this post. Thank you for sharing. :)

Low Tide High Style said...

Suzanne, what a wonderful post full of wisdom and love! How cool that the gas station was called Love's Truck Stop! But even more cool is that your friend Kathleen has finished her treatment and is even more strong and beautiful than she was before! Love is what sustains us, carries us through, and makes life worthwhile! Happy Memorial Day Weekend, I hope it's filled with love!

Kat :)

traci said...

oh my goodness suzanne. i have goosebumps. such a beautiful heartfelt post. i was so excited to see you again. you and kathleen both. she looks gorgeous. you are such a special part of my life and i can't wait to see you again - probably at creative connection!!

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

Suzanne, you're always able to put words together in such a way that they really speak to the soul. This is a beautiful post, and so like you. I'm so glad to hear of Kathleen's successful battle as my DIL goes in for a double mastectomy on June 3. She too is a fighter, and the prognosis is very good, but it's always nice to hear about the successes of others. Thanks for sharing today.

Beth said...

Watching 'Love Actually' on TV as I'm reading this tonight - honestly.
Lovely to read and learn that your friend is happy and on the road back to health.
Enjoy your weekend.

Deborah said...

Perfect...just like His Love.
Thank you Suzanne for this endearing post.
My heart is warmed by your heartfelt love.
It would have been so "love-ly" to have been there!
That detour was definitely from our Lord...doesn't He just "love" to lead us?! That was too precious!
So beautiful you and Kathleen were able to be together again..she looks fabulous!
And those paintings...well they are so beautiful..I adore Jeannes art!
Bless you sweet friend and have a happy weekend!!
You are such a blessing!!

Deborah xoxoxo

koralee said...

J O Y and BLESSINGs! Those are the only words I can think of after reading your wonderful post my friend...thank you for sharing. xoxoxo Happy Friday

deborah said...

suzanne, what a beautiful post. (this reminds me of several conversations i've had this past week) i am thrilled you all met again to celebrate together. there are no coincidences. tell your dear friend that i am loving her short cropped hair--so spunky and fresh:)

Farmgirl Paints said...

your friend is just beautiful. i'm loving her with the short hair. so thankful God got her through this last year. she is indeed strong! love LOVE your heart my friend.

Amy Arnaz said...

Good Morning Suzanne~
Kathleen was one lucky duck to have you by her side when she received that phone call. I can only imagine the intensity of that moment. She is beautiful with her very short hair. Thank God.
My cousin Jeanine had a booth at the NaDa Farm Barn Sale. Did you by any chance meet her? She calls her booth Chippy Shabby. I hope your paths crossed.
And yes.... LOVE is the answer. xoxo Amy

Lisa said...

I'm so glad your friend Kathleen is on this side of that painful journey....and that you were able to spend time together doing something you love and enjoying each other!
Happy weekend Suzanne.

Jeanine Burkhardt said...

Hellooooo Suzanne: What a "heart-felt" story... I'm so happy that both You and Your Friend got to re-connect at the SALE... I was a vendor at Na-Da for the First time... ~ AND I live in Wisconsin!!! I KNOW THE LOVES TRUCK STOP... "ROADSIGNS" as we make our journey...  It would have been a pleasure to have met YOU -or- perhaps I did & am not recognizing you now... Thanks for warming my heart...
Hugs - Jeanine, ChiPPy!-SHaBBy!

Susan T said...

Your friend looks so well and happy - the very best of wishes to her.

An inspirational post as ever, so heartwarming.

Have a lovely weekend break.

Whosyergurl said...

Suzanne...that is such a beautiful story. I am SO happy for your friend! YAY! Strong women ROCK.
I don't think anything happens by accident. Timing is everything.

Now...what is this in Illinois? I am in Indiana. :-)

xo, Cheryl

Jeanie said...

Oh, Suzanne, this post fills me with joy. I remember you speaking of Kathleen in previous posts. To see her looking lovely, feeling great, done with the chemo and ready to play fills me with joy.

Love. It is indeed the best. You are lucky to have one another in your lives. Big smiles to you.

quintessence said...

What a WONDERFUL post - I am most definitely feeling the love - and you can tell Kathleen was too!! I just love this story - what a great friend you are!! Wishing you a fabulous holiday weekend!

Charm Bracelet Diva said...

Hey friend, what a beautiful post....I was so happy to be able to spend time with you, short though it was. And I took that story of Kathleen back home with me after you shared it and I've thought of her a number of times this past week. My mother had breast cancer when I was a little girl..... And today I opened my mail to find a letter from the imaging center that took my yearly mammogram and it was negative. I can breathe a sigh of relief once more, at least until next year anyway....I'm sorry I didn't get to spend time with Kathleen, something tells me I would have liked her :) We should all have her spirit and we should all have friends like YOU! My prayers are with her for nothing but continued healing.


Jemsmom said...

I am so glad to see Kathleen on here and to see her just glowing with beauty both inner and outer! God works in amazing ways! What a wonderful weekend to spend together celebrating life and love. Your art pieces are just gorgeous and so perfect for where each of you are in your lives. Enjoy the long weekend!

Lili said...

This entire post gave me goosebumps Suzanne! The sychronicity of it all, blessings from Him, and of course seeing your beautiful friend celebrating with you again this year. Your artwork was amazing! Loving it all. xoxo ~Lili

Karena said...

Hi Suzanne I adore your posts as always so poignant and yes Love IS everything!

So glad to be part of the Paris Party at Anita's!! Come visit!
Art by Karena

Tiffini said...

what a beautiful story. People who have fought cancer are inspiring and full of courage. I am so thankful you were with her.
It sounds like you had a wonderful time together. I LOVE the artwork! Words are so important..something to hang on to. Wishing you lots of love this weekend.

Tammy said...

Beautiful post Suzanne!
a work of art!!
lovely pics and a beautiful message!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Junk Wild

Amanda said...

What a wonderful story Suzanne. Amazingly serendipitous - is that the word? And your girls weekend away sounds like an amazing way to celebrate such a special friendship, and hidden strengths. xx

A Cottage Muse said...

Beautiful Suzanne...*love*d it!!

"Create Beauty" said...

What a wonderful time at a special place. Friendship is such a GIFT!

~ Violet

paige said...

love's truck stop!
i love it!!
i love that you two were indeed together when she got the call, that you two were able to celebrate at na-da her completion.
she is blessed to call you her friend.
i remember when you posted about her diagnosis, so i'm thrilled to hear she's doing well!!

red ticking said...

God works in a miraculous way... lovely post suzanne....
truly and i will pray for her continued healing. xoxo

Tracey said...

Lovely post as always Suzanne! I am so happy that you and your BFF were able to come back to Na-da together and celebrate all that she has made it thru!!! It doesn't get much better than a fun weekend with a special friend celebrating life!

So nice to see you again :))


:) T

Indie.Tea said...

What a sweet story. And how wonderful that she was able to overcome her illness and you were able to meet up and enjoy each other's company again, and so soon.
I hope you have a beautiful Memorial Day.

Cindy said...

sounds like a wonderful prayers for her continued good health. it sounds like na-da farm was a great much fun!!!

hugs, cindy

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Oh, I LOVE this post! The timing is perfect because spring is a time of renewal...of earth, spirit,
friendships, etc. There is so much wisdom in your beautiful post and you have given us all so much to think about and appreciate.
Kathleen looks beautiful and I am so happy to hear that you all had time to relax and enjoy your time together having fun and being creative. Extraordinary post, Suzanne. Thank you.

Biz said...

This makes me so happy!
I had prayed for Kathleen when you first mentioned her earlier this year and I'm so happy to see this post that she is done with treatment!
What a blessing that you were able to celebrate in such a special way!
Praying for many more Na-Da Farm Barn Sales for you both!

Kathysue said...

I remember praying for Kathleen and my heart ached for you and her. It is so wonderful that you got to spend such a wonderful time with her again, I know you will do it again next Spring, Thank you for sharing, Kathysue

hilary @ the upcycle furniture co. said...

friendship and love making the world go round.


OK...I have a lump in my throat and tears on the corners of my eyes preparing to slide down my face. I love that you had that special time with your "bestie"....How brave she is, and I sincerely hope that she has beat this horrible disease to go on many more chick trips with you.