14 January 2019

Paper Smooches: My First and Last

Hello friends:) 

Today I'm sharing a very special Paper Smooches projects that I created back in October.
This card was my "first and last". First because it was the first card I created since my bike accident in June 2018 from start to finish, no stopping, and my wrist didn't hurt. 

Last because this is the last card I sent to my friend, Danielle, before she passed away. 

You see, Danielle was a very special friend of mine. I met her about three years ago in North Port, FL. 

She knew Trav first; she used to shop at Walgreens. He came home one day saying she was our neighbor (close enough to be a neighbor! LOL!). One day she came in visibly upset. He texted me about it, and I decided to visit her by walking Olsen to her house. She didn't answer the door. 

I visited frequently, but she didn't answer her door- for at least a month. I made her a Thanksgiving card and went to deliver it but again she didn't answer her door; however, her neighbor across the street came out and chatted with me. This neighbor took the card and said she would give it to Danielle. 

A week went by and on my walk that day, I took Olsen over to Danielle's house to check on her. She FINALLY answered:) #instantfriends 

We decided to meet up daily to go for walks, to get some exercise. We talked about so much--- if you know me, then you know it was ME that was talking! LOL! I remember after about a week of walking and talking Danielle told me she needed to tell me something. I instantly regretted talking so much and wondered if I had said something that offended her. She explained that I had said that I enjoyed being a wife to Travis which included cooking. She was relieved that I said that because she too enjoyed being married to her husband. WHEW! My mouth didn't get me into trouble:) I learned that the reason she was upset that one day was that her husband of 25 years passed away due to suicide. She was a widow with no children and no family near her. We also talked about Jesus (because I couldn't help but share about Him), our dogs, life, plants and animals, her mom, how much we wanted to lose weight but loved food, how to cook and prepare different meals, and the neighborhood. We started to walk daily 1 or 2 miles, but by the time we moved we were going 6 miles a day! LOL! 

Danielle and I added others to our walking crew- Arlene and Charlene are neighbors to each of us. They would walk and talk with us too. One time we were so involved in our conversation that we didn't see that we were taking up the WHOLE road and the cop that had turned down the road had to honk his horn to get by! LOL! 

Telling Danielle that we were moving to Tampa (2 hours away) was hard. She would watch Olsen and Olly on Sundays when we were at church (we would leave around 8am and get back from Tampa around 2pm). She loved our pups and they loved her! 

Our move was quick. Within one day of God opening up a position for Trav to transfer to, God had revealed a house for us that we both loved. God's hand was completely in this move- that story is for another time. Within a month of all of this, we were packed and the movers came to our house to load us up. Danielle was so sweet to stop by our house one last time to give me a gift. It was a small dish with Jeremiah 29:11 on it. She wasn't a believer but knew my faith and the reasons we were moving. I love that she knew enough about God and my faith to buy me this little dish with a special verse on it. 

Trav and I moved and I would text once or twice a month to check in with Danielle. She continued to walk with the neighborhood group, found love again, and even was engaged. She talked with me about coming up to Tampa to visit me and to go wedding dress shopping. 

I didn't get to text her again after September 2018. But I was already thinking about her 50th birthday on October 6th and how I needed to make her a special card. I sent this card out about four days before her birthday. 

On Sunday, October 7th, I received two texts and a phone call during practice for our worship service around 9am. I normally don't answer but was concerned with what I read. Danielle had passed away on her 50th birthday- suicide by drowning. The investigation has not been completed and is on-going. 

It doesn't seem real. I am still trying to understand it all. 

She's everywhere I look, and I think of her often. Here's a list of some of things that make me think of her: 

  • Any time I go for a walk- I can see her walking down the street to meet me, Olsen pulling to go sniff her. 
  • Pyrex- she turned me on to vintage Pyrex and now I collect it. 
  • Raw chicken or thawing out chicken- she told me to never set chicken out on the counter to thaw out.... I still might do this:) 
  • Our iron- when she would watch Olsen and Olly, she would freak out that our iron was always plugged in and in a "down" position. It's safe- I promise! We have an Oliso iTouch iron. 
  • Plants- her husband was very knowledgeable about Florida plants, and she would share that info with me. 
  • Animals (specifically birds)- again, she shared knowledge about animals we would see while walking.
  • Crows- she was obsessed with crows after her husband died. She would get tattoos of them all over her body, and I would sit with her during these sessions. 
  • The Internet or an iPhone- she was sooooo funny! She finally got rid of her dial-up internet service back in 2017! She bought a smart phone a little after that. LOL! 
  • Oils/Spices- Danielle and I would talk about cooking a lot. One day she gave me some hot/spicy oil, but we could never find it again at the store. The other day I saw something similar, and it made me think of her. 
  • Lodge Cast-iron skillets- she bought my first skillet and multiple after that; that was a game changer! LOL! 
One thing I think about is how one time we talked about God and life after death. She said that she thought she would just beg God to let her in when she died, say that she didn't know about Him. I told her about Christ and how He was the only way in to Heaven. I pray that she was changed by that conversation and that she accepted Christ into her heart before passing. It makes me shiver to think that those we love could possibly suffer for all eternity if they don't accept Christ as their Savior. Her death makes me want to share about Christ more... spread the GOOD news of life, healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and MORE! I cannot bear to think that someone I love could be in Hell- it literally breaks my heart. 

This is just one of the things I think about.


That's it for me today. I know this was a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG post. I just wanted to share about my friend and how much I think about her. This card is very special to me. Thanks for letting me share the story behind it.

If you have thoughts of suicide or are depressed or think you can't handle your situation any longer, PLEASE reach out to someone! Please find help! Call this number: 1-800-273-8255 My mom once told my brothers and me (after finding our renter had committed suicide) that there is NOTHING in this world that could cause you to give up, end your life. Nothing in this world that cannot be fixed or worked out. Don't give up! 

Thanks for stopping by ❤️   I hope you have a blessed day! 

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