Tribute to my friend Beki

A month ago today I was wishing my friend Beki a happy birthday on Facebook. 10 days later I posted this:  

 Almost a month later it still doesn’t feel real.

I’ve know Beki and her whole family since I was 6 years old. We all grew up together: here is a little flashback photo:  

 Me, Karissa, Rachel, Brittany, Beki and Luke. 

I don’t know why Niki isn’t in this photo… But this was my family growing up. These were my people. My safe place. My sanctuary.  

When I heard the news of Beki’s passing my world just stopped for a moment. I mean really. She is only three years older than me. It just can’t be true. But… It was. It is.  So… In order for this girl to process I did what I  do and I went for a run. A run to grieve, to remember Beki… A run to help me make sense of it all. So, I set out last Saturday on a little memorial run… A run for Beki. I chose a route that went through our old neighborhood, took a little trip down “memory lane” if you will. I chose to run 7.11 to celebrate her life. (Her birthday is July 11th). And listened to praise and worship music because she loved to sing (and had the voice of an angel) …and worshipping was her favorite. 

   I stopped along the way to snap some photos. I fought back tears a few times, smiled a bunch when I was thinking of different memories and I wanted to quit more than once. But I kept pushing.  

 This is the place it all began. soooooooooo many memories here. I ran passed twice because it was so emotional the first time. I thank God that He had us all living here at the same time.  

 Even better than our neighborhood was when we got to go to Cherry Lane. We thought we were hot stuff when we could! Also where most of my Halloween memories take place!  

However most of my Beki memories take place at Apollo high School. I couldn’t make it to Apollo on my run. But what I do have are memories getting off at this bus stop:

 
And walking the three blocks home and Beki and I giggling because I would have to go to the bathroom so bad that I would walk funny. She would continue to bring up this memory into adulthood. We had such a good time in high school. I was a quiet, shy girl who didn’t have many friends in school. Beki and I would hang out between classes in the music room and play the piano. She taught me a lot, about music and life. We even convinced a teacher we were actually sisters. She refused to let me have a bad day and would do anything to make me smile. Always had a joke or story to brighten my day. She was just Such a great listener!! 

Besides memories here are some thoughts I wanted to share from my run. 

Beki oozed Jesus. She was the girl in high school who brought her bible to school. She didn’t care what other people thought.  She was always there to quote a bible verse or teach me about Jesus. She just wanted people to know Him, but she didn’t push it down thier throats… She did it through love. 

I know she is without pain is and having the biggest party in Heaven with her Jesus. Something she lived her life for. I can’t be sad for that!! I am sad for the rest of us. Her parents, her sisters and especially her nieces. Beki was full of love for everyone…but had a special connection to her nieces and it breaks my heart that they won’t get to grow up with her like I did. I consider myself extremely blessed to have had such a great friend…especially during high school which can be a really awkward, difficult time. 

She was true to herself. 

She put others before herself.

She lived “choose joy” 

And after all that I decided what I need to do make her proud. Drop some of the negativity that I’ve been carrying. Realize that life really just is so short and you never know when it’s over. Live the life I’ve been given. Shine like the stars.  Let people know that I love them. Be a good listener, it really make people feel cared for. Be a friend. Have fun. Smile. Laugh.

Of course I could go on… And on… But I’ll end with this: 

Beki (along with her big sister Niki) were both like big sisters to me.  I hope to make them proud. Rest in peace Beki. Your memory will live on…and we will keep your spirit alive. 

๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ you are the wind beneath my wings๐ŸŽถ๐ŸŽถ

  

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Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

Christmassy thoughts for you to ponder

It’s Christmas Eve!!!

So I’ve been deep in thought about Christmas once again. Was getting my hair cut the other day when I ended up in a conversation about Christmas. The hype is crazy. The pressure to get the right thing, to spend enough money, to decorate just right, to make all the goodies PINTREST worthy, to make everything just perfect. We live in a culture of abundance. Too many presents, too much food. Too much hussle. Too much bustle. 

My challenge to you is think about how you remember your Christmas growing up. Do you remember what you “got”. The girl cutting my hair and I could each think of 3 things we got. 3!!!! However, I look back fondly on my Christmases growing up. Some of my most treasured memories are of time spent with my family at Christmas. Was a time of the year where we just spend time together. My mom worked her butt off all year round to provide for us. But Christmas Eve was a time we could all be together. 

These are some of my most treasured memories:

Visits with Santa

 

This happens to be my favorite photo of Santa and I.

Christmas crafts were big in my house. Painting ceramics. 

Decorating the house was also fun. Christmas music in the background. All of us kids working together to make the house look festive.  We always had presents on the wall

Driving around looking at Christmas lights.

Christmas programs.  Journey to the center of Christmas! 

Going to candle light service at church and mom dripping wax on her hand. Also mom trying so hard to clap along to the songs and having no rhythm. Getting home from church and having treats and pizza for dinner. And opening presents sitting around the tree. 

Most of all was baking cookies. Eating so much cookie dough and frosting that I had a giant stomach ache (totally worth it!) my brother throwing cookie dough on the Ceiling to see if it would stick. Using too much flour and making a giant mess… Always ending in a flour fight. Having contests to see who could make the prettiest cookie. Getting yelled at for sneaking a cookie cuz those were for the people mom worked with. Also getting “the look” when I “accidentally” got frosting on my fingers and then licked them… Oops! Then getting excited when we got to eat them. Cookies for breakfast! 

My sister coming down in her undies Christmas morning to open gifts. Sorry sister, it’s adorable and part of my memories ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I’ll spare the photo on this one)   Ps. She was little! 

I always enjoyed everyone else opening their presents, and always wanted to be the one to hand themall out.  (Even when I was in first grade and had just had my tonsils out).  Here is a photo of me watching the gift opening:  

Playing games all day Christmas Day with my siblings. Just being together. Enjoying each other. We didn’t always get along, but we tried on Christmas.  It didn’t matter if it was board games, marbles, Legos, Nintendo or some made up game we came up with. We just hung out! 

 Here is our Christmas In a nutshell. Love the coordinating wind suits. Notice how we aren’t real thrilled about the “lets take a photo thing” makes me giggle. 

And In case you are wondering what gifts I remembered: 

 

My new kids on the block comforter!

My pen-doodle-um. The coolest craft thing ever!

The other was my “cheerleader wanna be doll” but I don’t have a photo of her. But I did find this photo of my Hyper-color sweatshirt that’s loved as well. If you don’t know what hyper color is… You are missing out!   

So.. To wrap it all up. *notice the pun*

For me. Christmas is about being present. Not the presents. It’s about spending time with family. Not money on family. It’s about giving and not getting. It’s about love and kindness. Finding the true meaning of the season. And of course cookies and frosting. 

Merry Christmas and God Bless. And find the magic in the season.