Episode #6 – Value of friend and family

This episode is about the value of friendship and family.  As I said in episode five I was off to Dallas for our yearly get together with my “BFF” college friends.  My suggestion on living well was to always stay close to your best friends so that your life will be enriched and filled with the love that only a best friend can give.

IMG_4311.jpgfrom left to right: Sally, Sylvia, Starr, and Sylvia’s new dog Jake. In the back row: myself

We now feel eighty after taking this picture. We messed up the “order” of our yearly photograph. So now when we show all the years this one will  be in reverse.  Does it really matter, at eighty you can do whatever you want.  Can’t you?

This year our visit was particularly special as we excitedly anticipated seeing each other. We enjoyed four days of games, entertainment and great food.  We walked and talked and spent a great deal of quality-time sharing about our families and our lives.

We also needed unconditional support with family concerns and cherished the insights given. We cried a little for the struggles each of us were having. These interactions between us were profound and positive in the way only “BFF” friend can give. We felt stronger and more settled in just the four wonderful days we spent being together.  We can’t wait until next year to once again experience that special time only “BFF” friends can encounter together.

This is the value of friendship and why it is so important to keep those long lasting friendships close to your heart.  No one understands you more than those friends. They have walked in your shoes; so to speak, all through the years you have known each other.  Your children haven’t walked those miles with you so they don’t understand your fears, your values, your dreams, but your close friends do. Close friends are your blanket of love and understanding like no others.  Keep them close!

I arrived home in time to celebrate Mother Day with my family. Since family is the other focal point in this blog it’s important for me to describe my three children and the ways they are my rock and my reason for living.

I have three wonderful and accomplished children.  I am blessed and feel God and my special angel “Sandy” kissed me from above.  Sandy has been my guardian angel since she left this world in 1948. I always felt she sat on my right shoulder and looked after my children and help guide them and me through this uncertain world.

When I held my first child Jete’ in my arms I thought life could not be more complete until my son Duke arrived the next year.  I had the perfect family a girl and a boy.  Life was good!  Surprise, surprise two years later we had a third bundle of joy Rene’e.  Each of my children has given the world three children. My grandchildren  have brought a sense of purpose and meaning and excitement to all of our lives.

My three children have remained close but not without a struggle. Sometimes we have to pray and seek guidance to overcome conflicts and hard feelings.  However each one of my children brings a unique perspective to the family dynamics that only she or he can bring.  I can’t imagine my life without seeing them, hearing them, speaking with them, loving them.  They are the reason I wake up in the morning and have sweet dreams at night.  They are my blessings!  Thank you God!

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From left to right:  Katy, a sophomore at Savannah School of Art, Jete’. Claire, a sophomore at University of Kentucky. in the back: Tommy and Ryan, who graduates this June from the University of Denver.

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From left to right: Anita, Duke, Gunner and Dennis.  Anita is a freshman in high school and loves dance. Gunner a freshman at Stanford, Dennis in the seventh grade and loves baseball.

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From left to right: Christian a Sophomore at Savannah school of art, the newly weds Max and Bailey, they were married this past November and are young professionals, Craig,Rene’e, and Parker a senior at Ole Miss, and their wonderful dogs Bear, River, Whiskey.

Episode #5 – friendaversary

Best friends enrich your life and are the people you trust above all others to keep your brightest and darkest secrets. They are the people you call with good news and the ones who can soothe your soul during times of great sadness. A best friend can be summed up best like this:

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My fifth suggestion on living well is always stay close to your best friends so that your life will be enriched and filled with love that only a best friend can give you.

Visiting friends is a must in my life!  I have three groups of friends that I must visit ever so often because of the joy they bring to my life. They are my high school friends, my college friends, and friends who used to live in my city who have moved away.

I am lucky that my high school friends get together often each year to celebrate whatever they can dream up to celebrate so we can all get together and share stories of family and crazy things we did in our youth. These times keep me grounded in the reality of my life and who I will always be “myself, Katy” at ten, than twenty, turning thirty, than forty, God forbid fifty, oh my God sixty, how did I get to be seventy, can you believe I’m eighty!  If I can remain true to myself than life would have served me well.

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Some of my high school friends at the Christmas luncheon in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Shirl’s mother Doris is in her nineties and keeps us all on our toes.

My second set of best friends are my college roommates from my years at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.  Those were the years of discovery and adventure.  Those were the years of awakening as to who I could be, what I would like to achieve, and what kind of legacy I would like to leave behind for hopefully others to build on or consider worthy.

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Starr, me, Sylvia, Sally at Starr’s home in Atlanta sooo many years ago.

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Starr, me, Sylvia and Sally  with “Brandi” about nine years ago at Sylvia’s home in Dallas.

Starr, Sylvia, Sally and myself get together once a year now usually at our various homes in Dallas, Fort Walton Beach, Atlanta, and New Orleans.  I am leaving tomorrow for Dallas so my next Blog will share all the fun we had. Don’t forget to tune in next weekend to hear all about it.

My third group of friends who get together to celebrate and contemplate life are Patti and Andy and myself.  We don’t get to see each other very often but when we do we bring the house down with laughter, wine, and good times.

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Andy, myself, and Patti years earlier.

I like to think the benefit of friendship is immeasurable.  That every great friendship improves your self-confidence because you know there is some one who truly gets you and loves you for who you are.  I also think every great friendship is the only thing that can encourage you to change or help you avoid an unhealthy habit or lifestyle because you trust that friends judgment and are willing to listen to his/her advice.

The last group of friends live in my hometown and one about one hour away.  Joann and Coco have been my friends for about five or six years.

It really doesn’t matter how long you have been friends with someone it has to do with connection.  Both these ladies became instant friends and that friendship grew stronger with each year.  They are the people I keep in touch with all the time.  Sharing our lives with each other is an important part of my days.  Everyone needs friends like these two ladies; friends who pick up the telephone to say hello I’m thinking about you. Hearing their voice, speaking of their life experiences, and they also wondering about yours. Just to hear their voice,  having them telephone, or having lunch together says you are special to me and makes my day special.

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Joann and me!

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 Coco and me!

 Why not share some of your special friendships with me which I can pass on to others.

Episode #4 – The Importance of Family

My lesson on living well in this episode is the importance of family.

My strong belief in family began during my childhood in a small country town, Church Point, Louisiana.  I was blessed because I was born into a beautiful and nourishing family.  It started with my maternal grandparents, not my immediate family.

My mother’s mother was a strong; take charge woman who was a fabulous cook, and seamstress. She was a woman who loved God and attended Mass everyday.  She always had a brood of grandchildren playing around the house every single day.  We would walk home from school and stop at grandmother’s house, as we would enter her house you could smell the aroma of fresh baked sweet dough pies and a number of sweet delights she had laid out on the kitchen table. Sometimes we would sit on the floor and watch her cut fabric and patterns to make something wonderful. She would often let us help and she would teach us techniques about sewing like always pressing seams, clipping corners and curves, etc.

Weekends were especially fun with our grandparents, parents and all the cousins gathered on the lawn. Everyone would spending time catching up with the gossip of the week and we played under the big weeping willow tree.  We took turns on the crank of the ice cream makers waiting for more than one flavor of homemade ice cream to be ready.

My mother’s father was warm, funny, and larger than life and he was a God loving man. He demanded that any grandchild spending the night was down on their knees with the family as he recited the rosary before bedtime.  The next morning he took us with him to his farm to milk the cows and gave us a squirt of milk and a cool drink of water from his hand pump. He loved his grandchildren and spent time trying to teach each of us French words and telling us stories sitting on his lap around the kitchen table.  It seems like the kitchen at their home was always our gathering spot and the heart of family’s special moments during the week.   However all the family participated on Sundays for a formal family dinner and afterwards gathered in the living room to talk and have family time together.

My parents were wonderful yet the death of my sister when I was six years old left them damaged.  My father was a Banker whom everyone loved and a pillar in the community. My mother was  a very talented teacher whose students returned in later years to say she gave them the greatest foundation to become successful in life.  There was much sadness however in our home and lots of drinking to wash away their pain.  My happy spot were times spent with grandmother Ernestine and granddaddy Pierre and all my cousins, aunts and uncles.  Unknowingly, I learned many life lessons from my parents and surrounded by my extended family that gathered weekly to be together. This made me a very strong, self-aware person.  I have always felt comfortable in my own skin. I had a clear understanding of my abilities and situation. With that being said, I have never felt life owed me anything or jealous of others success.  So I can say I have lived an uncomplicated and satisfied life. This is a result of growing up with a supportive family who gave me a loving, encouraging, and positive upbringing.

Life is good and I’m living well. Please share your life story with me that I might share with other readers.

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My grandfather Pierre with me, my sister and some of our cousins.

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My grandmother Ernestine with my sister and me.

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My mother and father and my sister and myself.

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Saturdays in my grandparents yard.

Episode #1 – Hello I’m Katy

I’m Katy!

I’m writing this blog for all of you to answer this question for yourself, “How well can I live?”

I am very fortunate to have lived a happy and healthy life for eighty years and I want to continue to do so for as long as possible. Actually, I feel sixty and wonder who I’m looking at in the mirror each day.

I own my own business which I started at seventy and plan to continue owning it for many years to come. Painting with a Twist is a franchise business which bring people a great deal of pleasure, fun and happiness. It give seven young artist a fun, enjoyable, and well paying part time job while developing their own talent. Also owning this business helps me live a good lifestyle and also keeps me living independently.

I love to read and I just finished a wonderful series by Louise Penny, a Canadian author, of mystery novels set in the Canadian province of Quebec. Wonderful, I highly recommend this series!

Sometimes I wake at night and am no longer tired so I gather all my pillows around me and read until my eyes grow heavy and I once again fall asleep. There is nothing better than a comfortable bed with lots of pillows and thoughts of a wonderful story in your head to dream about. What you do not want to do is read something stimulating that will keep you awake. These are the books you read during the day when you feel bored. “There is a time and place for everything,” just like, ” to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

My family is the most important thing in my life! I have three grown children and each have three children. My nine grandchildren fill my life with so much fascination and excitement. I will be documenting their lives because I want them to know how proud I am of them and their accomplishments and to also know how much joy they have brought to my life.

My two daughters and my son are a blessing to me and I am fortunate that they live close to me. Each one of them brings a different perspective to my life. I love the different viewpoints and attitudes of these unique adult children of mine and appreciate how they color my world.

My children wanted to know how I want to celebrate this milestone birthday. I have to say I’m not excited about reaching this age simply because I don’t have lots of years left to look forward to. I do plan to live to “one hundred” but that’s only twenty more good years.

So this blog will be examples and illustrations; paradigms of the lives of the people I love and who love me. It’s our history and my gift to them!

Tune in and let me hear from you!