I know. That intro just sounds super weird.. but i promise there is a story behind it.
As you all know this past week I had a wonderful "get together" with some of my closest artsy friends. My trues. The last few months have been a HUGE whirlwind for me.. blessing and more blessing that seem to just come daily.. with opportunities in the art community.. our online store and my online classes..all of it being so well received and just life in general has been good.. feeling so grateful and blessed. It has also been some of the hardest few months of my life.. dealing with this new "thorn" in my side.. Fibromyalgia. Being in pain each day.. trying to figure out a balance.. in what I can do and what I can't do anymore. What HAS to be done.. because it is is a necessity and what I can let go.. what I HAVE to let go.. in order to just be sane. Dealing with a illness like this.. not only wears on your physically but mentally as well. I have stopped doing so many things I have enjoyed, I have kinda "shut" myself in.. so to speak.. not doing all the "fun things" i used to do on a daily basis before.. on most days.. by 3 or 4 pm.. my body was just done and I had to crawl under a blanket on the couch and just wait for the pain to go away. It was my new reality. So I was SOO looking forward to this 4 days of rest and relaxation with my friends. No plans, no expectations.. just being together and enjoying each others company. I couldn't wait. I have been looking forward to this since we planned it last December and I knew my body needed it.
Well a a month or so before we came, our dear friend Julie, mentioned it would be fun if we all brought something fun to share with each other from our "state". Like for instance.. she was from Kansas and their town was known for a famous chocolate factory. So she was going to bring chocolate. Of course we all loved the idea and I started thinking of all the fun food things I could bring, potatoes was one.. I could make everyone homemade french fries with fry sauce. OR we have these super Delicious candy bar things.. called Idaho Spuds.. which most people hate.. but I find absolutely delicious(they are basically a big marshmallow coated in coconut and a thin layer of chocolate.. in the shape of a potato). Yum huh? lol
So I obviously had weeks and weeks to prepare and get something figured out.. but as my life seems to be right now.. the weeks and days before I left seemed to get crazier and crazier with magazine deadlines, licencing deadlines, website additions, kit club purchases and you know.. just everyday life. Plus for some reason (hum.. thinking it might have something to do with stress?) My Fibromyalgia was just really bad the weeks and days before I was due to leave on this little get together. It was all I could do to just get a little sleep each night and dream about my time with friends and I completely forgot about the "gift" we were supposed to bring. I did get a few texts that served as reminders.. like "what are you bringing"..cant wait to see you.. etc. But alas.. as my brain seems to work right now.. I forgot those reminders within minutes and went back to my "let's just get through today" life.
So as I suspected, the day I was supposed to leave.. turned into me scurry around.. trying to finish up "must do's" and worrying that I had told Margie I would leaving for her house around 1:00 and finally realizing I wouldn't even get out of town until after 6:00! I was stressed! I was frustrated and I was not having a good day. There wasn't a "deadline" to get to Margie's house. It was friday and the get together didn't start until Sunday, but our friend Julie was flying in a day early, so I decided to come down early too, spend the night with just me and Margie(who lives near SLC, where everyone was flying into) and then go with her the next morning to pick up Julie from the airport and just spend the day shopping, relaxing, hanging out. I finally got everything done and packed and was heading out of town at 6:30!!!! , when I realized.. I hadn't gotten ANYTHING from my friends! Holy crap... what else could I do wrong today? No worries.. our local grocery store had those delicious Idaho Spud Candy bars.. and I would just stop and pick some up and buy some cute little bags to put them in. So I stopped and as luck would have it. They were out. OF COURSE they were. And to be honest.. most stores DON"T sell them.. because no one likes them. hum.. so finding them in another store on the way wasn't an option. So.. What now? Well This particular store .. also was known for it's cool.. kind weird, out of the box candy selections.. and growing up we always got these carmel/sucker treats called "slap sticks". My dad used to give them to use as kids.. and I knew they carried them, so grabbed 8 of them and headed on my way. They weren't really "from" my state.. but they were a great childhood memory I could share with my friends. So it was done.
Heres a picture of the yummy treats.. courtesy of candyblog.net
Well.. flash-forward about 4 hours, when I finally arrived at Margie's house. We hugged, chatted, laughed and re-connected.. and then of course started talking about the upcoming weekend. She told me she had to stop the next day and get little bags to put her "share gifts" in.. and of course I begged her to let me see what she was bringing. I was thinking, salt water taffy or something along those lines.. but oh no.. not wonderful margie. She had purchased these adorable porcelain birds for each of us.. , and I was like.. oh great. I'm Lame. All I brought was Slap-sticks! lol I felt stupid at first. but then Margie assured me mine was great and everyone would love it. I wanted to run out that night and buy something cute from somewhere.. but margie insisted it was the thought that counted. (Hum.. the thought.. that I forgot and then couldn't find so settled on these?? lol) Yes. The thought.
SO flash-foward to sunday.. we all finally arrive and made our way up to Logan Utah.. where we had rented a cute house in the country. It was quiet and had enough space for all of us.. and it was cheap. (I am all about cheap and since I had planed this "get together".. I went with cheap). Once we settled into our little abode(um.. I think it took us longer to unpack my car filled with art supplies.. than it did unload the other 7 girls all together! lol).. we decided to do our "share" exchange.
So.. dear sweet Jeanne went first.. at first she told us that she couldn't think of anything that her state was known for.. but her town did manufacturer this great herbal tea..Celstial Tea.. and so she brought us all a box of fruit flavored tea.. so stinking cute! Perfect! See.. my slap sticks aren't looking so bad right now.. they are a little lame.. but with tea.. they will fit right in! Oh but wait.. she had more. Then she pulled out these gorgeous hand-painted canvas prints, she had created with two friends holding hands under a big tree. She gave one to each of us.. Um.. seriously? I was now crying.. but wait there was more, she also brought us each a piece from her new line coming out in may(she designs clothing, handbags, jewelry.. all with vintage finds on them in her on-line store).. in my head I was saying stop! wait! You had me at the big tree! lol. I ended up with a beautiful yellow linen dress with bell sleeves.. be still my heart. BUT THEN she continued the showering of thoughtfulness with giving us each a personalize jewelry piece she had commised to be made for each of us from this gorgeous jewlery artist she loved. SO stinking thoughtful. Seriously. And then as we went around the room, I realized just how thoughtful my friends TRULY were.. each one.. brought us not only something "fun" to share from their state or city.. but a personalized gift they had created as well. Julie brought us chocolate covered almonds and sunflower seeds, and then surprised us with these awesome vintage emphera kits, personalized to each of us with our favorite colors and styles. Beautiful vintage finds she had found over the last few months that she knew we would each love. Chrissy brought us red hots (the candy) ( she's from Arizona.).. but then presented us with these handmade turquoise and silver earrings that she had made herself. Gorgeous jewelry pieces, that took time and effort. Margie gave us each not just the birds, but she had hand-shredded book paper and created a little "bird's nest out if it and filled it with glitter and candies all around and vintage trims, and had a beautiful story to go with it about friendships and birds sticking together. Jamie brought us delicious cupcakes from a local cupckage store.. and then gorgeous silk scarves from her recent trip to Egypt (of course she did.. because why wouldn't she?? ).. and these handcarved beads from Israel the represented good fortune.. (wow.. was I really starting to feel lame.. um seriously Christy?? really??).Melody had spent months creating a beautiful CD full of wonderful songs about love, life, and friendships.. all written and played by her family on their guitars. She packaged each one in these adorable hand-stamped cotton bags with our names on the front. The music was beautiful! Maria made us these handstamped Silver bracelets with one tiny pearl hanging from them that read "inspired".. because she was inspired by our friendships and love. So beautiful and thoughtful! So Um yeah.. when it was time for me to give my "share" item.. I wanted to hide and crawl under a rock. I seriously.. was so embarrassed.. as I presented with them.. with my very thoughtful.. OH so meaningful gift.. the good old " slapstick" .. carmel goodness on a stick! I seriously felt like a dork.. I am not sure what kind of a re-action i was expecting.. but as I told them how I had forgot until the last minute to get anything, and how I totally thought this was just a "bring your favorite treat" kinda of share thing.. and how I was going to get them these delicious idaho spud candy bars and they were out and so I setllted on these yummy slap-sticks instead.. which actually the spuds still would have been lame compared to all the handmade thoughtful gifts everyone brought.. they all immediately told me how wonderful it was.. and how they had never had one before and they loved it and gave me hug hugs of love and acceptance. I kept apologizing and telling them how lame I was and how I used to be SO MUCH more thoughtful than this.. that when my life was so crazy and when I was struggling everyday to just have relief from pain.. physically and mentally.. that I promised I was a much better friend.. a much more thoughtful friend.. a friend who would have thought way more in advance of something meaningful that I could have given them.. that I could have made for them.. but my brain just didn't work that way right now.. I was so lame.
I can't remember who said it.. it might have been a few of them.. but I remember someone saying.. "it's OKAY.. You are HERE. That is all we wanted! To spend time with you! We know what you are dealing with right now and we love you and love being with you. That is enough!! The slapstick is enough!!!"
And then it hit me... they loved me no matter what and me being there WAS enough.. my carmel slapstick wrapped in a silly burlap bag WAS enough for them. Because they know me, they get me.. they know that my intentions are good and that my heart is good and that sometimes that doesn't always mean big grand things. They understasnd that right now.. this is all I have to give.. that sometimes when life is throwing you some amazing blessings.. and hard curve-balls at the same time.. that just BEING YOU and being PRESENT is enough. My friends freaking rock. It taught me a wonderful lesson. It taught me that we all have wonderful intentions.. that we all have different things to give at different times in our lives.. that sometimes.. we fall short of what we THINK we should do, but truly really truly.. our family and our friends love us and know that we are giving our best and so in reality.. we aren't falling short. We are doing our best. Sometimes we are hardest on ourselves and sometimes it's okay that we made frozen pizza for dinner instead of a a homemade meatloaf with mashed potatoes for dinner...sometimes its okay that today that the only time grand thing we did with our kids was snuggling with them.. reading a book to them on the couch because we were exhausted from our long day of everyday life..sometimes a store-bought cake is enough for the big birthday party.. instead of the grand handmade 3 tiered cake/scuplture that we had intended to make. Sometimes.. all we have to give.. are moments of our time.. and MOST times.. that is enough. Most times.. the ones who love us and know us and get us.. don't expect big grand things from us all the time. They know that we have moments when a simple carmel treat on a stick... is all we have and it is enough. Mosttimes .. a slapstick.. is perfectly enough.
Happy Friday.. thanks for letting me share.