It seems time is slipping by ever so fast these days. One week ago today a dear friend, Linda unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord at the young age of 55. She was such a unique person, always wearing a smile and could make you laugh at the simplest of things. She was a carefree spirit. I met her in December of 1996 (when we lived in Owasso, Ok.) at McDonald's during their 101 Dalmation Toy Campaign. The girls and I were determined to get all 101,(without eating that many Happy Meals) and we did, with Linda's help! We got a rough start because she wouldn't trade a dog with me, little did I know this trading thing was a big deal! You made sure you got the better end of the trade, boy did I learn fast. She was my partner in crime when it came to collecting Happy Meal Toys. Just ask my girls. That was the beginning of my nearly 8 years of toy collecting. At one time I had over 2500 toys. We even did toy shows together, some of the funnest times in my life. I still have most of my toys, they are in bins in the garage (along with beanie babies, yes I know). I hope someday to be able to display them. I didn't collect from just McDonald's, no, I got them from everywhere, I even have all the Taco Bell talking chiwhaha dogs. I am still just a big kid at heart and I aint never gonna grow up!
Linda was the type of person who would give you the shirt off her back, and never ask for anything in return. She loved animals and fishing. Loved being outdoors and could do trim work on building a house as good as her husband, Larry. You hand her a nail gun and she was ready to go. I am ashamed to admit it has been years since I've seen her. Many times when I would go to Tulsa, I would think of calling her, but she had moved and lived an hour away and seldom did I have enough time to go visit, maybe I should say (sadly) that I didn't make time. I talked to her some, but one of those friendships, too long taken for granted.
Even though I didn't keep in touch very well over recent years, I am blessed to be able to say that I was able to lead her to the Lord about 11 years ago when we lived in Owasso, OK. She started coming to Rejoice FWB and Larry would come with her sometimes. I was there for her when her brother was murdered. She wasn't the smartest cookie in the jar, but I will tell you this, she never stopped investigating his murder until SHE found the weapon and who did it! Sad thing was, the town where it happened had a big drug ring and the local authories were involved, so they shut her down real quick. It was hard trying to get her to trust God and wait for Him to pass judgement. Her life had been threatened and yet she never wavered. So strong, and yet some stupid infection got the best of her. Life just doesn't seem fair sometimes. I drove to Oklahoma Monday, then on to the funeral home to see her. As I stood there, regret flooded over me for not calling her two weeks ago while I was dogsitting for Libby and Wyatt. I had time then, before the wedding I had thought about trying to connect with her, but for some reason she never came to mind. Jim said I probably wouldn't have been able to go see her anyway, since my immune system is so low. But right now, in my heart that doesn't help any! This has been such a year of grief and loss, but I keep telling myself I WILL see them all heaven again one day. That's the hope I have for now, and I can only imagine what close family members are going through. My prayers have been going up for 11 families so far this year. That's just the people I know, and Praise God everyone of them were Christians!!!
I'm sorry to end so gloomy, but I guess the one thing that I have been reminded of too many times lately is never take things-time and people for granted. You may never see them alive again. Love like you never have loved and don't be too stubborn to say you are sorry. Grudges and anger have no time or place here, or at least they shouldn't. Take care my precious friends, and know that even if you don't hear from me often you are in my thought and prayers.