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Monday, June 3, 2013

A Love Story


If we are really, truly lucky,
we are blessed with one, perhaps two
great loves in our lifetime.

But love takes many forms, 
and it doesn't always arrive 
in the idealized form of
hearts and flowers, Harlequin-style love.

No, sometimes, in His infinite wisdom,
God sends us the unconditional love of
kindred spirits.

The love of girlfriends, best friends,
a love which wraps you up tightly in acceptance
and warms you with the knowing that
you are understood, valued and that you
have been gifted sisters for life.

I found this sort of love last Summer,
but the roots of it stretch back to 2009.

When I started my blog that year,
I discovered a woman who spoke to my heart
with her grace, her talent 
and her spirited outlook on life.

Her name was Elizabeth Maxson,
she lived in St. Louis, Missouri,
and she was everything I never dared dream
that I could be....an accomplished and gifted
writer, photographer and stylist. 
A beautiful, engaging sprite of a woman
who inspired me, through her work and her words 
to be the best ME I could possibly be.

 { Elizabeth in her home }

Around the same time, as I was just getting
my little blog off the ground, 
I discovered and instantly felt a connection
with a tiny little dynamo of a blogger named
Debra Oliver, who lived in Springfield, Missouri.
Debra and I became instant besties, burning up
the phone lines several times a week.

Although Debra lives in the Midwest,
she has a heart as big as Texas,
and I can't imagine my life without her in it.

{ Debra, left and Jan of Leola's, a great shop! }

We plotted and planned, Debra and I,
how we would eventually meet.
We couldn't conceive of NOT meeting.

And somewhere along the way,
in the midst of all this planning,
something amazing happened....my idol,
my girl crush and my muse,
THE Elizabeth Maxson and I became
good friends via e-mails and phone calls.
And so it was settled.

In the Summer of 2012,
I would, with the Mister in tow,
make the trek up to Missouri to meet
and love on and thoroughly enjoy the company
of these two precious souls....
these sisters chosen for me, 
hand picked by God.

{ Elizabeth, Deb and Me. photo courtesy Elizabeth Maxson }

It was a beautiful trip.
We spent part of the time in Springfield,
part of the time in St. Louis,
and ALL of the time surrounded by these
two dear women that I truly love.

We made the trip up to St. Louis
to meet Elizabeth on her own turf.
Ever the gracious hostess, we found THIS
greeting us in Elizabeth's famous office.
I loved it!


Why is her office famous, you ask?


She's sort of a big whoop, ya know.
This creative space of hers was featured
as the cover story of Where Women Create.
And now I was standing right here,
in this very room!


She gave us a wonderful tour
of all of her creative nooks and crannies.


An extra special glimpse into that
inimitable, Elizabeth House style.


And we got to see her divine wedding ensemble,
proudly worn to her wedding 
to her charming Barber Husband.


Classic Elizabeth...her oil can collection.


The ethereal mixed media piece above?
Elizabeth brought it with her to Texas 4 months later,
and gifted me with it when she made the drive
all the way down here to surprise me
for my birthday!


And speaking of E's Barber Husband...
he gave my husband a complimentary buzz!
The two fellas developed a little bromance of their own.


I. Love. These. Two. Women. So. Much.


Elizabeth snapping me.

{ photo courtesy Elizabeth Maxson }

And me snapping Elizabeth!

After a few days in St. Louis,
we returned back to our home base
in Springfield, and I roamed around
Debra's completely inspiring home
and snapped a few of her trademark vignettes...




For some reason or the other,
I've been sitting on these photos for almost a year.
I had always intended to edit these and blog about this memorable,
life-changing trip, but busy-ness or self-absorption
always got in the way.

But in light of the events of recent weeks....
all the horrible weather which has bedeviled my two
beautiful friends in their neck of the woods,
I realized just how much these gals mean to me,
how much I love them, and how shattered I would be
if anything were to happen to my girls....my sisters.

{ photo courtesy Debra Oliver }

Debra Oliver, Elizabeth Maxson...
I love y'all.
You inspire me to not only be a better artist,
but a better person and a better Christian.
And another day could not pass by 
without letting both of you and 
everyone else know just that.

XO



Visit Elizabeth here...

And visit Debra here...


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