Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Day one of My Incredible Journey . . .

May my friendships always be
The most important thing to me;
With special friends I feel I'm blessed,
So let me give my very best.
I want to do much more than share
The hopes and plans of friends who care;
I'll try all that a friend can do
To make their secret dreams come true.
Let me use my heart to see,
To realise what friends can be,
And make no judgements from afar,
But love my friends the way they are.
~Jill Wolf

It's hard to believe that only two weeks ago I was getting ready to go on the journey of a lifetime. It's hard to believe that I took that journey and am now home again and back to work! I was so blessed to recently have been gifted with a trip to the US to watch my daughter compete in the World Winter Games in Idaho, and I can't begin to tell you how much this wonderful experience blessed my life.

Being able to go watch Eileen was something that I had been praying for, for over a year. I had just gotten to the point where I thought I was not going to be able to go, when . . . voila! The answer to my prayers came and I was gobsmacked to say the very least. At first I thought about all the reasons I couldn't go . . . too short a notice, wouldn't be able to get time off work, too fat and didn't want my daughter to see me this big . . . and many more reasons. One by one Heavenly Father brought down the barriers in my mind and before I knew it I was on a plane to America. The only one He couldn't do something with was the fat excuse . . . and we all know who it is that has to take care of that one . . .

I was quite nervous about having to change planes in Atlanta. I have never been to Atlanta before and the thought of having to make my way through a strange airport all by myself was really quite frightening to me. Heavenly Father was with me all the way though. I got through with no problems whatsoever, and even though the underground train to my gate wasn't working, I managed to walk a bazillion miles and make it to the right place! Up in the air I went again and before I knew it I was landing in Salt Lake City. Although it was dark, I could see the ghostly skeleton of snow covered mountains out of the window of the aircraft surrounding the airport . . . breathtakingly beautiful, even in the darkness . . .

This is what met me.

Aren't they just the sweetest people! This is Jen from Tater Tots and Jello and her lovely mom Jean from Quincy Cottage . I just loved that beautiful sign they had made! Can you believe that they are in their 40's and 60's respectively??? Neither can I!!! Whatever it is they are eating, I want me some of that!! You have never seen two more beautiful or younger looking ladies! Not to mention nice. They were so sweet and I was thrilled to finally get to meet them in person. It was so very kind of them to pick me up at the airport. Jen even took me on a scenic tour through Salt Lake City so that I could see the Salt Lake Temple all lit up at night. This was something that I had always wanted to see and my dream came true.

I was so excited to be finally meeting my good friend Lura from Grammy's News . She was waiting for me at her daughter Erin's, another friend of mine from The McGibbon Family . Erin's house was to be my first destination. You could never have asked for a warmer reception and tears flowed as Lura and I met for the first time. What a beautiful reunion, and I say that because, right from the first time we made contact on the internet, I have always felt that Lura and I have always known each other, that our friendship was an eternal friendship that started long before we came to this earth . . . a friendship rare and precious. It has been a miracle to me that we were able to find each other again, and totally amazing, and I know that Lura feels the same way.

Erin had a lovely supper waiting for me, a totally delicious curry. How did she know I loved curry? I don't know, but it was just wonderful. And as late as it was and as tired as I was it was so good to get to spend the time together, laughing and chatting and getting to know each other. Day one of my journey was almost done, and that night as I lay in my comfortable bed, totally exhausted and more than ready to sleep, I gave thanks to my Heavenly Father for having gotten me there safe and sound, for making my dreams come true, and for friendships . . . sweet and pure and eternal . . .

Tommorrow . . . day two!

I had this wonderful idea for a new painting when I was away and I couldn't wait to get home and make her a reality. I managed to get it done last night while Todd was at meetings and I just adore her. I called it "A Heart Like His." This is something that I strive for in my life . . . to have the heart of the Saviour . . to make my actions, words and deeds follow His as closely as I can. To be His hands here on earth. Sometimes I fail abysmally, but then . . . sometimes I get it right . . .

Yesterday, I baked these lovely cookies yesterday to take to a friend in hospital. These are the best oatmeal cookies ever and I just know that you will love them. We do!!

*Crispy Oatmeal Cookies*
Makes about 4 dozen

Crisp, buttery and full of oaty goodness, these cookies are probably the best oatmeal cookies I have ever tasted. These are my absolute favourite. (I know . . . I say that about everything!)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup of raisins or toasted pecans, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets and set aside.

Cream together the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined, along with the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir this in and mix in well, then stir in the oats and the raisins or nuts. Mix well together.

Scoop out walnut sized pieces of dough and shape into balls and place at least two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottoms and set. Remove from the oven and allow to cook for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing to wire racks to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough until all used up. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

PS - If you want to see a recap of my adventure hop on over to Lura's page. She's done a beautiful job over there!


  1. I'm the first! AHAHAHAH! It looks like you had a gorgeous time. I'm so happy you had a good trip, though I am sad I didn't get to see you! And hooray for seeing your daughter after two and a half long years!

  2. I'm so glad you could make that trip. The memories you have of the time with friends and being there for your daughter are times that cannot be forgotten. Those cookies are something I'll need to make. Oatmeal is good for us you know. 'On Ya'-ma

  3. Oh Marie, your friends are just wonderful and you are just glowing! This was a warm welcome that I really enjoyed reading about. I felt like I got that welcome too. Can't wait to read about day two!

  4. Been loving so much all the details about your trip here at Oak Cottage, Marie, and at Jen and Lura's blogs too. What a fantastic time! I'm so thrilled you got see Eileen and on such an important and exciting occasion, and to meet friends and have great times with them...Days treasure! Your new illustration is so charming! These cookies have my tummy rumbling...mmm...Hope we can catch up soon, missed getting to talk to you while you were away. Hope during the coming weekend we can have a chat! LOVE YOU HEAPS, my dear friend :o) ((HUGS))

  5. Good Morning dear...upps.. afternoon for you isn't it.... well good afternoon then.

    I am glad to see this post today. I waited up until 1:00 a.m. to see it last night. I was a bit worried when it didn't come up so I am relieved that it is here today.

    We did have a wonderful time didn't we!! I will treasure these memories forever. While I am sad that we live so far apart I think it is wonderful that now I have all of these sweet memories of my previously "invisible" friend. When I am missing you I pull up a memory out of my heart and wrap it around me. It is like getting a hug from you all over again.

    I love your new little girl. I knew that she would be precious when you first showed me the sketches of her.... didn't you first draw her out on a napkin at the Lyon house?? I can't remember but I remember thinking at the time that she would be darling. I especially love the message. I too try to live my life in such a way that I can be in tune with His spirit and have a heart like His.

    I hope you are getting more rested. I will look forward to your day two. It is so fun reliving these days we shared together.

    John will love those cookies. He likes crispy cookies instead of cakey ones. However, do I dare make them???? How can I start my diet if those are in the house??

    Take care. Much love, Lura

  6. Good to have you back & (hopefully) happy & well rested.

    The oatmeal cookies sound so good, I think I'll make them this weekend. I have a student from Colombia staying with me until June; she loves to eat & has a sweet tooth (like me!!) but alas, doesn't know how to cook. She wants to learn, so what better way than with these cookies. That should sell her on the joys of making your own food.

    I'll let you know how they turn out (but not how long it took for them to disappear!)

  7. Hi sweet Marie! It was so wonderful and amazing to have met you. Thank you for letting us come meet you at the airport! It was so amazing to be with you and meet Lura and her cute daughter!

    I'm so happy you had a special time with your daughter! She sounds so sweet and lovely.

    I hope you are feeling more rested and getting back into your schedule. I am sure Todd missed you tons!


  8. Loved reading of your adventures Marie in Salt Lake City with your friends. Salt Lake City is not that far from me either. Can't wait to hear about day two.

  9. isn't the internet amazing? you never knew lura your whole life and you come across each other through the internet and bam, there is an immediate connection. and you know that you have an eternal connection and that is just incredible! friends are the best. i bet you had to pinch yourself sometimes on your trip to make sure it was all real.

    and i'm so happy you were able to see your dear daughter eileen and what a proud mom you must have been-wow so many medals!!! i'm sad you had to say goodbye:( but glad you were able to hold her in your arms again.

  10. Well I must say Marie,what a wonderful welcoming poster your friends had there greeting you at the airport.The pictures of you and your friends are fabulous.How your hair has grown too.I hardly recognised you.It realy looks nice long.Brave lady changing at Atlanta by yourself.You deserve an award for that alone.I am so looking forward to reading more.I hope you are feeling a little more refreshed as the days go by.Thankyou for sharing your pics.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  11. I am so glad you were able to take this trip!!!! can't wait to hear more!!

  12. Marie I'm so happy for you that you were able to make this trip. I'm especially happy that you look so great and very happy yourself. The smile on your face says it all. Everyone who helped to make your visti special are great friends and I want to thank them for being good friends to you. You deserve this great time and a treasured one it was for sure. Glad your back safe and sound. Congratulations on all the medals Eileen won and your new drawing is amazing very beautiful.

  13. Oh Marie how wonderful you got to visit with friends you met through your wonderful blog AND you got to see your daughter !! You were doubley blessed!! I love those cookies, as always they look PERFECT!!

  14. I feel so lucky that I got to see your sketch before she "came to life". what a darling little girl! I sure wish I had your creativity and that my doodles could be turned into something this adorable!


  16. That sounds like such a tiring day! It seems like you had a lovely kind welcome though. I am very much enjoying reading about your trip :)

  17. Oh Marie, I am so happy for you! So glad your dreams came true. You deserve big dreams and for them to come true!

    Love you.

  18. Loved seeing Lura's page and more pics. I am so happy you saw Eileen and she got so many medals! WOW!!!!


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