I have a sweet friend named Ava-Maria. She is too old to be my mother but not old enough to be my grandmother. We're not the kind of friends who have known each other for ages and spend a lot of time together, but we have one of those rare and age-less connections that just made us immediately bond and feel like we have known each other all along. We seem to be in sync - she'll call me right when I'm thinking of her or we'll happen to walk past each other in town - always at a moment when one of us needs a kind word. She has had amazing experiences in her lifetime and more tragedy than is anyone's share but she is one of the most positive people I have ever met. She knows how busy I am and will often just leave a sweet message and some of her delicious homemade marzipan candies for my children in our mailbox.
We both sing in the alto section of a choir and last fall I whispered to her between songs at rehearsal about my lady-bug obsession - well actually, it is more like lady-bugs had an obsession with me (wrote about it here). Strangely enough there was a photo of a ladybug on the church newsletter a month later (and during Christmas a rather unlikely emphasis was given to Mary in our protestant church....). Ava cut out the ladybug from the newsletter and glued it on a card for me. Sometimes she'll call me and say that one just landed on her balcony flowers.
She also left this pretty postcard in my mailbox earlier this year. Last week she had missed our choir performance at a summer charity event and the next day I called to find out how she was. She has been dealing with serious health issues for over a year. But she is such a strong, dynamic, ever-faithful person! She refuses to let life's battles get her down. Within minutes - maybe seconds -of our phone call, it was her lifting me up (with tears streaming down my cheeks) and not the other way around as I had intended.
I think that truly everyday angels surround us when we open our hearts. And I think we will all have times in our lives to be the givers and the takers - often, at the very same time.
Tomorrow I will share with you a cute and simple paper ladybug craft you can make with children. I think Ava-Maria would like it, in fact, I think I'll leave one in her mailbox with a little message.