Together Again!


Hi Friends!

A-n-t-i-c-i-p-a-t-i-o-n can be a wonderful thing! The months and weeks leading up to the big day were filled with excitement and making plans. When September finally arrived, it was time to prepare a cozy, welcoming guest room for our very special friend.

Let’s start at the very beginning of this story…

The seeds of our very special friendship were sown 39 years ago. My Uncle Bill (who had moved to Germany, after serving in Vietnam) knew that his co-worker and friend would be passing through Chicago on a tour with her parents. He asked Iris to bring a packet of photos for us. We were so grateful for her kindness! So, my mother, my brother, and I met Iris and her parents at the Blackstone Hotel on a Sunday afternoon, in March. It was a day that would change lives forever!

Our families felt a friendship begin to sprout that afternoon, as Iris translated for all of us. There was so much to talk about as we got to know one another. Iris and I both felt a warm connection beginning to take root that day. We were both the same age and curious about the world. We promised to write letters to one another. As we parted ways, I told her, “If you’d ever like to come visit again, you are always welcome to stay with us!”

Just a few months later, Iris came back for an extended visit! πŸ™‚Β  πŸ™‚

Our friendship began to blossom as Iris became a special part of our family and my circle of friends. My teaching career was just beginning and my dreams were just beginning to come true! The following summer, I went to visit Iris for several weeks. She lives in a beautiful city in southwest Germany, near the Black Forest. I felt so blessed to be welcomed into her family and her circle of friends during that wonderful summer in 1979.

Our special friendship has flourished as three decades have passed.Β  Since we were both single, footloose, and fancy-free, we were so fortunate to share our travel dreams together. Iris often came to visit me (during the even-numbered years) and I often visited her (during the odd-numbered years). Oh, the exciting adventures we have had together!!

Dear friends, together again!Β  πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

(Full disclosure:Β  In the Munich beer garden, I just was holding the huge beer for a photo op! Beer has never been my ‘cup of tea.’ πŸ™‚ )

Cars, buses, boats, trains, and planes have helped us to explore America and Europe together. In between our visits, letters, postcards, and phone calls were the water and sunshine that kept us close. I will always remember writing a letter and waiting weeks for a reply via overseas airmail. How fortunate we are to stay close so easily now, via email and occasional Skype visits!Β  πŸ™‚

Both of our lives have grown busier over the past several years. Yet, Iris and I have always kept one another very close at heart. I was so excited to introduce my husband to Iris (and all of my German family and friends), when we visited Germany five years ago to celebrate my Renaissance (the ‘R’ word that I use for Retirement)!Β  True friends, together again!Β 

Over the years, I have always grown Irises in my Friendship Garden, as I dreamed of another visit with my perennial friend. I carefully tended the yellow and purple blossoms as our friendship continued to grow and blossom.

Can you imagine the happiness that we all felt as we awaited a mid-September visit from our dear friend, Iris?

We filled our precious days together with some of our very favorite activities. We enjoyed a family gathering for our traditional Pumpkin Soup dinner. My parents and Iris enjoyed a nice Skype visit across the miles. We truly relished all of our relaxing evenings spent talking and laughing on the front porch, while the cicadas and the crickets serenaded us. Dear friends, together again!Β  πŸ™‚Β  πŸ™‚

We welcomed Autumn with a visit to Amish country in Northern Indiana. Iris and I have always loved exploring the peaceful countryside near Shipshewana and Middlebury and the clip-clop sounds of the Amish horse and buggies. My husband was fascinated by his first visit to Amish country.

Signs of Autumn were everywhere, while Summer-like temperatures soared to the mid-90s (twenty-five degrees above normal!). We admired beautiful Amish quilts and handmade furniture and were tempted by yummy baked goods and preserves. We learned a great deal about the history of the Amish and Mennonite people from the interesting tour guides and multi-media presentations at the Menno-Hof . Everywhere we went, the Amish people were eager to speak German (their first language) with Iris.

We spent our second day exploring the small town of Middlebury, Indiana. We enjoyed a colorful quilt shop and a beautiful Quilt Garden. Iris visited her first covered bridge. I will always remember our visits to an Amish home and farmstead to admire their handmade quilts.

My husband and I look forward to visiting other Amish communities in the future. Iris and I promised to carry the tranquil clip-clop sound of the horse and buggies with us when life returns to its usual busyness.

We all enjoyed spending a day at a Native American Harvest Pow-Wow. Dancers and drum circles from Indian Nations across the Midwest gathered for the weekend to share their traditional dancing, drumming, music, arts, and foods. It was a nice opportunity to talk with several Native Americans. It was fascinating to learn more about their traditions and the ceremonial herbs used in their sacred fire circle. The dancers and drummers endured two days of unseasonably hot, humid weather to share their traditions and we felt so grateful for the opportunity to experience another Pow-Wow. (You might like to visit the large Red Mountain Eagle Pow-Wow with us on the Pima-Maricopa Reservation last Fall, in Arizona, here.)

The next day, we cooled off with a peaceful walk along the beaches of Lake Michigan, at Illinois Beach State Park.Β  Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes. Its name comes from the Ojibwe word “michi-gami” (meaning ‘great water’).Β  During past visits, we have enjoyed sailing on Lake Michigan with dear friends!

Then it was time to share some of my favorite places closer to home. Iris and I enjoyed lovely walks in nature at a nearby Arboretum and along our native prairie. We visited nearby greenhouses to admire their expansive collection of beautiful orchids. We visited my favorite library and two favorite shopping malls. (Her suitcase was extra-full on her trip home!)

We thrive on new experiences! So, Iris sat in a sporty, red Tesla and learned all about it. She always dreamed of sitting on a Harley. So, we wandered through the Harley-Davidson dealership as a friendly salesperson answered all of our questions.Β  For a new taste treat, Iris enjoyed her first burrito!

We squeezed many new adventures into our time together. I will always cherish our times reminiscing (and laughing) about our adventures over the past 39 years. What fun to look through photo albums filled with happy memories of our times together in Germany (and so many places in Europe) and America!

When I look back on our 2017 visit, I will always remember three special sounds:Β  the clip-clop of the Amish horse and buggies, the call of the drums at the Harvest Pow-Wow, and laughterso much laughter! Our time together just overflowed with happiness and hugs!

As always, our visit flew by much too quickly. Of course, we didn’t say, “Goodbye.” Instead I promised, “Bis bald.” (“See you soon!”) Our next adventure might happen here, there, or somewhere in between. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚Β  Dear friends, together again!



Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to visit today! It has been very quiet here on our blog for several weeks now.Β  With everything happening in America and beyond, it felt kind of trivial to share my words. Unbelievable wildfires, the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria, and now Nate, a devastating earthquake in Mexico,…Β  and then the heartbreaking gun violence in Las Vegas.

Long ago, I experienced the dangers of Nature’s fury. I do know how it feels to have one’s life unexpectedly turned upside down. The effects last long after the clean-up. We cannot forget the people in Texas, Florida, and the islands. They will need our help for a long time as they put their lives back together.Β  If you have been affected by recent storms or are one of the brave first responders, please let us know how you are doing.

Blogging has become such an important part of my creative journey. I have been giving it a great deal of thought over the past weeks. Perhaps when times are difficult in our world, it is important to share my voice… and a little dose of sunshine! β™₯β™₯

I’m looking forward to visiting all of my blog friends in the coming days, too. πŸ™‚

Warmest hugs,

β™‘ Dawn

P.S.Β  This weekend we will celebrate World Cardmaking Day!Β  I’ll be back very soon to share!















27 thoughts on “Together Again!

  1. Dawn, what a special friendship. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love how you’ve captured the feel of it so well here and related it so well to your love of gardening. Even her name, Iris, is a perfect fit. Having written this you’ve planted even deeper roots in your garden of friendship.

    I’m so sad to see all that’s happening in America right now, and over the past months. AND, I do think it’s important to focus on the good too – there is way more of that happening, even right now. It’s important for you to share your writing from the heart with us. I know it is difficult in the midst of so much suffering and we need to do what we can to support others, but I also feel writing of the goodness around you is part of that process and the healing that needs to happen in the world. This is part of what you are here to do, I know. So I’m grateful to read your words down here in New Zealand – it provides some balance to the rest we’re hearing. Love and hugs to you, and thank you again.

    • Huge, heartfelt thanks, dear Vicky! I know that you can understand how special it is to have friends living at a great distance. It is such a wonderful way to learn about the world together… and to discover how much we are all alike! β™₯ Iris and I wonder where our next little adventure will happen!

      Your encouraging words mean the world to me, Vicky! Such words of wisdom! It really is important to keep sharing small moments of light and sunshine during these ‘stormy’ times. Perhaps it will encourage us all to be mindful of the small blessings that are so often overlooked during challenging times.

      Vicky, now I must catch up on our Book Club discussions! During September, I missed some of the reading. I truly missed my Morning Pages, Artist Dates, and Writing Memoir. It was delightful to take walks in nature with Iris during her visit! So lots of catching up and gathering new insights in the coming weeks! Hope you made some wonderful discoveries in recent weeks. So grateful that you stopped to visit today, Vicky, and shared your thoughts with all of us! Sending warmest hugs all the way to New Zealand! Happy Springtime! β™‘

    • Hi Brenda! Iris and I both know how fortunate we are to have kept our friendship blossoming for nearly four decades. We are grateful for all the ways that technology has made it easier to stay close. Messaging photos and quick notes is our latest way to stay close at heart. Real visits are truly wonderful blessings! Thank you so much for stopping to visit today, Brenda! Sending big hugs to Alabama! β™‘

  2. What an amazing September you had. A good friend is hard to find, and you have worked together to maintain a wonderful friendship across the globe and through the years. Nice post. πŸ™‚ Yes, the world is a scary place right now and prayers for peace from the ravages of other humans and mother nature are certainly needed.

    • Our September visit was truly another dream-come-true, Judy! I often think about how very fortunate we are that my uncle didn’t just mail his packet of photos to our family. Asking Iris to hand-deliver the photos really changed both of our lives in the nicest ways. Having dear friends at a distance makes the world a happier, much more interesting place! Time spent living in one another’s homes provides the best insights into another culture. I treasure my German family and friends and Iris cherishes her American family and friends.

      We share your prayers for our wounded world, Judy! Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to, my friend. Are you raking leaves already? Wishing you nice Autumn days in the garden! β™‘
      P.S. I thought of you, Judy, while we were admiring those beautiful Amish quilts! πŸ™‚

    • Such a sweet thing to say, Ginnie! Huge hugs! I truly love blogging. It has become one of the totally unexpected ‘surprises’ of my Renaissance and has blessed my life in so many ways! It has always been my nature to focus on the sunny side of life. So whenever the news of the world and our nation is difficult to take in, I become even more mindful of the small moments of joy in every day. You have been in my heart recently, Ginnie. I’d love to connect again one day, if you have time. Perhaps a cup of tea? Thank you so much for stopping to visit. Wishing you a happy week ahead, Ginnie! πŸ’—

  3. You made me feel that I know Iris! Will call an old friend this week because of the joy you shared in connecting.

    • That’s such wonderful news, dear Anne! 😊 It’s so important to stay in touch with our forever friends. They know us so well and have been with us through so many chapters in our lives!

      You and Iris would most definitely be friends. Although you haven’t met in person, long ago you lived in her city in southwest Germany! I’d like to think that you might have ridden on the same streetcar, stopped to buy a bouquet of flowers in the marktplatz, or walked through the schlosspark behind the castle on the same day! Can’t wait to hear about your call to your old friend. I’m sure there will be laughter as you reminisce about the good old days! So happy for you both, Anne! I can already tell it’s going to be a nice week, dear one! Thanks so much for being here, Anne! πŸ’—

  4. Oh, Dawn, how sorry I am. I read this post and thought I’d responded and now realize I hadn’t. Duh!

    What a lovely post this is, filled with long-lasting friendship and renewal of ties.The story of you and Iris grew out of a packet of seeds, is heartwarming, and personifies the bonds that can and are forged with other. This warmed my heart, Dawn.

    I enjoyed reading about your travels to Shipshewana and Middlebury. LOVE that area.

    I think it is important to continue to share, especially during the difficult times such as those happening now. These are the times that help balance and give hope during everyday occurrences, difficult times, natural disasters, etc. Keep on blogging, my friend, and thank you.

    • Heartfelt thanks, dear Penny! The long friendship that Iris and I share is one of my most cherished blessings. In our younger years, we were able to visit and travel together very often. Now we must often wait years until we are together. So, each visit has become even more endearing as the years pass. Just this morning, there were texts and emails to keep us close! πŸ™‚

      We were so happy when Iris asked to visit Shipshewana again! It’s a fascinating chance to learn more about the Amish people. My husband and I look forward to visiting other Amish communities in the Midwest. We are thinking about visiting Arcola and Arthur next. Have you ever visited those communities?

      Many thanks for your words of wisdom, Penny! Although it can be much more challenging to write during difficult times, I do agree that it is important… and I have lots of stories to tell. πŸ™‚ Hope you had a wonderful visit with your grandchildren! I’m sure that they enjoyed it just as much as you did! After so much rain this weekend, I’m really looking forward to a week of sunny days! Have a delightful week, my friend! β™‘

    • It’s the best story ever, dearest Iris! We have had so many amazing adventures over the years. Just imagine if Bill had simply mailed us that packet of photos in 1978. We would never have met that day, and so many lives would be so different! Our long friendship is one of the truest blessings in my life. Can’t wait to write the next chapter of our friendship! πŸ™‚ Bis bald, dear friend! Sending happy hugs! β™‘

  5. How very wonderful that the two of you have been able to keep up your friendship over the years. I’m sure you both enjoyed every moment that you were together.

    • It’s truly so wonderful, Karen! Iris and I both cherish our long friendship and all of the happy memories we share of our adventures together. The opportunity to stay in a friend’s home really connects us to family, friends, and so many of the customs and traditions of another country.

      I will always cherish Christmas, New Year’s, and special birthday celebrations with Iris, her family, and our friends in Germany. Iris has such fond memories of celebrating Fourth of July and Halloween with us in America. Our worlds have been expanded and our joys multiplied through our friendship! We are both looking forward to our next visit together!

      Welcome home, Karen! Can’t wait to catch up on all of your travels. You visited so many of my favorite European cities. I spent a week in West Berlin, with a visit to East Berlin, shortly before the Wall came down. I would love to visit Berlin again one day! Wishing you relaxing Autumn days! πŸ’—

  6. Dearest Dawn, what a lovely story of friendship through the years with your special friend, Iris. How sweet your time was spent with her! You both are blessed to have each other. Thank you for sharing the photos through the years with her.
    With all that is going on in the world I feel we need to hear stories of friendship and love. Thank you so much for always doing that with your writings. I know you are basking in the beautiful time you spent with your special friend. Love, Martha Ellen

    • Welcome Home, Martha Ellen! I thought of you so often during your wonderful adventure. Heartfelt thanks for taking the time to visit today and for your oh-so kind words, sweet friend! Iris and I made so many happy memories during her visit. In between all of our little trips and outings, we spent truly delightful hours on the front porch just talking and laughing together. Those happy memories will warm our hearts until we can meet again! We have been texting every day and sending emails, since Iris arrived back home. We are so fortunate that technology makes it so easy to stay close across the miles/kilometers. πŸ™‚ Dear friends are among my very favorite blessings! Sending warmest hugs, dear one! Wishing you happy Autumn days in your garden! β™‘

    • Heartfelt thanks, Candace! Iris and I both treasure the many blessings of our long friendship! We always feel close at heart… and hope we can have a real visit again soon. Thank you so much for stopping to visit today, Candace! Sending Autumn hugs! πŸ’—

  7. I have been going through the 800 plus blogs I am behind and deleting many. Then I saw this and had to stop and read. So happy I did. Especially when I saw the little German flag at the top and the little heart welcome sign. I knew I had found a friendly spot. I am so sorry beer isn’t your cup of tea. i could have followed you around and had your share. πŸ™‚ You and your friend, Iris have covered a lot of ground in both countries. It’s fun to follow. How fortunate for you to have found each other through synchronicity. Love the quote at the top about sunshine spilling over. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

    • I’m just delighted that you found this post, Marlene! I remember buying that little Herzlich Willkommen long ago in the pretty, little town of Ettlingen. It’s a sweet piece of hand-painted pottery and was a perfect little ‘Welcome’ for Iris’ visit! I think you would love talking with Iris.:) I have tried a sip of German beers from different regions, but have just never liked beer. (Coffee isn’t my ‘cup of tea’ either!) So, I would gladly have passed every beer along to you! πŸ™‚ Iris and I both know just how fortunate we are to have become dearest friends. She will always be a part of my family and I will always be a part of her family! In fact, we shared our Thanksgiving celebration with Iris across the miles, with many photos and texts today. Thank you for so many kind words and for stopping to visit today, Marlene! I’m really looking forward to your next post! Alles Gute… and warm hugs! β™‘

      • The pleasure was all mine. Loved my visit here. πŸ™‚ Funny thing, I love my beer strong, coffee weak and my tea, herbal and sweet. πŸ™‚ Beer must be an import. American commercial beer has no flavor. I checked out Ettlingen and think it’s one of many towns I missed. Maybe next time. πŸ™‚

      • Raising my cup of herbal tea to wish you a happy holiday season, Marlene! I’m sure you will have some fun with needle and thread and paper and ink in the weeks ahead! You might enjoy my posts β€˜Fairy Tales’ and β€˜Warm at Heart’… for a little touch of Germany. Just search the blog archives! Sending warm hugs, Marlene! πŸ’—

  8. Well it’s nice to meet you Dawn. Not only do we have Germany in common, I am a lake girl too, a Michigan girl – although from Lake Huron. I’m glad I scrolled down to see this post and see that your friendship is still alive and well. Wunderbar!

    • Welcome, Maria! We really do have a lot in common. I’m so glad that we connected through card making and Papertrey Ink! 😊

      Yes, Iris and I truly treasure our long friendship. We had a delightful visit in September and wonder where and when our next get-together will happen. I’m so curious about how you made the big move from Michigan to Germany? Hope we can stay in touch, Maria. If you search my blog archives for Germany, you might find a few other interesting posts. Thank you so much for visiting and stopping to chat today! πŸ’—

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