Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Queen Elizabeth Friendship

Okay, I am NOT friends with Queen Elizabeth. Sorry if that was misleading. I do, however, have a friendship that has blossomed around a Queen Elizabeth rose. Last week my doorbell rang and I opened it to find my 94 year old friend, Evelyn Strong, standing on my porch with a rose bush in her hands....a Queen Elizabeth rose bush that she had purchased for me to plant in my yard as a living reminder of our friendship. I love this woman.

I met Evelyn 7 years ago when my oldest daughter went into 2nd grade. She just so happened to be a fairly permanent volunteer in Mrs. Dugan's classroom and, while she fostered relationships with all the children in the classroom, it was my then two year old tagging along to take big sis to school everyday who won her heart. They bonded in a big way. My friend Nina Wilcox Mota once said when people love your children you love them. I paraphrased, of course, but that was the gist of her statement. It's true. Seeing the love that passed between my little girl and Mrs. Strong sealed our relationship as well.

Now many of you may not know but I spent several years creating custom designed greeting cards. I often gave new designs and samples to Mrs. Strong as a little "just because." One of those cards featured a beautiful Queen Elizabeth rose...a card near to my heart because it was created from a photograph I took of my neighbor's rose. He was an older gentleman caring for his wife. We often visited over the back fence, he put up with my dogs, made us pumpkin pies, and shared his own writing with me. He also loved his roses. I was working on a set of those cards for him when he passed on...his family used them as thank you notes after his funeral... bittersweet. Mrs. Strong loved those cards. When Christmas rolled around she had me create several sets for gifts and most recently ordered two more sets (I still do cards on request). Along with her card sets, I surprised her with a copy of my book Becoming... which just so happens to feature that rose on the cover. She was thrilled.

Evelyn Strong has touched many lives. My story Big Shoes To Fill is based on her. When I gave her a copy of my co-authored Time Out On A Roller Coaster and told her the story was based on her, she told me she'd always been accused of having big feet! What a wonderful sense of humor she has. And how very blessed I have been to have been touched by this wonderful woman.

Last year Mrs. Strong moved up to 3rd Grade along with Mrs. Dugan. She will tell you it was not an easy move. I can tell you it was a "God move" because guess who entered 3rd grade this year and was placed in Mrs. Dugan's classroom? That's right. My daughter....the one who was the two year old tag along.
KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa ran a story on Mrs. Strong not too long ago. If you follow THIS LINK it will take you to the story. There's a video also. Both very worth your time.

God bless you, Evelyn Strong. Thank you for being a part of our lives.


  1. Isn't it amazing how just the right people come into our lives at just the right times? Obviously not coincidence, I have seen it happen too many times in my own life and the lives of others. How blessed we are to have Someone watching over us and making those Divine Connections that provide such sweet fellowship and joy. She sounds like a wonderful lady. I knew there was something special about that beautiful rose picture on your book!

  2. By the way I was reading my copy of Becoming tonight and how I treasure it. Though I have already read most of the stories in there, I still enjoyed them the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time around. It is a great collection of stories. Well worth the time to read.

  3. What a wonderful and uplifting story. Your writting just gets better and better.