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Friends: The masterpiece of nature (Hump Day Hmm for January 9, 2008)

There are many people to admire and who inspire. Historical people, famous people, revolutionaries, and peacemakers. When I think of who I admire, I often tend to think of women since they are frequently my role models and inspiration, especially now, since having children.

When I sat down to think who I should profile, I came up with several versions of this post. I like them all but had a difficult time choosing. Should it be someone I know personally? A family member, such as my husband? My children? Someone from current or past times in my life? Or from the pages of news or history?

In the end, it came down to feeling the best about profiling two people who are, so to speak, in my ballpark. I know them personally, they figure in my life currently, and I admire so much about them.

Let me see if I can make you feel the love, too.


She's turned 40 now, not the first of our group of friends but not the last, either. You don't guess she's over 40, or at least those of us in the same age bracket don't guess it although we know it. She's got a youthful face and manner. I think it's her energy---which is turned outward and is abundant.

Her house is the sort that you just walk into without knocking. Her door is always open. When you enter, you can quickly tell her priority isn't tidying up, although she stresses herself about it, a little. But her house is always clean...just full. She's created comfortable little zones in each room of her home. There are the two armchairs in the front room, angled towards one another beside a high and deep window. She's stacked trompe l'oeil faux antique truncks in between as an occasional table, and the effect is cozy and inviting.

That's her house. That's her.

But we usually sit in the kitchen, when I'm over. That's because she typically has a project going on in the kitchen. She's creative and puts together gorgeous scrapbooks. She's a good cook who enjoys home cooking, and homemaking. Every spring she makes so much jam that she has enough to hand out several jars to us.

But that's not why I'm her friend (although it's a good reason).

She keeps me moving, and seems to easily understand my need to turtle, and senses when to drag me out. She thinks up things to do, such as strawberry picking at a farm, or taking the kids on a tour of a recycling plant so they see what happens when we reuse and recycle.

That's her.

Whereas I can get caught up in myself and my life, she sees others and what they need, then takes the step to extend herself in service.

Even though she works nearly full-time, she still manages to run two girl scout troops, volunteer in the school and church, provide service to neighbors in need, sit at the bedside of the sick, babysit friends' kids, and run community service projects. Everyone is invited into her circle, and she makes each person she meets feel at ease and included.

In a world of me me me me me, she stops, pauses and looks around her. She sees who and what needs, and she does.

For all that, you don't feel exhausted in her presence. She's not a whirlwind; rather, she seems to be a person you can slump down in a chair with and swap stories or complaints, laugh or cry, easily and comfortably.

She makes me want to be a better person.

She's the first person I met here, and remarkably, she also moved down here from Massachusetts, although she is from there. She has children of an age with mine, girls too. And our families move together easily and happily. She's one of my best friends.


This friend is a young mother of young children. At her age, I was exhausting a selfish refrain, "What can I get from life? What can I get from the world?" I was bar-hopping and clubbing, even on weeknights, and barely acted like I was out of college, if I was. I was newly married and childfree still. Jon and I were still impetuous, impulse and indulgent, at her age.

She, in contrast, is an amazingly grounded person, with a maturity those who know her benefit from. She doesn't present a sunshine and roses happy-go-lucky demeanor, and yet I'd say she is a happy personality. She is in the life she likes, and gets joy from it, which she generously shares. She is not content-in-a-rut---don't misunderstand---because she has plans for the future, goals.

She meets challenges with grace. I study this and try to take a page from her book. She allows herself to notice and feel the challenges, but then doesn't wallow or use it as an excuse.

She's raising two beautiful children, who both managed to inherit her spirit. I haven't known her that long; we met and then by coincidence, a slip of my tongue, she figured out that we lived near to one another and reached out in friendship. Since then, we've talked, come together with our kids for enjoyable get-togethers, and gotten to know each other. She's the real deal, as nice and as laid-back, as kind and thoughtful, as open and friendly as she comes across.

If I were of a different vein of thought, I might call her an old soul. She has a strong sense of herself, and also of the world and those around her

She's eloquent, and with her beautiful and honest words opens up her heart and mind to us.

She's Kyla.

And I hope she doesn't get too aw shucks about this. I just wanted to share. :)

Who do you admire? Let us feel the love...

Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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Melissa said…
Today I'm writing about my maternal grandmother and how much she meant to me. It's a little sad, but more of the poingant sad than boo-hoo sad.
Suz said…
I'm amazed by grounded young mothers because I was all about myself deep into my 30's. And I don't know who to write about for this "hmmm." It's hard to do without getting treacly, but you've done it.
le35 said…
I love this idea. Your young mothers are now an inspiration to me as well. As a young mother, I hope to learn how to be more like that.
Anonymous said…
Great post, Julie. I so admire people who can be grounded and content without being static. What a gift!
Anonymous said…
Oh, Julie, I want to come and hang out with you and your friends. (Well, OK, I did anyway, but now I really do.)

I turned this topic over and over, thinking I should be able to handle it, but it turned out to be more challenging than I expected. I couldn't seem to let go of my need to balance everything. I couldn't do the love without the not so lovable. Which tells me a lot about my way of seeing things. Thanks, Mom.
Mayberry said…
You're a wonderful friend to be able to observe your friends so well and write about them so eloquently.
Kat said…
You did such a great job on this post. This one has really proved to be a challenge for me. I immediately thought of my mom because she is the most amazing person I know. But honestly, how do you put into words how someone has affected your life in the most positive of ways? I just don't know if I can do her justice with mere words. I have been thinking about this Hmm for days, and I'm still at a loss. AH!
Julie, that's two remarkable women. Kyla has amazed me from day one. She is indeed a very wise soul, and her kids are lucky to have her.

Your other friend sounds like an equally lovely and amazing woman. I hope you show this post to her - what a tribute to your friendship!

Liv said…
What wonderful friends. They all are such treasures in their own ways.
Gwen said…
Sounds like you've been lucky in love ... the friend kind!
Bon said…
i guessed it was Kyla, your second lovely friend. i've only been reading her a short time, but she strikes me as very much as you describe her...different from me in so many good ways.

i wanted to do this. the day is not over yet.
Sunshine said…
I don't know her but now I feel like I do. And I'm sure she appreciates this post greatly. :)
Julie Pippert said…
Those who are stuck...may I offer a suggestion?

Think of one event or situation that characterizes or epitomizes the person you admire. Tell us about that time and I bet you a million (million warm fuzzies, don't go thinking I have actual money LOL) that it depicts the wonderful aspects of the person you admire.


Thanks guys. :)
Kyla said…
Awwwwww, shucks. ;) Really my cheeks and ears are probably a bright shade of red at the moment, but thanks. Those are very kind words. Today is like a bouquet of suckitude (a very dry bouquet of suckitude, at that) and I'm going to go out on a limb and say this will definitely be the highlight of it. ;) Thanks.
painted maypole said…
i had a feeling you were talking about kyla. ;)

they both sound wonderful. thank you for sharing them with us.
Mary Alice said…
I love the kind of friend that always has their door open. What a nice tribute. I wrote a post today in honor of my father's birthday. It sort of fits this theme.
Awww...what a lovely tribute to two lovely people. Thanks for sharing.
I totally guessed it was Kyla in the second paragraph. You totally nailed her, my friend.
flutter said…
Kyla is a perfect choice
Girlplustwo said…
i so knew you were talking about our girl K. and given her week, she so deserves this love.
Aliki2006 said…
Beautiful tributes!

And I am slooooooow--I think I'm the only one who didn't make the connection with Kyla until the end!
Mad said…
That Kyla: she's as good as they get and still so newly minted.
S said…
kyla. she's the loveliest.
L. Lemanski said…
"In a world of me me me me me, she stops, pauses and looks around her. She sees who and what needs, and she does." This is so, so rare!

Wow! Now I see where all these lovely posts on other blogs were coming from. How inspiring and insightful!
OK, mine's up.

Thanks, Julie, for urging me to put it out there.
Unknown said…
I love your descriptions. I knew immediately who your second one was... I've only ever lurked on her site but there was no doubt who you meant.

This is such a great Hump Day topic. I wish I could have participated and maybe I'll get a burst of energy and do a late post. It has been sooooooo long since I've Hmmmmm'd along with the rest of you.

I would love to read what these two people would say about you!
Christine said…
i just love kyla. i wish i had one of you blogger beauties near me.


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