Dear Mrs. P. -

Dear Mrs. Patterson -

My very first memory of you and I together is when I got to go grocery shopping with you in Publix. For some reason, I remember a number of these trips, I suppose you just took me for an outing or something since we lived so close, I'm not really sure. Anyways, I had to be young, maybe 5 or 6? Or even younger? I remember there was enough room next to me in the child seat in the grocery cart to hold both me and your purse. Your purse which contained .... GUM. I would sit there and you would unwrap a piece of gum, and off we would go through swinging my legs and chewing and chewing....until we got our free cookies from the bakery, then the gum would come out and the cookie - eating would commence. :) Those were happy times for little me. :)

And I remember making brownies with you in the kitchen, and one time you ordered in Kelseys, and sometimes I'd come dripping in from the pool to find fresh baked cookies. And Brownie of course, who would let me snuggle as much as I wanted in his glorious Collie coat. And I would beg to let Tippie go swimming with us in the pool....because what could be better than having a ferret share an inner tube?

Kimberly, Desiree (with Tippie over her shoulder), Adam, and I. 1995

Pretty much nothing, apparently.

Sometimes I would get bored playing dolls with Desiree and Kimberly, and would just roam the house. From playing jets and planes with Adam (poor, poor Adam) and then ending up in Barbara's room off the garage ... staring at her wall of photos of friends and life, and listening to her play little things on the guitar, and then scampering off to find you.

And I can often remember "helping" you be a secretary at the church (on Barna). Wow. I can't imagine how you ever got anything done, with me chattering away and sorting through papers. hahaha. I'd sit there and hide on some chair while you captured the skinks that got in and hid behind the desk.

I grew up loving you, and I've still grown up more.....loving you. I guess I'll always love you. ;) You are in my childhood memories, and I never understood why Mama cried so much when you all moved to Colorado. But now I understand. I can still remember us standing in a circle, holding hands, and Daddy praying for your move, and you and Mama sniffling and crying. I know, because I peeked.

I adored you then, and I adore you now.

And something really special happened over the years of me growing up - we became really good friends. Like - still sharing cookies kind of friends, but also - sharing life and hurts and joys with each other kind of friends. And it has been such a special thing. I've watched you encourage Kimberly, encourage my Mom, and uplift her and love her, after all, you are one of my Mama's best friends, and you have encouraged me probably more than you will ever know.

I've poured my heart out and shared so many things and you've never told me they were stupid. Of course, sometimes we did end up laughing about them, but I knew you understood and would be praying. And when life went to heck, you were there for us, and you prayed for me, and you prayed for all of us. We have shared life, you and I, and I'm so thankful that God has blessed me with you as a friend.

Sometimes a phone call from you is the best thing ever for Mom. She laughs so hard. :)

I love that the same music affects us. When I heard about Red Mountain, and shared it with you, you got it. It clicked. And we both cry about the same hymns. Same verses. We both long for Heaven with a passion that won't be let go. We love hard and don't say goodbyes easily, and we love hugs. :)

and we loooove our dogs. (and dog kisses!) 

It's hard to sum up any relationship, and I know I can't even wrap my mind around it all, but I want you to know - you are one of my favorite people. EVER. Your laugh is my favorite.

I've always known you to be JOYFUL. And not the annoying kind of joyful that says "Nothing is wrong! My life is wonderful!", but the kind of joyful that says "Life hurts so much, but my Lord loves me. I'm joyful because He is sovereign over all.". Now THAT kind of joy I can relate to.

I've never felt judged or let down or that I wasn't important. If there could be anyone more excited to greet someone at an airport than me, it would be you. And if there could be anyone more willing to break the "dessert comes after the meal" rule than you......I'm 24 and haven't found anyone yet. HAHAHAA.

You are hysterical and joyful and generous and mischievous and I still remember that sneak snowball attack back in '06 at Christmas. You are stubborn and gracious and say "No sighing allowed!" when something goes wrong. You are very in love with your husband, and love your kids and grandkids to the nines.

For years we wrote letters back and forth, from FL to CO. I still love to go back and re-read all of the letters from over the years. I still have every single one. :)

You can sew (except some things just don't get done: those darn curtains, hahaha) and you are amazing at making stained glass pieces. The huge window that hangs in our church is testament to that. I still remember seeing it laid out in pieces on the table in the kitchen.....oh, and shopping for the glass for it.

You get mad about things sometimes and it makes me laugh, and then you laugh, and then we can't stop laughing. Or something makes one of us sad, I start crying, you start crying....and then there goes that!!

Life is hard and God is good and we won't understand a lot for awhile. We have mourned and grieved and wept and yelled and prayed and begged. We have e-mailed and called and skyped (hahaha, Mom's dwarf Amaryllis plant) and instant messaged and been quiet when there isn't anything left to say.

I've washed dishes in the sink when there wasn't anything I could do, and you went outside and swung as high as you could one way, then back the other way, on the swingset. Back and forth and back and forth as tears went down my face, and probably went down yours, as you poured your heart out to the Almighty.

There are some things no words can even come close to touching. We have walked with you, as close as we possibly could, with you all in your deep grief, and you have walked with us in ours.

We are indebted, and we are so, so thankful. We just love you so incredibly much.

Mrs. Patterson, Chewy and Misha. December 2011. 

I love walks on the beach with you, and sharing my heart with you. I can't wait to see you next month, and pray for your continued healing from your recent spinal surgery.

You actually read my blog, and understand what I write, and tell me so, even when almost everyone else tells me I love too hard, or write too sad. You have comforted and prayed and loved me.

So from shopping in Publix, to Easter egg hunts, to brownies by the pool, to sledding in the snow, to wading in the creek at Vail, to looonnnng phone conversations, to running errands and laughing at Chewy, to sweet cards and to lifelong friendship - thank you for impacting my life in such a special way. I hope I can someday give back to you as much as you have blessed us with all these years. And I hope to someday love and trust God and His promises as much as you do.

I love you. Happy Birthday. :)

Love and huge hugs,
~ Jean Marie ~ 


  1. I often wondered why JM came home from your house so "full of it" I know, you fed her gum and cookies!!!

    Well after reading my daughter's blog,there is not much else to say. You are some Friend! You are a great encourager.

    Happy Birthday Special Lady. I love you,



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