Two things surprised me a bit, though.
The first is a general theme of this blog. I have found a million interesting things to do in this small, rural town, a one-stoplight hamlet full of characters even the best screenwriter couldn't accurately capture. No matter where you are, there are interesting people. Choose to be around them. Choose to let yourself be creative. Choose to "do" rather than just talk. Choose to be active in your own life. Even in a place most would never consider a hotbed of art, excitement, or intrigue, I have found that I do more interesting and inspiring things than I ever have before in my life. I love that.
Secondly, and more importantly, I have found new friendships, one in particular, that truly enrich my life everyday. And by "enrich," I mean: a friendship that makes every day funnier; a friendship that honestly makes me want to be better, a more devoted family member, a more creative person, a more involved community member; a friendship that is consistently an outlet for the sarcastic, playful shenanigans that dance around in my mind daily; a friendship that reminds me that women aren't always horrible to one another; a friendship that keeps me grounded, reminding me that small things aren't worth the worry and that I, and my issues, aren't nearly as important as I try to make them; a friendship built on a realistic, "it is what it is" life mantra, not because we don't care about the other, but because we understand each other well enough to know empty words of comfort aren't actually comforting; a friendship shared between two people who care about our families, our friends, our community, and notions of "just do the right thing because it's the right thing," but who detest showy acts of "do-gooding;" a friendship strengthened by Pinterest projects, Minit Mart fountain drinks, and the occasional (everyday) reference to our fast track to hell; a friendship that has inspired numerous "I'm grateful today for..." entries in my gratitude jar; an unexpected friendship that has made being back in Cumberland County even more fulfilling and one that inspires me to stay.
She is the mother I would've loved, and would love, to have if Jackie Turner weren't so awesome. She is one half of a relationship, started when she was only a teenager, that lasted nearly forty years, a relationship replete with love, laughter, spontaneity, kindness, and a spirited appreciation for life. She is a grandmother that creates princess-themed birthday cakes and plans weekend vacations and attends every baseball game and school play. She is the co-worker who solves the world's problems with me three days a week. She can be found at the farmers market on Saturday morning and Relay for Life fundraisers on Tuesday nights and in her kitchen at 9 pm, after an already busy day, working on mustache Christmas ornaments for all of the Turner women.
She is the type of person I want to be, the type we should all be so lucky to have in our lives. Happy birthday to my dear friend, Terry Staley.
Frangrant Mushroom Pottery Studio, where you can find hand-thrown pottery, homemade candles, original art, and local crafts (this is probably my favorite shop within a two-hour radius).