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Friends and French cuisine win out over fear

We moved here from Portland 3-1/2 years ago (almost 4 for Paul). I still feel like a newcomer. I do know where all the stores are and one what aisles to find my favorite grocery items. I know the backroads that will sneak me past the traffic and lights on the main thoroughfares. I’m familiar with those things. But, with the amount of history that most people have in this community, I do still feel like I am the new kid on the block. However, everyone here has been so warm, kind and welcoming. When we first arrived, it was startling. In all of our moves, I’ve never experienced anything like it.

Yesterday, I had plans to get together with friends. Kellie and Natalie were going to pick me up and we were heading out for some breakfast together. You need some back-story before I tell you how it went. The night before, Wednesday evening, I started feeling some anxiety about my morning plans. My brain kicked into a strange sort of overdrive that it does when my heart is racing. It began casting about for reasons why I couldn’t go. It’s a fear of sorts that I feel. It isn’t rational. In fact, it is RIDICULOUS! My friends, Kellie and Natalie, are two of the warmest, kind, fun and safe friends I have. But still, there was that feeling.

Just a few days earlier, I had just told a friend something to the effect of: “Thank goodness, feelings aren’t reality…”! And yet, here I was being tossed about like a plaything by my feelings. I told my brain to “knock-it-the-heck-off” and that I was going in the morning. Incredibly, my brain complied. My heart though, it continued with its fearful rushes and jitters.

Thursday morning, I woke up and the second I remembered my plans, my heart picked up right where it left off. Now, I love my heart and all it does for me… but in that moment all I felt and wanted to say was: “Stupid heart!”

I got Amira ready and off for her day at school. I got myself ready and had time to sit down and meditate for 15 minutes. The deep and calming breathing helped some, but my heart was still in the background. I got up and went outside to wait on the curb for Kellie and Natalie. It was a cold morning and the sun was bright. I closed my eyes and raised my face to the sun. The light filled my vision and my mind. And, in that minute, my heart settled. I don’t know which of all these components was the one that helped me. More than likely, it was all of them. But by the time they pulled up, all I could feel was “Yay! They’re here!” and I hopped into the back of the car ready to go!

We decided to try a little French walk-up called French Corner in Leucadia. Walking in, it was a delicious overwhelm of the senses. Kellie had been once before and was pointing out highlights from their last visit. I finally settled on the La Caprese crêpe (mozarella, fresh tomatoes and pesto). 

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With all outdoor seating, the cool morning could have been an unpleasant detraction. Instead, the morning sun kept us warm. I sat with my back to it. I had a black sweater on that soaked up the warmth from the sun. I felt like a black cat decadently stretched out in the sun, purring. The edges (like fingertips and toes) that the sun wasn’t able to keep warm, well, that my delicous Café Rouge handled nicely.

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Sitting in the winter sun, sipping my delicious hot drink… I was content. Happy. I’m so lucky to have the friends I do. They are good, gracious company. And funny! They are  so funny and it was the best way to start a day… laughing with friends.

Breakfast was brought to our table.

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It was light, fresh and gone in pretty short order.

After breakfast, we ran some errands. They were fun errands because we picked up Christmas presents for loved ones. Walking around, with a few carefully chosen gifts in hand… another kind of feeling settled in on me. This one was, however, firmly hand-in-hand with reality. It was a feeling of “oh-yes- this-is-what-it-feels-like…”! It’s community. It’s friendship and joy, and a whole lot of gratitude. It’s a lovely feeling this time of year. I have to tell you though, the biggest deal of it all was the awareness of a reality that settled in with the feeling. The awareness was the fact that I have this, in my life, year round. I’m so grateful.

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