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I woke up this morning feeling overwhelming gratitude for friends.

I completely adore my family - they made me who I am, and I strive to keep them happy and proud. The best feeling in the world is when you are friends with your family. Not everyone can be as some were not born into loving families. Sometimes if you are lucky your friends can become your family. How cool is that?

They say you pick your friends but not your family. I'm fortunate to have fantastic family members who are funny, caring, supportive, loving, and did I say "funny?" Oh my gosh, they keep me in stitches. They are my friends as well. If I could do life over--I'd pick them again.

But what I want to talk about now is specifically high school friends. Who knew of the blessings that would come from the men and women who flashed smiles in the hallways of Kempsville High School - 50 years ago?

Yikes! Did I say 50 years ago?

I remember when Aunt Alice was going to her 50th class reunion, where she ended up with her high school sweetheart. They got married at 80 and are still enjoying bliss after all these years. At first, I thought "whoa. 50 years. That's really old." And now, I'm the one "really old."

When I look into the eyes of "old" friends - I see the same twinkling teenage sparkles full of mischief and excitement for the day. The eyes of kids "up to stuff." You can be sure we were always up to something. Not bad stuff. Just fun things that annoyed our teachers and parents, and brought oxygen to our souls. We had so much energy and grandiose ideas about where we were going in life, what we wanted to accomplish, and who we wanted to be with for the rest of our lives. We were full of romantic notions, and some pulled it off. How cool is that?

The really cool thing is that we still say, "cool," and we are still saying hello to each other in the "hallways" of life. So many of these old-friends have been there for me. Angels beyond the call of duty. Thank you. We've helped each other through divorces, addictions, cancer, deaths, joys, births, hurts, Santa Clause pictures, grandkids, great-grandkids, fat, travel, Maine, New York, the beach, successes, and failures. Through it all.

Who knew the blessings in store? How did we become so blessed to accidentally end up as the first graduating class of Kempsville High School? Who knew the webs that would be weaved by our lives touching each other? I think being the first class made us feel special. And that's how we treat each other.

Kempsville High School kids: Thank you for being my life time FRIENDS. You've rocked my world as I've joined you in cheering each other on, laughing at the funny things, and holding hands and sharing tears through the rough spots. You are loved and appreciated. Sacrifices and caring hearts have not gone unnoticed.

Our 50-year reunion is coming up next year. If I'm still kicking, I can't wait to see you again and hear your stories about the battle scars and gifts that created beautiful wrinkles of time on faces and lives.

God Bless

Be Well - Be Safe - Be Happy

It's a Jungle Out There

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