Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Happy Belated Maria!

Kim wrote such an excellent post about how she met Maria and the impact Maria has on her life. I know envy is not good, but my heart soars when I'm able to visit either Narrow Gate girl because how awesome is it that two neighbors could be such great friends. In a world that isolates itself more and more each day, Kim and Maria are a breath of fresh air. I'm truly blessed to know them both.

Although I'm late getting this birthday post out, I too get so much from Maria. I married Italian and I have Italian family. I had a brother type friend in college who I am sure God sent to prepare me for my husband as this guy was 200% Italian and into computers. With that background, you'd think I could handle Italian conversation.

It was Maria who during one of our visits with all our children together had to tell me,

"Julie, do you think we're all yelling at each other? That's just the Italian in us. I'm talking. That's not yelling."

She nailed it. I had no idea but my stomach was tense---my reaction from childhood when I visited my family. I always thought they were yelling! Maria gave me peace in the chaos, ha ha.

Maria also gives it straight with love and she has a heart for people, especially special needs family. I'll never forget when she delivered a speech for the local Mothers of Preschoolers chapter on how to communicate with special needs families. So many of these moms had no background in special needs and Maria led them through on what families need to hear, and what they do not.
At that time our own family was dealing with bit of a special needs situation and her sharing gave me one solid reaction---I bawled. Bawled because she knew I'd been through a horrendous public experience with a stranger who had no clue. Bawled because she deals with that either personally or professionally every single day. Bawled because she had the answers, cloaked in compassion.

I personally can't wait for Maria to share more of her story before I blab it. Everytime I think about her surrender hesitation and God's reaction, I grin.

Maria, you give hope, love, and so much laughter. And you love cheese fries. You rock girlfriend.

Happy belated Birthday!

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