I'll bet you didn't know that Jeanette and I have a middle sister! We didn't meet her until we were in college and even then, it took a few more years until she became our sister, but Leanne is our sweet sister-friend who falls in the middle between mine and Jeanette's ages. In fact, today is Leanne's birthday, so I wanted to celebrate her on a Sister Saturday!
Like I said, Leanne first came into our lives at Belmont (then called) College. She started her freshman year in August 1986 and she and I somehow met in the dorm. Wait, I think maybe she was suite-mates with some friends I already knew. She and her roommate, Rhesa (who is also a dear friend who is like a sister to us), became two of my best friends throughout the rest of our college years. When I graduated a year ahead of them, it was very hard for me to leave and know that my best friends were still going to be having fun without me!
Leanne and I lived in an apartment together after she graduated from Belmont in 1990. During that time, she renewed a friendship with a guy named Doug, who had gone to high school with Rhesa and had graduated from Vanderbilt, also in 1990. Doug and Leanne's friendship gradually grew into a romantic relationship which led to their wedding in June 1991. They moved to Texas for Doug to go to law school and we have not lived in the same city for the past 19 years.
But that hasn't deterred our friendship. In fact, I'd say it has made it stronger. Thanks to Sprint cell phone minutes (free "PCS to PCS"), email, letters/cards, and face-to-face visits, we've been able to keep our friendship going strong throughout the years. When Jeanette was in seminary in Ft. Worth, and engaged to Russell, Leanne and Doug invited Jeanette to live with them for a few months. If we weren't sisters then, that sealed the deal! Leanne and Doug even adopted Jeanette's dog, Tipper, when Jeanette got married.
Leanne is the kind of friend that knows what I'm thinking and feeling, sometimes before I even realize it. With our long history, we have been through some hard things together: the loss of her father, the end of my marriage, health scares, job losses/hardships. But through it all, we have been able to encourage one another and pray for each other. I always love when I see a card or note in the mail with Leanne's distinctive handwriting on the envelope. When I lived in Hawaii for three months, Leanne sent me a card or letter every week I was there, and that meant so much to me when I was feeling isolated and missing my friends. We've also been able to laugh together and remember funny times in college or on trips. Of course, our "little" sis, Jeanette, is always giving us things to laugh about--that's what makes her Jeanette!
One of the things I love about Leanne is her gift of hospitality and cooking. Every time I have been in Doug and Leanne's home, whether it was a small apartment near the SMU campus, a house in a Dallas suburb, their beachfront condo in Florida, I have always been made comfortable and have been treated to delicious cooking and special touches to make me feel at home. Leanne also loves to give gifts to people. "Sussies" she likes to call them, no matter how big or small, she has the wonderful ability to find just the right gift that will bring joy to the person receiving it.
I am so excited that we're going to get to spend some time with our third sister this week when Leanne and Doug come to visit and meet Mary Lane. Even though our times together are always too short, we make the most of the time we have. And I'm sure we'll share some memories and some laughter as we spend some "sister time" together!