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I woke up early again this morning.  I have been doing that a lot as of late.  Stress tends to manifest in screwy sleep patterns, a pounding heart, and migraines.  I’ve suffered all over the past couple of weeks.  Work is crowding into my dreams, and invading quiet moments meant to be spent with a book or on art projects.  I’m not one that minds change, if it’s in small doses.  Right now, though, things are changing in very big ways at work and it’s making me very uncomfortable.

This morning, after waking at 3:30, I managed to focus my mind on something calm and fall back to sleep for a while.

When I woke up again, I was pleased to see an email from my cousin, Rudee.  It was short, but it included a picture of myself with Rudee, her older sister, Rachael, and our cousin, Amy.  It was taken in probably 1981 or 1982, at Oak Creek Canyon,   outside of Sedona.  Rudee & Rachael’s mother, my Aunt Denny, had taken us up north to get out of the summer heat in Phoenix.  I was visiting from Colorado, during the last summer before my step-father died.

Reed Girls

Though the picture was taken during one of my more awkward phases…junior high was rough…I love this photo dearly.

As Rudee said in her email, you can see that Rachael, in the back, is holding Rudee’s hand while she makes bunny ears behind my head.  The little girls are laughing.

I remember that the water was cold, but the air was warm.  You can see the red rocks of Sedona in the background.  We splashed and laughed played…enjoying moments of just being kids.

I love these three girls so, so much.  They were my sisters growing up, and were my best friends.  We spent our time playing circus, or detectives, making up games, or just popping out and scaring each other. Today, we are scattered, and we don’t spend nearly enough time together.  Rudee is in California, Amy lives in red rock country outside of Sedona, and Rachael moved to Australia.  Nobody can make me laugh as hard as my girls.  We have shared good times and bad, and they are a part of me that I will always treasure.

It had been a long time since I had thought about this photo, or about this trip.  Waking up to such a sweet, loving email from Rudee and seeing this picture again had kept me smiling all day.