When I was a chubby tweener in black glasses and braces, I wanted to be Barbra Streisand. I wanted to belt out her signature song, “People,” in an evening gown and fancy hairdo to an appreciative audience at Carnegie Hall.

Yeah. Right. No chance, Cheerio Breath.

But lately I have been living some of those iconic lyrics:

. . . We’re children, needing other children,

And yet letting our grown-up pride

Hide all the need inside.

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We were going to babysit our “grands” for the weekend. El Magnifico found several old kites and was excited to introduce them to that great childhood experience. The kites hadn’t seen the light of day for probably 25 years.

I was amused as they took over the living room, then his office, as he fussed with them in preparation. He made a special trip to the sporting goods store. He tweaked the set-ups for hours on end,

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We are being whip-sawed right now with not one, not two, but THREE deaths of close friends, in rapid succession. The latest one was the incomparable Dale Burklund, owner of Omaha’s Walker Tire stores. He was a husband and father of five, associated with the Christian Business Men’s Committee. He did more for my husband and me than anybody else in our 42 years of marriage.

He died unexpectedly of an aneurysm at only 56.

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(excerpted from my book, “Radiant Beams”)

I know, from reading the Bible, that believers in Jesus will never die, but have eternal life in heaven. I knew it, but didn’t “get it” in my gut. So, like a lot of people, I used to get a little freaked out by cemeteries. What’s the point, if nobody is even there, after death? You can’t connect. A graveyard is a cold, sterile place.

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I never knew this ‘til today:

Every time he comes to town, my younger brother Danny visits our father’s grave and puts a golf ball on the stone monument.

It’s never still there when he comes the next time. I don’t think he minds. He always has another ball to leave.

Dad’s golf nickname was “Arm and Hammer” because he could really hit ‘em high, wide and handsome. Wouldn’t always land in the right fairway,

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May Day is supposed to be about the joy of spring — riotous flowers in colorful ribboned baskets, left on the doorstep with a ding-dong-ditch.

I’ve just lost two very precious friends, though, and have been wallowing. Not in the mood for flowers.

Not in the mood for flowers?!? Me, the avid gardener? The Lord was having none of that.

This morning, I caught a glimpse of a red shrub rose in full flower outside our family room window.

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My husband lost his best friend since childhood last week. It was five minutes after their goodbye call. It felt as if a huge hole were ripped away from his side. Mine, too: I loved Steve, our “best man,” very much, too.

It is unbelievable, but just five days later, my beloved and treasured friend, Cindy Moore, also slipped these surly bonds. Now there is a huge hole ripped away from my other side.

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I can barely believe it’s true, and am still in a state of shock, but . . .

Last week, my husband lost his best friend.

And two nights ago, I lost mine. She was as close as a sister to me. She knew me best. She helped me most. I admired her beyond measure.

I’ll write about her tomorrow. In the meantime, I want you to know that I took my Bible out to the back patio,

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Dave’s best friend since childhood, Steven Alberg, died yesterday. It was apparently five minutes after they held the phone up to him in the hospital in Kansas City. Dave told him he loved him as a brother and some other wonderful things.

We really want to thank all those who prayed for Steve, sent him cards and drawings, and let him know they cared and were rooting for him. Dave has tried to call the SAE’s but it’s a long list,

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