My Friend, Kristi

TheDickmansOver our many years of marriage, I’ve often warned my husband not to give me cash for my birthday, or for Christmas. You see, I hold fast to the belief that gifts are to represent the giver’s careful choice of something special. To me, cash is just a lazy way of meeting an obligation.

Unfortunate for my husband, he is just not one given to shopping. Seldom does he approach a special occasion with an idea in mind, and often the need to select something gives him a lot of stress. He wants me to feel special, he just doesn’t know what to buy me.


On one particular holiday I relented and removed the pressure. “Okay, cash this year—but only this once,” I warned.

Still, the devious side of me couldn’t let an opportunity pass to make a point. I graciously accepted the cash gift—and used it to enroll us in a marriage retreat sponsored by our church! (Yup….don’t mess with me!)

Of course my hubby had to consent and go. It’s how I chose to spend my GIFT!

So, we went. The retreat center was amazing . . . a mountaintop setting with private cabins set amidst ponds and pines and cobbled paths leading to a sanctuary with massive glass windows overlooking a stunning vista. We even spotted a doe with brand new fawns.


Better yet, we met two couples who became close friends. Phil and Carol Johanson and Randy and Kristi Dickman. Many Sundays after the service, we headed for a nearby Shari’s restaurant and ate breakfast together with a crowd from church. We celebrated milestone birthdays. We emailed and texted . . . laughed, and sometimes cried together.

Carol and KristiLast week, we lost Kristi. The Lord called her home after her second protracted battle with cancer. While her family and friends are all heartbroken, we’re also thrilled for her. She’s now walking in the presence of Jesus, a very real person she adored with all her being.

Kristi left her mark on this world for sure—she loved like crazy and those of us who were fortunate enough to be called her friends and who were the recipients of that love deeply feel the loss.

Even so, because of what we believe, we know we’ll see her again (this time in the ultimate retreat center!)

I can’t wait!