Judy & Joni on the last day

My four-day jaunt to Yosemite National Park went by quickly.


I’ve already written about the experience of meeting fellow blogger Sandra Callahan, her husband, Chris, and sister, Angie.

This story is about my beautiful friendship with Joni whom I’ve known almost my entire life.


A few months ago, Joni visited my mother the day before she died; Joni loved her very much. Growing up, Joni had an abusive childhood. My mother often comforted her and influenced her deeply.

Judy, Joni & Shirley 2

Joni and I had never taken a trip together as adults. As children, I dreamed of playing with her but we seldom were able to. It was because she was forced to work at her parents’ dry cleaning store every day after school and on weekends.

On a few occasions, her parents allowed her to join my family on a vacation.

I wrote about us with this story: #244 WE GREW UP SO FAST

Judy, Joni & Shirley

During our time in Yosemite, Joni and I explored and rested. We had a picnic after hiking to see waterfalls. On another day we marveled at giant sequoia trees. I definitely will carry wonderful memories from our time together.

Judy, Joni and a waterfall

I love how pictures can convey so much. There aren’t any pictures of me playing my guitar, but that was something I enjoyed greatly in our cozy room. I even composed a beautiful guitar piece that I’m certain will eventually become a new song once the lyrics are revealed to me.

Judy in YosemiteJoni in YosemiteJudy horizontal in the forest 1

In the early morning on the last day of our trip, I sat in the lobby of the main lodge. I wanted to let Joni sleep-in undisturbed for a little while longer before we checked out.

I was typing on my laptop in front of a crackling fireplace when I heard Chris Callahan’s voice. We moved to a table and over coffee, both of us chatted.


I had to ask him, “What would you say was the best part of your trip this year?”


His answer surprised me. He said, “This trip was terrific. But meeting Joni was definitely special.”


For the next few minutes he elaborated how Joni reminded him of a rosebud that was starting to blossom. He explained how when he met Sandra, she was quite different from the woman she grew into. The process of watching his wife bloom filled him with pride.


I catalogued his words in my mind to share with Joni later on.

Joni smiling 2

Our trip was truly an opportunity to relax and for Joni a spa was the best way to do that. Six miles from our lodge there was another lodge that had spa facilities and we both booked massages for our second night.


For her, the experience of receiving a massage was ultra appreciated because she knew so much about it. Joni was a licensed massage therapist. It was not her main business, though. Her primary business was called J.L. Window Interiors.


I’d never asked Joni to give me a massage – I was a little shy about it. For me, anything relaxing sounded great. So my massage was scheduled first and the experience was lovely. The therapist and I chatted about many inspirational things.

I hadn’t thought to even bring a bathing suit to Yosemite. I went into the sauna and steam room wrapped in a skimpy towel. The facility provided a cushy robe that I wished I could take home.

Judy's relaxed

I had even forgotten a hairbrush and everybody said my new curly hairstyle was terrific.

Post Massage

Joni loved the water with cucumber slices in it.  After being steamed and massaged – I felt like jello. But now I was starving and ready for dinner.

Joni said sweetly, “Jude, would you mind if I did a little bit of writing for an hour?”

She said she was in an inspired mood and had brought with her a small notepad that she found in my car. Of course, I told her it was fine.

Earlier, I had asked her if she would like to write something about our trip to add to my blog. I was certain her perspective would be nice to share. She was quite touched that I had asked her; she told me she was honored and excited about writing something.

After an hour, I was famished and went to find her in the spa waiting room. She handed me twelve hand-written pages from that notepad.

It was one of the greatest gifts I have even been given.

Judy & Joni yellow background

Below is a transcription of some of what Joni wrote:


Dear Judy,


You make me, or you enable me to feel wanted. It’s a big emotion, feeling wanted. Everything about your being emanates caring for or nurturing others.


Jude, you went through a lot at 18 with your journey through life.


For 30 years you were silent and all was dark. But unlike you, my dark night started early in my formative years. Trauma, the lack of self-confidence, the loneliness and burns from the dragon of darkness shackled me. My scars are deep inside. Doubts spring up and there is no light or emotion – only ice. It’s hard for me to make lasting interactions with others.

Younger Judy & Joni


I hear your songs and melodies in my head, which brings down the walls of discouragement; I know I am loved. Sharing your journey heals me. You’ve allowed me to see into your world of grief and healing and I treasure every moment with you. You give me hope because you care.


I treasure your goodness, depth and ability to bring people together. Your connection to Susan, Angie and Chris brightens my life. I look deep into Susan’s eyes and I connect to her goodness. Her look and her “touch” is healing. I’m moved that you care so much about someone you have never met.


Joni &  Judy

You sang to her last night with a quality that has been unrivaled. This connection with Susan should heal you and bring you some of the love you need to heal your own princess.


I love you, Jude. It’s fantastic to love someone and to be able to say that and to mean it with every fiber of your being.

Judy kissing Joni

Clicking on this makes it larger. There were 12 pages.

Clicking on this makes it larger. There were 12 pages.

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Norm says:

    This was beautiful. Thanks for sharing your love for each other


  2. i am so happy the two of you could make this trip together. this kind of friendship is rare and heart warming.


  3. Reblogged this on Power Of The Super Sub-Conscious Mind and commented:
    I have to say I felt so many emotions reading this blog. What a heart warming soul touching lifelong friendship. It’s a friendship that only happens every once in awhile if at all. You guys are very lucky to have each other. Each one of you were made for your Purpose. It is beautiful. Sending Much Love for the both of you.


I would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s