How often do we neglect to tell our friends just how amazing we think they are? I think TOO often.
Recent crazy events in my life have allowed me to really sit back and reflect on my friends. I can only come to one conclusion - they are simply the best. Really. I'm sorry if my friends aren't your friends, and once you find out who they are, please seek them out and force them to befriend you. Your life will immediately improve after simply being in their company!
So, here's a list for my girls - at least a few of you. I don't have all night!
Lee Ann - She may never read this, but if anyone deserves some public applause, it's my BFF Lee Ann. Trying to pinpoint what 'exactly' makes her so awesome is tough b/c she's really such a well-rounded gal. Super calm, easy-going, always armed and ready to come to my rescue, and a great person in which to lay your heart right out there. She is such an inspiration to me.. as are all of my friends. She makes me want to be better every time I'm with her. She has wisdom well beyond her years and is going to make the most amazing mom ever with her little boy that's due this coming May. If everyone was so blessed to have awesome parents like little Caleb is, the world would have zero problems.
Leslie - Though she's far-far away now, Leslie is still one of my best girlfriends. She's never more than a phone call or an email away. She reminds me a lot of myself... so it's amazing to me our friendship has lasted! ;) She is the one to call if you need some back-up. Her love if FIERCE and she's a lot like me in the fact that if someone hurts one of her friends, she is hurt as well, and wants to seek out justice. She makes me laugh... she makes me think. If something really tragic or crazy happens she's typically the first person I'm speed-dialing. Even if she's never "been there" she has a way of making me feel like she totally gets where I am and understands what I'm feeling.
Melanie - I know.. she's my sister. But, she's also been one of my best friends throughout the duration of my life. She knows me like no one else - she's been there through every minute of my being. Being 6 years older than I am, our relationship began as more of a "second mom" type, but morphed into a best buddies relationship as I hit my teenage years. She helped me learn to tie my shoes, how to drive a car, and how to have a blast! It's so amazing that now we can pick up the phone to talk about raising our kids, strengthening our marriages, and growing in Christ. When Dad died, she was the only person on this entire earth that felt what I felt, just the way I felt it. Having a sibling is an amazing gift and one I am so thankful for!
Kim - I'm almost positive that my friend Kim won't read this. She's not much into internet stuff - especially blogs. But, I must sing her praises! Kim and I got to go through our pregnancies together with our last babies and they were born just 2 weeks apart. Her God-given gifts are absolutely mercy and generosity. Her grace is unbelievable. Her understanding of others baffles me. I often joke that you can never say in passing that you'd like to have something or "need" something around her because she will give it to you if she has it, or find it for you somehow! Low-Key is an understatement with Kim. I've never heard her yell.. NEVER. She has 4 kids... all 2yrs apart. (wonderful kids.... I am so blessed that my kids get to be her kids' friends!) She cracks me up, and sets the bar very high for how a person should live. Somehow, she does this without ever coming across as "too good" for anyone or without ever so much as raising an eyebrow at someone.
Lauren - My first friend in Monticello! Her mom set us up on a "date" at the park and she and I, and our girls, have been friends since! Her gift is also definitely generosity. Her heart is so loving... she's just amazing. When I've shared hurts of mine with her, she's hurt with me. When I've shared something upsetting with her, she's upset on my behalf. Her wittiness draws me in! I love hearing what she has to say, and if I ever need a pick-me-up, she is definitely the one to seek out. I love how she loves her kids... you can just feel it. I also love that she really enjoys laughing like I do! I mean, this world is nuts.. you MUST laugh about it!
Stephanie - Stephanie is a fairly new friend, which is strange because of how very close I feel to her. We've only known each other for about 2 years, but wow, what a 2 years! She is my rock. Even when she doesn't feel like it. When I need a shoulder to lean on, someone to talk me through ANYTHING, she is absolutely there. Yes, she happens to be a Clinical Psychologist (Dr. Fearer!) :) but God has blessed her with this gift of helping others with her words. You cannot be taught this in school if God doesn't give it to you. She has tons of wisdom... and she knows how to share it without making you feel like an idiot. That takes real talent! In all honesty, I probably only really like her because she has 4 darn cute kids, two of which are 5 month old twins, and she lets me cuddle them whenever I want. I mean... everyone needs a friend like that! ;) I also laugh an awful lot with this gal.
Brandy - I've known Brandy for many years now, but feel that our friendship has grown stronger over the past couple of them. Watching Brandy is a must for anyone. I know.. I'm embarrassing her if she reads this. She never wants the attention she deserves for simply being an amazing woman, Christian, mother, wife, and friend. You don't even need to see her.. just watch her girls. All six of them. You'll see very soon that these kids are being handled with care and love. Brandy cracks me up... I love her ability to turn ridiculous daily happenings into hilarious stories. She is a GREAT advice-giver, and is so wonderful at always saying, "just seek out God and he will answer you." She is really, really good at saying what others are afraid to. Speaking the truth in a gentle but firm way because she KNOWS that it's what people need. Watching her family begin fostering children and adopt put a burden upon my own heart. Good all around... I couldn't think of a single negative...
Jennifer - I met Jennifer through Leslie, and we also share Stephanie as a common friend. We're getting to hang out more now that we're all done having babies and I just really like this woman! Even if she might get upset, she really isn't. :) If you could bottle whatever she has it would be the best selling "chill pill" on the market! I really like that she's pretty much an open book. You don't have to work to get to know her - you just do know her. She's hilarious and super smart. She just seems happy.. and I like that!
Maury - Okay, I've only met Maury ONCE in real life, but we've vowed to make this friendship more than an internet thing. Maury is so genuine. Her soul just seems sweet... and good. Another that has opened my eyes to the need of fostering children - and amazingly someone I feel I can email at the drop of a hat and say "please pray for me." I know she will. She also seems like an open book - and I look forward to getting to know her much better as the days go on. I have so much to learn from her.. I am excited about all she might be willing to teach me!
Mom - I am happy to say that my mom is one of my best girlfriends. I have to call her at least a few times a week just to say hello, or to spill my guts about the latest junk going on. When something's going on, I often find myself searching for a free minute to tell her. We laugh together, we've cried together, and she's always been there to come to the rescue if I needed it. Having one of your biological parents die makes you even more grateful for any time you have with the other. Your parents are such a part of you... and I pray that everyone reading this will see that before they suffer a loss.
Lou - Lou is one of the most ambitious women I know. She has a super witty mind, and if I sit and talk with her for any amount of time she will absolutely have me laughing! Her mind isn't only funny, but it's like a steel trap. The information she has stored is nothing short of ridiculous. I can ask her anything from computer/techy stuff, to kid/teacher stuff, to life/advice stuff. Life seems to roll off of her... and I think I'll start writing down all of her great come-backs. I have no idea how she thinks them up so fast!
High School Friends - If I posted on each of you it would not only make me cry but it would be so crazy long. Keitha, Ashlee, Casey, Jackie, Jerrilynn, and ALL THE REST OF YA! Some of you I've kept in touch with for years and years - others I'm just now reconnecting with. Seeing so many of you show up at my Dad's visitation and funeral... it was overwhelming. The love, it just stays doesn't it? No matter how much time has passed since we talked, or even emailed... we grew up together in a little bitty town and we'll always be connected. When I talk to you girls, you know me. You've known the many versions of me. You can appreciate where I am today and you can laugh about the past with me like no one else can. Our memories will always be precious and the new ones we're making as PARENTS is just crazy. How did we all go and grow up? I tell ya!
If your name wasn't specifically mentioned, please know that I love you equally as much. I'm typing with a whiney 2-year old in my lap... and my mind is fading. I am already thinking of so many people in our "cop family" that I could create an entirely different post about. Makes me think that calling so many people "friends" just doesn't do them justice at this point.
Friends are so precious... I am so thankful. I look at how wonderful all of mine are and wonder why on earth they want to hang around me! I think that's just really awesome for me. :) (sorry for you girls... but thanks for hanging in there with me through all of the years..)
I went through many years feeling all alone. I had no one. Now, it's just amazing. God is so good even when we don't deserve it. The next time you feel down, take a true count of how many people you have in your life that love you. If you're unhappy with a low number, pray. God is always there and when I only had my family and my husband and daughter as friends, God filled in every void space. Then, he realized I finally had room for more people and he sent in the cavalry! ! Thankful, thankful, thankful.