Friday, May 16, 2014

We get by with a little help from our FRIENDS

Since this blog is all about the adventures of best friends, it's time we paid a little tribute to the all important topic: friendship. It's just a little thing but without an understanding, your life is going to be empty. I've thought a lot lately about how friendships change and evolve over the years.

You start out making friends very early in life, usually based on who your parents put in your path. In childhood we witness friendship in small acts like loaning a pencil, homework help, (Mandy, I still haven't forgiven you... ;-) sharing popsicles, building lemonade stands, and teaching each other how to do flips on the trampoline. Friendship meant helping you hide or come up with a good story when your parents used your (drumroll...) MIDDLE name! It was witnessed through the matching scooters that were revealed on Christmas morning or having someone to play with at recess everyday. Growing up I had no idea that these small, seemingly inconsequential occurrences and every day events were planting the seeds of what friendship means in LIFE.  

Marcie and Mandy, all innocent. 
During those teenage years friendship was a double-edged sword. We learned who our friends were and battled those "mean girl" demons. Prom dress shopping, crushes, notes written and passed at school, and joyriding in cars with no particular destination were all portraits of friendships in progress. Those friends were the ones who offered (behind giggles) to push the wheelchair at graduation because you broke your ankle the day before commencement, the ones who cheered the loudest when the college acceptance letters arrived and cried the longest on the day we actually had leave the nest. It was during this time of our lives that most of us learned that friends have to grow separately but can do so without actually growing apart.

Ah... then comes adulthood. LIFE. All of a sudden the stakes got bigger, the mistakes have scarier consequences, and friends became even more important than just a partner to share popcorn with at the movies. Now friendship looks like driving across the state (or the country) to help you move or just help you find your way. It means sharing the tears, the heartbreaks, the lost jobs, the missed opportunities, the closed doors, and the days when life just isn't terribly kind. On the flip side, it also means being there for marriages and childbirths, road trips without having to ask permission, and having someone to share all the awesome moments that happen to us every day in these grown-up lives of ours. You begin to realize that somewhere along this journey of scooters, lemonade stands, joyriding, and miles traveled we learned how to BE friends... how to just listen, give support, and offer help when warranted. Now "friends" are the ones who can explain escrow accounts, know why insurance is important, will meet you for dinner and sanity walks on a moment's notice, can be listed as emergency contacts, pray for you all the time, and will choose your MIDDLE name to inspire the names of their children.

However, it's very important to remember that even in these grown-up friendships we still like to share popsicles and are even better life cheerleaders. We still love turning flips on trampolines and nearly suffocating in deflating bouncy houses, and it's still more fun to have someone to swing with on the playground! 

M, M, & M starring in The Bouncy House Disaster

Hanging out in treehouses

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Livin' ain't all that bad..."

January: the month of bulging credit card bills, empty bank accounts, failed New Year's resolutions, and the constant pressure of needing for this to be the best year yet. All coupled with less sunlight, frigid temperatures, and that post-holiday slump. Frankly, I'm pretty sick of the month in general. 

For a while, I thought I was the only one who suffered from the January blues. But, after a little research (Blue Monday? Who knew?) and chats with those who I spend the most time, it seems everyone is having some struggles. There are mini life crises, questions about where God is leading, relationships that are struggling, financial strain, taxes looming, sickness, new insurance confusion, and the list goes on and on. 

To combat some of my own January demons I've spent a lot of time trying to find some inspiration, pretty much everywhere I can find it. Conclusion? Life isn't all that bad. We have a very limited view of life. We can't see even a fraction of the road that God has laid before us. We barely see the next step most days. However, we do see everyone's smiles and celebrations on Facebook, Instagram, etc. and start to wonder why everyone else has a better life. They don't. That's just the stuff they are throwing out there. And... I'm just as guilty. We don't post pictures of the group text messages where we are trying to comfort each other through the battles or the 'couch moments' coupled with the ugly cries. Instead, we pick out all the laughing, fun, exciting moments to share with the world. No, I'm not advocating using social media as your therapist because, if we're honest, we don't want to read that either BUT it's helpful to share the downs in life with those closest to you, just as much as we share the pretty moments. 

So... Maybe these little blurbs of inspiration that I've found will help you a little too. (None are original, all come from somewhere/something I've read.)

* "If anything inhibits fulfillment, it is probably our own unwillingness to let God fulfill us where we are now, with what we have now, as the persons we are now."

* "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone, my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

* "Self-pity is the response of pride to suffering."

* "God doesn't expect me to know it all, have it all, or do it all. He just wants me to trust Him through it all." 

* "We can try our best to control all our circumstances to ensure we don't get hurt or that we'll get what we want, but it will never produce anything more than anxiety."

* "God is working on your problem. And what you need to do in the meantime is stay calm, stay sweet, stay out of fear, and keep on keepin' on."

* "I showed God my agenda and expected him to oblige. What I missed was that He is the door. This was not about me checking off my to-do list of accomplishments, but about me drawing closer to Him."

* "God is the author and perfecter of your dream. Our job is not to figure it all out, manipulate it into being, make the contacts, guard it fiercely, and stake an unwavering claim on it. God started it. God is faithful and more than able. God will finish it."

So... Just remember... Life isn't all that bad. We all struggle, we all have days of emotional crisis, and even the Type A/OCD ones of us won't ever get it all right. I just hope that you surround yourself with people who will listen to you vent, remind you that you are loved by God and them, and show up when the time calls for it. 

So, let's try to embrace life, the good and bad, and realize that we're all in this broken world together. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I really am thankful...

Well, once again it's been a year since this blog was updated (hangs her head in shame). I am not one of those people who participates in daily "thankful" posts on Facebook during the month of November but I have thought a lot about having a thankful attitude during this season of thanksgiving. So, here goes...

I am thankful for...


It doesn't go without saying. We rely on our spiritual bases for our clarity, our sanity, answers to our questions, and direction in this crazy world. It's awesome to have someone to thank for everything else that will appear on this thankful list.  


They are simply amazing. All of them. My parents didn't just give me life, they taught me how to live it. My brother hasn't always wanted me around but he seems to appreciate me now and we actually get along most of the time. When the whole family is together you can be sure it's going to be fun, loud, and filled with good amounts of food, faith, and love. 

Of course this isn't my whole family, just the immediate part.
Everyone thinks they have the best friends around. You don't, I promise. Sorry...mine are better than yours. They fill my life. It's not always "Skittles and Rainbows" and we share the not-so-good times right along with the wonderful ones but we ALWAYS end laughing and our bonds just get stronger. We're all so different... ages, genders, personalities, eccentricities, geographical locations, and stages of life but we gather as often as we can and the miles and the moments since the last encounter melt away and we're left with the strongest of bonds between us. Until those gatherings we rely on group text messages that will someday be published and on the bestseller list. 

Friends gather for 5Ks, complete with strollers.
Some of my most favorite people

Best Friends' Husbands.

This might sound weird but it's true. I love these guys. I have stood beside my two best friends as they married these awesome men. I love that THEY love my best friends. They are tolerant of all our shenanigans (and sometimes participate), are supportive of the fact that sometimes we just need to be with the girls, have never made me the third wheel and have always made me feel welcome in their lives. They carry luggage, strap car seats into my car, and have both been pretty good co-pilots riding shotgun. They are both reminders that there are still "good guys" in the world and that maybe one day I will find mine. 

Chris (Mandy's husband) and Zach (Megan's husband)


Quite possibly the best 'thing' my parents ever bought for me. If you need a lesson in unconditional love, get a dog. She has been at my side since I left Georgia Southern 11 years ago and I can't imagine life without the "Big Brown Dog". 


I don't have any that are actually "mine" but I spend most of my days surrounded by them and I love my friends' kids as much as if they belonged to me. Kids are just fun. They say funny things, they do funny things, they ask funny (and often thought-provoking) questions, and they have a child-like faith and innocence that is to be treasured. 

Benton and I being silly on a hayride.

Dawson and I cheering on the PACK!
Embroidery machines.

I don't have a clue how to work that monstrosity that Megan recently dragged into my house for the week but I'm thankful for all the ways it can put my name on stuff! My job is simply to take pictures of the creations (since I don't approve of hers), make sure things are straight and look presentable, and wear the clothes around as advertisement. (Just for the record, I also learned to click "ok" when the machine is done stitching. It was one of my prouder moments.)

This is what happens with Megan shows up with an embroidery machine. 

Then THIS happens.


We love football. A lot. From August to December our weekends revolve around high school 
(GO PACK!!) and college football (GO DAWGS! and GO BIG BLUE!).  

Cheering on the PACK in the playoffs.


I am always known to have at least two different ways to take pictures on my person at all times. (Yes, I still carry an actual camera.) Even though it doesn't seem like it on this blog, I'm always out living life and taking lots of pictures to make sure we never forget the moments. 

There are many other things... chocolate, shoes, heated seats, divided plates, iPhones, Christmas lights, Ziploc bags, Ranch dressing and ketchup, hot water, straightening irons, and Pandora just to name a few. I've decided that it's always worth it to approach life with a thankful heart and attitude, even if you're thankful for things that others think are just silly.

I am going to try to carry my thankful attitude into December, which will include figuring out how to be thankful for long lines and stick-on bows (gasp!). Wish me luck! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Turkey Day!

This Thanksgiving I find myself away from home in a wonderful mountainside retreat. While the cabin of my residence this week is awesome, I'm missing one huge event... Downtown LIGHTS!

Downtown LIGHTS!
The best part of Thanksgiving in Moultrie.
No matter how small the town, there is always a claim to fame. One could argue that ours is the Agricultural Expo, but when I think of home it's never long before I can picture those lights at Christmas. I will admit that I love most Christmas light displays (not a randomly lit bush in the yard) but those courthouse lights have always been among my favorites. They never fail to bring me a sense of peace and truly kick-off the best holiday season of the year.

Over the years I've realized how spoiled we are, having come from a town that outdoes itself in the light arena. For this reason, I will confess that the decorations stuck onto light poles riding through some towns just aggravate me. I mean... Really? Was that the best you could manage? After all, nothing encourages the Christmas spirit like  a disfigured angel hanging awkwardly off a power pole. 

I have no idea what year this was...

Driving Santa's sleigh. (Kyle is always such a good photographer!)
So, as I mourn the fact that I will not be there tonight as Cason flips the switch, I am glad to say that those lights have always made us happy. Megan and I have made everyone we know take unnecessary trips downtown just to ride under the lights. (yes, we know, it's hard to see the red lights!) We have taken lots of pictures, danced in the street, and pretended to drive the fake sleigh all in the name of good Christmas fun. Every year we are known to reunite on the courthouse lawn to catch up on gossip, question the common sense of others, and lately... listen to Zach complain about how tacky the lights are. (Zach, we remain in agreement that your opinion is irrelevant.)

M&M under the lights in 2011
Sure! Let's be elves!
If you are in Moultrie tonight, have fun and enjoy the festivities (and post your pictures so I can be there in spirit)! If you haven't ever seen our Downtown Lights, come visit!

Megan- I'll meet you at the courthouse soon!