I am a very basic, by the books, what has and was will always be kind of girl.
I have had the same five favorite movies for a decade, and I keep the same traditions exactly as they were for every holiday. I am a woman of extreme routine, and I am predictable because of it. Following the pattern to the rest of my life, I have had the same three best friends since I was 15 years old and younger. Hannah Marie (yes, one of my best friends has my exact same name), Kyana, and Summer. Each of them walked into my life at the sweetest moments. I remember the exact time I met each of them and how quickly we became inseparable. These are my core people. Those ladies who, no matter how long we go without seeing one another, are constant and I know that if I called them and said I was shattered to pieces, they would drop everything to come put me back together. They are the people who know every single bit of my story- the good, the bad, the ugly. They have held me when I have cried over broken hearts, broken families, and moving far away. They have seen it all, my fiery opinionated and easily irritated self, and they love me even still.
I met Kyana in the 6th grade from our church youth group, but it wasn’t until 9th grade Algebra in Mrs. Henry’s class that we became inseparable. I walked in the first day of high school to see a familiar face, so I sat in front of her and we began chatting. It didn’t take long at all for us to start riding home together, sharing Mp3 earphones while working out math problems, spending the night at each other’s houses every weekend, and her family becoming mine and mine hers. We spent our Friday nights dancing around to Taylor Swift and making music videos, eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and microwavable chicken kiev. Our parents never had to worry about us, except that we maybe were too okay with being independent and removed from the regular “teenage scene.” Hannah and I met in choir in the 7th grade. We were both altos and she was the new girl. I commented on her black flip flops with hot pink rhinestones spelling out her name -catching my eye, because it was my name. I asked her about her hometown Cuero that she wore a t-shirt from, and it took just a few moments for us to click and know this girl was going to be my person. Hanny and I have actually only lived in the same city for 2 years of our entire friendship, but we have been best friends for 12 years and counting. We went to church together, we got confirmed together, we passed notes in the hallway to each other, and I have every single note saved in a red box on the top shelf of my closet back home in Bulverde. Just today I drove out to see her new home she and her husband bought, and I couldn’t help but tear up from excitement over this home we had been praying for. Summer was the quiet new girl who sat behind me and Kyana in Mrs. Taylor’s 10th grade biology class. One day, Kyana and I decided we liked this cute formerly homeschooled girl, whispering a little back and forth about how we should get her to be our friend, and we turned around (literally) to say, “Summer we like you, wanna hang out with us?” That Friday she came home with us to my place, we ordered Domino’s pizza, and broke a cross by accident on my mom’s wall and hid it in the buffet, and we’ve been friends ever since. We worked at our town’s local BBQ joint together, she always came and sat through cold soccer games with me to cheer on boyfriends, and she is one of the hardest working people I know. These are the kind of people that you dream of having in your life until you’re old and wrinkly, and I know all three will be exactly that. They will be my people until I am old and gray in a rocking chair. They will be my future children’s aunties, they will be at their baptisms, they will be the people I call to tell every new adventure that is happening in my life first.
I cannot say enough how important it is to have a Hannah, Kyana, or Summer in your life. I am lucky to have all three. I truly am. If you have just one, consider yourself blessed. They contribute spontaneity & spunk, hard work & gentleness, and true genuine joy. To live life known and in community is everything, and to live life known by three people who contribute such incredible pieces of the full pie is a major gift. We are meant to live life alongside others, people who know our mess and love us even deeper because of it. People who see the garbage building up and toss it out for you, pointing you toward Jesus with every step. The people who pray for babies and houses with one another, who send group texts asking for prayer and for miracles to happen. People who it takes just a glance at to begin weeping, and their response is to listen and pray hard for you like the world is stopping. People who believe in your crazy dreams wholeheartedly alongside you, people who tell you how proud they are of you. People who carry your hurt, people who celebrate your successes and love you even more in the failures. Loneliness can be so real, and I have been there when I have chosen to isolate myself from the world. To be honest, I am currently stepping out of the loneliest season of life that I have ever walked through. And even still, even in the loneliness, even when I am six hours away from any of these ladies, they find a way to fill my tank and show me I am never alone. When I don’t see a way out, they do. When I don’t think I can limp along any further, they grab my arms and feet, and carry me to the finish line. Broken, taped together, and shattered, they carry me with a soft touch and intense love.
Keeping friendships close despite physical distance is hard work, but so worth it. It helps when your people are so deeply rooted in your life that even when life is crazy and you hardly get a “love you, miss you” text in, their friendship cannot be swayed or yanked out of the dirt. We have gotten into the routine of an annual girl’s weekend trip in the summer months. This year’s was a little later than the last, but it still happened. It’s not often, and in fact nearly impossible, to find a weekend all of us can get together, but we fight for it. We are all married, live in different corners of Texas, and work full time jobs. Friendships of any kind require intentionality, and community requires effort, and that is even more true in long distance friendships. Community means even when you’re tired, reaching out and being involved. Community means adding people into your everyday, into the mess, and underneath the bed where you toss the “extra crap” you would just rather hide. Community, having best friends, means welcoming certain people in further than others. Protecting your heart, cautiously allowing in those select few who bring out the truest you and push you closer to Jesus.
Hear me- this doesn’t mean living a life locked up and shut out. That’s not what I am saying. It means living a kind and open life, but keeping the core parts of your life for the core people in it.
It’s keeping the big decisions and life altering choices for people who know you better than anybody else. The whole world shouldn’t know you as deeply as your core community, and you should only have a small core community of people who speak into your life. This is especially hard with social media, it has been made so easy to invite any and everybody into your life yet know nobody. BONUS: People feel entitled and powerful to tell you opinions about how you should live your life behind a computer or phone screen whether you want them to or not. Take these opinions lightly, and allow only your core community to speak into situations. You pick your core community so that when the world does try to sway you and knock you down, you have people you trust and know their wisdom and guidance is pure.
Our girl’s weekends mean pajamas, lots of coffee, cookies and ice cream, muffins, and staying up talking way past our bedtimes laughing, crying, and jumping around like we are 15 again. These girls bring out the best in me. They bring out the child in me. They remind me of the best of times, and they push me toward joy even in the hardest. They challenge me, they love me, and they bring out the truest me. Sitting and talking for a couple hours unknowingly turns into six, and we have to order in takeout at 9:30 PM because everywhere is closed and we are still in our yoga pants. We can sit at a dining table for an hour singing Dixie Chicks songs just because and without any care in the world. We can be silent together and be unafraid of the silence. I can’t say enough how important it is to fight for these kind of friendships. Fight for your people. Create community, create deeply rooted friendships that are 12 years old and counting. Find a bed and breakfast in the middle to meet at, find a hotel room to split, or take turns each summer going to each other’s houses. Whatever it takes, do it.
I took my best friends back to the airport on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago with an exploding heart, and wishing for a couple more days to magically appear for them to stick around just a little bit longer. Just a couple more morning conversations, just a couple more late night talks. But, I’m clinging tight to every second I got. Thank goodness for these ladies who fill my cup and spur me toward more of Jesus. I don’t know how on earth I got so lucky to have such beautiful, kind, and God fearing women as my best friends, but I am eternally grateful. These ladies are truly the best. I am biased, but I really think I have the best best friends on the planet.
Who are your best friends? How do you fight for them? How do you pray for them? Fight for community. Live life known by the people you love most.
Massive shout out to Rachel Meagan Photography who took these INCREDIBLE photos of us for Kate Spade x Dillards, and to Evergreen Creative who took this AMAZE video. I couldn’t ask for better photos that capture my best friend’s personalities and our sweet relationships with each other. Also, massive shout out to Celeste Gwynn for letting us take pictures in her beautiful home! SO MANY FEELS. You can shop all of our jammies below (as well as some other favorites!)