Friday, August 28, 2009


Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. - Jane Howard
It's 11:34pm on August 27th. My parents flew in from Texas sometime this evening. In fact, they are currently sleeping in my room as I type this sitting on an air mattress in my living room. I haven't seem them today. I will have to wait for the morning. It feels good to know they are just a room away.

Tonight was the final dress rehearsal and preview performance for my show. My Arizona parents came to the show. We aren't related, but they took me under their wing the first week I arrived here. As I walked forward to take my final bow just a few hours ago, I looked out and saw four hands holding up the "I Love You" sign. I knew it was for me. And I started crying.

I awoke this morning so very exhausted. I work until 5:00pm and spend 5:30pm until 11:00pm at the theater. I don't stop moving. All day long. I snag time in the Word as I drift asleep or eat my breakfast. I almost cried on the way in to work today as I prayed for Him to take whatever load I was trying to carry. There was just too much to be done. I so wanted to walk in the Spirit. But as I walked up to the doors I was cheerfully greeted by two near and dears and I promptly shut down. I met their smiles and hugs with a brisk walk and frustrated tone. I had failed the moment I stepped out of my car. By the time I made it to a 9:30 meeting I was about to break down again. But two friends sat, listened and encouraged. I took a deep breath and made it to lunch.

This was my last week in the children's department. Starting Tuesday I will officially be working with the youth department at our church. It's a huge change and I'm every emotion under the sun. To send me off several friends and co-workers went to lunch. They were kind and generous with their words, and the exhaustion and stress once again lost their will to fight me.

I was worried about having everything ready for tomorrow. Val and Dad share August 28th for their Birthday. My mom and dad were Arizona bound and I didn't even have paper towels in my apartment. I was out of time. I was panicked about finishing filming in time to leave for the theatre and be ready for mic check. At 4:00pm all the power went out on the entire street. No lie. No more filming. No more work. Time to buy paper towels.

As I thanked the Lord for this unexpected gift I ran back to pack my bags and clear my desk. Sitting in front of my computer was a beautiful bouquet of flowers along with a card signed by some near and dears. I crawled into my car and sat amazed as the tears started to come again.

The final dress rehearsal was smooth... mostly. I never did eat dinner. I should already be in bed. But I can't sleep. I'm thinking about my sister coming to visit in one week. I'm setting out my Dad's Birthday card by the coffee maker, since he will be up hours before me and will probably have changed my air filters by the time I get up.

I'm tearing up again because HE is so good. He has blessed me beyond measure. My family is everywhere. And they are amazing.

Happy Birthday Val and Dad. I love you.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Who's Always Eager to Extend a Friendly Claw?

I spent this morning helping my friends Joanna and Elizabeth move out of their house. For the next few weeks they are in a slight state of limbo until they can move into their new apartment (curse those incompatible leases and move-in dates!!!). Elizabeth is bunking at one friend’s house for the next few weeks, Joanna at another, and their stuff at yet a third friend’s house. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

Nine vehicles showed up at their house this morning, ready to carry off the mattresses, boxes, toaster ovens, shelves, lamps, and books that make up an existence. I was skeptical that we would need quite so many means of transportation, as we did, after all, have multiple trucks, SUVs, and even one trailer. What would they possibly need my car for? My helping hands, eager demeanor, and clever quips that NO ONE gets tired of at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday, sure, but my Elantra? My zippy little car? Meh. We’ll never need it.

SELF, you have officially been proven wrong! I was absolutely aghast at the amount of belongings that continued to pour out of their house. Little tables and big framed mirrors and vases of big decorative sticks (BECAUSE WHY NOT?) and books -good Lord in heaven, the books- were carried out bit by bit until we had stuffed every nook and cranny in every single vehicle to the point where I was concerned we would even have room for the drivers.

But just over an hour after arriving, our ragtag caravan (SOMEHOW with me in the lead) pulled out onto the little country road to make our way across town. And friends, you should have seen this hilarious prossession. I nearly laughed out loud at one point when I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw the trucks laden with dressers and SUVs with boxes piled to the ceilings following valiantly behind me.

We arrived at the place where Joanna and Elizabeth’s worldly possessions will be living until they can move into their apartment with our convoy somehow still in tact (do you know how stressful it is to have that many follow you to a place they’ve never been before and have it be your responsibility to not lose anyone and get all helpers and all belongings to the same place???). The next hour blurred by in waves of directing cars to back in and out of the little driveway, unloading each of them in a flurry of arms and sweaty hands and perplexed faces (Q: What IS this thing? A: It's a paper shredder, of course. Of course.) with no one stopping or complaining, simply looking for the next load, heaving boxes out of the cars, and asking for a hand with the big awkward chair (because that sucker just did NOT want to fit through the dang door!).

I marveled at the speed in which we’d accomplished this- moving SO. Much. Stuff. In only three hours. Managing to fit it all into all of the volunteered vehicles. Cramming everything into one room in a Tetris-style feat of engineering ingenuity, actually utilizing the shelves we had just moved in, cleverly stacking boxes and bins on top of one another, and using teamwork to Make It Work.

More than once I found myself looking around at these friends of mine, so proud of the unassuming way that everyone cheerfully showed up, asking for nothing in return, ready to help and heave and sweat just because someone asked them too. They weren’t even helping me, and I was taken aback by all the unselfish and generous people that thought nothing of giving up a Saturday morning for their friends.

Because let’s face it- not many people enjoy helping other people move. It can be difficult and cumbersome and, HELLO, unbearably hot- welcome to Texas. But God just blessed it all. He did. He had His hand on the entire day; I am completely convinced of it. It was an uncharacteristically cool morning, nothing broke in transit, everyone remained in good spirits, and somehow we all seem to be ready to do it all over again.

Oh yeah, did you catch that? Yes. We’re doing it all again. Everyone will be back at the same place we just moved their stuff INTO so we can move it all back OUT in September when they are finally able to move into their new apartment. But we’ll be there. We’ll make it fun, and we’ll get it done. (Even though next time I hear they are throwing STAIRS into the mix.... Bring it on.)

I guess sometimes we just need a tangible way to show our friends we care. To demonstrate that we’re willing to do whatever they need us to do. Point me in the right direction and I will HELP (full-on "fists on hips, cheesy grin, superhero" mode). Yes, I will wake up before 9am on a Saturday. Yes, I will carry the big awkward chair. And perhaps most importantly, YES, I will join you for lunch at Taco Bueno when we’re through.

Because Taco Sauce Face. Is a very good face to have.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And to your left.

So it's 11:40pm and I should be tired. I should be laying in bed right now. But somehow I got talked into going to Denny's after rehearsal tonight. I ordered some sort of cherry limeade, that has nothing on Sonic, and then ended up freezing... so I ordered decaf coffee... and had two cups. This was around 10:00pm. I'm pretty sure that was the stupidest decision I've made today. Hands down. I'm guessing I will start winding down by two. But I figured if I was up, I might as well be productive.

Thus - you get the tour. Welcome to Monday.

Just below you will find two of the things that get me going and out the door every morning. I'm becoming quite dependent. Currently making my way through Ephesians.

Monday is my only day off during the week (for a while at least), so I spent this morning dusting and cleaning. The parentals come in just over a week.

I meet myself coming and going these days - these little things have saved me on multiple occasions. My fabulous bag that I carry to rehearsal (Christmas present - made locally and I got to choose the fabric!) and my trail mix and Craisins.

No extra time to get to the store, and I now have a hole in my running shoes. Awesome. But that's ok, because the only running I have time for right now is running lines and songs. (Ba dum ching.)

Inspired by Julie's brave cooking escapade, I tried making a new sandwich today. Excellent bread from the grocery co-op, pesto, spinach, havarti cheese, and some leftover grilled pork. Cooking WIN! Also changed out the verse on the board. Both so good.

Made the newspaper this weekend. That's right. I'm the one with the crown and really cheesy grin. Nope, the other one. What you can't see is that they spelled my name wrong. Mobey. So close.

Ah well. Pressing on... moving forward. I think that's the end of the tour, because really - this wasn't overly interesting. Hope you guys have a blessed week!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Excusing the Flaws for the Butterflies

There’s a key moment near the end of “Runaway Bride” in the middle of a montage of the all important "self-discovery." Julia Robert’s Maggie Carpenter finally makes an important life decision: she has picked her favorite kind of eggs. This is how we know she is learning about herself and becoming “her own person.” In the midst of a heartfelt montage set to “Blue Eyes Blue,” Maggie settles down to kind out what HER favorite kind of eggs are. Because all her life, her favorite kinds of eggs have been dictated by a man. Aw, snap.

Here we see Maggie with her many varieties of eggs. (Do you know the best way to eat eggs, Maggie? When they’re still warm and they haven’t been sitting on your counter for the past 20 minutes while you were cooking all the OTHER kinds of eggs!)

Okay, but seriously. She couldn’t be independent or learn about herself without realizing that eggs benedict are her favorite? This whole concept is pretty much ridiculous. I mean really. Come. On.

But, it must be said: I still love this movie. How could I not? It takes place in a small town, Ike owns a cat named “Italics,” he pushes her in a tire swing, Joan Cusack plays a quirky character named Peggy Flemming (not the ice skater)…what's not to love? As much as I’d like to just dismiss this movie… I can’t.

Isn’t that always the way with romantic comedies like this? You somehow excuse the nonsensical and the cheese for the overarching story. That’s the struggle I have with "rom-coms." As a movie fan, I really wish I could say I didn’t enjoy them. That I could scoff and turn my attention back to some serious Oscar contender or prestigious independent film.

But we watch movies as a form of escapism, right? Well, what are romantic comedies but just another form of escapism? They take us to a world where famous movies stars bump into average working class Englishmen on the street and fall in love. Where a newspaper reporter would actually be doing a story on a woman because she had been in a large amount of weddings and then they’d fall in love. Where a newspaper reporter would actually be doing a story that required them to go undercover as a high school student. Where of course they would meet a dreamy teacher that looks an awful lot like Michael Vartan. And then they’d fall in love.

I think you get the idea.

But still, even amidst the endless clichés and rom-com standards, we’re apparently still reeled in, aren’t we? Somewhere along the way, all the unrealistic moments and ridiculous plot points somehow dissolve into a cinematic form of magic that draws you into the story and envelopes you in frothy and sparkly escapism. We excuse the flaws for the butterflies, and in so doing, allow these movies to get away with much more than they rightfully should.

Take “The Holiday,” for instance. Now I know I’ve written about this movie before, and mentioned my negative feelings about Cameron Diaz’s storyline. Her acting is laughable, the situations her character finds herself in are seventeen kinds of ridiculous, and the romantic chemistry between her and Jude Law utterly lacking. But I couldn’t love this movie without finding some redeeming factors in those scenes (other than Jude Law, of course).

Enter the sublime Sophie and Olivia, Graham’s (Law) adorable English daughters who are devastatingly charming as they laugh at Dad’s “Mr. Napkin Head” and ooh and ah over the lovely Amanda (Diaz). One of my favorite parts finds Amanda, Graham, and the girls sprawled on a sea of pillows underneath a homemade blanket tent staring up at a collection of lazily drifting paper stars. It’s saccharine sweet and almost too over the top, but I can’t resist the delicate soundtrack, the soft orange-yellow glow of the tent, and those darling little girls- did I mention they’re English??

As they lie in quiet comfort, their conversation meanders through the name of Amanda’s lip gloss and the idea of a sleepover to the sweet revelation of the dad and daughters’ nickname for their little family: the Three Musketeers. This one scene elevates this entire storyline far above where it deserves to be, and truthfully nearly saved the movie for me. (Although all credit cannot go to the homemade tent scene, because I am far more enraptured with Kate Winslet’s next door neighbor Arthur telling her she has “gumption.” And of Jack Black writing her movie theme for her. I mean, seriously—he used only the good notes! GAH!)

It’s this balance of flaws and irresistible moments that I am fascinated by. Consider another favorite of mine, “Sweet Home Alabama.” It’s chock full of every cliché in the book, and yet I love it. The plot concerns New York fashion designer Melanie (Reese Witherspoon) returning to her Alabama roots to settle unfinished business with her family and friends before she can get married. It’s not the most high concept romantic comedy out there (it’s no simultaneous bet to get a girl to fall in love with you/get a guy to break up with you in a certain allotted time farce), but there are enough southern hijinx here to definitely make me wonder why I love this movie. Look, I definitely understand that there are people out there that live and talk like these characters, but they’ve pulled out every colloquialism and caricature in the book! Melanie’s dad throws out “bought air” and “ice box” in his first five minutes, while Mom talks about “Oh-pree” and the teller at the bank refers to ATMs as “them thangs.” Her parents names are EARL and PEARL. Et cetera, et cetera.

For all its flaws, and even though some of the dialogue makes me cringe, (like "Why didn't you tell me you came to New York?" "I needed to make something of myself!”), I can truly sit down and watch “Sweet Home Alabama” any time at all. Despite the ridiculous and over-the-top accents and archetypes, I adore these characters- Patrick Dempsey as Melanie’s New York fiancé is “just the ticket!” And Reese Witherspoon and Josh Lucas light up the screen every time they share a scene together. The story is fun and cute, and characters like Candice Bergen’s Mayor Hennings are a complete hoot. Truly though, I am just in love with the ending. Oh, that ending! It’s the textbook reunion/apology/happily ever after kiss, yes, but here we are also trated to soaring violins, slow motion camera work, glittering rain, and Melanie’s gorgeous wedding dress- all on a beach. Swoon! Seriously, wow. I am such a girl.

You can find it in almost any romantic comedy: redemption for all the crazy coincidences and unrealistic, manufactured scenes. Enough sweet moments to balance out the eye-rolling and head-scratching quotes and clichés that pile up and threaten to overwhelm the delicate and romantic scenes to which so many of us unrealistically aspire. That’s why I can excuse the eggs. I can see through my own eye-rolling (harder than you’d think) to the heart of the movie, and let myself escape to a world where guys might actually do Jimmy Stewart impressions in the park.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I would like to give you Meningitis.

Thanks mom!

As I mentioned, my folks are coming out for the opening of "Camelot" and I can't wait. Val is being so kind to come the second week, and that amount of visitors in 2 weeks is much more exciting than stressful. Anyone else want to come? I have 2 air mattresses.

I'm in the last stages of finalizing a trip this fall that would require more than just a few shots. Who's ready for some yellow fever and cholera? I know I am. Mom has been gracious enough to help with the cost of the meningitis shot, as Val and Clay both received there's in high school. Back in the 90's we apparently didn't have to fear the big M.

More details on the trip when it all comes together. Needless to say, I’m trying to hold it with hands out and open… not wanting to count those eggs before they hatch.

Rehearsal last night was great. I got to stand and be burned at the stake and watch about 10 guys die so that I could be rescued. Not a bad gig, eh? Tonight we have another dance rehearsal. Maybe I should try and sneak in a camera - then we could all laugh together. That would be swell.

Anyways - all this to get back to meningitis. I'm looking forward to it. It represents timing and waiting. Waiting on the Lord for his perfect, most perfect timing. I was reminded of this when reading about Jordan's own God moments this week. As she beautifully described them, "These moments happen every day – big or small. It’s when God intervenes in your life just enough so that you recognize what He’s up to. At some point, you have to let go and let God (as cliché as that phrase is). He isn’t going to explain the technicalities of what’s He is doing in these moments; He just asks us to trust Him and go along."

It's the following when you can't see what's next that seems to be the most challenging - agreed? As Abraham took Isaac up Mt. Moriah to sacrifice him to the Lord, he did not know when the lamb would show up, he simply trusted that the Lord would provide – and He did. Our provider, Jehova Jireh, sees exactly what we need and when. As Abraham and Isaac made the journey, He knew when to start the ram up the other side. How often do I find myself frustrated at the events in my life, not realizing that the ram is just over the hill?

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” (Genesis 22:12-14)

Just a year ago I was planning on moving to Uganda. I stepped out of the boat believing. I put my belongings in storage and expectantly faced the month of July.

7/2/2008 - The NO letter was sent Monday. I read it on Tuesday after a sleepless night. All of my things were finally in storage. I feel… foolish, lost, unfettered. I feel as though my dreams have stepped away from me. What now? I’m a blank slate. I am a lonely blank slate.

7/8/2009 - Thank you for your perfect timing.

The ram is just around the corner. He provides. Exactly what we need. When we need it. Trust that when He calls us to sacrifice the result of both ends and means is a deeper intimacy with Him –the Author and Perfecter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Just Like Romeyo and Julyet

I just found this "Children's Newspaper" I wrote when I was probably in about second grade. It's pretty professional of me, considering I not only reported all the stories, but also took on the full responsibility of page layout, fact-checking, AND drawing the reporter's (me) picture by hand.

I really like this first story. I was always being warned about the dreaded UNDERTOE when we went to the beach, so naturally this is what I am warning my readers about.

A couple weeks ago a little girl about 6 years old, went out a little to far in the ocean. The undertoe was realy bad. The little girl drounded. A couple of day's later, a boy about 20 years old went out too far. A couple of day's later, (GAH! Unnessecary morbidity alert!) the body was found. So be carful when there's bad undertoe, and don't go out too far.

Things to Know (Did I mention HEADLINE WRITER as well?)
Today kid's in Amrica are helping save the earth. Picking up paper, soda can's, bodel caps, can all be helping save are earth. Like Romeyo and Julyet (nice), he saved her, and you can save the earth. (I've always been good with analogies.) Some kids are going to school all year around. (HOW IS THIS HELPING??) That's the story. Goin us next time on the Children's new's paper!!!

I wrote following class paper in sixth grade. Enjoy, and maybe try to cut Miss Braggy McBraggerson a bit of a break here.

My Life
September 14, 1995

My life is very blessed. I was baptized September 20, 1984, shortly after I was born on August 28. Then, my dad was transferred to Plano, Texas. That was when we moved from Houston to Plano in 1985. In 1986, my mom dressed me up as a clown for my first Halloween. (An equally important life event, obviously.) Then came the day in 1987 when I started preschool at Faith.

We were all very excited on July 13, 1988 when my mother had my brother, Clayton. (She arranged to have him in the Victorian area, apparently. Seriously, what is with the akward formality?) Next, in 1989, I started ballet lessons as a beginner. In 1990, I gave up ballet (As if I were some great trained dancer or something. Seriously? I probably had about three weeks of lessons total.) and tried soccer on my first team, the Unicorns. Then in 1991, we got an invitation to go visit my great-grandmother in Young Harris, Georgia. At the end of the second grade, I fell on my bike and broke three of my fingers, leaving me in a cast for the beginning of the summer. (Totally Ginger's fault, BY THE WAY.)

In October of 1993, my family got the joy of going to Disneyworld. And then in 1994, we traveled to Colorado. During the summer of 1995 my first book was published. (When it is one out of ONE, you cannot use the word first. And the "book" was part of a writing program at the local library-- you didn't have to be Lucy Maud Montgomery to be published.)

I love my life! (And what a way to end with such a well-thought out conclusion! You say you're an author?)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Good case of the Mondays.

25 days until the folks fly in for the big show. Whoop! How has that word snuck into my vocabulary? Too many Aggies in my life. :)

Y'all, this local theatre experience has been a trip. I'd always wanted to audition, but couldn't seem to bring myself to try in East Texas. I figured Phoenix would give me a better pool to draw from. And while this is no "Midnight at the Oasis", sometimes I just need to go home and bite my pillow to keep from giggling.

It's good. Real good.

Also good, a day off. I wish I had it in me to just lounge about all day long in my pajamas. And now I realize that it is noon and I am still sitting in my pajamas with a box of corn flakes beside me on the coffee table. I'm planning on making some coffee and reading for a while before going to the gym. (Currently reading through books that I have on my shelf but have somehow never managed to read. In the third chapter of "Praying God's Word" by Beth Moore.) I have dance rehearsal tonight, but that's really the only thing on tap. I should be practicing Act 1 of the show, as it is 79 pages long and I have lines on a fair few... but I just need a small break. A small one.

Not sure why you care to know about all of this, but I'm really just typing anything that comes to my mind at this point. I reread my posts over the last 6 months and gathered that they are almost all lists. But I figure that since I don't have a child to document on my blog, that this really should be ok. I'm wondering - should I be reading any blogs that you follow? My friend Megan just recommended this blog by Katie and so far it looks to be amazing. What are your 5 go-to blogs to read? My google reader still has plenty of room. Perhaps if I broaden my reading, my writing will improve as well.

Oh, one last thing... if you didn't know by now, I'm an NPR junkie. It's on in my car most of the time. Here's a fun quiz about their radio personalities. Good luck.


******update post coffee... a chat between Val and Ginger ******

Ginger: I received 2 comp tickets for Camelot - they are yours
12:28 PM Valerie: sweet!
i actually was looking at flights this morning
12:29 PM i was hoping to do a thursday night to tuesday afternoon thing
but the thurs. night flights are more expensive than fri. morning
so it may be friday to tuesday
do those days still work for you?
12:30 PM Ginger: Oh my goodness! Yes!! I didn't think it would actually happen!
so thrilled you would come.
Valerie: but of course!
Ginger: Whoop!!
Valerie: uh.... no Aggie sounds please
Ginger: woot
Valerie: :)
12:31 PM Ginger: I really didn't think you would be able to come - that's so exciting!
Valerie: the flights i was looking at are in on friday at 9:15
12:34 PM Ginger: in the evening?
Valerie: and then leaving sometime tuesday. afternoon
nope, in the AM
Ginger: I was just trying to do the time adjustment in my head - and thought - would you leave at 5:00am?
and then
Valerie: lol
Ginger: i realized I was working backwards
Valerie: yeah, no it leaves at 8:40
12:35 PM might catch a flight as late as 4:45 on tuesday, but no later than that as that one gets in at 9:00, then i'd still have to drive back
Ginger: yeah - you don't want to be dead, that's for sure... sweet
12:36 PM Valerie: "cause living is good...and dying...not as good"
12:38 PM Ginger: :) here's what just happened in my brain: "Is that a quote from Camelot? From my scripts for Kidfest? What is that? That's a song. Did Tom Hanks say it on Conan? WHAT IS THAT FROM?"
then I typed it out so...Jerry Seinfeld right? Stand up comedy? I could hear a male voice singing haven't looked it up yet
12:44 PM Valerie: yep! thats exactly it
sorry i wasnt here, i was brushing my teeth
about to head to the dentist here in a minute!
12:46 PM Ginger: well - you have fun with that
I'm about to update my post
with the coffee disaster
Valerie: good times
Ginger: I tried to take a pic of pouring the coffee
into the creamer
for the post
but my depth perception was off
12:47 PM missed the cup
got the counter
Valerie: LOL
Ginger: made for some fun times
what do i save... the coffee... the counter, the floor, or the camera?
Valerie: CAMERA
Ginger: the camera won, of course
Valerie: lol
Ginger: i didn't even get mad... just started taking photos of the whole debacle
Valerie: gold star! so wait...why were you taking pics of the coffee in the first place?
Ginger: to have a pic to go at the end of my post
i mention going to make some coffee
Valerie: oh, haha'
way to go, fingers on the wrong keys
12:49 PM WOW
Ginger: WIN
i was like - is that something new?
Valerie: yeah, wow
Ginger: Busting Up Crying Even
i don't know
Valerie: hahahaha... you should add that one as well!
Ginger: DONE.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What if this title was a Michael W. Smith song? Would You Just TOTALLY Hate Me?

There are some friends that seem to change so exponentially over the years, you find yourself asking either “How is it that we were ever friends?” or “How did you turn out so differently from me?”

Ally and Charran are absolutely NOT two of those friends! I’ve known Ally since the first grade, and Charran is literally my oldest friend in the world who I went to three-year-old preschool with! I was lucky enough to go to Dallas last weekend to see both of them, and am grateful that each time we get together we can just hit the play button on our friendship and continue on just like we’re a bunch of elementary schoolers again. Unfortunately the reason for my visit this time around was not a happy one; Charran’s dad had passed away earlier in the week and I wanted to see her in person to give her a tight hug and look at this person I’ve known for a lifetime in the eyes and tell her how truly sorry I am.

Ally and I headed to Charran’s house on Saturday afternoon, and as we drove through the neighborhoods and streets that used to be mine before my family moved away, I marveled at the changes my little corner of the world had undertaken. I didn’t recognize a lot of the area, and it made me sad to see that my childhood town has continued on without me.

Things change and the familiar turns foreign, but in those few hours that I spent with Charran and Ally, I was grateful for those things that remain unchanged. That I can look at them and see the kids we were back in the day and appreciate the fact that it's possible for a friendship to last over twenty years. We’ve grown up, had experiences apart from each other, and now lead independent lives, but drawn together even in a time of grief allowed for us to find the joy and comfort that knowing someone for so many years allows.

I'm also incredibly grateful for the friends who stick with me day in and day out and are actually interested (or so they say...hmm....) in the mundane and day-to-day events of my life. I mean seriously, Dani deserves a huge shout-out for being such a rocking friend! Dani is never too busy for me. She remembers to follow up on prayer requests, and is always genuinely concerned with the outcome. We talk about dumb stuff like The Bachelorette (Dani: “I felt like someone smashed me repeatedly over the head with a heavy object for an hour.”), and keep each other apprised of the goings-on of the friends and co-workers in each of our respective states. (Oh, and if you’re reading this blog, chances are that YES, Dani has heard extensive stories about you. Seriously, she already knows everything.)

She helps me write and edit work things sometimes when I am about to claw out my eyeballs because I JUST CAN’T LOOK AT THIS ANYMORE, and occasionally in turn I look at some of the cool logos and business cards that she is designing for her various clients and give her what I am sure is incredibly helpful feedback like “I see you went with a… FONT….for those words. And COLOR, yeah! That’s a good idea too!!!” She gives me advice about things going on in my life, and Lord knows why she seems to continue to come to me for advice as well. Dani is hilarious and wise and talented and really needs to PUBLISH A BOOK ALREADY because seriously? You are depriving the world. Dani writes a blog located here. It’s quite good, you should read it. :) Love you, friend!

Okay so seriously-- how blessed am I to have friends like this? Believe me, I never stop being thankful.