Cheers to 10 Years!

My college roommates and I spent the weekend in Charlottesville celebrating our friendiversary. We had SO much fun exploring, eating, catching up, and generally just being ridiculous. I love these ladies so much, and every time we’re together I’m reminded how important it is that we invest in these relationships. I tried to pick just a few pictures, but I couldn’t do it—there was simply too much goodness!

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On Friendship

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This weekend I’m headed out of town for a girls’ weekend. My college roommates and I are celebrating our friendsiversary—10 years of friendship. 10 years of knowing each other.  10 years of dinners and trips and football games and dance parties. 10 years of arguments about who left her dirty dishes in the sink. 10 years of carrying one another’s burdens and celebrating one another’s successes.  10 years of birthday parties and weddings and babies. 10 years of friendship is a big deal. (Of course that also means it’s been 10 years since we started college, which definitely calls for a glass of wine or two….)

When we first met, most of us didn’t know one another. We didn’t know ourselves, really. We were nervous and anxious about beginning a new chapter, equal parts homesick and ready for an adventure. We had boyfriends, majors, and ambitions that wouldn’t last. We were craving community, friendship, and someone to go out with on Thursday nights. And we were BABIES (see picture for reference).

Our freshman RA referred to us—both affectionately and ironically—as the “suite of angels.”  Over the time the term stuck and became an accurate description of what we were to each other. We lived together for four years, and we grew up together. We laughed and cried and kept secrets and learned a little bit more about ourselves along the way.

Now, ten years later, so much has changed. We party a lot less and sleep a lot more. Five of us are married and one of us welcomed her first baby girl this year. We have mortgages and responsibilities and real jobs. We see each other much less often, and we don’t always know every single detail of each other’s lives (an inevitable situation when you have seven females living in one house).

But in a lot of ways, things have stayed the same.  We’re still there for each other through bad days and bad boyfriends and painful transitions.  We still tell the same stories every time we’re together and pick up right where we left off.  We still tell each other the big news first, still celebrate together, still show up for the moments that matter. We still refer to one another as angels (even though we still drink too much wine and Debbie always has an inappropriate story to share).  They’re still my people.

Today I’m feeling excited and thankful—thankful for friendships that endure time and distance and growing up.  It is a gift, and I’m ready to celebrate!

 

On Showing Up

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When you think about your day-to-day life, what are the words than come to mind? If you’re anything like me (and from what I can tell, anything like most people), these words strike a chord: busy, hectic, chaotic, exhausting, FULL. And that’s why I’m finding over and over again that one of the greatest marks of friendship is simply showing up.

Last week three of my friends and I met for dinner on a Thursday night.  It wasn’t a special occasion or a celebration of any sort. We had all had long workdays and even longer weeks. I’m certain that all of us thought about cancelling at some point during the day.  We were tired and overextended.  I’m sure that each one of us could have used a night off and a night in. But I’m just as sure that we needed each other more.

And so we showed up.  We drove 30 minutes in traffic to downtown Raleigh and caught up on life over glasses of wine and plates of risotto.  We talked about work and relationships and the most recent episode of Bachelor in Paradise. We listened and laughed and left feeling lighter than we did when we arrived. We showed up when it was easier not to, and it made all the difference.

It’s easy, of course, to show up for the big things.  We commit to being there for weddings and parties and births. But I think it means so much more when we show up for the small things—midweek dinners and coffee dates and “just because” visits. Those are the moments that remind us how rich relationships really are and how valuable it can be to know that there is someone who we can count on no matter what.

I want to make it a priority to show up for my people. I want to be intentional about investing in those relationships, because I know they are what will help sustain me in the long run. And I want to make sure I say thank you when people show up for me—what an incredible, life-giving gift.

 

 

P.S. Love

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When I was applying to colleges, I had to go through the arduous task of writing college admissions essays. The topics were mostly boring and predictable—what are your hopes and ambitions? What is your greatest fear? What is your favorite word and why? (That one still baffles me.)  There was one, however, that continues to stand out to me: What is the greatest challenge facing your generation?

I chose to write about racism. Of course my white, middle class self understood very little about racism. I had never been on the receiving end of it, and yet I had seen enough to know it was a problem. I had watched people I knew, loved, and respected choose racism—whether overtly or in subtle comments and decisions—over love and acceptance time and time again. It seemed glaringly obvious that something needed to change, that our generation should be the people to change it.

That was over ten years ago.

Now as an adult with a little more perspective and a lot more awareness, I fear that things have gotten worse instead of better. Hate and injustice are rampant, and the effects are tragic. Fear is everywhere, and it is suffocating us.

This week my heart breaks for the mamas that are afraid to send their black sons out into the world because they know that it’s not a safe place for them to be. My heart breaks for the wives and husbands and children afraid to send their police officers into the world because they fear they may not see them again. Friends, it is ENOUGH…something has to change.

Here’s the thing we’ve got to get: All lives don’t matter until black lives matter, until homosexual lives matter, until refugee lives matter, until police lives matter. We can’t fix the whole without putting each piece back together, and so we start there.

I don’t have all any of the answers, but I know that today I choose love. I choose to stand with and beside by black brothers and sisters. I ask for grace as we attempt to converse about matters of race and injustice because I don’t really understand and never will. I choose to insist that their lives matter and refuse to indulge slogans or justifications that suggest otherwise. I choose to feel nothing but pride and gratitude for the police officers that serve and protect our country. I choose to pray for their families and their safety daily and wholeheartedly.

I want to be a part of the generation that for the first time in our nation’s history chooses love over fear. It’s time, friends, and it’s too late yet. Let’s choose love today.

The Epistles of Paul and the Internet

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I’ve decided that I’m going to write a book. It’s going to be about internet etiquette, and I’m going to call it HOW TO BEHAVE LIKE A (DECENT) HUMAN.

My friend Leslie and I were talking about the abhorrent behavior that we witness on social media on a daily basis, and she mentioned that she’s been reading through Paul’s epistles.  She said, “I feel like I could write an entire treatise about how to engage on social media based entirely on what Paul had to said 2,000 years ago.” AMEN.

Listen, I get it. I scroll through Facebook and Twitter and see all the horrible things that can be found on the internet. The internet has made tragedy, ignorance, and hatred constant companions in our daily lives, and it makes me mad, too. Even worse, I see people I know—in real life (!!!)—post angry, shameful comments that speak only hate and degrade entire groups of people with just a few words. I see them use scripture to defend racism and sexism and bigotry.  It happens, and sometimes I just want to scream at them, “WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO YOU TO MAKE YOU SO AWFUL??”

But I don’t. Because it’s not my place. And social media is definitely not the place.

I can’t really explain why I felt the need to write this post except to say that I think my friend is on to something important. Maybe instead of using scripture to defend our own opinions and views, we can use it a guide for how to engage with other people.  Maybe it should be our compass for how to respond when something upsets us, a reminder that there are other, better ways to live together. Maybe it can help us speak truth in love before we speak more hate.

Here are a few things Paul had to say….

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:13-14

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Roman 12:18

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. Philippians 2:4

By contrast, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

Friends, the internet is a wonderful thing. But I think that maybe we need to be reminded of what our friend Paul had to say and take a lesson from Jesus on how we’re supposed to treat one another…on the internet and in real life. Oh, and also just be decent human beings.

It’s a Girl!

This past weekend my college roommates and I hosted a baby shower for our friend whose sweet baby girl is due in April.  These ladies are my people, and we’ve been through a lot of big moments together—breakups, graduation, new jobs, weddings, and now a baby.  We had so much fun planning, crafting cute decorations, and spending the day celebrating the new member of our girl squad. We can’t wait to meet you, Kennedy Jane!

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Ski Weekend

This past weekend we went up to Virginia for a ski weekend with some of our best friends from college. We had so much fun! I haven’t skied in about 10 years, but I managed to make it through the day without any serious injuries. The best part about the weekend was just being with these dear friends we love so much. Now that we’re all spread out all over the place, we don’t get to see other as often.  It’s extremely rare for us all to be in the same room at the same time, so we enjoy every second of it. We’re already planning next year’s trip!

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Things I Love {Durham}

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I love to travel, but I think there’s something to be said for taking the time to be a tourist in your own city.  I love where we live, and there are so many fantastic restaurants and fun things to see and do. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite spots in Durham:

Places to Eat:

Mateo: This cozy tapas restaurant is perfect for date night. It truly reminds me of being back in Spain—the food is fantastic and it’s always loud and crazy. Be sure to make a reservation!

Gonza: There are a ton of really good Mexican places in Durham, so it was hard to pick a favorite. Gonza never disappoints. The vibe is sort of dark and weird (which is actually pretty fun), and everything I’ve ever had there was wonderful. Best thing on the menu? Nachos with steak. YUM.

Rue Cler: This is my favorite brunch spot in Durham.  Really cozy, french vibe with a yummy croque monsieur and the most amazing beignets.  If I can ever drag Bryan out of bed early enough to make it to brunch on a Saturday, this is where we go.

Geer Street Garden: This is one of our favorite casual, outdoor places to eat.  Order “The Pile” and thank me later. After dinner, you can walk over to Fullsteam Brewery for a drink and games!

 

Things to Do:

Chapel Hill: One of the best things about Durham is that it’s right next door to my absolute favorite place in the world—Chapel Hill.  I love spending the day in Chapel Hill walking around campus, exploring Franklin Street, and visiting the basketball museum.  If you happen to be there on a day the Heels are playing, get tickets to the game….doesn’t matter what sport!

Durham Bulls: One of our favorite spring and summer activities is taking in a Durham Bulls game. The games are always a ton of fun, there’s a great community atmosphere, and you’ll have a view of the gorgeous Durham skyline as the sun sets over the city. Bonus: They have a sweet fireworks show on Friday and Saturday nights!

DPAC: One of the best things about this area is the emphasis on the arts and culture.  There are always great shows and concerts happening, and DPAC is a great place to catch a really high quality production (it is where I first fell in love with Wicked). We’ve also seen some great shows at the Carolina Theatre.

Don’t forget to set aside some time to just explore downtown Durham.  We love walking around the 21c Hotel (which houses an awesome modern art museum), playing games at West End, and finishing the day with a drink on the rooftop of the Durham Hotel.

 

Beach Weekend

We spent the most wonderful weekend away with friends. A group of us headed to the beach on Friday—several of my best friends from college and their husbands/boyfriends.  We spent three lovely days playing games, soaking up a little sun, and just catching up on life. It was SO nice just to get away, but it was even better to be with people we love so much.

The older I get the more I realize that friendship is an investment—you get out of it what you’re willing to put in. When I met these ladies, friendship came pretty easily. If we wanted to spend time together, we walked just across campus (or more likely just across the hall).  We ate meals together, watched tv together at night, and spent every weekend together. We knew when one of us had a bad day or had a big test coming up or was dating a new guy. There were very few secrets and even fewer moments alone.

These days friendship takes a little more work.  We’re all busy with jobs and husbands and homes and other commitments, and it takes more time and energy to be a part of each other’s lives. And so when we get three whole days together it feels like the most precious thing. I love catching up with these people who are such a big part of who I am—who cried with me and laughed with me and figured out life with me. I’m leaving the weekend behind a little more sunburnt and a lot more thankful for the kind of friendship that spans years and states, for the kind that makes life just a little bit sweeter.

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Weekend Adventures

We had a lovely weekend in Charlotte with some of our favorite people. My husband is a huge NBA guy, so it was a big deal for him to get to a Hornets game–and I’m just a sucker for good friends and good food.  We went with my college roommate and her husband (who just so happen to be our neighbors now), and we had a blast! Despite me being a sick, sniffling mess the entire trip, we had a great time exploring downtown Charlotte, finding delicious places to eat, going to the Hornets game, and stopping by Ikea on the way home.

The older I get, the more I’m finding that relationships require intentionality. They need us to carve out time and energy if they’re going to continue to grow. I’m making more of an effort to create time and space in my too full days to go on adventures and make memories with the people I love, because these are the moments that heal and renew my soul. It’s not as easy as opening my door and walking down the hallway to hers, but in a lot of ways I think it’s even better. And it’s definitely worth it. photo 1 photo 2   photo 5   photo 4