how to be a better friend, even when you’ve got a lot going on

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Whether they’re the mac to your cheese, the Sookie to your Lorelai or the Anne Perkins to your Leslie Knope, true friends are the ones that stick by you in good times and in bad. They love you for everything you are and can be and despite the crazy person you’ve been sometimes in the past and let’s be real, will probably be again at some point in the future. They’re family and they love you no matter what.

I think we all know friendship is a two-way street but sometimes it’s tough to really invest and nurture friendships because well, life. We’re all busy and as my mother would say, we’re burning the candle at both ends. We’re building families and careers and sometimes taking time to connect with our girlfriends seems selfish or self-indulgent but I am here to announce WE NEED FRIENDS. They are vital to our well-being and overall sanity. So if you’ve been out of the loop with friends recently (work overload, got married, had a baby, THE HOLIDAYS) never fear! It’s completely doable to be get back in the game. Here are ways to be a good friend, even when you’ve got a lot going on.

Make plans
This may seem like a “duh” but for let’s be real, between careers and babies, life happens. None of us are immune to the busy day-to-day but something has to give if we want to find true connection with friends. Whether it’s a standing dinner date once a month or a quick coffee date here and there — create dates in your schedule for get-togethers based on everyone’s schedule and stick to them. When you are together be all there – silence that cell and enjoy face time with your people.

Use your phone
If you see something that reminds you of a friend, let them know. Shoot them a text to share a funny story or ask for prayers for something you’re struggling with. Make it a point to call them every once in a while during your commute from work to hear about what’s going on in their world. Use your phone to keep your friendship alive and thriving until the next time you get to be together.

Say thank you
How often do you take the time to tell your bestie how thankful you are for them? Tell your friend exactly how you feel and how much they mean to you – this will make their day and yours, too. Send them a fun card via snail mail to let them know you think they’re pretty awesome and value their friendship. I don’t know about you but some of my most cherished keepsakes are cards from dear friends.

Listen up
Being a great friend reaches far beyond verbal communication — it’s rooted deep in listening. Sometimes all we really need is to talk something through and get it all out there to a close friend just to do simply that, get it out there. We all love to talk (I’m raising my hand high here!) but sometimes the greatest service we can offer a friend is the gift of silence and quiet understanding.

Encourage
Oh man this is so important and something we all need, especially during all the changes life brings in different seasons. Maybe it’s giving a genuine compliment out of the blue or maybe it’s checking in and offering support when they’re training for a half marathon. Don’t make this hard! Some encouraging things to say: I understand. Me too. I’m so proud of you! How can I help? This too shall pass. Let me know how it goes – I’ll be praying. Well done! I’ll bring the chocolate! 

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Hello and Happy New Year! How did you ring it in? We stayed in with our almost four month old and watched one of our favorites, When Harry Met Sally. Annie was asleep by 9 and we were in bed by 11:30 – we whispered about our favorite moments of the past year and all the things we would love to accomplish in the future. We knew it was 2017 from the fireworks heard outside our window. It was a far cry from past NYEs spent out and about in a sparkly dress but it was oh so sweet.

2016 was full. We bought our first house and made it a home. We dug deep into our jobs. We made new friends and held close to our oldest and dearest. We valued time with our families. We, yes we, survived and actually enjoyed a pregnancy. We traveled. We HAD A BABY – by far the most incredible experience to date. We prayed and studied and worked hard on growing closer to God. We worked daily on our marriage. We settled into our new roles as parents.

As incredible as this past year was, I know this year will be our best yet. We have a clean slate. A fresh start. Another opportunity to love and grow and be present for our lives. One of my goals for this year is to make room. To say no to more things I’m not crazy about to make space for more stuff (think people, places, activities) that I AM crazy about. More quiet moments with God. More morning snuggles with my baby girl. More dates and dancing in the kitchen with my husband. More laughter with my family. More risks. More lunches and conversation with my girlfriends. More celebrating big and small occasions. More heart. More dreaming. More joy. More gratitude. More good.

Hello, 2017. I like you already. xo

Never Underestimate the Power of Your Girlfriends

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It’s hard for me to remember a time when I didn’t have a best girlfriend. From running down the halls at church with my bff in kindergarten to junior high sleepovers where we stayed up painting our nails every color, I’ve always been a self-proclaimed girls’ girl. In college my girlfriends stood beside me through the bad dates and helped me figure out which path I would take in life (usually over raw cookie dough). After graduation, my girlfriends became my family – the ones I shared everything with and the ones who showed me grace on my worst days.

Through every phase of my life I’ve always been the most thankful for my girlfriends who have walked beside me every step of the way. Through the good, the bad, and the scary, the women in my life have been the ones to (sometimes literally) carry me through. From childhood to the awkward high school days to the ups and downs of my 20’s, my girlfriends have been a constant source of encouragement and joy. Even now, as I prepare to enter this new phase of motherhood, my girlfriends are the ones who keep reminding me I can do this.

This is the power of female friendship. When we are unsure about what we’re doing or where we’re going, the women who stand with us help us make sense of it all. When we’re scared, they give us the courage to confront our fears and move forward. When we’re completely overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel, they give us the courage to rest for a hot minute. When everything has fallen apart, they pray with us and for us. And yes, in the happy times they celebrate with us in the most major way.

I mean think about it. Whether you’re married or single or divorced, whether you’re a mom who works in the home or outside, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert – you need those girlfriends in your life to not only encourage you on the daily but push you to be your best self.

Do you have women in your life like this—women who don’t just offer encouragement but who make you courageous? I pray you do and if not, seek those friendships out! You need those women who will laugh and cry with you – sometimes all in the same day! – and will love you through all the ups and downs this life brings.

Cue: Beyonce’s Girls Who Run the World. xo

Links I’m Loving

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1. The best and worst places to grow up – how does your hometown compare to others? (nytimes.com)

2. Ice cream sweetened only with agave? Yes, please. (agavedream.com)

3. What all bad friends do. (relevant.com)

4. Looking for a good cry this Father’s Day? Dove has got you covered. (today.com)

5.  Pro tips for keeping your emotions in check. (self.com)

6. So much inspiration from this gorgeous home tour. (theeverygirl.com)

7. Five easy ways to have a healthier week. (hellogiggles.com)

Links I’m Loving

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1. The science of why you should spend your money on experiences, not things. (fastcompany.com)

2. Secrets from the royal kitchen, including the fact that Princess Kate cooks – could I adore her anymore? (glamour.com)

3. Gorgeous watercolor cookies sure to wow any crowd. (jacquelynclark.com)

4. Adorable photos of babies swimming underwater, just because it will put a massive smile on your face. (twistedsifter.com)

5. Five reasons to never leave home without your sunglasses. (oprah.com)

6. The unique power (and great comfort) of a lifelong friendship. (realsimple.com)

7. What does your Google search say about your spiritual life? (relevant.com)

8. I’m definitely trying this recipe for Magnolia Bakery’s famous banana pudding for my brother’s graduation party tomorrow. (blueeyedbakers.com)

This Is What Real Friendship Looks Like

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I’ve been alive for 27 years and thankfully have had my fair share of friends, all of whom have shaped me into the fun-loving, music-chasing, occasionally looney toon of a woman that I am today. I have always valued my friends and have prided myself on picking good ones – as my mother always preached, “You are the company that you keep.”  What real friendship looks like in my eyes has changed as I’ve changed. In elementary school my bff was always there to run with me when the boys would chase us around the playground and to defend my sticker earrings when another 7-year-old who wore REAL earrings (her parents were pretty progressive) teased me when one of my Christmas trees fell off. In middle school, OH MIDDLE SCHOOL, my bffs were girls I cheered with because obviously, we had everything in common. With high school came a lot of major life decisions, of which my core circle of friends floated through with naïve ease and lots of laughter. College welcomed a new set of friends who became some of the most important people in my life – we went through break-ups, internships, family changes, more break–ups, weddings. It all happened and the more that happened the closer we became. Nashville introduced new friends and strengthened the classics, and it’s been fun and scary and everything in between to do life together.

So what does real friendship look like? 

Calling in the middle of the night because he still hasn’t called and you’re upset.

Texting the millionth “Are you sure I’m okay?” message when you start to panic about life and need a little affirmation.

Picking up right where you left off, every time.

Sitting on the couch for hours talking through anything and everything without a time limit.

Having them look you in the eye and say “I love you but you’re being ridiculous.”

Ordering pizza and watching Netflix because you need a night to turn your brain off.

Keeping in touch through all means possible because your friendship matters more than your location.

Dropping everything to celebrate the good stuff and to work through the tough stuff.

Communicating!

Picking you up from the airport and immediately listing everything you’ve missed.

Noticing when you lose weight/trim your hair/finally stop biting your fingernails.

Pushing you to be a better human being.

Knowing you in and out and in between and loving you more because of it.

Giving advice only when you ask and without judgment.

Praying for each other and meaning it.

Having them look you in the eye and say “I’m proud of you. You got this.”

Show your friends some love this week – I know I sure will be!

XOXO,

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