#fangirlyourfriends: Michelle + Shawna

Hey hey hey! It’s Friday and that means it’s time for another post in the #fangirlyourfriends series. If you haven’t done it yet, you need to STAT. Also, if you’re loving these posts, I am including some info at the end of this post with a few opportunities you have to fangirl your own friends!

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One of my For The Love sisters recently posted a blog encouraging us to fangirl our friends. What an incredible concept. Instead of just fangirling celebs, why not fangirl our best girls?!

Corie said it best:

I promise you your friends are doing amazing things. Whether it looks like it from the world’s perspective or not, they are. They are wiping baby bottoms and cleaning toilets. They’re writing books, serving at restaurants, and making coffee. They’re walking in their own little lanes that God as called them to and they need fans. Fans that know the intricate details of their lives. Fans that will pray them through the trenches. Fans that know when they need encouragement and when they just need a place to turn off their brain, have a margarita, and watch their favorite T.V. show. They need YOU. They need you to be their fangirl.

So today’s post is inspired by that.

I had a hard time choosing just one friend to fangirl today. I have so many that are doing amazing things quietly and publicly.

But today’s post is all about my girl, Shawna.

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She is my opposite in almost anything, and everything.

She’s exactly six foot tall, and I’m exactly five foot tall. We’re a hoot together.

We were at a women’s bingo event one night at church, and I walked in wearing pearls, lipstick, and heels, and Shawna had on a hoodie, sneakers, and a hat.

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That’s us in a nutshell.

She often tells people the only thing we have in common is that we both love Jesus. She’s probably right.

I love so many things about Shawna, but the most overwhelming thing, is that she loves Jesus seriously, passionately, and with everything she has. She didn’t grow up in church, in a Christian home, or school. Her background was gritty and hard at times, but she has used her past as ammunition to just push even farther into Jesus. She has been running hard after Jesus for about four years. It has been so amazing to watch her grown and learn. She often will come over randomly, and we will just sit on the front porch, or in my backyard for hours, and just share verses, what God is teaching us, and just discuss theology. I don’t have another friend like her in that respect, and I’m so thankful for her.
Shawna is the best cheerleader I know. She calls, texts, sends snail mail, and just shows up to cheer people on. If she is in your corner, you’re a lucky soul. When she encourages, she doesn’t just say nice, fluffy words, she speaks truth and life. She does a great job at calling out the good in others. The morning before my half marathon, I was feeling pretty nervous. She walked over, and we had tea on my front porch. She just poured into me, reminded me of the good, and then prayed for me. One thing about Shawna that is unique, is that she is consistent in encouraging. It is never a one time deal for her. She lives her life intentionally and because of that, she is always cheering others on.
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One of my favorite things about Shawna is that she doesn’t find fault in others. If I call to gripe and complain about someone, she listens, stops me, and reminds me I don’t know the whole story, or just tells me to just stop complaining. She doesn’t bad mouth others, and I never hear gossip coming from her lips. As much as I wish that was true for me, it isn’t. So I appreciate the good example she sets to remind me to watch my words.

Shawna has been kicking it with making healthy life style changes over the last year or so. She has been part of a local gym program, and has taught herself discipline and hard work. She has lost over 80 pounds since starting out. She is a great accountability partner in trying to be healthy, because she’s doing it right along side me. She knows the struggles of not wanting to get out of bed to work out, and wanting Taco Bell more than fish and asparagus. But she keeps pushing, and in that, she encourages me to keep pushing.

Shawna is so confident in who she is. It’s honestly delightful to be around. I personally don’t struggle with too many self esteem demons, but I still appreciate her outlook. I have never heard her call herself or anyone else fat or ugly. She knows that she is great. I’ve seen her rock multiple hair colors, random outfits, and often no make up. It’s just who she is, and she’s good with that. In a culture full of so many opinions on beauty, and so many girls insecure with who they are, or what they look like, Shawna is a breath of fresh air.

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Shawna loves stories of what God is doing. She is almost always my first phone call when God shows up, and does something incredible. Because I know that she will celebrate with me, and I know she knows how much I had been begging for God to move and show up. She is also the first phone call when everything falls apart. She does a great job at reminding me of His goodness and faithfulness when I’m feeling dark and twisty. She listens to all the needs I have, and encourages me that it’s just more opportunity to watch God show up. Her child like faith spurs me on.

This girl is real, genuine, and transparent. Because of that, I want to be the same. She is one of the few people I let into my house when it is a disaster. She’s seen me without makeup, in pjs, with bedhead on more than one occasion. And she doesn’t care. I remember one day she was leaving the gym, and was headed to family dinner, but her hair needed help. So she called and came over. My house was a mess, I was embarrassed, and she just loved me through it. I let her use some baby powder in her hair, and she looked over, and could tell I had been crying. She asked me what was wrong, and we got on our knees, in my messy apartment, and she just prayed over me. As she walked out to her car to leave, she hollered, “Thanks for the powder!”, to which I yelled back, “Thanks for the prayer!” I am so thankful that she loves me in spite of my messy flaws, and that I have someone I can be real with. It’s hard to always pretend that life is fun, perfect, and cozy all the time. There is such beauty and safety in having a friend that loves no matter what.
How can you fangirl your friends this week? Who do you know that is living intentionally and running their race well? Send a card, buy a cup of coffee, or show up with flowers, but let your friends know that you are in their corner, cheering them on.
Love, M
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Ok, so here are my “show notes” (I’m obsessed with podcasts, can you tell?!)
1.I LOVE Michele’s question — how can you fangirl your own friends this week? If you would like to fangirl them on my blog, please send me an email at kristaonpurpose [at] gmail [dot] com. We can chat about specifics there!
2. Michelle and Shawna, seriously you guys are way too adorable for me to handle. I love that God has brought you together! You can read more about Michelle’s daily adventures (she’s got quite a crazy-beautiful life!) at her blog Adventure in the Unknown.

3. My friend Corie, who got this whole thing started, makes these crazy cute #fangirlyourfriend mugs. They’re only $10 AND all the proceeds go directly to support the Legacy Collective. You can preorder them now (they should ship in the next week or two). Here’s me at my staff meeting the other day with my coffee. Coffee tastes better in these mugs!

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4. My friend Danielle is also so creative and makes these cute cute leather cuffs. I had her make me a #fangirlyourfriends bracelet that should get here next week and I’m so excited to wear it! Check out her super cute Etsy shop. These cuffs are gorgeous, they go to support missions work in Africa, and they make excellent gifts!
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#fangirlyourfriends: Angie + Angie (or, #angiesquared)

Guys! Can you believe we’ve had more than a month of these crazy amazing #fangirlyourfriends posts? Be sure to read them all if you haven’t already! And now let’s get to today’s post!

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Seasonal friendships are probably the most abundant friendships for most all of us. You switch jobs and BAM – those girls don’t have time for you anymore. You move away and WHAM – those people decided you aren’t available anymore. There is a falling out with other people and WHOP – you turn around and the friends you once had are just not there anymore. We grow older, more mature, get married, have families, the list goes on and on.

Then this happens. One day when you least expect it, and you aren’t looking anymore, someone walks into your life that you weren’t expecting.

This GIRL.angie1

I am on the left, she is on the right. This was Oct 27, 2015 after the Chonda Pierce Movie. Everyone was staring at us as if we were crazy. Really we just know how to have a good time, and sometimes that means making ourselves laugh, because that movie was rough and we were done crying for the night.

Let me give you my version of fangirling my BGF. We met because our boys were in a program together. God really gave her to me as a gift. REALLY. We have been through some STUFF. The short version is this – we have 8 kids between us ages 22-2. We have 2.5 grandbabies. Our husbands are friends – they mutually roll their eyes at us daily. Our favorite things to do are cook and share a meal together. And get into occasional trouble at the movies, like last night.

Our adult children make every effort to join us when they know we are all going to be together for some reason or another – it doesn’t take much. These people have become important to us – our family. We plan holidays together. We celebrate birthdays together. We celebrate nothing- just to get together. Our friendship started out as two mommas volunteering for their boys, and turned into a sisterhood that is unbreakable – and believe me things have happened and people have tried.

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I have sat with this chicka when her family was in its darkest hours – her father suffering and passing on, calling the family because her husband nearly died due to a rare condition. Then there was that time she had a baby – her fourth, a boy – SURPRISE ! She in turn has showed up when my daddy had a major 12 hour heart surgery, when he had cancer surgery and when my girl lost her little one in the midst of a quiet pregnancy. And she always brings bagels and coffee. She is the second closest person to me – only in line behind my husband.

We know each others hopes, dreams fears. We aren’t afraid of holding each other accountable, or loving one another in a crisis. We aren’t afraid of what the other thinks- we pretty much already know.

We have celebrated, laughed, cried and screamed together. We have walked away from relationships with other people to preserve our friendship. We have made huge decisions and huge mistakes, yet we always have unconditional love for one another. We have taken the long road to lifelong friendship- and I am glad God prepared me to be a BGF to someone so opposite as myself. Its been such an amazing ride. As we both grow closer to Jesus our friendship bonds grow stronger. What a blessing.

As hubs and I turn the corner into a new phase soon – empty nesting – I am wondering how our friendship will take shape. She has a 2 year old. I wonder – but I do not worry. I am sure that as long as there is breath in either of us, we will always be #angiesquared .

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Angie squared, you guys make me smile so much! Angie D., thank you for honoring your friend with your words! You can read more about Angie D. over at her blog, angiedailey.com.

#fangirlyoufriends: Jen + Jodie

Can you believe this our fourth #fangirlyourfriends posts? Be sure to read the rest if you haven’t already because they’re so fantasticand it’s so much fun to see women supporting women!
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“There is nothing I would not do for those who are my friends.  I have no notion of loving people by halves.  It is not my nature.” – Jane Austen
If I could start this post out with a SOUND, I would.  It would start with high-pitched complete joy-filled baby squeals and giggles, and smiles so big that my cheeks are sore, and end with tears streaming down my face, in pure utter happiness… simply for all of the LIFE that my BFF and I have walked through together.  I have so much to say about this beautiful, infectious woman of God that I could fill seventeen books, and yet at the same time, no words seem adequate enough to describe the gift that she is to me.  So #fangirlyourfriend ? Um, yes, please.  I’m a BIG fan.
Shall I start from the beginning?
setting: Bogota, Colombia, South America.
Altitude: 9,000 feet.
date: fall 2002
Jodie: Pastor of our church, leader of our entire missions team, preaching & teaching in the nations, changing the lives of thousands…very important and completely amazing.
me: 25 years old, starry eyed in a foreign country for the first time, can barely dress myself, and speak intelligently..basically, a hot mess.
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One rainy afternoon while walking along the streets of Bogota, this crazy important beautiful girl, who preaches in the nations, walks along beside me, and says, “Want to share my umbrella?”  Me: (awkwardly) “Sure!”  Jodie: “Want some of my almonds?”  Me: “YES!”     And right there, in the mountains of Colombia, was the start of a crazy & beautiful forever friendship.  It is also this moment, forever cherished in my heart, that also sums up hers. Jodie Marie, despite being given great influence into the lives of so many worldwide, has still always been about the ONE.  Everything she does, and everywhere she goes, she has always been PRESENT with those God has placed in her hand for THAT moment, whether that is a crowd of a thousand, or just one on one.  I had no idea what God was up to on that rainy afternoon with a friendship that formed over umbrellas and almonds, but wow.  I just cannot imagine my life without her now.
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Over the past 13 years, we have been privileged to travel together many times, serving God and making Him famous from the mountains of Bogota to the rice patties of Cambodia.  We have swam in water falls, hiked mountains, and laughed and sang and pinched ourselves in joy.  We have also held each others’ hands, and stayed up all night on several occasions crying deep sorrowful tears together, as we have also walked through GREAT tragedy together….the unthinkable happening in each others’ lives.  We have raised fists in anger at injustice and held each other up when we couldn’t hardly breathe and prayed together until there were no other words, but the name of Jesus to pray.  Friends, this is where words fail me.  The sum of all these moments together, the glorious to the not-so-glam 4am tears sobbing moments, leaves me speechless, and little tears form in the corners of my eyes in such gratitude for her.
And as if this sweet friendship weren’t enough…. God takes it one miracle further.
The miracle:
My husband and I have struggled to have children naturally, for basically the entirety of my friendship with Jodie.  She has watched us cry and pray and believe through years of waiting.  We eventually turned to international adoption, inspired largely by Jodie, of course. After almost five years of failed matches and other crazy stories, we still had no children at home.  This past winter, though, a crazy miracle happened, and God brought a birth mother TO US who wanted to give life to her child and chose us as the adoptive parents. (We weren’t even looking!)
My husband and I were so worried and cautious about this domestic adoption, wanting to do the right thing FOR THE BIRTH MOTHER, and also wanting to guard our hearts as well.  As we started to walk through the difficult and emotionally taxing process, it was just so hard to balance our own feelings as well as take great care of birth mother, who had found herself making the brave and selfless choice to give her child LIFE.
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BUT as ONLY GOD would have it, my best friend in the entire world…. Jodie was there.  OH, DID I FORGET TO MENTION that my ONLY BEST FOREVER FRIEND DID THIS BEFORE?  YUP.  It just so happens, that through no fault of her own, years before we were friends, she had found herself pregnant and making the choice to give birth and give her baby away for adoption.  YUP.  MY BFF.  The one who shared her almonds with me, HAD DONE THIS VERY THING…. AND GOD brought us together so that in 2015, THIS. COULD. HAPPEN.
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NOT ONLY did Jodie walk side by side with us, she has walked with birth mother through her pregnancy as well, helping her along at each point, coaching her, and loving her in tangible ways.  On April 22, our daughter was born, and Jodie jumped in the car and drove 2 hours to the hospital… And did she come to see me first?  Nope.  She went straight to the birth mother FOR HOURS, talking, caring, and loving her, and held her hand as she gave her daughter away, speaking life into her.  Yes, she eventually came to see me and baby, too, of course.  AND now, five months later, she has continued to help birth mother through the obstacles of everyday life and it has meant the world to us. And now today, the adoption is finalized and we have a beautiful baby girl.  Auntie Jodie is so proud!
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You guys, I can’t say enough about my sweet, LOUD crazy BFF Jodie. There’s just no doubt that God brought us together.  This girl, who has traveled the nations and spoken to thousands, (and did I mention started her own non-profit called Reach International and still does speaking regularly at events (www.youcanreach.org) has also taken the time to look into the eyes of ONE and love them with everything she has.  And I don’t even have time to say how profoundly she has taught me and grown me up in the things of God.  She is just ALL IN and loves others presently, with her whole heart.  Selah.
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To my fierce, passionate, silly, loud Jodie Marie: I can’t imagine what my life would be without you.  I wouldn’t trade one single moment of all we have been through together, for the fire has certainly burned away the chaff and now we have seen the Glory.  I can never speak enough words for what you mean to me. You’re integrity and authenticity are just magnetic and you have an uncommon joy of living each moment to the fullest potential, even if that includes making tent cities in airports.  You never do anything in halves and I love it all!  I hope the next 15 years are just as much of an adventure.  I love you forever!
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Jodie, what an inspiring friend you are. I am so honored that Jen chose to fangirl you today and that I get to share it. Thank you for loving fiercely and loving others well!

#fangirlyourfriends: Rebekah + Amy

This is another #fangirlyourfriends post! I’ve written a few before this one (well — I’ve shared a few I should say. These lovely friends get all the credit for the writing!). Click over here to catch up if you haven’t yet. It’s pretty incredible so see the love flowing from these ladies. I’m so glad my dear friend Corie had this genius idea about how important our very immediate friends are! This week Rebekah is here to fangirl her friend Amy. Check it out below! (And come back next week. I’ve got a few other posts brewing in these here blog waters!)

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As cool of a position as I try to assume at any given moment, let’s face it — #fangirling is just not all that hard for me. I mean, at nearly 40, I still belt out every pop song within days of its debut and get excited over shiny objects. (Literally.) So when Krista asked who’d like to #fangirl a friend, within three minutes I was all, “Um, can I do more than one?” Cool as a cucumber, I’m telling y’all.
When it came down to it, though, as many great people as I have in my life, I kept going back to one special, unique gem.
Amy O’Neal and I first met when we worked together in communications for a hospital. As endearing as her kind, quiet nature is, her occasional insert of quick wit is even better. (This wit is always there; don’t get me wrong. Amy just doesn’t speak up that often.) I quickly learned that with Amy, what you saw was what you got… plus some. Never one to promote herself or pretend to be anything she isn’t, Amy more often than not puts herself last. This, among many other traits, continues to show me what Jesus really would do much more than any bracelet from the 90s ever could.
When it comes to family, she is the most devout. With the sweetest of smiles, she’ll listen to my Whine Of the Day, then kindly remind me everything ebbs and flows. If things are too crazy, she’ll share a story that has me laughing until all is well again. Though I’ve yet to hear her actually complain about her duties as a mom and a wife, as with other areas of her life, Amy certainly makes it clear that she is constantly striving to be better, reminding me without saying a word that it’s only just begun for me, and I have great role models to learn from in so many areas.
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I could wax on about Amy’s work ethic, then rave about her spirituality, but I can already promise you that the ratio of my gushing is in direct proportion to her embarrassment that I’m even #fangirling her.
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So I’ll say this: my sweet friend who avoids the spotlight like we gingers stay out of the sun, who constantly underestimates your own value, who will never see the incredible talent you are and you have: please let me #fangirl you today.
Otherwise, you may never truly know that you are an absolute hero to me, and that would be tragic.
You work hard, you adore your family, you love to give and laugh and show adoration, you have honored your parents in the sweetest of ways, and your love for our God is purer than a child’s.
You may think you have a long way to go, but this #fangirl knows you are worth more than riches, and I adore you.
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Amy, you are awesome. Truly! I love reading what Rebekah had to share about you. (Actually, this post has made me kind of sniffly because you guys sound like the sweetest of friends, and there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing women love each hard and out loud!) Know that you are loved and honored and so special! <3 And don’t forget to #fangirlyourfriends this week!

#fangirlyourfriends: Kathy + Lindsay

A few weeks ago, my wonderful new friend Corie wrote this great post about how we should be fangirling our friends (it’s friendship required reading so go! read it!). She says why so well:

I promise you your friends are doing amazing things. Whether it looks like it from the world’s perspective or not, they are. They are wiping baby bottoms and cleaning toilets. They’re writing books, serving at restaurants, and making coffee. They’re walking in their own little lanes that God as called them to and they need fans. Fans that know the intricate details of their lives. Fans that will pray them through the trenches. Fans that know when they need encouragement and when they just need a place to turn off their brain, have a margarita, and watch their favorite T.V. show. They need YOU. They need you to be their fangirl.

Starting today, I’m going to be running a series called #fangirlyourfriends. Every Friday (what better way to start the weekend than with a big, wonderful bright spot?!) I’ll post another story from a friend fangirling her friends. Today is the first post of what will be at least through the end of the year.

So without further delay, meet Kathy, who is fangirling her friend Lindsay today. Oh, and PS, Lindsay’s birthday is on the 28th, so share the love! And don’t forget to #fangirlyourfriends.

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When Krista posted the idea of starting a blog series inspired by Corie Clark’s great idea to #fangirlyourfriends, I knew right away I wanted to participate. It was just obvious to me that I had to write about one of the people dearest to my heart in honor of her birthday. So, I said “sign me up!” And then I panicked a bit. I’m not a writer. Things always sound better in my head than what actually comes out onto the paper. And how can I ever even put in to words what my best friend means to me? But it needed to be done, so I’m breathing deep and diving in because the world should get a little taste of just how amazing my dear friend Lindsay is.

This lady is ridiculously talented and creative. She is a photographer, teacher, graphic designer, and creates outstanding chalkboard typography. She joins me in my crazy love of dressing up our families according to a theme and can rock the homemade Halloween costume like nobody’s business.

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Her momma heart for her three lovely little girls is nothing short of fierce and passionate. She models our need for grace by giving and receiving it. She finds ways to encourage each of her girls’ unique personalities and interests. She is intentional about making memories and pointing her girls to Jesus. She encourages me to join her on adventures when taking my children anywhere sounds exhausting.

She knows how to throw magazine-worthy parties, she sends sweet, thoughtful care packages, and she bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie. I fully believe she is incapable of doing anything half-ass. Let’s not forget to mention she is stunningly beautiful, stylish, outgoing and hilarious. She lives life at full volume.

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In a nutshell, she’s who I want to be when I grow up. People are drawn to her wherever we go, and I don’t blame them. I’m her #1 fan. It’s probably a good thing we’re actually friends, because it might be awkward otherwise.

Of all these wonderful things I’ve listed, not one even touches on the real reason I am such a fangirl of this outstanding woman. The thing that really knocks my socks off about my friend is how she sees people, truly sees them, and speaks life into them. I am a prime example. Lindsay knows my story and is continually speaking truth to me. Whether it is to encourage me in remembering my identity or to call me out on something, she invests in me (as she does many others). She has taken the time to know my story. She has dived down deep, to my messiest of places and has not been scared away. She has passionately fought for my heart, my children and my marriage when I have simply not been able. I have hurt her and made choices that should have had drastic effects on our friendship, yet she has extended such grace. And she is honest about her mess too. She invites me in to her realness. She listens when she hurts me and seeks reconciliation. She never pretends to have it all together. This kind of friendship is hard work, people. It can be painful and exhausting to die to oneself, be vulnerable and dive in to people’s messes, but oh, it is so what we need. To know and be known, to risk and experience that deep love and acceptance. It feels like Jesus.

To my dear, sweet, totally kick-ass best friend – I am so glad you were born. You have helped me learn how to embrace my awkward, breathe deep and be Kathy. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus to me in so many ways and I will never be able to fully express what your friendship means. But I’ll keep trying anyways. I love you to forever.

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Lindsay, you rock! Happy birthday, and thank you for making a difference in Kathy’s life and the lives of so many others. What a joy it is to get to honor you in my own little space today! <3

You can find out more about Kathy over at her blog, The Little Things. Thank you for sharing, Kathy aka my own Kristen Wiig!