the heart places
This weekend was the perfect combination of two of my favorite things: exploring new places, and sisterhood.
As the high school and college years have morphed into full time jobs and marriages and even parenting, the fabric of my friendships has changed. No more are the long meals in the cafeteria or the roommate pillow talk heart-to-hearts into the wee hours of the morning. Instead, these friendships are now nourished and maintained differently. They’re maintained through long texts, answered when either party has a free moment, or through lunchtime catch-ups on the phone or in person, with just enough time to cover the major bullet points in each others lives.
Though I’ve learned to treasure even the smallest of these opportunities, I treasure even more those opportunities when I get a longer amount of time with friends. Because that’s when you get past the exchange of information and the need-to-knows, and you get down into the things that matter, into the hopes and fears and worries and excitements. That’s when you get down into the heart places.
Friday night I enjoyed a Friendsgiving feast with seven beautiful friends who I’ve grown up with. There was turkey and sweet potatoes and laughter and green beans and wine and stuffing and lots of shared stories. And the fact that we opted out of cute little fancy outfits and chose a “PJ’s mandatory” dress code instead ought to be some sort of proof that this whole “adulting" thing is something we’re all transitioning to begrudgingly.
My favorite part of the night was what happened just as dinner was winding down and our full stomachs slowed the pace of the evening. I’m the resident cheeseball of the group so naturally, I had everyone go around and share something that excited them in this coming season, and something that made them nervous or was weighing on them. I loved the conversation it brought up, and the space it created for us all to open up and go a little deeper, into the things that matter. It was an opportunity for each person to feel known and heard, and to also know and hear. It was an invitation to encourage and build one another up, and to learn how we can be better supporting and praying for one another. It was a reminder that in the joyful things as well as the worries, none of us is alone.
After Friendsgiving, I drove to the airport to pick up one of my very best friends for a highly anticipated weekend of adventuring the SF Bay Area (my hometown!), a trip we’d planned as a combined birthday celebration for us both before Kelly gets married in a few short months.
Our friendship began while we were studying abroad in London, and was forged through weekend trips to European countries and countless heart-to-hearts during a season that was so deeply instrumental in each of our lives, so it was only fitting that we celebrated by doing what we do best: exploring new places and taking WAY too many photos! The weekend was filled with photo shoots on abandoned ships, long talks on even longer winding coastal road drives, and an abundance of laughter.
One night we got to Skype our friend Maddie together. Maddie’s an encourager and an asker of questions. She’s one of those people who just naturally lifts others to their full potential, and inspires you to love those around you better. Conversations with Maddie are always FULL of laughter and somehow always lead to everyone involved taking turns building each other up. She lives and models the truth that women don’t compete, they build each other up.
The rest of my time with Kelly was, as it always is, life-giving and FUN. She’s one of those people who listens empathetically, encourages lavishly, and exudes a contagious type of joy wherever she goes. She always meets whatever you share with unconditional acceptance, understanding, and wisdom. I love that our adventures always include the conversations that take you to the heart places and leave you feeling refreshed, valued, and deeply known.
Today I’m thankful for the gift of sisterhood and for the beauty of the heart places, where God uses other people to reflect the truth that in Him you are fully known, fully loved, and never alone.
P.S. Below are some consequences of that camera-fever Kelly and I both have. Enjoy!
Loved getting to explore the mysterious Point Reyes Shipwreck.
This winding coastal drive to Point Reyes while blasting Adele's new album...Hello, perfection.
The equivalent of climbing a 30-story building, only prettier.
Do it for the insta.
When you ask a stranger to take your picture and they nail it.
I may or may not have a fear of driving over bridges...conquered the Golden Gate!
Marin Headlands at sunset has GOT to be the most gorgeous view of the Golden Gate I've ever seen.
Loved getting to show off this pretty little city!
When the lights go down in the city...