The Store

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DISCLAIMER: This is not what our groceries look like. Please reach out and let me know if your groceries are this aesthetically pleasing.

Today I went to the grocery store. My trips are a bit different than what they used to be. I spend half my time going back and forth from one side of the store to the other chasing down the products I have coupons for. Today as I stared at my digital coupons and paper ones in hand, I would say I was in the way of at least 25 different people throughout my shopping trip. Between keeping my daughter happy and steering my overflowing cart, it is a chore.

The first thing you do when you drive into the parking lot is pray there is a spot close to the cart collector. All the moms out there know what I’m talking about because once you load the kid into the car you bolt over to return the cart. Today a lovely person was pulling out of the spot next to all the carts. Score. Obviously the morning was off to a great start. I grab my cart and get Gwen situated and go straight to Starbucks. I treat myself to Starbucks on my shopping days because I know I will need an extra boost.

My iced coffee in hand I venture into the produce section. Why is it that every time you get to the produce section there is someone standing directly in front of what you need. I have terrible attention issues when I go to the store so I try and do things in order because if I don’t, I know I’ll leave without something. Today I hovered over this woman as she took her time selecting avocados. I talked to the person in the avocado line. He didn’t speak English so we spent a lot of time smiling and nodding at each other. Not that this come as a surprise, but I love small talk at the grocery store.

As we continued around the produce section I carried on with my typical conversation with G. I always tell her everything we are getting and why. I actually read somewhere that talking to your child constantly is important in brain development. I have always done this, not because I’m a super parent, but because I have no one else to talk to, it just so turns out it is one of my better habits. I think people think I’m crazy, but I’ll be the one laughing when my kid is the next Einstein.

As I am writing this, I just am thinking about my future grocery trips after this second babe arrives. I will either have to wear the baby and push G, or purchase a significantly less amount of groceries because my cart will be full of children. I do not know what I will do if three comes along. Well maybe that’s why Instacart exists. If I grow three children, I will have earned my Instacart.

We carry on throughout the store. Gwen capturing the hearts of everyone we walk by. I’m busy scooping up all the items she’s taking out of the cart and throwing on the ground. Every little old lady stops me and tells me that they either have grandchildren or they express how quickly G is going to grow up. Meanwhile I’m picking up cucumbers and ground beef off the ground.

At this point, my cart is filling up and I have the realization that staring at produce is such a bad idea. All my poor fruit and veggie friends are stuck under all the other heavy items. Gwen’s screaming at this point because she can’t lift the orange juice out of the back of the cart. We are on our 14th time listening to “Do you want to build a snowman?” and I am a few chucked hot dogs away from a breakdown. Little do I know, we have just begun.

I get to the baby food aisle. G knows when she sees those pouches. It’s a full blown meltdown until she is sucking one down. I’m just sitting there trying to figure out how I’m to choose between banana zucchini or apple broccoli… both sound vomit-worthy. I realize at this point in the midst of the meltdown, that this is how it works when you are a parent. I think before I became a mom it was just like something good kids didn’t do. If you had a well-behaved child, they were always well-behaved and came out the womb saying please and thank you, as well as being tantrum-free. HA. HA. HA. That’s just not the truth. Suddenly you realize that the good kids ar3 good because they were taught that and guess what… I’m the teacher. I always tell G that I understand why she may want to behave in that manner. Only a few years ago I think I realized you can’t throw a fit when you don’t get your way, so I’m also new to the club. I always want Gwen to know that I’m learning too. I don’t want to be a super human to her, I want her to see that I fail, but I learn from those moments to grow everyday. Parenting is hard.

So now we are headed towards checkout. My cart is filled to the brim and so obviously this means I go to self checkout. I bring my own bags and like to pack those suckers to the max. I actually had an older man ask we why I was doing it myself with such a large load. I briefly explained my overload strategy. I’m also a one trip kinda gal. I would say I usually have to do three trips on my bigger orders, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try my best.

“Do you want to build a snowman?” is still playing on repeat for those of you who were wondering. About 15 minutes later I have scanned everything. Then I enter the magic Kroger plus number and watch the numbers go down. Today I think I got a little high from it. Then I hand the attendant my paper coupons. I feel like I need a crowd around me cheering me on like a TLC lady. I pay and get my receipt. I get so excited to see the number that I saved. Today I did something epic. I saved $76.86. A tear streamed down my face as I proudly pushed my cart to my car, which brought more tears because I remembered my convenient parking spot.

Talk about a trip. Now I need a four hour nap and some Netflix. G agrees with that considering she’s been sleeping since I loaded her into the car. I hope she remembers these days the way I do as she grows up. Soon she will be my little helper pushing around her own cart and loading it with things we don’t need. I can’t wait for that.

M

Tenez la crème

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So long before anyone had ever heard of going “Gluten-free” or “Dairy-free,” I was diagnosed with a severe gluten and dairy intolerance. This was January 2009. All my cheese days and Dairy Queen Blizzards were in my past. At this particular time in my life, I was also in the beginning battle of my eating disorder. This diagnoses was really hard to digest (no pun intended). A big issue I had was the amount of attention that had to be put on me when it came to food. Going out to eat seemed like such a challenge and not many places had begun taking allergy precautions. I would tell my waiter my allergies and they would usually offer me something like a baked potato or a bowl of lettuce… how exciting, right?!? Anyways, there just were not the options available at that time and in combination with my developing eating disorder, it was not an ideal situation.

As years passed, “Gluten-free” became trendy, everyone discovered Oreos were vegan, and I was on my road to recovery. My relationship with food was becoming less toxic and I started trying things my 15 year old self would have never even touched! I slowly became more comfortable talking about food, learning about available substitutes, and eating “Macy food.”

To be honest, I felt very lost for a long time. Cooking and baking was something I loved! If you know me, you know G.g. is the most influential person in my life. She has been the one to listen, to teach, and to ask me every time we talk “I can’t remember… are you able to have ice cream?” God love her. Once I got myself back into the kitchen, I knew that most of the things I would want to make were G.g.’s recipes. I began recreating all of my favorites, from pancakes, to Christmas cookies, to her infamous homemade ice cream. I then realized there were so many different things that I wanted to try, but had to figure out a way to make them “Macy friendly.”

That is when Tenez la crème (Hold the cream) was created. It has been YEARS in the making with many failed attempts and scarred taste testers, but this book is so much more to me than a cookbook. This book is obstacles overcome, goals reached, and a relationship restored with both myself and food.

I am so excited to share some of these recipes with you and I am not stopping here! I plan to continue adding to the collection and would love to add/try any recipes you all recommend. Can’t wait to hear what you think! Enjoy!

M

The Plague

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Anxiety. It’s my plague. The symptoms are crippling and the cure is unknown. I sit here and type this in the midst of what I call a three day episode. For three days I have been drained, emotionally and physically. Some might say this is dramatic, but this is where I am. It has been a long time since I have been in this place, it is just as bad as I remember, but I recognize where I stand and that is the first step of the process. 

My closest friend and family know my triggers. They know the things that can quickly get me into this head space. They have seen me in these times and understand the situation even if they cannot relate. They keep me going. If it were up to me, I would not leave my room. The massive lump in my throat makes me want to just sleep it all away. 

My anxiety makes me a believer of lies. My worth and value seem to disappear into thin air and I am left feeling empty. After years of treatment, I am thankful for the ways I can lessen some of the side effects. I know talking things through and filling myself up with truths is the best way to combat these feelings. Over the past three days, I have spent time doing these things. I have made an effort to get myself up and out. It has been a long time since I have been set back like this. Old wounds have been torn open and I am left frantically bandaging. 

Right now I feel in the dark. I am searching for a light at the end of what seems like a never ending tunnel. I feel strapped down and a slave to these feelings. I have sat and watched over the past two days as life has just passed me by. I have watched my husband go above and beyond to serve me and our household, but why can I not get up? The moments with my daughter and husband are glimmers of hope. I do not know what this would look like if they were not picking me back up after every fall. 

I want to escape. I want to avoid the hurt, but is that even possible? Will avoiding this ever provide healing in my heart, or will it just be an everlasting dark place that resurfaces every once in a while. I am not sure? I know this is not good. I know this is not what is desired for me. I know I want freedom.

These triggers I have seem to be similar to the horcruxes in Harry Potter. Every time I am hurt, a part of me enters that moment or memory. Something is taken. Anytime that moment or memory or hurt resurfaces, the anxiety kicks in. In order for those triggers to go away, they have to be destroyed. What exactly does that mean? Maybe it means forgiveness? Maybe it means stepping away from a toxic situation? Maybe it will take years of practice before it can be resolved.

I know I am not alone in this battle. I have people who are willing to play for my team and fight this with me. That is another positive thought. If I keep these pouring in, I know it can be overcome. 

M

“Self Care”

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This is a subject that makes me chuckle. It is something that is talked about so often and has become this buzz phrase throughout society. I actually am not sure if anyone actually has a formal definition of this phrase or if it is one of those things that everyone has their own take on. For me, self care can look like a whole array of things. I could make a never ending list of self care activities, I mean I could come up with one for everyday of the year if I really wanted.

You know when you walk by the Lush store in the mall and you see the abundance of women sniffing every bath bomb under the sun. That is like stereotypical self care paradise. I go and buy a bath bomb and I cannot even sit still in the bathtub long enough for it to dissolve. That sounds a little different than what those instagram influencers say. Also how do they get their knees and toes to just slightly be above the water for a cute photo. First of all, my knees look like potatoes and my feet look like piranhas live in my bathtub. Secondly, my bath bombs do not make my water a pretty psychedelic color…it’s more like a watered down latte.

So clearly, I have a different definition, but sometimes I feel like my self care routine needs to be up to some standard. Like if I am going to self care then I better look like myself has cared. Ya know? These expectations are sometimes placed on things that just should not have them. I find it funny how quickly we are to criticize these areas in our lives. If we do that, it kinda just defeats the purpose.

Since I have a habit of diving into deep relationships with my friends, I have learned how to care for each of them. I have some friends who need my undivided attention to just simply listen to for hour long sessions, or I have the friend who just wants to sit on the couch in silence and eat popcorn while watching a movie. Side-note: I think being able to sit in silence with someone and just be present is one of the truest forms of friendship.

Serving those two different friends in different ways has taught me a lot about myself. I have learned that there are different ways to care for different situations. Some days need a warm cup of coffee, some days need alone time, and some days need a group of friends. There is no perfect prescription to give someone for every situation. I think this is important to remember as we navigate through our days and stumble. Picking yourself back up can look different for everyone. There is not a right or wrong way as long as you end up on your two feet.

The next time you see a perfectly drawn bath on your news feed, go fill up your tub (whatever that looks like for you).

M

The Sweet Spot

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Today I started my day off with my usual morning reading. Okay, so being honest, I have consistently only been doing this for the past four days, but I have really been enjoying it. As a part of Lent this year, I have tried to make this into a habit that will far surpass the time of Lent, but what better time to start?
This morning I had some videos in my inbox from Susan. The first video was focussed on “The sweet spot.” This is the place where your gifts and passions collide with God’s sovereign plan. The place where you thrive naturally, not forcefully. This is a place I struggle sometimes. I find myself in situations where I am in over my head and realize, welp I am actually not meant for this.

While I was growing up, I lived in the mindset that I had to excel in EVERYTHING. If I fell into the average or mediocre category you might as well have just shipped me off to Timbuktu. I was a perfectionist in the most unhealthy of ways. Looking back, it is painful to even think about. It was not until the last few years, especially after marriage and motherhood, that I began to realize I simply could not be everything. That was a fun pill to swallow.

It is funny because I can clearly note the moments in my life where I began to crumble because I was reaching for things that just weren’t meant to be. In college, I found myself striving to be good at things everyone else was good at, or what was “cool” to be good at. I drove myself insane with some of my unrealistic goals. Finally when starting my capstone project, I had this realization that my gifts were important and could be utilized. I just needed to be okay with what those gifts were.

Sidekicks was born through this realization. I would say that is a success and a perfect example of that “Sweet Spot.” Now do not get me wrong, I still battle what exactly my role is supposed to be. I am first a thinker and creative. I am not a structured individual that possesses your typical CEO characteristics. I am forgetful and honestly soooooo bad at answering emails and things of that nature.
I often feel like a failure in the position I hold. It feels like everyone else who holds this type of position has gifts that I simply do not possess. It can be very discouraging. Although I think there is something to the way our organization runs that allows it to work. First and foremost, my business partners show me grace day in and day out. Seriously. I screw up a lot, but where my weaknesses are, they come in strong and pull the weight.

I still question my role. Is it right? Could someone else do it better? Am I letting people down? Maybe, but maybe not. If I sit in that mindset, how will I ever push forward and excel. I could allow myself to diminish under the weight of thoughts of failure, or I can pick myself up and understand that there is no one else out there that can replace the specific gifts I have been given. Maybe down the road the “Sweet Spot” will change, but for now it works.

I will say that this applies far beyond just my work. That was the best example I could give. In my everyday life of being a mom, daughter, wife, and friend I have to remember my gifts. So often I get caught up in comparison and it is such a thief of joy. I think it is a trap for many of us. But what if we were able to simply focus on refining our own special piece to the puzzle? How would that look different in my everyday life? Also, how much more could I serve others than being self consumed with being “better.” I will just be over here eating a big bowl of humility.

Today I want to love my special gifts. I want to nourish them with truth and watch them bloom. (Am I ready for spring or what?) But seriously, we should be praying over these things daily and asking the Lord to help reveal more and more of them each day. They were given to me for a reason and the Lord wants me to share them with His children. So how about we do that?

M

ED

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MARCH 2019


If I am honestly going to write my raw and unfiltered thoughts, then I have to be real and write on days like today. Today I woke up with my sweet little Gwen. I did my morning readings and then headed out the door. We were off to go thrifting and shopping at a few different places before my doctor appointment. It has been a gloomy day here and I think that has played into my mood. I love a good rainy day, but today I needed some light and sunshine.

As most people know, I am pregnant. I am in that second trimester phase where everything is beginning to fit funky and it was like an overnight change. I have events coming up and that calls for the hunt for dresses. This pregnancy has been a lot different from G’s. With her I did not show until around 26-28 weeks. This pregnancy I feel like my bump grew the second the test said “Pregnant.” Growing a baby is a true gift. I have been fortunate enough to grow two of them. This is by no means something I take lightly.

Although I am able to celebrate this gift of life, there are obstacles I have had to overcome. Throughout my entire first pregnancy, I was closely monitored by a group of doctors. As someone with a history of an eating disorder, I knew pregnancy would come with its challenges (I will refer to my eating disorder as “ED”). I spent the entire pregnancy and postpartum talking with a psychiatrist. He was in charge of my team and how they cared for me throughout this time. I stumbled through many ups and downs. The lack of control I had for my body was ED’s worst nightmare. Seeing changes and clothes fit tighter was scary and not only that, but anticipating those changes haunted me.

My first pregnancy taught me a lot about surrendering that control. I slowly began to embrace the bump, but I still had my moments. After finding out I was having a little girl, I understood the weight of my responsibility as her mother. I wanted nothing more than to raise a girl that was proud and confident with every inch of her body. How was I going to do that? Honestly, I still am not sure. That is where I am thankful to have a community of people loving my daughter. Being a girl mom has continued to expose opportunities to grow every direction I turn.

ONE YEAR LATER: MARCH 2020

Here I am, sitting and reading over all these thoughts while both my girls are close by. Remi is now six months old and if I am honest, I am not completely free of those negative thoughts. I think now I get more frustrated with myself than anything, but those thoughts keep me working. I never have the chance to get complacent in this journey because I have these two little girls to remind me of the importance of continuing to fight. I hope one day I can tell them how much they actually took care of me, while they thought it was only me taking care of them.

The Rabbit Hole

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March 10, 2019

First I must say, sleep is a very important part of my life. Some people say “you can sleep when you are dead,” but that just is not a mantra I live by. Now I will say, when I am awake I want to be doing something every single waking second. Ask my husband. With this pregnancy, my sleeping habits have increased drastically. I do not remember the last day that I did not take a nap. I probably don’t remember because I was a zombie due to sleep deprivation. I’m probably going to take a nap right after I finish writing this. Fortunately, baby G has inherited my sleeping habits, so we compliment each other well.

Back on track here… the reason I tell you this is because last night we lost an hour of sleep. Already not off to a good start. On top of that, I could not fall asleep to save my life. I was busy down “the rabbit hole.” You all know what I am talking about. It’s where you have a thought and then 9877392842 thoughts later you are like, “how on earth did I arrive here.”

I have had a habit of doing this at night since I was a little girl. I can remember times I would lay in bed and get to a thought and try to backtrack to figure out where it all started. Let me first say, these are not intellectual thoughts. So do not think I am some genius over here thinking of the next way to solve world hunger or cure cancer. For example, last night I had this vision of a little white bunny hopping across the street. Then I thought about our busy street we live on and how brave that little bunny must be. Then I thought about the stray cat that is a resident of our front porch, which is where he was last night staying dry from the rain. We have named him D.W. (Dragon Warrior). Then I thought about how D.W. has survived the cold winter and has found his home on our doormat. Then I envisioned him walking across the street and of course the bunny came back into my mind and I thought about them being friends. Then friends led me right onto something else and carried onward until I realized for the last 20 minutes I had gone down this “rabbit hole” (no pun intended).

After tracing my way back to the bunny crossing the street, I had this realization. Last night the only thing that was occupying me was my desire to sleep and these odd thoughts. There were no other distractions. So what if there were added distractions? What if I was driving, or doing the dishes, or chasing Gwen? Would I notice these thoughts? Would I try and dissect the road that lead me to each one? Probably not. My point? How often during our day do we go down these “rabbit holes” of thought and they go unnoticed? For me this is a scary thought. When I am doing my daily activities, my thoughts could be running wild if I am not tuning into them.

Why does this matter? I know for myself, I can wind up in a variety of places by the end of the day. I can be in a good mood, bad mood, great mood, or “do not look in my direction” mood. Sometimes I have no idea why I am in this mood. Could it be that I went down the wrong “rabbit hole,” ending up in a dark place with dark thoughts? I mean, I’ll put my bets on that. So does this mean I have more control over my mood than what I normally think? *shakes head yes.*

I have never really spoken/written this thought out. It is something I am really wanting to focus on this Lent. How might I be doing this? Glad you asked. Each morning I am waking up and spending my time getting my thoughts centered. Just as I wake up and feed myself breakfast, I need to also be feeding myself truths that set the tone for my day. For me that looks like sitting at my cafe table with a cup of coffee and scripture. That is what feeds me. This is what starts me off on the right foot. I have been practicing this for only a week and the difference I have noticed is monumental. How was I not doing this before?

Let me be clear, I have by no means mastered this. Just the other day, I ended the day in tears and had allowed myself to spiral into negative thoughts. Andy brought that to my attention and I realized they were the exact contradicting thoughts that I had actually written about earlier that day. Coincidence… I think not. Right as I was gaining this momentum, the attack came to tear down those truths. This has happened and will continue to happen, but each time I take note of it, it is one little victory.

I definitely want to come back to this subject and reflect on my journey after Lent. I have a feeling I’ll have something to share. See ya down “The Rabbit Hole.”

M

Friends

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“I will never have another friend like her.”

— Me

This last week has consisted of a lot of conversations regarding this topic. Last night specifically I spent time talking with Susan. She is always a few steps ahead of me and I love that. It is almost as if every situation I bring to her attention, she has already walked through it in some capacity. How the Lord provides those mentors in your life that are just perfect. Its just what I needed at the perfect time. I know I would not have received her love the same way if she came along at any other point in my life.

Anyways, back to these conversations. We talked about friends from all phases of our life. Whether it was when we were 5 or 25. There is something about reflecting on those friendships. So many little things that happened as we grew up, we realized they affected the way we look at our friends today. Friends come and go, but something always sticks with you. Somehow, someway, they made their mark.

One of the things we both have discovered is our desire for deep relationships, but thats it. Of course we have acquaintances, but we have the zero to one hundred mentality. We have like two levels of friendships. This has left us both in the past with friends we have driven away and some who have drawn closer. Not everyone has the expectation that a friendship is going to be so intentional and deep. We both realized we struggled with wondering if something was wrong with us.

Now, let me be clear, I do not think there is a right and wrong way to be friends and desire relationships. Susan and I just so happen to desire them in the same way. I know plenty of people though that thrive in relationships that look different than some of my friendships. What I have learned is that expectations on both sides of the relationship need to be understood. That is the ONLY way you will be able to keep and sustain a healthy relationship. Now, this is not saying mistakes will not be made and expectations will not be met, but there will be a mutual understanding.

I have been told that I “open people up.” For some reason certain people feel comfortable talking with me about things that usually don’t come up in daily conversation. With that being said, I have certainly done my pushing with people who just simply do not want to open up and have pushed them away. I have blamed them, but HELLO, it was me. Not everyone has to be an open book. For the people who do open up, thank you. So often as I listen to someone tell me their story or thoughts, I am so often challenged in my own way to view their perspective and I would say 9/10 times its something my own heart needs to be checked on.

I have two very best friends. I want to share about these two women. One being the most unlikely match and the other is the perfect example of opposites attract. So my unlikely match, I often look at this relationship and laugh out loud. She has played more roles in my life than I thought humanly possible. Meeting our first day in classes. The same day I met Andy. We became the three amigos. Let us not forget, chacos, t-shirt, and nike shorts. Close to nothing in common in every aspect of our life. To this day I can honestly say that passion is what has kept us friends. We both are powerhouse passionate people. It does not actually matter what it is though, like it could be a vitamix, or Brazilian waxes, or dissecting characters in movies. We just have this passion and insane interest in human behavior. There is no one else I can call after reading a bizarre article and discuss it for an additional 2 hours.

So yeah. those are some quirky things. Now let’s talk about the real stuff. I have never loved someone, but also considered them then most annoying person in my life. There is something to this though. She says it when no one else will. We talk about things that most people do not. We have had our ups and our downs. We talk pretty much everyday. We lived together, we work together, she lived with me again, and occupies our guest room more than any other human. She has a servant heart. Even if that means calling every store in the area to find me boxes of corn dogs.

The other night we talked on the phone for a long time (per usual). I got off the phone and looked at Andy. I said, “I will never have another friend like her.” It is so true. We can talk about anything and everything. The hard truths we share are my favorite part. We might not want to hear it, but we always see the love behind it…. eventually. I laugh when I talk about conversations we have with other people. They are always shocked with how blunt we can be. I’m talking there is ZERO filter. We do not always have the correct response, but it is always eventually understood.

Whether caring for me after surgeries, being my Mom/M.O.H./Planner for my wedding, changer of filters and smoke alarm batteries, or sitting on the floor crying with me, she is what kids these days call my “Ride or Die.” Wherever life continues to take us, I always want to remember and cherish what we have as friends. I will never be able to replace it.

Now that whole opposites attract thing. This friend is exactly that. Soft spoken, a little more introverted, I do not think she has a mean bone in her body, and so very loyal. I don’t talk to her everyday. In fact, we can go a few weeks without talking. Throughout that time I NEVER question the status of our friendship. The second we talk or get to hang out we pick up right where we left off. As different as we are, we have almost identical life timelines. We went to college, dated our now husbands, got married, and then got pregnant shortly after. Now we have our sweet babies and get to do mom-life alongside each other. It is a blast.

A few weeks ago we had a really cool conversation about motherhood. We are both learning and both have our unique ways of parenting. She has the biggest heart for her little girl and is always showing me how to love unconditionally. Her gentleness is shown all throughout the way she lives her life.

We laugh often because we see how much our daughters encompass our personalities. She is reserved and soft spoken. I on the other hand am a little more in your face and adventurous. I always am pushing her outside of her comfort zone and she is always reminding me to think before I jump. It is the perfect balance.

While this relationship is very different from the other, there is a significance in what she brings to the table. We are along side each other in life, so many of our struggles are similar or something we mutually can understand. With our husbands being best friends, we also know both of them very well. And if you were not aware, marriage is hard. Being able to speak with someone who shares that is vital, just as it is important to hear from someone who is a complete outsider and has a very different perspective.

With both of these friendships, I find it so common for the devil to try and make a divide. He wants to highlight our differences and expose us of things that in most relationships may be a complete turn-off. I know he attacks each of us in his own manipulative ways, but I’m thankful for the firm foundation we have to turn the other cheek and shower each other with grace.

Friends are cool. They fill our stories. Sometimes with many, and sometimes with just a few. I hope I am always able to come back and see how precious these friends are.

M