It happens when you spend a lot of time with a person and then you start to take on their tendencies. Sometimes it goes so far that people begin to ask if the 2 of you are related.
So if we can predict the fact that we will eventually resemble those we love, then it is important to assess whether the qualities we are emulating are beneficial for our futures. This is what motivated me to think about the lady friends I was able to spend time with while visiting my home (colorado springs, colorado). They are some of my most treasured girlfriends and are people that I really admire. Here are some things that I learned from them while I was home.
Based on these friends... Id say that my future is looking pretty bright.
Tara (my "twin")- I feel like I may have learned the most from Tara this trip... Or perhaps together we learned the most from God this trip. Being with her daily reminded me of my need for open, honest, and encouraging conversations with other women of God. We realized together how important it is do have solid friends to do life with... Especially when you desire to live a life that honors the Lord. Tara taught me that I can't maintain purity in my heart without the love and safety of a trustworthy friend who can talk with me and pray for me. The Bible talks about the importance of guarding your heart, and Tara and I spent hours talking and praying about that very idea. We tearfully confessed our shortcomings and we excitedly shared new revelations God was showing us. It seemed like every time I hung out with her we had amazing fun AND I left feeling inspired to live better somehow! From Tara I learned the power of speaking kindly and how important it is not to gossip. Together we gained new motivation to live in a way that shines the love of Jesus to people we encounter daily. She taught me to value myself and my personal belongings by keeping them clean and lovely. Mostly because everything she does is clean and lovely. She also reminded me how fun it is to be creative... Because she is a crafty little thing with adorable taste. I'm wishing that I could teleport to her weekly so we could share life together or a hot pumpkin spice latte... That would be heavenly.
Hillary- is always inspiring me to seek out life's magical moments. From the way she cherishes her family to the way she snuggles with her pets, even how she photographs yummy foods or the lovely details of something that could easily be overlooked... She encourages me to find joy exactly where I am. She also shares my love for celebrating... Holidays... Birthdays... Or nothing at all... There doesn't need to be an occasion for Hillary to make life a party... Even if nothing special is happening she has a way of taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary. Actually her mom and sisters share that gift too. Her life encourages me to live creatively and celebrate often. The way she looks at her husband inspires me too. They have been together for almost 10 years and are still smitten with each other... Love like that doesn't just happen. It takes commitment, loyalty and faithfulness- all qualities that Hillary lives daily. She is months away from having her first baby and even in her pre-mommy months she is teaching me how to love my future little ones. Hillary finds sweetness in everything and invites the people around her to do the same. I am one of those people- following her lead as I seek to make the most of this life I have been given.
Bethany (my "little sister")-it was such a gift to connect with sweet Beth while I was home because though we grew up in the same city and even danced at the same studio, we actually didn't meet until I was living in Los Angeles. She was a student in the first DTS we ever led back in January 2010. Bethany only lives an hour away from me in California now, but due to our crazy schedules we rarely see each other. My time with Bethany reminded me how important it is to pursue our dreams and develop the gifts God gives us- even when it is a grueling process. Bethany had been in Germany for a few months dancing on tour with the Young Americans. I love the YA's and am always so impressed by their productions, but I respect them all much more now after hearing Beth share all about the rigorous work it takes to do what they do. Long hours. Aching muscles. Constant travel. Always appearing energetic and enthusiastic despite jet lag and major sleep depravation. But somehow they do it, and they love it... Not to mention all of the lives they change in the process. In every city they travel to they are able to train young people in the performing arts, while also instilling a sense of value into them. Whether on a stage, in an orphanage, or in a prison they wholeheartedly teach a variety of things like singing, dancing, and songwriting along with important matters of the heart and emphasizing the significance of having a solid character. Bethany encourages me to grow in the skills God has given me, just as she trains herself in dance and musical theatre. She is confident and brave as she then steps out and uses her abilities to be a blessing to others. I want to be more like that.
Melissa Danley- Courage and authenticity. A couple weeks before I arrived to Colorado she had a severe jaw surgery because of a rare bone disease that she has been suffering through for years. I am so thankful to have been able to stay with her and her family for the entire 2 weeks of my visit. Daily I watched as Melissa sought God to overcome her anxiety. She was in the Bible every night reading and praying with her boyfriend Bart. Despite the fact that her mouth was banded shut and she was limited to eating only liquids &soft foods, she still had a positive attitude about the whole experience. She would joke about the fact that she has no facial expressions yet, or that she can't feel her lips. Her demeanor was radiant, always fun, even when her heart was struggling through all of the changes. Being with Melissa taught me to be brave and trust God with even the things that appear to be most scary. She also reminded me that it was enough to just be myself. I would watch her confidently post photos online and attend school and work, even while her face was still swollen and naturally she could have felt insecure. But Melissa was not hindered. She still faced each day with a smile... A numbed-and-banded-up smile... But a gorgeous, faith-filled smile none the less.
|with Tara. our twin photo from last summer.|
|getting ready before Hillary's wedding|
|Laughing with Bethany... our usual|
|beautiful Melissa before my wedding|