***This post is not meant to be exclusive. It is meant to be loving and honoring. We all have people in our lives we spend more time with and know better, either through circumstances or by choice. We all have different friends who meet different needs in our lives. There are different depths of friendship…from those you know you can call in the middle of the night to those you politely chat with at church every now and then.
I met so many wonderful people in Alabama. There are some I wish I had spent more time with and those I wish I knew better. I debated over even writing this post as I did not wish to hurt anyone’s feelings. My prayer is that as you read, you agree with me on how lovely these ladies are, that you are thankful for friends the Lord has placed in your life, and that you “… encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,”…. Hebrews 3:13.
You gotta have friends..…
In my kitchen window here in Kansas, there sits a little plaque my friend Martha gave me which reads, “Friends are God’s way of taking care of us.” Boy, do I believe it. As I am married to a pastor/minister type guy, we have always lived away from our family since our marriage began. Our friends truly became our local family. When we moved away from Mississippi in 2006, I deeply longed to show my friends how much I loved them before I left them for Alabama. That desire birthed a Legacy Brunch… a time where I was able to prepare a meal for my friends, gift them, publicly honor them in front of others, and share a Scripture that reminded me of them. It was a precious time I will always remember.
As Andy and I prepared to leave the ‘Ham, I thought of so many ladies I wanted to honor and bless in some way just because they let me be their friends. I told many of them that if I had the resources, I would send limos to pick them up at their homes, provide babysitters for their children, load them up on my private plane, send them on a shopping spree to New York City with a generous allowance, and then fly them to my private resort at some tropical beach where they would each have your own guest villa and a butler for the week. Then we would do it all over again in the fall but go see the foliage in the North East. Then again in the winter to see some mountains somewhere. I just love these ladies that much!
Alas….the Lord has not given me such fundage….so I had to think of something else. Well, in 2006, I didn’t use any social media. Times- they have-a-chang-ed! So, I would like to take a few paragraphs and a little time to publicly honor and tell you why these women are so wonderful. I am truly the blessed one for being allowed to know them. Here it goes….
***Disclaimer: Kristi is not very photogenic. She wanted to capture the fun of the “Last Supper” out with the girls and wanted a picture with each lady who came. Kristi also enjoyed last lunches and fun days with other friends in May. She requested that the photographers (i.e., restaurant hostess, food server, special education students, regular education students, and 4 year olds) take at least 4 pictures in hopes that at least one would contain a normal smile and two open eyes. They were very cooperative. However, please ignore the goofy looks that cannot be edited. : )
Kelly – I love her humor and wit. She is insightful and wise, and her two daughters are precious. That is not an accident. She is kind and loving and supportive. She is the mother of a redhead, and that makes her extra special in my book. Kelly is a lady you need to know if you don’t!
Melissa – She loves middle school and high school girls! She has mentored and loved on so many over the years, and they love her back! Her heart for missions both locally and internationally is contagious. Melissa has been an intercessor for the Murrys many times over. You want her on your team.
Geryl– Geryl cracks me up. She is coming to see me in St. Louis, even though I live in KC! She and her family are precious to me. Her testimony of her father passing away before she was born and how the Lord provided for her means a great deal to me and my hopes for my niece and nephew. Geryl also graciously shares how the Lord redeemed her child and her family over the last couple of years. Geryl is a fun lady to be around, and she is so hospitable and welcoming.
Alissa– Alissa is lovely and beautiful on the inside and the outside. She has God-given gifts and abilities that she is using for the Kingdom. She is such an influence on middle school and high school girls, and she points them toward our gracious Heavenly Father. Her organizational skills rock if you ever need help in planning a retreat or a fashion show! Love her bunches!
Lesley and Amanda-These girls know how to work out hard! We enjoyed getting to know one another every Tuesday and Thursday when Lacy challenged our bodies with planks, burpees, hill climbing, crab crawls, etc. Both of these precious ladies have great husbands and three sweet children. They are tall and slim and lean machines!
Amy– Ahh! This one! She was one of the first to befriend me and ask me to help serve when we moved to Alabama. I have enjoyed so many fun adventures with Amy during Vacation Bible School and Women’s Ministry. She is one of the sweetest souls I know. She encourages and intercedes and is so thoughtful in her gift-giving. I learned so much from her! She is so careful in her words and uses her voice to point others to Christ. You might want to get to know some Amy!
Angie– Talk about a super-mom! I have no idea how she does it all- congregational care, missions projects, VBS, Women’s Ministry, planning a wedding, and fun family trips to other continents. Angie is awesome! She is such an encourager and speaker of the truth. I admire her attitude of working until the job is done. I have observed her be the only one cleaning up an area after an event- a true servant. She has a great family who like to play hard. Angie is true blue.
Sammi– One of the kindest ladies I know. She rocks at everything she tries and gives it her all. She has been so faithful in leading middle school girls and heading up an English as a Second Language program. Everyone who knows her loves her. It has been fun to see Sammi raise her mini-me, Cate. So thankful to know her and her hubby. Keep watching to see how the Lord continues to bless others through her!
ARE YOU TIRED OF MY YELLOW SHIRT YET??? I AM!! Sorry….
Lauren– Had lots of fun with her planning Women’s Ministry events. Lauren has great ideas and is willing to do the leg work to make them happen. She is positive, and I have seen her encourage other young moms along the way. She is a catch!
Stacie-Ohh- sweet Stacie! I want such great things for this one! She is doing such a fabulous job rearing her two sons to follow after the Lord. Stacie has a golden heart and has verbally encouraged Andy and me over the past few years. She is a darling soul and precious friend.
Kelly– I so look forward to the videos she posts of her children on Facebook and Instagram. The cute moments and the crying moments- so funny! Kelly has that dry wit and is not afraid to speak some truth. I so enjoy being around her. Her author hubby is a pretty funny guy, too.
These four!! Gracious! They have Worship and music in common, and they are loads of fun.
Amarilys– Such a blast! Going to dinner with A and her hubby is better than any night at a comedy club. I love that she is Cuban and bilingual, that she is a business woman, and that she uses her beautiful voice to glorify our God through song. Her name is cool, and she speaks up for herself and others. Love!
Jennifer– What a fun one! She has mad technical skills and knows how to run a sound board- I am in awe. She has reared a wonderful, gentlemanly son and is a second mom to many of his friends. Jennifer throws a mean game night and is such an addition to any Girls’ Night Out. I pray so many good, lovely blessings on her from our good Father. She is darling.
Ashley – She was one of the first people I met in Birmingham. Ashley drove us all over town and sold us our first home. She gifted us with a huge, awesome Welcome/Congrats basket filled with good things – so thoughtful. I love that she has three sons- a brunette, a redhead, and a blonde. Her husband Kris is way more musically talented and spiritually gifted than you know, and she supports him and adds creativity to all he does. Ashley is a pastor’s wife, and that makes me love her more. She has always been so kind to me and regularly checked in to see how I was doing. Whatever city and church that gains her next will be gaining a lovely lady who has inner and outer beauty.
Rhonda– One of the best surprises of our time in Alabama! We are cousins, and didn’t’ know it! Andy worked with Rhonda and through conversation learned that our Mississippi roots were attached. Rhonda is a wonderful Bible study facilitator, and I learned so much from all the Beth Moore studies we did together. Rhonda is witty and a little irreverent at times- which I love! She is an officer with the Grammar Police- I love this, too! She and the Lord have walked some difficult roads, and she has lived to tell about it. I am so thankful to share DNA with this precious lady!
These two have added much seasoning and spice to my journey in Alabama. They have some life under their belts, and they have wisdom and empathy from their journeys. These two can make parties, wedding receptions, showers, and grand events happen. I sometimes giggle when I watch them work together – their creative process tickles me.
Julie– One day I want to go to Mardi Gras with this lady and her fun family – bucket list! Julie is a graceful, loving soul, and when she wears heels, I am way too short to stand next to her. Another mom of a redhead- she understands. Julie and her hubby are a hoot and a half to be around. I will never forget her kindness to me during some hurtful and awkward situations-she was my rescuer! I look forward to sitting around NOLA with her and eating beignets. Love, love, love!
Tami– As I have moved, I have thought of Tami at least 3000 times- the woman who moved 21 times in 21 years or something like that! A-ma-zing! She is so talented and creative and willing to share her gifts with those who ask. I love that I can be totally real with her and feel safe. She is one of those people who makes you feel special just for walking into the room. She can whip up great food and entertain a crowd at her house in a flash. Tami has influenced and impacted so many people- I can’t imagine how many people call her “friend”. I am just so thankful that I can and will for as long as she lets me.
Lndz and Lacy!
Lindsay– Such a treasured friend. Her hubby and my hubby are friends. Her son and my dog are buddies. That makes it all the more fun. Lindsay is also a speech pathologist, so we can speak the same language. I love her creativity, her heart for the world, her love of adoption, and her non-American dream way of looking at things. I think living overseas for a while does that to you. Lindsay and I are the in the “Our Little Brothers Went to be With the Lord Too Early” Club. We spent Monday nights together doing all sorts of things. She prays for me, and I pray for her. I-just-plain-love-her!
Lacy– Another girl with Mississippi roots. Lacy loves big and hard. She was such an answered prayer a few years back when she worked with Andy-those were the days! Lacy is our exercise guru, and I can run a mile without stopping because of her! Even did a 5K-what the what? Lacy is creative and kind and funny and is a survivor. Her story of all the things she has overcome is another arrow pointing straight to the grace of a good God. We have a fun trip in our future to New York or San Fran or somewhere. Can’t wait!
Liz– Another SLP friend! She was my kind-of neighbor in Pelham. Liz and Lacy and Lindsay make me trip over my tongue, but we have had so much fun over the years. She is missional and an adoptive mom and a cancer survivor, and I love her. She is funny and calm and cool. She is also called Elizabeth, Lizzie, and Lizard. I like to call her Wiz. I like to compare organic foods and practices with her. Can’t believe we never ran into each other at Earth Fare. She is a dear one.
Emily– A Memphis girl! I love her beauty, her family, her testimony. She and her husband have influenced many young couples with their story and their lives. Her children are precious and funny. Emily is a terrific hostess and a great cook. She and her husband have prayed for and encouraged us so many times. She is a model of grace and second chances. I am so happy that I know her!
Jennifer– I have so many redheaded friends. It really is a myth that we are going extinct. I am so impressed with this one. She has the mind of a business woman and is savvy and cool, but she is also kind and thoughtful and fair. I enjoyed riding around with her watching her work last summer in Oxford and Atlanta. She makes sushi restaurants happen. Just go to Jinsei and Maki Fresh and find out! On top of that, she is now the mother of two precious children. Her plates are all still spinning. Her husband is so great and fine and part of the class of ’89. Good year! They have a lab named Lucy, who I am sure would have been Max’s girlfriend if we could have gotten them together! So love this girl! She wins at Just Dance, too.
What a privilege to have known these young ladies since they were in middle school. My how lovely you are! Andy and I are eagerly watching how your lives unfold and how our gracious Lord uses you all in the Kingdom. These girls are on my daily prayer list.
Kimberly– I love her height, her humor, and how she speaks her mind. She has a great family and rocks the “baby” card. Kim has a love for older adults, and I think that is awesome. I have an awesome bracelet she has given me, and I think about her whenever I wear it. She also gave me a cool wooden cross to hang in the Kansas house, and it reminds me to pray for Kim.
Rebekah– This girl is resilient. She has overcome some obstacles and lived to tell. She is bright and using the opportunities the Lord has given her. Rebekah is not afraid of hard work and will get the job done. She gave me two darling bracelets that make me think of her, too!
Mary Grace– Redhead! A natural-born leader. She is not the loud, bossy type. However, other girls look to her and want to emulate her. She can be girly or a tomboy. Her heart for missions makes her even more attractive. She is doing summer missions now, and that just rocks.
Abbie– Red for President! One of three redheaded sisters! Abbie is the oldest and is the nurturer. Everyone loves some Abbie. She is quiet but smart and fun and kind. We missed her so when she moved to Georgia, but it is always so fun to see her again. I love the silver bracelet she gave me when we last saw each other. Abbie is awesome.
Katie– Tiny dancer! The overall winner in all of our Just Dance parties. Just a natural. Her sweet demeanor and natural beauty are the first things you notice about Katie. She is precious and lovely and kind. It was so encouraging to visit with her, and learn that she is continuing to pursue the things of God in college. She found some new friends who help her along in that. Sweet love!
Savannah- No picture! I love her and I miss her! She has fully embraced the college life. Her sweet spirit and precious smile make me happy. My dog Max will always love her. I wish her many good things and much love! I love when Savannah smiles. : )
I don’t have pictures of the following ladies, but I love them just the same. Here is why…
Kristi K. – She is now a Franklin girl, but we met in Alabama. Our names are spelled the same way, and we even had a party to celebrate that fact. She is so fun, and she created a new move in step aerobics called the “Ketner”. Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt. She and her hubby were always kind enough to go out to eat when Andy and I celebrated birthdays. We have loved watching their family grow, and we plan to visit them when we pass through Nashville. Love these people!
Linda W. – What a woman! She is the matriarch of a wonderful family. She has led out on numerous overseas mission trips, and she is ready for the next one. She is the ultimate hostess with delicious recipes that she is willing to share. Linda and her fine husband, Bob, have mentored and encouraged and supported pastors (including my husband) and missionaries all over this earth. I wanna be like her when I grow up. She is wonderful.
Angie F. – Another super mom of five. She has always been such a lady of encouragement and kindness. She prayed for us and loved on us. She would stop to ask how I was and really listened. I have enjoyed Angie’s honest account of her life with teenagers in the house as she was helping other moms. Angie is a Fine woman!
Dana M. – Married to a Persian. A Persian from Tennessee. So funny and witty and warm. She was one of the first people to speak to me and let me sit on the same row with her in Bible study. She is an attorney, and I think that is cool. Her children are already quote worthy on Facebook, and it makes me laugh. Wish I could sit around the house with these people and just listen. Love them!
Stacy M. – She and her husband were my first Bible study teachers in Alabama. I have two journals full of notes to prove how much I learned under their leadership. Stacy is so friendly and kind. She is an intercessor and an exhorter. She has two great kids who take after their awesome parents in different ways. Stacy has the patience and love to work with children every Sunday. Go girl!
Rebekah F. – Beautiful is the word I use to describe her. She is a pastor’s daughter, so she understands. She is lovely and kind and thoughtful. She writes sweet words of encouragement and love to us. She invited us over for a delicious dinner. Rebekah has inspired and modeled Christianity for her daughter and her daughter’s friends. She is the coolest!
Tamara– Another pastor’s wife- we get each other. We have served together and prayed for each other’s husbands. She is a caring, nurturing mom of three great kids. She teaches the Word at home and at church. Her creative writing has been acted out in many a VBS drama. So funny and clever. Tamara invited us over for yummy homemade pizzas and Pizz-ookie. Not even sure how to spell it, but it was a cookie in a pizza pan, topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup. I haven’t been the same since.
Lisa W. – We have enjoyed many a Girls’ Nights Out together. Her hubby and my hubby are friends. They invited us out on their fun boat. Lisa is talented and caring and kind. She has some incredible stories of her many adventures. She is loyal and sweet. I love her!
Brittany C. – We served together several years as we worked with middle school girls. Our husbands like to go out to eat together. We were late to her wedding, and walked in right before she did. We love her parents, too! Our history begins in Meridian, MS. I have enjoyed celebrating with her as her family has now grown to four. She is a great mommy, and we always feel welcome in their home. Britt and Chris are dear friends.
Christy M. – I really like her name. We got acquainted on a mission trip a few years ago. She is a nurse, like my mom, so that makes me like her even more. Christy has been such an encourager to me and Andy over the past year. She texts and emails and sends love through her phone. Her boys are precious, and we enjoyed the time we spent with them. Christy is awesome!
Diane Q. – What a lady! She is a walking miracle. She loves teens and loves to pray for them. Her wisdom and years of life are such a gift to those younger than her. Many of us can learn from her. We like to text each other sometimes. She always has a good Word. I love that I know her.
Sometimes, you have the privilege of knowing and loving two ladies in the same family. I am blessed by several of these pairs.
Robyn and Morgan – Precious and sweet and welcoming. They act like they are glad to see me when I come around! Robyn is a Mississippi girl, too. Both of these ladies can bring the house down when they sing. Talent out the wazoo. When you add in Jason and Corbin, you have a house full of fun! The Murrys love spending time with some Merediths. Jason and Robyn were quick to drop everything and come over to our house and pray with and for us when we received some bad news. One does not forget that. True love!
Patti and Payton – Another house full of songbirds. Such amazing voices. I love to hear them sing and praise and exalt our God. These ladies are fun and friendly and hospitable. Their guys are fun, too. They have honored me by inviting me over and including us in events. So good to be loved by them!
Kathy and Peyton – Such fun! Kathy loves me more than coffee. She is an OT, so we speak some of the same language. We so enjoyed Jen Hatmaker together. Peyton is athletic and beautiful and caring. We used to work out together some. These people are lovely and loving. They encourage me with their texts and smiles. I will always think about “nose breath” when I think of Kathy.
Jane and Mary Grace – Well, I already shared a little about MG, but her mother is awesome, too. Jane is one redhead among many. Our skin and freckles understand each other, but she is way tanner than me. Jane is a master at being one of those moms who is so okay with all the teens coming over to her house at a moment’s notice. She rocks.
The following people made going to work more fun….
Jennifer and LaTarsha and Nicole – My school neighbors and my buddies across the hall. Oh, if those walls could talk. Daily warriors in special education. Fun cooking activities and field trips. I wish them the best. Kelly is missing from the picture, but I love her, too!
Julie- What? Another redhead? With curls? Yes! I love her counselor’s heart and her kind soul. She has great wisdom written on her walls. We have shared joys and loss. She taught me about Young Living Essential Oils, and I love them, too. Julie loves, and Julie is loved.
April– This kindergarten teacher is my friend. She sings and raps and rhymes. She is creative and caring. The girl loves some Nikes. She is a dancer and a cat-lover. April goes to great lengths to celebrate Halloween, Christmas, and Kindergarten Graduation. She loves Jesus, and I love her!
Laura Ann – My speech bestie! We shared an office and a friendship. I know the Lord put us together. She is so sweet and thoughtful and stylish and hip. She is tall and lean and sophisticated. She is fun and loves chocolate as much as I do. We enjoyed so many conversations over great lunches and unofficial breaks in the day. I learned about so many wonderful places to dine and shop from her. She should blog about all the things you need to know to live in Birmingham. We made the best of boring conferences and usually filled up pages of notes we passed back and forth. I love her, and I love her Emilyn. I knew her before she was born. Not a bad photographer for a four-year old!
Mandy– Mommy of Tucker, who has made his debut since this picture was taken. Mandy was our next door neighbor at work, and she was always kind to include me in field trips and fun events. Boy, did we ever share some special students. When Edith was next door, too, we had a blast. Irreverent and crazy days. We all had the fun privilege of being snowed in together. I risked life and limb and my car to get from another school to hang out with these girls. They are my people. I am so happy for Mandy and her hubby (red-headed, I might add) and their new son!
Martha– My neighbor, my friend, my roomie! Words cannot express how thankful Andy and I are for this wonderful lady. She has loved us, loved our dog, and been a friend through the years. She graciously invited me to stay five weeks in her home after Andy moved to Kansas. We had some fun adventures, and we ate well! Martha is one of the kindest, gentlest souls I know. She goes out of her way to be generous and helpful to others. We were so blessed to know her “girls” Maggie and Rally, too. They were like Max’s sisters. Martha is coming to see us soon, and we are ready! We miss her bunches, and we pray for the Lord to bless her over and over again. She is awesome!
Well…if you have gotten to the bottom of this long post, you are a trooper! Thanks for indulging me a little bit. Just needed to send some love back toward Alabama.
It is time to look forward and try to be a new friend here in Kansas. My life has been enriched and deepened and expanded by the ladies mentioned here and by so many others.
If friends are jewels in a treasure chest, then I am a rich woman indeed.
Enjoy your friends this weekend! I am off to make some new ones….