Love and Faith

“You Too? I Thought I Was The Only One!” The Beauty of Sisterhood

Happy Monday everyone! I wanted to let y’all know, I’m sharing over at Shame On Shanty today. Feel free to check out the post here (or by clicking on the image below!)

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Ponderings

Friends and Friends Forever….

Tomorrow night I get to see my favorite band of ALL TIME in concert. Seriously, NEEDTOBREATHE is an incredible band and if you haven’t listened to their music, dear friends, stop reading and LISTEN!

Anyway, one of my favorite songs from their latest album is “Brother.” Two of the band members are brothers, and I love the lyrics and I think they are relevant just as much to family as they are to friendship. Here’s a snippet:

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

I’ve been thinking about friendship often this year and I’ve been reminded quite often it’s value (not that I ever doubted!). From this song, to sermons, to reading books about friendships, I wanted to take a moment on this blog to simply remind myself (and maybe even you dear reader) how much we, as breathing and living humans, need friendship in our lives.

When I think of my girlfriends, first, I laugh, thinking of all the hilarity throughout the years and then I get really cheesy and maybe even tear up thinking about what they’ve meant and continue to mean in my life.

They’re the Hobbits you’d want with you to destroy the ring, the ones who will meet up for Happy Hour because you need to hash out the latest boy drama, or it was a long work week or you just want to enjoy Happy Hour and laugh. They’re the women who will go grab significant amounts of chocolate without being asked, the women who will change their plans to meet you at Chick-fil-A, the women who will get excited for the new adventures in your life and cry with you when your heart is broken (the stuff beyond boys).

They’re the women who I know I can send something funny no matter how inappropriate and I know they’ll laugh and still be my friend. They’re the women who will encourage me in my faith, who will pray for me and will always be there.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14 NIV)

As C.S. Lewis said in The Four Loves, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17 NIV)

You never know where you’ll meet them, whether playing dodge ball during 5th grade P.E. or in a new state. They may be at different life stages when you meet, they’ll do things differently and probably even view things a bit differently than you do, they may live thousands of miles away or twenty minutes away, but the thing I’ve learned is that God is faithful in bringing friends into your life that you need.

I could post a collage of pictures, but that might overwhelm y’all ;), so I’ll go with one picture of my best friend and I (since the previously mentioned dodge ball match in 5th grade :). I am so thankful for her in my life and proof that living states apart doesn’t have to change a friendship!

Don’t be a Lone Ranger friends. There is too much beauty in friendship to go at life alone. 🙂

What about you? How have friendships shaped your life?

P.S. Five internet high fives if you know the title reference 🙂

Travel Adventures

Adventures in Seattle, Washington | 2014

A couple of months ago (as you can see, I’m right on top of blogging about it) I got to hop on a plane to hang out with some amazing women I have the joy of calling friends. Seriously, I don’t know where I would be without these ladies. My friend Sheena blogged about the trip and I absolutely loved what she wrote – it’s beautiful and exactly how I feel (Plus she takes some pretty amazing/beautiful photos, so go check them out!)

But really, I love these women and even though we’re all over the world (we rep two countries and 5 states!), we make it a point to get together once a year. Sometimes it’s for babies, sometimes it’s for weddings (my friends know how to celebrate love!) and sometimes it’s for random adventures. We’ve been to New York, Austin (woot!), San Francisco, Wisconsin, Portland, Hawaii, and Seattle. If there was a stronger word for blessed, I’d use it. I’ve known most of them since college (I love how God brought us all together – I’ll have to tell y’all one of these days) and these annual adventures have become a breath of fresh air, where I know we’ll laugh till we can’t breathe, see all kinds of fun things, eat fabulous amounts of food and chat late into the night. Although I admit, I’m usually the first to doze off :).

Seattle is a beautiful city and we had a ton of fun. I definitely plan on going back one of these days and I’m already counting down until Chicago 2015 :).

Seattle has a set up that for every city funded project, some type of art work also pops up. It’s awesome.

I want a floating house!

Why wouldn’t you have a cat who looks like Yoda?

The flowers in Pike Place Market are beautiful!
This didn’t scare me at all.

For the most part we actually had gorgeous weather, but it wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t have at least one rainy day right?
Snacks
Gas Works Park
So three of us found the Sleepless in Seattle house and were trying to get close to it, but chickened out with all the NO TRESPASSING signs screaming at us. For the most part, we try to be law abiding citizens ;). So pretty though!
By the Ballard Locks

What adventures have you been on this year? Or if you haven’t, where would like to go next if you could?

Author Interviews

4 Questions With Award Winning Author Ron Bates

He’s a fellow Austinite, so that little piece of information should solidify that he’s a legit author. He also is author to a witty and hilarious tale of friendship that all kids need to read. As I mentioned in my review, How to Make Friends and Monsters, Bates uses “witty writing, humorous monologue, mischief and mayhem, that will leave you laughing and understanding the true meaning of friendship!”

So of course I wanted to host him here! Not only do we get the regular 4 Questions, but a few bonus questions about Howard Boward, inspiration of characters and a love of monsters!

Ron Bates is a writer, journalist and humor columnist who has produced creative work for a variety of mediums. He began his career as a newspaper reporter, and his frequently funny takes on life caught the attention of Legacy Publishing, which hired him as a resident humor-columnist for their three regional magazines. As a freelance writer, Ron’s work include the children’s story Arnold Bought a Bug, and St. Mary’s and the Art of War, the true story of how Italian POW’s transformed in a tiny Texas church. Rob is the author of the Cranium Comics series Brawn, the inspirational play Flight 1615, and Underground Ink, a collection of humorous poems. As an award-winning copy-writer, Ron lives and works in Texas.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
That anyone would want my autograph. I still feel like I should apologize whenever I sign a book, it’s this sense that I’ve somehow left a permanent blotch on an otherwise perfect page. Getting to do something like that is an honor and one of the most gratifying parts of the book-writing experience but it’s surreal. I guess it’s because authors aren’t accustomed to being onstage — the book is the star, we’re somewhere back behind the curtain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful but I always half-expect people to say they’re joking and then pull the book away.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
The hard part is limiting it to just one thing. But, looking back, my biggest regret is the time I wasted. It’s not a matter of wishing I’d worked harder or longer, it’s more about wishing I’d seen the path earlier. Writing a book was always something I was going to do “someday.” What I didn’t realize at the time was that any day can be someday–it’s not some magical point in the future. In hindsight, there were an awful lot of some days I let slip away while I was waiting for some huge, life-changing moment.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
In college, I joined the speech team mainly because it was a good way to meet people and you got to travel to events around the country. We were at nationals one year in Kansas City and a group of us came up with a game we called “elevator Frisbee.” The name pretty much says it all — we divided and got into elevators facing each other and, when the doors opened on the next floor, we’d throw the Frisbee to someone waiting in the elevator on the other side. This continued all the way to the top floor. The object of the game was to time your throw perfectly so that, the second the elevator doors opened, a Frisbee would come whirling through them. It was stupid. But I remember laughing as hard as I have ever laughed at anything, and the looks on the faces of the hotel guests watching a Frisbee fly out of one elevator and into another was priceless. I don’t really think it was this ridiculous game that made me happy, it was that I’d found a group of really creative people who were just as warped and immature as I was and together we were “greater” than the sum of our parts. It was a special time.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
The world neither starts nor ends with you. That sounds so obvious but every generation seems to struggle with the concept. For some reason, there’s this point in our development where we believe we have to change things, and only we can do it because we have all the answers. That’s not the next generation, that’s every generation. The trouble is, we forget that others felt this way long before our arrival. There’s a reason things are as they are, a reason our predecessors set us on this course. That doesn’t mean it’s the right course but it does mean you don’t change everything just for the sake of change. You owe something to the next generation, just as the previous one owed something to you, so don’t throw away the past carelessly. You might be robbing those to come of something precious.

And now a few about How to Make Friends and Monsters!

5. Where did the idea develop? Are you a big Frankenstein fan?
I grew up a big fan of old monster movies. I’m not just talking about the “classic” monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman, I liked them all–Mothra, Gamera, the blob, the giant ants from “Them.” One of my favorite memories is staying up late on Friday nights and watching the cheesy midnight movies that always involved some nuclear mutation bent on destroying the planet. But just when you thought you knew everything about monster history, it changed. Sesame Street gave us Cookie Monster and Grover, Harry and the Hendersons gave us a lovable Bigfoot, and we met Sulley and Mike Wazowski from Monsters Inc. Suddenly, monsters, which had always been the scourge of mankind, could be friends.

In a lot of ways, the book is an examination of one question — what is a monster? Is it a monster because of the way it looks, because of where it came from, or because of its actions? At its heart, this is a story about a friendship between two kids, one of whom just happens to be a “monster.”

6. Were any of the characters inspired by real people?
Definitely. There are elements of people I know in all of them but they’re not exact copies. My brothers and my sister, for example, have all found instances in the book that happened to them while we were growing up. Those parts were when the story felt most “real” to me because they were real experiences. When I picture Winnie McKinney in my head, I know the face I’m thinking of and it belongs to a real-life person. Is Winnie her? The best answer I can give is “kind of.”

As for Howard, he looks at the world a lot like I do. I think he worries about the same things I worried about at his age, so I know I’m in there, part of the mix. Hopefully no one I grew up with will see themselves in the bullies in the story — but if they’d been on the other end of the wedgie back then, there’s a good chance they might.

7. What’s one of the main things you hope your young readers come away with after reading this?
Fitting in isn’t about becoming who you think the crowd wants you to be. It’s about being who you are and finding your place among people who wouldn’t have you any other way. You might make friends by pretending to be someone you’re not, but you’ll never really be one.

8. So is there anything on the horizon for Howard?
Indeed there is. I’m finishing the second book in the series right now and it takes place a little later in the year, during the winter months when the first snow has just fallen. We tend to think of snow as this pillowy layer of fluff that floats down from the sky but Howard sees it as something else entirely. Rolled into a ball, it becomes a cold, hard weapon and he is its unfortunate target. Naturally, with his passion for inventing things, you can count on him coming up with a very unusual snowman. It’s not that Howard means for it to be unusual, it’s just that his inventions never quite turn out as planned. But most of the main characters from the first book are back and Howard is still trying to survive the perilous halls of Dolley Madison Middle School, so hopefully it’ll be a fun read.

Thank you so much Ron! Looking forward to following Howard’s mishaps and adventures!

And if you want to join in Howard’s journey through Jr. High, be sure to connect with Ron on Twitter or his website!