Waves, salty breeze, long talks about what matters. Rockin' newborns on the balcony, blue-green sea stretched to the horizon. Devouring homemade salsa and fresh pinapple to the tune of challenging conversation, the kind that provokes change and fulfillment of dreams. Laughing endlessly, lounging on the beach, praying together thru fears, hard questions, tangible excitement about the future...
Did I mention our escape to the sea included these guys??
No, I didn't. It was too much goodness for a single post.
(the babies were clearly so over photo taking ;-)
12 years of amazing friendship, the kind only God could have orchestrated.
I also failed to mention that Josh and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on the 25th! And Ryan and Ivana 9 years on the 31st. We both welcomed new babies in recent weeks as well, so meeting half way between Texas and South Carolina seemed the perfect way to celebrate!
We made it a point to savor our days... Laughing a lot. Cooking a lot. We even cried a little. (the good kind ;-)
We held each other's babies and marveled at how perfect they are, how much we love them.
Sweet Vera Joy.
Her Moma's newest love. She's #3 for Ryan and Ivana. 3 little girls. Bliss.
(And no she isn't named after me, although I secretly pretend she is. ;-) Ivana and I share a middle name among a million other things.)
And she may literally be the new kid on the block at only 4 weeks, but she's a smart one, that Vera. Ev is so much more mature, ya know. (as evidenced by her much chunkier thighs) She's a whole 10 weeks old. So Vera was a tiny bit nervous upon meeting for the first time that Ev might not want to play with her or think she's just a silly baby, so she told her a joke right off the bat to break the ice.
Win 'em over with humor. Smart move, Vera. Smart move.
And that was that. Their bff fate was sealed.
But hey, given their moma's forever friendship they didn't have much choice in the matter anyway.
And then of course there's these two...
...leave them alone together for long and they start plotting how to take over the world. I'm not kidding.
Guns blazin', babies-in-hand, do not underestimate their powers. No, seriously.
As is always the case when we get together, we all left refreshed, challenged, inspired, grateful for the kind of friends who not only see you through it all, but walk with you through it all. They're the kind of friendships you know innately God ordained with purpose. You know because of the fruit they bear, the way they celebrate you right where you are while simultaneously provoking you to more. They're the kind of friendships that won't let you settle for good when they know you're called to great. They're the kind of friendships where the Holy Spirit is always present, always welcome, never requiring a formal invitation.
We openely thanked God for one another, as is also always the case, and we left different than we arrived. We left changed, knowing full well we'll all look back someday and say, "Remember that amazing weekend at the Gulf..."
Aren't you so thankful for life-giving relationships??