This week I had the chance to sit down with my new friend Madison Anaya. We met at a Book Signing in Dallas and immediately hit it off. She is so sweet and just an open book. 


Madison is young wife, learning to balance work, school, dreams and date nights by being intentional in all the areas.

We talk about how they weathered Hurricane Harvey last fall and the blessings that followed.

Madison is such an inspiration, and she is going to change the world with her encouragement, passion and determination!

We have a great conversations about people we look up to but are real careful to not compare our beginnings to their middle.

Our conversation was just so fun and natural!


Links to Check Out/ Recommendations 

Madison and I talk about how we met at Rachel Hollis’ book tour for her new book GIRL, WASH YOUR FACE. And how Rachel Hollis has inspired us to much!

Madison absolutely recommends Jen Hatmaker’s book OF MESS AND MOXIE.

I tell her how much I love  Audible  (it’s how I read most of my books…because reading and driving is looked down upon) and I tell her that she should try listening to Jamie Ivey’s  new book IF YOU ONLY KNEW.

I just finished listening to SHOE DOG Phil Knight and think you all should go out and grab it, it’s so much more than just the story of a shoe company!


Connect With Madison






Connect With ME


IG @jeanettetapley

FB @thejeanettetapley


How my life changed with 2 friends, a book and the gym!

I am a HUGE fan of women’s bible studies, and as I admitted in my 10 Things you don’t know about me I have just this week finished and completed my first Bible study book ever! My Pastor Dad and Bible Study leading mother are so proud I am sure.

Anyway, I love the idea of gathering together, growing, stretching and making new friends. When I moved to Texas from Alaska 5 years ago I was super lonely. I knew one other family and that was it. We left our home, our family, and our church just like we believed God had told us to, and we were here in Texas alone. One day, in a mess of emotions, I told my Jesse just how low I was feeling. There had been so many changes. Alaska to Texas, no family, I had just sent my first born off to kindergarten, Jesse was working a new schedule that we weren’t used to, and honestly was just desperate for community. We started going to a small church, and I started at a new gym. Titus and I started going to MOPS and we joined other mommy and me groups. I was so in need of friendship. I know that I function better when I’m connected to others. The gym of all places was where I found those people who I would soon call friends.

There was this crazy pretty blonde that taught most of the classes that I was able to go to. As I began to get into the routine I got to know some more of the people around me, and the pretty blonde, her name is Lindsay, and I started to talk a little and she invited me to a Bible study that she led right there in the gym. After Wednesday’s body pump or cycle class we would meet in the childcare room, sit on the floor, and she would lead a small group of sweaty women. That group quickly became my friends. It was beautiful and so real. There was one day when I was loading  Titus into the car and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, “WOAH!” I thought, “I look rough! How in the world have I made friends looking like this?!” That’s when I knew these people were solid. Then one day standing over a cycle bike one of these sweet girls, Holly, handed me a book, “Read this! Jeanette, it’ll change your life!” I giggled, I love to read but how could a book change my life?!

The beautiful blonde you see is OBVIOUSLY Lindsay and That lovely lady with the beautiful smile is Holly. Who would’ve thought that God could change my life with two friends and a gym membership!?!

I dove into the book, Kisses From Katie, head first. I was reading, devouring this young girl’s story and about half way through the book I shut it and looked up at Jesse and I quote, “Jesse, I think we need to adopt or like sponsor a 100 children in Africa.” He calmly told me to, in his words, “pump the brakes,” finish the book and see how it ends. But I felt that quiet tug. The Lord whispered, “I called you to be a mom. There are a TON of babies with no mom. What are you going to do about it?!” Let me rewind a bit here and tell you that when I was little and was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up I would answer very firmly, ” A mom.”
So, Jesse and I talked a little bit more and he told me he’d pray about it. Classic husband just trying to appease his wife. A few days later he looked at me and said, “A girl right?! What would we name her?”

BOOM there it was. We jumped into this world of adoption.

Ok now back to the bible study, the girls in that group were some of the first people I told about this new venture. They were the first ones praying for her, and in Bible study we were going through the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith.” Lindsay would dive into each of the hero’s listed story. Over and over in Hebrews 11 it is said “By Faith that ____” and so often these heros of the bible- Sarah, Abraham, Enoch, Noah- followed the Lord blindly doing the craziest things. So often they didn’t even get to see His finished work. Noah built the ark, a boat that he had no idea what that even was and he followed God’s CRAZY specific instructions for like 100 years all by faith.

As we went through this I was so glad that God was calling me to something easy and short. I really can’t help but laugh. From the time we said YES we will adopt, to the day Zoe was actually in America and in my arms was almost 3 years. Now that’s not as long as some others waited and by far not the longest process I’ve ever heard of, but it was long and grueling and hard.

 By Faith, I believed the Lord called me to this.

 By Faith I knew he wouldn’t fail me.

 By Faith I knew that He had a better plan for this little girl I would get to call my own.

After the Bible study had ended and changed, as seasons do, those girls were still my go to people. And near the end of our process when circumstances were hard and my faith weary it was that group that stood by my side. It was them that held my weak arms up and wouldn’t let me give in. They said, “We are with you to the end” and they were. And they still are!

We have some beautiful photos that were taken at the airport and it was a freaking party. Zoe can and will tell you now that she came home sad, and confused, BUT she will also tell you there were a lot of people there to celebrate her homecoming. That is because it wasn’t just my victory or my family’s victory it was all of ours, Zoe was an orphan no more!! That group had expanded my heart, and my reach. Those women cried with me, and prayed, and gave, and connected me with new people. And my favorite part is that it all started on the floor of a child care room in a gym. In a place where we sat, with little to no makeup, and we were real and open with each other. That, guys, is the key. Be real. Be honest. Be open. Be a friend.


This is only half the people! That was a party!! I love looking back at these faces. I see so much JOY!!

Where can you be real today? How can you meet a friend right where she is? What can you do to open yourself up now to find community? I know that it’s not easy and I know that it’s terrifying to walk into new places and not know anyone, but what if today you were just a little bit braver? What could that look like? Let’s be bold and full of faith together!

I started using the gym to Punish myself not Push myself…

Today as I write this it is Monday. As I got up and got ready for the gym this morning, I felt the weight of the weekend on me. I felt sluggish, heavy, and full. Over the weekend we had a family pizza night, tacos, and more tacos. All. The. Tacos. We had dinner and drinks with friends and while it was all super fun and much needed, I could tell this morning I had overdone it. None of these things are necessarily bad, but what is bad, is this: I was emotional all weekend. My heart was heavy so I ate and drank my feelings and in doing that, I over did it!

Walking into the gym this morning was pretty much the same as it is every morning, but today I had the added pressure of knowing that I over snacked, over dipped and over sipped all weekend, and that pressure was telling me that I needed to work harder, run faster and basically punish myself for my bad decision making. But that’s not the relationship I want to have with the gym.


Looking happy or pretty while lifting is NOT ALLOWED! Only serious CrossFitters here!

 Punishing my body doesn’t sound fun. It sounds hurtful, and full of shame. Here are reasons why I love going to the gym: I have awesome friends that I get to workout with. I can work hard and surprise myself with lifting heavy weights. I am a healthier and fitter me because of the gym. Going to the gym makes me happy, and as the ever famous Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphines, endorphines make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t!” Thank you Legally Blonde for always speaking truth to me!8f14ffc1ea8f3c41afafd5f8f724eee8--moment-quotes-movie-quotes

So as I finished my workout today I thought, “I don’t want to punish myself I want to push myself mentally.” How do we as women, moms, wives, and friends combat this feeling of punishment when we know we’ve slipped up?! Well, I am not a fitness blogger, and no one ever comes to me for this sort of advice so I went to someone who is smarter than me. Kelsey Flanagan is kind, wise, helpful and as sweet as can be. She is passionate in helping people in all walks of life to create a happier and healthier versions of themselves.

So here are Kelsey’s thoughts below…..

The relationship with most people and gyms can be unhealthy. But we can get in control of that.

How? Think about your relationship with food or anything you cling too. If you want to see a change you will first have to be AWARE of the emotion you have attached to that “thing” whether it’s gym, food, family, drugs, alcohol.  The first step is awareness.

Once you have recognized that – you then should ask yourself

“Why?” Why do I do what I do? Why do I love the gym? Why do I go to the gym? Once you have some reason and why you will start to see the pattern. Whether it’s because you feel good when you leave, you want to be stronger,  you get the spend time with your friends, you finally get an hour to yourself, or you want to work off the cupcakes you had. All of these reasons are pretty positive except that last one. So now, ask yourself  “Why do I do that to myself? What about that action don’t I like?”

It’s the question game. Ask until you finally root to the problem then come up with a solution. I have struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food so this speaks to me. I’ve taken these steps below to step back and recognize what I was actually doing. Try it out and see what you come up with.

Step 1. Awareness (Journal feelings & shifts you’d like to see and notice)

Step 2. Ask yourself open ended questions

Step 3. Recognize the root issues

Step 4. Come up with ideas for a solution

Step 5. Find 1 thing that can make your relationship with the gym just a little bit better.

Whether that is: Shifting your motivation more positive. –Giving yourself the permission to forget and forgive yourself for your actions. –Working hard everyday at the gym instead of those days you “need” to.  –Writing down your reasons why you go to the gym everyday. –Taking the time to be more mindful of the decisions and what caused them.

Understanding your WHY is something we often forget about. I’ve been doing more gratitude and asking myself, “why am I doing what I’m doing”, and “how is that working for me?” These 2 questions always lead me back to my Why. My Why is to have the energy to give the help, love, and ears people desire the most. The gym gives me energy it’s my happy place, but hasn’t always been.

Why do you go to the gym everyday or on the days you “should”? An hour to prove to yourself that you are strong, worthy, and amazing… Or. An hour to punish yourself for the decisions you’ve made… When you are aware of the different mindsets you will be able to distinguish a trend and become more aware. Appreciate your hour.

So now here I am really thinking through these things. I love going to the gym, because I know it makes me a healthier mom, a happier mom, but over all a happy and healthier me. I love the way the gym makes me feel. I feel stronger, happier, and even sexier when I go into the gym with the mentality of “getting to go” vs “having to go.” I don’t NEED to go to the gym, I get to go! I don’t NEED to punish my body. My body has already proven itself to me I am stronger than I think both mentally and physically. I like my body and sure I should watch what I eat and treat it kindly but I will now be mindful of my Whys and my actions!

I am just so thankful for Kelsey and her wisdom. She was so kind to sit with me and talk this out. As the weekends come I know that I will be thinking more and more about this and really examining my actions!

Kelsey can be found at Be Fitness Happy or you can email her at and while you are at it check her out on Instagram too Here!.

Alright friends, go be mindful and think about you WHYS, why are you stuffing that cupcake in your mouth? Why are you drinking that extra glass of wine? What about that extra mile or _____fill in the blank_____. If its not inline with your Why let’s ask some of those questions!

10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

I got this idea from one of my sweet ChicTribe friends…

10 things you don’t know about me:

I come from a blended family. My parents married when I was 6 and I often forget that my stepdad is not my biological dad. I always have to think about it when it comes to medical history at any new doctor’s office.


My family! Don’t I look just like my dad! That’s why I forget!

Jesse and I were dating only 2 months before he proposed. And he popped the question at my senior homecoming dance, well, after the dance. That means I spent my whole senior year of high school engaged! We were young and crazy, and so many bet (literally put money down) that we wouldn’t make it, but joke’s on them. Thirteen years later we are still all heart eyes for each other… most of the time.


Jesse and I after we started dating. We were on a youth group trip, because we were still in youth group.

My cousin Melissa is my very best friend. We have fought over the years and that created some distance but have always made it back to each other. One time when we were kids she got bossy and pushed me off a recliner. My head hit the corner and cracked my head open. We talk about it all the time because she doesn’t remember it happening….convenient.  


Cousins make the best of friends because no matter what…you’re family!


My life feels like it is in shambles if it not scheduled in a planner. Paper planner and on my phone. If it is not written down, it will be forgotten. My favorite app is Cozi and the planner I’ve used this year and will probably purchase again later this year is Anchored Press (it comes with devotionals in it for the week and I love having it all together!).

I don’t think I have every fully finished a Bible Study book. I always have the best of intentions but fail every time! I just started a new one and I’m going to try so hard to do all the days. Keep me accountable, k!?!

I didn’t read the Harry Potter books until I was 27 (which was 4 years ago). I feel like I missed out and should’ve read them earlier! But at the same time I am so glad I waited so I could enjoy them fully with my kids.


Zoe obviously loved being at Hogwarts with us!

I cry a lot. I think most people who know me know this about me, but if we are just meeting and becoming friends, you should know that I cry. I just have a lot of feelings, and they manifest in tears. Happy, sad, mad; it all comes out via tears. What gets me the most are those darn Olympic commercials!


Doesn’t everyone cry while watching their children parade around a restaurant with Lilo and Stitch?!

I didn’t enjoy a normal cup of coffee until I moved to Texas five years ago. Prior to moving here I worked at a really fun coffee hut in Alaska where we made delicious drinks full of syrup and milk with shots of espresso… like starbucks but WAY better. So when we moved to Texas I bought a coffee pot and started becoming an adult.

I collect Starbucks ‘You Are Here’ mugs. My mom and one of my sisters collects them too so it’s fun to compare. I’m not sure how many I have but Jesse just had me reorganize our coffee cabinet to clean out some older, non-starbucks ones. Here’s the kicker though: I don’t really enjoy Starbucks coffee, just their mugs!

I know. It’s a problem. That’s a lot of stinkin mugs! But I see them and I think, “Ok Starbucks! Take my money!”

I grew up a Southern Baptist pastor’s daughter. There was a short time when we weren’t in church but for the most part my childhood was centered around the church building, and I loved it. Sure, there were times when we had some unnecessary pressure put on us, but I feel like growing up as a PK (pastor’s kid) was fun and it taught me about community in a really unique way. Do I still have issues wearing tank tops to church? YES.

Man, this was actually pretty hard! I tend to overshare so to think of some unknown things could’ve gotten dicey. But there you have it, a little bit about me!img_5779

Big thanks to my friend Prue over at House of Skirt blog for letting me snag this idea from her! Go check her out on her blog and on Instagram @the_house_of_skirt

Sick with comparison!

It’s a sickness we all deal with, maybe women more than men, but I don’t think that’s even true and there I go doing it yet. Lately I have found myself in this habit of comparing. Comparing myself to people I love, comparing how my kids behave, comparing how much weight others have on their bar at the gym, how nice or fun their vacation was, how their marriage is, how skinny they are, how their hair looks…I mean I really could go on and on. This is the cycle I’ve been in and it has got to stop. There are times when I can check myself pretty quickly and get it under control, but then there are times when I let this sickness of comparison sit and fester. When I do that, I notice it taking over all areas of my life. I get grumpy and dissatisfied and just ugly.

I hate comparing myself to my friends. I love being a friend, a cheerleader, a shoulder for them to cry on, a sounding board when they need to think something out and I truly think my friends are the best. They are lovely and sweet and kind and strong and beautiful. They are gifts straight from God, and when I compare myself to them I take away my joy for them. I take away my support and I use it not only to hurt myself and my family but it can hurt them too.

I am convinced that social media really hurts us in this. We get to see everyone’s highlight reels. How beautiful their beach trip was or how nice their new car is and ‘Oh look at the straight A’s their kid got!’. It’s so hard to step back and think rationally sometimes. For example, one of my sweet friends from the gym went on a beautiful beach trip with her family earlier in the summer. They sold their house, got an amazing deal on their dream home and in the middle of that process they went on another quick beach trip to visit her dad. She posted an adorable picture of her girls on the beach (Why wouldn’t she? Her girls are absolutely precious) and my first thought was, “Hmph must be nice.” I literally just judged her!! WHY?!?! Why is my heart so ugly?

So to check myself before I wrecked myself, I said to myself… out loud because that is what one does when they are that close to “wrecking oneself”. “Jeanette Tapley are you kidding me?! You JUST got home from Disney World and you have yet another trip to Disney World planned next month! You are stupid! Don’t steal your friend’s joy and don’t you dare compare!!”

I really hope that I am not alone in this because if I am, then I need Jesus to just come now and Glory Glory Halleluiah it’s over! But I know that I am not because I see it all over magazines and self help books and in Bible studies; it’s an epidemic and friends we need to stop!

5a32ba1431fd5b034fdde93a29098464--joy-quotes-theodore-roosevelt“Comparison is the thief of Joy” -Theodore Roosevelt

When we compare ourselves to others we are not only taking a joy from them but we are taking joy from us. All of a sudden we don’t have enough or we aren’t enough. And really when it gets down to it I think it comes down to Jesus/ God isn’t enough. I think when we feel ourselves getting sick with the comparison bug we need to ask ourselves: Do we believe He gives us good things? Good opportunities? Good _____?? I think in our hearts the answer is “Yes”, but then we start looking around to see what we THINK should have or what we wanted for us at this point… comparing our days and lives to those around us. We settle in with an uneasy “Maybe”.

Lately I have been trying to write down ten things I am thankful for everyday. For me in this stage of life (also known as chaos coordinating) I need to be intentionally planting seeds of thankfulness. A lot of days it looks a lot like this: “I am thankful for: Bedtime, Coffee, Time talking to Jesse, The Weather App, Chores, Solid family friends, the gym, swimming with friends, coffee cups that make me smile, phone calls from Melissa.” I seriously just looked through my journal and pulled these out! They aren’t anything deep or profound but they’re things in my day to day life that I love and look forward to, or things that surprise me and make me happier than they should, like my coffee cups! If I am not intentionally thanking God for the good things, big or small, in my life then I feel the bug rising up in me.

“A flower does not think of comparing itself to the flower next to it. It just blooms.”

I know that it is hard to not look to the left or the right without measuring ourselves but what if we just bloomed? Right there alongside our beautiful flower friends, knowing that their beauty compliments our own! And there we stood together with our friends Blooming and Thankful.


Off They Go!!

Today is back to school day! 

A makeup artist, Pixar employee, and a Veterinarian in the making.

Today I sent my sweet little first grader off on a van that takes her to an amazing deaf ed program. Today I dropped off my oldest son for his last first day of elementary school. Today I dropped off my sweet Titus for fourth grade where he walked in with a confident smile. 

I don’t get super emotional on the first day any more, the last day of school finds me a WRECK *because I become SUPER attached to our teachers*, but the first I see as a change of seasons *not literally because in Central Texas it won’t feel like fall until November.* The changing of grades forces me to see my kids bigger. It makes me acknowledge that they are growing! I mean seriously I have a fifth grader!! He just turned 11, how have we made it this far?! 

The first day also forces me to acknowledge the fact that I am handing over my precious babies to teachers, for them to be influenced every day by these new people. I pray everyday for our teachers. I pray they will be wise and patient with my babies, but that they will also sharpen and challenge them in ways that I can’t. I also pray that I have done my part so far and that my kids go into school confidently, with kind hearts and good attitudes. *fingers crossed*

This first day of school also brings back schedule and routine. We start soccer, piano, gymnastics, speech therapy, and Awana. All the while trying to make sure we are all in bed at a decent hour so that we can do it all over again the next morning. This is the area that weighs heavier on me. Honestly I feel pulled in so many directions, and there are days when I am sure the following season we will sign up for NOTHING. Then I remember how happy Zeke is when he makes a goal or a great block, or how proud Titus feels when he masters a piece for his piano recital, and how excited Zoe is when she gets to see her friends and Ms Becky at gymnastics. This season is for them. They are so precious to me, and if for right now I feel like a cabby or uber driver, that’s fine, because it’s for them. Those three that I sent off this morning make my world spin. They also make me crazy and I am lucky that this “uber driver” can yell at them to be quiet or stop fighting without fear of losing my job. 

So here we are. 

The house is quiet, it’s amazing and scary at the same time because you know what they say….”The days are long but the years are short.” Dang, ain’t that the truth?!

I mean seriously. I just dropped him off for kindergarten yesterday!!

What you didn’t see…

I mean come on. Disney without kids. Best. Trip. Ever.

Last week Jesse and I went away for a quick three day getaway. We were supposed to go to the beach but with some storms looming we decided to head to Mickey Mouse instead. (You can read about it in my last post here) It was probably the most fun we’ve ever had together. We laughed and joked so much and posted about all the fun we were having to our Instagram Stories. But as much as I love social media (mostly Instagram) we all know or what we so often have to keep in mind is that it’s the highlight reel. Very rarely do I ever post a picture of my kids mess, or the fit they are throwing or a picture of me crying out of anger. What I do post are the achievements my kids have reached, the clean rooms, or me crying out of love (or really any other reason I tend to cry.) So here are a few things from our quick Disney trip that you didn’t see.

The whole point of this getaway was for us to reconnect. 

After almost 13 years of marriage, three kids, one that came at us with a crazy hard and lengthy adoption process, I found myself lost in the work of life. I am a verbal processor so when things get busy and Jesse and I don’t find the time for us to communicate I tend to shut down. For me, this trip was important for us to really talk a lot of things out.


So one of our first conversations back to the reconnected way of marriage was for us to talk and ask a bunch of questions: Whats going on? What’s working for us? What’s not? How do we change that? How can we be better parents? What do we see in our kids that we need to build up? How can we shut down some things that we are seeing that we don’t like?

This was a hard conversation time but our view from the Japanese restaurant in Epcot made it a heck of a lot easier.


Next up was trusting him. I hate going into situations not knowing what to expect or what is going on. Jesse is totally fine walking into a room or situation and finding his way. He has done a TON of research for our family trip to Disney so I just had to sit back and trust that he knew what we were doing. I asked a lot of questions, “Why do I have to wake up so early? Can I have coffee now? When will they let us in? What now? How long will that take? Are you sure this is right?” But in the end I just had to follow his lead.

Going forward

Our last dinner in the Magic Kingdom was so yummy (Ohana at the Polynesian resort)! It was there that we needed to talk about how we can really shift this stage in our family for the best. Our kids are bigger, and the demands they have are more time consuming and complicated. School is starting soon, and we are looking at our calendar and it’s filling up SO fast with homework, soccer twice a week and weekend games, gymnastics, speech therapy, piano, and bible study fellowship (BSF). The big question for me was, when can i see you again?! A lot of the people I look up to say weekly date nights are a must, but honestly when I hear that all I see or hear is the ChaChing of dollar bills. On top of that, Jesse works a crazy schedule and isn’t always home during the evenings. Despite all the obstacles, we decided that we needed to make time together a priority. We set a weekday that we think will work for us and we will either do lunch dates or game nights or if we can swing it, a nice dinner out. Too often our dates land us at the movie theatre because we both love movies but then we lack the communication that we need.

The good news? We got to go away. Our kids survived and we still really like each other. I still think he is super funny and has the best eyes I’ve ever seen, and after three kids and a love of candy he still wants to grab my butt. I’d call it a success.

Dole Whip. Mickey pretzel. Castle Pic.

Somewhere On A Beach

I LOVE the ocean. I LOVE the beach. There’s just beauty and power all in one massive force and, like Moana, it calls to me. This week I will be at the beach with the one I love most: Jesse. He planned this quick getaway for us and I pitched the biggest fit; I didn’t want to leave the kids, I didn’t want to spend the money, I wanted to go to Mexico or the Bahamas, not Florida. 

This is from our last family beach trip to Port Aransas

I was being the biggest jerk. Here Jesse was offering up something I have been asking and begging for but it wasn’t my idea and it wasn’t good enough. Poor guy couldn’t win this one. I started feeling really guilty and felt super bad.

How often does Jesse do something for me that I look him dead in the eye and say it’s not good enough? Too often. How often does he do something that isn’t done the way I like it and I shut him down? Too often. Jesse and I have been married almost 13 years! That’s a long freaking time! I am so very glad that he loves me the way he does and that he’s willing to disagree with me when I’m being stubborn.

I love the way our marriage works. There are times when we each have to step back and say, “Nope, we need this. We need to reconnect. We need to get on the same page. We need to make sure we love and like each other the most.” I guess it was his turn to say this. His turn to refocus us, and I am so glad he did. I don’t think I ever realize how much I need it until we are in the moment.

So off we go! Big thanks to all those making sure our kids are safe and loved!!

EDIT!! As we were getting ready for our trip we were checking the weather and it was looking like 80% chance of rain the entire time we were going to be there. And as much as I love the beach I don’t love thunderstorms on the beach while on vacation. So we did a little remixing. Off to Disney World for the next few days. Let me tell you again, I LOVE the beach but if you know me at all you know I’m IN LOVE with all things Disney. So off we go! No adulting for us only Faith, trust and a little bit of Pixie Dust! 

If you want to follow along check out my Instagram! 

Thank you for being a friend….

Tribe. Squad. Besties. Whatever you call it, you need it. And I think you need it outside your home. Don’t get me wrong, my husband Jesse is my very best friend. He knows me better than I know myself, I really believe that. He loves me for me and I love him more than I can even express. BUT girlfriends are a must. I don’t know when I realized female friendships were hard...I had a great group of friends in high school, we drifted through those awkward years with many a fight and disagreement but one of my favorite things is to have lunch with them. When Zoe came home I got a very unexpected gift in the mail from them. It really was the best. They have shown me that even with time and distance we are friends and we have history, and that history matters.

After high school I found myself in a weird spot: all my high school friends went to college and I was surrounded by women who were older than me and a few stages in life ahead of where I found myself. Two of my very best friends came from this era of my life. They taught me how to mother and be a good wife.

These four: Jessica, Amanda, Tesa and Destiny taught me how to be a good friend. Jessica and Amanda taught me that even though we grow up and move along, our history together matters. We grew up together, we have walked through SO many seasons and really, I think they know too much. Destiny and Tesa man, they got me at a pivotal time of  transition; from kid to wife, from Jesse’s wife to Ezekiel’s mom. They held my hand and kindly guided me.

And really don’t get me started on my very first friend. My cousin, Melissa. She’s the best and without her my life would be lost. I cannot even begin to type out the lessons she has taught me. So I’ll save that for a later post.

So when did I realize female friendships were hard? When I realized I wasn’t being truthful with myself. When I wasn’t being authentic and real with the relationships I had. When I wasn’t being intentional. When I was cutting myself off but then mad that no one would reach out.

I got to spend some time today with two of my favorite friends. They are beautiful, strong, giving, loving, hilarious women that I want to be just like. We sat by the pool with a whole gaggle of children and just got to talk. Talking is my favorite. There were moments of silliness and laughter, moments of questions, but then there were moments of true vulnerability. I know it sucks to be the one friend who says, “This year has been really hard on my marriage.” Or “I really don’t like this kid right now.” Or “Please pass the cheetos.” (By the way that was all me.) So I know it sucks to be that person but I also know that it sucks to keep it in. It’s so hard to feel alone and I think we do this to ourselves, for fear of not being liked or fear of not being understood or,huge one: fear of not feeling safe.

Now let me tell you, I have a tribe, I struggle with being honest with them only because I feel like my honest is ugly. I know deep in my heart that that is lie. They are amazing and they remind me of that. We are better together. Always. Better. Together.

So I want to encourage you, reach out find someone who is safe. One of my favorite moments from this past year was a text I received that said, “I need people. Will you be one of my people?”

Do a Bible study. One that I just went through with some friends is called A REAL GIRLFRIENDS GUIDE TO TAKING IT ALL OFF by Stephanie May Wilson. It was so good and really helped us get to know each other.

Go to the gym together. I believe that there is no greater time to get to know people then when you are both in gym clothes and sweating. Misery loves company and really accountability to hit the gym is never bad! Here in Texas some of my best friendships were formed at the gym, if you keep seeing the same person over and over again maybe your meant to be friends. That’s exactly what happened with my  sweet friend Julianna. We kept bumping into each other and now I can’t imagine life without her. She really has taught me how to be a better friend and what it looks like to serve like Jesus would serve. 

My final thought on this comes with a scripture…

Colossians 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

If someone comes to you with a tender and vulnerable heart, don’t be a jerk. Be a friend known for compassion and kindness. Bear each others burdens, be a good friend. If they are hurting, sit with them, feel their hurt, don’t allow your sweet friend to hurt alone. If your friend hurts you, forgive and forgive quickly (and wisely). 

Put on love, always walk in love. 

I am so thankful for the friends I have in my life. I can only hope I am as good of a friend to them as they are to me.

Near and far I’m so thankful for the tribe that surrounds me