here). I'm inviting those I tag to spend seven days celebrating anyone who makes your life richer -- your friends, your kids, your siblings, your co-workers, and sure, your spouse! Or, do nothing except know that I am celebrating you!
Today I am tagging my incredible bridesmaids. I honestly could not have asked for a better group of friends to stand beside me on my wedding day -- and that is to say, I could not have asked for a better group of friends to have been an integral part of my life during the years leading up to that day.
Erin was one of my very first friends in Reno. Cassidy & I first got to know her when we spent the summer of 2004 there because all three of us were helping with the youth group at the church my parents began attending after they moved to Reno. Little did we know she & Cassidy would fall in love & marry just a few years later! I was so happy to have her become an official part of our family, and I've loved getting to know and share life with her family as well. One of my greatest joys in life has been becoming an auntie to the three adorable boys Erin & Cassidy have had over the past few years. We have shared so, so many memories in the years since Erin & I became friends, from sleepovers to youth group trips to movie nights (which we often both sleep through lol) to family vacations, and I am so grateful to know we still have a whole lifetime ahead to make more!
My first memory of Jeni involves her being introduced to my mom's famous mac & cheese, which she has loved ever since, and her being amused at my or Cassidy's (I can't remember which) southern pronunciation of "Ju-ly." We quickly became good friends and, though we've had our ups & downs, our friendship has endured for almost 10 years now (and counting). Jeni is truly one of the funniest people I know. She is fiercely protective of the people she loves, and while life has thrown some real challenges her way, she has always managed to fight her way back to wholeness & joy. She inspires me and I love who she is.
Before I get to my dear MOH, I want to mention two other amazing women who also would have been bridesmaids if they didn't live across the country.
My friendship with Judy goes back almost as far as my friendship with Erin. She's another one I got to know initially because we served together as youth leaders. She became one of my best friends through the years. I can't count how many Saturday evenings I spent over at her place, eating True New York pizza, playing with her kitties, and watching (or sleeping through) movies. When she moved back to New York in 2014 I got to drive across the country with her and then spend several days getting a taste of the area where she grew up. Judy is one of the most faithful friends I've ever had and I miss being able to hang out with her on a regular basis.
Now finally, my Maid of Honor, Jessie Marie. I actually met Jessie the same day Anna & her mom arrived in Reno in 2007. She was visiting our youth group with a friend, and I never could have dreamed at that time that we would go on to become what she has come to refer to as "soul friends" and would even share a home for a little over two years. Jessie & I are both INFJs and, as such, we somehow just "get" each other in a way few, if any, other people ever have. I feel like we've both learned so much about ourselves since we first became friends, and it seems we've offered each other a safe place to process that ongoing journey. We have shared so much together -- coffee dates & dinners & walks & movies & drives & frustrations & sadness & joy & silliness & holidays & times with family & on & on & on. We have prayed & danced & consumed peppermint hot chocolate & had sleepovers in our living room. She has made me laugh and she has seen me cry. We've witnessed each other at our worst and at our best. I cannot say enough about what her friendship has meant to me. I am forever grateful we got to share life in a daily context for the 2+ years leading up to my marriage, and I will cherish those memories and her friendship for the rest of my life.
These are some of the most amazing women I have ever known and I am so, so grateful each one of them has been a part of my story.