It seems the older I get, the more I treasure, truly treasure, the friends God has sent my way. I get teary-eyed thinking about how much I’ve been blessed with people to share special times with and talk with and enjoy. Today my best friend Joy turns another year older, and the gift of her in my life has been unmistakable.

Joy and I have been friends since first grade when we met in Girl Scouts, then became best friends in fourth grade. Even before that though, we lived in the same neighborhood and went to the same preschool, just like God was preparing us to walk together. We each have different styles, personalities, interests, and talents, but we discuss the important and not-so-important things of life. There’s nothing we don’t talk about. Joy knows me better than most others, and is one of the first people I call when anything happens. She’s the person I call when I want a fashion opinion, guy advice, life wisdom, to talk about the day, when I’m upset, and when I have good  news to share. I know even if I just ramble about something over and over, she will listen. She knows enough to bring up silly things I’ve done or said.

at my nursing school pinning ceremony

We have tons of memories together (unfortunately we lived in the pre-digital camera age for a long time so I don’t have old pictures on my computer). In elementary school, we made sure to decorate our lockers. There were Girl Scout trips together and classes together and of course some note passing. We managed to fight over a boy once in sixth grade. We played tennis on the middle school team (and junior year of high school). In high school, we did colorguard, prom, and student council together. We dressed up as twins during Homecoming Week. She helped me learn how to ski in Colorado. We’ve been to the Bahamas together, twice. She surprised me by showing up to my dorm the night she got engaged. We’ve been at each others’ graduations and we celebrate our birthdays together doing something fun every year. We’ve made up a few dances in our time, had many sleepovers, and found awesome bargains together. We visit each other frequently. Sadly, we didn’t make it to an Oprah show before her show ended, because we wanted to do that. But we are going to Chicago this year for our birthday celebration!

Sometimes people see pictures of her in my house or office and comment on how beautiful she is. Joy is not only gorgeous, she’s humble, gracious, and wise. She is one of the most talented people I know–she sings, she has a gift for art, she  budgets like nobody’s business, and she’s great at giving counsel. Joy lives out of love, seeks God, and is a super wife and wonderful mom.

after baby #2's birth

Joy lives up to her name as she embodies joy like no one else I know. I tease her about her smiling…because she is always smiling! But it’s for real and she seeks to lift others up always. It’s not that she doesn’t have bad days, but she draws from the deep Well and truly lives a life of joy. She is a reminder that “Life is good.”

Happy Birthday to you, dear Joy. Another year awaits, and I’m so excited to see what will happen. I love you to no end.